Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Three Oaths in Tazria

I was contemplating why it is that the GR"A is the only one to explain the oath of Ketubot 111a as referring to Har HaBayit and not Eretz Yisrael. First, the text of the Gemara there:

אחת שלא יעלו ישראל בחומה ואחת שהשביע הקדוש ברוך הוא את ישראל שלא ימרדו באומות העולם ואחת שהשביע הקדוש ברוך הוא את אומות העולם שלא ישתעבדו בהן בישראל יותר מדאי
  1. That Israel shall not go up as a wall
  2. That HaKadosh Baruch Hu imposed an oath on Israel that they won't rebel against the nations.
  3. That HaKadosh Baruch Hu imposed an oath on the nations of the world not to oppress Israel too much.
The GR"A's commentary to Tikkunei Zohar (without translation), page 157:
ובמה כו' בימינא - ר"ל תורה מימינו כו' נשבע ה' בימינו וזהו ע"פ המים וז"ש עד דייתי כו' וזהו ורוח וכו' על כו' שתחלה צריך לתורה ואח"כ בא משיח אלא שמוזהרין שלא ידחקו את הקץ וז"ש בימינא שעתה השיב אחור ימינו כמ"ש כיון שגלו אין לך ביטול כו' וכמ"ש בכמה מקומות במה יתערון למשיח באורייתא אלא שמושבעין שלא יצאו מאליהם לבנות בה"מ שושנה דלעילא עד שיבא
I think that all three of these oaths can be seen from VaYikra 12:4
ושלשים יום ושלשת ימים תשב בדמי טהרה, בכל קדש לא תגע, ואל המקדש לא תבא, עד-מלאת  ימי טהרה
And for 33 days she shall sit in her dam tohar, and she shall touch nothing holy, and she shall not come to the Mikdash, until the completion of the days of purity.
To parse differently:
And for 33 days
  1. She shall sit in her dam tohar (Knesset Yisrael shall sit in Exile and not rebel)
  2. She shall touch nothing holy (Don't read she shall not, but rather you shall not tough anything holy, meaning the Holy Nation)
  3. She shall not come to the Mikdash (That Am Yisrael shall not go up to build the Mikdash until the appointed time, the end of the 33 days.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chronology - Pshat or Drash?

There are a number of places where our chronology is not based on the pshat of the Tanach.

  • Chumash - One can determine, using only the text of the Chumash, when the exile in Mitzraim began.  One cannot, however, determine when it ended.  Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 48, for example, asserts that Yocheved was born when Am Yisrael entered Mitzraim, and she was 130 when Moshe was born.  But this is not in the Chumash.  The Chumash leaves this open for drash.
  • Shoftim Period - Melachim Alef, 6:1 states that the building of the 1st Beit HaMikdash began 480 years after the Exodus.  The exact chronology of events, and duration of time the mishkan was in each location during this 480 year period seems to be from mesorah and not the text.
  • Galut Bavel - The length of Galut Bavel is 70 years, but what does that mean precisely?  As I have mentioned before, there are multiple 70 year periods at play.  The period between the building of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash and the arrival of Ezra haSofer is made much shorter by Chazal's identification of Artachshasta as Daryavesh (Bavli Rosh Hashanah 3b).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Halachah of Yovel

Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 3:4 Yovel is equal to Rosh Hashanah in blowing (of the shofar), and in blessings.

Question: Was this halachah ever observed?  Brachot were put in place during the time of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash.  According to most opinions, Yovel has not been in force as a mitzvah d'oraita since the time of the 1st Beit HaMikdash.  It would seem that the shofar would not be observed if Yovel were marked d'rabbanan, but the brachot could be recited during the musaf prayer.
I have not seen any evidence of this, I was wondering if anyone else had seen anything, or had any other insight.  Comments welcome.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

For Tazria

A link to Geulat Mitzraim to Yemot HaMoshiach

Ever so slightly updated.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yovel - Beit HaMikdash Connections

The Yovel year in which Yehezkel received his vision of the 3rd Beit HaMikdash took place in 3353.  The year we mark as the beginning of Bayit Sheini is 3409.  That is a 56 year difference.

The Yovel year in which Am Yisrael returned to all of Yerushalayim was 5727.  Another 56 years brings us to 5783.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dividing the Hours of the 6th Day

According to the counting system presented in Kol HaTor, we are currently in the 7th hour of the 6th day, since we count only the 2nd half of the 6th millennium.  According to Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 38b and Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 11, this is the hour in which Hashem made Chava for Adam.

If we divide the 7th hour again in to 24 parts, the new 7th hour falls from 5782 to 5784 (ignoring the fractions of years).
What is interesting as well is that during the 3rd hour, Adam stretches out his limbs.  This covers 5775 to 5777, covering the next Yovel.
A commentor reminded me of a Baraita in the Yerushalmi Brachot 1:1 that goes as follows:
רבי אומר ארבע אשמורות ביום וארבע אשמורות בלילה העונה אחד מעשרים וארבעה לשעה העת אחד מעשרים וארבעה לעונה הרגע אחד מעשרים וארבעה לעת
Rebbi says: There are four watches of the day and four watches of the night.  An "onah" is 1/24th of an hour.  An "et" is 1/24th of an "onah".  A "rega" is 1/24th of an "et".
Doing the math recursively, the 7th rega of the 7th et of the 7th onah of the 7th hour of the 6th day brings us to approximately half way through 5783.  And the 3rd et of the 3rd onah of the 7th hour of the 6th day brings us to approximately 1/3 in to 5776.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Symbolism of the Four Cups

The First Cup
  1. Said over Kiddush
  2. Corresponds to this world, to signal that we should sanctify ourselves in this world.
  3. Corresponds to the word "והוצאתי", "and I will take you out"
  4. Corresponds to the Geulah of 56, the Israeli War of Independence
The Second Cup
  1. Said over Magid
  2. Corresponds to Yemot HaMoshiach, when we will still mention Yetziat Mitzraim
  3. Corresponds to the word "והצלתי", "and I will save you"
  4. Corresponds to the Geulah of 60, the Six-Day War, the Pekidah.
The Third Cup
  1. Said over Birkat HaMazon
  2. Corresponds to Atid Lavo, when we will have Seudat Livyatan
  3. Corresponds to the word "וגאלתי" "and I will redeem", but on the side of Chesed, "בזרוע נטויה", "with an outstretched arm"
  4. Corresponds to the Geulah of 66, with Moshiach ben Yosef, followed by the Zechirah.
The Fourth Cup
  1. Said over the Great Hallel
  2. Corresponds to Techiyat HaMeitim, when we will say the Great Hallel
  3. Corresponds to the word "וגאלתי" "and I will redeem", but on the side of Din, "ובשפטים גדולים" "with great judgments
  4. Corresponds to the Geulah of 72, with Moshiach ben David
Numbers 2 and 3 of every list are according to the GR"A, who held that the common relationship between expressions of Geulah and the cups was incorrect, but rather it was all from a single pasuk:
שמות ו:ו - לכן אמר לבני ישראל, אני ה', והוצאתי אתכם מתחת סבלת מצרים, והצלתי אתכם מעבדתם, וגאלתי אתכם בזרוע נטויה, ובשפטים גדלים
Therefore, the question of whether or not five cups are needed goes away.
Number 4 is according to the Zohar Raya Mehemna on Pinchas.  On the first and second cups, the correlation between 3 and 4 works well.  "And I will take you out" is well suited for the Kibbutz Galuyot of 600,000 achieved at the time of the war in 5708.  The threat of immenent destruction that preceded the war in 5727 goes well with "And I will save you".  The question is how Moshiach ben Yosef has to do with the Geulah on the side of Chesed, and Moshiach ben David with Geulah on the side of Din.  Perhaps the answer is that Moshiach ben Yosef will come in the zechut of the work of Am Yisrael in the Keitz Meguleh, and therefore the experience will be sweeter, whereas the Geulah of Moshiach ben David will be one of more Din, as it is related to the final war of Gog uMagog.
For more symbolism, see Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:1.