THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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CHULIN 44 (Purim d'Perazim) - l'Iluy Nishmas Harav Ze'ev Wolf Rosengarten
of Zurich, Switzerland, who passed away on 14 Adar 5760, a person of
"Sheleimus" in every way. Dedicated in honor of his Yahrzeit by his nephew
and Talmid, Eli Rosengarten of Zurich.
1) FOLLOWING ONE'S TEACHER
QUESTION: The Gemara (beginning on 43b) quotes a Beraisa that states, "The
Halachah always follows the words of Beis Hillel, but one who wants to act
in accordance with Beis Shamai may do so, or he may act in accordance with
Beis Hillel. However, one who follows the lenient rulings of Beis Shamai and
the lenient rulings of Beis Hillel is a Rasha. One who follows the stringent
rulings of Beis Shamai and the stringent rulings of Beis Hillel -- of him
the verse says, 'The fool walks in darkness' (Koheles 2:14). Rather, one
must follow either Beis Shamai consistently, both his lenient and stringent
rulings, or Beis Hillel consistently, both his lenient and stringent
The Gemara asks that this statement seems inherently contradictory. The
Beraisa first states that the Halachah always follows Beis Hillel, but then
it states that one who wants to follow Beis Shamai may do so! The Gemara
answers that the former statement of the Beraisa was made after a Bas Kol
emanated from Shamayim declaring that the Halachah always follows Beis
Hillel. The latter statement of the Beraisa was made before the Bas Kol.
The Gemara here seems to contradict the Gemara in Avodah Zarah (7a) that
says that when there is a dispute among the Chachamim, we follow the ruling
of the one who is greater than the other in wisdom and in number of students
(see Background to Avodah Zarah 7:12). If the two disputants are equal in
wisdom and in number, then we follow the stringent opinion when the dispute
involves a Din d'Oraisa, and we follow the lenient opinion when the dispute
involves a Din d'Rabanan.
Why does the Beraisa quoted here not follow the guidelines of the Gemara in
Avodah Zarah? The Beraisa here says that before the Bas Kol declared that
the Halachah follows the ruling of Beis Hillel, one could follow whomever he
wanted -- either Beis Shamai or Beis Hillel. However, since neither of those
schools had the advantage over the other in both wisdom or in numbers (as
Beis Hillel was greater in numbers, while Beis Shamai was greater in
wisdom), their disputes should be treated as disputes between equals, in
which case one must follow the stringent ruling with regard to matters that
are mid'Oraisa, and the lenient ruling with regard to matters that are
(Regarding the question how we can follow the declaration of a Bas Kol when
the Gemara (Bava Metzia 59b) teaches that we do not follow a Bas Kol with
regard to Halachah, see TOSFOS here (DH v'Rebbi Yehoshua Hi), in Eruvin
(13b, DH Rebbi Yehoshua Hi), and in Bava Metzia (DH Lo ba'Shamayim Hi).)
ANSWER: The CHAZON ISH (YD 150:1) answers that when the Gemara in Avodah
Zarah says that one must follow the stringent ruling when there is a dispute
between two Chachamim regarding a Din d'Oraisa, this applies only when one
of the disputants is not one's teacher. When one of the disputants is the
person's teacher, then he must follow his Rebbi whether his Rebbi is
stringent or lenient. One's Rebbi is defined as the teacher who lives near
him and whose teachings he constantly follows in most matters. If there are
two sages who live near him, he is entitled to follow the rulings of either
one of them and to accept his as his Rebbi.
This applies whether or not the sage is alive, as long as his rulings are
clearly known, either through his students or through his writings. In
addition, one may follow his Rebbi's lenient ruling even when the majority
of Chachamim disagree with that ruling, as long as Beis Din did not convene
to discuss the matter and decide against the minority opinion.
Accordingly, when the Beraisa says that one may follow Beis Shamai, it means
that one may accept Beis Shamai as one's Rebbi and follow their rulings
whether they are stringent or lenient. When the Bas Kol issued forth, the
Chachamim understood that it constituted a convening of Beis Din to decide
that the Halachah follows Beis Hillel, and henceforth one is not permitted
to follow Beis Shamai's opinion even when they are stringent. (See also
CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN.) (D. Bloom)
2) AGADAH: ONE WHO EATS THE LABOR OF HIS HANDS
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes Mar Zutra who said in the name of Rav Chisda,
"One who learns Tanach and Mishnah and sees his own Tereifah and learns from
Talmidei Chachamim (i.e. Gemara; see Rashi), about him the verse says, 'When
you eat the labor of your hands, you are fortunate and it is well with you'
(Tehilim 128:2). Rav Zevid explained that such a person merits inheriting
two worlds -- this world, and Olam ha'Ba.
3) ONE WHO DESPISES GIFTS WILL LIVE
How does this verse relate to one who sees his own Tereifah?
(a) RASHI says that when a person enjoys the labors of his own hands and has
no lust even for his own money (for he does not seek to permit his doubtful
Tereifah), he certainly will not desire to steal the money of others.
(b) The MAHARSHA says that the previous verse in Tehilim says, "Happy is the
one who fears Hashem, who walks in His ways." This verse refers to a person
whose animal has a condition that might render it a Tereifah, and yet,
because he fears Hashem, he does not eat from the animal because of the
doubt. This verse states that such a person will be happy in Olam ha'Ba,
because he refrained from eating an animal that might have been a Tereifah.
However, there is an even greater level of Avodas Hashem, as the following
verse expresses. One who "eats the labor of his hands" refers to the person
who, when a doubt in Halachah arises, works hard to resolve the doubt by
learning the pertinent Halachos and analyzing the issues involved. Through
his toil he arrives at a conclusion permitting the item that was in doubt.
As a result, he not only enjoys the labor of his hands in this world, but he
also merits a share in the World to Come because of his labor in Torah. (See
also Insights to Berachos 8:3.)
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes Rav Chisda who said, "Who is a Talmid Chacham?
He who sees his own Tereifah." RASHI (DH Zeh) explains that when one's
animal has a possible Tereifah and there are arguments that may be advanced
to permit the animal, and, nevertheless, the owner is stringent even though
he thereby suffers a financial loss, this shows that he is a Talmid Chacham.
In addition, Rav Chisda said, "About whom does the verse state, 'One who
despises gifts will live' (Mishlei 15:27)? This refers to a person who sees
his own Tereifah." Rashi explains that one who is stringent with his own
Tereifah certainly is the type of person who also despises receiving gifts
from others. Since he is not eager to permit even his own money (by finding
a leniency to permit his animal), certainly he is not eager to take money
Does the principle of "one who despises gifts will live" apply even when the
Torah permits one to accept a gift (or, in the case of our Gemara, to be
lenient with regard to a Safek)?
ANSWER: The Gemara later (133a) relates that Abaye, who was a Kohen, said
that he originally used to grab the Matnos Kehunah, the presents that the
Kohanim are entitled to receive from animals brought as Korbanos, because he
maintained that this showed a love for the Mitzvah. Later, when he heard the
Beraisa that relates that the modest Kohanim did not accept their share of
the Lechem ha'Panim and only the greedy took it, he desisted from accepting
the Matnos Kehunah, except for once a year (on Erev Yom Kipur) so that
people not forget that he was a Kohen.
The DERISHAH (YD 61:3) explains Abaye's reasoning. Abaye wanted to conduct
himself beyond the letter of the law ("Lifnim mi'Shuras ha'Din") and to
forego his presents so that they could be given to other Kohanim who needed
them more than he did. Alternatively, he did not accept the presents because
he wanted to follow the verse, "One who despises gifts will live," and he
did not want to receive benefit from others even though the Torah granted
him that right.
Originally, Abaye took the presents because, he reasoned, it is a Mitzvah to
take the presents that the Torah commands Yisraelim to give to Kohanim. When
he realized that it was improper to grab them, he refrained from taking them
at all, and he concluded that there is no Mitzvah for the Kohen to take
them. Rather, the Torah commands the Yisrael to give them to the Kohen if
the Kohen wants or needs them. Since there is no Mitzvah for the Kohen to
receive the gifts, Abaye did not want to accept them.
We see from the words of the Derishah that the principle of "one who
despises gifts will live" applies even to the Matnos Kehunah, which the
Torah certainly permits the Kohen to receive. (D. Bloom)