Friday, September 5, 2008

Imrei Binah - The Great Yovel

Continuing from the last post.

This blog post brings the 1st Ra'avad to say that 5769 is a Yovel year. The text quoted is to be found here, the page in question is the first 1st page of the book.

There are some calculations given.

At Har Sinai, a voice went out and said "In this Yovel year you shall return, a man to his inheritance". In 1938 years after Churban HaBayit, each man will return to his inheritance, and the year after those years is the Great Yovel...

... the explanation of this is that the year of the Yovel is the 48th Yovel...

... come and see that the holy nation counted 59 Shmitah years when the Beit HaMikdash arose, and when it was destroyed, they ceased to count, and until the time of the Redemption is 277 Shmitah years that aren't counted, in the secret of "is it not revealed to me..." (Devarim 32:34)

Let's start on the last paragraph. We should just look at these 59 Shmitah years.

Per my charts here, there are a total of 57 Shmitah years that were counted during the time of Bayit Rishon. Starting in 3409, there are exactly 59 Shmitah years to 3829, the year of Churban Bayit Sheini. What's the problem with this? Shmitah was still on "auto-pilot" for the first 7 years of Bayit Sheini, until after Ezra arrived (3416). The year Ezra arrived was a Shmitah year (3415).

There is another option in order to arrive at 59. If we take year 1 of the first cycle to be 3416, but only count 7 year cycles, then the 59th Shmitah is 3829.

We can figure out which of these 2 is at work by going backwards. It is said that the Great Yovel will be the 48th Yovel.

If we take everything to be according to Rebbi Yehudah since the time of Ezra, we see the following:

3929 + 1938 = 5768 (this is the Shmitah year, not according to our halachah l'maaseh)

49 * 48 + 3416 = 5768 (this would be the Yovel year)

So it seems that these calculations are based on the following:

  • Counting of the Shmitah and Yovel starts the year after Ezra's arrival to Eretz Yisrael (i.e. 3416), as per the Rambam.
  • The Yovel count is based on the count of Rebbi Yehudah, 49 year cycles, which is not in accordance to halachah for the time of the Beit HaMikdash, as recorded in the Rambam.

This is all made explicit later on the book, which after having glanced over, I see mentions the same calculation at least 1 more time.

The difference between this, and the 48th Yovel year that I mention elsewhere on this blog is that during the time of Bayit Sheini, there were 8 Yovel years, which pushes back the calculation by 7 years total, arriving at 5776.

Regarding the authorship of this book: This book is attributed to Rav Avraham ben David HaLevi, who is known as the 1st Ra'avad, as opposed to the more famous Ra'avad who commented on the Rambam, who was the 3rd Ra'avad.

(For more on Yovel, click here)


  1. From this it would seem that the Ra'avad let his halachic opinion flow from the gematria of two p'sukim. He says effectively that the gematria of Vayikra 25:13 after the word בשנת is not by accident one less than 7 times 277, the gematria in Devarim 32:34. That would not have convinced the Rambam, but it is a fascinating statement.

    Perhaps you can go with the Rambam and save this gematria Perush, by saying that what characterizes Galut here is the bitul of the Yovel year. The 1938 years would then perhaps be the time between the first Shmita (3836) that did not count towards the next Yovel and the Shmita year before the great Yovel, number 48.

  2. Yashar Koach. After reading it through, it seems that the peirushim were found after the hypothesis of Yovel of 48 was determined to be crucial.

  3. What impresses me is that he mentioned a time so far in the future, and in the very beginning of the book. He must have very certain seeing the gematria of two p'sukim and the word Yovel being in sync. In the end, I think that this strenghtens your Shita by not a little.

  4. It is definitely unique to see a keitz posited that is so far off. I think the most that we've seen in old sources is a hundred years or so. Now it is a given that the peirush here is from 130 years ago, but even that is definitely a lot for our generation.

    2 Questions/Requests for you:

    1. Are you getting my emails?
    2. If you have any translation modifications for the Ra'avad on the Mishneh Torah, please tell me. I'm definitely missing some things due to an unclear understanding of his style.

    Earlier we had noted that from the Rambam, this is a bit of Achishenah, instead of 3416 + 48 * 50, we have moved it up by 42 years. Now from the Ra'avad's understanding, we seem to be pushing back 7 years. But regardless, history seems to point to this as well as the cheshbonot.

  5. I have not checked mails in a long time. Yissurim. M.R. ben Rivka. Have to lay down fast and a lot after a day's work. That way I can still learn, but he internet is further away. I apologize.

  6. No apologies needed obviously.

    רפואה שלמה מן השמים

  7. Notice that Zohar that I wrote, doesn't mention a separate Galut Bavel / Galut Yavan / Galut Edom, seems to group them together under "me'et husar hatamid".

    Take 290 for Galut Mitzraim, 440 for Galut Shoftim, and then 1290 - 20 for the rest, and arrive at exactly 2000.

  8. And of course you are added to my tefillot as well.

  9. "we've seen in old sources is a hundred years or so. Now it is a given that the peirush here is from 130 years ago,"

    I see. That is what it says. So it is not THE Ra'avad. Too bad.

  10. Is that what you get from the title page? That it is the author that wrote both the text and the peirush? I find it hard to understand what it is getting it, many lofty terms there. Was "the" Ra'avad a Levi bichlal?


    They attribute it there to the 1st Ra'avad, the Ra'avad who is famous for his hasagot of the Mishneh Torah is the 3rd.אברהם_אבן_דאוד