Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Charlop God in History and Halakhah From the Perspective of American History

Charlop God in History and Halakhah From the Perspective of American History

Ratings: (0)|Views: 3|Likes:
Published by pruzhaner

More info:

Published by: pruzhaner on Oct 11, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

10/04/2014

pdf

text

original

 
RabbiZevulunCharlop
GodinHistoryandHalakhahfromthePerspectiveofAmericanHistory
Thispresentationwilldealwiththecentralityofhistory-morespecifi-cally,withGod'sroleinhistoryasitisviewedin
Yahadut
andhowthisnotionisrefractedthroughtheprismofAmericanhistory.ItwillfocusparticularlyonanintriguinghalakhicformulationoftheRambaminhis
MishnehTorah
andwillshowhowAmericanhistoryprovidesuswithaperspectivepossiblynotfoundelsewherefromwhichtounderstandthisveryimportanttext.ThefirstRashionTorahbegins,nx
7'nni17T1X
rnrr
X7,pnx'':l11J:lX7X11V'm.JXJIVm1IVX1i11XJ:lX'i11VO:J7i1Ti1lV,ni1J:lX7Xrrnnn.
WhydoestheTorahbeginwiththestoryofcreation,ofAvraham,Yizhak,andYa'akov,andtheearlylifeofMoshe?Itshouldhavebegunwith
lV,ni1O:J7i1Ti1,
thefirst
mi,?vah
expresslygiventotheJewsasapeople,foundinthetwelfthchapterofShemot?Afterall,eventhethree
miztot
whichdoappearinBereshit,e.g.,procreation,circumcision,andtheprohibitionagainsteating
gidha-nasheh
(thethighbone),couldhavebeeneasilyincorporatedamongtheothercommandments.Indeed,circumcisionisrepeatedinParshatTazri'a(Lev.12:3).ImplicitinthisquestionposedbyRashiistheassumptionthattheTorahisessentiallyamanualoflawsandnotahistorybook.Rashianswers:43
 
44
TheTorahu-MaddaJournal
t:li17nn7mY7
i'lil
"IllYl:lro(X"'j?t:1'7iln)0'1lll:ln'IllXi::l::lnneOYOill:l1n1YiXonlll::l:J1llnnx0'0077Xilll'7071Yilrnmx'il:lX'OXIllo'un7milllX7rnnnilXi::lX1i1X'ilil"::lj?il71llYiXil7:JOil7O'il:l1XOilO'Ui1lI::l1ll1.'J7rnnnOill:lil70J'J'Yi::l'Oil7rnru'J1Yi::l,'J'Y::lilll'
It
wastofirmlyestablishtheJewishclaimtoEre?Yisraelthattheotherwiseword-efficientTorahaddsthelongnarrativerecordofSeferBereshit,e.g.,thestoriesofcreation,theflood,thetowerofBabel,thewaramongthekings,thePatriarchs,Josephandhisbrothers,etc.Yet,muchmorethanthelegitimizationofrealestateownership,howevertranscen-dentallyhalloweditmaybe,accountsfortheancientchroniclewhichintroducestheDivineLaw.Indeed,theTorahbeginsandendswithasummons
to
history.InBereshit,theTorahreferstoitselfasahistorybook:
trrxni7,nibOrnmxillV:VtJ'j?7Xmr.n:1trrxtJ'j?7XXi:1tJ,':1
(Gen.5:1).Morepointedly,perhaps,istheDivineinjunctiontostudyhistoryfoundinMoses'magnificentvaledictoryattheendofDevarim:
nulV1J':1tJ7':Vnm'i'::1Tl7'ir.JX"TJj?Tli)."T:1X7XlVIi'ii
(Deut.32:7).Rashi(s.v.
binu)
understoodthetexttomean:
7'mil7'tJ::17:1't:J'il7'i':1lV'lVX:1il7i'::1il7xarrtJ7':V'n'lVr.Jilml:l'tJ::17.
Butthereisanotherandevenmoretellingexampleofthepreemi-nenceofhistoryintheconsciousnessofJudaism,onewhichgoestotheheartoftheactivepresenceofGodinhistory.AmongtheTorahreadingsinthesynagoguepriortothe
YamimNora'im
wefindaninterestingsequenceofpassageswhich,althoughtheyimmediatelyfollowoneanotherintheBiblicaltext,escapesournoticebecausewedonotreadthemtogether.Infact,theirjuxtapositionsuggestsabasichistoricaltruthofourfaithandprovidespossiblythemostimportantinstructionforusinthisportentiousjunctureinournationallifewhichwecurrentlyface.Irefertotheurgentandinsistentcallto"rememberwhattheAmalekitesdid"tous,whichcomesattheendofParshat
Ki
Teze(Deur.25:17-19)andthecommandmentof
bikkurim-the
bringingofthefirstfruit,whichbeginstheverynextportionofPashat
Ki
Tavo(Ibid.,26:1-11).Amalek,ofcourse,hascometotypifythearchvillaininJewishhistory,whoseannihilationforthepurposesofourownsurvivalandthesurvivalofdecentsocietyatlargeissolemnlyenjoineduponus.Amalekearnedthisdubiousdistinctionnotonlybecauseitlaunchedatotallycowardlyandunprovokedattackagainsttheold,infirmanddefenselessIsraelitesastheyweretrekkingthroughthewildernessbutalsobecauseitwanted,andverynearlysucceeded,todestroyourspiritandthespecialrelationshipthatexistsbetweenGodandtheseedofAbraham.Byusingtheword
korkha
inthiscontext(Ibid.,25:18),theTorahindicatesthatitconsiderstheattackofAmalek
to
beanassaultagainstthefundamentaltheologyofourpeople.ThisHebrewwordhasvarious
-------------,----
 
ZevulunCharlop
45meanings,e.g.,"metyou"or"cooledyouoff,"anditisalsoaformoftheword
mikreh,
i.e.,"whohappenedorchanceduponyou."OurtraditionunderstandsthechoiceofthiswordasadeliberateattempttoconveytheideathatAmalek,initsencounterwiththeIsraelites,attemptedto"coolthemoff"from.theirdevotiontoGodbyassertingthenotionthattheworldisgovernedbyhappenstanceor
mikreh.
TheyinsistedthatthereisnoGodlydesigninthetranspiringsofmenandnations;thatthereisnoGodinhistory.Thiswasthesameworldoutlookthat,manycenturieslater,wastoshapethewickedHaman'sobsessiontodecimatetheJewishpeople.WhenMordecaisentamessagetoEsthertoalerthertothehorrendousfatethatawaitedherkinsmen,theBiblesaysthathetoldherthroughamessenger,
"'etkol'asherkarahu,"
"allthathadhappened"(Esther4:7).Like
korkha,karahu,
whichderivesfromthesameroot,alsointimateschanceorhappenstance.TheMidrashnotesthatMordecaiwasrelayingtoEstherthenatureoftheenemy,informingherthathewasadescendantofAmalekwhobelieved,asdidhisforebears,thattheworldissubjecttohappenstanceandthattheuniverseisgovernedbychance.
2
Indeed,Israel'sexterminationwastobedeterminedpurelybychance-bythe"lots"fromwhencePurimtakesitsname.ItwaspreciselyforthisreasonthatHamandespisedtheJews,fortheybelievedsodevoutlyintheGodofhistory.Later,afterHamanhadtohumiliatinglyparadeMordecaithroughthecapitalcityofShushanandproclaim,"Thisshall
be
donetotheonewhomthekingdesirestohonor"(Esther6:11),hetoldhiswife"allthatoccurred"
(karahu;ibid;
6:13).Evennowheconsideredwhathappenedtohimmerelytobetheresultofarollofthedice.However,hisconfidantsandwifeknewbetterfortheyrecognizedthathisdownfallwasirreversiblebecauseitwaspartofaDivinehistoricalprocess.ImmediatelyfollowingtheaccountofAmalek,theTorahpresentsthecommandmentof
bikkurim
whichaffirmsthehistoricdestinyoftheJewandwhichunderscoresthattheirsisaGod-directedhistory.Anintegralandcentralpartoftherichandcolorfulceremonyattachedtothebringingofthisofferingisthebrief,albeitencompassing,historicalaccountoftheJewishpeoplewhicheveryJewhadtorecitebeginningwith,"MyfatherservedanAramean..."(Deut.26:5).AmalekdeniedtheGodofhistory.Heavowedchanceandhappenstancetobetheexplana-tionofexistence.Inquick,immediateresponse,theTorahpresentsthecommandmentof
bikkurim
anditsdeclarationwhichvigorouslyrejectsthathaplessandhaphazardviewandproclaimedinsteadthe
God
ofhistory.Ourrabbismakeacuriousstatementabout
bikkurim,
m:lrr.Jillll37
Y'X?
oianil':llll:llllP)37:lil"~Nl"t(ilr.J'r.Jn
rmrc,
X:l,r.J
,,.,ElO).
Onthe

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->