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Kidushin, 32

KIDUSHIN 32-35 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.


QUESTION: The Gemara questions whether a Chacham may forego the honor due him ("Mochel Al Kevodo"). The Gemara attempts to prove that the Chacham cannot forego his honor from an incident in which Rava was pouring drinks for his students at the wedding feast of his son. When he poured for two of them, they stood up for him. When he poured for a different two, they did not stand up for him, and Rava became upset with them. If a Chacham can forego his honor, when why did Rava become upset?

The logic of the Gemara's question is that if Rava was pouring drinks for his Talmidim, then obviously he was Mochel on his Kavod. If he was Mochel his Kavod, then why should the Talmidim have had to rise for him? If a Chacham may be Mochel his Kavod -- and Rava was clearly Mochel his Kavod -- then they should not have been required to stand for him! It must be that a Chacham is not able to be Mochel his Kavod. (MAHARSHA)

The MAHARSHA asks that if the Gemara thought that a Chacham cannot be Mochel his Kavod, then why was it permitted for Rava to serve his Talmidim in the first place? The apparent answer is that the Gemara knew all along that a Chacham may forego his honor with regard to his own actions. That is, if he wants, he may act like one who is not a Chacham, foregoing his honor. However, the Gemara also assumed that a Chacham *cannot* tell others to forego honoring him. That is why Rava was permitted to pour the cups for his Talmidim, while, nevertheless, it was not permitted for his Talmidim to remain sitting in his presence, even though Rava was willing to forego his honor.

However, from the words of the Gemara later this does not seem to be the case. The Gemara asks whether a Nasi may be Mochel his Kavod. It proves that he may forego his honor from Avraham Avinu, who was Mochel on his Kavod by personally serving his guests. Further proof is brought from the conduct of Hashem, who foregoes His honor by serving people by bringing rain and sending wind. It is clear from here that if a Nasi would not be permitted to be Machol his Kavod, then he would not be permitted to serve guests. That is, even with regard to the way *he himself* acts, he may not be Mochel his Kavod. How, then, was Rava permitted to serve his Talmidim if a Chacham is not allowed to be Mochel his Kavod? (MAHARSHA, see PNEI YEHOSHUA.)

ANSWER: Perhaps the the initial answer that we suggested is correct. There is a difference between the Kavod of the Chacham with regard to how he acts, and his Kavod with regard to how others act towards him. In contrast, regarding the Kavod of a Nasi there is no difference between the way he acts and the way others act towards him. If a Nasi cannot be Mochel on his Kavod, then even *he* must act according to the honor that is necessary to give him. The reason for this is that a Nasi may not be Mochel on his Kavod because his Kavod represents the honor of the nation as a whole. If he acts in a demeaning way, he demeans the nation. This is the logic for why a Nasi cannot be Mochel on his honor (if the Halachah is that he cannot be Mochel).

In contrast, the reason a Chacham cannot be Mochel on his Kavod is because he represents the Torah. He cannot tell others not to respect the Torah that he represents. However, the Torah that he represents is *his* Torah, like the Gemara says, since he acquired it through his toil (or Hashem gave it to him as a Matanah, see Nedarim 38a). Therefore, he, personally, has the prerogative to forego the honor that his Torah deserves. (That is, the Gemara knew that after a person learns Torah, the Torah becomes his, and therefore the Chacham himself may act as he wants. However, the Gemara thought that this Kinyan that he has on the Torah does not give him the right to tell others not to respect his Torah, because his Torah is still *Torah*, which requires respect.)

Alternatively, since Rava was doing a Mitzvah (such as Hachnasas Orchim) by serving his Talmidim, it was not a disgrace to his Torah, since the Torah itself commands one to perform Mitzvos. His Talmidim, on the other hand, were not doing a Mitzvah by remaining seated, and therefore they should have risen for him, and the lack of do so would have been an affront to his Torah.

QUESTION: Rav Ashi says that a Nasi cannot forego his honor. The Gemara challenges his view from a Beraisa which describes how Raban Gamliel personally served his Talmidim. Rebbi Eliezer, his Talmid, did not want to accept the cup from him, while Rebbi Yehoshua accepted it. Rebbi Yehoshua asserted that there was nothing wrong with accepting the cup from Raban Gamliel, since even Avraham Avinu personally served his guests. Rebbi Tzadok asked why Rebbi Yehoshua needs to bring a proof from mortal man, when we can bring a proof from the conduct of Hashem, Who is Mochel His Kavod by serving man by sending wind and rain to His people. The Gemara retracts its statement because of this and says that what Rav Ashi meant to say was that a *king* cannot be Mochel on his Kavod, because the verse (Devarim 17:15) teaches that "the fear of a king must be upon you."

How does this answer the question? Hashem is also a King, and yet He is Mochel His Kavod by sending us wind and rain! (MAHARSHA)


(a) The MAHARSHA answers that the honor of a Nasi is his personal honor, and not the honor of the people whom he represents. Therefore, he may forego his honor. In contrast, although the king, too, does not have to be concerned with the honor of the people he leads, nevertheless the honor of a Jewish king is a reflection of the honor of Hashem, as the Gemara says (see Berachos 58a, "Malchusa d'Ar'a k'Ein Malchusa d'Reki'a" and "Min Shemaya Manu Lei"). Therefore, if the king foregoes his honor, he is demeaning the Kavod of Hashem. This, however, applies only to a mortal king. Hashem Himself, though, may certainly forego His own honor.

(b) The AYELES HA'SHACHAR writs that the difference between a Nasi and a king is that a king must be *feared* and not only respected, as the Gemara says ("Tehei Emaso Alecha" -- "the fear of him shall be upon you"). (The reason for this difference is that a Nasi is just a leader appointed by the people to take care of their spiritual and physical needs. A king, on the other hand, is in charge of overseeing the peaceful coexistence of the subjects of his kingdom, and he must use punitive measures if necessary. In order to carry out his responsibility properly, he must command the fear of his people so that they accept his every word.)

This is the reason why a king cannot forego his honor; by doing so, the people's fear for him might decrease. In contrast, when Hashem brings wind and rain, it does not cause people to fear Him any less. (Even though Hashem is lowering Himself to become personally involved, kave'Yachol, in the needs of His subjects, it does not lessen His honor, because no one else can provide for these needs other than Hashem.)

(c) It is possible that the Gemara is ruling like Rebbi Yehoshua, who proves that a Nasi can forego his honor from Avraham Avinu's conduct, and not like Rebbi Tzadok who brought proof from Hashem's conduct. Rebbi Yehoshua maintains that we cannot prove that a mortal Nasi can be Mochel his Kavod from the fact that Hashem is Mochel His Kavod, since all honor in the world is Hashem's honor ("Melo ha'Aretz Kevodo"). According to Rebbi Yehoshua, a mortal king may *not* forego his honor, but only a Nasi, like Avraham Avinu, may forego his honor. Rebbi Tzadok argues and holds that indeed a king may also forego his honor.

AGADAH: Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili argues with the Tana Kama about the translation of the word "Zaken" (Vayikra 19:32). The Tana Kama says that it means an aged sage. Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili says that it refers to "one who has acquired wisdom," and thus included in the Mitzvah of honoring a "Zaken" is even a young sage. RASHI explains that Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili interprets "Zaken" as being an acronym for "*Z*eh she'*K*a*n*ah" Chachmah -- "this one has acquired" wisdom.

The word "Zaken," however, is an acronym only for the words "Zeh she'Kanah" ("this one has acquired"). How does it imply that a Zaken is one who has acquired *wisdom*? Perhaps it refers to one who has acquired wealth!

ANSWER: The VILNA GA'ON (Kol Eliyahu) and the PNEI YEHOSHUA answer that the Gemara (Nedarim 41a) says regarding wisdom ("De'ah") that "one who does not have De'ah, has nothing; one who does have it, has everything." The verse, when it says "Zaken," means (according to Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili) "this one has acquired." Thus, it must mean that he has acquired wisdom, because anything else he acquired would not be considered a Kinyan unless he had wisdom, and it would not say that he "acquired" it!

(How, though, does the Gemara in Nedarim know that without wisdom, one has nothing? The answer is that the Midrash (Vayikra Rabah 1:6) quotes the statement in Nedarim with the preface, "There is a 'Mashal' that people say," meaning that it is common knowledge. Alternatively, the Vilna Ga'on means to say the opposite: Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili's Derashah proves that the only thing that is considered a Kinyan is wisdom, since the verse says only "Zaken" for "Zeh she'Kanah," and we know that the verse is talking about the respect due to a wise person since it is logical that that is the person who deserves honor (this itself negates the original question).)

The statement of the Gemara in Nedarim might be reflecting the fact that the study of Torah and De'ah, wisdom, brings about Shalom, peace, as the Gemara says (Berachos 64a, Yevamos 122b, Nazir 66b, Tamid 32b, Kerisus 28b), "Talmidei Chachamim Marbim Shalom ba'Olam." The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos, Pe'ah 1:1) explains that learning Torah brings about Shalom more than any other thing brings about Shalom.

RASHI (Vayikra 26:6) cites a TORAS KOHANIM which teaches that "even if one has gold and silver..., if one does not have Shalom, one has nothing." Shalom is the most important ingredient in life. Since the wisdom of the Torah -- De'ah -- brings about Shalom, it is appropriate to say about it, too, that "one who does not have De'ah, has nothing; one who does have it, has everything."

As the TOSFOS YOM TOV (end of Uktzin) writes, this is why the six orders of the Mishnah end with the verse, "Hashem Oz l'Amo Yiten, Hashem Yevarech Es Amo va'Shalom" (Tehilim 29:11). "Oz," in this verse, refers to the wisdom of the Torah (Zevachim 116a; see Koheles 7:19, "Wisdom gives strength (Ta'oz) to the wise"). The completion of the Mishnah, the corpus of Torah she'Be'al Peh, brings all-important peace to Hashem's people. May we merit to see Hashem's peace speedily in our days! (M. Kornfeld)

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