Thursday, June 09, 2016

life after death (I)

I am going to break this post into two parts, so if you don't like one, maybe you will liek the other, and if you like neither, I hope you at least like your cheesecake.

The gemara (Shabbos 88b) quotes two statements from R Yehoshua ben Levi as to the “shock and awe” effect hearing the dibros had on Bnei Yisrael: 1) Bnei Yisrael were blown back away from the mountain by the force of Hashem’s words and malachim had to come and help them return; 2) Bnei Yisrael died as a result of shock and Hashem had to rain down dew of techiyas ha’meisim to revive them. So which is it – were they just blown back in shock, or did they actually die from the experience? Maharasha answers that both are correct – it all depended on the level of the listener. 

There are Achronim who use this gemara as a proof text to address the following issue: the gemara in Megillah (7) tells us that Rabbah got so inebriated that he killed R’ Zeira in the middle of Purim seudah. He then davened and brought him back to life. Would R’ Zeira need to go home and do a new kiddushin on his wife?   Is he the same R’ Zeira as before, or is the old R’ Zeira gone, the kiddushin done by him terminated, and this is a new person? (If you could interpret the whole story metaphorically there is obviously noting to talk about.) We see from our gemara that even though according to R’ Yehoshua ben Levi hearing the dibros caused people to die , they were still permitted to return to their wives after mattan Torah. There was not a mass need for new kiddushin. 

I know this is a dochak way to address the proof, but let me have fun and write it anyway.  The Pnei Yehoshua (Kid 13) has a big chiddush that the din that the death  of a husband cancels ishus and is matir a wife to marry others does not apply to a ben noach. For them, marriage (absent divorce) is forever. Assuming the Pnei Yehoshua is correct (Minchas Chinuch 34:20 disagrees), perhaps it is only on day 40 when Moshe gave Klal Yisrael the entire Torah that their status switched to full fledged yisraelim, but until that point maybe they had the status of ben noach. Therefore, even if they died, their ishus was not terminated and they could return to their wives afterwards.

Obvious problem: we eat milchigs on Shavuos because right after mattan Torah Klal Yisrael could not use their treif pots and pans. Don’t we see that the din of being a yisrael kicked in right away? I could tell you that there are other reasons for eating milchigs (the Rama writes that the idea is to use 2 loaves as a remez to the shtei ha’lechem), but there are probably a host of other questions you can ask to shoot down my idea. 

1 comment:

  1. Kiddushin pre-existing matan torah? Granted that there is a discussion of why they were bochin l'mishpchosam, but kiddushin?