Thursday, October 18, 2018

bris bein ha'besarim -- nevuah or havtacha

1. In R' Shternbruch's teshuvos (vol 1) quotes an interesting sevara from R' Shmuel Rozovsky: since an aveil is exempt from leaning Torah and even kri'as haTorah (during the week if an aveil is called up for an aliya he has to decline and not go up), therefore the aveil is not mitztareif to a minyan for krias haTorah.  Meaning, if there are 9 people in the minyan + the aveil, there is not a tzibur that is chayav in kri'as haTorah.  R' Shternbruch does not pasken this way, but it's an interesting idea.

2. The first Rashi in chumash that says the Torah opens with the idea of creation to prove that all the land in the world belongs to G-d and he can therefore give us "nachalas goyim."  My BIL R' Yochanan in his parsha thought for Braishis here commented on this expression of "nachalas goyim."  "Why is it called an inheritance of nations, implying that Israel rightfully belonged to them? It belongs to us!"

Not that he needs my help, but I would strengthen the question.  The Rambam in Sefer haMitzvos (third shoresh) writes that the command Moshe was given not to attack Eisav who was living in Se'ir, and the command not to attack Amon and Moav are not counted as mitzvos.  A mitzvah, says the Rambam, has to apply for all eternity.  One day Moshiach will come and we will have permission and be zocheh to conquer all of these lands.  Ramban disagrees.  These lands, says Ramban, are called a "yerusha," and there is a principle in halacha that nachala ain lah hefesk, an inheritance is forever, it passes from generation to generation automatically.  The land of Eisav, Amon, and Moav are forever off limits for us.  So how then will be allowed to one day conquer this territory?  Ramban answers that Sancherev mixed up all the people in the world.  Amon and Moav are no longer living in their ancestral home, Eisav is not living in his ancestral homeland, and so when we conquer these lands it is really a different people that we will one day be conquering.   

We see from Ramban that when something is given as a yerusha = nachala, it is forever.  So why then does the pasuk speak of the land of Israel as "nachalas goyim" when the land was meant ultimately for us?! 

You have to read his answer there.

3. Now that we know this Ramban, when we come to the promise of Bris ben hBesarim in our parsha of the land of 10 nations being given to Avraham, we have to read a little more carefully.  One of those 10 lands is the Se'ir land of Eisav, and two of the lands are the territory of Amon and Moav, given to Lot's decedents.  If it belongs to them forever -- nachala ain lah hefsek -- how then could G-d promise the same land to Avraham? 

It must be (see Avi Ezri Hil Melachim 6:1) that Avraham was not actually being given the land directly, but was being shown prophetically that his children will eventually conquer those lands after Sancherev does his population resettlement.  It is a nevuah, not a havtacha.  The Rambam disagrees with this whole theory and l'shitaso holds (Rotzeiach 8:4) that the 10 lands were promised to Avraham directly and never given as a permanent inheritance to anyone else.  

4. "V'lo nasa osam ha'aretz la'sheves yachdav ki haya rechusham rav v'lo yachlu lasheves yachdav."  (13:6)  First the pasuk tells us that Avraham and Lot could not live together because there was not enough grazing land for all their flocks, but then the pasuk again repeats, "v'lo yachlu lasheves yachdav," that they could not live together.  Why the redundancy?

We see from here, explains R' Shimon Sofer, how machlokes works.  At first, there might be a very good reason for disagreement.  Avraham and Lot and their shepherds could not agree on who should graze where.  But at some point, once the fire of machlokes is lit, even if the reason has long since been forgotten or ameliorated, the fight continues of its own accord.  "V'lo yachlu lasheves yachdav" now irrespective of the reason the fight started.  

Once started, machlokes will take on a life of its own.  


  1. "3."

    why does the Torah change days here? 15:12, occurring at the end of the day, proceeds to a promise of great wealth; 15:17, of a new day, proceeds to what? something other than "havtacha", one would think... maybe to neither a prophecy within a prophecy*, nor to a promise (within prophecy): pesukim 19-21 (following on the heels of pasuk 18) read as if the ten goyim are Avra[ha]m's own seed**! Hashem could be so upset with the select man's insistence of knowing at 15:8 (and his repeat at 15:3), that He raises the possibility that, like Adam during 130 years, the son of Terach had a nocturnal emission(s), an emission that The Other Side could have used to impregnate the mothers of the 10 nations listed, G-d forbid! that then will be the deal/bris-- Hashem will not so much as entertain the thought of such errant fertilization {pesukim 19-21 make no mention of Egyptians nor of all*** the nations unto the Euphrates river, so how could they possibly be the explicit enumeration/continuation of pasuk 18??} Hashem stops at '22' suddenly [retracts the unbecoming hava amina-in-progress] and conveniently, listing those nations, ten, most tractable to future conquest...

    *for even promises are prophecies to Avraham avinu

    **an effortless way to read 18-21

    ***not so?

  2. an aveil is exempt from leaning Torah and even kri'as haTorah...
    Where is the Rav Shternbuch? If R' Shmuel's sevara was true, how could nashim been olos leminyan shiva (end of Megilla) - they are peturos from talmud Torah? And even katan (also in Megila, if he can get aliya) is only chayav in Talmud Torah because of chinuch!

    This, as you mentioned, assumes the *mechayav* of Kriya is talmud Torah. A case where TT is not the mechayav is a fast day - you need a certain number of people fasting because the *yom taanis* aspect is mechayav the kriya. EVen if there will be a tzibur there who can get a TT aspect, we don't lain.

    What else can the mechayev be, if not TT? Well, because of Takanas Moshe and Takanas Ezra, it might not be a kiyum of TT. It might be for the cheftza of Torah (like Griz quotes Reb Chaim). Might also depend on Rav Chaim's shita if it's a chiyuv on the tzibur or yachid. Rav Shmuel might be correct if it's on the yachid, but I'm not convinced it would hold if it's a chiyuv on the tzibur - even if the avel has no chiyuv TT, the tzibur does.

    Interesting food for thought, thanks.

    1. >>>If R' Shmuel's sevara was true, how could nashim been olos leminyan shiva

      They are oleh provided there is a minyan. The case here is the aveil would be #10 -- without him there is no minyan.

      >>It might be for the cheftza of Torah

      A cheftza is a mechayeiv? I don't understand what you are saying.

      >>>even if the avel has no chiyuv TT, the tzibur does.

      The chidush is since you don't have 10 without the aveil, you have no tzibur. The chiyuv, even if it is a chovas hatzibur, can't get off the ground.

      (from Chaim)

    2. Oleh leniyan shiva - you're right.

      >>A cheftza is a mechayeiv? I don't understand what you are saying.
      Who says the takana to read Torah Monday and Thursday is to fulfill Talmud Torah? Perhaps the takana was that Torah has to be read, even without a kiyum Talmud Torah.
      For example, we have kriya on Tisha B'av. But there's no Talmud Torah on Tisha B'av, so according to Rav Shternbuch we shouldn't have kriya! There is no tzibur who can do Talmud Torah! So there are times (at least; perhaps it's more than sometimes) that we have kriya even though there is no Talmud Torah. (I am calling Kirya without Talmud Torah the cheftza fo Torah - Torah needs to be read, even without a kiyum Talmud Torah).

      And an analogy, if he's right, about no kriya if there are exactly 10 at a beis avel would be mincha on a fast day and only 5 people fasting - there are 10 people, but you can't lain.

  3. "4. ...machlokes will take on a life of its own"

    Lot took his 'quarrel' with Avram to Sdom, such that he could not dwell together with its residents: va'yei'lei'chu, 14:11, va'yei'lei'chu, 14:12 [echoic "redundancy"]

    (the paw'leet of 14:13 might've been a slave who couldn't bear the useless noise and causeless tension between the uncle and nephew [and their camps], and escaped {or could even have been Shem*, escaped from the false cults [of the 5 kings?] surrounding him, a lover of peace who pursued peace...})

    *first Rashi, 14:18

  4. 2. "nachalas goyim"

    a) inheritance among the nations isn't [as] rooted as for Israel, since they* said 'let us make a Name for ourselves lest we be dispersed across all the earth' (Ber. 11:4), while Israel said 'let us make a Name for Him, lest we be dispersed...'** ***

    * in their latency

    ** or, 'let Him make a name [Yisrael] for us'

    *** but that Hashem builds a house (tower, Temple, nation), in vain have its builders toiled, 127:1

    b) b'han'cheil elyon goyim...yatzev g'vulos amim l'mispar b'nei Yisrael (Dev. 32:8) -- when 70 descended to Egypt, the 7 nations had borders /x/y/z/; when more than a million ascended, those borders were subject to change