Friday, October 12, 2012

Bereishit and Geula - The Connection

Read Rabbi Krakowski this week.

15 Comments:

At Fri Oct 12, 12:12:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

Here is something for you to post, if you want. I didn't get around to posting it yet.

The very second pasuk of parashat Bereishit is:

וְהָאָרֶץ, הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, וְחֹשֶׁךְ, עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם; וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם.

The Baal HaTurim says about וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים that this is the ruach of mashiach.

Furthermore, if you take the gematria of Elohim Merachefet, אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת, you get 814.

Meanwhile, if you take the name of the mashiach, שבתי צבי, you get 814. Thus, the pasuk can be read as וְרוּחַ שבתי צבי, which Baal HaTurim notes is the spirit of mashiach.

(A real gematria by contemporary kabbalists, not something I made up.)

 
At Fri Oct 12, 12:32:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

Contemporary Kabbalists? Really? Can you name them?

And BTW, the Ru'ah of Mashiah from ורוח אלקים did not originate from the Baal Haturim. It's in the Zohar.

 
At Fri Oct 12, 01:11:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

contemporary to Shabtai Tzvi, when the vast majority of klal yisrael, kabbalists included, believed in him. before his apostasy and before his death. these were the sort of divrei Torah being produced, on the same madreiga as those from Rabbi Fish.

indeed, iirc when Scholem mentions this, he does not attribute it to Baal HaTurim but to an old midrash. i referred to Baal HaTurim for sake of convenience, since he is in the chumash.

i'll see if scholem mentions who, specifically.

did you know, btw, that the very first word in the Torah, בראשית, contains all of the letters of שבתאי?

 
At Fri Oct 12, 01:31:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

Well, I knew that people who believed in him at that time thought this way. I thought you meant contemporary to today.

However, your comparisons to Shabetai Tzvi are way off the mark and frankly abhorrent for numerous reasons:

1) No one named a Messiah
2) No one is doing anything actionable to be Doheik the Keitz
3) No one said anything is definite - it is all בתורת שמא.

All these distinctions and more should belie any comparisons you may have. I'm appalled at your insinuation.

 
At Fri Oct 12, 01:36:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

I double-checked. It was Shabtai himself (and alluded to earlier in the R' Natan of Azza's "Vision of R' Avraham", which R' Natan ascribed to a German chassid [pietist] from the late 12th, early 13th century.) Both were kabbalists, of course.

 
At Fri Oct 12, 01:55:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

"your comparisons to Shabetai Tzvi are way off the mark and frankly abhorrent"

eh.

i wasn't trying to compare Rabbi Fish to a Shabtai Tzvi follower. more like, i was making fun of gematria, used in like manner. they had plenty of gematrias and Torah proofs as well for 1666 as the year of mashiach's arrival. "they" being prominent rabbis and kabbalists, all quite mainstream. it was bittul Torah then and it is bittul Torah now.

i agree with your three points of distinction.

however:
1) Absolute Truth 613 ran with these proofs and did identify, at least for himself, an individual.
2) People are indeed possibly taking action based on it, just as they did back then, though not to be dochek the ketz. (Selling their homes and property at a loss; fasting and repenting, etc.) Who among the populace was dochek the keitz back then?
3) While indeed intended this way, unfortunately, that message does not seem to come across to some people. Pirkei Avos, Chachamim, take care with your words, because of the bad students...

 
At Fri Oct 12, 02:17:00 PM 2012, Anonymous Shiloh said...

Check out 4Q252 from the Dead Sea Scrolls, there you will see part of the geulah being answered.

 
At Fri Oct 12, 03:02:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

Josh,

Do you think only Rav Fish and Shabtai Tzvi followers have used gematrias in like manner?

Would you put Rashi in this category? I would. See Rashi on Daniel 7:25.

Was Rashi Mevatel Torah?!?! Has Veshalom!

Re: Absolute Truth, yeah, there are many people who have an idea in their head who Mashiah is. This is a problem? Prove to me that it is. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

People selling their homes - more than a handful of people? I doubt it.

Fasting and repenting is a bad thing?! Really?!

Rav Fish was very clear that this is בתורת שמא. Perhaps, I wasn't as clear all the time, but I tried to be very often.

The comparison is still abhorrent.

 
At Fri Oct 12, 03:50:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

"Do you think only Rav Fish and Shabtai Tzvi followers have used gematrias in like manner?"

No! not Shabtai Tzvi followers. great rabbis, who **during that time**, were Shabtai Tzvi followers. and since they wanted to prove X, they were able to prove X.

Yes, Rashi (or rather, those he cited) would be in that category. Where he wrote, "Others bring further proof to this computation, namely that (Deut. 31: 18): “And I, will hide My face” [the words] הַסְתֵּר אַסְתִּיר add up in gematria to 1,335." Though that category is in the realm of "further proof", not primary proof. And by "further proof", this is a single further proof. Once you start wasting MONTHS accumulating such "proofs", and doing silly math rather than engaging in real talmud Torah, then this would indeed be bittul Torah. with Rashi, this is a slight parperet, not the main course.

"Fasting and repenting is a bad thing?! Really?!"
And that attitude -- if you read Scholem's work -- is why the many of the great rabbis of the time stood by and let it happen. Because "fasting and repenting" was seen as a positive thing. where did i say, btw, that it was a bad thing?

kol tuv,
josh

 
At Sat Oct 13, 10:48:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

If it's Bittul Torah many times, it's Bittul Torah one time. According to you, it's "silly math" so why is one time any different?

Neither Rav Fish nor myself nor anyone else I'm aware of makes this their Ikkar Limud. It is one subject of the Torah that he's trying to expound upon. This is without a doubt, 100% NOT Bittul Torah. And you can take that to the bank. And there is no excuse for these accusations and S"T comparisons.

 
At Mon Oct 15, 05:42:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

no S"T comparisons!

you are missing the point.

 
At Mon Oct 15, 06:12:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

I'm not missing the point. I know what you're driving at. But it wasn't Bittul Torah then - nor is it now.

 
At Mon Oct 15, 08:27:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

once it is no longer the tafel and parperet, but becomes the ikkar, then it becomes nonsense, and bittul Torah.

baal haturim wrote plenty of gematriot. they supported things which had previously been derived by "real" midrashic approaches. and the baal haturim also wrote a real (ramban-based) commentary, and noted also the role of his gematriot:
וראיתי עוד לכתוב בתחילת סדר וסדר פרפראות מגימטריות וטעמי המסורת להמשיך הלב

i again say that random feverish calculations of gematriot and Torah codes are absolutely bittul Torah, in both senses of the phrase.

 
At Mon Oct 15, 10:50:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

Rav Fish makes absolutely clear that the Remazim ARE the Parperet and not the Ikkar. You are conflating the abundance of Remazim with the Ikkar. Just because the Remazim are what we see every week in his newsletter doesn't make it the Ikkar - he already stated the Ikkar (coming from the Zohar and Gra) and is just added Parpara'ot to it.

i again say that random feverish calculations of gematriot and Torah codes are absolutely bittul Torah, in both senses of the phrase.

You can say it from now until tomorrow - it doesn't make it true. It also doesn't make it proper to say.

 
At Tue Oct 16, 12:33:00 AM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

once the spice so overwhelms the main course (which, btw, is a misinterpretation of the Gra and Zohar, against what the talmidei HaGra understood, if this is the "Cosmic Clock" interpretation), it is battel. thus, bittul Torah.

besides bittul Torah, also bittul zman and bittul sechel.

it is proper to say, and say, so that people don't think that this is really Torah. i truly believe that the Baal HaTurim would take one look at these feverish calculations and laugh his head off.

 

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