Monday, June 09, 2014

Midrashic Fan Fiction: Preserving Pinchas's eligibility for the Sanherdin

I see in the Meshech Chochma that Moshe's infamous separation from his wife was made necessary due to his halachic obligation to include a kohen in his sanhedrin. As they were Moshe's close relatives, Aaron and his sons could not be included. This left Pinchas, Aaron's grandson, as the ranking eligible candidate. Only small problem: Moshe's wife and Pinchas's mother were sisters, a close connection that would have crossed Pinchas off the list, too, had not Moshe rescued Pinchas's eligibility by divorcing his aunt.

This is a neat bit of fan fiction that would deftly explain why the story of Moshe's separation follows the story of the creation of moshes sanhedrin were it not for one oversight: Pinchas was not yet a kohen.

As I can't imagine the Meshech Chochma forgetting something so well known as he wove together so many arcane bits of Torah. I am sure the oversight is mine. But what have I missed?

AN ANSWER: The Talmud identifies three moments when Pinchas might have been created a kohen. One of them fits the timeline reequired to make this piece of Torah succesful.

A NEW PROBLEM: Fanfiction is when someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work and uses that material to create their own story. Above I describe a particular piece of rabbinics as "fan fiction". The rabbi in question invented new story details to solve a halachic problem created only by his own, perfectly valid, reading of the text.

Did I misuse the term?

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