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Monday, October 05, 2009

Yalkut Shimoni at the End of Iyov and Sukkos

התמלא בשכות עורו. אמר רבה בר בר חנה עתיד הקב"ה לעשות סוכה לצדיקים לע"ל (כתוב בישעיה רמז תק"ג). אמר ר' לוי כל מי שמקיים מצות סוכה בעולם הזה אף הקב"ה מושיבו בסוכתו של לויתן לעתיד לבא שנאמר התמלא בשכות עורו וגו', את מוצא בשעה שבאו יסורין על איוב היה עומד וקורא תגר אחר מדת הדין שנאמר מי יתן ידעתי ואמצאהו אדעה מלים יענני, אמר לו הקב"ה איוב מה אתה עומד ואומר מי יתן ידעתי ואמצאהו הרי עורו של לויתן שאני עתיד לעשות לצדיקים לעתיד לבא אם חסר אני מטלית אחת ממנו יש לך למלאת שנאמר התמלא בשכות עורו, וא"ת עורו של לויתן אינו דבר משובח, א"ר פנחס הכהן בר חייא ור' ירמיה בש"ר שמואל בר רב יצחק פספסי הרוחות שלו מכהות גלגל חמה שנאמר האומר לחרס ולא יזרח. ירפד חרוץ עלי טיט, אין לך מזוהם של דג אלא מקום רפידתו, ומקום רפידתו של לויתן יפה של זהב לכך נאמר ירפד חרוץ עלי טיט. ד"א האומר לחרס ולא יזרח מקום רפידתו חרוץ הוא זהב שנאמר ירפד חרוץ עלי טיט.
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This is from the Yalkut Shimoni toward the end of Iyov. The reason I posted it is this: The fortieth perek of Iyov, where Hashem responds to Iyov's bewildered complaint, has a surprising number of (40:21-22, and 40:31) apparent references to Sukkos. Some mefarshim have translated these words to mean very different things, (e.g., 'Tzalzel' either meaning 'shade' or 'a fish-processing knife'). Thus, התמלא בשכות עורו can mean "Can you riddle his skin with barbs," meaning "Would you, Iyov, dare to lay a hand on the Leviathan?". But others read it as meaning "Will you complete the Sukkah with (the Leviathan's) hide?"

The Yalkut (40:31) takes the latter approach, and says that the pesukim allude to the following dialogue between Hashem and Iyov.

I'll try to translate.

"Will you finish the Sukkah with the Leviathan's hide?" Rabbah bar bar Channa said: in the future, Hashem will make Sukkos for the Tzadikim. Rav Levi said, whoever fulfills the mitzva of Sukka in this world, Hashem will settle him in a Sukka made of the hide of the Leviathan in the coming future, as it says "Will you finish the Sukkah with the Leviathan's hide."
You find that when suffering came upon Iyov, he complained about his strict punishment and said "If only I could know, if only I could find Him, I would like to know what words He could use to explain what is happening to me!" Hashem answered, "You say you want to know? Look: I will one day make a Sukka from the hide of the Leviathan; if it will be missing one side, will you complete it? If you say 'with the skin of the Leviathan,' is that not praiseworthy?

Rav Pinchas... and Rav Yirmiah... say, the corners of his sides dim the orbit of the Sun... there is no more foul part of a fish than its bottom; the bottom of the Levyasan is as beautiful as gold."

(end of Yalkut)

I can't tell you what this mysterious Yalkut means. But I do know the following:
1. It has something to do with Sukkos.
2. Hashem comforted the tragedy-beset Iyov by showing a connection between the suffering of the righteous in this world and the fact that a Sukka is kosher even when missing one entire wall.
3. It says that only Hashem can complete the fourth side of a sukka made from the hide of the Leviathan.

This may be one of the many medrashim that is so hopelessly obscure as to remain hefker to whatever pshat people want to impute to it. But I am hoping to get a clear and convincing pshat before yomtov is over. I know that Reb Aharon Soloveichik has a pshat in the Yalkut. I have to think about it before posting it.

Chaim B of DivreiChaim.blogspot.com referred me to Reb Tzadok, who says (see comments; it's on page 244 of the hebrewbooks.org volume I) that the idea of Sukkas Oro Shel Liviyasan means that tzadikim, having overcome the Yetzer Hara in this world, will be seated in a sukka made from an animal that represents untrammeled physicality and driving desire, (the Liviyasan being a combination of the Nachash and Dagim, which profligately engage in pirya verivya,) and that this animal was the source of Adam and Chava's "kosnos ohr." Thank you, Chaim. But Reb Tzadok's pshat does not address the connection to Iyov.

See further in the comments for a pshat from the Yismach Moshe that does specifically talk about this Medrash. I'm still hoping for more kipshuto.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I received a pshat from the author of the earlier post (on Meva'eit), who said the following:

Sukka is known to represent Hashem's protection and Hashgacha (e.g. Erchin 32b ואגין זכותא עלייהו כי סוכה, and the interchange of Shomer Amo Yisrael Laad <-> Hapores Sukkat Shalom).

Sukka tells us that it is just so that one could be in a place where the 4th wall is missing, the 3rd is only tephach, and the other two are some combination of God, Lavud & Dophen Akumma. Yet, it is a kosher Sukka.
(Note: The writer is referring to the halacha that a sukka does not need four walls. A Sukka is halachically adequate if it has two 'whole' walls, a third wall that is a few inches long, and no fourth wall at all. Even the two 'whole' walls don't have to be whole: they can be perforated and short and afford no privacy or protection.)

We often look around and see holes in this protection shield. Iyyov feels he was left out there, no Mechitzos, no protection around. But, when he would see the full picture, the full Sukka, it should become clear that what looked like nothing around was in fact part of the bigger Sukkat Livyatan. Would he then dare to "fix" it?

And now I understand what I had heard in the name of Reb Aharon Soloveichik. I was missing some minor elements of what Reb Aharon said, but having seen this pshat, it is clear to me that this is precisely what Reb Aharon meant.

The Sukka represents Hashem's protection, the Hashgacha Pratis of Klal Yisrael. But the Sukka, ironically, is the merest scrap of a house-- not only is the roof barely functional, but the walls are merely ideas or symbols of walls, more absent than present. The mussar haskeil is that davka this Sukka teaches us that Hashem's inexorable hashgacha, the hashgacha that makes us indestructible, seems to be so fragile, it's barely there, but is no less real for that. As Reb Aharon said, the Mechitza that is there ahl pi din (tzuras hapesach, pi tikra, omeid meruba ahl haparutz, lavud, dofen akuma, Gud Asik, Pasei Bira'os, and all the dinim we use to create mechitzos, as Reb Eli mentioned) can be more real than a physical mechitza. Similarly, the deficiencies and deprivations we perceive in our life experience are often only epiphenomena; the deeper reality of the richness of a Torah life is truer than that which our limited perception can comprehend.

Yasher Kochachem to Rabbanim and Doctoirim Gary S, Chaim B, and Eli E!

I later saw that the Aruch Laner mentions this medrash too: 

Aruch Laner explains that by showing Iyov the halacha that a sukkah is composed of only three walls, of which the third may be only a tefach, Hashem demonstrated that this world's existence is temporary, as it serves as a portal of passage to the eternal world of the souls in the World-to-Come.  If a person 's lot is one of suffering, he need  not feel that he has been deprived of his deserved comfort and tranquility.  In fact, this state of difficulty should provide hope that his true reward will be eternal.   

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Translation?

Chaim B. said...

See R' Tzadok in Pri Tzadik, Sukkos, #11.

Chaim B. said...

The Yismach Moshe end of Parshas Emor explains the connection specifically to Iyov. There is a Midrash Pliya which says that Iyov had no consolation until he saw the pesukim of "basukos, basukos, basukos", i.e. sounds like a remez to the derasha that teaches us 3 walls are OK based on the fact that sukos is written chaseir. What does that mean?
Hagahos Ashr"i on B"K 17 writes a yesod that a halacha l'moshe m'sinai always comes to subtract from the din d'oraysa -- chatzi nezek tzeroros is k'gufo but the hlmm"s teaches that you pay half, not the other way around (i.e. not that its lav k'gufo and you should be patur but the hlmm"s is mechayeiv you). How do we know this? From sukkah, where the hlmm"s tells us it's OK to subtract walls.
The pilpul punchline goes like this: Iyov's kids were bad, but he held that he was not responsible for them because they are kocho, not gufo. Hashem responded with sukkah and this cheshbon of the Ashr"I that we learn from sukkah that kocho k'gufo.
He goes a little deeper and explains that torah sheb'a"p = rachamim; torah b'ksav=din. Hashem gives us schar as if we had 4 walls (which din requires) based on the midas harachamim that accepts 3. Hashem's response was that despite his complains Iyov was being treated with rachamanus but deserved more punishment for his children/kocho.

It's hard to summarize this type pilpul and I probably mangled it. Hopefully you have the sefer or know a Satmar chassid that can lend you one to have a look. It's a good Hagahos Ashr"i to know even if you don't like the pilpul that goes with it ; )

Barzilai said...

Once again, Chaim B to the rescue.

You probably can guess my reaction to the Yismach Moshe. BUT, and I really believe this, the Yismach Moshe didn't create himself. There has always been a faction of Klal Yisrael that used this sort of approach to Torah. It is possible, I suppose, that his great...grandfather wrote this Medrash and meant it to be understood as he taitches it.

Chaim B. said...

It's an acquired taste. You can start off easy with the Chasam Sofer or Ksav Sofer, graduate to the Yismach Moshe, and then the Divrei Yoel is the post graduate level.

After hearing enough brisker chakiros I think you can pretty much get the hang of the derech and formulate similar conceptual constructs. I don't get the same sense reading Yismach Moshe type seforim. It seems to be pure genius ato find connections between the most unrelated topics. But then again, maybe if this stuff was the bread and butter of my learning I would have a better handle on it.

Eli said...

Thank you for this Yalkut, I might use it today.
Maybe a possible Pshat is the following:

Sukka is known to represent Hashem's protection and Hashgacha (e.g. Erchin 32b ואגין זכותא עלייהו כי סוכה, and the interchange of Shomer Amo Yisrael Laad <-> Hapores Sukkat Shalom).

Sukka tells us that it is just so that one could be in a place where the 4th wall is missing, the 3rd is only tephach, and the other two are some combination of God, Lavud & Dophen Akumma. Yet, it is a kosher Sukka.

We often look around and see holes in this protection shield. Iyyov feels he was left out there, no Mechitzos, no protection around. But, when he would see the full picture, the full Sukka, it should become clear that what looked like nothing around was in fact part of the bigger Sukkat Livyatan. Would he then dare to "fix" it?

PS I think the quote from Yalkut is missing its end. וא״ת עורו של לויתן אינו דבר משובח is not left unanswered there, but it continues א"ר פנחס הכהן בר חייא ור' ירמיה בש"ר שמואל בר רב יצחק פספסי הרוחות שלו מכהות גלגל חמה שנאמר האומר לחרס ולא יזרח. ירפד חרוץ עלי טיט, אין לך מזוהם של דג אלא מקום רפידתו, ומקום רפידתו של לויתן יפה של זהב לכך נאמר ירפד חרוץ עלי טיט
accordingly I'm not sure about the translation "do you think that is appropriate?"

Barzilai said...

Thank you, Eli. I incorporated your explanation and corrections.

Zev M Shandalov said...

There are very few things on the internet that make one say, "THIS is worth the entire internet." However, your blog is one exception! I am constantly amazed at the erudition and chochma displayed in your writing. On behalf of readers of your blog, I thank you for sharing even a small portion of your Torah with the rest of us. Tizke L'mitzvot!

Barzilai said...

Thank you Rabbi Shandalov; Chag Samei'ach, and we're all vicariously enjoying the fulfillment of your dream of Aliyah. Alevai we will all follow you! And...regards and love to the great Barry F! Remind him that his last name is gematria Amalek! (and the Aleph doesn't count!)

Ariella said...

Nice, and the very first time I've read the word "epiphenomena." :-)

But, R' Chaim, how could the parent be held responsible for his children's actions in a literal sense when the principle is that avos do not die al banim? In a philosophical sense there is some connection, for IIRC correctly Yitzchak declines to lead the toast (taken up by David in the end) because he had a son Esav.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/epiphenomenon

Barzilai said...

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/epiphenomena

I meant it in the sense of the medical dictionary-- a coincidental event that appears significant but is actually totally irrelevant. Epi-external; phenomenon-phenomenon.

Could it be that Wiki is not thorough enough????

And Ariella, unfortunately, parents are responsible for their kids, certainly until majority, and even afterwords, if, as is often the case, they raised them badly. Re'u gidulim shegidaltem, and Miriam bas Bilga.

Good Yomtov!