Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ויהי ביום השמיני and how it parallels Maaseh Bereishit

I've been learning through some Torah Temimah on the parsha every week. What he does is first bring down a large collection of derashot on each phrase in each pasuk, and then discuss in detail what each derasha means and how they might have gone about deriving it.

Here, I'll present the first Torah Temima on parashat Shemini, the derasha and his discussion. And I will use that as a jumping off point for my own discussion of the derasha, and how I might bolster it.

So first, the pasuk, derasha, and comment of Torah Temima.

The pasuk is Vayikra 9:1:

וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי קָרָא מֹשֶׁה לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו וּלְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

"And it was on the eighth day that Moshe called to Aharon and his sons and the elders of Israel."

This was the eighth day of the miluim, such that the Mishkan and the kohanim are finally being inaugurated.

The derasha he cites from Megillah 10b, where it is embedded within a discussion of the word וַיְהִי, and whether it always has negative connotations. וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ was certainly negative but the inauguration of the Mishkan is surely positive, as the derasha makes clear:

והכתיב (ויקרא ט, א) ויהי ביום השמיני ותניא אותו היום היתה שמחה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא כיום שנבראו בו שמים וארץ כתיב הכא ויהי ביום השמיני וכתיב התם(בראשית א, ה) ויהי (בקר) יום אחד

"But it is written: 'And it was on the eighth day' and it was taught in a brayta: That day there was joy before Hakadosh Baruch Hu like the day on which heaven and earth were created. It is written here (Vayikra 9:1) ויהי ביום השמיני and it is written there (Bereishit 1:5) ויהי (בקר) יום אחד."

Torah Temima end the quote with just the citation of ויהי בקר, which doesn't single out a specific day.

In his commentary on the derasha he writes:
א) נראה באור הדרשה ע״פ מ״ש בב״ר פ״ג שבעת
 הקמת המשכן אמר הקב״ה נדמה בעיני כאלו
 באותו יום בראתי את עולמי, ומבואר שם הטעם
 מפני שמחחלת בריית העולם נתאוה הקב״ה ליחד
 שמו וקדושתו בעולם ע״י המשכן, וזה גופא יתבאר
 ע"פ מ״ש במגילה ל״א ב' אלמלא מעמדות לא
 נתקיימו שמים וארץ, ומעמדות היינו בקיום ביהמ״ק
 וקרבנות, כנודע [עי לפנינו בפ' פינחס בר״פ
 קרבנות], ולאשר שביום השמיני למלואים היה גמר
 הקמת המשכן, לכן דריש שגדלה ככיכול שמחתו של
 הקב״ה כיום בריאת שמים וארץ, יען דבבריאת
 שמו״א היתה רצונו ומחשבתו כביכול לברוא את העולם
 לתכלית המעמדות, ובהקמת המשכן נתקיים רצונו
 בזה, ולסמך וסימן לדבר נתן שווי המלות ויהי
 דכתיבי בשניהם
"It appears that the derasha is based on that which is written in Bereishit Rabba parasha 3 (3:9), that at the time of the erection of the Mishkan, Hashem said, 'it seems to me as if today I have created my world'. And it is explained there the reason, that from the beginning of creation Hashem desired to associate/designate [ליחד] his Name and his holiness in the world via the Mishkan. And this itself is explained via that which is written in Megillah 31b, 'if not for the Maamadot the Heavens and Earth would not have been established'. And the Maamadot were in the establishment of the Bet Hamikdash and korbanot, as is known. [See earlier, in parashat Pinchas, at the beginning of the parasha of korbanot.] And since on the eighth day of the Miluim were the completion of the erection of the Mishkan, therefore they darshened that it was as if the happiness of Hakadosh Baruch Hu was as great as the creation of Heaven and Earth, since at the creation of Heaven and Earth, His Will and Though were as if to create the world for the purpose of the Maamadot, and with the erection of the Mishkan His will was fulfilled in this. And as a support and sign to the matter the [author of the midrash] noted the equivalence of the words וַיְהִי which were written by both of them."

So, he explained the intent behind the Midrash as well as how the derasha is working.

I would note that as gezeira shavas go, this seems way too common of a word. How many places does the word וַיְהִי occur? Aside from its frequency, why specifically associate these two instances? Maybe if it is a mere mnemonic, but the idea is already established from elsewhere, as the Torah Temima establishes it.

I'd also note that in the Bereishit Rabba which the Torah Temima cited, the derasha about the Divine purpose in creation uses a different pasuk, which has Vayhi, Yom, and Rishon:

ט [תכלית הבריאה היא השראת השכינה בעולם

אמר רבי שמואל בר אמי: מתחלת ברייתו של עולם נתאוה הקב"ה לעשות שותפות בתחתונים. 

מה נפשך? 
אם לענין החשבון, לא היה צריך למימר אלא אחד שנים שלושה, או ראשון שני ושלישי, שמא אחד שני שלישי אתמהא?! 

אימתי פרע להם הקדוש ברוך הוא? 
להלן בהקמת המשכן, שנאמר: (במדבר ז) ויהי המקריב ביום הראשון את קרבנו, ראשון לברייתו של עולם. 
אמר הקב"ה: כאילו באותו יום בראתי את עולמי. 

עשר עטרות נטל אותו היום ראשון למעשה בראשית.
ראשון למלכים,
ראשון לנשיאים,
ראשון לכהונה,
ראשון לשכינה, שנא' (שמות כה) 
ועשו לי מקדש. ראשון לברכה,
ראשון לעבודה,
ראשון לאיסור הבמה,
ראשון לשחיטה בצפון,
ראשון לירידת האש, שנא' (ויקרא י) 
ותצא אש מלפני ה' וגו'. 
We find a parallel to the midrash as it appears in the gemara as it appears in the Sifra. The gemara again:

והכתיב (ויקרא ט, א) ויהי ביום השמיני ותניא אותו היום היתה שמחה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא כיום שנבראו בו שמים וארץ כתיב הכא ויהי ביום השמיני וכתיב התם (בראשית א, ה) ויהי (בקר) יום אחד

And the Sifra can be read here, 15-16. This despite the word כתיב, which is Aramaic, and could have suggested to me that this is a post-Amoraic editor offering the derasha. In the Sifra, it is כאן הוא אומר instead. And there are surrounding supports there for the joy, from צאינה וראינה בנות ציון.

Within the give-and-take of the gemara, the particulars of the derasha do not matter. The point was just that here the word ויהי is used, and we see from this other Tannaitic source that this was a day of great joy.

If I wanted to bolster the derasha, I would do so in a different manner. We already see from elsewhere that there is ambiguity, argued within Chazal in the phrase וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי. Does this mean the eighth day of the miluim? The eighth day of Nissan? One of them? Both of them? Earlier context helps clarify that the miluim was meant, but that does not necessarily mean the eighth of the miluim exclusively.

So here is another interpretation of וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי, that it is the eighth day to Creation. There were six days of creation, all the way until וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר, יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי. And then there was the seventh day, on which it was finished, וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי. And now, skip all of the intervening Chumash and pick up here with the eighth day, in which we encounter the purpose of all of creation.

So it is not (just, or perhaps even) the single word וַיְהִי. Rather, it is how the phrase is reminiscent of the days listed in Maaseh Bereishit, and how Maaseh Bereishit left off on day seven, where here we are encountering day eight.


yaak said...

Gezeira Shavas need not use an unusual same word - they don't need to use the same word at all, as in the famous זו היא שיבה זו היא ביאה (see Yevamot 17b and Rashi there).

Of course, there must be a Mesora to Darshen one.

joshwaxman said...

Maybe. I am more inclined towards Maharzu's take (over that of tosafot) and would say that Adam Dan gezeira shava le'atzmo when it comes to Midrash Aggada. (See his intro on the middos)

In terms of midrash halacha, perhaps that is because it is being used as a mnemonic rather than an actual source. But I think it is still not an anything goes situation, since they try to link to the most similar instance of the word. At least in the systematic analysis of it found in stama degemara.

joshwaxman said...

Also I get the sense that many such derashot are intended to make sense. Kicha kicha is definitional. As is Shem hames. Or if the same terms are used one gets the idea that they operate in the same legislative space...

AryehS said...

Perhaps there is a connection as well to the relationship between the 7th day (Shabbat) and the work in the Mishkan from which we derive the melachot.

Another thought is to look for other places where the 8th day represents a new beginning, especially in an object's relationship toward God: Just in Vayikra, you have Leviticus 12:3, 14:10, 14:23, 15:14, 15:29, 22:27.

These might represent "new creations" as well.

Another aspect might be the idiom of 40 days and 40 nights, which add to 80, very often for something that is completely transformative.

Anonymous said...

See also the last Daat Zekenim and Tosafot HaRosh in Pekudei - how the work of building the Mishkan matches up to each day of creation.


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