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Nedarim, 51

NEDARIM 51 - dedicated anonymously in honor of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, and in honor of those who study the Dafyomi around the world.


QUESTION: At Rebbi's son's wedding, Bar Kapara made Rebbi promise to dance in front of him and his wife to sing (see SHALMEI NEDARIM and BEN YEHOYADA) in front of him in order to be able to hear Bar Kapara's lessons. Bar Kapara asked Rebbi questions and only answered them after Rebbi danced for him. The three lessons that he taught Rebbi were that the word "Zimah" (in the Parashah of Arayos) means "Zu Mah Hi," "To'evah" means "To'eh Atah Bah," and "Tevel" means "v'Chi Tavlin Yesh Bo." Why did he teach Rebbi these three things at his son's wedding?

ANSWER: The MAHARAL (in Chidushei Agadah) explains that at a time of Simchah, a person is more vulnerable to give in to temptations of physical lusts (see Berachos 31a). (Perhaps this is the reason why Rebbi refrained from deriving any type of pleasure or joy from this world -- so that he not be enticed to follow his physical Ta'avos.)

Bar Kapara wanted to add to the joy of the wedding, and at the same time he wanted to prevent the joy from leading to a joy of the Yetzer ha'Ra. Hence, when he made Rebbi dance, he simultaneously taught that all the Ta'avos of this world are meaningless and worthless. "Zimah" is "Zu Mah Hi" -- there is nothing in it, it is all an illusion of one's imagination. "To'evah" is "To'eh Hi Bah" -- one who follows his lusts is erring and wayward. "Tevel" means "v'Chi Tavlin Yesh Bah" -- is there any real value to the physical pleasures that a person pursues so tirelessly in this world? For a Mitzvah, though, a person should rejoice and derive pleasure. A person should refrain from all joys of Olam ha'Zeh that are not related to a Mitzvah.

QUESTION: The Mishnah says that when a person makes a Neder prohibiting himself from eating "Ma'aseh Kedeirah," he is prohibited from eating "Ma'aseh Raschasa," food boiled in a pot. If he makes a Neder prohibiting "ha'Yoreh l'Kedeirah," he is prohibited from all foods cooked in a pot.

The Gemara cites a Beraisa that differentiates between "ha'Na'aseh b'Kedeirah" and "ha'Yored l'Kedeirah" differently. "Ha'Na'aseh b'Kedeirah" implies any food that was completed by being cooked in a pot. The Beraisa makes no mention of "Ma'aseh Raschasa." Why, though, should a Neder of "ha'Na'aseh b'Kedeirah" differ from a Neder of "Ma'aseh Kedeirah?" They both seem to imply the same type of food. Moreover, the Beraisa cited later (at the end of this Amud), regarding "Ma'aseh Tanur," clearly implies that there is no difference between "ha'Na'aseh" and "Ma'aseh!"


(a) TOSFOS and the ROSH (in his second explanation) explain that the Mishnah is teaching the same thing as the Beraisa, but in different words. The Beraisa says that the difference between "ha'Na'aseh b'Kedeirah" and "ha'Yored l'Kedeirah" is that "Na'aseh" means that the food was *completed* in a pot, and it does not matter whether it started cooking in a pot or not (such as in a pan), and "ha'Yored" means that it *started* cooking in a pot, and it does not matter whether it was completed in a pot or elsewhere.

When the Mishnah says that when one makes a Neder prohibiting "Ma'aseh Kedeirah" he is prohibited from "Ma'aseh Raschasa," it means that he is prohibited from food that was brought to a boil and *completed* in a pot. When the Mishnah continues and says that when one makes a Neder prohibited "ha'Yored l'Kedeirah" he is prohibited from any food that was "cooked in a Kedeirah," it means that if the cooking was *started* in a Kedeirah then the food is prohibited, even though it was not completed in a Kedeirah (but in a pan).

(Tosfos does not have the Girsa that is quoted in the Mishnah as it appears on 51a, "Asur b'Chol ha'Na'aseh b'Kedeirah." Rather, he has the Girsa of the Mishnah as it is expressed on 49a, "Asur b'Chol ha'Misbashlin b'Kedeirah.")

(b) The RAN quotes the Yerushalmi that says that "Ma'aseh Raschasa" has nothing to do with being completed in a pot. Rather, it refers to the type of food that needs to be boiled for a long time. How, then, does the Ran reconcile the Mishnah with the variant ruling of the Beraisa?

It seems that the Ran holds that when one makes a Neder by saying "ha'Na'aseh b'Kedeirah," he is prohibited to eat foods that meet both of two criteria: first, the food must be completed in a Kedeirah, and, second, it is the type of food that is cooked abundantly ("boiled"). The Mishnah is teaching one criterium (that the words "ha'Na'aseh b'Kedeirah" include a food cooked abundantly), and the Beraisa is adding another criterion to the Mishnah -- in order to be included in the Neder, the food must be one that is completed in a Kedeirah (see also MEFARESH on the Mishnah, 51a).

It seems that the Ran is consistent with his view elsewhere, in his explanation of the phrase in the Beraisa of "ha'Yored l'Kedeirah." The Ran says that "ha'Yored l'Kedeirah" refers to anything that was ever cooked in a Kedeirah, whether it started there or finished there. "Ha'Yored," then, is a more inclusive term than "ha'Na'aseh." Hence, just like the Beraisa teaches that "ha'Yored" adds to the Neder items that were cooked in a Kedeirah at any point of their preparation, the Mishnah is adding that "ha'Yored" adds to the Neder even types of foods that are not abundantly cooked. In contrast, using the phrase "ha'Na'aseh b'Kedeirah" in a Neder limits the Isur to foods that are cooked abundantly.

Tosfos, on the other hand, maintains that "ha'Yored" (in the Beraisa) is ust as limiting as "ha'Na'aseh." "Ha'Yored" means that the cooking was *started* in a Kedeirah (and not that it was in a Kedeirah at any point of its preparation), and "ha'Na'aseh" means that the cooking was *completed* in a Kedeirah. If "ha'Na'aseh" limits to the Neder to foods cooked abundantly, then "ha'Yored" must also be limited to foods cooked abundantly. Therefore, the Mishnah cannot be teaching us that "ha'Yored" includes *more* types of food that "ha'Na'aseh."

According to the Ran, though, why does the Beraisa say that a Neder of "ha'Yored l'Tanur" prohibits only bread, while "Kol ha'Na'aseh b'Tanur" prohibits all foods made in a Tanur? According to the Ran, "ha'Yored" is a more inclusive term and should include *more* items that "ha'Na'aseh!"

The reason that "Kol ha'Na'aseh b'Tanur" includes more foods is because the person used the word "Kol" ("all"), which extends the meaning of his Neder. The same would apply if he said, "Kal ha'Yored l'Tanur" -- such a Neder would include all foods made in a Tanur. The reason why the Beraisa says "Kol ha'Na'aseh" and not "Kol ha'Yored" is to teach that even when one says "Kol ha'Na'aseh" and uses a more limiting term ("ha'Na'aseh"), nonetheless the word "Kol" makes it all-inclusive.


The Gemara initially suggests that "Dag" refers to large fish and "Dagah" refers to small fish. The Gemara rejects this suggestion based on the verse that discusses the plague of Dam in Mitzrayim. The verse says that the "Dagah in the Ye'or died" (Shemos 7:21). It does not make sense that only the small fish would have died and not the large fish. It must be that "Dagah" includes fish of any size, even large ones.

The ROGOTCHAVER GA'ON (see Tzafnas Pane'ach, Shemos 17:21, and Mahadura Tinyana 14a) suggests that perhaps we can defend the Gemara's initial assumption that "Dagah" refers only to small fish.

The plague of Dam was intended only to affect the Egyptians and not public items. Flowing rivers are considered to be public property. Therefore, the waters within them are not limited to the possession of the people who live in the area of those rivers (Beitzah 39a, Eruvin 45b; see also Avodah Zarah 47a).

Hashem did not turn the waters of the *rivers* of Mitzrayim into blood. Rather, he told Aharon to hit the waters of the "Ye'or" with his staff and to turn those waters into blood (Shemos 7:17, 20). The word "Ye'or" refers to man-made irrigation canals (Bava Metzia 103b). A canal dug by an individual becomes the private property of that person (Tosfos, Bava Kama 81a, DH u'Ma'ayan). Although it says in the verse that the "rivers and lakes will also be of blood" (7:19), it does not say that they *turned into* blood, but that they became full of blood because the blood in the private canals flood into them and polluted the waters of the rivers as well (that is why it says "v'Hayu l'Dam" with regard to the rivers, while with regard to the waters of the canals it says "v'Nehepchu" -- they were *transformed* into blood).

This explains why only the small fish died. The Mishnah in Gitin (59b) says that animals that were caught in a private trap or pond but on which no Kinyan was actually made (they were not actually picked up by the owner of the trap) are, mid'Oraisa, considered Hefker. The Chachamim enacted that they belong to the owner of the trap only because of "Darchei Shalom." Consequently, the fish in the private canals in Mitzrayim should not have been affected by the plague of Dam, since they were not the property of the individual owners but were public property. However, the Yerushalmi in Gitin (5:9) says that this only applies to *large* fish or animals, but *small* fish or animals are considered the possession of the owner of the trap or net (or wherever they were found). This is why the plague of Dam did affect the small fish -- because those fish *were* the possession of the Egyptians! Even though our Gemara concludes that the big fish must have died as well, the Rogotchaver Ga'on is suggesting either that the Yerushalmi is arguing with our Gemara, or that the big fish eventually died because of the pollution to their enviroment or because of the ecological imbalance (caused by the death of the small fish); they did not die, though, as a direct result of the blood. The small fish, on the other hand, died immediately as a result of the plague of Dam. The Torah uses the word "Dagah" to imply that the primary victim of the plague of Dam was the small fish, while the ramifications to the big fish were only secondary to the small fish.

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