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'The Sword and the Book': A Covert Midrash of the Al-Tikre Type? / 'הסיף והספר' — דרשה עלומה מסוג 'אל תקרי'?

משה צפור and Moshe A. Zipor
Tarbiẕ / תרביץ
כרך נה‎, חוברת א‎ (תשרי-כסלו תשמ"ו), pp. 137-139
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23597304
Page Count: 3
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'The Sword and the Book': A Covert Midrash of the Al-Tikre Type? / 'הסיף והספר' — דרשה עלומה מסוג 'אל תקרי'?
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Abstract

In Lev. Rabba 35, 6 (Ed. Margolioth, p. 823) we find the following midrash: 'The Sword and the Book were given from heaven... If you keep what is written in the Book, you will be delivered from the Sword, and if not, the latter will ultimately kill you.' This lesson is inferred from Gen 3,25 in an awkward manner. Translated literally, the midrash reads: 'The "way" refers to derekh ereẓ ("the way of the land"), and then comes "the Tree of Life", which refers to the Torah.' In this article it is contended that this latter passage was erroneously taken from a different Midrash (ibid, 9, 3 p. 179), which taught that derekh ereẓ (good manners) preceded the Torah by twenty six generations. Actually, the contrast between Sword and Book is derived from the contrast between 'the blade of the turning sword' and 'the Tree of Life' (which symbolizes, according to the midrash, the Torah). The interpretation of 'wrapped together' is an al-tikre — type Midrash on Gen 3,24: 'Do not read כרובים (cherubim), but rather כרוכים (wrapped together)'. This conception of the shape of the כרובים is reflected in TB Yome 54a where the Cherubs of the Temple are described as embraced (intertwisted: מעורין זה בזה) like male and female.

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