Gentiles with Crumbs

Our tradition is a literature of exile. The first Passover was celebrated in the desert. It celebrated a liberation into no-man’s land. Most subsequent celebrations have also taken shape in other people’s lands. How do we balance what we owe ourselves against what we may reasonably expect from others? Herein the question is a Jew’s relationship to a gentile’s chametz.

This is followed by a dispute on whether or not the Torah is written in chronological order, which is critical to those who extract law from the relative order of generalizations and specifications in the Torah. But why? If the generalizations and specifications were dictated out of the order in which they were originally uncovered, is not the order in which they were commanded to paper more significant than the order in which they manifested themselves?

Daf 329 (Pesachim 6a-6b)

The gemara considers laws regulating Jewish custody of gentile property before returning to the status of the gentile’s chametz. A baraisa is studied: “If a gentile entered the courtyard of a Jew with his chametz dough in his hand, the Jew is not obligated to dispose of it.”

The rabbis teach that one should begin studying the laws of Pesach 30 days before the holiday; the Tanna Kamma argues that two weeks is sufficient. The gemara seeks to understand the dispute, tracing it to different understandings of how many days prior to the first Pesach did Moses begin to teach the laws of Pesach. The different understandings are attributed to a lack of clarity that Rav explains: “This tells us that the Torah is not written in chronological order.” Rav Pappa offers proof that chronology within a passage is always correct; his proof is challenged.

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