Showing posts with label censorship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label censorship. Show all posts

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A censored Sporno on Vayishlach?

Summary: It would seem so. They did not like the talk of worldwide Jewish domination.

Post: An anonymous commenter pointed out a fascinating Seforno on parashat Vayishlach. The pasuk (Bereshit 35:13) states:

יב  וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם וּלְיִצְחָק--לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה; וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ, אֶתֵּן אֶת-הָאָרֶץ.12 and the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.'

Note how there is specification at the beginning of the pasuk just which land is being given to Yaakov -- the one which Hashem gave to Avraham and Yitzchak. However, there is no such specification regarding the אָרֶץ at the end of the pasuk, given to the descendants of Yaakov.

Therefore, we can take אֶת-הָאָרֶץ at the pasuk's end to refer to the entirety of the Earth, rather than a specific land. And this is what Seforno says:
פסוק יבוּלְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת הָאָרֶץ. לְקֵץ הַיָּמִין אֶתֵּן לְזַרְעֲךָ כָּל כַּדּוּר הָאָרֶץ לא אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּלְבַד, כְּאָמְרו "וּפָרַצְתָּ יָמָה וָקֵדְמָה וְצָפנָה וָנֶגְבָּהּ" (לעיל כח, יד), וּכְאָמְרו "וְקַרְקַר כָּל בְּנֵי שֵׁת" (במדבר כד, יז). ש
"At the end of days, I will give your descendants the entire globe of the earth, and not the land of Israel alone, as it states (earlier, 28:14), "and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south." And as it states (Bemidbar 24:17, {in parashat Balak, about the end of days}), "[I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh; there shall step forth a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite through the corners of Moab,] and break down all the sons of Seth."
One might imagine that such world-wide domination, which would encompass also domination of Edom, might spark concern from the censors. And then consider what appears in our Mikraos Gedolos for this Sporno:


Sunday, September 13, 2009

The 'Vile Nation'?

In Baal HaTurim on Haazinu, an interesting censored text.

The pesukim read:
כא הֵם קִנְאוּנִי בְלֹא-אֵל, {ר} כִּעֲסוּנִי בְּהַבְלֵיהֶם; {ס} וַאֲנִי אַקְנִיאֵם בְּלֹא-עָם, {ר} בְּגוֹי נָבָל אַכְעִיסֵם. {ס}21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation.
כב כִּי-אֵשׁ קָדְחָה בְאַפִּי, {ר} וַתִּיקַד עַד-שְׁאוֹל תַּחְתִּית; {ס} וַתֹּאכַל אֶרֶץ וִיבֻלָהּ, {ר} וַתְּלַהֵט מוֹסְדֵי הָרִים. {ס}22 For a fire is kindled in My nostril, and burneth unto the depths of the nether-world, and devoureth the earth with her produce, and setteth ablaze the foundations of the mountains.

and Baal HaTurim writes what is pictured to the right. That is, regarding , בְּגוֹי נָבָל אַכְעִיסֵם he notes that the first letters of these words are בנ"א, which are the same gematria as beEdom. Naturally, beEdom is censored out. Then, on the four languages of destruction by burning, he writes that they correspond to the four kingdoms in which Israel was exiled: Babylonia, Media, Greece, and Edom. And once again, Edom is censored out. Though the censorship was not very good, because surely the identity of the fourth exile is well known! And when you censor it in this context, it makes it perfectly clear who it is. Perhaps the censorship is not meant to hide the information but rather to take a stand against the message therein?

Baal HaTurim did not innovate this idea about the goy naval being the nation of Edom. Baal HaTurim greatly favors Ramban, and Ramban wrote:
בגוי נבל אכעיסם -
עשו שהוא נבל, ולא זכר ברית אחים. וירמוז לשני הגלויות:
and Edom, of course, is understood to be from Esav. We find this as well is Sporno:
בְּגוי נָבָל אַכְעִיסֵם. בְּבַיִת שֵׁנִי שֶׁהֶחֱרִיבָה אותו מַלְכוּת שֶׁאֵינָהּ הוגֶנֶת, שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם לא כְּתָב וְלא לָשׁון.
which is a reference to Rome, which is Galus Edom.

The "problem" with all this which would cause censorship is two-fold. The present nations might be considered by the Jews, or might consider themselves, to be the heirs of the Roman empire. And secondly, according to some commentators, the designation of Rome was to be applied to Christiandom.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Those Who Refuse To Study History Are Doomed To Repeat It

From Emes Ve-Emunah:
Rabbi Wachsman has written a historical work entitled, ‘Medor Ledor’. He went to the trouble if getting endorsements from various rabbinic leaders, including the Karlsburger Rav and the Voidislaver Rav. The book went on sale. And wouldn’t you know it, some Askanim who bought it were shocked by what they read.

It contains the story of Shabsai Tzvi, one of the most infamous false messiahs of all time. In the span of two years, from his "coronation" in 1664 until his conversion to Islam in 1666, he created a major upheaval throughout the Jewish world. Many were duped by him and his followers, including great rabbinical figures. The controversy did not end even after his conversion to Islam. The Yaavitz, Rabbi Yaakov Emden, famously accused his contemporary, Rabbi Yonason Eibshitz of being a closet Sabbatean. In fact there are still Sabbateans around today.

These Askanim/Kanaim were not going to let a book with such negative information to be distributed. So they ‘snitched’ on him. They went to one of the rabbis who gave his approbation. What happened was as follows (as reported in the Jewish Press)...
As George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Except here, it is refusal to remember the past. Indeed, it is extremely informative to look at the past when analyzing, for example, modern messianist movements. And that is one reason why a trend of rewriting history to conform to the most pristine version, editing out things that are somewhat negative, is a bad idea.


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