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The Tanya / the soul

 

Q: Why is it written in the Baraita that ‘tsedakah (charity) for an ulterior motive’ is still tsedakah ONLY for Israel and NOT for the idol worshippers?

— Questions by: Mattitjahu. Replies by Rabbi Oury Cherki in bold type.

1. The Tanya (end of Chapter 1) refers to Mishlei 14:34 and the explanation from Bava Batra 10b.

There the interpretation of Rabbi Nechunya ben Chananeh is prefered above that of R. Yochanan.

a) Is it not a problem that R. Nechunya added a ‘vav’ before l’umim? No. This is a common phenomenon in Hebrew.

b) Why is it written in the Baraita that ‘tsedakah (charity) for an ulterior motive’ is still tsedakah ONLY for Israel and NOT for the idol worshippers? See Rashi on the Talmud.

c) It seems to me that this opinion is not relevant for a Noahide or ger toshav. Is that true ? This might indeed be true.

2. I don’t understand the Tanya, because it starts with “every Jew has two neshamot’ and then it discusses the first ‘soul’ and calls it a nefesh.

Then it speaks in chapter 2 about the second ‘soul’ (nefesh) and refers to Bereshit 2:7 ‘nishmat chaim’.

a) Are neshamah and nefesh interchangable? Neshama is the talmudic equivalent of the biblical nefesh. See Nefesh HaChaim I, 15.

b) Is it true that the Tania considers ‘ADAM’ to be a Jew? See tosfot Baba Kama 38a quoting Rabeinu Tam that “Adam” means Israel and “ha-adam” refers to the non-Jews.

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