ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Avodah Zarah 9
AVODAH ZARAH 9 (18 Adar) - dedicated by Reb Gedalya Weinberger of Brooklyn,
N.Y., in memory of his father, Reb Chaim Tzvi ben Reb Shlomo Weinberger, on
his Yahrzeit. Reb Chaim Tzvi, who miraculously survived the holocaust,
raised his children with a strong dedication to Torah and its study.
(a) Rebbi Yossi in a Beraisa lists the number of years that each of the
various kingdoms ruled over Yisrael during the four hundred and twenty years
that the second Beis Hamikdash stood. The Persians ruled for thirty-four
years, the Greeks - for a hundred and eighty.
(b) The Chashmona'im and the Kingdom of Hurdus each lasted - a hundred and
(c) Based on what we just learned, that Malchus Yisrael and Malchus Romi
began simultaneously, the Romans then came to power two hundred and six
years before the Churban.
(d) We reconcile this with Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yossi, who said earlier
that the Romans came to power a hundred and eighty years before the
Churban - by establishing the latter from the time that they abrogated their
agreement (twenty-six years after they assumed power).
(a) Should the Tana'im or the Sofrim be uncertain about the exact year of an
event that they wished to document, Rav Papa advised the former to add and
the latter to detract - twenty years, from the other's reckoning.
(b) The significance of ...
1. ... the Pasuk "Zeh Li Esrim Shanah be'Veisecha" will then be - to serve
as a reminder that the Tana (symbolized by Ya'akov Avinu) is twenty years
ahead of the Sofer in his system of dating.
(c) This discrepancy is based on the different systems of dates that they
used. The Tana'im (who lived after the Churban) would document events from
the Churban, the Sofrim - would date their Sh'taros from the rise to power
of the Greek Empire.
2. ... the saying 'Safra Betzira Tana Tosfa'ah' - is a reminder that the
Sofer is twenty years behind in his, because the Sofer tends to write less
letters, whereas the Tana writes Tosefta (which literally means additions).
(d) We learned earlier that the Greeks came to power thirty-four years into
the second Beis-Hamikdash. Nevertheless, the Sofrim dated the documents
beginning three hundred and eighty years before the Churban and not three
hundred and eighty-six - because for the first six years, the Greeks rule
was confined to Eilam, and their empire only began to spread six years
(a) We only take into account the P'rat and not the K'lal - because nobody
errs in the thousands or the hundreds (the K'lal), only in the units and at
most, in the tens (the P'rat)
(b) Consequently, if the ...
1. ... P'rat written in documents was fifteen, the Tana'im would date any
given event in the same year - as having taken place in the thirty-fifth
year after the Churban of whatever hundred it was.
(c) 'Mashkach Leih le'Chumreih' means - that the Tana or the Sofer will find
his 'knot' (the total that he is searching for).
2. ... Tana'im were dating events in the year two hundred and thirty, the
Sofrim would date their Sh'taros - as six hundred and ten.
(a) According to Tana de'Bei Eliyahu, this world is destined to last - six
(b) It describes the first two thousand years as 'Tohu' (devoid of Torah) -
the second and third periods of two thousand years as 'Torah' and
(c) Tana de'Bei Eliyahu laments about the latter - that sadly hundreds of
years had already passed (and that was then [some 1500 years ago]!) and
Mashi'ach had not yet arrived.
(d) The period of Torah did not begin from Matan Torah - but from the time
that Avraham (who was then fifty-two) began to teach the people of Charan
'Torah', in the year two thousand.
(a) The period of Torah cannot have begun from Matan Torah - because there
are not two thousand years between 2448 and 4000.
(b) Alternatively, says the Maharsha, we might have asked - that the first
period would then have lasted 448 years too long.
(c) Avraham Avinu was born in 1948 of the creation.
(d) And he began bringing people close to the Shechinah - when he was
fifty-two (in the year 2000).
(e) Bearing in mind that Churban Bayis Rishon took place in the year 3338,
the 70 years of Galus Bavel and the 420 years of Bayis Sheini - Churban
Bayis Sheini took place in the year 3838, 172 years before the year 4000.
(a) Rav Papa now discusses the same problem as he discussed above, only with
regard to the Tana'im who lived from the third period beginning with the
year 4000. In the year 4000, the Sofrim entered into their Sh'taros - the
date 4552 (adding 380 until the Churban, and 172 until the year 4000).
(b) By the same token, a Tana or a Sofer who was uncertain of the P'rat,
would need to add or subtract (respectively) forty-eight years on to the
other one's date.
(c) This time, the Si'man for the forty-eight that the Tana adds lies in the
Pasuk Mas'ei "Arba'im -u'Shemoneh Ir". We reject the Lashon 'Safra Betzira,
Tana Tosfa'ah' (as the Si'man for detracting the same from the Sofrim) -
because when we are speaking about 'Chaseros' and 'Yeseiros' in Pesukim, the
word 'Kari' is more appropriate. Consequently, the correct wording is 'Safra
Betzira, Kari Tosfa'ah'.
(d) We could equally well have detracted fifty-two from the Sofer's date and
added fifty-two on to the Tana's. Rav Papa (both before and here) chose the
reverse - a. because it is the lesser of the two, and b. in order to
accommodate the Si'man (See also Ya'avetz).
(a) Rav Huna b'rei de'Rav Yehoshua gives similar advice to someone who is
uncertain about which year of the Sh'mitah cycle it is. He begins by adding
one year to the current date (after the Churban) - because the second
Beis-Hamikdash was destroyed on Motza'ei Shevi'is (just like the first).
(b) The other two similarities (date-wise) which the second Churban shared
with the first were - that it was destroyed on Tish'ah be'Av and on Motza'ei
(c) We know all this - from the principle 'Megalgelin Z'chus al-Yedei Zakai
ve'Chov al-Yedei Chayav' (which extends even to dates).
(d) One then adds two Yovlos per century - like Rebbi Yehudah, who holds
that the Yovel year counts both as the Yovel year and as the first year of
the next cycle (because according to the Rabbanan, the next Sh'mitah cycle
begins only the year after the Yovel, in which case one would need to add
four days per century).
(a) One finally works out the current year of the Sh'mitah - by dividing the
total to date by seven.
(b) This is relevant even according to Rebbi, who holds that Sh'mitas
Kesafim (the cancellation of debts) only applies concurrently with Sh'mitas
Karka - because even Rebbi admits that even if Sh'mitah does not apply
nowadays mi'd'Oraysa, it does apply mi'de'Rabbanan.
(c) The significance of the Si'man "Ki Zeh Shenasayim ha'Ra'av be'Kerev
ha'Aretz" is - to remind us to add two days per century like Rebbi Yehudah
(and not four, like the Rabbanan).
(d) Despite the fact that the Beis-Hamikdash stood for four hundred and
twenty years, the Churban can have taken place on Motza'ei Shevi'is (even
though, as we just explained, if we were to add the eight years [two per
century] to the twenty of the P'rat, it would appear to have been destroyed
in the Sh'mitah-year - because they did not begin counting the Sh'mitos
until Ezra arrived from Bavel six years after the Ge'ulah actually began.
(a) Rebbi Chanina said that if one were to be offered a field (in Chutz
la'Aretz) worth a thousand Zuz for one Dinar, from the year 4228 (four
hundred years after the Churban) - one should decline the 'Metzi'ah',
because Mashi'ach is imminent.
(b) The Beraisa said - the same, only from three years later (from the year
4231[see Tosfos DH 'le'Achar ... ']).