(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Megilah, 6

MEGILAH 6-10 sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


Rava (or Rabah) explains that Teverya is called "Rekes" because even the empty ones ("Rekanin") who live there are full of Mitzvos like a pomegranate.

This is problematic, because the city was called Rekes at the time that Yehoshua wrote his Sefer, as the Jewish people enterred Eretz Yisrael. At that time, though, the inhabitants of Rekes were all Nochrim! What does it mean to say that they were full of Mitzvos? It must be that Yehoshua understood that Teverya contained some sort of power to grants its Jewish inhabitants the propensity to be committed to serving Hashem, so that they should be "full of Mitzvos like a pomegranate." The name of the city, Rekes, was granted to it based on its future destiny.

However, why should Teverya be more special than any other city in Eretz Yisrael? (TUREI EVEN)

Second, the Turei Even asks further that the Gemara (Sanhedrin 37a, Chagigah 27a) says about *all of the Jewish people* that the empty ones among them are full of Mitzvos like a pomegranate! If so, in what way is Teverya unique?


(a) The CHIDA (in PESACH EINAYIM) answers that the reason why Teverya is so unique is as follows. The Gemara in Shabbos (118b) says that the people in Teverya are Mekabel Shabbos in the best possible way. Rashi there explains that since Teverya is deep in the valley and is surrounded by mountains, the residents bring in Shabbos early because the mountains hide the sun and it appears to be dark before the sun actually sets. The Gemara there says further that if someone observes Shabbos properly, then Hashem forgives him for all of his sins, even if he has served Avodah Zarah like those in the generation of Enosh. Therefore, in Teverya, where they keep Shabbos properly, all of their Aveiros are forgiven, and thus they are full of Mitzvos like a pomegranate!

Regarding why the Gemara here mentions only that the people of Teverya are full of Mitzvos like a pomegranate, while the Gemara elsewhere says this with regard to all of the Jewish people, the Chida answers that when the Gemara there (in Sanhedrin and Chagigah) says that even sinners of Israel are full of Mitzvos, it does not mean that all of them are, but rather *most* of them are. In Teverya, though, they are *all* full of Mitzvos.

(b) The Gemara here says that Teverya sits in the center of Eretz Yisrael. When Teverya is called "Rekes," the name is not merely alluding to the attribute of Teverya, but it is alluding to the attribute of *all* of Eretz Yisrael, of which Teverya is the center. This answers both questions. Teverya is singled out because it represents all of Eretz Yisrael, as it is in the center. Our Gemara does not contradict the Gemara that says that all of the Jewish people are full of Mitzvos like a pomegranate, because our Gemara means the residents of *all* of Eretz Yisrael, in the center of which sits Teverya, are full of Mitzvos. (M. Kornfeld)


Rebbi Yitzchak states that if a person says, "I have worked hard, but I have not found [success]," or "I have not worked hard, but I have found [success]," do not believe him. But if a person says, "I have worked hard and I have found [success]," then believe him ("Yagati u'Matzasi -- Ta'amin").

RABEINU BACHYE shows an allusion to this in a verse in Tehilim. The verse says, "He'emanti Ki Adaber, Ani Anisi Me'od, Ani Amarti b'Chofzi, Kol ha'Adam Kozev" (Tehilim 116:10-11). The ordinary translation of the verse is, "I have been faithful, even when I say, 'I suffer greatly.' I said in my haste, 'All mankind is deceitful.'"

Rabeinu Bachye suggests that the verse can be read as follows: "I can be trusted (He'emanti) when I say (Ki Adaber) that I worked very hard (Ani Anisi Me'od), but if I said something quickly (i.e. I claimed success) without working hard (Ani Amarti b'Chofzi), then anyone who says such a thing is lying (Kol ha'Adam Kozev)."

The Gemara describes "Italya Shel Yavan" as the great metropolis of Rome. There were 365 markets there, like the days of the solar year, and the smallest one was a market that sold birds. The king ate in a different market each day. There were also 3000 bathhouses there. The entire metropolis was surrounded on all sides -- on one side by the sea, on a second side by mountains, a third side had an iron wall, and on a fourth side was a deep ravine filled with gravel and sand.

What is the Gemara trying to teach us by describing this large city?

The MAHARAL (Netzach Yisrael, ch. 17) explains as follows:

(a) There were 365 market places. The Midrash (Bereishis Rabah) says that Edom counts their year according to the sun. The power of Edom is represented by the sun. The descendants of Yakov, though, are represented by the moon, and thus they count the year according to the lunar months (see also Sukah 29a).

Another Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 63:12) says that everything about Esav, the progenitor of Edom, is "red," as it demonstrates from various verses. His name is Edom, which means red. His land is red. His food is red. His clothing is red. The reason for this is because his power is the same as that of the sun, which the Gemara in Bava Basra (84a) says is red. The sun appears red because it is fiery. When metal is heated in a fire, it turns red hot. Similarly, Esav -- whose power reflects the power of the sun -- is red. The Jewish people, on the other hand, are represented by the moon which is called Levanah, from the word "Lavan," or white. The moon exercises its power over the water (such as the tides which are controlled by the moon), the opposite of the sun, for water and fire are opposites. The market of Edom has 365 markets, corresponding to the days of the solar year, because Edom's power is related to the sun.

(b) The smallest of the markets sold birds. The Gemara (Chulin 101a) tells us that birds were created from muddy dirt. Since they were created with water, they are antithetical to Edom's red, fiery, sun-like nature. That is why the market where birds were sold was smaller than all of the other markets, for water opposes the power of Edom.

We might ask, though, why does the Gemara not say that the fish market was the smallest, since fish live in the water? It seems that the answer is that since fish live only in water, they did not have *any* fish market at all in Edom! Perhaps this is why there is a practice to eat large meals of fish and chicken instead of meat on Erev Yom Kipur, as the Midrash mentions (cited by TOSFOS in Kesuvos 5a). We eat fish and chicken to show that Yom Kipur is the day that is removed from the power of Esav (cf. Yoma 20a).

(c) The king ate in a different market each day. This demonstrates how lavish were their meals and materialism. The market where the masses shop prepares food fit for a king!

(d) There were 3000 bathhouses. Esav expresses his power through building marketplaces and bathhouses (Avodah Zarah 2b). This is because his power dominates in this world, where he engages abundantly in food, drink, and other pleasures.

(e) The city was surrounded on four sides. On one side was the sea. This was the western side, for the Torah always uses the word "Yam" (sea) to refer to the west. It means that Edom's influence reaches all the way to the western edge of civilization. The mountains were on the southern side, because "Darom" (south) is a contraction of the words "Da Rom" ("it is high up"), referring to the south, which is the place where the sun is when it reaches its highest point in the sky. The influence of Edom reaches the furthermost southern edge of civilization.

The iron wall alludes to the power of Edom reaching to the northern edge of civilization. Iron is the material of destruction (Rashi, end of Parshas Mishpatim). Destruction comes from the north, as the verse says in Yirmiyahu (1:14), "From the north, the evil will be unleashed." Moreover, writes the Maharal, everyone knows that magnets draw metal (such as iron) towards the north, and thus iron is related to the north.

The gravel-filled ravine to the east indicates Edom's power reaching eastward. The east is the direction where all of the heavenly bodies, the sun and stars, rise, and therefore it is related to "Omek", a deep valley or ravine, because it is the lowest part of the sky from which everything rises. Low areas, therefore, are allegories for the east. The four sides around the city of Edom show that his power extends to all four directions of the world.

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,