The Thirty Two Rules of Eliezer
The 32 rules of Eliezer were first written by Eliezer ben Jose HaGallil (but existed before they were written). Since they post date 30 C.E. they are not automatically authoritative to us as Nazarenes. I am teching them for two reasons:
1. In certain cases certain of them may be
valid methods of reasoning and can be carefully
used in our own expositions especially on the drash
or sod level.
2. We must be able to understand and follow
the reasoning of the Rabbinic sages so that we
can properly analyze what they have written
so that we can weigh the value of their conclusions.
As with the rules of Ishmael, here I use examples often drawn from Rabbinic halacha. I do not mean to imply by this that the examples are sound arguments.
Before covering the 32 rules of Eliezer we must cover in brief the great debate on hermeneutics between Ishmael and Akiva.
Akiva taught that since Elohim is all knowing that when he speaks, every word and even every letter is divinely inspired and has some implication. There is, according to Akiva, some real reason why Elohim has chosen to say what he has to say with exactly the words and letters he divinely chose to use.
Ishmael taught that when Elohim speaks to man he speaks as a man does with another man, on a simple level so that man may understand his words.
Now Ishmael’s 13 rules had been well grounded, but Akiva’s methods opened the door to less grounded rules. Many of these less grounded rules are found in the 32 rules of Eliezer. Moreover certain of the 32 rules of Hillel operate best on a drash or sod level. As always these rules should be used only in the making of sound arguments. Even when they are used on a drash or sod level they should be well grounded.
The First Rule of Eliezer
The Hebrew particles AF, GAM and ET indicate an inclusion or amplification.
This rule comes from the school of Akiva which taught that every word in Torah has significance.
“You shall fear YHWH your ELOHIM” (Dt. 10:20)
Since the Hebrew here opens with ET
it is ruled that this mitzvot is extended
to include reverence for scholars.
“God created the heavens…” (Gen. 1:1)
Since the Hebrew ET appears it is said in
Midrash Rabbah that the “Heavens” include
here the sun, moon and stars.
“You shall wear away (gam atah) and this people
that are with you.” (Ex. 18:18) “gam” and “atah”
include “Moses” and “Aaron.” (Mek. 59b).
“and they (the adulterers) shall both of them die”
(Dt. 22:22) gam in this passage is an inclusion
so that the execusion is not postponed until after
childbirth but the embryo is included in the
(m.Arakhin 1:4 & b.Arakhin 7a)
GAM in Dt. 26:13 (m.Ma’aser Sheni 5:10)
GAM in Num. 18:28 (m.Terum. 1:1)
The Second Rule of Eliezer
The Hebrew particles AK, RAK and MIN point to a limitation, exclusion or diminuation.
This rule also comes from the school of Akiva which taught that every word in Torah has significance.
“And Noah only (AK) was left…”
in Gen. Rabbah is taken to mean that Noah
did not escape unharmed but was injured.
“And you shall be only (AK) joyful” (Dt. 16:15)
b.Sukka 48b says “That includes the eve of the
last festival day. Perhaps also the first festival day?
This one is excluded by AK.”
The Third Rule of Eliezer
ribbui achar ribbui
When two “inclusion” particles (see rule 1) are joined.
1Sam 17:36 “”… smote both (gam at) the lion
also (gam) the bear.” is said to mean that three
other beast were killed not just the lion and bear.
In Halacha however it is said that two inclusion terms indicate instead an exclusion (b.Men. 89a)
The Fourth Rule of Eliezer
mi’ut achar mi’ut
When two “exclusion” particals (see rule 2) are joined.
Halachicly two “exclusion” particals indicate an implication of inclusion as in rule 1.
The Fifth Rule of Eliezer
kol v’chomer meforash
First rule of Hillel occurs in a text.
The Sixth Rule of Eliezer
kol v’chomer satun
First rule of Hillel applied to a text.
The Seventh Rule of Eliezer
same as Hillel’s secod rule.
The Eighth Rule of Eliezer
binyan av – same as 3rd & 4th rules of Hillel
The Nineth Rule of Eliezer
(abbreviated or elliptical phraseology)
1Chr. 17:5 where “to another” is implied.
The Tenth Rule of Eliezer
davar shehu shanui
(Repitition is used to bring out a point)
b.Hul. 115b The commandment “You shall
not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk” is repeated
three times (Ex. 23:19; 34:26 & Dt. 14:26)
to forbid three things: eating; benifitting and
seething. Also Akiba taught (m.Hul. 8:4)
that the three reptitions refer to the idea that
foul, game and unclean animals do not come
under this prohibition.
The Eleventh Rule of Eliezer
A context disrupted by sof pasukh (or any other injunctive accent) is joined.
Ex. 13:3b has:
“…there shall no unleavened bread be eaten.”
Ex. 13:4a has:
In the Midrash Mek. to this passage Rabbi Yose HaGallil joins the end of verse 3 to the beginning of verse 4 to form the phrase:
“There shall no unleavened bread be eaten this day.”
To argue that Israel in Egypt abastained from leavened bread for only that one day.
The Twelfth Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHEVA LELAMMED WENIMSA LAMED
Something is adduced for comparison, but in this process fresh light is shed upon it.
Compare this with Hillel’s 7th rule.
In b.San. 74a it is stated that when faced with death one may commit any sin to save ones life except idolatry, incest and murder. Regarding the last two of these Rabbi [Y’hudah] makes the oservation that if rape may be compared to murder (Dt. 22:25-26) and we should be killed rather than murder, then we should allow ourselves to be killed rather than commit rape.
In the Sifra on Lev. 19:10 by connecting,
against the context, LO T’LAKKAT with the
following LAANI it is deduced that the owner
must not be partial to one poor man over others by
helping him glean.
(also see b.Git. 12a)
The Thirteenth Rule of Eliezer
KELAL SHE’ACHARAW MA’ASEH WE’ENO’ELLO PERATO SHEL RI’SHON
When a general is followed by an action, then that is the particular of the former.
This is very similar to the fifth rule of Hillel.
“These are the words which you shall speak” (Ex. 19:6) [general]
“You shall be to me a Kingdom of Priests” (Ex. 19:6) [particular]
“This is the statute of the Torah” (Num. 19:2) [general]
“that they bring you a red heifer” (ibid)[particular]
“This is the ordinance of the Passover”(Ex.12:43) [general]
“no alien…” (ibid) [particular]
The Fourteenth Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR GADOL SHANITLAH BEKATON MIMMENNU LEHASHMI’A HA’OZEN BEDEREK SHEHI’ SHOMA’AT.
Something important is compared with something trivial, that a clearer understanding may be had.
For example in Deut. 32:2 the Torah is compared to rain.
The Fifteenth Rule of Eliezer
The 15th Rule of Eliezer is the same as the 13th Rule of Ishmael.
The Sixteenth Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR HAMEYUCHAD BIMKOMO
“Significant use of an expresion.”
Num. 15:18 “In your coming into the Land”
Ishmael taught that this term is unique from the
other phrases in scripture like “and when you
come” or “when the Lord will bring you.”
The divergent expression here, Ishmael
said, is to teach you that Israel was obligated
to set apart challa (Num. 15:20) immediately
after enterring the land.
The Seventeenth Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHE’ENO MITPARESH BIMKOMO UMITPARESH BEMAKOM ACHER
A circumstance not clearly enunciated in the principal passage is referred to in another passage.
This rule especially aplies to supplementing a Torah passage from a non-Torah passage.
The Description of Gan Eden in Gen. 2:8
may be suplemented from Ezek. 28:13.
Num. 3 may be supplemented from
1Chron. 24:19 where the courses of the
Priests are given.
The Eighteenth Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHENNE’EMAR BEMIKSHATO WEHU NOHEG BAKOL
A specific case of a type of occurences is mentioned, although the whole type is meant.
Dt. 23:11 “that which chances by night”
because the accident had in mind is likely
to occur most frequently by night.
(Sifre on Deut. 20:5f. ) but an accident
at any time is intended to be covered.
The Torah states that a man who builds
a new house and not dedicted it is exempt
from military service. (Deut. 20:5)
The Torah only speaks of “building”
but the commandment is seen as aplying
to inheriting, buying or receiving as a gift.
This also aplies to the military exemption
of him who plants a vinyard (Deut. 20:6).
The Nineteenth Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHENNEíEMAR BA-ZEH WEHUí HA-DIN LACHABERO
A statement is made with regard to one subject, but it is also true in regards to another subject.
Hosea 6:6 What is true of mercy here
is also true of the knowledge of Elohim.
According to Midrash Mek. On Ex. 21:18
If one smites the other with a stone or with a fist
R. Nathan says: He compares the stone to the fist
and the fist to a stone. As the stone must
Be ponderous enough to kill, so also the fist;
and as the fist becomes known, so must also the
Stone become known. When therefore the stone is
mingled among other stones and when
Even one stone is too small to cause death,
the slayer goes free.
The Twentieth Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHENNEEMAR BA-ZEH WEENO INYAN LO ABAL HUí INYAN LACHABERO
A statement does not go well with the passage in which it occurs, but is in keeping with another passage and may then be applied to that passage.
Some Jewish interpreters thus teach that Deut. 33:7 does not refer to Judah, but to Simeon.
The 21st Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHEHUKKASH BISHTE MIDDOT WEíATAH NOTHEN LO KOAH HAYAFEH SHEBBISHTEHEN
Something is compared with two things and so only the good properties of both are attributed to it.
In Ps. 92:13 the righteous are compared to palm-trees because they bear fruit, but since they have no shade a further comparison is made to a cedar which bears no fruit but produces shade.
The 22nd Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHECHAVERO MOKIACH ALAW
A proposition which requires to be supplemented from a parallel proposition.
According to some interpreters AL (alef-lamed)
should be supplied in front of T’YAS’RANI
in Psalm 38:2.
The 23rd Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHEHU MOKIACH AL CHABERO
A proposition serves to supplement a parallel proposition.
Sifre on Deut. 11:12 says:
A land which YHWH your God cares for.
Rabbi said: Does he care for this land only,
and not for all lands? We certainly read
Job 38:26: to cause it to rain on a land
where no man is, on the wilderness,
wherein there is no man. What then does
this word signify, ìa land which YHWH
your God cares for? Because of this His caring
He cares for other lands besides theirs.
The 24th Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHEHAYAH BIKELAL WEYASHA MIN HAKELAL LELAMMED ‘AL ‘ASHMO YASHA
A proposition is in force with haggadic interpretation.
For example the specific stressing of
“Jericho” in Joshua 2:1 because this
passage is aggadic the stressing of Jericho
is purely idiomatic.
The 25th Rule of Eliezer
DAVAR SHEHAYAH BIKELAL WEYASHA MIN HAKELAL LELAMMED ‘AL CHABERO
This rule is a modification of the eighth rule of Ishmael.
According to b.Shab. 70a:
The prohibition Ex. 35:3 to kindle fire
on the Sabbath is implied already in Ex. 35:2
(which prohibits work.) Why is it stressed?
In order to compare therewith and to say to you,
“Just as one becomes guilty by kindling fire,
which is a main item of labor, so also one
becomes guilty by performing any other
single main item of labor.
The 26th Rule of Eliezer
The Olive Tree parable (Rom. 11).
The parable of the two women (Gal. 4:21-31)
The 27th Rule of Eliezer
Corresponding significant number.
The Children of Israel suffered a year for a day.
Forty years (Num.14:34) for each of the forty days
(Num. 13:25) of their apostasy.
Yeshua fasted forty days in the wilderness.
Yeshua had twelve talmidim
corresponding to the twelve patriarchs.
The 28th Rule of Eliezer
Paronomasia. A pun, a wordplay.
In Amos 8:1 there is a wordplay between KETZ (Summer Fruit) and KATZ (end) The same
wordplay appears in Mt. 24:14, 32 .
The 29th Rule of Eliezer
The Sefirot of the Tree of Life are connected by 22 paths. Each of these 22 paths corresponds to one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alef-bet (alphabet). Each of these 22 paths represents a relationship between two of the Sefirot and a combination of two of the Sefirot. As a result each Hebrew letter is more than just a letter, it is a relationship between two Sefirot as well as a combination between two of the Sefirot.
In fact Kabbalistic tradition has it that the 22 letters were involved in the creation of the universe. This is the Kabbalistic understanding of Gen. 1:1:
Bershit bara Elohim [ALEF-TAV] hashamayim v'[ALEF-TAV] haeretz
In the beginning Elohim created ALEF-TAV the heavens and
ALEF-TAV the earth.
ALEF and TAV are the first and last letters of Hebrew and are understood in Kabbalistic understanding here to be an abreviation for the whole Hebrew ALEF-BET through which the universe was created.
This is what was meant by Yochanan’s statement in Rev. 1:8; 21:66 and 22:13. Although the Greek has ALPHA and OMEGA in these passages, the Aramaic text of these passages has ALEF and TAV.
Since the 22 letters of Hebrew each represent a relationship between two of the Sefirot as well as a combination of two Sefirot. And since the 22 letters were themselves involved in the creation, every Hebrew word is more than a word, it is a matrix of relationships and combinations among the Sefirot. Therefore on a Kabbalistic level Hebrew words are looked at as a series of such paths. This leads to several important methods of seeking out hidden messages in the text of the Scriptures.
These are among others GEMATRIA and NOTARIKON
GEMATRIA – In Hebrew each letter has a numerical value. Gematria examines Hebrew words and letters in the text in light of their numerical value. Some Christians have taken to calling this “Theomatics.”
“Shiloh comes” in Gen.49:10 = 358 which is also the gematria (numerical value) of “Messiah” as a result the Targums (Aramaic paraphrases) paraphrase SHILOH in this passage as “Messiah” and the Talmud tells us that “Shiloh”is one of the names of the Messiah.
In Gen. 17:5, 15 YHWH changes AVRAM’S name to AVRAHAM and SARAI to SARAH.
AVRAM = “High Father” and SARAI = “dominant one”
YHWH took the YUD out of SARAI. (YUD=10) and He divided it in two making to HEYS (HEY = 5).
Thus AVRAM became AVRAHAM (Father of a multitude) and SARAI became SARAH (lady, princess)
In order for AVRAM to become AVRAHAM, SARAI had to go from being dominant to being a lady.
In Mt. 1:1, 17 Messiah is the son of David. Messiah is the son of 14 generations because David = 14. Three sets of 14 generations are given because 14*3 = 42 and 42= ELOAH (God) since Messiah is also the Son of God.
The number of the beast is 666 (Rev.13:18)
The 30th Rule of Eliezer
An acronym; anagram or acrostic. Taking the first or last letters of the words of a phrase and joining them to make a new word or, conversely, expanding a word into a phrase.
For example the word GREVOUS (NiMReTZeT) in 1Kn. 2:8 is understood in the Talmud (b.Shab. 105a) to mean:
The first three letters of Torah are BEIT-RESH-ALEF which stand for BEN, RUACH and ABBA
(Son, Spirit and Father).
The 31st Rule of Eliezer
MUKDAM SHEHU’ MECHAR BA’INYAN
Something which precedes that is placed second.
In 1Sam. 3:3 the words “In the Temple of YHWH”
go with the words “was not yet gone out” despite
the fact that the phrase “and Samuel was laid down
to sleep” intervenes.
The 32nd Rule of Eliezer
MUKDAM U-ME’UCHAR SHEHU’ BEPARASHIOT
Many biblical sections refer to a later time than that which precedes, also vice versa.
By this rule it is argued that Numbers 7
precedes Numbers 1 in chronology of time.
This rule explains the chronological “problems” in comparing the Synoptic Gospels.
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