Emmes


I. Evidence that emmes not = truth (i.e. agreement with facts, as characteristic of propositional entities)

A. use with verbs of action: Gen.24: 49, 47:29; Ez.18:9; Ps.111:7,8; Neh.9:33; Prov.11:18; 2Ch.31:20

B. as characteristic of rules of action: Ps.19:10, 119:151; Neh.9:13; Zech.7:9, 8:16

C. as characteristic of entities: Jer.10:10, 14:13

D. no usage with "that..." or any unambiguous propositional entity

II. Emmes = real, lasting, appropriate (lawful, obligatory, right, expected, etc.)

A. all uses imply highest value

B. Jer.10:10 in context -> real

C. Jer.14:13 in context -> lasting

D. usage with chesed (lovingkindness) -> appropriate (see Gra on Prov.3:3; Malbim on Gen.24:48)

E. use with respect to speech

1. as characteristic of propositional content of speech - mistake!

2. as characteristic of speech action - correct - will normally agree 9; with truth of propositional content, but not always

III. Rabbinic Hints

A. "changing {the facts} for the sake of peace" - T.B. Bava Metzia 87a, Yevomos 65b

B. first, middle and last letters of aleph-beis - T.B. Shabbos 55a (contrast sheker with consecutive letters - Shabbos 104a - compare emmes with broad-based letters vs.sheker with narrow based letters

C. RMBM, Laws of repentance, 10:1 - to serve G-d out of love = to do the emmes because it is emmes!

&#D. emmes as kabbalistic essence of Jacob

IV. Application: Guide of the Perplexed I:2 - Adam's knowledge of emmes and sheker does not restrict him to theoretical knowledge -emmes as quality of action makes moral assessment possible (cf. III C.)


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