@IsaacMoses Okay, here's one: e-daf.com/index.asp?ID=1363&size=1: Rav Yitzchak said, "Rabi Yochanan said, 'Yaakov avinu did not die'". Rav Nachman said, "Did the eulogizers (?) eulogize him, and the embalmers embalm him, and the buriers (?) bury him, all for nothing?". He replied, "I'm doresh a pasuk, 'fear not my servant Jacob... your offspring...': it compares him to his offspring: just as they're alive, so is he".
@msh210 Okay, you're doresh a pasuk. That doesn't answer Rav Nachman's objection!
@msh210 Per that sicha that @ShmuelBrill found, that's just it: from their POV he was indeed dead, and needed to be embalmed and buried; that has validity according to Torah too. But on a higher level - the one represented in the verse that R. Yitzchak cites - he is indeed still alive.
@IsaacMoses The expression there is "his true being (which applies also to his bodily existence)." So primarily it seems to apply on a spiritual level, but it also is true in a certain sense bodily (the Rebbe used to also mention in this connection the story in Kesubos, where R. Yehudah Hanassi would come and recite kiddush for his family after his death).
So maybe Yaakov is like Schroedinger's cat: both alive and not-alive at the same time!
@msh210 ,Okay. According to Abarbanel, R' Yochanan is saying that the name "yaakov" (and "yisrael") never died, since it lives on in that his descendants are called by his name. In this, he is explaining why the Torah never actually says "Yaakov died" like it says by the other Avos; since we are not called by the name of Avraham or Yitzchak, but rather by Yaakov's name.
@IsaacMoses It was alive only on a level which they couldn't perceive and therefore was irrelevant to them. Same way as halachah deals with what we perceive with our senses, even if scientifically it's inaccurate (as with microscopic bugs, etc.)
@IsaacMoses R' Hirsch employs that concept to explain why only a minyan can say, e.g. in Barechu - "May H' the Blessed be blessed for ever and ever" An individual can't guarantee that people will keep blessing God "forever," but a community (represented by the minyan) can.
@msh210 , First, you might be interested to know that when Abarbanel quotes the gemara, he leaves out the word "avinu". But even still, I think you misunderstood. The idea is not that the nation lives on, but that Yaakov lives on through having his descendants called by his name.
@jake So the nation somehow embodies Yaakov? Or it's just strictly talking about the name? I think we have to be talking about the nation here, since there are plenty of individuals named Avraham and Yitzchak.
@jake That actually would make sense even if he did have the word "avinu" in his text. Calling him "Yaakov Avinu" rather than plain "Yaakov" itself implies that we're looking at him more as our forefather than as an individual.
He answers that the difference between Moshe (and Yaakov) to other Tzaddikim (about whom it says "they are found in all the worlds") is that Moshe (and Yaakov) represent "truth". Therefore (unlike other Tzaddikim), they continue affecting the physical world in a physical way.
I see where Malbim actually breaks up the verse into two parts, with "hamalach hagoel osi" joined with the previous verse - Hashem has two ways of taking care of us, supernatural and natural - and then "yevarech" begins a new thought: may Hashem bless them by providing them both kinds of care.
@jake So whoever-it-was's question, above, "what does it mean for the angel to be praying to God?", might (conjecture) be based on a mistranslation... maybe whatever y'varech es han'arim means "should benefit the kids" (or whatever it means when we say God "baruch"s someone).
@IsaacMoses Someone (I don't know who) says that Reuven's impetuousness that Yaakov criticized also led to his jumping ahead to take a portion in Transjordan (which the Midrash criticizes as "nachalah mevuheles")
I don't get another concept. It says that Levi didn't carry Yaakov's coffin, as he would later carry the Aron. Then it also says that (one of the reasons) Levi wasn't enslaved was because Paaroh felt they were "special" as they were permitted not to carry the coffin. Because they weren't enslaved, they were the spiritual leaders of Bnei Yisrael in exile. If so, they had a stronger ability to withstand the pressure by the Eigel. Therefore, they became Hashem's servants, and carried the Aron.
@jake language develops organically, over time. So malach means messenger. Then, it was often used to refer to messenger of Hashem (either angel or, according to Ralbag, prophet). And from messenger of Hashem, a power on high. And so, from there, any celestial force. And thus, Hashem. Here, by the way, is what we find in the Living Torah, from R' Aryeh Kaplan:
http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=48 "sending an angel (Saadia Gaon; Shmuel ben Chofni Gaon). Or, 'The angel who delivered me...' (Rashi; Abarbanel). Some say that the 'Angel' denotes God's providence (Shmuel ben Chofni Gaon; Ralbag; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah)." Thus, according to Shmuel ben Chofni Gaon; Ralbag; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah, it means Angel with a capital A.
@IsaacMoses right, because people were speaking Hebrew (or proto-Canaanite) for quite a while before. Sort of like how nefesh initially meant neck (see Akkadian; and see azay avar al nafsheinu hamayim hazeidonim) and then developed from there to life and life force, and from there to soul.
@ShmuelBrill They still had bechira, though. They had a leg up on everyone else, true, but they could have chosen to either (a) use their exemption from hard labor to laze around rather than studying Torah, or (b) get swept up like everyone else in the Eigel hysteria. (Knowledge of Torah doesn't necessarily prevent a person from being involved in avodah zarah, after all; see Yeravam and Menashe.) That they didn't made them worthy of getting what was destined for them all along.
@joshwaxman Interesting idea! That's somewhere on your blog, or where?
@Alex I don't recall if I've ever posted it. But nefesh as 'neck' is well known. The 'azay avar al nafshenu' and other such pesukim are obvious enough that most likely someone has said it. And perhaps we can add a support to shechita as being from the neck, as a sort of derasha from the related pesukim.
@msh210 I think some mefarshim say that he was granted the land surrounding the area of Yehudah where his cities were assigned (in other words, that it was one contiguous territory, just as an enclave within Yehudah).
I seem to lose connection a some point whenever I participate in the chat. Anyways, thanks to all!
@msh210 I was saying that the Torah feels it needs to tell us that he brought out Yosef's body, but not about the rest. Also, if I recall from by Abarbanel-browsing last year, he believes the other brothers were all left buried in Egypt; not taken out at all.
@IsaacMoses yes, actually :). Also, I like making people happy, that's why I give special attention to badge-eligible posts.
@IsaacMoses, although, even though I'm going for the electorate badge, I won't upvote a question that lacks quality. I wouldn't sacrifice my integrity or the quality of this site, useless digital baubles notwithstanding. :-D
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