THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SANHEDRIN 96-100 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs.
Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the third Yahrzeit of her father, Reb
Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner), who passed away 18 Teves 5760. May the
merit of supporting and advancing Talmud study serve as an Iluy for his
1) THE WORLD IN THE TIMES OF MASHI'ACH
QUESTION: There are two opinions concerning what the world will be like in
the times of Mashi'ach. According to Shmuel, the world will be the same as
it is now, with the exception that the Jewish people will be autonomous and
not subjugated to foreign dominion. According to Rebbi Chiya bar Aba in the
name of Rebbi Yochanan, the world will fundamentally change; all of the
prophecies of the prophets will come true, and war and poverty will be cease
The RAMBAM, when describing the times of Mashi'ach, appears to contradict
himself. In Hilchos Teshuvah (8:7), the Rambam writes that all the
prophecies of the prophets apply to the times of Mashi'ach, and not to Olam
ha'Ba. Similarly, in Hilchos Melachim (12:1,5) he writes that there will be
no more war or starvation in the times of Mashi'ach. The Rambam is clearly
ruling in accordance with the opinion of Rebbi Chiya bar Aba. However, in
the same chapter (12:2), the Rambam quotes the words of Shmuel, "There is no
difference between this world and the times of Mashi'ach except the lack of
subjugation to foreign dominion," who argues with Rav Chiya bar Aba and the
other statements that the Rambam writes!
ANSWER: The Rambam himself gives the key to answering this contradiction. In
Hilchos Melachim (12:1), the Rambam writes that all of the prophecies in
Yeshayah (ch. 11), such as the wolf living with sheep, are all metaphorical,
representing the fact that there will be peace between the Jews and the
seventy "wolves," the other nations of the world.
The Rambam understands that Rebbi Chiya bar Aba was saying that although the
prophecies *will* come to pass in the days of Mashi'ach, the natural order
of the world will *not* change. There will be no miraculous changes in the
physical nature of the world. Any prophecy that alludes to a miraculous
change is just a metaphor.
According to Shmuel, on the other hand, the prophecies will not come to pass
at all in the times of Mashi'ach, and there will *not* be peace among the
other nations. That is why the Rambam -- who says that the prophecies *will*
come true in the time of Mashi'ach (not like Shmuel) -- can still say (using
Shmuel's words) that there will be no change in the actual *nature* of the
world. (See LECHEM MISHNEH in Hilchos Teshuvah 8:7.)
Why, then, does the Rambam use the words of Shmuel to express this thought?
Shmuel himself meant his words literally when he said that there is no
difference between this world and the times of Mashi'ach even with regard to
peace in the world, and not just with regard to the physical nature of the
world! Why does the Rambam use those same words to refer to a different
concept -- that there *will* be a significant difference between the world
as it is now and the world during the times of Mashi'ach?
It is apparent from many comments of the Rambam that the Rambam prefers to
use the phraseology of the Chachamim of the Gemara even when he is not
ruling in accordance with the opinion of the Tana or Amora who said those
words. The Rambam often uses the words of the Chachamim when those words
express his point, even when they were originally stated in a completely
different, and even opposite, context (see, for example, Hilchos Isurei
Bi'ah 1:3). Here, the words of Shmuel are quoted to express the Rambam's
view, even though Shmuel himself meant something entirely different. (M.
2) SINGING THE TORAH
QUESTION: Rebbi Akiva teaches, "Zamer b'Chol Yom." RASHI explains that this
means that a person should constantly review what he has learned, like a
song that a person sings repetitively.
It seems that Rebbi Akiva is comparing words of Torah to a song. Similarly,
the Gemara in Eruvin (18b) says that if Divrei Torah are learned in a house
at night, the house will not be destroyed, and it derives this from the
verse, "The person who sings Zemiros at night...," (Iyov 35:10) where the
"Zemiros" refer to Divrei Torah.
3) TZADIKIM DO NOT STEAL
These statements seem to contradict the Gemara in Sotah (35a; see Insights
there), which says that David ha'Melech was punished for calling Divrei
Torah "Zemiros" (Tehilim 119:54). According to the Gemara there, Hashem told
David, "Divrei Torah can be forgotten in the blink of an eye (Mishlei 23:5),
and you are calling them 'Zemiros' (that are treated lightly, without
concentration)?" Hashem punished him by making him forget an explicit verse
as a result of treating Divrei Torah like Zemiros.
How can Rebbi Akiva here, and the Gemara in Eruvin, refer to Divrei Torah as
"Zemiros," if the Gemara in Sotah teaches that it is prohibited to treat
Divrei Torah like Zemiros?
ANSWER: It might be suggested that *reviewing* what one has already learned
may be referred to as "Zemiros," since he is simply saying it over without
great concentration, while learning something in-depth, with deep
concentration, cannot be referred to as "Zemer."
The Gemara in Eruvin that discusses learning at night refers to a person who
is *reviewing* what he learned by day. Since it is harder to concentrate at
night (which is why the Sanhedrin only convenes during the daytime, see
Sanhedrin 34b), nighttime study is normally designated for reviewing what
one has learned during the day. King David, though, was referring in his
offending statement to the way in which *in-depth study* of Torah provided
him solace during his times of exile. Therefore he should not have referred
to it as "Zemiros." (M. Kornfeld, based on a point heard from Rav Moshe
We may still ask, however, that in a number of places the Torah is referred
to as "Shirah," or "song" (Nedarim 38a, Chagigah 12b; this also seems to be
the intent of the Gemara in Eruvin 21b on the verse "Shiro Chamishah
v'Elef," and the Gemara in Chulin 133a, on the verse "Shar b'Shirim Al Lev
Ra."). It does not seem that the Gemara in those places is referring
specifically to reviewing what one has learned. Rather, the Torah itself is
called a "Shirah."
The DIVREI SHALOM (5:62, see also 5:63-67) suggests, based on the words of
the MAHARAL (Sanhedrin 101a), that although calling Divrei Torah "Zimrah" is
disrespectful, calling Divrei Torah a "Shirah" is not. Shirah refers to a
musical composition, which may require great talent and concentration to
compose or perform. Zimrah, on the other hand, is a lighthearted tune, such
as the tune a person hums to himself when in a good mood. Referring to Torah
as "Zimrah" denotes that it is not necessary to concentrate on it, which is
untrue and misleading.
QUESTION: The verse (Bereishis 30:14) states that Reuven went out into the
fields at the time of "Ketzir Chitim," the wheat harvest, to pick "Duda'im."
The reason the Torah emphasizes that it was after the wheat harvest, the
Gemara explains, is in order to teach that Tzadikim do not stretch out their
hands to take that which does not belong to them.
RASHI here explains that this is derived from the fact that Reuven went only
after the wheat harvest, when it becomes permitted to walk into neighboring
fields without asking permission. Alternatively, Rashi on the verse there
writes that this is derived from the fact that there was plenty of valuable
wheat and barley from which he could have taken, and yet all he took was the
Why was Reuven's action considered an act of righteousness, an act that is
only found only among Tzadikim? Had Reuven entered a private field without
permission or taken wheat that did not belong to him, he would have
transgressed an explicit prohibition (and one which is even included in the
Seven Mitzvos of Benei Noach)!
ANSWER: The Gemara in Bava Basra (165a) writes that most people succumb to
the temptation of Gezel, stealing. The RASHBAM there explains that this does
not mean that most people actively steal in an outright manner. Rather, it
means that most people create a logical argument ("Moreh Heter") to permit
themselves, in their business dealings, to take money which they are not
truly entitled to take.
RASHI (to Bereishis 13:7) comments that the shepherds of Lot let their
animals graze in the fields of others. When Avraham confronted them about
the matter, they claimed that since Hashem promised to give the land of
Eretz Yisrael to Avraham, and Avraham had no heirs at that time other than
Lot, they were entitled to the land because of Lot's eventual inheritance.
Their logic was not correct, because Hashem had only *promised* to give the
land to Avraham, and Avraham he had not yet acquired it.
In a similar manner, Reuven could easily have permitted himself to enter a
private field and to take the produce, with the same logic that Lot's
shepherds used. The fields in which Reuven found the Duda'im belonged to his
grandfather, Lavan, who was not yet blessed with male children (see Rashi,
Bereishis 30:27). An ordinary person might have succumbed to the temptation
of saying, "These fields are ours in either case, since my mother and her
sisters will certainly inherit all the possessions of my grandfather Lavan."
The Gemara teaches, therefore, that Tzadikim are different. They do not
build false pretenses in order to permit to themselves what might not
actually be theirs.
This might be why the Gemara does not say simply, "Tzadikim do not steal,"
but rather it says, "Tzadikim *do not stretch out their hands* in stolen
property." "Stretching out the hand" refers to creating a justification to
permit oneself to take someone else's property. (M. Kornfeld)