God vs The Multiverse

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Lepers and the Dead (Part 4: More Svara)

To explain the second part of Tosafos, we suggest that although both צרעת and מת are transmitted by an אהל, this transmission is fundamentally different.

By a מת, the אהל itself is the מצרף (that which relates the מת to that which is becoming טמא). Namely, something which shares the same roof as a מת becomes טמא. This is a true טומאת אהל which the mishna in כלים says only exists by מת. 

By צרעת, the role of the אהל is different. Without a roof, a place can not be defined as a dwelling place.  It is simply an outdoors, exposed area.  The אהל is a necessary component of a מושב, and that which is in the מושב of the צרעת becomes טמא - the מצרף is the מושב, not the אהל. 

With this difference in mind, we can explain the two differences Tosfos mentions. 

1) When dealing with a מושב, the mere presence of the צרעת under the אהל does not suffice. He needs some sort of permanent relationship to the place under the אהל (a קביעות), as opposed to merely passing through, in order for the place to be defined as his dwelling place. Therefore you need him to stop, or to be in a house with walls (as in the last post).  However, the מת is equally related to its אהל, its roof, whether it is stationary or moving. Thus, the טומאת מת will be transferred without stopping, even under a tree.

2) If two houses are separated by a wall but have a window between them, they share the same roof and airspace, but are certainly not one מושב - the walls divide them into two separate dwelling places. Thus, by טומאת מת, the shared אהל itself will be מצרף the contents of the two houses, and the טומאה will be transmitted.  However, by צרעת, since they are not one מושב, the טומאה does not transfer.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lepers and the Dead (Part 3: Svara)

We'll begin with the first part of Tosafos. What is the difference if the צרעת is under a tree with no walls or in a house with walls?

We answer that טומאת צרעת is transmitted to everything that is in the same מקום as the צרעת. The Torah says "בדד ישב", he shall dwell alone.  His entire place of dwelling, his מושב, is טמא and all that enter this מושב become טמא as well.  If he enters a house, then the house is defined as his מושב and the טומאה is transmitted to everything in the house.

However, when going under a tree, it's not so simple. Since there is a roof, but no walls, a person can relate to being under a tree in two ways: (a) he can be "dwelling" there, under the protection of the branches. If so, it is his מושב and the טומאה is transmitted; or (b) he can be travelling, or passing through.  If so, it is not his מושב and the טומאה is not transmitted.

The determinant between these two possibilities is whether or not he stops. If he stops, there is a קביעות of the מקום, and he thereby renders under the tree his מושב.  He is not merely passing through, but comes to rest in this place in order to do something there.  It could be something as simple as taking a breather, pausing for a few moments before he continues on his way, but he relates to this place as a stopping point in his life where he engages in one of life's activities.

In contrast, when he passes through the place and does not stop, then he is not setting up a מקום and there is no מושב and no transmission of טומאה.  He relates to the place under the tree as space in between the significant places he will stop at.  He is merely commuting between two places, and the place under the tree is the space between.  He never defines the place; never gives it a character.  He merely passed through.

By a house, since there are walls, there is no such thing as passing through.  A commuter can not travel through walls.  If he enters a house, it is considered a detour from the commute, a stopping point in his life.  If he was going from point A to point B and along the way walked into a house, even without actually stopping, the house becomes point C thereby rendering it his מושב.

With this in mind, how can we explain the second part of Tosafos about the difference between מת and צרעת regarding transmission via an אהל?       

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lepers and the Dead (Part 2: Questions and Methodology)

We'll start by asking some questions on the first part of Tosafos. What is the sense of differentiating between a house which has walls and a tree which does not? Why should the absence of walls demand stopping in order for the טומאה to be transmitted while the presence of walls avoids this demand? In what way does the presence of walls make it "as if" he stopped?  He didn't!

Now for the second part of Tosafos. If both צרעת and מת are transmitted by an אהל, what is the sense of the two differences Tosfos makes between them?  Specifically:

1) What is the nature of the transfer of טומאה by מת which allows it to transfer under a tree even though there is no stopping, and what is the nature of the טומאה by צרעת which does demands stopping?

2) What is the nature of the transfer of טומאה by מת which allows it to transfer through a window to the next house, and what is the nature of the טומאה by צרעת which limits it to one house?

More importantly, what is the relationship and unification (if any) between these two seemingly unrelated differences?

More generally, if you review the questions above, you will notice that the very notion of  ישב, "stopping", is of critical importance in this Tosfos.  However, on a surface reading of the Tosfos, the significance of stopping is vague and unclear.  We need to arrive at a deeper concept of  ישב if we want to understand the idea Tosfos is trying to convey to us.

One addition problem is that Tosafos' answer to his question seems difficult, even on a surface level understanding.  In order to explain the difficulty, let us review. The problem was that the mishna in כלים says that only מת transmits טומאה via an אהל while our gemara implies that צרעת does as well. Tosafos answers that the transmission by מת is more stringent than by צרעת in two regards, etc. However, this does not really explain the mishna in כלים which says that only מת transmits טומאה via an אהל. The mishna doesn't say that אהל by מת is merely more stringent then by צרעת, as Tosafos is claiming!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lepers and the Dead (Part 1: Facts)

This is a foreign area for most people, and as such, presents some initial difficulty in grasping the facts and questions.  We hope that the svara will be simple, and will serve to clarify the issues.

The gemara in Yevamos 103b implies that when a garment with צרעת (leprosy) enters and exits a house, even without stopping in the house (presumably, a person is moving the garment), all the contents of the house become טמא.  Tosafos asks a question from another gemara which says that the thing with צרעת does need to stop in order to transmit טומאה.
כיון שנכנס רובו לבית טהור טמאתו. אמר ר"י אע"פ שלא ישב שם אלא שהכניסה והוציאה טמא ואע"ג דתנן  בדקידושין (דף לג:) טמא עובר תחת האילן וטהור יושב טהור היינו דוקא גבי אילן שאין שם מחיצות בעינן שיהא יושב כדכתיב בדד ישב אבל בבית דאיכא מחיצות כאילו יושב תחתיו הטמא ומטמא הבית
Tosafos answers by distinguishing between the two cases.  One case is where the צרעת is passing under a tree with no walls around.  In that case, the צרעת must come to a stop in order to transmit טומאה.  This is because the Torah says בדד ישב, "he shall sit alone."  However, when צרעת enters into a house with walls, it does not need to actually stop.  Because of the walls, it is as if it was sitting there.

The second part of the Tosfos seeks to contrast how טומאה is transmitted via an אהל (a covering such as a tree or a roof) when the source of the טומאה is צרעת, with the case when the source is a מת (a dead body).  Tosafos starts with a question on our gemara from a mishna in כלים, which seems to say that a מת is the most stringent source of טומאה because it alone transmits טומאה via an אהל. This is seemingly against our gemara which clearly implies that צרעת is also transmitted via an אהל.
ואם תאמר דהכא משמע דמצורע מטמא באוהל ובריש מסכת כלים (פ"א מ"ד) אמר למעלה מהן מת שמטמא באהל מה שאין כולן מטמאין והתם לעיל חשיב מצורע בהדייהו ואמר רבינו יהודה דמ"מ מת חמור דאפילו עובר תחת האילן מטמא באהל כל מה שתחת האילן ועוד דמת חמור שמטמא אפי' מה שבבית אחר אם יש בו חלון פותח טפח מה שאין כן במצורע דאין מטמא אלא בבית שנכנס בו דכתיב והבא אל הבית
Tosafos answers that there are two stringencies that מת has above צרעת in terms of אהל.

1) A מת transmits טומאה to things under a tree without stopping, even though there are no walls.  צרעת, as explained in the first part of Tosfos, will only transmit if it stopped under the tree.

2) מת transmits טומאה to things under the same roof as it, even to things in adjacent houses separated by walls, so long as the houses are connected by an open window.  In contrast, צרעת only transmits to things in the same room as it, even if there is an open window connecting an adjacent room.

What do we need to understand and define in this Tosfos?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kids and the 4 Cups (Part 1: Facts)

This audio shiur (click for facts- 7 min) was given and recorded by REF. Except for the audio instead of text, this topic will be posted in the same step-by-step fashion as the other shiurim on the Blogoshiur.
In order to simplify and allow for printing we have written the facts below. The remaining posts will be audio only.  Chag Sameach!

The gemara in psachim 108b-109a discusses the obligation of children in the 4 cups of wine.
ת"ר הכל חייבין בארבעה כוסות הללו אחד אנשים ואחד נשים ואחד תינוקות א"ר יהודה וכי מה תועלת יש לתינוקות ביין אלא מחלקין להן קליות ואגוזין בערב פסח כדי שלא ישנו וישאלו
The Tanna Kamma (TK) holds that all are obligated in the 4 cups: men, women and children.
Rabbi Yehuda (RY) argues "what benefit is there in giving children wine?". Rather he suggests that we give them sweets and nuts on erev pesach so that they do not go to sleep and so that they will ask.

Why are children included according to the TK? Rashbam explains because they too were redeemed.
What is RY's argument?

Rashbam learns that he is arguing that since children are exempt from all mitzvos, they cannot be obligated in the 4 cups of wine.

The Ran (dapei harif 23b, top line) interprets the TK's obligation as stemming from chinuch, a father's obligation to train/teach his kids. He explains RY's argument that you cannot train kids in the 4 cups because for them it is not דרך חירות, an expression of freedom, being that they do not take pleasure and שמחה from drinking wine.

How can we define the machlokes between TK and RY according to Rashbam and according to the Ran?  What questions can we ask that will allow us to approach this sugya?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Philosophy: The 4 Languages of Redemption

In order to gain insight into the 4 languages of redemption, we look at their source in the Torah and the Ramban on this source. The verses are in Shmos 6:6-8:
 ו לָכֵן אֱמֹר לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲנִי יְהוָה, וְהוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מִתַּחַת סִבְלֹת מִצְרַיִם, וְהִצַּלְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מֵעֲבֹדָתָם; וְגָאַלְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בִּזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה, וּבִשְׁפָטִים גְּדֹלִים.  ז וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם לִי לְעָם, וְהָיִיתִי לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים; וִידַעְתֶּם, כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, הַמּוֹצִיא אֶתְכֶם, מִתַּחַת סִבְלוֹת מִצְרָיִם.  ח וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם, אֶל הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת יָדִי, לָתֵת אֹתָהּ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב; וְנָתַתִּי אֹתָהּ לָכֶם מוֹרָשָׁה, אֲנִי יְהוָה 
The Ramban 6:6 explains the meaning of these different languages of redemption. We offer the following interpretation of the Ramban. The 4 languages elucidate 4 distinct components of the redemption and of the freedom that Hashem provided us: physical freedom, economic freedom, psychological freedom, and philosophical freedom.

1. Physical freedom: The סִבְלֹת מִצְרַיִם refer to the physical burden that we bore as slaves in Egypt. The removal of this was the first and most basic aspect of our redemption and is referenced by וְהוֹצֵאתִי . 

2. Economic freedom: Once the physical freedom was granted, our actions were no longer controlled by the Egyptians. However, they could have still retained us as a subservient tributary, as "slaves" economically (as Yosef rendered all Egyptians as "slaves" to Pharoh). When Hashem redeemed us, he prevented this as well and thereby gave us a full economic freedom. This aspect of freedom is referenced by וְהִצַּלְתִּי.

3. Psychological Freedom: The Ramban explains that וְגָאַלְתִּי means that Hashem pressured the Egyptians through the plagues to the point where they were scared for their lives and "bought" their own lives in exchange for the Jews' freedom. What is the significance of this? We can explain that if Hashem had just done 1 and 2, the Jews would have been practically free (both physically and economically), but would've still been slaves technically and legally. Who cares? It effects a person psychologically to know that he is a slave, and it effects how other people relate to him. In order to break the slave mentality and slave identity of the Jewish nation and to prepare them to become the nation of Hashem, He insured that the Jews were technically freed. This aspect of redemption is referenced by וְגָאַלְתִּי.

4. Philosophical Freedom: The Ramban explains that the 4th language of redemption,וְלָקַחְתִּי, is a reference to giving us the Torah at Har Sinai. What does this have to do with our redemption and why does it qualify as the final language of redemption? 

Chazal say (Avos 6:2) that there is no truly free person but one who is involved in the Torah. Why is this? Ostensibly, the Torah restricts a person's freedom through rules and regulations. One may legitimately view the Torah as a servitude to Hashem and can view the redemption from Egypt as merely changing masters from Pharoh to Hashem. In fact, the pasuk (vayikra 25:42) says כִּי עֲבָדַי הֵם, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי אֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.  Why then is the Torah Jew the only truly free person?

If we only had the first 3 stages of redemption, we would've been totally free from external masters controlling our actions. However, we would then have become slaves to our internal desires which can compel us to do things which are truly harmful to ourselves and prevent us from doing that which are truly good for ourselves. The final stage of our redemption was the giving of the Torah. The Torah directs us towards a life in which we are truly free from the compulsive dimension of our instinctual desires and thereby free to pursue the good life. The various mitzvos of the Torah were carefully designed by Hashem to teach man how to live a life of knowledge and a life of dominion over his passions. This is the only truly free life, a life which is free from both external and internal masters. This final dimension of freedom is referenced by וְלָקַחְתִּי.

In summation, the four cups of wine were set up to reference the 4 languages of redemption and to provide us insight into a deeper idea of the redemption and freedom which we celebrate on the seder night. (See the first comment for a discussion of a possible 5th cup.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rashi's 4 Cups (Part 6: More Svara)

As an introduction to explaining Shmuel and Rava, we revisit Rashi's explanation that the 4 cups are instituted to reflect the 4 languages of redemption.

Chazal wanted to establish an action that reflects these 4 languages and it is relevant that they did this with 4 cups of wine in particular. It could not have been 4 potatoes, the reason being that drinking wine itself is an expression of freedom, or חירות.  Chazal took an action which by its nature expresses freedom and gave it a conceptual content, the 4 languages of redemption, through the halachic requirement of a 'שם ד in the wine.  (Our expression of freedom is not merely a drinking of pleasure, but is a mitzva of drinking ideational cups which reflect true ideas of freedom. See the next post for an expansion on this idea.)

Since the drinking of the 4 cups is built upon an action whose nature is  חירות, it requires a substance like wine that can be vehicle of  חירות.  Shmuel comes to teach that even if you drink undiluted wine, which lacks the chashivus (significance) of diluted wine, it still has the status of wine and can thereby serve as a platform upon which to attach the שם ארבע כוסות.

Rava argues (or perhaps qualifies what Shmuel meant) that the drinking of wine is not merely a means to the 'שם ד, but is itself part of the full expression of חירות. You drink wine, a drink of חירות, in a manner (4 cups) which reflects the true ideas of חירות. Thus, if you use undiluted wine, the underlying drinking of חירות is lacking and it is therefore not a complete mitzvah. However, you still fulfill the core obligation because the undiluted wine does have a שם ארבע כוסות.

In the next post, will take up the 4 languages of geula, what ideas they teach, and how they enhance the expression of חירות of the 4 cups. In order to gain insight into this, we think it is a good idea to see the source in the Torah for the 4 languages of redemption (see shmos 6:6-8 and commentaries,  Ramban in specific).

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rashi's 4 Cups (Part 5: More Svara)

In order to explain how Shmuel holds that you can fulfill the 4 cups by drinking one big cup, we first posit that Shmuel is only talking about a specific case, where you first poured 4 separate cups and then combined them into one big cup. This reading is supported by (a) the case of the gemara is described as where you drink them simultaneously and (b) Rashi's explanation that you poured them  into one cup. The case is where first there is a  "them" and then you combine them into one cup.

How does this help?  Why should the history of the cup matter?  The bottom line is that it is now only one cup!

In the seder of the night, as brought down in the mishna and the Rambam, one frequently encounteres the phenomenon of mezigas ha'kos, mixing the WC (wine concentrate) with water and thereby creating a drinkable cup of wine. Since dilution changes the WC from a state most conducive to storing into one most conducive to drinking, it can be conceived of as the first step of the drinking process.

With this introduction, we can explain Shmuel. When you dilute 4 separate cups, you have a שם ד' כוסות of wine with which you have begun the drinking process. You can complete this process of drinking these cups by drinking them separately or, if you want to drink then simultaneously, by combining them into 1 large cup and then drinking them. Since the process of drinking began with the שם ד' כוסות  through the dilution, your drinking is defined as occurring on an entity with a 'שם ד.

Rav argues that since the essence of the process of drinking is the actual drinking itself, even if dilution begins a process of drinking 4 cups, if you subsequently mix them together and drink them as 1, the שם of 4 is obliterated.

The machlokes revolves around whether the שם of 4 which exists on the beginning of the drinking process can be maintained despite the fact that the essence of the drinking process, the drinking itself, occurs with a singular entity. It should be noted that without Rashi's idea of a שם ד' כוסות, which emerged from our first question, we would not have been able to explain this difficult position of Shmuel.  Since all Rashi requires is a 'שם ד in the cups, and not 4 essentially distinct cups, it is possible to conceive of a large cup that can physically be one entity, but still have the 'שם ד. We think that the Rashbam argues with this point and maintains that you need 4 distinct cups, not just a 'שם ד. Therefore, he never entertains the hava amina of 4 one oz shot glasses, nor the position of one large cup being considered as 4. See the Rashbam for how he learns these issues differently.

In the next post, we will discuss the case of drinking undiluted wine. Shmuel said that you are yotzei. Rava says that although you have fulfilled the mitzvah of 4 cups, you have not fulfilled חירות, or freedom. What does this mean? What command is there separate from the 4 cups? Rashi explains that Rava does not refer to some separate command of  חירות, but he means that you do not fulfill your mitzvah fully (אין זו מצוה שלימה) when the wine is undiluted. What does he mean? What is lacking? Have you fulfilled the mitzvah or not? Any ideas?