THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
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.
1) ONE SIN WHICH IS CONSIDERED LIKE TWO
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!"
2) YAKOV AVINU DID NOT DIE
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."