The Hidden Motives of Biblical Characters and Their Interpreters On The Possibility of Freudian Readings in R.

Yaakov Kamenetsky By Akiva Weisinger

“What makes R. Yaakov Kamenetsky so much fun,” one of my rebbeim once said to me, “is that he is a closet maskil”. While such a statement may be taken as slander by large portions of the Orthodox world, and it is certainly true that R. Yaakov never denied Sinaitic Revelation and the binding nature of the Oral Torah, it is readily apparent that R. Yaakov shared some interests with his heretical brethren. In his commentary on Chumash, Emes L'Yaakov, itself an unusual kind of work to be released by a 20th century Rosh Yeshiva, R. Yaakov frequently concerns himself with matters of Hebrew grammar, historical and geographical investigation, and mathematics, areas that were frequently explored by maskilim but rarely touched by good Lithuanian yeshiva bachurim. Furthermore, R. Yaakov's biography relates numerous stories attesting to his broad intellectual reach. An accomplished chess player, R. Yaakov, in his youth studied a non-religious relative's textbooks when he stayed at their house. Upon becoming the rabbi of a small town without a doctor, R. Yaakov, remembering the Rambam's advice to never move to a city without a doctor, sat down with a medical textbook and memorized it. Similarly, based upon the statement that Rav knew the pathways of heaven like he knew the streets of Nehardea, R. Yaakov memorized the subway map of New York City.1 R. Yaakov once remarked that particular Evil Inclination was to know aspects of Torah others did not generally study. While this may seem like a mere witty remark, the Alter of Slobodka, R. Yaakov's Rosh Yeshiva in Slobodka, did in fact become worried about this tendency of R. Yaakov's, and took steps to rein him in.2 The fact that the Alter of Slobodka needed to rein in the broad interests of a young man who would become one of Haredi Judaism's foremost leaders, may lead one to wonder how far did R.
1 The similarity of these two stories (R. Yaakov, based on an inference from a rabbinic text, decides to memorize a vast corpus of useful knowledge) leads me to believe that this is the kind of thing he did for fun. 2 Rosenblum, Y., & Kamenetsky, N. (1993). Reb Yaakov: The life and times of HaGaon Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky. Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications.

Yaakov actually roam off the path of typical Torah learning, and where that intellectual wanderlust led him, whether it led him to any interesting destinations, or perhaps to cross paths with unlikely fellow travelers. In other words, what kind of unique and unexpected ideas can we find in Emes L'Yaakov, and where was he getting those ideas from, if he was not getting them from his Lithuanian yeshiva education? While a systematic analysis of the ideas in and influences of Emes L'Yaakov is both long overdue and sorely necessary3, it is beyond the scope of this paper. Instead, we will take a look at one instance of R. Yaakov appearing to use unusual sources and discuss what it tells us about his intellectual profile For this paper, we will focus on Emes L'Yaakov on Bamidbar 11:5. The text talks about B'nei Yisrael remembering the fish they ate in Egypt for free, as well as the various fruits and vegetables not available to them, in the context of their complaining about the manna. R. Yaakov comments:
‫ אמנם רש"י להלן )פרק י'( הביא מחז"ל‬,‫הנה בפסוק מפורש שהם התאוננו על זה שחסר להם אוכל שהיה להם במצריים‬ ‫ דמנא להו לחז"ל לתת‬,‫ ויש להבין את זה‬.‫ היינו על הערייות שנאסרו להם‬,‫שעיקר טענתם ובכייתם היה על עסקי משפחות‬ ‫ ומה היה כאן חסר לחז"ל שהצריכו להמציא להם טענות‬,‫?מילים בפיהם שלא הזכירו הם בעצמם‬

R. Yaakov notes that Rashi's explanation, based on Chazal, is that their pleas for fish and various vegetables really meant that they were upset about the sexual restrictions placed on them. R. Yaakov wants to know what forced Chazal into such a reading, being as it seems to lack any textual basis. His answer:
‫ והיינו שישנן באדם "הכוכות הכהים" שהם פועלים הרבה בהנהגת האדם‬,‫אבל נראה שכאן ירדו חז"ל לעומק נפש האדם‬ ‫ והרי זה יצירות של מחשבות בשכל האדם שלא נתגשמו עדיין אבל‬,‫ והם בבחינת הכליות או הלב‬,‫ואין אדם מרגישים עדיין‬ ‫ בין מצד המדע והשכל־‬,‫ ־בין ברוח קדשם‬,‫ שחז"ל‬,‫ וביאור הדבר הוא‬.‫הם משאירים את רושמם בצורת המעשה של אדם‬ ‫ דהרי זה אינו מסתבר כלל שאנשים יבכו על שלא הרגישו טעם בצלים ושומים בו בזמן שהיה‬,‫העריכו שאין הדבר כפשוטו‬ ‫ אבל‬,‫ ועל כרכך שאף שהן בעצמן בכו על טעם השומים והבצלים שנעדר מהם‬,‫אצלם את המן שהיה כל כך טעים ומשובח‬ ‫ ודו"ק היטב בּזה‬,‫בכל מקום בכוכות הכהים היתה תביעה אחרת ־ עסקי עריות‬

R. Yaakov sees Chazal's reading as arising from an understanding of human nature. Chazal,
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either through divine inspiration or their knowledge of science, were aware that there are "dark forces" that affect man's actions, even though the person is not necessarily aware he is affected by them. Thus, Chazal sensed that such a dramatic complaint could not and did not arise merely from the desire for garlic and onions, and really arose from the "dark forces" of sexual desire, even if B'nei Yisrael themselves did not realize the dark origins of their complaint. R. Yaakov's reading bears much superficial resembelance to the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, who, although Jewish, did not write anything that made its way onto the shelves of the typical Beis Medrash, to say the least. Freud sees the human mind as divided into three different parts, the ego, the super-ego, and the id. The ego can best be described as the person's sense of self, his "I" that makes decisions. The id is the repository for all of the person's passions and desires, and is chiefly motivated by "the pleasure principle", the hedonistic desire for satisfaction of instinctual appetites , disregarding notions of morality and possibility. The super-ego, on the other hand, is concerned with establishing morality and enforcing norms of behavior. The ego's job is to attempt to work out a compromise between the id and the super-ego, indulging in enough pleasurable activities to please the id while establishing limits to obey the superego.While the ego makes up most of what we know as conscious thought, and the super-ego is part of conscious processes as well, the id largely operates unconsciously, influencing a person's decision without them being conscious of its influence, even driving a person to a neurotic state. The psychoanalyst, by noticing irrational and neurotic behavior, can detect the existence of such unconscious desires, and bring them to the awareness of the patient, thus curing them4 Naturally, sexual desire makes up a large part of the desires of the id, and Freud grants sexual urges a large role in the development of a human being5.

4 Sigmund Freud, “The Anatomy of the Mental Personality”, 1932 http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/at/freud2.htm 5 Sigmund Freud, “A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis”, 1920 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38219/38219h/38219-h.htm#page_001

Similarly, R. Yaakov believes in unconscious mental processes, which influence man's actions without his knowledge. His description of these processes, as dark forces which consist of mental processes that have not taken form, but still leave an impression on man's thoughts, conforms with Freud's conception of the id. B'nei Yisrael believe they are complaining about the lack of fish and vegetables, influenced by but unaware of their id's desire for sexual gratification, which never makes it to the level of conscious thought but still leaves its impression on their eventual action. Furthermore, it can be argued that, like Freud, R. Yaakov believes that such desires lead to seemingly irrational action, the appearance of which points to something awry on the unconscious level. Here, the unfulfilled desire for fish and vegetables does not rationally lead to such dramatic consequences. As R. Yaakov sees it , the appearance of such irrational behavior is what leads Chazal to deduce that the motivation for their complaint runs deeper than that which appears on the surface. Also significant is the fact that R. Yaakov sees these unconscious influences as sexual in nature, strengthening the similarities to Freudian theories. The most significant point in favor of this piece being influenced by Freudian theories, however, is R. Yaakov's assertion that Chazal arrived to this conclusion by either divine inspiration or knowledge of science. Such a claim necessarily implies that R. Yaakov is aware that what he is saying is concurrent with the science of his day, which means that R. Yaakov is, at the very least, aware of Freudian theories. Taken with the apparent overlap in ideas between this piece and Freudian theories, it is natural to reach the rather remarkable conclusion that R. Yaakov knowingly used Freudian ideas about unconscious desires to explain a passage in Chumash. Our hypothesis can be further cemented by looking at the other places in Emes L'Yaakov where R. Yaakov makes use of this device. Bereishis 13:10-12 poses a very similar challenge to that which R. Yaakov faced in our piece in Bamidbar. In that text, Lot, enchanted by the fertile pastures of S'dom, chooses to leave Avraham to go settle there, and Chazal explain that Lot chose to settle in S'dom because they were "steeped in lust". Once again, R. Yaakov wants to know what force Chazal to put

such impure motives in the mouths of characters when there is no textual basis for doing so. R. Yaakov makes use of the same idea he uses in Bamidbar, and in fact quotes that piece as an illustrative example. Chazal, either through scientific knowledge or divine inspiration, deemed that the stated motivations for Lot's actions were insufficient, and thus deduced that impure, sexual motivations were afoot. To leave Avraham in pursuit of material wealth, at the very least, informs us of a personality more concerned with physical pleasure than spiritual accomplishment. More damningly, just five verses earlier, the text tells us that Lot was himself wealthy, in possesion of much sheep, cattle, and tents, leading Chazal to conclude that money may not have been the sole factor in Lot's decision. Here too we have R. Yaakov seeing an action as irrational, and deducing based on that conclusion that there are deeper, unconscious motivations at play, motivations of a sexual nature which do not make it to the level of conscious thought but nevertheless influence Lot's decision. And once again, R. Yaakov asserts that Chazal arrived to this conclusion either through divine inspiration or scientific knowledge, revealing that R. Yaakov is aware of the similarities between his explanation and the science of his day, making it likely that such knowledge played a role in formulating his interpretation. So far, we have enumerated three different ways in which these two pieces of R. Yaakov seem to borrow from Freud. Number one, that there is a level of the human psyche which a person is not conscious of, consisting of mental processes which do not rise to the level of conscious thought, that nevertheless leaves an impression on human actions and decisions. Number two, that seemingly irrational or improper behavior can point to the existence of such unconscious processes. Number three, that sexual desire plays a large part in these processes. Taken all together, Freud's notion of the id seems to match up well with R. Yaakov's notion of "dark forces". That, coupled with the fact that R. Yaakov explicitly mentions that his interpretation has scientific basis, leads us to the conclusion that R. Yaakov borrowed Freudian notions of unconscious desires influencing human actions and decisions and used them to interpret Chumash. There are, however, mitigating factors that will prevent us from making the above conclusions.

Let us first deal with our first proposed Freudian-influenced idea of R. Yaakov's, that of the unconscious but influential level of the psyche. There is a danger in looking too hard for the possibility of secular sources influencing biblical interpretation. Assuming that R. Yaakov got this idea from Freud assumes that only secular, officially recognized personalities like Freud ever have anything valid and original to say, and if R. Yaakov was talking about unconscious forces that influence man's actions, he must have been borrowing Freud's theories. This assumption seems to find it inconcievable that a religious person, especially one confined to his house of study with his religious texts, has anything insightful to say about the human condition. Only recognized Personalities of Note like Freud have valid theories, and anything which seems to be overlapping with that theory must have been influenced by it. Such a notion is not only insulting, it is, as it turns out, false. There is, first of all, ample evidence that the idea of the unconscious mind existed before Freud. More importantly, there is a mountain of evidence that this idea was part of the religious world to which R. Yaakov belonged. The yeshiva which R. Yaakov attended, the Yeshiva of Slobodka, was a Mussar Yeshiva identifying itself with the Mussar Movement founded by R. Yisrael Salanter. R. Salanter, in a number of his works refers to an idea of an unconscious mind in ways that may lead someone to posit that he too, was influenced by Freudian ideas of instinct and desire unconsciously influencing people's actions and decisions. Take for instance, this selection from a letter written by R. Salanter, found in Ohr Yisrael:

‫ הכהים המה יותר חזקים ומוציאים פעולתם בהתעוררת מעט בחוזק‬,‫ ישנם כוחות מאירים וכהים‬,‫כוחות התפעלות הנפשי‬ ‫ ובהתעוררת קטנה תתלהב‬,‫ וכמעט ברוב העתים אינם נרגשים הם להאדם עצמו‬,‫ אהבת האדם לצאצאיו כהים המה‬.‫יד‬ ‫ ולזאת גדול כחם למשול באדם‬,‫ כמעט אינם נרגשים‬,‫ תאות האדם המה הכהים אשר בלי התעוררת מה‬.‫לאש בוערת‬.

“....(As regards) the realm of the forces of the soul, there are forces that are clear and those that are dark, the dark are much stronger and react powerfully to minimal stimulation. The love of man towards

his children are dark forces, and most of the time, they are not felt by man himself, but with little provocation they will turn into a raging fire. Man's passions are dark, that without any stimulation, will be imperceptible, and thus, their power to rule over man is great6” R. Salanter is saying that man's passions and desires are hidden from view (“dark”) and imperceptible, but by no means inert. They are ever present, awaiting the slightest provocation, ready to turn into a raging fire. The fact that such unconscious desires cannot normally be detected gives them power over man and his decision making. This would seem to be in line with the first idea that we thought R. Yaakov found in Freud, that of an unconscious level of thought that has the power to rule over man through unconsciously influencing his decisions. We might thus conclude, based on our methodology, that R. Salanter is also borrowing ideas from Freud. We might also see our second idea, that irrational or improper actions stem from unconscious desires and passions, in another quote, this time from Iggeret HaMussar. ‫ כי שתים המה בסוגיהן‬,‫נשימה לב להתבונן בעניין העבירות ונראה‬: ‫ נמצא דוגמתה מה גם‬.‫ אם כי מרה תהיה באחרונה‬,‫ לבלי השקיף הנולד‬,‫האחת נובעת מהתאווה הנפרצה לאהוב הערב לשעתו‬ ‫ וישכח כי זה יביאנו למחלה‬,‫ יאהב לחטוף לאכול את הערב לחכו‬,‫שכלו‬-‫ לחולשת‬,‫ ובפרט החולה‬,‫ האיש הסכל‬:‫בענייני העולם‬ ‫נפרצה‬. “Let us take heart and examine the nature of sin, for there are two types. The first comes about through unbridled desire that loves momentary pleasure, without consideration of the results, which may be bitter at the end. We find examples of this in daily life: A foolish man, particularly a sick man, whose intellect is weak, who loves to scarf down that which pleases his palate, and forgets that this will bring him to grave illness”7 R. Salanter takes note of the fact that irrational action comes about when desire overpowers the intellect, leading to situations in which a fool, his mind weakened by illness, partakes in the momentary pleasure of sweet food and forgets about the dire consequences of said indulgence. It is not that he sat
6 Salanter, Ohr Yisrael, found at http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/vl/tohen.asp?id=180 7 Salanter, “Iggeret HaMussar”, found at http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/mahshevt/mahadurot/igeret-2.htm

down and did a cost-benefit analysis of eating this food; if he had done that, he would not have eaten it. Rather the origin of such irrational action is the abandonment of one's intellect and embrace of pleasure and instinct. This accords with the second principle we proposed that R. Yaakov borrowed from Freud. We can tell that B'nei Yisrael's complaint about fish and vegetables had deeper roots in their psyche because of its irrationality. So too here, we can tell that R. Salanter's fool made his decision based on his desires because of the irrational and imprudent nature of the decision. Thus, we have established that two of the factors which led us to believe R. Yaakov was a closet Freudian are also to be found in R. Yisrael Salanter as well. Like Freud, R. Salanter believes in an unconscious level of the human psyche which influences man without his knowledge, and also believes that irrational action can only be explained due to man's desires for momentary pleasure. Does this make R. Salanter a suspect for Freudian influence? Hardly. R. Salanter died in 1883, and completed most of his writings a good time before that. Freud's first book, On Hysteria, was published twelve years after R. Salanter's death. Assuming that R. Salanter was influenced by Freud is a complete historical impossibility, and it is in fact much more reasonable to assert that Freud was influenced by R. Salanter; even if that possibility is distant, it remains possible, something which cannot be said about Freud influencing R' Salanter. In any event, showing the overlap between Freudian ideas and R' Salanter's Mussar ideology provides us with two important facts to take note of before we go ahead and assume that R. Yaakov got his ideas from Freud. Number one, ideas advanced by religious authorities cannot be automatically assumed to come from secular sources, as the secular do not have a monopoly on intelligence and insight into the human condition. R. Salanter arrived to many of the same conclusions as Freud without any of his help, and it is thus unwise to presume that similar ideas found in R. Yaakov necessarily imply that he had Freud's help. Secondly, if we are to in fact assume that R. Yaakov arrived to these ideas through some sort of influence, it makes much more sense to assume that influence is R. Salanter,

founder of the movement R. Yaakov identified strongly with, rather than Sigmund Freud, who R. Yaakov would have found precious little common ground with. Indeed, the terminology used by R. Yaakov, "‫"הכוכות הכהים‬, is not some type of hebraicization of Freudian terms, but is in fact lifted wholesale from the piece by R. Salanter we cited above. The inescapable conclusion, therefore, is that R. Yaakov did not take these ideas from Freud, as they formed a part of the religious world he grew up in. In other words, learning about the idea of an unconscious level of the human psyche full of desires for instantaneous pleasures, which affects human actions and decisions in imperceptible ways is not something the Alter of Slobodka would have been concerned about. As for our third area of overlap between these two pieces of R. Yaakov and Freudian psychoanalysis, that of the predominantly sexual nature of these unconscious desires8, it is a rather weak point in the absence of the other two factors we dismissed above. However, it is true that R. Yaakov might be placing a larger emphasis on sexual unconscious motivations than his Mussar predecessors. While further study is needed for this phenomenon, R. Salanter does not seem to give much importance to the sexual drive. In the above cited passage about unconscious desires, his main example of unconscious forces is a parent's love towards a child. In Iggeret HaMussar, he only refers to sexual desire once, and that is only to say how relatively few people it affects. Thus, if we are able to prove that every time R. Yaakov uses similar notions of unconscious motivations those said motivations are sexual in nature, we may have a better case for proving that he is using Freudian ideas, from the larger emphasis placed on unconscious sexual desires. To my knowledge, there are two other places in Emes L'Yaakov where R. Yaakov refers to the notion of unconscious levels of the human mind. The first is in Bereishis 44:18, on Yehuda's statement to Yosef, who is disguised as an Egyptian noble, that Yosef is ‫כמוך כפרעה‬. R. Yaakov takes note of the

8 Although Freud did not necessarily ascribe all human action to unconscious sexual desire, and his book Beyond The Pleasure Principle specifically argues against that notion, it is fair to say that it is the predominant unconscious desire in Freud's thought.

various Rabbinic statements that see this as an aggressive, even threatening statement on Yehuda's part, and asks why Chazal assume such negative intentions on Yehuda's part when in context, it appears to be a routine attempt to flatter a powerful person. R. Yaakov answers by asking how Yehuda must have perceived Yosef at this point in the story. This Egyptian nobleman who deftly controls the economy of Egypt and the surrounding countries, who could have kept them in jail but chose to let them out and go get their little brother because he fears God, should by all right be greater in Yehuda's eyes than a pagan monarch. Yet, he deigns to describe him as “like Pharaoh”. It must have been an implied insult, which is the basis for those Rabbinic readings which see this as an aggressive statement. He finishes off by stating: ‫ וגם כמו שנמצא בתורה פרד"ס כמו כן בכל אדם יש‬,‫ שאלו ואלו דברי אל־קים חיים‬,‫וזו השקפה כללית בלימוד מדרשים‬ ‫ וזה ביארתי במקום אחר דיש חלקי הנשמה בכל אחד ואחד בכמה מדרגות‬,‫ והיינו לכל א' מחלקי נפשו‬,‫פרד"ס‬

"And this is a general idea in the learning of midrashim, that both are words of the living God, and just as we find PaRDeS (multiple levels of interpretation), so too every person has PaRDeS (multiple levels of interpretation), which is each of the parts of his soul, and I explain this elsewhere, that there are parts of the soul in everyone in multiple levels" This seems to be implying that this implied insult from Yehuda had its origin in a different level of his soul, and being as the other place in which he talks about the PaRDeS of human beings is in our above cited passage dealing with Lot, it seems likely that this implied insult of Yehuda's comes from his unconscious. If so, what we have is an example of a unconscious motivation which is not sexual in nature, and makes it difficult to presume that R. Yaakov is stressing the sexual aspect any more than his predecessors and the fact he has two passages in which he stresses that aspect could be merely random fluctuations in a small sample size On the other hand, it could be that Yehuda consciously chose his wording so as to stealthily insult, and this is not a good example of an unconscious motivator.

The other passage in which R. Yaakov hints at the idea of unconscious motivations in his explanation of the death of Nadav and Avihu, in Vayikra 10:2. R. Yaakov is puzzled by the numerous rabbinic explanations given for the death of Nadav and Avihu: that it was because they taught a halacha in front of their teacher, that it was for acting improperly at Sinai, for not marrying, and so on and so forth. Why do we need all these explanations when the text itself states that they died for bringing a foreign fire, and why do we accuse them of such a varied array of sins when Moshe himself says about them that "‫ש‬ ׁ " ‫ד‬ ֵ‫ק ׁש‬ ָ‫ֶ שֵד‬ ּ ‫בי א‬ ַ‫ר י‬ ֹ‫ק ַב‬ ְ‫ב בֹר‬ ִ ", implying that they were holy people? R. Yaakov answers by explaining how ּ each of the sins mentioned stemmed from the same character trait, that of arrogance, and it was that same trait that led them to do the sin they were eventually killed for. This passage thus ascribes an underlying unconscious motivation, that of arrogance, to Nadav and Avihu's actions, which has nothing to do with sex. In fact, in one of the sins Nadav and Avihu are faulted with, that of refusing to marry, R. Yaakov sees their arrogance as overriding whatever sexual desire they may have had. This provides a better example of R. Yaakov using the notion of unconscious desires in a way that does not concern itself with sexual desire, and appears to be closer to R. Salanter than to Freud. There is, however, one last consideration to be taken into account in evaluating the effect Freud had on R. Yaakov. We mentioned previously that in both of our original passages, the ones dealing with B'nei Yisrael and Lot, that R. Yaakov ascribes Chazal's knowledge of unconscious mental processes to “either divine inspiration or scientific knowledge”, thus demonstrating that R. Yaakov is aware that the idea he is presenting is consistent with current science. All the parallels with R. Yisrael Salanter do not change the fact that he is very clearly aware that this idea exists outside of the Mussar Movement. Furthermore a close look at the two other passages in which he deals with similar notions of different levels of human thought will reveal that R. Yaakov only sees Chazal as possibly imbued with divine inspiration or scientific knowledge when the unconscious motivations spoken of are sexual. In cases where sexual desire is not a factor, like with Yehuda and Nadav and Avihu, the notion of Chazal's

scientific knowledge is conspicuously absent. It appears clear that R. Yaakov knew enough Freud to distinguish between when he was supported by Freudian theories, and when he was not. So, putting all this information together, what is the relationship between R. Yaakov and Freudian thought? It would be inaccurate to state that R. Yaakov took ideas from Freud. Such a notion would necessarily imply that R. Yaakov's positions were affected by an exposure to Freudian ideas. We know that is not true, because R. Yaakov clearly got the idea of an unconscious level of human thought from R. Yisrael Salanter and the Mussar Movement, evidenced by his use of R. Salanter's terminology. At best, we might be able to say that there may be more of an emphasis on sexual desire in R. Yaakov's thought, but that would require a full scale study of the concept as it occurs in the thought of the Mussar Movement, and is beyond the scope of this paper.9 It would be equally inaccurate to state that the similarities between R. Yaakov's comments and Freudian notions of sexual desires unconsciously motivating human actions as a happy coincidence, as he himself notes the similarity, ascribing Chazal scientific knowledge to explain the origin of their interpretation. It thus appears that most evidence points to R. Yaakov being aware, but unaffected by Freudian ideas. He knew about Freud, but it did not affect his worldview in a meaningful way. In that case, what purpose did this awareness have, and why did he choose to even mention it? In both of the passages we quoted in which the unconscious influence of sexual desire is discussed, R. Yaakov's main goal is to defend a rabbinic reading of the text that seems farfetched, answering the question of why Chazal chose to see lustful motivations when the text did not provide them. By using Freud in the formulation of his answer, he has not only defended the reading as literarily acceptable, he has gone further and stated that the reading is on sound scientific ground. Thus, not only were Chazal not illiterate idiots, they were even scientific geniuses, if not prophets. This does not mean that he necessarily accepted all Freud had to say, as evidenced by the places we mentioned in which the sexual drive does not play a
9 Which is late enough as it is.

role, and R. Yaakov, as a result, does not tout the scientific truth of his reading. In this case, however, Chazal's reading could be supported by Freudian ideas, so he mentions it here for the purposes of giving his answer added support. R. Yaakov's main purpose for his use of Freudian ideas was to serve as confirmation of ideas he already had, and the prestige of Judaism in general.

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