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Megilah 25

MEGILAH 25 (21 Tishrei, Hoshana Raba) - dedicated by Gedalyah Jawitz, in honor of the yahrtzeit of Yehuda ben Simcha Volf Jawitz



(a) The Mishnah refers to saying 'Yevarchucha Tovim' as Derech Minus - because that suggests that Resha'im should *not* participate in the Tefilos of the Tzibur; whereas Chazal learn from the foul-smelling Chelbenah (which was included in the eleven spices that formed the Ketores) that they *should*.

(b) There are three people whom we silence (for their blasphemous public statements). Someone who says 'Your mercy extends to a bird's nest', 'Your Name should be mentioned for the good' and 'Modim, Modim'. It is wrong to say ...

1. ... 'Your Name should be mentioned for the good' - because we have learned in Berachos that one is obligated to thank Hashem for the bad no less than for the good.
2. ... 'Modim, Modim' - because it looks as if one is thanking *two* gods (Chas ve'Shalom).
(c) Some say that it is wrong to say 'Your mercy extends to a bird's nest', because this suggests that Hashem favors birds over animals, creating a jealousy in the creation. Others explain that it is - because one is ascribing Hashem's Mitzvos to His emotions (Chas ve'Shalom), whereas they are really decrees of a Master on His servants (perhaps to teach *us* mercy).

(d) Rabah praised that Chazen who said 'Just as Your mercy extends to a bird's nest, so may it extend to us' - in order to test Abaye, to see if he was on the ball.

(a) When a certain Chazen added a string of praises to 'ha'Keil ha'Gadol, ha'Gibor ve'ha'Nora - 'Rebbi Chanina asked him whether he had now exhausted all of Hashem's praises.

(b) Chazal illustrated that we should not really praise Hashem at all - with the parable of a man who possessed millions of golden Dinrim, and people (who could not fathom such wealth) were praising him for the silver Dinrim that he owned.

(c) Even though praising Hashem is forbidden, we nevertheless insert the three praises 'ha'Gadol, ha'Gibor ve'ha'Nora' - because Moshe and the Anshei Kenesses ha'Gedolah said them.

(a) Rebbi Chanina extrapolated from the Pasuk in Eikev "Mah Hashem Elokecha Sho'el me'Imach Ki-im le'Yir'ah" - that the fear of G-d is the one thing that is in our hands, and not in Hashem's. (It is the one thing He asks from us, because it is the one thing that He does not possess).

(b) For most people, the fear of G-d is not really such an easy thing at all - but for Moshe it was.

(c) To illustrate this, Chazal gave a parable to someone whom one asks for a big (expensive) vessel. As long as he has it, it appears to him like a small vessel; whereas if one were to ask someone for a small (cheap) vessel, and he does not have it, it appears to him like a big one.

(a) Rebbi Zeira says that if someone says 'Shema, Shema' in public - we silence him like someone who says 'Modim Modim'.

(b) We resolve Rebbi Zeira's statement with the Beraisa, which says that saying 'Shema, Shema' is despicable, implying that it is not necessary to silence him - by differentiating between someone who repeats just the word 'Shema' (which does *not* have the connotation of accepting two gods, and, although it is despicable, it is not necessary to silence him), and someone who repeats the entire Pasuk (which *does*).

(c) Rav Papa asked Rava what is wrong with repeating the Shema, when maybe the person is repeating it because he failed to have Kavanah the first time (and we have already learned in Berachos that the first Pasuk requires Kavanah - at all costs). The question caused Rava to become very agitated - because he could not understand how it is possible to say 'Shema' without Kavanah. Is Hashem on a par with one's buddies, with whom one possibly speaks like that?

(a) When the Tana of our Mishnah says 'ha'Mechaneh ba'Arayos, Meshaskin Oso' - he is talking about someone who explains that, when the Torah says that one should not uncover the nakedness of one's father or mother, it is not referring to committing incest, but to revealing his father's or mother's shame in public.

(b) One should react to someone who amends the Pasuk which forbids passing one's children to Molech to mean something else - by silencing him angrily.

(c) He in fact, explains the Pasuk to mean that it is forbidden to marry a Nochri woman, because this will result in her bearing children who will serve idols.

(d) It is so wrong to explain the Pasuk like that - because he exonerates someone who hands over his child to Molech from Kareis on the one hand, and sentences someone who lives with a Nochri woman to Kareis, on the other.

(a) 'Ma'aseh Reuven Nikra ve'Lo Metargem, Ma'aseh Tamar Nikra u'Metargem'.
1. 'Ma'aseh Reuven' - refers to the sin of Reuven (when he changed round the beds of Bilhah and Le'ah.
2. 'Ma'aseh Tamar' - refers to the episode with Yehudah and his daughter-in- law Tamar.
(b) The former is not translated out of respect for Reuven. The latter is translated - because translating it constitutes Yehudah's honor (because his admission at what he had done was extremely praiseworthy).

(c) The first part of Ma'aseh ha'Eigel is translated, whereas the second part is not.

1. The first part is translated despite the honor of Yisrael that is thereby denigrated - because to be denigrated in this way helps to atone for the sin.
2. The second part - constituting the dialogue between Moshe and Aharon (32: 21- 24) is not translated (either out of respect for Aharon, or because of the serious implications that emerge from Aharon's words, as we shall see shortly).
(d) Birchas Kohanim and the story of Amnon and Tamar are read but not translated. One does not translate ...
1. ... Birchas Kohanim - because people will accuse Hashem of favoritism (since the Pasuk writes "Yisa Hashem Panav Eilecha", as indeed we find even the angels querying Hashem on this point - as the Gemara records in Berachos 20b.).
2. ... the story of Amnon and Tamar - out of respect for David Hamelech.
(a) The Tana Kama forbids Leining the Haftarah from Ma'aseh ha'Merkavah. Rebbi Yehudah - permits it.

(b) Rebbi Eliezer forbids Leining the Haftarah from "Hoda es Yerushalayim".




(a) We might have thought that one should not translate ...
1. ... Ma'aseh Bereishis - to avoid delving into what is above the heaven, what is below the earth, what happened before the creation and what will happen at the end of time - see Tosfos DH 'Mah' (each of these, something that we are forbidden to delve into).
2. ... the story of Lot and his two daughters - out of respect for Avraham.
3. ... the K'lalos and the Berachos - because this might cause us to serve Hashem out of fear rather than for the sake of performing Hashem's will.
4. ... the punishments for transgressing the Mitzvos - because that might cause us to throw off the yoke altogether and to enjoy the pleasures of this world, whilst the going is good.
(b) One may read and translate the Haftarah from Ma'aseh Avshalom and Pilegesh be'Giv'ah. We might have thought that it is forbidden to translate the Haftarah from ...
1. ... Ma'aseh Avshalom - out of respect for David.
2. ... Pilegesh be'Giv'ah - out of respect for Binyamin.
(c) When ...
1. ... Rebbi Eliezer once heard someone Lein the Haftarah from "Hoda es Yerushalayim" - he remarked that he should rather examine the abominations of his mother than those of Yerushalayim. It was later discovered that there was a slight flaw in his pedigree.
2. ... Rebbi Chanina ben Gamliel arrived in K'vul and the Ba'al Korei read the Pasuk (regarding Reuven) "va'Yehi bi'Sh'chon Yisrael, va'Yeilech Re'uven ... va'Yihyu B'nei Ya'akov Sh'neim-Asar"- he instructed the translator to translate the second half of the Pasuk but not the first, for which the Chachamim praised him.
(d) We learn from Aharon's reply to Moshe "va'Ashlicheihu ba'Eish, va'Yeitzei ha'Eigel ha'Zeh" - how careful one needs to be in replying to questions. Because from Aharon's reply (which implied that the Calf emerged by itself) the Apikorsim found support for their contention that the Golden Calf was a real god.
9) The parts of the episode concerning Amnon and Tamar which refer to Amnon as Amnon (S'tam) *are* translated; whereas the parts where he is called Amnon ben David are *not*.


(a) Words that are unclean appear in the Torah in the form of a 'K'ri K'siv' (they are read differently than they are written). We read ...
  1. ... "Yishgalenah" - "Yishkavenah".
  2. ... "ba'Apolim" - "ba'T'chorim.
  3. ... "Charyonim" - Davyonim.
  4. ... "Le'echol es *Choreihem* ve'Lishtos es Meymei *Shineihem*" - "Le'echol es *Tzo'asam* ve'Lishtos es Meymei *Ragleihem*".
  5. ... "le'Machara'os" - "le'Motza'os". All of these are all less explicit.
(b) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah disagrees with the Tana Kama in the last case - because, since the Pasuk is referring to idolatry, let the disgusting word remain as it is, in order to mock the idol.

(c) Rav Nachman learns from the Pasuk "Kara Beil Karas Nevo ... Karsu Kar'u Yachdav Lo Yachlu Maleit Masa" - that although mockery is generally forbidden, it is permitted to mock idolatry.

(d) Rebbi Yanai interprets the Pasuk there (with reference to the calves of idolatry that they worshipped in Shomron) "Ki Aveil Alav Amo u'K'marav Alav Yagilu, *al Kevodo Ki Galah Mimenu*" - to mean that the priests of Beis Avon (alias Beis-Eil), who used to rejoice over it, have now gone into mourning because of the heavy burden that it carried in its stomach, of which it was now relieved (as if the Pasuk had written "K'veido", instead of "K'vodo").

(a) A Jew is permitted to tell an idolater - to take his idols and to stick them up his back passage.

(b) One is permitted to insult someone about whom evil rumors (of his having committed adultery) are being spread, that he is a 'Gimel' and 'Shin' - which stand for 'son of a Giyurta' (a prostitute) and 'son of a Shotah' (a crazy woman) Note: One is even permitted to implicate the man's mother.

(c) Rav Ashi says - one is permitted to praise a person about whom good rumors are being spread.

(d) This is allowed - even though it is normally forbidden, because, the moment one speaks good about somebody, someone in the audience is bound to interrupt with 'but ... do you know what he did'? It is therefore included in the prohibition of Lashon ha'Ra.

***** Hadran Alach, ha'Korei Omed *****

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