ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf 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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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.
(c) Rav Yosef describes these Tzadikim as - people who kept the Torah from
'Alef' until 'Tav'.
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).
(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.
(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').
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 ...
(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
(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.
(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.
2. ... Davenning Shachris then - because the community Davens Shachris at
that time, in which case the individual will get by together with them.
(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.
(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.
2. ... "Yishme'u Ve'yomru Lach" - that the Nochrim will come and second that
(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
(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.
(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.
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.