Category Archives: Structure of Torah

The Structure of the Chumash 07 – Dikdukei Sofrim

Rashi on Temurah 16a explains dikdukei sofrim based on a Yerushalmi in Shekalim.

This gemara seems to contradict both Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman’s approach, and the view of Dorot HaRishonim.

Rabbi Triebitz claims that these dikdukei sofrim are in fact the proto-mishna, which Chazal saw as the precedent for Rebbi’s Mishna.

These shiurim are free of charge. Please enjoy them. At the moment nobody is sponsoring the shiurim, and Rabbi Triebitz is giving of his time voluntarily. Thank you very much to those of you who have contributed to this website. If anyone else would like to have a share in the merit of these shiurim (and is in a financial position to be able to do so) we would welcome any donations. There are no overheads, so any money will go to Rabbi Triebitz. We can also give American charity tax receipts if you want. Otherwise there is a ‘donate’ button on the side of the page.
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The Structure of the Chumash 06 – Derashot of Moshe Rabbeinu

This shiur is l’ilui nishmat R’ Yitzchak Dov ben Avraham HaLevi

This week we take a detour from Chazon Ish to clarify what we discussed last week. Rabbi Triebitz claimed last week that the Torah of Derashot began only with Vayikra. But where do we see that Moshe made Derashot at all?
Temurah 16a says that Moshe Rabbeinu made Derashot. It says that he made Kal Va-Chomers, Gezeirah Shavas and Dikdukei Sofrim.

Rashi there explains Dikdukei Sofrim as referring to using numbers as mnemonics, e.g. 15 women who don’t need Yibum.

Rabbi Triebitz does not fully understand Rashi’s explanation, and next week he will discuss his understanding of Dikdukei Sofrim.

We do find Chazal telling us of Derashot of Moshe Rabbeinu.

In Shabbat 87a that Moshe made 3 kal vachomers. Rabbi Triebitz explains that kal vachomer is something that a person can make by themselves. Therefore any innovation of Moshe Rabbeinu is by definition a kal vachomer.

Conversely, a gezeirah shava cannot be made without a tradition. So how could Moshe make a gezeirah shava? Because at root a gezeirah shava is really a form of gilui milta. That is what Moshe did. We find this definition of gezeirah shava in Ritva to Kiddushin 2a with (possibly) the most famous gezeirah shava in Shas – kicha-kicha from sdei Efron. He explains that this is not a proper gezeirah shava, but a form of gului milta.

Returning to the gemara in Temurah, we find that Otniel ben Kenaz was able to relearn all the halachot that were forgotten during the mourning for Moshe Rabbeinu using pilpul. What is pilpul?

The gemara in Nedarim 38a says that Moshe taught the Torah to Klal Yisrael with Tovat Ayin. This means that he gave them pilpul. And they could use the midot to derive halachot. But that could only begin once they had a written text to work with.

Rabbi Triebitz then gives a novel reading of the Gemara in Menachot 29b about Moshe Rabbeinu and Rabbi Akiva. Based on the Rosh in Nida, and the Rash MiShantz in Yadaim, Rabbi Triebitz understands that sometimes ‘halacha l’Moshe mi-Sinai’ means that the halacha is so clear logically that it is as if it was given to Moshe at Sinai. Therefore Moshe felt better after hearing that Rabbi Akiva had derived the halacha logically, because that means he was using logic which was Moshe’s inheritance to Klal Yisrael.

Next week (hopefully) we will continue in the Chazon Ish, but also speak about Dikdukei Sofrim and Tikunei Sofrim.

These shiurim are free of charge. Please enjoy them. At the moment nobody is sponsoring the shiurim, and Rabbi Triebitz is giving of his time voluntarily. Thank you to those who have already made donations to the website. If anyone else would like to have a share in the merit of these shiurim (and is in a financial position to be able to do so) we would welcome any donations. There are no overheads, so any money will go to Rabbi Triebitz. We can also give American charity tax receipts if you want. Otherwise there is a ‘donate’ button on the side of the page.

Thank you.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


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The Structure of the Chumash 05 – The Mizbeach

Rabbi Triebitz continues with Chazon Ish, Orech Chaim 125; se’if 5.

Chazon Ish has difficulty with the altar that was built at Har Sinai. The gemara in Chagiga 6b discusses the machlokes between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael regarding whether the details of the mitzvot were given at Sinai or only in Ohel Mo’ed. The gemara brings an attack on Rabbi Yishmael from the Olot that were offered at Mount Sinai.

However, the Gemara does not bring as an attack the fact that an altar was built at Mount Sinai. Why not?

Furthermore, when Ramban says that this took place after Matan Torah, how can he reconcile that with the gemara in Yevamos 5b that says it took place ‘before the dibur (speech)’? Does that not mean it took place before the Ten Commandments were given?

Chazon Ish struggles with this, and gives an answer (hora’at sha’ah) which seems to contradict the gemara.

Rabbi Triebitz answers that ‘before the dibur’ referes to before the speech in Ohel Mo’ed. The real ‘learning’ of Torah (as Chazal were to understand it later, using the 13 midot of d’rash) only begins with Vayikra and Ohel Mo’ed. This is why Sifra begins with a discussion of those 13 midot. It also explains the beginning of Sifra which describes the difference between the dibur of Ohel Mo’ed and the dibur of Har Sinai. Malbim on the spot explains (though it is pashut p’shat) that Ohel Mo’ed was aspaklaria me’ira, whereas Sinai was not as clear.

Therefore the gemara only asks on Olah, which is part of Vayikra, and therefore ‘details’ that had to be learnt using the midot. Mizbeach is from Terumah, which did not yet involve ‘pratim’ and learning details from the midot.

These shiurim are free of charge. Please enjoy them. At the moment nobody is sponsoring the shiurim, and Rabbi Triebitz is giving of his time voluntarily. If anyone would like to have a share in the merit of these shiurim (and is in a financial position to be able to do so) we would welcome any donations. There are no overheads, so any money will go to Rabbi Triebitz. We can also give American charity tax receipts if you want. Otherwise there is a ‘donate’ button on the side of the page.
Thank you.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


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The Structure of the Chumash 04 – Importance of Aggadata

Rabbi Triebitz continues with se’if 4 in Chazon Ish, Orech Chaim 125.

Chazon Ish brings a difficulty from Bava Basra 119a. If, according to Rabbi Akiva, Moshe Rabbeinu received all the details of all the halachot at Sinai, why did he now know the laws of inheritance for women (when B’not Tzelafchad came to ask) or the punishment for chilul Shabbat (mekoshesh eitzim)?

Chazon Ish gives two answers, either we must say that Moshe received details (peratim) but not ‘details of details’ (pirtei dinim). Or perhaps moshe could only transmit what G-d had given him permission to transmit, but when given a new case he could not adjudicate unless commanded to do so.
Neither of these answers are compelling, and Chazon Ish ends with tzarich iyun.

Rabbi Triebitz suggests another answer. In the Talmud Berachos 5a it says that Moshe was given everything including gemara.

In the Iggeres of Rav Sherira Gaon (of Binyamin Levin p. 23 in the Spanish version) it says that Rebbi was given Mishna like Moshe Rabbeinu. We see a clear parallel between the Mishna and the Torah.

Rambam also makes this compariso, for example in his introduction to Perush Hamishnayos.

The Gemara in several places also makes this comparison. For example in Sotah 2a it asks why Sotah comes after Nazir. In other words, why did Rebbi choose this order? It answers that it is in the order of the chumash. We see here and in other places the juxtaposition and parallelism of Chumash and Mishna.
Also in Pesachim 6b the concept of “ain mukdam umuchar” is applied to both Chumash and Mishnnayos.

Very often the last Mishna of masechta has aggadata. Similarly Rambam often ends a section of halacha with an aggadic section.
The comparison between Chumash and Mishna is extended to a parallelism between Mishna and Rambam.

For example, the last Mishna of Yoma contains aggadata of teshuva. Look at Hilchos Teshuva of Rambam where he finishes the laws of teshuva and then goes on to discuss things such as Olam Haba.
Rabbi Triebitz suggests that Rambam bases himself on the structure of the Mishna and the discussion there of the mikva of purity.
At the end of Hilchos Mikva Rambam also brings a bit of aggadata and a discussion of the intention for tevilah. He brings the same pasuk of mikva that Rabbi Akiva brought in Yoma, and connects that to de’ot.
This, according to Rabbi Triebitz, is the reason that he brings concepts of de’ot in hilchot teshuva, based on his understanding of Rabbi Akiva in the mishna.
Perek 3 halacha 4 is really the end of hilchot teshuva. Halacha 5 already begins to discuss olam
haba.

In this past week’s parsha (Chayei Sarah), we find Rashi cites the gemara that the conversation of the servants of the patriarchs is better (yafeh) than the laws of the children.
Rabbi Triebitz suggests that the narrative of Eliezer finding a wife for Yitzchak is Written Torah but when he repeats the story it becomes Oral Torah.

Chazal define Eliezer as a Talmid Chacham (Nedarim 32a). How did Chazal know he was a talmid chacham? Because he is involved in the process of Oral Law!

This is the reason that Moshe was not given the laws of B’not Tzlafchad and Mekoshesh Eitzim – because it was part of the process of Oral Law that had to be developed from the aggadata of events.

These shiurim are free of charge. Please enjoy them. At the moment nobody is sponsoring the shiurim, and Rabbi Triebitz is giving of his time voluntarily. If anyone would like to have a share in the merit of these shiurim (and is in a financial position to be able to do so) we would welcome any donations. There are no overheads, so any money will go to Rabbi Triebitz. We can also give American charity tax receipts if you want. Otherwise there is a ‘donate’ button on the side of the page.
Thank you.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 04

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The Structure of the Chumash 03 – Shmitah and Har Sinai

Rabbi Triebitz has been understanding the structure of Chumash based on the Chazon Ish, Orech Chaim 125.

The story so far – Moshe was given the entire Torah at Sinai, but only related parts of it to the Jewish people as it became relevant, in Ohel Mo’ed.

However, in se’if 5 the Chazon Ish contradicts what he said earlier. To go through that se’if would take many hours, but basically he has a problem with the machlokes between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael in Chagiga 6a regarding the sacrifices that were brought at Sinai.

Rashi famously asks “What is the connection between Mount Sinai and Shemita”. He is quoting from Torat Cohanim.

Ramban (Vayikra 25:1) challenges Rashi, but Rabbi Triebitz claims that his explanation does not fit with the words of Torat Cohanim.

Furthermore, the Torah (Vayikra 7:27-28) specifically mentions Mount Sinai in the context of the sacrifices.

Ramban (ad loc) deals with this issue, and presents an alternative view to that of Chazal.

Rabbi Triebitz then asks why the phrase is ‘mah inyan shmita etzel har sinai’? It should have been the other way around, because it is Sinai which is out of place, not Shmita. He refers to an article by Professor Shamma Friedman, entitled “mah inyan sinai etzel shmita” (which I can’t find online). Then Rabbi Triebitz gives his own answer.

Rabbi Triebitz then elaborates on the idea he mentioned last week that when Chazal are describing the nature of the Chumash they are also describing the nature of Oral Torah and their role in its development.

These shiurim are free of charge. Please enjoy them. At the moment nobody is sponsoring the shiurim, and Rabbi Triebitz is giving of his time voluntarily. If anyone would like to have a share in the merit of these shiurim (and is in a financial position to be able to do so) we would welcome any donations. There are no overheads, so any money will go to Rabbi Triebitz. We can also give American charity tax receipts if you want. Otherwise there is a ‘donate’ button on the side of the page.
Thank you.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


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The Structure of the Chumash 02 – Reason for Repetition

In this shiur Rabbi Triebitz claims that the structure of the chumash in the eyes of chazal seems to parallel the structure of the development of the Oral Law. In his letter (p.22) Rav Sherira Gaon writes that before the destruction of the temple everything was transmitted orally from teacher to student.
Before Hillel and Shammai there was an Oral Torah but no text.
Chazon Ish says that the Shechina was speaking through Moshe’s mouth. The Gemara in Megilla (31b) says that the curses in Devarim were said by Moshe, whereas the curses in Vayikra were said by G-d.
Ramban on Devarim 5:5 discusses whether Devarim was actually said by Moshe or by G-d.
Rabbi Triebitz wants to bring support for the Chazon Ish from the Gemara in Berachos 20b which says that women are obligated in zachor because they are obligated in shamor.
We see from this that shamor is the real meaning of zachor.
This can be compared to the Gemara which understands that pri etz hadar is the etrog. This is the meaning, not a drash.
The Gemara in Berachos 5a. says that Moshe was given mishneh and gemara…. It is hard to accept this literally (and certainly Rambam does not accept it literally). Rather, Rabbi Triebitz learns that this teaches us that the hints, links and clues which form the basis of Torah she-baal peh were said to Moshe as part of the Torah. This seems to be a support for chazon ish. moshe was given the methodology for the Torah she-baal peh.
Rabbi Triebitz concludes with a preview of next week’s shiur, that Rabbi Akiva is defining his own role in Torah when he claims that the general principles and the details were said at Sinai.

These shiurim are free of charge. Please enjoy them. At the moment nobody is sponsoring the shiurim, and Rabbi Triebitz is giving of his time voluntarily. If anyone would like to have a share in the merit of these shiurim (and is in a financial position to be able to do so) we would welcome any donations. There are no overheads, so any money will go to Rabbi Triebitz. We can also give American charity tax receipts if you want. Otherwise there is a ‘donate’ button on the side of the page.
Thank you.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 02

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The Structure of the Chumash 01 – Chazon Ish introduction

This is the first of a new series entitled “The Structure of the Chumash in the Eyes of Chazal”. In it, Rabbi Triebitz will explore and try to understand how Chazal viewed the Chumash.

He begins with the Chazon Ish, Orech Chaim 125.

Apparently the Chazon Ish wrote this piece in response to questions from a talmid of his – Tzvi Aryeh Yehuda.

You will also want to look at Ramban 20:15to understand this shiur.

These shiurim are free of charge. Please enjoy them. At the moment nobody is sponsoring the shiurim, and Rabbi Triebitz is giving of his time voluntarily. If anyone would like to have a share in the merit of these shiurim (and is in a financial position to be able to do so) we would welcome any donations. There are no overheads, so any money will go to Rabbi Triebitz. We can also give American charity tax receipts if you want. Otherwise there is a ‘donate’ button on the side of the page.
Thank you.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 01

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Structure of Torah 01
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Structure of Torah 01

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