(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Ta'anis 5

TA'ANIS 2-5 sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


OPINIONS: Rav Nachman asked Rebbi Yitzchak what the verse means when it says, "My nation committed two evils" (Yirmeyahu 2:13). Rebbi Yitzchak answered that it means that the nation committed one evil which is equal to two, and that is Avodah Zarah. In what way is Avodah Zarah one transgression which is considered like two?
(a) RASHI says that the Gemara is relying on the verse that it cites shortly afterward (Yirmiyahu 2:10), which states that the people of the Islands of the Kitiyim and the people of the land of Kedar never deserted their gods, even though they were worthless. "One transgression which is equal to two" means that the Avodah Zarah of the Jews at that time was worse than the two idols of the Kitiyim and the Kedarim combined. It was worse than both of them because when those nations went into exile, they took their idols with them and remained loyal to them. When the Jewish people went into exile, though, they deserted Hashem and they began to serve Avodah Zarah.

RABEINU GERSHOM explains similarly, that the two evils contained within one transgression were that the Jews deserted Hashem to serve the Avodah Zarah of the Kitiyim and the Avodah Zarah of the Kedarim.

(b) The ETZ YOSEF and AHAVAS EISAN (in the EIN YAKOV) explain that the sin of Avodah Zarah was equal to two sins because the Midrash says that the Mitzvas Aseh of "Anochi Hashem Elokecha" and the Mitzvas Lo Ta'aseh of "Lo Yiheyeh Lachem Elohim Acherim" were "said with a single utterance." They are intertwined, for they are two sides of the same sin. One who worships Avodah Zarah transgresses both the Mitzas Aseh and the Lo Ta'aseh. In that sense, Avodah Zarah is one sin which is really two. In addition, the Gemara is alluding to the grievousness of their sin. We find that "Anochi," the first of the Aseres ha'Dibros, is the root of all of the Mitzvos Aseh, and "Lo Yiheyeh," the second of the Aseres ha'Dibros, is the root of all the Mitzvos Lo Ta'aseh. Hence, Avodah Zarah is equal to the two Mitzvos which themselves are the root of the entire Torah.

(c) The MAGID OF DUBNO further explains that the two evils included in the one action of Avodah Zarah that the Jewish people did were as follows. While the other nations served Avodah Zarah, even if they would have switched their god for another one, it would not have been so bad, because they would have been exchanging nothing for nothing; they were simply disappointed with their first god so they switched to a new god. But it certainly was a terrible transgression for the Jewish people -- who saw the great power of Hashem and were the beneficiaries of His great kindness -- to give up Hashem in order to serve the useless, powerless Avodah Zarah. Thus, compared to the other idolaters there were two evils in what the Jews did: they left Hashem who is Almighty and Who had shown them His power in the past, and they took something entirely worthless in His place. This is what the Gemara proves from the verse, "Me they have left, the source of the waters of life, only to dig for themselves collapsed pits!"


QUESTION: Rebbi Yitzchak says that Yakov Avinu did not die. Rav Nachman asks how could he not have died, if the people eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him? Rebbi Yitzchak answers that he is making an inference from the verse which compares Yakov to his children. Just like his children are alive, so, too, he must be alive.

How does Rebbi Yitzchak's response answer Rav Nachman's question?


(a) The CHACHMAS MANO'ACH explains that the Gemara does not mean that Yakov is still alive today. Rather, it means that he was still alive *when he was returned to Eretz Yisrael* for burial at Me'aras ha'Machpelah -- just as his children are alive when they are returned to the land. The people mistakenly thought that he was dead, and thus they eulogized him and embalmed him (just with fragrances, as Rashi points out in Bereishis 50:2) by mistake. He obviously was not buried alive, though.

The reason he remained alive until that point is because Hashem promised him that He would take him back to Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, in fulfillment of His promise, Hashem took him back to Eretz Yisrael before his Neshamah left his body. Also, the Gemara (Sotah 13b) says that Yakov and Esav died on the same day. When Chushim ben Dan killed Esav, just before they were about to bury Yakov, Esav's head rolled onto Yakov's lap and Yakov smiled -- showing that he was still alive at the time. (The Gemara in Sotah, though, concludes that they were only buried the same day, and did not die the same day.)

(b) The KLI YAKAR (Bereishis 47:29) explains this Gemara based on the statement that "Tzadikim, even in their deaths, are called alive, and Resha'im, even in their lives, are called dead." When the Gemara here says that Yakov "did not die," it means that even though he died, it was considered as though he was still alive, because he was a Tzadik. The Gemara mentions Yakov in particular, and not Avraham or Yitzchak, because besides the fact that he himself was a Tzadik, all of his children were also Tzadikim. Since the children are a continuation of the father, as long as they are alive, it is considered as though the father lives on as well. (See also Rashi Bereishis 18:19, "One who dies but leaves behind a child who is a Tzadik, is considered as though he is still alive.") If one's child, though, is a Rasha, then it is not considered as though the father is living on, because "Resha'im, even in their lives, are called dead."

This is the meaning of the Gemara's comparison, "Just as his sons are alive, so too is Yakov alive."

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,