REVIEW QUESTIONS ON GEMARA AND RASHI
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Avodah Zarah 9
AVODAH ZARAH 9 (18 Adar) - dedicated by Reb Gedalya Weinberger of Brooklyn,
N.Y., in memory of his father, Reb Chaim Tzvi ben Reb Shlomo Weinberger, on
his Yahrzeit. Reb Chaim Tzvi, who miraculously survived the holocaust,
raised his children with a strong dedication to Torah and its study.
(a) Rebbi Yossi in a Beraisa lists the number of years that each of the
various kingdoms ruled over Yisrael during the four hundred and twenty years
that the second Beis Hamikdash stood. The Persians ruled for thirty-four
How long did the Greeks rule?
(b) How many years did the Chashmona'im and the Kingdom of Hurdus each last?
(c) According to what we just learned, how many years before the Churban did
the Romans then come to power?
(d) How do we reconcile this with Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yossi, who said
earlier that the Romans came to power a hundred and eighty years before the
(a) Should the Tana'im or the Sofrim be uncertain about the exact year of an
event that they wished to document, how many years did Rav Papa advise the
former to add and the latter to detract, by asking the other?
(b) What is then the significance of ...
(c) This discrepancy is based on the different systems of dates that they
used. If the Tana'im would document events from the Churban, what system
did the Sofrim use in their Sh'taros?
- ... the Pasuk in Vayeitzei (said by Ya'akov to Lavan) "Zeh Li Esrim Shanah be'Veisecha"?
- ... the saying 'Safra Betzira Tana Tosfa'ah'? What does this mean?
(d) We learned earlier that the Greeks came to power thirty-four years into
the second Beis-Hamikdash. Why then, did the Sofrim date the documents
beginning three hundred and eighty years before the Churban and not three
hundred and eighty-six?
(a) Why do we only take into account the P'rat and not the K'lal?
(b) So, if the ...
(c) What does 'Mashkach Leih le'Chumreih' mean?
- ... P'rat written in documents was fifteen, how would the Tana'im date any given event in the same year?
- ... Tana'im were dating events in the year two hundred and thirty, how would the Sofrim date their Sh'taros?
(a) According to Tana de'Bei Eliyahu, how long is this world destined to
(b) It describes the first two thousand years as 'Tohu' (devoid of Torah).
How does it describe the second and third periods of two thousand years?
(c) What does Tana de'Bei Eliyahu lament about the latter?
(d) If the period of Torah did not begin from Matan Torah, then from which
event did it begin? What year was that?
(a) Why indeed, can the period of Torah not have begun from Matan Torah? How
many years elapsed between Matan Torah and the year four thousand?
Answers to questions
(b) What might we alternatively have asked (see Maharsha)?
(c) In which year of the creation was Avraham Avinu born?
(d) And how old was he when he began bringing people close to the Shechinah?
(e) So bearing in mind that Churban Bayis Rishon took place in the year
3338, the 70 years of Galus Bavel and the 420 years of Bayis Sheini, how
many years elapsed between Churban Bayis Sheini and the year 4000?
(a) Rav Papa now discusses the same problem as he discussed above, only with
regard to the Tana'im who lived from the third period beginning with the
What date did the Sofrim enter into their Sh'taros in the year
(b) By the same token then, how many years would a Tana who was uncertain of
the P'rat need to add, or a Sofer who was uncertain need to subtract, based
on the other one's date?
(c) This time, the Si'man for the forty-eight that the Tana adds lies in the
Pasuk in Mas'ei "Arba'im -u'Shemoneh Ir".
On what grounds do we reject
'Safra Betzira, Tana Tosfa'ah' (the Si'man for the Si'man for detracting the
same from the Sofrim)? What is then the correct wording?
(d) We could equally well have detracted fifty-two from the Sofer's date and
added fifty-two on to the Tana's.
Why did Rav Papa (both before and here)
choose the reverse?
(a) Rav Huna b'rei de'Rav Yehoshua gives similar advice to someone who is
uncertain about which year of the Sh'mitah cycle it is. He begins by adding
one year to the current date (after the Churban).
Why is that?
(b) Which other two similarities (date-wise) did the second Churban share
with the first?
(c) How do we know all this?
(d) Why does one then add two Yovlos per century? Like which Tana does that
(a) How does one finally work out the current year of the Sh'mitah?
(b) What relevance does this have according to Rebbi, who holds that even
Sh'mitas Kesafim (the cancellation of debts) only applies concurrently with
(c) What is the significance of the Si'man "Ki Zeh Shenasayim ha'Ra'av
(d) Bearing in mind that the Beis-Hamikdash stood for four hundred and
twenty years, how can the Churban have taken place on Motza'ei Shevi'is,
since according to what we just learned, if we were to add the eight years
(two per century) to the twenty of the P'rat, it appears to have been
destroyed in the Sh'mitah-year (since twenty-eight is divisible by seven)?
(a) What did Rebbi Chanina say about an offer of a field (in Chutz la'Aretz)
worth a thousand Zuz for one Dinar from the year 4228 (four hundred years
after the Churban)?
Answers to questions
(b) What did the Beraisa say about this?