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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Avodah Zarah 4



(a) The third comparison of Adam to fish in the sea is not confined to Yisrael, but to national, interpersonal relationships. Like fish in the sea (where the big fish swallow the little ones) - people would swallow each other alive, were it not for their fear of the (justice of) the ruling power.

(b) To reconcile the two Pesukim "Shakai, Lo Metzanuhu Sagi Ko'ach" with the Pasuk "Gadol Adoneinu ve'Rav Ko'ach" - Rav Chinena bar Papa establishes the first Pasuk by when Hashem sits in judgment, and the second, when He fights wars.

(c) Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Chanina reconciles the Pasuk which states that Hashem does not become angry, with the Pasuk which describes Him as a G-d of vengeance and fury - by establishing the former with regard to Yisrael, and the second, with regard to the other nations.

(d) Rav Chin'na bar Papa disagrees. He reconciles the two Pesukim even assuming that both refer to Yisrael - by explaining that although Hashem is prone to become angry, He does not, because He swore that He would not. And when He said 'Mi Yitneni she'Lo Nishba'ti', He meant - that He wished that He hadn't.

(a) Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Chanina's explanation conforms with that of Rebbi Alexandri (see Tosfos DH 've'Haynu'), who interprets the Pasuk "be'Yom ha'Hu Avakesh Leshashmid es Kol ha'Goyim" to mean - that Hashem wishes to find out whether the Nochrim have any merits or not, before making His decision?

(b) The results of His inquiry will be - that if they do not, He will destroy them.

(c) Yisrael however, He treats like a Pid shel Tarnegoles, as Rava explains - meaning that like a hen pecks around for its food, so too, will Hashem punish them little by little.

(d) The Pasuk "Im be'Fido Lahen *Shu'a*" therefore means - that by punishing Yisrael little by little, Hashem *saves* them for the World to Come.

(a) If in the same Pasuk "be'Fido" refers, not to punishments, but to Mitzvos, then it will mean - that even if Yisrael have performed just a few Mitzvos (like a hen pecking in a trash-heap), Hashem will add them up to make up a large total.

(b) Alternatively, "Shu'a" might be referring to the merit - Tefilah (like we say in Ashrei "ve'es Shav'asam Yishma ... "), which saves them from total annihilation?

(c) According to Rebbi Aba, Hashem wanted to save Yisrael from total annihilation by punishing them monetarily. According to Rav Papi in the name of Rava, it refers to - striking them bodily (see Agados Maharsha).

(d) In both cases, Yisrael reacted to this act of kindness - by accusing Hashem of punishing them unjustly (and not in order to reward them later).

(a) Rebbi Avahu told a certain Miyn (heretic) - that Rav Safra was a great man.

(b) Rav Safra benefited from Rebbi Avahu's praise - by being released from taxes for thirteen years.

(c) Based on the Pasuk "Rak Eschem Yada'ti mi'Kol Mishpechos ha'Adamah, al-Kein Efkod Aleichem es Kol Avanoseichem", the Minim ask Rav Safra - why, if Hashem loves Yisrael, would He choose to punish them?

(d) When they said 'Ma'an de'Is Leih Susya, be'Rachmeih Masik Leih', they meant to ask - whether it was the normal procedure to vent one's anger on one's best friend (or to give him one's wild horse to ride).

(a) When Rav Safra was unable to answer - the Minim placed a Sudar (the head-gear of a Talmid-Chacham) around his neck and began to torment him.

(b) Rebbi Avahu ...

1. ... reconciled his praise of Rav Safra with the latter's inability to answer their question - by confining Rav Safra's area of excellence to Torah she'be'Al Peh, but not so much to Torah she'bi'Kesav.
2. ... ascribed the fact that *he* was able to answer their questions, whereas Rav Safra was not - to the fact that he had to deal with them (the Minim) on an ongoing basis, and had therefore to be constantly on his toes, whereas Rav Safra did not have this problem.
3. ... actually solve their problem - like Rebbi Alexandri earlier, and he compared it to a man who borrowed money from two people, one of whom he liked, whilst the other, he disliked. The former, he repaid in one go, the latter, in dribs and drabs.
(a) Rav Aba bar Kahana interprets the word "Chalilah" in the Pasuk (in connection with Avraham's Tefilah for S'dom) "Chalilah Lecha me'Asos ka'Davar ha'Zeh Lehamis Tzadik im Rasha" to mean - that it is Chulin (profane) for Hashem to do such a thing.

(b) We reconcile this with the Pasuk ...

1. ... "Ve'hichrati mi'Mecha Tzadik ve'Rasha" - by establishing the former by a complete Tzadik, and the latter, by a partial one.
2. ... "u'mi'Mikdashai (which the Beraisa cited by Rav Yosef translates as "mi'Mekudashai") Tacheilu" where the Tzadikim were the first to suffer - because they had the ability to rebuke the people but failed to do so (in which case they were not considered complete Tzadikim).
(c) Rav Yosef describes these Tzadikim as - people who kept the Torah from 'Alef' until 'Tav'.

(d) Rav Papa reconciles the two Pesukim "Keil Zo'em be'Chol Yom", and "Lifnei Za'amo Mi Ya'amod" - by establishing the former with regard to the community (who are able to survive Hashem's anger), and the latter, with regard to individuals (who are not).

(a) When the Beraisa gives the time duration as one 53,848 (or 8,888) of an hour each day - it is referring to Hashem's anger.

(b) The only person who knew exactly when that moment was - was Bil'am.

(c) We learn this from the Pasuk "Ve'yode'a Da'as Elyon", which we cannot interpret literally - because if, as we shall soon see, he could not even fathom the mind of his ass, how could he possibly fathom the mind of Hashem?




(a) Bil'am's ass asserted, when Bilam explained to Balak's messengers that ...
1. ... he was riding her only because he had left his horse in the meadow - that she was his ass.
2. ... usually, he only used her to carry loads - that he used her for riding on too.
3. ... he only rode on her occasionally - that he rode on her regularly ...
(b) ... and what's more - if that is what he used her for by day, by night, he used her for more intimate purposes (as is hinted in the words "ha'Hashkein Hiskanti ... ", which we find in Shmuel, in connection with Avishag ha'Shunamis, by whom the Pasuk writes "Va'tehi Lo Sochenes" ('and she became his [David's] warmer').

(c) Even though Bil'am knew the exact moment that Hashem was angry each day, he was unable to use that knowledge to curse Yisrael - because throughout that period, Hashem, in His kindness, simply quashed His anger (in order to deprive Bilam of the opportunity of cursing Yisrael), as the Pasuk hints when it writes "Lema'an Da'as Tzidkos Hashem".

(d) If Hashem had not done so - then not a Jew would have remained, by the time Bilam had finished with them.

(a) Hashem's intervention reflects in Bilam's words to Balak - when he said "Mah Kaboh Lo Kaboh Keil, *u'Mah Ez'am, Lo Ez'am Hashem*" (meaning that Bil'am could not evoke Hashem's anger when Hashem was not angry).

(b) We learn from the Pasuk "Ki Rega be'Apo, Chayim bi'Retzono" (or from the Pasuk "Chavi Kim'at Rega ad Ya'avor Za'am") - that Hashem's anger each day lasts only a split second.

(c) Hashem's anger occurs - during the first three of the day ...

(d) ... when the rooster's comb turns white.

(e) The problem with this statement the way it stands is - that the rooster's comb turns white regularly. What the Tana therefore means is - that on those other occasions, the white is dotted with red specks, and it is only at that specific moment that it turns completely white.

(a) When a certain Miyn persisted in tormenting him - Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi placed a rooster between the legs of his bed, intending to curse him when he saw the comb turn white.

(b) His plan failed however - when he dozed off just at that moment.

(c) He took this as a sign from Heaven - that it is not correct for a Tzadik to use Hashem in this way ("Gam Anush la'Tzadik Lo Tov", Mishlei). He also quoted the Pasuk from 'Ashrei' "ve'Rachamav al Kol Ma'asav" (that Hashem has mercy on *all* His creations, even on the Resha'im!

(d) Based on Rebbi Meir in a Beraisa, the cause of Hashem's anger each morning is - the fact that at around the time in question, the kings of the world would place their crowns on their heads and bow down to the rising sun.

(a) Rav Yosef advises an individual not to Daven Musaf during the first three hours of the first day of Rosh Hashanah - because, since everyone is judged on that day, by Davening at that time, he attracts Hashem's attention, so to speak, and is judged then, and those are the hours during which Hashem is angry, as we just explained.

(b) The same does not pertain to ...

1. ... a community - because the merits of the community are great.
2. ... Davenning Shachris then - because the community Davens Shachris at that time, in which case the individual will get by together with them.
(c) This applies specifically to Musaf of Rosh Hashanah - when we say Malchuyos, Zichronos and Shofros, and not to Musaf the whole year round, which is merely praises of Hashem and a description of the Korbanos brought on that day.

(d) The problem with this is - that during the first three hours of the day, Hashem does not judge, but studies Torah, as we learned earlier.

(a) Initially, we answer 'Eipuch' (inverting the order of the first two periods), in which case Hashem does indeed judge during the first three hours of the day. Alternatively, the Beraisa remains intact, and one should nevertheless avoid Davenning Musaf during the first period, and not during the second - because since Torah is referred to as Emes, Hashem will not go 'li'Fenim mi'Shuras ha'Din' (beyond the letter of the law [to deal with him leniently]); Din on the other hand, which is not called 'Emes', allows Hashem to go beyond the letter of the law.

(b) When the Pasuk writes "Mishpetei Hashem Emes" - it is referring to the category of Mitzvos called 'Mishpatim', and not to the Din (the court judgment) of which we are speaking.

(c) When the Pasuk says ...

1. ... "Emes Keneih" it means - that one should be prepared to spend money in order to study Torah.
2. ... "ve'Al Timkor" it means - that one should teach it free of charge.
(a) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi explains the Pasuk in Yeshayah ...
1. ... "Yitnu Eidehen Ve'yitzdaku" to mean - that all the Mitzvos that Yisrael have performed will come and testify on their behalf.
2. ... "Yishme'u Ve'yomru Lach" - that the Nochrim will come and second that testimony.
(b) And he extrapolates from the Pasuk "Ki Hi Chochmaschem u'Vinaschem *le'Einei ha'Amim*" - that those Mitzvos will tap the Nochrim on the face (see Agados Maharsha), to show them up for declining to accept the Torah when it was offered to them.
(a) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi extrapolates from the Pasuk (said by Hashem at Har Sinai) "Mi Yiten Ve'hayah Levavam Zeh Lahem Le'yir'ah Osi Kol ha'Yamim" - that Yisrael's level of Yir'as Shamayim at that time did not warrant the sin of the Golden Calf, and that consequently, it must have been orchestrated by Hashem, to teach us that the Teshuvah of a Tzibur is accepted.

(b) Rebbi Yochanan in the name of Rebbi Shimon ben Yochai said the same thing. And he also extrapolated from the Pasuk "ve'Libi Chalal be'Kirbi" - that, by the same token, David's heart was devoid of sin, and he was therefore unlikely to have sinned with Bas-Sheva if Hashem had not engineered it, to teach us that the Teshuvah of a Yachid is acceptable, too.

(c) Had the Torah taught it to us only in the case of ...

1. ... a Yachid, we would not have automatically known that the same applies to a Tzibur - whose sin is more widely known, and which therefore constitutes Chilul Hashem.
2. ... a Tzibur, we would not have automatically known that the same applies to a Yachid - whose collective merits are infinitely less than those of a Tzibur.
(d) Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni Amar Rebbi Yonasan interprets the Pasuk "Ne'um David ... u'Ne'um ha'Gever Hukam Ol" to mean - that David was the one to establish the yoke of Teshuvah, bearing out the previous statement of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai.
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