THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE EXILE OF A MAN
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.
2) THE TORAH WAS GIVEN IN SECRET
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.
3) THE NUMBER OF LASHES FOR "MAKAS MARDUS"
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"
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).
4) THE SWEETNESS OF STOLEN WATERS
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
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
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
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
(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
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.