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Vol 19.10 - Tu B'Av                  Spanish French Audio  Video

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Talmud-Taanit
Summary:

(5739) Siyum of tractate Taanit. Four categories of "daughters of Yerushalayim". and the explanation of the debate there between Rashi ("points with his finger") and Tosfot ("each one")
 

Translation:

It states in in Mishnah (of tractate Taanit 30b).

Rashi’ Simeon b. Gamaliel said: there never were in Israel greater days of joy than the fifteenth of Ab and Yom Kippur for on these days the daughters of Jerusalem (some say the daughters of Israel) would go out in white garments . . and danced in the vineyards. What would they say? ‘young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty but set your eyes on good family (as it states:): Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears the L-rd, she shall be praised. And it further says: Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates”

One must understand:

1.       These verses are just a proof for their words: “Do not set your eyes on beauty” – because: ” Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain”. However it is not a proof for their following words: “set your eyes on family”. For on the contrary, the verse states: “a woman that fears the L-rd, she shall be praised” and “let her works praise her in the gates” – Namely, that her qualities lie in her fear of G-d and deeds, not (just) in the lineage of her family.

2.       How is it possible that all the “daughters of Jerusalem” – which certainly included those that were not “distinguished” (meyuchas) - say “set your eyes on family”?

The question is even stronger:

The Beraita states:

“The beautiful amongst them called out, Set your eyes on beauty for the quality most to be prized in woman is beauty; those of them who came of noble families called out, Look for a good family for woman has been created to bring up a family; the ugly ones amongst them called out, Carry off your purchase in the name of Heaven”

Thus, only the noble (girls) said: “set your eyes on family”. How then does the Mishnah generalize and state that “the daughters of Jerusalem . . would say “set your eyes on family”?

3.       The commentators learn that, even in the Mishnah, the three different sayings of the three different types of daughters of Jerusalem, mentioned in the Beraita, are expressed (in allusion) –

·         The words “lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself” is said by the “beautiful” ones, that one should look at their beauty (and as the Beraita continues: “for the quality most to be prized in woman is beauty”

·         “Do not set your eyes on beauty but set your eyes on family” is said by the “noble” ones.

·         And the “ugly” ones amongst them which have neither (grace which comes from) nobility nor beauty, bit rather “good deeds” say: “Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears the L-rd, she shall be praised. . And it further says: Give . . her works praise her in the gates” (as the Beraita states: “Carry off your purchase in the name of Heaven”)

Accordingly, the first question (in Par. 1) is immediately resolved. For the verses that are cited in the Mishnah are not a “proof” for the previous saying, but rather a “separate” statement (from the “ugly” ones)

This explanation, however, is not ideal (in the simple wording of the Mishnah) because:

1.       The plain wording of the Mishnah: “daughters of Jerusalem . . . What would they say? Etc.” indicates that all the following words are the statements “daughters of Jerusalem” in general (all of them)

2.       Why does the Mishnah cite the particulars and specifically these particulars of the statements of each type – and not the wording and particulars if the Beraita?

On the contrary, it seemingly, would have been fitting that the Mishnah, which is: “A concise thing that encapsulates many aspects”, cite the seminal point of each saying: -

·         The “beautiful” ones say “lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself”

·         The “noble” ones say “set your eyes on family”

·         The “ugly” ones say “Carry off your purchase in the name of Heaven”)

And the Beraita should then elaborate (on the Mishnah) the particulars of the saying:

·         “Young man lift up your eyes   etc.”

·         “Do not set your eyes on beauty   etc.”

·         “Grace is deceitful . . her works praise her in the gates”

For specifically in this manner, the Mishnah would be (almost without addition and lengthiness) clearly bring out that this is three separate statements from the three types of “daughters of Jerusalem”

Therefore, it is logical to learn that the Mishnah‘s statement: “What would they say? “ (all the “daughters of Jerusalem” that went out) refers to the entire continuation of the following words )of the Mishnah).

And the Beraita adds to the Mishnah and explains that in conjunction to the statement that all the “daughters of Jerusalem” said, each type said an additional statement that corresponded to each type itself.

3, Also the Beraita must be understood:

1.       What place does the statement (of the beautiful ones): “Set your eyes on beauty” have? – It is a lesson in Torah that “Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain”. How much more so when the beautiful ones (themselves) say (as it states in the Mishnah): “Do not set your eyes on beauty . . .Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain” (according to the aforementioned explanation that Mishnah is the statement of all the “daughters of Jerusalem”)!

2.       Why is: “Carry off your purchase in the name of Heaven” specifically a reason to take the “ugly” ones?

The commentators learn that even the “ugly” ones have good deeds, and by saying “Carry off your purchase in the name of Heaven”, they mean to say that one should not look at “beauty” or “family” but only on fear of G-d and good deeds (“for the sake of Heaven”)

But this explanation requires clarification. For even the saying of the noble ones: “set your eyes on family” comes , simply, to evoke the spiritual quality of family lineage – as the Tosfos Yom Tov states: “It is elementary that the nobles ones are G-d fearing” – Thus it comes out that even one who chooses the noble ones is choosing them for the “sake of Heaven”. Therefore what is the advantage of the “sake of Heaven” of the “ugly” ones?

4, Subsequent to the Beraita, the Talmud cites a saying (of Ulla Bira'ah in the name of Rashi’ Eleazar) that:

“In the days to come the Holy One, blessed be He, will hold a dance for the righteous and He will sit in their midst in the Garden of Eden and every one of them will point with his finger towards Him, as it is said, And it shall be said in that day: Lo, this is our G-d, for whom we waited, that He might save us; this is the L-rd for whom we waited, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation”

The connection of this statement to the Mishnah is understood simply:

Subsequent to that which the Mishnah states that the daughters of Jerusalem would go out and dance ( ‘Cholot’ similar to “to dance in the dances -Rashi”), in the vineyards   etc., the Talmud cites the statement that” “In the days to come the Holy One, blessed be He, will hold a dance for the righteous   etc.”

It is understood, however, that the connection between the statement with the Mishnah and Beraita is not because of a singular part of the aspect, that here (like in the Mishnah and Beraita) it speaks of a dance – But rather because of many particulars of the dance that occur in the continuation of the statement. (Namely:) that: “He will sit in their midst”  etc. and “every one of them will point with his finger towards Him, as it is said  etc.”

One must also say that:

Since the Talmud cites the statement subsequent to the Beraita (which comes after the saying of the “daughters of Jerusalem”) – and not in a separate section of the Mishnah: “go out and dance   etc.” (or something similar) – it indicates that the statement: “In the days to come the Holy One, blessed be He” has a continuation and connection to the topic of the Beraita (concerning the three types of sayings of the “daughters of Jerusalem” )

5, In the conclusion of the tractate, one also finds a puzzling thing in the explanations of Rashi and Tosafot:

On the words: “point with his finger” Rashi states:

“And say: this is our G-d, for whom we waited, that He might save us; this is the L-rd for whom we waited, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation”

Tosafot also says similarly and states:

“every one of them will point with his finger towards G-d, blessed be He as it states: Lo, this is our G-d, for whom we waited,   etc. we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation”

It is very puzzling:

What are Rashi and Tosafot adding to that which is already explicitly stated in the Talmud?!

One could say that Rashi and Tosafot differ in the meaning of the words: “as it is said, And it shall be said in that day: Lo  etc.”

·         Rashi ecplains that the Talmud learns from the cited verse that not only will “each one point with his finger” but in addition they will, at that time say the words (of the verse): “this is the L-rd  etc.”. And that is why Rashi adds to the words of the Talmud: (“point with his finger”) “And say: (this is our G-d   etc.). This means that at the time of the dance there will be two things:

1.       pointing with his finger

2.       Saying (this etc.)

·         To this Tosafot states: “every one of them will point with his finger towards G-d, blessed be He as it states: Lo, this is our G-d etc.” He omits the beginning of the verse: “And it shall be said in that day”- With this Tosafot want s to make clear that:

1.       The Talmud is just bringing a proof (“as it is said”) that: “(every one of them will) point with his finger (towards G-d)

2.       The beginning of the verse: “And it shall be said in that day” (that recitation) is not connected and applicable here.

One must however understand:

What are the reasonings of the views (the debate between Rashi and Tosafot) whether the statement of the Sages is applicable to the topic here (in the Talmud) or not?

6, The explanation to all this is:

It is understood and plain that, that which the ““daughters of Jerusalem” go out” in the days of the fifteenth of Ab and Yom Kippur was an aspect of holiness. It is therefore also understood that they did not mean to elicit their physical qualities (beauty, wealth   etc.) in and of themselves, - but those qualities that, according to Torah are fitting to be a reason and cause for a match (shidduch and marriage.

For example: When the “beautiful” ones said: “set your eyes on beauty” they meant the true (spiritual) quality. For the source of physical beauty is spiritual beauty. As is known, that the reason that physically beautiful children are born is because the conduct of the father and mother is holy and pure etc. (Therefore the children have beautiful spiritual tendencies (and garments on the soul/levushei haNefesh), and therefore they are also physically beautiful)

And in this there are two qualities:

1.       The specific quality which the daughter of Jerusalem has individually

2.       The general quality which all “daughters of Jerusalem” have. This quality is imbued to all children and descendants throughout time.

And in this is the debate between the Mishnah and the Beraita:

·         The Mishnah mainly speaks of the general quality which all “daughters of Jerusalem” have –

1.       Every daughter of Jerusalem has a spiritual quality, because of which, puts her in the category of: “a woman that fears the L-rd, she shall be praised.”

2.       This quality is implanted within her in a manner that it is transferred to her children and those she raises. This is alluded to in the verse: “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates”

Not just because of her qualities (which were already enumerated at length and in detail, previously: ‘She requites him with good’ etc. ‘she works it’, ‘from the fruit of her palms (kapeha)’ etc.) is “she praised”

But also from her children – “the fruit of her hands (yadeha)” and “her deeds” is “given to her (tnu la) and “her works praise her in the gates”

·         The Beraita, however, speaks of the individual (spiritual) quality of each category of the ““daughters of Jerusalem”” as will be explained.

7, What is the certainty that every daughter of Jerusalem is included in the category of: “a woman that fears the L-rd” and that it is in a manner of: “the fruit of her hands (yadeha)” and “her deeds”, as aforementioned? This is indicated by the “daughters of Jerusalem‘s saying: “Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty but set your eyes on family”

One need not look at (spiritual or physical) qualities the way they are visible to the eye, like the conventional do not set your ryes on beauty – in the broader context of “beauty

But it must be: “lift up your eyes and see” (similar to “Lift up your eyes on high – which will be – “see, who created these” (se’u marom eineichem u’re’u mi bara eileh), with a higher and inner perspective: Seeing the root and source from where these qualities emanate -.

And that is the meaning of: “set your eyes on family

For in the broader context, “family” does not just mean parents etc. But rather all those that have an impact and influence on her (spiritual) being – including her teachers and counselors. (As we find in many places in Chazal, that the teachers and counselors are distinguished and called “parents” of the student and learner).

And specifically and especially (since the word “family” refers to the entire nation). This is because she is from the family of Israel, a daughter of Sara, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah, the Matriarchs, from whom she has, as an inheritance, her Jewish tendencies.

And therefore one will see, that:

1.       Even in those which one cannot discern any spiritual quality – this is only externally. However, inwardly, since she is from the Jewish Family, she is in the category of: “a woman that fears the L-rd she shall be praised” (even though this is currently borrowed)

 

2.       Moreover, the truth of the qualities of the “daughters of Jerusalem” do not rest in “beauty” – the qualities that one sees externally [for “Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain”. But specifically the qualities that are in the manner of “family” – these are the inherited qualities which are transmitted from generation to generation.

 

8, Thus, on this the Beraita elaborates:

After, it has been established that one should “set your eyes on family . . a woman that fears the L-rd, she shall be praised”, that one looks and observes the essential quality (“family”) of each daughter of Israel , because of which she is a “a woman that fears the L-rd” – then, in that “praise”, can one take in (not just the “fear of the L-rd” but) also her grace and beauty. For then they are also true qualities.

And therefore we find in the Beraita that each category of the “daughters of Jerusalem” extolled their particular (revealed and visible) quality:

·         The “beautiful” ones – the “daughters of Jerusalem” where one visibly sees their (spiritual) qualities and the beauty of the tendencies of their souls ( as in Par. 6 that physical beauty is is taken from spiritual beauty) and therefore they say: “set your eyes on beauty” – those whose quality is in a revealed manner.

·         The “noble” ones - those in which one does not quite openly see their qualities and good tendencies. However, since they are descended from noble families, from masters of Torah sand good deeds throughout generations, one can be certain that they have also raised their daughters to follow and act in the path of their family. And in the same way, they will raise their children – Therefore they say: “set your eyes on family” referring to “family” in the restricted sense, the individual family.

·         The “ugly” ones – a type of “daughters of Jerusalem”, in which one does not discern spiritual qualities - nor conduct of their parents. And they also did not have others that could raise them properly – therefore they are spiritually “ugly” and consequently also physically.

However, they are “daughters of Jerusalem”. And the knowledge that they are ugly evokes within them a spirit of bitterness, lowliness and bitul. And notwithstanding that they have not had anyone to influence them in better qualities – they themselves, accepted upon them the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven - in a manner of Kaballat Ol (acceptance of the yoke). So much so that this evokes within them the lofty feeling that causes them to say: “Carry off your purchase in the name of Heaven”. They want husbands that are completely dedicated to the sake of Heaven, not considering other qualities   etc.

And because of this, it becomes revealed that they too achieve the quality of “family” – which is why the ugly ones (together with all the “daughters of Jerusalem”, as in the Mishnah) say: “set your eyes on family” - For the broken-heartedness that a Jewish daughter has, because she is from the ugly, (namely) without any spiritual quality - is because she is a from the family of Israel, a daughter of Sara, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah. And therefore she feels the bitterness of deserting G-d.

(Partial)
 

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