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Sanhedrin, 26


AGADAH: Hashem informed Shavna that for his audacity he would be punished that Hashem will punish him with "Taltelah Gaver" (Yeshayah 22:17), the "exile of a man." The Gemara says that the exile of a man is more difficult than that of a woman.

Why is the exile of man more difficult than that of a woman?


(a) The RADAK in Yeshayah there explains that people tend to have more mercy for a wandering woman, than for a wandering man, because of her helplessness. Therefore, a man's exile is more difficult.

(b) The MESHECH CHOCHMAH (Vayikra 14:31) cites the Mishnah in Kerisus (8b) which says that one Halachic difference between a man and a woman is that a man who is a Metzora Muchlat must perform Peri'ah and Perimah -- he must tear his clothing and let his hair grow. A woman, though, does not need to perform Peri'ah and Perimah. Hashem was hinting to Shavna that he would become a Metzora Muchlat and would have to perform Peri'ah and Perimah, as required of a man who becomes a Metzora Muchlat.

The Meshech Chochmah adds that this might be related to why the men of Sancheriv laughed at Shavna when he emerged from the city alone to greet them. They thought that he was trying to fool them and that he really never had a following at all, and the only reason he left the city was because he was expelled from the walled city of Yerushalayim due to his Tzara'as.


AGADAH: The Gemara says that the Torah is called "Tushiyah" (Yeshayah 28:29) because "it was given to the Jews secretly, because of the Satan." RASHI explains that the Torah was given in secret so that the Satan would not be able to argue that the Torah should not be given to the Jews but that it should remain in heaven.

The Gemara in Shabbos (89a) relates that when Moshe left Har Sinai after receiving the Torah, the Angel of Death (who is the Satan, who is also the Yetzer ha'Ra, as the Gemara says in Bava Basra 16a) came to Hashem and asked, "Where did the Torah go?" TOSFOS there explains that the Satan did not know that the Torah had been given to the Jews. Tosfos cites the Midrash with explains that Hashem kept the Satan preoccupied with other matters at the time the Torah was given so that he should not say, "How can you give the Torah to the Jews when they will sin in only forty days by building a golden calf?" The Midrash explains that Hashem did not want the Satan to know about the giving of the Torah, so He arranged to have the Satan "miss" the event.

How, though, was this accomplished? The Torah (see Shemos 19:16, 19) describes how the Torah was given amidst great fanfare, with loud thunder and lightning. How was such an event kept "concealed" from the Satan?

ANSWER: The answer perhaps may lie in the comments of Tosfos elsewhere. The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (16b) teaches that we blow the Shofar a number of times on Rosh Hashanah, even though the Torah requires us to blow it only once, in order to "confound the Satan." In what way does blowing the Shofar confound the Satan and prevent him from interfering with our pleas for mercy? Tosfos, citing Midrashic sources, explains as follows. In the End of Days, Hashem will "slay the Angel of Death" (Yeshayah 25:8). The coming of the End of Days will be signaled by a loud and long blast of the Shofar (Yeshayah 27:13). When the Satan, who is also the Angel of Death, hears our long series of Shofar blasts, he is immediately gripped by the fear that his end has arrived. Because of this, explains the Midrash, he hides himself until after we finish our prayers.

When the Torah was given on Har Sinai, it was accompanied by a series of extremely loud Shofar blasts (Shemos 19:16, 19). Perhaps these Shofar blasts, like those of the Shofar of Rosh Hashanah, "frightened the Satan away" so that he would not intervene and prevent the Torah from being given.

The Gemara in Nedarim (32b) teaches that the word "ha'Satan" ("the Satan") has a numerical value of 364, which is one less than the number of days in the year. This is meant to indicate that the Satan rules over man only 364 days of the year. On Yom Kippur, the Satan has no rule. Perhaps the Satan is "sent away" on Yom Kippur for the same reason that he was sent away when the Torah was given. Although the Torah was given to us on Shavuos, when the Jews sinned with the Egel ha'Zahav they lost the Torah. It was returned to them only on the tenth of Tishrei, Yom Kippur (Rashi to Shemos 31:18). On that day, and again on every subsequent year, the Satan is "preoccupied" and not free to challenge the prayers of the Jewish people while they reaffirm their acceptance of the Torah and Mitzvos.

It is evident from our Gemara and other sources that the Satan deemed it very important to prevent the Jews from receiving the Torah. Why does the Satan feel so threatened by the thought of leaving the Torah in the hands of the Jewish people? One would think that he would be pleased with the prospect of having 613 ways to accuse them, and not just seven!

The answer is that Satan knows that only the study of the Torah can give the Jews the power to resist his advances. Hashem told the Jews, "My children! I created the Evil Inclination, and I created the Torah to be its antidote. As long as you study the Torah, you will be free from its clutches" (Kidushin 30b). Similarly, the Gemara in Berachos (5a) says that one should always wage a war with his Evil Inclination; "If he defeats it, then that is good, but if not, then let him study the Torah (for that will help him conquer it)." The Satan, therefore, would do anything in his power to prevent the Jews from receiving the Torah. In order for us to receive the Torah, Satan had to be kept away until it was too late for him to do anything. That is, in order to be worthy of receiving the Torah the Jews had to be elevated to a level from which they could plainly see Hashem's dominion and see the emptiness of the forces of evil.

Hashem, of course, foresaw this from the beginning of time. Upon the completion of the six days of Creation, we are told that "Hashem saw all that He created, and behold it was very good" (Bereishis 1:31). The Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 9:9) explains, "'And behold it was very good' -- this refers to the Evil Inclination."

The verse continues, "and dusk and dawn passed of *the* sixth day." Rashi there points out that "the extra letter 'Heh' ('the') is meant to indicate that all of Creation was conditional on the Jews receiving the *five* (the numerical value of Heh) Books of the Chumash at a future point in time. Also, all of Creation was waiting for *the sixth day* -- that is, the sixth day of Sivan, on which the Torah was given at Har Sinai." Hence, the world was created with the condition that the Torah be given to the Jewish people. Only with the Torah -- and the protection that it gives against the temptations of the Yetzer ha'Ra -- is the world considered "very good." (See Parshah Page, Shavuos 5758.)

OPINIONS: Rav Nachman says that a person who is suspected of adultery may testify as a witness in court. Rav Sheshes protests, "How can we accept his testimony after giving him forty lashes because of his sin!" RASHI is bothered why the Gemara says that such a person receives forty lashes. First, the person is only *suspected* of sinning. Second, in order to be punished with Malkus, the transgressor must be warned by witnesses with "Hasra'ah," and perhaps this suspected sinner was not warned with Hasra'ah! Rashi answers that these lashes are mid'Rabanan, based on the Gemara in Kidushin (81a) which says that we administer Malkus to a person who, through his actions, has aroused suspicion of sinfulness. The Gemara there explains that the Malkus is not for transgressing a verse in the Torah, but rather for transgressing a verse in Navi (Shmuel I 2:24).

Malkus d'Rabanan is usually referred to as "Makas Mardus." Can we infer from this Gemara that Makas Mardus, like Malkus d'Oraisa, involves forty (thirty-nine) lashes?

There are a number of opinions in the Rishonim regarding the number of Malkus administered in a case of Makas Mardus.

(a) TOSFOS (Nazir 20b, DH Rebbi Yehudah) and the ROSH (ibid.) cite a Tosefta in Makos (3:10) which teaches that the Makos of the Torah comprise 39 lashes, but Beis Din must evaluate the strength of the person receiving the Makos in order to determine how many Makos he is fit to suffer without it endangering his life. Makas Mardus is different; the person is beaten until he either accepts to do what he is supposed to do, or "until his soul leaves him."

The ARUCH (Erech "Mered") differentiates similarly between the two, writing that one who transgresses a Mitzvas Aseh (by refusing to do it) is beaten until his soul leaves him, and, similarly, one who transgresses the words of the Chachamim is beaten without having his strength evaluated and without a set number of lashes. (The Aruch writes that they are called Makas Mardus because the person "rebelled" (Marad) against the Chachamim and the Torah.)

This is also the opinion of the GE'ONIM (cited by the NIMUKEI YOSEF at the end of Makos). The RAMBAM (Hilchos Chametz u'Matzah 6:12), too, records that Makas Mardus for one who eats Matzah on Erev Pesach (an Isur d'Rabanan) is administered until he does what he is supposed to do or until his soul leaves him. RASHI in Chulin (141b, DH Makas) also writes that Makas Mardus means beating without a limit (until he accepts to do what he is supposed to do).

According to these Rishonim, why does our Gemara mention *40* lashes? The answer might be as the RIVASH (#90) writes with regard to another question. The Rivash was asked how can Makos d'Rabanan be worse than the Malkus of the Torah? The Rivash answered that Makas Mardus that are given "until his soul leaves him" are only a form of preventative Makos, given to force a person to fulfill a Mitzvas Aseh mid'Oraisa that he refuses to fulfill. However, if a person transgressed a Mitzvah mid'Rabanan and Beis Din simply wants to punish him for his wrongdoing, Makas Mardus certainly have a limit. TOSFOS (Nazir 20b, DH Rebbi Yehudah) and the ROSH (Nazir 21b, DH Rebbi Yehudah) make a similar distinction.

The Rivash cites Tosfos (see Tosfos in Bechoros 54a, DH u'Shnei) as saying that Makas Mardus comprise 39 Makos just like Malkus of the Torah, but they are not as powerful as Malkus d'Oraisa. They are given while the person is dressed, and without the full strength of the one administering the lashes. This is why it is not necessary to evaluate if the person will survive the Makos. He cites the Gemara in Kidushin (28a), which mentions 40 lashes with regard to Makas Mardus, as his source for this ruling.

This same concept will explain why our Gemara mentions that 40 lashes are administered.

(b) However, the Rivash himself proposes that Makas Mardus are not a set number of lashes. In contrast to Malkus of the Torah, where the number of lashes is determined by the strength of the sinner, Makas Mardus are determined by the severity of the sin.

RABEINU TAM (cited by SHILTEI GIBORIM on the MORDECHAI, Bava Basra 8:1, and by TESHUVOS RASHBASH #96) explains that the Makas Mardus for an Aveirah that was already done are only 13 lashes and not 39. The reason the Torah prescribes 39 is because of the need to give a triple set of lashes, one on each of the two shoulders, and one on the stomach. Makas Mardus do not have to be tripled and are only given on the back, and therefore only 13 are given. (See Insights to Yoma 77:1. This might be what the Aruch means when he mentions that Makas d'Oraisa are "Meshulashos," but not Makas Mardus.)

According to the Rivash and Rabeinu Tam, why does our Gemara mention *40* lashes? The GILYONEI HA'SHAS cites the TESHUVOS RA'ANACH (2:42) who explains that since this Malkus is based on a verse in Navi, it is more severe than Makas Mardus. It is Malkus "mi'Divrei Kabalah," and therefore 40 lashes are administered just like Malkus d'Oraisa. (The Ra'anach uses this to answer the opinion of the Ge'onim cited above.)

(See also Insights to Kidushin 28:2.)

QUESTION: The Gemara says that a person who is suspected of transgressing Arayos is not believed if he testifies about the marital status of a woman. Rav Papa adds that he *is* believed to testify that a woman *is* married. The Gemara explains that this is not obvious, because we might have thought that he prefers for the woman to be married (even though she really is not married) so that when he has a courtship with her, she will be "Mayim Genuvim," or "stolen waters" (Mishlei 9:17), which means that since he will have made her prohibited to him by law, his sin will be more pleasurable. Therefore, Rav Papa teaches us that even though she becomes prohibited to him through his testimony, an adulterer would prefer for his mistress *not* to be considered married, because as long as she is not considered ot be married it is much easier for him to have a relationship with her.

If the adulterer lies and testifies that she is married, then how will that make her "Mayim Genuvim?" He is lying, and he knows that she is not really married, and that she is just as permitted now as she was before he testified! (ARUCH LA'NER)


(a) The ARUCH LA'NER and BEIS MEIR answer that "Mayim Genuvim" does not refer specifically to prohibited objects. It refers to anything that has become difficult to obtain, whether it is difficult to obtain because it is prohibited, or whether it is difficult to attain because it is protected. The mentality of the sinner is that the harder a person must work for something, the more he enjoys it. A woman who is assumed to be married, even though she is not really married, will still be more difficult for the sinner to sin with, and therefore the sinner might consider her to be "Mayim Genuvim."

The MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM points out that this concept is expressed more clearly in the end of the verse, "v'Lechem Setarim Yin'am" -- "and bread eaten in secret is pleasant;" when a sinner steals bread that is hidden, it tastes sweeter to him.

(b) RAV CHAIM SHMUELEVITZ zt'l (Sichos Musar 5731:25, 5732:16) explains that a sinner has an appetite for transgression. Therefore, he might build an imaginary wall of a prohibition so that he will enjoy transgressing the imaginary Isur that he created.

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