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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sanhedrin 39



(a) A certain non-believer accused Hashem of being a Ganav - because, as the Torah describes, he put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs.

(b) In reply, Raban Gamliel's daughter - informed him that she was looking for a judge, to deal with a thief who had stolen from her a silver jug, leaving a golden one in its place.

(c) The non-believer - expressed the wish that he should only attract such Ganavim.

(d) And when he explained that his problem was with the fact that Hashem took the limb whilst Adam was asleep, and not whilst he was awake - she took a piece of raw meat, grilled it under hot ashes in front of him, and offered him a piece. And when, having seen the raw meat being prepared mixed with ashes, they disgusted him, he declined her offer, she pointed out to him that, by his own word of mouth, some things are better unseen.

(a) When a certain non-believer claimed that he knew what Hashem was doing, Raban Gamliel sighed - because he explained, he was thinking of his son who was overseas, whom he had not seen for a long time, and whom he was dying to see again.

(b) When he asked the non-believer whether he could perhaps show him where he was, and he replied that he had no idea, Raban Gamliel proved to him - that if he did not know what was happening here on earth, how could he possibly know what was happening in heaven?

(c) Raban Gamliel proved to that non-believer that he could not possibly ...

1. ... count the stars - just like he could not count quinces spinning round on a sieve, since the stars spin around too.
2. ... know how many stars there are in the sky (according to the second Lashon), seeing as he didn't even know how many teeth he had in his mouth, without counting them.
(a) That non-believer tried to prove from the Pasuk "Ki Hinei Yotzer Harim u'Vorei Ru'ach" - that there must be different gods (Kevayachol), and the one who formed mountains must be different than the one who created the wind.

(b) When Raban Gamliel countered with the Pasuk "ha'Noteh Ozen ha'Lo Yishma, ve'Im Yotzer Ayin ha'Lo Yabit", he meant to ask - whether by the same token, it was a different god who stretched the ear than the one who formed the eye (even though both are located in the same area).

(c) When this didn't seem to bother the non-believer, Raban Gamliel's final word on the matter was - how it is possible that the two gods always seem to come to terms when a person dies, each one withdrawing his section of soul from the body at the same time.

(d) When that sorcerer claimed that the top half of man belonged to Hurmiz (the name of a demon), and the lower half, to Ahurmiz (Hashem), Ameimar replied - that it is most unlikely that the latter would allow sewage on its way to the outlets belonging to the former, to pass through his territory.

(a) When the Emperor's suggested that the Jews and the Romans merge into one nation (meaning that the Jews should convert) - Rebbi Tanchum replied that, although it was possible for the Romans to circumcise and become like the Jews, the opposite was not.

(b) The Emperor - conceded that Rebbi Tanchum was right, but cited the law, that whoever defeated the Emperor in an argument had to be thrown to the wild beasts.

(c) When they threw...

1. ... Rebbi Tanchum to the wild beasts - they did not touch him.
2. ... the heretic (who attributed the wild animals not devouring Rebbi Tanchum to their not being hungry) to them - they suddenly developed an appetite.
(d) Based on the Chazal that the Shechinah is to be found wherever there is a Minyan, that non-believer asked Raban Gamliel - how many Shechinahs there were in the world.
(a) In response to the non-believer's question - Raban Gamliel called the non-believer's Shames and slapped his neck (it is unclear why he did this). In answer to Raban Gamliel's question why the sun shone through the window of a non-believer window, the Shames explained that the sun shines on the whole world, including through any window that happens to be open, even through that of a non-believer.

(b) Now if the sun, which is only one of Hashem's myriad's of servants, shines over the entire world, how much more so Hashem Himself.

(a) That heretic accused Hashem of being a jester, by virtue of what He did to Yechezkel - whom he made lie down, now on his right side, now on his left.

(b) Immediately after that, a disciple ask Rebbi Avahu - the underlying reason for the Mitzvah of Sh'mitah.

(c) Rebbi Avahu answered him - that Hashem commands us to sow six years and leave the land fallow on the seventh, to remind us that He is Master of the land.

(d) And this will also answers the heretic's Kashya - inasmuch as Yisrael did not do keep Sh'mitah. Consequently, Hashem behaved with them as a human king would. At the hand of ...

1. ... a cruel king - rebellious subjects would all be put to death.
2. ... a merciful king - half of them would be spared.
3. ... a king who was brimming with mercy - he would chastise their leaders, which explains why he tormented Yechezkel in the way that he did, since Hashem is a truly merciful King who chastises the leaders in order to cleanse the people of their sins.
(a) A certain heretic claimed that Hashem must be a Kohen - based on the Pasuk "ve'Yikchu Li Terumah" (though in fact, this has nothing to do with the Terumah of crops that is given to a Kohen).

(b) The heretic's problem was how Hashem subsequently Toveled. He could not have Toveled in water, he maintained - due to the Pasuk in Yeshayah "Mi Madad be'Sha'alo Mayim" (in which case, Hashem would not fit into all the water in the world).

(c) Rebbi Avahu answered - that Hashem Toveled in fire ...

(d) ... and he confirmed his answer - from the Dinim of Hag'alah, where water is second to fire in order of priorities. This answer to the Kashya (which is not valid in the first place, as we explained earlier) is not really a good one however - because the Dinim of Tevilah have nothing to do with those of Hag'alah.

(a) That heretic tried to make nothing of the Pasuk "u'Mi ke'Amcha Yisrael Goy Echad ba'Aretz" on the basis of the Pasuk "Kol ha'Goyim ke'Ayin Negdo" - which seemingly, incorporates Yisrael.

(b) When Rebbi Avina answered him 'mi'Didchu As'hidu Alan', he was referring to Bil'am - who proclaimed "u'va'Goyim Lo Yischashav", precluding us from the international community of 'Goyim'.

(c) Rebbi Elazar explains the apparent contradiction between the Pasuk in Tehilim "Tov Hashem la'Kol" and the Pasuk in Eichah "Tov Hashem le'Kovav" - with a Mashal of a person who waters all the trees in his orchard (since watering is easy), whereas when he digs (a task that requires far more effort), he only digs around those trees that are growing successfully.

(d) This translates into terms of Tzadikim and Resha'im - inasmuch as when it comes to feeding the world, Hashem sustains the Resha'im together with the Tzadikim, but when it comes to give reward and to shield from punishment, He reserves them for those who trust in Him exclusively.




(a) According to Rebbi Acha bar Chanina - the Pasuk "va'Ya'avor ha'Rinah ba'Machaneh" that "ha'Rinah" (rather than "Rinah") points to the Pasuk in Mishlei "ba'Avod Resha'im Rinah" ('ba'Avod Achav Rinah').

(b) Rebbi Yonasan derives from the fact that the Pasuk (in connection with Yehoshafat's defeat of Amon) "be'Tzeis Lifnei ha'Chalutz ve'Omrim Hodu la'Hashem Ki le'Olam Chasdo" omits the words "Ki Tov" - that Hashem does not rejoice when Resha'im are destroyed.

(c) He also derives from his own interpretation of the Pasuk "ve'Lo Karav Zeh el Zeh Kol ha'Laylah" (which he read as if it had written 've'Lo *Kara* Zeh el Zeh ... '), where Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni explains in his name - that upon the drowning of the Egyptians, Hashem stopped the angels from singing Shirah.

(d) Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina reconciles this with "ba'Avod Resha'im Rinah", 'ba'Avod Achav Rinah', by citing the Pasuk "Kein Yasis" (rather than 'Yasus') Hashem Aleichem Leha'avid Eschem" which teaches us - that although Hashem lets others rejoice at the destruction of Resha'im, He himself does not participate in the rejoicing.

(a) When Achav died, the Pasuk writes that the prostitutes bathed in his blood. Rebbi Elazar interprets the words "ve'ha'Zonos Rachatzu" as 'le'Marek Sh'tei Chezyonos', by which he means the two visions of Michoyhu and Eliyahu. The vision of ...
1. ... Michoyhu was - that if Achav would return from the battle alive, then Hashem had not spoken to him.
2. ... Eliyahu was - that the dogs would lick his blood at the same spot where they licked that of Navos (whom Achav had had killed).
(b) 'le'Marek Sh'tei Chezyonos' means - to clarify the two prophesies.

(c) In spite of the unlikelihood of the phrase "ve'ha'Zonos Rachatzu" being literal, Rava translates it literally, because the prostitutes referred to by the Pasuk are - the images of two prostitutes that Achav kept in his chariot (to arouse himself).

(a) This must have been one of the strangest battles ever, one which the Syrians won by shooting only one arrow - a random arrow to boot, which one of the soldiers (Na'aman) shot at nobody in particular.

(b) That arrow - hit Achav, critically wounding him.

(c) Rebbi Elazar interprets the word "le'Tumo" as 'Le'fi Tumo' (innocently), as we explained. Rava interprets it to mean - to make come true ('Le'tamem') the two prophesies (as we explained).

(d) To connect the two phrases "Vayikra Achav el Ovadyahu ... ve'Achav Yarei es Hashem Me'od", Rebbi Yitzchak explains how Achav (citing as a precedent, the estates of Lavan and Potifera respectively, both of which prospered under the management of Ya'akov and Yosef, respectively), asked Ovadyah why, if he was a G-d-fearing man (like they were), were his (Achav's) estates not prospering under his management?

(a) When Rebbi Aba says that what is written by Achav is greater still than what is written by Avraham, he is referring to - the word "Me'od", which does not appear in connection with Avraham.

(b) Rebbi Yitzchak ascribe Ovadyah meriting prophecy - to his having hidden a hundred prophets in two caves, to save them from the clutches of Achav and Izevel. Otherwise, he could not have possibly attained it - in his capacity as a Ger, bearing in mind that the Shechinah only rests on families in Yisrael that have a pure Yichus.

(c) According to Rebbi Avahu, Achav hid the hundred prophets in two caves simply because he could not fit them all into one. Rebbi Elazar however, explains that he took his cue from Ya'akov Avinu - who divided his camp into three, so that should Eisav attack one of them, the others could escape.

(d) Ephrayim Maksha'ah, a disciple of Rebbi Meir, attributes Hashem's choice of prophesying about Edom's downfall through Ovadyah to the fact that he was an Edumean convert (as a sort of poetic justice). Rebbi Yitzchak ascribes it to the fact that he did not learn from the evil ways of the two Resha'im - Achav and Izevel, with whom he lived, and it was therefore appropriate that he should prophesy about the downfall of Edom, descendants of Eisav, who lived with two Tzadikim - Yitzchak and Rifkah, from whose deeds he did not learn either.

(a) Bearing in mind Ephrayim Maksha'ah's previous explanation, based on the Pasuk "Va'yach es Mo'av va'Yemadedem ba'Chevel Hashkev Osam Artzah", Rebbi Yochanan in the name of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai points out - that it was as appropriate for David to defeat Amalek (Eisav's grandson) as for Ovadyah to prophecy about Edom's, since he, like Ovadyah, was a descendant of Mo'av, via Rus.

(b) When Rav Dimi said that a thigh begins to smell from the inside, he meant - that trouble often begins from within one's own ranks, as we just explained.

(a) Rav and Shmuel dispute whether Meisha, the king of Mo'av meant le'Shem Shamayim or not, when he sacrificed his first-born son as a burnt-offering on the wall. This might have caused Hashem to be angry with Yisrael - because in the event that he did, Yisrael were guilty of similar behavior, but not le'Shem Shamayim.

(b) On the other hand, in the event that he did not do what he did Le'shem Shamayim, it might help us understand Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, who, in order to resolve the apparent discrepancy between the two Pesukim - explains that "u'che'Mishpetei ha'Goyim Asher Sevivoseicham Lo Asisem" refers to the best of them (Eglon Melech Mo'av, who honored Hashem, by rising at the mere mention of Hashem's Name [see also Agados Maharsha]), and "u'che'Mishpetei ha'Goyim Asher Sevivoseicham Asisem", to the worst of them (Meisha, Melech Mo'av, who reached the lowest levels of evil)

(c) Rebbi Chanina bar Papa explains the Pasuk ...

1. ... "va'Yis'u me'Alav ve'Yashuvu la'Aretz (and not le'Artzam)" (following the Pasuk expressing Hashem's anger with Yisrael that we just discussed) - to mean that, following the above episode, Yisrael sunk to the lowest possible levels.
2. ... "ve'ha'Na'arah Yafah *ad* Me'od" to insinuate - that although Avishag ha'Shunamis was beautiful, she was nowhere near as beautiful as Sarah (about whom the Torah wrote "Ki Yafah Hi Me'od").
***** Hadran Alach 'Echad Diynei Mamonos' *****

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