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Volume 09 : Number 010

Saturday, March 30 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 21:11:07 EST
From: RaphaelIsaacs@aol.com
Re: Mah Nishtanah

In a message dated 03/26/2002 8:43:18pm EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:
>> Grammatically, the smoothest translation is: How different this night is
>> from all other nights! For on all other nights...

> Someone pointed the following to me in private email:
>: Aruch HaShulchan 473:21.

The author of the Aruch HaShulchan makes this same comment in his peirush on 
the Haggadah, "Leil Shimurim", where I read it.

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Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 22:50:50 -0600 (CST)
From: sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu
Seder, Letizonus and Matzo: An Additional He'oroh

I wrote the following three paragraphs in my last post (there was more
to it, but this is ha'nogei'ah l'inyaneinu):

Letz is the antithesis of Tzel. Tzel, shadow or reflection, is a pretty
positive word, the basis of the word Tzelem, which, of course, captures
our essence as Tzelem Elokim. Letz, a scofer, scorner, super-cynic, is
one of the most negative terms in existence (albeit it is not in Chumash,
I believe, appearing first in Yeshaya, and most heavily in Mishlei --
perhaps Yeshaya was mechaddesh the word to define certain phenomena?).

It would seem thus: The Tzaddi, or Tzaddik, represents the application
of pressure or squeezing -- tzimtzum. In the word Tzel, the Tzaddik is
like the aperture of the camera that controls the flow of light (much
as the tzaddik controls the flow of the olamos, elyonim to tachtonim
and tachtonim to elyonim). What happens when the light gets beyond that
aperture (or lens -- one of the translations of the "aspeklaria" through
which the tzaddikim perceive the Shechina as defined in Mes. Sukkah)? The
proper use of the constricted light is to learn from it and expand it
and go towards it -- all reflected by the Lamed, which connotes Limud,
expansion towards the Olamos Elyonim (as connoted by the vav ascending
from the top of the Lamed) and its meaning as a prefix "to".

The Letz is one who takes the greatness of the Lamed and all its
connotations, and squeezes it -- rather than taking the diminshed light
that made its way through the aperture and the lens and expanding upon it
as much as possible, he takes whatever light is connoted by the Lamed and
squeezes -- treads upon it and pounds it. Ad kan from the previous post.

Tonight, in perusing the 14th perek of Mishlei it struck me that "Letz"
is precedented (if that's the word I want) in the Chumash by "Meilitz"
-- the reference to Menashe (Chazal) as the translator between Yosef
and the brothers. Of course a Meilitz takes "from" (Mem) "to" (Lamed)
via the aperture of the translation (Tzaddi), but the Lamed-Tzaddi in and
of itself suffices to connote the "loses in translation" element inherent
in any "Meilitz" transaction -- which is why we are disheartened by the
Targum ha'Shiv'im, one of the reasons given for the fast of 10 Teves.

Me'inyan l'inyan b'oso inyan, please forgive a Kabbalistic reference,
but we know that Moshe represents Netzach and Aharon Hod -- Moshe was
meshamesh b'challuk lavan, a simple unadorned garment, while Aharon was
meshamesh b'shmoneh begodim. Moshe was ofttimes aloof -- "natah lo ohel
harchek min ha'machane" (or something like that), while Aharon was ohev
shalom v'rodef shalom, very engaged.

Netzach represents the eternal, simple, abstact messages of the Torah --
the intellect; while Hos represents the engaged, majesty and splendor
of the Torah.

This leads me to a pet peeve of mine with our contemporary yeshiva milieu:
How many of young (or even older) talmidim could read "B'Ikvos Ha'Yirah"
(my hero Reb Avrohom Elya's masterpiece)in the original?! If our talmidim
cannot read Hebrew poetry, how can we introduce them to the full splendor,
the Hod, of Yahadus? We end up over-emphasizing Netzach -- the abstract
ideas -- but the Zohar tells us that Netzach and Hod are trein rei'in
d'lo misparshin! Something will necessarily remain missing. I have no
solution for this intractable, systemic problem. Doubtless Hirschians
bemoan the incapacity of our Dor to read RSRH in the original German,
and there must be someone out there who regrets our inability to read
the Rambam in Arabic, but the problem is far more acute when Lashon
ha'Kodesh is inaccessible except in its "Lomdish" dialect.



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