THE PROPHET AND ISHMAELITES

Devarim 33-2

Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzhak (Rashi), a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud as well as a comprehensive commentary of the Torah. He (1040 – 1105 CE.) is considered the father of all commentaries that followed the Talmud.

In his Perush ‘al ha-Torah on the Sefer Devarim (Deuteronomy) 33:2, Rashi said:

וזרח משעיר למו שפתח לבני עשו שיקבלו את התורה ולא רצו ספרי :
הופיע להם מהר פארן שהלך שם ופתח לבני ישמעאל שיקבלוה ולא רצו ספרי :ואתה לישראל

Ve zarach mis-Seir lamo sheffatach le b’nei Esau sheyyeqabelu et hat-Torah ve lo ratzu sifrei. Hofi’a lahem me Har Paran, shehalach sham u-fatach li b’nei Yishmael sheyyeqabbeluha ve lo ratzu sifrei. Ve atah le Yisrael

(“And He rose from Seir unto them. He offered the Torah to the children of Esau the inhabitants of Seir, that they should accept the Torah but they did not desire to do so scripture. He shined forth to them from mount Paran because He went there and offered the Torah to the children of Ishmael, that they should accept it but they did not desire to do so the scripture. And He came unto Israel”).

This commentary is important to understand that G-d speaks of the revelation to Israelites at mount Sinai. He also speaks of the revelation to Edomites at Seir, and G-d speaks of the revelation to the Arabs at mount Paran. G-d blessed the children of Israel through Moses at Sinai; G-d also blessed the children of Esau through Job; and the same G-d also blessed the children of Ishmael through the blessed one. Based on the text of Sefer Devarim 33:2 Sinai refers to the religion of Israelites, Seir refers to the religion of Edomites, and Paran refers to the faith of the Ishmaelites. Moses was one of Israelites who received the the words of G-d at mount Sinai; and Job was one of Edomites who received the words of G-d at Seir. In the Judeo-Arabic, RAMBAM wrote a letter to Yamanite Jews on the origin of Job.

לאן איוב וצופר ובלדד ואליפז ואליהוא כלהם ענדנא אנביא ואן כאנו ליס מן ישראל

(אגרת תימן)

Lianna Ayyub wa Shofar wa Bildad wa Elifaz wa Elihu kulluhum ‘indana Anbiya’ wa in kanu laysa min Yisroil (Iggerot Teyman) 1.

“For Job, Zophar, Bildad, Eliphaz and Elihu are all considered prophets and are non-Jews.”

Obviously, Rambam in his letter to the Yemenites (Iggerot Teyman), he said: Job and his friends Tzofer, Bildad, Elifaz and Elihu received prophecy even though they were not Jewish. Raymond P. Scheindlin, a Professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America explained that Job was a non-Israelite, probably as an Edomite, since Utz, Job’s homeland is connected elsewhere in the Bible with Edom, the desert territory to the Southeast of the Dead Sea; so also his friends, Zophar, Eliphaz Elihu and Bildad were non-Israelites 2.

G-d sent Moses as a prophet from among the children of Israel, and G-d also sent Job as a prophet from among the children of Esau, but who was the one as a prophet among the children of Ishmael? RAMBAM quoted the text of Psalms of David the King of Israel, and he explained it according to the Midrashic method.

קאל אויה לי כי גרתי משך שכנתי עם אהלי קדר. ואעתברוא תכציצה קדר מן בני ישמעאל לאן משגע תאול אנמא הו בני קדר כמא הו משהור פי נסבה

qala oyah li ki garti Meshech shakanti ‘im ohalei Qedar (Mizmor 120:5). Wa’tibaru takhshishiha Qedar min bani Yismail li anna mesuga’ ta’wilu innama huwa min bani Qedar kama huwa masyhur fi nasabihi.

“David, of blessed memory, said: “Woe is me, that I sojourn with Meschech, that I dwell beside the tents of Kedar.” (Psalms 120:5). Note the distinction between Kedar and the children of Ishmael, for the madman of G-d (ish ha-Elohim or Mesuga’) and imbecile is of the lineage of the children of Kedar as they readly admit 3.

RAMBAM mentioned that there was a madman of G-d from among the children of Ishmael, one of the children of Kedar, and the man obviously claimed himself as a prophet. Rambam quoted the verse of Tehilim (Psalms 120:5), he then explained it. “Woe is me, that I live with Meshech, that I dwell among the clans of Kedar” (Psalms 120:5). Note how the verse sets apart Kedar from the other children of Ishmael. This is done because as everyone knows the man is a descendant of the people of Kedar.

A “locus classicus” for ecumenically minded rabbis, since even before Christian times, is the obscure passage from the testament of Moses, Sefer Devarim 33:2. Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 2b and Sifrei 343 also confirm the text. In the Iggerot Teyman, Rambam also quoted the text of Talmud. The Sages (Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 2b) offer a beautiful allegorical interpretation of this verse (Devarim 33:2). They say that initially G-d sent a messenger to the Edomites to offer them the Torah, but they rejected it. Then He sent a messenger to the Ishmaelites to offer them the Torah but they too, rejected it. Finally He sent Moses to us (Israelites) and we readily accepted the Torah, “We will do and obey all that G-d has declared” (Shemot 24:7).

Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon) born in Cordoba in 1135 CE. He (1135 – 1204 CE.) was a Talmudist, Halachist, physician, philosopher and commentary leader, known in the Jewish world by the acronym RAMBAM and to the world at large as Maimonides. He is one of the most important figures in the history of the Torah scholarship; on his gravestone were inscribed the words “From Moses to Moses there’s none like Moses.

The text of Devarim 33:2, however, is not only referring to the history, but it is also referring to the prophecy. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch says:

“Seir (שעיר) is Esau, Paran (פרן) is Ishmael (Genesis XXI:21). What it could want to say here would be – the promise to Abraham could have been fulfilled on Ishmael and Esau; but when Paran developed from Ishmael and still more when Seir was later formed by Esau, their characteristics showed that the realisation of God’s promise would have to wait for a later generation until finally Israel by accepting the Torah offered an entry for the glory of G-d on earth” 4

 


SANG NABI BANI KEDAR KETURUNAN ISHMAEL

Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzhak (Rashi), adalah seorang Rabbi asal Perancis yang hidup pada Abad Pertengahan. Beliau terkenal sebagai seorang penulis komentar komprehensif tentang kitab Talmud serta komentar komprehensif tentang kitab Taurat. Rashi (1040 – 1105 CE.) dianggap sebagai bapak semua komentator, terutama yang merujuk pada kitab Talmud.

Dalam bukunya Perush ‘al ha-Torah, khususnya Sefer Devarim (kitab Ulangan) 33:2, ternyata dalam penjelasannya Rashi berkata demikian:

וזרח משעיר למו שפתח לבני עשו שיקבלו את התורה ולא רצו ספרי :
הופיע להם מהר פארן שהלך שם ופתח לבני ישמעאל שיקבלוה ולא רצו ספרי :ואתה לישראל

Ve zarach mis-Seir lamo sheffatach le b’nei Esau sheyyeqabelu et hat-Torah ve lo ratzu sifrei. Hofi’a lahem me Har Paran, shehalach sham u-fatach li b’nei Yishmael sheyyeqabbeluha ve lo ratzu sifrei. Ve atah le Yisrael

(“And He rose from Seir unto them. He offered the Torah to the children of Esau the inhabitants of Seir, that they should accept the Torah but they did not desire to do so scripture. He shined forth to them from mount Paran because He went there and offered the Torah to the children of Ishmael, that they should accept it but they did not desire to do so the scripture. And He came unto Israel”).

Komentar ini penting untuk dipahami bahwa Tuhan berbicara tentang wahyu kepada bani Israel di gunung Sinai. Dia juga pernah berbicara tentang wahyu kepada bani Edom di Seir, dan Tuhan juga pernah berbicara tentang wahyu kepada bangsa Arab di gunung Paran. Itu artinya, Tuhan memberkati keturunan Israel melalui Musa di Sinai; Tuhan juga memberkati keturunan Esau melalui Ayub; dan Tuhan juga memberkati keturunan Ismail melalui seseorang yang diberkati. Berdasarkan makna meta-historis pada teks Sefer Devarim 33:2, bukit Sinai merupakan simbol yang mengacu pada agama kaum Israel, Seir merupakan simbol yang mengacu pada agama kaum Edom, dan Paran juga merupakan simbol yang mengacu pada iman yang dianut oleh kaum Ismael. Musa adalah salah satu keturunan Israel yang menerima firman Tuhan di gunung Sinai; dan juga Ayub adalah salah satu keturunan Esau (Edom) yang menerima firman Tuhan di Seir. Dalam karya monumental berbahasa Judeo-Arabic, RAMBAM pernah menulis surat kepada kaum Yahudi diaspora di Yaman tentang asal-usul identitas Ayub.

לאן איוב וצופר ובלדד ואליפז ואליהוא כלהם ענדנא אנביא ואן כאנו ליס מן ישראל

(אגרת תימן)

Lianna Ayyub wa Shofar wa Bildad wa Elifaz wa Elihu kulluhum ‘indana Anbiya’ wa in kanu laysa min Yisroil (Iggerot Teyman) 1.

“For Job, Zophar, Bildad, Eliphaz and Elihu are all considered prophets and are non-Jews.”

Jelas, Rambam dalam suratnya kepada orang-orang Yaman (Iggerot Teyman), dia berkata: Ayub dan teman-temannya Tzofer, Bildad, Elifaz dan Elihu telah menerima misi kenabian meskipun mereka nasabnya bukan keturunan Yahudi. Raymond P. Scheindlin, seorang Profesor Sastra Ibrani Abad Pertengahan di Seminari Teologi Yahudi Amerika juga menjelaskan bahwa Ayub adalah seorang non-Israel, mungkin sebagai orang Edom, karena Utz, tanah kelahiran Ayub terkait dengan tempat lain, yang dalam Alkitab disebut dengan wilayah Edom, yakni wilayah gurun yang terletak di arah tenggara kawasan Laut Mati; begitu juga teman-temannya, Zophar, Eliphaz Elihu dan Bildad adalah orang-orang non-Israel, 2.

Tuhan mengutus Musa sebagai seorang nabi dari antara keturunan Israel, dan Tuhan juga mengutus Ayub sebagai seorang nabi dari antara keturunan Esau, tetapi siapakah yang menjadi nabi di antara keturunan Ismael? RAMBAM mengutip kitab Mazmur-nya Daud dan kemudian beliau menjelaskan teks tersebut berdasarkan metode tafsir Midrash.

קאל אויה לי כי גרתי משך שכנתי עם אהלי קדר. ואעתברוא תכציצה קדר מן בני ישמעאל לאן משגע תאול אנמא הו בני קדר כמא הו משהור פי נסבה

qala oyah li ki garti Meshech shakanti ‘im ohalei Qedar (Mizmor 120:5). Wa’tibaru takhshishiha Qedar min bani Yismail li anna mesuga’ ta’wilu innama huwa min bani Qedar kama huwa masyhur fi nasabihi.

“(Daud) telah berkata: “Celakalah aku, karena aku bermukim di Mesekh, aku tinggal bersama di tenda kaum Kedar (Mazmur 120:5). Adapun ungkapan kekhususannya adalah Kedar termasuk keturunan Ismail, karena berdasarkan ta’wil bahwasanya lelaki yang mengalami “trans” itu ternyata berasal dari keturunan Kedar (bani Kedar) sebagamana masyhur dalam nasab silsilahnya.”

RAMBAM menyebutkan bahwa ada seorang lelaki dari antara keturunan Ismael, yang nasabnya bersambung kepada Kedar, dan lelaki itu jelas mengklaim dirinya sebagai nabi. Rambam mengutip ayat Tehilim (Mazmur 120: 5), ia kemudian menjelaskannya. “Celakalah aku, bahwa aku hidup bermukim di Mesech, bahwa aku tinggal di antara klan-klan kaum Kedar (Mazmur 120: 5). Perhatikan bagaimana ayat itu membedakan kaum Kedar dari antara keturunan Ismail lainnya. Hal ini membuktikan karena semua orang tahu bahwa lelaki itu adalah seseorang dari antara orang-orang keturunan Kedar, dan nasabnya memang termasyhur dari antara bani Kedar.” Itulah sebabnya di kalangan komunitas Yahudi dan Nasrani, ternyata secara masif identitas lelaki yang bernama Muhammad SAW itu disebut sebagai “Nabi bani Kedar.”

Sebagai sebuah “locus classicus” terutama bagi para Rabbi yang berpikiran ekumenis, bahkan sebelum era Kristen, ada ayat yang merupakan bagian yang tidak jelas dari wasiat Musa, yakni Sefer Devarim 33: 2. Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 2b dan Sifrei 343 juga mengkonfirmasi makna teks dari ayat tersebut. Dalam Iggerot Teyman, Rambam juga mengutip teks Talmud tersebut. Para rabbi (Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 2b) menawarkan interpretasi alegoris yang indah dari ayat ini (Devarim 33: 2). Mereka mengatakan bahwa awalnya Tuhan mengirim seorang utusan-Nya kepada keturunan Esau (Edom) untuk menawarkan mereka Taurat, tetapi mereka menolaknya. Kemudian Dia mengirim seorang utusan-Nya kepada keturunan Ismael untuk menawarkan Taurat kepada mereka, tetapi mereka juga menolaknya. Akhirnya Dia mengutus Musa hamba-Nya kepada kita (orang Israel) dan kita siap menerima Taurat, “Kami akan melakukan dan mematuhi semua yang telah dinyatakan oleh Tuhan” (Shemot 24: 7).

Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon) lahir di Kordoba pada tahun 1135 CE. Dia (1135 – 1204 CE.) adalah seorang Talmudist, Halachist, dokter, filsuf, dan pemimpin para komentator dari kitab TaNaKH dan Talmud yang dikenal di dunia Yahudi dengan sebutan akronim RAMBAM, dan dunia pada umumnya mengenalnya dengan julukan Maimonides. Dia adalah salah satu tokoh paling penting dalam sejarah kesarjanaan Taurat; di batu nisannya tertulis kata-kata demikian: “Dari Musa sampai Musa tidak ada yang seperti Musa.”

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. See Abraham S. Halkin. Moses Maimonides’ Epistle to Yemen. The Arabic Original and the Three Hebrew Versions. Edited from Manuscripts with Introduction and Notes (New York: American Academy for Jewish Research, 1953), pp. 50-52
  2. See Raymon P. Scheindlin. “The Book of Job. Translation, Introduction and Notes (New York – London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998), pp. 11-13.
  3. See Abraham S. Halkin. Moses Maimonides’ Epistle to Yemen. The Arabic Original and the Three Hebrew Versions. Edited from Manuscripts with Introduction and Notes (New York: American Academy for Jewish Research, 1952), pp. 94-96
  4. See Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. Chamisha Chumshe Torah. Sefer Devarim. The Pentateuch. Translated & Explained. vol. V. Deuteronomy (London – New York: Bloch Publishing Company, 1962), p. 664

 

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