Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Midrashic Methods #1: Ribbuy (Inclusion)

The following for a class in Midrash (for beginners/intermediate -- and it's free!) that starts tomorrow for the Flame. To be held Wednesday nights at 7:15 at Congregation Adereth El, 135 East 29th Street at Lexington Avenue. I intend to focus throughout on midrashic methods, and specifically the justification for each midrashic method, how Chazal are attuned to context and tone of the prakim. I also want to do a lot of reading inside the prakim in Tanach to appreciate the pshat, drash, and the relationship between them, something often glossed over in midrash as verses are just taken as prooftext.
Spoilers follow:


First middah: From a Ribbuy, how so?
The ribbuy utilized three terms. את, גם, אף.

(Bereishit 21)
א וַה פָּקַד אֶת-שָׂרָה, כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמָר; וַיַּעַשׂ ה לְשָׂרָה, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר. 1 And the LORD remembered Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.
If it had merely said פָּקַד שָׂרָה, I would have said that only Sarah had been remembered. Since it says את, it teaches that all those who were barren were remembered with her. And so it states:

ו וַתֹּאמֶר שָׂרָה--צְחֹק, עָשָׂה לִי אֱלֹהִים: כָּל-הַשֹּׁמֵעַ, יִצְחַק-לִי. 6 And Sarah said: 'God hath made laughter for me; every one that heareth will laugh on account of me.'
Discussion: see context, in preceding story and specifically verse. Also, how does verse 6 above show anything? Also, what alternatives could we have for using the word את?

Begin cite:

In a similar vein, you say (Mishlei 17):
כד אֶת-פְּנֵי מֵבִין חָכְמָה; וְעֵינֵי כְסִיל, בִּקְצֵה-אָרֶץ. 24 Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
If it had stated merely פְּנֵי, I would have said at only at his time. When it says את, it includes for his generations. And so it states (Mishlei 31):

כה עֹז-וְהָדָר לְבוּשָׁהּ; וַתִּשְׂחַק, לְיוֹם אַחֲרוֹן. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing; and she laugheth at the time to come.

את as the marker of the object, as opposed to subject. The function of את in other situations.

Bereishit 4:
א וְהָאָדָם, יָדַע אֶת-חַוָּה אִשְׁתּוֹ; וַתַּהַר, וַתֵּלֶד אֶת-קַיִן, וַתֹּאמֶר, קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת-ה. 1 And the man knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bore Cain, and said: 'I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.'
ב וַתֹּסֶף לָלֶדֶת, אֶת-אָחִיו אֶת-הָבֶל; וַיְהִי-הֶבֶל, רֹעֵה צֹאן, וְקַיִן, הָיָה עֹבֵד אֲדָמָה. 2 And again she bore his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
What is the function of את in the first pasuk?
What is the function of את in the second pasuk?
(Midrashic hint: only Eve was created from Adam's rib/tail/back)

What is the function of את in Bereishit 22:3?

ב וַיֹּאמֶר קַח-נָא אֶת-בִּנְךָ אֶת-יְחִידְךָ אֲשֶׁר-אָהַבְתָּ, אֶת-יִצְחָק, וְלֶךְ-לְךָ, אֶל-אֶרֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּה; וְהַעֲלֵהוּ שָׁם, לְעֹלָה, עַל אַחַד הֶהָרִים, אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ. 2 And He said: 'Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.'
ג וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר, וַיַּחֲבֹשׁ אֶת-חֲמֹרוֹ, וַיִּקַּח אֶת-שְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו אִתּוֹ, וְאֵת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ; וַיְבַקַּע, עֲצֵי עֹלָה, וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ, אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר-אָמַר-לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים. 3 And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he cleaved the wood for the burnt-offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
begin cite.
גם: how does it include?
Shemot 12:31:

לא וַיִּקְרָא לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְאַהֲרֹן לַיְלָה, וַיֹּאמֶר קוּמוּ צְּאוּ מִתּוֹךְ עַמִּי--גַּם-אַתֶּם, גַּם-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וּלְכוּ עִבְדוּ אֶת-ה, כְּדַבֶּרְכֶם. 31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night and said: 'Rise up, get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.
לב גַּם-צֹאנְכֶם גַּם-בְּקַרְכֶם קְחוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתֶּם, וָלֵכוּ; וּבֵרַכְתֶּם, גַּם-אֹתִי. 32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.'
לג וַתֶּחֱזַק מִצְרַיִם עַל-הָעָם, לְמַהֵר לְשַׁלְּחָם מִן-הָאָרֶץ: כִּי אָמְרוּ, כֻּלָּנוּ מֵתִים. 33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, to send them out of the land in haste; for they said: 'We are all dead men.'
If it had said "your flocks and your herds" I would have said he only gave them their sheep and cattle. Therefore the גם comes to include, and teaches us that he gave them a gift of his own and from his officers, in order to fulfil what is written (Shemot 10:25):

כד וַיִּקְרָא פַרְעֹה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, וַיֹּאמֶר לְכוּ עִבְדוּ אֶת-ה--רַק צֹאנְכֶם וּבְקַרְכֶם, יֻצָּג: גַּם-טַפְּכֶם, יֵלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם. 24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said: 'Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed; let your little ones also go with you.'
כה וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה, גַּם-אַתָּה תִּתֵּן בְּיָדֵנוּ זְבָחִים וְעֹלֹת; וְעָשִׂינוּ, לַה אֱלֹהֵינוּ. 25 And Moses said: 'Thou must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt-offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.
Discussion: What is the function of גם on a pshat level? Could we omit it? What does it imply? (I would suggest eagerness - see next psukim about how eager they are to let them leave.) How does the midrash feed into this basic message? How does it feed into the contrast with the earlier pasuk?

begin cite
similarly, you say:
Dvarim 22:

כב כִּי-יִמָּצֵא אִישׁ שֹׁכֵב עִם-אִשָּׁה בְעֻלַת-בַּעַל, וּמֵתוּ גַּם-שְׁנֵיהֶם--הָאִישׁ הַשֹּׁכֵב עִם-הָאִשָּׁה, וְהָאִשָּׁה; וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע, מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל.
22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so shalt thou put away the evil from Israel.
If it had not said גם I would have said that if she was liable and pregnant, we would wait for her until she gave birth. It comes to teach us with this גם to include the fetus, that we do not wait until she gives birth.

Discussion: This is halachic or aggadic? How exactly is the גם functioning? How exactly is שְׁנֵיהֶם now functioning?

Before proceeding, one of my favorite גםs. Shemot 7:

י וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן, אֶל-פַּרְעֹה, וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כֵן, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה; וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ אַהֲרֹן אֶת-מַטֵּהוּ, לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה וְלִפְנֵי עֲבָדָיו--וַיְהִי לְתַנִּין. 10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so, as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
יא וַיִּקְרָא, גַּם-פַּרְעֹה, לַחֲכָמִים, וְלַמְכַשְּׁפִים; וַיַּעֲשׂוּ גַם-הֵם חַרְטֻמֵּי מִצְרַיִם, בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם--כֵּן. 11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did in like manner with their secret arts.
How do the two גםs function in pasuk 11?
(Midrash: Pharoah's wife, students of magicians.) What does this show about the role of גם?
Answer: of a like kind to that to which it is joined.
How does this fit into the mood of the perek?

begin cite:
אף to include, how?
II Kings 2:

יג וַיָּרֶם אֶת-אַדֶּרֶת אֵלִיָּהוּ, אֲשֶׁר נָפְלָה מֵעָלָיו; וַיָּשָׁב וַיַּעֲמֹד, עַל-שְׂפַת הַיַּרְדֵּן. 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
יד וַיִּקַּח אֶת-אַדֶּרֶת אֵלִיָּהוּ אֲשֶׁר-נָפְלָה מֵעָלָיו, וַיַּכֶּה אֶת-הַמַּיִם, וַיֹּאמַר, אַיֵּה ה אֱלֹהֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ; אַף-הוּא וַיַּכֶּה אֶת-הַמַּיִם, וַיֵּחָצוּ הֵנָּה וָהֵנָּה, וַיַּעֲבֹר, אֱלִישָׁע. 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said: 'Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?' and when he also had smitten the waters, they were divided hither and thither; and Elisha went over.
אַף-הוּא וַיַּכֶּה אֶת-הַמַּיִם teaches that greater miracles were wrought for Elisha in the splitting of the Jordan than for Eliyahu. That in the first time there was the merit of two righteous individuals, and in the second instance, a single righteous person's merit stood.

And so it states
ח וַיִּקַּח אֵלִיָּהוּ אֶת-אַדַּרְתּוֹ וַיִּגְלֹם וַיַּכֶּה אֶת-הַמַּיִם, וַיֵּחָצוּ הֵנָּה וָהֵנָּה; וַיַּעַבְרוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם, בֶּחָרָבָה. 8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
ט וַיְהִי כְעָבְרָם, וְאֵלִיָּהוּ אָמַר אֶל-אֱלִישָׁע שְׁאַל מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה-לָּךְ, בְּטֶרֶם, אֶלָּקַח מֵעִמָּךְ; וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלִישָׁע, וִיהִי נָא פִּי-שְׁנַיִם בְּרוּחֲךָ אֵלָי. 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha: 'Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken from thee.' And Elisha said: 'I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.'

What does the English expression "take up the mantle" mean?
What is the theme of this perek?
What is the import of two tzadikim vs. one? Suggestion: being solitary - now have to stand as own man, as opposed to being sidekick.
Note how both אף and the "double portion" connote extra.

begin cite:
So too you find 8 miracles by Eliyahu and 16 by Elisha.

Similarly, in Iyyov 37: (Note: Elihu's speech)

יא אַף-בְּרִי, יַטְרִיחַ עָב; יָפִיץ, עֲנַן אוֹרוֹ. 11 Yea, He ladeth the thick cloud with moister, He spreadeth abroad the cloud of His lightning;
This teaches that the clouds and the rain are harsh, and Hashem imposes {matriach} upon them. And how do we know that just as he imposes upon them to rain, so too he imposes upon them to stop, after it rains sufficiently? Therefore the word אף comes to include.

(A perush in parentheses: The meaning of this midda - that these three words - אף, גם, את. come always to include. And within this midrashic method is that every extra word or letter comes to include, except that the Tanna only mentioned something which is constant, since these three words include in every place that they are written. Meanwhile, the other words only include when they are extra. And the inclusion in all places is of the subject by which it is written. And this is of the 13 hermenutical methods of the matter which is learnt from its subject matter. and not of something which is not of its subject matter. And the rest of the words explaining the brayta in this method and in all of the remaining methods, with many examples, all is made clear at length in my sefer Midrash Tanaim. דרוש משם. And it requires investigation, for we do not find further that the word אף comes to include.)


yaak said...


I love Midrash Rabbah, but I've often found the Perush of the Etz Yosef to be more appealing than the Maharzo. The Maharzo seems too technical, and you need a lot of time to analyze which Midda he's using and why. That said, I suppose that if one had the time, and wanted to study Midrash BeIyun, it's something to look at.

joshwaxman said...

I typically use neither, trying to figure it out myself, until I encounter a problem, at which point I read both. I'll look for these stylistic differences in the future, though. Thanks for the heads up!

Meanwhile, what I'm using for the class is just the Maharzu's introduction, in which he discusses each of the middot sheHaTorah nidreshet bahen in turn. I like the technical discussions, but it probably will lose the more beginner part of the audience. So I'm going to try to temper it with a lot of learning the perek in Tanach inside, trying to get a feel for the tone, and seeing how it fits it with the drash.


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