POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
prepared by Rabbi Yisrael Shaw
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Chagigah 13
3. (R. Acha b. Yakov) There is one more firmament above
the heads of the Chayos (Yechezkel 1:22).
1) TEACHING MA'ASEH MERKAVAH TO A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL
4. However, we cannot discuss that realm, because it has
been taught (in Sefer Ben Sira), "Do not inquire about
that which is hidden from you."
5. (R. Yochanan b. Zakai) When Nevuchadnezar the wicked
resolved to ascend to heaven and make himself as G-d,
(Yeshayah 14:14), a Bas Kol issued forth and said:
(i) "Man lives only for seventy or eighty years
(ii) and yet the time that it takes to travel from the
earth to the top of the Throne of Glory is far
greater, for one must go through the seven
firmaments and their width, and then through the
height of the different parts of the Chayos, and
then through the height of the Throne of Glory, or
about 14,336,000 years away. ((14 X 500) + (14 X
500) + ((14 X 500) X 2) + ((14 X 500) X 4) + ((14 X
500) X 8) + ((14 X 500) X 16) + ((14 X 500) X 32) +
((14 X 500) X 64) + ((14 X 500) X 128) + ((14 X 500)
X 256) + ((14 X 500) X 512) + ((14 X 500) X 1024))
(iii) Rather, 'to Hell shall you descend, to the bottom of
the pit!' (Yeshayah 14:15)."
(a) (R. Chiya) One may not teach Ma'aseh Merkavah to a single
individual, but one may give him the chapter headings.
2) EXPOUNDING SOME VERSES OF MA'ASEH MERKAVAH
(b) (R. Zeira) One may only give the chapter headings to one who
is an Av Beis Din and whose heart is fearful within him.
(c) (R. Ami) The secrets of the Torah may be given only to one
who possesses five character traits, as listed in the verse
(d) (R. Ami) Divrei Torah may not be taught to a Nochri (Tehilim
(e) R. Yosef was learned in Ma'aseh Merkavah, while the elders of
Pumbedisa were learned in Ma'aseh Bereishis.
1. They agreed to teach each other their respective knowledge.
(f) Question: Is it at all permitted to learn "Chashmal" (part of
2. R. Yosef, after learning Ma'aseh Bereishis from the elders
of Pumbedisa, refused to teach them Ma'aseh Merkavah.
(i) "Honey and milk beneath your tongue" (Shir ha'Shirim
4:11) -- the things (secrets of Torah) which are
sweeter than honey shall remain beneath your tongue
(and not be divulged).
3. They said, "We already know [Ma'aseh Merkavah] until the
parapraph of "Vayomer Elai" (Yechezkel 2:1).
(ii) (R. Avahu) "Kevasim Lilvushecha (the wool of lambs
is your clothing)" (Mishlei 27:26) -- do not read
"Kevasim" but rather "Kevushim (the hidden things),"
meaning that the hidden things about the world shall
remain hidden under your garment.
4. R. Yosef replied, "If so, you know the main part of the
5. Question: Is that so? But did not Rebbi say that Ma'aseh
Merkavah is until "Va'eire" (Yechezkel 1:27), and R.
Yitzchak said until "ha'Chashmal" (1:4)?
6. Answer #1: Until "Va'eire" (or "ha'Chashmal), one may teach
the Ma'aseh Merkavah, and from then on one may only give
over the chapter headings.
7. Answer #2: Until "Va'eire" (or "ha'Chashmal") one may give
over the chapter headings, and from then on one may give
them over only if the student is wise and understands of
1. A young child was learning "Chashmal" and a flame came out
and consumed him!
(g) Answer: A young child is different, for his time had not yet
come [to delve into Ma'aseh Merkavah].
(h) (R. Yehudah in the name of Rav) Blessed be the memory of that
man named Chananyah b. Chizkiyah.
1. The Chachamim wanted to hide away the Book of Yechezkel,
due to verses in it which seem to contradict the Torah.
(i) (Beraisa) A young child was reading the Book of Yechezkel and
understanding the description of the "Chashmal."
2. Chananyah b. Chizkiyah who spent many hours to resolve
those verses, and as a result the Chachamim did not hide
away the Book of Yechezkel.
1. A flame came out and burned him.
2. The Chachamim wanted to hide away the Book of Yechezkel.
3. Chananyah b. Chizkiyah said, "If this child was so
exceptionally brilliant, are all children like that!?"
(a) Question: What is "Chashmal?"
(b) Answer #1 (R. Yehudah): "Chayos Esh Memalelos" (Chayos of fire
3) THE VISIONS OF THE MERKAVAH THAT YECHEZKEL AND YESHAYAH SAW
(c) Answer #2 (Beraisa): "Sometimes they are Chashos (silent),
sometimes they are Memalelos (speaking)"
1. When Hashem gives forth His speech, they are silent.
(d) Question: What is "Ratzo v'Shov" in the verse, "The Chayos are
Ratzo v'Shov like the appearance of the Bezek" (Yechezkel 1:14)?
2. When Hashem does not give forth his speech, they speak.
(e) Answer: Like the light that flashes forth from the oven.
(f) Question: What is "... like the appearance of the Bezek?"
(g) Answer: Like the multicolor light flashes that come from
between the goldsmiths' potsherds.
(h) Question: "... The stormy wind was coming from the north..."
(Yechezkel 1:4) -- what was it doing in the north?
(i) Answer: It went to the north to give power to Nevuchadnezar to
conquer the entire world.
1. This was done so that the nations would not say that Hashem
gave over his children to a lowly, weak nation.
(j) (R. Elazar) "... There was one Ofan on the land, next to the
Chayos..." (Yechezkel 1:15) -- this teaches that there is one
Malach standing on the earth whose head reaches the Chayos.
2. Hashem said, "Who caused that I should be a servant to the
idolators? -It was the sins of Yisrael."
1. (Beraisa) That Malach's name is "Sndlpon," who stands 500
years taller than his colleague.
2. He stands behind the Merkavah and forms crowns for his
3. Even though the Creator's place is unknowable (Yechezkel
3:12), this Malach utters the Name and the crown goes by
itself and rests upon His head.
(a) (Rava) Everything that Yechezkel saw, Yeshayah saw.
4) DESCRIPTIONS OF THE ANGELS
(b) However, Yechezkel was like a villager who saw the king (and
thus makes a big deal about it), while Yeshayah was like one
who lives in the capital city who saw the king (and thus does
not make a big deal about it).
(a) (Reish Lakish) The king of wild animals is the lion, the
king of domesticated animals is the ox, the king of birds is
the eagle, and man is above them, and Hashem is above them
all and above the entire world (Shemos 15:1).
(b) Question: One verse says that the four-sided face of the
angels contains the faces of a man, lion, ox, and eagle
(Yechezkel 1:10), while another verse places a cherub in place
of the ox (Yechezkel 10:14)!
(c) Answer: Yechezkel prayed for mercy that the face of the ox be
replaced, so that it not prosecute the Jewish people (because
of the sin of the Golden Calf), and it was changed to a cherub.
1. Question: What does the word "Keruv" (cherub) mean?
(d) Question: One verse says that the angels have six wings
(Yeshayah 6:2), while another verse says that they have four
wings (Yechezkel 1:6)!
2. Answer: "Like a child (k'Rivya)," as they call a child
in Bavel "Rivya."
3. Question: What is the difference between the face of a man
and the face of a cherub?
4. Answer: One is the face of an adult, one is the face of a
(e) Answer: One verse (six wings) is referring to when the Beis
ha'Mikdash is standing, and the other verse is referring to
when the Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing -- the wings of the
1. (R. Chananel in the name of Rav) They lost the two wings
with which they say Shirah.
(f) Question: One verse says a thousand thousands of angels serve
Him, and a myriad of myriads rise before Him (Daniel 7:10),
while another verse says there is no number to His legions
2. (Rabanan) They lost the two wings which cover their feet.
(g) Answer #1: One verse refers to when the Beis ha'Mikdash is
standing (His legions are infinite), while the other verse
refers to when the Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing -- the
heavenly legions, as it were, diminished.
(h) Answer #2 (Beraisa): The first verse (a thousand thousands)
refers to the number of angels in each legion that serve Him;
the second verse (an infinite number) refers to the number of
(i) (R. Yirmiyah b. Aba): "A thousand thousands serve Him" to the
River Dinor (Daniel 7:10).
1. These angels come from the sweat of the Chayos.
2. (R. Zutra b. Tuvyah in the name of Rav) This River spills
onto the heads of the Resha'im in Gehinom (Yirmiyahu 23:19).
3. (R. Acha b. Yakov) It spills onto the generations which
were uprooted from being created (Iyov 22:16).
(i) (Beraisa) These are the 974 generations that were
uprooted from being created before the creation of