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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.


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.

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 Pilpul.)

(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 solution.

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.


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 in order).

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 Regalim.

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.)

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