13 August 2008

Day Two of 2008 YCT Yemei Iyun in Bible & Jewish Thought

Rav Carmy speakingOn 30 June, I attended day two of YCT's sixth annual Yemei Iyun in Bible & Jewish Thought (the previous day, I attended day one). Just like the previous day, the sessions were on the Bible. I started off with Rabbi Shalom Carmy's "War in Sefer Devarim". I then heard Rabbi Yitzchak Blau speak on "Jewish Thought Perspectives on the Concept of Tumah".
After lunch, I heard Yehuda Kraut speak on "Deciphering the Shema: Staircase Parallelism in Devarim 6:4", which was really neat and the most academic session for me of not only the day, but of the three days. After going through four different standard syntax solutions for deciphering
Deuteronomy 6:4, he then explored four imaginative syntax solutions from scholars, then presented his understanding of it being an AB//AC=ABC, thus resulting in Hashem Elokeinu Ehad for the latter half of the verse. Apparently, "staircase parallelism figures prominently in Ugaritic literature" and there are several other instances in the Bible of this feature.Rabbi Klapper speaking
Then Rabbi David Fohrman spoke on "Why Couldn't Moshe Enter the Land? The View from Sefer Devarim", although apparently he had submitted two different topics and both got squished into one time slot, so he spoke about the view from Sefer Bamidbar. It was the most entertaining presentation of the day for me, accompanied not only by a powerpoint presentation, but a really cool pointing out that in every instance in which there is a water crisis for the Jews, there is an anagram of Miriam's name (thus the Rabbis' having such an idea as Miriam's Well). He also had a very close and good reading of the story of Moshe striking the rock, etc.
The last session of the day Rabbi Aryeh Klapper on "Beyond Good and Evil: A Philosophical Reclamation of the Concept of Holiness" started off with the problematic of the notion of sexual morality being reduced to interpersonal and turn to ethics, and that there is no language of value involved in the discussion. It was yet again another interesting class.

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