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Rosh Hashanah 6
ROSH HASHANAH 2-10 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.
1) AGADAH: ONE'S WIFE SHALL NOT DIE FOR ONE'S SIN OF "BAL T'ACHER"
QUESTION: The Gemara concludes that the verse, "v'Hayah Bicha Chet" (lit.
"It shall be a sin in you"), teaches that the Isur of Bal T'acher affects
only the person who transgresses it, and does not affect his wife. TOSFOS
(DH Ela Im Ken) adds that even though we are taught that one's wife *can* be
punished for his sin of not fulfilling his Neder (Shabbos 32b), she will not
suffer for his sin of Bal T'acher, *delaying* the fulfillment of his Neder,
if he eventually does fulfill it.
2) THE OMISSION OF THREE KORBANOS FROM THE BERAISA OF "BAL T'ACHER"
The Midrash tells us that Rachel died when Yakov Avinu came to Eretz
Yisrael, because he delayed fulfilling his Neder of bringing a libation of
oil (Nisuch Shemen) upon the Mizbe'ach in Beis-El, which he vowed to do when
he went to the house of Lavan (Bereishis Raba 81:2, Vayikra Raba 37:1,
Tanchuma Vayishlach 8, Zohar Bereishis 175a, see also Rashi Bereishis 35:1).
We know that Yakov Avinu eventually fulfilled his Neder, even before Rachel
died (Bereishis 35:6-7). It seems, then, that the Midrash is saying that his
wife died for his sin of Bal T'acher, which contradicts our Gemara! (KOHELES
YAKOV Algazi; CHIDA, in Nitzotzei Oros to the Zohar, ibid.)
(a) The PERASHAS DERACHIM (Drush #3, DH uva'Zeh Yuvan, see also PARDES YOSEF
Bereishis end of 35:1) explains that our Gemara's statement is actually
dependent upon an argument among the Tana'im (see TOSFOS DH mid'Ben, and
SEFAS EMES here). The above Midrashim are following a dissenting opinion
that does not accept our Gemara's contention that the Isur of Bal T'acher
does not affect one's wife. This is especially clear from the Vayikra Raba
cited above which is prefaced by the statement, "One who vows and *delays
his vow* buries his wife."
(b) The KLI CHEMDAH (beginning of Vayishlach) suggests that the Midrashim do
not argue. Rather, it is evident from the Zohar cited above that Rachel died
because she was experiencing a life-threatening situation due to her
childbirth (as in Shabbos 32). Because it was a time of strict justice, the
sin of Bal T'acher caused that Hashem did not have mercy on her and save her
from her fate. However, one's wife will not be taken for the sin of Bal
T'acher alone. (The Kli Chemdah then offers another solution based on a
(c) The MESHECH CHOCHMAH also asks this question (Vayishlach 35:8). Although
he himself offers a different solution to our question (ibid.), we may apply
what he himself writes elsewhere (Vayetze 31:13) to propose an original
When Yakov first made the Neder (Bereishis 28:22), he promised that he will
return to offer Nesachim to Hashem once again on the same Matzeivah that he
set up now, on his way to Lavan. When he finally returned, though, Hashem
told him to erect a new *Mizbe'ach* and not to use the Matzeivah as he had
promised (Bereishis 35:1,7). Why the change?
The Torah (Devarim 16:22) says that it is forbidden to make a Matzeivah
today because it is something which Hashem "has come to despise." Even
though the Avos made Matzeivos, Rashi explains, now that the idol-
worshippers make Matzeivos to their idols, it is despicable to Hashem.
Therefore, we may make only a Mizbe'ach, an altar comprised of several
stones, and not a Matzeivah comprised of a single stone.
At what point did the idol-worshippers begin using a Matzeivah for their
rituals? It could be that it was during those years after Yakov made a
Matzeivah in Beis-El, before he returned there years later. During that
time, the nations learned this mode of worship from Yakov's Matzeivah and
started to adopt the practice for their worship of idols. That, explains the
Meshech Chochmah, is why Yakov Avinu was not able to make a Matzeivah upon
his return to Beis-El -- by that time it had become something that was
commonly done for idol-worship. (Although the verse does mention the
erection and Nisuch of a Matzeivah upon Yakov's return, 35:14, it is only
flashing back to its original erection while on the way to Lavan, see Ramban
and Sforno there.)
If so, we may propose that had Yakov Avinu returned earlier to fulfill he
Neder, then he might have been able to still use pour oil on the Matzeivah,
since the nations had not adopted the practice of making Matzeivos for their
idols. It was because of his delay that the nations had time to start using
Matzeivos to serve their idols, and therefore he was not able to fulfill his
Neder the way he had promised, to pour oil on the Matzeivah in Beis-El.
Instead, he could make only a Mizbe'ach there. Thus, as a result of Yakov's
delayed fulfillment of his Neder he was never able to fulfill the Neder in
its entirety (since he could not make a Matzeivah). It was for that sin that
his wife was punished, and not for the sin of delaying a Neder.
QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Beraisa that derives the Isur of Bal T'acher
from the verses, "When you make a Neder... do not delay in fulfilling it....
That which comes out of your mouth you must observe and do, just as you
vowed to Hashem your G-d..." (Devarim 23:22-24). The Gemara says that from
the words "to Hashem your G-d" we learn that Bal T'acher applies to Korbanos
Chata'os, Ashamos, Olos and Shelamim. The Gemara earlier (end of 4a) cites
another Beraisa which also enumerates the different things to which Bal
T'acher applies, and it adds Bechor, Ma'aser (that is, Ma'aser Behemah), and
the Korban Pesach. Why does the Beraisa here not mention Bechor, Ma'aser,
and Pesach like the one earlier?
ANSWER: The Gemara here concludes that this Beraisa is discussing a
situation of "Amar v'Lo Afrish" -- the person said that he was going to
bring a Korban, but he did not yet designate an animal as the Korban. Such a
case exists by the Korbanos of a Chatas, Asham, Olah, and Shelamim. It is
not possible, though, to have such a case of Bechor or Ma'aser, because the
animal becomes Kadosh as a Bechor immediately at birth, and it does not
depend on one's verbal commitment to bring the animal as a Korban.
Similarly, in the case of Ma'aser Behemah, the tenth animal becomes Ma'aser
immediately as it exits the stable as the tenth animal to emerge. The
Beraisa here does not mention the Korban Pesach for one of two reasons.
According to the opinion earlier (5a) that said that Pesach was mentioned in
the Beraisa only because Bechor and Ma'aser were mentioned (since those
three are always mentioned together), once Bechor and Ma'aser are left out,
there is no longer any reason to mention Pesach. According to the other
opinion there which says that "Pesach" in the Beraisa refers to the Shalmei
Pesach, that is a Korban Pesach that was lost and then found, the case of
"Amar v'Lo Afrish" obviously does not apply because those animals were
already designated as a Korban.
3) A YEAR WITHOUT THREE "REGALIM"
QUESTIONS: The Beraisa says that one transgresses the Isur of Bal T'acher
either when three Regalim pass even though one year has not passed, or when
one year passes, even though three Regalim have not passed. The Gemara asks,
according to the Tana that does not require the three Regalim to be in order
(Pesach, Shavuos, Sukos), how can a year pass by without the three Regalim
also passing by? Although Rebbi maintains that in a leap year, the extra
month is not included in the year (and therefore, it is possible to have a
year pass by without the three Regalim), the Rabanan argue and maintain that
the extra month is included in the year, and thus the year will always
include three Regalim!
(a) According to the Rabanan, why does the Gemara not answer simply that we
find a year without three Regalim in a case where one pledges in the middle
of a Regel to bring a Korban? In such a case, a year will pass without three
complete Regalim. The Gemara earlier (5b) said that when a Korban was
designated in the middle of a Regel, the half-Regel that passes after
designating the Korban does not count as one of three Regalim. Why does the
Gemara not give this case as a simple case of a year without three Regalim?
(b) Alternatively, the Gemara could have answered simply that in a case
where the animal was sick during one of the Regalim, the year passes without
three Regalim! The Gemara (at the beginning of this Amud) says that when an
animal is sick during the Regel, that Regel does not count as one of the
three Regalim in order to transgress the Isur of Bal T'acher. Why did the
Gemara not answer its question with this case? (TOSFOS, DH Bishleima)
(a) TOSFOS (DH Shanah) answers that the reason the Gemara earlier says that
half of a Regel does not count as a Regel is because the person missed the
first half of the Regel. When one year passes by, by the end of that year
one has made up the first half of the Regel, and the two halves combine and
thus there will be three full Regalim that passed (since the opinion that
the Gemara is discussing now does not hold that the three Regalim have to be
TOSFOS YESHANIM (DH d'Akdeshei) explains that one if one designates a Korban
during a Regel, that Regel does not count towards Bal T'acher because Bal
T'acher depends on encountering the *beginning* of a Regel. Therefore, one
who made an oath in the middle of a Regel to bring a Korban transgresses Bal
T'acher when the *beginning* of that Regel the next year (which occurs
before a full year has passed) arrives. As such, it is not a case of a year
passing without three Regalim.
(b) TOSFOS and other Rishonim write that the Gemara could have indeed given
the answer of a case where the animal was sick. The CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN adds
that the Gemara wanted to teach that even when the animal was not sick
during a Regel, it is still possible to find a case of a year without three
The PNEI YEHOSHUA and CHACHAM TZVI (#12) write that when the Gemara says
that one does not transgress if he delays bringing the Korban when the
animal is sick during the Regel, it is referring to the Mitzvas Aseh to
bring the animal on time ("v'Havesem Shamah"). Here, though, the Gemara is
discussing the Lo Ta'aseh of Bal T'acher. Concerning the Lo Ta'aseh, it is
logical that the passing of three Regalim is simply a sign that the amount
of time that one is allotted to bring the Korban has passed. If three
Regalim pass, that means that too much time has accumulated. Even if the
animal is sick during one or more of those Regalim, as soon as that much
time has accumulated, one must bring the Korban (if the animal is well, of
course). Therefore, by the time a year passes, even though the animal was
sick during the Regel, there is a Chiyuv to bring the Korban because three
Regalim have passed. If the animal is still sick, then there is no Isur of
Bal T'acher, neither due to the passing of three Regalim *nor* due to the
passing of an entire year. (For a discussion of this opinion, see also SEFAS
EMES Beitzah 19b DH l'Meikam, KEHILOS YAKOV Kanievsky Rosh Hashanah #7.)