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Kesuvos, 5


QUESTIONS: The Gemara here concludes that it is prohibited to perform the Be'ilas Mitzvah on Erev Shabbos and on Motza'ei Shabbos, because of the fear that one might slaughter a young bird ("Ben Of") on Shabbos for the Se'udah celebrating the marriage. The Gemara asks why we do not have a similar Gezeirah for when Yom Kipur falls on a Monday; since there is a Mitzvah to eat on Erev Yom Kipur (Sunday), there is a fear that one might slaughter birds on Shabbos for the Se'udah of Erev Yom Kipur, and thus Yom Kipur should be postponed to Tuesday!

The Gemara answers that there is a difference between preparing a Se'udah for Erev Yom Kipur and preparing a Se'udah in honor of a marriage. When one prepares a Se'udah for Erev Yom Kipur, one is preparing only for himself, and thus there is no fear that he will slaughter a bird on Shabbos, since he does not have to slaughter many birds for his private Se'udah. When one prepares a Se'udah for the marriage, though, he is preparing for many people, and thus there is a fear that he will slaughter a bird on Shabbos. In addition, says the Gemara, the Se'udah of Erev Yom Kipur is held on the *day* of Erev Yom Kipur (Sunday), and not during the night (Motza'ei Shabbos), and thus there is no fear that he will slaughter on Shabbos.

There are several questions on this Gemara.

(a) TOSFOS (DH Ela) asks why is the Gemara worried only about Erev Yom Kipur falling on Sunday? It is true that we conduct large Se'udos on Erev Yom Kipur, but there are many other times during the year when we conduct large meals with meat, such as the four times of year described in Chulin (83a; the first day of Pesach, Shmini Atzeres, Shavuos and Rosh Hashanah). *None* of those times should be permitted to fall right after Shabbos. Why, then, does the Gemara ask specifically about Erev Yom Kipur?

(b) In addition, a festive Se'udah of Sheva Berachos is held each day for seven days after the wedding, including Shabbos. Why does the Gemara not ask how we can have a Se'udah of Sheva Berachos on Shabbos if there is a fear that one might slaughter a bird on Shabbos?

Similarly, we may ask that on *every* Shabbos we make large Se'udos, so why is there no fear that one might slaughter on Shabbos?

(c) The RITVA adds a number of questions. Why does the Gemara mention the fear that one might slaughter a "bird" in particular, when one might also slaughter any other type of kosher animal? Also, why does the Gemara call it a "*Ben* Of," a *young* bird? Moreover, why does the Gemara say that the fear is only that one might slaughter the bird? What about the fear that one might *cook* it on Shabbos?

ANSWER: TOSFOS (DH Ela) explains that Erev Yom Kipur is the only day on which we specifically slaughter *birds*. At the other times, it was common to slaughter animals for the festive meals. Apparently, it is only when slaughtering *birds* that there is a fear that one might slaughter on Shabbos.

The logic behind this, as the RITVA explains, is that a person will not inadvertently do an act of Chilul Shabbos when it involves a tedious labor, because he will remember that it is Shabbos before he transgresses the Isur. The only concern is that one will do an Isur which can be done easily and effortlessly. A person might inadvertently do such an act before remembering that it is Shabbos and that the act is prohibited. Slaughtering a large animal, and cooking a bird, are drawn-out acts, and therefore we are not afraid that a person will do them on Shabbos. We are afraid only that a person will do the relatively easy and swift act of slaughtering a bird on Shabbos (see TOSFOS Beitzah 3a, DH Gezeirah Shema).

This is also why the Gemara mentions that we fear that one might slaughter a *young* bird on Shabbos. A young, small bird is even easier to slaughter, and thus there is greater reason to fear that a person will do it before remembering that it is Shabbos.

This also explains why there is no fear that one might slaughter a bird on Shabbos for a regular Shabbos meal, or for the Sheva Berachos meal that falls on Shabbos. Whenever people make large Se'udos, they usually slaughter large animals which provide a greater expression of Simchah ("Ein Simchah Ela b'Basar"). They only slaughter birds for the Se'udah of Erev Yom Kipur and for the special Se'udah that follows the Be'ilas Mitzvah (it was apparently the common practice to make such a Se'udah during the time of the Gemara, as the Rishonim here explain).

Why did they specifically slaughter birds, and not animals, on those days? It seems that since it is best to eat light food before the fast of Yom Kipur, we eat chicken instead of meat. (See Insights to Megilah 6:2 for a deeper reason for why we eat chicken on Erev Yom Kipur, based on the MAHARAL.) Similarly, the Se'udah for the Be'ilas Mitzvah was a Se'udah of chicken, because chicken is a sign of Piryah v'Rivyah, as the ME'IRI says (see Berachos 57a and Gitin 57a).

QUESTION: Bar Kapara states that the deeds of the Tzadikim are greater than the creation of the heavens and the earth ("Shamayim va'Aretz"), because the heavens and the earth were each created with one hand, whereas the Beis ha'Mikdash -- which was the handiwork of the Tzadikim (since the deeds of the Tzadikim merited it) -- was created with two hands of Hashem, as it were.

In what sense did the building of the Beis ha'Mikdash require a second Divine Hand, while the creation of the heavens and the earth did not?

ANSWER: The MAHARSHA points out that it is the "Yemin," the right hand, that created the heavens (according to the verse cited by our Gemara, from Yeshayah 48:13), while it was the "Yad," or left hand, that created the earth. The right hand represents Hashem's mercy (and His clearly perceived presence), or Rachamim. The left hand represents the concealment of Hashem's mercy (and of His presence), or Din. The heavens are eternal, while everything on earth eventually withers and perishes.

The Beis ha'Mikdash combines the two elements of Rachamim and Din. It is the place where "the heavens touch the earth" (see Bava Basra 74a and MAHARSHA there) -- the conduit through which Hashem sends His Berachos to this world and the place where the mundane residents of this world can clearly perceive Hashem's presence. (This concept was also alluded to by the design of the windows in the Mikdash; they were narrow on the inside and wide towards the outside, to show that a heavenly influx spreads from the Beis ha'Mikdash out to the rest of the world -- RASHI I Melachim 6:4; VAYIKRA RABA 31:7.) In this sense the Beis ha'Mikdash was made with both hands of Hashem.

We might add that the Gemara says further that the earth was created with the five fingers of Hashem. This might allude to the four "Yesodos," or states of physical being (BAMIDBAR RABA 14:12, ZOHAR 2:24a) -- earth (solid), water (liquid), air (gas), and fire (energy) -- as well as the fifth Yesod, Nefesh (the spiritual element), which together describe all physical existence.

The Gemara then says that when rain descends upon the world, people see that it is the deeds of the Tzadikim that bring about the blessings from Hashem with His two hands. Just like the Beis ha'Mikdash is a conduit for the Berachos of Hashem to come to the world, so, too, the Tzadikim are a conduit for the Berachos of Hashem. That is why the Gemara compares one's association with a Tzadik with the offering of Korbanos: bringing a present to Tzadikim is like bringing Bikurim (Kesuvos 105b), feeding him wine is like offering Nesachim (Yoma 71a).


QUESTION: Bar Kapara expounds the verse, "You shall have a Yated (shovel or peg) in addition to Azenecha (your equipment)" (Devarim 23:14). He says that the word "Azenecha" should be read "Aznecha" (your ear), and the verse is teaching that if a person hears something improper being discussed, he should place his fingers in his ears. The verse is saying that one should use the "pegs" that Hashem gave hum to stop his "ears" from hearing improper things.

How does Bar Kapara's interpretation fit into the straightforward context of the verse? The end of the verse clearly states that the "Yated" of the verse is to be used to dig and cover excrement! How can Bar Kapara interpret this verse as referring to fingers, ears, and Lashon ha'Ra? Moreover, what compelled Bar Kapara to read the word as "Aznecha" against the accepted reading of "Azenecha?"


(a) Based on Bar Kapara's teaching, the RAMBAM (Moreh Nevuchim 3:43) contends that wherever the Chachamim say, "Do not read the word such, but rather such," they are simply expressing their teachings in a memorable manner. The verse itself, though, does not really contain the thought that they are discussing. (See also SHELAH HA'KODESH (Torah sh'Ba'al Peh, end of Aleph), and TORAH TEMIMAH (Bamidbar 19:21), who follow the Rambam's approach to a limited extent. The Rambam, in his "Introduction to the Mishnah," uses a similar approach to explain the significance of the "Asmachta.")

However, numerous Rishonim and Acharonim reject the Rambam's approach as an oversimplification. Although it is obvious that the Chachamim are not trying to change the accepted pronunciation of the verse, it is still possible that the ideas they express by saying, "Do not read the word such...," are indeed based on a lesson learned from the verse in its literal sense. (The RITVA (Rosh Hashanah 16b) differs with the Rambam's understanding of "Asmachta" based on a similar argument.)

A number of works have been published in defense of this textual-based understanding of the tool, "Do not read it such..." (see SHIVREI LUCHOS, Rav Yechiel of Nemerov; KOREI B'EMES, Rav Yitzchak Bamberger of Wurtzberg).

Perhaps we may suggest a novel understanding of Bar Kapara's words based on this latter approach. (See also MAHARSHA, KOREH B'EMES, p. 39, and KLI YAKAR for other explanations.)

(b) The VILNA GA'ON (Mishlei 24:31, Imrei Noam to Berachos 8a) shows that when the Chachamim offer advice regarding relieving oneself, aside from the simple meaning of their words, they are also alluding to relieving oneself of the mental spoilage and corruption that brings a person to unacceptable behavior. If relieving oneself of excrement means abandoning unacceptable motivations, then the excrement which the verse commands one to cover might allude to hiding one's improper acts. The concept of hiding one's improper acts is discussed in several places. The Gemara (Chagigah 16a) says that "it is better for a person to sin in private so that he not desecrate the Name of Hashem in public.... If a person feels an uncontrollable urge to sin, let him go to a place where he is not known, wear black clothing and do there what he desires, rather than desecrate the Name of Hashem in public."

This certainly does not mean that it is acceptable to sin in private. Rather, the Chachamim are addressing an extreme case, where someone feels compelled uncontrollably to sin (see Insights there). Under such circumstances, he is advised at least to "cover up" his act. The best course of action, of course, is to control his impulses and refrain from the act. No matter how compelling it seems to him at the time, in the final analysis it is *he* who retains control over his desires and not vice versa. (See Insights to Moed Katan 17:2.)

There is, however, an instance where even the Torah itself takes into account an uncontrollable desire and relaxes its rules -- the case of the "Eshes Yefas To'ar." The Torah permits a Jewish soldier in time of war to take a woman from the defeated nation ("Eshes Yefas To'ar"). Since the women of the enemy nation are liable to arouse the desires of the Jewish soldiers (the enemy women used to dress up and apply their finest perfumes in order to seduce their captors, as Rashi (Devarim 21:13) says), the Torah permits a soldier to marry such a woman, with the logic that it is better to permit the soldiers to do something morally improper than to prohibit the act and cause them to desecrate the Torah outright (Rashi to Kidushin 21b).

Similarly, the Torah permits soldiers, when hungry, to eat prohibited foods during a war (RAMBAM, Hilchos Melachim 8:1; see, however, RAMBAN to Devarim 6:10 who differs with the Rambam on this point).

Our verse, which discusses the treatment of excrement in the army camp, may be understood to allude to the unpleasant situation that arises during wartime. It may be warning us that when soldiers "leave" the normally accepted Jewish behavior, they at least should not do so publicly. They should "cover up" their actions so that they will not be seen by their fellow Jews. RABEINU BACHYE (Devarim 21:10) indeed says that the Gemara warns to take the Eshes Yefas To'ar in as covert a manner as possible. In fact, he quotes the end of our verse to support this teaching!

The concealment of sin serves two purposes. First, if others would hear of the transgression, it would weaken their own resolve. Second, those who witness the transgression would find it hard to resist the temptation to say Lashon ha'Ra and relate what they saw. This would cause resentment, denial and internal quarreling among the troops. This was, in fact, a major issue during wartime, as pointed out by the Ramban (Devarim 23:10, see also Vayikra Rabah 26:2).

We can now understand the lesson derived from our verse. The Torah warns the soldiers to conceal the occasional sin that they commit under duress, because it may have a detrimental effect on the moral standards of others who hear of it. Similarly, the Gemara infers that is incumbent upon us to avoid *listening* when someone is telling of the moral decline of a fellow Jew, so that we not learn from his bad example or provoke his animosity.

We can now understand why Bar Kapara said that our verse may be read as, "You shall use a finger to stop up your ear from hearing of another Jew's misdeeds." Although this reading is not the literal translation of the verse, it is a lesson that is certainly learned from the literal meaning of the verse! (M. Kornfeld)

QUESTION: The Gemara discusses whether or not it is permitted to perform the first Be'ilah on Shabbos. The Gemara says that if the blood is "Mifkad Pakid" (stored up and separate from, and not absorbed in, the flesh), then the only reason to prohibit performing the first Be'ilah on Shabbos is because of the opening ("Pesach") that one makes with the act of Be'ilah. The Gemara suggests that perhaps even making an opening will not prohibit performing the Be'ilah on Shabbos, because a person does not have intention to make an opening, but only to extract the blood. Since making the opening is a "Davar sh'Eino Miskaven," it should be permitted according to Rebbi Shimon. (See Chart #3)

RASHI (DH O' k'Rebbi Shimon) asks that even though making the opening is a "Davar sh'Eino Miskaven," performing the Be'ilah should still be Asur because it is a Pesik Reshei -- an opening will certainly be made, even though he does not intend to make one, since it is not possible to extract the blood without making an opening! Rashi answers that the Gemara later (6b) tells us that there are people who know how to perform Be'ilah with "Hatayah" in such a way that blood does not come out and no opening is made, and thus it is not a Pesik Reshei. The RA'AVAD, cited by the Rashba, gives the same answer.

What does Rashi mean? The Gemara here is discussing a person who has intention to extract blood. If so, obviously he is not doing Hatayah, because with Hatayah he would not be able to get out any blood as Rashi says! The making of the opening *should* be a Pesik Reshei since one is trying to take out blood! (RASHBA)


(a) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES (DH v'Im Timtza Lomar l'Dam, in the name of "Kuntreisim") explains that Rashi means to say two things. Rashi is saying that there is one type of Hatayah in which no blood is extracted. There is a second type of Hatayah in which blood does come out, but in which no opening is created. The reason it is not a Pesik Reshei that an opening will be made when one has intention to extract blood is because of the second type of Hatayah.

Why, though, does Rashi write that there is a type of Hatayah in which no blood comes out? Rashi is explaining the Gemara later that says that blood is "Chaburei Michbar" (absorbed in the flesh) and yet Be'ilah is permitted because a person has intention only to get personal pleasure and not to extract the blood. Why is the extraction of the blood not a Pesik Reshei? To this Rashi answers that a person can fulfill his intention to get personal pleasure without extracting blood or making a Pesach at all, by way of the first type of Hatayah. (See also MAHARSHA on TOSFOS DH l'Dam.)

(b) It is possible that Rashi chose his words carefully and is following his opinion as it is expressed later (on 6b). There is a basic Machlokes among the Rishonim how to understand the Gemara that says that there is no Pesik Reshei because of the possibility to do Be'ilah with Hatayah. TOSFOS (6b, DH Lo) writes that it is not a Pesik Reshei only when a person *does not intend* to do an act of Be'ilah Gemurah (a full-fledged Be'ilah). If he intends to do a Be'ilah Gemurah, then he will certainly not do Hatayah and Be'ilah is prohibited because it is a Pesik Reishei.

Rashi, though, learns that Hatayah is not something that one intends to do, but it is something that happens inadvertently, even when one is trying to perform a Be'ilah Gemurah (see Insights to 6b). Rashi says that even if a person intends to extract blood, the Be'ilah is permitted on Shabbos because perhaps he will do Hatayah (inadvertently) and not extract blood nor make an opening!

Tosfos (5b, DH l'Dam) and the Rashba follow their own reasoning and learn that Hatayah only permits the Be'ilah when one is not trying to perform a Be'ilah Gemurah and extract blood. If one is trying to extract blood, then obviously we cannot permit the Be'ilah on the grounds that he might do Hatayah. That is why Tosfos must say that there is another type of Hatayah, in which one extracts blood without making an opening. (M. Kornfeld)

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