KEHILLAT YAVNEH PRESENTS מה אהבתי תורתך SHAVUOT 5780 MAGAZINE Shavuot Magazine Kehilat Yavneh

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1 KEHILLAT YAVNEH PRESENTS מה אהבתי תורתך SHAVUOT 5780 MAGAZINE 1

2 Dear Chevra, We are almost there. Can t you feel it? IY H very soon we will be laughing together and singing together. Am Yisroel approached the mountain אחד בלב אחד.כאיש Let us approach this holiday with a unity from within that expresses itself so much higher than just being there. Let s learn together. Use this guide as a Shavuos Yom Tov planner. The articles have been selected specifically to help give meaning to the various rituals and customs of this particular Yom Tov. As you learn this Torah, remember, you are not alone. Around the world thousands of Jews will be studying some Torah at the very same time. This synchronicity is the same power and energy that stood for us at Har Sinai. Wishing you a meaningful and fulfilling Yom Tov, Rabbi Shlomo and Shira Einhorn Dear Kehillat Yavneh Family, When we were heading into Pesach we were all faced with what felt daunting and impossible, a yom tov apart. A yom tov apart from our family, apart from our friends and apart from our Kehilla. Through unity, if only virtually, we went from dark to light, emulating the story we would tell at our isolated seder tables - and we have been growing ever since. We all stepped up to meet the needs of the community through spiritual, material and emotional support. We ensured torah could continue to be learned, education could exist outside classrooms, davening could be synchronized, kiddush club could be held via Zoom the creativity truly abounds. The Kehilla bond has never been stronger. Now having traveled from our Mitzrayim, we stand at Har Sinai, ready to build on what we started only a couple of months ago. We too have witnessed Hashem s miracles during this journey; the pandemic s impact to the Kehilla and the greater community has thankfully been minimal. And the Los Angeles Jewish community s united response is truly commendable. Leaders like our Rav, Rabbi Einhorn, swiftly enacted protocols to ensure our safety and worked tirelessly to help us preserve our yiddishkeit when the fundamentals, such as minyan, were blocked. We owe a tremendous amount of hakaras hatov to the Rav for his actions and all that he does for the Kehilla on a daily basis. United at Har Sinai, we say Na aseh ViNishma - We will do and we will listen". As we head into this next phase, let us continue to do" chesed for one another, reinforcing the Kehilla s unity. By now, we have all learned that there are so many ways to reach out and connect. But it is equally important that we listen". The recent re-opening of parts of the city and the general air of optimism throughout Los Angeles makes it all too easy to let our guard down. We need to listen and follow the rules of our government. The shul will continue to be closed and we cannot form or join independent minyanim. It is tough for everyone, especially during yom tov, when we enjoy the company of family and friends the most. We have done it before and we can certainly do it again. May we be zocheh to join together very soon, mask-less and shoulder-to-shoulder. In the meantime, let s tap into our creativity and really enjoy yom tov! Chag Kasher V sameach, Jonathan Tabak co-president Daniel Uretsky co-president 2

3 Shavuot Schedule (All zmanim for 90036) Friday, May 29th, 1st Day of Shavuot Shacharit: 5:25am Neitz: 5:43am Shacharit #2: 9:00am Join Rabbi Einhorn for his 14th Siyum Hashas! Erev Shavuos, Thursday, May 28th Shas Shiur at 9:00am Siyum at 9:30am Zoom# Thursday, May 28th / 5 Sivan Erev Shavuot Rabbi Einhorn s 14th Siyum HaShas on Zoom: 9:00am Shas Shiur, 9:30am - Siyum Eruv Tavshilin סדר ערוב תבשילין ב ר ו ך א ת ה ה', א לה ינ ו מ ל ך ה ע ול ם, א ש ר ק ד ש נ ו ב מ צ ות יו ו צ ו נ ו ע ל מ צ ו ת ע יר וב: ב ד ין ע יר וב א, י ה א ש ר י ל נ א ל א פ וי י ול ב ש ול י ול א ט מ ונ י ול ת ק ונ י ול א ד ל וק י ש ר ג א ול מ ע ב ד כ ל צ ר כ נ א, מ י ום ט וב ל ש ב ת ) ב ע ר וב ז ה י ה א מ ת ר ל נ ו ל א פ ות ול ב ש ל ולתקן ול ה ד ל יק ה נ ר ו ל ע ש ות כ ל צ ר כ ינ ו מ י ום ט וב ל ש ב ת:( Special sections of the Day 1 Davening: Hallel Akdamot (See page 4) Torah reading: Exodus 19:1-20:23 (See page 4) Haftorah: Ezekiel 1:1-28 6:12 The Vision of Yechezkel (See page 6) Mussaf Candlelighting: 7:40pm Mincha: 7:45pm followed by abbreviated Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv Saturday, May 30th 2nd Day of Shavuot Shacharit: 9:00am Special Sections of the 2nd Day Davening: Hallel Book of Ruth (See page 7) Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17 (See page 9) Haftorah: Habakkuk 2:20-3:19 (See page 10) Yizkor (See page 11) Mussaf Mincha: 7:35pm Seudah Shlishit End of Shavuot: 8:42pm Candlelighting: 7:39pm Mincha: 7:45pm Maariv: Should begin 8:35pm All Night Tikun Leil Shavuot Please use the Tikun Magazine as Guided Learning 3

4 AKDAMOT FOR SHAVUOT TORAH READING FOR SHAVUOT: EXODUS 19:1-20:23 4 Kehilat Yavneh

5 מפטיר לחג השבועות MAFTIR FOR SHAVUOT: NUMBERS 28:

6 HAFTORAH FOR SHAVUOT: EZEKIEL 1:1-28 6:12 6

7 א א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י יאא יבב יגג ידד טוו טזז יזז יחח יטט כ כאא כבב ב א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י יאא יבב יגג רות ו י ה י ב ימ י ש פ ט ה ש פ ט ים ו י ה י ר ע ב ב א ר ץ ו יּ ל ך א יש מ ב ית ל ח ם י הו ד ה ל גו ר ב ש ד י מוֹא ב ה ו א ו א ש ת וֹ ו ש נ י ב נ יו ו ש ם ה א יש א ל ימ ל ך ו ש ם א ש ת וֹ נ ע מ י ו ש ם ש נ י ב נ יו מ ח ל וֹן ו כ ל יוֹן א פ ר ת ים מ ב ית ל ח ם י הו ד ה ו יּ ב או ש ד ימוֹא ב ו יּ ה יו ש ם ו יּ מ ת א ל ימ ל ך א יש נ ע מ י ו ת ש א ר ה יא ו ש נ י ב נ יה ו יּ ש א ו ל ה ם נ ש ים מ א ב יּ וֹת ש ם ה א ח ת ע ר פ ה ו ש ם ה ש נ ית ר ו ת ו יּ ש בו ש ם כ ע ש ר ש נ ים ו יּ מ תו ג ם ש נ יה ם מ ח ל וֹן ו כ ל י וֹן ו ת ש א ר ה א ש ה מ ש נ י י ל ד יה ו מ א יש ה ו ת ק ם ה י א ו כ ל ת יה ו ת ש ב מ ש ד י מוֹא ב כ י ש מ ע ה ב ש ד ה מוֹא ב כ י פ ק ד יהו ה א ת ע מ וֹ ל ת ת ל ה ם ל ח ם ו ת צ א מ ן ה מ קוֹם א ש ר ה י ת ה ש מ ה ו ש ת י כ ל ת יה ע מ ה ו ת כ נ ה ב ד ר ך ל ש ו ב א ל א ר ץ י הו ד ה ו ת אמ ר נ ע מ י ל ש ת י כ ל ת יה ל כ נ ה ש ב נ ה א ש ה ל ב ית א מ ה י עשה יהו ה ע מ כ ם ח ס ד כ א ש ר ע ש ית ם ע ם ה מ ת ים ו ע מ ד י י ת ן יהוה ל כ ם ו מ צ אן מ נו ח ה א ש ה ב ית א יש ה ו ת ש ק ל ה ן ו ת ש אנ ה קוֹל ן ו ת ב כ ינ ה ו ת אמ ר נ ה ל ה כ י א ת ך נ ש ו ב ל ע מ ך ו ת אמ ר נ ע מ י ש ב נ ה ב נ ת י ל מ ה ת ל כ נ ה ע מ י ה עוֹד ל י ב נ ים ב מ ע י ו ה י ו ל כ ם ל א נ ש ים ש ב נ ה ב נ ת י ל כ ן כ י ז ק נ ת י מ ה י וֹת ל א יש כ י א מ ר ת י י ש ל י ת ק ו ה ג ם ה י ית י ה ל י ל ה ל א יש ו ג ם י ל ד ת י ב נ ים ה ל ה ן ת ש ב ר נ ה ע ד א ש ר י ג ד לו ה ל ה ן ת ע ג נ ה ל ב ל ת י ה י וֹת ל א יש א ל ב נ ת י כ י מ ר ל י מ א ד מ כ ם כ י י צ א ה ב י י ד יהו ה ו ת ש נ ה קוֹל ן ו ת ב כ ינ ה ע וֹד ו ת ש ק ע ר פ ה ח מוֹת ה ו ר ו ת ד ב ק ה ב ה ו ת אמ ר ה נ ה ש ב ה יב מ ת ך א ל ע מ ה ו א ל א ל ה יה ש ו ב י א ח ר י יב מ ת ך ו ת אמ ר רו ת א ל ת פ ג ע י ב י ל ע ז ב ך ל ש ו ב מ א ח ר י ך כ י א ל א ש ר ת ל כ י א ל ך ו ב א ש ר ת ל ינ י א ל ין ע מ ך ע מ י ו אל ה י ך א ל ה י ב א ש ר ת מ ו ת י א מ ו ת ו ש ם א ק ב ר כ ה י ע ש ה יהו ה ל י ו כ ה יוֹס יף כ י ה מ ו ת י פ ר יד ב ינ י ו ב ינ ך ו ת ר א כ י מ ת א מ צ ת ה יא ל ל כ ת א ת ה ו ת ח ד ל ל ד ב ר א ל יה ו ת ל כ נ ה ש ת יה ם ע ד ב וֹא נ ה ב ית ל ח ם ו י ה י כ בוֹא נ ה ב ית ל ח ם ו ת ה ם כ ל ה ע יר ע יה ן ו ת אמ ר נ ה ה ז את נ ע מ י ו ת אמ ר א יה ן א ל ת ק ר אנ ה ל י נ ע מ י ק ר אן ל י מ ר א כ י ה מ ר ש ד י ל י מ א ד א נ י מ ל א ה ה ל כ ת י ו ר יק ם ה ש יב נ י יהו ה מ ה ת ק ר אנ ה ל י נ ע מ י ו יהוה ע נ ה ב י ו ש ד י ה ר ע ל י ו ת ש ב נ ע מ י ו ר ו ת ה מ וֹא ב יּ ה כ ת ה ע מ ה ה ש ב ה מ ש ד י מוֹא ב ו ה מ ה ב או ב ית ל ח ם ב ת ח ל ת ק צ יר ש ע ר ים ו ל נ ע מ י מיד ע ל א יש ה א יש ג ב וֹר ח י ל מ מ ש פ ח ת א ל ימ ל ך ו ש מ וֹ ב ע ז ו ת אמ ר ר ו ת ה מ וֹא ב יּ ה א ל נ ע מ י א ל כ ה נ א ה ש ד ה ו א ל ק ט ה ב ש ב ל ים א ח ר א ש ר א מ צ א ח ן ב ע ינ יו ו ת אמ ר ל ה כ י ב ת י ו ת ך ו ת בוֹא ו ת ל ק ט ב ש ד ה א ח ר י ה ק צ ר ים ו יּ ק ר מ ק ר ה ח ל ק ת ה ש ד ה ל ב ע ז א ש ר מ מ ש פ ח ת א ל ימ ל ך ו ה נ ה ב ע ז ב א מ ב ית ח ם ו יּ אמ ר ק וֹצ ר ים יהו ה ע מ כ ם ו יּ אמ רו ל וֹ יב ר כ ך יהו ה ו יּ אמ ר ב ע ז ל נ ע ר וֹ ה נ צ ב ע ל ה ק וֹצ ר ים ל מ י ה נ ע ר ה ה זּ את ו יּ ע ן ה נ ע ר ה נ צ ב ע ל ה ק וֹצ ר ים ו יּ אמ ר נ ע ר ה מ וֹא ב יּ ה ה יא ה ש ב ה ע ם נ ע מ י מ ש ד י מוֹא ב ו ת אמ ר א ל ק ט ה נ א ו א ס פ ת י ב ע מ ר ים א ח ר י ה ק וֹצ ר ים ו ת ב וֹא ו ת ע מ וֹד מ א ז ה ב ק ר ו ע ד ע ת ה ז ה ש ב ת ה ה ב י ת מ ע ט ו יּ אמ ר ב ע ז א לר ו ת ה ל א ש מ ע ת ב ת י א ל ת ל כ י ל ל ק ט ב ש ד ה א ח ר ו ג ם ל א ת ע בו ר י מ זּ ה ו כ ה ת ד ב ק ין ע ם נ ע ר ת י ע ינ י ך ב ש ד ה א ש ר י ק צ רו ן ו ה ל כ ת א ח ר יה ן ה ל וֹא צ ו ית י א ת ה נ ע ר ים ל ב ל ת י נ ג ע ך ו צ מ ת ו ה ל כ ת א ל ה כ ל ים ו ש ת ית מ א ש ר י ש א ב ו ן ה נ ע ר ים ו ת פ ע ל פ נ יה ו ת ש ת חו א ר צ ה ו ת אמ ר א ל יו מ ד ו ע מ צ את י ח ן ב ע ינ יך ל ה כ יר נ י ו א נ כ י נ כ ר יּ ה ו יּ ע ן ב ע ז ו יּ אמ ר ל ה ה ג ד ה ג ד ל י כ ל א ש ר ע ש ית א ת ח מוֹת ך א ח ר י מ וֹת א יש ך ו ת ע ז ב י א ב יך ו א מ ך ו א ר ץ מ וֹל ד ת ך ו ת ל כ י א ל ע ם א ש ר א י ד ע ת ת מ וֹל ש ל ש וֹם י ש ל ם יהו ה פ ע ל ך ו ת ה י מ ש כ ר ת ך ש ל מ ה מ ע ם יהוה א ל ה י י ש ר א ל א ש ר ב את ח ס וֹת ת ח ת כ נ פ יו ו ת אמ ר א מ צ אח ן ב ע ינ יך א ד נ י כ י י ע ש מוֹד ע Oce, i the day whe the Jude juded, there wa a amie i the lad. Ad e ma et ut rm Bethlehem Judah ad jureyed t live r a while i the lad Mab, ad hi wie ad tw came with him. Thi ma ame wa Elimelekh, hi wie wa Nami, ad hi tw ame were Maĥl ad Kily, all Eratite rm Bethlehem Judah. They duly arrived i the lad Mab, ad there they tayed. But the Elimelekh, Nami hubad, died, ad he wa left there with her tw. Bth them married Mabite wme the firt wa called Orpah, ad the ecd wa called Ruth ad they lived there r me te year. Ad after that, the tw them Maĥl ad Kily died a well, ad the wma wa left bereaved bth her childre ad her hubad. Ad he t up, her dauhter-i-law with her, t retur rm the lad Mab; r wrd had reached her i the lad Mab, that the Lo had bruht Hi peple t mid, ad rated them bread. S he left the place where he had bee, bth her dauhter-i-law with her, ad et ff back t the lad Judah. But t her tw dauhter-i-law he aid, G w, pleae, tur back, each t yur w mther hue, ad may the Lo hw yu that ame kide that yu have hw the dead, ad me. May the Lo rat that yu fid yur reti place, each i her hubad hme ad a he kied them, they wept alud. Ad they aid t her, N. We are returi with yu t yur peple. Said Nami, Tur back, dauhter, why wuld yu cme with me? Have I till i my wmb wh culd be hubad t yu? Tur back, my dauhter, ; I am t ld t be with a ma. Eve were I t ay, there i hpe r me till; were I eve thi iht t be married, eve i I culd bear aai are yu t wait r them a they rw? Wuld yu be chaied t them, ever t be ather ma? N, dauhter, yur preece i very bitter t me w, r the had the Lo ha beate me. Alud they wept, till mre, ad the Orpah kied her mther-i-law but Ruth clu t her. Ad Nami aid, Yur iter-i-law ha tured back, t her peple, t her d. Tur back after yur iter-i-law. But Ruth replied, D t etreat me t leave yu, t tur back ad t t after yu. Wherever yu walk, I hall walk; wherever yu lie dw, there hall I lie. Yur peple i my peple; yur Gd i my Gd. Wherever yu die, there I die, ad there hall I be buried. All thi may the Lo hw me, ad mre, r death ale will part me rm yu. Nami aw that Ruth wa determied t cme with her, ad he pke t her mre. The tw them walked util they came t Bethlehem; ad whe they arrived at Bethlehem the whle tw crwded rud, the wme ayi, Ca thi be Nami? She aid, Call me t Nami. Call me Bitter, r the Almihty ha made my lie bitter beyd wrd. I wa ull whe I left thi place, ad empty ha the Lo retured me. Why call me, Nami? The Lo ha pke up aait me, the Almihty, ad ruied me. Thi i hw Nami, returi rm the lad Mab, ad, with her, her dauhter-i-law, Ruth the Mabite, retured. Ad they arrived at Bethlehem jut a the barley harvet bea. Nami had a relati rm her hubad Elimelekh amily: a ma ubtace ad reat treth; hi ame wa Baz. Ruth the Mabite aid t Nami, I hall ad ather the alle rai am the barley-talk after aye wh huld hw me avr. Nami aid, G the, my dauhter. Ad he wet, t ather i the field after the harvetme. Ad it wa the field-plt Baz he chaced t cme t; that ma Elimelekh amily. Ad there, ideed, came Baz, arrivi rm Bethlehem, ad ayi t the harvetme, The Lo be with yu. Be bleed the Lo, they replied. Whe i that yu wma ver there? aked Baz hi ervat, wh wa i chare the harvetme. That i me Mabite irl, replied the ervat i chare the harvetme, the e wh came back with Nami rm the lad Mab. She aid, Let me cme leai, atheri the alle rai rm am the budle, where the harvetme have bee; ad he came, ad ha bee tadi ut here rm early mri util w, ad hardly at at all i the helter. Baz wet t Ruth ad aid, Dauhter, take heed. D t leai i ay ther field, ad d t leave thi e; cli cle by my yu wme. Keep yur eye the field they are harveti rm ad llw after them. I have itructed the yu me, cure, t t tuch yu. Whe yu are thirty, t the ju ad drik the water the yu me have draw. Ruth bwed dw lw, t the rud, ad he aked him, Why i it that I have ud avr i yur eye, that yu ive me reciti uch a thi, whe I am a traer? Baz aid, I have heard what yu have de r yur mther-i-law, ice yur hubad died; hw yu left yur ather, yur mther, the lad yur birth, ad came t a peple yu kew t the day bere. May the Lo repay yur labr; may yur reward be ull, at the had the Lo, the Gd Irael, uder whe matle yu cme t take helter

8 ידד טוו טזז יזז יחח יטט כ כאא כבב כגג ג א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח נ ח מ ת נ י ו כ י ד ב ר ת ע ל ל ב ש פ ח ת ך ו א נ כ י ל א א ה י ה כ א ח ת ש פ ח ת ך ו יּ אמ ר ה ב ע ז ל ע ת ה א כ ל ג ש י ה ל ם ו א כ ל ת מ ן ה ל ח ם ו ט ב ל ת פ ת ך ב ח מ ץ ו ת ש ב מ צ ד ה ק צ ר ים ו יּ צ ב ט ל ה ק ל י ו ת אכ ל ו ת ש ב ע ו ת ת ר ו ת ק ם ל ל ק ט ו י צ ו ב ע ז א ת נ ע ר יו ל אמ ר ג ם ב ין ה ע מ ר ים ת ל ק ט ו א ת כ ל ימ ו ה ו ג ם ש ל ת ש ל ו ל ה מ ן ה צ ב ת ים ו ע ז ב ת ם ו ל ק ט ה ו א ת ג ע רו ב ה ו ת ל ק ט ב ש ד ה ע ד ה ע ר ב ו ת ח ב ט א ת א ש רל ק ט ה ו י ה י כ א יפ ה ש ע ר ים ו ת ש א ו ת ב וֹא ה ע יר ו ת ר א ח מוֹת ה א ת א ש ר ל ק ט ה ו ת וֹצ א ו ת ת ן ל ה א ת א ש ר הוֹת ר ה מ ש ב ע ה ו ת אמ ר ל ה ח מוֹת ה א יפ ה ל ק ט ת ה יּוֹם ו א נ ה ע ש ית י ה י מ כ יר ך ב ר ו ך ו ת ג ד ל ח מוֹת ה א ת א ש ר ע ש ת ה ע מ וֹ ו ת אמ ר ש ם ה א יש א ש ר ע ש ית י ע מ וֹ ה יּ וֹם ב ע ז ו ת אמ ר נ ע מ י ל כ ל ת ה ב ר ו ך הו א ל יהו ה א ש ר ל א ע ז ב ח ס ד וֹ א ת ה ח יּ ים ו א ת ה מ ת ים ו ת אמ ר ל ה נ ע מ י ק ר וֹב ל נו ה א יש מ ג א ל נו ה ו א ו ת אמ ר ר ו ת ה מ וֹא ב יּ ה ג ם כ יא מ ר א ל י ע םה נ ע ר ים א ש רל י ת ד ב ק ין ע ד א ם כ ל ו א ת כ ל ה ק צ יר א ש ר ל י ו ת אמ ר נ ע מ י א ל ר ו ת כ ל ת ה ט וֹב ב ת י כ י ת צ א י ע ם נ ע רוֹת יו ו ל א י פ ג עו ב ך ב ש ד ה א ח ר ו ת ד ב ק ב נ ע ר וֹת ב ע ז ל ל ק ט ע דכ ל וֹת ק צ ירה ש ע ר ים ו ק צ יר ה ח ט ים ו ת ש ב א תח מוֹת ה ו ת אמ ר ל ה נ ע מ י ח מוֹת ה ב ת י ה א א ב ק ש ל ך מ נ וֹח א ש ר י יט ב ל ך ו ע ת ה ה א ב ע ז מ ד ע ת נו א ש ר ה י ית א ת נ ע רוֹת יו ה נ ה ה ו א ז ר ה א ת ג ר ן ה ש ע ר ים ה ל י ל ה ו ר ח צ ת ו ס כ ת ו ש מ ת שמלת ך ע ל י ך ויר דתי ה ג ר ן א ל ת ו ד ע י א יש ע ד כ ל ת וֹ ל א כ ל ו ל ש ת וֹת ו יה י ב ש כ ב וֹ ו י ד ע ת א ת ה מ קוֹם א ש ר י ש כ בש ם ו ב את ו ג ל ית מ ר ג ל ת יו ושכ בתי ו הו א י ג יד ל ך א ת א ש ר ת ע ש ין ו ת אמ ר א ל יה כ ל א ש ר ת אמ ר י א ע ש ה ו ת ר ד ה ג ר ן ו ת ע ש כ כ ל א ש ר צ ו ת ה ח מוֹת ה ו יּ אכ ל ב ע ז ו יּ ש ת ו יּ יט ב ל ב וֹ ו יּ ב א ל ש כ ב ב ק צ ה ה ע ר מ ה ו ת ב א ב ל ט ו ת ג ל מ ר ג ל ת יו ו ת ש כ ב ו י ה י ב ח צ י ה ל י ל ה ו יּ ח ר ד ה א יש ש מ ל ת ו י ר ד ת ו ש כ ב א ל י Sir, he aid, I hpe t fid avr i yur eye, r yu ive me lace. Fr yu have pke t yur ervat heart, thuh I am t like yur ervat. Whe the time came r eati, Baz aid t her, Cme here, eat thi d, ad dip yur bread i the viear. She at dw beide the harvetme ad he erved her rated rai, ad he ate, ad had her fill, ad mre left ver. Ad whe he td up t bei leai aai, Baz itructed hi wrker, Let her lea am the heave a well, d t dirace her. Ad drp me ear rm the buche a well; leave them, let her lea them ad d t reprach her. Ruth carried leai i the field util evei ad the threhed what he had leaed; it wa almt a ephah barley. She picked it up ad came it the city; her mther-i-law aw what he had leaed; ad he prduced all that wa left beyd her fill, ad ave it t her. Where did yu ather tday, he aked, where were yu? Ble whever ave yu thi reciti. S Ruth tld her mther-i-law uder whe patrae he had wrked: The ma ame i Baz, with whm I wrked tday. Said Nami t her dauhter-i-law, The Lo ble him; r he ha t left behid hi kide r the livi r the dead ad Nami tld her, The ma i ur relative; e ur redeemer. He aid t me, a well, aid Ruth the Mabite: Cli by my yu me, util they fiih all my harvet, ad Nami tld her dauhter-i-law Ruth, That i well, my dauhter. G ut with hi yu wme; d t ad cme t harm i ther field. Ad it wa that he clu by Baz yu wme t lea, util the barley harvet wa ver, ad the the wheat; ad after that he at at hme with her mther-i-law. Oe day her mther-i-law Nami aid t her, Dauhter, d I t wih I culd fid yu a reti place that wuld be d r yu? Nw there i Baz, ur relative, whe yu wme yu were with ad he will be di hi wiwi i the barley hed tiht. Ad yu are i t wah yurel ad ait yurel ad put yur dre, ad dw t that hed. D t let the ma kw that yu are there util he ha fiihed eati ad driki. Ad whe he lie dw, take te the place where he lie, ad afterward there, ucver hi eet ad lie dw al ad he will tell yu what t d ext. I hall d, aid Ruth, all that yu tell me t d. She wet dw t the hed ad did exactly a her mther-i-law had itructed her. Baz ate, ad drak, ad wa happy, ad he wet ad lay dw at the ede the heap rai; ad the he came t him iletly, ucvered hi eet ad lay herel dw. ט י יאא יבב יגג ידד טוו טזז יזז יחח ד א ב ג ד ה ו ז ו יּ ל פ ת ו ה נ ה א ש ה ש כ ב ת מ ר ג ל ת יו ו יּ אמ ר מ י א ת ו ת אמ ר א נ כ י ר ו ת א מ ת ך ו פ ר ש ת כ נ פ ך ע ל א מ ת ך כ י ג א ל א ת ה ו יּ אמ ר ב רו כ ה א ת ל יהוה ב ת י ה יט ב ת ח ס ד ך ה א ח ר וֹן מ ן ה ר אש וֹן ל ב ל ת י ל כ ת א ח ר י ה ב חו ר ים א ם ד ל ו א ם ע ש יר ו ע ת ה ב ת י א ת יר א י כ ל א ש ר ת אמ ר י א ע ש ה ל ך כ י יוֹד ע כ ל ש ע ר ע מ י כ י א ש ת ח י ל א ת ו ע ת ה כ י א מ נ ם כ י אם ג א ל א נ כ י ו ג ם י ש ג א ל ק ר וֹב מ מ נ י ל ינ י ה י ל ה ו ה י ה ב ב ק ר א ם י ג א ל ך טוֹב י ג א ל ו א ם ל א י ח פ ץ ל ג א ל ך ו ג א ל ת יך א נ כ י ח י יהו ה ש כ ב י ע ד ה ב ק ר ו ת ש כ ב מ ר ג לוֹת ו ע ד ה ב ק ר ו ת ק ם בט רום י כ יר א יש א ת ר ע הו ו יּ אמ ר א ל י ו ד ע כ י ב א ה ה א ש ה ה ג ר ן ו יּ אמ ר ה ב י ה מ ט פ ח ת א ש ר ע ל י ך ו א ח ז י ב ה ו ת אח ז ב ה ו יּ מ ד ש ש ש ע ר ים ו יּ ש ת ע ל יה ו יּ ב א ה ע יר ו ת בוֹא א ח מוֹת ה ו ת אמ ר מ יא ת ב ת י ו ת ג דל ה א ת כ לא ש ר ע ש הל ה ה א יש ו ת אמ ר ש ש ה ש ע ר ים ה א ל ה נ ת ן ל י כ י א מ ר א ל ת ב וֹא י ר יק ם א ל ח מוֹת ך ו ת אמ ר ש ב י ב ת י ע ד א ש ר ת ד ע ין א יך י פ ל ד ב ר כ י ל א י ש ק ט ה א יש כ י א ם כ ל ה ה ד ב ר ה יּ וֹם ו ב ע ז ע ל ה ה ש ע ר ו יּ ש ב ש ם ו ה נ ה ה ג א ל ע ב ר א ש ר ד ב ר ב ע ז ו יּ אמ ר ס ו ר ה ש ב ה פ ה פ ל נ י א ל מ נ י ו יּ ס ר ו יּ ש ב ו יּ ק ח ע ש ר ה א נ ש ים מ זּ ק נ י ה ע יר ו יּ אמ ר ש בו פ ה ו יּ ש בו ו יּ אמ ר ל ג א ל ח ל ק ת ה ש ד ה א ש ר ל א ח ינו ל א ל ימ ך מ כ ר ה נ ע מ י ה ש ב ה מ ש ד ה מוֹא ב ו א נ י א מ ר ת י א ג ל ה א ז נ ך ל אמ ר ק נ ה נ ג ד ה יּ ש ב ים ו נ ג ד ז ק נ י ע מ י א ם ת ג א ל ג א ל ו א ם ל א י ג א ה ג יד ה ל י ו א ד ע כ י א ין זו ל ת ך ל ג א וֹל ו א נ כ י א ח ר יך ו יּ אמ ר א נ כ י א ג א ל ו יּ אמ ר ב ע ז ב י וֹם ק נ וֹת ך ה ש ד ה מ יּ ד נ ע מ י ו מ א ת ר ו ת ה מ וֹא ב יּ ה א ש ת ה מ ת קנ יתי ל ה ק ים ש ם ה מ ת ע ל נ ח ת וֹ ו יּ אמ ר ה ג א ל ל א או כ ל לגאול ל י פ ן א ש ח ית א ת נ ח ל ת י ג א ל ל ך א ת ה א ת ג א ל ת י כ י ל א או כ ל ל ג א ל ו ז את ל פ נ ים ב י ש ר א ל ע ה ג או ל ה ו ע ל ה ת מו ר ה ל ק יּ ם כ ל ד ב ר ש ף א יש נ ע ל וֹ ו נ ת ן ל ר ע הו ו ז את ה ת עו ד ה ב י ש ר א ל ב ט ר ם א ל י ק נ י ת ל ג א ל At midiht the ma tarted ad tured ver there wa a wma lyi at hi eet. Wh are yu? he aid, ad he awered, I am yur ervat Ruth pread yur matle ver yur maidervat, r yu are a redeemer. Ad he replied, Gd ble yu, dauhter, r thi lat kide i yet reater tha yur firt, r yu have t e after the yu me, pr r rich. Nw, dauhter, d t be araid. I hall d all that yu ak, r all withi my peple ate kw well, that yu are a wma reat treth. Ad I am ideed a redeemer t yu, but there i a redeemer till cler tha me. Carry lyi here tiht, ad i the mri i he wuld redeem yu, d: let him redeem. Ad i he care t t redeem yu, I hall redeem yu myel, a the Lo live lie here util mri. Ad he lay at hi eet util mri, ad left bere e ma culd recize ather. Let t a ul kw there wa a wma i the hed, aid he. Ad the, Give me the wrap that yu are weari, hld it ut ad he meaured ix meaure barley it it; he ave them t her, ad he wet ut it the city. She came t her mther-i-law; Wh are yu, my dauhter? he aid. Ad Ruth tld her all that the ma had de r her. He ave me thee ix mea- ure barley, he aid, ayi, D t back t yur mther-i-law empty-haded. Said Nami, Sit dw w, dauhter, util yu fid ut hw the matter will all. Fr that ma will t ret tday util it i ettled. Baz wet up t the City Gate ad at dw. Ad the very redeemer whm he had pke paed by: Such-ad-uch, aid Baz, cme here ad be eated, ad he came ad at dw. The Baz tk te me rm am the elder the city; Be eated here, he aid, ad they t at. Ad the he aid t the redeemer, Nami, cmi back rm the lad Mab, mut ell the field-plt ur kima Elimelekh. Ad I tld her I wuld let yu kw it, iviti yu t buy it, i rt the itti here, i rt the elder thi city. I yu wuld like t redeem thi: redeem; ad i yu will t redeem it, tell me: let me kw, r there i e but yu t redeem, ad I am ext i lie t yu. I hall redeem, he aid. O the day yu buy that field rm Nami, aid Baz, ad rm Ruth the Mabite yu will have buht the wie a dead ma with it, t retre the dead ma ame hi etate. Said the redeemer: Such a redempti I culd t perrm; it wuld be the rui my w etate. Yu redeem i my place, I cat redeem. I the l-a day i Irael, a redempti r exchae aythi t be fficially eacted wa cmpleted a llw. Oe ma wuld take ff hi he, ad wuld had it t the ther: that wa the bd the recized

9 ו יּ אמ ר ה ג א ל ל ב ע ז ק נ ה ל ך ו יּ ש ל ף נ ע ל וֹ ו יּ אמ ר ב ע ז ל זּ ק נ ים ו כ ל ה ע ם ע ד ים א ת ם ה יּ וֹם כ י ק נ ית י א ת כ ל א ש ר ל א ל ימ ל ך ו א ת כ ל א ש ר כ ל י וֹן ו מ ח ל וֹן מ יּ ד נ ע מ י ו ג ם א תר ו ת ה מ א ב יּ ה א ש ת מ ח ל וֹן ק נ ית י ל י ל א ש ה ל ה ק ים ש ם ה מ ת ע ל נ ח ל ת וֹ ו ל א י כ ר ת ש ם ה מ ת מ ע ם א ח יו ו מ ש ע ר מ קוֹמ וֹ ע ד ים א ת ם ה יּ וֹם ו יּ אמ ר ו כ ה ע ם א ש ר ב ש ע ר ו ה זּ ק נ ים ע ד ים י ת ן יהו ה א ת ה א ש ה ה ב א ה א ל ב ית ך כ ר ח ל ו כ ל א ה א ש ר ב נ ו ש ת יה ם א ת ב ית י ש ר א ל ו ע ש ה ח י ל ב א פ ר ת ה ו ק ר א ש ם ב ב ית ל ח ם ו יה י ב ית ך כ ב ית פ ר ץ א ש ר י ל ד ה ת מ ר יהו ד ה מ ן ה זּ ר ע א ש ר י ת ן יהוה ל ך מ ן ה נ ע ר ה ה זּ את ו יּ ק ח ב ע ז א ת רו ת ו ת ה י ל וֹ ל א ש ה ו יּ ב א א ל יה ו יּ ת ן יהו ה ל ה ה ר י וֹן ו ת ל ד ב ן ו ת אמ ר נ ה ה נ ש ים א ל נ ע מ י ב ר ו ך יהו ה א ש ר ל א ה ש ב ית ל ך ג א ל ה יּ וֹם ו י ק ר א ש מ וֹ ב י ש ר א ל ו ה י ה ל ך ל מ ש יב נ פ ש ו ל כ כ ל א ת ש יב ת ך כ י כ ל ת ך א ש ר א ה ב ת ך יל ד ת ו א ש ר ה יא ט וֹב ה ל ך מ ש ב ע ה ב נ ים ו ת ק ח נ ע מ י א ת ה יּ ל ד ו ת ש ת הו ב ח יק ה ו ת ה י ל וֹ ל א מ נ ת ו ת ק ר אנ ה ל וֹ ה ש כ נ וֹת ש ם ל אמ ר י ל ד ב ן ל נ ע מ י ו ת ק ר אנ ה ש מוֹ עוֹב ד ה ו א א ב י י ש י א ב י ד ו ד ו א ל ה ת וֹל ד וֹת פ ר ץ פ ר ץ הוֹל יד א ת ח צ ר וֹן ו ח צ רוֹן הוֹל יד א ת ר ם ו ר ם הוֹל יד א ת ע מ ינ ד ב ו ע מ ינ ד ב הוֹל יד א ת נ ח ש וֹן ו נ ח ש וֹן הוֹ יד א ת ש מ ה ו ש ל מוֹן הוֹ יד א ת ב ע ז ו ב ע ז הוֹ יד א ת עוֹב ד ו ע ב ד הוֹל יד א ת י ש י ו י ש י הוֹל יד א ת ד ו ד Continue with הוצאת ספר תורה on page. ח ט י יאא יבב יגג ידד טוו טזז יזז יחח יטט כ כאא כבב am Irael. Ad w thi redeemer aid t Baz, Take pei. Ad he tk ff hi he. Yu bear wite thi day, aid Baz t the elder ad t all the peple preet, that I take pei all that wa Elimelekh, ad all that wa Kily ad Maĥl, rm Nami had. Ad with it I take Ruth the Mabite, Maĥl wie, t be mie, t rebuild the ame the dead hi etate. Ad the dead ma ame will t be cut ff rm am hi brther, rm the ate hi hme tw yu are my witee thi day. Ad all the peple at the ate, ad the elder, aid, We bear wite. May the Lo make the wma wh i jii yur hue like Rachel ad like Leah, wh tether built the hue Irael; may yu rm treth t treth i Erata, ad yur ame be ever pke i Bethlehem. Ad may yur hue be a the hue Peretz, whm Tamar bre t Judah, rwi rm the eed that the Lo will ive yu rm thi yu wma. Ad it wa that Baz tk Ruth, ad he became hi wie, ad he came t her; the Lo rated her ccepti, ad he bre a. Ad the wme aid t Nami, Bleed be the Lo, wh ha t withheld yur redeemer thi day may the child ame be pke i all Irael. Ad may he retre yur pirit, ad utai yur ld ae, r yur dauhter-i-law, wh lve yu, he ha bre him: he wh i better t yu tha eve culd be. Nami tk the child ad ed him i her bm, ad became hi ure. Ad her eihbr amed him, ayi, A i br r Nami! They called him Oved. Ad that wa Oved the ather Jee, the ather David. Thi i the lie Peretz: Ĥetzr wa br t Peretz. Ram wa br t Ĥetzr; Amiadav wa br t Ram. Naĥh wa br t Amiadav; Salma wa br t Naĥh. Baz wa br t Salma; Oved wa br t Baz. Ad Jee wa br t Oved ad t Jee, David wa br. Continue with Removing the Torah from the Ark on page. TORAH READING FOR THE SECOND DAY OF SHAVUOT: DEUTERONOMY 14:22-16:17 9

10 The Maftir for the Second Day of Shavuot is the same as for the First Day HAFTORAH FOR THE SECOND DAY OF SHAVUOT: HABAKKUK 2:20-3:19 של הפרשה הקודמת. 10

11 YIZKOR 11

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13 Shavuot: Re-opening the Book By Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn On Shavuot, which this year falls on Thursday night and Friday night (May 28-30), we celebrate the day that we received the Torah on Mount Sinai over 3,300 years ago. Think about that. Every year, we celebrate receiving the exact same book, or, more precisely, we celebrate re-receiving the exact same Torah. But if I possess the Torah once, why must I receive it again every year? Don t I already have it? One of the most acclaimed novels of this past year was Haruki Murakami s The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. It s an emotionally devastating work that follows the character Tsukuru Tzakai as he attempts to piece together why and how his life fell apart 16 years earlier. As he journeys into his past, visiting old friends and acquaintances, he discovers how much he himself has changed. This makes him see his trauma in a completely different way. It changes the perception of his own narrative. The message is a poignant one. We, as humans, keep changing. Our experiences, development and natural progression create inevitable changes with the passing of each year. We need to re-receive the Torah not because the Torah has changed but because we have changed. As a people, we are certainly so much different than we were 3,300 years ago. We re not robots. We re humans. What we see as critical to our lives may change with the times. So Shavuot comes along to help us reorient ourselves to help us refocus on the timeless rather than just the trendy or the timely. Passover is about Exodus and Freedom. Yom Kippur is about Atonement and Repair. Shavuot is about our life s journey and the techniques through which we constantly re-open our Book and rediscover our inner essence. There is a magnificent and challenging ritual on the first night of Shavuot. The custom is to return to synagogue after dinner and stay up all night studying Torah. There are numerous mystical explanations for this practice, but I d like to suggest another one based on the earlier point: We stay up all night and study Torah because as the hours pass and fatigue sets in, we have less energy for distractions. We are more vulnerable, more open. We can focus on the essence, which is hearing the word of G-d all over again. And every year, the message has a different resonance, because we ourselves are different. To emphasize this theme of renewal, this year, on Shavuot night in my community I will be giving a series of lectures from 11:00pm-5:20am that are really simulated conversations between famous historical Rabbis who disagreed on salient matters of Jewish law, ethics, and philosophy. The point of the exercise is to re-examine their disagreements in light of the passage of time. In other words, if we re-open their dialogue, would we find that the chasm between their positions has grown or shrunk? I want to encourage the community to be in listening mode, to look at disagreements in context rather than in judgement. We can even do that in our personal lives: How would we react to a friend whom we disagreed with if we heard their position ten years later in our present context? On the 2nd day of Shavuot we read the book of Ruth. Ruth converted to Judaism, which may be reason enough for reading this text on this day. Shavuot is the day we formally became a nation of Torah-observant Jews. In a sense it is our collective conversion as a people. But there is something much deeper at play. According to the Midrash Ruth which is a collection of homiletic teachings on the Book of Ruth, composed approximately 700 C.E. the real reason why we read Ruth on Shavuot is because of its manifold examples of pure kindness. Whether it was Ruth s commitment to stay with her mother-in-law, or Boaz inclusiveness, Ruth is a charitable composite of beautiful human traits. What does this have to do with Shavuot? Chesed kindness is also most realized when we acknowledge that people change. What they need today is not what they need tomorrow or what they needed yesterday. And our sensitivity demands that we pay attention to each other anew as often as we can. We have changed, our loved ones have changed and therefore how we give to each other must keep changing and evolving. That is true kindness, true love. The Talmud in Ta anit refers to the giving of the Torah as Yom Chatunato the day of our marriage 13

14 with G-d. Since Shavuot is the day that we received the Torah, it is our national wedding. What is the intent of this image? Well, consider the wedding day, a holiest of holy days when we are open to our future spouse in the deepest way possible, promising to be there for one another through thick and thin. So it is with God on Shavuot. We are there every year, whether we are more thick, or more thin, or more rich, or more skeptical. The re-giving of the Torah expresses our ability to pay attention all over again. Re-opening the Torah on Shavuot gives us access to our most precious treasure, which is the wisdom of our tradition. But for today s new generation, tradition is not enough. They want to know: How will this tradition make me a better person and give me a better life? Shavuot begins to answer that question. Re-receiving the same holy book every year while we keep changing implies that the Torah is powerfully equipped to provide us insight no matter what state or stage we are in. The Jews living in the cultural golden age of Spain ( CE) found genuine cultural expression through the Torah. A compelling example is the poetry of Rabbi Solomon Ibn Gabirol who paved a new style with words inspired by the Torah that simultaneously expressed the true artistic milieu of his generation. The Jewish community in Western Europe in the 19th Century, facing the immense challenge of enlightenment, basked in the innovative approach of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch who re-opened the Torah and understood the concept of Torah im Derech Eretz (Torah and the way of the Land). Jews crammed into the Warsaw Ghetto awaiting an unspeakable fate found an unfulfilling but quiet dialogue with G-d from the words My soul will weep in hiding (Jeremiah 13:7). Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira re-opened the book and meditated upon this verse and understood it as G-d admitting to crying with the people. The Jewish immigrants who arrived on American soil found a world so removed from anything they have ever known. They found a world that was so distant from the journey of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. Yet, some of them decided to re-open the Torah once again and they heard the immutable word of G-d speaking within their mutable selves. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, heard the word of redemption and sent emissaries to spread his vision of hope. Rabbi Aharon Kotler heard the word of dedication and spent his entire life building a community committed to studying the Law. Rabbi Joseph B. Solovetichik heard the word of intellectualism and guided his energies toward teaching thousands of students. The women of the modern era, under the inspiration of Sara Schneerer in Poland, re-opened the Torah and saw a place for their own growth and aspirations. All of these Jewish giants kept re-opening the Book and finding new inspiration. Shavuot teaches us to re-receive the Torah because everything changes. It always does. The world changes. We change. The idealism of our youth sometimes becomes shattered by the coldness of life s reality. The Torah speaks of Mishnah Torah a second Torah. The King of the Jewish nation is charged to keep two Torahs. Rashi in his commentary to Deuteronomy says that one of the King s Torah would be reserved for study at home and the second Torah was taken into battle. Why doesn t the King just have one Torah that he takes to war and one that he looks at while home? Because there is a great need for two. The risk we take when bringing the Torah for protection out on the road is that it can become worn by travel and tattered in war. Our Torah becomes corrupted by the compromises of life, and therefore it becomes necessary from time to time for us to return to that pure Torah back at home, and reflect upon our sacred ideals. This Shavuot I challenge my brothers and sisters to re-open the book. Discover again for the first time those lessons that you may or may not remember from your earlier journeys or your Hebrew School. Share a story or two with your children and notice how the same passage can mean one thing for you, one thing for your husband and another for your children. Let the splendid drama of the Bible carry you through the night and reach deep into your vacillating soul and awaken it. Chag Sameach 14

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30 Talmud Torah and Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik zt"l Before I start, I would like to discharge another duty; believe me I do it with sadness in my heart. You know me; I have never criticized anybody, never attacked anybody, and I have never set myself up as judge and arbiter, to approve or disapprove of statements made by others. However, today I feel it is my duty to make the following statement, and I am very sad that I have to do it. But somehow, I have no choice in the matter; there is no alternative. What I am going to say, I want you to understand, is my credo about Torah and about the way Torah should be taught and Torah should be studied. I have been a Rosh Yeshiva and a teacher of Talmud all my life, at least the major part of my adult life. I have taught many, many people I don't know how many, but many people -- and when I do teach, time comes to a stop for me. I don't look at the timepiece, the clock, or at my wristwatch. I just teach. class are very young, perhaps one quarter, one third of my age, but they come out exhausted, and I come out refreshed. That is shiur. Then I come to Boston, and every Friday morning from half past eight, for three hours until half past eleven, I study with my son-in-law. On Saturday, believe me that I cannot afford to take a nap on Saturday morning and I have not taken a nap on Saturday morning for the last, I would say twenty years perhaps, because I study with my grandchildren. I study with Moshe three hours at least, and I study with Meir two and a half hours. The same is Sunday, the same is Monday. I have no time sometimes, just to sit down and to relax. Teaching has a tremendous and very strange impact on me. I simply feel that when I teach Torah, I feel the breath of eternity on my face. Even now that I am old, or certainly not young, teaching Torah and giving shiurim relieves me of the fear of death, and all the blues and depressive moments which other people go through. When I do teach, I feel rejuvenated, as if I were 25 or 30 years old. If not for the study and teaching of Torah, I would have lost my sanity in the year of triple aveilus in sixty-seven [2] -- I was on the verge of mental collapse and breakdown. I did not. I emerged victorious, and this is due to one thing only -- I would say my mad dedication to Torah. I am not trying to brag or to boast; I am telling you the truth. I was [hit] that year and the following years; I felt somehow that I was not alone, that I had somebody; there was somebody invisible but whose presence I felt, to confide in; there was somebody on whose shoulder I could cry; there was somebody from whom I could almost demand words of solace and comfort. People don't know, and again, please take the proper spirit, I'm not bragging, they don't know how much my schedule is. They know I say shiurim here. Alright, fine, I say shiur three times a week in Yeshiva; even though the shiurim are an hour and a half, it never happens that I should get through in an hour and a half -- two hours, sometimes three hours, sometimes more than three hours. It is very strange -- the boys that sit in my The study of Torah has a great cathartic impact upon me. It is rooted in the wondrous experience I always have when I open up a gemara. Somehow, when I open a gemara, either alone or when I am in company, when I teach others, I have the impression -- don't call it hallucination -- I have the impression that I hear soft footsteps of somebody, invisible, who comes in and sits down with me, sometimes looking over my shoulder. The idea is not a mystical idea -- the mishna in avos, the gemara in Brachos says yachid sheyoshev v'osek batorah, shechina shruya [3]. We all believe that the nosein hatorah, the One who gave us the Torah, has never deserted the Torah. And He simply accompanies the Torah; wherever the Torah has a rendezvous, an appointment, a date with somebody, He is there. Therefore, the study of Torah has never been for me dry formal intellectual performance, no matter how important a role the intellect plays in limud hatorah. You know very well that I place a great deal of emphasis upon the intellectual understanding and the analysis of the halachos; you know that this is actually what my grandfather zt"l introduced, and you know -- I have said it so many times, and I will say it again -- our methodology, our analysis, and our manner of conceptualizing, inferring, classifying, and defining halachic matters does not lag behind the most modern philosophical analyses I happen to know 30

31 something about. We are far ahead of it; the tools, the logical tools, the epistemological instruments which we employ in order to analyze a sugya in shabbos or bava kama are the most modern -- they are very impressive, the creations of my grandfather. Anyway, we avail ourselves of the most modern methods of understanding, of constructing, of inferring, of classifying, of defining, and so forth and so on. So there is no doubt that the intellect plays a tremendous role in limud hatorah. However, talmud torah is more than intellectual performance. It is a total, all-encompassing and allembracing involvement -- mind and heart, will and feeling, the center of the human personality -- emotional man, logical man, volunteristic man -- all of them are involved in the study of Torah. Talmud torah is basically for me an ecstatic experience, in which one meets G-d. And again I want to say that whatever I told you now is not just mysticism or, due to my mystical inclinations; it isn't so. The gemara says so -- chazal have equated talmud torah with revelation, and the great event, the drama of Jewish [living] is reenacted, and restaged, and relived, every time a Jew opens up a gemara. The Talmud in Brachos, while discussing the problem of baal keri, the issur torah of baal keri [4], expressed itself as follows: d'sanya: v'hodotam l'vanecha v'livnei vanecha uch'siv basriha yom asher amadta lifnei hashem elokecha b'chorev, mah lehalen b'ima uv'yira uv'reses uv'ziya, af kan b'ima uv'yira uv'reses uv'ziya [5] -- "make them known unto thy children and thy children's children, the day thou stoodest before the Lord thy G-d in Chorev." The Torah did not say "make known the halachos," more than that. Make known simply your rendezvous with G-d, which means they should experience exactly what you did experience, when you stood before thy G-d in Chorev. How did your people stand before G-d in Chorev? With fear, awe, and with a tremor of the heart, trembling. So must every Jew who engages in talmud torah stand before G-d with fear, awe, and tremor. That is why a baal keri is assur b'divrei torah. It is not the tumah [6]; rather, he is not in the mood to experience the presence of the Almighty, to experience revelation every time he engages in study. If a Jew cannot experience revelation when he is busy studying, then he is assur b'talmud torah. In other words, the study of the Torah is an ecstatic, metaphysical performance; the study of Torah is an act of surrender. That is why chazal stress so many times the importance of humility, and that the proud person can never be a great scholar, only the humble person. Why is humility necessary? Because the study of Torah means meeting the Almighty, and if a finite being meets the infinite, the Almighty, the Maker of the world, of course this meeting must precipitate a mood of humility, and humility results in surrender [7]. What do we surrender to the Almighty? We surrender two things: first, we surrender to the Almighty the every-day logic, or what I call mercantile logic the logic of the businessman or the utilitarian person, and we embrace another logic -- the logic m'sinai. Second, we surrender the everyday will, which is very utilitarian and superficial, and we embrace another will the will m'sinai. This is not, as I told you before, just drush, homiletics: when the Rambam explains kabalas ol malchus shamayim [8] in krias shma, and when he explains the gemara lama kadma parshas shma l'parshas v'haya im shamoa? sheyikabel alav ol malchus shamayim t'chila [9], he enumerates the elements of ol malchus shamayim: ahavaso v'yiraso v'talmudo, and talmud torah shehu ha-ikar hagadol shehakol taluy bo [10]. Talmud torah is an act; talmud torah means kabalas ol malchus shamayim. This is the reason that one must not study Torah unless one says birkas hatorah; this is the reason for kadish d'rabanan: because talmud torah constitutes an act of surrender, of kabalas ol malchus shamayim, of accepting the harness of mitzvos. It is interesting that chazal said ol malchus shamayim; why not kabalas malchus shamayim? Because kabalas malchus shamayim means when malchus shamayim is convenient, when man has the impression that malchus shamayim is out to promote his every day business, when malchus shamayim is good, is acceptable, from a purely pragmatic or purely utilitarian viewpoint. That is why chazal have always inserted the word ol -- harness. Harness means regardless of the fact that kabalas malchus shamayim is sometimes very uncomfortable and requires of man sacrificial action, and that it is a heavy yoke. It is a yoke, but still the kabala must take place. What does kabalas ol malchus shamayim require of the lomeid hatorah, person who studies Torah? First, we must pursue the truth, nothing else but the truth; however, the truth in talmud torah can only be achieved through singular halachic Torah thinking, and Torah understanding. The truth is attained from within, in accord with the methodology given to Moses and passed on from generation to generation. The truth can be discovered only by joining the ranks of the chachmei hamesorah [11]. It is ridiculous to say "I have discovered something of which the Rashba didn't know, the Ktzos didn't know, the Vilna Gaon had no knowledge, I have 31

32 discovered an approach to the interpretation of Torah which is completely new." One must join the ranks of the chachmei hamesorah -- chazal, rishonim, gedolei achronim -- and must not try to rationalize from without the chukei hatorah [12] and must not judge the chukei mishpatim [13] in terms of the secular system of things. Such an attempt, be it historicism, be it psychologism, be it utilitarianism, undermines the very foundations of torah umesorah, and it leads eventually to the most tragic consequences of assimilationism and nihilism, no matter how good the original intentions. Second, we must not yield -- I mean emotionally, it is very important -- we must not feel inferior, experience or develop an inferiority complex, and because of that complex yield to the charm -- usually it is a transient and passing charm -- of modern political and ideological sevoros (logic). I say not only not to compromise -- certainly not to compromise -- but even not to yield emotionally, not to feel inferior, not to experience an inferiority complex. The thought should never occur that it is important to cooperate just a little bit with the modern trend or with the secular, modern philosophy. In my opinion, yehadus ( Judaism) does not have to apologize either to the modern woman or to the modern representatives of religious subjectivism. There is no need for apology -- we should have pride in our mesorah, in our heritage. And of course, certainly it goes without saying one must not try to compromise with these cultural trends, and one must not try to gear the halachic norm to the transient ways of a neurotic society, which is what our society is. A thought. Kabalas ol malchus shamayim -- which is an identical act with talmud torah -- requires of us to revere and to love and to admire the words of the chachmei hamesorah, be they tannaim, be they amoraim, be they rishonim. This is our prime duty. They are the final authorities, and an irresponsible statement about chazal borders on, I don't like to use the word but according to Maimonides, the heretic. When the Rambam says about tzadukim [14], perek gimmel hilchos t'shuva halachah ches, v'chen hakofer b'perusha v'hu torah she- b'al peh v'hamach'chish magideha k'gon tzadok ubaitos [15] -- it's very strange, I wanted to discuss it with my father zt"l. Whoever denies the truthfulness or the authenticity of the torah she-b'al peh is a tzaduki. Why did he add v'hamach'chish magideha -- whoever denies the authority of the scholars, the chachmei hamesorah? Apparently the Rambam says that under the category of kofrim batorah [16] are classified not only those who deny for instance that nisuch hamayim [17] or avodas beis hamikdash [18] is required, or those who deny the torah she b'al peh -- there is no doubt about it in those cases. But moreover, even those who admit the truthfulness of the torah she b'al peh but who are critical of chachmei chazal as personalities, who find fault with chachmei chazal, fault in their character, their behavior, or their conduct, who say that chachmei chazal were prejudiced, which actually has no impact upon the halachah; nevertheless, he is to be considered as a kofer. V'chen hakofer b'perusha v'hu torah she b'al peh v'hamach'chish magideha; he who denies the perfection and the truthfulness of chachmei chazal -- not of the Torah, but of the chachmei chazal as personalities, as real persona as far as their character, their philosophy, or their outlook on the world is concerned -- is a kofer. Let me add something that is very important: not only the halachos but also the chazakos [19] which chachmei chazal have introduced are indestructible. We must not tamper, not only with the halachos, but even with the chazakos, for the chazakos of which chazal spoke rest not upon transient psychological behavioral patterns, but upon permanent ontological principles rooted in the very depth of the human personality, in the metaphysical human personality, which is as changeless as the heavens above. Let us take for example the chazaka that I was told about: the chazaka tav l'meisiv tan du mil'meisiv armalo [20] has absolutely nothing to do with the social and political status of women in antiquity. This chazaka is based not upon sociological factors, but upon a verse in breishis -- harba arbeh itz'voneich v'heironeich b'etzev teildi vanim v'el isheich t'shukaseich v'hu yimshal bach -- "I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in pain thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" [21]. It is a metaphysical curse rooted in the feminine personality -- she suffers incomparably more that the male who is in solitude. Solitude to the male is not as terrible an experience, as horrifying an experience, as is solitude to the woman. And this will never change, mayid shamayim vaaretz [22]. This is not a psychological fact; it is an existential fact, which is due not to the inferior status of the woman, but rather to the difference, the basic distinction, between the female personality and the male personality. Loneliness frightens the woman, and an old spinster's life is much more miserable and tragic than the life of an old bachelor. This was true in antiquity; it is still true, and it will be true a thousand years from now. So, to say that tan du mil'meisiv armalo was or is due to the inferior political or social status of the woman is simply misinterpreting the chazaka tan du mil'meisiv armalo. No legislation can alleviate the pain of the single woman, and no legislation can change this role. She was burdened 32

33 by the Almighty, after she violated the first [law]. Let me ask you a question -- ribono shel olam, G-d Almighty, if you should start modifying and reassessing the chazakos upon which a multitude of halachos rest, you will destroy yehadus. So instead of philosophizing, let us rather light a match and set fire to the beis yisrael, and get rid of our problems. I also was told that it was recommended that the method afkinu rabanan l'kidushin minei [23] be reintroduced. If this recommendation is accepted, and I hope it will not be accepted, but if it is accepted, then there will be no need for a get. Ha-isha niknes b'shalosh d'rachim: b'kesef b'shtar ub'bia [24], the get of a gerushah (divorced woman) we will be able to cross out this mishna, this halachah; every rabbi will suspend the kidushin. Why should there be this halachah if such a privilege exists? Why should this privilege be monopolized by rabanus haroshis [25] in eretz yisrael? Why couldn't the Rabbinic Council do just as well as the rabanus haroshis, if the problem is afkinu rabbanan l'kidushin minei? [ribono shel olam], what are you, out to destroy all of it? I will be relieved of two masechtos; I will not have to say shiurim on Gitin and Kidushin, and then Yevamos as well. I want to be frank and open. Do you expect to survive as Orthodox rabbis? Do you expect to carry on the mesorah under such circumstances? I hope that those who are present will join me in simply objecting to such symposia and to such discussion and debate at the Rabbinical Convention. When I was told about it, I thought, "would it be possible?" I can not imagine at the Republican or Democratic National Convention that they would introduce a symposium on communism and democracy, that perhaps communism should replace democracy in the United States. Could you imagine such a possibility? I could not. There is a certain system of postulates to which people are committed, and such a discussion, for instance at the National Convention of the Republican party, would be outside the system of postulates to which the American people are committed. And to speak about changing the halachos of chazal is, of course, at least as nonsensical as discussions about communism at the Republican National Convention. It is discussing self-destruction, a method of self-destruction and suicide. I know; you don't have to tell it to me -- b'sochacha ani yoshev [26] -- I don't live in an ivory tower or in a fool's paradise. I know that modern life is very complex. I know your problems; many of them are passed on to me. We are confronted with horrible problems -- social, political, cultural, and economic problems of the family, of the community, and of the society in general. We feel, and I sometimes feel like you, as if we are swimming against the tide; the tide is moving rapidly, with tremendous force, in the direction opposite of the way in which we are going. I feel it; I know it; you don't have to tell it to me. The crowd, the great majority, has deserted us, and cares for nothing. I know the danger of taruvos (mixtures) of weddings, of church weddings, in which a Jew or a Jewess is united in marriage by a priest and some Reform rabbi. We are facing an awesome challenge, and I am mindful of all that. However, if you think that the solution lies in the reformist philosophy, or in an extraneous interpretation of the halachah, you are badly mistaken. It is self-evident -- many problems are unsolvable, you can't help it. For instance, the problem of mamzerim in eretz yisrael [27] -- you can't help it. All we have it the Jewish nachalah (heritage) -- no one can abandon it -- neither me, nor the rav haroshis, nor the rosh hagula [28]. It cannot be abandoned. It is a pasuk in chumash: lo yavo mamzer bi k'hal hashem [29]. It is very tragic, the midrash already spoke about it, for instance [divros hashukim] [30], but it's a reality, a religious reality. If we say to our opponents, or to the dissident Jews, "that is our stand" -- they will dislike us, say that we are inflexible, we are ruthless, we are queer. But they will respect us. However, if you try to cooperate with them, or if halachic schemes are introduced from without, you will not command love, and you will not get their love, and you will certainly loose their respect. That is exactly what happened in eretz yisrael. What can we do? This is toras moshe; this is surrender; this is kabalas ol malchus shamayim. We surrender. The Torah summons the Jew to live halachically. We cannot allow an eishes ish (married woman), no matter how tragic the case, to remarry without a get. We cannot permit a giores [31] to marry a kohein, and sometimes the cases are very tragic, as I know from my own experience. I had a case in Rochester: a gentile girl became a giores before she met the boy. She was a real giores hatzedek; she did not join our fold because she wanted to marry somebody. Then she met a Jewish boy, became... He had absolutely no knowledge of yehadus, she brought him close to yehadus. They got engaged, and he visited the cemetery. Since he had come closer to yehadus, he wanted to find out about his family, about his family tree, so he visited the cemetery in which his grandfather was buried, and he saw a strange symbol -- ten fingers [32]. So they began to ask -- they thought it was a mystical symbol, and then they discovered that he is a kohein. What can you do? This is the halachah -- the kohein is assur to the giores. We surrender to the will of the Almighty [33]. On the other hand, to say that the halachah is not sensitive to problems, not responsive to the 33

34 needs of the people, is an outright falsehood. The halachah is responsive to the needs of both the community and the individual. But the halachah has its own orbit, moves at its own certain definite speed, has its own pattern of responding to a challenge, its own criteria and principles. I come from a rabbinic house; it is called beis harav, the house into which I was born, and believe me, Rav Chaim used to try his best to be a meikil (lenient). However, there were limits even to Rav Chaim's skills. When you reach the boundary line, it is all you can say -- "I surrender to the will of the Almighty." This is a sadness in my heart, and I share in the suffering of the poor woman, who was instrumental in bringing him back to the fold, and then she had to loose him; she lost him; she walked away. This is why the Rambam says that talmud torah is identical to kabalas ol malchus shamayim, and to speak about halachah as a fossil, rachmana latzlom, is ridiculous. Because we know, those who study halachah know, it is a living, dynamic discipline which was given to man in order to redeem him and to save him. We are opposed to sh'nuim (changes) of course, but chidush [34] is certainly the very essence of halachah. There are no sh'nuim in halachah, but there are great chidushim. But the chidushim are within the system, not from the outside. You cannot psychologize halachah, historicize halachah, or rationalize halachah, because this is something foreign, something extraneous. As a matter of fact, not only halachah -- can you psychologize mathematics? I will ask you a question about mathematics -- let us take Euclidian geometry. I cannot give many psychological reasons why Euclid said two parallels do not cross, or why the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If I were a psychologist I could not interpret it in psychological terms. Would it change the postulate, the mathematical postulate? And when it comes to Torah, which is hakadosh baruch hu, all the instruments of psychology and history, utilitarian morality, are being used to undermine the very authority of the halachah. The human being is invited to be creative, inventive, and engage in inspiring research from within, but not from without. Instead of complaining against the inflexibility of halachah, let us explore its endless spaces, and enjoy talmud torah, and find in talmud torah a redemptive, cathartic, and inspiring reality. That is all I wanted to say; now let us get to the shiur. References: 1. Partial transcript of an address of Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik zt"l to the RCA Convention, 1975, on the topic of gerut. This is a preamble to the shiur. Transcribed by Eitan Fiorino. Thanks to Hillel Becker, Caroline Peyser, and Larry Teitelman for help in deciphering the Rav's accent and/or for help with some of the references. A transcript of part of this talk appeared as "Surrendering to the Almighty" in the magazine Light, 17, Kislev 5736 (1976), p.13. Rather than a reconstruction or summarization of the talk, this is a nearly word-for-word transcript. In this way, there is no question of my interpretations of the Rav's words. However, the patterns of oral discourse are different than those of writing, and that must be kept in mind while reading. Needless to say, all mistakes and errors are my fault. Ellipses (... ) in the text indicate unclear portions of the tape, and brackets ( [ ] ) indicate unclear words. 2. Aveilus is mourning. In 1967, the Rav lost his mother, his wife, and his brother. 3. One who sits and involves himself with Torah, the Divine presence rests with him. I could not find this exact quote. Pirkei Avot 3:6 reads:... asara sheyoshvin v'oskin batorah sh'china shruyah... uminayin afilu echad? sheneemar b'chol hamakom asher azkir et sh'mi avo eilecha uveirachticha {when ten sit together and involve themselves with Torah, the Divine presence rests with them... how do we know it applies to one? For it is said "in every place that my name is remembered, I will come to you and bless you" (Exodus 20:21)}. Brachot 6a reads: uminayin sheafilu echad sheyoshev v'osek batorah shesh'china imo? sheneemar b'chol hamakom asher azkir et sh'mi avo eilecha uveirachticha {and how do you know that even if one sits and is involved in Torah the Divine presence is with him? For it is said "in every place that my name is remembered, I will come to you and bless you" (Exodus 20:21)}. See also Pirkei Avot 3:3. 4. A baal keri is a man who has had a seminal emission. A baal keri must immerse in a mikveh in order to study Torah. This is a takanat Ezra {a decree of Ezra}. The gemera in bava kama (82a) discusses the decrees of Ezra, and states regarding a baal keri (82b) v'tikan t'vilah l'baalei kerain. d'oraita hu dichtiv v'ish ki titzei mimenu shichvat zara v'rachatz bamayim. d'oraita hu l'trumah ukadshim ata hu tikan afilu l'divrei torah. {And he [Ezra] decreed immersion for a baal keri. Is this not from the Torah? As it says, "and if a man has an emission of semen, he shall immerse in water" (Leviticus 15:16). That which is from the Torah applies to the priest's offering and to sacrifices; he [Ezra] came and decreed even for the words of Torah [immersion is needed]}. The gemara in Brachot (20b to 22b) discusses this further, concluding that a baal keri is assur b'divrei torah, forbidden in the words (and in the study) of Torah. 5. As we learned in a braita: "and you shall make them known to your children and your children's children (Deuteronomy 4:9)," and it is written afterwards, "the day that you stood before the Lord your God in Chorev (Deuteronomy 4:10)." Just as there it was in dread and fear and trembling and quaking, so too in this case it must be in dread and fear and trembling and quaking. Brachot 22a. See also Brachot 21b, Moed Katan 15a. The gemara is connecting the Jews who stood at Mount Sinai with a Jew engaging in talmud torah -- just as those Jews had to stand in dread and fear (thus they were prohibited from cohabitation -- Exodus 14:15), so too a person who studies Torah must be in the proper frame of mind. Thus, the baal keri is prohibited from studying Torah. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 61:1), quoting the Tur quoting Rav Amram gaon, states that such a frame of mind is necessary when fulfilling the mitzvah of kriat shma as well; thus, one must read b'ima b'yira b'retet v'ziya {with dread, with fear, with trembling and quaking}. 6. Ritual impurity. A man who experiences an emission becomes ritually impure and must immerse in a mikveh (see note 4); however, 34

35 being ritually impure does not cause a prohibition of talmud torah. Brachot 22a states tanya: rav yehuda ben batira omer ein divrei torah m'kablin tumah {we learned in a braita: R. Yehuda ben Batira says the words of Torah do not accept ritual impurity}. See also Mishneh Torah Hilchot Kriat Shma 4:8, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim See "Torah and Humility" in Shiurei harav, A Conspectus of the Public Lectures of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (NY: Hamevaser- Yeshiva University/Tova Press, 1974) p A summary of the Rav's yahrzeit shiur delivered March 5, Accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is fulfilled with the first verse of shma -- Hear Israel, the Lord is your G-d, the Lord is One (Deuteronomy 6:4) -- see Brachot 13a/b, Mishneh Torah Hilchot Kriat Shma 2:1, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 60:5 and the Mishnah Brura there. The Rav discusses this in Shiurim l'zecher Avi Mori zt"l volume 1, p Why was the section of "hear" (shma) placed before the section of "and it shall come to pass" (v'haya im shamoa)? So that one should accept the yoke of the Kingdom of heaven first. Brachot 13a (mishna 2:1). 10. Love, fear, and study, and the study of Torah is the fundamental principle upon which everything is based. Based on Mishneh Torah Hilchot Kriat Shma 1:2, which reads umakdimin likrot parshat shma mipnei sheyeish bah yichud hasem, v'ahavato, v'talmudo, shehu ha-ikar hagadol shehakol taluy bo {we begin with the section "Hear" (shma) because it contains the unity of G-d, and love, and study, which is the fundamental principle upon which everything is based}. Possibly, the Rav quoted "ahavato v'yirato v'talmudo" from another source, but I was unable to locate it. 11. The Sages of the tradition. Included in this term, in chronological order, are: chazal, the Sages of the Talmud, divided into tanaim, the sages of the mishna (200 BCE to 200 CE) and amoraim, the sages of the gemara (200 CE to 500 CE); the geonim, the gifted ones (600 to 1000); the rishonim, the first or early ones (1000 to 1500); and the achronim, the later ones (1500 to the present). 12. The laws of the Torah for which no explanation is given. 13. The laws of judgments. 14. Sadducees. A priestly sect active during Second Temple times, which denied the validity of the Oral Law. 15. [Three are deniers of the Torah... ] one who denies the explanations [of Torah] -- the Oral Torah, and one who denies the authority of the Sages, for example Tzadok and Baitos. Mishneh Torah hilchot t'shuvah 3:8. Tzadok was the founder of the Sadducees, and Baitos the founder of the Boethusians, a similar sect. See Avot d'rabi Natan Deniers of the Torah, a class of heretic. 17. Pouring of the waters; part of the ceremony for the sacrifices in the Temple. 18. Service of the Temple; the sacrificial rites. 19. Statements about human nature which have halachic ramifications stated by the Sages and recorded in the Talmud. 20. It is better to live two together than to live alone (Rashi defines tan du as "two bodies"); or, It is better to live in trouble than to live alone ( Jastrow defines tan du as "in trouble"). Yevamot 118b; Ketubot 75a; Kidushin 7a, 41a; Bava Kama 111a. R. Emanuel Rackman had stated or written that this Talmudic dictum does not apply anymore. 21. Genesis 3: Heaven and Earth are witnesses. 23. Afterwards the Rabbis can take the marriage away from him. Yevamot 90b, 110a; Ketubot 3a; Gitin 33a, 73a; Bava Batra 48b. This is the retroactive annulment of a marriage discussed in the gemara as applicable in the case that a man sends a get {religious divorce} by messenger, then cancels it while it is on route to his wife. Thus, the get is canceled, but the wife has no way of knowing, so she will think she is free to marry another person when in fact she is still married and thus may not remarry. In this circumstance, the Sages discussed the possibility of retroactively dissolving the marriage. The retroactive annulment of the marriage had been proposed as a possible solution to the problem of agunot, those women whose husbands refuse to grant them a get. 24. A woman may be acquired in three ways: through money, through a document, or through cohabitation. Based on the first mishna in Kidushin (2a), which reads ha-isha niknet b'shalosh d'rachim, v'kona et atzma bish'tei d'rachim. niknet b'kesef b'shtar uv'via {a woman may be acquired three ways, and she acquires herself [back] in two ways. She may be acquired through money, through a document, or through cohabitation}. 25 The Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel. 26. Amongst you I dwell. 27. A mamzer is the offspring of a forbidden union, loosely translated as bastard (the JPS Tanakh translates it as "misbegotten"). A mamzer may not marry a Jew, and mamzerut, the status of mamzer, is passed on to one's children for all generations. See Sefer hamitzvot, negative commandments 353 and 354. For contemporary halachic issues involving mamzerut, see R. J. D. Bleich, Contemporary Halakhic Problems Vol. I, (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 1977), p The head (the leading rabbi) of the diaspora; this position existed in ancient times. 29. A mamzer shall not enter the congregation of the Lord. Deuteronomy 23: The Rav quotes the first few words of a midrash, but the tape is unclear. He may have been referring Kohelet Rabah 4:10, which, in discussing mamzerim, asks zeh mah chatah v'zeh mah ichpat lei? {what sin has he done and what concern is it of his?} See also Vayikra Rabah (parshat emor) 32:8. The midrash is concerned with the understanding how the children seem to be held responsible for the acts of the parents. In Moreh Nevuchim 3:49, the Rambam answers this question: in order to create a horror of illicit marriages, the Torah taught that those involved in such unions will bring irreparable injury upon their offspring. 31. A female convert. A kohein {priest} is prohibited from marrying certain women, including a divorced woman and a convert. See Leviticus 21:7 and 26:7, and the Sefer hamitzvot, negative commandments 158 to Symbolic of the raised hands of the kohein when he is performing the Priestly Blessing. This indicates that his paternal grandfather was a kohein, therefore he is a kohein. 33. This idea is also explored in "Surrendering our Minds to G-d," in Reflections of the Rav by R. Abraham R. Besdin ( Jerusalem: World Zionist Organization, 1979; now distributed by Ktav, Hoboken, NJ). p Innovation. The gemara in Chagigah (3a) states i efshar l'beit hamidrash b'lo chidush {there is no house of study without innovation}. In Halakhic Man (Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 1983), the Rav discusses the importance of chidush in the world view of halachah (see especially Part Two): "The power of creative interpretation (chiddush) is the very foundation of the received tradition." p.81. "Halakhic man is a man who longs to create, to bring into being something new, something original. The study of Torah, by definition, means gleaning new, creative insights from the Torah (chidushei Torah)." p

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39 בס"ד שיחות רב עוזר חג השבועות תש"ע שליט"א Insights into Torah and Halacha from Rav Ozer Glickman ר"ם בישיבת רבנו יצחק אלחנן Midrash and the Reimagination of Life A pre-shavuot Sermon delivered at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, London When my children were small, there was a big book that sat on their grandparents' coffee table that we would occasionally peruse on our visits. For them, it was an album of fairy-tale children in exotic dress, not unlike how I had pictured the tiny heroes and heroines of the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson in my own childhood. The book was titled A Vanished World by Roman Vishniac. I warrant a lot of you recognize the name of this album of photographs of religious Jewish life in Eastern and Central Europe. Even more of you might recognize some of its iconic photographs, like the entrance to the ghetto in Cracow, or the little girl who remained in bed because she had no shoes. I had my own mental bookmark at the very end of Vishnaic's collection. They were on facing pages: a picture of a little boy, in his peasant hat, peering cautiously around a corner. On the facing plate, a bearded man in similar dress, framed in a small window in a door, apparently watching the little boy. The caption told the story behind the two shots: The father is hiding from the Endecy (members of the National Democratic Party). His son signals him that they are approaching. Warsaw, I can easily understand why these particular two photographs were so hauntingly powerful to me. As a young father with a son about the age of the little boy in the picture, I saw life turned on its head in these final pages of A Vanished World. My little boy still crawled into my bed at night when he had a bad dream. I held his hand when we walked to shul together, keeping myself between him and every danger. The notion of my precious boy turned into a street urchin, hiding in the streets to protect me, was about as horrible a fate as I dared to imagine. Vishniac's pictures provided the stuff of which I and many others constructed my mental image of what it must have been like when the Nazis came to power. They served the purpose that the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee had envisioned when it commissioned the series from the itinerant photographer. In his time twenty-seven years ago, Vishniac was to the Holocaust as Fiddler on the Roof was to Czarist Russia. And then along came Maya Benton, an art historian specializing in documentary photographs of Jewish life in Eastern and Central Europe. Writing in the New York Times Magazine just a few days after this year s Yom hashoah, the gifted young writer Alana Newhouse recounts the story of Benton s fascination with Vishniac s work. It led to a shocking discovery: many of his most cherished photographs were staged or cropped to convey a particular point of view at odds with the facts of their actual subject. Benton, working with Vishnaic's full collection, saw for herself that the little girl confined to bed with no shoes appeared in unpublished shots standing in shoes. The cropped, miscaptioned photograph, entitled by Vishniac "Sara, the only flowers of her youth" for the faded few flowers painted on the wall behind the bed, was used by the Joint for one of the host of 39

40 pushkas they distributed around America to raise critical funds for schools, medical care, and eventually emigration after the passage of the onerous Nuremberg Laws. Sara actually did have shoes, at least the Sara of the photograph did. For me, engrossed in Newhouse's article on a flight to Europe, Benton's most painful revelation was that the photographs of the man behind the door and the little boy in the street came from two different roles of films, apparently shot in two different towns. It is almost a certainty that they were not father and son. In fact, they probably did not even know one another. I sat stunned in my seat, unable to read more but equally unable to put the magazine down. Those faces were indelibly stamped on my heart. They were the images my mind's eye supplied to Elie Wiesel's Night, his story of life in Auschwitz-Birkenau when his relationship with his father Shlomo was inverted by the circumstances of their imprisonment. Recounting the story of one Rabbi Eliahou's son, forced to abandon his father in the camp in order to increase his own odds of survival, Wiesel tells how the younger man "had felt that his father was growing weak... [Believing] that the end was near, [the Rabbi's son] had sought this separation in order to get rid of the burden, to free himself from an encumbrance which could lessen his own chances of survival." Wiesel writes: "I had done well to forget that. And I was glad that Rabbi Eliahou should continue to look for his beloved son. And, in spite of myself, a prayer rose in my heart, to that God in whom I no longer believed. My God, Lord of the Universe, give me strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou s son has done." Sons forced to care for fathers, weighing the calculus of personal survival against instinctual love, nature perverted by the basest impulses of the bestial in man... This was the horror of Wiesel's Night for this Jewish father, the abject fear that the love of my son could be profaned, that he could come to see it as an encumbrance, a parasitical threat rather than a source of strength and context. It has haunted many children and even more parents. What parent does not recoil from Sophie's choice in William Styron's 1979 novel of the same name? What I learned a few days ago is that the mental image I have nurtured and tended for my adult life is at best a conceit and at worst a lie. Alana Newhouse's article was a terrible shock to me. I am nevertheless glad that she wrote it and fortunate to have read it. I will leave it to others to parse the nuances of political discourse and the use of rhetorical hyperbole and misdirection to argue in the public square. It is clear that Vishniac's actions raise ethical concerns about the artist's behavior that are difficult and perhaps impossible to dispel. The construction of pseudo-historical images, when revealed not to be a real record of actual events, plays into the hands of those who would claim that the historical record has also been manipulated and exaggerated by those unfairly claiming victimhood. Celebrating embellished photographs suggests the events themselves require embellishment and reinforces those who would deny the historical record. I have struggled with this revelation and humbly offer my own thoughts on coping with this truth. There is still for me a redeemable truth in A Vanished World. It's truth is not the historical objective variety represented by hard cold facts. It is the hypertextual truth of every work of 40

41 art that slices reality to represent the principle and category. It is the truth of literature and dramatic recreation. It is the truth of Midrash. It is a truth well known to students of the Torah. ספר קוהלת teaches: ו ז ר ח ה ש מ שׁ, וּב א ה ש מ שׁ; ו א ל-מ קוֹמוֹ--שׁוֹא ף זוֹר ח הוּא, ש ם. The sun also rises, and the sun also sets, rushing to the place where it rises again. Now don't we know that the sun rises and the sun sets? What can :ר' אבא בר כהנא citing ר' ברכיה this come to teach but that before the sun sets on a righteous person the sun already rises on another. On the day that R' Akiva died Rebbi was born, prompting the sages to apply to him this verse:."וזרח השמש ובא השמש" On the day that רב אדא בר אהבה died, his son רב המנונא was born, prompting them to apply the verse:."וזרח השמש ובא השמש" On the day that רב המנונא died, his son רב אבין was born, prompting them to apply the verse:."וזרח השמש ובא השמש" On the day that רב אבין died, אבא הושעיא איש טריא was born, prompting them to apply the verse."וזרח השמש ובא השמש" An amazing string of historical coincidences or the studied homiletical response of the authors of sacred history? Is the point to provide a catalogue of birthdays or to demonstrate the fundamental truth that new leaders arise to replace the old, comforting us that we are not to be bereft of greatness? In the hypertextual world of Chazal, texts are read organically and truth has many faces. Though Vishniac's actions are troubling, there is a truth in his pictures. His work will be for me neither lie nor conceit but midrash. There were fathers who hid and sons who inverted the world and cared for them. The faces of that Jewish father and son are the faces I will supply to the millions of others who were lost. Precious souls we lose require a face for we are only human. Vishniac's photographs are indeed of a world that has vanished and the pain of those memories will never completely recede. חג שמח These sichos are published by students of Rav Ozer Glickman shlit"a. We can be reached at Rav Glickman can be reached directly at TO BRING RAV GLICKMAN TO YOUR COMMUNITY, KINDLY CONTACT: Ms. Rebecca Goldberg YU Center for the Jewish Future ext

42 Staying Up Most of the Night R. Gil Student I. Learning and Sleeping On Shavuos, many stay up all night learning Torah and go to sleep after early morning services. This year, when the holiday followed Shabbos, most people had time to rest before the learning marathon. Other years, some of us rush from a full day of work straight into the holiday. In those years, staying up all night is more of a challenge? What if you can t make it through the night? Rav Asher Weiss (Responsa Minchas Asher, vol. 2 no. 6) addresses the proper approach to prayer on Shavuos morning after studying Torah throughout the night. Some people are so exhausted that they can barely pray, much less with deep intent. Should they go to sleep and wake up for later services? Is this even allowed? Normally you are not allowed to go to sleep when the time for a mitzvah approaches (generally within half an hour of the beginning time for that mitzvah). If so, within half an hour of dawn, you should not be allowed to go to sleep even if you plan to pray later. II. Napping and Sleeping Rav Weiss quotes Rav Ya akov Emden (Siddur) as forbidding taking a nap within half an hour of the time for the afternoon mincha prayers. In contrast, Rav Yitzchak Isaac Chaver (Responsa Binyan Olam, no. 1) permits afternoon naps. He distinguishes between daytime naps, which are short, and nighttime sleeping, which are long. There is little danger that a nap before mincha time will prevent you from praying. However, a fully night s worth of sleep can last the whole time for morning prayers, preventing you from fulfilling the mitzvah. Therefore, Rav Chaver permits daytime naps but forbids someone who stayed up all night from sleeping before his morning prayers. The Siddur Ha-Gra (by Rav Yitzchak Moltzen) quotes Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin and Rav Shmuel Salant as saying that someone who wakes up in the morning after sunrise but before his normal time for waking up may not stay in bed and go back to sleep. He is obligated to pray and may not avoid this obligation by going back to sleep. However, the Chazon Ish (Dinim Ve-Hanhagos 4:13) says that you may go back to sleep. Rav Weiss quotes all this and adds that in his opinion you obviously may return to sleep. We find no mention of this prohibition in any early source. Why would we be concerned that you won t wake up at your regular time just because you woke up earlier also? III. Reawakening Similarly, continues Rav Weiss, if you have an alarm clock that normally wakes you up, you may go to sleep after sunrise and rely on the clock to wake you up for services. While Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach did not allow use of an alarm clock in the place of a person, Rav Weiss disagrees. Whatever works for you suffices. Regarding Shavuos, Rav Weiss says that a man s wife or children can be trusted to wake him up for morning prayers. Even if you don t ask them, if that is their regular practice then you can assume they will do it in Shavuos also. Therefore, you may go to sleep after learning all night and then wake up for the later services. IV. Learning Through Shavuos Night Rav Weiss adds that the custom of learning throughout Shavuos night comes from the Zohar (Emor) which specifically mentions the entire night. Therefore, Rav Weiss recommends that someone who gets too tire to pray should learn until after sunrise, go to sleep, and wake up for services later. However, he points out that the Seder Ha-Yom says that you should learn on Shavuos the entire night or most of it. Based on this, Rav Weiss recommends to people who are old and weak that they should learn Torah until after midnight, at which point the majority of the night has passed. I find Rav Weiss reasoning difficult. Yes, if I go to sleep at a normal hour then my wife, children or alarm clock can wake me at my normal hour or a little later. But if I am up all night and only go to bed at 4:30 or 5am, nothing will wake me up in time to get to synagogue by 9am. What works for me in a normal situation will not work for me in that highly unusual circumstance. Maybe Rav Weiss can function on such little sleep maybe most people can but I can t. But as Rav Weiss wrote, if it works for you then feel free to do it. 42

43 T HE J EWISH Q UARTERLY R EVIEW, Vol. 99, No. 2 (Spring 2009) Akdamut: History, Folklore, and Meaning JEFFREY HOFFMAN A KDAMUT IS AN A RAMAIC PIYYUT in the Ashkenazic rite which was composed as an introduction (reshut) to the Aramaic translation of the Torah reading (Targum) for the first day of Shavuot. Aside from a few Sabbath table hymns, Akdamut ( The Introduction of Words ) is the most widely known Aramaic hymn in Ashkenazic liturgy. 1 It has outlived all other introductory hymns to the Targum for the first day of Shavuot, and, it has outlived by many centuries the custom of chanting the Targum itself on Shavuot its erstwhile raison d etre! Ismar Elbogen, consistent with his inclination for reform of apparently outmoded passages of the liturgy, used strong language to suggest that Akdamut, and other poetic introductions of the Targum, for any holy day, be excised: With the elimination of the translation that they were intended to introduce, they have completely lost their significance and their right to exist. 2 It is indeed curious that this liturgical poem has continued to persist in Ashkenazic liturgy. Why should such a lengthy (ninety lines) literary creation in a language foreign to most Jews, introducing a translation of the Torah reading not used for a millennium, continue to be so popular and widely recited? The answer, I hope to show, is that the piyyut acquired a life of its own in the centuries following its composition, independent of the Targum or Shavuot. A sense of loss in the Rhineland, as well as among Ashkenazi Jewry in general, following the First Crusade s violence prepared the ground for the poem taking on an enduring new significance The piyyut s major theme of Israel s loyalty to the Covenant in the face of the nations enticements and persecutions undoubtedly helped to position the poem ARTICLES I want to thank Raymond Scheindlin, Menahem Schmelzer, Ismar Schorsch, Laurie Hoffman, Barry Mark, Nina Redl, and David Arnow who read an earlier version of this paper and made numerous helpful suggestions. 1. See Michael Sokoloff and Joseph Yahalom, Aramaic Piyyutim from the Byzantine Period, Jewish Quarterly Review 75.3 (1985): Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History, trans. R. P. Scheindlin (New York, 1993), 154. The Jewish Quarterly Review (Spring 2009) Copyright 2009 Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. All rights reserved. 43

44 162 JQR 99.2 (2009) to address the needs of post-crusade European Jewry. 3 But a key role in securing its place in Jewish liturgy was played by a medieval Yiddish tale which portrayed the author of Akdamut, R. Meir b Isaac, as a savior of his people and Akdamut itself as a paean to a triumph over a demonic priest who had threatened thousands of Jews. In time, the Ashkenazic collective memory came to associate R. Meir with a miraculous anti- Christian victory, and Akdamut with a celebration of that salvation. The fact that its author lived in the Rhineland around the time of the First Crusade helped to lend a sense of vicarious vengeance to the local Jewish community in the following generations. As we will see, the study of a Yiddish folktale against its historical background helps to explain the surprising popularity and longevity of a lengthy Aramaic liturgical poem. THE TALE Because of the importance of the Yiddish tale in the history and meaning of Akdamut, I will sketch an outline of the story, including enough detail to bring out its drama. Discussion of editions and varying versions of the tale will be presented below. In the year 5121 (1361), at the time of King Martin de Lance, adherents of magic and sorcery increased in the world. Some of these practitioners of the occult passed themselves off as monks with long cassocks. These monk-sorcerers built castles and lived in these strongholds. They grew very powerful and were able to bring to themselves the most beautiful women. The leader and teacher of them all was a master of black magic who was a cruel enemy of the Jews. Whenever he came upon a Jew, he would place him under a spell simply by touching him. When the Jew returned to his home, he would fall down and die. This monk murdered over thirty thousand Jews through his black magic. The Jews of Worms sent a delegation to the king to request protection. Since the monk and his followers presented a threat to the power of the king himself, the king then summoned the monk. The monk declared that he would desist from attacking the Jews for one year on the condition that at the end of the year the Jews present a member of their own community for a contest in sorcery. If the Jews succeeded in this contest, the monk promised that he would never again bother the Jews. If they failed, he would kill them all. The Jews felt that they had no choice but to agree. They immediately turned to tradition: they fasted and engaged in deeds of teshuvah, tefilah, and tsedakah, (repentance, prayer, and charity). They also dispatched letters throughout the Diaspora asking for help, but no one came forward who was willing to challenge the monk. 3. See Appendix I for a new annotated translation of Akdamut. 44

45 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN 163 At this time of desperation, as the months of the allotted year were rolling by, a certain scholar in the community fell asleep while studying and in his dream saw that the rescuer would not come from the Diaspora or the Land of Israel, but rather from beyond the river Sambatyon, where the ten lost tribes of Israel dwelled. It was necessary to contact the Jews of the ten lost tribes for help. Everyone agreed to send R. Meir, who was a great scholar, known for his piety, and a leader of the Jews of Worms. They sent him with a letter explaining their situation signed by the rabbinic leadership of the community, supplies for the journey, and three accompanying rabbis. After many difficulties and much time, the party arrived at the banks of the river Sambatyon on a Tuesday, exactly eight days before the year s time would run out. Now, the Sambatyon River is impossible to traverse during the six days of the week, for it is too turbulent for any boat and the waters constantly fling dangerous rocks into the air. Only on the Sabbath do the waters calm enough for a boat to sail across, but, of course, embarking on a boat journey on the Sabbath is forbidden. Nevertheless, the group knew that the river would have to be crossed on the Sabbath for the sake of saving lives. When the Sabbath arrived, R. Meir instructed the accompanying rabbis to remain and that only he would take upon himself the burden of violating the Sabbath, crossing the river by boat. As soon as R. Meir arrived on the other side of the river, he was placed in prison and told that he would be stoned to death for violating the Sabbath. However, once the Jews of the ten lost tribes read the community s letter explaining the dire circumstances, R. Meir was released from prison. On that same Sabbath, the Jews of the ten lost tribes cast lots to see who would face the monk in order to save R. Meir s imperiled community. The lot fell on a short, lame elder named Dan, who was pious, upright, and God-fearing. R. Meir was told to stay on this side of the river, for he had accomplished his mission and could not justify violating the Sabbath day a second time by crossing back over the Sambatyon. Rather, Dan sailed back alone. When R. Meir s escorts encountered Dan on the far side of the river they lost heart, for how could their rescuer be such a little old man who walked with a limp? Nevertheless, they set out to return. Dan had the secret, mystical knowledge of how to use the recital of God s names to effect miracles. Using such knowledge, the group of four traveled to Worms through a kefitsat ha-derekh (a miraculous short cut; lit., a jumping of the way ) in just two days and arrived on the last day of the year-long reprieve that the monk had granted. It also happened to be two days before the holiday of Shavuot. When the Jewish community in Worms beheld the little old man walking with a limp who was to 45

46 164 JQR 99.2 (2009) be their redeemer, they were struck with terror, for how could he stand up to the fearsome monk who was a master of black magic? In the presence of the king and great crowds of Jews and gentiles in the town square, the contest took place. The monk used incantations to harm Dan, and Dan used recitations of mystical names of God to counteract the monk s magic and to fight back. The monk recited some magic words and created two large millstones which hovered in the air. Then the monk was able to draw them down into his hands and grind them up as if they were merely made of sand. Dan then took the remains of these millstones and made a huge mountain of them. Then he kneaded the earth of the mountain like a woman kneads dough and made from it two millstones larger than the original ones, caused them to hover in the air, and challenged the monk to bring them down. But the monk could not. After a number of other stages of the fight, with the monk losing each round, Dan finally attached the monk to the top of an aged, towering tree, brought the gigantic millstones down, and made them grind the monk into powder. Dan then told the Jews that on the previous Sabbath, when R. Meir accompanied him to the boat, R. Meir had composed and recited to Dan the poem Akdamut Milin. R. Meir requested, through Dan, that the community recite the poem each Shavuot during their worship services for the sake of his name, for his name is signed in the acrostic. ANALYSIS OF THE TALE The tale connects R. Meir and the city of Worms with Akdamut, in such a way as to elevate R. Meir to the status of valiant hero and to elevate Akdamut above the status of merely one more prayer in the worship service of Shavuot. It is instead now an anthem that celebrates a miracle. While the tale certainly has parallels to universal folklore themes such as the miraculous rescue of a seemingly doomed community by an apparently old, small, and weak hero, and the fight against evil sorcerers, among others, it also shares themes with other, specifically Jewish, stories. Among these are the David and Goliath story, the rescue of a threatened Jewish community by an emissary of the ten lost tribes who dwell on the other side of the Sambatyon, the overcoming of an enemy through the recitation or writing of secret, mystical names of God, and the defeat of an enemy in a public disputation that was forced upon the Jewish community For more on the connections to universal and Jewish folklore, see Dov Noy s comments on the Yiddish tale of Akdamut in Moshe Attias, The Golden Feather: Twenty Folktales Narrated by Greek Jews, ed. D. Noy (Hebrew; Haifa, 1976), 191. Cf., as well, Eli Yassif s analyses of similar themes in medieval He- 46

47 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN 165 At the same time that the tale turns on several themes that are found in folk tales world-wide as well as themes that are found in Jewish stories in general, the particular coloring and detailing of these themes connects the story with R. Meir, his community, Worms (or the Worms/Mainz/ Speyer/Cologne region), and with his composition, Akdamut. The tale s conclusion makes it clear that the story was meant to provide an etiology of the piyyut and its connection to the Shavuot liturgy. 5 In addition, through it, R. Meir is glorified. Though he is not the immediate agent of the redemption of the community, he is the one chosen by the community to represent them in the search for the rescuer from beyond the Sambatyon and is clearly a hero in the story. As in many tales of a would-be hero being given a nearly impossible task to fulfill, R. Meir in this tale does fulfill the task of finding the land beyond the Sambatyon and convincing the ten lost tribes to dispatch help, all within the limited amount time despite natural, supernatural, and halakhic barriers. It is worth underscoring that because of the river and the Sabbath, R. Meir sacrifices his past life, including contact with his family, forever, for the sake of the community. In this way, he fulfills, in a most literal and impressive way, his honorific Sheliaḥ Tsibur, Messenger of the Community. In addition to representing them in prayer as the precentor, as he did in reality, in the tale he is a messenger of the community going on a daring mission on their behalf. The tale incorporates historical-sounding details, including a date and the names of actual personages and places in order to give the tale a tone of historical reality. Of course, many of the historical-sounding details work so well in the tale because they did, indeed, connect to paradigms of actual historical events that Jewish communities would know about in general over the centuries. One such feature is the turning to non-jewish authorities, such as the king, for protection against an enemy. 6 brew literature in The Hebrew Folktale: History, Genre, Meaning (Bloomington, Ind., 1999), chapter 5, The Middle Ages: External Perils and Internal Tensions, , especially, The Saint s Legend, Because of this, the tale is often called Ma aseh Akdamut. See Howard Schwartz, Miriam s Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from around the World (New York, 1986), 389. In at least one version, it is known as Megilat Akdamut (The Scroll of Akdamut), relating it, perhaps, to the biblical story of the rescue of the Jewish community of Persia from a cruel Jew-hater in the biblical book of Esther. See Isaac Rivkind, Megilat R. Meir Shats (He arot le-ma aseh Akdamut), Ha-Doar (1929): A similar event actually occurred in Mainz just a few days before Shavuot in 1096 as the Crusader army of Count Emicho was encamped just outside the city gates. The Jews of the city sought, and received, temporary safety behind the fortified walls of the archbishop s palace in Mainz. Ultimately, the Crusaders 47

48 166 JQR 99.2 (2009) In the tale, the king s ability to protect the endangered Jews proves to be limited, echoing the reality of many medieval Jewish communities in Europe. In having the Jews ultimately turn to the ten lost tribes of Israel for help, the tale expresses a feeling of helplessness on behalf of those who told the story and those who later identified with it. Generations of European Jews knew only too well the vulnerable position of their community because of its usual inability, in times of peril, to turn for truly dependable aid to any individual or group Jewish or non-jewish. From a different perspective, the role of the messenger from the ten lost tribes also demonstrates faith in God, and the ultimate success of that messenger displays God s faithfulness in protecting his beleaguered people. God s role is hinted at through the revelation in a dream to a scholar of the community that the true savior will come from the ten lost tribes. After the Jews had fasted, repented, prayed, and given charity, a scholar received a dream vision this was certainly understood by those who heard the tale, as a revelation from God. For the Jews who knew the tale (and such knowledge was quite widespread among Ashkenazic Jewry over the centuries 7 ), the chanting of Akdamut on Shavuot was inevitably understood through its lens. 8 Even though the average Jew could likely not grasp the meaning of all of the Aramaic of the poem, there were many editions of the prayer book for Shavuot which included a Yiddish translation. The threatening aspect of the non-jewish kingdoms in the piyyut (such as the words in verse 23: for whose sake you die in the lion s den 9 ) would be tied to the challenge and threat of the monk-sorcerer in the tale. entered the city, penetrated the palace walls, and massacred the Jews ensconced there. See Robert Chazan, In the Year 1096: The First Crusade and the Jews (Philadelphia, 1996), xvii. 7. See Dov Noy s commentary in Moshe Attias, The Golden Feather, 191; Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy, 258; Daniel Goldschmidt, Akdamut Millin, Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem, 1972), 2: For example, in a comment on the issue of when to recite Akdamut, R. Elijah ben Benjamin Wolf Shapira ( ) expressly cites a version of the Yiddish tale: There is also found (in) a long tale (ma aseh) printed in old Yiddish that the reason it was ordained to chant Akdamut after in the wilderness of Sinai [i.e., the last two words of the first verse of the Torah reading for Shavuot, Ex 19.1] is because this tale occurred in the wilderness, (and so, it is) a remembrance of the miracle. See R. Elijah ben Benjamin Wolf Shapira, Sefer Eliyahu rabah, (Jerusalem, 1999), Hilkhot Pesaḥ (the page is erroneously entitled Hilkhot Shabat), 494.5, p References to verses of Akdamut throughout this essay are to my annotated translation in Appendix I. 48

49 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN 167 Similarly, the vindication of the Jews along with the final disgrace of the non-jewish enemy in the tale would be connected to any number of verses from the piyyut, such as: When he shall bring light to me, but you will be covered in shame... He shall requite in kind to the haters and foes, but (he shall bring) righteousness to the nation that is beloved and abundantly meritorious... He shall cover (that nation) with his glory during the days and the nights, a canopy for (that nation) to adorn with praises (verses 27 28, 30). 10 Similarly, too, at the very end of the poem (45b), the poet alludes directly to the holiday of Shavuot with the words He desired and favored us and gave us the Torah. This, too, brings to mind, structurally at least, the very end of the tale in which the community prepares to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. The cumulative effect of all the ways in which the piyyut was read in the light of the tale is to enhance the figure of R. Meir into one of a victorious champion of his people, and to boost the significance of Akdamut from a prayer offering open-ended encouragement and hope for future redemption to a celebratory hymn of a spectacular deliverance and liberation that already took place. HISTORY OF THE FOLKTALE In 1929, Yitsḥak Rivkind published the tale according to what he believed to be the earliest printed edition available, namely, a 1694 edition in a maḥzor from Fuerth (though he was convinced that it had probably been published before that), as well as according to an early manuscript deriving, most likely, from no later than the beginning of the sixteenth century. 11 About a year later, Rivkind wrote a follow-up article reporting that since his earlier article had appeared, a scholar in Amsterdam sent to Rivkind photos of a copy of the tale published in 1660, thirty-four years earlier than Rivkind s first edition. The publication information in this earlier copy recorded that a press in Amsterdam reprinted the tale 10. For a discussion of anti-christian themes in Yiddish literature in a slightly later period, see Elisheva Carlebach, The Anti-Christian Element in Early Modern Yiddish Culture, in Braun Lectures in the History of the Jews of Prussia 10 (Ramat-Gan, 2003). 11. Isaac Rivkind, Die Historische Allegoria Fun R. Meir Shats (Vilna, 1929), On pp he lists five editions of the Yiddish tale published since See also Eli Yassif, Targum kadmon v nusaḥ ivri shel Ma aseh Akdamut, Bikoret u-farshanut 9/10 (1976): 214, n

50 168 JQR 99.2 (2009) which had previously been released in Cremona. 12 In that same article, Rivkind asserted that the only Hebrew versions of the tale appeared in 1902 and 1916; the former constituted only a summary, while the latter consisted was a full translation. 13 Nevertheless, in 1976, Eli Yassif published a Hebrew version of the tale which not only predated these but also predated the earliest Yiddish printed version that Rivkind had identified. 14 This Hebrew version is found in a manuscript located in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. The colophon states that it was copied in In fact, there are only superficial differences between this version and Rivkind s versions. The copyist of the 1630 Hebrew edition, Yisrael Kohen, says in his introduction that he had known of this story, but that it was only available to those who understood Yiddish (leshon Ashkenazi), and even then, it was printed in only one in a hundred old Ashkenazi maḥzorim. 15 Even though his point was to emphasize the difficulty of obtaining a copy of the tale, his remark is testimony, if only anecdotally so, that the tale had been circulating in Yiddish even before He says that he desired to make this miraculous story more available to the Jewish community, and therefore he availed himself of another person who understood both Yiddish and Italian (leshon la az) 16 because he, Yisrael Kohen, did not understand Yiddish! In this way, he tells us, he translated the tale from a Yiddish written version, through an oral Italian translation, into a written Hebrew version. 17 The Yiddish tale continues 12. Rivkind, Megilat R. Meir Shats (He arot le-ma aseh Akdamut), 508. The Cremona edition which is no longer extant may have been published in See Eli Yassif, Targum kadmon, 214, n. 7. See also C. Shmurek, Reshitah shel ha-prozah ha-sipurit be-yidish u merkazah b Italia, in Sefer zikaron l Aryeh Leone Carpi: Kovets meḥkarim le-toldot ha-yehudim b Italia, ed. I. Milano, D. Carpi, A. Rofe (Milan, 1967), Rivkind, Megilat R. Meir Shats, 508, 2nd column. The summary version is Sefer Akdamut, with an interpretation by Moshe Bauman (Warsaw, 1902), The full version is Saul Mander, Sefer Ma aseh gevurot ha-shem (Lemberg, 1916), with an introduction by Yehoshua Preminger HaKohen. 14. Yassif, Targum kadmon, Ibid., Leshon la az, according to Yassif, ibid., 214. My thanks to the anonymous reader who points out that the manuscript was written in Italy and refers to Italian in several places. 17. Joseph Dan has identified what he described as a Hebrew story from the early thirteenth century which served as a skeletal framework for what later developed into the later Yiddish tale. See his An Early Hebrew Source of the Yiddish Akdamoth Story, Hebrew University Studies in Literature 1 (1973): Whether or not Dan s theory has merit, there is no doubt that the Yiddish tale s oral origins predate any of the written versions we possess. 50

51 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN 169 to enjoy a lively written and oral life. 18 The tale also exists in two, abridged versions in English (in Rivkind s edition, the Yiddish tale is about fifteen pages long). 19 R. MEIR BEN YITSḤAK AND AKDAMUT Akdamut was written by R. Meir ben Yitsḥak Nehorai Sheliaḥ Tsibur of Worms in the eleventh century. He functioned as not only rabbi but also cantor, hence the name Messenger of the Community, the common Hebrew term for one who leads the community in worship services. The name Nehorai ( bright, illumined, or illuminator in Aramaic; a translation of his Hebrew name Meir) is apparently an honorific bestowed upon him as an allusion to an epithet given to the talmudic R. Meir in b Eruvin 13b. Not much is certain about his personal history beyond the following: The names of two of his sons are recorded as Jacob and Isaac, and his grandfather s name was Shmuel. Isaac apparently perished at the hands of the Crusaders in Worms in It seems that R. Meir, himself died a short time before the Crusaders reached the Rhineland, although no definite information on how and when he died has reached us. 20 If such information was lacking as well in the centuries immediately following his death, that would have provided the tale with an opportunity for relating the ending of his days in the mythical region beyond the Sambatyon. At least forty-eight of his piyutim are known to us in Hebrew and in Aramaic. Of them, his best-known work remains Akdamut. 21 Fraenkel s 18. It has been reprinted in Yiddish and Hebrew through contemporary times. Yiddish versions are found, among other places, in children s booklets published by the Hasidic community on a near-annual basis. A recent Hebrew version is found toward the end of Yalkut matan Toratenu: Shavuot (Jerusalem, 2007) published by the Belzer Hasidic community (this anthology is not paginated from the beginning, but only within each excerpt). 19. A detailed English summary of the Yiddish tale is found in Israel Zinberg, A History of Jewish Literature, trans. from the Yiddish (Vilna, ) by B. Martin (Cincinnati, Ohio, 1975), 7: A more recent English version of the tale, with details woven in from several similar miracle stories, is found in The Black Monk and the Master of the Name, in H. Schwartz, Miriam s Tambourine, ; commentary, The commentary on this story includes a list of what Schwartz calls variants of this tale. Some, indeed, seem to be based upon, and adapted from, the Yiddish tale. Others on the list simply reflect one or more of the general themes of the tale and so could not justifiably be called true variants of this story. 20. See Avraham Grossman, Ḥakhme Ashkenaz ha-rishonim (Jerusalem, 1981), 292, nn , and 293, n For general information on R. Meir ben Yitsḥak and Akdamut, see Avraham Grossman, Ḥakhmei Ashkenaz ha-rishonim, ; Jonah Fraenkel, Maḥzor 51

52 170 JQR 99.2 (2009) critical apparatus notes that the first manuscripts we have which include Akdamut are from the mid-thirteenth century 22 (though these may not be the first texts in which Akdamut is found). In halakhic literature, the recital of Akdamut is first mentioned in Sefer ha-minhagim of R. Avraham Klausner (d. 1407/8), and in Sefer ha-maharil, by Klausner s student and nephew, R. Jacob Moellin (1360? 1427). 23 The poem was first published as part of a prayer book in the 1557 Mahzor mi-kol ha-shanah minhag ha-ashkenazim ukhe-maḥzor Saloniki. 24 Its recital is mentioned in the Levush by R. Mordecai Jaffe (published in 1604), and in a comment of Ture zahav on Shulḥan arukh, Oraḥ ḥayim by R. David ben Shemuel Ha-Levy ( ). 25 From then on, it is found in nearly all prayer books in the Ashkenazic rite. 26 Shavuot (Jerusalem, 2000), xxviii, ; Israel Davidson, Otsar ha-shira vehapiyut (New York: 1924, 1929, 1930, 1933; reissue, 1970) (I used the reissue, 1970, 1:7314, 4:274 75); Leon J. Weinberger, Jewish Hymnography: A Literary History (London, 1998), ; Daniel Goldschmidt, Akdamut Millin, Encyclopedia Judaica, 2:479; Abraham David, Meir ben Isaac Sheli aḥ Ẓibbur, ibid., 11:1255; I. Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy, 154, 258; Leopold Zunz, Literaturgeschichte der synagogalen Poesie (Berlin, 1865), ; idem, Die synagogale Poesie des Mittelalaters, vol. 1, Die synagogale Poesie, ed. A. Freimann (Berlin, 1855); Alan F. Lavin, The Liturgical Poems of Meir bar Isaac (Ph.D. dissertation, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1984), The earliest manuscript that can be dated to a specific year in Fraenkel s critical apparatus is from See Fraenkel, Maḥzor Shavuot, Sefer ha-minhagim le-rabenu Avraham Klausner, ed. S. J. Spitzer (Jerusalem, 2005), 121. Sefer Maharil: Minhagim, ed. S. J. Spitzer, (Jerusalem, 1989), I. Davidson, Otsar ha-shira veha-piyut, 1: Ture Zahav (Taz) is one of a number of commentators who object to the insertion of Akdamut after the blessing over the first aliyah of Torah reading has been pronounced. The objection is that the piyyut represents an impermissible interruption (hefsek) once the blessing has been recited. See his comment on Shul- ḥan Arukh, Oraḥ Ḥayim 494:1. The Levush (d. ca. 1612), on the other hand, supported the recitation of Akdamut after the blessing has been said. See Levush, Oraḥ Ḥayim 494:3. See also Fraenkel, Maḥzor Shavuot, xxviii, n Since Akdamut was meant as an introduction to the Targum, the natural place for the piyyut is, indeed, immediately after the first verse of the Torah reading and just before the reading of the Targum. This would, of course, place the piyyut after the recitation of the blessing which precedes the Torah reading. It seems that as time went on, and the Targum was read less and less on Shavuot, support for retaining Akdamut in its natural place diminished. That ultimately led nearly all congregations that chant Akdamut do so before the blessing which precedes the Torah reading. 26. One curious exception is that for many centuries Akdamut has not been recited in Worms, the city which is so closely associated with the composer of the piyyut. The facts surrounding this circumstance are, to this day, not entirely 52

53 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN 171 ACCOUNTING FOR THE LONGEVITY OF AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING The year 1096 is a crucial year for the city of Worms, as well as for nearby Mainz and Cologne. That was the year that these towns (and, to a lesser extent, Speyer, and the surrounding area) suffered the First Crusade s worst anti-jewish violence in Europe. The confrontations occurred around the holiday of Shavuot. The events of that year, known in later Jewish sources as Gezerot tatnu, The Decrees of (the year) 4856 ( 1096), or, more importantly, the Jewish memory of those events, magnified the significance of the tale about R. Meir, and of Akdamut. 27 The severity of the losses in Worms, Mainz, and Cologne the destruction of nearly the entire Jewish community there was worse than anywhere else in the region. And although the Jewish communities rebounded and rebuilt, these killings the very first outbreak of Christian anti-jewish mass-murder in Europe left a lasting impression on the Jewish consciousness of the region. The impact was expressed in the large number of rituals (including annual fasts) which arose and in prayers composed to memorialize the dead. The best-known elegy for the events of 1096 is the prayer Av ha-raḥamim, found to this day in nearly all traditional Ashkenazic prayer books. It memorializes the dead as the pious, and the upright, and the pure (ha-ḥasidim veha-yesharim vehaclear. Apparently, Akdamut had been recited in Worms until, perhaps, the sixteenth century. From then on, it has not been recited there. An early explanation contends that the recitation of Akdamut in Worms ceased because one year, in the middle of its recitation, the precentor who was chanting it had been taken by God. Many other explanations, including political theories (such as that a prayer with anti-gentile overtones was not recited in the author s home town so as not to arouse the ire of the gentiles) have been advanced, but there is little to support any of them. The record of the custom that the piyyut is not recited in Worms is found in the seventeenth-century book of customs from Worms: Yitshak Zimmer, ed., Minhagim de-kehilah kedoshah wormaiza le-rabi Yuzpa Shamash, (Jerusalem, 1988), 104, p In n. 13, Zimmer cites the sources which attempt to explain this custom. See also Jonah Fraenkel, Maḥzor Shavuot, xxviii, n. 167, who is the source for the suggestion that the recitation of Akdamut in Worms may have ceased in the sixteenth century. 27. I am grateful to Lucia Raspe who shared with me her paper Vicarious Victories over Christianity in Medieval Jewish Hagiography from the International Medieval Congress sponsored by the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds, England, July 10, It is being prepared for publication in the journal Aschkenas under the tentative title Zwischen Worms und Tiberias: Ein deutscher Wunderrabbi und sein Wandergrab. See also Raspe s Jüdische Hagiographie im mittelalterlichen Aschkenas (Tübingen, 2006),

54 172 JQR 99.2 (2009) temimim) but mainly calls upon God to avenge the dead. There are many others. 28 It is in the light of these kinds of rites and prayers that the significance of Akdamut and the tale should be understood. Chronicles of the events were certainly written and read, but these were not recited in any regular way, whether weekly or annually, on the anniversary of the events. 29 The way the horrific events of 1096 were absorbed into Jewish memory was mainly through the incorporation of religious poetry which commemorated the losses. As the Yiddish tale circulated and became known, R. Meir the author of Akdamut became inseparable in Ashkenazic Jewish consciousness from R. Meir the hero who saved Rhenish Jewry from the evil monk. Although Akdamut was probably not written in order to venerate the events and the losses of 1096, its association with R. Meir must have brought to mind Jewish vengeance and vindication for the Crusader attacks, especially as more and more time separated contemporary Jews from the late eleventh century. This brings us back to our original question regarding Akdamut s longevity. I believe that we approach an answer to the question when we view the poem the way its readers did in the centuries which followed its composition, namely, in the context of the Yiddish tale and with the memory of the attacks of the Crusaders. Later generations could not have missed the connections between the theme of Akdamut, the intersecting locales of its author, of the threatened-then-redeemed Jewish community in the tale, and of the true-to-life anti-jewish mass murder 28. A number of other hymns as well as fasts to commemorate The Decrees of 1096 can be found, e.g., in the same volume that contains one of the first mentions of reciting Akdamut in a halakhic compendium, Sefer Maharil: Minhagim, ed. S. J. Spitzer, ed., Hilkhot Shavuot 1, p See, too, Avraham David, Historical Records of the Persecutions during the First Crusade in Hebrew Printed Works and Archives, in Facing the Cross, ed. Y. T. Assis et al. (Hebrew; Jerusalem, 2000), esp See also, Israel Jacob Yuval, Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Berkeley, Calif., 2006), I express my gratitude to the anonymous reader for the previous two references. See, too, David Wachtel, The Ritual and Liturgical Commemoration of Two Medieval Persecutions (M.A. thesis, Columbia University, 1995). 29. Gerson Cohen took the approach that notwithstanding this fact, the Hebrew Crusade Chronicles ought to be understood from a liturgical perspective. See Gerson D. Cohen, The Hebrew Crusade Chronicles and the Ashkenazic Tradition, in Minḥah le-nahum: Biblical and Other Studies Presented to Nahum Sarna, ed. M. Brettler and M. Fishbane (Sheffield, 1993),

55 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN 173 that took place at the same historical time period of R. Meir at the same time of year as the climax of the tale. The theme of Akdamut is Israel s great merit before God because of her loyalty in the face of persecutions and enticements by the nations. 30 The location of the author of Akdamut is Worms. The location of the threatened-then-redeemed Jewish community of the tale is also Worms. The anti-jewish attacks of the Crusades occurred in Worms and its environs. R. Meir lived until about 1096, and the attacks occurred in The time of year of the attacks surrounded the holiday of Shavuot. The piyyut was written for the holiday of Shavuot. The climax of the tale took place just prior to the holiday of Shavuot. My conclusion is that all of these elements blended in the following manner: The Yiddish tale bound together R. Meir, his piyyut, and the essentials of the Crusader attacks in such a way as to provide succor to Jewish communities which suffered demoralizing defeat and bereavement in the wake of the First Crusade. The encouragement and hope offered by the piyyut on its own were reinforced and augmented by the retelling of the tale, so that the memory of defeat and death were softened and mollified (though not entirely relieved), in generation after generation, by the story of the defeat and death of the anti-semitic black monk. That defeat was effected by the unlikely anti-hero of Dan, the old, limping, short Jew, who was the master of a spiritual wisdom which trumped the avenging monk. Dan was enlisted by the pious Sheliaḥ Tsibur, the messenger of the community of Worms, the author of Akdamut. Jews in successive generations of medieval Europe took hope and courage from the poem. In this way, the tale and the memory of the Crusader violence bolstered and augmented the power of the main theme of Akdamut to offer consolation, faith, hope, and strength to Jewish communities over the centuries. All of this was encompassed in the annual recitation of Akdamut on the holiday of Shavuot. Akdamut would likely have fallen into desuetude not long after the Targum, which it was meant to introduce, was itself discontinued on Shavuot in Europe. However, the original theme of the poem, as seen through the lens of the Yiddish tale and as filtered through the memory of the losses of the First Crusade, has preserved this ninety-line Aramaic poem in the liturgy for nearly a thousand years since its composition. 30. Verses 16 through 45 more than half of the poem emphasize the main point: Israel is beloved and preferred by God, over the angels, over the nations, and will be amply rewarded in the World to Come because of Israel s steadfastness in the face of the nations abuse and temptations. 55

56 174 JQR 99.2 (2009) APPENDIX I: A NEW ANNOTATED TRANSLATION OF AKDAMUT Alef The introduction of words and the opening of speech: 32 At the beginning I request authority and permission. 2. Bet Trembling, I will begin with two or three entries, With the consent of (the one who) supports (us) through our old age Gimel Eternal glory is his and cannot be described, (Even) if the heavens were parchment and all the forests pens; 4. Dalet (And even) if all seas and gathered waters (were) ink, (and) earth s inhabitants (were all) scribes and authors. 5. Heh Splendid is the Master of the heavens and the ruler of the earth, He alone established the world and conquered it The Hebrew translation and commentary of Akdamut by Jonah Fraenkel, Maḥzor Shavuot, , stand head and shoulders above all other previous attempts, and I owe a debt of gratitude to his work. He, in turn, owes a debt to the translation and commentary of Akdamut by Wolf Heidenheim ( ): Wolf ben Shimshon Heidenheim, Maḥzor le-ḥag ha-shavuot (Roedelheim, 1805). Heidenheim s German translation of Akdamut was rendered into Hebrew and published, along with his Hebrew commentary, in a separate booklet in Seder Akdamut v- Arkhin im perush ve-targum (Tel Aviv, 1963). 32. An unprejudiced interpretation of the wording of this line is that the payetan is merely introducing the words of his poem and not the words of the Ten Commandments. 33. Based on Is 46.4: Til you grow old, I will still be the same; When you turn gray, it is I who will carry. Most biblical translations are from the New Jewish Publication Society edition (NJPS), JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh (Philadelphia, 1999). Occasionally, I have supplied my own translation. 34. Referring, perhaps, to those passages in the Bible wherein God is described as having to fight primordial forces for control of the world, e.g., Is 27.1, Ps 104.9, Job

57 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN Vav Without effort 35 and weariness he completed it, And through the use of an insignificant letter, one with no substance Zayin He completed all of his work in those six days, (After which), the radiance of his glory 37 ascended upon his throne of fire. 8. Ḥet A force of thousands upon thousands, a throng, serves (him), They sprout forth anew each morning; with great faithfulness Tet Six-winged Serafim, blazing greatly Are silent until consent is given to them Yod They receive (the consent) at once, without hesitation, (Chanting) their three-fold Kedushah: His glory fills all the earth. 35. Le u, in this sense, is used by Targum Onkelos on Gn See Midrash Bereshit Rabbah, ed. J. Theodor, Ch. Albeck, (Jerusalem, 1965), 12.10; 1:107. The Midrash understands the word be-hibar am (Gn 2.4) to mean be-heh bera am, God created the heavens and the earth by using the letter heh. Be-hibar am R. Abbahu in the name of R. Yoḥanan: With a heh he created them. Just as all the letters (of the alphabet) make a sound and the heh does not, so, too, did the Holy One, blessed be he, create his world without labor and effort. 37. Targum Yonatan translates minogah negdo in Ps ( Out of the brilliance before him ) with the words in this line: zehor yekare. 38. In bḥag 14a, Shemuel quotes to R. Ḥiyya bar Rav the elevated words of R. Ḥiyya s father, to the effect that angels are created daily, each morning. He connects Dn 7.10 and Lam 3.23 as they are in this line. Dn 7.10: Thousands upon thousands served him; Myriads upon myriads attended him. Lam 3.23: They are renewed every morning Ample is your faithfulness! 39. The angels themselves extend permission to each other, as in the next line, and as in several forms of the prayer Kedushah. The image of the six-winged angels comes from Is 6.2. See Mordecai Yitsḥaqi, Ha-Piyut Akdamut Milin u mivneh ha-kedushah, Mahut 15 (Winter 1995):

58 176 JQR 99.2 (2009) 11. Kaf Like the sound of Shadai, like the sound of many waters, 40 Cherubs opposite Ofans rise up in a roar Lamed To gaze upon the face, an appearance of the radiance of the rainbow. 42 They rush quickly to every place they are sent. 13. Mem They bless his glory 43 in every kind of concealed chant, 44 From the place of his Glory 45 which requires no searching Nun All the celestial force roars; (they all) extol in trembling, 47 May he reign for all generations, forever Ez 1.24 When they moved, I could hear the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the sound of Shaddai. 41. Ez 3.12: The spirit carried me away, and behind me a I heard a great roaring sound. In the Book of Ezekiel (chapter 1 and ), the many references to ofanim (gilgelin in the Aramaic of Akdamut) appear to mean wheels of the angelic apparatus. In later Jewish tradition, these were interpreted to denote a category of angel, as in Kedushah de-yotser, and in the many piyutim known as Ofanim. Apparently, that is the intention here as well. 42. Ez : Like the appearance of the bow which shines in the clouds on a day of rain, such was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. That was the appearance of the semblance of the Presence of the Lord. 43. Ez 3.12, interpreted, according to tradition, as relating the words that Ezekiel heard, Then a spirit carried me away, and behind me I heard a great roaring sound: Blessed is the Glory of the Lord in his place. 44. Leḥishta, means literally whispering, but it may not mean that here since the text referenced (Ez 3.12) says explicitly a great roaring sound. Cf. Fraenkel, Maḥzor Shavuot, Targum to Ez Fraenkel, Maḥzor Shavuot, 388, interprets needs no searching in advance, because his place is not known. This logic is forced. If the intention is that his place is not known, the poet wouldn t say that it requires no searching, he would say that it cannot be searched. Fraenkel is, apparently, influenced by other sources such as the eighth-century Pirke de-rabbi Eliezer, end of chapter 4, which says that even the angels do not know God s place. That is the reason they say Blessed is the presence of the Lord from his place (Ez 3.12). What the poet means here is, perhaps, that his place needs no searching by the angels, because they do know its place, as the previous couplet (Lamed) says, they gaze upon the face. Heidenheim, Seder Akdamut v Arkhin im perush v targum, 6, interprets that his place needs no searching because His presence fills all the earth (Is 6.3, cited above, in verse 10). 47. The line begins in the singular and continues in the plural. 48. Ps A verse found in many versions of the Kedushah. 58

59 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN Samekh His Kedushah is arranged with them, and when the time passes, It is the end forever; (they do not recite it) even once in seven years Ayin His own dear possession 50 are beloved because they regularly Set praise for him morning and evening. 17. Peh They are distinguished as his portion, to do his will, The wonders of his praise they declare and chant. 18. Tsadi He desires, craves and yearns (for them) because they exert much effort 51 in study, Their prayers, he therefore, accepts and their petition is effective. 19. Kaf (Their prayer) is attached to the crown of the Eternal One, through an oath, Next to the phylactery that is everlastingly set (there) This verse, along with the next one, is comprehensible only in the context of a talmudic discussion of Jacob s encounter with the divine being in Gn 32.27, Then he said, Let me go, for dawn is breaking. bḥul 91b comments that this angel asked to be released because his opportunity to recite song (shirah) had arrived for the first time since he was created. The Talmud goes on to say that Israel is favored by God over the angels, the basis for the next line, Ayin, and a pivotal point in Akdamut, as the poem turns from a description of the angels to praise of Israel, favored over the angels, favored over the nations. While Israel chants every hour, the angels chant only once a day, and some say, once a week, and some say once a month, and some say once a year, and some say once every seven years, and some say once in a Jubilee (50 years), and some say once in eternity (ba- olam). The angels song is said to be the Isaiah verse from the Kedushah (Is 6.3), while Israel s is Shema (Dt 6.4). Therefore, the meaning of this line is that Israel is favored by God even over the angels because the angels praise occurs only once in eternity, while Israel s occurs several times a day. 50. Adav aḥsanteh is the rendering of Targum Onkelos to Dt 32.9, Ḥevel naḥalato, his own allotment, i.e., Israel. Again, the verse begins in the singular and concludes in the plural. 51. De-la un. Same root as in verse 6 lei u, effort. 52. The images are based on various rabbinic traditions. Exodus Rabbah 21.4 teaches that an angel is especially appointed to take the prayers of Israel (as in the previous line of our poem) and to form crowns which will adorn God s head. In Pesikta rabati, parashat Matan Torah, the angel adjures (mashbi a) the crown to sit upon God s head. Cf. bḥag 13b and Hekhalot rabati in Peter Schäfer, ed., 59

60 178 JQR 99.2 (2009) 20. Resh Inscribed in (the phylactery) is wisdom and discernment, The greatness of Israel, who recite the Shema Shin Praise like this of God s (for Israel) Is proper for me to express before the kingdoms (of the world). 22. Tav They 54 come and gather like the appearance of waves, They are amazed and ask about the miracles. 23. Mem/Alef From where and just who is your love, (you) who are beautiful to behold, For whose sake you die in the lion s den? 55 Synopse zur Hekhalot-Literatur (Tübingen, 1982), p. 13, 25. The image of God wearing phylacteries is found in bber 6a. 53. bber 6a contains several suggestions as to which biblical verses are inscribed in God s phylacteries. One is Dt 4.7, For what great nation is there... Dt 4.6 contains the praise of Israel Surely that great nation is a wise and discerning people. Therefore, the sense of the verse is that God s phylacteries contain a biblical verse which hints at the wisdom and discernment of Israel. And perhaps it is hinting at the fact that Israel s phylacteries contain two paragraphs of the Shema, as well. 54. The non-jewish kingdoms. 55. The non-jewish kingdoms address Israel. This couplet and the next several are based upon the following passage from Mekhilta de-rabbi Ishmael, Shirata 3. The following translation is from Jacob Z. Lauterbach, Mekilta de-rabbi Ishmael (Philadelphia, 1935, 1961), 2:26 27: R. Akiba says: I shall speak of the prophecies and the praises of Him by whose word the world came into being, before all the nations of the world. For all the nations of the world ask Israel, saying: What is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so adjure us (Song 5.9), so that you are ready to die for Him, and so ready to let yourselves be killed for Him? For it is said: Therefore do the maidens love Thee (ibid. 1.3), meaning, they love Thee unto death. And it is also written: Nay but for Thy sake are we killed all the day (Ps 44.23). You are handsome, you are mighty, come intermingle with us. But the Israelites say to the nations of the world: Do you know Him? Let us but tell you some of His praise: My beloved is white and ruddy, etc. (Song 5.10). As soon as the nations of the world hear some of His praise, they say to the Israelites: We will join you, as it is said: Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither hath thy beloved turned him, that we may seek him with thee (ibid. 6.1). The Israelites, however, say to the nations of the world: You can have no share in Him, but My beloved is mine and I am his (Song 2.16), I am my beloved s and my beloved is mine, etc. (ibid. 6.3). The reference to the lion s den alludes to Dn 6:17. 60

61 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN Yod/Resh Honored and beautiful will you be if you intermingle with the realms, Your will we will do everywhere Bet/Yod With wisdom she answers them; 57 the (messianic) End (she) describes, If you only knew him in wisdom, in intimate knowledge. 26. Resh/Resh What significance has the greatness (that you promise) compared to that great praise, Of what he will do for me when the Redemption shall come! 27. Bet/Yod When he shall bring light to me, but you will be covered in shame. When his glory shall be revealed in strength and pride Yod/Tsadi He shall requite in kind to the haters and foes, 59 But (he shall bring) vindication to the nation that is beloved and abundantly meritorious. 29. Ḥet/Kaf When he brings complete joy, (that nation shall be a) pure vessel 60 For the city of Jerusalem when he gathers in the exiled. 30. Yod/Gimel He shall cover (that nation) with his glory during the day and night, A canopy for (that nation) to adorn with praises The nations entice Israel. 57. Israel answers the nations. 58. When He shall bring light to me... When His glory... is based upon Is 60.1: your light has dawned; The glory of the Lord has shone upon you! 59. Based upon Is 59.18, He shall make requital to his enemies, requital to the distant lands. The language of the poem is very close to that of the Targum to this verse. 60. Based upon Is 66.20: And out of all the nations, said the Lord, they shall bring all your brothers... to Jerusalem My holy mountain as an offering to the Lord just as the Israelites bring an offering in a pure vessel to the House of the Lord. 61. This image is based upon Is (and see Mekhilta, Pisḥa 14, in Lauterbach, 1:108): The Lord will create over the whole shrine and meeting place of Mount Zion cloud by day and smoke with a glow of flaming fire by night. Indeed, over all the glory shall hang a canopy, which shall serve as a pavilion for shade from heat by day and as a shelter for protection against drenching rain. 61

62 180 JQR 99.2 (2009) 31. Dalet/Lamed For the glow of the clouds will beautify the canopies; According to the effort, shall each shelter be made Bet/Tav In chairs of pure gold, in seven levels, The places of the righteous, before the Master of (all) deeds Vav/Resh And their appearance will be of perfect joy, (As) heaven in its splendor and the stars of light Heh/Vav Beauty which the lips cannot express, Nor was heard or seen in prophetic visions Bet/Mem No eye (ever) held sway over the Garden of Eden, (Yet) they (the righteous of Israel) will circle in a dance with the Shekhinah See bbb 75a where Is 4.5 is cited (see previous footnote) and interpreted to mean that The Holy One, blessed be he, will make for everyone a canopy according to his honor. 63. In chairs of pure gold may be based upon bket 77b, (In the World to Come) R. Shimon bar Yoḥai was sitting upon thirteen chairs of gold. In seven levels is very close to the language of Bet ha-midrash, Seder gan eden 3, Adolph Jellinek, Bet ha-midrash, vol. 2 (Jerusalem, 1967) 133, The righteous are in seven levels (sheva ma alot) in the Garden of Eden. See also Yalkut Shim oni on Gn 2.8, 20, 7a:... (In the Garden of Eden there will be) seven groupings (literally, houses, batim) of the righteous. 64. Based upon Leviticus Rabbah, ed. Mordecai Margaliot (Hebrew; Jerusalem, 1972), 40:2, 692: In Your presence is perfect joy (Ps 16.11). Don t read sova, perfect, rather sheva, seven. These are the seven classes of the righteous who, in the future, will be present with the Shekhinah, and their faces will resemble the sun and the moon, the heaven and the stars. 65. This refers to the beauty of the World to Come. Is 64.3 reads Such things had never been heard or noted. No eye has seen (them), O God, but you. (Fraenkel, Maḥzor Shavuot, 393, cites, in what must be a typographical mistake, Ps 64.3 instead of Is 64.3). This is interpreted in bber 34b as follows: R. Ḥiyya bar Abba also said in the name of R. Yoḥanan: All the prophets prophesied only for the days of the Messiah (i.e., their predictions referred to this time period), but as for the World to Come, No eye has seen (them) O God, but you. (The exegesis of Is 64.3 in bber 34b figures in verse 42 below, as well) no eye holds sway over the Garden of Eden is based upon the continuation of the statement in bber 34b cited in the previous note: R. Samuel ben Nahmani said: This is Eden, which has never been seen by the eye of any creature. 62

63 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN Ayin/Shin They will point to him, although in trembling, We hoped for him in our captivity with great faith Yod/Mem He will lead us eternally as robust youths, 68 (In) our portion, 69 which has previously been set aside as a gift. 38. Tet/Vav The contest of Leviathan and the Ox of the tall mountain, As they struggle one on one in battle, 70 They (the righteous of Israel) circle (metaile) is based upon Sifra, Beḥukotai, chapter 3.3, 120b: In the future, the Holy One, blessed be he, will stroll (metayel) with the righteous in the Garden of Eden.... in a dance with the Shekhinah is based upon bta an 31a (the very end of the tractate), In the future, the Holy One, blessed be he, will arrange a dance with the righteous and he will sit among them in the Garden of Eden, and every one of them will point (to God) with his finger as it is said In that day they shall say: This is our God... (Is 25.9). The continuation of this verse is referred to in the next line of the poem. See Mordecai Yitsḥaqi, Ha-Piyut Akdamut Milin la-shavuot: Hashlamah le-ma amar ha-piyut Akdamut Milin u-mivneh ha-kedushah, Mahut 18 (Fall 1996): We hoped for him, as in Is 25.9 (see previous note) In that day they shall say: This is our God; we hoped for him and he delivered us. This is the Lord, for whom we hoped. 68. eternally as... youths, is a translation of the poem s almin alemin. This phrase is based upon Leviticus Rabbah (ed. Margaliot), 11:9, : R. Berekhiah and R. Ḥelbo and Ulla Birah and R. Elazar (said) in the name of R. Ḥanina: In the future, the Holy one, blessed be he, will be at the head of a dance for the righteous... and they rise robustly and point to him with a finger and say For this God, is our God forever, he will lead us eternally (Ps 48.15). Al mut eternally (means) robustly ; al mut like those ulemta (young maidens who dance). Al mut Aqilas translated eternally, a world that has no death (as if it were spelled almut with an alef at the beginning instead of an ayin, and as if it were two words: al mut no death ). (Another interpretation:) Al mut, (understood as olamot) [two] worlds ; He shall lead us in this world and he shall lead us in the World to Come. This line of the poem ingeniously weaves both interpretations of al mut into one line: robustly and eternally. 69. That is, our bliss in paradise. 70. The scene is found in Leviticus Rabbah (ed. Margaliot), 13:3, 1:277 78: R. Yudan son of R. Shimon said Behemoth and Leviathan are the beasts of the contest for the righteous in the future to come, and anyone who has not seen the gentile nations beasts of the contest in this world will merit to see them in the 63

64 182 JQR 99.2 (2009) 39. Bet/Yod Behemoth will gore with its horns in strength, The fish will leap to meet it using its fins with might. 40. Mem/Alef Its maker draws his sword upon it with power, 71 A feast and a meal will he prepare for the righteous. 41. Mem/Nun They will be seated at tables of rubies and precious stones; 72 Rivers of balsam flow before them Vav/Ḥet And they delight and refresh themselves with refreshing cups, Grape wine from creation preserved in wine vats Zayin/Kaf Righteous ones: Just as you have heard this lyrical praise, You will assuredly be among that assembly. World to Come. How are they slaughtered? Behemoth smites Leviathan with its horns and pierces it, and Leviathan smites at Behemoth with its fins and tears it. The contest described here is akin to the gladiatorial battles held in Roman amphitheaters. See the citations in Margaliot s commentary, ad locum. 71. Jb speaks at length of Behemoth and Leviathan. Job reads (regarding Behemoth) Only his maker can draw the sword against him. Paralleling this verse, Akdamut uses the singular: Its maker draws his sword upon it. bbb 75a contains an extended exegesis of some of these passages. While the verse explicitly says God will kill only Behemoth with the sword, Rashbam, commenting on the talmudic discussion (s.v. Ha oso yagesh ḥarbo) glosses In Job, this is written regarding Behemoth, but the same applies to Leviathan. Presumably, the poem s intention is the same. 72. Is appears to be the basis for the image of rubies... precious stones : I will make your battlements of rubies, // Your gates of precious stones. 73. There are a number of references in rabbinic literature to rivers of balsam adorning the Garden of Eden for the righteous in the World to Come. See, for example, bta an 25a, yaz 3:1, 42c. 74. Is 64.3 says of the time of Salvation, No eye has seen (such things), O God, but you. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, in bber 34b, interprets one of the miraculous rewards to the righteous in messianic times to be wine preserved in its (very) grapes from the six days of Creation. In Akdamut, the poet modifies this image to wine preserved from the time of creation in vats. (The exegesis of Is 64.3 in bber 34b figures in verses above, as well). 64

65 AKDAMUT: HISTORY, FOLKLORE, AND MEANING HOFFMAN Vav/Alef And you shall sit in supernal rows, If you hearken to his words which issue in majesty Mem/Tsadii Exalted is our God first and last, He desired and favored us and gave us the Torah His words which issue in majesty may be a reference to the Ten Commandments, the scriptural reading for the first day of Shavuot. The poem s be-hadarta is cognate to the Hebrew be-hadar. This term appears in Ps 29.4, kol YHVH be-hadar, the voice of the Lord is majesty, and is interpreted as referring to the Ten Commandments in Mekhilta, Baḥodesh 1 (ed. Lauterbach) 2:

66 The Chariot and the Journeys of God's Glory By Dr. Tova Ganzel Translated by Kaeren Fish At the beginning of his Book, Yechezkel describes how the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. Chapter 1, described by Chazal as the ma aseh merkava ( workings of the Divine Chariot ), is one of the most difficult chapters to understand in all of Tanakh. 1 We will address the meaning of the ma aseh merkava as the introduction to Sefer Yechezkel in a general sense, without delving into its details. At the beginning of the chapter we are told that Yechezkel receives his prophecy in Babylon, a point that Rashi and Radak note in their commentaries: which I was among the exiles by the river Kevar. (1:1) Yechezkel s vivid description of the visions of God in chapter 1 expresses the power of the prophet s encounter with the Divine vision. He portrays these visions in all their power ( a storm wind [v. 4], they went [vv ]; ran and returned [v. 14]); in all their color ( a fire flaring up and a brightness was about it [v. 4]; they sparkled like the color of burnished brass [v. 7]; their appearance was like coals of fire, burning like the appearance of torches [v. 13]; in appearance like a sapphire stone [v. 26 and elsewhere]); and in all their sound ( like the noise of great waters the noise of a tumult, like the noise of a host [v. 24]). As the prophet s description of the vision progresses, he gradually seems to lose his grasp of tangible expression. It grows increasingly difficult for him to describe what he is experiencing. See, for example, the pervasive use of the prepositional kaf ( like ), and the growing number of instances in which he refers to a demut ( likeness ): And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw something like the color of electrum, like the appearance of fire found about enclosing it I saw what appeared to be fire, and there was a brightness round about him. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about; this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God (1:26-28) This Divine vision, which appears at the very outset of the Book, holds the key to understanding one of the central prophetic messages of the Book. 2 We will see that the recollection of this vision accompanies Yechezkel s prophecy throughout the rest of the Book. The Divine visions throughout the chapters of the Book Encounters with the Divine vision are recorded throughout the Book, from this first one, in 5 th year of the exile of Yehoyakhin, to the vision he saw twenty years later. But to no other vision does Yechezkel devote the level of detail with which he describes the Divine vision in chapter 1. In the fifth year Yechezkel first sees Divine visions upon the river Kevar (chapter 1). In these visions, God s glory is borne in a chariot, which indicates motion. Then the prophet is carried upon the wind and hears the sound of the Divine vision, and then arrives at the exiles at Tel Aviv, who 1 The well-known teaching of Chazal on the mishna (Chagiga 2:1) makes this point: One does not expound on the merkava even alone Up to this point you are entitled to speak; from this point onwards, you are not entitled to speak, for it is written in the Book of Ben-Sira: Do not expound on that which is too wondrous for you, and do not delve into that which is hidden from you; meditate on that which is permitted to you, you have no business with hidden matters (Chagiga 13a). Similarly, Rashi s commentary on Yechezkel 1:27: One cannot address (or gaze upon ) this verse, and on 8:2, it is forbidden to address (or gaze upon ) this verse. 2 On this Divine vision as a sort of prophetic epigraph to the Book, and its comparison with Yishayahu s prophecy, see: Rav Mordechai Breuer, Pirkei Mo adot, Jerusalem 5746, chapter 20, The Prophecy of Yishayahu, pp

67 dwelled by the river Kevar (3:15). After another prophecy, he sees God s glory as he goes out into the plain, like the glory which he had seen by the river Kevar (3:22-24). A year later, Yechezkel is sitting in his home and he sees a likeness that takes him in the vision of God to Jerusalem (8:2-3). There, after descriptions of the idolatry being practiced in the Temple, Yechezkel witnesses the departure of God s glory from within the Temple (chapter 10). This description ends with the glory of God upon the mountain that is on the east side of the city (11:22-23). The upshot of all these visions is that God s glory has departed from the Temple. In the second part of the Book, in the twentyfifth year (40:1), Yechezkel has a vision of the return of God s glory to the future Temple. First, there is a return to the Land of Israel (40:2); then Yechezkel experiences a Divine vision like the earlier one and sees the glory of the God of Israel returning to the Temple (43:1-5); finally, God s glory fills the House (44:4). I will suggest that the journey of God s glory, as described in Yechezkel s visions throughout the book, contains prophetic messages that are the central axis around which his prophecies revolve. Several considerations lead me to this conclusion. First, even in Yechezkel s pre-destruction prophecies (between the fifth year and the twelfth year of the exile of Yehoyakhin), the glory of God has already departed from the Temple. The Divine Presence is no longer within the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, during the six first years of Yechezkel s prophecy from the time he began to prophesy until the destruction of the Temple there is no call to the nation as a whole to mend its ways and to repent (although there is attention to individual repentance; we will discuss this when we reach chapters 3, 14, 18, 33). The fate of Jerusalem has already been sealed; the Temple is defiled and desecrated, and the city will not be purified until God has poured out His wrath in its midst. Chapters 1-24 of the Book, in which Yechezkel establishes his status as a prophet, should be understood against this background. Second, the description of the journey of God s glory raises the question: where is God s glory is to be found during the years of the Destruction? Yechezkel describes God s glory as returning from the north of Babylon (1:4); thereafter he describes God s glory atop the mountain that is to the east of the city (11:23); finally, the glory of the God of Israel comes from the way of the earth (43:2), to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem in the future. 3 Where, then, is God s glory during the years of Destruction and the exile of the nation? Does God s glory wander with the people to Babylon, or does it remain in the Land of Israel, outside Jerusalem, waiting for the people to return? What is meant by God s place specifically in the east? What significance should be attached to Yechezkel seeing the Divine visions specifically in the heavens? Is it possible that God s glory is exiled with the people to Babylon but does not descend to the soil of Babylon, in order not to dwell on the impure soil outside of the Land of Israel? 4 Third, the description of the wandering of God s glory intensifies the gap between the assumption held universally by the people (expressed in the prophecies of Yechezkel and Yirmiyahu during these years) that it was impossible that God would abandon His Temple, and the prophetic message that the presence of God s glory in the Temple depends on the nation s actions: there is no guarantee. Therefore, the very fact that God s glory appears to Yechezkel in Babylon strengthens the message that God s glory has indeed departed from the Temple. The Divine Presence undertook ten journeys the departure of God s glory from the Temple (chapters 10-11) There are a number of sources where Chazal describe the process of God s glory departing 3 The direction from which the exiles will return to Jerusalem is also mentioned by other prophets: see, for example, Yirmiyahu 3:18. 4 A comprehensive discussion of these questions is to be found in the article by M. Ben-Yashar, Ha-Merkava be-sefer Yechezkel u- Mikdash Me at, Iyyunei Mikra u-parshanut 4, Ramat Gan 5757, pp

68 from the Temple in ten journeys, but the same stations are not listed in each case. 5 In chapters 10-11, Yechezkel describes the process of God s glory leaving the Temple. The stages listed there explicitly include the keruv, the threshold of the House, the courtyard, the threshold of the House (apparently a reference to an outer doorway), [keruvim], the east gate of God s House, [keruvim, as a means of transporting the Shekhina], and (ascent above the city to) the mountain that is to the east of the city. 6 Chazal s descriptions of the journeys of the Shekhina are not identical to those in Sefer Yechezkel, although the closest source to the journey as described in Yechezkel is to be found in Eikha Rabba: The Divine Presence undertook ten journeys from keruv to keruv; from keruv to the threshold of the House; from the threshold of the House to the keruvim; from the keruvim to the eastern gate; from the eastern gate to the courtyard; from the courtyard to the roof; from the roof to the altar; from the altar to the wall; from the wall to the city; from the city to the Mount of Olives. 7 Either way, there is no doubt that the prophetic message is that God s glory has departed from the Temple, even before its physical destruction. The return of God s glory to the Temple (chapters 43-44) The importance these visions throughout the Book is evidenced in the description of Yechezkel s vision of God s glory returning from the way of the east back into the Temple: And he brought me to the gate, the gate that looks towards the east, and behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east, and His voice was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with His glory. (43:1-2) The next verse appears, at first glance, to be repeating itself: And the appearance of the vision which I saw, was like the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city, and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Kevar (ibid. 3) It seems that now, precisely the moment when God s glory returns to the Temple, in Yechezkel s future vision, that he feels a need to emphasize that this is the same vision that accompanied him throughout the many years of his prophecy, before the Destruction of the Temple, when he was in Babylon. This emphasis is achieved by repeating each of the each of the stations where Yechezkel saw Divine visions in the first part of the Book. Thus, and the appearance of the vision which I saw was like the vision that I saw refers to the vision in chapter 1, with the emphasis on the definite article the vision. Thereafter, like the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city refers back to the vision in chapters 8-11, and matches the description of the ruin of the city in chapter 9 (verses 4-11). Finally, the prophet concludes that these visions appeared to him when he was by the river Kevar (chapters 1-3). In this way Yechezkel emphasizes that even though this is the first time since the Temple was built by King Shlomo that God s glory has departed indeed the Temple lies in ruins nevertheless the same Divine vision will return and once again dwell in the future Temple. The nation need not fear that the departure of God s glory from the Temple means the departure of His glory from the nation. Therefore the prophet responds, And I fell upon my face (43:3), in describing the Temple being filled once again with God s glory: And the glory of God came into the House by way of the gate that faces towards the east. 5 See: S. HaKohen, Eser Masa ot Nas a Shekhina, Sinai 88, 3-4, 5741, pp A study of the verses seems to indicate that it is the keruvim that carry God s glory upon their backs, and as such the repeated mention of them as stations in the journey should be understood only as the means by which this departure is effected. 7 Eikha Rabba petichta 25, Buber edition p. 29; similarly, Rosh Ha-shana 31a. 68

69 And a spirit took me up and brought me into the inner court, and behold, the glory of God filled the House. (43:4-5) The beginning of chapter 43 deals with a description of the entry of God s glory into the Temple. This occasion represents the climax of Yechezkel s visions of the future, since the aim of the building of the Temple, in all its detail, is that God s glory might dwell in its midst. The uniqueness of this prophecy is also shown by its description of God s Throne and the soles of His feet: Son of man, behold the place of My Throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever; and the house of Israel shall no more profane My holy Name (v. 7) they have defiled My holy Name by their abominations which they have committed (ibid. 8); and I shall dwell in their midst forever. (ibid. 9) From now on, the place of God s entry ( the gate that faces towards the east ) will be closed, and this way will be protected against human entry, and thereby against any further defilement: Then God said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it, because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered in by it; therefore it shall be shut. (44:2) It is in this spirit that Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl explains: It is therefore important that the eastern gate the main entranceway be closed, with no practical use except as a reminder: It is through here that God will return, for it was from here that He departed, when the Divine Presence left in anticipation of the destruction. If you remember that God can also depart the Temple, perhaps He will never again have to leave 8 This appears to be one of the ways in which the future Temple is protected in Yechezkel s prophecy against the possibility of God will once again abandoning His Temple, because from now on the people will behave only in accordance with God s command (36:27). These verses at the beginning of chapter 43 describe the resting of the Divine Presence amongst the nation (verses 7, 9, and similarly in 37:26-28). The only other source in Tanakh that describes God s glory coming to rest is the Revelation at Sinai: And God s glory rested upon Mount Sinai. (Shemot 24:16) 9 At the giving of the Torah, as in the resting of the Divine Presence in Sefer Yechezkel, there is confirmation of the unbreakable bond between God and Israel, ultimately leading to God s glory coming to rest amongst the nation. The realization of this lofty vision will come when the House of Israel will no longer defile My holy Name. (43:7) Furthermore, note that this is the only place in Tanakh where the expression defiling (t-m-a) God s Name appears. The rare use of this terminology makes sense since God s name represents holiness, the opposite of any form of impurity. The extreme contrast between God s Name and impurity that is, God s refusal to dwell in an impure setting has its source in the Torah. This idea is emphasized in two places: 1. In the command to send impure individuals out of the camp: 8 Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl, Ha-Sha ar ha-poneh Kadim Yihyeh Sagur Lamah? Sinai , 5760, p On the occasion of the inauguration of the Mishkan we find, And God s glory appeared to all the people (Vayikra 9:23), but the expression coming to rest in relation to God s glory is not used there. We can further appreciate the uniqueness of this expression by noting that in Melakhim I, chapter 8 (as well as in the parallel account in Divrei Ha-yamim II 6) the text describes the ceremony of inauguration of the Temple, but despite the special nature of that occasion, God s glory is not described as coming to rest in the Temple. 69

70 that they send out of the camp everyone who has tzara at, and everyone who has an issue, and everyone who is defiled by the dead so that they will not defile their camps, in the midst of which I dwell. (Bamidbar 5:2-3) 2. In the context of cities of refuge, where unintentional killers are sheltered: And you shall not defile the land which you shall inhabit, in which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell among Bnei Yisrael. (ibid. 35:34) We have seen that the prophetic message arising from the description of the Divine Chariot at the beginning of the Sefer and the journeying of God s glory as described throughout (and especially its departure from the Temple in chapters 8-11 and its return in chapters 43-44) is that God s Presence in the Temple cannot be assumed to be unconditional; God will not allow His Presence to dwell there if the nation causes the Temple to be defiled. But even though the nation refuses to accept the message of the prophets and fails to repent, even after the destruction of the Temple, God will never abandon His people. Still, in order to maintain His holy Presence amongst the people in the future, the conditions of access to God s dwelling place will differ from those of the past, as we saw with regard to the closing of the entrance through which God s glory returns to the Temple (as we shall see when we examine the chapters concerning the future Temple). Perhaps this message, that the connection between God and His people is unbroken both in the generation of the Destruction and afterwards explains the selection of the first chapter of Yechezkel as the haftara for Shavuot, the Festival of the Giving of the Torah (Megilla 31a). When we read the vision of the Divine Chariot, we learn that the Torah given to Am Yisrael is eternal, and remains valid even in times of profound crisis. And, of course, Shavuot is connected to Yechezkel through the similarity between the description of God s Revelation at Sinai, in fire and thick cloud, and Yechezkel s description of the Divine Chariot. 70

71 Shavuot - The Unconcious Oath By Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Dear Friends, Shavuot! The literal meaning of the word is somewhat elusive. It means "weeks" in reference to the weeks that passed between the first episode of the epic liberation leading to the climax at Mount Sinai. It also means oaths. There were oaths that were made we said, "We will do and we will hear", and Hashem promised us that were chosen to be a holy people and a nation of kohanim. On a conscious level, you don't remember either oath. You may have grown up with some of the people around you keeping the first oath. They circumcised the boys in the family without being able to give a real answer if someone were to push them to the wall and demand an explanation. They are doing, whether or not they "hear" the reasoning intellectually. You may be able to use your imagination to put your feet in the shoes of the thousands of people who throng to the Old City every Shavuot. Some of the people recall that Shavuot is one of the three festivals that the Torah calls for Aliya largely "going up (by foot) to the Bais HaMikdash. Others have no idea of what you would be talking about if you were to refer to this mitzvah. They still come. Something inside them recalls the oath. This year, after shiur in Neve, I walked with my students from Bnos Avigail. We left at 1 a.m., but Kanfei Nesharim was far from silent. There were people heading in our direction, and people who "brought the Mountain to them" by spending the night in study. When we passed the yeshiva at the end of the street, it could have been midmorning. The lights were on, every seat was full, and the energy was almost tangible in the Merkaz HaRav building. After we passed the central bus station things changed. The street which had until now had its darkness and silence pierced by the sound of Torah and the light chatter of sem girls and the sprinkling of adults moving eastward now took on a different shading. Kids dressed in the uniform of Those At Risk appeared out of nowhere. They were heading in the same direction that we were. One of my students approached me quietly and asked if they were Jewish. (It's Ramadan, and she was on edge). I assured her that they are "mishelanu"- ours. More and more different brands of Jews mixed as we entered the Jaffa gate. It was about 2:15am when we arrived at the Jewish Quarter's community center via the shuk (market). Its narrow cobblestone road was full of Members of the Tribe whether they had the words or not, everyone felt like part of the holy nation of kohanim, who have the task of drawing the world closer to its Source, and drawing down blessing from above. The reason that you hear this oath goes back to an earlier oath we all made. The Talmud tells you that before you were born you knew the entire Torah, but forgot it before you could be born. It was at that time that your soul swore to be righteous and not wicked, and that even if the entire world tells you that you are a tzadik, you will remain a rasha in your own eyes. What this means is that the subconscious drive to do what's right is a voice that you all hear. None of you ever will feel "perfect"- your soul won't let you. Neither will the soul of all of the rest of us heading towards the spiritual core of the world. What does this tell you, back in Great Neck or L.A., or London? It tells you that there is a part of you that will keep the oath. It's up to you to find out how. You have the same commandments as I do, but your life and mine are not meant to be the same. You have to head to the same place as I do, but as yourself. When your ancestors approached Mount Sinai, they heard lightening and saw thunder. No, this isn't a typo. Their narrow understanding that truth is what your senses tell you ( If I see it, I'll believe it ), was exposed for what it is, an illusion. Your senses themselves are only creations, and 71

72 function as such. The One, who makes eyes see, is the same One who can just as easily make them hear. Your ears can hear only because that's how Hashem programmed them; anything can change at any moment. The only unchanging truth is Hashem's will. The beginning of your journey towards the truth that was revealed at Mount Sinai begins when you let Hashem's words, "I am Hashem who took you out of Egypt" resonate not to your ears, but to your soul. It was so crowded. It's impossible to daven at the Kotel on Shavuos. You drift as your fellow travelers, unconsciously longing to be part of the Nation and its dream, embrace you. There are the discordant sound of simultaneous minyanim praying in different styles until there is the brief respite of the silent amidah a dawn. We davened at the Churvah synagogue above the Kotel. It was still crowed enough to be, well, breath-taking. The words of praise were said in absolute silence, followed by shmoneh esreh and the singing of Hallel with the kind of unity that echoes the kind of unity that we had so many years ago. When the tefillah was over, we retraced our steps, viewed the Kotel again, and headed home watching everyone retreat into taking Shavuot's oaths into their lives. You were there. Find out what you can take with you. Your book is yet unknown and unwritten As ever, Tziporah 72

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