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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Sotah 48

SOTAH 47, 48 - have been anonymously dedicated by a very special Marbitz Torah and student of the Daf from Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.


1. Suggestion: Why not recite the rest of the Parsha?
2. Answer (Reish Lakish): If he cannot recite the beginning of the Parsha of Ma'aser Rishon, he does not recite any of it.
3. Question: Why not?
4. Answer (Abaye): Since that is the 1st thing mentioned in the Parsha.
(b) (We said that he abolished the recital because people gave Ma'aser Rishon to Kohanim, not to Levi'im) - this implies that people were separating Ma'aser!
(c) Question (Beraisa): (Yochanan Kohen Gadol) abolished the recital and decreed on Demai (doubtfully tithed produce), since he sent to check in all of Yisrael, and found that everyone separated Terumah, but not everyone separated Ma'aseros.
1. He told them: Just as one who eats Terumah or produce from which Terumah was not separated is liable to death (at the hands of Heaven), also one who eats Terumas Ma'aser or produce from which Ma'aseros were not separated.
2. He made an enactment for one who buys produce from someone not known to be trustworthy regarding Ma'aseros.
i. The buyer separates Ma'aser Rishon and Ma'aser Sheni. He separates Terumah Ma'aser (from the Ma'aser Rishon), and gives it to a Kohen; he takes the Ma'aser Sheni to Yerushalayim, and eats it there.
ii. Regarding (the rest of the) Ma'aser Rishon, and Ma'aser Oni (in years when it applies), unless it is established that the seller did not separate them (and they belong to the Levi'im/poor), the buyer keeps them.
(d) Answer: These were 2 separate enactments: he abolished the recital (since even trustworthy people did not give Ma'aser to Levi'im), and decreed partial separation of Ma'aseros on produce bought from untrustworthy people.
(e) (Mishnah): He also abolished the arousers.
(f) Question: What were these?
(g) Answer (Rachbah): The Levi'im, who sang each day in the Mikdash "Wake up; Hash-m, why do you sleep?"
1. Yochanan Kohen Gadol objected: how can you say that - "The guardian of Yisrael does not sleep"!
i. The 1st verse refers to the time when Yisrael is in distress and the Nochrim are serene, for then it appears as if Hash-m sleeps.
(h) (Mishnah): He abolished the bangers.
(i) Question: What were these?
(j) Answer #1 (Rav Yehudah): Kohanim used to scratch a sacrifice between its horns, so that blood should fall in its eyes, to facilitate the slaughter.
1. Yochanan Kohen Gadol abolished this, for it resembles a blemish.
(k) Answer #2 (Beraisa): They used to hit a sacrifice with sticks (to facilitate the slaughter), as was done before idolatry.
1. Yochanan Kohen Gadol objected: You are offering unslaughtered animals on the altar!
i. Objection: They did slaughter them!
ii. Correction: Rather, they are (possibly) torn (mortally injured) animals - the skull may have been pierced.
2. He fixed rings in the ground; they insert the animal's neck in the holes to facilitate the slaughter.
(l) (Mishnah): Until his days, hammers used to bang in Yerushalayim.
1. This was during the intermediate days of the festivals.
(m) (Mishnah): In his lifetime, one did not have to ask a seller if he tithed his produce.
1. As we said (he enacted to partially separate Ma'aseros on Demai)
(a) (Mishnah): After the Sanhedrin was abolished, song was abolished from drinking houses - "They will not drink wine with song";
(b) After the early prophets died, the Urim v'Tumim ceased; after the Temple was destroyed, the Shamir (a special worm) and Nofes Tzufim were lost;
1. Also, men of faith ceased - "Hash-m, save, for the saintly are no more".
(c) R. Yehoshua testified that after the Temple was destroyed, every day has a curse, dew does not descend for a blessing, and fruits lost their taste;
1. R. Yosi says, even the fat of fruits was lost;
2. R. Shimon ben Elazar says, when Taharah ceased, fruits lost their taste and smell; when Ma'aseros ceased, the fat of grain was lost.
3. Chachamim say, witchcraft and sexual immorality caused all these to perish.
(d) (Gemara) Question: How do we know that the verse forbidding song refers to after the Sanhedrin was abolished?
(e) Answer (Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua): It says, "Elders ceased from the gate, youths from their singing".
(f) (Rav): An ear that hears song deserves to be cut off.
(g) (Rava): A house in which there is song, its end is to be destroyed - "A voice singing in the window, destruction is in the Saf (doorway), the cedar planks will be Eirah".
(h) Question: What does it mean "Will be Eirah"?
(i) Answer (R. Yitzchak): It cannot mean that a house that is covered with planks is as an Ir (city)! Rather, even a house that is covered with planks Misro'a (falters).
1. (Rav Ashi): "It will be destroyed at the Saf" - this teaches that the destruction of a house begins at the doorway.
2. This may also be learned from "In desolation, the gate is cut off".
3. (Rav Ashi): I saw (a demon that cuts the gate) - it gored as an ox.
(j) (Rav Huna): The songs of those that pull ships by ropes, and of plowers, are permitted (they are merely to help the work); songs of weavers are forbidden.
(k) Rav Huna abolished song. Prices dropped - 100 geese or 100 Sa'ah of wheat sold for 1 Zuz, and no one was buying!
1. Rav Chisda tolerated song; a goose could not be found for 1 Zuz.
(l) (Rav Yosef): If men sing and women answer, this is lewd; if women lead and men answer, lust flares as burning chips of flax.
(m) Question: What difference does it make (both are forbidden)!
(n) Answer: If one cannot stop both, one should prevent the latter.
(o) (R. Yochanan): Anyone that drinks amidst music of 4 types of instruments brings 5 punishments to the world - exile, famine, that Torah will be forgotten, weakening of the enemies of (a euphemism) Hash-m, lowliness of Yisrael.
1. We learn from "... Lyre and harp, tambourine and flute, their drinking sessions of wine ... Therefore, my nation will be exiled without knowledge, its honored ones will die of hunger, they are thirsty (for Torah) ... a man will be weakened, a man will be lowered; the eyes of the high will be lowered."
2. It also says "The pit (Gehenom) widened its mouth and swallowed endlessly..."


(a) (Mishnah): After the early prophets died (the Urim v'Tumim ceased).
(b) Question: Which are considered the early prophets?
(c) Answer #1 (Rav Huna): Shmuel, David and Shlomo. 1. Rav Nachman: In David's time, sometimes it worked, sometimes not.
i. When David asked through Tzadok, he was answered; when he asked through Evyasar, he was not answered.
(d) Objection (Rabah bar Shmuel): "He sought Hash-m all the days of Zecharyah, who understands in seeing Hash-m".
1. Suggestion: This refers to asking through the Urim v'Tumim.
2. Rejection: No, it means through prophecy.
(e) (Beraisa): After the 1st Temple was destroyed, the following ceased: the cities of the Levi'im; the Urim v'Tumim; and kings from the Davidic line.
1. Question: But it says, "(Nechemyah) said to them, the (unverified) Kohanim will not eat from the most sanctified Kodshim until the Kohen will ask the Urim v'Tumim" - implying, it was used during the 2nd Temple!
2. Answer: No - he dispelled them, as one who says 'Until the revival of the dead and the coming of Moshi'ach'.
(f) Answer #2 (to question (b) - Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): All the prophets are considered early, except for Chagai, Zecharyah and Malachi.
(g) (Beraisa): After Chagai, Zecharyah and Malachi died, Ru'ach ha'Kodesh (Divine inspiration) ceased from Yisrael; still, Heavenly voices were heard.
1. Once, Chachamim were in an attic in Yericho; a Heavenly voice informed them that 1 of them was worthy that the Divine Presence should rest on him; it does not, because the generation is not worthy.
i. Everyone looked at Hillel.
ii. When Hillel died, he was eulogized: 'This was a saintly one! This was a humble one, a Talmid of Ezra!
2. Another such case happened in Yavneh; Chachamim understood that the reference was to Shmuel ha'Katan.
i. When he died, he was eulogized: 'This was a saintly one! This was a humble one, a Talmid of Hillel!
ii. At the time of his death, he prophesized about the 10 Chachamim that would be executed: R. Shimon (ben Gamliel ha'Zaken), R. Yishmael (Kohen Gadol) will die by the sword; the others, torturous deaths. The rest of the nation will be despoiled, and suffer greatly.
3. Chachamim wanted to similarly eulogize R. Yehudah ben Bava, but they were unable - we do not eulogize those killed by the king.
(a) (Mishnah): After the Temple was destroyed, the Shamir ceased,
(b) (Beraisa - R. Yehudah): Shlomo used the Shamir to build the Temple - "(The Temple) was built with whole rocks, as they were quarried" - this is understood simply;
1. R. Nechemyah: How can you say that - "These rocks ... cut by a saw"!
i. When it says "A saw was not heard in the Temple during the building" - they cut the rocks outside, and brought them in.
2. Rebbi holds as R. Yehudah's regarding the rocks of the Temple, and as R. Nechemyah regarding the rocks used to build Shlomo's house.
(c) Question: According to R. Nechemyah, what was the Shamir used for?
(d) Answer (Beraisa): The stones (of the Efod) - the writing on them cannot be in ink - it says, "Engraved"! One cannot cut them with a chisel - it says, "In their fullness"!
1. Rather, one writes on them in ink, and puts the Shamir on them. The Shamir makes the stone cave in under the writing, as a date tree cleaves in summer, and the ground cracks in winter, even though nothing is missing.
(e) (Beraisa): The Shamir is a creature the size of a barley seed; it was created from the 6 days of creation, and it can pierce any hard substance.
1. To keep it, one wraps it in tufts of wool, and puts it in a small lead box full of barley bran.
(f) (R. Ami): After the 1st Temple was destroyed, Parnda silk and white crystal ceased.
1. Support (Beraisa): After the 1st Temple was destroyed, Parnda silk, white crystal and iron chariots; some say, also congealed wine that comes from Shenir, which resembles rings of pressed figs.
(g) (Mishnah): And Nofes Tzufim (ceased).
(h) Question: What is this?
(i) Answer #1 (Rav): Fine flour that Tzafah (floats on top of, i.e. does not pass through) the sifter.
1. It is like a dough kneaded with honey and oil.
(j) Answer #2 (Levi): This is 2 loaves that are stuck to opposite sides of the oven, and in baking, they inflate and reach each other.
(k) Answer #3 (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): This is honey from the mountains.
1. Question: What is the source to say that honey comes from mountains?
2. Answer: As Rav Sheshes translated "As the bees make" - ' ... they bring honey from the mountains'.
(l) (Mishnah): Any Tahor liquid poured into a Tamei liquid, what remains in the top vessel is Tahor, except for honey of Zifim and honeycomb.
(m) Question: What is Zifim?
(n) Answer #1 (R. Yochanan): Honey that people Mezayef (forge - the buyer cannot tell that it was diluted).
(o) Answer #2 (Reish Lakish): Zif is the name of a place - "Zif and Telem and Ba'alos".
1. Amoraim argue similarly regarding "When the Zifim came and told Sha'ul".
2. Question: What are Zifim?
3. Answer #1 (R. Yochanan): People that Mezayef (falsify) their words.
4. Answer #2 (R. Elazar): People that come from the place called Zif - "Zif and Telem and Ba'alos".
(p) (Mishnah): People of faith ceased ...
(q) (R. Yitzchak): These are people that trust in Hash-m.
1. (Beraisa - R. Eliezer): Anyone that has bread in his basket, and asks, 'What will I eat tomorrow?' is of small faith.
2. (R. Elazar): "For who scorns, on the day of smallness (of the 2nd Temple)" - the reason why the table of Tzadikim is disgraced in the world to come, is their lowliness, that they did not trust in Hash-m.
i. (Rava): This verse refers to the children (who died in the life of their) wicked parents - they obliterate the decree against their parents in the world to come.
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