Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taking a page out of R' Slifkin's book

Or not. Please let me know if he's written about this already. (Update: R. Slifkin discusses the Adnei ha-sadeh is chapter 14 - "Vegetable Men and Tree Geese" - in his Sacred Monsters book. I thanks Frumheretic for bringing this to my attention.)

משנה כלאיים- פרק ח.ד ואדני השדה, חיה; רבי יוסי אומר, מטמאות באוהל כאדם

ירושלמי (כלאיים ח,ה): 'אבני(צ"ל אדני) השדה חיה' - ייסי ערקי (יש מפרשים: שם חכם; אבל יסטרוב מתקן:ר' יוסי אומר): בר נש דטור הוא. והוא חיי מן טיבורייה, איפסק טיבורייה לא חיי. רבי חמא בר עוקבא בשם רבי יוסי בן חנינה: טעמא דרבי יוסי 'וכל אשר יגע על פני השדה' (במדבר יט,טז) - בגדל על פני השדה

Basically (see Ra'av to that Mishna) this refers to a man who hs connected by an umbilical cord to the ground and if this cord is severed he dies. According to the Gra- the איש שדה
mentioned in Toledot 25:27 - ויהי עשו איש ידע ציד איש שדה; is this same Adnei Ha-Sadeh (The Ra'av identifies it with אוב)

Given that Josephus originates from the same background as the Amoraim of the Yerushalmi, I have no doubt that the following passage paralells that of the Yerushalmi.

In reference to the Mandrake root he writes (courtesy of Wikipedia - also see the next passage quoted and you will understand the identification with אוב):

According to the legend, when the root is dug up it screams and kills all who hear it. Literature includes complex directions for harvesting a mandrake root in relative safety. For example Josephus (c. 37 AD Jerusalem – c. 100) gives the following directions for pulling it up:

A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavours to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this the root can be handled without fear. (War of Jews - Book 7, Chapter 6 , 3)

(Note: Josephus does not mention the similarity between the Mandrake root and the shape of a man.)

Thus, you will understand the skill necessary of Esau to hunt the "Ish Sadeh", according to the Gra's explanation. If the Dudaim are to be connected with the Mandrake, reputed to be so difficult to "hunt" perhaps this is why they were so highly prized by Rachel.

Also see, the following poem - and it's Midrash ;)


Frum Heretic said...

R. Slifkin discusses the Adnei ha-sadeh is chapter 14 - "Vegetable Men and Tree Geese" - in his Sacred Monsters book. He mentions the two passages in Kilayim, then quotes Ohr Zarua, the Gra, and Midrash Tanchuma on this creature. He segues from this into vegetable lambs (see http://www.nal.usda.gov/pgdic/Probe/v2n3/legend.html)
as a possible source of this legend. Other opinions include: R. Shimon Schwab who says that adnei ha-sadeh is a metaphor, the Tiferes Yisrael who accepts the reality of it, Malbim and Rambam who suggest that it refers to apes, R. Daniel Sperber who conjectures that the text of the gemara changed from "field" to "navel" (tur to tavur: single vav to double vav to beis).

Frum Heretic said...

Oh, and I think that Josephus got that bit about the mandrake from Harry Potter.

Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>Tiferes Yisrael who accepts the reality of it

IIRC he interprets it as an orangutan?

Wolf2191 said...

>IIRC he interprets it as an orangutan?

In the Yochin. But he "apologises" for chazal in the Boaz.

>R. Slifkin discusses the Adnei ha-sadeh is chapter 14 - "Vegetable Men and Tree Geese" - in his Sacred Monsters book.

Thanks a lot. Does he mention the Mandrake?

>R' Shimon Schwab...

I don't get that. The Mishna is deciding the Halachic status... of a metaphor

Anonymous said...

According to this explanation of the verse in Toldot, wouldn't "tzayid" have to be vocalized "tzeid"? The ta'amim are also wrong.

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