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Shiur #26: Aggadot of Pesachim II: Searching and Seeing

  • Rav Dr. Yonatan Feintuch


In the previous shiur, we discussed an aggadic passage that occupies the first few pages of chapter 1 of Tractate Pesachim in the Babylonian Talmud. This aggada deals with light and darkness, as it analyzes the first word of the tractate, or. When the mishna states that the search for chametz is to take place “or le-arba asar,” does this indicate the day of the fourteenth of Nissan or the previous night?

As we analyzed the various proof-texts cited to support each position, it became clear that this sugya’s role goes beyond the formalistic experimentation to clarify the mishna’s intent as to whether or refers to day or night, as it is unambiguously clear that the search for leaven is to be done during the night of the fourteenth. It appears that the sugya uses the clarification of the terminology as an excuse, as it were, to set out a full literary and conceptual structure, which may be divided by era: The biblical sources tend to indicate that or is daytime, while the sources from the literature of Chazal tend to indicate that or is nighttime.

Found at the beginning of the first part of Tractate Pesachim (what we defined as the chametz unit, as opposed to later portions that delve into the mitzvot of eating matza and bringing the Pesach offering), this discussion raises the concepts of light and darkness and the connection between them as a matter connected to the character of the holiday of Pesach. Indeed, we have seen that the topic of light and darkness is an essential one in the inherent nature of the holiday, and it therefore appears that it is no coincidence that this issue occupies a prominent position at the opening of the tractate, even if there is no concrete need for it in terms of interpreting the mishna. This is merely a pretext, as it were, to present an essential subject at the opening of the tractate.

In this shiur, we will jump to the end of the chametz unit in this tractate, and we will analyze its contents in the Babylonian Talmud. The mishnayot that conclude chapter 3 and the chametz unit in its entirety, as we have seen previously, deal with one who forgets to get rid of chametz or the flesh of offerings that must be destroyed under various circumstances:  

If one is on his way to slaughter his Pesach offering or to circumcise his son or to dine at a betrothal feast at the house of his father-in-law, and he remembers that he has chametz at homeif he is able to go back, remove [it], and [then] return to his religious duty, he must go back and remove [it]; but if not, he annuls it in his heart.

[If he is on his way] to save from an invasion or from a river or from brigands or from a fire or from a collapse [of a building], he annuls it in his heart. [But if] to rest for pleasure, he must return immediately.

Similarly, one who went out of Jerusalem and remembered that he had the flesh of offerings with him – if he has passed Tzofim (Scopus), he burns it where he is; but if not, he returns and burns it in front of the Temple with the wood of the [altar] pile.

And for what [quantity] must they return? R. Meir says: For both, when there is as much as an egg. R. Yehuda says: For both, when there is as much as an olive. But the Sages say: For flesh of offerings, when there is as much as an olive; for chametz, when there is as much as an egg. (Mishna Pesachim 3:7-8)

The Aggada at the End of Chapter 3

In the Babylonian Talmud (50a), chapter 3 concludes with an aggadic passage expounding a number of verses from the fourteenth and final chapter of the book of Zekharya. Prior to this, the sugya contains a brief halakhic debate about the measurements mentioned in the eighth mishna (volume of an olive vs. volume of an egg). Immediately after this discussion, the gemara cites Zekharya 14:9 and expounds it, without any apparent connection to the preceding halakhic discussion or to the mishnayot that conclude the chapter. This leads the gemara to continue expounding verses from that chapter of Zekharya.

The sharp transition to the verses from Zekharya, without any link, raises questions about the connection of this aggadic section to the sugya. The ostensible association is the derasha appearing in its middle, concerning Zekharya 14:20:

“On that day, there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses: ‘Holy to the Lord.’” What does “on the bells (metzilot) of the horses” mean?

R. Yehoshua ben Levi says: The Holy One, blessed be He, is destined to add to Jerusalem as far as a horse can run and cast its shadow (matzil).

This derasha, which talks about expanding the borders of Jerusalem, at least has some presumed connection to the eighth mishna, which discusses “he who went out of Jerusalem… if he has passed Tzofim (Scopus)” as regards disposing of the flesh of offerings.[1] Indeed, this is the connection in the parallel sugya in the Jerusalem Talmud (Pesachim 3:3, 30b), which cites at the beginning of that passage the derasha of R. Yehoshua ben Levi alone.[2]

The expanded aggadic section cited in the Babylonian Talmud consists of three parts. In each of the three parts, a verse is cited from Zekharya 14, v. 6, v. 20 and v. 9 respectively.

And it will be on that day, there will not be or yekarot ve-kipaon.

On that day, there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord,” and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar.

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day, the Lord will be one and His name one.

These three verses have in common the formula “on that day (ba-yom ha-hu),”[3] and their juxtaposition in the aggada thus defines its topic, “that day.” This phrase generally indicates the future redemption,[4] which also relates to the opening verse of the chapter in Zekharya: “Behold, a day is coming for the Lord.”

In the first two parts of the aggada, the derashot of three Amora’im from the Land of Israel are cited: R. Yochanan, R. Yehoshua ben Levi, and R. Elazar. In the third part, the derasha of R. Acha bar Chanina appears, setting off a discussion which partially takes place in Babylonia.[5]

The first part of the aggada cites three derashot on v. 6:

"And it will be on that day, there will not be or yekarot ve-kipaon.” What is the meaning of the terms “yekarot” and “kipaon”?

R. Elazar taught: This means that the light, which is precious (yakar) in this world, is considered of no value (kafui) in the World to Come.

R. Yochanan taught: These refer to Nega’im [the tractate dealing with the laws of tzara’at] and Ohalot [the tractate dealing with defilement to the dead], which are heavy in this world, but light in the World to Come.

R. Yehoshua ben Levi taught: These refer to people who are honored in this world, but will be considered unimportant in the World to Come.

The verse that opens the aggada may be understood as describing an initial stage, in which there will not be or, but rather yekarot and kipaon, terms describing cold[6] and darkness.[7] However, the next verse (7) indicates that light will arrive at the next stage: 

It will be a unique day — a day known only to the Lord — with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.

This leads to God’s kingship two verses later: “The Lord will be king…”

R. Elazar’s derasha emphasizes the following point: In this world, or is yakar, precious and rare,[8] but in the World to Come (i.e. in the future), it will be more common and available.[9]

In the second part of the aggada, we encounter R. Yehoshua ben Levi – whose derasha, as noted, provides the point of connection to the sugya – as well as the two other Amora’im, R. Yochanan and R. Elazar.[10]

The third part of the aggada continues to expound Zekharya 14, completing the idea of the future redemption appearing in the first part. As in the first part, here as well the basis of the derashot is a comparison of this world to the World to Come. Much like the great light appearing at evening expressing God’s kingship on the day on which the distinction between day and night is erased, so too we find in this part of the aggada the idea of totality concerning God’s name and His dominion over the land:

 “The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day, the Lord will be one and His name one.” Is He not one now?

R. Acha bar Chanina says: Not like this world is the World to Come. In this world, over good tidings one declares, “He is good, and He does good,” while for evil tidings he says, “Blessed be the true Judge;” [whereas] in the World to Come, it will be only, “He is good and He does good.”

“And His name one” — What does “one” mean? Is His name not one now?

R. Nachman bar Yitzchak says: Not like this world is the World to Come. [In] this world, [His name] is written yud-hei [the Tetragrammaton] and read as alef-dalet [“Lord”]; but in the World to Come it will all be one: it will be written with yud-hei and read as yud-hei.

Now, Rava thought of speaking about this at the session, [whereupon] a certain old man said to him: [God speaks of the Tetragrammaton as His name le-olam, forever, in Shemot 3:15, but] it is spelled [without a vav, as if it means] “le-alem” (to be hidden).

God’s oneness is expressed by the completion of His kingship, the totality of His rule: "In the World to Come, it will be only ‘He is good and He does good’” — the absolute dominion of the good, akin to the dominion of light and the nullification of the darkness.

The second part of the derasha, which relates to the oneness of God’s name, also relates to the derasha of R. Yochanan that appears in the first part of the aggada about the obscure parts of the Torah, and the concept of revealing the hidden appears here as well. Nega’im and Ohalot, the esoteric parts of the Torah, are practically unknowable, much as God’s name is also “obscured” in this world and will only be fully revealed in the World to Come. The parallel between the third part of the aggada on Zekharya and its first part strengthens the cohesiveness of the passage. This association demonstrates that this aggada is well-edited; it is not merely an incidental collection of derashot about the verses of Zekharya.

We can delve more deeply into the various details of this aggada, but the essence of our discussion here is designed to demonstrate how it creates, together with the beginning of chapter 1, a conceptual unity that builds a framework for the first arc of the tractate, which deals with chametz and its destruction. What leads the gemara to expand its canvas beyond the derasha of R. Yehoshua ben Levi, as cited in the parallel sugya in the Jerusalem Talmud? What were the considerations for the arrangement of this exegetical aggada?

Indeed, the discussion is not arranged well in terms of the biblical order; the order of the citations in the aggada is the sixth, the twentieth, and the ninth verses. Moreover, if the verses are already out of order, we would expect that the connection of these derashot to the mishna – the derasha of R. Yehoshua ben Levi – would appear at the beginning of the aggada. In fact, however, that derasha appears in the middle of the aggada!

It is difficult to answer these questions with certainty. However, we may hypothesize that the redactors of the Babylonian Talmud collected derashot about the verses of Zekharya 14, perhaps from a Midrashic source that is not in our hands today, and they created from them an edited and reorganized aggada, according to their judgement. The aggada opens with the motif of light and dark, and specifically the appearance of a ray of light out of the great darkness as an expression of redemption. By opening the aggada with this motif, a connection is created to the aggada at the opening of chapter 1, which deals, as we have seen above, with light and dark.

This connection is, in fact, bidirectional, as in the opening sugya, a number of biblical proofs that tie into the future redemption are cited (2a-b):

An objection is raised: “As the light of [or] the morning, when the sun rises” proves that or means the daytime!

Is it then written that or is morning? Surely it is written, “As the light of [or] the morning,” and this is its meaning: Just as the “light of the morning” is in this world, so will the rising of the sun be unto the righteous in the World to Come…

An objection is raised: “If I say: Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light [or] about me will be night” — surely this proves that or is day?

There David said thus: I thought, surely darkness will overwhelm me in the World to Come, which resembles day; but now, even this world, which resembles night, is light about me.

In these two proof-texts, the difference between this world and the World to Come is expressed through concepts of light and dark. The World to Come is characterized by the statements “so will the rising of the sun be unto the righteous”[11] and “which resembles day.”

The connection between Pesach and the future redemption through the motif of light is not exclusive to the Babylonian Talmud. Zekharya 14:7 speaks of the increase of light, which the sixth-century poet from the Land of Israel, Yannai, ties to Pesach in the famous ode that is included in the final unit of the Haggada on the Seder night, “Az Rov Nissim.”[12]

Bring near the day is that is neither day nor night.

Most High, make known that Yours is the day as well as the night.

Appoint sentries [to guard] Your city all day and all night.

Illuminate like day the dark of night.

It is interesting to note that the conclusion of the aggada of Zekharya in chapter 3 also connects to the redemption from Egypt, as the derasha of R. Avina that concludes the aggada – the pasuk describing an incomplete state in which God’s name must be hidden – is taken from the passage of the burning bush, the introductory scene of the redemption from Egypt. This follows immediately after the old man’s comment to Rava, as cited above:

R. Avina pointed out a contradiction: It is written (Shemot 3:15), “This is my name, to be hidden;” [but it is also written], “and this is my memorial unto all generations”?

The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Not as I [i.e., My name] am written am I read; I am written with a yud-hei, while I am read as alef-dalet.

The Framework of the Chametz Unit and Its Meaning

In light of the connections that we have noted between this aggada and the aggada at the beginning of the tractate, on the literal and thematic planes (and particularly in the introduction of the aggada of chapter 3 with the derasha on light and dark, elements which are literally and thematically central in the aggada of chapter 1), we may suggest that these two aggada sections create a literally framework for this unit, which deals with chametz and its destruction.[13] The two aggadot include the motif of coming out from darkness to light, a motif common to the redemption from Egypt and the future redemption and occupying an important symbolic role in both of them.

As mentioned above, the motif of light and dark is practically connected to the content of the unit, the mitzva of destroying chametz, as in the search for it, we illuminate the darkness by candlelight. This framework ties the mitzva of destroying chametz to the two redemptions, thus illuminating new facets, containing aggadic and conceptual elements, beyond the formal fulfillment of the mitzva.

What is the conceptual message that the literary framework gives to the unit dealing with the mitzva of destroying chametz? As we have noted, it is difficult to answer this with certainty, but the juxtaposition and the link between the framework and the unit of chametz allows us to propose a logical hypothesis.

The motif of light and dark that appears in the two aggadot recalls the redemption from Egypt, and it appears explicitly in the description of the future redemption in the aggada of Zekharya. This is a divine act to which a human act is connected, as He commands us to illuminate the darkness by candlelight and to eliminate all leaven in our domains. This idea appears explicitly in later sources, but it may be that the roots of it are reflected here, symbolically tying the destruction of chametz to the elimination of evil from the world.[14]

This idea may be strengthened by the fact that the link between the search for chametz by candlelight and the search for evil and its destruction by God at the redemption arises not only in the framework of the Talmudic unit that discusses the destruction of chametz, but even appears in it, midrashically, in one sugya in the unit under discussion:

How do we know this? R. Chisda says: By deriving “finding” from “finding,” “finding” from “searching,” “searching” from “searching,” “searching” from “candles,” and “candles” from “candle”…

“Searching” from “candles,” as it is written: “And it will be at that time that I will search Jerusalem by candles” (Tzefanya 1:12) and “candles” from “candle,” as it is written (Mishlei 20:27): “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being.” (Pesachim 7b)[15]

In this sugya, which cites the chain of derashot to explain the source for this requirement, it appears that there is the intent, midrashically, to derive something from the cited verses about the nature of searching for chametz, and not only in terms of the character of its technical execution.

The verse from Tzefanya connects us to the idea of searching for and eliminating evil in the future. This is clear from the biblical context of the verse, which includes analogies that are tied to the motif of light and dark:  

And it will be at that time that I will search Jerusalem by candles, and I will punish those men who are hardened on their lees,

Who think, “The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad…”

That day will be a day of wrath

A day of distress and anguish,

A day of trouble and ruin,

A day of darkness and gloom,

A day of clouds and blackness. (Tzefanya 1:12-15)

In the final verse cited in the discussion, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being” (Mishlei 20:27), the search for chametz by way of candles is associated with a search of “the innermost parts of his being” by God,[16] a search that is tied to the aspect of good and evil in man.

Some Final Observations

To conclude, I would like to note a number of things concerning the derasha of R. Yochanan, which appears in the aggada of chapter 3. It may be that these points have ramifications about the integration of the entire aggada in the Gemara at the end of chapter 3.

R. Yochanan taught: These refer to Nega’im and Ohalot, which are heavy in this world, but light in the World to Come.

This derasha is cited in the first part of the aggada, after the derasha of R. Elazar, which we discussed above. R. Yochanan similarly expounds the verse as a reference to the future redemption, but according to his derasha, the future redemption illuminates in a more precise way – by shedding light on esoteric parts of the Torah, Nega’im and Ohalot specifically. According to his derasha, these parts of the Torah, “which are heavy in this world” – i.e. those that are challenging, which are not well-understood and not accessible for most students – will be “light in the World to Come.” In other words, they will rise to the surface, becoming revealed, simple, and obvious for all those who study them.[17]

In the context of this derasha, it is interesting to consider a parallel midrash from Pesiketa De-Rav Kahana

“And they will take for you a cow” (Bamidbar 19:2)… The Holy One Blessed Be He said to him: Moshe, to you I will reveal all the matters of the cow, but for others it must remain a dictate… 

And it will be on that day, there will not be or yekarot ve-kipaon” — It is spelled yikpaun, indicating that those matters that are concealed from you in this world will become as clear for you as a crystal ball, as it says (Yeshayahu 42:16), “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths [I will guide them]…”

As R. Acha said: Matters that were not revealed to Moshe at Sinai were revealed to R. Akiva and his colleagues, as it says (Iyov 28:10), “And every precious thing (yakar) his eye has seen” — this refers to R. Akiva. (Pesikta De-Rav Kahana, ch. 4, ed. Mandelbaum, vol. I, p. 72)

This midrash, which was apparently edited before the conclusion of the Babylonian Talmud, may have indeed been available to its redactors. The concern of the midrash is parallel to the words of R. Yochanan in the Babylonian Talmud. The midrash expounds the verse in Zekharya in the context of “those matters which are concealed from you in this world,” which will become revealed in the World to Come.

The context is the passage of the para aduma, something related to the Ohalot mentioned by R. Yochanan, and the words of the earlier darshan who describes God telling Moshe, “To you I will reveal all the matters of the cow, but for others it must remain a dictate.” Later on, this knowledge of such abstruse concepts in the Torah is attributed to R. Akiva specifically.[18]

The verb used by the midrash in the derasha paralleling that of R. Yochanan is “those matters which are concealed from you in this world will become as clear for you as a crystal ball.” The term used for becoming clear is “tzafin,” much like R. Yochanan’s “kefuyin” — both indicating something that floats on the surface. However, the darshan employs a simile as well: “as a crystal ball,” literally a bolus.

What exactly is this bolus? Most commentators take it to be a mirror or glass. This is how the Arukh, Sokoloff, and Jastrow render it,[19] and this is how Mandelbaum explains it in his glosses on Pesiketa De-Rav Kahana, citing Bereishit Rabba 12:13 and the Arukh. However, it is difficult to see how a mirror would float and rise to the surface of the water. Therefore, Stephen Wald suggests an explanation offered to him by Daniel Sperber, that this bolus is the Greek word for net, which would float and rise to the surface.[20]

Another possibility is that “tzafin” here does not have anything to do with floating, but is related instead to the place-name Tzofim, which literally means Scopus, i.e. watching, seeing, observing. According to this interpretation, it is more fitting to translate bolus here as mirror. This is how Jastrow explains the entire phrase: “perspicuous (clear) as crystal.”

This translation may seem more forced than that of Sperber, but it remains intriguing, as a later midrash that is parallel to the Pesiketa clearly embraces it:

Those matters that are concealed from you in this world will become tzofim in the World to Come, like those blind who see, as it says (Yeshayahu 42:16), “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known…” (Bamidbar Rabba 19:6)

This midrash seems like a later reincarnation of its predecessor, in which the verse cited from Yeshayahu explicitly speaks of the blind, and perhaps because of the bolus, the formulation changes to “like those blind who see.” The transition from tzafin to tzofim is a simple one. According to this interpretation, tzafin in the Pesiketa has a double meaning: it denotes floating on the surface, in accordance with the derasha of R. Yochanan, but it also implies tzofim, in the sense of seeing or watching. Explaining tzafin as related to visibility, at least according to this late midrash, and the mention of R. Akiva’s unique ability to perceive that which others could not recalls the famous aggada at the end of Tractate Makkot (24b), in which R. Akiva, who can look beyond the ruins before him, laughs:

Another time they were coming up to Jerusalem together, and just as they came to Mount Scopus, they rent their garments. When they reached the Temple Mount, they saw a fox emerging from the Holy of Holies. They burst out crying, but R. Akiva laughed.

They said to him: “Why are you laughing?”

He replied… “In Zekharya (8:4), it is written, ‘Thus says the Lord of Hosts, There shall yet old men and old women sit in the broad places of Jerusalem.’ So long as Uriah's [threatening] prophecy had not had its fulfilment, I had misgivings lest Zekharya's prophecy might not be fulfilled; now that Uriah's prophecy has been [literally] fulfilled, it is quite certain that Zekharya's prophecy also is to find its literal fulfilment.

They said to him: “Akiva, you have comforted us! Akiva, you have comforted us.”

Perhaps the Babylonian Talmud also explains the parallel in the Pesiketa as it is interpreted in Bamidbar Rabba. If so, these parallels tie R. Yochanan’s words in the first part of the aggada in our sugya to the mishna concerning which the aggada is cited. The mishna discusses leaving Jerusalem and passing Tzofim, while the Pesiketa talks about tzafin, and the aggada in Makkot describes the reverse journey (from Scopus to the Temple Mount), which recalls to R. Akiva the prophecy of Zekharya 8. It may be that these aggadot were on the minds of the redactors of the sugya at the end of chapter 3 of Tractate Pesachim when they chose to integrate into it the aggada of Zekharya 14.

Translated by Yoseif Bloch


[1] As Rashi writes, Pesachim 50a, s.v. yekarot ve-kipaon.

[2] After the derasha, the Jerusalem Talmud goes on to a brief halakhic discussion of the mishna, which concludes the chapter.

[3] In total, Zekharya 14 contains six verses that invoke the phrase “on that day.”

[4] The meaning of “that day” becomes clear throughout the aggadot of Chazal as referring mostly to the era of the future redemption, in the cosmic sense — what is referred to here as the World to Come. However, this aggada also has (in its first part) another interpretation of “that day.” This alternative meaning of the phrase “the World to Come” in the literature of Chazal appears, for example, in Mishna Sanhedrin 10:1: “And these are those who have no portion in the World to Come.” This is a clear reference to the afterlife, the world of souls, the plane of personal reward and punishment. Concerning this, see E.E. Urbach, Chazal: Emunot Ve-De’ot (Jerusalem: 1971), pp. 587-589.

Without addressing the complexity of the meaning of “the World to Come” in the literature of Chazal, we may suffice with saying that at least in this sugya, there is no sharp distinction; both meanings are used interchangeably. However, the dominant meaning is clearly that of cosmic redemption, the eschatological sense — the world in which absolute good will rule, unlike the contemporary world, which is characterized by a constant battle between good and evil.

[5] The statement of R. Nachman bar Yitzchak and a small matter about Rava.

[6] Targum Yonatan understand the word this way, and Rashi follows his view. Ibn Ezra and Radak have a different view; see their commentaries ad loc. See M. Zer-Kavod’s commentary in the Da’at Mikra series (Jerusalem, 1990), p. 57.

[7] This is the traditional reading, although the spelling is actually “or yekarot yikpaun,” a yud being the initial letter of the last word rather than a vav.

[8] Cf. I Shemuel 1:3.

[9] After the derasha of R. Elazar, the derashot of R. Yochanan and R. Yehoshua ben Levi are cited. (Apparently, the redactor of the sugya had these together with the derasha of R. Elazar, as one can see in the second part of the aggada, in which v. 20 is expounded by the same three sages). We will therefore comment on them briefly.

The second derasha is that of R. Yochanan, who apparently expounds the verse as referring to the future redemption as well, but the enlightening focuses on a more precise facet in this redemption, which is tied to the more obscure parts of the Torah, Nega’im and Ohalot. In fact, this derasha connects thematically to its predecessor, as the use of the metaphor of or concerning Torah is well known and does not require proof; see at greater length below.

The third derasha is that of R. Yehoshua ben Levi, and it brings us, as mentioned above in n. 4, to another meaning of the World to Come – the world of judgement and of the souls, which the derasha presents as revealing the true nature of people, which is sometimes at odds with their image and their status in this world. The derasha is illustrated by a narrative whose protagonists are the author of the derasha, R. Yehoshua ben Levi, and his son.

[10] The rest of the derashot in this part do not contribute to the central idea of the aggada that dominates the first part and the third part. They are more local to the chapter in Zekharya, but they are cited incidentally because of R. Yehoshua ben Levi’s derasha, as all three derashot are brought in the first part.

[11] The connection between creation and the ultimate redemption by way of the motif of light, as appears in the second proof-text mentioned here, appears in the famous midrash from Bereishit Rabba, ch. 3: “It has been taught: The light created during the six days of creation could not illuminate by day, as it would blot out the sphere of the sun; nor could it illuminate by night, but rather by day. So where is it? Hidden for the righteous in the future, as it says (Yeshayahu 30:26): “The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days.” See also, in the Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 68a and Sanhedrin 91b; as well as Pesiketa Rabbati, ch. 42.

[12] This is part of the Kerova for Shabbat Ha-Gadol or for the first day of Pesach. See D. Goldschmidt, Haggada shel Pesach (Jerusalem, 1960), p. 96; M.M. Kasher, Haggada Sheleima (Jerusalem, 1967), p. 188.

[13] It is possible that the considerations of integrating the aggada in the introduction of chapter 1 are broader, as the passage opens the tractate as a whole, and beyond the common theme of dark and light, it touches on many themes in Tanakh and the literature of Chazal. However, as stated above, concerning the light and dark intertwined in this aggada, there is a specific link to the mitzva of destroying chametz.

[14] In Jewish thought, in Kabbala, and in Chasidic philosophy, this ideas is substantially developed; see in particular Sefer Maor Va-Shemesh, Pesach, s.v. u-vagemara: “For behold it is known that chametz has the aspect of the Evil Inclination, while matza alludes to the Good Inclination.”

[15]  This sugya expands on an idea which appears in the Tosefta: “For searching by candle is far better. Even though there is no proof, there is an allusion: ‘And it shall be at that time that I will search Jerusalem by candles,’ and it says: ‘The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being.’” However, in the Tosefta, it appears that the verses that are cited are only an allusion on the linguistic plane; it is difficult to discern with certainty a conceptual link between searching for chametz and the ideas that appear in them.

[16]  See Y. Kil, Da’at Mikra, Mishlei, p. 145.

[17] See E. Ben Yehuda, Dictionary of the Hebrew Language, s.v. Kafa, pp. 6059-6060.

[18] The connection between Moshe and R. Akiva recalls the famous aggada in Babylonian Talmud Menachot 29b.

[19] Arukh Ha-Shalem, p. 92ff.; Sokoloff, Dictionary of Galilean Aramaic, s.v. Bolus (p. 87); Jastrow, s.v. Bolus (p. 146).

[20] Stephen G. Wald, Perek Elu Ovrin: Bavli Pesachim, Perek Shelishi: Mahadurah Bikortit im Be'ur Makif (New York and Jerusalem, 2000), p. 57, n. 9.