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

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.

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2 thoughts on “The Structure of the Chumash 04 – Importance of Aggadata

  1. micha

    From a recent Y-mi daf Yomi, Yuma (vilna ed) 7b, 1:5:
    …?????? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?”? (??) ???? ??? ????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ????? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?? ????? ??”? ?? ?”? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ?”? (??) ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????? ????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?”? ?? ???? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???? ????? ????? ???? ???? ??? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??? ????.

    This would seem to be a pretty strong support for the thesis developed so far… The azharah would be that there is a basic issur, and thus given on har Sinai, the onesh is a detail, and thus given be’ohel mo’eid “acharei mos shenei benei Aharon.”

  2. micha

    Question marks? This web site doesn’t do cp1255 Hebrew? Well, it’s much to transliterate or to read transliterated. The quote was from “… Uminayin shehu nosein bah maalah ashan?” to “Ha keitzad? Azharah ne’emrah qodem misas 2 benei Aharon, ve’onesh ne’emar le’achar misas 2 benei Aharon.”


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