A Daf A Day (daf yomi)

A daf yomi blog for discussion, questions and comments on the daily daf.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

How could Chana have been nistira?

The gemara on 30b explains that Chana said to Hashem that if you don't give me a child then I'll go seclude myself with a man and drink mei sota. The Pnai Yehoshua asks how could Chana threaten such a thing? First of all, there is an issur of yichud and second of all she is causing the shem Hashem to be nimchak! He answers that Chana never intended to carry out this threat. She just meant that it's unfair for Hashem to not give her a child because otherwise she could do this trick.

The truth is that the first question isn't really a problem. The dinim of stira are different than the dinim of yichud. It's possible to be a sotah without being over the isure of yichud. The first two halachos of the Rambam in hilchos sotah give two examples. One is if she's nistater with her father or son. There is no yichud but if her husband was mikane her with them then she will be chayeves to drink if she is nistater with them. The second is that if the husband was mekane her not to be with two men. There is no isur of yichud with two men but if he was mekane her with both of them together then there is a din of mei sotah.

I'm not sure about how to answer the second question except that I don't think there is anything wrong with erasing the shem Hashem in the case of sota. The gemara does talk about it being a bad thing but that's only if the mei sota is used in a case where it won't work. For example, if the husband was mezane then the mei sotah won't work and he's doing a bad thing by forcing his wife to drink. However, the mei sota was designed to be used in any case where there is kinui and stira so provided that he wasn't boel someone he wasn't allowed to (or any of the other reasons it won't work) she's doing nothing wrong by causing the shem Hashem to be erased.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Tefilas Haderech = Tefila Kitzara? (rashi)

The first Rashi on 30a, d"h lishatif nafshei, discusses whyit's best to say tifilas haderech in the plural. Rashi's first words are:
"Al yispallel tefilah kizarah b'lashon yachid".
Why is Rashi using the term "tefilah kizarah" to refer to tefilas haderech, which is something different than "tefilah kazarah", as discussed in the Mishna on 28b, and in the gemarah on 29b (4th wide line, "v'ayzeh hee
tefilah kizarah ...").

Has anyone come across a girsa change here?

Do you have to face Yerushalayim?

The gemara in Brachos on daf 30a says that if you are in chutz laaretz then you should face Eretz Yisrael when davening Shmone esrei and if you're in Eretz Yisrael then you should face Yerushalayim and if you're in Yerushalayim then you should face the bais hamikdash and if you're in the bais hamikdash then you should face the Kodshei Kodshim and if you're in there then you should face the bais hakapores. What happens if you're in Irbid, Jordan (see this map) which is east of Israel but is actually northeast of Yerushalayim. From this gemara it sounds like you only have to face west so you're facing Eretz Yisrael. From the conclusion of the gemara it sounds like you should face Yerushalayim anyway because it concludes that everyone faces the same place. Rabeinu Yonah says this explicitly that everyone should really face the bais hakapores. My question then is why doesn't the gemara just say that? Why does the gemara give different things depending where you are? Just say that everyone should face the bais hakapores in the Beis Hamikdash!

Ha B'Yachid Ha B'Tzibur

The Gemarah on the bottom of 29a, to resolve a Stirah between a Braisa that says Machzirin Oso for skipping Sheala in Birchas Hashanim with a Braisa that says one should just say it in Shomeah Tefilah, answers that a Yachid is Machzirin Oso, while Betzibur one doesn't go back because he can hear it from the Sheliach Tzibur. The Gemarrah rejects this answer, because the Braisa should have stated that he doesn't go back because he will hear it from the SHAT"Z, not, as it does state, because he will say it in Shomeah Tefilah.

The original Teritz was puzzling, how did the Gemarah imagine this Braisa meant "he will hear it from the SHAT"Z" when it clearly states "he can say it in Shomea Tefilah"?

This may be obvious, but I was thinking, after learning Daf 30b, that the Gemarah was answering as follows. The person davening Betzibur, if he skipped Sheala in Birchas Hashonim, should say it in Shomeah Tefilah and hear it from the SHAT"Z. Let me explain. On 30b, the Gemarah also answers "B'Tzibur Shanu", to explain the Braisa that states if one skipped Yaaleh Vyovoh he needn't repeat his Tefilah since he can say Yaaleh Veyovoh in the next Tefilah. The Gm' is saying the Braisa is referring to one who is davening B'Tzibur, since he will hear it from the SHAT"Z -V'Eecka Miktzatz Hazkorah (Rashi) - he needn't repeat Shmoneh Esrai. The same question from 29a can be asked, "The braisa should have stated that he doesn't go back because he will hear it from the SHAT"Z, not, as it does state, because he will say it in" the next Tefilah? Rashi seems to address this by explaining that what the individual will hear from the SHAT"Z is only part of the equation, the other component is that he will be saying Yaaleh Veyavoh in the next Tefilah; adding the two together allows the individual to not have to go back for Yaaleh Veyovo.

This explains the meaning of the Braisa on 30b; it states that "he need not go back because he will say in in the next Tefilah". This is true, but the Gemarah explains that it is only part of the remedy, "B"Tzibur Shanu" is the other, unstated, part. The same can be said on 29a, the Gm' answered "Ha B'Tzibur" to explain that if the Yachid is davening B'Tzibur, and will get a Miktzas Hazkarah, then saying it in Shomeah Tefilah will be effective . The two together do the trick.

The Teritz on 29b is rejected, possibly, because saying Sheala in Shomeah Tefilah is effective on its own since it is a tefilah (as Rashi explained earlier), and therefore is fully effective when said in Shomeah Tefilah. It doesn't require the hearing it from the SHAT"Z component. Relying on saying Yaaleh Vyovo in the next Tefilah, though, is not effective on its own. It needs also to hear it from the SHAT"Z. The Gemarah, therefore, doesn't ask the question on 30b that it asks on 29a.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Abridged Shmone Esrei

The Mishna on daf 28b says that if you're going through a dangerous place you can say a tefila ketzara. The gemara on daf 29b quotes different opinions of the text of this tefilla. Then suddenly it changes gears and starts talking about tefilas haderech for a few lines. Then on daf 30a it suddenly switches back to the tefila ketzara. It's confusing at a couple points but it's clear that the gemara really discusses four distinct things - 1. regular shmone esrei 2. havinenu (an abridged shomone esrei with only 7 brachos) 3. tefila ketzara (a super abridged shmone esrei) and 4. tefilas haderech (nothing to do with shomone esrei probably just thrown in to this gemara because we're talking about tefilos on a trip. Tefilas Haderech is something that we're all familiar with and is said anytime you go on a trip.

It's the tefila ketzara though that has me puzzled. The gemara says that you can say it if you're in a dangerous place and you haven't yet davened but the time has come so you need to daven. However, it doesn't really accomplish anything as you will still need to daven when you get home. The Shulchan Aruch says not only that but if you got home too late so you didn't have time to daven again then you should daven two shmone esreis next time. So basically, this tefila ketzara accomplished nothing. If that's true then what's the point? It doesn't seem like you're saying it for protection in this dangerous place because that's really the point of tefilas haderech and also that's not the language of the bracha.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Is Maariv really optional?

The gemara in Brachos on 27b says that our mishna is teaching when it says that maariv "ain lu keva" it means that it is only a reshus. Tosafos on 26 says that this doesn't mean that it's optional, it just means that if another mitzva will pass then you should do that one and not this one. That really takes a lot out of the seemingly strong statement that maariv is only a reshus.

I was going to start looking around for other explanations but I got Rabbi Daniel Feldman's daily daf email and I was glad to see that he discusses it here.
Other rishonim note that ma’ariv is currently obligatory because it has been accepted that way in practice (see Tos. Yoma 87b, citing Behag, Rambam Tefilah 1:6, Bach O.C. 237).

Nonetheless, many understand that the reshut status does impact on halakhah. The Rashba (Resp. III, 288) explains the lack of Chazarat haShatz at ma’ariv as a consequence of this status (See also Rambam Hil. Tefilah 9:9). Rabbeinu Yonah (Berakhot 2b) goes further and suggests that if ma’ariv is a reshut, the amidah itself would be unnecessary; the representative version in “Barukh Hashem L’Olam” would be sufficient. The Rambam (Tefilah 3:7) writes that the looser adherence to the set times for prayer (i.e, the practice of early ma’ariv) is a result of this status.
He has lots of other interesting stuff on this topic.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Ideal time for krias shma

In Brachos on 26a, the gemara again says that the ideal time for saying shma is just before neitz so that Shma could be said immediately before the amida. On daf 25b, the gemara said that if you're in the water and you can't get out and dressed before neitz then you should just say it in the water. The gemara there seems to be saying that you should do that just for Shma because earlier we had said that for Shemone Esrei you need to be dressed so you couldn't say that in the water. From that gemara it seems that there is a separate requirement for Shma that is not solely based on shemone esrei.

Indeed, that is how Rabeinu Yonah (on the gemara on daf 9) explains it. He says that l'chatchila one should try to say shma before neitz because of the pasuk quoted there (yiraucha). When the gemara seems to connect shma to shemone esrei it's to explain why it's best to say shma right before neitz and not earlier than that. In other words, as far as the mitzva of Shma is concerned it's best to say it after it gets light until neitz and b'dieved it's ok to say it until 3 hours. However, ideally you should try to say it right before neitz so you can do it immediately before shmone esrei.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Shmuel vs. a Tanna

In Brachos 23b, the gemara quotes a braisa which proves Shmuel wrong when he said that you could put the tefillin in your bed even when your wife is with you. Rava said that despite this braisa we pasken like the Amora Shmuel. Then on 24a the gemara quotes a machlokes between Rav Yosef and Shmuel whether you can say Shma with others in bed. There is a braisa that seems to contradict Shmuel. Rav Kahana asked Rav Ashi if Rava would say the same thing here that we pasken like Shmuel against the braisa. Rav Ashi said obviously not. Rava said it there so he meant it only there and it can be applied elsewhere.

The Rosh asks why over there would we pasken like Shmuel against a braisa but here we wouldn't. He answers that Amoraim in general are allowed to argue with braisos because they can always say that the braisa is meshubash. We can still ask questions from braisos on amoraim because they can only say that if they'd seen the braisa and then disagreed despite the fact that a tanna said otherwise. In the case on 24a though it seems that Shmuel hadn't seen that braisa so in that case if the braisa disputes him then it proves him wrong. This explains why throughout Shas we are able to ask questions on Amoraim from braisos and we don't always answer that the braisa is meshubash.

The only question that remains is what was Rav Kahana's hava amina? He obviously knows that a braisa normally would "win" against an amora. Rava gave a svara over there why we pasken like Shmuel despite the fact that the braisa was against him but lacking a strong svara we would not pasken like Shmuel against a tanna. I was thinking that perhaps Rav Kahana thought that Shmuel could win against a Tanna. We know that the gemara often says "Rav tanna hu u'palig" and Shmuel is the same generation as Rav and we actually pasken like Shmuel many times (dinei mamonos) against Rav. So Rav Kahana thought that perhaps Rava was saying that we don't care about braisos that contradict Shmuel because Shmuel also "tanna hu u'palig." Rav Ashi answered that we don't say that about Shmuel. Only in that specific case did Rava say we pasken like Shmuel against a tanna but in normal situations (where we won't say the braisa is meshubeshes and there is not an overriding svara) we will pasken like a tanna against Shmuel.

I'm not sure why we say Rav is considered like a tanna but not Shmuel. The truth is that I thought we did say it by Shmuel also but I can't find anyplace that we do so now I'm assuming that we don't. If someone knows otherwise please let me know.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Who are our Avos?

The gemara in Brachos 16b asks why you can only call Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov the avos and nobody else. I have a few questions:

1. What's the point of being called one of the avos?
2. What does it mean that you can't call anyone else an av - the next line of the gemara says that everyone was called abba besides slaves?
3. Why is it only coming to exclude the shevatim (as Rashi points out and is evident from the next line of the gemara) - what about Noach and Adam?
4. Was the hava amina that all 12 shevatim should be counted giving us a total of 15 avos or that each person would only have 4 avos?
5. A lot of people do know what shevet they're from - all Kohanim and Leviim so why does the gemara think that it could be the reason they're not counted is because we don't know where we're from?
6. What is the gemara's answer because they're chashuv? The gemara didn't realize that right from the beginning? If not then why didn't it ask why we wouldn't list Terach?
7. Is the gemara saying in the maskana that chashivus is the only criteria even if they're not necessarily our forefather? It seems that way because we only list Rochel and Leah and many Jews (ok not so many nowadays) did not come from either one of them. Presumably the gemara is saying that Rochel and Leah are still their imahos and not Bilha and Zilpa.
8. Are Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov considered the avos of geirim who may not have come from any of them?

I think that the gemara knew the entire time that the avos and imahos would only be from the people who are responsible for starting the Jewish people. There was never a hava amina that we should go further back than Avraham nor did the gemara ever consider that we should go beyond the shvatim. It's true that we've had great leaders like Moshe Rabeinu but he wasn't a father of the people. Avraham was clearly the first forefather but the question is only who exactly was the last.

The gemara's original statement was, "Nobody can be called the fathers of Yisrael besides ..." That's how Rashi explains it. So the gemara asks why the shevatim can't be called avos also. Obviously, one of them is each of our forefathers but that isn't what we need. We want to know if they are fathers of Klal Yisrael. The gemara suggested that it might be because you need the combination of being literally our forefather and being a shaper and founder of Yisrael. The gemara says that's obviously not true because Rochel and Leah are both counted even though we're not all from either one of them (and many of us are from neither). So the gemara concludes that it has nothing to do with lineage. It only depends on who is important as a father of Yisrael. The gemara is saying that nobody else can be called an av of Yisrael but there's nothing wrong with me calling Yehuda my forefather.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Tzaros Acharonos Mishakchos es Ha'rishonos

This past Sunday we were bothered by the Gemara on 13a in the sugya which starts at the bottom of 12b by the machlokes of the Chachomim and Ben Zoma. The Gemara discusses how the nissim of later Geulos outshine earlier Geulos to the extent that the earlier nissim are "forgotten" and no longer mentioned. (The Gemara says that according to the Chachomim Yetzias Mitzrayim will always be mentioned, just in a tafel status to the ikar of the Geulah from shibud malchiyos.) The Gemara brings the posuk from Yeshaya 43 which syas that later nissim overshadow the earlier ones. The sugya closes with the moshol from the fellow escaping the clutches of the wolf, lion and snake, and all he talks about is the snake. "Af kach Yisroel, tzaros acharonos mishakchos es ha'rishonos". Beautiful, but shouldn't the flow of the Gemara be that the "nissim acharonos mishakchos es ha'rishonos"? Why is the focus on the later tzaros overshadowing the earlier ones?

Later on Sunday I was listening to Rabbi Yisroel Reisman's Navi shiur from 2 weeks ago on Ikvasa d'Meshicha. He didn't tzu shtel to this Gemara, but he talked about the posuk our Gemara brings down. Very much b'kitzur, he said b'shem Rav Yaakov, zt"l and others that the avoda of "tzipisa l'yeshua" is not as most of think that we simply wait for Moshiach to arrive; rather our job is to make the best of our Golus to grow. Each time Klal Yisroel experienced Geula, there is a lookback cheshbon made of what was accomplished during the Golus, and when Moshiach comes we will need to do the same analysis.

Perhaps, that same mehalech can be applied to our Gemara. It is the earlier and later tzoros which are the focus once we look back after the later Geula. The accomplishments under the tzaros of the later Golus should so outweigh the accomplishments under the tzaros of the earlier Golus that the earlier wolf and lion are forgotten.

Just a thought.

Does pay sound like phay?

The gemara in Brachos 15b says that one must pause between words that could get slurred together. It gives seven examples. Five of them are where one word starts with the same sound that the previous word ended with but two are the same letter - one with a dagesh and one without. Those two are: "hakanaF Psil" and "eiseV B'sadcha." F and P don't sound alike and those are the same sounds that phay and pay make. Why are these listed as examples? At that time did they pronounce a phay the same whether it had a dageish or not (like we pronounce dalet the same either way)? Or is there some other explanation?

Reb Yosi in the Mishnah

The Mishnah on 15a mentions that according to Reb Yosi if you read Shema and cant hear the words you are not yotzei. It also mentions that according to Reb Yosi if you read the words but are not careful pronouncing the words properly you are yotzei. It seems to be a contradiction in the opinion of Reb Yosi? It would seem that his opionions should follow along the same lines, namely if you dont do the Shema properly you are either yotzei or not? You can of course say that the first case in the Mishnah is based on a limud from pesukim. However, why cant you make the following argument: If a person reads the words but does not pronounce them properly it is no different than not hearing them at all. Either way you are not hearing what is supposed to be heard. Reb Yosi should hold then in the second case that you are not yotzei. Basically, how do we differentiate the cases according to Reb Yosi? I did not have time to look for an answer assuming the question is even valid! Please help.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Birchas Hatorah on Gemarah

On 11B the Gemarah explains that you need to say Birchas Hatorah before Chimash, even Mishna, even Gemarah, and even Midrash. Since Mishna, Gemarah, and Medrash comprise Torah SheBaal Peh, why would you think that they don't require BH"T? It seems that there would have been a Hava Amina to need it only before Torah SheBichsov, but why would that be; is Torah SheBaal Peh not just as much Torah as Torah SheBicsov?

Can you say Shma lying down?

The gemara in Brachos 13b says that, at least for the first few psukim, you need to stand when saying Krias shma. Tosafos (d"h al) asks from the gemara on 11a that Beis Hillel says there that you can say shma whether you're sitting, standing, walking, doing work, or lying down. Tosafos answers that our gemara doesn't mean that you need to stand up, it just means that if you're walking then you should stop and just stand still. Even though Beis Hillel says that meikar hadin you can say Shma while walking it's still better for kavana to be standing still therefore you should do that l'chatchila.

Tosafos does not ask from the gemara lower down on 13b which says that you cannot say shma when lying down. Rashi explains that this is because you're accepting malchus shamayim and it's not kavod to lie down when you're doing that. Does that contradict what Beis Hillel said on daf 11?

[UPDATE] See comments for an explanation why this question probably isn't really a question. I'm not deleting it (yet) because I'm not sure if it's completely wrong.

1. You can answer the same as Tosafos says for amida. You're yotze the mitzva of krias shma if you say it when lying down but l'chatchila you shouldn't. My problem with that explanation is that Beis Shamai says that lying down is the only option at night. It seems strange that if it's such a gnai to say shma lying down that Beis Shamai would demand you do it that way.
2. Rabeinu Yonah says that on daf 11 when it says to "yateh" it doesn't mean lying down but it means sitting and leaning. The problem I have with that is that Beis Shamai says you should do it that way because it says lashon shchiva in the Torah and Beis Hillel uses the same word as B"S.
3. The Maadanei Yom Tov says that B"H just means that you could say it lying down under certain conditions. Like our gemara says that someone really fat could say it lying down.

Emes v'yatziv

The gemara says in Brachos on daf 12a that if you don't say emes v'yatziv then you have not fulfilled your obligation. Which obligation?
1. The Tur learns that this means the Mitzvah of Krias Shma k'hilchasa. Obviously you've fulfilled the mitzva of Shma but not to the exact way that Rabonon said you should.
2. The Hagahos Maimonis (k"s 1:7) says that you haven't fulfilled the obligation of birchas krias shma. Of course, you've fulfilled all your obligations d'oraysa but there is the chiyuv d'rabanon of brachos that you haven't completed.
3. I thought the simple explanation of the gemara was saying that there is a new chiyuv from Tehillim that we need to say the praises of Hashem and that is the obligation that is not fulfilled. According to the other pshatim, the gemara never explains why this is a requirement of krias shma or birchas krias shma. It's just an obligation but who says that it should impact your fulfillment of the other mitzvos?

Friday, March 11, 2005

When is it ok to follow Beis Shammai?

The gemara in Brachos 11a says that, at least according to one opinion, you are not yotze krias shma if you go out of your way to pasken like Beis Shammai and lie down and you may even be chayav misa (I'll assume that this one definitely isn't literal). The mishna later in the mesechta on daf 51b says that if someone forgets to bench he doesn't have to go back according to Beis Hillel. However, there the gemara says that if you do like Beis Shammai then it's good.

I think that the simple explanation is like Tosafos implies in Sukka on daf 3a. By benching, even Beis Hillel agrees that it's better to go back but it's just not necessary. However, by krias shma there is absolutely no benefit to lying down. It's no better to lie down while saying shma than it is to stand up.

I thought that I remembered seeing somewhere once that here if you pasken like Beis Shamai you need to darshen the pasuk differently than Beis Hillel so even though it seems like it's only a chumra here of Beis Shammai but it's based on a faulty (acc. to Beish Hillel) understanding of the pasuk. Whereas by benching there is no machlokes on how to darshen psukim - it's just svara.

I'm sure there are other explanations also but that's all I know. As far as I know this is the only place that the gemara says if you follow Bais Shamai you're not yotze and presumably it's the only place that it's true when Beis Shamai seems to just be saying a chumra.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Why can't we say Shma all day?

The Mishna at the beginning of Brachos says that Rabban Gamliel says that you can say Shma all night. He says that when the Torah says you say it b'shachbecha he doesn't mean only when people go to sleep but any time that people are asleep. However, on 9b all the Tanaim agree that you can't say Shma as long as people are awake and on 10b the gemara says that we pasken like R' Yehoshua that you can say until 3 hours. Why for zman schiva is there a machlokes if it means as long as people are sleeping or if it means when people go to sleep but for zman kima the only machlokes is if we go after when most people get up or when the last people (kings) get up but definitely not for as long as people are awake?

I guess that the answer is from the words that the Torah uses. Shechiva could either denote when people lie down to go to sleep (R' Eliezer) or when people are lying down (R' Gamliel). Kima means when people awaken
not when they are awake. I guess that's the pashut pshat in the words. My only slight problem with that is that Beis Hillel on the mishna at the end of today's daf says that when the Torah says b'shachbecha u'vkumecha it means shas shechiva and shas amida. If that's what it means then it should be all day. I guess that even though Beish Hillel says that he really means shaas kima and not shas amida.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Advice to sons

The gemara in Brachos 8b quotes different opinions about the advice that Rava gave to his sons. According to one opinion the advice was that he shouldn't marry a giyores. Rava was a kohein so of course his son couldn't marry a giyores (it's a machlokes Rishonim what the mekor is either because she's considered like a zona or because of a pasuk in navi which says that he must marry someone from Yisrael). Most of the other advice that we've seen in the gemara was derech eretz or things that could lead to long lives but not issurei d'oraysa! Just seems like strange advice to give a son to keep something that everyone is obligated to keep.

The Artscroll quotes this question in a footnote and quotes two possible answers but I'm really not crazy about either one. The first answer from the Iyun Yaakov was that he wanted to stress this isur to his sons. Why this halacha? The second answer is from the Hagahos Yavetz in Horayos who understancds this as a general halacha for everyone that in general you should be careful about marrying a giyores because it could cause problem. He mentions that not all geirim are the same as there were many great geirim and many tzadikim married giyoros. This answer though seems strange. Why is Rava giving his sons advice for everyone else if it doesn't even apply to them?

UPDATE: My father kept challenging me to prove to him that Rava was a kohein. I always remembered that Rava and Abaye were from beis Eli and that's why I had the question so I googled that and found the gemara in Rosh Hashana. I did look up the gemara and the original girsa was Rabbah but the Bach changed it to Rava. I assumed that was the accepted position. However, I just did some more googling and that's not the accepted position at all. See this answer from the Kollel Iyun Hadaf to answer a different question from a gemara in Bava Basra 12a:
It seems that the consensus among the Mefarshim is that Rava was not a Kohen (see Seder ha'Doros, "Resh") and that actually it was Rabah who was a descendent of Eli.

That would answer my question.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Reuven is better than Eisav, is Eisav our litmus test?

The Gemarah on 7B says that Leah called her first son Reuven, saying "See the difference between my son and my Father-in-law's son (Eisav)", because Eisav sold the Bechorah to Yaacov, yet he hated Yaacov for it, while Reuven had the Bechorah confiscated from him and transferred to Yosef, yet Reuven saved Yosef's life. The comparison between the two Bechorim is striking. In the words of R' Yaacoc of Lisa (the author of the Nesivos Hamishpat) on Chumash, the Nachalas Yaacov, "Ho wcan you seek a distinction between gold and excrement and filth, that we seek a distinction between Reuven and Eisav?! He asks other questions, including that "Reuven" only mentions the words Reu Ben, not the rest of the Gemarah's explanation?

The Nesivos answers that Leah said simply "Reu Ben", meaning look I have a son. She was always concerned, even after marrying Yaacov, that she should not fall to the Gorel, lot, of Eisav. Her concern was that she should not fall into the pattern of the earlier Avos that channelled their Zuhamah, their impurities, into their first children. Avrohom had Yishmael before he could have the Tzaddik Yitzchok, Yitzchok had Eisav before he had the perfect Yaacov. She was worried that Rachel was going to be the wife that provided sons - Zerah Yaacov- while Leah would be the recepticle for Zuhamah (just as Hagar was for Avrohom), having sons that would not be counted as Zerah Yaacov ( just as Eisav was not considered Titzcok's son). When Reuven was born it was immediately apparent that he was not Zuhamah by any means, just as it was immediately apparent upon Eisav's birth that he was Zuhamah, a Rasha. When Leah saw this she remarked, Reu Ben, see it is a son, a Zerah Yaacov, not like my Father-in-law's first born who was Zuhama; her fears were relieved.

The Nesivos explains that the rest of the statement of Leah's is actually the Gemarah's own addendum to Leah's comment, not her words at all, and the Nesivos goes on to explain the Gemarah to be dealing with a different issue; Aiyin Sham.

As an aside, there is a very interesting comment by the Chochmas Menoach on 6A on the Gemarah that says that a tefilah is only accepted in a Beis Hacaneses. He is Mechadaish that any Tefiloh one says outside of a B"HK, the next time the person Davens inside the BH"K, the previous Tefilos are acceped as well. He extends the same thing for Tefilos without Kavanah as well.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Din is Torah

The gemara in Brachos 6a asks why we need to say that if there are 3 people in din then the Shechina is there if we already said that if there are people learning then the shechina is there. The gemara answers that you might have thought that din is not Torah but it's only shalom so this teaches that it really is Torah. How does this teach that? Maybe it just teaches that shalom is very important and the Shechina rests even if there is only shalom but no Torah?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Chatzos or Tzeis?

The chachamim in the mishna gave a syag that you should not say krias shma lechatchila past chatzos. the chachamim in our gemara give a syag that you must say krias shema as soon as you can. Which one is it?
Most Rishonim answer this by explaining that the syag in our gemara to say krias shma as early as possible only applies if you want to eat or sleep ("ochel kima, ishan kima"). In that case the chachamim say you must not eat or sleep before krias shema. A second syag is that even if you don't need to eat or sleep you still should not wait to say krias shema after chatzos.
The Shulchan Aruch however does not agree with this. In 235, 3 he says - "lchatchila one needs to say krias shema at tzeis, the zman extends until chatzos and bdieved you have until alos". How did the sh"a learn the chachamim's syag about chatzos. they already had a syag to start immediately at tzeis? The mishna berura expains: The first syag to say krias shema at tzeis is to fulfill the concept of zrizin makdimin lemitzvos. The syag of chatzos was to create an issur of waiting past chatzos to prevent people from missing krias shema altogether. If you don't say krias shema immediately you are not a zariz but if you don't say krias shema at chatzos you are over al divrei chachomim.

Kol Haover al divrei chachamim chayav misa

The gemara quotes a braisa which says that the Chachamim made a syag for Krias Shma that you should say it before midnight because otherwise you might go home, eat, drink and go to sleep and forget about shma. Therefore they said that you should go straight to shul after work and learn a little and then say Shma. The braisa concludes that anyone who transgresses the words of the Chachamim is chayav misa. I just wanted to mention a few points on this braisa.

1. When I first read the braisa, I understood that you're "chayav misa" if you don't say shma by midnight. Indeed that is how the Rabeinu Yona understood it because he asks why this is the only place in Shas that this language is used and he answers because here the Chachamim said that really you could say it all night but they said it's a syag to say it before midnight. They didn't want people to take it lightly and say "I won't forget so I'll say it later," so they gave it extra strength by adding the line that if you don't listen to them you're chayav misa. That's all very nice except that our gemara clearly doesn't learn like that. The Maadanei Yom Tov (under the Rosh) says that it's obvious that Rabeinu Yona didn't have the question that he asked in our gemara because our gemara asks the exact same question why it only says it here. Our gemara suggests two answers: either because of ones shina - the power of sleep is so strong that they felt that they had to emphasize the importance or to show that Maariv isn't a reshus but a chova. Obviously, the gemara is understanding the braisa very differntly than Rabeinu Yonah. The chachamim were saying you're chayav misa if you don't follow their entire routine. Not just on the takana to say Shma at the beginning of the night but even to go straight to shul and daven Maariv right after work.

2. The Pnei Yehoshua asks why do we need this special takana of the Chachamim to say shma right after work. We have that concept by every single mitzva called zerizin makdimin l'mitzvos? He answers that this is different because we have the limud zman shchiva so you might have thought that it's better to say shma as close to the time you go to sleep as possible. Therefore the chachamim said that despite that pasuk you should still say it as early as possible so you don't forget.

3. The gemara asks why we don't say so "Kol Haover al divrei chachamim chayav misa" anywhere else. I assume that the gemara means that it is true that you're chayav misa any time that you transgress something the Rabbis say but this is the only time that they bother to mention it when they taught the gezeira. Indeed, the mesoras hashas doesn't point to a single other place in all of Shas that uses this language. R' Akiva Eiger though points to gemara in Sota (also on 4b) that uses a slightly different term for someone who eats without washing netilas yadayim. It says that he is "neekar min haolam." Rashi explains that is because of our gemara that "kol haover ..." Why does the gemara (here it's an amora saying it and not a tanna but I think the question remains) feel the need to say that here as opposed to by all other mitzvos d'rabonon? Neither reason of the gemara applies. Furthermore it's exactly opposite the second answer because here netilas yadayim really is a reshus!

4. What kind of misa are we talking about here? Certainly not misa bidei adam. So it's misa bidei shamayim, right? But that doesn't really make sense either. Only specific mitzvos in the Torah is there misa bidei shamayim but most mitzvos don't even have that. So most mitzvos from the Torah don't have this punishment but mitzvos d'rabonnon do!?! I think that it must be that the Chachomim just say that there is a chiyuv misa but they can't possibly mean it literally. It's just used as a scare tactic. Rashi in sota though quotes a pasuk in Koheles to prove the concept "u'poretiz geder yishchenu nachash." I think then it does sound like a real misa bidei shamayim. If so then I really don't understand why Hashem would punish you more for being over on d'rabonons. Rav Shachter asks this exact question on the gemara in sanhedrin which says "one who violates the instructions of a novi deserves misa beyedei shomayim." So he talks about why that would be true for divrei novi but not for divrei Moshe but in this article he doesn't extend the question to deal with d'rabonons also. I think it must be that it's not literally misa bidei shamayim.

Nun is for Noflim

The gemara in Brachos on 4b says that Dovid Hamelech left nun out of Ashrei because it represents nefilas "sonei yisrael" and it quotes a pasuk to prove it. Someone asked me this morning why doesn't nun also represent nosein lechem l'kol basar from hallel hagadol? Just because there's one pasuk that starts with nofeil means that we can't have a "good" nun in ashrei? There are no other bad pesukim in tanach that start with different letters?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

simanim - antennae to the Ribono shel Olam

On daf gimmel amud alef, Rabbi Eliezar taught in a braiso that Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu, ki vi yachol, cries out from His holy abode like a lion during each of the 3 'mishmeros'.
(Later we learn that HaShem is crying over the churban, the burning of the sanctuary, and the galus of his children).
The gemora then brings the earthly simanim for these heavenly periods (1) a donkey braying (2) dog yelping (3) a baby crying and a wife talking with her husband.
I can understand the first two simanim - in that they are animals and perhaps are endowed with a special 'un-earthly' sensitivity to heavenly occurrences such as the 'lion cries' of the Ribono Shel Olam. But do we say that this same un-earthly sensitivity exists with an infant or spouse? In other words, is a baby's hunger (which is the presumed cause for the baby's crying), in itself, caused by what is happening in shemayim? Likewise, is a wife's longing to talk with her husband, in itself, actually caused by what is happening in shemayim?
Perhaps that answer is 'yes'! And the lesson is: that we should not take for granted the seemingly mundane task of answering to our baby's cries or paying attention to our spouse when they want to converse.

Talking in the middle of the night

According to the first understanding of the Simanim for the three Mishmaros, the third mishmar begins when husbands and wives are conversing. Who has a conversation four hours before daybreak?

Tinok Yonek Mshdei Imo

The gemorah mentions that the third mishmar is identifiable by a child nursing from his mother and a women talking to her husband. What simun is a child nursing? A child nurses a few times each night? Also, their is not much noise involved with a child nursing? How can that be a simun?
The Ben Yehoyadah answers that the true simun is a women talking with her husband. The child nursing is an indication that time has arrived. How so? Although a woman does nurse a few times a night normally she does so lying down on the bed half asleep. By the last feeding of the night though, the woman is well rested and usually sitting up and feeding her baby. She is wide awake and is then talking with her husband who is now presumably awake as well. You can also be mediyak from the lashon. It says that the baby is nursing "mshdai imo". That implies that it is a more formal nursing as opposed to the mother just lying down and the baby eating. I thought that was an intersting Pshat.

2 Ashmoros after midnight

The gemara in Brachos 3b quotes a pasuk from Tehillim that says "kidmu einai ashmorOS" to prove that Dovid Hemelech got up at midnight before two complete ashmoros so each mishmara must be only three hours and not like R' Nosson said that each one is four hours. The gemara answers that it's no proof because he means that he gets up two ashomros before other kings. R' Yehoshua says on 7b that other kings get up in the third hour so, Rashi explains, that you have 6 hours of the night left plus the two hours until R' Yehoshua says other kings get up for a total of 8 hours or 2 R' Nosson ashmoros.

The problem is that we know that we pasken like R' Yehoshua that you can say Shma until three hours of the day because that is when kings get up but it means the end of the third hour and not the beginning. So that means that you have 6 hours from the night plus three from the morning for a total of 9. This gemara, therefore seems to prove that Rashi is correct that R' Yehoshua doesn't mean until the end of the third hour but until the beginning of the third hour so you only have two hours each day before sof zman krias shma. Most of the other Rishonim though learn that R' Yeshoshua means until the end of the third hour so how do they understand this gemara?

I was thinking that you could answer the question because all we have to prove is that there are at least two ashmoros after Dovid Hamelech wakes up. The gemara assumes that ashmoros means at least two so you have six hours in the night plus two in the morning to get two complete ashmoros. There happens to be another hour in the morning also but that doesn't concern the gemara as long as we have at least eight.

The Pnei Yeshoshua suggests a good answer: R' Yehoshua holds that you can say Shma until the end of the third hour because kings wake up during the third hour. Some wake up at the beginning and some wake up at the end so zman kima is until the last kings wake up but Dovid Hamelech wanted to say how much better he was than even the best of the other kings. The earliest any kings wake up is the beginning of the third hour so Dovid Hamelech is saying that he wakes up two full ashmoros before any other king.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

What if it gets dark very late?

We say that Beshochvecha- when people go to sleep is interpreted as Tzeit Hakochavim. There are many places in the world outside of Israel that in summer time, the normal average person goes to sleep while it may still be light out, or certainly before the stars come out. What would one use then as a z'man for Kriyat Shema? I am sure Rashi even encountered this in France, where Tzeit Hakochavim can be as late as 11 pm in the summer time. Good luck on the long trek. Danny

Uni Eating His Bread

I am a little bothered with the Gemora's discussion about the Uni eating his bread as the basis for the time to begin saying Shema. The Gemora seems to think ( according to Rashi) that the Uni must eat early because he doesnt have a candle to eat with. The Gemorah then answers that the time that Uni and Cohen are the same time ( Tzays). Did the Gemorah forget about the Uni eating in the dark or is the Gemorah just assuming in the maskuneh that the Uni is eating in the dark, around the same time that most people eat? If so, what changed?

from Rav Pam's Haschalas Hashas (last Machzor)

Rav Pam TZ"L from the 11th Machzor Hascholos Hashas: The Avnei Nezer asks, why doesn't the Mishna say simply that you read Kris Shma from Tzaes Hacochavim? He answers to compare K"S to Tumah, just like someone who is Tameh during the day, even after going to the Mikvah , doesn't become Tahor until nightfall, because the Roshum of the tumah lasts the whole day, so too K"S isn't repeated until nightfall beacuse the effects of the morning K"S has not worn off until then. Rav Pam added that the same is true for daf yomi, that the roshum of the daf lasts the whole day ( I was told that he added that therefore you should learn the daf in the morning).

All night or just until midnight?

The Mishna in Brachos daf 2a says that any time the Chachamim said that you have until Chatzos, you really have all night but the Rabonon just made a takana that it should only be until midnight. The simple reading of the Mishna and the way that the Rambam reads it is that it then lists two other examples - The hekter chalavim v'eivarim and the eating of korbanos which can only be eaten for one day and one night. Those two mitzvos together with krias shma are mitzvos that according to the Torah last all night but the Chachomim said you must finish by midnight (see Rabeinu Yona for a discussion if the Chachomim said this l'chatchila or even b'dieved so if you missed krias shma by midnight then maybe you shouldn't say it at all).

Rashi disagrees with the Rambam and explains that the three mitzvos listed in the Mishna are just examples of mitzvos that last all night but the gezeira of the Chachomim to finish by chatzos was only said by eating the korbanos and by Shma but there was no such gezeira made with regard to hekter chalavim.

A couple of questions bothered me with Rashi's explanation.
1. This Mishna implies that the takana was made for all three mitzvos so what compelled Rashi to explain otherwise?
2. Why was the takana made only by Shma and Korbanos but not by hekter chalavim?

The Meforshim on the mishnayos attempt to answer the first question. The gemara in no other place mentions this takana by the hekter chalavim so it must be that there was no such takana so because there's another way to explain this Mishna, Rashi chose that explanation.

However, the question remains why was there no takana made by hekter chalavim. The truth is that there is another strange thing in Rashi. When he explains the reason for the takana, he gives two different explanations for Shma and Korbanos. He says that by shma they made the takana to be mezareiz people to do the mitzva so they shouldn't procrastinate and by korbanos he said that they made the takana so people shouldn't eat into the morning at which time it will be nosar and there will be a chiyuv kares. Why doesn't Rashi just give the ziruz explanation for both mitzvos? It could be that the reason the ziruz explanation doesn't work for korbanos is because most of those are kodshim kodshim (most kodshim kalim could be eating the second day also so aren't included in our Mishna) which can only be eaten by kohanim and kohanim zerizim heim. So the Chachamim would not have made a takana to be mezareiz the Kohanim. They did make the takana though because the eating is a continual process so it's possible that they will start at the correct time but it will continue until the morning at which time the chiyuv kares will be upon them. This will then answer our orginal question - there was no need to make a takana for hekter chalavim. First of all, we're dealing with Kohanim so there the zariz reason doesn't apply. Second of all, it's not a process of eating that continues. They just drop them on the mizbeach and they're done so we don't have the fear of it continuing into the morning.

UPDATE (9:40 PM): R' Feldman from YU has another answer to this question (much better than mine).

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mazel Tov!

Mazel Tov to all those who finished or will finish shas today!

I really want this blog to be a place where many people can post their hearos or questions and others can respond and share their thoughts. If anyone else would like posting authority please email me at adafaday@gmail.com.

Good luck with Brachos.