[b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sun Nov 18 01:28:43 EST 2007


I don't really know what the difference between "simple" and "literal" is, 
but fine, Rashi says "simple". That means that it is a possible explanation, 
certainly not "beyond belief", as you wrote.

And the other commentators I mentioned put the "slave" interpretation first.

Now the whole purpose of my mentioning it in the whole place was to explain 
where Alter was coming from, and that such an interpretation does exist. As 
I wrote, I don't agree with it.

As far as "nephesh" being in the singular, it is very common for intangible 
nouns to be stated in the singular even when the plural is meant.

Yigal Levin


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2007 6:32 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?


>I don't have all the originals to read, but Rashi does not say what
> you said he says, he says converts, but the SIMPLE explanation is
> avadim - he doesn't say "Literal".  Because obviously, Nefesh is not
> slave in the literal meaning.
>
> I asked why Nefesh is singular because it was a real question.
>
> You haven't proposed an answer, the answer I propose is that it is
> singular because they were all united in something, ie; belief in G-d
>
> Shoshanna
>
>
>
> Shoshanna,
>
> I don't care what the Stone Chumash says. Read the commentators 
> themselves,
> in the original. Saadiah actually ONLY mentions slaves. All of the others
> mention both posibilities. Rashi first says "converts" and then says "but
> literally it means slaves". Radak and Ibn Ezra first explain that it means
> slaves and then say that "there are those" who say that it means people 
> who
> they had "converted".
>
> Also, what do you mean by "note- "servants" not "slaves" "? Do you mean 
> that
> the Stone Chumash uses "servants"? So what? The commentators write
> "'avadim".
>
> Besides which, I started with stating that I did NOT agree with the 
> "slave"
> interpretation - I only cited the commentators because you wrote that "It 
> is
> beyond belief that this could be construed as slaves". It's obviously not
> "beyond belief".
>
> I also wrote that I agreed that Abraham and Sarah did not literally 
> "create"
> souls - which is why these people must have had a deeper connection with
> them.
>
> The fact that "nephesh" is in the singular here does not prove anything.
>
> Yigal Levin
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
> To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2007 4:07 AM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?
>
>
>> Stone Chumash:
>>
>> "The souls refer to those whom they had converted to faith in Hashem,
>> for Abraham  converted the men and Sarah converted the women.
>> According to the SIMPLE meaning, however, it refers to the servants
>> they had acquired (Rashi) [note- "servants" not "slaves" -
>> Shoshanna], WHO HAD AGREED UNANIMOUSLY TO ACCOMPANY AVRAHAM ON HIS
>> MISSION  (Radak)"
>>
>> See, Yigaal, you don't tell us the whole story.
>>
>> Moreover, HOW in the world would a human being (Avraham and Sarah) be
>> able to CREATE ("asher asu" - ie' Avraham and Sarah, plural) a
>> Nefesh, ie; a spiritual aspect of a person????  Because the Torah
>> specifically states that they made a SPIRITUAL being, this must mean
>> spiritual ELEVATION of a human being, ie; conversion to knowledge and
>> worship of G-d.
>>
>> Also, why is Nefesh singular?
>>
>> Shoshanna
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Actually, Shoshanna, Saadiah Gaon, Rashi, Ibn Ezra and Radak all 
>> interpret
>> it as meaning slaves, either before or after metioning that they could
>> also
>> be people who they had "converted".
>>
>> Yigal Levin
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
>> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
>> Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2007 1:03 AM
>> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?
>>
>>
>>> It is the consensus (unanimous as far as I know) among Chazal, that
>>> these refer to the people who he "converted" to the knowledge of G-d.
>>> It is beyond belief that this could be construed as slaves.
>>>
>>> Shoshanna
>>>
>>>
>>>>Genesis 12: 5 tells us that certain people came with  Abraham and Lot
>>>>from
>>>>Harran to Canaan, who almost certainly were not members of  the
>>>>immediate family
>>>>of Abraham or Lot:  "the souls that they had gotten in Haran".  Are 
>>>>these
>>>>people "slaves", who had been  "bought" by Abraham and Lot in Harran?
>>>>Or,
>>>>rather, are these people distant relatives of Abraham's father,
>>>>whose  families were
>>>>the social equals of Abraham's father's family, and who were on a  long
>>>>caravan trip out to Mesopotamia with Abraham's father's family as
>>>>security  guards?
>>>>Here is the JPS1917 translation of Genesis 12:  5:
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