Vol 36.08 - Bo 2 Spanish French Audio Video
The title "Tzivos Hashem" (hosts of the L-rd) (Ex. 12:17) that was given to the Jews when they left Egypt. Dispute between Talmud Bavli (Tr. Shavuout 35b) and Yerushalmi and Tractate Sofrim (Sofrim beg. Perek 4, Yerushalmi Megillah Perek 1, near end of Hal.9) in the viewpoint of R' Yose that "Tzivos" is not one of G-d's names that must not be erased - according to Halacha and Midrash. (5750)
1. When the Israelites left Egypt, we find that they were given a new appellation - “Tzvios” as it states in our Parsha (Ex. 12:17):
· “for on this very day I brought out your hosts/Tzivoseichem from the land of Egypt”
· “for on this very day all the hosts/Tzivos went out from the land of Egypt” (Ex 12:41)
· “And it was on this very day G-d took out Bnei Yisroel all the hosts/Tzivos from the land of Egypt according to their hosts/Tzivoseihem
· (And it is also mentioned in the previous Parsha: “And I will take out My hosts/Tzivossi, My people Bnei Yisroel from the land of Egypt”)
And as it is known that ay the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim, the Jewish people were made a nation and separate people,
As it states: “to come and take for Himself, a nation from within a nation”’
It is reasonable to say that the reason for this appellation (Tzivos) is because it emphasizes
(not just the specific quality of Bnei Yisroel, but)
a primary aspect in the essence of Am Yisroel.
2. One can explain this by prefacing an explanation of the word “hosts” (Tzivaos) which is one of the names of G-d (and by explaining) the debate in the matter.
· For the Tanna Kamma in the Beraita maintains that “Tzivaos” is one of the names (of G-d) that may not be erased (i.e it must be treated with reverence and not erased or defaced).
· However R’ Yose maintains that “Tzivaos” may be entirely erased for the name Tzivaos only refers to Bnei Yisroel as it states: “And I will take out My hosts/Tzivossi, My people Bnei Yisroel from the land of Egypt”
This debate is also found in tractate Sofrim. There is wording is:
“R’ Yose says that “Tzivaos” is secular”. And conjunction to this it states: “R’ Shimon ben Elazar says of Beit Aguda there were scribes in Yerushalayim that treated it as secular as it states: “they will appoint army commanders/sarei tziva’ot at the head of the people”.
And in Avot d’Rebbe Natan the words of R’ Yose himself are noted:
“R’ Yose says that we differ on “Tzivaos” (and maintain that it is secular) as it states: “they will appoint army commanders/sarei tziva’ot at the head of the people”.
It is mentioned similarly in the Talmud Yerushalmi:
“We learned: R’ Yose says of Beit Chagira there were professional scribes in Yerushalayim that would erase “Tzivaos” for it is a secular word in another place (i.e. verse as it states): “they will appoint army commanders/sarei tziva’ot at the head of the people”.
One must understand the reason for the differences in the words of R’ Yose:
· For in our Talmud (Bavli), he cites a proof for his opinion
(that “Tzivaos” is not one of the names (of G-d) that may not be erased)
from that which is it is an appellation of Bnei Yisroel as it states: “And I will take out My hosts/Tzivossi” etc.
· And in Tractate Sofrim and Avot d’Rebbe Natan (and also in Talmud Yerushalmi) he cites as proof the verse: “they will appoint army commanders/sarei tziva’ot at the head of the people”
We must also understand what is written in the Talmud that: “the name Tzivaos only refers to the name such as Yisroel” – for even if Tzivaos refers to the Heavenly hosts (e.g. Angels etc.) it is not a holy name of G-d?
3. It therefore appears that Talmud Bavli and tractate Sofrim (and the Talmud Yerushalmi) differ in the view of R’ Yose regarding the name “ Tzivaos “
· In tractate Sofrim the wording is: “R’ Yose says that “Tzivaos” is secular”.
In other words according to R’ Yose’s opinion it is not a name of G-d at all. And when it states: “The L-rd of Hosts” etc., the word “tziva’ot” is not an appellation of G-d but it is similar to what is stated (elsewhere): “The L-rd , G-d of the hosts”.
· Whereas in Talmud Bavli where the wording is: “Tzivaos may be entirely erased” (but not the words: “secular/chol). For (they hold that) R’ Yose‘s opinion is not that “Tzivaos” is completely secular, but rather that it does not possess the holiness necessary to be considered a name that cannot be erased. Nevertheless, it is an appellation of G-d like: “the Great, the Powerful etc. Gracious and Merciful etc.” which are termed in the Beraita: “Names that may be erased”. In other words, they are names of G-d but they do not possess holiness and they may be erased.
And this is also the reason for the difference of the verses that are cited in our Talmud and tractate Sofrim (and the Talmud Yerushalmi):
· In tractate Sofrim (and the Talmud Yerushalmi) the intent is to prove that it is secular. Therefore it cites a verse where the appellation “Tzivaos” does not refer to G-d at all, but is completely secular: “they will appoint army commanders/sarei tziva’ot at the head of the people”.
· Whereas in our Talmud (Bavli), the intent of R’ Yose is to prove that even though it is a moniker (kinui) of G-d, nevertheless it is not one of the holy names (of G-d) that may not be erased, because “the name Tzivaos only refers to the name such as Yisroel” (shelo nikra Tzivaos ela al sheim Yisroel).
The intent therefore is
not (as in the broader sense) that Tzivaos refers only to the name Yisroel” and not to G-d, for then it should have said “the name Tzivaos is only Yisroel” (shelo nikra’u Tzivaos ela Yisroel) , but rather:
to signify that the reason G-d is called with the name Tzivaos is because it is “al sheim Yisroel” – that they are called “Tzivaos”. Therefore G-d is also called with this name.
And for this reason, the boundary and law of ‘Names that must be erased’ does not apply to it. Because those (other) names refer to G-d by their very nature (m’tzad atzmom). In other words, these names are fundamentally names of G-d,
(However, since these names have a secular connotation, they are also borrowed for mundane secular use. (like ‘and the mighty/eilei of the land he took away’. And also the word “Elokim” which is used to refer to judges etc.). And since they are borrowed for secular purposes, they are not (when they are being used that way) in the category of a name of G-d).
whereas the name Tzivaos, by its nature, is not an appellation of G-d, but rather an appellation of Bnei Yisroel. But it is also used as an appellation for G-d.
4. One must examine the proof that is cited in tractate Sofrim (and the Talmud Yerushalmi) from the verse: “they will appoint army commanders/sarei tziva’ot at the head of the people”, for even the names “Eil” and “Elokim” and others are used as secular names elsewhere, as aforementioned.
(like: ‘and the mighty/eilei of the land he took away’, ‘Thy righteousness is like the mighty mountains(harerei eil)’, ‘Do not curse judges(elokim)’).
Why, therefore, is the proof that since the name Tzivaos is used secularly elsewhere, it is a reason that when it is applied to G-d it may be erased and is not considered a holy name?
Therefore, it appears that according all opinions, these verses
(that are cited as a proof for R’ Yose ‘s view)
are not fundamental to his opinion. Rather, they are cited in order to explain something additional, as will be explained.
The foundation of R’ Yose‘s opinion that Tzivaos is not one of the holy names is because we do not find this name in the Torah.
As it states in that Talmud that the appellation “Tzivaos” referring to G-d - “The G-d of Hosts” etc. is first found in the words of the Prophets. And in the words of the Sages: “From the day that G-d created His world, there was no person that called G-d Tzivaos until Chana came and called Him Tzivaos”
Thus, R’ Yose‘s opinion is that (to be considered) a name of G-d, it must appear in the Torah, which is the actual (mamosh) word of G-d.
For although the words of the Prophets are the word of G-d (as it states): ”The spirit of the L-rd spoke by me, and His word was upon my tongue”, nevertheless since the nature of prophecy is that “G-d causes man to prophesize “ meaning that G-d’s word is enclothed in the mind, understanding and approach of the prophet (as has been discussed at length elsewhere) . And as Tanya states: “just as it is impossible for the mind of any creature to comprehend its Creator, so is it impossible for it to comprehend His attributes” (for they are His holy names).
Therefore, R’ Yose holds that it is inconceivable that a name of G-d (i.e. an essential appellation referring to G-d) would be revealed through a prophet. Therefore he explains “Elokei Tzva’ot” as “The L-rd of the hosts” which is not an appellation of G-d but is entirely secular.
(The opinion of the Tanna Kamma - and so too is the Halacha – is that “Tzivaos” is one of the names (of G-d) that may not be erased. For since the words of the Prophets are truly (mamosh) the word of G-d which is enclothed in the prophet, therefore this name possesses a holiness that may not be erased).
The verse: “they will appoint army commanders/sarei tziva’ot “etc. that is cited in in tractate Sofrim is to teach the concept and the law, that, “that which they treated the name Tzivaos as secular” meant truly secular (not like the names that can be erased). Therefore he cites a verse where the word Tzivaos is truly secular.
(And when R’ Yose writes “as it states/Shene’mar”
(in his statement: “R’ Yose says that we differ on “Tzivaos” as it states: etc.) –
it means “like that which is spoken about/k’oto Shene’mar” i.e. “they treated the name Tzivaos as secular like which is spoken about (i.e. the following) “they will appoint army commanders/sarei tziva’ot etc.” which is completely secular).
(Accordingly, the wording in tractate Sofrim,
where there is no mention, in the words of R’ Yose, of any verse – and that it just states there that “Tzivaos” is secular) it
fits nicely with the foundation of R’ Yose‘s opinion that “Tzivaos” is secular because it does not appear in the Torah.
(and the verse is only mentioned in the words of R’ Shimon ben Elazar as a follow up to the subject that “they treated it as secular”).
5. According to the view of Talmud Bavli that R’ Yose says:
‘Tzivaos’ may be entirely erased for the name Tzivaos only refers to Bnei Yisroel” (for it is an appellation of G-d but it is allowed to erase it),
one could say:
The Talmud Bavli holds that, according to R’ Yose, even though it is possible for a name of G-d to be revealed by a prophet,
(since the words of the prophet are the word of G-d) ,
nevertheless, since the prophecy is G-d’s word that is enclothed in the prophet ‘s mind etc. (as aforementioned), the name does not possess, the same sanctity as the names that were delineated in the Torah.
In other words:
Just as the prophecy is G-d’s word that is enclothed in a mortal (ben adam/creation), so too the name of G-d which is revealed through the prophet is bounded by this. It is not an essential appellation of G-d, on its own, but rather an appellation of G-d which has, as it were, a connection with the boundaries of creation (therefore it may be erased).
And this is also the meaning of the explanation of: “(G-d is only called with the name Tzivaos because it refers to ( “al sheim) Yisroel”
And one could say, that with this (wording), it is also alluded, that (the name) follows the manner that G-d is enclothed in the mind of the prophet (Yisroel).
6. One could add an explanation in this, according to Derash (homiletical), as it is written in the Midrash regarding the name “Tzivaos”:
“G-d said to Moshe . . I am called according to My actions etc. When I conduct war with the evildoers, I am called Tzivaos”.
Even though according to this Midrash, all the names of G-d follow His actions (My actions)
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