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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sanhedrin 96

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 Neshamah



(a) When Sancheriv went to look for a pair of scissors for Hashem to shave him, the angels (disguised as humans) - were grinding date-pits.

(b) The Navi describes the scissors that he ultimately brought back as 'Ta'ar ha'Sechirah' - because they made him grind dates in their place, whilst they went to bring him a pair of scissors (so it seemed as if he hired them).

(c) By the time he returned with the scissors, it was already night-time, so the 'Old Man' instructed Sancheriv - to bring fire to illuminate the night.

(d) Based on what happened next, the Navi writes "ve'Gam es ha'Zakan Tispeh" (rather than 'Tegalach') - because his beard was destroyed by the fire that caught hold of it, and not shaved by the 'Old Man'.

(a) Based on the above episode, Rav Pap cites the adage - 'If you singe a Nochri and he is amenable, set fire to his beard, and you will have a good laugh'.

(b) Sancheriv went to prostrate himself in 'Beis Nisroch' his god. 'Beis Nisroch - was actually a plank (from the word 'Neser') taken from No'ach's boat, which he found, and which he took for the god that saved No'ach from the flood.

(c) His two sons killed him with a sword as he was prostrating himself - because they overheard him promise 'Nisroch' that should he succeed, he would sacrifice them to him.

(a) The Torah writes "va'Yechalek Aleihem Laylah". According to Rebbi Yochanan, "Laylah" was the name of the angel who was sent to assist Avraham in his battle with the four kings. Rebbi Yitzchak Nafcha explains it to mean - that he experienced an act of night, referring to the battle with Sisra, when the stars fought Sisra on behalf of Barak.

(b) When Resh Lakish said 'Tava de'bar Nafcha mi'de'Nafcha' - he meant to say that the explanation of Rebbi Yitzchak Nafcha was preferable to that of Rebbi Yochanan (who was called 'bar Nafcha', either because his father was a blacksmith, or because he was so good-looking ['be'Lashon Sagi Nahor']).

(c) Avraham stopped pursuing the kings when he arrived in Dan - because that was where he foresaw, Yeravam would place an image, many years later.

(d) In similar vein, we explain the Pasuk "mi'Dan Nishma Nacharas Susav" to mean - that Nevuchadnetzar was only victorious against Yisrael (symbolized by the neighing of his horses) when he reached Dan (for the same reason).

(a) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi taught three Halachos, with the Lashon of 'Hizaharu'. He taught - that one should respect a Zaken who forgot his learning through an O'nes (but not through negligence).

(b) He also warned to take care to cut the blood-vessels in the neck of a bird when it is roasted whole, like the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah - because since the bird is neither cut nor salted, and the vein in the neck (the jugular vein) contains a lot of blood, one will come to transgress the Isur of drinking blood.

(c) His third warning was 'Hizaharu bi'Venei Amei ha'Aretz, she'Mehem Teitzei Torah'. We see this demonstrated to the extreme - in the case of Shemayah and Avtalyon, who were descendants of Sisro, and of descendants of Haman, who taught Torah in B'nei B'rak.

(d) He found it necessary to say this - to teach that even though one is not permitted to marry the daughter of an Am ha'Aretz (see Agados Maharsha), one should nevertheless treat his son, who might himself become a Talmid-Chacham, with respect.

(a) Despite the prohibition of teaching an Am ha'Aretz Torah (Agados Maharsha), one should nevertheless make a point of teaching him - the forthcoming Sugya, regarding the great reward that Nevuchadnetzar received for one good deed. Maybe he will learn the 'Kal va'Chomer' that we are about to make, and become a Talmid-Chacham (see Margelis ha'Yam).

(b) The difficulty Yirmiyah had with Hashem's judgements was - why people like Nevuchadnetzar succeeded in their evil plans.

(c) Hashem answered him with a Mashal of a man who boasted that he could run three Parsa'os before the horses in marshland, but when it came to the crunch - he managed to run only three Mil, in front of a human runner and on dry land, and even then he got tired.

(d) Comparing the minute merit of Nevuchadnetzar to the little achieved by the man in the Mashal, Hashem learned a 'Kal va'Chomer' with regard to the Avos, Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov - whose rewards for their numerous deeds will inevitably be that much greater.

(a) The sun set ten hours late on the day that Chizkiyahu was cured from his illness - to make up for the ten hours that the sun set before its time on the day that his father Achaz died (to prevent the people from eulogizing that great Rasha before his burial).

(b) Morach Beladen ben Beladen, overawed at the miracle - reacted by sending a letter of greeting to King Chizkiyah, to the city of Yerushalayim and to the great G-d.

(c) He was called by his father's name - in honor of his father, whom he replaced, when his face turned into that of a dog, and he was removed from the throne.

(d) Arriving in court just after the letter had already been sent, and checking on its contents, Nevuchadnetzar the court scribe, found their wording faulty - inasmuch as they mentioned Chizkiyahu before the Great G-d.

(a) Nevuchadnetzar was picked to run after the carriers and make the necessary correction - on the basis of the principle 'Karyana de'Igresa, Iyhu Lehavi Parvanka' ('the one who gives the advice is the one who should carry it out').

(b) The reward he received for the three steps that he took to try and catch up with the couriers - was the merit to destroy the Beis-Hamikdash.

(c) Gavriel stopped him at that juncture, says Rebbi Yochanan - because, had he caught up with the couriers (and made the necessary correction), he would have earned the merit to destroy the whole of K'lal Yisrael.

(a) When the Navi writes in Malachi "ben Yechabed Av", he is referring to the honor that Morach Beladan ben Beladan displayed towards his father, as we explained earlier. And when he continues "ve'Eved Adonav'', he is referring to - Nevuzraden's respect for Nevuchadnetzar (as we shall now see).

(b) The Pasuk in Yirmiyah records the burning of the Beis-Hamikdash as having taken place - on the tenth of Av, at the hand of Nevuzraden Rav Tabachim?

(c) The problem we have with the Pasuk there, which writes "Amad Lifnei Melech Bavel bi'Yerushalayim va'Yisrof es Beis Hashem" is - that the Pasuk in Melachim relates how Nevuchadnetzar went to Rivlah (better known as Anti'och, and not as far as Yerushalayim [in fact, the Medrash explains, he was afraid of the consequences of destroying the Beis-Hamikdash himself).

(d) Rav Chisda and Rav Yitzchak bar Avudimi argue over the answer to this question. One of them says that Nevuzraden had an image of Nevuchadnetzar engraved on his chariot, the other one says - that so intense was his fear of Nevuchadnetzar, that it was as if he was constantly standing before him.




(a) Nevuchadnetzar sent Nevuzraden - three hundred mules laden with the finest-honed axes (which could even chop metal) to break in to Yerushalayim.

(b) All of them - broke on just one gate, all that is, except for one.

(c) When Nevuzraden expressed the fear that his army would fall in the same way as Sancheriv's did - a bas-Kol announced 'Leaper son of a leaper (which meant perhaps, that he had attacked Yerushalayim with Sancheriv, and now he was attacking it again with Nevuchadnetzar) now the time has arrived to destroy the Beis-Mikdash and burn the Heichal' (though before it hadn't)!

(d) After that - he broke down the gate with the back of the ax and entered Yerushalayim.

(a) Nevuzraden then went on a killing spree until he reached the Heichal - which he set on fire. When the Heichal attempted to fly up to the Heaven (presumably to join its counterpart in Yerushalayim shel Ma'alah) - Hashem pushed it back to earth with His feet (Kevayachol), as the Pasuk writes "Gas *Dart* Hashem li'Vesulas bas Yehudah" indicates.

(b) In response to Nevuzraden's pride at his great achievement, a bas-Kol announced that he had killed a dead nation, burned a burned Heichal and ground already ground flour.

(c) The key word in the Pasuk (conveying Hashem's pre-Galus message to Yisrael) "K'chi Rechayim, ve'Tichni Kemach" - is "Kemach" (indicating that they had already been ground, otherwise, the Navi should have said "Tichni Chitin").

(d) And the significance of the continuation of the Pasuk "Reveal your sides of your curls, your curls, uncover your calves and cross the river" is - that although they have already been punished, they are about to be punished again, by being taken into Galus.

(a) When Nevuzraden queried the people about the bubbling blood, they initially replied - that it was the blood of Korbanos.

(b) Nevuzraden refuted that claim however - by testing it against the blood of other animals, and proving that it did not match.

(c) When he threatened them with torture if they would not tell him the truth, they told him that it was the blood of Zecharyah, a Kohen Gadol and a Navi, whose blood had not stopped bubbling for hundreds of years - because he had been murdered by the Jews in the Azarah on Yom Kipur, hundreds of years earlier, when he had come to rebuke them for their sins, and had foretold the Churban Beis-Hamikdash.

(d) Nevuzraden promised to still the Navi's blood. So he set about slaughtering them in groups (to atone for his murder). He slaughtered ...

1. ... the Chachamim (the Sanhedrin Gedolah and the Sanhedrin Ketanah) first.
2. ... young children next, and then young Kohanim.
(a) By now, he had killed close to two million Jews. He got the blood to stop - only after asking Zecharyah whether, after killing the best of them, he wanted him to kill them all.

(b) This suddenly evoked in Nevuzraden's mind - thoughts of Teshuvah. If the murder of one person required so many deaths to atone for it, he reckoned, how much atonement would *he* require for the many hundreds of thousands of murders he had perpetrated. So he ran away, wrote a will for his family and converted. He was greater than Na'aman (general of the Syrian army) - who only became a Ger Toshav, whereas he became a Ger Tzedek.

(c) We are told that the descendants of ...

1. ... Haman - taught Torah in B'nei B'rak.
2. ... Sisro - taught children Torah in Yerushalayim.
3. ... Nevuzraden (Shemayah and Avtalyon) - taught Torah in public.
(d) When grandchildren of Nevuchadnetzar who wanted to convert - the angels protested on the grounds that it was not befitting to accept under the wings of the Shechinah, the descendants of the man who destroyed the Beis-Hamikdash and burned the Heichal.

(e) Some explain the Pasuk "Ripinu es Bavel, ve'Lo Nirp'sah" in connection with the previous statement. Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni explains it (besides as pertaining to the rivers of Bavel, whose water was bad) - as pertaining to the date-palms of Bavel, which produced poor-quality fruit, or which grew beside the rivers of Bavel, and which, as a result, did not produce fruit at all.

(a) Ula refers to - Amon and Mo'av as 'bad neighbors of Yisrael'.

(b) When Amon and Mo'av, having heard about the prophesy regarding the destruction of Yerushalayim, sent Nevuchadnetzar a message that he should go and attack Yerushalayim, he replied - that he was afraid that the same would happen to him as happened to Sancheriv.

(c) They replied ...

1. ... to that - with the Pasuk in Mishlei "Ki Ein ha'Ish be'Veiso" (meaning that Hashem had already forsaken the Beis-Hamikdash).
2. ... when Nevuchadnetzar asserted that He was close and would quickly come and help His people in their time of need - that in fact, He had gone far away.
3. ... when he argued that there were Tzadikim who would Daven on behalf of Yisrael - with the Pasuk in Shir-Hashirim "Tz'ror ha'Kesef Lakach be'Yado" (meaning that the Tzadikim, who are compared to silver, had already died).
4. ... when he insisted that the Resha'im would do Teshuvah and bring Hashem back with their prayers - that Hashem had already set a time limit of seventy years, before which, He would not return.
(d) Nevuchadnetzar was talking about - forty-five Tzadikim (thirty in Eretz Yisrael and fifteen in Chutz la'Aretz or vice-versa) whose merits shielded over Yisrael.
(a) And , when Nevuchadnetzar argued that it was winter, and that due to the snow and the rain it would be difficult ...
1. ... to bring his army to Eretz Yisrael - Amon and Mo'av replied that he could cross by keeping to the highest ground (on the tips of the mountains).
2. ... to find suitable sheltered accommodation for his troops - they retorted that - the burial sites (the caves) of Eretz Yisrael were better than his palaces.
(b) They would get round the problem of all the graves that were situated in those caves - by throwing the bones out into the open, as Yirmiyah had already predicted.

(c) Describing the sun, the moon and all the hosts of the heaven to which they would throw all the bones (of the Kohanim, the prophets and the inhabitants of Yerushalayim) Yirmiyah writes ' "to the sun ... which they loved, which the worshipped and which they followed".

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