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.


  1. If so, only the nations have a direct (second-person) Tzivui, as Israel is referred to in third person. What restricts Israel is like a prediction. Or, one could perhaps say, a promise, to the nations. Yishar Koach.

  2. Thanks. Can you give me the exact reference where the GR"A said it was regarding Har HaBayit? I checked the peirush to Shir HaShirim 2:7 where it talks of the oaths, but I didn't find Har HaBayit there. Is it the peirush to Tikkunei Zohar?

  3. I will look it up, Bli Neder. I read it recently in Kuntrus Ma'ayanei HaYeshua.

  4. I found Tikkunei Zohar p157 referenced, but I can't seem to find it in mine, and I think I have the edition they are referring to. Of course the pagination is frustrating. The right hand amud is in arabic numerals, incrementing by two each daf, and the left is in Hebrew numerals, incrementing by one for each daf. So page 157 is either tikkun 26 or 70.

  5. Look in Siddur HaGra, Shir HaShirim.

  6. The only Nusach haGR"A siddur I have is Ezor Eliyahu.

  7. OK We can call the search off. Someone has emailed me where to look, I will try to type it up and add it to this blog post when I get home later tonight.