Friday, April 13, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 6 - CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

Beis Hillel holds that the minimum requirement is greater for the shalmei chagigah because we find in the Torah that this sacrifice was offered even before Hashem’s Words were spoken at Sinai.

Although the verses describing this offering are written after the giving of the Torah, the Gemora in Shabbos (88a) states that they were actually brought beforehand. The Torah does not always write in the chronological order that the events transpired in.

Pinchas Chalk discusses this at length.

The parsha (Mishpatim) is split into three sections. The first part of the parshah, from the beginning of of the parsha until perek 23, passuk 19, discusses the laws that were given after Har Sinai. From possuk 20 until the end of perek 23, the Torah describes various berachos that Hashem will give to the Benei Yisroel [if they keep the Aseret haDibrot (Daas Zekeinim mi'Baalei HaTosafos)].

Then, from the beginning of perek 24, the pessukim continues with the description of Matan Torah.

Hashem said to Moshe, "Go up to Hashem, you and Aharon and Nadav and Avihu and seventy of the elders of the Benei Yisroel and you should bow down from a distance." And Moshe alone drew close to Hashem and they did not draw near and the people did not go up with him. And Moshe came and he spoke to the people all the words of Hashem and all of the laws. And all of the people answered with one voice and they said, "All of the words that Hashem has spoken we will do."

And Moshe wrote all of the words of Hashem and he got up early in the morning and he built a mizbeach (alter) at the foot of the mountain and twelve pillars (alters made from single stones) for the twelve tribes of Yisroel. And he sent the lads (this refers to the bechorot - firstborn (Rashi)) of the Benei Yisroel and they brought olot (burnt sacrifices)[on the mizbeach and on the matzevot (pillars) that Moshe had built. And they slaughtered peace offerings (shelamim) to Hashem - cows.

And he took the sefer habris (the book of the covenant) and he read it in the ears of the people and they said:
'כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר ה נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע' - 'Everything that Hashem has spoken we will do and we will listen [to]."

When did this Parsha occur?
It is not at all obvious when these events happened. The Ramban says that all of these events took place after Matan Torah. According to the Ramban immediately after Matan Torah, on the 6th of Sivan, Hashem said to Moshe the pessukim at the end of Parshat Yitro, all of the halachot that form the first half of Parshat Mishpatim and also the passuk of עֲלֵה אֶל-ה - "Go up to Hashem." On the next day Moshe went up to the top of Har Sinai for fourty days and nights.

Rashi explains that the pessukim beginning עֲלֵה אֶל-ה - "Go up to Hashem" were actually said before Matan Torah on the 4th of Sivan. Both Rashi and the Ramban agree, however, that from passuk 12 and onwards is talking about what happened after Matan Torah:

And Hashem said to Moshe, "Come up the mountain to me and remain there and I will give to you the Tablets of stone and the Torah and the Mitzva that I have written to instruct them." And Moshe got up and Yehoshua his assistant and Moshe went up to the mountain of Hashem. He said to the elders, "Stay here until we return to you. Look, Aharon and Chur are with you, whoever has a need for litigation should go to them." Moshe went up to the mountain and the cloud covered the mountain.

These pessukim describe Moshe's ascent to Har Sinai for fourty days and nights and are obviously referring to what happened after Matan Torah. Why then does Rashi explain that the beginning of the perek is referring to what happened before Matan Torah? Why does he not explain simply like the Ramban that the whole perek is written in chronological order?

Why Rashi explains that the Parsha is not in chronological order

There are many explanations and considerations regarding Rashi's peshat:

- The Maharal points out that the machloket between Rashi and the Ramban is in fact a machloket in the mechilta that the Ramban quotes and that the mechilta says initially like Rashi. Rabbi Yehudah who argues in the mechilta and who says like the Ramban is a da'as yochid - an individual who argues against many. (In halachah if one individual argues against many the halachah is like the majority. The general principles of deciding who the halacha is like are not binding with regards to derush (Rabbi Moshe Aharon Stern z"l), nevertheless the majority explanation still carries more weight.)

- The gemara says that the benei yisrael entered into a bris (covenant) with Hashem through milah, dam (blood) and tevillah. Rashi is of the opinion that all of these must have been performed before Matan Torah, therefore he explains that these pessukim that describe the korbanot (whose dam was the dam bris) brought by the bechorot (first born) must have occurred before Matan Torah. According to the Ramban the dam bris was brought after Matan Torah.

- The He'emek Davar asks on the Ramban from the gemara says in Masechet Shabbat (88a) that Moshe built a mizbeach on the fifth of Sivan. According to Rashi this fits perfectly into the pessukim. The parshah starts on the 4th of Sivan, then on the next day which is the fifth, וַיַּשְׁכֵּם בַּבֹּקֶר, וַיִּבֶן מִזְבֵּחַ תַּחַת הָהָר. - "Moshe got up early and built a mizbeach at the foot of the mountain." According to the Ramban there is no mention in the Torah that Moshe built a mizbeach before Matan Torah! (see He'emek Davar for a further discussion of this point.)

- The He'emek Davar asks another question on the Ramban from the gemara in Masechet Chagigah (6a) that says that the Korban Chagigah (the korban shelamim that is brought on the sholosh regalim) and the Korban Tamid (the daily olah that was brought in the morning and in the evening) were brought לפני הדיבור. Rashi there explains that this means that they were brought before the Aseret Hadibrot were given. According to the Ramban these korbanot were brought after Matan Torah?

The Chazon Ish (Orach Chaim, 225:5) asks the same question and explains (see the sefer Shaarei Aharon) that according to the Ramban when the gemara says that these korbanot were brought לפני הדיבור, it does not mean that they were brought before Matan Torah, rather it means that they were brought even before the primary instruction to bring them daily at the beginning of Parshas Tzav.

All this explains why Rashi explained that the pessukim are not in chronological order, but why did the Torah put the pessukim in this order?

The Maharal explains intriguingly as follows:

"The reason that these pessukim were not written in order before Matan Torah is because all of this was the bris (the covenant) on the Torah that they would accept the next day. Because all of these actions related to the Torah, scripture ordered it in the place that is fitting for it, for they did these deeds concerning the acceptance of the Torah. and if it was possible to perform these actions and to accept the Torah simultaeneously they would have done that and because this is impossible they peformed the actions first. Nevertheless the pessukim are stated in their place after Matan Torah."

The Maharal requires clarification. Tentatively we can explain as follows:

1) The first part of Mishpatim as well as the last pessukim in Parshas Yisro are all a continuation of Kabbalat Ha'Torah and ma'amad Har Sinai. Although it is written afterwards, the account of the bris is at least juxtaposed to Matan Torah,

2) There is a difference between writing something and between the event actually occuring. That means that when you write something you may order the events differently than the order in which they occurred in order to convey the inner meaning of the events. (The stress in the Maharal is on the word ketivah: "Umah shelo nichtav kodem matan torah", "si'der osoi ha'kosuv bi'mekomo haro'u lo", "u'mikol mokom ha'kosuv ne'emar bi'mekomo") The Torah is a written document and the Torah wishes to emphases the close unity between the bris, which is the bond of love between Hashem and Klal Yisrael, and betwen the mitzvos that we were commanded at ma'amad Har Sinai which give concrete expression to that love.

3) The fact that the bris occurred physically before Matan Torah does not obligate the Torah to write the bris beforehand. The bris and Kabbalat ha'Torah are one and should have occurred together, however in olam hazeh we have time constraints so incidentally the events were sequential.

4) The unity of kabbalat hatorah and the bris on the Torah is made clear by writing the bris after Matan Torah. The Torah is not a history book, rather the Torah relays the inner content of events that transpired which affected klal yisrael and which continue to affect klal yisrael. The Torah here is telling you, "This is the bris of the Torah! This is the emotional core of the love between Hashem and klal yisrael which is made permanent by our observance of the mitzvot." As the medrash says "Araissa v'Yisrael v'Kudsha Brich Hu chad hu" - "The Torah and Yisrael and Hashem are all one" (Zohar, Acharei Mos). This point is made clearer by relating the bris after the mitzvot given at Sinai. After we have something concrete to understand and we gain a tephisa (a grasp) of the Torah, then the Torah says, "And this is the bris that is the inner life of that instruction!"

May we become one with our friends and with the Torah and through this become closer to Hashem.