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Berachos 61


QUESTION: What does it mean that Hashem originally wanted to create two humans, then made only one, and then He made the one into two? How can we say that Hashem changed His mind?
(a) The RASHBA (TESHUVOS HA'RASHBA 1:60) explains that when the Gemara says that Hashem "thought about creating two" and then created one, it means that He carefully planned out whether to create them as one or as two. It does not mean that He changed His mind, but rather, that His creation was done with foreplanning and thorough consideration.
1. Why, then, did He later end up making two humans? The two that were eventually created were not the same two of His original plan. Originally, Hashem considered the implications of creating man and woman as two completely *separate species* that could not propagate together, nor would they serve as counterparts to each other. Hashem decided not to create two types of humans and instead He created one being, meaning one species of human beings, which included both man and woman.

2. Alternatively, Hashem originally considered creating man and woman *from the start* as two individual entities (albeit of the same species), but in the end He decided that both man and woman should come from one body in the start. The reason for this decision was so that man and woman would feel eternally bonded to each other. Again, Hashem never changed His mind, so to speak. Rather, His infinite wisdom pondered all of the possible ways of creating the human being before deciding to do it one way.

(b) The VILNA GA'ON explains that when the Gemara says that Hashem initially "thought to create two," it means that when He created one, He already had in mind to eventually make two out of that one. The end-goal and final purpose of Hashem's creation is always the first and the beginning of His thoughts. "Hashem thought about creating one" means that His original thought was actualized later when He took two out of one. ("b'Machshavah" refers to the ultimate purpose of Creation, for "Sof Ma'aseh, b'Machashavah Techilah"). If man and woman were created as one, it would not have been possible for a person to fulfill his ultimate purpose of immersion in Hashem's Torah and service of Hashem, because his responsibilities would be too great. Therefore, Hashem created man and woman separately so that they could share the responsibilities and enable each other to accomplish their respective goals. The creation of one in the middle was just a step to get to the final two (for the reason given by the Rashba, a:2).
QUESTION: Two opinions in the Gemara compare the Yetzer ha'Ra to a fly and to a piece of wheat, respectively. Why is he compared specifically to these two objects?

ANSWER: The VILNA GA'ON explains that the fly alludes to the Yetzer ha'Ra to speak Lashon ha'Ra. A fly never lands on healthy and robust flesh; it is attracted to skin that has begun to ail. The victim of Lashon ha'Ra is always someone about whom there is at least a little to talk about. In addition, a fly spoils whatever it lands in. Similarly, one who speaks Lashon ha'Ra spoils all the good that he may have, even if he has learned much Torah prior to speaking Lashon ha'Ra.

Wheat symbolizes the Yetzer ha'Ra of indulgence in physical pleasures. The Etz ha'Da'as from which Adam and Chavah were tempted to eat (Ki Ta'avah Hi l'Einayim) was wheat according to the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah (Berachos 40a). (Perhaps, it represents the Yetzer ha'Ra for monetary gain as well, since wheat or bread represents a person's livelihood - M. Kornfeld.)


OPINIONS: In the end of our Sugya we are told that Raba took care not to defecate while facing east or west. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 7:8-9) and TUR (OC 3) write that since Raba made this his practice, this should also be our practice. This applies, however, only when one is outside in the open, more than four Amos away from a wall that would serve as a Mechitzah. If he is inside a building or within four Amos of a wall, he may face east or west because the wall serves as a separation. (He should put his back toward the wall). (SHULCHAN ARUCH 3:5; MISHNAH BERURAH 3:7)

There are two ways to understand this ruling of the Rambam and Tur.

(a) The BEIS YOSEF says that the Rambam does not differentiate where in the world a person may be standing. It seems that even south of Jerusalem, a person may not face east or west. It must be that the Rambam's reasoning is because the Shechinah is in the west of the world (Bava Basra 25a) or in the west of the Beis ha'Mikdash (and out of deference to that place, we do not face east or west anywhere in the world). (MISHNAH BERURAH 3:10)

(b) The DARKEI MOSHE argues and says that the Rambam and Tur rule that one may not defecate while facing east or west because most of the people for whom they were writing lived to the west of Israel. They would agree, though, that someone living north or south of Israel (such as in Moscow, or Johannesburg) may face east and west, but may not face north or south. This also seems to be the opinion of TOSFOS (DH Rebbi Akiva) in our Sugya.

HALACHAH: The VILNA GA'ON sides with the Beis Yosef (a), and so does the Mishnah Berurah.
OPINIONS: The Gemara only discusses the direction for defecating, but the Yerushalmi discusses which way one must face when urinating.
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 7:8) writes that if a person is standing from Tzofim inwards toward the Beis ha'Mikdash and can see the place of the Beis ha'Mikdash, he should not face towards the holy sanctuary and urinate, even today. This applies only if a person is outside in the open and there is no wall or partition separating between him and the sanctuary (as in the above Insight). The SHULCHAN ARUCH and REMA (OC 3:7) rule like the Rambam.

(b) The VILNA GA'ON prohibits urinating in the open facing west even outside of Tzofim, no matter where a person may be standing in the world, because the Shechinah is in the west.

HALACHAH: The BI'UR HALACHAH (OC 3, DH u'l'Hatil Mayim) says that one may rely on the Rema and face any direction when standing outside of Tzofim, especially if he is wearing pants (because then he is not so exposed).
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