Avodah Mailing List

Volume 05 : Number 129

Monday, September 25 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 12:41:23 +0200
From: "Avraham (avi) and pnina parnes" <avparnes@internet-zahav.net>
nishtanu hatevaim

> I remember hearing pshat in the Gemara that it is talking about the age
> >  that a child is generally given dagan and not the age where he is befoal
> >  given dagan. Unfortunately I don't remember where I saw/heard the pshat.
> IMHO Pashtus Hagemara is that Dagan adds intelligence, that thru ingesting 
> Dagan he is able to call Abba Vimma.

Whoops! I agree. I mixed up the Gemara in Sukka 42 that talks about
saying davar shebikdusha near zoat katan. The b"y explains (and paskens)
that it is talking about Katan shekayotzai bo ochel dagan (see o"ch 81).
I'm sure most of you caught that but were being polite.


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Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 14:40:40 EDT
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Re: Avodah V5 #128

> I remember someone telling me that the Rav got an aliyah at his bar 
> mitzvah and corrected him on trop

Correct. I heard this from Rav Herschel Schachter.
                          Steven Brizel

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Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 14:40:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
correction of the baal kriah

From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
> RYK is supported by the Yerushalmi in Megillah.

      Could you explain?


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Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 15:38:03 -0400
From: yidubitsky@JTSA.EDU
re: harugei malkhut (2)

So to recapitulate and close the circle:

While conventional Jewish (that is, talmudic) theology does not subscribe
to the idea of vicarious punishment, Merkabah mystics (as evidenced by the
Pirke Heikhalot passage) and those influenced by them (including the ba`al
midrash and piyyut of "Eleh Ezkerah") created (or, at best, transmitted an
oral tradition about) the divine "excuse" for the 10 rabbis' brutal
assassination by stipulating that they served as atonement for Yosef's
brothers' having sold him. The terminology used and the form of the story
itself makes one suspect its anti-Christological undercurrent. Its place
in the Yom Kippur liturgy derives from the hashkafic perspective of
stimulating our teshuvah shelemah vis-a-vis fellow Jews by showing us the
devastating metaphysical, even if ahistorical, effects of sinat .hinam.
Later kabbalah embellished this core story with the then-developing idea
of gilgul neshamot, claiming the 10 brothers' souls had waited some 1700
years to undergo purification via the physical assassination of 10 rabbis.

>>Therefore, it is important for
>>us to understand what "our" sins are (i.e., not our parents' sins,
>>unless  we repeat them).

>Then why not say this in Maariv, at the earliest opportunity?

Actually some say (or at least, said) it during yeme seli.hot. And we say
it among the seli.hot right after reading about the Kohen Gadol's avodah
because of the mnemonic association with R. Yishmael Kohen Gadol's
"yeridah le-merkavah" from the midrash/piyyut [and Berakhot 7a]. That's my
opinion. Also, Artscroll has: "It is inserted in Zechor rachamecha
because it is here that we beg God [sic] to recall His covenant with the
Patriarchs to be merciful to their descendants, even if those descendants
are undeserving." 

>The point is that if one reads what the Payton wrote at the end he >would
see what the purpose of it is, "Chanun Habitah Mimromim >Tishpoches Dam
Hatzadikim... Vhaveir Ksomim. exactly the point of the >Zohar brought

The ".Hanun habitah..." stanza, which begins at "Zot kra'atnu..." is not
only not part of the Eleh Ezkerah*, having been added on later, it is
(was?) only nahug to be said among those who follow minhag Polin; those
who follow minhag Ashkenaz (used to?) add ".Hasidim elu va-harigatam"...
(so D. Goldschmidt; care to confirm, RRW?)
*Eleh Ezkerah is based on an a"b acrostic, followed by Yehudah Hazak, and
ends with "...tsadikim `im Rabi Yehudah ben Bava."
The author of the ".Hanun..." stanza, and many of us since then, probably
understood the story be-fashtus, but that neither mitigates against the
theory espoused nor supports it, because the theory only serves as
undercurrent to its composition, and not reason for inserting it in musaf. 

More to the point, there are at least 15 different piyyutim dedicated to
the story of the 10 harugei malkhut. The earliest such piyyut might be by
Saadia Gaon (entitled "Zekhor tevusat tson tiv.hah"); that and "Arze
ha-Levanon" do not mention the sale of Yosef at all. "Eleh Ezkerah", on
the other hand, does. Thus, the theory attempts to explain why this, of
all the 15 piyyutim on the subject, was chosen to be said specifically on
YK.  And, btw, according to D. Goldschmidt, it is (was?) only in
Eastern Europe and the Alsace and Worms that "Eleh Ezkerah" is said; in
Western Europe, otoh, they say the piyyut "Gadol `avoni ve-la-.hato

In a personal email, RM Feldman asked:

> Dr. Schmelzer believes that Eleh Ezkerah provides no hint that the rabbis
> considered this as an atonement; rather the mention of the 10 brothers is
> put in the mouth of the cruel Roman emperor.  Do you disagree?

I didnt get a chance today to speak with Dr Schmelzer, although before
this whole thing began we did speak. I forget already what precisely he
said re the implications of the piyyut. It is clear that this is the
implication of the midrash: the rabbis may not have been aware of the
decree until the emperor in his learning came upon his novel
interpretation, so they sent R Y b E to find out if true and he came back
with the message from the sar ha-penim that it is, which is why the
midrash says they were happy bi-yeminam but unhappy bi-semolam: happy that
they were found as righteous as the 10 brothers but unhappy that they were
to be put to death so cruelly. The piyyut's abbreviated version of this
puts in the mouth of the sar ha-penim "shamati me-ahore ha-pargod ki
be-zot atem nilkadim." Which means HKBH Himself agreed that the 10 should
serve as punishment /(atonement?) for the sale of Yosef.
Maybe Dr. Schmelzer meant only that it wasnt the 10's idea in the first
place ...or that the piyyut doesnt mention "gilgul" as an "excuse"...

Further, RM Feldman asks:
> >The terminology used and the form 
> > of the story
> > itself makes ones suspect its anti-Christological 
> > undercurrent. 
> I don't understand.  If people can atone for their forebears, why isn't this
> pro-Christian (Jesus atones for other people)?

Since the story is ahistorical in the sense that the 10 werent in one
place and time put to death, and besides the talmudic evidence for the
reasons of the 10's death that they themselves articulated, the fact that
the paytan/baal midrash threaded the events together must lead one to
conclude a point the paytan was trying to make: which is that, given
conventional theology, the 10s death was for the same TYPE
of sin, and not for the EXACT sin, of the 10 brothers, the peshat reading
of the piyyut notwithstanding.


Yisrael Dubitsky

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Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2000 21:46:39 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
re: harugei malkhut (2)

R' Yisrael Dubitsky:
> While conventional Jewish (that is, talmudic) theology does not subscribe
> to the idea of vicarious punishment, Merkabah mystics (as evidenced by the

I have sat out this conversation, because I thought that it concerned 
mostly gilgul issues - however RYD's opening caught my eye, and I must note 
that this is not necessarily so - "misas tzaddikim mechaperes" is vicarious 
atonement that is definitely part of talmudic theology. The Ramchal in 
Drerech Hashem states plainly that it cuts across time and space as well. 
There is a Bigdei Shesh on the topic too (photocopies faxed upon request).


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