THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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HORAYOS 8 (4 Sivan) - Dedicated by Rabbi Kornfeld's father, Mr. David
Kornfeld, in memory of the members of his family who perished at the hands
of the Nazi murderers in the Holocaust and whose Yahrzeit is observed today:
his mother (Mirel bas Yakov Mordechai), brothers (Shraga Feivel, Aryeh Leib
and Yisachar Dov, sons of Mordechai), grandfather (Reb Yakov Mordechai ben
Reb David [Shpira]) and aunt (Charne bas Yakov Mordechai [wife of Reb Moshe
1) AGADAH: HOW MANY OF THE "ASERES HA'DIBROS" WERE HEARD DIRECTLY FROM THE
VOICE OF HASHEM?
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yishmael states that the Jewish people at Sinai heard the
first two commandments of the Aseres ha'Dibros ("Anochi Hashem" and "Lo
Yiheyeh Lecha") directly from Hashem. Does this imply that they did not hear
the other eight commandments from Hashem, but from Moshe Rabeinu?
(a) The RAMBAM in MOREH NEVUCHIM (2:33) writes that this indeed is correct.
He explains that even though the first two commandments were heard directly
from Hashem, the Jewish people did not understand the words; they could not
comprehend where one word ended and the next began. Moshe Rabeinu clarified
this for them. The Rambam explains that this is why the Torah repeatedly
refers to the "Kol" ("sound" or "voice") that the Jewish people heard (see
Devarim 4:12 and 5:19-20). They heard only the sound of the letters of the
words, and they could not clearly discern the words until Moshe helped them.
They did not hear the last eight commandments directly from Hashem, but
rather Moshe Rabeinu related them to the Jewish people as he heard them from
Hashem. (See RABEINU BACHYA to Shemos 20:1.)
(b) The RAMBAN (in Shemos 20:7) argues that the Jewish people definitely
heard all ten of the Aseres ha'Dibros directly from Hashem. He explains that
the intention of Rebbi Yishmael is that the only commandments that the
Jewish people heard *and understood* on the same level as Moshe Rabeinu were
the first two. The rest of the commandments were also heard by the Jewish
people directly from Hashem, but they did not understand what they heard
until Moshe Rabeinu explained it to them.
The Ramban explains that this is the meaning of the verse, "Moshe Yedaber,
v'ha'Elokim Ya'anenu v'Kol" (Shemos 19:19). The verse is saying that Hashem
*will be made to be heard* by Moshe's explanation of the last eight
commandments that they heard from Hashem but did not understand.
(c) The BE'ER SHEVA quotes the MA'ASEI HASHEM who gives a different
explanation. He says that the method of communication of Hashem at Sinai was
similar to that of a powerful and awesome king who gives orders to his
servant. If he says all of his orders directly to his servant, then the
servant will be very frightened. However, if the king gives the orders to a
different party and intentionally lets the servant overhear the orders being
given, this would be much less frightening. Similarly, after Hashem said the
first two Dibros directly to the Jewish people, and they consequently became
very frightened, Hashem decided that in order to make the experience
bearable for them He would say the rest of the Dibros as if He was speaking
only to Moshe. The Jewish people heard but were not as frightened, and they
understood all of the Aseres ha'Dibros clearly, with no need for
explication. The difference was merely that the first two Dibros were said
directly to them, while the rest of the Dibros were said directly to Moshe
and overheard by them. (See also TORAH TEMIMAH to Shemos 20:2.) (Y.
2) THE "MITZVAS ASEH" OF THE PROHIBITION OF "NIDAH"
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that the obligation for a Tzibur to bring a Par
He'elem Davar and the obligation for an individual to bring an Asham Taluy
take effect upon the inadvertent transgression of both a Mitzvas Aseh (a
positive commandment) of Nidah, and a Mitzvas Lo Sa'aseh (a negative
commandment) of Nidah. The Mishnah explains that the Mitzvas Aseh is to
separate from a woman who is a Nidah, and the Lo Sa'aseh is not to have
relations with a Nidah.
What does the Mishnah mean when it says that the Mitzvas Aseh is "to
separate from a Nidah?" It seems that the requirement to separate from a
Nidah is merely another way of expressing the prohibition not to have
relations with a Nidah!
(a) RASHI (DH Perosh) explains that this is referring to the prohibition of
having relations with a Nidah "Samuch l'Vestah." This refers to the
requirement to separate from one's wife near the time that she expects to
see Dam Nidah. The source for this Isur is the Gemara in Shevuos (18b) which
quotes the verse, "And you will separate the Jewish people from their
Tum'ah" (Vayikra 15:31). Rebbi Yoshiya derives from this verse that a man
must separate from his wife when she is "Samuch l'Vestah." This is the
positive commandment to separate from a Nidah.
The TOSFOS HA'ROSH and many others question Rashi's explanation. The Mishnah
in Shevuos (14b) teaches that "this is the Mitzvas Aseh of Nidah for which
one is obligated to bring a Korban: one who was having relations with a
permitted woman who then told him that she just became Tamei; if he
separates from her immediately, he has transgressed, as he derives pleasure
from the act of separating [immediately]" (see Insights to Shevuos 18a).
Rather, he must withdraw "b'Ever Mes." The Gemara there (17b) asks what the
Mishnah means when it uses the words, "*Zo Hi* Mitzvas Aseh..." -- "*this
is* the Mitzvas Aseh...." These words do not seem to be related to the
previous statements in the Mishnah, and yet they imply that the Mishnah is
now explaining something that it mentioned earlier. The Gemara answers that
the Mishnah there is referring to the Mishnah here in Horayos, which says,
"But one is Chayav for transgressing a Mitzvas Aseh and a Lo Sa'aseh of
Nidah," and the Mishnah there, when it says, "This is the Mitzvas Aseh of
Nidah...," is explaining what this Mitzvas Aseh of Nidah is.
According to the Gemara in Shevuos, the case of our Mishnah is the same as
the one stated in the Mishnah in Shevuos, and the Mishnah there clearly
describes the Mitzvas Aseh as the requirement to separate slowly from a
Nidah! How, then, can Rashi here say that the Mitzvas Aseh is the
requirement to separate from one's wife "Samuch l'Vestah?"
Furthermore, Rashi's explanation is based on saying that the prohibition of
"Samuch l'Vestah" is mid'Oraisa. Most Rishonim, including the Tosfos ha'Rosh
here, RASHBA, RITVA and others (see Yevamos 62b), explain that the Isur to
be with one's wife when she is "Samuch l'Vestah" is d'Rabanan (see Insights
to Shevuos 18b). This is consistent with the implication of the Gemara in
Yevamos (62b) that says that a person must be with his wife before he
departs on a trip, even if this falls out "Samuch l'Vestah," clearly
implying that the Isur of "Samuch l'Vestah" is d'Rabanan, since the Rabanan
have the right to override their own enactment where they see fit (see
HE'EMEK SHE'EILAH 49:4).
The Acharonim (see MEROMEI SADEH and AHAVAS EISAN) explain the opinion of
Rashi. The Mishnah in Shevuos states that the Mitzvas Aseh of Nidah is to
separate from a Nidah "b'Ever Mes" and not immediately. This means that the
positive Mitzvah in that Mishnah is *not to separate* immediately, but
rather to wait. How is this consistent with our Mishnah, though, which says
that the Mitzvah is "*to separate*" from a Nidah? The Gemara in Shevuos
(18b) seems to be consistent only with the opinion of Abaye, who says that
one who has forbidden relations "b'Ever Mes" is considered to have
transgressed the prohibition of that forbidden union. It is logical that the
Torah would tell a man who must withdraw in such a manner to be "Perosh Min
ha'Nidah," meaning separate from a woman who bears the regular prohibition
of Nidah in this situation. However, according to Rava, who says that one
who has forbidden relations "b'Ever Mes" has *not* transgressed that
prohibition, once the man is "b'Ever Mes" he is no longer involved in the
Torah prohibition of actual relations with a Nidah. It is logical that if
the Torah did not directly forbid relations in this manner (of "b'Ever
Mes"), then it certainly did not give a direct Mitzvah saying that one must
withdraw at this point! Therefore, Rashi learns that the Gemara in Shevuos
that states that this is the Mitzvas Aseh of Nidah mentioned in the Mishnah
here in Horayos must be following the view of Abaye. When Rashi here says
that the Mitzvas Aseh is that of "Samuch l'Vestah," he is explaining the
case according to Rava.
In addition, the Ahavas Eisan shows that the Yerushalmi (2:5) explicitly
supports Rashi's opinion. The Yerushalmi states, "What is the positive
commandment of Nidah? Rebbi Avin says, 'And you will separate the Jewish
people from their Tum'ah' (Vayikra 15:31)." This is also the source of the
prohibition of "Samuch l'Vestah," as mentioned above.
(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH, RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos), and most others
learn like the straightforward explanation implied by the Gemara in Shevuos
(14b and 18b). The case is one in which a man was informed, during relations
with a permitted woman, that she had just experienced her Dam Nidah; he must
not withdraw immediately, but rather he must wait and withdraw "b'Ever Mes."