More Discussions for this daf
1. Rebbi Yishmael Kohen Gadol 2. Age of Avraham Avinu 3. Accountabity for a father's misdeeds
4. Hash-m's anger 5. Acasriel ...Hash-m Tsevakos 6. Tosfos on Avraham Avinu
7. Gezeirah Shavah 8. Chronology 9. What the Kohen Gadol saw
10. The duration of G-d's anger 11. Reuvain -- now you see him... 12. The age of Avraham at Bris Bein ha'Besarim
13. G-ds anger 14. The Shechinah resting on the other nations 15. Recalling a prophecy
16. Dealing with the wicked
DAF DISCUSSIONS - BERACHOS 7

Betzalel Gersten asks:

Why does Tosfos try to prove that "after" the battle of the four kings Avraham is 73. We know that Avraham entered Eretz Canaan by Lech Lecha at 75 as the Pasuk is explicit (Beraishis 12:4) and Lot is with him at that time (important for later). If we just follow everything chronologically, Avraham is still older in Beraishis 15:2 (75+) then he is in Beraishis 15:8 (70 years old). By explaining this the way Tosfos (and first Rashi on Shabbos 12a) explain it creates a whole new problem. How is it that the death of Kdarla'omer, the capture and saving of Lot, and the capture and return of all of his Rechush (14:16) the mention of Aner, Ashkol & Mamre (14:13,24), as well as a Pasuk that says that Avraham lived in Elonei Mamre(14:13) -- how could all this happen before Lech Lecha and when Avraham and Lot subsequently went down to Mitzrayim and subsequently came up with wealth which subsequently caused disputes between their shepherds and sent Lot to Sdom. Wasn't he captured logically after that point when Avraham is 75+. What is forcing Tosfos and Rashi to make the break of the 52 years of Sdom down the middle to put Beraishis 15:1 when Avraham is 73. Why do the 26 years of Shalva have to all be at the end and the 12 years of servitude to Kdarla'omer have to be from the founding of Sdom, right after the death of Re'u and Migdal Bavel. (Avraham was 100-52=48 during Migdal Bavel) Why not say that there were some years of Shalva in Sdom before Kdarl'omer came along and simply break up the 26 years before and after the 12 years of servitude and 13 years of rebellion. So that the war between Avraham and the five kings can be after Avraham is 75+. Why are Tosfos and Rashi seemingly creating more problems than they are helping solve. What's pushing them to do this. What am I missing.

Betzalel Gersten, Har Nof, Jerusalem, Israel

The Kollel replies:

1) By way of introduction, I should point out that we should not be too concerned if things do not match chronologically, because we have the very important rule (Pesachim 6b), "Ein Mukdam u'Me'uchar ba'Torah" -- that which came first on the timeline was not necessarily written first in the Torah. Rashi (Bereshis 6:3) cites this rule very early in his commentary on the Torah and gives an example there from that Parshah.

2) Now we will look at the source for Tosfos' statement that Avraham was 70 at the Bris Bein ha'Besarim. This is explained by the Da'as Zekenim mi'Ba'alei ha'Tosfos on Bereshis 12:4. He proves this from the apparent contradiction between Bereshis 15:13 and Shemos 12:41. In Bereshis 15:13, Avraham was told by Hash-m that his descendants would be afflicted for 400 years in Egypt. However, Shemos 12:41 says that they left after 430 years. The solution is given by Rashi in Bereshis 15:13 that the 400 years start from when Yitzchak was born, while the 430 years start from when Hash-m spoke to Avraham at the Bris Bein ha'Besarim. We now know that the Bris Bein ha'Besarim happened 30 years before Yitzchak was born. Since we know that Avraham was 100 when Yitzchak was born, it follows that he was 70 at the Bris Bein ha'Besarim. We are forced to apply here "Ein Mukdam u'Me'uchar ba'Torah," because Avraham was 75 at the beginning of Lech Lecha and he was only 70 later on in the same Parshah.

3) However, your question about the age 73 that Tosfos gives for Avraham's age at the time of the battle with the kings is asked by Rav Eliezer Moshe ha'Levi Horowitz, whose Chidushim are printed in the back of the Gemara. He claims that the verses contradict Tosfos. We see explicitly that Avraham's departure from Canaan, his descebt to Egypt, as well as his return from Egypt to Canaan, were all done together with Lot. Only after they parted did the war with the kings take place. Rav Horowitz proves from this that Avraham was at least 75 at the time of the war with the kings, so how can Tosfos say he was 73?

I have to close here for the moment. In my next reply I will try, b'Ezras Hash-m, to defend Tosfos from the question asked on him by Rav Horowitz.

Kol Tuv,

Dovid Bloom

The Kollel adds:

Before I attempt to answer the question of Rav Elazar Moshe ha'Levi Horowitz, I will cite another source on your side. Tosfos in Shabbos (11a, DH v'Shel) cites the Seder Olam, from which it appears that Avraham was 75 when he struck the kings.

1) The Seder Olam starts by stating that Avraham was 70 at the Bris Bein ha'Besarim. This is what I wrote in my first reply. Avraham then returned to Charan and stayed there for 5 years, so he was 75 when he left for the second time. The Seder Olam continues that in the year he left Charan there was a famine, so he went down to Egypt and stayed there for 3 months. Then he returned and lived in Elonei Mamreh (this fits with what you argued that he lived in Elonei Mamreh after leaving Charan at 75). This was the year that he struck the kings. So we see from here that Avraham was 75 at the time of the war with the kings, not 73 as Tosfos in Berachos writes.

2) You were also Mechaven to the next part of Tosfos in Shabbos. We know that Avraham was 99 when Sedom was destroyed (because this happened on the same day that Sarah was told that she would have a child, which was a year before Yitzchak was born, when Avraham was 100). Since Avraham was 75 at the war of the kings, this suggests that Sedom enjoyed only 24 peaceful years (since the peaceful years started immediately after the war with the kings). This contradicts the Gemara in Shabbos (10b-11a) that Sedom enjoyed 26 peaceful years. To resolve this riddle, Tosfos asserts that there were 2 peaceful years right at Sedom's very beginning, before they served Kedarlaomer and then rebelled. So Tosfos agrees with you that the years of Shalvah can be broken up and 2 of them can be right at the beginning.

3) So far I have cited sources that disagree with our Tosfos in Berachos, but now we have to try to understand how Tosfos in Berachos deflects these arguments. We should first realize that the two arguments I have cited above make a difference of only 2 years. The questions at stake are whether Avraham was 73 or 75 at the time of the war of the kings, and whether there were 2 years of Shalvah right at the beginning or all of the Shalvah was at the end. Everyone agrees that Avraham was 70 at the Bris Bein Ha'Besarim. Tosfos in Shabbos also must concede that to a certain extent we say here "Ein Mukdam u'Me'uchar ba'Torah," because he was 75 when he left Charan, which is mentioned in the Parshah before the Bris Bein ha'Besarim. Tosfos in Shabbos also agrees that he returned to Charan after the Bris Bein ha'Besarim.

4) Now I am going to suggest an answer to Rav Horowitz's question on Tosfos. It is simply to use the principle of "Ein Mukdam u'Me'uchar ba'Torah" again. It should just be noted that the idea behind this very important rule is that the Torah is not a history book. The aim of the Torah is not to provide us with chronological historical information, but rather to teach us about the deeds of the great leaders of our nation. Therefore, we do not have to be perturbed if occasionally chronology is broken for the sake of teaching certain lessons. Having said that, I now suggest that according to Tosfos the war with the kings happened before the friction between the shepherds of Avraham and Lot, and after the Bris Bein ha'Besarim, even though this is not the order in which the Torah records them. This answers the question of Rav Horowitz, because Avraham and Lot left Charan together and went down to, and came back from, Egypt together, but the war with the kings took place 2 years earlier.

Kol Tuv,

Dovid Bloom

Betzalel Gersten asks:

Dear Dovid Bloom

We are well aware of Ain Mukdam U'Muachar B'Torah - Tosfos himself and everyone agrees the Torah goes out of order, because the beginning of Lech Lecha (Beraishis 12) Avraham is 75 and at Bris Bein HaBetarim (Beraishis 15:7) Avraham is 70. That would have been fine. Ain Mukdam U'Muachar B'Torah is not enough to solve the problem I am asking.

All agree the Torah is not a history book, and it is welcome to jump around (there are many cases)

When the Torah itself it is giving ages, dates, people and places it must be consistent within itself chronologically, especially when certain events must logically follow before or after other events.

For example, in Parshas Toldos, we are told that Yitzchak and Rivka married when Yitzcha was 40, and had children when Yitchak was 60, then the Torah tells us about the sale of the birthright when the twins are 15 (Yitzchak 75, Avraham died at 175). Then from Beraishis 26:1-33 no mention of Yaakov or Eisav. Here it makes sense to say Ain Mukdam U'Muachar B'Torah that this happened when Yitzchak was between 40-60 because it is solving a problem (where did Yaakov and Eisav go??).¦nbsp;

The problem is that Tosfos explains that at the end of Beraishis 14 Avraham is apparently 73, which is unneeded and unnecessary Ain Mukdam U'Muachar B'Torah since the events from Beraishis 12:1 flow naturally until Beraishis 15:6, and if you want to add another in Ain Mukdam U'Muachar B'Torah then you have to figure out where exactly is the flashback in that section. Going to Egypt must have happened after Lech Lecha with Lot (see how 13:3 proves that referencing back to 12:8), Coming out of Egypt with wealth with Lot (13:1) must follow going to Egypt. The shepherd arguing over wealth (13:6-7) must follow Coming out of Egypt with wealth. Lot moving to Sdom (13:12) must follow shepherds arguing. Lot getting captured (14:12) must follow Lot going to Sdom (14:12 even says for he was residing in Sdom). Avraham saving Lot must follow Lot getting captured (14:13 says Avraham was residing at that time in Elonei Mamrei, and that Eshkol, Aner and Mamrei were Bnei Bris Avraham - are you telling me this is before Lech Lecha 12:1). Avraham addressing the King of Sdom must follow saving Lot, and so forth...

Where exactly is the flashback in time that we go from Avraham 75 to Avraham 73, and why invent something like this when it is not necessary. What I'm asking you to figure out is...What is Tosfos's need! What's bothering him that he is suggesting that Avraham was in Canaan and Lot was in Sdom when Avraham was 73, and then after Lot was captured and saved, they both went back to Charan to live there for two years, Avraham was commanded Lech Lecha, went to Egypt, became wealthy, and Lot again chooses to go live in Sdom (13:12) when Avraham is 75 until its destruction, and Avraham again chooses to live in Elonei Mamrei (see 13:18).

The simple, flowing, perfect understanding is that at 14:1 there is a flashback to well before Bris Bein HaBitarim when Avraham is in his late 40s, telling us of the background and history of Emek HaSidim and the various kings and nations there by the Dead Sea region, and how that narrative climaxes and merges directly into where the Torah left off, when Avraham is 75+ (not 73) and everything makes perfect sense.

What piece of information are we missing. There must be some fact somewhere that is forcing Tosfos away from this simple pshat to invent that Avraham and Lot are living normal lives in certain places in Canaan, when Avraham is 73, before they were commanded Lech Lecha, and then they all go back to Charan for two years, until Avraham is 75, then Hashem commands them all with this big test Lech Lecha, and after a brief stay in Egypt, they both end up in the same places they were two years ago, only its two years later. It seems like the history of Sdom is forcing him, but the Tosfos in Shabbos proves that the history of Sdom does not cause any problem?

Let me know if you have anything better

Take your time

All the best,

Betzalel

The Kollel replies:

The thing that is forcing Tosfos to say that Avraham was 73 at the time of the war with the kings is the Gemara in Shabbos 10b-11a. There the Gemara states that Sedom enjoyed 26 tranquil years. Tosfos prefers to say that these 26 years were consecutive, not broken up. Therefore, since we know that Avraham was 99 at the time Sedom was destroyed (because this was one year before Yitzchak was born, by which time Avraham was 100), it follows that Avraham was 73 = 99 - 26 at the time of the war with the kings, since the tranquil years of Sedom started immediately after the war with the kings.

2) This is written by Rashi in Shabbos 11a, DH Esrim -- that the tranquil years were the last 26, and Tosfos agrees with Rashi on this. It is also stated briefly by Tosfos in Shabbos 10b, DH v'Shel at the beginning, that since there were 26 tranquil years, this means that Avraham was 73 at the time of the war. Tosfos in Shabbos then proceeds to cite the Seder Olam that maintains that Avraham was 75 at the time of the war with the kings. This does not mean that Tosfos retracted from his opinion that Avraham was 73 at the time of the war, but rather Tosfos maintains that this point is a dispute between our Talmud Bavli and the Seder Olam. Since the Seder Olam was also from Chazal (it was written by the Tana Rebbi Yosi) -- it is quite reasonable to assert that there is a dispute between Sedr Olam and Talmud Bavli.

Tosfos in Shabbos asks on the Seder Olam that if Avraham was 75 in the war with the kings, that means the tranquility of Sedom was only 99 - 75 = 24 years. Tosfos answers that one has to say that there were an additional two years of tranquility at the beginning of the history of Sedom. However, this is not an ideal solution, to break up the tranquil years of Sedom into two periods, and Tosfos maintains that the Talmud Bavli does not agree with this.

I must close here but in my next reply, b'Siyata di'Shmaya, I hope to look at the Rosh in Yevamos, chapter 6, Siman 12, and the Korban Nesanel there #9, which might make matters a lot clearer. There we may learn more about the different journeys of Avraham and Lot back and forth from Charan to Eretz Kena'an.

Betzalel, many thanks for making this topic a lot clearer.

Kol Tuv,

Dovid Bloom

Betzalel Gersten asks:

It is strange that Tosfos (and Rashi) chooses having 26 consecutive years of tranquility as more "vital" than having Avraham and Lot seemingly go back and forth to Charan multiple times which is Cheser Min HaSefer (even causing problems "in the Sefer") and disrupting the logical and natural flow of chronology in the Pesukim (Ramban's point to Rashi by Eigel HaZahav that we avoid Ayn Mukdam U'MiUchar whenever we can), when the Gemara in Shabbos seemingly makes perfect sense without the need for consecutive years

I look forward to your comments from Yevamos

All the best,

Betzalel

The Kollel replies:

1) Chazal do say that Avraham left Charan on two separate occasions. This is stated in the Midrash, Bereishis Rabahm Parshas Lech Lecha 39:8. They learn this from the fact that the Torah uses the double form "Lech Lecha." (One can explain that the Midrash is deriving from the way the word is written ("Lamed-Ches") that this means "go" twice.) Rebbi Nechemiah says that the first "Lech" teaches that Hashem told Avraham to leave Aram Naharayim and Aram Nachor, and the second "Lech" tells us that Hashem made Avraham "fly away" from the Bris Bein ha'Besarim and brought him to Charan.

2) So it is clear that Avraham "went" on two occasions. It is true that according to the opinion that Avraham was 75 at the war with the kings, one does not have to say that he "went" any additional times, because according to this opinion he went straight to Charan from the Bris Bein ha'Besarim at the age of 70 and remained there until the age of 75. In contrast, according to Tosfos -- who says that the war happened when he was 73, it seems that one must say that he was "flown" straight to Charan after the Bris Bein ha'Besarim and then afterwards he went back to Eretz Yisrael so that he could be there when he was 73.

However, I suggest that if one anyway must say that there were two exits from Charan, it does not make so much of a difference if one says that there were three. Tosfos prefers to do this than to say that the 26 tranquil years were not consecutive, which is also not ideal.

3) I would like to cite another source from the Midrash which suggests that Avraham traveled a lot. This is from the aforementioned Midrash, a page before the above quote, in 39:2. The Midrash compares Avraham Avinu in his youth to "a sealed vessel full of pleasant perfume." As long as the vessel remains sealed, resting in the corner of the house, nobody can enjoy the lovely aroma. Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu said to Avraham Avinu, "Move around from place to place and you will gain a great reputation in the world." Avraham's travels gave everyone the opportunity of benefiting from the wonderful spiritual scent of his teachings. Since we are told that Hashem said to Avraham to move from place to place, we need not be bothered if, according to Tosfos, he left Charan three times. Avraham was spreading the knowledge of Hashem in the world on all of his journeys.

Betzalel, once again many thanks for making this so interesting!

Dovid Bloom