Thursday, April 19, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 12 - Highlights (Click the 'click more' link for more - like usual)

Adam HaRishon initially stood from the ground until the heavens, as it is said, from the day that HaShem created man on earth. Upon sinning, HaShem placed His hand on Adam and diminished his stature as it is said, back and front You have restricted me, and You have laid Your hand upon me. Alternatively, Adam HaRishon’s body filled the entire world, which means that when he lay down, his head was in the east and his feet were in the west. Yet, these are not contradictory statements, as they all define one measurement. (12a)

Ten items were created on the first day of creation, and they are the heaven, the earth, desolation, astonishment, light, darkness, wind, water, the measurement of day and the measurement of night. These are all derived from verses in the beginning of Bereishis. (12a)

Initially, when HaShem created the primordial light, Adam HaRishon was capable of seeing from one end of the world to the other. When HaShem saw that the Generation of the Great Flood and the Generation of Dispersion would act corruptly, HaShem concealed the great light from them and this light was hidden away for the righteous in the future. (12a)

The world was created with ten ideas, which were wisdom, intellect, knowledge, strength, rebuke, might, righteousness, judgment, kindness, and compassion. These are all derived from various verses throughout Scripture. (12a)

When HaShem created the world, the world began to expand like two unraveling balls of warp thread, until HaShem rebuked the world and it ceased to expand. Furthermore, when HaShem created the sea, it began to expand until HaShem rebuked it and the sea dried up. (12a)

Bais Shammai maintains that the heavens were created first and then the earth and Bais Hillel maintains that the earth was created first and then the heavens. Bais Hillel asked Bais Shammai, “would a person first build the upper story of a house and then the main floor?” Bais Shammai countered, “Would a man fashion a footstool and then the seat upon which it rests?” The Chachamim, however, maintain that the heavens and the earth were created simultaneously. (12a)

The heavens are called shamayim because the word is an acrostic for the words sham mayim, there is water. Alternatively, the word shamayim is an acrostic for the words eish and mayim, fire and water, as HaShem mixed fire and water together to create the heavens. (12a)

The verse first states that the heavens were created and then the earth was created. Yet, regarding their description, the Torah commences with the earth. This is compared to a king of flesh and blood who instructs his servants to arise early and in the morning the king finds women and men waiting. The king will certainly praise those who are not accustomed to rising early. Similarly, since HaShem called the heavens first, the earth is not accustomed to rising early. Additionally, the actions of the earth are more deliberate, whereas the actions of the heavens are with haste. Yet, the earth arose simultaneously with the heavens, so Scripture commenced with the description of the earth. (12b)

Rabbi Yose taught, woe to people who see and do not know what they see, and they stand, yet they do not know what they stand on. The earth stands on pillars, and the pillars stand on the water. The water stands on the mountains and the mountains stand with the wind. The wind stands in a stormy wind, and the stormy wind is suspended on the arm of HaShem. The Chachamim maintain that the earth stands on twelve pillars, and some say that the earth stands on seven pillars. Rabbi Elazar Ben Shamua maintains that the world stands on one pillar, and that is the righteous person. (12b)

Rabbi Yehudah maintains that there are two heavens and Reish Lakish maintains that there are seven heavens, and they are vilon, rakiya, shechakim, zevul, meon, mechon, and aravos. Vilon has no function except that it enters its sheath in the morning and the light is visible, and in the evening it leaves its sheath and spreads itself out before the light, causing the world to become dark. The sun, moon and stars are fixed inside the vilon. In shechakim there are mills that grind manna to the righteous. In zevul is Jerusalem and the Bais HaMikdash, and an altar is built and Michael the archangel offers daily sacrifices on that altar. In meon are groups of angels who sing their songs at night and are silent during the day in deference to the Jewish People. (12b)

One who toils in Torah study in this world which is akin to night, HaShem will extend over him a thread of kindness in the World to Come which is akin to day. One who interrupts his Torah study and engages in idle chatter is fed hot coals. (12b)

In mechon is storehouses of snow, storehouses of hail, an attic full of bad dew and water that ruin the fruits and an inner room of stormy winds and a cave of vapor, and their doors are made of fire. Initially, these chambers were in heaven and Dovid prayed that they should be brought down to earth. (12b)

In aravos there is righteousness and judgment and charity and treasures of life, peace and blessing. In aravos there is also the souls of the righteous, spirits and souls that will be resurrected in the future and the dew with which HaShem will resurrect the dead. (12b)