Friday, April 30, 2010

Links to Like - The Authenticity of the Zohar - 5-part Article (via V=I·R)

Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum on how the volcano should have us Thinking Jewishly.

Dixie Yid has a great short story from the Satmar Rav Zt"l.

Matzav on how to obtain a Kosher Haircut Guide poster.

YWN on Rav Amsallem from Shas' desire to have better access to the Kotel. Of note is the reason he gives:
“The Kosel is the remains of the Beis HaMikdosh, the holiest place for Am Yisrael. It is a place of daily tefilos. It must become the most accessible place”. Towards achieving this goal, he is seeking a plan that would involve numerous agencies, insisting roads accessing the Kosel must begin at the entrance to the city. These roads must lead to extremely large parking facilities located near the Kosel. He acknowledged there are problems, antiquities in the entire area, but this must be the goal nevertheless. These historic sites mustn’t be destroyed, “but we know if there is a will, there is a way”.

“We pray for moshiach’s arrival daily, when Am Yisrael will visit the Old City, and it appears the ministries responsible for such preparations are simply not addressing the matter today”.


At Fri Apr 30, 04:54:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

regarding the zohar article, interesting. the problem is that most of the audience is unqualified to judge the merits, imho. i am working my way thru it.

here is my first major problem:
Scholem (and his student Tishby) cites 18 places in the Zohar where a place called Kapotkia is mentioned. Scholem argues that no such place ever existed in Israel, and it was never mentioned in Talmudic or Midrashic sources as a place in Israel, but rather as a province named Kappadokia in Asia Minor. Yet, "there is absolutely no doubt that the Zohar did not intend to refer to Kappadokia in Asia Minor but (correctly or incorrectly) to a village or town in the Land of Israel, close to Lod, as mentioned several times in the Zohar." (She'elot Bikoret, Tzion p. 43.)

The obvious conclusion is that "the author had never so much as set foot in Palestine and that his knowledge of the country was derived entirely from literary sources which he misunderstood!" (She'elot Bikoret, Tzion, ibid.)

The following is a list of sources where the place Kapotkia appears - in Targum Onkelos, Targum Yonatan, Mishnah, Babylonian Talmud and several Midrashim! An examination of these sources reveals that none other than Scholem and Tishby were either ignorant of basic sources… or attempted to deliberately mislead their readers.

Targum Onkelos to Devarim 2:23; Targum Yonatan to Amos 9:1 ("the Philistines from Kapotkia" - the land of the Philistines is in the Gaza Strip area, not very far from Lod); Mishnah Ketubot 13:10, 11; Shabbat 26a, 134a; Yevamot 25b, 121a; Ketubot 10a, 110b; Bava Batra 58b; Chulin 47b; Yerushalmi Yevamot 38a; Shir Hashirim Rabba 7:5; Kohelet Rabba 11:1; Tanchuma Va'era 13; ibid. BeHa'alotecha 1.

At Fri Apr 30, 04:55:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

The implication this author would have us draw is that ALL these sources imply that Cappodecia is in Eretz Yisrael. Yet he cited Mishnah Ketubot 13:10, 11; which is an overlap to 110b;


which is a reference to the Cappodecia outside Eretz Yisrael, obviously. He also refers to Ketubot 10a, where all it mentions is Cappodecian currency; based on the aforementioned Mishna, it is not Eretz Yisrael.

The scholars he insinuates are ignorant of basic texts or are lying to their readers were NOT ignorant of the Ketubot texts. In fact, their argument is predicated on it. Rather, the author of this ARTICLE is either ignorant of the meaning of the (Ketubot) texts, or is misleading his readers! Or else he was just careless. Still, this is the first source I decided to spot-check randomly. This does not bode well. What are the odds the *typical reader* will double-check these sources? More likely, the frum person will walk away with impressed with the overwhelming response.

The reference to Plishtim from Capodecia does not convincingly mean that they were in cappodecia, in eretz yisrael. rather, the *initially* came from cappodecia. see here for an example:

This fits with the idea that the Plishtim originated among the "sea peoples"

In terms of Tarhum to Devarim 2:23, read this:
Deuteronomy 2:23 records that the Caphtorites came from Caphtor, destroyed the Avvites and usurped their land. The Talmud (Chullin 60b) notes that the Avvites were the original Philistine people in the days of Abraham while the Philistines of later times were descended from the conquering Caphtorites.

That is, the later Plishtim came from elsewhere, from Kappodokis, not within Eretz Yisrael. Furthermore,
"The Septuagint translates the name as "Kappadokias" and the Vulgate similarly renders it as "Cappadocia". The seventeenth-century scholar Samuel Bochart[5] understood this as a reference to Cappadocia in Anatolia but this was not the understanding of the Jewish targumists who rendered this name in Aramaic as "Caphutkia" meaning the town of Pelusium at the eastern edge of the Nile delta. This identification is also made by the tenth century commentator Saadia Gaon and Benjamin of Tudela, the twelfth-century Jewish traveller from Navarre, who both wrote that "Damiata" (Arabic Dumyat), the name for the region of Pelusium in their day, was the biblical Caphtor. "

I get the impression that the article's author does not have an understanding of these sources.

It may well be that other sources provide good evidence, but I would need to carefully consider each. (In all humility, most people aren't me, and would credulously swallow these claims.)

I don't know that I have the time, though.

shabbat shalom,

At Fri Apr 30, 05:30:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

another example of ignorance or deliberate misleading.

in that Rabbi Abba, assuming it is Rav, is too distance from Rashbi, he writes:
"In Tishby's words, "the prominent Tanna called Rabbi Abba, who is one of the leading figures in the group, is otherwise completely unknown. The earliest figure who could possibly be identified with Rabbi Abba is the famous amora Rav, whose name was Abba Arika." Strange indeed that Rabbi Abba is mentioned in Tosefta Beitza chap. 1; Tosefta Sanhedrin, chap. 8; Tosefta Chulin chap. 6. (The Tosefta are beraitot slightly less authoritative then Mishna and are from the same era). In addition, Rabbi Abba's name appears scores of times in Midrash Rabba."

In terms of Midrash Rabba, the *earliest* midrash rabba is from the Amoraim of Eretz Yisrael, so how does this prove he was a tanna?

In terms of the Rabbi Abba in the tosefta, let us examine his very first example, from Tosefta Beitza:
"א,ד ר' יוסי אומר כוי [אין] שוחטין אותו ביו"ט מפני שהוא ספק ואם שחטו אין מכסין את דמו [א"ר יוסי] ומה מילה שודאה דוחה [את השבת] אין ספיקה דוחה את יו"ט כסוי הדם שאין ודאו דוחה [את השבת] אינו דין [שלא יהא ספיקו] דוחה [את] יו"ט אמרו לו [שופרות שבגבולין יוכיחו שאין ודאן דוחה את השבת וספיקן] דוחה [את] יו"ט [הן יוכיחו לכסוי הדם שאע"פ שאין ודאו דוחה את השבת שיהא ספיקו דוחה את יו"ט] השיב ר"א [בנו של ר"א] הקפר [מה למילה שאין ספיקה דוחה את יו"ט שאין ודאה דוחה את לילי יום טוב תאמר בכסוי הדם שודאו דוחה את לילי יו"ט הואיל וודאו דוחה את לילי יום טוב דין הוא שיהא ספיקו דוחה את] יו"ט אמר רבי אבא זה אחד מן הדברים [שהיה] רבי חייא [אומר] אין לי תשובה והשיב ר"א."

Rabbe Eliezer Hakappar was from the *last* generation of Tannaim. His son, Rabbi Eliezer, is quasi-Tanna, I suppose. Rabbi Chiyya, who is mentioned, is the redactor of the braytot, and Rav (=Abba Arika) studied under him. Let us look how this Rabbi Abba appears:
אמר רבי אבא זה אחד מן הדברים [שהיה] רבי חייא [אומר] אין לי תשובה והשיב ר"א."

This Rabbi Abba is testifying about something that happened in conversation with Rabbi Chiya, that Rabbi Eliezer answered him on this point. It certainly stands to reason that this is the student of Rabbi Chiya, who is precisely Rav! Why does he appear in Tosefta? Because he was a student of the rabbi who compiled it, and so his ideas were inserted into it.

After all, don't we say "Rav Tanna hu upalig"?!

And this Rabbi Abba is too distant from Rashbi.

I came to this conclusion independently, but subsequently I looked, and found:
"He is called Rabbi Abba only in the tannaitic literature (for instance, Tosefta, Beitzah 1:7), where a number of his sayings are preserved. He occupies a middle position between the Tannaim and the Amoraim, and is accorded the right, rarely conceded to one who is only an 'amora, of disputing the opinion of a tanna (Bava Batra 42a and elsewhere)."

If so, the author of this article is simply extremely ignorant about the subject matter, or got one-sided arguments from a separate source and didn't bother to investigate, or else he is deliberately trying to mislead.

I am unimpressed.

How about you, yaak?


At Sun May 02, 01:13:00 AM 2010, Blogger yaak said...


You make good arguments. Why don't you post them on the site where it will be read by the author?

At Sun May 02, 05:27:00 AM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...


do you think chabad would print such kefirah? maybe...



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