Tuesday, May 02, 2006

For those of you already in a Yom HaAtzmaut state of mind, I refer you to my post of last year, because I’m still catching up from Pesach.

There I was on Erev Pesach, reading a few Haggadah commentaries in parallel, when I came across the following two passages. So, here’s the game: if you haven’t seen them, try to guess who wrote each. (Translations, bracketed comments and ellipses are mine.)

PASSAGE 1:

Matbilin, matza, maror, mesubin – This is the order [of the four questions] in the Mishnah in the Yerushalmi, Rif and Rosh..., in the siddur of Rav Amram Gaon (in the BM manuscript), in the siddur of Rav Saadia Gaon, Rambam, Tur, Abudraham… And likewise in the first printed Haggadah (Soncino 1485). This corresponds to their order [of actions] on this night: dipping (at least the first one which is only to arouse the curiosity of the children), matza, maror. The question regarding mesubin is not among the above because it was added many years after the original questions, that is, when they stopped eating while reclining year-round. Therefore, it isn’t mentioned in the Mishnah or Gemara…
We might say forthwith that there are many variations in the manuscripts of the Talmud, not only with regard to the order but also with regard to the number of questions (there are those who omit the question about maror or about roasting even during the period when the Temple existed). We might say that the reason for this is that one is not constrained to necessarily ask all the questions, even not lekhatchila (Pesachim 115b: petartun lomar), and therefore there were in the first place varying customs or there was no standard custom at all.


PASSAGE 2:

[Matzah] suggests to us the symbol of the naïve child and his basic experience, which must carry over into adulthood…. Hametz, leavened bread, represents the perfect, the fully grown, the end of the process… Likutei Torah phrases it as follows:
Hametz represents rising and elevation, for it swells and rises and
lifts itself up, which is not the case with matzhah, which does not rise at all... Matzah is also called “the food of faith” in the Zohar, for faith too is a matter of nullification, as one nullifies his intellect and does not seek reasons, but rather believes the truth with pure faith…

Man’s relationship to and craving for God is an experience of katnut ha-mohin, an irresistible inclination that is not related to man’s intellectual maturity… I exist in community with father, mother, and God. Attempts by the adult to substitute an abstraction for this real experience will result in depriving the latter of its living content.


The identities of the writers will be posted tomorrow.

Update: OK, so my "tomorrow" turned into something of a mañana. In any event, congratulations to two(?) anonymous commenters who nailed both authors.

Indeed, the first passage is from pages 49-50 of the haggadah commentary by the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson zt”l, whose later writing was characterized by a somewhat less scholarly style.

And the second passage is from pages 64-66 of “Festival of Freedom” by “the Rov”, Rabbi Joseph B Soloveitchik, who proceeds to negate his intellect for another 115 pages ("finding Him not at the level of noesis but at the level of naivete").

5 Comments:

Anonymous ahoy said...

passage one is by the lubavitcher rebbe zt'l

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tomorrow doesn't seem to be coming to quickly, yesh mochor leachar zman....

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RYBS for #2

10:12 AM  
Anonymous ahoy said...

can you clarify this statement 'whose later writing was characterized by a somewhat less scholarly style'?

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And the second passage is from pages 64-66 of “Festival of Freedom” by “the Rov”, Rabbi Joseph B Soloveitchik, who proceeds to negate his intellect for another 115 pages ("finding Him not at the level of noesis but at the level of naivete")."

Since people say that charedim aren't familiar with RYBS' thought and that is the only reason they are less enthused with him than the MO, let me point out that I (anonymous #2) am charedi.

12:30 AM  

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