Anything about JUDAISM
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MODERATOR Posted - 22 April 2005 22:14
There is a need to clarify some common misconceptions regarding how this rule works:

The Gemora in Shabbos 63a discusses thel aws of carrying a sword and bows etc outside on Shabbos. R"E says they are considered clothing, as per Tehillim 45, "Gird your sword". R"K says that posuk is not a source because it is an allegory for Torah scholars and it is referring to Divrei Torah, not literal weaponry. R"E responded "A posuk never is removed from its simple meaning" (ain mikra yotzeh midei peshuot), and it is definitely referring to a simple warrior as well. R"K said, despite all my years of learning I never knew that a posuk is not removed from its poshut explanation until now.

Anaf Yosef on the spot, and Chasam Sofer (Drush for Shabbos Hagadol vol. 2 p.253b) explain that chas vesholom to think that R"E never knew the simple rule of ain mikrah yotzeh midei peshuto, which even school children know. Rather, what R"E discovered her eis that even when a posuk is clearly allegorical, such as the case here, where it makes no sense at all that the Torah literally is praising a warrior, and the posuk is a moshol, still, even in such a case, the peshuto shel mikrah is correct. The fact that Chazal say a posuk is allegorical does not mean that the literal meaning is untrue - it just means that the Torah's main message is the moshol, but the nimshal it uses is correct as well. Thereofre, even though the posuk is talking abotu divrei Torha and not swords and bows, still, we can derive a halachic conclusion about swords and bows fomr the literal wording of the posuk (Chasam Sofer adds a suggestion that the posuk is referring in itsliteral sense to Moshiach who will literally be a warrior, even though the posuk is clearly a moshol for divrei torah).

You find this also in Sukkah (35a) where the Gemora says "Pri Etz Hadar" means an Esrog, since it returns to dwell on its tree ("hadar bilano)" from year to year, and yet the halachah is that an esrog has to be beautiful because of the straightforward meanign of the word "hadar" - both the peshuto shel mikrah and the drush are correct, and the posuk tells us both things - the pshat and the drush. Both are true, and not mutually exclusive.

However, we do find that in exceptional places Chazal completely nullify the peshuto shel mikrah and replace it with a drush explanation, such as Yevamos 24a (regarding the posuk vhaya habechor asher talaid yakum), "says Rava even though in the entore torah ain mikra yotze midei peshuto, here the gezeiras shava completely removed the posuk from its peshat". Only the drasha is correct herre - not the pashtus. This implies everywhere else, the literal meaning is correct as well. (But see Yevamos 11b, regarding "asher hutmah" referring to machzir gerushaso.)

The rule is that we need torah shebal peh to explain what the pesukim mean - whatever Chazal say the main pshat is, it is. But as a rule the literal meaning of the posuk also must be correct and have some message.

So therefore, even when Chazal tell us that "ayin tachas ayin" does not mean literally an eye for an eye, as the ibn Ezra quotes Rav Sadiah Gaon - how can this posuk be literal? What happens if the perpretrator has no eyes? What do we do with him then? - still, he says "the rule is, we cannot explain the mitzvos in the torah fully unless we rely on chazal's explanations, for just as we have accepted torah she'biksav, we have also accepted torah she'bal peh. There is no difference between them.

He then explains that ayin tachas atin has a messgae in its literal form as well, that is, the person who knocjed the other's eye out deserves to have his eye put out, if not for the Torah's mandate of payment.

The ibn Ezra says the same thign regarding other non-literal punishments as well, see ibn Ezra Devarim 25:12.

Even though Chazal say a posuk is allegorical, as a rule, the literal meanign of the posuk stands as well in some manner. Ain mikrah yotzeh midei peshuto.

To see this rule used extensively, get a hold of the commentary of the Mahari Karah (not "Karo"; Karah - with a kamatz), which is largely based on this principle.

yaavetz Posted - 20 October 2008 15:22
This only applies to midrash halacha, right?
For medrash aggadah, you can always say that the midrash itself is allegorical, not changing the pshat at all. I think this was discussed already elsewhere.

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