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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sanhedrin 109

SANHEDRIN 106-110 - 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) Nachum was called by the title 'Ish Gamzu' - because whenever anything negative occurred, he would say 'Gam Zu le'Tovah'.

(b) The Chachamim decided to send specifically Nachum Ish Gamzu to present the Emperor with a gift - because he was accustomed to miracles (and they realized the possible hazards that faced a person on such a trip to Rome).

(c) When the innkeeper of the inn where they stayed overnight upon arrival in Rome, asked him what was in the box, he told him - that it contained head taxes that were owed to the Emperor.

(d) The delegation arrived at the Emperor's palace with a box of earth, and not with the jewels and precious stones with which he had set out - because the innkeeper and his sons emptied the box whilst Nachum Ish Gamzu slept, and replaced its contents with earth from their garden.

(a) When the Emperor found the box to contain nothing but earth, he had Nachum Ish Gamzu arrested and taken out to be executed. Nachum accepted this with his characteristic 'Gam Zu le'Tovah' - and a miracle occurred, in the form of Eliyahu ha'Navi, who suggested to the Emperor that this might be the miracle earth of Avraham (which we discussed earlier). After trying it out on a hitherto invincible enemy, whom he now defeated - the Emperor set Nachum Ish Gamzu free, filled the box with jewels and precious stones and sent him home with great honor.

(b) When the surprised innkeeper asked Nachum what he brought to the Emperor, he replied - that what he took from the inn he brought to the palace.

(c) When the innkeeper and his family realized what had happened - they demolished their house and brought the dust to the Emperor as a gift (thinking that all the earth on their property was 'miracle earth'). But of course, nothing happened with the earth that they brought, and the Emperor had them put to death for mocking him.

(a) de'Bei Rebbi Shilo initially explained - that what the Dor Haflagah intended to do was to build the Tower up to the sky and to chop at it with choppers, until its water flowed freely.

(b) The B'nei Eretz Yisrael laughed at de'Bei Rebbi Shilo however - because if that were the case, then they ought rather to have built it on a montain, and not in a valley.

(c) According to Rebbi Yirmiyah bar Elazar, they were divided into three groups; one of them wanted to establish a community in heaven, the second wanted to set up an Avodah-Zarah and the third group planned to wage war against Hashem.

(d) Hashem scattered the group that wanted to live in heaven, He punished the group that ...

1. ... planned to serve idols - by confusing their language, and causing each one to speak a different language.
2. ... intended to wage war with Him - by turning them into monkeys, spirits and demons.
(a) Rebbi Nasan in a Beraisa, explains the Pasuk (in connection with the Dor Haflagah) "ve'Na'aseh Lanu *Shem*", based on the Pasuk "ve'*Shem* Elohim Acherim Lo Sazkiru", that in fact - they all intended to set up an Avodah-Zarah.

(b) According to Rebbi Yochanan, one third of the Tower was burned - one third sunk into the ground and one third remained.

(c) Rav says that the air of the Tower of Bavel - causes one to forget ...

(d) ... a curse that manifested itself already at that time - when they all forgot their language.

(a) When Rav Yosef said that Bavel and Bursif are a bad sign for Torah - he meant that it causes one to forget one's learning, just as Rav just explained.

(b) In fact, Rebbi Asi explains, Bursif is the acronym of - 'Bor Shafi' ('a pit which has been emptied of its water').

(c) Bavel too, is called by this name - because Hashem confused their language (from the word 'Bilbel').

(d) Based on our Mishnah, the Beraisa interprets the Pasuk "ve'Anshei S'dom Ra'im ve'Chata'im" to mean - "Ra'im" 'ba'Olam ha'Zeh', "va'Chata'im" la'Olam ha'Ba'.

(a) According to Rav Yehudah, "Ra'im" means with their bodies, "va'Chata'im", with their money, and "la'Hashem", refers to Birchas Hashem. 'With their bodies' means - that they were steeped in immorality.

(b) He interprets "Me'od" to mean - that they sinned with deliberation (and not casually).

(c) The Beraisa explains the first three in the same way, only the Tana reverses the first two, interpreting "Ra'im" as with their money, and "ve'Chata'im" as with their bodies. Based on the Pasuk "Gam Dam Naki Shafach Menasheh Harbeh Me'od", he explains "Me'od" - as murder.

(d) The cause of the people of S'dom's arrogance - was their utopian existance (much in the same way as the Dor ha'Mabul, as we discussed earlier).

(e) In their arrogance, they decided - to stop out of town guests from visiting their town (so as not to have to share their good fortune with others).

(a) Rava, describing the deeds of the men of S'dom, based on the Pasuk ...
1. ... "ad Anah Tehos'su al Ish Terztchu Kulchem ke'Kir Natuy ke'Gefer ha'Dechuyah", explains - how they would place a wealthy man beside a rickety wall, which they would then push on him to kill him. Then they would take his money.
2. ... "Chasar ba'Choshech Batim Yomam Chasmu Lamo Lo Yad'u Or", and the Pasuk in Tehilim "Yashuvu la'Erev Yehemu ka'Kelev u'Va'u vi'Yesovevu Ir ... " explains - how they would give a wealthy man 'Afarsemon' (balsam spice) to look after for them, which he would place in his treasury. That night, they would walk round the wealthy man's house until they smelled the balsam. Having discovered the exact location of his treasury, they would then dig a tunnel into it from the street, and walk off with all his treasures.
(b) On the day that Rebbi Yossi Darshened this Pasuk in Tzipori - thieves dug three hundred tunnels in Tzipori.

(c) Rebbi Yossi subsequently received many threats (for putting such an idea into the thieves heads). He vindicated himself however - by insisting that he could not have known that people would react to his D'rashah in this way.

(d) When Rebbi Yossi died, the drains of Tzipori - flowed with blood.

(a) The laws of S'dom defied all logic. Someone who owned an ox had to look after the town's oxen for one day, and someone who did not own an ox at all - for two days.

(b) When the turn of a certain orphan, the son of a widow, arrived to look after the town's oxen - he killed all the oxen and announced that whoever owned an ox would receive one skin, and whoever did not, would receive two.

(c) He explained what he had done - as an offshoot of the initial ruling, making it a just ruling if ever there was one.




(a) By the same method of logic, the charge for crossing the river by ferry was one Zuz, whereas someone who crossed by other means - had to pay two.

(b) And if a Sodomite made himself a row of bricks or spread out garlics or onions to dry - everyone would help himself to one, and sweetly apologise, pointing out that he had only taken one.

(c) Their judicial system was extraordinary. Two of their judges were called Shikra'i and Shakrura'i (little liar and big liar). The names of the other two were - Zaifa and Matzli Diyna (forger and twister of justice).

(d) In a case where a man ...

1. ... struck a pregnant woman and killed her babies - she would be given to him to live with until she had made good her loss by becoming pregnant again.
2. ... cut off an ear from his friend's donkey - he would be given the donkey, until the ear regrew.
3. ... struck his friend and drew blood - he would have to pay the man who struck him for the trouble.
(a) If someone crossed the river by ferry, he had to pay four Zuz - but eight Zuz for wading across (see Rashash).

(b) The court charged the laudryman who waded across the river and was then struck by a policeman for refusing to pay the wading fee - eight Zuz to the ferryman, and an unspecified amount to the policeman who struck him.

(c) When Eliezer arrived in S'dom and someone struck him and demanded payment for having drawn blood, he took the man to court. When the judge ordered him to pay costs, he picked up a stone and struck the judge, telling the judge that whatever he owed him (Eliezer) for the stroke, he should pay directly to the man who had struck *him*.

(a) The role of the special guest bed - was to get the guest sleeping in it to fit it exactly. Consequenly if he was too tall for the bed, they would cut of his feet, whereas if the bed was too long for him, they would stretch him until his limbs came apart.

(b) When they offered Eliezer a night on the house, he replied - that on the day that his mother died, he vowed never to sleep on a bed again.

(c) The Dinar that each native of S'dom would give a guest who arrived in town was useless - because nobody would sell him food in exchange for it.

(d) After he starved to death - each person, who had carved his name on his coin, would come and reclaim it.

(a) A person who invited a guest to a party - would have his clothes removed.

(b) Eliezer exploited that law to his advantage - by entering a room where a party was in progress, and pointing out the person who had 'invited' him. When that person ran out for fear of what they might do to him, Eliezer moved up one place, and pointed to the next person. Eventually, when he had succeeded in getting rid of all the guests, he helped himself to the food.

(c) When a girl gave some bread to a poor man - they smeared her body with honey and placed her on the roof for the bees to sting to death.

(d) She had tried to hide what she was doing from the people of S'dom - by carrying the bread out to him in a water jug.

(e) And this is what the Torah means, says Rav Yehudah Amar Rav, when it writes (with regard to the destruction of S'dom) "Vayomer Hashem Za'akas S'dom va'Amorah Ki *Rabah* - 'al Iskei Rivah' (that it was the cries of that girl that Hashem heard, that sparked off His decision to destroy S'dom).

(a) The Beraisa learns from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "*Vayamusu* ha'Anashim Motzi'ei Dibas ha'Aretz Ra'ah *ba'Mageifah* Lifnei Hashem" - "Vayamusu", 'ba'Olam ha'Zeh'; "ba'Mageifah", 'la'Olam ha'Ba'.
2. ... in Korach "Vatechas Aleihem ha'Aretz" - 'ba'Olam Ha'Zeh'; "va'Yovdu mi'Toch ha'Kahal" - la'Olam ha'Ba'.
(b) This is the opinion of Rebbi Akiva (as we learned earlier). According to ...
1. ... Rebbi Eliezer - it is about the Adas Korach that the Navi writes "Hashem Meimis u'Mechayeh" (as we learned there too).
2. ... Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira learns from the Pasuk in (in connection with the Adas Korach [see Agados Maharsha]) "Ta'isi ke'Seh Oveid, Bakesh Avdecha ... " - that since the Adas Korach only strayed like a lost sheep, Hashem will bring them to Olam ha'Ba.
(c) Resh Lakish explains ...
1. ... the Pasuk "Vayikach Korach" to mean - that he initiated a bad sale.
2. ... the name "Korach" to mean - that by causing his men to be swallowed into the earth, he had made a bald patch in Yisrael.
(d) He Darshens "ben Yitzhar" to mean 'a son who heated up the world like the sun at midday' (stirred up Machlokes) - and ''ben Kehas" as 'a son who blunted his parents' teeth (embarrassed them)'.
(a) Resh Lakish Darshens "ben Levi" to mean - 'the son who became an accessory of Gehinom'.

(b) He would have Darshened 'ben Ya'akov' as - 'a son who held himself back for Gehinom', had it been written.

(c) Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchak gives the reason for the Torah's omission of Ya'akov's name ...

1. ... by the Meraglim - as Ya'akov's prayer in Vayechi (in Shimon and Levi's 'B'rachah) "be'Sodam al Tavo Nafshi" (that he not be iincluded in their)
2. ... by the Adas Korach as - the following phrase there "u'vi'Kehalam al Teichad Kevodi".
(a) And Resh Lakish Darshens "Dasan" as 'she'Avar al Das' (he transgressed the law), and ...
1. ..."Aviram" - as 'Iber Levavo" (he hardened his heart).
2. ... "On" as - 'she'Yashav ba'Aninus' (he did Teshuvah for his sin), and ''ben Peles" as - 'a son with whom wonders occurred' (that his life was miraculously spared).
3. ... "B'nei Reuven" he interpreted as - 'a son who saw (that he was doing the wrong thing) and he understood (that he must part ways with the rebels)'.
(b) When On's righteious wife initially pointed out that he had nothing to gain in joining the rebellion - he replied that it was not a matter of joining, so much as of leaving (as he had already sworn allegiance to Korach).

(c) When she then sais "Ki Chol ha'Eidah Kulam Kedoshim", she meant - that even Korach and his men were modest people who would not look at a woman wose hair was uncovered.

(d) So she subsequently - gave On strong wine to drink that put him to sleep; then she began doing her hair outside her tent, knowing that the men who came to fetch her husband would beat a hasty retreat when they saw her. Which is precisely what happened. They left, to let On ben Peles sleep through the whole episode.

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