Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Har HaMoriya = Har Sinai??

We know from the story of the akeidah that Yitzchak was brought to Eretz HaMoriya (Braishis 22:2). Where is this land or mountain? Rashi notes that Har HaMoriya is identified elsewhere as the Har haBayis; Shlomo is described (Divrei haYamim II 3:1) as building the Mikdash “b’Yerushalayim b’Har haMoriya”. The Rambam codifies l’halacha (Bais haBechira 2:1) that the place of the mizbayach in the Mikdash is identical with the location of akeidas Yitzchak.

Given that background, there is a very difficult Tosfos in Ta’anis 16a . The gemara darshens the name Moriya as “the place which caused fear (=morah) to the Nations”. Tosfos writes that Har haMoriya is Har Sinai and the fear is the fear of mattan Torah. How could that be? Har Sinai is not in Eretz Yisrael, and certainly not near the makom mikdash! Meforshim struggle with this one… My son suggested that there are two places names Har haMoriya. Though Tosfos sometimes suggests answers like this (e.g. Gittin 2a d”h Ashkelon), it would be quite a chiddush.


  1. kishnevi10:33 PM

    I agree with your son, with the added clause that "place that causes the nations to fear" would be suitable to the Har haBayit.

    Furthermore, can not we not think of the two places--Har Sinai and Har haBayit-- as linked through the fact that the Divine Presence was (and in the case of Har haBayit continues to be) manifested there?

  2. What do you make of the fact that the Divine presence is eternally manifest in the makom mikdash (which is why acc to the Rambam the kedushas makom cannot ve nullified), but Har Sinai has no kedusha?

  3. Why do you find the Tosfot in Taanit to be so difficult? It's nothing more than a conflicting aggadata, which are a dime a dozen. Why's it any more difficult than, say, the midrash that says Ketura and Hagar were the same person, vis-a-vis the midrash that talks of Ketura as a different person?

    Also, what do you mean, exactly, when you say that the Rambam codified "l'halacha" that the akeida happened on the site of the mizbeach on Har HaBayit? What's the nafka mina l'halacha? What's the significance of this psak (if, indeed, one can even call it a "psak")? If someone says otherwise, what's the problem?

  4. Anonymous10:33 AM

    The source escapes me now, but there's a medrash that Har Sinai is essentially the lopped off top of the Har Habais. Perhaps your son is correct and the name of the original, intact mountain is Har HaMoria, though it currently exists in two locations.