[Avodah] Keri'ah and berikha

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Thu Feb 7 15:15:46 PST 2013

On Tue, Feb 05, 2013 at 08:20:03PM +0000, Arie Folger wrote:
: The Midrash Rabba Bereishit 39:12 includes a discussion about bowing...
:> Rabbi Chiya Rabba her'a kheri'ah lifnei Rebbi venitrape; uvar Sissi her'a
:> verikha lifnei Rebbi venifsach velo nitrape.

: Question: what was the likely nature of their injuries? Why was R' Sissi's
: injury worse?

1- I had always imaging a slipped disk. Chazanim have a hard time getting
up from keri'ah without using their hands -- and that's with people on
either side to grab his arms and help. If R' Chiya Ruba tried doing so
without help, and we do not know how old he was, it seems quite likely
he would injure his back by trying to do so.

"Venifsach" -- a gap was visible from the outside.

I also think the strain on the spine is likely an aggadic metaphor for
something related to Shemoneh Esrei. After all, one of the associations
for the 18 berakhos are the 18 vertrebrae. (I think that should be "is",
since it's an association, but it didn't feel right. RnTK is invited to
discuss on Areivim.)

2- I do not know why [R Levi] Bar Sissi's injuries were worse. He was
a classmate of R' Shim'on (Rebbe's son; AZ 19a), meaning a generation
younger than Rebbe. R' Chiyya Ruba, a compiler of the Tosefta (and the
older of the two compilers - the other, R Oshiah was his talmid), would
have to be a half-generation older. Maybe it was at two different times.
Or maybe RLBS was simply in worse shape.

But as this is aggadita, the question is what the two amoraim are
supposed to be representing. Maybe RLBS's youth was the whole point,
that there is a nisqatnu hadoros element to the nimshal.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             If you're going through hell
micha at aishdas.org        keep going.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Winston Churchill
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