Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Shevuos 9

Shevuos 9a contains a statement which the gilyon on the side of the daf warns should not be taken literally. There is a reference to a ma'amar which states that Hashem said that the se'ir offered on Rosh Chodesh should be michaper for Hashem having reduced the moon. The following post is a brief discussion of this statement.

The gemara's allusion is to a well known story which is quoted by the gemara in Chullin about the moon. The moon used to have the same powers of illumination as the sun, before Hashem reduced its strength. The event which precipitated the moon's reduction was a conversation that the moon had with Hashem in which the moon stated -two powers cannot wear the same crown. To this Hashem responded - so go and reduce yourself.

Again, I stress that the gilyon on the side of the daf makes the understatement of the day that this is a sod of the sodos of the world and that it should not be taken at face value.

I had the bracha of being able to sit with Rabbi Shalom Rosner when he gave the daf and specifically dealt with this topic. The following is a brief summary of some of his explanations of this very deep topic.

One way to learn the subject is to avoid the literal meaning. Tosafos (d'h Se'ir) explains that Hashem has observed that the Jews need kapparah and that in order to allow them forgiveness He created the concept of the Se'ir which is brought once a month. In order to make the moon feel better about being reduced, Hashem established the first day of the new month (when the moon is first seen) as the day that the karban was brought.

Rabbi Rosner also mentioned the Chasam Sofer who explains that l'asid lavo, the moon will be as luminous as the sun. However, since Moshiach has not yet come, the moon has not reached this level. The reason of course that Moshiach has not come is because the Jews have not done proper teshuva. Since we are not conducting ourselves correctly we are preventing Hashem from returning the moon to its former state and we need kapparah.

One other concept was brought down in the name of the Tosafos Harosh who equates the situation to a master who disciplines his servant for doing something wrong. Sometime after meting out the punishment, the master approaches the servant and attempts to make the servant feel better about being punished. So too here, Hashem punishes the moon for questioning Hashem's methods of creation and as a result the moon is punished. Hashem now laments having needed to punish the moon in an attempt to make the moon feel better.

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1 comment:

Yaakov said...

http://daf-yomi.org/english_dafyomi/shevuos/Shevuos_9.pdf (I saw an interesting thing on this from daf notes who brings Rabbi Frummer who says the moon punishment was not a decrease in size but that it does not have its own light but it will only provide light that it receives from the sun)
(more interesting things on the moon reduction)