Volume 24 Number 29
                       Produced: Mon Jun  3 21:46:40 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

613 Mitzvot
         [Eli Clark]
Count of Taryag Mitzvohs
         [Mechy Frankel]
God is my ghostwriter
         [David Riceman]
Held the mountain over them like a barrel
         [Micha Berger]
Leining and Ta'amim
         [Mechy Frankel]
Shivat Tzion
         [Dave Curwin]
Shivat Zion
         [Melech Press]
Tiqqunei Soferim, Text Transmission and early Tefillin
         [Moshe J. Bernstein]


From: Eli Clark <ECLARK@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 1996 10:28:28 -0400
Subject: 613 Mitzvot

<rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel) wrote:
>The Rav said that the only Talmudic or Midrashic source was a
>Gemarrah at the end of Makoth.
>The Rav proceeded to explain that just as people 'have mazol' so do
>Talmudic statements 'have mazol'.
>There are many quotes which occur several times in Talmud or Midrash
>and never elaborated on.  On the other hand this obscure one time
>quote that there are 613 mitzvoth has produced the very rich literature
>seeking the accurate count of "which 613."

I gave a shiur on this topic not long ago.  The discussion in Makkot 23b
has not been presented properly by the various posters.  The idea of 613
mitzvot is presented by R. Simlai.  The number, he says, reflects the
365 days in the year and the 248 bodily organs.  (As has been pointed
out, this passage appears in parallel forms in Tanhuma and other
midrashim.)  R. Simlai quotes no text in support of his statement.
(Note too that the Gemara uses the term "darash" -- expounded -- rather
than "amar" -- stated.  This may suggest a non-literal intent on the
part of R.  Simlai.)

 R. Hamnuna then brings the pasuk "Torah tzivah lanu" as support.
However, because the numerical value of Torah is only 611, he advances
the notion that the first two Dibberot (commandments) were spoken by
Hashem.  (This latter idea has a fascinating history.  In Torah
Shelemah, R. Kasher presents a wide range of sources discussing it.  It
is rooted in the fact that the first two dibberot are written in the
first person, and the rest in the third person.)

As the Rav noted, for some reason, the number 613 idea became a very
important -- indeed, defining -- principle to many.  Yet, in order to
arrive at that number, the Rishonim (Medieval authorities) who assembled
lists of the mitzvot were forced to make all manners of speculative (and
questionable) distinctions.  Indeed, Ramban, in his hasagot (critiques)
to Rambam's Sefer ha-Mitzvot, goes so far as to suggest that R. Simlai
was a daat yahid (minority view), and the majority opinion is against
him!  Ramban later backs down from this, but only because so many other
sources take the idea so seriously.

Interestingly, E.E. Urbach writes that the simple import of R. Simlai's
derashah is that the mitzvot are meant to be all-encompassing, both in
terms of our lives (365 days/year) and our selves (all 248 organs).



From: Mechy Frankel <"FRANKEL@GD"@hq.dna.mil>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 1996 15:14:30 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Count of Taryag Mitzvohs

1. Re the inquiry into the origin of the canonical count of 613, (Vol 24
#20) it ultimately rests on a singlesource, R. Simlai, who provided that
number in a dirash recorded in gemara Macos 23b.  The numerous other
references in chazalic literature all rely, explicitly or implicitly, on
this one source.

2. There is a strong current of thought that this number is entirely an
amoraic construct and was unknown to tannaim. The argument for this is
that there is no tannitic source which alludes to any such number. (It
turns out there are in fact two tannaitic sources - in the Mechilta and
Sifra - that seem to mention this number, but the better manuscripts of
each show that this did not appear in the original version. For a review
of this latter point, see D. Hanshke (sp?, I'm transliterating) "Kiloom
Nosinu Hatannaim Minyan Lamitzvohs?" (in Tarbitz - I think - somewhere
in early 90s, sorry - doing this from memory/don't have the exact
reference). Auerbach in "Emunos Vedayos Chazal" takes it for granted
that the 613 number only dates from the time of the amora, R. Simlai.

3.  I personally find such an argument ex silencio lacking in
intellectual rigor and would be very surprised if tannaitic and early
ages did not also engage in such counting, albeit unrecorded for
posterity, exercises.

4.  While the number 613 does seem to be enshrined in textual
consciousness, there would not seem to be any apikorsic projections
associated with the thought that perhaps that number is not exactly
correct. After all, nobody's list of of mitzvohs is identical to anybody
elses.  There is in fact a teshuvas Rashbetz (R. Shimon b. Zemach Duran)
which makes this precise point. The Rashbetz suggests that perhaps the
number of 613 is peculiar to R. Simlai (a daas yachid) but was in turn
picked up and quoted simply because it was probably in the right
ballpark and nobody else bothered to publish an alternative. The
Rashbetz suggests this seemingly cavalier approach to precision was in
fact in line with the general chazalic conception of "..haveh purtah,
u-purtah loa dok" (Succos 8b, Bava Basra 27a) i.e. it was close enough
for government work.

Mechy Frankel			W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>			H:  (301) 593-3949


From: <dr@...> (David Riceman)
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 09:03:02 +0400
Subject: God is my ghostwriter

  There is a regrettable tendency among modern authors to acknowledge
God's help in the same style that secular authors acknowledge the help
of their ghostwriters.  While I find it amusing it is only now, that I'm
preparing a sefer for publication, that I wonder if there's any reliable
source for such a custom.
  Could it be related to the acrostic of Yedid Nefesh, which was written
by R. Elazar Ezkari in the sixteenth century (we all know who the
ghostwriter was)?

David Riceman


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 09:02:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Held the mountain over them like a barrel

Last Purim (while sober) I offered an alternative understanding of this
famous medrash. The thoughts are my own, and should be taken with what
little weight is appropriate.

After spending a number of hours learning Maharsha, I'm convinced that
taking these medrashim overly literally is a mistake. Instead, we should
look at the message the medrash is trying to convey.

Picture the sight at Sinai, as described by the chumash. The people were
standing at the foot of the mountain, which was "all of smoke and fire",
"sounds and thunder" were heard. Hashem asks them if they would accept
the Torah. How else were they supposed to answer? They just witnessed
Kriy'as Yam Suf (crossing the Red Sea), and before that, the
plagues. People saw visions and heard nevu'ah (prophecy) like never
before. Although the answer "na'aseh vinishmah" (we will do and we will
listen) was of their own free will, the circumstances that lead them to
Sinai made any other answer unthinkable.

In the days of prophets and miracles, the Jewish people accepted the
Torah, but reward and punishment were obvious, and the word of G-d was
in the streets. No matter how complete the acceptance of the Torah,
there was really no way a rational person would decide
otherwise. Abandonment of the Torah inevitably lead to enemy atack or
famine, return to to Hashem was followed up by a Shofeit (a ruling
judge), a military victory, a good harvest. This was the "barrel over
our heads".

By contrast, let's look at Purim. The Gemara (Tr. Megillah), expounds on
"kiymu vikiblu haYehudim - the Jews fulfilled and accepted", which in
context is about the acceptance of the new holiday of Purim. In
additional idea, the Gemara says, is that "they fulfilled what they
originally accepted".  Purim was an acceptance of the Torah on alevel
that didn't exist before.  Retribution was a matter of faith. Instead of
accepting the Torah under the threat of punishment, belief in Divine
Justice became an effect of adherence to the Torah.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3476 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 - 31-May-96)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Mechy Frankel <"FRANKEL@GD"@hq.dna.mil>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 1996 21:25:43 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Leining and Ta'amim

Regarding R. Hendel's informative post in Vol 24#26 on the ta'amim I'd
like to add the following minor points.

1.  <While the above discussion is technical it raises the highly
nontechnical question of when we allow an explanation to contradict the
sense of the Teamim (on this there is a rich but varied
literature...unfortunately I have never seen it gathered in one place
nor have I ever seen discussion of "what is right" or which rishonim
believe what).>

I think that if you check out the relatively recently published
"Hamikra, Bein Ta'amin Leparshanus" by S. Koghut, Magnes Press, you will
find almost precisely what you're looking for.

2.   <..the real purpose is THEORY 2: Teamim have 2 purposes:
       To indicate pauses in MEANING
       To create either pauses for breathing or combine small..>

I'm afraid i can't completely agree with the sentiment expressed here,
and while i have always thought it a bit tacky to quote myself, i fear i
cannot resist the provocation here: the following is excised from a
longer note of mine in 20#11:

---Since ... mentioned two of the main intrinsic trope functions, the
syntactical and musical, we should, for completeness, mention the third,
which is indication of stress locations. It is only this important trope
function which enables us to distinguish e.g. between the different
tenses and uses of "ba'ah" in Bireishis 29/6 and 29/9 or the usage of
"sho'vu" to mean either "captured' or "returned" in Bireishis 34/29 or
Yirmiyah 43/5, respectively. ---

Mechy Frankel			W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>			H: (301) 593-3949


From: Dave Curwin <6524dcurw@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 1996 08:23:28 EST
Subject: Shivat Tzion

Avraham Husarsky (<hoozy@...>) wrote: 
>>A book called "Shivat Tzion" is referenced in Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook's
>>"Torat Eretz Yisrael" and in Tzvi Glatt's "MeAfar Kumi". It seems
>>to be dealing with rabbinic support of the pre-Zionist and Zionist
>>movements. Is anyone familiar with it? Who is its author, and is it
>>still in print?
>It was written by Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer who was one of the prominent
>rabbanim involved with the Chovevei Zion movement of the late twentieth
>century that was instrumental in setting up the yishuvim of the first
>aliyah such as Mazkeret Batyah.

I think you are thinking of "Drishat Tzion" by R' Kalisher. "Shivat
Tzion", whenever it was written, certainly seems to be after Kalisher,
since it includes quotes from such people as the Netziv, R' Mordechai
Gimpel Yaffe, R' Eliahu Gutmacher, R' Shmuel Mohilever and R' Pinchas

David Curwin		With wife Toby, Shaliach to Boston, MA
904 Centre St.          List Owner of B-AKIVA on Jerusalem One
Newton, MA 02159                   <6524dcurw@...>
617 527 0977          Why are we here? "L'hafitz Tora V'Avoda"


From: Melech Press <PRESS%<SNYBKSAC.BITNET@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 96 00:27:00 EST
Subject: Re: Shivat Zion

In response to Dave Curwin's question:

"Shivat Zion", a collection  of letters from G'dolei Yisroel about the
mitzva of yishuv haAretz, was edited by Avraham Yaakov Slutzki and
published in Warsaw in 1892. It was republished in Yerushalayim in 1985.

Melech Press
M. Press, Ph.D.   Dept. of Psychiatry, SUNY Health Science Center
450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 32   Brooklyn, NY 11203   718-270-2409


From: Moshe J. Bernstein <mjbrnstn@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 10:23:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Tiqqunei Soferim, Text Transmission and early Tefillin

re: tiqqunei soferim

 without getting involved in the much larger issue and the fact that Hazal 
in different places refer to tiqqunei soferim by a different term as 
well, kinnah hakatuv, attention should be given to Rashi in Breshit 18:22 
where he writes on the verse ve-avraham odenu omed lifnei hashem that 
the verse should have said vashem odenu omed lifnei avraham that this is 
on of the tiqqunei soferim "asher hafakhuhu razal likhtov ken" ("which 
our sages turned about to write thus," or the like). of course, this phrase 
is put into parentheses in some printed texts, as if rashi didn't write 
it! but in the sefer zikkaron by r. avraham bakrat (one of the megoreshei 
sefarad atthe end of the 15th century) after a lengthy diatribe wondering 
how rashi could have written this, he concludes that all of the texts of 
rashi which he checked have it. my teacher, yeshayahu maori of haifa 
university, in the course of working on the manuscripts of rashi, checked 
this passage and it is found in most of the mss. it's obvious why someone 
would delete it, but much less obvious why it would be added.
but there are other passages where rishonim cite verses which do not 
match the masoretic text. cf. rashi, ibn ezra and hizquni to Shmot 25:22 
where they all seem to have a vav at the beginning of the phrase ve-et 
kol asher atzaveh otekha. see minhat shai's comments ad loc as well. the 
question of the transmission of torah shebikhtav is very complicated even 
if only read books which are found in the bet midrash (and certainly if 
we explore further evidence as steve oren pointed out). the 
starting point for all of this of course is the Sifrei in 
zot haberakhah about the three scrolls in the azarah and the 
determination of the biblical text by the principle of rov.
incidentally, on the sense ofthe eighth iqqar of the rambam, see the 
brief discussion in a little book on the iqqarim based on the lectures of 
r. weinberg of ner  yisroel where he takes a position which professor 
hendel might find unaccetable. 
further discussion on this topic (textual transmission of tenakh), from 
a hinnukh perspective, can be found in a brief article and a series of 
letters, by Rabbi M.  Spigelman, Rabbi S. Carmy and myself in the 
education journal Ten Daat some years ago (although the exact reference 
eludes me).
ve-ein kan maqom le ha-arikh 

re: early tefillin
tefillin have been found at qumran as well as at other early judean 
desert sites, and some of them follow rashi, others rabbenu tam, and 
others follow neither in the arrangement of the parashiyyot. yadin's 
brief monograph referredto in an earlier posting should be supplemented 
by volume 6 (i believe) of Discoveries in the Judean Desert which has 
texts, pictures and further discussion.
an important caveat:
remember that by bringing these tefillin into any discussion of rabbinic 
material, you bring with them all of the biblical material which sat side 
by side with them in the same caves etc. that material is far more 
problematic from the standpoint of the transmission of the biblical text, 
but you can't pick and choose which data from antiquity you 
are willing to consider and which you can exclude from discussion. that 
is a form of intellectual dishonesty in my view. if one excludes all of 
the the non-traditional material from the discussions, at least 
consistency is achieved (not my recommendation, but an observation).  so 
think twice before citing the Qumran evidence as proofs for the 
antiquity of the shittot of rashi, rabbenu tam or anyone else.

moshe bernstein


End of Volume 24 Issue 29