Tuesday, August 26, 2008
1:1:13-27 (Aggadah and halachah): Left unsaid
Maybe I'm missing something, but amid all the comparisons between aggadah and halachah (which are fascinating, and which I'm sure we'll hear a lot about in today's regular posts; halachah = bread and aggadah = wine?!), there seems to be no suggestion that aggadah and halachah have any effect on each other; they are treated as entirely independent spheres of Torah. For me and others, the interdependence of halachah and aggadah is crucial to our understanding of both. So what's going on here? Does this represent a formalistic understanding of halachah, where halachah is treated as a closed system with no input from aggadah? Or are Bialik and Ravnitsky, through their selections of what to include, promoting a post-halachic secular Jewish culture in which aggadah can roam free without influence from halachah? Or is this simply an accurate reflection of how aggadah and halachah are treated in the classical sources, and the idea that they influence each other is a modern idea? Thoughts?