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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Non-literal interpretation of aggada

The gemara at the end of berachos (54b) has a bizarre story about Og. The gemara describes how Og had planned to destroy Israel. He planned to uproot a mountain three miles in size, throw it upon them and kill them. The gemara then goes on to describe how Moshe killed Og. I am not the one who calls this wild. The Maharsha comments on this story "זר הוא" that the story is bizarre. The Maharsha then proceeds to quote a Rashba who interpreted the story allegorically and the Maharsha himself offers a differetn allegorical interpretation.

We see from here that we not every statement of Chazal needs to be taken literally.

6 Comments:

At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With respect, I don't think we need to hide behind the coat tails of the Maharsha and Rashba to take a tale of a giant uprooting a three mile mountain as an allegory.

We see from the story itself that not every statement of Chazal needs to be taken literally. People that would require a Maharsha to tell them this are setting their brain to "low".

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger bluke said...

Well actually the Mishna Berura does take this story literally

 
At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And therefore? It still didn't happen literally, and it certainly didn't happen literally and not happen literally.

 
At 7:40 PM, Anonymous daat y said...

sorces are always good.
keep up the good jewish work.

 
At 10:59 PM, Blogger bluke said...

The Biur Halacha can be found inסימן רי"ח סעיף א where he comments how Og was descended from Malachim and was therefore endowed with great powers etc. It is clear that he accepts the story literally as told in the gemara.

 
At 10:24 PM, Blogger over bar-mitzvah said...

The anti-slifkinites believe everything in the gemara happened on some level and its apikorses to say otherwise.

 

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