Although the Targum Yonasan in last week’s parsha interprets the issur of molech as a prohibition against marrying an aku"m, seemingly against the Mishna in Megillah, the T.Y. in this week’s parsha (20:2) interprets the pasuk prohibiting molech as an issur avodah zarah. Why the difference? My wife’s grandfather, R' Dov Yehidah Shochet, explained that it depends on context. In last week’s parsha, the issur of molech appears in the context of issurei arayos. Therefore, the Targum explains the pasuk in a way that best fits that context, as an issur arayos (baruch she’kivanti - see last week's post). In this week’s parsha, the pasuk appears at the beginning of a perek and the context is not yet set. Therefore, Targum renders the pasuk literally and explains it as an issur avodah zarah.
The Ibn Ezra says exactly the opposite. Back in last week’s parsha, where the context is arayos, Ibn Ezra interprets the molech pasuk as an issur avodah zarah. In this week’s parsha, where the context is not set, he writes, “yitein m’zar’o lamolech – v’ha’ta’am: lishkov im ovedes kochavim” -- here he interprets it as an arayos-related issur. Very hard to understand.
The question that begs asking is why there is this switch in context switches between the parshiyos – why in last week’s parsha does the issur of molech appear towards the end of the list of arayos but in this week’s parsha it is in the lead off position before any arayos are discussed? Furthermore, why does the order in which the arayos are presented changed between the two parshiyos?
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
more on molech and contextual interpretation
Posted by Chaim B. at 7:01 PM
Labels: acharei mos, kedoshim
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Possible direction to explore: last week's list is framed about preserving taharah, whereas this week's speaks about qedushah and the punishment of death. Perhaps -- death in order to preserve the nation's qedushah? But in any case, perhaps Molekh lies on a different place on the tum'ah-taharah axis than on the chol-qodesh one?ReplyDelete
Interesting idea... you would have to work out the details and see if it fits the order of the pesukim.Delete
The Haz Tzvi explains that all the arayos up until the verse about the Molech in Aharei Mos can result in offspring. The ones listed after can't so there is a contextual difference. Having finished the first set the Torah warns us that even children of those relationships are still our children and can't simply be chucked out to idolatry.ReplyDelete
So why in Kedoshim does it come first?Delete
Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, zt"l, in his commentary on the verse in Kedoshim brings a beautiful explanation.Delete