Thursday, May 25, 2006

Chart for Second Makom

I hope the following chart will make the second Makom clearer.


The Second Makom

The second Makom:
When one statement in the Torah is obscure - its explanation is not known - and this statement is elucidated in another place the explanation of this statement is learned from the other place in which it is elucidated.

For example, the Torah demands a chatat (sin offering) from one who accidently does one of the commandments of God that we are forbidden from doing, or an asham (guilt offering) from one who was ignorant of his violation, as is explained in Parashat Vayikra. It is not clear in this place in the Torah which commandments in the Torah are being referred to here.

The explanation of this statement is learned from what is written in the parallel verses in Parashat Sh'lach L'kha. There it is written (B'midbar 15:24), "If, from the eyes of the aida (congregation) it is done accidentally", just as it is written in Parashat Vayikra (Vayikra 4:13), "And the matter is hidden from the eyes of the kahal (congregation) and they do one of the commandments of God (that one may not do)...". There [in B'midbar] it is found that the tzibbur (congregation) must bring a bull [as an olah (elevation-offering)] just as is required here [in the case in Parashat Vayikra], although there [in B'midbar] a he-goat is added [as a chatat (sin offering)]; there [in B'midbar (15:27)] an individual would be required to bring a she-goat, in its first year [as a chatat (sin offering)] just as here [in Vayikra 4:28; 4:32] a she-goat or a sheep must be brought [as a chatat (sin offering)].

Based on this, we learn that the mitzvot this korban [the one in Parashat Vayikra] is brought for are of the same kind as the mitzva cited in Parashat Sh'lach L'cha - there is no difference between them - only, the one cited in Parashat Sh'lach L'cha is equal to all the mitzvot: idolatry. However, the mitzvot cited in Parashat Vayikra would have no equality to "all the mitzvot". This is what is meant when it is written in Parashat Sh'lach L'cha (15:22), "...all of these mitzvot...", and in Parashat Vayikra (4:13), "...one of the mitzvot of God...". It is impossible to say that what is mean when it is says, "all these mitzvot" that only if one accidentally violates all the mitzvot is he required to bring a bull and a he-goat because one is required, based on what is written in Parashat Vayikra to bring a bull on every single mitzva that is violated accidentally.

Now that this has been established, it will be evident that just as the particular that is cited in Parashat Sh'lach L'cha is only in regard to transgressions that if done intentionally would make the perpetrator liable to karet - as is made evident there when it says (B'midbar 15:30-31), "And the soul that act with an uplifted hand... that soul shall surely be cut off (h'karet t'karet), his iniquity is upon him." - so to that which is cited in Parashat Vayikra is a case in which intentional violation would make the perpetrator liable to karet, as is elucidated in Horiot and K'ritot.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Second Type of the First Makom

The second type:
It is learned from a law that is cited in regard to one particular mitzva, a law that rightly should have more general application to another mitzva - to the same degree as it should be applied to the original mitzva or even more so.

For example, the Torah cites the law (Vayikra 7:15; 22:30) concerning the time the todah offering - which is kodshim kalim - may be eaten - namely, for the period of a day and night and henceforth it is notar and must be burnt. Concerning the time kodshei haKodashim - like the chatat, asham and the rest - may be eaten the Torah is silent. This is because this law should rightly be applied to them the same as it is applied to the todah, or even more so. Therefore, the law concerning the time kodshei haKodashim may be eaten is the same as the law that applies to the todah, as is explained in the fifth chapter of Z'vachim (36A). The philosopher has explained this makom in the rhetorical topics.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The First Makom

The following is the beginning of my translation of the Ralbag's M'komot. Enjoy!

The first Makom [Topos]:
The Torah will cite a particular in place of the general. There are two types:

The first type:
From the particular mentioned in a mitzva the more general category is learned.

For example, we are commanded in the Torah (D'varim 22:10) that we may not plow with an ox and a donkey together. The Torah cites "ox" and "donkey" in place of any two species - one being tamei and the other tahor; "plowing" is cited in place of any craft that would employ a tahor animal with one that is tamei, as is explained in the eight chapter of K'laim and other places throughout the Talmud.

It will be clear when to learn from the particular the general and when not, from the subject matter of the mitzva and the words that are employed - as will become clear to you from our discussion, when we utilize this makom. For example, the subject matter of this mitzva demands this law apply in the case of other animals - meaning to say, that they should not be joined in one craft, one being tamei and the other tahor, as will be explained there, with God's decree.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Prophecy of Future Events

Rabbi Maroof in his blog makes the following point:

Since God can have foreknowledge without precluding or undermining our ability to choose freely, it is quite possible that He could teach Moshe, through prophecy, about future actions of certain individuals without necessarily robbing those individuals of their moral freedom. We see a precedent for this in the Covenant Between the Parts, where God tells Abraham that the Egyptians will enslave the Jews and eventually be punished. Thus, the idea that Moshe could have written of his own death, the mourning of the Israelites and their acceptance of Joshua is not surprising at all, and would in no way have interfered with the free choice of the Jewish people at that time.


Is not there a difference between God's foreknowledge and God informing Moshe about "the future actions of certain individuals"? Once God tells a prophet what a specific individual will do it is de facto the removal of that person's free will. All the future is before God but not all of the future can be revealed to prophets without removing man's free will. Rambam in Shemone P'rakim says that all predictions of future actions concern groups of people where no individual is singled out . Only in rare circumstances where God is actually removing a person's free will does God say what a specific individual will do (like Pharoa).

The answer to Yisrael (the person who asked the question Rabbi Maroof was responding to) then would be that the people following Joshua would be in the category of things that can be revealed to prophets without removing man's free will. Of course, after inspecting the pasuk more carefully:

וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֵלָיו בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּעֲשׂוּ, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת-מֹשֶׁה.

The pasuk does not say the people followed Joshua after Moshe's death it says they "paid heed to him and they did as God commanded Moshe." I can say with confidence that this is a very general prophecy and certainly would not violate any particular person's free will. Perhaps on another occasion I will explore what this pasuk means.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The D'varim in Kriat Sh'ma

What are "haD'varim haeleh" in K'riat Sh'ma? From a simple inspection of the first paragraph of K"S it seems that the d'varim referred to are the y'sodot of the first two p'sukim. I will use an outline to demonstrate how I read this parasha:

I) Yesodot
A) ד שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל: יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה אֶחָד.
m'tziut Hashem, yichudo, hashgachato
B) ה וְאָהַבְתָּ, אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ, וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ.
Ahavat Hashem

II) Applications - Becoming the Oheiv via:
A) Zechira
  1. ו וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם--עַל-לְבָבֶךָ.
    Constant reflection on those d'varim [of Section I]
  2. ז וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ, וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם, בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ, וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ.
    Teaching those d'varim to one's children and constantly talking about them (Talmud Torah and Kriat Sh'ma)
B) Mazkirin
  1. ח וּקְשַׁרְתָּם לְאוֹת, עַל-יָדֶךָ; וְהָיוּ לְטֹטָפֹת, בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ.
    Tying the d'varim to one's arm and having them between the eyes (Tefillin)
  2. ט וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל-מְזֻזוֹת בֵּיתֶךָ, וּבִשְׁעָרֶיךָ.
    Writing the d'varim on the doorposts (M'zuza)

The K"S states the yesodei haDat and then it gives two methods of integrating those d'varim into one's life such that he can become an oheiv. The first method is zechira - one must actively reflect upon and discuss these d'varim. The second method counters the shikcha caused by one's preoccupation with osher and kavod (which I think are the two fundamental causes of shikcha - however, this point needs to be developed) and delineates mazkirin which are strategically placed to reinforce one's zechira. I believe that my previous post on m'zuza was a step in discovering the strategic placement of the m'zuza.

The order of the halachot in Sefer Ahava seems to reflect this same devision. First the acts of zechira: K"S and Tefila then the mazkirin: TM'S, Tzitzit, B'rachot, Mila. Only B'rachot seems to be out of place. Perhaps b'rachot are in the category of mazkirin because birkat haMazon is precipitated by achila and s'viut, in a sense the achila and s'via become mazkirin via the b'racha. This last point requires more thought.