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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tazria. Bris Mila on the Eighth Day. An Excellent Collaboration and דבר תורה לברית מילה

In last year's post on this parsha, I brought a Medrash (cited by the Taz) that says that the reason Mila is on the eighth day, and the reason an animal cannot be brought as a korban till the eighth day after its birth, is that they must experience the passage of Shabbos.  Only then, only having been elevated by the Kedusha of Shabbos, can they be used in the service of the Ribono shel Olam.

In as perfect an example of stimulating collaboration as one could hope for, the comments that came in developed an outstanding vort.  I had a Medrash, Eli brought up a question on the Medrash, I brought a Chasam Sofer that answers the question but I didn't understand the svara of the Chasam Sofer, then I suggested a possible approach, and great unknown provided a conceptual framework that sheds light upon the entire discussion.  This is how it unfolded, followed by a recap.

Eli wrote...A bit off topic, but this Medrash had me long wondering - why the 8th day. Had Bris been the 7th day, Shabbos would also be always included. If you think that the answer is we need a full 24h Shabbos, think again. What if a baby is born Shabbos afternoon and the Bris is in the morning?
March 31, 2011 11:18 AM
I responded...(.....)The Chasam Sofer in his Teshuvos OC 102, dealing with the opinion (of the Italian Mekubalim) that kiddush levana should be at least seven days after the molad, brings in our Medrash. He addresses your point, and says that evidently, the bris, or the idea of Pnei Matronisa, requires two things: Experiencing the beginning of a Shabbos, and experiencing the end of a Shabbos: כניסת מטרוניתא ויציאת מטרוניתא.
From the formal logic perspective, his answer is fine. From the "why on earth would that make sense" perspective, nu nu.
March 31, 2011 11:52 AM
I added...I was thinking about what I said, that it's hard to see a svara in what the Chasam Sofer said, and here's what occurred to me.
The din of זכרהו בכניסתו וביציאתו, to make some sort of kiddush when Shabbos begins and when it ends, pashtus, is a simple din of kavod- like saluting an honored guest when he arrives and when he leaves. But it is possible that there is one particular kedusha that happens at the onset and another at the conclusion of Shabbos. It's not just Hello and Goodbye.
Even the shittos that hold not like the Rambam, who hold that havdala is entirely miderabanan, don't necessarily disagree with the concept, they just hold that there's no din kiddush on yetzias Shabbos.
March 31, 2011 12:48 PM
 great unknown said...Kenisas HaShabbos signals the categorical distinction of the Jew from the mundane non-Jewish residents of creation. Yetzias HaShabbos signals a lower level of kedusha which involves Jews being involved in the everyday "la'sheves" of the world - while nevertheless being quantitatively superior to the non-Jew in kedusha - ner la'amim if you will.
Both are necessary elements of the Jewish interaction with and purpose in creation.
I am basing this on a brilliant drosho I heard last Succos in KJBS/Chicago, which covered many more details of this dual havdalah.
March 31, 2011 5:36 PM
 Eli said...In the Shalom Zachar of my second, I (unaware of the Chasam Sofer) suggested that the requirement is to experience Shabbos-night davka. This fits nicely with the fact we observe Shalom Zachar Friday night, a time when people are usually not going out (and that specific night was bitterly cold, btw).
I'm sure gu can explain much better than myself why the מטרוניתא aspect of Shabbos is related to the night part and not the day. One pointer is Ramban Shmos 20:7 which I quote verbatim for lack of unerstanding: "ובמדרשו של רבי נחוניא בן הקנה (ספר הבהיר אות קפב): הזכירו עוד סוד גדול בזכור ושמור, ועל הכלל תהיה הזכירה ביום והשמירה בלילה, וזהו מאמר החכמים (ב"ק לב ב): שאומרים בערב שבת באי כלה באי כלה, באו ונצא לקראת שבת מלכה כלה, ויקראו לברכת היום קדושא רבא (פסחים קו א): שהוא הקדוש הגדול, ותבין זה. "
So whatever that means, the feminine aspect of שבת which is called מלכה, i.e. מטרוניתא, relates to the night, not the day.
To complete the Drush I said that we see the feminine aspect of שבת is related to שמור and not זכור, i.e. the passive acceptance of Kedusha, as opposed to our active efforts represented by the Zachor part. As we prepare for giving our newborn the message of R. Akiva (Tanchuma Tazria), that his deeds could achieve greater results than those of Hashem, so to speak, we first need to go through the Shamor part, to recall it's all based on the Kedusha we get from above, passively.
April 01, 2011 3:18 AM

Organized into one coherent piece:


The Medrash says that a child has to undergo a Shabbos.  The Chasam Sofer (Tshuvos OC 102) says, why do you need to wait for the eighth day?  Even waiting for the seventh day will mean that he saw a Shabbos!  So he explains as follows: 




  • If  he was born on Shabbos, you can't make the bris the following Friday, because even though  he saw the end of a Shabbos, he needs to see Shabbos begin.  
  • If he was born Sunday, you can't make the bris on Shabbos, because even though he saw the beginning of a Shabbos, he needs to see it end.  
  • The requirement to wait for the eighth day can't be because he has to have 24 hours of Shabbos, because if he's born Shabbos afternoon, and the bris is Shabbos morning, he only will have had fourteen hours out of twenty four of Shabbos!  
  • So the Chasam Sofer answers that what the child needs is not 24 hours of Shabbos.  What he needs is to experience the beginning of a Shabbos and the departure of a Shabbos.

This answer is difficult to understand.  Why would it matter if the child experienced the end of a Shabbos?  Is there something special about the end of Shabbos? 

Another question:
Many people say that Tuma comes when Kedusha leaves.  The Shem Mishmuel asks, if so, why is there no tuma when Shabbos ends? 

Perhaps the idea of the departure of Shabbos is reflected in the halacha of Havdala.  We are not merely saying goodbye to Shabbos, but instead we are being mekadeish a different type of kedusha, the kedusha of after-Shabbos.  great unknown polished this by saying that the kedusha of Shabbos, which we celebrate in Friday night kiddush, is the kedusha of olam haba, of being above Teva.  The kedusha of Saturday night, the kedusha of Havdala, is the kedusha of living in a world of teva, of working, of interacting with the gentile world, and all through it making the world a holier place.

This is why the departure of Shabbos does not result in an influx of Tumah.  Tumah only follows the departure of kedusha when nothing is left behind.  The point of Havdala is that when Shabbos ends, and the kedusha leaves, it leaves some of itself behind to be mekadesh the forthcoming week.  Havdala is a type of kiddush.  
It is those two kedushos that are implicit in the Medrash that are essential to being a Jew.  (See Ksav Sofer at end.)


This reminded me of something that happened in my own extended family.  X was going through a very challenging teen age period, and Y was considering hanging out with him motzei Shabbos, not for kiruv, just to chill out.  One of my sons told Y "The same way you wouldn't be mechallel Shabbos, make sure that you're not mechallel motzei Shabbos."

What impressed me so much about this idea is that it is a perfect drasha for a bris, the time we remember Targum Yonasan by "Be'cha yevareich Yisrael," when we give the bracha of ישימך אלוקים כאפרים וכמנשה.  It powerfully expresses the two important aspects of what the Bris Millah is supposed to symbolize and to strengthen, of what it means to be an eved Hashem: the kedusha of l'maalah min hateva, and the kedusha of teva.    The Jew of Sheishes yamim ta'aseh me'lachtecha, and the Jew of Shabbos la'Shem Elokecha.   Be a Malach; and Be a Mentsch.
A great talmid chacham to whom I told this said it over in his yeshiva, but he said a different pshat in the Chasam Sofer/Medrash.  He said that the lesson of יציאת מטרוניתא is that a Jew has to be ready for change.  It's relatively easy to maintain a high madreiga during the zman, no matter how long the zman is.  But when Bein Hazmanim comes, not everyone can deal with the change.   A child has to learn that a Jew has to be able to tolerate change, to adjust to what is dealt to him.

  The Ksav Sofer in Teshuvos OC 45, here, beginning at the end of the fifteenth line, in his explanation of the Gemara in Pesachim 113a המבדיל על היין במוצ״ש מאי היא דמשייר מקידושא לאבדלתא, says something very similar to our pshat in Havdala, which works so well to explain his father's mehalach.  

As far as משייר מקידושא לאבדלתא, the Tur (OC 296) brings this Gemara too. that a person should leave wine over from kiddush and use it for Havdala.  We don't have this minhag, because Tosfos learns the Gemara differently, but the Shulchan Aruch Harav brings it down in OC 271:22.)  In any case, the Tur there is very emphatic about the importance of Havdala and brings strong words to that effect from Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer.  

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