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Gitin 57

GITIN 56 & 57 - Anonymously dedicated by an ardent supporter who wants the Zechus of spreading Torah throughout the world.



(a) Bil'am (like Titus), whose spirit Unklus also conjured up, conceded that Yisrael was important in this world, and he too, advised against joining forces with them. When Unklus asked ...
1. ... him what his lot was in the other world - he replied that, in return for his plot causing Yisrael to commit adultery with the daughters of Mo'av, he was burned daily in boiling semen.
2. ... Yeshu the same question, he replied - that he was burned daily in boiling excrement, which, as Chazal have said, is the end of those who mock their words.
(b) As far as fighting them is concerned, he warned Unklus - not to start up with them, because to start with Yisrael is to start with the pupil of one's eye (since it is Yisrael who guides the world, and without them, the world is blind).

(c) We point out the difference between Jewish sinners (Yeshu) who, at least in the world of truth, finally concede the truth, and the Nochri prophets (Bil'am), who denied the truth even there.

(d) Rebbi Elazar in a Beraisa commented - that from the story of Kamtza and bar Kamzta, we can learn the power of shame, since as a result of the shame and humiliation that bar Kamtza suffered, Hashem assisted him in his plan, even though it resulted in the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash.

(a) The rooster and the chicken that were led in front of every Chasan and Kalah on Tur Malka (Har ha'Melech) on the day of their wedding, symbolized - a blessing that they should increase like chickens.

(b) This custom led to the destruction of Tur Malka - when a band of hungry Romans once took the birds belonging to a wedding procession, and the angry Jews fell upon them and beat them up. When they informed the Emperor that the Jews had rebelled against him, he gathered an army and attacked Tur Malka. Note: In all probability, the Pasuk "Ashrei Adam Mefached Tamid" cited at the beginning of the Sugya, refers to the destruction of Tur Malka and that of Beitar (a little later on the Amud) too, which also came about as a result of a lack of foresight.

(c) The Emperor removed his crown and placed it on the ground (an act of submission to Hashem) - and then prayed to Hashem not to allow the mighty Roman army to fall into the hands of one man, because of that bar Daroma, who would jump a Mil into the midst of the Roman army, catching them completely by surprise, kill some of them and jump back'.

(d) The bar Daroma died, not because of the Emperor's prayer, but due to a statement that he himself should never have issued. What was wrong with saying "ha'Lo Atah Elokim Zenachtanu, ve'Lo Seitzei Elokim be'Tziv'oseinu" despite the fact that David Hamelech said exactly the same thing was - that *he* made it as a statement, whereas David made it as a rhetorical question (as if he was refuting the possibility of such a thing happening). The bar Daroma died - when he was bitten by a snake as he sat in the bathroom

(a) In acknowledgment of the miracle, the Emperor took his army out of Tur Malka. He returned however - when the Jews celebrated his departure, kindling so many lights that they could see the picture on their signet-rings up to the distance of a Mil.

(b) Three days and three nights, the slaughter lasted - three hundred thousand Roman swordsmen participated.

(c) What was strange about this incident - was the fact that, simultaneously to the killings, the people on the other side of the mountain were still celebrating, and so great was the noise that each one made, that those on one side were unaware of what was happening to those on the other.

(d) Yanai ha'Melech owned - six hundred thousand cities on Tur Malka, each one inhabited by as many residents (with the exception of three).

(a) The three exceptions were K'far Bish, K'far Shichlaya and K'far Dichraya each of which was inhabited by double as many (two times six hundred thousand) inhabitants. They were called by these names (respectively) - because they would not put up any guests, their income consisted of cress, and the women would give birth to only boys, except for the last child, who would inevitably be a girl.

(b) When Ula testified that the area of Tur Malka was so small, that it could not even have held six hundred thousand reeds, let alone cities ...

1. ... that Tzedoki commented - that here we have a clear proof that Chazal were liars (because, if the area was really so small, how could Chazal talk about all those cities).
2. ... Rebbi Chanina replied - that this is precisely why the Pasuk in Yirmiyah refers to Eretz Yisrael as "Eretz Tzvi", to teach us that, like a deer's skin (which stretches to contain its body), it stretches to contain as many people as want to fit into it, and when it is uninhabited, it shrinks to its original size.
(c) Rav Minyumi bar Chilkiyah, Rav Chilkiyah bar Tuvyah and Rav Huna bar Chiya decided to recount some of the good deeds of K'far Sechanya of Egypt. One of them related an episode regarding a betrothed couple who were both taken into captivity - and where the woman begged the man not to touch her since she had no Kesuvah from him.

(d) When she eulogized him after his death - she declared him greater than Yosef in three regards: 1. because Yosef overcame his Yetzer-ha'Ra only once, whereas her betrothed did it every day; 2. Yosef and the wife of Potifera were not in the same bed, whereas they were (presumably, the captor's aim was for them to have children which he would take as slaves - so he gave them only one bed to sleep on); 3. Yosef and Potifera's wife were not husband and wife, they were (and he could easily have used this as a 'Heter').

(a) The second member of the above trio related - how, on what occasion, the price of wheat rose (from four Mudi'os to a Dinar to three). Upon examination, and discovering that a man had committed adultery with a betrothed girl on Yom Kipur, they took him to Beis-din and gave him Malkos, and the wheat reverted to its original price.

(b)The third member of the trio told the story of the man who decided to divorce his wife but who could not afford to pay her Kesuvah. He set about achieving his end without having to pay anything - by inviting his friend to a party and making both him and his wife drunk. Then he lay them on the same bed and placed raw egg-white between his wife and his friend.

(c) A Talmid of Beis Shamai however, Bava ben Buta, thwarted his plan by quoting his Rebbe, who taught him that egg-white, unlike semen, withdraws when placed in front of fire. When the truth was discovered, he took the man to Beis-Din, gave him Malkos and forced him to pay his wife's Kesuvah. Note: When Chazal discuss the high level of righteousness attained by the residents of these towns, they are referring to the effort that the leaders put into maintaining law and order.

(d) In spite of having ascertained such a level of righteousness, K'far Sechanyah was nevertheless destroyed - because they did not mourn over the destruction of Yesushalayim, and the Pasuk writes "Simchu es Yerushalayim ve'Giylu Bah Kol Ohavehah, Siysu Itah Masos Kol ha'Misablim Alehah".

(a) Chazal say that Beitar was destroyed on account of the wheel of a carriage. They would plant a cedar tree when a boy was born, and a pine for a girl. Then when they married, they would cut down the trees and use the wood to make a Chupah. One day, the princess was passing by, when the wheel of her carriage broke, and her servants chopped down one of these cedars. When the incensed Jews fell upon them and beat them up, they reported to the Emperor that the Jews had rebelled, and the war was on.

(b) Eighty thousand horns of war entered Beitar with the troops who came to destroy it. Rebbi Zeira Amar Rebbi Avahu Amar Rebbi Yochanan explains that this is the episode hinted in the Pasuk "Gada ba'Chari Af Kol Keren Yisrael".

(c) Much blood was spilled in Beitar. When we say ...

1. ... that the blood of those slain in Beitar flowed into the Mediterranean Sea, we are talking about a distance of one Mil (= one kilometer).
2. ... that there were two rivers in the valley of Yadayim flowing in opposite directions (Rebbi Eliezer, quoting the Chachamim) - one third of the water in these rivers comprised that blood?
3. ... that for years the Nochrim fertilized their fields using the blood of those slain in Beitar exclusively, we mean - for seven years.



(a) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah citing an old Yerushalmi, pointed out a certain valley where Nevuzradan, 'butcher-in-chief', murdered over two million Jews. In Yerushalayim - he murdered nine hundred and forty thousand Jews next to one stone.

(b) The Pasuk "Damim be'Damim Naga'u" refers to - the blood of these martyrs which flowed into the blood of Zecharyah ha'Navi, which was, in turn, bubbling in the Beis Hamikdash.

(c) Nevuzradan refuted the Jews claim that the bubbling blood was that of Korbanos that had spilled - by testing it against the blood of other animals, and it did not match.

(d) When he threatened them with torture if they would not tell him the truth, they divulged whose blood it was and what had happened. Zecharyah's blood had not stopped bubbling for hundreds of years - because he had been murdered by the Jews on Yom Kipur when he rebuked them for their sins.

(a) Nevuzradan promised to still the Navi's blood. So he set about slaughtering them in groups - starting with the Sanhedrin Gedolah and the Sanhedrin Ketanah.

(b) After the boys and girls - came the little Cheder-children.

(c) The blood only stopped bubbling when Nevuzradan asked Zecharyah how many more Jews he would have to kill before he would be appeased. This suddenly evoked in Nevuzradan's mind - thoughts of Teshuvah. If the murder of one person required so many deaths to atone for it, he reckoned, imagine how much atonement *he* would require for the many thousands of murders he had perpetrated. He was greater than Na'aman, who only became a Ger Toshav, whereas he became a Ger Tzedek.

(d) We are told that the descendants of ...

1. ... Haman - taught Torah in B'nei B'rak.
2. ... Sisro - taught children Torah in Yerushalayim.
3. ... Nevuzradan, Shemayah and Avtalyon - taught Torah in public.
(a) "ha'Kol" (Toldos) refers to Hadrian, who killed in Alexandria of Egypt one million, two hundred thousand Jews, and "Kol Ya'akov", to Vespasian, who killed four million in Beitar - forty million, according to others.

(b) "ve'ha'Yadayim Yedei Eisav" - refers to the Romans, who destroyed the Beis Hamikdash and exiled us from our land.

(c) Others interpret ...

1. ... "ha'Kol Kol Ya'akov" - to mean that no Tefilah can succeed unless a descendent of Ya'akov participates.
2. ... "ve'ha'Yadayim Yedei Eisav" - that no battle can succeed unless a descendant of Eisav participates.
(d) Rav Yehudah Amar Rav learns that Hashem showed David Hamelech ...
1. ... Churban Bayis Rishon - from the Pasuk in Tehilim "Al Naharos Bavel Sham Yashavnu Gam Bachinu es Tzi'on".
2. ... Churban Bayis Sheini - from the Pasuk there "Z'chor Hashem li'V'nei Edom es Yom Yerushalayim, ha'Omrim Aru Aru ad ha'Yesod Bah".
(a) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel (or Rebbi Ami or the Tana in a Beraisa) quotes the Pasuk "Amar Hashem mi'Bashan Ashiv, Ashiv mi'Metzulos Yam" - to answer the She'eilah (asked by the four hundred boys and girls at sea who were being taken to Rome for immoral purposes) whether someone who is buried at sea can expect to be resurrected.

(b) The first to respond - were the girls, who immediately jumped into the sea and drowned.

(c) The 'Kal va'Chomer' that the boys derived from them was - that if the girls, who would be abused naturally, preferred to commit suicide, then how much more so they, who would be abused unnaturally.

(d) The Pasuk in Tehilim that hints to this episode is - "Ki Alecha Horagnu Kol ha'Yom".

(a) Rav Yehudah ascribes the Pasuk in Tehilim to Chanah and her seven sons. Each son quoted a different Pasuk forbidding Avodah-Zarah in any form. The youngest son explained the Pasuk "es Hashem He'emarta ha'Yom ... va'Hashem He'emircha ha'Yom ... " to mean - that we promised not to swap Hashem for any other deity (Kevayachol), and He promised not to swap us for any other nation.

(b) His response to the Emperor's proposal that he throw him down a ring for him to pick up, so that at least the people would think that he had condescended to bow down to his god was - that if the Emperor expected him to be concerned about *his* Kavod, then how much more must he be concerned about the Kavod of Hashem.

(c) When the Emperor granted Chanah permission to say good-bye - she instructed him to go to Avraham Avinu and tell him that *he* may have sacrificed one son, but she had sacrificed seven!

(d) The significance of the Pasuk "Eim ha'Banim Semeichah" here is - that this was the Pasuk that the Bas Kol announced after Chanah climbed up onto the roof and jumped to her death.

(a) According to Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, the Pasuk "Ki Alecha Horagnu Kol ha'Yom" pertains to the Mitzvah of Milah, which K'lal Yisrael constantly perform, spilling their children's blood. Resh Lakish interprets it - to pertain to Talmidei-Chachamim, who show the Dinim of Shechitah on themselves.

(b) Resh Lakish's explanation is connected to a statement of Rava, who warned Talmidei-Chachamim against showing Hilchos Shechitah and 'Davar Acher' on themselves. 'Davar Acher' is - Tzara'as and the different appearances of Nega'im, which is dangerous to show on oneself.

(c) According to Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak too, the Pasuk refers to Talmidei-Chachamim. In his opinion, the Pasuk is referring to - Talmidei-Chachamim, who 'kill themselves' for Torah (meaning that they deprive themselves of things that others consider life - food and sleep ... ).

(d) He bases this on Resh Lakish, who interprets the Pasuk "Zos ha'Torah, Adam Ki Yamus be'Ohel" - to mean that the Torah only remains with a person who 'kills himself' for Torah, as we just explained.

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