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1) AGADAH: THE BUILDING OF A WOMAN
The Gemara lists the Birkos Chasanim, the special Berachos which are recited
for seven days after the wedding. In the Berachah of "Asher Yatzar," we say
that Hashem "formed Adam in His image... and He established for him, from his
own flesh, an everlasting building," referring to Chavah.
2) TWO THAT ARE ONE
Rashi explains that Chavah is called a "Binyan," a building, based on the
verse, "va'Yiven... Es Hatzela" (Bereishis 2:22). The Gemara (Berachos 61a)
says that the reason she is called a "building" is because all woman are
built differently than men in order to be able to carry a child.
Similarly, we find that when Boaz married Ruth, the people who witnessed the
wedding blessed Boaz with the Berachah that Hashem should make Ruth "like
Rachel and like Leah, who together *built* the house of Yisrael..." (Ruth
4:11), again comparing the woman to a Binyan. (See also Rashi in Shemos 19:3
who says that "'*Beis* Yakov' -- the *house* of Yakov* -- refers to the
woman," and Gemara Gitin 56a, that a wife should be called "Bayis.")
The nature of a woman as a Binyan only manifests itself after she is married,
when the man has the opportunity to serve as the builder and the woman has
the opportunity to serve as the building, so to speak. RAV DOVID KOHN,
Shlit'a, points out that the roles of man and woman are alluded to in their
Hebrew titles. A male child is called a "Ben," and a female child is called a
"Bas." A grown man is called an "Ish," and a woman is called an "Ishah." The
Chachamim teach that what differentiates "Ish" from "Ishah" is that the word
"Ish" contains the letter Yud, and "Ishah" contains the letter Heh (Sotah
17b). When the male child, the "Ben," gets married, he acquires the Heh of
the woman, the "Ishah," making him into a "Boneh" (spelled Beis, Nun, Heh).
He is involved in building the Binyan. When the female child, the "Bas," gets
married, she acquires the Yud of the man, the "Ish," and she becomes the
Binyan or "Bayis," the foundation of the home.
QUESTION: The Gemara resolves two apparently conflicting verses by saying
that Hashem originally wanted to create two humans, then made only one, and
then He made the one into two. What does this mean? How can we say that
Hashem changed His mind?
(a) The RASHBA (TESHUVOS HA'RASHBA 1:60) explains that when the Gemara says
that Hashem "thought about creating two" and then created one, it means that
He carefully planned out whether to create them as one or as two. It does not
mean that He changed His mind, but rather, that His creation was done with
foreplanning and thorough consideration.
1. Why, then, did He later end up making two humans? The two that were
eventually created were not the same two of His original plan. Originally,
Hashem considered the implications of creating man and woman as two
completely *separate species* that could not propagate together, nor would
they serve as counterparts to each other. Hashem decided not to create two
types of humans and instead He created one being, meaning one species of
human beings, which included both man and woman.
(b) The VILNA GA'ON (in his commentary on Berachos) explains that when the
Gemara says that Hashem initially "thought to create two," it means that when
He created one, He already had in mind to eventually make two out of that
one. The goal and final purpose of Hashem's creation is always the first and
the beginning of His thoughts ("Sof Ma'aseh, b'Machashavah Techilah").
"Hashem thought about creating one" means that His original thought was
actualized later when He took two out of one. ("b'Machshavah" refers to the
ultimate purpose of Creation, since "Sof Ma'aseh, b'Machashavah Techilah").
If man and woman were created as one, it would not have been possible for a
person to fulfill his ultimate purpose of immersion in Hashem's Torah and
service of Hashem, because his responsibilities would have been too great.
Therefore, Hashem created man and woman separately so that they could share
the responsibilities and enable each other to accomplish their respective
goals. The creation of one in the middle was just a step to get to the final
two (for the reason given by the Rashba, a:2).
2. Alternatively, Hashem originally considered creating man and woman *from
the start* as two individual entities (albeit of the same species), but in
the end He decided that both man and woman should come from one body in the
start. The reason for this decision was so that man and woman would feel
eternally bonded to each other. Again, Hashem never changed His mind, so to
speak. Rather, His infinite wisdom pondered all of the possible ways of
creating the human being before deciding to do it one way.
3) HALACHAH: DRINKING WINE IN THE HOUSE OF AN AVEL
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that the Chachamim instituted a custom to drink ten
cups of wine in the house of an Avel -- three cups in order to open one's
digestive system and arouse his appetite, three cups during the meal to help
digest his food, and four cups representing the four Berachos of Birkas
ha'Mazon. They later instituted four additional cups for various reasons.
When the people in the house of the Avel started getting intoxicated from all
of the wine, the Chachamim "returned the situation to its original state."
What is the proper practice according to the Gemara's conclusion, and how is
this practice observed today?
(a) RASHI writes that when they "returned the situation to its original
state," they annulled the additional four cups of wine that were instituted,
and they left the original enactment of drinking ten cups of wine.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 378:8) writes that Avelim should drink wine
only during the meal, and they should not drink enough to become inebriated,
but only enough to help digest the food (like the Rambam and Ramban rule).
(b) The RAMBAN (in TORAS HA'ADAM) and other Rishonim write that after the
people started to become intoxicated, the Chachamim annulled the custom of
giving wine altogether. Only during the meal would they permit giving wine,
because wine during a meal helps digest the food and does not make a person
intoxicated (Yerushalmi, cited by Rashbam in Pesachim 117b).
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Avel 13:8) writes that in the house of an Avel, "we
do not let anyone drink more than ten cups." It seems that the Rambam
understands that the Gemara is not saying that the people in the house of an
Avel should drink ten cups, but that the Chachamim made a *limit* to how much
they may drink, limiting the amount to ten cups. That is to say, even though
the Gemara tells us that wine was created only to provide comfort to Avelim
(Sanhedrin 70a), nevertheless the Chachamim did not allow them to drink
excessively. (See also Rambam Hilchos Avel 4:6.)