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 113 (Purim in Yerushalayim) and YEVAMOS 114 - have been generously
dedicated by Dick and Beverly Horowitz of Los Angeles. May they be blessed
with a life of joy and much Nachas from their very special children and
1) THE MITZVAH OF "CHINUCH"
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses whether or not Beis Din is required to stop a
Katan from doing an Aveirah.
Why should there be a question of whether Beis Din is required to stop a
Katan or not? There is an obligation of Chinuch which requires us to teach
each child to do Mitzvos! How can Beis Din *not* be required to stop a Katan
from doing an Aveirah if we are required to fulfill the Mitzvah of Chinuch?
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 17:28, and Hilchos Avel 3:12)
explains that our Gemara is discussing the specific obligation of *Beis
Din*. Beis Din has no obligation of Chinuch for a child. The obligation of
Chinuch is solely the responsibility of the child's father (or parents; see
Insights to Chagigah 6:1). When the father is present, he certainly is
obligated to stop the child from doing the Aveirah. The Gemara's question is
whether Beis Din must stop the child if the father is not present (or if he
is present but does not stop the child himself). This is also one of the
approaches of the TOSFOS YESHANIM in Yoma 82a, in the name of the RI.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 343) cites only the Rambam's opinion (a)
that the father is commanded to stop the child from sinning and not Beis
Din. The REMA cites both the opinions of the Rambam (a) and the Ritva and
Tosfos (b), with the Rambam's opinion as a "Yesh Omrim." (The Terumas
ha'Deshen, ibid., favors the opinion of the Rashba and Tosfos Yeshanim (c)
who differentiate between a Mitzvas Aseh and a Lo Ta'aseh.)
(b) The RASHBA and RITVA, and TOSFOS in Shabbos 121a DH Shema Mina, suggest
that our Gemara is discussing a Katan who has not yet reached the age of
Chinuch ("Katan she'Lo Higi'a l'Chinuch"). Regarding such a Katan -- for
whom there is no obligation of Chinuch -- there is a question whether Beis
Din must stop him from doing an Aveirah. The point of the question is
whether an Isur is more severe than a positive Mitzvah such that we must
prevent a child from doing Isurim even before he reaches the age at which we
are required to instruct him to do positive Mitzvos.
Although the Ritva accepts this ruling in practice, the Rashba eventually
rejects it. The Rashba cites the Gemara earlier (113a) that asks that a
Chareshes married to a Kohen should be allowed to eat Terumah because she is
like a Katan who is not obligated to observe the Mitzvos and Beis Din is not
required to stop such a person from doing an Aveirah. It seems from the
Gemara there that there is no difference between a Ketanah who has reached
the age of Chinuch and a Ketanah who has not reached the age of Chinuch --
in both cases, Beis Din is *not* required to stop the Ketanah from doing an
(The Ritva might refute this proof by differentiating between a Chareshes
and a Ketanah who has reached the age of Chinuch, since a Chareshes will
*never* be obligated to do Mitzvos.)
(c) The RASHBA concludes that our Gemara is talking about a child who has
reached the age of Chinuch. The reason why Chinuch does not apply to him is
because the Mitzvah of Chinuch may apply only to Mitzvos Aseh. The Gemara's
question is whether there is a requirement of Chinuch for Mitzvos Lo Ta'aseh
as well. This is also the view of TOSFOS in Nazir (28b), and of TOSFOS
YESHANIM in Yoma (82a) in the name of Rabeinu Eliezer.
The reason there should be more of an obligation of Chinuch for Mitzvos Aseh
than for Lo Ta'aseh is because more effort is required to teach a child to
do something than to teach him to refrain from doing something (see TERUMAS
HA'DESHEN #94). (See also Insights to Shabbos 121:1.)
2) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WAR AND FAMINE
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that a woman who says that her husband died
during a time of war is not believed. The Gemara says that the same applies
during a time of famine, but there is one difference. In a time of war, a
woman *is* believed to say that her husband died upon his bed. In a time of
famine, a woman is *not* believed to say that her husband died upon his bed,
unless she also says that she buried him.
3) THE RULING OF THE RAMBAM REGARDING A WOMAN'S TESTIMONY ABOUT HER
RASHI (DH Meis u'Kevartiv) explains the reason for this difference. He says
that "in a time of war, she will assume that he might have run away and was
saved (if she did not actually see him die, and thus she will not mistakenly
assume that he died on his bed), but in a time of famine, she reasons that
there is no way that he could live (and thus she might mistakenly assume
that he is dead)."
It seems from Rashi that there is less of a chance that a person will
survive in a famine than in war, because one can escape from war more easily
than from famine. Where, though, does Rashi see this in the Gemara? Why is
it easier for him to run away from war than from famine? If he is sick and
on his bed, he cannot run away from war any easier than from famine! And if
he recovers from his sickness, why will she assume that he died from the
famine? After all, it seems from the Gemara that we are only afraid the wife
will testify to the husband's death "bid'Dami," based on conjecture, because
she thinks that he is almost dead already and he will certainly die (as we
see in the story of Rava and the "Nafefisa"). Why, then, should she testify
that a hitherto *healthy* husband is dead just because there is a famine?
(a) The MAHARSHAL explains Rashi as follows. When a woman says that her
husband died on his bed a natural death, there is indeed no reason to fear
that she is testifying "bid'Dami." In times of famine, though, a woman is so
certain that her husband cannot survive a famine that she is prepared to lie
that she saw him die when she did not see anything of that sort. Therefore,
we are afraid that she is *lying* and claiming that he died a natural death,
because she is so certain that he is going to die from the famine.
In a war, she thinks that he is able to run away from the war, and that is
why she will not lie and say that he died unless she sees herself that he
died. But in times of famine, where she thinks that it is impossible to
escape death, she will knowingly lie and say that she saw him dead, because
she assumes that he did eventually die. She will not lie, however, and say
that she also buried him, because she has no reason to assume that he was
buried if she did not bury him.
The HAGAHOS YA'AVETZ points out, though, that from the flow of the Sugya, it
does not appear that this is the Gemara's intention. The Gemara does not
seem to suspect the wife of lying outright.
(b) The ME'IRI explains the difference between hunger and war very simply.
Hunger affects a person no matter where he is or what he is doing. Even if
he dies on his bed of other causes, his hunger causes him to die faster by
compounding effects of disease. That is why in a famine, his wife assumes
that he died (and testifies "bid'Dami") even if he is in bed due to disease
or other natural causes besides hunger. In a war, though, if he is dying
from natural causes the war will not affect his health at all. His wife will
not assume that he is going to die faster from natural causes during a war
than at any other time.
Rashi might mean to say what the Me'iri says, and not like the Maharshal
explains. When Rashi says that she thinks that her husband can run away from
war, it means that she knows that he might *recover from his illness* in a
time of war, because the war does not affect him when he is dying from other
causes. But in times of famine, hunger affects and exacerbates disease.
Therefore she assumes that her husband will not recover and will die from
his illness. (Perhaps the word "Barach" (flee) in Rashi should be "Barya"
(he became healthy), with an "Alef" instead of a "Ches." In times of war, a
woman assumes that her husband *will recover*, and that is why she does not
say that he died unless she knows for sure that he died.)
(c) The RITVA and other Rishonim argue with Rashi and say that the
difference between believing a woman in a time of war and in a time of
famine has nothing to do with the chances of the husband recovering. The
chances are equal under both circumstances. Instead, when the Gemara says
that he is dying on his bed, it does not mean from natural causes, but it
means that he is dying at home from his battle-wounds. If chances of death
are equal in both cases, why is she more believed in a time of war?
The answer is that the reason a woman is not believed is because she
testifies "bid'Dami" -- she *assumes* that he died without knowing so for a
fact. Why doesn't she wait around to see whether or not he dies? Because she
is afraid for *her own* life, and therefore she flees! (This reasoning can
be inferred from what the Gemara writes regarding armed robbers, see 115a
and Rashi DH Hasam.) If so, even if her husband was wounded in a war, since
he is now on his bed and no longer on the battlefield the battle no longer
presents a danger, and his wife will stay around and will see whether or not
he dies. There is no reason be fear that she will testify "bid'Dami." But in
times of famine, the danger presented by the famine affects them even while
they are at home. Therefore the wife is still afraid that she herself will
die from the famine if she stays there, and so she runs away before seeing
her husband's fate.
QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that even though a woman is not believed to say
that her husband died in a time of famine (even if she says that he died on
his bed of natural causes), she *is* believed to say "he died and I *buried
him*." The reason for believing her when she says that she buried him is
because when it comes to his actual death, she might conjecture and say
"bid'Dami." But she cannot be basing her testimony on conjecture when she
testifies that he was buried if she does not know so for sure.
It would seem that in a time of *war*, when the woman is even believed to
say that her husband died on his bed of natural causes, she certainly is
believed to say "he died (in the war) and I buried him." Indeed, this is the
conclusion of most of the Rishonim. The RAMBAM, however, rules differently.
The Rambam (Hilchos Gerushin 13:2) rules that she is *not* believed to say
that he died and she buried him (see HAGAHOS HA'GRA here).
All of the Rishonim question the Rambam's ruling, for it seems illogical. If
a woman is trusted to say that she buried her husband in a time of famine
because she will not say "bid'Dami," then in a time of war she should
certainly be believed!
The Acharonim suggest a number of approaches to understanding the Rambam:
(a) The KESEF MISHNAH (Hilchos Gerushin 13:1) cites a lengthy Teshuvah of
RABEINU ELIYAHU MIZRACHI (#20), who discusses many aspects of the Rambam's
rulings regarding Beis Din's acceptance of the testimony of a woman who says
that her husband died.
Regarding the Rambam's ruling on the point we are discussing, the Mizrachi
(towards the end of his Teshuvah) suggests that in a time of war, it is
unusual to have time to bury the dead and it is even more unusual for a
woman to bury her dead husband. Everyone is concerned with trying to save
their own lives and they flee from the battlefield and do not seek out the
dead in order to bury them. Consequently, we have strong reason to assume
that the woman is lying if she says that she did something so unusual as to
bury her husband who was killed in battle.
(According to this explanation, though, if she says that she buried him
after the battle was over, then she should be believed.)
(b) The KESEF MISHNAH cites the Teshuvah of the MAHARI BEN LEV (2:16) after
citing the Teshuvah of the Mizrachi. The Mahari ben Lev discusses many of
the points raised by the Mizrachi. He offers another explanation for the
He explains that even though a woman is not suspected of lying outright, she
is suspected of conjecturing ("bid'Dami") that her husband is dead and then
*supporting her conjecture by lying*.
Although this logic is acceptable (and is similar to what the Maharshal
writes, see previous Insight), why does the same logic not apply in a time
of famine, where she *is* believed to say that he died and she buried him?
According to this logic, she should *not* be believed, just like she is not
believed in a time of war!
Perhaps the difference between famine and war can be understood based on the
way that the LECHEM MISHNAH understands the Rambam. The Lechem Mishnah says
that according to the Rambam, the woman is not believed when she says "he
died and I buried him" in a time of war or famine only when she says that he
died *as a result* of the war or the famine. If, however, she claims that
her husband died on his bed, then she is believed when she says "he died and
I buried him," both in war and in famine.
Accordingly, she will only lie to strengthen her claim when she is
discussing a death due to war or famine, because then she is more certain
that he died. But when the husband dies a natural death, she is not so
certain that he died, and thus she will not exaggerate and say that she
buried him; rather, she will say the facts as they are.
(c) The LEVUSH writes that even when she says "he died and I buried him," we
are afraid that she only *assumes* that he was buried when she saw somebody
being buried, when it was really somebody else and not her husband. She will
say, "bid'Dami," that she buried him, because she does not verify the facts
well. In a time of famine we are not afraid that she will make such a
mistake about the burial because she is less panic-stricken then she is when
there is a war. In a famine, she might mistakenly assume that he died, but
she will not think that he was buried when it was someone else that was
buried. (See also Insights to 116b, and Rav Yafen's footnotes to the Ritva,