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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Avodah Zarah 3


(a) Question: What is the source that they did not keep their seven Mitzvos?
(b) Answer: As Rav Yosef taught.
1. (Rav Yosef): "Ra'ah va'Yater Goyim" - Hash-m saw that they did not keep the seven Mitzvos they had accepted, therefore he permitted their Mitzvos to them.
2. Objection: If so, they gained from their sin!
3. Answer (Mar brei d'Ravina): He means, Hash-m decreed that they will no longer get reward for keeping them.
4. Objection (Beraisa - R. Meir): "Asher Ya'aseh Osam ha'Adam v'Chai Bahem" - it does not say that Benei Yisrael will live through the Mitzvos, rather 'ha'Adam', to teach that even A Nochri that engages in Torah gets reward, just like a Kohen Gadol.
5. Correction: Rather, Hash-m decreed that they will no longer get reward for them like one who is commanded and observes, rather like one who is not commanded and observes.
i. (R. Chanina): One who is commanded and observes is greater than one who is not commanded and observes.
(c) Nochrim: How do we know that Yisrael kept the entire Torah?
(d) Hash-m: I testify that they did.
(e) Nochrim: A father cannot testify for his son, and you call Yisrael your son -"Beni Bechori Yisrael"!
(f) Hash-m: Heaven and earth will testify for them.
(g) Nochrim: They are partial, they cannot testify - "Im Lo Brisi Yomam va'Laylah Chukos Shamayim va'Aretz Lo Samti";
1. (Reish Lakish): "Yom ha'Shishi" - Hash-m created the world on condition that Yisrael will accept His Torah on the sixth of Sivan; if they will not, the world will revert to emptiness.
2. Question (Chizkiyah): "Mi'Shamayim Hishmata Din Eretz Yar'ah v'Shakatah" - if the land was afraid, why was it quiet?!
3. Answer (Chizkiyah): At first it was afraid; after Yisrael accepted the Torah, it was quiet.
(h) Hash-m: You yourselves will testify that Yisrael kept the entire Torah:
1. Nimrod will testify that Avraham refused to serve idolatry, Lavan will testify that Yakov did not steal, Potifera's wife will testify that Yosef refused to commit adultery, Nebuchadnetzar will testify that Chananyah, Misha'el and Azaryah refused to bow to the image, Daryavesh will testify that Daniel did not miss praying, Elifaz ha'Temani, Bildad ha'Shuchi, Tzufar ha'Na'amasi (Iyov's friends) will testify that Yisrael kept the entire Torah - "Yitenu Edeihem v'Yitzdaku".
(a) Nochrim: Give us the Torah now and we will guard it!
(b) Hash-m: Fools! Only one who prepared from before Shabbos will have what to eat on Shabbos (a parable - only one who kept Mitzvos in this world will get reward in the world to come)!
1. Nevertheless, I will give you an easy Mitzvah, Sukah, go do it.
2. Question: But R. Yehoshua ben Levi taught, "Asher Anochi Metzavecha ha'Yom" - today (this world) is for doing Mitzvos, not tomorrow (the world to come); today (this world) is for doing Mitzvos, not for receiving their reward.
3. Answer: Hash-m does not deal unfairly with his creations.
4. Question: Why is Sukah called an easy Mitzvah?
5. Answer: One need not spend money for it.
(c) Immediately, all the Nochrim build Sukos on their roofs; Hash-m makes the sun beat on them as it does in the heat of summer; the Nochrim kick the Sukos and leave - "Nenatkah Es Moseroseimu v'Nashlichah Mimenu Avoseimu".
(d) Question: Making the sun beat on them is dealing unjustly with them!
(e) Answer: It is not, Yisrael also suffer thusly, when the intense heat of summer persists until Sukos.

(f) Question: But Rava taught, one who is in pain is exempt from the Sukah (Yisrael would also leave in such heat)!
(g) Answer: They would leave, but they would not kick the Sukah.
(h) "Yoshev ba'Shamayim Yischak" - Hash-m will laugh at them. (i) (R. Yitzchak): That is the only day of Hash-m's laughter.
(j) Others say that R. Yitzchak said this in response to the following.
(k) (Beraisa - R. Yosi): In the future, Nochrim will convert.
(l) Question: We should not accept them!
1. (Beraisa): We will not accept converts in the Messianic days (lest their motives are insincere);
2. Similarly, we did not accept converts in the days of David and Shlomo.
(m) Answer: Rather, the Nochrim convert by themselves (which is invalid), put Tefilin on their heads and arms, and Tzitzis on their garments, and Mezuzos on their doors;
1. When they see the armies of Gog and Magog, the converts (text of the Rashash) ask them why they came.
2. Gog and Magog: "(We gathered to fight) Al Hash-m v'Al Meshicho".
3. The converts cast off their Mitzvos and leave - "Nenatkah Es Moseroseimu..."
(n) "Yoshev ba'Shamayim Yischak (Hash-m will laugh at them)".
(o) (R. Yitzchak): That is the only day of Hash-m's laughter.
(a) Question (on both versions): But Hash-m laughs every day, as Rav Yehudah taught!
1. (Rav Yehudah): In the first three hours of the day(time), Hash-m engages in Torah;
2. The next three He judges the world;
i. When He sees that the world is fitting to be destroyed, He goes from the throne of judgment the throne of mercy.
3. The next three hours He feeds the entire world, from the biggest animals to the smallest (lice eggs);
4. The last three hours He laughs with Livyasan (a giant fish that Tzadikim will enjoy in the future) - "Livyasan Zeh Yatzarta Lesachek Bo".
(b) Answer #1 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): He regularly laughs *with* His creations, he does not laugh at His creations except for that day.
(c) Answer #2 (Rav Acha): He does not laugh after the Mikdash was destroyed.
(d) Question: How do we know this?
1. Suggestion: "Vayikra Hash-m...ba'Yom Hahu li'Vchi ul'Misped ul'Karchah".
2. Rejection: Perhaps He only declared the day of the Churban for crying!
(e) Answer #1: "Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim...Im Lo Ezkerechi".
(f) Rejection: Perhaps He does not forget, but He does laugh!
(g) Answer #2: "Hechesheisi me'Olam Acharish Esapak..."
(h) Question: (According to Rav Acha, Hash-m does not laugh after the Churban;) what does He do during the last three hours?
(i) Answer: He teaches children that died - "Yoreh De'ah...Gemulei Me'Chalav".
(j) Question: Who teaches them the first three quarters of the day?
(k) Answer #1: Metatron (the angel appointed over the world) teaches them.
(l) Answer #2: Until then, Hash-m teaches them in addition to engaging in Torah, judging or feeding the world.
(m) Question: What does Hash-m do at night?
(n) Answer #1: The same things He does by day.
(o) Answer #2: He rides on a fast Cheruv (angel) and flies through 18,000 worlds - "Rechev Elokim Ribosayim Alfei Shin'an";
1. We read this as 'She'Einen' (2000 of the 20,000 are lacking).
(p) Answer #3: He listens to the Chayos (angels) singing - "Uva'Laylah Shiro Imi".
(a) (R. Levi): Anyone who stops learning to speak idle words, he is (force-)fed burning coals - "Ha'Kotefim Malu'ach Alei Si'ach v'Shoresh Resamim Lachmam".
(b) Version #1 (Reish Lakish): Anyone who engages in Torah at night, Hash-m gives him grace during the day - "Yomam Yetzaveh Hash-m Chasdo Uva'Laylah Shiro Imi";
1. Hash-m commands His Chesed upon him by day, *because* he learned at night.
(c) Version #2 (Reish Lakish): Anyone who engages in Torah in this world, which resembles night, Hash-m gives him grace in the world to come which resembles day - "Yomam Yetzaveh Hash-m Chasdo...".
(d) Question (Rav Yehudah): "Va'Ta'aseh Adam ki'Dgei ha'Yam" - how are fish a parable for people?
(e) Answer #1: Just as fish die immediately if they come upon dry land, also people die immediately if they refrain from Torah and Mitzvos.
(f) Answer #2: Just as fish die if the sun beats upon them, also people.
1. Some say, this refers to this world, as R. Chanina taught;
i. (R. Chanina): All sicknesses are decreed by Heaven, except for chills and fevers (which are due to a person's negligence).
2. Some say, it refers to the world to come, as Reish Lakish taught.
i. (Reish Lakish): Gehinom is not a separate place, rather, Hash-m will let the sun beat down heavily; the wicked are judged (punished) through this, Tzadikim are cured through this.
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