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Megilah, 7

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.


QUESTION: Esther requested from the Chachamim to write a Sefer recording the miracle of Purim. They dissented, based on a verse in Mishlei (22:20) which says, "Have I not written for you a threesome (Shalishim)." The verse implies that record of the defeat of Amalek may be written in a Sefer only three times and no more.

The Chachamim, however, later agreed to Esther's request, when they expounded a verse in the Torah that implies that the miracle of the defeat of Amalek in the times of Esther *may* be written in a Sefer. The verse says, regarding the defeat of Amalek, "Kesov Zos Zikaron ba'Sefer" -- "Record this as a remembrance in the book" (Shemos 17:14). "Zos" refers to the defeat of Amalek recorded in the Chumash in the end of Parshas Beshalach and the end of Parshas Ki Seitzei (Shemos 17:14-16, and Devarim 25:17-19). "Zikaron" refers to the defeat of Amalek recorded in Nevi'im (Shmuel I ch. 15). "Ba'Sefer" refers to the defeat of Amalek recorded in an additional "Sefer" -- in the Book of Esther.

Why did the Chachamim change their mind? This verse also teaches that there are only three opportunities to record the defeat of Amalek, just like the verse in Mishlei implies. Why, when expounding this verse, did the Chachamim group the two mentions of Amalek in the Chumash together and count them as one, but when expounding the verse in Mishlei, they counted them as two? What did they see in this verse more than in the first verse? (TUREI EVEN)


(a) The YA'AVETZ explains that the verse in Mishlei is discussing the past, as it says, "Have I not written for you a threesome." The Chachamim assumed that Shlomo ha'Melech was referring to the three times that it had been written down in the past, before his lifetime, and he was instructing us not to write it a fourth time. He must have been teaching that it should not be written down in the times of Esther.

However, when the Chachamim found a verse in the Torah saying that it will be written (in the future) three times, they understood that Shlomo ha'Melech was just reiterating what the verse teaches. Since Shlomo ha'Melech was not referring to what was already written, his verse can be interpreted as grouping the two places in the Torah which mention Amalek together as one, leaving open one opportunity in the future (i.e. Esther) to write it one more time.

(b) The PNEI YEHOSHUA and MAHARTZ CHIYUS explain that the verse in Mishlei does not imply that Mechiyas Amalek may be written only three times, in three places. It does not limit the number of times that Mechiyas Amalek may be written. Rather, it implies that there may only be three sections of the Torah -- Torah (Chumash), Nevi'im, and Kesuvim ("Ta'Na'Ch"). (This differs from Rashi's explanation of "Shalishim.") The Chachamim reasoned that if the miracle of Purim were to be written in a new Sefer, that Sefer would be a fourth section to the Torah, which Shlomo ha'Melech proscribes.

When they expounded the verse in the Torah which implies that Mechiyas Amalek will be written three times, they understood it to be obvious that one of those times includes *all* of the mentions of Mechiyas Amalek in the Chumash, leaving one opportunity to write it in the new Sefer of Esther. That verse therefore gave them permission to add Megilas Esther to Kesuvim, and they did not have to make a whole new section for it.

(c) Perhaps the wording of the verse implies that the verses of Beshalach and Ki Seitzei must be grouped together and counted as one. Firstly, the word in the verse that refers to Torah is "Zos," and "Zos" implies all of the Torah, as the verse says, "v'Zos ha'Torah..." (Devarim 4:44). (RASHASH)

Alternatively, the word "ba'Sefer" implies that a *separate Sefer*, Megilas Esther, must be written on the topic of Mechiyas Amalek. No other Sefer discusses Mechiyas Amalek in its entirety, other than Megilas Esther! This is the meaning of the verse (Ester 9:32), "And the request of Ester regarding the [recording of the] Purim miracle was fulfilled, and it was written 'in a Sefer' " (see Rashi there).

The SIFSEI CHACHAMIM adds that "ba'Sefer" (342) in Gematria equals the total of "Haman (95), Agag (7), Amalek (240)," the three instances of Mechiyas Amalek which are recorded in Tanach -- including the story of Megilas Ester.


OPINIONS: The Gemara relates that Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a sent to Rebbi Oshiya a shank of calf and a barrel of wine. Rebbi Oshiya sent back to him, "You have fulfilled the Mitzvah of Mishlo'ach Manos (and Matanos l'Evyonim)." Our Gemara is actually a mixture of two different Girsa'os. From the Rishonim it is clear that one Girsa says only that he fulfilled "Mishlo'ach Manos," and another Girsa says that he fulfilled only "Matanos la'Evyonim."

(a) RASHI's text reads "Mishlo'ach Manos." Since Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a sent two portions to one person, he fulfilled the Mitzvah of Mishlo'ach Manos.

(b) According to RABEINU CHANANEL's text, Rebbi Oshiya told Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a that he has fulfilled "Matanos la'Evyonim." He was saying that Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a gave only the amount that one gives to a poor person when he gives Matanos la'Evyonim. Since he gave only one portion (the meat), and not two (the wine did not count), he did not fulfill the Mitzvah of Mishlo'ach Manos.

The Gemara continues, according to this Girsa, and relates that Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a sent another calf leg and *three* barrels of wine. This time, Rebbi Oshiya responded, "Now you have fulfilled Mishlo'ach Manos."

RAV TZVI PESACH FRANK (Mikra'ei Kodesh) points out that we see a number of important Chidushim from this Girsa of the Gemara:

1. One only fulfills the Mitzvah of Mishlo'ach Manos with food and not with drink (since the wine that Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a sent did not count as one of the two portions of Mishlo'ach Manos).
2. One can send the two items of Mishlo'ach Manos separately, in two different deliveries, and they join to be considered two portions, the minimum for fulfilling the Mitzvah of Mishlo'ach Manos. The second calf leg that Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a sent joined with the first to be considered two portions of Mishlo'ach Manos.
3. The two portions of Mishlo'ach Manos may be two of the same type of food, for Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a fulfilled the Mitzvah by sending two calf legs.
The RITVA, however, explains Rabeinu Chananel's Girsa entirely differently (see also CHAYEI ADAM 155:31). He explains that Rebbi Oshiya complained that the amount of Mishlo'ach Manos that Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a sent was not a respectable amount for someone of Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a's stature. When Rebbi Oshiya said, "You have sent me Matanos la'Evyonim," he meant that Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a had sent only one portion of food that was respectable enough to fulfill the Mitzvah of Mishlo'ach Manos. One barrel of wine, though, is not respectable enough to be the second of the two "Manos." That is why, in his second delivery, Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a sent *three* barrels of wine, a much larger gift. According to the Ritva's explanation, the opposite conclusions can be drawn:
1. One fulfills the Mitzvah of Mishlo'ach Manos with drink, as long as he sends enough to be considered respectable to the giver and recipient.
2. One must send the two portions together in the same delivery, which is why Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a resent *both* Manos.
3. One cannot fulfill the Mitzvah with two of the same type of food, but must send two different types of food, like Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a. This is our practice.
QUESTION: Rabah invited Rebbi Zeira to join him in his Purim Se'udah. During the Se'udah, Rabah arose and slaughtered Rebbi Zeira. The next day, Rabah Davened and brought Rebbi Zeira back to life. The Acharonim point out that the Gemara in Shabbos (156a) says that Rabah was born in the Mazal of Ma'adim, and that Mazal gives a person a violent nature. As long as Rabah was learning Torah, his violent nature was channeled for holy purposes. On Purim, though, while he was not learning, his violent nature came out.

Nevertheless, how are we to understand how the great and righteous Amora, Rabah, could kill another Amora, Rebbi Zeira?


(a) The YA'AVETZ explains that in Berachos the Gemara (30b) says (in the name of Rabah, according to some Girsa'os), that a person is not allowed to fill his mouth with laughter in this world. Rebbi Zeira there says that the more a person holds himself back from rejoicing in this world, the more reward he will get.

Rabah saw that the party at his home on Purim was getting too happy, and he wanted to calm the excitement. He did an act that made it look like his was taking a knife and slaughtering Rebbi Zeira, so that everyone would become serious. Rebbi Zeira, who thought that Rabah was really killing him, fainted from the shock. He might have passed away from the shock had Rabah not Davened for him and revived him.

(b) The MAHARSHA says that the Gemara does not mean that Rabah actually slaughtered Rebbi Zeira with a knife. Rather, Rabah gave him so much [food and] drink that he became so sick that he was close to death. Rabah wanted him to experience Simchah and so he encouraged him to drink more and more wine, until Rebbi Zeira's life was actually endangered. The next day Rabah Davened for Rebbi Zeira and he recovered.

We may add that the CHAVAS YAIR (#152, cited at the end of Sefer Chafetz Chayim) suggests that different Amora'im had different paths in Avodas Hashem. He cites the Gemara in Berachos (30a), which relates an incident wherein Rebbi Yirmeyah looked too happy, and Rebbi Zeira tried to somber him by mentioning the virtues of melancholy. What looks like a simple incident in their lives, actually reflects different general approaches to life. Rebbi Zeira and Rebbi Yirmeyah each had a very different path in Avodas Hashem.

Rebbi Zeira understood that fasting and self-affliction is the correct way to serve Hashem and to reach Kedushah. We find that he fasted long periods. He would test himself with all kinds of self-afflictions to test his total devotion to Hashem (Bava Metzia, end of 85a). Rebbi Yirmeyah, on the other hand, was generally jolly. He ruled that it is forbidden for a person to afflict himself beyond the call of the Torah, and that a Nazir is called a "sinner" (Nedarim 9b). The Gemara in Nidah (23a) tells how Rebbi Yirmeyah, in accordance with his path in Avodas Hashem, would try and break Rebbi Zeira's somberness and get him to laugh -- since he thought this was an incorrect path in Avodas Hashem. Conversely, the Gemara in Berachos (30a) tells how Rebbi Zeira tried -- unsuccessfully -- to cool Rebbi Yirmeyah's joyousness, in accordance with his own path in Avodas Hashem.

Similarly, Rabah's path in Avodas Hashem was that of serving Hashem with Simchah, "Milsa d'Bedichasa" (Shabbos 30b). Rebbi Zeira, on the other hand, maintained that the proper path in Avodas Hashem was that of serving Hashem with solemnity. At the Purim Se'udah, Rabah saw that Rebbi Zeira was too solemn and was not getting immersed in the Simchah of Purim enough, and so he insisted that Rebbi Zeira eat more. Since the Gemara (Pesachim 86b) says that "whatever the host says to you, you must do (except for 'leave')," Rebbi Zeira could not refuse and thus he continued eating. However, he was accustomed to fasting (Bava Metzia 85a), and for him it was unhealthy to eat so much, and as a result he became deathly ill. Hence Rabah had to Daven for Rebbi Zeira's recovery. (M. Kornfeld)

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