THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) THE FIRE SALAMANDER
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the salamander "lives in fire." (For an
outstanding analysis of the identity of the salamander and its legendary
qualities, see MYSTERIOUS CREATURES, by Rabbi Nosson Slifkin, Jerusalem:
Targum Press 2003, pp. 85-103; chapter entitled, "The Fabulous
2) "BEIVAREI D'NARASH"
RASHI (DH v'Salamandra) writes that this creature is created through
sorcery from a fire made with myrtle branches. However, Rashi in Chagigah
(27a, DH Salamandra) and Sanhedrin (63b, DH Salamandra) explains that the
salamander is a creature which is created from a fire that has burned
continuously in one place for seven years, implying that no sorcery is
used for the creation of the salamander. How do we reconcile these two
explanations of Rashi? (GILYON HA'SHAS)
(a) The CHASAM SOFER answers that sorcerers cannot create a new creature.
Moreover, the Gemara here cites a verse (Vayikra 11:29) which it says is
referring to the salamander. How could the verse refer to a creature which
is created only by sorcerers?
Rather, it must be that the salamander is a creature which loves the heat
and finds comfort in the fiery depths of the earth. Sorcerers are able to
bring this creature out from its hidden location with the use of sorcery.
However, in order to bring out the salamander, the sorcerers must first
create an appropriate habitat for it. This is accomplished by burning a
fire in the same place for a length of time, as Rashi mentions in Chagigah
(b) The ROGATCHOVER GA'ON (Teshuvos Tzafnas Pane'ach #234) suggests that
anything brought about in an extraordinary, unexpected manner is referred
to as "sorcery" (Keshafim). The salamander is a natural creature (as the
Chasam Sofer proves), but since it comes about in such an unusual manner
it can be said that it is created through the use of "sorcery."
OPINIONS: Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua says that "Beivarei d'Narash" are
not "Min ha'Yishuv." What is the meaning of Rav Huna's statement?
(a) RASHI (DH Beivarei d'Narash) explains that the words "Beivarei
d'Narash" refer to beavers that are found in Narash, a town in Bavel. They
are not "Min ha'Yishuv" means that their place of origin is in the water,
and not the dry land. Another version of Rashi (cited by Tosfos) clearly
states that Rav Huna's intention is to teach us that these animals are not
considered Sheratzim, and one who eats them is not punished with Malkus
for transgressing the prohibition against eating Sheratzim.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Hani Beivarei) quotes RABEINU TAM who has a different text
in the Gemara. Rav Huna states that "Beibivri *v'Narash*" are not "Min
ha'Yishuv." Rabeinu Tam explains that Rav Huna is referring to two
different cities: the cities of Bei Bivri and Narash (as mentioned in
Eruvin 56a). Rav Huna is responding to Rebbi Zeira's statement, in which
he mentions the verse which chastises the "dwellers of Chaled" (Tehilim
49:2). Rav Huna's statement is proclaiming that the people of Bei Bivri
and Narash are wicked like the people of Chaled. This is the meaning of
the words, "they are not Min ha'Yishuv." This phrase is used in the
Mishnah in Kidushin (40b) that states that "one who does not learn Torah
or Mishnah, and acts improperly with others, is not Min ha'Yishuv."
The TIFERES YAKOV says that the wording of the Gemara seems to support the
explanation of Rabeinu Tam. If, as Rashi explains, Rav Huna's intention is
to teach that certain animals originate in the water and not on land, then
he should have said that they are not "Min ha'Yabashah" -- "not from the
dry land." He should not have used the term "Yishuv," which means
settlement or habitation. There are other places, such as a desert, that
are also not "settlements."
However, according to Rabeinu Tam's explanation, there is different
problem. In what way is Rav Huna's statement about the people of Bei Bivri
and Narash related to the previous Gemara? Rebbi Zeira quoted the verse
about the "dwellers of Chaled" only to show that a Chuldah is unique to
land, while other land creatures have a counterpart that lives in the
water. Why does Rav Huna introduce an entirely unrelated statement about
The LEV ARYEH asks another question on the explanation of Rabeinu Tam.
Following Rav Huna's statement, Rav Papa says that the people of Narash
are all excommunicated. This is apparently because they are all evil. If
Rav Huna equates Bei Bivri with Narash, then why does Rav Papa say only
that Narash was worthy of Cherem, and he makes no mention of Bei Bivri? It
is not likely that they are referring to two separate times in history,
because Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua and Rav Papa were contemporaries. The
Lev Aryeh concludes that according to Rabeinu Tam one must say that Rav
Papa investigated the matter and found the people of Narash to be much
worse, and therefore he said that they should be put in Cherem, as opposed
to the more mildly evil people of Bei Bivri. (Y. Montrose)
3) "TUMAS OCHLIN" OF AN "EVER MIN HA'CHAI"
QUESTION: The Mishnah rules that a limb dangling from a live animal is
Metamei with Tum'as Ochlin. RASHI (DH bi'Mekoman) explains that since the
limb needs Hechsher, it is Metamei only if the owner of the animal
intended to feed it to a Nochri.
Why does Rashi mention feeding the hanging limb to a Nochri? The limb is
forbidden to both Jews and Nochrim because of the Isur of Ever Min
ha'Chai, as the Gemara itself points out later (see Rashi, beginning of
ANSWER: The TOSFOS YOM TOV (Chulin 9:7) explains that Rashi mentions
feeding the limb to a Nochri because it is much easier to find a Nochri
who will agree to eat Ever Min ha'Chai than to find a Jew who will eat it.