THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) CONCISE AND CLEAN
QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that a person should speak with a refined
speech. That is why the Mishnah says that Bedikah is done "Or l'Arba'ah
Asar" rather than "Leilei Arba'ah Asar," and also why the Torah says in a
few places "Lo Tahor" instead of "Tamei."
Why did the Tana use the word "Or" to mean night specifically in our
Mishnah, when there are many other Mishnayos that use "Leil?" In addition,
why do some verses in the Torah say "Lo Tahor" while others say "Tamei?"
(RASHI, DH Asher Einenah, explains that the Torah changed the word to a
more refined phrase in only a few places in order to teach the lesson of
speaking with a refined speech. Still, why were these verses in particular
chosen to teach this lesson?)
(a) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR explains that it is only these verses that needed
to say "Lo Tahor." It is necessary for the Torah to use the word "Tamei"
when it is teaching the Halachos of Tum'ah in order to tell us *why* we
should keep away from it. For example, the Torah must say that someone who
touches a particular object cannot go into the Beis ha'Mikdash *because*
the object is Tamei. It is the Tum'ah of the object which distances a
person who touches it from places of outstanding holiness.
However, when the verse discusses the animals that Noach took into the ark
at the time of the flood and says that he took two pairs of both Tahor and
Tamei types of animals, the fact that the animals were Tamei is not
important to us, because the Torah there is not giving us a reason to keep
away from them; rather, it is just categorizing the animals. When the
Torah categorizes them, it prefers to use the more refined wording (Lo
Tahor) in order to avoid using a word that has a negative implication.
As far as why this Mishnah in particular says "Or," the Ba'al ha'Me'or
echoes the words of the RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos) here who says that
this Mishnah says "Or" because it is the first word of the Masechta, and
it wanted to start the Masechta with a word that has positive
connotations, and not with a word that could have a negative quality, such
as "night." Normally, when not beginning a Maseches, the Mishnah uses the
simpler word, "Leil." Since the the Beraisa of d'Vei Shmuel (which does
say "Leil" Arba'ah Asar) is not the beginning of his teachings, there was
no need for him to say "Or."
(b) The RA'AVAD asks that there are a lot of other Mishnayos that use the
word "Or" even though they are not at the beginning of a Maseches or
chapter. He therefore disagrees with the Me'or on this count. Instead, he
explains that "Or l'Arba'ah Asar" as opposed to "Leil Arba'ah Asar" means
the *very beginning* of the evening. It refers to the moments immediately
after sunset, when there is still some light in the sky from the day, in
contrast to when the sky is entirely dark. Since Bedikah must be done at
the beginning of the night, as the Gemara (4a) teaches, the Mishnah says
"Or l'Arba'ah Asar" -- at the beginning of the night of the fourteenth.
(The Beraisa of d'Vei Shmuel was intended to explain the word "Or" in the
Mishnah, and that is why it had to say "Leil.")
In all of the other Mishnayos which use the word "Or" (as cited in our
Gemara, 3a), the Mishnah is also referring to the beginning of the night.
The intention of the Mishnah in all of those cases is that *even* the
beginning of the night is not considered part of the previous day, but it
is considered part of the coming day.
2) THE GENTILE WHO ATE FROM THE KORBAN PESACH
QUESTION: The Gemara tells us that when Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira's plan
revealed to the people in Yerushalayim that one of the people partaking in
the Korban Pesach was actually a gentile, they killed him.
While it is true that they should not have given him any more meat of the
Korban Pesach since he was a gentile (the Torah prohibits feeding a
gentile from the Korban Pesach, Shmos 12:43), it is not clear why they
killed him. What did he do to deserve death?
(a) The MINCHAS CHINUCH (14:2) and the TZELACH (73a) cite the opinion of
the RAMBAM (Sefer ha'Mitzvos, Lav #126, and the S'MAG) that the
prohibition which says that a gentile may not eat of the Korban Pesach
applies to the gentile *himself*. It is not merely an exhortation to the
Jews not to *feed* the meat to a gentile; rather a gentile is commanded
not to eat from the Korban Pesach. Since a gentile is killed for
transgressing any of the Mitzvos which apply to the B'nei Noach
("Azharasan Zo Hi Misasan," Sanhedrin 57a), transgressing the Mitzvah not
to eat from the Korban Pesach also carries with it a Chiyuv Misah.
The TOSFOS HA'ROSH (Yevamos 71a) in fact mentions this possibility, but he
questions it, because this prohibition is never counted as one of the
Noachide Laws. Rather, it is more logical to assume that the Jew is
commanded not to feed the meat of the Korban to a gentile, and that is
indeed how the RAMBAM rules in Mishnah Torah. (This is how the Mitzvah
appears even in the Sefer ha'Mitzvos, according to Hagaon Rav Chaim
Heller's Hebrew translation from the original Arabic).
(b) The Acharonim suggest another reason why the gentile in this case was
killed. The MINCHAS CHINUCH (loc cit.) points out that according to Rashi
in Kidushin 52b, even when a non-Kohen eats from a Korban, he receives his
portion from "Shulchan Gavoha" - as a gift from the table of Hashem, as it
were. That is, the meat of a Korban is not his actual property; it is
"Hekdesh" which is granted to him for the sole purpose of eating as a
Korban. Therefore, if a gentile ate the meat of a Korban which he was not
allowed to eat, he is stealing from Gavoha, and a gentile is killed for
stealing even as little as a Perutah's worth.
(c) The KOVETZ SHI'URIM and D'VAR SHMUEL point out that even according to
Tosfos -- who argues and says that when a Jew who is not a Kohen eats from
a Korban, he is *not* eating from Shulchan Gavoha but from his private
property - the gentile is still guilty of stealing, not from Hekdesh but
from other Jews who were entitled to it. Even though Rashi in our Sugya
says that the gentile that ate the Pesach paid the Jews' for his portion
of the Pesach (DH Rebbi Yehudah), nevertheless, had the Jews known that he
was a gentile they would not have sold the meat to him. Therefore, the
transaction was erroneous (a Mekach Ta'us), and intentionally fooling the
seller is a type of theft.
(d) Another possibility is suggested by the author of CHADASHIM V'GAM
YESHANIM. The RAMBAN (Bereishis 3:13) explains that the Nachash was
punished for *causing Adam and Chavah to sin*. Even though the Nachash
itself did not sin any more than any of the other animals, since he caused
Adam and Chavah to sin, he was punished more than any of the other
animals. We see that even before the Torah was given, it was certainly
prohibited to cause someone to sin. If so, a gentile is also to be
punished for causing Jews to sin (such as by fooling them into feeding a
non-Jew from the Korban Pesach), and perhaps he is killed for such an
(e) The MINCHAS CHINUCH further suggests that perhaps they killed the
gentile the same way that the sons of Yakov killed the residents of the
city of Shechem. The RAMBAN (Bereishis 33:13) says that the sons of Yakov
were permitted to kill the residents of Shechem even though they did not
commit any specific crime at the time for which they were worthy of death.
Rather, they were Chayav Misah for many past transgressions. Here, too,
when the Jews found out that this person was a gentile, they investigated
and discovered that in the past he had committed sins for which a gentile
is Chayav Misah, and that is why they killed him.