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Friday, November 27, 2015

Parashat Vayishlach 5776

This source sheet is a series of perspectives on whether or not we are commanded to not eat the sciatic nerve because of Jacob but were commanded so at Sinai (or once we became a nation). Alternatively, maybe Jacob himself was commanded.
בראשית פרשת וישלח פרק לב
Genesis Chapter 32
(32) Then the sun rose for him when P’nuel left and he limped on his side.
(לב) וַיִּזְרַח־לוֹ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁר עָבַר אֶת־פְּנוּאֵל וְהוּא צֹלֵעַ עַל־יְרֵכוֹ:
(33) Therefore the children of Israel will not eat the sciatic nerve that is on the hollow of the thigh until this day; for he struck the hollow of the thigh of Jacob in the sciatic nerve.
(לג) עַל־כֵּן לֹא־יֹאכְלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־גִּיד הַנָּשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר עַל־כַּף הַיָּרֵךְ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה כִּי נָגַע בְּכַף־יֶרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב בְּגִיד הַנָּשֶׁה:

The Mishnah shows the debate play out between Rebbi Yehuda and the anonymous Sages. The former thinks that the sciatic nerve prohibition applies to non-kosher animals since Jacob was commanded not to eat it and he was permitted to eat non-kosher animals. To the Sages, the Jacob connection is merely an etiology.

משנה מסכת חולין פרק ז, משנה ו
Mishnah Tractate Chulin, Chapter 7, Mishnah 6
It applies for kosher animals but not for non-kosher animals.
נוהג בטהורה ואינו נוהג בטמאה
Rebbi Yehuda says, “Even for non-kosher animals.” Said Rebbi Yehuda, “For the sciatic nerve was forbidden from the children of Jacob and [at the time] unkosher animals were still permitted to them.”
רבי יהודה אומר אף בטמאה אמר רבי יהודה והלא מבני יעקב נאסר גיד הנשה ועדיין בהמה טמאה מותרת להן
They said to him, “It was stated at Sinai, but it was written in its place.”
אמרו לו בסיני נאמר אלא שנכתב במקומו:

The midrash in Song of Songs Rabbah sees each major player in Genesis receiving at least one commandment from God. This midrash also breaks down the six commandments given to Adam based on a verse commanding him to eat from the trees of the Garden of Eden. It takes each phrase from that commandment and connects it with another topic of commandment from our texts. This midrash sees the forefathers as guests of God while the nation of Israel as God’s child, hence more commandments given to the latter.
שיר השירים רבה (וילנא) פרשה א
Songs of Songs Rabbah (Vilna Edition), Parasha 1
Rebbi Azariyah and some say it was Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Yose son of Rebbi Chaninah and our Rabbis: Rebbi Eliezer says: It is a parable to a king who had a wine cellar. A first guest came, he poured him a glass and gave it to him. A second came and he poured him a glass and gave it to him. When the king’s son came he gave him the entire cellar.
ר' עזריה ואמרי לה ר' אליעזר ורבי יוסי ברבי חנינא ורבנן ר' אליעזר אומר משל למלך שהיה לו מרתף של יין בא אחד אורח ראשון מזג לו את הכוס ונתן לו, ובא השני ומזג לו את הכוס ונתן לו, כיון שבא בנו של מלך נתן לו המרתף כולו
Such it was with Adam who was commanded on seven commandments, as is written, “Then Hashem Elohim commanded to the man saying, ‘From every tree of the garden surely you shall eat,” (Genesis 2:16).
כך אדם הראשון נצטווה על שבע מצות הה"ד ויצו ה' אלהים על האדם לאמר מכל עץ הגן אכול תאכל (בראשית ב:טז)
“Commanded” this is about idolatry, that is what is written, “[Ephraim is oppressed, judgement is crushed], since he walks after commandment,” (Hosea 5:11).  
ויצו זו עבודת כוכבים המד"א [עשוק אפרים רצוץ משפט] הואיל הלך אחרי צו (הושע ה:יא)
“Hashem,” this is blaspheming Hashem, as it says, “One who blasphemes the Name of Hashem shall surely die,” (Leviticus 24:16).
ה' זו קללת השם שנאמר נוקב שם ה' מות יומת (ויקרא כד:טז)
“Elohim”, these are the judges, as it says, “To the Elohim shall go the matter between them,” (Exodus 22:16).
אלהים אלו הדיינים שנא' עד האלהים יבא דבר שניהם (שמות כב:טז)
“To the man,” this is spilling blood, as is written, “One who spills the blood of the man, [by man his blood shall be spilled],” (Genesis 9:6).
על האדם זו שפיכות דמים דכתיב שופך דם האדם [באדם דמו ישפך] (בראשית ט:ו)
“Saying” this is sexual crimes, as is written, “Saying, if a man sends away his wife and she goes from him [then is with another man, shall he return to her again]?” (Jeremiah 3:1)
לאמר זו גלוי עריות דכתיב לאמר הן ישלח איש את אשתו והלכה מאתו [והיתה לאיש-אחר הישוב אליה עוד] (ירמיה ג:א)
“From every tree of the garden,” this is about robbery as is written, “From the tree that I commanded you to not eat from it did you eat?” (Genesis 3:11).
מכל עץ הגן זה הגזל דכתיב מן העץ אשר צויתיך [לבלתי אכל-ממנו אכלת] (בראשית ג:יא)
For Noah a limb from a living animal was added, as is written, “But meat with its life - its blood - [you shall not eat],” (Genesis 9:4).
נח ניתוסף לו אבר מן החי דכתיב אך בשר בנפשו דמו [לא תאכלו] (בראשית ט:ד)
Abraham was commanded on circumcision; Isaac inaugurated it at eight days.
אברהם נצטוה על המילה, יצחק חנכה לשמונה ימים,
Jacob on the sciatic nerve, as it says, “Therefore the children of Israel will not eat the sciatic nerve,” (Genesis 32:33).
יעקב על גיד הנשה שנאמר על כן לא יאכלו בני ישראל את גיד הנשה (בראשית לב:לג)
Judah on levirate marriage, as it says, “Then Judah said to Onen, ‘Go to your brother’s wife and perform levirate marriage with her,’” (Genesis 38:8).
יהודה על היבמה שנא' ויאמר יהודה לאונן בא אל אשת אחיך ויבם אותה (בראשית לח:ח)
Israel on all positive commandments and negative commandments.
ישראל אכל מ"ע =מצות עשה= ומצות ל"ת

Midrash on Proverbs repeats this idea, without the derivations, but it tells us something more. Israel received 248 positive commandments opposite the apparently 248 limbs of the body, each one hoping we perform a commandment with it. The 365 commandments opposite the days of the solar year, with each day hoping we do not transgress on it. I found this interesting since the sciatic nerve is a negative commandment attached to a body part, which somewhat does not fit into either the 248 or 365 in that sense (not that each one of the 248 exactly has one limb to which it belongs).
מדרש משלי (בובר) פרשה לא, סימן כט
Midrash Proverbs (Buber Edition), Parasha 31, Siman 29
The first man was commanded on six commandments, Noah on a limb from a living animal, Abraham on circumcision, Isaac inaugurated it for eight [days], Jacob on the sciatic nerve, Judah on levirate marriage, and Israel on 248 positive commandments opposite the 248 limbs of a man. Each and every limb says to a person, “Please, with me perform this commandment.” And 365 negative commandments opposite the days of the solar year, and each and every day says to a person, “I request from you that on me you do not perform this transgression.”
אדם הראשון נצטווה על שש מצות, נח על אבר מן החי, אברהם על המילה, יצחק חנכו לשמונה, יעקב על גיד הנשה, יהודה על היבמה, ישראל על רמ"ח מצות עשה, כנגד רמ"ח איברים שבאדם, כל אבר ואבר אומר לו לאדם, בבקשה ממך עשה בי מצוה זו, ושס"ה מצות לא תעשה כנגד ימות החמה, וכל יום ויום אומר לאדם אבקש ממך שלא תעשה בי עבירה זו.

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