Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: DAF YOMI Category:LESSONS FROM THE DAF Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Mei Shiloach - Abaye Changes His Position Three Times

Abaye was a Kohen and was eligible to receive the coveted Zro'a, L'Chayayin, and Keiva, shoulder, tongue, and stomach of every animal slaughtered. The gemara Chulin (133a) tells us that initially, Abaye in his enthusiasm to show how important the mitzva is, used to grab these pieces of meat from the people who slaughtered the animal. Later when he heard that the pasuk says these pieces should be "given" to the Kohen, he stopped taking them himself but started to tell the people to give it to him. When he heard that the Navi criticized the children of Shmuel HaNavi for "asking" for the Matanos, he stopped asking but continued to accept them when offered. When he heard the Braisa says that the modest Kohanim would pass on the opportunity to get a piece of the holy Lechem HaPanim while the aggressive ones would grab, he stopped accepting altogether.

The Mei Shiloach says that the nature of a person whose opinion is attacked or even questioned, is to stand up and defend himself vigorously. This is especially of a person of stature and even more so when it comes to his personal conduct. Admitting error puts a blemish on his past behavior, which a public persona has trouble dealing with both on his own account and that of his position.

Abaye exhibited the exact opposite behavior. Despite that after his own internal lengthy debate, he decided that grabbing the Matanos showed the most respect for the Mitzvos, as soon as he even "heard" that his way may not be correct, rather than defend himself he chose to change his ways. Still when that did not prove sufficient to stem the voices of dissent, Abaye once again altered his behavior without any argument. And then he did it for third time. Could you imagine the shame of a Gadol HaDor swallowing his pride three times over the same issue?

Abaye, says the Mei Shiloach, set an example how all of ones conduct must be totally L'Shem Shamayim without any consideration of ones own ego. One must always seek the truth no matter what is at stake for him personally.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 03:00:00 +0000 Mar Ukva said, "I am vinegar the son of wine", in our language he didn't reach the toenails of his father. Why? Because his father waited 24 hours after eating meat before eating cheese while he only waited until the next meal, no matter how close in time.

Mar Ukva and every Amora were on such a high level that we cannot even fathom. If Mar Ukva was so amazed by his father's greatness in waiting twenty four hours, why did he not just do the same? Surely it wasn't his constant craving for beef!

Rav Avigdor Miller explains that it is not wise to accept on ourselves things that are beyond our true level of Ruchniyus. Of course Mar Ukva could have refrained from meat for a full day just like his father, but he was not holding by that madreiga. It would have been to a degree disingenuous. He lamented that he was not on a high enough level to sincerely take upon himself this Chumra.

Similarly, in the next piece of gemara Shmuel says that his father surveyed his property twice a day, while he himself was only on the level to do so once a day. His father understood the value of every little thing Hashem bestowed on him and watched it like a hawk. Shmuel felt that all he could manage with this same zeal, was once a day. The second time would have either been insincere or worse yet made him think that it is his care that makes his business flourish. His father had no such problem.

Sun, 09 Oct 2011 03:00:00 +0000
"Es" Includes Talmidei Chachamim - Kiddushin Daf 57 The Gemora notes that some opinions do not expound the word "es." This would be in accordance with the following braisa: Shimon Ha'amsoni, and others say that it was Nechemia Ha'amsoni, would expound on every word es that was written in the Torah. (This means that he would teach what the word es was coming to include.) When he reached the verse that states you shall revere es Hashem your G-d, he stopped expounding on the word es. Shimon Ha'amsoni felt that it is impossible to equate the reverence of Hashem to anything else, so he retracted from all of his previous interpretations of the word es. When questioned by his students what would happen to all the words es that he had expounded upon previously, Shimon Ha'amsoni replied, "Just as I received reward for expounding on those words, I will receive reward for retracting my interpretations. Rabbi Akiva arrived later and expounded the verse to mean you shall revere es Hashem your G-d, to include Torah scholars. Just like one is obligated to revere Hashem, so too, one must revere Torah scholars.

The Pardes Yosef (Vayechi) explains Rabbi Akiva by citing the Gemora in Nedarim, which states: Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav: What does the verse mean when it says: Who is the man who is wise and can understand this? This (the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple) was asked to scholars and prophets and they could not explain it, until Hashem explained it Himself, as it says: And Hashem said that it is because they left my Torah. Isn't the phrase "and they did not listen to My voice" the same as the phrase "and they did not go in its ways"? Rav Yehudah explains in the name of Rav: This means that they did not recite a blessing before learning Torah.

Rabbi Akiva was saying: The word es is including the Torah scholars. The Holy One, Blessed be He said: it is because they left "es" my Torah. They left that which was included from the word es, for they were not honoring the Torah scholars.

However, it can be asked that the Torah scholars should have been mochel the respect that they deserved!? We have learned that if a Torah scholar is mochel on the honor due to him, it is valid!

This is why Hashem continued with the verse, it is because they left my Torah. Hashem is saying: The Torah is Mine and the Torah scholar cannot be mochel. Why is the Torah Mine? It is because Klal Yisroel did not recite the blessing before learning Torah. The Gemora Brochos asks: It is written: The entire world belongs to Hashem. But it is also written: And the land was given to the people!? The Gemora answers: It depends if they recite a blessing first or not. Since they didn't recite the blessing before learning Torah, it is regarded as Hashem's Torah, and the Torah scholars could not be mochel on the obligation to honor the Torah.

Thu, 04 Dec 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Father (outside) and Mother (inside): Kiddushin Daf 18 The braisa states: A person can accept kiddushin for his daughter again (if she became widowed or divorced after betrothal), he can sell her again, and he can marry her off after selling her as a maidservant. However, he cannot sell her after marrying her off. Rabbi Shimon says: Just as he cannot do this, he cannot sell her as a maidservant after he already sold her once.

This is like the argument of the following Tannaim. The braisa says: "When he betrayed her." Once he spread his cloak over her (in marriage), he cannot sell her; these are the words of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Eliezer says, "When he betrayed her," teaches that once he betrayed her (sold her as a maidservant) he cannot sell her.

What is their argument? Rabbi Eliezer says: The way the word is written in the Torah is important. Rabbi Akiva says: The way it is read is important. Rabbi Shimon says: Both are important. ["Important" here refers to how we understand the intent of the Torah. If we focus on the word as it is read, it refers to clothing, while if we focus on the letters, it refers to being sold.]

This is similar to a debate in the Gemora in Sukkah which discusses if a sukkah requires two full walls and a third wall that is at least a tefach, or should there be three complete walls. This debate is based on whether one reads the word Sukkos in the Torah with the letter vav or without the letter vav. The Chachamim maintain that we say yeish eim lemasores, the transmitted written form has primacy, whereas Rabbi Shimon maintains that yeish eim lemikra, the pronounced form has primacy.

The Rif was questioned as to why the Gemora uses the word eim, which means mother, and not av, which means father. A similar question would be that the Gemora refers to one of the thirteen principles of Biblical hermeneutics as a binyan av and not a binyan eim.

The Rif initially responded that he never heard anyone shed light on this matter, but then he proceeded to offer a possible explanation. When the purpose of a principle is to teach a concept in a different area, the Gemora uses the term av, whereas if the discussion at hand is regarding relying on a principle, the Gemora uses the word eim.

Shearim Mitzuyanim B'Halacha explains the words of the Rif. The mother is the akeres habayis, the mainstay of the house as it is said every honorable princess dwelling within. For this reason we say yeish eim lemikra or yeish eim lemasores, as the mother is the central figure in the house and it is the mother who everyone is dependant upon. The father, on the other hand, is not usually found in the house, as he leaves the house to seek a livelihood. The principle of a binyan av, however, is that we are building from one location to another, and this is analogous to a father who influences others. (See Rabbeinu Bachye to Devarim 33:8 for further discussion on the differences between the father and mother.)

Mon, 27 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Prosecutor becoming a Defender: Kiddushin Daf 5

The Gemora had asked: Why don't we say that just as money can be used for kiddushin, it can be used as a method of divorce?


Abaye answers: This is because people will say, "Money brings a woman into marriage, can money take her out? How can a defender become a prosecutor?"


The Gemora elsewhere uses this reason as to why the Kohen Gadol cannot wear his gold garments into the Holy of Holies when performing the Yom Kippur service. This is based on the rule ein kategor na'aseh sanegor - a prosecuting attorney cannot become a defense attorney.


The Turei even asks that this does not explain why the avnet, the belt of the kohen gadol on Yom Kippur was different that the one he wore during the year During the year, the belt consisted of wool and linen and on Yom Kippur, it was made only out of linen. Since there wasn't gold anyway, what was the purpose for the change?


It is written in Vayikra "You shall observe My statutes: You shall not crossbreed your livestock with different species. You shall not sow your field with a mixture of seeds, and a garment which has a mixture of shatnez shall not come upon you."


The Ramban cites the Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim to explain the reason for this prohibition. It was well known that the clothes that the sorcerers used to wear when they were performing their black magic were made out of wool and linen. Their activities were performed for the sake of their idols and demons. The Torah wanted Klal Yisroel to distance themselves from idolatry and therefore prohibited the wearing of clothes that contained wool and linen. The Chinuch uses a similar analogy to explain the prohibition.


Rav Elyashiv Shlita says that it emerges from these Rishonim that one of the concepts behind the prohibition of wearing shatnez is based on idolatry. Perhaps this can explain why the kohen gadol does not wear the belt of shatnez into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. A garment consisting of wool and linen is regarded as a kategor - a prosecutor since it bears resemblance to the idolaters clothing.


The Gemora in Yoma explains that this principle only applies inside the Holy of Holies for that is where the Shechinah resides.


The Ritva writes that one would be permitted to wear on Yom Kippur a tallis that contains gold in it since this is regarded as "outside" and not "inside." The principle of ein kategor na'aseh sanegor only applies "inside."


Reb Akiva Eiger in his gloss on Shulchan Aruch (O"C 610) quotes from the Pri Megadim that are certain localities that have the custom not to wear gold on Yom Kippur, but women and Levi'im are not included in this since they did not donate any gold for the golden calf.


In the sefer, Avodah Berurah, a question is asked that we do not find the principle of ein kategor na'aseh sanegor by tefillah since tefillah is regarded as "outside" and not "inside."


Sefer Chasidim (249) writes that the principle of ein kategor na'aseh sanegor does apply by tefillah. He is referring to a case where one wrote a siddur for his friend but he didn't write the siddur for the sake of Heaven and the friend's prayers were never answered when using this particular siddur.


Beis Halevi in his droshos (15) explains why the principle of ein kategor na'aseh sanegor does apply by tefillah even though the tefillah is not recited inside the Holy of Holies. It is based on the Gemora in Brochos 28b which rules that one who prays should always turn his heart towards the Holy of Holies and therefore tefillah is considered "inside."

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Man's Acquiring his Lost Article: Kiddushin Daf 2 Rabbi Shimon said: Why does the Torah say, "When a man will take a woman," and not "When a woman will be taken to a man"? This is because it is the way of a man to go seek a wife, but it is abnormal for a woman to go seek a husband. This is akin to someone who loses something. Who is the one searching for the object? Obviously the owner seeks to find his lost object. [And since the woman was created from the man's lost bone, it is he who searches for her.]

The Mishnah Halachos asks: Why is a man required to give the woman money for betrothal; she is his lost bone!? When one takes back an article that he had lost, is he required to make a new kinyan?

He answers: If the man would know for certain that the woman he is about to marry is his proper match from the Days of Creation, it would not be necessary for him to make a new kinyan. However, since this matter is uncertain to us, witnesses are required, and once this transpires, the other people in the world give up hope from marrying this woman, and she becomes the rightful wife to this man.

Accordingly, it can be said that when Adam married Chavah, when there was no alternative woman, and she obviously was destined to be his wife, it would not have been necessary to have witnesses or any kinyan for that marriage.

Wed, 15 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000
String Remains Attached: Gittin 78

Rav Chisda says: If the get is in her hands, but the string attached to the get is in his hands; if he can pull the string and thereby bring the get back, she is not divorced. If he cannot do so, she is divorced. Why? This is because the get must be deemed a "sefer kerisus" - "book of cutting off (indicating that the giving must totally separate him from her as well)."


The Tiferes Shlomo writes: Hinted in this Gemora is that although there are times, on account of are actions, the Holy One, Blessed be He is compelled to chase us away from Him; nevertheless, the rope attaching us to Him is always in His hand.

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Mentioning Evil First - Gittin 75

Rava stated: Let us see; where do we derive the rule for conditions? It is from the condition mentioned in the Torah regarding the Tribes of Reuven and Gad. Therefore, just as there, the positive feature (they will receive the land if they fulfill the condition) comes before the negative (if they do not fight together with the rest of Klal Yisroel, they will not receive that land), so too, it should be in all cases.


It is written [Bamidbar 16:29 - 30]: If these men die as all men die and the fate of all men will be visited upon them, then Hashem has not sent me. But if Hashem creates a creation, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them and all that is theirs, and they descend alive into the grave, you will know that these men have provoked Hashem.


The Haflaah in Panim Yafos asks: Shouldn't Moshe have stated the positive feature before the negative?


He answers: Our Gemora states that a man does not want to begin with a mention of evil for himself, and therefore he will say, "If I do not die" before stating, "If I will die." So too, Moshe did not want to begin with mentioning evil even for these wicked people, and therefore, he worded the stipulation in a manner that the mention of this horrific type of death should be delayed for as long as possible.

Wed, 24 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Directly from Hashem

The Gemora cited a braisa: If a scribe wrote a get for the sake of a specific woman, and the witnesses signed it for her sake as well, although they wrote, signed and gave it to the husband, and the husband gave the get to his wife, it is not valid until the scribe and the witnesses hear the husband's voice telling them to write and sign it.


It is evident from here that if one person tells another to tell another, it is not regarded as if the third person heard it from the first.


Reb Yosef Engel asks from a Gemora in Kiddushin (22b), which states: Why is the ear different than all the other limbs in the body (that it is chosen for piercing for a slave that chooses to stay by his master)? The Holy One, Blessed be He said, "The ear that heard My voice on Mount Sinai when I said, ‘Bnei Yisroel are slaves to Me, and not slaves to other slaves,' and this person went and acquired another master for himself, his ear should be pierced!" Why is it regarded as if he heard these words from Hashem? Bnei Yisroel only heard the first two commandments from Him; the rest were said over by Moshe!? We could have answered that since Moshe heard it directly from Hashem, and Bnei Yisroel heard it from Moshe, it is regarded as if they heard it directly from Hashem. However, based on our Gemora, that is incorrect!?


He answers that since when Moshe spoke, the Shechinah was talking through Moshe's throat, it was considered as if they heard the commandments directly from Hashem.

Mon, 22 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Afflictions Purging a Person's Sins: Gittin 42

The Gemora states that if a master knocks out the tooth of his slave, or if he blinds his eye, he must release the slave.


It is noteworthy that Rabbi Yochanan in the Gemora in Brochos (5a) derives from here that a person is considered fortunate if Hashem inflicts him. It is taught through a kal vachomer as follows: If the loss of a tooth or an eye, which is only one of the limbs in a person's body, nevertheless, a slave gains his freedom because of it, then afflictions, which cleanse the person's entire body, should certainly free a person from sin because of them!


Rish Lakish derives this same lesson from a different source. He says: The word covenant is written with respect to salt and the word covenant is written with respect to afflictions. Just as salt sweetens the meat, so too, afflictions will cleanse a person from his sins.


The Bobover Rebbe in Kedushas Tziyon notes that there is a distinction between the two expositions. According to Rabbi Yochanan, the afflictions will only cleans a person if they emanate from Heaven, similar to the halachos of a slave, where he will only be set free if his master knocks out his tooth or eye. He will not gain his freedom if someone else injures him. However, according to Rish Lakish, any type of afflictions will cleanse him, in the same manner as the salt sweetening the meat. It makes no difference as to who applies the salt.


Based upon this, Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank explains the following. It is written [Shmos 6:5]: And also, I heard the moans of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians are holding in bondage, and I remembered My covenant. The Jewish people thought that the Egyptians were their masters and they were those who were afflicting them. They did not realize that their suffering was decreed from Heaven. Because they didn't know who was causing them their hardships, they did not gain their freedom. It was only because Hashem remembered His covenant, that all afflictions cleanse a person from his sins, that was the reason they were released from the bondage.


Reb Meir Shapiro adds to this: If a slave does not come to court and testify that his master knocked out his tooth or eye, he will not gain his freedom. If he says that it happened by happenstance, he will not go free. So too, it is with afflictions. If a person does not believe with complete faith that the afflictions are affecting him because of Divine Providence, the afflictions will not purge him of his sins. However, if this principle was derived through the gezeirah shavah from salt, it would not make any difference.


The Rashba was asked the following question: If a slave initiates a fight with his master and strikes the first blow, and the master counters with some strikes of his own and knocks out the slave's tooth, will the slave gain his freedom?


He replied that the slave goes free. The proof is from the aforementioned Gemora, where Rabbi Yochanan derived that afflictions will cleanse a person from his sins through a kal vachomer from the laws of the slave. How can the two be compared? Afflictions come to a person because he has sinned! It was his own fault! Perhaps, then, those afflictions will not purge him from his sins!? Evidently, we see that a slave also gains his freedom, even if he was the one who initiated the fight!

Fri, 22 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Who is the "I"? Gittin Daf 39

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: They asked before Rebbe: What is the law if someone says that he gives up hope of ever retrieving his slave? Rebbe replied: I say that such a slave can only be fixed (to marry) with a document.


Many times in Shas, it is found that Rebbe used this terminology, "I say etc." What was his intention with these words?


Reb Yosef Engel in Beis Haotzar explains that it is known that Rebbe was a tremendously humble person. The Gemora in Sotah (49a) states that when Rebbe died, humility ceased. Perhaps what Rebbe was saying was that it appears to him that the halachah is like this-and-this, but not that it is most definitely so.


He also writes that it is clear from the seforim of the students of the Baal Shem Tov that lofty people are constantly thinking that their words and actions are not emanating from their own power and strength; rather, it is all coming from the Ribbono shel Olam. In kabbalah, the Shechinah is referred to as "Ani," "I." This is the explanation in the Gemora Sukkah (53a) when Hillel said, "If I am here, then everyone is here." The "I" did not refer to himself, for Hillel, we also know was extremely humble. Rather, he was referring to the Shechinah. This, perhaps, is what Rebbe was saying when he said, "I say." The Shechinah which is inside of me is saying that the halachah is like this.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Disgraced but did not Respond: Gittin 36

The Gemora cites a braisa: Those who are insulted, but do not insult back, and those who hear their shame, but do not respond, and those who do God’s will out of love and are happy even while they suffer, concerning them it is written: But they who love Him shall be as the sun going forth in its might.


The Chidah in his seforim relates the following incident several times: There was once a very wealthy and powerful man who humiliated a torah scholar. The Rav of the city told the Torah scholar that he should forgive the man. The scholar told him that he immediately forgave him, for it is written in the Zohar HaKadosh that the sins of the Jewish people cause the Shechinah much pain, Heaven forbid, and if he would not forgive him, it would be regarded as a grave sin for the wealthy person. He, therefore, immediately forgave him, for this way, the Shechinah will not be pained.


The Chidah concludes that he wrote this over numerous times, for it is of tremendously important and extremely precious and words of mussar, such as these, must be constantly reiterated in order to inspire people to fear Hashem properly!

Fri, 15 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Kedushah and Chavivus for Mitzvos: Gittin 34

Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel: The Jews from abroad sent to Rabban Gamliel the following inquiry: If a man comes here from Eretz Yisroel whose true name is Yosef, but who is known here as Yochanan, or whose name is Yochanan, but who is known here as Yosef, how can he divorce his wife? Rabban Gamliel thereupon stood up and decreed that they should write in the get, "This man So-and-so or by whatever names he is known," "This woman So-and-so or by whatever names she is known," in order to benefit the public.


They asked Rabbeinu Tam regarding a Jew who worships idols and he divorced his wife with a get which had only his Jewish name written on it, and not his idolatrous name. What is the status of such a get?


He answered: Heaven forbid to even mention an idolatrous name on a get which is written according to the law of Moshe and all of Israel!


The Ra"dach in his response explains that his idolatrous name is not regarded as his name at all, and if that would be the only name written on the get, it would be as if the get would be written without the name of the divorcing husband.


However, Reb Yosef Engel notes that from the language of Rabbeinu Tam, it would seem that there is a different explanation. It is on account of the sanctity of the get that his idolatrous name cannot be written.


And the Rad"vaz in his response writes like that as well. He says that any holy scroll, such as a Sefer Torah, Tefillin, or Mezuzah, where there lies an obligation that it should be written lishmah, and also a get has sanctity, for it is also has a requirement to be written lishmah.


He concludes that the matzah which is being baked to be eaten on Pesach night also possesses sanctity, for it is required to be baked lishmah.


It is possible that this could explain the custom of many righteous people to kiss the matzah before they eat it on the night of the seder.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Path to Sanctity: Gittin 33

The Gemora states: Whoever betroths a woman in Jewish marriage, betroths her subject to the will of the Rabbis.


The baalei mussar say: One who wants to sanctify and purify himself in his service to his Creator, should do so subject to the will of the Rabbis. He should go to the Rabbis and the righteous people of his generation, and they shall guide him in his quest. One who tries to forge a path himself is apt to stumble and make mistakes; nothing substantive will result from it.

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
An Explanation "For The Beards"

When Rabbi Yehoshua from Sosnovitz was a nine year old boy, his father took him to the Rav of the city to be tested on his learning. The Rav asked him to say over the first Mishna in the fourth perek of Gittin (32a). The child explained the words of  Mishna "Hiskin Raban Gamliel HaZaken" to mean "Rabban Gamliel decreed regarding the beards" rather than "the old Raban Gamliel decreed". He mistook the word Zken to mean bears in stead of old.  The Rav realized that the boy couldn't even translate the words of the Mishna correctly, let alone, explain it properly! Yet, he was hesitant to inform the father of this, for he thought that it would cause him too much pain.

Reb Yehoshua's father returned and asked the Rav for his assessment of his child. The Rav just related to him the boy's translation of the Mishna, so the father could ascertain for himself. When the father heard this explanation, he proclaimed, "I didn't know that my son was on such a lofty level!"

Many years later, when Reb Yehoshua became well known as one of the righteous men in the generation, there was an edict issued from the government that all Jews are required to shave off their beards. They came to Reb Yehoshua for his advice and to beseech him to pray on their behalf that the decree should be nullified. Reb Yehoshua responded: "When I was a child, I explained the Mishna to mean that Rabban Gamliel decreed regarding the beards. The meaning is that Rabban Gamliel decreed that no nation will have the ability to interfere with the beards of the Jewish people. There is nothing at all to be concerned about." It was only a short time afterward that the decree was rescinded!

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Gittin 30: Holy Thoughts

The Gemora states that one can separate both terumah gedolah and terumas ma'aser with a thought and one does not need to physically or orally designate the terumah.


There are certain mitzvos which require one to contemplate the mitzvah, such as loving HaShem, fearing HaShem and other such mitzvos. There is even a situation where if one sought to perform a mitzvah and he could not complete it because of extenuating circumstances, it is considered as if he performed the mitzvah. Thus, thoughts play an important part in serving HaShem.


Rav Chaim Volozhiner writes in Nefesh HaChaim that one who entertains immoral thoughts is worse than the Roman general Titus, who defiled the Holy of Holies, because a gentile does not have the capability of reaching high spiritual levels, whereas a Jew has the ability to reach very high spiritual levels, and improper thoughts defile the spiritual Holy of Holies. This idea should teach us that not only do we have to be pure in our actions but we must also keep our thoughts pure and holy.

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Gittin 31: Taste of the Manna

The Gemora states that one can separate both terumah gedolah and terumas ma'aser with a thought and one does not need to physically or orally designate the terumah.


Tosfos writes that on Shabbos, it is still forbidden to mentally separate terumah, for through that, he renders the produce usable (it is regarded as "fixing" on Shabbos).


Based upon this, the Pnei Dovid answers the following contradiction: It is written [Shmos 16:23] regarding the manna: Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbos to God. Bake whatever you wish to bake, and cook whatever you wish to cook. Rashi comments: Whatever you wish to bake in an oven, bake everything today for two days, and whatever amount of it you need to cook in water, cook today. Yet, it is written [Bamidbar 11:8]: The people walked about and gathered it. Then they ground it in a mill or crushed it in a mortar, cooked it in a pot and made it into cakes. And there Rashi comments: The manna did not actually enter the mill, the pot, or the mortar, but its taste changed to that of ground, crushed, or cooked food. And this is actually how the Gemora in Yoma (75a) explains it as well! It wasn't actually baked, but rather, if they wanted it to taste as if it was baked, then it would! Seemingly, Rashi is contradicting himself!?


He answers that there is a distinction between the weekdays and Shabbos. During the weekdays, they could mentally decide on how the manna should taste, and so it happened. However, on Shabbos, this would be forbidden, for it would be regarded as "fixing" the food! They therefore had to bake it from beforehand if they wanted it to taste baked on Shabbos.

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Gittin 29: Moshe's Instructions

It is written [Shmos 7:1]: Hashem said to Moshe, "See! I have made you a lord over Pharaoh, and Aaron, your brother, will be your speaker." What is the connection between the two parts of the verse?


Reb Shlomo Kluger explains the verse based upon our Gemora. Rava had said that our Mishna was referring to words (that were said by the husband, i.e. instructions to write the get), and those cannot be passed on to another messenger (for words are too insignificant to be transferred). However, something tangible (like a get) can be passed on to another messenger.


This principal, he explains, is that mere words cannot be transferable to a second agent. However, the first agent can be appointed for mere words.


Moshe's mission was one of words. Hashem commanded him to go to Pharaoh and speak to him. Accordingly, one can ask: How did Moshe have the authority to transfer this to Aaron? Mere words are non-transferable to another agent!?


This is the explanation for the introductory verse. Hashem made Moshe into a lord over Pharaoh. Moshe, therefore, was not merely an agent; he was the principal himself. He, therefore, had the authority to appoint Aaron to be his agent to talk to Pharaoh.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Gittin 23: Eliezer The Slave

Rabbi Chiya bar Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: A Canaanite slave is disqualified from serving as an agent to receive a woman's get from her husband because he is not included in the halachos of divorce and marriage.

Tosfos in Kesuvos (7b) writes that Eliezer was the agent of Yitzchak to marry Rivkah.  The Panim Yafos asks: How could Eliezer serve as the agent for marriage, when he was not included in the halachos of marriage.  He answers that this principle is only applicable when he is serving as an agent for another person. However, a slave may serve as an agent of his master for marriage and divorce, since he is considered the hand of the master.  This explains why Eliezer began by saying, "I am the slave of Avraham."

The Pardes Yosef asks that this does not explain how Eliezer could marry Rivkah on behalf of Yitzchak! Eliezer belonged to Avraham; not to Yitzchak!?  He answers that this is why Avraham gave over all his possessions to Yitzchak, including his slave, Eliezer. Once Eliezer belonged to Yitzchak, he could serve as his agent.

Mon, 04 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Gitin Daf 17 - Do We Prefer Persian or Roman Oppressors? Rabbah bar bar Chanah was once ill, and Rav Yehudah and Rabbah went to inquire on his health. While they were there, they asked him a question.  In the meantime, a Persian man came in and took away their lamp (for that day was one of their holidays, and it was forbidden to light a candle except in their temples). Rabbah bar bar Chanah exclaimed: All Merciful One! Either hide us in Your shadow or in the shadow of the son of Esav (for they respect us)!

The Maharam Schiff explains that the Romans (descendants of Esav) oppress the Jewish people only when Klal Yisroel shirk the yoke of Torah from themselves.  The Medrash states that this is actually what Yitzchak told Esav. If Yaakov's descendants cast off the yoke of Torah, then your descendants could decree destruction upon them and subjugate them. However, if Yaakov's children remain devoted to Torah, Esav would have no control over them.

It emerges that it is preferable for the Jewish people to be amidst the children of Esav, for then, Klal Yisroel is in control of their own destiny.

Mon, 28 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Lesson From A Dangerous Brawl

Rabbi Achi the son of Rabbi Yoshiyah deposited a silver vessel with custodians in Nehardea. He said to Rabbi Dustai the son of Rabbi Yannai and to Rabbi Yosi the son of Kippeir, who were on their way there, “When you come back from Nehardea, bring me the vessel back.”

They went and got it from the custodians. After an argument the custodian wanted it back. Rabbi Dustai the son of Rabbi Yannai was willing, but Rabbi Yosi the son of Kippeir refused. The custodians started to hurt Rabbi Yosi the son of Kippeir (in order to get the vessel back). They said to Rabbi Dustai, “See what your friend is doing.” He replied, “Beat him up good!” When they returned to Rabbi Achi the son of Rabbi Yoshiyah, Rabbi Yosi said, “Look, master, not only did he not assist me, but he even said to them, ‘Beat him up good’!” Rabbi Achi the son of Rabbi Yoshiyah asked Rabbi Dustai, “Why did you act in that manner?” He replied, “Those people are very tall and their hats are very tall, and their voices comes from their midsection (since they had very deep voices), and their names are frightening - Arda and Arta and Phili as their leader.  If they give instructions, ‘Tie him up,’ they tie him up; if they instruct, ‘kill him,’ you are killed. If they had killed Dustai, who would have given Yannai, my father, a son like me?” After asking a few more question  Rav Achi ruled that Rabbi Dustai acted properly. 

A few notes
1.  Rashi cites two explanations as to what Rav Dustai said when the custodians were hurting Rabbi Yosi. Either he said, “Beat him up good (in order that he should return the vessel to them)!” Or, he said, “He is deserving of this (since he is not returning the vessel).” Some Rishonim derive from here that it is permitted to save oneself with someone else’s body, for Rav Dustai was telling them to hit Rabbi Yosi because he was terrified that he would get hit.

2.  Rabbi Dustai excused his actions by saying, “Those people are very tall and their hats are very tall, and their voices comes from their midsection, and their names are frightening - Arda and Arta and Phili as their leader.” Rashi explains that they were men of great dimensions and they wore awesome clothing.  And since they had very deep voices, it appeared as if their voices were coming from their midsections. The Maharsha brings an alternative explanation according to the simple reading of the Gemora: They were one cubit tall and their hats were one cubit tall. It was because of this that their voices appeared to emanate from their midsections.

3.  Rabbi Dustai concluded, “If they had killed Dustai, who would have given Yannai, my father, a son like me?” The Vilna Gaon states that it may be gleaned from here that when a son adds an honorable title to his father’s name, he is permitted to say his father’s name. It is only forbidden for one to say his father’s name without a title.

Sun, 27 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000 In Gitin 10b Shmuel says “Dina D’Malchusa Dina”, the law of the government is the law.  The Gemora in Shabbos (88a) teaches that when Bnei Yisroel stood at Har Sinai and heard the word of Hashem, He held the mountain over our heads. Hashem declared, "If you'll accept the Torah, all will be well. If not, this will be your burial place!" Rav Acha bar Yaakov said: This can now be used as an excuse for Klal Yisroel when they do not perform the mitzvos. For when they are summoned for judgment, they can claim that they were coerced into accepting the Torah; it was not done willingly.

The Perashas Derachim asks from our Gemora which states that Dina D’Malchusa Dina. If so, this should certainly apply by HaKadosh Boruch Hu, Who is the King of all Kings. How could Klal Yisroel use the coercion as an excuse since Dina D’Malchusa Dina?  They took an oath obligating themselves to perform His mitzvos?

He answers that Rabbeinu Tam holds that the principle of Dina D’Malchusa Dina is only applicable if the king decrees on all his subjects. However, if the decree is issued only on part of his kingdom, this principle does not apply. Since Hashem is the King over all the nations of the world and He only forced Bnei Yisroel to accept His mitzvos, this principle would not apply and hence, a claim of coercion can be effective.

It emerges that regarding the seven mitzvos that were given to all Bnei Noach, the principle of Dina D’Malchusa Dina would apply, and a claim of coercion would not be valid.

According to this, the Ketzos HaChoshen explains the argument between Pharaoh and the midwives. Pharaoh asked them, "Why didn't you listen to my commandment? Dina D’Malchusa Dina and since I the king decreed that all the Jewish children should be killed, you are obligated to listen to me!" They responded to him, "Your decree is not a universal one; it was only issued regarding the Jewish children and not to any others. Accordingly, the principle does not apply and we are not obligated to adhere to the laws of the kingdom. Thereupon, Pharaoh immediately decreed that all children born must be thrown into the sea.

Reb Shlomo Kluger uses this principle to explain Adam HaRishon's response to Hashem. He answered, "The woman which you gave to me gave me from the tree and I ate." What kind of answer was this? Adam HaRishon was saying that since his was wife was here as well and she was not commanded not to eat from the tree, therefore, the law of the kingdom does not apply and that is why he ate.

Mon, 21 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Only Hashem Can Be a Witness and Judge The Gemora rules that a witness may not serve as a judge, Ein Eid Naaseh Dayan".  The Meforshim ask, how can HaKadosh Boruch Hu sit in judgment on what He Himself saw?  The witness cannot serve as the judge!

The Yitav Panim answers that the reason why the witness cannot serve as a judge is due to the fact that once he himself observed the act, it is impossible for him to search for a z'chus in order to exonerate the defendant. This only applies to a Basar V'Dam.  This does not apply to HaKadosh Boruch Hu. He who is completely righteous, although he observes everyone's wrongdoing says, "I am the one who gave every person the Yetzer Hara and therefore, it is I, who granted him the ability to sin" (Rashi Brochos 32a)  Only He can still find reasons to have rachamanus for a sinner.

Wed, 16 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Gimmel and Tes Spells "Get" A bill of divorce is referred to as a get. Tosfos writes that it is the practice for a get to be written in twelve lines, because the numerical value (gematria) of the word get is twelve (gimmel = 3; tes = 9; 3 + 9 = 12).

The Vilna Gaon adds that the document could have been called differently, for there are many combinations of letters that add up to twelve, such as a "ches" and a "daled." However, what is unique about the "gimmel" and the "tes" is that you will never find these two letters next to each other in the entire Torah. This is why the document which is used as a separation between the man and his wife is referred to as a get.

The Steipler asked that there are other combinations of letters, such as a "gimmel" and a "kuf," or a "zayin" and a "tzadi," or a "samech" and a "tzadi" that are also never found next to each other!? He answers that the "gimmel" and the "tes" are the first of such combinations.

It can also be said that they wanted a name that would accomplish two things; one, that its numerical value is twelve, and secondly, that the two letters are never found next to each other. The "gimmel" and the "tes" are the only two letters that have both components.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000