THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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YEVAMOS 46-65 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi
publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.
1) AGADAH: THE PROFESSION OF THE FUTURE
OPINIONS: Rebbi Elazar states that in the future, those who have professions
("Ba'alei Umniyos") will all leave their work (specifically, sea-traders)
and toil on the ground in agriculture as the verse says, "They will descend
from their boats -- all who hold the oar, rowers, all sailors; they will
stand on the ground" (Yechezkel 27:29). Why is it that everyone will leave
what they do and start tilling the soil instead?
(a) The IYUN YAKOV says that Rebbi Elazar is consistent with his view in
Sanhedrin (98a), where he says that the greatest sign of the final Ge'ulah
will be the tremendous productivity of the land of Israel. In our Gemara, he
is saying that when the final Ge'ulah comes, even those who work in crafts
and in commerce -- which are much more profitable than farming -- will leave
their professions in order to work in farming, because farming will become
much more profitable than all other professions, due to the abundant
productivity of Eretz Yisrael.
(b) The ETZ YOSEF in the Ein Yakov points out that Rebbi Elazar says in his
following statement that there is no lower form of work than tilling the
soil. On the other hand, Rebbi Elazar himself says earlier that "any person
who does not own land is not a man," apparently implying that working the
land *is* a good form of earning a living.
The Etz Yosef explains that it is exactly because working the land is a
lowly profession and reaps only modest returns that one should own land.
Working the land brings a person to modesty and a high level of Bitachon,
faith and trust in Hashem. (See TOSFOS in Shabbos 30a, who writes that
"Emunos" is an appropriate title for Seder Zera'im, since a farmer who
plants seeds "trusts" in Hashem that He will cause the buried seeds to
grow.) A farmer cannot mistakenly think that his profits are entirely the
results of his personal efforts and labor, like a businessman might think.
He realizes that the growth of the fruits depends completely on Hashem. In
addition, because his returns are modest compared with his expenses, a
person who works the ground learns to suffice with simple, basic foods.
In the future, when all people will recognize that the purpose of living is
not to amass material wealth but to serve Hashem, they will turn to working
the ground in order to attain faith in Hashem and to realize that it is He
that provides for everyone.
(c) The BEN YEHOYADA, quoting his son, says that the Gemara is alluding to
the two primary revolutions in world economics -- the transportation
revolution and the industrial revolution. The advent of the steam engine and
the railroad (and, in more recent times, the automobile and airplane)
brought about the transportation revolution, effectively bringing an end to
the primacy of sea-travel. The industrial revolution minimized the number of
professional laborers by enabling a large quantity of a single product to be
made by a machine, replacing human laborers at many stages in the
2) AGADAH: COMPARING A WOMAN TO A NATION
QUESTION: The Gemara cites the verse, "I will anger them with a despicable
nation" (Devarim 32:21) and says that this refers to an "evil wife." How can
the Gemara assert that the verse is referring to a wife? The verse is
discussing a nation and not a woman!
(a) The IYUN YAKOV explains that we find that women are called "a nation
unto themselves" (see Shabbos 62a). Hence, when the verse refers to a
"despicable *nation*," it may be referring to a woman.
3) THE "NESHAMOS" OF "GUF"
(b) The IYEI HA'YAM explains that the "nation" refers to the wife's progeny,
whom it calls a nation. Besides tolerating the wife, the man is going to
have to tolerate her offspring, who will have the same bad traits as she
(c) The MAHARSHA says that the verse refers to Galus, and not to a bad wife.
The Gemara cites the verse as an allegory to show the difficulty of having a
bad wife. Just like in Galus, we are unable to escape the torment of our
enemies, so, too, one who has a bad wife and an expensive Kesuvah is unable
to divorce his wife and free himself of his torment.
AGADAH: Rebbi Asi states that Mashiach ("Ben David") will not come "until
all of the Neshamos that are in Guf are terminated." RABEINU AVRAHAM MIN
HAHAR offers an original explanation for this statement (based on "Remez").
4) BEN AZA'IS CONDUCT
Rabeinu Avraham says that aside from the simple explanation, this statement
alludes to the age at which a person is able to understand the secrets of
the Torah. "Ben David" is an allusion to the development of a mature
intellect ("Ko'ach ha'Sechel"). When the Gemara says that "Ben David will
not come until...," it means that a person does not reach this level of
deeper understanding until "the Neshamos of the Guf are terminated," that
is, until the physical strength of his body begins to wane, when he begins
to reach old age. As the physical properties weaken, the analytic and
cognitive properties become stronger. That is why the Gemara (Chagigah 13a)
says that the Tana'im would study the secrets of the Ma'aseh ha'Merkavah
only when they were older, because only then would they be able to properly
comprehend the secrets of the Torah. (The term "Ben David" might hint to the
age of seventy, when a person reaches old age (Avos 5:21), which was the age
at which David ha'Melech died.)
Rabeinu Avraham Min ha'Har says that the statement of our Gemara parallels
an incident recorded in the Gemara in Sanhedrin (38a), where it says that
Rebbi Chiya's sons, Yehudah and Chizkiyah, were sitting in front of Rebbi at
a meal and they did not speak at all. Rebbi decided to give them some wine
so that they would start talking. When they drank the wine, they said, "Ben
David will come only after the two leading families in Israel -- the Rosh
Golah in Bavel and the Nasi in Eretz Yisrael -- are terminated!" Rebbi
complained that "they are throwing thorns in my eyes," upset that they were
predicting that he would not live to see Mashiach. Rebbi Chiya explained to
Rebbi that he should not get upset, because "Yayin" (wine) is equal to
seventy in Gematria, and "Sod" (secret) is also equal to seventy, and thus
when one drinks wine, the secrets emerge.
Rabeinu Avraham Min ha'Har does not explain what his intention is in quoting
this Gemara. It seems that his intention is as follows:
The children of Rebbi Chiya were young and they did not want to speak about
the more esoteric parts of the Torah in the presence of Rebbi because they
had not yet reached the age at which they felt comfortable discussing the
secrets of the Torah. When Rebbi insisted that they speak and he gave them
wine to drink for that purpose, they tried to convey to him their reason for
not speaking, in a hidden, allegorical way. They said that "Ben David,"
meaning the mature intellect to understand the secrets of the Torah, "will
come only after the two leading families in Israel -- the Rosh Golah in
Bavel and the Nasi in Eretz Yisrael -- are terminated," referring to the
temporal leaders who tend to the physical needs of the nation, representing
the physical strength of the body. (Specifically, they may refer
respectively to a person's reproductive faculty and creative faculty.) When
a person's physical strength and needs lessen as a person ages, then he is
able to understand the secrets (Sod) of the Torah.
When Rebbi did not fully understand the intention behind their statement,
Rebbi Chiya clarified what they meant and said that both "Yayin" and "Sod"
equal seventy in Gematria, showing that only when a person reaches the age
of seventy is he able to delve into the secrets of the Torah.
HALACHAH: Ben Azai states that one who does not involve himself in the
Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah is both considered to be a murderer and reduces
the "heavenly form." Nevertheless, Ben Azai himself never married and did
not fulfill the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah. (The Gemara in Sotah (4b) cites
different opinions regarding whether or not Ben Azai ever had a wife.
According to one opinion, he once had a wife but he separated from her, but
according to other opinions, he never was married.)
The Gemara here relates that the other Tana'im asked Ben Azai how he could
go without fulfilling the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah, and he answered, "What
can I do? My soul yearns for Torah!"
The RAMBAM (Ishus 15:3) expands on this and says that "if someone's soul
yearns for Torah and he constantly thinks about it like Ben Azai and he is
attached to it all of his days, and [because of this] he does not marry a
wife, he has no sin in his hands (Ein b'Yado Avon)." What does this mean?
What permits a person to abstain from fulfilling the Mitzvas Aseh of the
Torah to have children?
(a) The ME'IRI and the TAZ (EH 1:3) explain that it is not permitted for a
person to refrain from marrying l'Chatchilah because he is so immersed in
his Torah learning. There is a Mitzvah to marry, and he is obligated to
fulfill the Mitzvah like everyone else. However, sometimes a person can
become so immersed in his learning that he has feels as though he is
incapable of having a wife. His desire for Torah is so strong that to a
certain degree he loses control and *cannot* marry ("Ones"). In such a case,
even though refraining from marrying might not be proper, Hashem forgives
him because it is, in a sense, beyond his control. That is what the Rambam
means when he says, "Ein b'Yado Avon" (see also RAV ELCHANAN WASSERMAN in
KOVETZ HE'OROS, Hosafos #1).
(b) The RITVA appears to understand that the Rambam permits a person like
Ben Azai not to marry l'Chatchilah, because of his tremendous yearning for
the Torah. The Rambam is continuing what he says in the previous Halachah,
that if a person was busy learning Torah and did not want to get married so
that he not have to take time away from his learning to provide for a
family, it is permissible to delay getting married, because of the principle
that "one who is involved in one Mitzvah is exempt from another." According
to the Ritva, a person like Ben Azai could delay getting married
indefinitely, because he is involved in the Mitzvah of learning Torah.
Rav Elchanan (loc. cit.) questions the Ritva's explanation from the Gemara
in Mo'ed Katan (9b) that says that when a person is faced with the
opportunity to do one of two Mitzvos -- to learn Torah or to do another
Mitzvah -- then if the other Mitzvah is one that another person can do, then
one should let another person do it instead of being Mevatel his own Torah
learning, and if the other Mitzvah if one which only he can do, then he must
be Mevatel his learning in order to do it.
The ROGATCHAVER GA'ON in TZAFNAS PANE'ACH suggests that the Mitzvah of
Piryah v'Rivyah might be considered a Mitzvah that may be done by others.
When the Gemara says that one should continue learning and let others do a
Mitzvah that can be done by others, it means that the outcome, the
consequence, of the Mitzvah can be brought about by others. The outcome of
Piryah v'Rivyah is to populate the world, and thus it is considered to be a
Mitzvah that others can do. Only if the outcome cannot be accomplished by
others, must one be Mevatel from learning Torah in order to do the Mitzvah.
Of course, this applies only if a person has no Hirhurim, wrongful thoughts.
The Rambam concludes that if a person has Hirhurim, then he is obligated to
marry a wife regardless of whether he has children or not (see Rambam,
ibid.). Only if he is like Ben Azai who is so deeply and completely involved
in learning Torah and does not have any Hirhurim may he refrain from getting