THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) A SHEVU'AH TO FULFILL A MITZVAH
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that a person may make a Shevu'ah to fulfill a
Mitzvah for the sake of "l'Zaruzei Nafshei," to motivate himself. Is the
Shevu'ah Halachically binding?
(a) The RAN implies that the Shevu'ah indeed is binding, and if the person
does not perform the Mitzvah he will be punished with Malkus for
transgressing his Shevu'ah.
The Ran does not distinguish between a Shevu'ah to keep a Mitzvas Aseh (a
positive Mitzvah) and a Shevu'ah to keep a Lo Ta'aseh (a negative Mitzvah).
Even if he makes a Shevu'ah not to transgress a Mitzvah of "Shev v'Al
Ta'aseh," the Shevu'ah takes effect and he will get Malkus if he violates it
by doing the Aveirah. However, if he violates the Shevu'ah, he is not
obligated to bring a Korban (because the Shevu'ah does not fulfill the
condition of "l'Hara o l'Heitiv" (Vayikra 5:4).
(b) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR in Shevu'os (27a) writes that the Shevu'ah takes
effect to obligate him to keep a Mitzvas Aseh, and if he transgresses he
will be Chayav Malkus *and* a Korban. However, a Shevu'ah *not* to
transgress a "Shev v'Al Ta'aseh" will not take effect at all, and if he
transgresses he is not punished for violating his Shevu'ah (because the
Shevu'ah does not fulfill the condition of "l'Hara o l'Heitiv" (Vayikra
(c) The RAMBAN (on the Torah as cited by the GILYON HA'SHAS, and in
MILCHAMOS in Shevu'os) writes that a Shevu'ah cannot obligate a person to
keep a Mitzvas Aseh or to refrain from transgressing a Lo Ta'aseh. When the
Gemara says that it takes effect to motivate himself, it just means that he
is not considered to have spoken the Shem of Hashem in vain when he made his
"Shevu'ah." (In addition, the Rosh says, it means that we are not afraid
that he will become accustomed to pronouncing Shevu'os, and thus we let him
make such a Shevu'ah to fulfill a Mitzvah.)
2) A HUSBAND ACTING AS "SHALI'ACH" TO ANNUL HIS WIFE'S NEDER
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses whether a man may serve as a Shali'ach of his
wife in order to ask a Beis Din to annul his wife's Neder. Why does the
Gemara ask whether a husband can be a Shali'ach to annul his wife's Neder?
It should ask whether Beis Din can annul anyone's Neder in the absence of
the Noder ("she'Lo b'Fanav")!
3) TZADIKIM AND THE SUN
(a) The RAMBAM (cited by the Ran) says that normally Beis Din cannot annul a
Neder in the absence of the Noder. It is only the wife's Neder that they can
annul when the husband is there, because of the principle of "Ishto k'Gufo."
(b) The Ran cites TOSFOS who answers that normally Beis Din may annul a
Neder in the absence of the Noder. The Gemara is specifically asking about a
person's wife: perhaps Beis Din cannot annul her Neder when the request is
brought to them by the husband as her Shali'ach, because the husband might
be misrepresenting his wife and changing what she said in order to make sure
that the Dayanim will be Matir the Neder, because the Neder causes him so
much trouble and aggravation. This is why the Gemara concludes that if he
has to gather together people in order to be Matir her Neder, we have
greater reason to be concerned that he will change what his wife said in
order to have the Neder annulled since he troubled himself even more for
(c) The ROSH (1:7) explains that normally Beis Din may annul a Neder in the
absence of the Noder. However, when a woman sends her husband to annul her
Neder for her, we are afraid that she might have sent him only on condition
that he not publicize her Neder, because she does not want to be embarrassed
by having everyone know about it. That is why the Gemara rules that only if
the husband finds three people already there is he allowed to be Matir her
Neder for her. But if he does not find three people in one place and he has
to go collect people in order to make a Beis Din to be Matir his wife's
Neder, then he cannot be Matir it, because had his wife known that he was
going to spread the word of her Neder she would not have sent him to annul
it, and she would not have had Charatah that she made the Neder. (According
to the Rosh, it is not clear why this Halachah should apply only to a woman
who sends her husband to annul her Neder. It should apply to any person who
sends a Shali'ach to Beis Din to annul his Neder! Perhaps a woman is more
sensitive to having her Neder made public, and when the Gemara says that the
woman sent her husband, it also refers to when the woman sent any
(a) Regarding the annulment of a Neder in the absence of the Noder, we rule
that normally Beis Din cannot annul a Neder when the Noder is not present
(like the Rambam says), and the question of the Gemara is only with regard
to a husband acting on behalf of his wife (which is permitted because of
If the Noder is present before Beis Din but the interaction is being
conducted through a "Turgeman," a translator, then Beis Din may annul the
(b) Regarding a Shali'ach of the wife, the Shali'ach may have her Neder
annulled for her only if he finds three people ready to serve as a Beis Din
to be Mater her Neder, since she would be embarrassed if she knew that he
was gathering people together, like the Rosh says.
The SHACH adds that since the reason for not gathering people is because she
might not have Charatah for her Neder under such conditions, if she
specifies that she does not mind if he gathers three people together, then
he may even gather people together in order to annul her Neder.
(c) If a person sends his request, and reason for Charatah, to Beis Din in
writing (K'sav) and requests that they annul his Neder, the RASHBA
(Teshuvos) rules that it is better than a Shali'ach and they may be Matir
his Neder based on his K'sav.
However, the TAZ argues that K'sav is no better than a Shali'ach. His
argument is based on the Agadah in the beginning of Maseches Ta'anis, which
says that Yiftach did not have his Neder annulled because he did not want to
lower himself by going before Pinchas, the head Dayan, to annul his Neder.
The RIVASH says that we see from this Agadah that Pinchas was not able to be
Matir the Neder in the absence of Yiftach, "she'Lo b'Fanav." The Taz says
that if it was possible for Pinchas to be Matir the Neder based on Yiftach's
written request, then he should have simply submitted a written request. It
must be that a written request is not valid for Hataras Nedarim.
Reish Lakish states that "in the World to Come, there will be no Gehinom.
Rather, Hashem will remove the sun from its sheath, and the righteous will
be healed by it, while the wicked will be punished by it, as it says
(Malachi 3:19), 'A sun will come which will burn like a furnace; all the
wicked and all the evildoers will be like straw, and the sun will incinerate
them.... But a sun of kindness will shine for those who fear Me, with
healing in its rays.' Moreover, the righteous will derive pleasure from the
sun, as it says (ibid.), '... and you will become sated, as fattened calves
entering their pen to feed.'"
According to this account, the righteous will not need to be sheltered from
the burning sun on the Day of Judgment. On the contrary, the warmth of that
day's sun will be beneficial to them rather than harmful. This, however,
seems to contradict Reish Lakish's own description of the events to take
place in the future as it appears in the Midrash, where he says that in the
World to Come, "at that time Hashem will make a Sukah (a shading shelter)
for the righteous to protect them from the sun, as it says (Tehilim 27:5),
'He will conceal me in His Sukah on the day of evil; He will hide me in the
seclusion of His tent'" (Yalkut Shimoni, Emor #653). Reish Lakish implies
that the sun *will* be harmful to the Tzadikim, and thus they will require
that Hashem shelter them from it! How can we reconcile these two statements,
both of them made by Reish Lakish? Why will the righteous both benefit from
the sun, yet require shelter from it?
To answer this question, we must ask first, why is the *sun* chosen to be
the agent through which Hashem will administer punishment for the wicked and
reward for the righteous? What is meant by the sun's "sheath," and why is it
normally encased in this sheath? What does the Sukah that Hashem will
construct for the righteous represent?
The Gemara (Sotah 10a) tells us that the word "Shemesh" ("protector;" Rashi)
can be used as an appellation for Hashem, as it says, "Hashem is a Shemesh
and a shield" (Tehilim 84:12). The common usage of the word "Shemesh,"
however, is the word for "sun." Why should the sun be referred to with the
same word that denotes its Creator?
The verse states, "The heavens proclaim the glory of Hashem... He made a
tent in [the heavens] for the sun. The sun appears like a groom coming out
of his bridal canopy; it rejoices like an athlete running his course. It
emerges from one edge of the sky and it goes around to the other; no one can
escape its heat" (Tehilim 19:2-7). In what way do "the heavens proclaim the
glory of Hashem?" The verse explains that it is through the sun's great
might that Hashem's power is demonstrated. This colossal nuclear furnace,
radiating more energy every second than mankind has consumed in history, is
the source of all life on earth. Holding in tow the entire solar system
through its gravitational pull, the sun's light, heat, and "wind" of ionized
particles affect planets and other bodies billions of miles away. The sun,
our only directly observable star, is the greatest public demonstration of
the awesome might and glory of Hashem.
In fact, it was this very display of power that brought ancient
civilizations to worship the sun. We, however, know that the sun itself can
do nothing to change its predetermined, natural course. It persistently
"emerges from one edge of the sky and it goes around to the other." Instead
of worshipping it, we marvel at the great Power Who endows the sun with such
This is why the word "Shemesh," which is used to describe Hashem, was
borrowed as a name for the sun, Hashem's great emissary in this world. An
emissary is entitled to go by the name of his dispatcher.
In this world, however, the "sun" -- the demonstration of Hashem's glory to
man that the sun represents -- is "sheathed." It is still possible to make
the mistake of thinking that the sun operates on its own, or that the sun
acts according to natural principles that developed spontaneously and
randomly. The "brilliance" of the sun is thus covered in this world.
In the World to Come, however, Hashem will take the sun out of its "sheath."
As the Gemara (Berachos 17a) says, "In the world to come there will be no
eating or drinking; rather the righteous will sit and delight in the
radiance of Hashem's presence." Experiencing closeness to Hashem will be in
place of physical pleasure for the righteous. They will be able to perceive
Hashem in a way that is not possible in this world. Hence, the sun will be
"taken out of its sheath." This is the reward for those who have sought
throughout their lives to better know Hashem and His ways. Hashem will
reveal His glory to each of the righteous in the World to Come in accordance
with the amount of effort they invested in knowing and understanding Him
during their lives in this world.
The wicked, on the other hand, will endure disgrace at that time. It will be
made abundantly clear just how much they distanced themselves from the
source of eternal life during their lives in this world. On the Day of
Judgment, their disgrace will be revealed to all, and any existence that
they merit will only be granted to them through the righteous men whom they
despised during their lives. The revelation of Hashem's presence in the
World to Come will "burn" them, due to the their distance from Him.
The reward of the righteous is granted based on an evaluation of how close
they were to their Creator during their lives. It therefore stands to reason
that even among the righteous, every person's experience in the World to
Come will be different. Some will be closer to Hashem than others in certain
aspects, while others will be closer than them in others. The righteous will
therefore both "derive pleasure from the sun (the revelation of the Divine
Presence)" for their accomplishments, and "be burned by the sun" for their
failings. Since they are righteous, however, and they at least worked
towards "knowing Hashem," He will make them a Sukah to protect them from
being scorched for their failings. Thus, Reish Lakish's two statements
actually complement each other. The righteous will both be rewarded by the
sun, and yet need protection from it.