THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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MEGILAH 2-5 (Elul 27-Rosh Hashanah 5760) - have been dedicated by Dr. Jack
and Sarah Dimenstein of Zurich Switzerland. May they be blessed with a year
of health and prosperity, physical and spiritual!
1) AGADAH: THE GREAT FUNERAL IN TIMES TO COME
The Gemara gives an example of how the Targum Yonasan in Nevi'im reveals
explanations of verses that we otherwise would not have known. The verse in
Zecharyah (12:1) says, "On that day, the mourning will be great in
Yerushalayim, like the mourning of Hadadrimon at the valley of Megidon."
However, there was no funeral for Hadadrimon in Megidon!
2) "BITUL TORAH" FOR THE SAKE OF READING THE MEGILAH
The Targum Yonasan explains that the verse is saying, "On that day, the
mourning will be great in Yerushalayim, like [the two great funerals
combined,] the mourning of [Achav bar Omri, who was killed by] Hadadrimon
[ben Tavrimon in Ramos Gilad, and like the mourning of Yoshiyah bar Amon, who
was killed by Pharaoh Chagira] in the valley of Megido."
Why does the verse compare the great mourning in times to come specifically
to the mourning at these two funerals?
ANSWER: To answer this question, we have to first explore whom this great
funeral described in the verse will be for in the times of Mashiach.
The Gemara in Sukah (52a) records an argument regarding this funeral. One
opinion says that it will be for Mashiach ben Yosef, and another opinion says
that it will be for the Yetzer ha'Ra, which will be killed at that time. The
Gemara there explains that in the future, Hashem will slaughter the Yetzer
ha'Ra, and both the Tzadikim and the Resha'im will cry. The Tzadikim will cry
because they will see the huge mountain that stood before them in their
service of Hashem. The Resha'im will cry because they will see that they were
not able to conquer such a small thread which stood in their way. (See
Insights to Sukah 52:1.)
The VILNA GA'ON (Kol Eliyahu) says that this is what the Targum Yonasan
means. The Targum holds like the opinion that says that the funeral will be
for the Yetzer ha'Ra. Normally, at a funeral, if the deceased was a Tzadik,
then only the Tzadikim cry. If he was a Rasha, then only the Resha'im cry. In
this case, at the funeral of the Yetzer ha'Ra, *both* groups will cry, as the
Gemara in Sukah says! Thus, it will be like the funeral of Achav -- the great
Rasha, when all the Resha'im cried, and like the funeral of Yoshiyah -- the
great Tzadik, when all of the Tzadikim cried!
QUESTIONS: The Gemara derives from the words, "Every family and family
(Mishpachah u'Mishpachah)" (Esther 9:28), that the families of the Kohanim
and Levi'im are Mevatel their Avodah to come and hear the reading of the
Megilah, and the Yisra'elim are Mevatel their Ma'amad. The Beraisa says that
the Talmidim of the Yeshivah of Rebbi would be Mevatel Torah to come and hear
Why does the Gemara call it "Bitul Torah" to go hear the Megilah? Reading the
Megilah is also Limud Torah! (RASHASH and others)
Second, we know that Talmud Torah is not Docheh any Mitzvah that is incumbent
upon the person himself, such as Lulav (Moed Katan 9a). Why did the Talmidim
of the Yeshivah of Rebbi have to find a source that permits them to be
Mevatel Torah in order to read the Megilah? If there is a Mitzvah d'Rabanan
to read the Megilah, then of course they may be Mevatel Torah, because the
obligation to read the Megilah is incumbent upon each person! The whole point
of learning Torah is to do the Mitzvos!
ANSWER: The Gemara says that they were Mevatel Talmud Torah "to come to read
the Megilah." Why does the Gemara add the words "to come?" It should just say
that they were Mevatel Talmud Torah to read the Megilah!
The RASHBA and RAN (Daf 5a) conclude from here that fulfilling the principle
of "b'Rov Am Hadras Melech" ("in a large number of people there is glory for
the king") when reading the Megilah is more important than Talmud Torah and
Avodah and is Docheh them. Hence, even though Rebbi had hundreds of Talmidim
in his Beis Midrash, he brought them to the synagogue to hear the Megilah so
that there would be an even larger gathering of people.
This answers both questions. The reason that there is Bitul Torah involved
when reading the Megilah is because they have to walk to the synagogue (and
wait for the Tzibur to begin reading), during which time they will not be
able to learn the same way as they learn while sitting in the Beis Midrash
(ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN OC 687:8). This also explains why the Gemara has to teach
us that one is Mevatel Talmud Torah for this Mitzvah. It is not necessary to
teach us that the Mitzvah of reading the Megilah overrides Talmud Torah,
because every Mitzvah is like that. Rather, the Gemara is teaching that we
are Mevatel Torah even to go to a synagogue to be part of a large gathering
in order to read the Megilah! (Y. Shaw)
3) HALACHAH: THE MITZVAH OF READING THE MEGILAH OVERRIDING OTHER MITZVOS
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that even though reading the Megilah is more
important than Avodah and Talmud Torah and it thus overrides those Mitzvos,
reading the Megilah does not override the Mitzvah of burying a Mes Mitzvah.
Burying a Mes Mitzvah overrides the Mitzvos of Avodah, Talmud Torah, and
The Rishonim discuss the extent of the Halachah that Megilah overrides other
Mitzvos, and set specific guidelines. (See Chart #2)
(a) We know that Mikra Megilah overrides the Avodah. However, reading the
Megilah takes a relatively short time, and after reading the Megilah, the
Kohanim and Levi'im can go back to doing the Avodah.
What is the Halachah, though, if the day is nearing its end, and if they read
the Megilah there will be no time to do the Avodah? Does the reading of the
Megilah still override the Avodah?
1. The RAN says that Mikra Megilah does not override Avodah, because Avodah
is a Mitzvah d'Oraisa and it thus overrides a Mitzvah d'Rabanan like Megilah.
This also seems to be the opinion of Tosfos (DH Mevatlin), that only when the
Avodah will be done afterwards do we read the Megilah first.
(b) The Gemara says that burying a Mes Mitzvah overrides Mikra Megilah. Does
this also apply if burying the Mes Mitzvah will require pushing off the
reading of the Megilah entirely, and not just delay it to a later time?
2. The PISKEI TOSFOS in Erchin (#19) writes that even if reading the Megilah
will require that the Avodah be entirely pushed off, we still say that
reading the Megilah comes first. This is also the conclusion of the VILNA
GA'ON and the TAZ in the Shulchan Aruch (OC 687:2). They prove this from the
fact that the Gemara compares it to being Mevatel Talmud Torah to hear the
Megilah. Obviously, those moments of Talmud Torah that were pushed off are
irrevocable and were pushed off forever.
1. The MIZRACHI, cited by the BEIS YOSEF, says that in such a case, Mikra
Megilah comes first, because the Mes Mitzvah can always be buried after Mikra
Megilah, even the next day. There is no other time, though, to make up the
reading of Megilah once Purim has passed. Therefore, it is more important to
read the Megilah.
(c) When we say that a Mes Mitzvah overrides Mikra Megilah, does that also
apply to every other Mes in need of burial, or only to a Mes Mitzvah?
2. However, the VILNA GA'ON, TAZ and MAGEN AVRAHAM say that Mes Mitzvah still
takes precedence, even when Mikra Megilah will be pushed off entirely. In
this ruling, they are consistent with their understand of our Gemara as
discussing pushing off a Mitzvah entirely and not just delaying it in order
to do another Mitzvah.
1. The SHILTEI GIBORIM and the RAMBAN (in TORAS HA'ADAM) say that only a Mes
Mitzvah overrides Megilah. Any other Mes does not override the Megilah;
rather, we read the Megilah first and then bury the Mes.
HALACHAH: The MISHNAH BERURAH says that if it is a question of overriding
Mikra Megilah entirely in order to bury a regular Mes, since there are some
who hold that Mes Mitzvah does not come before Megilah at all while others
hold that Mes Mitzvah does preempt Megilah, we are stringent only for a Mes
Mitzvah (and we push off Megilah entirely) but not for a regular Mes. If it
is a question of just pushing off Mikra Megilah to a later time, then even a
regular Mes pushes off Mikra Megilah to a later time.
2. The REMA says that any Mes that needs assistance in the burial overrides
There are two exceptions. First, the VILNA GA'ON says that even a regular Mes
is exactly like a Mes Mitzvah if one already started the burial before the
time of Mikra Megilah arrived. In such a situation, the burial continues and
pushes off Mikra Megilah. Second, the DARCHEI MOSHE says that the burial of a
Talmid Chacham always preempts Mikra Megilah because Kavod ha'Torah of even a
single person is more important that Avodah and Megilah.