Thursday, June 12, 2008

Daf: Sotah 12-14

Sorry to take so long before posting another installment. There is so much to say on these pages, and so little time to type it up. As always, you'll really need a gemara in front of you to see what I am discussing.

See Tosafot Acheirim

Tosafot cheimar suggests that Moshe's boat was camoflagued in the reeds because the tar and pitch linings were on the inside. This is interesting, b/c it magnifies the miracle that Bat Paroh saw the boat at all!

How can Moshe say that the Jewish babies were saved because he was cast into the water – the whole decree to throw the kids in the water was because of him! See Tosafot and Maharsha, who both address the issue.

The question of “How could Moshe get hurt on the water if he will sing to Gd on the water one day” is odd; what is the connection? Especially as this may not be yam suf! (It is reminiscent of a gemara in Taanit, though, regarding a ditch-digger whose daughter fell in a ditch and was protected by his merit.)

How could you have had a 'leap month' in those days? They haven't even learned HaChodesh haZeh Lachem! Reminiscent of Seder Olam that the sod haibbur was passed down from Adam and Chavah.

The issue of nursing from an eater of treif is interesting - see Rav Schachter's noteworthy comment in this issue, cited in my post here.

The gemara here, per Rashi on the 36 crowns, assumes that the two Korachs mentioned in the lineage of Esav in Bereishit 36 are different people – but see Rashi to Bereishit 36:5, where he says that they are the same person.

Did the children of Keturah come for Yaakov’s funeral? Rashi does not think so, but Tosafot Shantz does.

See the Maharsha on the mourning of the horses and donkeys (which, of course, is reminiscent of the city of Nineveh).

I have difficulty understanding why the Gemara here seems to criticize the Jews for being involved in taking the spoils of Egypt, when Berachot 9a, based on דבר נא in Shmot 11, indicates that HaShem had to plead with them to take spoils! (Unless the plea is from before the actual departure, and then they “got into it” afterward, while Moshe was getting Yosef’s body?)

Note that the line קיים זה כל מה שכתוב בזה is the source for burying a Torah scroll with a righteous person.

Interesting transition in the line about Yosef being returned to Shechem. Yosef is “stolen” from Shechem, and returned to Shechem as a “lost object” – removing the human agency and blame from the picture. And is he Yaakov’s lost object?

Of course, the Torah seems to indicate that Yosef was removed from Dotan, not Shechem, but see Rashi here.

The gemara here seems to pin the death of Er and Onan on Yehudah, instead of on their own famous sins. Perhaps it’s that Yehudah’s problem made them vulnerable to punishment?

Interesting: Yaakov’s degradation comes from others (who call him Yosef’s servant), but Yosef’s degradation, which is a punishment of sorts for him, comes from himself (when he calls himself ‘bones’). Recall the gemara in Taanit regarding placing ash on the heads of the sages on a public fast – degradation is worse when it comes from others.

Note that although Moshe dies at 120, that is not a source for saying that 120 is a maximum on people’s lives. I hope to post on this issue soon, but for now see Tosafot Bava Batra 113a ומטו.

Rashi renders גסטרא here as a ruler, but note the usual translation of a split or broken receptacle.

Regarding the Bach’s note א, recall that there is a midrash in which Moshe does attempt to bring the Jews back to Israel after their exile.

We see here the idea of a grave being a significant place for prayer.

Here our patriarchs are called עצומים, mighty ones; this is parallel to the term איתנים used for them in the gemara toward the beginning of Rosh HaShanah on ירח האיתנים.

Tosafot כדי on “דורשין טעמא דקרא” makes the important distinction between analyzing the deeper meaning of pesukim for ethical lessons and analyzing the deeper meaning of pesukim for lessons which may affect the way we fulfill a mitzvah. See also Hirsch’s introduction to Horeb.

Regarding the “face of the altar” see Tosafot Shantz as well as Rashi Zevachim 62a.

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