Wednesday, February 14, 2007

״שמור״ ו״זכור״ בדיבור אחד

(first of all)

Thanks to all of you who've left messages of sympathy, hope, faith and philosophy on the previous post. I really appreciate it, and it definitely can't hurt my father's conditions.


Many people are familiar with the midrashic claim that ״זָכֿוֹר״ ו״שָׁמוֹר״ בדיבור אחד נאמרו — “remember” and “observe” were said as one utterance — because it was enshrined by R' Shelomoh Haleivi Alqabetz in his liturgical poem for Friday Night, Lekha Dodi. This midrash mitigates the contradiction between the Ten Commandments Decalogue as recorded in Shemot/Exodus and as recorded in Devarim/Deuteronomy, by explaining that the two contradictory phrasings were proclaimed at the same time, something that no human being could accomplish. God's speech at Mt Sinai is therefore even more miraculous.

What I did not know until I read it while going through the commentary of R' Shelomo Yarhhi/Yitzhhaqi on last week's parsha, however, is that the midrashic source of this interpretation, the Mekhilta, has a longer list of other statements that were made "as one utterance", including:
one who breaks sabbath restrictions is killed
offer sabbath sacrifices

don't have sex with your brother's wife
perform levirate marriage with your deceased brother's wife

What it seems the midrash is telling us is that the Godly act here was not necessarily to enunciate the sound sequences */zakor/ and */šamor/ at the same time, but to give us laws and instructions that seem to contradict each other, only to reveal the complex unity of the system.

ויקרא במדבר דברים
(and he called words in the wilderness)

Blogger is forcing me to 'upgrade' the next time I log in.
Let's see how that works out...


Blogger Ari Kinsberg said...

i actually just lost my comment, thanks the new blogger. they forced me over this week. i hate coersion, whether in religion or in blogging.

anyway, i think i remember that you did shnayaim mikra ve-ehad targum last year. did you do anything special for the aseret ha-devarim?

2/15/2007 12:37 AM  
Anonymous At the back of the hill said...

Glad to see you back.

Refuah shlaima for your father.

New version of blogger much like old. I too have been forced to upgrade.

Hard to choose between Google and Magoogle. I'm a Luddite.

2/15/2007 4:28 PM  
Blogger Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

I like the way you phrased the idea of the Midrash. It underscores the fact that there are complex principles that underly the mitsvah system as a whole - each mitsvah doesn't exist alone, as if in a vacuum.

2/15/2007 10:27 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

mr Kinsberg:

Coercion is a weird thing. After spending two years in a proudly self-described 'non-coercive' learning environment in Israel, anything which smells of force and imposition feels wrong to me. Which is a strange place to be in when you not only believe in the binding nature of Halakha, but are also partially responsible for running Tefilla in a high school, which is a highly coercive environment.

Don't quite understand your question about ShMV"T. Last year i did it 'original style', with Unqelos; this year i'm doing it with Rashi as the Targum/Peirush. Hence all the Rashi-referencing posts lately.

oh mighty Hill dweller:

Thanks! And LOL for Google/Magoogle. מדרום תיפתח הרעה?

rav Maroof:


2/15/2007 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"in a proudly self-described 'non-coercive' learning environment"

can you say which one?

"Don't quite understand your question about ShMV"T"

did you repeat the aseret ha-devarim twice when learning it with onkelos?

(and ari is fine, unless i come up with some really original nome de plum like you.)

2/16/2007 12:06 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

המבין יבין ;-)

actually, i didn't repeat it for each trop system... and sometimes when i learn, i use trop, and other times i don't; i find that the musicality of it makes it harder to pay attention to what's going on.

i was going to Title+LastName Rabbi Joshua Maroof, so i decided to do that with everyone in the comment (except for Back, who made it a little more complicated ;-) ).

2/16/2007 9:28 AM  

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