Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Cognitive Dissonance Pt. 5 - East vs. West

Hasiba is a given at the Seder Night. Then there are the exceptions - students, women, etc.

The great Ashkenazic Poseiq Raaviyah posited that hasiba is no longer applicable - we simply do not formally dine that way anymore. Apparently, that was restricted to the Roman Persian societies.

Certainly this does not jibe with the Bavli that gives elaborate rules of how to do hasiba and how NOT to do it! EG don't lean on the right, etc. Thus the Raviyyah reads as either quite revisionistic or as a Liberal.

OTOH there is an East-West split on HOW hasiba is accomplished

The Bavli seems to persist on a particular reclining on a cushion.

The term in general usage seems to simply be an idiom for "formal dining"

The Yerushalmi's take is most informative. Why is hasiba required? In order not to eat standing like an eved (I.E. servant or slave). Thus the Western Talmud requires mere sitting down!

Thus the Raviyyah dovetails with this version. And the apparent dissonance with Bavli may be attributed to an East-West split



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