Vol 33.05 - Chag HaShavuot 2 Spanish French Audio Video
(5749) Our forefathers entered the covenant with circumcision, immersion, and hartzaat dam korban (Tal. Kerisus 9a). According to R' Yose B"R Yehudah (Mechilta Yitro 19:10) on the day of Matan Torah "all the activities were performed". How were Bnei Yisroel allowed to immerse for the sake of conversion on the sixth of Sivan (which was Shabbat - Tal. Shab 86b)? since We do not immerse a Ger perform conversion on Shabbat. Debate on the nature of accepting Mitzvot by a Ger. And when was this acceptance at the conversion by Matan Torah.
1. Regarding the establishing of the covenant (כריתת הברית) at the time of Matan Torah, it states in the Talmud that our ancestors:
“Entered the covenant only through circumcision and immersion in a Mikvah and the sprinkling of blood on the altar (Korban)”.
“And he sent the young men of Bnei Yisroel . . And Moshe took the blood etc."
were said at the end of Parshat Mishpatim.
The Tannaim disagree in the Mechilta regarding the time when this Parsha was said:
(and this is also cited in the Talmud in Tractate Shabbat, and so too Rashi writes in his commentary on the Torah).
(In Ramban’s commentary on the Torah, he explains the words of R’ Yose bar R’ Yehuda,
"On that day all the deeds were performed" – "this means, on the day after Matan Torah",
In other words, on the seventh of Sivan.
(This is according to his view (and so concur other commentators) that the Parshiot (of Yitro and Mishpatim) were said in order, chronologically, and the Laws of Parshat Mishpatim were said on the day of Matan Torah, after the Ten Commandments. On that day, Yisroel said “All the words that the L-rd has spoken we will do”. On the following day (on the seventh of Sivan):
“(Moshe) arose early in the morning and built an altar and they offered up . . and he took the Book of the Covenant. . and they said "All that the L-rd spoke we will do and we will hear" . . and Moshe took the blood and sprinkled (it) on the people etc.”)
(and it is not mentioned in all the following words of the Mechilta there – that it is the day after Matan Torah)).
Seemingly this view, that the immersion of Bnei Yisroel (and the sprinkling of blood) was "on the same day" of Matan Torah requires explanation –
How were Yisroel permitted to immerse for the sake of conversion on this day?
For the Sages state (in Tractate Shabbat)
"Everyone agrees that on Shabbat the Torah was given to Yisroel", and it is a decisive Halacha in Rambam and Shulchan Aruch that one does not immerse a convert on Shabbat.
(and they were already commanded regarding Shabbat at Marah or at Alush)?
(We find in the commentators of the Mechilta that they question (on the words of R’ Yose bar R’ Yehuda) how were they allowed to (build an altar and) sacrifice Korbanot on Shabbat?
They answer that R’ Yose bar R’ Yehuda maintains that the Korbanot were Tamid Korbanot (עולות תמיד) and that the Tamid offering defers Shabbat (דוחה שבת). However, one must examine regarding (building an altar, and) the immersion of Bnei Yisroel (for the purpose of conversion). For this is not an aspect of a communal Korban).
Plainly, one could say that R’ Yose bar R’ Yehuda (in the Mechilta) follows the Mechilta’s view (in another place) that the sixth of Sivan occurred on Friday,
(and this is also expressly stated in Pirkei d’Rebbe Eliezer, that Matan Torah was on Friday)
and not like the view of the Talmud (that “everyone agrees that the Torah was given on Shabbat”).
However, in the Midrash Lekach Tov it explicitly states,
“On Shabbat they received the Ten Commandments. . And Moshe rose up early in the morning and built an altar, etc. For Yisroel did not receive the Torah except by immersion and sprinkling. . and all these deeds were performed on that very day”.
Thus, it expressly states that “all these deeds” were performed on Shabbat.
2. Seemingly, one could answer, that the prohibition of immersing a convert on Shabbat is only a Shvut d’Rabbanan.
(שבות דרבנן - categories of activity that the Rabbis banned to guard Shabbat)
For two reasons were stated in the prohibition of immersion for the purpose of conversion on Shabbat:
1. In the Talmud it states that it is because of Tikkunei Gavra (תקוני גברא - we do not improve the state of a person on Shabbat”).
2. Rambam writes that,
“Since (the immersion of convert) requires Beit Din, we do not immerse him on Shabbat”
Both these two reasons (Tikkunei Gavra and the prohibition of judging on Shabbat) are prohibitions of Shvut d’Rabbanan.
However, there is still difficulty in the matter, for it is not logical to say that the entry of Yisroel into the covenant should be through (a contrary) deed that has an appurtenance of prohibition, whatever it may be (even a prohibition of Shvut). For this is like a thing and its opposite.
(Although it is speaking of a prohibition that is only a Gezeirat d’Rabbanan (a Rabbinical decree) - nevertheless, the Sages state, "Avraham Avinu kept the entire Torah... Even Eruv Tavshilin".
("which is only an enactment of the Rabbis (“Takkanat Sofrim”) that would be enacted in the future”)
As Rashi writes in his commentary on Torah that “Avraham was careful even in Rabbinic prohibitions concerning Shabbat (“Shvut l’Shabbat”). From this it is understood that the very act of Shvut (even before this decree, before Matan Torah) has a derogatory element (an appurtenance of prohibition?).
It is more difficult according to what is written in the commentators, that according to the view that circumcision on Shabbat is forbidden due to the forbidden Shabbat labor (Malacha) of "repairing a vessel" (תיקון כלי)
(literally “hitting with a hammer”- Any act of perfecting an object or rendering it fit for use),
since though circumcision "the child becomes a complete Yisroel" - immersion on Shabbat is also Biblically forbidden.
According to this, we find that the Immersion of Bnei Yisroel then for the sake of conversion contains a Biblical Malacha.
3. One can explain this, by prefacing the precise wording of the Sages, that entering into the covenant is "through circumcision and immersion and the sprinkling of blood".
For seemingly why did they not include the acceptance of Mitzvot (קבלת מצוות), which is a primary aspect in conversion.
On the contrary, this is the essence of conversion. As it is ruled in Shulchan Aruch that if there was lacking the acceptance of Mitzvot before three judges (and during the day) it impedes (מעכבת) conversion.
(which is not so regarding immersion, which according to many opinions, does not impede conversion if it was not before three).
However, the explanation for this is simple:
Acceptance of Mitzvot is not (solely) one of the things that enter a person into the covenant, rather it is (a very part of) the covenant itself.
This is like the precise wording of Rambam:
"With three things Yisroel entered into the covenant. . Similarly, for (all) future generations, when a gentile desires to enter into the covenant, take shelter under the wings of the Divine presence, and accept the yoke of the Torah, he must undergo circumcision, immersion, and the offering of a sacrifice” must undergo circumcision, immersion, and must bring a sacrifice”
Thus, “accepting the yoke of Torah” is a part of the desire “to enter into the covenant”
From this it is understood simply why the acceptance of Mitzvot is not listed among the conditions of conversion. For when there is no acceptance of Mitzvot, it is not (merely) a deficiency in the conditions of conversion. Rather, there is no conversion here.
Only after he desires
“to enter into the covenant and to take shelter under the wings of the Divine presence, and accept the yoke of the Torah”
does conversion apply with circumcision and immersion. Whereas, if he did not precede the acceptance of the yoke of Torah and Mitzvot, there is no act of conversion here.
According to this, one could say that that the conversion of Bnei Yisroel at the time of Matan Torah was different from the conversion after Matan Torah:
(For although they said,
“All the words that the L-rd has spoken we will do . .we will do and we will hear"
this statement was not considered an act of accepting Mitzvot regarding the Mitzvot that are after Matan Torah, as will be explained in Par. 5)
(The Sages’ statement that our ancestors "did not enter into the covenant except by circumcision and immersion and sprinkling of blood", does not mean that immediately after doing these three things, they entered into the covenant. Rather, that in order to enter the covenant they required these three things.
(And without them, their acceptance of Mitzvot would not help them to enter into the covenant).
Therefore, we learn from this, for generations that, "they shall not enter into the covenant except by circumcision and immersion and the sprinkling of blood". However, the conversion at that time, and the actual entry into the covenant was effected at Matan Torah, itself).
This is also the reason why there was no prohibition, at that time, to immerse on Shabbat for the sake of conversion.
For only regarding conversion after Matan Torah., when the immersion completes the conversion, and through it one actually enters into the covenant, was it prohibited because of "Tikkunei Gavra".
Which was not so regarding the immersion of Yisroel before Matan Torah, where the conversion was not completed through it. Therefore, there was no reason to prohibit this immersion on Shabbat because of "Tikkunei Gavra".
Even Rambam’s reason (mentioned above Par 2) - that one does not immerse a convert on Shabbat because "the matter requires Beit Din" – is no applicable regarding the conversion of Bnei Yisroel at Matan Torah.
For only in the conversion after Matan Torah, when the circumcision and immersion, etc. come after the acceptance of Mitzvot, and they effect the conversion and complete it, is it in the scope of a “judgment” (משפט) that requires Beit Din.
Whereas in the conversion of Bnei Yisroel at Matan Torah, since, through the immersion (And the sprinkling of blood), conversion has not yet taken place, immersion (and blood sprinkling) is not in the scope of a " judgment " that that requires Beit Din.
4. The explanation of the matter is:
In the explanation of the verse,
"(Moshe) told the people all the words of the L-rd and all the ordinances, and all the people answered in unison and said, "All the words that the L-rd has spoken we will do",
Rashi writes (according to the Mechilta that it refers to the command of separation and setting a boundary (פרישה והגבלה), the seven commandments that Bnei Noach were commanded to observe, the Mitzvot that were given at Marah (Shabbat, honoring one’s father and mother, the red heifer and laws of jurisprudence).
Similarly, on the verse,
"And he took the Book of the Covenant and read it within the hearing of the people, and they said, "All that the L-rd spoke we will do and we will hear”".
Rashi writes that, “the Book of the Covenant” is “from “In the beginning” (Gen 1:1) until the giving of the Torah, and the commandments that they were commanded in Marah”.
The acceptance of the seven Noachide commandments is certainly not in the same realm of Yisroel’s acceptance of the commandments (the 613 Mitzvot). Even regarding the acceptance of the commandments that they were commanded at Marah, one must examine whether they are sufficient to consider them acceptance of Mitzvot.
For although one does not have to inform a convert all of the 613 Mitzvot.
(and it is sufficient it to inform him of the “fundamentals of the faith, i.e., the unity of G-d and the prohibition of idol worship . . some of the easy Mitzvot and some of the more severe Mitzvot”) –
Nevertheless, he must accept all the Mitzvot of the Torah. For if he accepts the entire Torah minus one thing, he is not a convert. If so, even at Marah, in the acceptance of Mitzvot that they were commanded at Marah, there was no acceptance of the entire Torah here. This requires further examination.
It appears to say that even according to the simple meaning of the section of the Talmud, that the stating of “We will do and we will hear” was indeed acceptance of the entire Torah,
(That they accepted it before they heard it, the prefacing of doing to hearing (נעשה לנשמע)) - it is impossible to consider this statement that was before Matan Torah, as a scope of acceptance of Mitzvot (that is required for conversion).
To preface, the reason for the order of accepting converts, for all generations, that one needs,
“To inform him of some of the easy Mitzvot and some of the more severe Mitzvot. .and to inform him of the punishment given for (transgressing) the Mitzvot” -
The necessity of this notice is simply, (also) because if we do not inform him of some of the strict Mitzvot, and also the punishment of Mitzvot, there is a deficiency in his acceptance of his Mitzvot.
(For it is possible that when he learns of these severe Mitzvot or their punishment, he will retract etc.)
Similarly, one could say in our case, as long as the Torah was not given at Sinai by the Al-mighty, it was impossible for there to be an acceptance of Mitzvot after Matan Torah.
Since the Mitzvot before this time are not within the scope of the Mitzvot after Matan Torah. And as is understood, the severity of the Mitzvot that the Patriarchs fulfilled on their own, is not similar to the severity of the Mitzvot, after they were commanded to do so.
So too, the severity of the commands that Yisroel were commanded to perform by Moshe before Matan Torah, is entirely not comparable to the severity of the commands after Matan Torah, for then, they heard the Ten Commandments from the Al-mighty.
(This is like the words of Rambam that,
“Everything that we distance from, or do today - we do not do so, except at the command of G-d through Moshe Rabbeinu, peace be upon him. . at Sinai” –
And not because,
“G-d said this to the prophets that were before him”
For even though, they also were commands by G-d to the prophets, nevertheless, it is entirely not comparable to G-d's commandments at Sinai).
Therefore, the entire aspect of accepting Mitzvot before hearing the Ten Commandments from the Al-mighty cannot be regarded as "acceptance of Mitzvot" after Matan Torah. For before there was the force (התוקף) of Torah and Mitzvot after Matan Torah (which are “from the Al-mighty”) in the world, it is not applicable that there be, on this, a (true) acceptance. For it is something that has not come into being (דבר שלא בא לעולם) (and they have no comprehension of the type of commandments, such as this).
(Although, the informing of the (reward of the) Mitzvot and their punishment does not impede (מעכבת) conversion –
one must differentiate between:
(Especially since that in this, one could say that since he is coming to convert, we rely that he has researched and investigated and knows for himself the nature of the Mitzvot he will be obligated in, when he converts).
According to this, one could add an explanation in the view of the commentators (above Par. 1) that this entire section (at the conclusion of Parshat Mishpatim) was said after Matan Torah. For seemingly, the appropriate time for the acceptance of Mitzvot is before the giving of the Torah (for when they agree to accept upon themselves the yoke of Mitzvot, then the Torah will be given to them)?
According to the above, it is understood, that on the contrary, this is the very reason (היא הנותנת)
Since the context of the Parsha is making a covenant for the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvot, they maintain that this aspect is possible only after the Matan Torah and the hearing of the Ten Commandments from the Al-mighty. Whereas, before this, it is not possible for there to be a covenant regarding Torah and Mitzvot, which are in the realm of something that never came into being.
(Since all that they knew and were commanded before Matan Torah, is entirely not at all, the same scope of the Mitzvot after Matan Torah).
5. Therefore, it is logical to say, that the main aspect of acceptance of Mitzvot (by which Yisroel entered into the covenant) was at the time of the hearing of the Ten Commandments, when G-d made known the unity of G-d and the prohibition of idol worship – “I am the L-rd .. You shall not have” (with their punishment - "I . . am a zealous G-d”) and the prohibition of Shabbat and other severe Mitzvot (which incur the death penalty if transgressed), and also of the leniencies.
According to this, the question of Tosafot on the statement of the Sages is resolved simply.
The Sages state:
“overturned the mountain on them like a tub”
(Therefore, “From here there is a substantial caveat to the obligation to fulfill the Torah”. For Yisroel has an answer to why they do not fulfill the Torah, since they “coerced to accept it” (שקבלוה באונס)
Tosafot askes: yet they “already prefaced we will do to we will hear”
However, according to the aforementioned, one could say that the statement of “we will do and to we will hear” does not have the law (תורת) of "acceptance of Mitzvot", and the acceptance of the Mitzvot by Yisroel was at the time of the Ten Commandments, and then it was in a way of, “overturning the mountain on them like a tub".
This is also the explanation of the aforementioned view of R’ Yose bar R’ Yehuda, that their immersion for the sake of conversion was on the day of Shabbat. For in this act of immersion of Bnei Yisroel, there was no application of entering into the covenant, since there still was no acceptance of Mitzvot. The actual entry into the covenant and the application of conversion was effected through G-d’s deed (in stating the Ten Commandments, as aforementioned). For then there was the acceptance of Torah and Mitzvot by Yisroel.
6. One could add a source to the aspect that has been said (namely, that the conversion at Matan Torah only took place at the time of the Ten Commandments)
In the words of the Midrash that
“When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He decreed: ‘The heavens are the heavens of the L-rd; and the earth He hath given to the children of men’. However, when He decided to give the Torah, He abrogated the first decree and declared:
“Let the lower worlds (Tachtonim) ascend to the upper worlds (Elyonim) and the upper worlds descend to the lower worlds, and I will be the first (to do so), as it is said: And the L-rd came down upon Sinai (Ex. 19:20)”
From the words of the Midrash it is understood that although we find the revelation of G-d to the Tzaddikim and the prophets before Matan Torah, nevertheless, since it was before the nullification of the "first decree”, it was considered that still the “Elyonim” ( the Shechinah) not descend below.
As is explained in many places, before Matan Torah the revelation of G-d was not complete, and only at Matan Torah, was there the revelation of, "I am the L-rd, your G-d ". Therefore, only then was there the nullification of the decree that, “the upper worlds not descend to the lower worlds”.
From this it is also understood with regard to Moshe Rabbeinu himself. For although G-d revealed Himself to Moshe at the Burning Bush and at other times, nevertheless, this is entirely not in the same realm of “revelation of G-d” as it was when G-d descended on Mount Sinai and said the Ten Commandments.
And in this one could explain that Matan Torah was considered as a conversion of the Jewish people. For the aspect of conversion Is that a convert becomes a new being (מציאות חדשה), like a child who is born (כקטן שנולד דמי).
Seemingly, already at the Exodus from Egypt it states that G-d,
“took for himself a nation from within a nation”
This is even more difficult according to the Rishonim who maintain that the Patriarchs had already gone out of the scope of Bnei Noach and had the law of a Yisroel. Therefore, one cannot say that at Matan Torah there was the conversion of the Jewish people.
However, according to the above, it is explained that although they were already connected (קשורים) to G-d before Matan Torah, nevertheless the manner in which G-d revealed himself to all of Yisroel during Matan Torah effected within them a complete renewal, until they really became a new being, like a child who was just born.
This is also the difference between the Mitzvot before Matan Torah versus the Torah and Mitzvot that were given to us at Sinai. For this revelation of G-d was “given” (ניתנה) in Torah and Mitzvot, in such a manner as this – that through a Yisroel studying Torah and fulfilling Mitzvot, he connects and attaches himself with the Essence of G-d. In the words of the Sages, through studying the Torah "You are taking Me" (אותי אתם לוקחים).
M’Sichas Yom Beis of Shavuot and Shabbat Parshat Naso 5739
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