Thursday, November 30, 2006

Women and Talmud Torah XII

(Material taught by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. All mistakes are my fault.)

Now please click this link to be directed to a long Tosfos from Shabbos 111b.

Please look at the orange highlighted part.

This is a long Tosfos discussing halakhos including that of libun or m'laben meaning "to clean things." To clean wool- we learn from here that cleaning things on Shabbos is considered a melacha. So Tosfos is trying to discuss if there's anything that can be done if one gets dirty. So he suggests the idea of derech l'chluch. What is derech l'chluch? So normally we can't put water on fabric, because to do so is to clean the fabric. BUT when you wipe your hands on a towel, you are actually "dirtying" the towel! SO, Tosfos says, let's say there's a child who urinated on his mother. (And in those days people didn't have so many clothes, so the option of changing into clean clothes wasn't necessarily available.) So the mother can't put water on her dress to clean it on Shabbos, but what should she do? So Tosfos/ Rabbeinu Tam "heard this from the women" to "Wash your hands and dry them on your dress!" That way you're cleaning your dress through halakhically dirtying it (so you're not doing anything against Shabbos.) That way, the garment isn't full of urine. But the Ri himself disagreed, saying that normally wiping one's hands on a towel is considered derech l'chluch, but your purpose here is to clean the dress! So how can you do this?

The point that is relevant to us here is that Tosfos heard this from the women. This suggests that women have a knowledge of practical halakha (so at the very least, it would seem, women are allowed to learn laws with regard to practical halakha.)

Women and Talmud Torah XI

(Material taught by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. All mistakes are my fault.)

Now please click this link to be directed to a Tosefta in Bava Kama.

Please look at the highlighted orange part.

This is discussing an oven in the process of being built. While it is being built it is not considered a kli or vessel, but then when it is built it is considered a kli. So at what point in the building do we consider it a kli that accepts tumah? So, the first opinion is that the oven is a kli when you heat it up enough to bake a liquid batter (which is a lower temperature, so you don't need such a high heat, it appears.) R' Shimon said, "Immediately." R' Shimon bar Gamliel said, "So if it's tamei, what do you do with an oven that's tamei?" You have to break it in order to render it not a kli. Rabbi Chalafta said he asked the brother of Beruriah, and he said to physically pick it up and move the oven, and then it says u'bito (meaning his daughter, which refers either to Beruriah or to her brother's daughter) said, "When they would remove the outer layer of the oven." Beruriah's brother said that what she had said was better than what he had said; he acknowledged, concurred with and accepted her opinion.

So in this case, we actually have a woman's halakhic opinion being considered better than the man's original opinion!

Women and Talmud Torah X

(Material taught by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. Mistakes are my fault.)

Please click this link in order to see this Tosefta on Bava Metziah.

Please look at the highlighted orange section.

Klustera- this is some kind of bolt for a door, since they used to have doorchains from the inside. So the question is, is this considered a kind of vessel or instrument that accepts tumah or not? So one Rav said that it is tahor, another said it is tamei, and Beruriah said that on Shabbos you're allowed to move it from one door to the other (meaning that it is not muktzeh.) R' Yehoshua, when he heard this, said "Yafeh amar Beruriah" meaning, "Well has Beruriah spoken."

So here we see that Beruriah is a) part of a halakhic discussion and b) is praised for her comment in this scenario. Not only is she learned, but she participates and her input is valued!

Women and Talmud Torah IX

(Material taught by Rabbi Auman, presented by Chana. Mistakes are my fault.)

Please look at Pesachim 62b:

    ר' שמלאי אתא לקמיה דרבי יוחנן א"ל ניתני לי מר ספר יוחסין א"ל מהיכן את א"ל מלוד והיכן מותבך בנהרדעא א"ל אין נידונין לא ללודים ולא לנהרדעים וכל שכן דאת מלוד ומותבך בנהרדעא כפייה וארצי א"ל ניתנייה בג' ירחי שקל קלא פתק ביה א"ל ומה ברוריה דביתהו דר"מ ברתיה דר"ח בן תרדיון דתניא תלת מאה שמעתתא ביומא מג' מאה רבוותא ואפ"ה לא יצתה ידי חובתה בתלת שנין ואת אמרת בתלתא ירחי

Rabbi Simlai came to visit/ learn from Rabbi Yochanan. "Would you please be kind enough to teach me Sefer Yuchsin (it's a sefer dealing with Divrei HaYamim)?" R' Yochanan said to R' Simlai, "Where are you from?" He said, "From Lud." "And where is your place of living?" R' Simlai says. "From Neherda- in Bavel." He said, "We don't deal with Ludim and Neheradiim." (The intimation is- you have two strikes against you, so I certainly won't teach you. Ludim are considered as not having the best reputation.) R' Simlai somehow forced R' Yochanan to teach him and R' Yochanan said okay. (Rashi suggests they specifically wouldn't teach sefer Yuchsin to those people.) R' Simlai says, "Let us learn it for 3 months." R' Yochanan threw something at R' Simlai (R' Yochanan was in a towering rage.) R' Yochanan said, "Beruriah, daughter of R' Chanina and wife of R' Meir, could learn and teach 300 halakhos in one day from 300 Rabbeim and nevertheless she couldn't learn Sefer Yuchsin in 3 years, and you think you can do it in 3 months?!"

So we see from here that Beruriah was obviously learning complicated things and is used as an example of someone with great learning, so evidently there was no problem with the ruling that women could not learn.

Women and Talmud Torah VIII

(Material compiled/ taught by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. All mistakes are my fault.)

This Gemara will at first seem to have nothing to do with what we are learning.

Please look at Nedarim 32b:

    דף לב, ב משנה אין בין המודר הנאה מחבירו למודר הימנו מאכל אלא דריסת הרגל וכלים שאין עושין בהם אוכל נפש המודר מאכל מחבירו לא ישאילנו נפה וכברה וריחים ותנור אבל משאיל לו חלוק וטבעת וטלית ונזמים:

This means that if a person made a neder (a vow or promise) saying he would never get ha'naa (meaning pleasure, enjoyment) from a specific person X, you can't even go to this specific person X's house. If, however, you said you wouldn't get ha'naa from specific person X's food, you can go to specific person X's house.

So, if a person made a neder saying either:
1. HE wouldn't get ha'naa (pleasure, enjoyment, benefit) from another person
2. He wouldn't get ha'naa from that person's food

the distinction is that for neder 1 he can't even go to that person's house, can't use that person's clothes, vessels, etc, but for neder 2 he still could go to the person's house and use his vessels (if those vessels don't have to do with food.)

Now please look at Nedarim 35b:

    דף לה, ב משנה ותורם את תרומתו ומעשרותיו לדעתו ומקריב עליו קיני זבין קיני זבות קיני יולדות חטאות ואשמות ומלמדו מדרש הלכות ואגדות אבל לא ילמדנו מקרא אבל מלמד הוא את בניו ואת בנותיו מקרא:

This Mishna specifies that you can take terumah from his (we are still referring to the person about whom you took a neder) things (with his permission), and can bring sacrifices for him; you can teach him Aggadot and Midrash Halakhos (oral Torah) because you're not really allowed to take money for that (and hence won't be deriving ha'naa), but you can't teach him Chumash. You can, however, teach his sons and daughters Chumash.

So you see this statement:

אבל מלמד הוא את בניו ואת בנותיו מקרא

So you see from this statement that this Mishna does not object to teaching daughters Chumash.

Women and Talmud Torah VII

(Material by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. Mistakes are my fault.)

Here you want to click this link to look at this particular Tosefta in Berachos. A Tosefta is something that is part of the general collection of Tannaitic material, but which were not part of the Mishna- they are outside of the Mishna.

Look at the highlighted blue part.

In English:

    The Zavin and the Zavos, the Niddos (women during their menstraul period) and the Yoldos (women who gave birth) are permitted to read/ learn Torah and Mishna with Medrish Halachos and Aggados but Ba'al Kerin (men who have experienced seminal emissions and are still in a tamei state because of that) are not permitted to do any of these things. R' Yehuda mentions some more things that the Ba'al Keri cannot learn.

This is incredible! It says that women in a state of tumah may learn Torah! And there's nothing negative here. This Tosefta is operating on a Rabbinic level because it mentions ba'al keri and yet imputes no problem to learning Torah. The point is that we had already reached a time of Rabbinic takanos (because the law stating that a ba'al keri cannot learn Torah is a takana from Ezra) and yet women learning Torah is seen as completely fine here.

Now look at Berakhot 22a:

    דתניא (דברים ד) והודעתם לבניך ולבני בניך וכתיב בתריה יום אשר עמדת לפני ה' אלהיך בחורב מה להלן באימה וביראה וברתת ובזיע אף כאן באימה וביראה וברתת ובזיע מכאן אמרו הזבים והמצורעים ובאין על נדות מותרים לקרות בתורה ובנביאים ובכתובים לשנות במשנה וגמרא ובהלכות ובאגדות אבל בעלי קריין אסורים

(And in English)

    as it has been taught: 'And thou shalt make them known to thy children and thy children's children', and it is written immediately afterwards, 'The day on which thou didst stand before the Lord thy God in Horeb'. Just as there it was in dread and fear and trembling and quaking, so in this case too2 it must be in dread and fear and trembling and quaking. On the basis of this they laid down that sufferers from gonorrhoea, lepers, and those who had intercourse with niddoth are permitted to read the Torah, the Prophets and the Hagiographa, and to study the Mishnah, [Midrash]3 the Talmud,4 halachoth and haggadoth, but a ba'al keri is forbidden.5

So you see how the Gemara presents the same concept we just had in the Tosefta, but with a telling difference: look how it's only males mentioned here! The "sufferers of gonorrhoea, lepers, and those who had intercourse with Niddoth" are all referring to males in this section. It's a very interesting contrast to the Tosefta.

Women and Talmud Torah VI

(Material by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. All mistakes are my fault.)

Now we come to a very strange Gemara. This is in Sotah 21b.

Please look at the following:

    אומר בן עזאי חייב אדם ללמד את וכו' ר' אליעזר אומר כל המלמד את בתו תורה מלמדה תיפלות: תיפלות ס"ד אלא אימא כאילו למדה תיפלות א"ר אבהו מ"ט דר"א דכתיב (משלי ח) אני חכמה שכנתי ערמה כיון שנכנסה חכמה באדם נכנסה עמו ערמומית ורבנן האי אני חכמה מאי עבדי ליה מיבעי ליה לכדרבי יוסי בר' חנינא דא"ר יוסי בר' חנינא אין דברי תורה מתקיימין אלא במי שמעמיד עצמו ערום עליהן שנאמר אני חכמה שכנתי ערמה א"ר יוחנן אין דברי תורה מתקיימין אלא במי שמשים עצמו כמי שאינו שנאמר (איוב כח) והחכמה מאין תמצא: רבי יהושע אומר רוצה אשה וכו': מאי קאמר הכי קאמר רוצה אשה בקב ותיפלות עמו מתשעת קבין ופרישות

(and the English)

    HENCE DECLARED BEN AZZAI: A MAN IS UNDER THE OBLIGATION TO TEACH … R. ELIEZER SAYS: WHOEVER TEACHES HIS DAUGHTER TORAH TEACHES HER OBSCENITY. Can it enter your mind [that by teaching her Torah he actually teaches her] obscenity! — Read, rather: as though he had taught her obscenity. R. Abbahu said: What is R. Eliezer's reason? — Because it is written: I wisdom have made subtilty my dwelling,1 i.e., when wisdom enters a man subtilty enters with it.

    And what do the Rabbis2 make of the words 'I wisdom'? — They require them in accordance with the teaching of R. Jose son of R. Hanina; for R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: Words of Torah only remain with him who renders himself naked3 on their behalf; as it is said: 'I wisdom have made nakedness my dwelling'. R. Johanan said: Words of Torah only remain with him who makes himself like one who is as nothing, as it is said: Wisdom shall be found from nothing.4

    R. JOSHUA SAYS: A WOMAN PREFERS etc. What does he intend? — He means that a woman prefers one kab and sensuality with it to nine kab with continence.

The Gemara here says, "Teaching Torah is like teaching tiflus?" Could this be possible?! No, but rather k'ilu, it's LIKE tiflus but it is not really tiflus.

Rabbi Abahu says, "What does this mean?" It's written, "I am wisdom; I am together with slyness.:" The smarter you are, the easier it is to scam people! (As in, if women learn Torah, it'll be easier for her to commit sins.)

R' Yosi bar Chanina says in order to really learn Torah, you need to be naked (or free) of all other obligations.

Rabbi Yochanan adds that women would rather have their husband at home and less income than the other way around.

There's a Rashi here that appears very strange (although the entire Gemara seems strange! Why should it be that if women learn Torah, there'll have an easier time committing sins, but for men this doesn't apply?) The Rashi is on the words "Rotzeh Isha b'Kav u'Tiflus," and it states:

    The woman would rather have less income but have her husband around on a regular basis (specifically referring to her sexual relationship with him), therefore, it's not good that she should learn Torah.

What's the relation between the two? It's perplexing. We conclude simply that this seems to be very strange.

Now, just to clarify, this mishna is operating under the assumption that women are exempt from Talmud Torah (because of the verse in Deuteronomy referencing "beneichem" and not "benoseichem"). You'll also notice that this Gemara has not distinguished between Torah she'bikhtav (the Written Torah) and Torah she'Ba'al Peh (the Oral Torah.)

Women and Talmud Torah V

(Material compiled by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. Mistakes are my fault.)

Please look at Sotah 21a, specifically these lines:

    ויש זכות תולה ג' שנים כו': זכות דמאי אילימא זכות דתורה הא אינה מצווה ועושה היא אלא זכות דמצוה

    רבינא אמר לעולם זכות תורה ודקאמרת אינה מצווה ועושה נהי דפקודי לא מפקדא באגרא דמקרין ומתניין בנייהו ונטרן להו לגברייהו עד דאתו מבי מדרשא מי לא פלגאן בהדייהו

(and the English)

    AND ANOTHER FOR THREE YEARS etc. What sort of merit? If I answer merit of [studying] Torah, she is [in the category] of one who is not commanded and fulfils!6 — Rather must it be merit of [performing] a commandment

    Rabina said: It is certainly merit of [the study of] Torah [which causes the water to suspend its effect]; and when you argue that she is in the category of one who is not commanded and fulfils, [it can be answered] granted that women are not so commanded, still when they have their sons taught Scripture and Mishnah and wait for their husbands until they return from the Schools,15 should they not share [the merit] with them?

The Gemara comments on the idea we have just seen in Sotah. What kind of merit does a woman have to stave off the water (to prevent her from dying?)

If you say she learned Torah, well, she's not commanded or obligated in learning Torah! So it must be that the merit comes from the other mitzvot that she is obligated in performing.

Ravina says- "You'll say she's not commanded to learn Torah- granted that she's not obligated to learn, but still the fact that she works for the education of her children- in that merit, and also because she waits for her husband till he comes home from learning- so for that she splits the reward with the man!"

Look at Rashi here, which clarifies that it's not that the woman is herself busy with Torah, but rather that she makes her son and husband busy with Torah, and moreover, that she brings her children to the school so that they may learn to read the Torah and the Mishna.

Women and Talmud Torah IV

(Material from Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. Mistakes are my fault.)

Now, the source for the seeming adage against teaching women Torah is found in Sotah 20a.

    יש זכות תולה שנה אחת יש זכות תולה ב' שנים יש זכות תולה ג' שנים מכאן אומר בן עזאי חייב אדם ללמד את בתו תורה שאם תשתה תדע שהזכות תולה לה ר"א אומר כל המלמד בתו תורה <כאילו> לומדה תפלות ר' יהושע אומר רוצה אשה בקב ותפלות מט' קבין ופרישות הוא היה אומר חסיד שוטה ורשע ערום ואשה פרושה ומכות פרושין הרי אלו מבלי עולם:


The Soncino translation uses the word obscenity, though most times the word tiflus is associated more with "foolishness."

So what's going on in this passage? This is a mishna in Sotah that's explaining what happens when the woman drinks the bitter waters. She will not even finish drinking before her face turns pale, her eyes start to bulge, her body swells up, and they have to move her so she doesn't die in the ezra and make the ezra tamei (it's a tumah d'rabanan.) Sometimes the water might not work this quickly. This is because the woman has a merit. Some merits work for keeping her alive one year, others two, perhaps more.

Based on this, Ben-Azai says, "A man is obligated to teach his daughter Torah so that she knows this isn't all nonsense." Otherwise, the daughter might think- I actually committed the sin, drank the water, and got off scot-free! I can fool the sotah waters! The man has to teach his daughter this is not the case, but rather she has a merit that is keeping her alive for a while longer (eventually, however, she will die.)

R' Eliezer says that anyone who teaches his daughter Torah teachers her tiflus (foolishness, obscenity.)

R' Yehoshua further comments that women would rather have a small income and sexual relations than a lot of money and the husband never being around! (which sounds quite reasonable)

R' Yehoshua used to say there are all types of people who destroy the world.

Chassid Shoteh- This is like the man who sees a woman drowning and won't save her because he's "too frum"

Rasha Arum- Sly and wicked evildoer

Isha Perusha- The woman who pretends to be pious but is really involved in illegal activities

Makos Perushin- The self-flagellating, mortification-of-the-flesh kind of people- people who think this makes them pious, when it is not really true

Women and Talmud Torah III

(Material by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. Mistakes are my fault.)

Please look at Kiddushin 80b:

    דף פ, ב משנה לא יתייחד אדם עם שתי נשים אבל אשה אחת מתייחדת עם שני אנשים רבי שמעון אומר אף איש אחד מתייחד עם שתי נשים בזמן שאשתו עמו וישן עמהם בפונדקי מפני שאשתו משמרתו מתייחד אדם עם אמו ועם בתו וישן עמהם בקירוב בשר ואם הגדילו זו ישנה בכסותה וזה ישן בכסותו:
    דף פ, ב גמרא מ"ט תנא דבי אליהו הואיל ונשים דעתן קלות עליהן

It's yichud for one man to be alone with two women, but one women can be alone with two men. Rabbi Shimon states that even one man can be alone with two women at a time where his wife is with him...Now, why are the laws different between men and women? Because women are considered of unsteady temperament- these words appear again, now in a completely different situation:

ונשים דעתן קלות עליהן

Lok at Rashi, and Rashi explains that these words, "women are of unstable temperament" refer to the fact that women will be more easily seduced than men.

Once again, these words have nothing at all to do with women's intellectual capacity to understand or learn. Women's ability to be seduced and/or to withstand torture (as discussed in the previous post) have nothing to do with brains. We know smart people who have affairs (say, Bill Clinton)- the point is, this has nothing to do with smarts.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Women and Talmud Torah II

(Material from Rabbi Kenneth Auman's class presented by Chana. All mistakes are my fault.)

At first this Gemara will seem to have nothing to do with what we are learning.

Please look at Shabbos 33b:

    Now, why is he [R. Judah son of R. Ila'i] called the first speaker on all occasions? — For R. Judah, R. Jose, and R. Simeon were sitting, and Judah, a son of proselytes, was sitting near them. R. Judah commenced [the discussion] by observing, 'How fine are the works of this people!15 They have made streets, they have built bridges, they have erected baths.' R. Jose was silent. R. Simeon b. Yohai answered and said, 'All that they made they made for themselves; they built market-places, to set harlots in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them.' Now, Judah the son of proselytes went and related their talk,16 which reached17 the government. They decreed: Judah, who exalted [us], shall be exalted,18 Jose, who was silent, shall be exiled to Sepphoris;19 Simeon, who censured, let him be executed.

    He and his son went and hid themselves in the Beth Hamidrash, [and] his wife brought him bread and a mug of water and they dined.20 [But] when the decree became more severe he said to his son, Women are of unstable temperament: she21 may be put to the torture and expose us.'22

The main point of this Gemara in terms of its significance to us is the expression:
נשים דעתן קלה עליהן
We see here that this expression is used NOT to indicate some kind of derogatory statement but rather to refer to women being unable to withstand torture. (Rabbi Auman amusingly added here- "Who knows? Men might be just as incapable of withstanding torture." He then mentioned his wife and the fact that all women suffer through childbirth, while men do not.) The point is that this statement has nothing to do with the intellectual or mental capacities of the women in this context.

Women and Talmud Torah I

As I realize this topic is of interest in the blogosphere, I have decided to create a series, entitled 'Women and Talmud Torah' about precisely that. The posts will be aimed at being relatively short, and though I may post them in quick succession, I will have a sum-up post later on which will link to all those in the series.

None of this information is my original thought, rather, it is information I have been given by my learned, entertaining, fascinating and fantastic Halakha teacher, Rabbi Kenneth Auman. Should I say anything that is wrong or inconceivable, you will please consider this to be my mistake, having nothing whatsoever to do with him. will be a considerable resource for anyone who plans to follow these posts.

Now, let us begin.


Please look at Kiddushin 29b.

    ללמדו תורה: מנלן דכתיב (דברים יא) ולמדתם אותם את בניכם והיכא דלא אגמריה אבוה מיחייב איהו למיגמר נפשיה דכתיב ולמדתם איהי מנלן דלא מיחייבא דכתיב ולימדתם ולמדתם כל שמצווה ללמוד מצווה ללמד וכל שאינו מצווה ללמוד אינו מצווה ללמד ואיהי מנלן דלא מיחייבה למילף נפשה דכתיב ולימדתם ולמדתם כל שאחרים מצווין ללמדו מצווה ללמד את עצמו וכל שאין אחרים מצווין ללמדו אין מצווה ללמד את עצמו ומנין שאין אחרים מצווין ללמדה דאמר קרא ולמדתם אותם את בניכם ולא בנותיכם

From this passage we learn a rule: All those who are commanded to learn are commanded to teach, and all who are commanded to teach are commanded to learn.

But a woman is not obligated to teach, so she does not have to learn. This is based on the verse in Deuteronomy (11:19)

יט וְלִמַּדְתֶּם אֹתָם אֶת-בְּנֵיכֶם, לְדַבֵּר בָּם, בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ, וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ.
19 And ye shall teach them your children, talking of them, when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The actual word in this verse that is loosely translated as "children" is bnaichem meaning "male children" or "sons." The Gemara makes much of this, explaining that the verse states "And ye shall teach them" (and also hinting to, "And they shall learn") to the males, but not to the females. As it succinctly states in the Gemara, "bnaichem and not bnoseichem" meaning "your sons and not your daughters." Since the sons are included/ specified in the verse, with regard to their being taught, they are also obligated in learning. Since the daughters are not mentioned at all, we must conclude they are not obligated in teaching or learning Torah.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving, Rescues, Alfred Hitchcock and Rain

Per my brother's request, I now offer you a slightly more interesting version of Thanksgiving.


Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

I instantly jump out of bed, punch the "On/Off" button on my iHome, then roll back into bed, clutching the comforters to me for warmth. I open my eyes and peek out, in the general direction of the three beds that face me. My roommates are sleeping.

Iryna and I have planned to go to the Thanksgiving Day parade. I know I have to get up soon. I hear my other roommate get up, wash up, and then hear the door close. I don't know where she could be going but I assume I will soon find out.

Pumping my fist in the air, I decide to awaken. I jump out of bed and move the pile of books that is currently residing on my chair to the comforter, then wander toward the bathroom. After cleaning teeth and brushing hair, I find myself pulling on clothes and sitting down to open a present sent to me by my parents.

A box from Carsons. I smiled. I expected this. I open it to find a beautiful pair of long earrings, threads of gold and crystal. Underneath it is a beautiful box from Godiva, bearing truffles. Unfortunately, as I have left the gift box on top of my labtop, the truffles are melting, but the chocolate is welcome and makes an excellent breakfast.

I glance toward Iryna, who is still sleeping, and cross the room towards her. She opens her eyes briefly and then goes back to sleep.

I shrug. Check my email, glance at the blogs, then turn back to Iryna, and strongly encourage her to get up. I accomplish this by turning on the light and the radio. Z100 is incredibly stupid on Thanksgiving, airing some show called, "Can Greg T do it with a Turkey?" Apparently this guy named Greg has decided to take a turkey with him to Starbucks, in a cab, to a peep show and other places in order to see whether or not he is denied entrance. The logic behind this? I wouldn't know.

Iryna dresses and prepares to leave. By this time it must be nine o'clock, nine fifteen. We don our hats, scarves and coats and prepare to brave the cold and what appears to be a light drizzle. I realize that I need smaller bills, and resolve to go to Dunkin Donuts (quicker and faster than going to the bank.) I buy a medium cup of hot chocolate, which serves me well given the cold.

We walk hurriedly toward Broadway and thirty-fourth. We shove our way through crowds, almost reach the front, admire an aspiring acrobat who clambers on top of the phone booth only to be yelled at by the police, and realize that there's no way we'll be able to see the parade from her. Instead, we shove our way back through the crowd and walk to fifty-second street, at which point we find front-row standing positions, almost touching the police barrier. We stare in awe and amazement and click away with our cameras as Super-Grover, Pikachu, Candyworld floats, band-members and cheerleaders pass us by. We are sprinkled with confetti and wished a "Happy Thanksgiving" by clowns, ice-cream cones and the like. We are freezing. We stamp our feet and blow on our hands, but nothing avails. By this time, it is pouring. Iryna's hat is pretty but impractical, and her hair is soaked.

Once Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus pass us by, the parade is over. Iryna, desperate to get back to the dorms, ends up swiping her MetroCard for both of us only to realize that we've just paid to go Uptown. Needless to say, that will not help us. After a brief stint at the Phantom of Broadway to warm up a bit, we begin the walk back. I decided that singing will help us and enter into relatively loud renditions of "Kryptonite," "Raindrops on Roses," and "El Tango de Roxanne." Iryna joins me once she warms up a bit.

Iryna stops off to buy a medium hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts, and then we return to the dorm.

I carelessly sling my coat over the heater and remove my sopping sweater. I stop by the computer and then resolve to get lunch. Thinking that I'll go across the street one more time and get the egg-and-cheese on a croissant lunch, I step into the elevator.

There I meet Nina, who asks me whether I'm going to the free lunch at Mendy's. "Free lunch at Mendy's?" I inquire, confused. "I didn't know anything about it." She tells me that there were flyers everywhere about it. Grateful, I thank her and decide to join her.

Apparently Nina is occupied with something else, however, as her roommate has gone off to Canada for Thanksgiving but has neglected to bring her passport. Therefore, Nina is now in the process of attempting to fax a copy of said passport to its owner. She requires a copy machine in order to do this. Grateful, I invite her to use the one in my room. We traipse upstairs, copy the documents, return downstairs and hand them to a security guard while Nina informs her roommate-now-in-Canada that the documents are coming to her. After that bit of business is done, we cross over to Mendy's.

I didn't evne realize they had this restaraunt hidden behind the deli. The nice man takes my coat and assigns me a number. We are seated. I am given a menu, and order the turkey gumbo (apparently some kind of turkey soup) and steak, medium to well (but more on the medium side.) I dutifully eat my salad and sip at my soda. The soup is good. The steak is definitely not the best I've ever eaten, but hey, it's a free meal; who am I to complain?

It's 2:30, and I realize that I really have to get going if I want to make it to my hosts in Scarsdale. I rush out and over to my dorm, where I finish throwing the final items into my suitcase, wish my roommate a happy Thanksgiving, and head over to Grand Central Station. It's pouring and I'm freezing, so I simply limit my focus to the black of my boots as they splash into puddles.

I enter Grand Central Station only to puzzle over how to take a train. The last time I took a train I was young and with my grandmother. I ask a policeman how to get to Scarsdale, and he informs me that I should purchase my ticket and ask the saleslady which track I want. I purchase a one-way ticket for $6.25. Luckily, the next lady in line is also going to Scarsdale. I awkwardly ask her whether I can follow her (oh, what a great beginning!) because I need to get to Scarsdale as well. She tells me she's going to track 27. I head over to track 27 right behind her. She begins to run. I urgently follow. She pauses merely to ask, "Going to Scarsdale?" and when someone answers in the affirmative, follow her onto the train, which is curiously dark.

I seat myself in one of the "backwards" chairs, the ones that look in the opposite direction to the direction the train is going. A lady in her twenties sits across from me, while an elderly woman who looks rather elegant and wears her hair long and blonde is seated in the next seat over. I nervously ask the lady in her twenties whether she happens to be going to Scarsdale. She answers that she's going to Tuckahoe, which is one or two stops before Scarsdale. The blonde elderly lady begins a conversation with me; she's very nice. She lets me see her schedule and informs me that no, it is not normal for half the lights to be out in the car. We discuss college and Chicago and other exciting topics. I learn that she's deaf in one ear. I also learn that I'm not supposed to remove the nifty little sheet the conductor sticks in the seat pocket behind your shoulder, because that's not mine to keep, that's for the conductor so that s/he can recognize stowaways (who don't match the destination indicated by the number punched.)

They are having some trouble with the doors. The doors to our darkened cars won't open as we stop by the Botanical Gardens, but the rest of the train doors will. As we move away from the Botanical Gardens, the lights suddenly wink out and we shudder to a stop. The train is entirely still. We look at each other confusedly. We're aboveground, so the fading light filters through our windows, shading us in hues of black, blue and brown.

We wait for five minutes. Ten minutes. Out come the cell phones. Suddenly the car comes alive, as all of us inform concerned parties of the fact that we are sitting in the dark on a train that has decided not to move, and that we will likely remain here for some more time. I reach for my iPod, but notice, to my horror, that I cannot turn it on. I assume this means I forgot to charge it.

Two conductors suddenly appear, bearing flashlights and walking quickly and effiiciently through the aisle. We eagerly note this to whomever we are speaking to at the moment. Some passengers begin to complain of hunger. Others, including the lady in her twenties across from me, try to sleep.

The elderly blonde lady informs me that her friend called the Metra-North line, and they claim that our train has mechanical problems and should be moving in five minutes. We wait the five minutes. Nothing happens.

Two conductors enter our cells. They inform us that those of us in the darkened cars have to get out, because they plan to "cut the brakes" or in some way cut or detach the cars. We gather our things (you have to imagine this- I have a large rolling dufflebag and my backpack) and make our way into the crowded, brightly-lit cars. I want to sit near someone I know, so when I see the elderly blonde lady take a seat, I decide to stand near her. I hold on to a pole right near one of the exits. There is a man with flowers alongside me. It appears that he bought them for his girlfriend. Perhaps he planned to give them to her upon arriving for Thanksgiving dinner.

Another man, with very beautiful blue eyes, is alternating between the phone and his mp3 player. He seems anxious. He says, half-sarcastically, half-hopefully, that he hopes the reservation can be postponed another forty-five minutes. He scowls as he realizes it cannot be.

Another man begins to text someone else, standing elegantly with his coat flung across one arm, while his right finger carefully punches out letters. He affects an air of quiet resignation and simultaneous suffering. He seems regal, made noble somehow by the train's refusal to continue.

I call several of my friends because I find myself amused by my situation. After a while, however, I am not so amused. It's been forty-five minutes. Now fifty. The whole time we are standing here, we can hear the engineers calling to each other, hear the rev of the train as it heaves its dying gasps. The engineers try to cut the brakes loose, leave the last two cars behind, charge the train, attempt something with override and control panels, but nothing helps. At last we are informed that a train is going to come up to push us to Woodlawn, the next stop, at which point we will all get out and transfer to a new train that will be sent along to collect us.

By this time it is dark outside. Dark and rainy and wet, the perfect setting for a short story. I smile, but I am no longer entirely amused.

When we move at last, a half-hearted cheer goes up. "Movement," my fellow passenger says, smiling, and I answer, "Precisely." We move along until Woodlawn, the doors open, and I rush out and into a small, enclosed area that serves as shelter for this, Track 3.

Little children are scared and frightened, crying all around me while parents try to soothe them. People are muttering about their Thanksgiving plans, about how hungry they are, about the time and how late they are. Most are left outside in the pouring rain. I notice a dog near the closed glass door. The elderly blonde lady manages to find me and says, "What an introduction to New York!" She asks me what I plan to do. At this point, my relatives would like me to simply stay put, as we have not been told when the train we will be transferring to will arrive. She nods and agrees that this is the only sensible thing to do. At this precise moment we hear an announcement that the "rescue train" will be coming. The words, "rescue train," are higly entertaining.

The rescue train pulls into the station, and I wish the elderly blonde woman a happy Thanksgiving. The train pulls out, leaving me and three extremely well-dressed black men behind. The black men speak with beautiful British accents. They start talking about how ridiculous all this Thanksgiving business and Turkey-Day insanity is. They mean it in jest, not in any malicious way. One of them states that by this time he's so hungry he could eat the whole turkey. I don't know how I joined the conversation but I did. The three of them had also decided to stay behind and simply be picked up by their party here at Woodlawn.

A slim white woman in a black coat and high-heeled patent-leather shoes enters the small, brightly-lit shelter. She inquires as to whether we've seen a little African-American girl. We haven't. She goes away, tripping lightly off into the darkness.

The three black men continue their conversation. At one point, one of them spies a little African-Amerian girl and decides that he will "make himself useful" and find out whether she's the one the white woman is waiting for. As he goes up the stairs, around and across, one of his companions remarks, "I wonder how he'll do it. Just go up to her and say, 'Hey, you waiting on a slim white woman in a black coat?'" They amended that, then, to 'a slim white and cute woman.'

Well, their party came for them, and they elegantly inquired as to whether I would be all right by myself. I smiled and said, "Of course" but thought it was so sweet of them to ask. One of them laughingly stated, "I bet you take Tae-Kwon Doe or something." Surprised, I answered truthfully, "Actually, I do. I'm almost a black-belt." He laughed. "I'm a yellow belt. I know, you could kick my a@#$." And then the three of them went off into the gloom and up the stairs.

Picture this. Here I am, in the middle of the night (and it really is the middle of the night- about 5:10 and extremely dark)- in the wet and cold, watching the rain pour down. I stand within a small shelter made of glass and lit by a few coldly sterile flourescent lights. I am separated from any other human being by two to four tracks. I turn around and realize that this glass wall is not whole, but actually made up of windows, small framed squares of glass that repeat over and over again.

In the gloom, I hear and see another train approaching. As the wheels grind against the track I see sparks, a shower of golden sparks that flash through the night.

I realize at this moment that this would be the perfect setting for an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Dark, wet, rainy, alone in a small and sterile flourescently-lit shelter, staring out into the night and the twisted traintracks, to my back a pattern of repeating framed squares of glass. I began to see the night through the lens he would use, the way he would use a camera to film me. He would catch my image in the glass as I looked at myself, as the rain fell on me in the mirror-light.

I waited there for about twenty minutes. Twenty minutes in the dark and cold, punctuated every so often by the mournful and simultaneously harsh sound of the train going by, the golden sparks showering the tracks.

At last my relatives came and fetched me, who gratefully followed them to their car. Apparently my setting was even richer than I had thought- I was in the middle of the Bronx, where it seems the gangs are, and where the frightening people ought to be, and just across the street there is a cemetary.

So, imagine this if you will- a seventeen year old girl with an entertained smile marooned in the glare of a harsh flourescent light, surrounded by darkness, the symbolic twists and ugliness of the train-ties, and the cemetary she does not know is so nearby, but still encroaches upon her.

Will anything that romantically story-like ever happen to me again?
It remains to be seen...

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Thanksgiving, for me, is a family holiday. The excitement, the anticipation, the goodly smells that fill the house, the kitchen in and of itself as the center of all things, the anxious wish to set the table with one of our most beautiful autumnal tablecloths and pretty china dishes...all these things are Thanksgiving to me.

The half-groan as I'm woken early to help my mother in the kitchen, such help usually not taking the form of the actual cooking but rather the preparatory steps, the cutting of vegetables or pouring of sauces or the marinading of chicken, brushing egg yolks over crispy dough, brinking up cans of pumpkin mix from the cellar, or perhaps bringing up the whole green and yellow squash from the refrigerator in the basement...all this is Thanksgiving.

The work, the laughter, the loss of tempers, the witty conversation between all the family members, the music, which is always something strong and rythymic (salsa, tango, or various artists- who will it be, I wonder, Marc Anthony, Avraham Russo, Enrique, or Gipsyland?), the urgent telephone calls and laughing good-natured anecdotes about the experiences of others as we all inform each other of the recent and most important developments in our lives...

Thanksgiving is a time of sharing. The shared energy and excitement as we all help prepare, the addition of sparkling apple cider or sugar water or sparkling grape juice to the laden table, the beautiful colors mixing together, the smile as we all sit down to dine and exclaim over what we've made and the various dishes my mother has put together...oh, and the pies and desserts my grandmother has made...

We also prepare the table in a very different fashion than ordinary. The napkins must be folded or pressed or placed in wine glasses in an elaborate display; we make family members little poems or odes of thanks and leave these offerings on appetizer plates, and go around the table relating what we are thankful for. Good cheer, comfort, happiness and family- that is our Thanksgiving.

And I realize today that I am thankful for my family. I miss them, their smiles and witty dialogue; I miss my siblings' conversations or arguments and even their fights. I miss discussing books with them and hearing about their lives. I miss seeing them, their curly-haired heads; I simply miss being with them. Such siblings are rare and precious, so beautiful and kind and caring and simply sweet, especially sweet at the times when they think of me, as it is so unexpected and so unearned. So strange to think of their regard for me, a regard that does not match with what they ought to feel for so neglectful and trying a sister.

I feel blessed. I will admit it now, while I retain a certain contemplative and half-sad state, that I do love and do miss my family so very much. Perhaps in the heat of an argument I will not remember it, but it is true, and I say it whole-heartedly: I miss you all. Your auburn hair, your curly locks, our theories and discussions about books, your clever smile and antics, the fact that you are growing up and I missed seeing you clear out my room in search of books that weren't even there. How entertaining that would have been! I miss your charm and your infuriating nature; I find I even miss the sound of you practicing your musical instruments. I miss seeing your changes of expression as different thoughts dawn upon you. I miss my urgent and neccessary discussions with you both, my parents. I miss prancing about and making you all laugh.

I miss the warmth that binds us together; the warmth you took care to create so that we would be bound. I miss the light laughter and the smell of the gravy you had me strain three times while I rolled my eyes and stamped about the kitchen indignantly.

I miss the feeling of participation in something that had a greater goal we could all enjoy. The lighthearted golden motes of air that wafted through the room as we carved turkey or passed plates and exclaimed over the delicacies that graced our table.

And so, though I am happy, and not homesick in any miserable or wretched way, I tell you that I miss you, and I thank you for creating the kind of bonds that tie us so that I do miss you.

It is a rare thing, and you have done it.
You should be proud.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Texts and Contexts in Terms of Jewish Texts: What's in it for You? by Rabbi Ephraim Kanarfogel


One of the components to the YU Honors Program are certain events and functions that we must attend. Girls have an obligation to attend about six out of seven events, while guys don’t have this as a mandatory requirement. Last night, November 20, 2006, I had the pleasure of listening to the extremely knowledgeable and well-known Rabbi Ephraim Kanarfogel deliver a lecture entitled “Texts and Contexts in Terms of Jewish Texts: What’s in it for You?” The speech was partly autobiographical in nature, and traced his journey to where he is today, what his field entails, and why he enjoys it. To give a very simple sketch, he delves into Jewish manuscripts of various kinds (interpreting, understanding, and comparing them with regard to the texts and manuscripts we retained over the years) and draws conclusions about time periods and Judaic views during those time periods from his discoveries.

The following are my notes from the event:

Thank you very much, Dr. Wachtell. I am unaccustomed to speaking to coed audiences, but actually not as unaccustomed as I was, as my Revel class is half and half at the moment- let me put in a plug; the last time I spoke to a coed audience of this type was during an event run in Belfur- it was entitled the “Home and Home” shiur series, where the faculty of Stern would give a lecture, then the faculty of YU, they would switch off and we would have Dougies afterward. That was the mingle plan then.

The fact is, obviously the students at Stern are somewhat more familiar with what I do aside from running around signing things. I am engaged in research, though as a whole people engaged in research don’t spend very much time giving you a sense of what kind of research can be done.

I titled this talk “Texts and Contexts: What’s in it for You?” because the men and women of YU and Stern are uniquely positioned. For us at YU there really doesn’t have to be a stirah- YU students can embrace ideas, texts, that will challenge them and not take them away from traditional learning in any sense. The role of Orthodox Jews in research in Jewish studies is expanding, and yet I feel we’re not sending as many people as we could- and there are reasons for this, economic, pecuniary, societal, whatever it may be- the fact is that this university could make a contribution, since our students have the experience with text that few undergraduates have, certainly not in this kind of concentration. What’s missing in the students who go into this kind of research from other universities is the textual facility- you can learn academic jargon, academic writing, but this is harder.

Professor Twerski of Harvard used to bring up people, scholars- always introduced us to this short fellow who was a professor of medieval Chinese history. We always wondered how he got into that- well, he worked at it to master it. Now, our people are not going into medieval Chinese history, but you might wonder how I got into Judaic history. So let me add a bit of biography here.

Like you, I was once an undergraduate at one of the undergrad schools for men at YU. There was no Honors Program at that time; there was Early Admissions, however, and I was in that first class of Early Admissions. We ended up with a bunch of money, a bunch of degrees, and had no idea what we were going to do. Now the Honors Program is better and better organized- I remember that this person who writes about academic garb and knows all the rules pulled us into his office after we’d graduated and wanted to know what had been done for us, so they could determine exactly what this Early Admissions program did. Now, like I said, the Honors Program is organized better.

Now, what doesn’t change is this interest in text and textual training. YU is a reservoir, a resource for you- you can make your name in academia, the use of texts, Jewish studies, whatever you like.

Twenty years after my PhD, which was earned at Bernard Revel- most of the six to eight of us who survived in academia still have our marbles, though some of us are beginning to lose them- not that we want to mass produce doctorates, but we want to produce more doctorates- that’s why the Senior Thesis in your Honors Program is so important, in the Humanities fields in particular- it gives you a good head start.

As I was saying, twenty years afterwards, I had my first book out- the first book you write is usually a revised version of your doctorate, and even though only six to twelve people read it, still…The publication can be reviewed favorably. My first book was on the relationship between the yeshivot of the Ba’alei HaTosfos, the Tosafists and the community- those Tosafists who we all know about, obviously, learned and studied an awful lot, but they very rarely discussed how they learned, or how they studied- and that’s what my dissertation is about. My advisor told me, when I was trying to explain what I wanted to do, that I was responsible for all of medieval literature. I kind of nodded my head and said “Yeah,” in an unsure voice. I spoke to two distinguished medieval professors and they said they weren’t sure I could pull it off, even though I tried to argue my point- one of them came up to me after I put out my first book in 1992 during a dinner at AJS and said, “Congratulations, you proved me wrong!” The other one took a while to warm up to the idea…

Be friendly with texts- you can see things other people haven’t seen. I had a method for how I was going about this, but after the first book I changed gears. One of the blessings of academia- I thought that I was going to teach and have a very good class and then they’d graduate and I’d have no one to talk to, but I gradually learned that new students come and there’s actually lots of people to talk to! The challenge of academia is that you’re always refreshing yourself- the fact is that your research life is supposedly your “hobby” but really it is part and parcel of what you’re doing all day. One personal point- when I’m working on something during a semester, I specifically try NOT to each it because otherwise I start giving too many details to the students.

Now, by my second book I went a different way- this is an interesting Eretz Yisrael story. There’s a vast body of Rabbinical literature out there that hasn’t been looked at for a while- start to turn the lense of Rishonim and Achronim on themselves- till this day, the studies of Achronim are not there. The Taz- there’s a book about him, but someone has to redo it; someone at Yeshiva wants to work on the Shach; I hope he will- there’s the Nesivos-there’s tremendous stuff to do-

In addition to texts, there’s something called manuscripts. How did I find my way to these things? Well, first, there’s the collection at JTS. JTS has probably the largest collection of manuscripts on microfilm. At Yeshiva uptown we have the Vatican collection on microfilm- the ones that were released many years ago. Anyway, I used to go to the JTS library, where there were two microfilm readers behind an office, and I used to sit and read; I had no idea what I was doing, of course. One of my teachers from Revel walked in one summer day and said, “What are you doing?” “Reading manuscripts,” I said. “Do you know what you’re doing?” “No,” I answered. S he didn’t understand…I was kind of just looking around, made some notes, looking at the collection of manuscripts from Bodleian Library at Oxford- then it occurred to me as I did more work, I saw that American scholars in my field didn’t play with manuscripts so much- but Israeli scholars did! The problem was that Israeli scholars beat the manuscripts to death. So then it occurred to me that it would be interesting to go through this and try to synthesize, mix together the Israeli and American methods..Well, we know that “God protects fools,”- and- it worked! I had a theory that I had developed as a college kid that the Ba’alei HaTosfos, even though we know them through their Talmudic commentaries, there was more to know about them. For example, the Rambam has a hobby, philosophy. The Ramban has a hobby, mysticism. But Rabbein Tam, well, his hobby IS learning! So Tosafists seem to have no hobbies- “Talmudic Centricity” as Professor Twerski so wonderfully put it- it seemed like we were missing a lot of material.

I have an obligation to tell you about this place- at the bottom of Givat Ram in the Hebrew University library there’s a machon called Institute of Hebrew Microfilm- it’s a very nondescript room containing about 800,000 microfilm pieces- they’ve got a bunch of microfilm readers and electronic card catalogue; the material itself is not digitalized. A DAY in that machon is worth- well, let’s say, that JTS to that Machon is roughly 30%. JTS, well, the hours are irregular, the staff is irregular; in Jerusalem the whole machon is devoted to this thing- so you go there a lot- I average about 25 days in a year, all told, sitting in that machon- that comes out to about once every two weeks. If you work in this business, you have to do that. What brings me there is that I always walk away feeling like I know something or have learned something; I never walk away empty-handed.

How did this machon come to be? So when the State of Israel was established, they said first and foremost that every Jewish person who wants to come back may enter with no limitation. The second thing they said is that if you have any holy books, texts that you want to send to Israel- we’ll take them! What they also said, and here’s where subtlety comes in, and I’m eternally grateful- here they are in Israel in the midst of wars and putting out periodicals and some of the greatest scholars have lost their child in the army of a child to a bomb- so these scholars told the State, listen, throughout Europe there are all kinds of manuscripts and texts scattered about- in small museums or houses, private libraries, collections that have Jewish texts- a treasure chest that we would like to have.

Israel couldn’t really remove all those texts, first because it would cost a fortune, and secondly because these museums and private collectors weren’t willing to give them up! So they sent a team of microfilmers to go and capture these texts on microfilm…Recently actually sent them to Russia, also sent to Italy and Spain. By the way, here’s an interesting sidepoint- book-bindings. So how do you keep book-bindings firm? Now we know how to make them, but back then, well, I even remember during my school days when the book bindings were stuffed with newspaper to keep them firm! So how do you keep the book bindings firm in olden days? You stuff medieval manuscripts inside them! There were 2 folios of real Rashi that we didn’t have, and this literally fell out of one of the book-bindings when these microfilmers went to look at that actual book- so all this information is sitting there, just waiting.

Now, here’s a problem- when you’re looking at a particular text, the library will have 63 to 200 manuscripts, so Bar Ilan had to put out a definitive version of what Rashi is- they made a decision to use only Ashkenaz texts, which seems reasonable but some stuff in kesav Sephardi is actually more correct- so now, anyway, people are going to get these manuscripts; they put them onto their laptops- put it right onto your computer- but what do you do with it?

So what I did with it was use manuscripts to show what the time period was like. So the book I put out was about mysticism and magic in the Tosafist time-period, my distinguished colleague and friend did a dissertation on lost halakhic works of the Tosafists….my current book is called New Perspectives (he gave a long title here, too) basically will show in addition to all kinds of subtleties in Tosafist learning- we can talk about the Ba’alei HaTosfos who do Jewish thought, magic, piyutim (liturgy/ poems). In manuscripts and texts you find things that are not found in the printed halakhic texts- there’s a whole world out there.

So what I want to try to show you is to put this into action- I’m not so old that I’m beginning to reminisce, but I’m trying to show how I did it so I CAN communicate to students how I got here- once you find this stuff it’s like finding the mother lode, even if you have writer’s block you can’t have writer’s block, there’s always something new…I’ve had 3 books, 50 articles…

My publisher is the Wayne State University Press- they had a list of things they wanted to get into, and one of these things was Jewish studies, apparently now they’ve brought in Professor Feldman as well. So it was my mazal that they read what I’ve written and were willing to do this for me. So if you’re asking where you publish these types of things, don’t worry, there’s always a venue- one of the editors, Kathy Wildfarm, learned to READ Hebrew in order to check my footnotes- people out there are willing to do this- I’m fighting now, actually, to get her to do my book, but she’s too important.
Doing Jewish books- academic Jewish books- lots of mazel (luck) involved, of course, but some stuff you CAN work on, manuscript index- 250 referred to there- it’s just that kind of newness that makes it exciting.

(At this point you should follow the links and print out the following 2 pages. The first is the microfilm copy; the second what it is saying in Hebrew type, typed by Rabbi Kanarfogel.)

Rabbi Kanarfogel Text 1 (Florence Manuscript)
Rabbi Kanarfogel Text 2 (Modern Hebrew version)

Let me tell you what you have in front of you- so we just leined Parshas Chayah Sara- you have a Florence manuscript from the university collection. The rest of the gibberish refers to shelf-marks, pages 144r, r stands for recto and 254 v for verso, right side and other side; you have a peirush on the Chumash- it’s from the Ashkenaz community but written in a Sephardic hand- actually, you’ll find this interesting, there are people who make their scholarly mark in studying the Xeroxes themselves- this is a copy off a microfilm- now you see that shmutz on the right- that’s actually the parchment discoloration, not dirt. There are people who can look at this page and tell you which century this was written, where it was written, can even tell by the pinpricks, because they used to sew the pages together to form a book, so they sew the pages differently in France versus Germany, so when you have the manuscript that’s much newer/older than what it’s purporting to present, you have to worry.

I picked this particular manuscript because we DO have a collection at the YU library and the Heidi Gottesman library- we do have some sefarim at Stern, than God- there is a book called Tosfos HaShalem that was edited by Yaakov ______. Have all of these so-called Tosafist Torah commentaries that he did on Beraishis and Shmos. So you’ll get his report if you read it- problem is it doesn’t always document where he found his sources- so to do this very quickly-

(he begins to read aloud from the sheet, then goes off on a tangent on his ability to read illegible writing)

Here’s a story- I came in one summer. All the secretaries are puzzling over this syllabus for political science, they can’t make it out- it’s illegible handwriting and I should know from illegible (referencing his own handwriting), so I started reading it! And they asked how, but you just get the hang of it after reading these manuscripts…

It’s in kesav Ashiri so you learn to read it, you figure out what it says. So what you have on the sheet I gave you is a running summary- Chaya Sarah take 1 and take 2- this is the end of the first take on Chaya Sara- see where I put #1- look where it says #1- last four words of that line, can you read them? (reads) If you follow this through, which you can do with my typed Hebrew page, it looks CLOSE to something Tosfos said, but not exactly. Issue as to why Rivka is referred to as a “na’ara” and a “ketana”- you know the nifty answer to that- that she was three- how can you say she was three? The other answer is that she was fourteen. My point here is that this passage is something which 25, 15 y ears ago people never saw, so what is Tosfos doing here in biblical commentaries, you might ask? Well, Tosfos on Chumash- my theory is that it’s like Tosfos for Poets, the cliffnote copy.

Door #2- see where I put the #2- read the next words. So the word “Vayevieha” is written without the letter “yud.” There should have been another “yud” between the beis and the aleph because there is a “chirik malei.” That’s the one that is defective or missing- big gap there, pretty significant. WHY is it missing a yud? The gematriah! So copyists are always looking to abbreviate- look, here’s an interesting thing, between the bais and the gimmel the copyist didn’t pick up his pen. Anyway, the absent yud in “vayevieha” make it have the gematriah of 24. 24 significance- Yitzchak didn’t just give her bracelets and noserings but gave her the whole shebang- Jewish people’s splendor doesn’t depend on jewelry, mentioned in Yeshaya, but the whole thing.

Now another Rabbi, from whom we’d expect this, R’ Yehuda HaChasid, brings up this 24 idea. 24 idea is also seen in Rashi when the Luchos (Tablets) were brought down by Moses. Why is Luchos spelled lacking something- the idea of a “Kallah” here. The point is that Rashi brings an interpretation saying that from here we know that the 24 sefarim should be on the lips of Talmidei Chachamim like Torah to Moshe like the chosson gives a kallah 24 kishutim. So now you won’t find this anyplace else. Very common to find gematria in so-called Tosfos on the Torah, trying to make a point.

Last two (numbers 3 and 4) both involving R’ Yosef Bechor Shor- very difficult pasuk to discuss in a coed audience- the shevua that Elazar took which involves brit milah. The Christians say this particular method of making a promise is the forerunner of immaculate conception; the problem is that that should involve the womb, not the male sexual organs. Anyway, this is found in the Bechor Shor Chumash.

#4 we have a peirush that is NOT found in the Bechor Shor Chumash- what he says here which isn’t in his printed commentary is that Abraham says to Elazar that he knows his plan is going to work because God took him out of his homeland- so now he’s sending Elazar BACK to his homeland- so his plan has to work, foolproof hand.

Looking at one particular page reveals phenomena that confirm how these peirushim work.

Manuscript also has something we’ve never seen- R’ Yehiel of Paris- all we have from him are pesachim- but apparently he wrote a peirush on Chumash, because it’s quoted here. I will take questions now. This is a game here, a very fun game- first you have to learn how to read the stuff, but it’s a fun game AND it’s edifying- at the end of the day, what I’m able to synthesize is to put together a picture- the other good thing is when this stuff accumulates in your mind, so when you go to the next text you have some sense of what you’re going to find.

I hope I’ve shown you why t his stuff is terribly fun, terribly interesting, worth spending your life doing- find texts that you find interesting and make them your own- sitting with these texts and swallowing them and trying to then extract from the texts themselves and understand history.

Thanks to the audience- you’ve all been good guineau pigs. 


1. Please explain how, once you open up these manuscripts, they may or may not affect Halakha.

So here is an old discussion- the Chazon Ish discusses- there’s a wonderful article by Professor Lyman about the Chazon Ish’s attitude to this- basically those texts that didn’t go through the kur (furnace?) of generations have to be introduced VERY carefully and slowly but the Chazon Ish himself, we do know, does in some places acknowledge and utilize certain texts as correct. It’s the idea of chashehu v’kabduhu, be suspicious of them and yet honor them- it gets even more complicated when there’s a question of sefarim that are forgeries that Achronim quoted! So we have to go very carefully.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Prophet's Apprentice

Ah, no, you are not the chosen one.

You are not the prophet. You are the prophet's apprentice. Perhaps not even that, perhaps a mere assistant, seeking to learn, seeking his power, seeking in so many very desperate ways, to emulate him and to be what he is. You struggle to learn from him, you idealize him, you spend your life in search of his truth.

Perhaps you succeed.

And perhaps you fail.

Perhaps, bitterly, after having done so much, having suffered so much, having striven and broken through all those doors, perhaps then, then, you fail.

How were you chosen? How was it done? Did you hope all that time, hope to become a prophet? Were you content in the role of assistant? Were you angry?

There are four main prophets' assistants.

1. Joshua, assistant to Moshe
2. Elisha, assistant to Elijah
3. Gaichazi, assistant to Elisha
4. Barukh ben Neriah, assistant to Jeremiah

They are different in personality, temperament, and in the way they were chosen. We are introduced to them in different ways. And the way they act varies as well. Some are good, some are bad, some are merely unworthy. They were all assistants. They shared that role, perhaps that honor.

So who were they?

1. Joshua- The Warrior
We are introduced to Joshua in a very action-oriented situation, knowing nothing of him. The verse reads:

ט וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בְּחַר-לָנוּ אֲנָשִׁים, וְצֵא הִלָּחֵם בַּעֲמָלֵק; מָחָר, אָנֹכִי נִצָּב עַל-רֹאשׁ הַגִּבְעָה, וּמַטֵּה הָאֱלֹהִים, בְּיָדִי.

9 And Moses said unto Joshua: 'Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek; tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.'

(Exodus 17: 9)

The first depiction of Joshua, therefore, concentrates on his strength in battle, his ability as a war leader and military commander. Moses places him in a situation where he must fight an enemy, the first enemy willing to come after the Jews once they escaped from Egypt. Joshua, therefore, must be brave and bold, not cowed like most slaves, not a man who suffered from the slave-mentality and would therefore be unable to fight. Joshua is described as "discomfiting Amalek" in almost a one-man effort; the wording of the verse does not state that the people, the nation, or the Jews fought Amalek, but rather, "Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword." Joshua's military prowess shows to great advantage; indeed, God even desires Moses to inform Joshua that one day Amalek will be utterly blotted out- perhaps in order to assure him that he need not worry about killing every last one of them.

The next time we see Joshua he has become Moses' right-hand aide. The verse itself attests to this:

יג וַיָּקָם מֹשֶׁה, וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ מְשָׁרְתוֹ; וַיַּעַל מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-הַר הָאֱלֹהִים.

13 And Moses rose up, and Joshua his minister; and Moses went up into the mount of God.

Joshua is "m'sharso," the servant or aide of Moses, his man through and through. He accompanies Moses to the mount of God. He then sets up a tent, according to Rashi, and waits for him at the foot of the mountain. Warlike as his personality is, he immediately detects the sound of discontent and trouble in the camp, exclaiming, "'There is a noise of war in the camp" (Exodus 32: 17) It is Moses who must gently remind him that not all noise is the noise of battle, and having been informed by God as to what this commotion portends, grimly informs Joshua that it is "kol anos," a noise of singing and jubilation, that he hears.

Joshua served Moses as a loving, loyal and dutiful man, sworn to protect his liege-lord. The Torah informs us of how attentive he was to Moses, stating that Moses "would return into the camp; but his minister Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent" (Exodus 33: 11). Joshua made himself available, always desirous of helping Moses, of being near him.

In keeping with his warlike personality and the love he bore Moses, Joshua could tolerate no slight to his master's honor. A hothead, he must tell the truth, knowing no subtlety and cognizant of no plans or plots. His reactions are tinged with nobility; Joshua is the type of man who defends the honor of those he loves, who keeps his oaths and promises faithfully.

There is a very revealing conversation in the Torah that describes the relationship between Joshua and Moses:

    כז וַיָּרָץ הַנַּעַר, וַיַּגֵּד לְמֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמַר: אֶלְדָּד וּמֵידָד, מִתְנַבְּאִים בַּמַּחֲנֶה.
    27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said: 'Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.'

    כח וַיַּעַן יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, מְשָׁרֵת מֹשֶׁה מִבְּחֻרָיו--וַיֹּאמַר: אֲדֹנִי מֹשֶׁה, כְּלָאֵם.
    28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses from his youth up, answered and said: 'My lord Moses, shut them in.'

    כט וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מֹשֶׁה, הַמְקַנֵּא אַתָּה לִי; וּמִי יִתֵּן כָּל-עַם יְהוָה, נְבִיאִים--כִּי-יִתֵּן יְהוָה אֶת-רוּחוֹ, עֲלֵיהֶם.
    29 And Moses said unto him: 'Art thou jealous for my sake? would that all the LORD'S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His spirit upon them!'

    (Numbers 11:27- 11: 29)

How vividly we can imagine this scene! A footrunner, a servant, his eyes wide with the news he bears, almost stutters as he hurries to inform Moses of the men who have the audacity to prophecy in the camp. Joshua, outraged on behalf of his master, stands suddenly, his hand to his sword, his eyes aflame. He must speak, even though it breaks the bonds of respect, even though he is answering before his master (in much the same tradition that Laban spoke before Besuel, or Shmuel before Eli), his words cannot be contained. "My lord Moses, incarcerate them!" he cries, his voice youthful and furious, ennobled with the weight of the law.

But Moses has seen much, experienced much. A smile forms on his lips, a smile at the youthful innocence and distress Joshua displays. This honor- this desire to defend his honor- for what purpose? There is no threat here. There is no need for a sword, for a prison. Moses is joyous. "Art thou jealous for my sake?" he inquires pleasantly. And then, teaching by example, Moses exclaims, "Would that all the people could be prophets, and God's spirit rest upon them!"

(In truth, this reminds me of nothing so much as an exchange between Obi-Wan Kenobi and a young, hotheaded Anakin Skywalker.)

Joshua bows to Moses' judgement, but doubtless continues to smoulder with righteous indignation on behalf of his master.

Moses realizes that Joshua is stifled at the camp, has no desire to play the nursemaid to the needs of a wandering, meandering and stiff-necked nation. These are not Joshua's qualities- these qualities of patience, understanding, a learned feeling on behalf of the nation. Moses therefore decides to put Joshua's qualities, his warlike nature, the ability he shows for fighting and planning, to use. He casts Joshua as a spy. Doubtless Joshua would have preferred to go openly and attack, rather than resort to subterfuge. Such ploys are not of his choosing. But he will, of course, obey Moses- and he knows Moses needs a man he can trust as a member of the group of spies.

There is a specific verse where Moses appears to rename Joshua, "And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua" (Numbers 13: 16) The common interpretation is the suggestion that Joshua would be in danger while in the company of men who had no qualms about lying, and the addition of the "yud," a letter from God's name, to Joshua's name, is protection against this.

But I think, simply from the literary point of view, that this is a significant moment in the life of both Moses and Joshua. Moses renames Joshua, symbolic of a rebirth, a new beginning. This is your naming. You will be my ears and eyes in the Land. I trust you. This Joshua, the same Joshua whom we formerly described as the man who remained at all times "within the Tent" of Moshe, of Moses, is now to be released, sent outside the Tent, sent off on a dangerous mission. This Joshua is now a man, a man grown, a man whom Moses can trust. When Moses names him Joshua, he (and/or the Torah) dispenses with the word "m'sharso" or aide. Joshua is no longer an aide, an assistant, an apprentice. At this moment, Joshua has come into his own.

When the spies return, they attempt to mislead the people. It is Joshua and Caleb who attempt to salvage the situation.

    ו וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, וְכָלֵב בֶּן-יְפֻנֶּה, מִן-הַתָּרִים, אֶת-הָאָרֶץ--קָרְעוּ, בִּגְדֵיהֶם.
    6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were of them that spied out the land, rent their clothes.

    ז וַיֹּאמְרוּ, אֶל-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר: הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר עָבַרְנוּ בָהּ לָתוּר אֹתָהּ--טוֹבָה הָאָרֶץ, מְאֹד מְאֹד.
    7 And they spoke unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: 'The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceeding good land.

    (Numbers 14: 6)

Notice, once again, the way in which Joshua is named. He is no longer called a "meshares," an aide or apprentice. Rather, he is Joshua son of Nun, a man granted his full name and lineage.

God spares Joshua and Caleb the fate of their generation, and both of them live.

Moses is commanded to pass on the role of leadership to Joshua:

    יח וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, קַח-לְךָ אֶת-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן--אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר-רוּחַ בּוֹ; וְסָמַכְתָּ אֶת-יָדְךָ, עָלָיו.
    18 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is spirit, and lay thy hand upon him;

    יט וְהַעֲמַדְתָּ אֹתוֹ, לִפְנֵי אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן, וְלִפְנֵי, כָּל-הָעֵדָה; וְצִוִּיתָה אֹתוֹ, לְעֵינֵיהֶם.
    19 and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.

    כ וְנָתַתָּה מֵהוֹדְךָ, עָלָיו--לְמַעַן יִשְׁמְעוּ, כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
    20 And thou shalt put of thy honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may hearken.

    (Numbers 27: 18)

Notice the description here. Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is spirit. Joshua's warlike nature, his ability to command and rule, the strength of the individual in the face of many, the strength that allowed him to tell the truth and fight those who would have preferred him to lie and malign the land, is this "spirit." Joshua is a man with "spirit" in him; it is for this reason that he is to lead the people at this juncture of time, during which they will have to fight for and subsequently conquer the land of Israel. Moses as leader would not be appropriate to this situation; Moses is able to deal with the people, with their complaints, can sit in judgement over them, but warfare is not his forteit. Even during the battle of Amalek, Moses is the one who holds his hands up symbolically as he prays, rather than engaging in physical combat. He kills specific individuals (the Egyptian man who was beating the Jew, Sichon), but is not the kind of man who can successfully lead an army into battle.

Joshua, however, can. Joshua is a "man of spirit," a man of war. He is the man who is necessary at this point of time, the man who is required in order to fulfill the destiny of the Jews.

God commands Moses (notice that God, when speaking to Moses, does still refer to Joshua as a "meshares" or aide, perhaps in honor of Moses) to strengthen and encourage Joshua, which he does, and to give him command in front of the entire nation (so that there will be no question of who is the rightful leader once Moses dies.) There is a very interesting verse that states:

    ט וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, מָלֵא רוּחַ חָכְמָה--כִּי-סָמַךְ מֹשֶׁה אֶת-יָדָיו, עָלָיו; וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֵלָיו בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּעֲשׂוּ, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת-מֹשֶׁה.

    9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.

    (Deuteronomy 34: 9)

We have seen Joshua described as a man of spirit. He only becomes a man with the spirit of wisdom when Moses lays his hands upon him, a direct cause and effect here. Moses recognized that in addition to Joshua's warlike nature, which would be necessary in defeating and conquering the enemies of the Jews, Joshua would also need wisdom- wisdom to know when to have mercy, to show kindness, to try to demonstrate compassion. Joshua's zeal, and eagerness needed to be tempered with wisdom. And so it is that Moses gives Joshua a gift- the gift of the spirit of wisdom.

The Gemara is more critical of Joshua. Some examples:

    ומשרתו יהושע בן נון נער לא ימיש מתוך האהל מיד תשש כחו של יהושע ונשתכחו ממנו שלש מאות הלכות ונולדו לו שבע מאות ספיקות ועמדו כל ישראל להרגו אמר לו הקב"ה לומר לך אי אפשר לך וטורדן במלחמה

    "And his aide Joshua son of Nun did not move from the Tent," [after death of Moses] the strength of Joshua was weakened and he forgot 300 halakhos and 700 uncertainties/ doubts came before him, and all of Israel stood against him to kill him. God told him that it was impossible for him to relearn the laws, and instead he should distract Bnai Yisrael with war."

    From Temurah 16a

and also

    כל דמותיב מלה קמיה רביה אזיל לשאול בלא ולד שנאמר (במדבר יא) ויען יהושע בן נון משרת משה מבחוריו ויאמר אדוני משה כלאם
    וכתיב (דברי הימים א ז) נון בנו יהושע בנו ופליגא דר' אבא בר פפא דאמר ר' אבא בר פפא לא נענש יהושע אלא בשביל שביטל את ישראל לילה אחת מפריה ורביה שנאמר (יהושוע ה) ויהי בהיות יהושע ביריחו וישא עיניו וירא וגו' וכתיב ויאמר <לו> [לא] כי אני שר צבא ה' עתה באתי וגו' אמר לו אמש ביטלתם תמיד של בין הערבים ועכשיו ביטלתם תלמוד תורה על איזה מהן באת אמר לו עתה באתי מיד (יהושוע ח) וילך יהושע בלילה ההוא בתוך העמק ואמר רבי יוחנן מלמד שהלך בעומקה של הלכה וגמירי דכל זמן שארון ושכינה שרויין שלא במקומן אסורין בתשמיש המטה

    Eruvin 63a-63b

This section references, as Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner writes:

1. Joshua dying without children because he made a suggestion before Moshe, in dealing with Eldad and Medad: Eruvin 63a-b

2. Joshua dying without children because he didn't return the Ark to its place in Gilgal on the night before the war with Gilgal, and so the people were not allowed to engage in procreation: Eruvin 63b

In these cases, therefore, Joshua was at fault. From the Torah, however, he is the picture of the apprentice who fulfills his potential- he was the Prophet's Apprentice, learned from him, aided him, remained at his side, and was proclaimed worthy by God and by Moses to become the next leader. He was even leader alongside Moses for a day (Sotah 13b).

The Yalkut Shimoni references a fantastic Medrish regarding Moses and Joshua. It is mentioned online here, and my quotes are from there:

    The Medrash says that Hashem instructed Moshe to call Yehoshua. Moshe, as it were, offered the Almighty a deal: "Let Yehoshua take over my role and lead the Jewish people, but allow me to live." Hashem responded: "If so, you will have to relate to Yehoshua as he related to you. He will be the leader and you will be his disciple."

    According to the Medrash, Moshe Rabbeinu agreed to this offer. He went to Yehoshua's house (as opposed to the former arrangement that Yehoshua came to him). From there they both went into the Tent of Meeting - Yehoshua the Rebbe and Moshe the disciple. The Pillar of Cloud descended and spoke to Yehoshua. When the Pillar ascended, Moshe asked Yehoshua "What Word came to you?"

    Asking such a question for the first time in his life must have been a most humbling experience for Moshe. But even more humbling was the response that the Medrash put into Yehoshua's mouth answering Moshe: "When the Word came to you, did I know what was spoken to you?" This was a very gentle way of telling Moshe "It is none of your business. I am the Rebbe and you are the disciple now."

    The Medrash concludes that at that moment, Moshe began to scream "Let me die 100 times rather than suffer this one pang of jealousy that I am now feeling."

From here we see that for the Prophet to be demoted to the level of the Prophet's Apprentice is an unbearable thing. It is painful, awful- and Moses felt jealousy on account of it.

Now we come to the second interaction - that of Elijah and Elisha.

2. Elisha- The Family Man

In this situation, Elijah is specifically told by God that he is to take an assistant, and that this assistant or apprentice will "succeed you as prophet." Our first introduction to Elisha, therefore, is in his being pronounced the successor by God.

טז וְאֵת יֵהוּא בֶן-נִמְשִׁי, תִּמְשַׁח לְמֶלֶךְ עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְאֶת-אֱלִישָׁע בֶּן-שָׁפָט מֵאָבֵל מְחוֹלָה, תִּמְשַׁח לְנָבִיא תַּחְתֶּיךָ.
16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room

(Kings I, 19: 16)

We are introduced to Elisha in a situation that is very similar to the one where we met Saul, first King of Israel. The very similarity of the situations suggests that Elisha is someone who owns a quiet kind of royalty, similar to Saul's. He is occupied with a seemingly mundane task, as Saul was, but he claims the task as his, and works at it uncomplainingly and with a kind of good will that makes him likeable.

Elijah comes to claim Elisha and does so symbolically and tersely. He doesn't offer explanations to Elisha's parents, doesn't explain anything at all. He simply casts his mantle over Elisha, and allows Elisha to explain the matter.

    יט וַיֵּלֶךְ מִשָּׁם וַיִּמְצָא אֶת-אֱלִישָׁע בֶּן-שָׁפָט, וְהוּא חֹרֵשׁ, שְׁנֵים-עָשָׂר צְמָדִים לְפָנָיו, וְהוּא בִּשְׁנֵים הֶעָשָׂר; וַיַּעֲבֹר אֵלִיָּהוּ אֵלָיו, וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ אַדַּרְתּוֹ אֵלָיו.
    19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth; and Elijah passed over unto him, and cast his mantle upon him.

    כ וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת-הַבָּקָר, וַיָּרָץ אַחֲרֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ, וַיֹּאמֶר אֶשְּׁקָה-נָּא לְאָבִי וּלְאִמִּי, וְאֵלְכָה אַחֲרֶיךָ; וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֵךְ שׁוּב, כִּי מֶה-עָשִׂיתִי לָךְ.
    20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said: 'Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.' And he said unto him: 'Go back; for what have I done to thee?'

    כא וַיָּשָׁב מֵאַחֲרָיו וַיִּקַּח אֶת-צֶמֶד הַבָּקָר וַיִּזְבָּחֵהוּ, וּבִכְלִי הַבָּקָר בִּשְּׁלָם הַבָּשָׂר, וַיִּתֵּן לָעָם, וַיֹּאכֵלוּ; וַיָּקָם, וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ--וַיְשָׁרְתֵהוּ. {פ}
    21 And he returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him. {P}

    Kings I, 19

Beautiful phraseology, both textual and symbolic, here. "Casting the mantle" over Elisha gives us a vivid image of the situation (in addition to reminding us of Yeravam, the cloak, and the ten pieces of cloth), allows us to imagine how thoroughly and symbolically Elisha was "claimed," and the fact that Elijah simply moves on, without stopping, simply furthers our understanding of his personality as well. It is Elisha who must run after Elijah to beg permission to bid his parents farewell. Elijah is very non-committal, "What have I done to you?" implying, "Do as you will! But I will not wait for you."

Elisha's first introduction to us is sweet. Having been offered a wonderful and terrible opportunity- the opportunity to become a prophet- his first response is to bid his parents farewell. He is a family man, and we receive the impression that he would have been content to stay and plow with his oxen. Having been chosen, however, he makes a complete and clean break with his past, to the point that he eats the oxen with whom he had been plowing (symbolism at its best.) Only after he has eaten the oxen, and done away with his old life does he arise and follow Elijah.

The most famous section with regard to Elijah and Elisha is that of Elijah ascending to heaven in a chariot of flames.

Three times does Elijah try to dissuade Elisha from coming with him, and three times does Elisha reply, "'As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee." Elisha is assistant, aide and apprentice in the same manner that Joshua was. He would not leave his master's side.

It is implied that because of this Elisha is worthy of reward (for it is only after Elisha has accompanied Elijah as far as they can go together that Elijah inquires as to what Elisha desires.)

    ט וַיְהִי כְעָבְרָם, וְאֵלִיָּהוּ אָמַר אֶל-אֱלִישָׁע שְׁאַל מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה-לָּךְ, בְּטֶרֶם, אֶלָּקַח מֵעִמָּךְ; וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלִישָׁע, וִיהִי נָא פִּי-שְׁנַיִם בְּרוּחֲךָ אֵלָי. 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha: 'Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken from thee.' And Elisha said: 'I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.'

    י וַיֹּאמֶר, הִקְשִׁיתָ לִשְׁאוֹל; אִם-תִּרְאֶה אֹתִי לֻקָּח מֵאִתָּךְ, יְהִי-לְךָ כֵן, וְאִם-אַיִן, לֹא יִהְיֶה.
    10 And he said: 'Thou hast asked a hard thing; nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.'

    יא וַיְהִי, הֵמָּה הֹלְכִים הָלוֹךְ וְדַבֵּר, וְהִנֵּה רֶכֶב-אֵשׁ וְסוּסֵי אֵשׁ, וַיַּפְרִדוּ בֵּין שְׁנֵיהֶם; וַיַּעַל, אֵלִיָּהוּ, בַּסְעָרָה, הַשָּׁמָיִם.
    11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both assunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

    Kings 2, 2

Here we see that Elisha is not only rewarded, but he transcends his master's powers, receiving a double portion. (My own theory is that this has to do with the fact that Elijah accompanied his master, overriding his protests. In Tanakh as a whole we see many instances where physical steps to a place, from a place, or accompanying another, are given great reward. The best example may be that of Ruth and Orpah; Ruth who actually accompanies Naomi back to her land, and Orpah, who, even though she does not go all the way, is rewarded for the tears she does shed and the steps she does take. We see in other places that one who stands or runs in the honor of God is rewarded- Eglon, for example, who rose when he heard God's name, was rewarded, and Chazal relate that when Nevuchadnezzar ran after a letter that had been improperly addressed, with the salutation to Chizkiyahu placed before the salutation to God, he had to be physically stopped lest he attain so much merit that he be able to overtake the Jews and destroy them. Similarly, we have the idea that one's awe of one's master or Rabbi is to be similar to that of God (with regard to the idea of "es" and how "es" is "l'rabos," to include something else, the disciple answers that the one whom one should fear similarly to one's God is one's Rabbi) and so it would make sense to me that any who persist in showing honor to their master, especially in this manner of walking or accompaniment, receives great reward.)

Elisha, too, then, fulfilled his promise. He was a Prophet's Apprentice, and he not only rose to his potential but rose beyond that of his master's, an absolute success story.

3. Gehazi- The Trickster

Now we come to the "bad" apprentice, the one who didn't work out as he should. Joshua reached his potential, although he did not (indeed, could not) exceed his master's talent. Elisha reached and exceeded his master's talent. But Gehazi (Geichazi) is the "bad" apprentice. He does not reach his potential. He does not succeed. Perhaps he does not even try.

Gehazi's appointment is not preceded by a statement of God's to choose him as an apprentice. Indeed, he is not referred to as a "meshares," but rather as a "na'ar," a foolish lad or servant.

Here is our introduction to Gehazi:

    יב וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל-גֵּיחֲזִי נַעֲרוֹ, קְרָא לַשּׁוּנַמִּית הַזֹּאת; וַיִּקְרָא-לָהּ--וַתַּעֲמֹד, לְפָנָיו.
    12 And he said to Gehazi his servant: 'Call this Shunammite.' And when he had called her, she stood before him.

    יג וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ, אֱמָר-נָא אֵלֶיהָ הִנֵּה חָרַדְתְּ אֵלֵינוּ אֶת-כָּל-הַחֲרָדָה הַזֹּאת, מֶה לַעֲשׂוֹת לָךְ, הֲיֵשׁ לְדַבֶּר-לָךְ אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ אוֹ אֶל-שַׂר הַצָּבָא; וַתֹּאמֶר, בְּתוֹךְ עַמִּי אָנֹכִי יֹשָׁבֶת.
    13 And he said unto him: 'Say now unto her: Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?' And she answered: 'I dwell among mine own people.'

    יד וַיֹּאמֶר, וּמֶה לַעֲשׂוֹת לָהּ; וַיֹּאמֶר גֵּיחֲזִי, אֲבָל בֵּן אֵין-לָהּ--וְאִישָׁהּ זָקֵן.
    14 And he said: 'What then is to be done for her?' And Gehazi answered: 'Verily she hath no son, and her husband is old.'

    טו וַיֹּאמֶר, קְרָא-לָהּ; וַיִּקְרָא-לָהּ--וַתַּעֲמֹד, בַּפָּתַח.
    15 And he said: 'Call her.' And when he had called her, she stood in the door.

Gehazi's role here is to do what he is told, and to procure information. His role does not change throughout his service.

Notice how Gehazi either fails utterly, or, according to most common interpretations, refused to listen to Elisha's instructions and broke them.

    כט וַיֹּאמֶר לְגֵיחֲזִי חֲגֹר מָתְנֶיךָ, וְקַח מִשְׁעַנְתִּי בְיָדְךָ וָלֵךְ, כִּי-תִמְצָא אִישׁ לֹא תְבָרְכֶנּוּ, וְכִי-יְבָרֶכְךָ אִישׁ לֹא תַעֲנֶנּוּ; וְשַׂמְתָּ מִשְׁעַנְתִּי, עַל-פְּנֵי הַנָּעַר.
    29 Then he said to Gehazi: 'Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thy hand, and go thy way; if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not; and lay my staff upon the face of the child.'

    ל וַתֹּאמֶר אֵם הַנַּעַר, חַי-יְהוָה וְחֵי-נַפְשְׁךָ אִם-אֶעֶזְבֶךָּ; וַיָּקָם, וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֶיהָ.
    30 And the mother of the child said: 'As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.' And he arose, and followed her.

    לא וְגֵחֲזִי עָבַר לִפְנֵיהֶם, וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת-הַמִּשְׁעֶנֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַנַּעַר, וְאֵין קוֹל, וְאֵין קָשֶׁב; וַיָּשָׁב לִקְרָאתוֹ וַיַּגֶּד-לוֹ לֵאמֹר, לֹא הֵקִיץ הַנָּעַר.
    31 And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he returned to meet him, and told him, saying: 'The child is not awaked.'

Gehazi fails in this task- he cannot wake the boy. (Most probably, according to the commentaries, he fails because he stopped to talk to another.)

Notice Gehazi's appalling lack of compassion or understanding when the miserable woman throws herself at Elisha's feet. His action could be construed as an attempt at respect for his master, except for the fact that the verse pointedly does NOT mention any zeal or jealousy on Elisha's behalf, but rather states:

    כז וַתָּבֹא אֶל-אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים, אֶל-הָהָר, וַתַּחֲזֵק, בְּרַגְלָיו; וַיִּגַּשׁ גֵּיחֲזִי לְהָדְפָהּ, וַיֹּאמֶר אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים הַרְפֵּה-לָהּ כִּי-נַפְשָׁהּ מָרָה-לָהּ, וַיהוָה הֶעְלִים מִמֶּנִּי, וְלֹא הִגִּיד לִי.

    27 And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came near to thrust her away; but the man of God said: 'Let her alone; for her soul is bitter within her; and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told Me.'

    Kings 2, 4

The other episode in which Gehazi shows his true colors (along with his greed) is with Na'aman. Elisha instructs Na'aman in how to cure his tza'raas (leprosy.) Na'aman is overjoyed once he is cured, and desires to reward Elisha, but Elisha refuses.

Now note what Gehazi does- three things.

1. Judges Elisha as being "too lenient" on Na'aman
2. Runs after Na'aman and lies to him, using Elisha's name to get the reward (money and clothes)
3. He lies to Elisha

Here is the episode:

    וַיֹּאמֶר גֵּיחֲזִי, נַעַר אֱלִישָׁע אִישׁ-הָאֱלֹהִים, הִנֵּה חָשַׂךְ אֲדֹנִי אֶת-נַעֲמָן הָאֲרַמִּי הַזֶּה, מִקַּחַת מִיָּדוֹ אֵת אֲשֶׁר-הֵבִיא; חַי-יְהוָה כִּי-אִם-רַצְתִּי אַחֲרָיו, וְלָקַחְתִּי מֵאִתּוֹ מְאוּמָה.
    20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said: 'Behold, my master hath spared this Naaman the Aramean, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought; as the LORD liveth, I will surely run after him, and take somewhat of him.'

    כא וַיִּרְדֹּף גֵּיחֲזִי, אַחֲרֵי נַעֲמָן; וַיִּרְאֶה נַעֲמָן, רָץ אַחֲרָיו, וַיִּפֹּל מֵעַל הַמֶּרְכָּבָה לִקְרָאתוֹ, וַיֹּאמֶר הֲשָׁלוֹם.
    21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw one running after him, he alighted from the chariot to meet him, and said: 'Is all well?'

    כב וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁלוֹם, אֲדֹנִי שְׁלָחַנִי לֵאמֹר, הִנֵּה עַתָּה זֶה בָּאוּ אֵלַי שְׁנֵי-נְעָרִים מֵהַר אֶפְרַיִם, מִבְּנֵי הַנְּבִיאִים; תְּנָה-נָּא לָהֶם כִּכַּר-כֶּסֶף, וּשְׁתֵּי חֲלִפוֹת בְּגָדִים.
    22 And he said: 'All is well. My master hath sent me, saying: Behold, even now there are come to me from the hill-country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets; give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of raiment.'

    כג וַיֹּאמֶר נַעֲמָן, הוֹאֵל קַח כִּכָּרָיִם; וַיִּפְרָץ-בּוֹ, וַיָּצַר כִּכְּרַיִם כֶּסֶף בִּשְׁנֵי חֲרִטִים וּשְׁתֵּי חֲלִפוֹת בְּגָדִים, וַיִּתֵּן אֶל-שְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו, וַיִּשְׂאוּ לְפָנָיו.
    23 And Naaman said: 'Be content, take two talents.' And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of raiment, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bore them before him.

    כד וַיָּבֹא, אֶל-הָעֹפֶל, וַיִּקַּח מִיָּדָם, וַיִּפְקֹד בַּבָּיִת; וַיְשַׁלַּח אֶת-הָאֲנָשִׁים, וַיֵּלֵכוּ.
    24 And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand, and deposited them in the house; and he let the men go, and they departed.

    כה וְהוּא-בָא, וַיַּעֲמֹד אֶל-אֲדֹנָיו, וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֱלִישָׁע, מאן (מֵאַיִן) גֵּחֲזִי; וַיֹּאמֶר, לֹא-הָלַךְ עַבְדְּךָ אָנֶה וָאָנָה.
    25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him: 'Whence comest thou, Gehazi?' And he said: 'Thy servant went no whither.'

    כו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו לֹא-לִבִּי הָלַךְ, כַּאֲשֶׁר הָפַךְ-אִישׁ מֵעַל מֶרְכַּבְתּוֹ לִקְרָאתֶךָ; הַעֵת לָקַחַת אֶת-הַכֶּסֶף, וְלָקַחַת בְּגָדִים, וְזֵיתִים וּכְרָמִים וְצֹאן וּבָקָר, וַעֲבָדִים וּשְׁפָחוֹת.
    26 And he said unto him: 'Went not my heart [with thee], when the man turned back from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and men-servants and maid-servants?

    כז וְצָרַעַת נַעֲמָן תִּדְבַּק-בְּךָ, וּבְזַרְעֲךָ לְעוֹלָם; וַיֵּצֵא מִלְּפָנָיו, מְצֹרָע כַּשָּׁלֶג.
    27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever.' And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

    2 Kings 5

Gehazi is therefore cursed with leprosy (the intimation being- you received the blessings and reward from Na'aman, come and receive his curse as well!) and according to various commentaries, he and/or his descendants are those referenced in the story of the four lepers outside Jerusalem.

Gehazi and his character flaws are discussed in the Talmud:

From Berachot 10b:

    R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: He is holy, but his attendant is not holy. For so it says: And Gehazi came near to thrust her away;37 R. Jose son of Hanina said: He seized her by the breast.38

From Sotah 9b:

    We thus find it with the primeval serpent [in the Garden of Eden] which set its eyes on that which was not proper for it; what it sought was not granted to it and what it possessed was taken from it. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I declared: Let it be king over every animal and beast; but now, Cursed art thou above all cattle and above every beast of the field.1 I declared, let it walk with an erect posture; but now it shall go upon its belly. I declared: Let its food be the same as that of man; but now it shall eat dust. It said: I will kill Adam and marry Eve; but now, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.2 Similarly do we find it with Cain, Korah, Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel, Gehazi, Absalom, Adonijah, Uzziah and Haman, who set their eyes upon that which was not proper for them; what they sought was not granted to them and what they possessed was taken from them.

From Sanhedrin 90a:



Notice, by the way, that all these relationships have thus far ended in gift-giving. Moses gives Joshua the gift of the "spirit of wisdom." Elijah bestows upon Elisha double his powers. Elisha gives Gahazi tza'raas (not exactly the gift he might want, but a gift nonetheless.) From here we may assume that at the end of the relationship between Prophet and Prophet's Apprentice, there is an exhange or interchange, the giving of something, a gift of some sort.


4. Baruch ben Neriah- The Failure
Baruch ben Neriah is possibly the saddest Prophet's Apprentice. His story is so sad because he tries so hard, he desires prophecy ever so much, he extricates Jeremiah from all kind of sticky situations...and still he is not rewarded with his desire. He considers himself a failure, lost, and is extremely disheartened and saddened by his inability to achieve prophecy.
Our first introduction to Baruch is as a trustworthy man, a man who can be trusted in legal matters. Here's the verse:

    יב וָאֶתֵּן אֶת-הַסֵּפֶר הַמִּקְנָה, אֶל-בָּרוּךְ בֶּן-נֵרִיָּה בֶּן-מַחְסֵיָה, לְעֵינֵי חֲנַמְאֵל דֹּדִי, וּלְעֵינֵי הָעֵדִים הַכֹּתְבִים בְּסֵפֶר הַמִּקְנָה--לְעֵינֵי, כָּל-הַיְּהוּדִים, הַיֹּשְׁבִים, בַּחֲצַר הַמַּטָּרָה.

12 and I delivered the deed of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel mine uncle['s son], and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the deed of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the guard.
Jeremiah 32: 12
Baruch is described in glowing terms; he does all that Jeremiah commands him on various occassions, he clings to him and saves him from various terrible situations. One such praiseworthy verse states:

ח וַיַּעַשׂ, בָּרוּךְ בֶּן-נֵרִיָּה, כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּהוּ, יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא--לִקְרֹא בַסֵּפֶר דִּבְרֵי יְהוָה, בֵּית יְהוָה. {פ}

8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD'S house. {P}

(Jeremiah 36: 8)

Observe, then, with great sadness, the dialogue that takes place between Baruch and Jeremiah in chapter 45:

    א הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֶל-בָּרוּךְ, בֶּן-נֵרִיָּה--בְּכָתְבוֹ אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה עַל-סֵפֶר, מִפִּי יִרְמְיָהוּ, בַּשָּׁנָה הָרְבִעִית, לִיהוֹיָקִים בֶּן-יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה לֵאמֹר.
    1 The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying:

    ב כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה, אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, עָלֶיךָ, בָּרוּךְ.
    2 'Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning thee, O Baruch: Thou didst say:

    ג אָמַרְתָּ אוֹי-נָא לִי, כִּי-יָסַף יְהוָה יָגוֹן עַל-מַכְאֹבִי; יָגַעְתִּי, בְּאַנְחָתִי, וּמְנוּחָה, לֹא מָצָאתִי.
    3 Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.

    ד כֹּה תֹּאמַר אֵלָיו, כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה, הִנֵּה אֲשֶׁר-בָּנִיתִי אֲנִי הֹרֵס, וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר-נָטַעְתִּי אֲנִי נֹתֵשׁ; וְאֶת-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ, הִיא.
    4 Thus shalt thou say unto him: Thus saith the LORD: Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up; and this in the whole land.

    ה וְאַתָּה תְּבַקֶּשׁ-לְךָ גְדֹלוֹת, אַל-תְּבַקֵּשׁ: כִּי הִנְנִי מֵבִיא רָעָה עַל-כָּל-בָּשָׂר, נְאֻם-יְהוָה, וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ אֶת-נַפְשְׁךָ לְשָׁלָל, עַל כָּל-הַמְּקֹמוֹת אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֶךְ-שָׁם. {פ}
    5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not; for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD; but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.' {P}

There are different reasons given as to what Baruch is asking for here, and what God's reply means. The most common interpretation is that Baruch, out of the great bitterness and desire of his heart, is asking for prophecy, and God's answer (as brought down in the Mechilta) is that "All prophecy is given for the sake of Bnai Yisrael." Since Bnai Yisrael are not worthy and are about to be exiled, there is no reason to instate Baruch as prophet.

Radak, however, suggests (in accord with the Rambam's philosphy) that Baruch lacked the ability to prophecy, did not have the natural inclination towards it, and that no matter how hard he tried, he would never be able to receive prophecy.

The Shadal offers a completely different interpretation, and suggests that Baruch was complaining about the physical abuse he suffered at the hands of mobs who were after him and Jeremiah, and requests that God save him from this abuse.

If Baruch truly was the man we know him to be in Jeremiah, a dutiful, loyal, kind person, who did all that he could to achieve prophecy, we find ourselves questioning why he did not then receive it. There seems to be no real reason- he is not flawed, like Gehazi, does not suffer from the same avarice and greed. He has suffered more than either Joshua or Elisha, for everywhere he goes his master is mocked and maligned, and oftentimes he has to figure out creative ways to help his master. Baruch wanders, suffers, and is not fulfilled. He is the saddest of the Prophet's Apprentices...for his lack of prophecy cannot, according to most approaches, be construed as his fault.

There we have them, then, our four Prophets' Apprentices. The warrior, the family-man turned wanderer, the evil trickster and the failure, each very different kinds of men involved in very different occupations, and paired with very different prophets (for surely there is a great difference between the tutelage of Elijah and the tutelage of Jeremiah; their teaching styles and life experiences are different.) These four men were similar in their roles, but very different in personalities. They also differ in their potentials. Joshua lived up to his potential, Elisha exceeded that of his master, Gehazi was evil and threw everything away, and Baruch struggled for the prophecy but was not granted it.

Men, but very different men, Prophet's Apprentices at very different costs. For Joshua to be a Prophet's Apprentice was no doubt a position of honor, by the time we reach Baruch, the position is one of disdain as others malign and defame Jeremiah. The interest, however, lies in the roles themselves- these were the men, these are their lives, this is who they were...these men, who aspired to be prophets, and did not always succeed.