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Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.


Mors Rattus posted:

Also, side note for anyone wondering why the commentaries jump between Bereishit and Bereishis: those are the same letter, whether it makes an s or t noise depends wholly on how you speak Hebrew. My grandfather uses Ashkenazi pronunciations when praying and so he favors -s sounds for that letter, which was always weird to me as a kid because my shul favored -t sounds.

Same thing for me. When I hear the Barchu I still sometimes get flashes of it in my grandpa's voice/accent. Not for any particular reason (it wasn't something special to him or anything), just one of those memories that stuck.

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WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



Mors Rattus posted:

Yeah, I think no one is really served by approaching the Bible as a scientific or historic text. (That said there are some really hilarious incorrect statements about how nature works by Rashi at times, usually when he starts trying to give advice on agriculture and plants.
Yes, every generation is using the tools they have to explain the text, including our own education, culture and context. Statements of the rabbis about science aren't usually religiously relevant in any way. When they are (like the rabbis' understanding of the role of bees in the creation of honey) the conversation can get very weird and convoluted.

quote:

the Exodus itself almost certainly didn't happen anything like the way the book says it did. That's not important, though.)

I'll take issue with this, though it may be a matter of terminology between us. Myth is true. It can be so very true that it would be impossible for it to be historically true.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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WrenP-Complete posted:

I'll take issue with this, though it may be a matter of terminology between us. Myth is true. It can be so very true that it would be impossible for it to be historically true.

Terminology, mostly. It is true mythically; historically it cannot possibly have happened, and the historic Egyptians weren't generally anything like the rabbis tend to characterize them at all.

mike12345
Jul 14, 2008

"Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries."







Rashi posted:

בראשית IN THE BEGINNING — Rabbi Isaac said: The Torah which is the Law book of Israel should have commenced with the verse (Exodus 12:2) “This month shall be unto you the first of the months” which is the first commandment given to Israel. What is the reason, then, that it commences with the account of the Creation? Because of the thought expressed in the text (Psalms 111:6) “He declared to His people the strength of His works (i.e. He gave an account of the work of Creation), in order that He might give them the heritage of the nations.” For should the peoples of the world say to Israel, “You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven nations of Canaan”, Israel may reply to them, “All the earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it and gave it to whom He pleased. When He willed He gave it to them, and when He willed He took it from them and gave it to us” (Yalkut Shimoni on Torah 187).

Is he saying a) all theft is impossible because everything belongs to the holy one, b) if theft happens it's just the holy one's will, or c) it's not theft because it belongs to the holy one and to those designated as owners (by the holy one).

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Third one. It's a rather unpleasant argument, but it is relatively cromulent. I've always felt it's rather thinly veiled justification for conquest, myself, though.

e: and don't expect a big post today until late, I have some RL stuff to do today

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 12:51 on Mar 6, 2020

mike12345
Jul 14, 2008

"Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries."







Ah. I was hoping/thinking that maybe this line of reasoning lead to a theological justification for the abolishment of private property at some point.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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mike12345 posted:

Ah. I was hoping/thinking that maybe this line of reasoning lead to a theological justification for the abolishment of private property at some point.

Relatively unlikely - property law and property rights take up a fairly significant portion of the Law. Full-on communism is doable under the Law but not inherently moreso than outside it - it'd just involve agreeing to communal ownership of property, which is allowed.

Tias
May 25, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 7 days!


All I got out of this was that angels are birbs, 10/10 would read again

No, seriously, this is fascinating. I'm a practicing norse heathen, and the wisdom of the rabbis has always intrigued me in how it sometimes meshes with the sagas. I'll be lurking for sure!

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



Angels are definitely more badass and terrifying than birds... And I'm a huge fan of birds.

I'm glad we are low volume today because I'm running around getting ready for Tot Shabbat (little kids' Shabbat services), and the Purim carnival coming up. Party!

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.


Oh man I haven't had a hamentashen in 15 years and now I want some. I should check with my mom, see if she did anything special for them or just shaped regular bread dough.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Bit longer away than I'd planned! But let's pick up with...

Genesis 1:11 posted:

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation: seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so.





So basically, I think this is saying the word for herbs specifically refers to plants that just pop out of the ground, rather than bushes or trees?



Vocab.





I, uh. Maybe Genesis Rabbah has a better explanation, but I couldn't tell you because 5:9 is untranslated. Best I got is that "fruit tree" and "tree yielding fruit" are different Hebrew phrases, and use of different phrases means they must have meant something different in a specific way, or else they'd have used the same phrase.



And more vocab.

Genesis 1:12 posted:

The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that this was good.



The herbs are clever enough, it seems, to realize they are meant to spread according to their kind. Chullin 60a is Talmud, and it says regarding the herbs...

Chullin 60a-60b posted:

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa taught: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; let the Lord rejoice in His works” (Psalms 104:31). This verse was stated by the minister of the world, i.e., the angel charged with overseeing the world. When the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: “Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit tree bearing fruit after its kind” (Genesis 1:11), the grasses drew an a fortiori inference with regard to themselves.

They reasoned: If the Holy One, Blessed be He, wishes the mixing of species, why did he say: After its kind, with regard to the trees? And furthermore, let us draw an a fortiori inference: If with regard to trees, which do not naturally grow mixed, as they are large and distinct from one another, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: “After its kind,” all the more so with regard to us, since grass naturally grows mixed.

Immediately, every kind of grass emerged after its kind, as it is stated: “And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind” (Genesis 1:12). The minister of the world began to speak and said: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; let the Lord rejoice in His works,” who do His will even when not explicitly instructed.

With regard to the above description, Ravina raises a dilemma: If one grafted two species of grass onto one another, as is done with trees,

what is the halakha according to Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa? Shall one say that since the phrase “after its kind” is not written as a mitzva with regard to them, one is not liable for transgressing the prohibition against mixing diverse kinds? Or perhaps, since God agreed with them after the fact, as the verse states: “Let the Lord rejoice in His works,” it is as if the mitzva “after its kind” is written with regard to them. The Gemara responds: The dilemma shall stand unresolved.

So, the grasses and seed-bearing herbs infer that they, too, should spread according to their kind, on the basis that since trees naturally grow unmixed and God still explicitly told them to not mix, the grasses too must definitely do this. Species-mixing is, incidentally, a recurring Bad Thing that God doesn't like. Breeding animals of different species together is legally forbidden, for example. The question as to whether species-mixing of grasses is allowed, however, was apparently never solved by the Talmudic rabbis, as we see.

Kalman
Jan 17, 2010

USPOL May

I think that the herb argument is about the correct term for ground cover vs an individual species of herb or grass. Forest vs trees—except that in Biblical Hebrew, this is arguing that you couldn’t use “trees” to refer to a group of heterogenous types of tree.

The “no mixing species” issue extended to linguistics, basically.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I could see that, yeah.

Genesis 1:13-14 posted:

And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as signs for the set times—the days and the years;



So, Rashi is saying the sun, moon and stars all existed from day one, but were not actually put in place until day four. Chagigah 12a is Talmud, and says:

Chagigah 12a posted:

The Gemara comments: This is like a dispute between tanna’im: The light that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created on the first day was so profound that man could observe through it from one end of the world to the other; this is the statement of Rabbi Ya’akov. And the Rabbis say: This light is the very same as the lights created on the first day, but they were not suspended in their designated places in the firmament until the fourth day.

If you recall earlier, there was an argument during day 1 about whether the light was from the sun and moon and stars or if it was a different light; there, the arguments concluded it was different. This is the counterargument - that the light made on day 1 and the luminaries of day 4 are the same, the luminaries just weren't in their set positions. No winner is recorded, and if we turn to the other cite, we find that Genesis Rabbah 12:4 is untranslated.



Missing letters are surprisingly common in the text - and pretty much all of them are, according to the rabbis, missing on purpose and giving a secret meaning. Usually these meanings are more profound than this one, of course. Taanit 27b is Talmud, and informs us:

Taanit 47b posted:

On Wednesday they would fast over croup, that it should not befall the children, as on the fourth day the bodies of light [me’orot] were created, a textual allusion to curses [me’erot]. On Thursday they would fast for pregnant women and nursing women, as living beings were first created on this day. For pregnant women they would fast that they should not miscarry, while for nursing women they would fast that they should be able to nurse their children properly. And on Shabbat eve they would not fast, in deference to Shabbat, and a fortiori they would not fast on Shabbat itself.

Yerushalmi Taanit - that is, the Jerusalem Talmud's Taanit - is untranslated.



I find it interesting that Rashi refuses to take a side on the primeval light-vs-unhung luminaries argument. I don't think he especially cares either way; when he cares, he usually does take a side.



Astrology was, at the time of Rashi's writing and well before, considered a science. Jeremiah 10:2 tells the Israelites to not be dismayed by evil portents in the sky, however. This is easily reconciled by the rabbis.

Sukkah 29a posted:

Apropos the fact that rain on Sukkot is an indication of divine rebuke, the Gemara cites several related topics. The Sages taught: When the sun is eclipsed it is a bad omen for the entire world. The Gemara tells a parable. To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to a king of flesh and blood who prepared a feast for his servants and placed a lantern [panas] before them to illuminate the hall. He became angry at them and said to his servant: Take the lantern from before them and seat them in darkness.

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir says: When the heavenly lights, i.e., the sun and the moon, are eclipsed, it is a bad omen for the enemies of the Jewish people, which is a euphemism for the Jewish people, because they are experienced in their beatings. Based on past experience, they assume that any calamity that afflicts the world is directed at them. The Gemara suggests a parable: This is similar to a teacher who comes to the school with a strap in his hand. Who worries? The child who is accustomed to be beaten each and every day is the one who worries.

The Sages taught in another baraita: When the sun is eclipsed, it is a bad omen for the other nations. When the moon is eclipsed, it is a bad omen for the enemies of the Jewish people. This is due to the fact that the Jewish people calculate their calendar primarily based on the moon, and the other nations calculate based on the sun. When the sun is eclipsed in the east, it is a bad omen for the residents of the lands of the east. When it is eclipsed in the west, it is a bad omen for the residents of the lands of the west. When it is eclipsed in the middle of the sky, it is a bad omen for the entire world.

If, during an eclipse, the visage of the sun is red like blood, it is an omen that sword, i.e., war, is coming to the world. If the sun is black like sackcloth made of dark goat hair, it is an omen that arrows of hunger are coming to the world, because hunger darkens people’s faces. When it is similar both to this, to blood, and to that, to sackcloth, it is a sign that both sword and arrows of hunger are coming to the world. If it was eclipsed upon its entry, soon after rising, it is an omen that calamity is tarrying to come. If the sun is eclipsed upon its departure at the end of the day, it is an omen that calamity is hastening to come. And some say the matters are reversed: An eclipse in the early morning is an omen that calamity is hastening, while an eclipse in the late afternoon is an omen that calamity is tarrying.

The Sages said: There is no nation that is afflicted whose god is not afflicted with it, as it is stated: “And against all the gods of Egypt I will mete out judgment; I am God” (Exodus 12:12). The Gemara adds: When the Jewish people perform God’s will, they need not fear any of these omens, as it is stated: “Thus says the Lord: Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of Heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them” (Jeremiah 10:2). The nations will be dismayed, but the Jewish people will not be dismayed, provided they do not follow the ways of the nations.

The Sages taught that on account of four matters the sun is eclipsed: On account of a president of the court who dies and is not eulogized appropriately, and the eclipse is a type of eulogy by Heaven; on account of a betrothed young woman who screamed in the city that she was being raped and there was no one to rescue her; on account of homosexuality; and on account of two brothers whose blood was spilled as one.

And on account of four matters the heavenly lights are eclipsed: On account of forgers of a fraudulent document [pelaster] that is intended to discredit others; on account of testifiers of false testimony; on account of raisers of small domesticated animals in Eretz Yisrael in a settled area; and on account of choppers of good, fruit-producing trees.

Their explanation is simple - astrology is real, but God will protect the Israelites as his chosen people, and uses astrology to send them information. And here is what he says. You will note the homophobia - that's...well, that's unfortunately a thing in the Talmud. When we eventually get to the law they cite for it, though, I'll show you my way of getting around it, which is based on a mix of malicious compliance and quibbling over wording and interpretation. Short form: Rashi and the old sages interpret it using really weird language that gets in their way and makes it easy to ignore, and the words themselves can be interpreted in a wildly variant number of ways.





This is just a simple rabbinic argument over why the moon exists, and whether it needed to exist for light or just for timekeeping.





It's interesting to me to see how translators of Rashi disagree over whether he knew about the extra 1/4-ish of a day or not. It's not especially important either way, though, since the actual point he's trying to make is that the celestial bodies form regular movements by which time can be kept.

Genesis 1:15 posted:

and they serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth.” And it was so.



Just some vocab here.

Genesis 1:16 posted:

God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars.



This is where we get into some really fun folklore. I read stories about this as a kid!

Chullin 60b posted:

Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi raises a contradiction between two verses. It is written: “And God made the two great lights” (Genesis 1:16), and it is also written in the same verse: “The greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night,” indicating that only one was great. Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi explains: When God first created the sun and the moon, they were equally bright. Then, the moon said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, is it possible for two kings to serve with one crown? One of us must be subservient to the other. God therefore said to her, i.e., the moon: If so, go and diminish yourself.

She said before Him: Master of the Universe, since I said a correct observation before You, must I diminish myself? God said to her: As compensation, go and rule both during the day along with the sun and during the night. She said to Him: What is the greatness of shining alongside the sun? What use is a candle in the middle of the day? God said to her: Go; let the Jewish people count the days and years with you, and this will be your greatness. She said to Him: But the Jewish people will count with the sun as well, as it is impossible that they will not count seasons with it, as it is written: “And let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14). God said to her: Go; let righteous men be named after you. Just as you are called the lesser [hakatan] light, there will be Ya’akov HaKatan, i.e., Jacob our forefather (see Amos 7:2), Shmuel HaKatan the tanna, and David HaKatan, i.e., King David (see I Samuel 17:14).

God saw that the moon was not comforted. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Bring atonement for me, since I diminished the moon. The Gemara notes: And this is what Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish says: What is different about the goat offering of the New Moon, that it is stated with regard to it: “For the Lord” (Numbers 28:15)? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: This goat shall be an atonement for Me for having diminished the size of the moon.

The story of the moon asking God who should be the greater and being diminished for doing so shows up in collections of Jewish folk tales. The Talmud gives her the sacrificial offering of the New Moon to atone for this, but there's one other story about what she got in return.



6:4 still isn't translated, but this is always the version I heard - that God created the stars so that the moon, while diminished, would have subjects and companions to make up for her loss of power relative to the sun.

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



I just skimmed today because I'm in Purim preparation land. (Carnival went great! Adult reading+party tonight!) Mar Rattus, could you please bold or include my name or something if you want something translated? That way I won't feel like I'm butting in with the Yerushalmi or whathaveyou... You're doing great without it, I'm also happy to help.

Taanit is one of my favorite tractates because it frankly addresses the question of "what should a community in crisis do?"

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I'm never going to turn down a translation if you want to do it.

PHIZ KALIFA
Dec 21, 2011
ABS THUNDERSKULL.

element: thunderbolts.

steed: a thunderbolt.

slogan/motto: "gonna clap them cheeks like a Thunderskull."


mors would it be cool with you if i geeked out about the Oven of Ahknai or are you gonna get to that soon

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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PHIZ KALIFA posted:

mors would it be cool with you if i geeked out about the Oven of Ahknai or are you gonna get to that soon

Go for it, that story is Talmudic and not gonna come up directly in the commentary.

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



Let's do it, I just did a similar story with a bat kol (heavenly voice) (whose judgement gets accepted) in my Talmud group.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Genesis 1:17-20 posted:

And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth,
to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that this was good.
And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and birds that fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”



I'm not sure if this phrase is the same as the more infamous living creatures from later! Those ones are probably angels. These ones are everything that isn't a plant or a bird.



This is I think usually translated as "creeping things"?

Genesis 1:21 posted:

God created the great sea monsters, and all the living creatures of every kind that creep, which the waters brought forth in swarms, and all the winged birds of every kind. And God saw that this was good.



Occasionally, you will run into someone who tells you that God fights a dragon in Genesis. This is what they're referring to, and 'fight' is really, really not the word I'd use. God creates Leviathan, the greatest of all fishes, and his wife. And then God decides, actually, if we let this thing breed, it'll take over everything because it's a terrifying fish monster all by itself. So God kills the female Leviathan. It's not really a fight. Bava Batra is Talmud, and it says...

Bava Batra 74b-75a posted:

The verse states: “And God created the great sea monsters” (Genesis 1:21). Here, in Babylonia, they interpreted this as a reference to the sea oryx. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This is leviathan the slant serpent, and leviathan the tortuous serpent, as it is stated: “In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword will punish leviathan the slant serpent, and leviathan the tortuous serpent” (Isaiah 27:1).

The Gemara provides a mnemonic for the following statements of Rav Yehuda citing Rav: Everything; time; Jordan. Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: Everything that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created in His world, He created male and female. Even leviathan the slant serpent and leviathan the tortuous serpent He created male and female. And if they would have coupled and produced offspring, they would have destroyed the entire world. What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do? He castrated the male and killed the female, and salted the female to preserve it for the banquet for the righteous in the future. As it is stated: “And He will slay the serpent that is in the sea” (Isaiah 27:1).

And He created even the beasts on the thousand hills (see Psalms 50:10) male and female. And they were so enormous that if they would have coupled and produced offspring, they would have destroyed the entire world. What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do? He castrated the male and cooled the sexual desire of the female and preserved it for the righteous in the future. As it is stated about the beasts: “Lo now, his strength is in his loins” (Job 40:16); this is referring to the male. The continuation of the verse: “And his force is in the stays of his body”; this is the female, alluding to the idea that they did not use their genitals for the purpose of procreation.

The Gemara asks: There too, with regard to the leviathan, let Him castrate the male and cool the female; why was it necessary to kill the female? The Gemara answers: Fish are unrestrained, and therefore even if the female was cooled, the female would still procreate. The Gemara suggests: And let Him do the opposite, and kill and preserve the male leviathan. The Gemara responds: If you wish, say that the salted female is better; if you wish, say instead that since it is written: “There is leviathan, whom You have formed to sport with” (Psalms 104:26), the male must be left alive for sport, because it is not proper conduct to sport with a female. The Gemara asks: Here too, with regard to the beasts, let Him preserve the female in salt, instead of cooling it. The Gemara answers: Salted fish is good, but salted meat is not good.

And Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: At the time when the Holy One, Blessed be He, sought to create the world, He said to the minister of the sea: Open your mouth and swallow all the waters of the world, so that there will be room for land. The minister of the sea said before Him: Master of the Universe, it is enough that I will stay within my own waters. God immediately struck him and killed him; as it is stated: “He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He smites through Rahab” (Job 26:12).

Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Conclude from here that the name of the minister of the sea is Rahab, and were it not for waters of the sea that cover him, no creature could withstand his smell, as his corpse emits a terrible stench. As it is stated: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Do not read this phrase as “cover the sea”; rather read it as: Cover the minister of the sea, i.e., the term sea is referring to the minister of the sea, not to the sea itself.

And Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: The Jordan issues forth from the cave of Pamyas. That is also taught in a baraita: The Jordan issues forth from the cave of Pamyas, and travels in the Sea of Sivkhi, i.e., the Hula Lake, and in the Sea of Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, and rolls down to the Great Sea, and rolls down until it reaches the mouth of the leviathan. As it is stated: “He is confident, though the Jordan rush forth to his mouth” (Job 40:23). Rava bar Ulla strongly objects to this explanation of the verse, stating: But this verse is written about the beasts on the thousand hills. Rather, Rava bar Ulla said that this is the meaning of the verse: When are the beasts on the thousand hills confident? When the Jordan rushes forth into the mouth of the leviathan.

The Gemara provides a mnemonic for the upcoming statements of Rav Dimi: Seas; Gabriel; hungry. When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods” (Psalms 24:2)? These are the seven seas and four rivers that surround Eretz Yisrael. And these are the seven seas: The Sea of Tiberias, the Sea of Sodom, i.e., the Dead Sea, the Sea of Ḥeilat, the Sea of Ḥeilata, the Sea of Sivkhi, the Sea of Aspamya, and the Great Sea, i.e., the Mediterranean. And these are the four rivers: The Jordan, the Jarmuth, and the Keiromyon, and the Piga, which are the rivers of Damascus.

When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia he said that Rabbi Yonatan says: In the future, Gabriel will perform

a hunt of the leviathan, as it is stated: “Can you draw out leviathan with a fish hook? Or press down his tongue with a cord?” (Job 40:25). And were the Holy One, Blessed be He, not assisting Gabriel, he would not be able to hunt it, as it is stated: “Only He Who made him can use His sword to approach him” (Job 40:19).

When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: When the leviathan is hungry, he produces breath from his mouth and thereby boils all of the waters in the depths of the sea. As it is stated: “He makes the deep boil like a pot” (Job 41:23). And if the leviathan did not place its head in the Garden of Eden, no creature could withstand his foul smell, as it is stated: “He makes the sea like a seething mixture [merkaḥa]” (Job 41:23), and the term merkaḥa is also used to describe something with a smell (see Exodus 30:25).

And when he is thirsty, he makes many furrows in the sea, as it is stated: “He makes a path to shine after him” (Job 41:24). Rav Aḥa bar Yaakov says: After the leviathan drinks from the sea, the depth of the sea does not return to its normal condition until seventy years have passed, as it is stated: “One would think the deep to be hoary” (Job 41:24), and hoary indicates a person who is no less than seventy years old.

Rabba says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will make a feast for the righteous from the flesh of the leviathan, as it is stated: “The ḥabbarim will make a feast [yikhru] of him” (Job 40:30). And kera means nothing other than a feast, as it is stated: “And he prepared [va’yikhreh] for them a great feast [kera]; and they ate and drank” (II Kings 6:23). And ḥabbarim means nothing other than Torah scholars, as it is stated: “You that dwell in the gardens, the companions [ḥaverim] hearken for your voice: Cause me to hear it” (Song of Songs 8:13). This verse is interpreted as referring to Torah scholars, who listen to God’s voice.

And with regard to the remainder of the leviathan, they will divide it and use it for commerce in the markets of Jerusalem, as it is stated: “They will part him among the kena’anim” (Job 40:30). And kena’anim means nothing other than merchants, as it is stated: “As for the merchant [kena’an], the balances of deceit are in his hand. He loves to oppress” (Hosea 12:8). And if you wish, say that the proof is from here: “Whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers [kinaneha] are the honorable of the earth” (Isaiah 23:8).

And Rabba says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will prepare a sukka for the righteous from the skin of the leviathan, as it is stated: “Can you fill his skin with barbed irons [besukkot]” (Job 40:31). If one is deserving of being called righteous, an entire sukka is prepared for him from the skin of the leviathan; if one is not deserving of this honor, a covering is prepared for his head, as it is stated: “Or his head with fish-spears” (Job 40:31).

If one is deserving at least of this reward, a covering is prepared for him, and if one is not deserving, a necklace is prepared for him, as it is stated: “And necklaces about your neck” (Proverbs 1:9). If one is somewhat deserving, a necklace is prepared for him, and if one is not deserving even of this, only an amu-let is prepared for him from the skin of the leviathan, as it is stated: “Or will you bind him for your maidens” (Job 40:29), i.e., a small amulet is prepared for him, like the amulets tied on children’s necks.

And with regard to the remaining part of the skin of the leviathan, the Holy One, Blessed be He, spreads it on the walls of Jerusalem, and its glory radiates from one end of the world until the other end. As it is stated: “And nations shall walk in your light, and kings at the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:3).

So, in summary: Yes, the Leviathan is a terrifying sea dragon that not even the angel Gabriel could win a fight with.

And God can just beat it. Like, one sentence, done. It's not a grand fight - it's God turning off the female Leviathan, because fish don't need to be horny to breed. (God does not turn off the female Behemoth, because land animals need to be horny.) And then they have a large digression about what will be done with the skin of the male Leviathan when Gabriel (aided by God) hunts it in the World To Come. They're gonna make a hut out of it! And necklaces! And decorations for the walls of Jerusalem!

Genesis 1:22 posted:

God blessed them, saying, “Be fertile and increase, fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”



The Genesis Rabbah cite looks to be to an untranslated bit, because all the parts I can find English for are either about circumcision or Shabbat. Either way: birds get blessed, but animals won't, because gently caress snakes. (Why doesn't God stop the Serpent before it can gently caress everything up? Because while God knows everything that will happen, God still has infinite mercy and wants to give the Serpent a chance to not gently caress up. He's just not going to bless it first.)





Vocab. The birds and creeping things and fish, not being especially clever, must be told to have more than two babies.

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



I don't know what the more infamous living creatures from later are. We'll have to find out!

Yes, sheretz (pl shratzim) is a creepy crawly.

Whoops, being called away, more later.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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WrenP-Complete posted:

I don't know what the more infamous living creatures from later are. We'll have to find out!

Yes, sheretz (pl shratzim) is a creepy crawly.

Whoops, being called away, more later.

It's gonna be a while until the Living Creatures of Ezekiel show up, but I checked. Different phrase, sort of. They're just chayoth, no second word.

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



Yeah, nefesh chai is like "animate life" or "enlivened souls" depending on context, chayyot is like "living things" or "lives."

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Genesis 1:23-24 posted:

And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
God said, “Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: cattle, creeping things, and wild beasts of every kind.” And it was so.



Rashi now a solid proponent of the simultaneous-Creation theory.



Vocab.

Genesis 1:25 posted:

God made wild beasts of every kind and cattle of every kind, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. And God saw that this was good.



Following the cite on this brings us back to the Talmud.

Chullin 60a posted:

And Rav Yehuda says: The bull that Adam, the first man, sacrificed as a thanks offering for his life being spared had a single horn on its forehead, as it is stated: “And it shall please the Lord better than a bullock that has horns [makrin] and hoofs” (Psalms 69:32). The Gemara comments: On the contrary, the word makrin indicates two horns. Rav Naḥman said: Although it is vocalized in the plural, makran is written in the verse, without the letter yod, to indicate that it had only a single horn.

And Rav Yehuda says: With regard to the bull that Adam, the first man, sacrificed, its horns preceded its hooves. It was not born of a cow, but rose fully formed out of the earth such that its head emerged first, as it is stated: “And it shall please the Lord better than a bullock that has horns and hoofs.” The phrase “has horns” comes first, and only afterward the word “hoofs.”

And this supports the statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: All items created during the acts of Creation were created with their full stature, immediately fit to bear fruit; they were created with their full mental capacities; they were created with their full form. As it is stated: “And the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Genesis 2:1). Do not read it as: “The host of them [tzeva’am]”; rather, read it as: Their form [tzivyonam].

Essentially the argument is that the command to fulfill and multiply is part of the Creation, and if God had to wait for the animals to grow up and be able to do so, that'd be silly, especially as they lacked parents to teach them how to, say, hunt. So they must have been created fully adult. Also, a pun. Puns are serious business in Biblical Hebrew.

Genesis 1:26 posted:

And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.”

So, I've mentioned before that Judaism doesn't generally like to anthropomorphize God. If that's so, how can man be made in "our image"? Well, first of all, it's a plural.



It means, Rashi says, that God was talking to the angels, and that man was made in their form. His citations...

Midrash Tanchuma, Shemot 18:1-3 posted:

And Moses went and returned to Jethro, his father-in-law (Exod. 4:18). Scripture states elsewhere: But he is at one with Himself, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth (Job 23:13). R. Pappos explained this verse as follows: Because He is the Unique One in the world, no one can stay His hand. He does whatever He desires, for what His soul desireth, even that He doeth. R. Akiba replied: By your life, Pappos, that is not the correct interpretation of this verse. Pappos then asked: What then is the meaning of He is at one with Himself and who can turn him? He replied: Just as men consult each other on earth, so the heavenly beings consult each other. How do we know that? It is written: The matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth it up over it the lowest of men (Dan. 4:14). In other words, just as men debate a law here on earth, so do those above, and every decision rendered is in accordance with the law, as it is said: Howbeit I will declare unto thee that which is inscribed in the writing of truth (ibid. 10:21).

The Holy One, blessed be He, ponders the matter in question and asks: What should the law be? Whereupon they respond: It should be such-and-such. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, decrees, as you may learn from Micaiah: And Micaiah said: “Therefore hear thou the word of the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the hosts of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left hand (I Kings 22:19). But is there actually a left hand on high? No; it means that those on the right (side of God) balance the scale on the side of merit, and those on the left balance the scale on the side of guilt. And the Lord said: “Who shall entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” And one said: On this manner; another said: On that manner (ibid., v. 20). This teaches us that they considered every decision with regard to the law, and the Holy One, blessed be He, discussed the law with them.

What is meant by But He is at one with Himself, and who can turn Him? (Job 23:13). It means that after the law was determined, the Holy One, blessed be He, would enter the place in which they were not permitted to go and seal the judgment, as it is said: He is at one with Himself, and who can turn Him? That is, He knows the opinions of all His creatures, and there are none who could challenge His words.

Essentially, the rabbis are arguing that God consults with the angels on every decision, to ensure that it is rendered in accord with the Law. God is perfect, of course, and can just decree stuff - but the angels argue both sides of every matter to help determine the truth. And once the Law is determined, God cannot be swayed, because God knows every argument and opinion. So here, God is consulting with the angels. Genesis Rabbah 8 agrees:

Genesis Rabbah 8:5 posted:

R. Simon said: When the time came for the Holy Blessed One to make the first human being, The Ministering Angels made themselves into competing counsels, with one group opposing the other. Some of them said, “Don’t create humans,” and the others said “Create them.” So it is written: (Ps. 85:11) “Kindness and Truth met against one another, Righteousness and Peace faced each other.” The angel of Kindness said, “Create them, for they will do acts of loving kindness.” Then the angel of Truth said, “Do not create them, for they will be full of lies.” The angel of Righteousness said, “Create them, for they will establish justice.” The angel of Peace said, “Do not create them, for they will be in constant strife!” What did the Holy Blessed one do, but grab up Truth and hurl it to the earth, so it is written: (Daniel 8:12) “You hurled Truth to the earth.” Whereupon the Ministering Angels said before the Holy Blessed One, “Ruler of all worlds, what have You done? Why have You so chastised the chief of your court? Let Truth arise again from the earth.” So it is written, (Ps. 85:12) “Truth springs up from the earth.” The Rabbis have said the following in the name of R. Hanina bar Adai, and R. Pinchas and R. Hilkiah in the name of R. Simon who said: “Very” [MeOD] is an anagram in reference to “Humans” [ADaM] so it is written: (Gen 1:31) “And God saw all that God had made, and found it very good.” Read it rather: “God found Humans to be good.” R. Huna of Tzipori said: While the Ministering Angels were occupying one another with litigation and debate, The Holy Blessed One created them and turned to the angels saying, “What are you arguing about? Humans have already been created.”

Sanhedrin 38b is another Talmudic chapter. Regarding God wishing the Earth to be equal to the Heavens in having things made in His likeness, it says:

Sanhedrin 38b posted:

The Gemara presents a mnemonic for the statements that follow: At the time, to the end, Aramaic. Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: At the time that the Holy One, Blessed be He, sought to create a person, He created one group of ministering angels. He said to them: If you agree, let us fashion a person in our image. The angels said before him: Master of the Universe, what are the actions of this person You suggest to create? God said to them: His actions are such and such, according to human nature.

The angels said before him: Master of the Universe: “What is man that You are mindful of him? And the son of man that You think of him?” (Psalms 8:5), i.e., a creature such as this is not worth creating. God outstretched His small finger among them and burned them with fire. And the same occurred with a second group of angels. The third group of angels that He asked said before Him: Master of the Universe, the first two groups who spoke their mind before You, what did they accomplish? The entire world is Yours; whatever You wish to do in Your world, do. God then created the first person.

When history arrived at the time of the people of the generation of the flood and the people of the generation of the dispersion, i.e., the Tower of Babel, whose actions were ruinous, the angels said before God: Master of the Universe, didn’t the first set of angels speak appropriately before You, that human beings are not worthy of having been created? God said to them concerning humanity: “Even to your old age I am the same; and even to hoar hairs will I suffer you; I have made and I will bear; and I will carry, and I will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4), i.e., having created people, I will even suffer their flaws.

So here, God rebukes the angels for telling Him not to make humanity, and explains to them that they are in the form of God in that God will suffer the consquences their flaws as if He were human. Which I believe is meant to be an expression of God's mercy - that even in the Age of Babel, God would continue to allow humanity to exist and to make mistakes and be flawed, because God created humanity in their flaws. (And also, well, the promise with Noah, that he'd never try to kill everyone again. But hey!)



Genesis Rabbah adds:

Genesis Rabbah 8:9 posted:

... [R’ Simlai] said to them: In the past Adam was created from the adamah and Chavah was created from the adam. From here and onward, “in our image as our likeness”—not man without woman and not woman without man, and not both of them without Shekhinah (God’s presence).

Chavah is Eve - it's how her name is pronounced in Hebrew. I don't know that this quite supports Rashi's argument but I'm also not sure we got the whole of 8:9 translated, given the ellipsis at the start. 8:9 is quite large. WrenP, when you get a chance, you want to confirm?

Anyway, Rashi now explains exactly what those words are intended to mean for the rabbis:





So the likeness of God is not meant to be physical, but rather mental - the ability to understand and think rationally.



Genesis Rabbah explains:

Genesis Rabbah 8:12 posted:

“And dominate /ur’du the fish of the sea”—said R’ Chanina: If [a person] merited, “dominate! /ur’du” [the animals]; and if not, “they will be dominated /yeiradu” [by the animals]. Said R’ Yaakov of K’far Chanan: The one that is “in our image as our likeness” – “dominate! /ur’du”; the one that is not in our image and in our likeness – “they will be dominated /yeiradu”.

Interesting that the phrase can easily be read to mean its exact opposite, IMO.

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



I think they are fighting against the idea that G-d's image would be multiple - either because of angel consultation or because Eve and Adam are both made in G-d's image and are different from one another. Are women not made in G-d's image, or is there more than one G-d? The commentary's position is as follows:
Hashem consults with angels on human design
Then it says G-d makes them in our image. Singular verb doing the action.
In the case of the first people, Adam formed from ground, Eve formed from him BUT from then on, men and women are both created in a singular divine image.

Chavah means breathing/living but I'm not sure it's useful for that argument above. Maybe because she's made from a rib?

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Mors Rattus posted:

So, I've mentioned before that Judaism doesn't generally like to anthropomorphize God. If that's so, how can man be made in "our image"? Well, first of all, it's a plural.

There's a couple other interpretations outside Jewish tradition. In that plural Christians have seen echoes of the Trinity, while in the secular world it's sometimes seen as a holdover from an earlier polytheistic period.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Yeah, Christians like to interpret Trinitarian stuff into a lot of things! I find it somewhat tenuous at best most of the time...but I would, wouldn't I? (Polytheism...well, Judaism almost certainly historically rose out of Canaanite polytheism, but I don't think Genesis itself did; Genesis has very few echoes in what we know of local mythology...which, on the other hand, is mostly Ugarit and the Ba'al Epic, because a whole lot of Canaanite stuff was just wiped out by the Israelites.)

e: Basically IMO Genesis was written at a period when it's unlikely to have been reflecting local polytheism. Henotheistic takes on things and weird angel-cults definitely survived after Ugarit-era Canaanite stuff was wiped out, mind, but I think that stuff is reflected in a lot stranger places than stray uses of the plural.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 10:21 on Mar 11, 2020

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

Mors Rattus posted:

Occasionally, you will run into someone who tells you that God fights a dragon in Genesis. This is what they're referring to, and 'fight' is really, really not the word I'd use. God creates Leviathan, the greatest of all fishes, and his wife. And then God decides, actually, if we let this thing breed, it'll take over everything because it's a terrifying fish monster all by itself. So God kills the female Leviathan. It's not really a fight. Bava Batra is Talmud, and it says...

So, in summary: Yes, the Leviathan is a terrifying sea dragon that not even the angel Gabriel could win a fight with.

Dumb question, but what does that Talmudic passage mean by "sea oryx?" I googled it, and almost every result I got was a reference to a boat or to a naval missile system, with one general reference to the oryx as the "Biblical unicorn."

Thank you for this thread, by the way! It's a really interesting read, and I'm looking forward to more.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Almost certainly this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_goat

The rabbis would be familiar with the Babylonian version, and likely believed it existed as a real animal.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Genesis 1:27 posted:

And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

This is a complex verse, and often the one cited as contradictory to the next chapter, since it says that the first man and first woman were made together.



Rashi is first concerned with this bit, though. "In His image" here is taken to mean that, unlike the rest of the living beings, God actually planned out and designed humanity before making them rather than just doing it off the cuff. His cite in Sanhedrin (Talmudic, recall) says...

Sanhedrin 38a posted:

The mishna teaches: And this serves to tell of the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as when a person stamps several coins with one seal, they are all similar to each other. But the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, stamped all people with the seal of Adam the first man, as all are his offspring, and not one of them is similar to another. The Sages taught in a baraita (Tosefta 8:5): The fact that Adam the first man was created alone serves to declare the greatness of the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, as a person stamps several coins with one seal, and they are all similar to each other. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, stamps all people with the seal of Adam the first man, and not one of them is similar to another. As it is stated: “It is changed like clay under the seal and they stand as a garment” (Job 38:14). The verse describes people as being created “under the seal,” but their external appearance is different, just as garments can differ in appearance.

The baraita asks: And for what reason are their faces not similar to one another? The baraita answers: It is so that a man will not see a beautiful home or a beautiful woman and say: She is mine. If all people looked the same, no one could contradict him. As it is stated in the following verse: “And from the wicked their light is withheld and the high arm shall be broken” (Job 38:15), indicating that the reason people look different from one another is to prevent the wicked from succeeding in their plans.

It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Meir would say: One person is different from another in three ways: In voice, in appearance, and in thought. The differences in voice and appearance are due to a woman forbidden to him, so that people will not exchange spouses one with another. And the differences in thought are due to the robbers and those who take by force that which is not theirs, as, if everyone thought in a similar way, criminals could take advantage of others because they would understand where they keep their valuables.

The cite for Rashi is important for saying that Adam serves as the prototype for all of humanity, having been designed beforehand as a "seal" in the same way coins are stamped. For Sanhedrin, we are explaining that this is also to the glory of God, who can create such diverse humans from a single seal, rather than being limited to everything being made identically. And the reason they are not identical is so that people can't easily confuse each other and thus perform wicked action, apparently, specifically theft, robbery and forbidden relationships.



Which, you'll recall, was explained before as the capacity for abstract thought.



Now we reach our apparent contradiction. The first solution is to just say that Chapter 2 is expanding on the details of the creation, which is merely summarized in Chapter 1. Or you can go with the midrash, which says that before the creation of Chavah, Adam was of both male and female sex, and had both male and female faces. Rashi favors the former explanation, dismissing the midrash even as he brings it up. His cites say...

Genesis Rabbah 8:1 posted:

... Said R’ Yirmiyah ben Elazar: In the hour when the Holy One created the first human, He created him [as] an androgyne/androginos, as it is said, “male and female He created them”. Said R’ Shmuel bar Nachmani: In the hour when the Holy One created the first human, He created [for] him a double-face/di-prosopon/ du-par’tsufin, and sawed him and made him backs, a back here and a back [t]here, as it is said, “Back/achor and before/qedem You formed me” [Ps 139:5]. They objected to him: But it says, “He took one of his ribs/ts’la`ot . . . ” [Gn 2:21]! He said to them: [It means] “[one] of his sides/sit’rohi”, just as you would say, “And for the side/tsela` of the Tabernacle/ mishkan” [Ex 26:20], which they translate [in Aramaic] “for the side/seter”. R’ Tanchuma in the name of R’ Banayah and R’ B’rakhyah in the name of R’ Elazar said: In the time that the Holy One created Adam Harishon, [as] a golem He created him and he was set up from [one] end of the world and unto its [other] end – that’s what is written: “Your eyes saw my golem” [Ps 139:16]. R’ Yehoshua bar Nechemyah and R’ Yehudah bar Simon in R’ Elazar’s name said: He created him filling the whole world. From where [do we know he extended] from the East to West? That it’s said: “Back/achor (i.e., after, the place of sunset) and before/East/qedem You formed/enclosed me /tsartani” [Ps 139:5]. From where [that he went] from North to South? That it’s said: “and from the edge of the heavens and until the edge of the heavens” [Dt 4:32]. And from where [that he filled] even the world’s hollow-space? That it’s said: “. . . and You laid Your palm upon me” [Ps 139:5]...

R. Yirmiyah and R. Shmuel are proponents of the two-faced androgyne theory. Androginos/androgyne is one of the legally recognized sexes of Talmudic Judaism, being defined as anyone who has both male and female sexual characteristics. Legally, they are considered to have to obey the stricter of any set of gender-differentiated laws, and to be both male and female. This is interesting to me personally, because Talmudic Judaism is extremely binary-focused when it comes to sex, and yet it also provides spaces for people who don't strictly fit the gender binary. (Another is the tumtum, a legally recognized sex defined as anyone whose sexual characteristics cannot be determined by inspection. They follow the same stricter set of laws, but it is assumed that they must be either male or female - just, no one can tell which, so better safe than sorry.) And R. Tanchuma, meanwhile, is arguing that Adam was originally a golem that filled the entire world and was the size of the entire world, whose height was all the way to the heavens and who was large enough to span the entirety of the Earth.

This is actually a recurring argument. Rashi prefers to ignore it.

Genesis 1:28 posted:

God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.”



And here's our first instance of egregious rabbinic sexism. The defective spelling is used to argue for male-dominance. Does Yevamot (a Talmud section) support this? Well...yes.

Yevamot 65b posted:

GEMARA: From where are these matters derived, that a woman is not obligated in the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply? Rabbi Ile’a said in the name of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon: The verse states: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the land and conquer it” (Genesis 1:28). It is the manner of a man to conquer and it is not the manner of a woman to conquer. Consequently, it is evident that the entire command, including the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply, was given only to men and not to women.

The Gemara raises a difficulty. On the contrary, the plural term: “And conquer it [vekhivshuha],” indicates that the two of them are included. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It is written in the Torah without the letter vav, so that it can be read: And conquer it [vekhivsha], in the singular. Rav Yosef said: The proof is from here: “And God said to him: I am God Almighty, be fruitful and multiply [perei urvei]” (Genesis 35:11), which is in singular, and it does not state: Be fruitful and multiply [peru urvu] in the plural.

The Gemara raises issues with the interpretation, however, and one which I don't feel that Rav Yosef and Rav Nahman actually manage to defeat. WrenP would have to weigh in on whether the defective spelling allowed this pun, but Rav Yosef's proof is that later in Genesis, God gives a singular command...to a different person. Specifically, to Jacob. Now, the argument is essentially that because similar phrases are used, the two verses are connected, and this will be used later to explain a lot of other things. However, it isn't foolproof - because the two phrases here, among other things, are not identical, which means the connection isn't as clear or easy to assume in the rabbinic tradition. The difference, plural vs singular, is a difference, and that difference can be taken to be important. Because of this, we can argue that, in fact, Rashi and the Talmudic rabbis are incorrect - that the man and woman are co-equal in the command to be fertile, increase and master the earth. (We could argue it regardless, but this is an argument that's using their own rules.)

Genesis 1:29 posted:

God said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food.



So here we find that, per the rabbis, humans were intended to be vegetarian until the time of Noah, because the instruction to Noah overrides the instruction to Adam.

Sanhedrin 59b posted:

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: Meat was not permitted to Adam, the first man, for consumption, as it is written: “And God said: Behold, I have given you every herb that brings forth seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree that gives forth seed; for you it shall be for food, and for every animal of the earth, and for every fowl of the air, and for everything that creeps upon the earth, in which there is a living soul, every green herb for food. And it was so” (Genesis 1:29–30). It is derived God told Adam: Eating vegetation is permitted to people and animals, but eating the animals of the earth is not permitted to you.

But when the children of Noah came, God permitted them to eat meat; as it is stated: “Every moving thing that lives shall be for food for you; as the green herb I have given you all” (Genesis 9:3). One might have thought that accordingly, even the prohibition against eating a limb from a living animal does not apply to the descendants of Noah; therefore the verse states: “Only flesh with its life, which is its blood, you shall not eat” (Genesis 9:4). One might have thought that the prohibition against eating a limb from a living animal applies even to creeping animals; therefore the verse states “only,” a term used for exclusion, indicating that creeping animals are not included.

The Gemara asks: And what is the derivation? What is the proof that it is creeping animals that are excluded from this prohibition and not another type of animal? Rav Huna says: The term “its blood” indicates that the prohibition pertains to animals whose blood is halakhically considered separate from their flesh. This excludes creeping animals, whose blood is not considered separate from their flesh.

The Gemara raises an objection to the assertion that eating meat was prohibited to Adam, from the verse: “And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creeps upon the land” (Genesis 1:28). What, is it not stated with regard to consumption, i.e., doesn’t this verse mean that people may eat the meat of animals? The Gemara answers: No, the verse is referring to using animals for labor.

The Gemara asks: But are fish capable of performing labor? The Gemara answers: Yes, they are capable, in accordance with the statement of Raḥava; as Raḥava asked the following question: If one drove a wagon to which a goat and a shibbuta fish were harnessed together, what is the halakha? Has he violated the prohibition of diverse kinds, in the same way that one does when plowing with an ox and a donkey together? In any event, Raḥava’s question indicates that there is a way, albeit far-fetched, for a fish to perform labor.

Come and hear a proof that it was permitted for Adam to eat meat, from the phrase in the aforementioned verse: “And have dominion…and over the fowl of the air.” What, is it not stated with regard to consumption? The Gemara answers: No, it is referring to labor.

The Gemara asks: But are birds capable of performing labor? The Gemara answers: Yes, they are capable, as Rabba bar Rav Huna raises a dilemma: If one threshed with geese and chickens, what is the halakha according to the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda? Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, derives from the verse: “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads” (Deuteronomy 25:4), that a laborer in a field is entitled to eat from the produce during his work only if his work involves both his hands and his feet, like an ox, which treads with its forelegs as well as its hind legs. Rabba bar Rav Huna raises a dilemma as to whether the prohibition against muzzling an animal while it is being used for labor in the field applies to geese and chickens, which have only two feet. In any event, it is indicated in that dilemma that birds can perform labor.

Come and hear a proof from the phrase: “And have dominion…and over every living thing that creeps upon the land.” Creeping animals certainly cannot be used for labor. Apparently, the verse is referring to eating them. The Gemara answers: That phrase comes to include the snake, which was capable of performing labor when it was created.

As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya says: Woe over a great attendant that has been lost to the world; as had the snake not been cursed that it should go on its belly, there would have been two fine snakes at the disposal of each and every one of the Jewish people. One he would send to the north, and the other one he would send to the south, to bring him precious sandalbonim, a type of precious stone, and other precious stones and pearls. Moreover, he would attach a strap under his snake’s tail like a harness to an animal, and use it to take dirt out to his garden and to rebuild his ruin, as he does with other animals. This demonstrates that the snake was capable of performing labor.

The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita to the assertion that eating meat was prohibited to Adam: Rabbi Yehuda ben Teima would say: Adam, the first man, would dine in the Garden of Eden, and the ministering angels would roast meat for him and strain wine for him. The snake glanced at him and saw his glory, and was jealous of him, and for that reason the snake incited him to sin and caused his banishment from the Garden. According to this, evidently Adam would eat meat. The Gemara answers: There the reference is to meat that descended from heaven, which was created by a miracle and was not the meat of animals at all.

The Gemara asks: Is there such a thing as meat that descends from heaven? The Gemara answers: Yes, it is like this incident: As Rabbi Shimon ben Ḥalafta was walking along the way, he encountered those lions that were roaring at him, intending to eat him. He said: “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God” (Psalms 104:21), and they deserve to receive food. Two thighs of an animal descended from heaven for him. The lions ate one of these thighs, and they left the other one. He took it and entered the study hall, and inquired about it: Is this thigh a kosher item or a non-kosher item? The Sages said to him: Certainly it is kosher, as a non-kosher item does not descend from heaven.

In connection to that story, it is related that Rabbi Zeira asked Rabbi Abbahu: If the likeness of a donkey had descended for him, what would the halakha have been? Would it have been permitted? Rabbi Abbahu said to him: Foolish bird [yarud nala]. The Sages already said to him that a non-kosher item does not descend from heaven; therefore, it must be kosher.

So the Sanhedrin is actually involved in a very heated argument over whether the prohibition on meat was real or not. This is why the idea of fish, creeping things and birds performing labor are invoked, often ridiculously. If all animals in one of those categories could not perform labor, then the text could not exclusively mean labor, but would have to include eating them as a way for man to exercise dominion of them. The assertion is that fish are capable of performing labor...but the evidence is weak. Their evidence is a question by R. Rahava as to whether fish are counted in the law against yoking different kinds of animal, since fish are not the same category as "animals" - the categories of living beast per the Torah are fish (which swim in water), animals (which walk on land), birds (which fly) and creeping things (which drag their bellies on the ground when they walk; this does include flying insects). I believe their proof depends on R. Rahava not being a person who would ask a foolish and useless question - so if he is asking about it, that means that, in some extremely strange circumstances, a fish and a donkey may be yoked together, and therefore a fish can perform labor.

Likewise, creeping things almost manages a proof, but they cite a Baraita, an oral teaching, about two really cool snakes that would have existed if snakes weren't awful, and which would have performed labor. That said there is a side argument about whether eating creeping things alive is allowed because their blood is not legally considered to be blood. Anyway. Birds...appear to be tested the same way that fish are - by the existence of a question involving them theoretically doing labor being proof that they are capable of it.

And yet, the later question about if miraculously created food can be non-kosher is a foolish one, per R. Abbahu, and I can think of several other times when a Talmudic rabbi is rebuked for being an idiot, including one instance when a question literally gets a guy exiled from the study hall for a while.

So, open question: based on the arguments presented, do you believe Adam was prohibited from eating meat?

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

My rampant shitposting has broke my brain beyond repair. I have no redeemable qualities and wish to be put out of my shitposting misery for good. TIA!

Mors Rattus posted:

And R. Tanchuma, meanwhile, is arguing that Adam was originally a golem that filled the entire world and was the size of the entire world, whose height was all the way to the heavens and who was large enough to span the entirety of the Earth.

Adam was a goon???

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

Mors Rattus posted:

So, open question: based on the arguments presented, do you believe Adam was prohibited from eating meat?

This is a really interesting question! I don't feel confident offering an answer, but I feel like it hinges on a couple of other questions:

1. In Genesis 1:29-30, God appears to specify that both humans and animals will eat plants. If we assume this to mean that only plants are permitted (i.e., that eating meat is prohibited), how are omnivorous and carnivorous animals explained? Is the expectation that any prohibition would lie only on humans, with their status as rational beings? (Obviously, there's also the broader question here of "if God permits something, are we to assume He prohibits other options?")

2. Do the Genesis stories between Adam and Noah talk about diet? The only example I can think of is Abel as a shepherd and sacrificing a lamb; while I suppose one could assume that sheep could be raised as a fiber flock alone, it seems like the implication of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel is that livestock is a food product there. Are there any other examples of antediluvian stories that provide evidence of people eating meat before God specifically permits it for Noah?

I think there's another interesting question in relation to this one, and it's how precisely we are to interpret the dominion that God gives Adam over animals. It strikes me as really interesting that the arguments presented in this thread all involve the concept of dominion indicating that Adam should be able to use the animals somehow, and therefore arguments against God permitting Adam to eat meat require arguments for animals being useful for labor. From the modern perspective, where I feel like I see the verse interpreted more as humans being stewards of the natural world without assuming that every animal must provide utility, these arguments are pretty interesting. I'm not sure either side really supports meat-eating being permitted more than the other (although I think the "animals must be useful" side would support it more, given how threadbare the arguments about labor are), but I think it's an intriguing topic.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I think they might argue that, like Adam in the Baraita, the meat-eating animals would receive miraculously created, non-living meat from the angels. Alternatively, they were able to eat Not Meat at the time. I'm not clear on that. Rashi has nothing to add on it. But we are just about done with Genesis 1!

Genesis 1:30-31 posted:

And to all the animals on land, to all the birds of the sky, and to everything that creeps on earth, in which there is the breath of life, [I give] all the green plants for food.” And it was so.
And God saw all that He had made, and found it very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.



Here we begin dealing with the gematria, a sort of Hebrew numerology. In it, there are three sets of nine numbers - the first nine have values of 1 through 9, the second nine have 10, 20, 30, and so on through to 90, and the third set have 100 through to 900 the same way. Vowels are optionally includable, but not usually used. The commenters like gematria as a means of explaining esoterica or making connections between verses. There's also rare uses of a cypher known as Atbash, which derives the same values in the opposite manner - the first letter (aleph) has the value of the last (tav) and vice versa, the second has the value of the second to last, and so on.

Anyway this argument is that the Hey added to the word 'sixth' (which I believe is a definite article, ie, adding the word "the" rather than "a") is there because its value is five, and so the Creation is contingent on Israel accepting the five books of the Torah. His cite is Shabbat 88a, Talmudic.

Shabbat 88a posted:

Ḥizkiya said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “You caused sentence to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was silent” (Psalms 76:9)? If it was afraid, why was it silent; and if it was silent, why was it afraid? Rather, the meaning is: At first, it was afraid, and in the end, it was silent. “You caused sentence to be heard from heaven” refers to the revelation at Sinai. And why was the earth afraid? It is in accordance with the statement of Reish Lakish, as Reish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31)? Why do I require the superfluous letter heh, the definite article, which does not appear on any of the other days? It teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, established a condition with the act of Creation, and said to them: If Israel accepts the Torah on the sixth day of Sivan, you will exist; and if they do not accept it, I will return you to the primordial state of chaos and disorder. Therefore, the earth was afraid until the Torah was given to Israel, lest it be returned to a state of chaos. Once the Jewish people accepted the Torah, the earth was calmed.

I'm not sure that I understand why fear and silence are not compatible, or exactly where Reish Lakish got this idea from.

Our alternative take is that the sixth day uses the definite article because it's a reference to the sixth day of Sivan, the date on which Moses received the Torah. This also cites Talmud.

Avodah Zarah 3a posted:

The nations say before Him: Master of the Universe, in this matter the testimony of heaven and earth is tainted by a conflict of interest, as it is stated: “If My covenant be not with day and night, I would not have appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 33:25). And concerning this verse, Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31)? This teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, established a condition with the acts of Creation, and said: If the Jewish people accept My Torah at the revelation at Sinai, all is well, but if they do not accept it, I will return you to the primordial state of chaos and disorder.

And this is similar to that which Ḥizkiyya says with regard to a different matter: What is the meaning of that which is written: “You caused sentence to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was silent” (Psalms 76:9)? If the earth feared, why was it silent, and if it was silent, why did it fear? One who is afraid does not stay silent, and one who remains silent thereby demonstrates that he is not afraid. Rather, this is the meaning of the verse: At first, when God came to give the Torah to the Jewish people, the earth feared that they might not accept it, and it would be destroyed. This is alluded to by the phrase “You caused sentence to be heard.” But ultimately, when the Jews accepted the Torah, the earth was silent. Consequently, heaven and earth are interested parties and cannot testify about the Jewish people’s commitment to the Torah.

So, not a wholly different take - R. Shimon/Reish Lakish is cited again here in support of it, but in this case it is being used as a part of an argument about whether or not the Jews are worthy of receiving the Torah and if they have obeyed it. The legal arguments involved are now disqualifying potential witnesses from testifying; God is first disqualified because of a verse likening him to a father, who is forbidden to testify as a character witness to his son. And the earth and heavens are now disqualified, because they are interested parties and will lie to preserve their own existence. (There is also an earlier side argument about whether non-Jews are permitted to study Torah; there's a lot of disagreement there but I said with the group who say 'yes, and indeed any who study Torah, no matter what, are considered as virtuous as the Kohen Gadol, the high priest. That argument essentially ends with saying that non-Jews simply receive a lesser reward for doing so, as they are bound only by the laws of Noah rather than the laws of the Torah, and that leads into the big argument about why only the Jews received the Torah.)

Next time: Chapter 2, at last.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Genesis 2:1-2 posted:

The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array.
On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had done.



So, we have two interpretations of how the heaven and earth could be finished on day six, but God only finished the work on day seven. Take 1: God finished exactly at the moment day six became day seven, because God is perfectly able to do so, unlike humans who are not able to act with such extreme precision. Take 2: By resting on day seven, God completed the work of Creation by creating the concept of rest. Both are from Genesis Rabbah 10's untranslated bits.

Genesis 2:3 posted:

And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done.



The blessing has to be something, after all.

Genesis Rabbah 11:2 posted:

"And Elokim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it"- Rabbi Yishmael says: "He blessed it" with manna "and sanctified it" with manna, He blessed it with manna-for all the days of the week one omer [portion] fell [per person], on Friday two omer [portions] fell [per person]. He sanctified it with manna [on Shabbat] it didn't fall at all. Rabbi Nosson says: He blessed it with manna and sanctified it with blessing. Rabbi Yitzhak says: He blessed it with manna, and sanctified it with the gatherer [of sticks]. "And He blessed it" with robing. Rav Huna says: [one] must change [one's clothes]. R' Chiyya in the name of Rav Yochanon says: [one] must mingle [a garment along with his weekday clothes for the honor of Shabbat]. Avin son of Chasdai says [one] must [let one's cloak] hang. Rabbi Yermiah and R' Zeirah were walking together, and R' Yermiah's cloak was tucked up and Rabbi Zeirah let it hang. This [reflects] what was said [that] one must lower [one's cloak]. R' Elazar says: "He blessed it" with a candle and this occurred to me, one time I lit a candle on the eve of Shabbat and I came and I found it [still] lit at the end of Shabbat and it wasn't diminished at all. "He blessed it" with the light of the face of man, "He sanctified it" with the light of of the face of man. The light of man's face throughout the week isn't comparable to [his face] on Shabbat. "He blessed it" with luminaries, R' Shimon son of Yehuda the man of Acco says in the name of R' Shimon: even though the luminaries were cursed from the Shabbat eve

(An omer is a dry measure and we'll get into how big it is when that matters.) There is some argument here, however, over whether the sanctification is manna or with special Shabbat blessings, or with gathering up goods before Shabbat, or with wearing special clothes or in a special way. Or...I guess with R. Elazar's miraculous candle, which I believe he thinks is just an event that happens on Shabbat sometimes. Or maybe the blessing is that people are happier and more attractive on Shabbat. Or...okay, I have no idea what R. Shimon is trying to say about the sun, moon and stars.



Sadly, Genesis Rabbah 11:9 isn't translated, but by the double work I believe Rashi refers to the creation of animals and the creation of humans, when it would have been enough to do only one task in the day.

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



The luminaries being cursed on erev Shabbat refers to the 6 things taken away from Adam. Look at Bereishit Rabbah 12:6.

(Fwiw we intersected my Talmud chevruta with that Sanhedrin yesterday, we just learned that daf Sunday!)

I think the double work that Rashi refers to there is about the manna but I don't have time to check atm.

WrenP-Complete fucked around with this message at 20:39 on Mar 12, 2020

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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WrenP-Complete posted:

The luminaries being cursed on erev Shabbat refers to the 6 things taken away from Adam. Look at Bereishit Rabbah 12:6.

(Fwiw we intersected my Talmud chevruta with that Sanhedrin yesterday, we just learned that daf Sunday!)

I think the double work that Rashi refers to there is about the manna but I don't have time to check atm.

I love that Sanhedrin. LABOR SNAKES are the best.

Unfortunately, the translation Sefaria has of 12:6 is:

quote:

... seven things were taken away from Adam Harishon after he ate from the tree of knowing, including among them] his brilliance, his life, and his stature / zivo v’chayyav v’qomato...

Does 'his brilliance' refer to the luminaries, or is that in a non-translated bit?

Anyway, where were we?

Genesis 2:3-4 posted:

And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done.
Such is the story of heaven and earth when they were created. When the LORD God made earth and heaven—

And here we have the apparent second creation story.



This is the bit which the Sefaria translation reads as 'Such is the story' I think.



Menachot is a Talmudic cite, and it says...

Menachot 29b posted:

Rabbi Yehuda Nesia said to Rabbi Ami: I was not asking about the literal meaning of the verse; this is what poses a difficulty for me: What is different about that which is written: “For in the Lord [beYah],” and it is not written: For the Lord [Yah]?

Rav Ashi responded: It is as Rabbi Yehuda bar Rabbi Elai taught: The verse “For in the Lord [beYah] is God, an everlasting Rock [Tzur olamim]” is understood as follows: The term “Tzur olamim” can also mean Creator of worlds. These letters yod and heh that constitute the word yah are referring to the two worlds that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created; one with [be] the letter heh and one with [be] the letter yod. And I do not know whether the World-to-Come was created with the letter yod and this world was created with the letter heh, or whether this world was created with the letter yod and the World-to-Come was created with the letter heh.

When the verse states: “These are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were created [behibare’am]” (Genesis 2:4), do not read it as behibare’am, meaning: When they were created; rather, read it as beheh bera’am, meaning: He created them with the letter heh. This verse demonstrates that the heaven and the earth, i.e., this world, were created with the letter heh, and therefore the World-to-Come must have been created with the letter yod.

And for what reason was this world created specifically with the letter heh? It is because the letter heh, which is open on its bottom, has a similar appearance to a portico, which is open on one side. And it alludes to this world, where anyone who wishes to leave may leave, i.e., every person has the ability to choose to do evil. And what is the reason that the left leg of the letter heh is suspended, i.e., is not joined to the roof of the letter? It is because if one repents, he is brought back in through the opening at the top.

The Gemara asks: But why not let him enter through that same way that he left? The Gemara answers: That would not be effective, since one requires assistance from Heaven in order to repent, in accordance with the statement of Reish Lakish. As Reish Lakish says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If it concerns the scorners, He scorns them, but to the humble He gives grace” (Proverbs 3:34)? Concerning one who comes in order to become pure, he is assisted from Heaven, as it is written: “But to the humble He gives grace.” Concerning one who comes to become impure, he is provided with an opening to do so. The Gemara asks: And what is the reason that the letter heh has a crown on its roof? The Gemara answers: The Holy One, Blessed be He, says: If a sinner returns, repenting for his sin, I tie a crown for him from above.

The Gemara asks: For what reason was the World-to-Come created specifically with the letter yod, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet? The Gemara answers: It is because the righteous of the world are so few. And for what reason is the left side of the top of the letter yod bent downward? It is because the righteous who are in the World-to-Come hang their heads in shame, since the actions of one are not similar to those of another. In the World-to-Come some of the righteous will be shown to be of greater stature than others.

And here we get an argument based on letter shapes. The letters heh/hey and yud/yod are used in this phrase, the Rabbis say, because of the symbolism involved in their shapes, and the letter beh/bet was used to indicate that two worlds were made - the world now and the world to come.

I'm surprised - this doesn't seem to include the Rashi explanation I've read before of the non-chronological nature of these two chapters. Basically - chapter 1 is a broad overview, and chapter 2 is filling in details; there are apparent contradictions, but Rashi will attempt to resolve them as they come up, and the Torah is not intended as a history text that is in perfect chronological order - sometimes stuff happens out of order for reasons of teaching various lessons, or just because it wants to talk about something else at that moment.

E: The brief version of this explanation is on verse 8, I just misplaced where it showed up in my mind. It'll come up a few times throughout Genesis.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 13:17 on Mar 13, 2020

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



Mors Rattus posted:

I love that Sanhedrin. LABOR SNAKES are the best.

Unfortunately, the translation Sefaria has of 12:6 is:


Does 'his brilliance' refer to the luminaries, or is that in a non-translated bit?

Anyway, where were we?


And here we have the apparent second creation story.



This is the bit which the Sefaria translation reads as 'Such is the story' I think.



Menachot is a Talmudic cite, and it says...


And here we get an argument based on letter shapes. The letters heh/hey and yud/yod are used in this phrase, the Rabbis say, because of the symbolism involved in their shapes, and the letter beh/bet was used to indicate that two worlds were made - the world now and the world to come.

I'm surprised - this doesn't seem to include the Rashi explanation I've read before of the non-chronological nature of these two chapters. Basically - chapter 1 is a broad overview, and chapter 2 is filling in details; there are apparent contradictions, but Rashi will attempt to resolve them as they come up, and the Torah is not intended as a history text that is in perfect chronological order - sometimes stuff happens out of or der for reasons of teaching various lessons, or just because it wants to talk about something else at that moment.

E: The brief version of this explanation is on verse 8, I just misplaced where it showed up in my mind. It'll come up a few times throughout Genesis.
I read 6 things taken from Adam HaRishon: brilliance, life, height, fruit of the earth, fruit of the tree, luminaries.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Genesis 2:5 posted:

when no shrub of the field was yet on earth and no grasses of the field had yet sprouted, because the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil,



Our cite for these underground waiting plants is Talmudic. However, it's a very weak cite.

Chullin 60a posted:

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa taught: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; let the Lord rejoice in His works” (Psalms 104:31). This verse was stated by the minister of the world, i.e., the angel charged with overseeing the world. When the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: “Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit tree bearing fruit after its kind” (Genesis 1:11), the grasses drew an a fortiori inference with regard to themselves.

They reasoned: If the Holy One, Blessed be He, wishes the mixing of species, why did he say: After its kind, with regard to the trees? And furthermore, let us draw an a fortiori inference: If with regard to trees, which do not naturally grow mixed, as they are large and distinct from one another, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: “After its kind,” all the more so with regard to us, since grass naturally grows mixed.

Immediately, every kind of grass emerged after its kind, as it is stated: “And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind” (Genesis 1:12). The minister of the world began to speak and said: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; let the Lord rejoice in His works,” who do His will even when not explicitly instructed.

We've seen this before, and we can see that it doesn't actually talk all that much about what day the plants emerge from the ground. Chullin 60a has no mention of 2:5, nor of the timing of growth. That's because Rashi actually intends to cite 60b, which says...

Chullin 60b posted:

Rav Asi raises a contradiction between two verses. It is written: “And the earth brought forth grass” (Genesis 1:12), on the third day of the week of Creation. And it is also written: “No shrub of the field was yet in the earth” (Genesis 2:5), on Shabbat eve, the sixth day of Creation, immediately before Adam was created. Rav Asi explains: This teaches that the grasses emerged on the third day and stood at the opening of the ground, but they did not grow until Adam, the first man, came and prayed for mercy upon them, and rain came, and they sprouted. And this is meant to teach you that the Holy One, Blessed be He, desires the prayers of the righteous.

The Gemara recounts: Rav Naḥman bar Pappa had a certain garden. He planted seeds but they did not sprout. He prayed for mercy, and rain came, and they sprouted. He said: This is what is meant by the statement of Rav Asi, that the Holy One, Blessed be He, desires the prayers of the righteous.

So here R. Asi resolves the apparent contradiction. The plants were sitting there just below the surface until Adam prayed for them, because God wants prayers. And our proof is that the same thing happened later with a garden. I find it a weak proof, but at least it is addressed.



Rashi expands on the argument, explaining why it had not yet rained to nourish the plants.



Every name of God has specific connotations.

Genesis 2:6 posted:

but a flow would well up from the ground and water the whole surface of the earth—



Adam, of course, is made from dust, so the water has to be brought in to make it more clay-like, I suppose. Genesis Rabbah 14:1 is untranslated.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Expect slower and more infrequent updates this week - my work has gotten a lot slower thanks to productivity loss from a lot of folks working from home.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Genesis 2:7 posted:

the LORD God formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.



The extra yod/yud here apparently meaning that man will be created twice - once now, and once resurrected in the world to come. Our citation is Midrash Tanchuma.

Tazria 1 posted:

(Lev. 12:2:) “When a woman emits her seed and bears a male.” This text is related (to Job 29:2), “O that I were as in the months of old, [as in the days when God watched over me]!” In regard to this verse, Job spoke it when the afflictions had come upon him. He said, “’O that I were as in the months of old,’ and would that I had the days which I had when I was in my mother's belly!” “As in the days when God watched over me!” [These words] teach that the infant is watched over while it is in its mother's belly. (Job 29) “When His light shone over my head […].” From here you learn that the infant has light in its mother's belly. (Job 29:4:) “When I was in the days of my youth (horef),1 when God's company was over my tent.” [These words teach about the infant.] Just as the rain is at work in the soil for it to become muddy, so the infant is muddy in its mother's womb. Another interpretation [of] “when God's company was over my tent”: These words teach about the infant. Just as the infant gets muddy, so is a person muddied by sins, so that misfortunes come upon him. At that time [Job] said (in Job 29:2), “’O that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me,’ and would that I had the days which I had when I was in my mother's belly!” What does he finally say (in vs. 4)? “When I was in the days of my youth.” R. Abbahu said, “The infant comes out of the mother's belly covered with slime and covered with blood; yet everyone praises and cherishes it, especially when it is a male.”2 Ergo (in Lev. 12:2), “When a woman emits her seed and bears a male.” (Lev. 12:2:) “When a woman emits her seed.” [This text is related to (Ps. 139:5),] “You have formed me behind and before.” The text speaks of the first Adam.3 R. Johanan said, “It is written about him that there were two creations. There is a double y (i.e., a double yod in Gen. 2:7), ‘The Lord God formed (yytsr) the human.’ One formation is in this world, and one is for the world to come. But in the case of cattle, wild beasts, and birds, for them [only] one formation is written (without a double y in Gen. 2:19), ‘So out of the earth the Lord God formed (ytsr) all the wild beasts of the field [and all the birds of the heavens].’ It therefore says (in Ps. 139:5), ‘You have formed me behind and before.’” R. Simeon ben Laqish says, “Behind (in the sense of what comes] before the act of [his] creation. What is the reason? It is written (in Gen. 1:2), ‘and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters’; this spirit was the soul of the first Adam. It therefore says (in Ps. 139:5), ‘You have formed me behind and before.’” R. Eleazar ben Pedat says, “Behind [refers] to an [later] event of the sixth day, and before [refers] to an [earlier] event of the sixth day. How so? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, created six things on the sixth day. They were these: (1) the soul; (2) wild beasts; (3) cattle; (4) beasts of the earth; (5) Adam; and (6) Eve. Now Adam's soul was created first, as stated (in Gen. 1:24), ‘a living soul.’ Living soul can only be the soul of Adam, since it is stated (in Gen. 2:7), ‘and the human (Adam) became a living soul.’ Hence, before [refers] to the [first] event of the sixth day, and behind [refers] to the sixth day, since [the Holy One, blessed be He,] was occupied with him all of the sixth day. Ergo (in Ps. 139:5), ‘You have formed me behind and before.’ Behind [refers] to an event of the sixth day, and before [refers] to an event of the sixth day.” R. Samuel bar Nahman said, “What is the meaning of ‘You have formed me behind and before?’ Having two faces, male and female. Hence it says (in Ps. 139:5), ‘You have formed me behind and before.’”4 Adam said, “After the Holy One, blessed be He, had created all the cattle and wild beasts, He created me.” So it is with the infant. Before it comes forth from its mother's belly, the Holy One, blessed be He, commands it, “Eat of this, do not eat of that, (in Lev. 11:29) ‘this shall be unclean for you.’” Then after it takes upon itself in its mother's belly all the commandments which are in the Torah, [only] after that it is born. Thus it is stated (in Lev. 12:2), “When a woman emits her seed and bears a male.”

In the midst of all this, uh, delightful stuff involving what is going on before birth - which, incidentally, Judaism may say here that a pre-birth infant is doing stuff, but the legal rulings are that personhood status is granted only after birth - we get the aside about the doubled letter. R. Simeon, who is the same as our old friend Reish Lakish, I am pretty sure, argues that instead behind-and-before refers to "the spirit of God" being Adam, because Adam is referred to as a living soul, and so the mentioned soul must predate Adam? I think? I'm...kind of following it? Basically the dual creation for Reish Lakish is the soul and then the body, rather than life now and life to come.



And here we have an argument about where the dust to make Adam came from. Midrash Tanchuma says...

Pekudei 3 posted:

When the Holy One, blessed be he, contemplated fashioning man, he said to the Torah: Let us make man (Gen. 1:26). It replied: Master of the Universe, the man You wish to make is of few days, and full of trouble (Job 14:1), and he will sin. If You are not forbearing with him, it would be better that he should not come into the world. He retorted: Is it for nothing that I am described as Slow to anger and plenteous in loving-kindness (Num. 17:18)? Whereupon He began to collect the dust for the body of the first man from the four corners of the earth, so that no one part of the earth might say: “The dust of the body of man is mine.” If he took the dust from the east and the man wished to travel to the west, the earth of the west might say: “The dust of your body did not come from me, I will not welcome you.” Therefore He took the dust from the four corners of the world, so that wherever man traveled the earth would welcome him, as it is written: For dust thou art (Gen. 3:19).

There were twelve hours in that day. During the first hour He collected the dust for the body of man; in the second hour He kneaded the dust of the east and the west together, as it is said: Thou hast hemmed me in behind and before (Ps. 139:4). Behind refers to the west, and before to the east, as is said: Before the east side (Exod. 38:13). The creatures of the earth saw him and feared him. They believed that he was their creator. They came and bowed down before him, and he said to them: “Why do you come to bow before me?” “All of us have come because we have seen all the creatures that the Holy One, blessed be he, has created.” And his heart was filled with wonder. He began to praise and extol his Creator, saying: Oh, how abundant is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for those that fear Thee (Ps. 31:20), and also How manifold are Thy works, O Lord (Ps. 104:24). He arose and had the appearance and the likeness of God; he was tall in stature and was clothed with majesty and glory, and he ruled over them for His creator. And they said: The Lord reigneth; he is clothed in majesty (Ps. 93:1).

So here we're getting a midrashic story about how God made Adam, and how he used dust from the entire earth so that no part of the land could reject humanity. And also about how the animals worship Adam, who then praises God? I think? Because God shouldn't be surprised to see the animals worshipping, and also would haven o Creator to praise. So that has to be Adam. Genesis Rabbah 14:8, meanwhile, is mostly untranslated, but gives us...

Genesis Rabbah 14:8 posted:

... ‘And He blew into his nostrils’—This teaches that He stood him up as a golem stretching from earth to the firmament and then threw breath/n’shamah into him.

...the argument that God made Adam as a giant golem. Which, incidentally, plays into later golem lore in Kabbalah and the idea that making golems is dangerous because you are emulating God in making the First Man.



The whole idea of earthly and heavenly existence having to be in balance so they don't envy each other is interesting to me.

Genesis Rabbah 12:8 posted:

All that you see, they are generations of heavens and earth, as it is said: “In beginning, Elohim created heavens and earth” [Gn 1:1]. On the second [day] He created from the upper ones / min ha`elyonim, as it is said: “And Elohim said: Let there be a firmament” On the third He created from the lower ones / min hatachtonim: “And Elohim said: Let the earth sprout”. On the fourth He created from the upper ones: “Let there be lights” On the fifth He created from the lower ones: “Let the waters swarm” On the sixth He came to create Adam. He said: If I create him from the upper ones, then the upper ones will be greater than the lower ones by one creation, and there won’t be peace in the world; and if I create him from the lower ones, then the lower ones will be greater than the upper ones by one creation, and there won’t be peace in the world. Rather, here am I [going to] create him from the upper ones and the lower ones, for the sake of peace / bish’vil shalom... ‘And YHVH Elohim formed him dirt from the ground’—from the lower ones; ‘and He blew in his nostrils life’s breath / nishmat chayyim’ [Gn 2:7]—from the upper ones.

Earth and heavens fighting each other from envy is a particularly bizarre idea to me and one that I wish they wrote more about.



This is very interesting because Rashi is stating, flat out, that animals have souls - just, less developed and complex souls than humans. This is actually a continuing theme in the Hebrew when we get to later bits on laws regarding animal slaughter; the souls of animals are taken to exist within their blood. Animals having souls is not an accepted position for 1200s-era Christianity, so Rashi taking it is really fascinating to me as it'd be a contentious area of academic and theological dispute. (I wonder if Jews holding this position played into belief in Saint Guinefort the Grayhound and the efforts to stamp out his cultus. Probably not directly.)

Genesis 2:8 posted:

The LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there the man whom He had formed.



And here we go. The Creation in Chapter 1 is the general version, with Chapter 2 providing more detail on specific events. Chronology is also not obeyed strictly - later, Rashi will tell us about stories out of historical order with each other and even verses misplaced in temporal order with the rest of their chapters. He's less good, sometimes, at explaining why this should be so.

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Tias
May 25, 2008
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If this is too weird just say so, but.. Are there arguments that making golems aren't dangerous?

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