Teach Linguistics, Not Just Dikduk (article preview)
When Adam was in Gan Eden, Hashem told him not to eat from the Etz HaDaat, “for on the day you shall eat from it, you shall surely die.” Yet, Adam ate of the fruit and he didn’t die that day! He was merely exiled from the Garden as punishment. What gives? Does Hashem not keep His word? Excellent answers about. For instance, it was one of Hashem’s days, equaling 1000 years. Or, he brought mortality upon himself and the world at that point. However, I have an even better peshat. Adam was exiled from the Garden, and Hashem was applying the principle of שְׁלוּחוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם כְּמוֹתוֹ, “the sending out of Adam is like his death”.
The joke works because it’s a play on shelucho, adam, and ke-moto. Though a grammarian might scowl and say that the word should be שִׁלּוּחוֹ, with a chirik under the shin and a dagesh chazak in the lamed.
What does this have to do with Daf Yomi? Well, Kiddushin 41a-b works to derive the idea of agency for divorce and betrothal in particular, as well as effective agency in general. How do we know that “a person’s agent is like himself?” There are pesukim, and Tannaim interpret them. Understanding the mechanisms of these derashot is also Torah. Chazal not only spoke Hebrew fluently but were also incredibly sensitive to the nuances of language. If we don’t know dikduk, how can we understand the derasha mechanics?
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