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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Avodah Zarah 10



(a) With regard to the Sh'tar Chov (with no mention of any kingdom), that came before them that was pre-dated by six years, the Rabbanan said to Rava - that it was obviously a 'Sh'tar Me'uchar' in which case the creditor was Mochel the Shibud for those six years ...

(b) ... and one could purchase a field from the borrower with the knowledge that the creditor would not be able to claim it, since the date of the sale pre-dated that on the Sh'tar Chov.

(c) Rav Nachman informed them however - that it was more likely to have been the work of a 'Safra Dukna' (a Sofer who wrote the date according to the Greeks initial rise to power [ignoring the Minhag to begin only six years later, as we explained earlier]), in which case, it was valid immediately.

(a) Rav Acha bar Ya'akov queried Rav Nachman's principle - that in Galus, the Sh'taros must be dated according to Malchus Yavan. Perhaps, he suggested, the Sofrim dated their Sh'taros - according to Yetzi'as Mitzrayim, only they dropped the thousand from the date (like we tend to do nowadays).

(b) According to Rav Acha's theory - the Sh'tar was Me'uchar (predated by six years [as we explained earlier]).

(c) What led him to believe that such a thing was possible is - the fact that if one drops the thousand years, incredibly, there is no discrepancy between the two dates. This is because, the Churban took place 1380 years after the Exodus from Egypt (480+410+70+420). Consequently, three hundred and eighty years on a Sh'tar could just as well refer to Yetzi'as Mitzrayim as to the Greeks' rise to power.

(d) Rav Nachman replied - that in Galus, the Sofrim would date Sh'taros specifically after the Greek kingdom.

(e) Rav Acha discovered that Rav Nachman was not just pushing him off - when he found a Beraisa that supported his opinion.

(a) Ravina substantiates Rav Nachman's statement still further, from the Mishnah in Rosh Hashana. Rav Chisda explains the Tana's statement there 'be'Echad be'Nisan Rosh Hashanah li'Melachim ... ' - in reference to dating Sh'taros.

(b) We reconcile this with the same Mishnah 'be'Echad be'Tishri Rosh Hashanah le'Shanim' (which Rav Chisda also establishes by Sh'taros) - by establishing the former by Jewish kings, and the latter, by Nochri kings ...

(c) ... negating Rav Acha bar Ya'akov's Kashya that the Sh'tar might have been dated according to the years of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim - since from there it is evident that in Eretz Yisrael, we date our documents according to Malchus Yisrael, whereas in Galus, we date them according to the Malchus of Nochrim).

(a) Based on Rav Yehudah's interpretation of 'Yom Genusya' as coronation day, we initially explain the Beraisa 'Yom Genusya ve'Yom she'Ma'amidin Bo es Malkom' to mean - Coronation Day.

(b) The Pasuk in Ovadyah presents us with a problem. We learn from the Pasuk ...

1. ... "Hinei Katon Nesatich" - that the Roman Emperor's children did not succeed their fathers.
2. ... "Bazuy Atah Me'od" - that they neither had their own script nor their own language.
(c) So we try to re-interpret 'Yom Genusya' to mean - the king's birthday.

(d) Even after explaining the Beraisa 'Yom Genusya ve'Yom ha'Leidah' however, like we explained it a moment ago 'Ha Dideih, Ha de'Berei', we are still left with a problem, because another Beraisa specifically states all four cases - 'Yom Genusya she'Lo, 'Yom Genusya shel B'no, ve'Yom ha'Leidah she'Lo ve'Yom ha'Leidah shel B'no' (a Kashya from the Pasuk 'Hinei Katon Nesatich', as we just explained).

(a) So we re-establish 'Yom Genusya' to mean Coronation Day, and the Beraisa means 'Ha Dideih, Ha di'Berei'. And we get round the Pasuk 'Hinei Katon Nesatich' - by establishing the Beraisa in cases where the reigning emperor received special permission from the senate, for his son to succeed him.

(b) Antoninus wanted permission from the Senate - for his son Asveirus to succeed him, and for Teverya to be exempt from paying taxes (because Rebbi and other Chachamim lived there, and, apart from his close relationship with Rebbi, Antoninus loved Chachamim).

(c) He needed Rebbi's advice - because the senate would only permit one special request, and no more.

(d) When Rebbi brought before him one man riding on the back of another, and the man at the bottom told the one on top to send away the bird he was holding, he meant to answer - that Antoninus himself should ask the senate permission for his son to rule after him, and that he should instruct his son to ask permission to exempt Teverya from paying taxes.

(a) When, in response to Antoninus query what to do about the Roman dignitaries who were causing him trouble, he pulled out one radish each day from the ground - he was hinting to him to deal with them one at a time and not collectively.

(b) Rebbi found it necessary to answer Antoninus by way of hint, and not ...

1. ... directly - because he was afraid that his advice might reach the wrong ears.
2. ... in a whisper - because of the Pasuk in Koheles "Ki Of ha'Shamayim Yolich es ha'Kol".



(a) Antoninus sent Rebbi ...
1. ... a plant called Gargira - as an indication that his daughter, who was called Gira, had committed adultery (since the word 'Giyora' also means adultery [Rabeinu Chananel]), and Rebbi sent him back Kusbarta (coriander) - which is the acronym of 'Kus B'rata', meaning 'kill your daughter'.
2. ... Karsi (leek) - indicating that this would mean cutting off his descendants, as she was his only child, and Rebbi sent him back Chasa (lettuce) - as an indication that in that case, he should take pity on her.
(b) When Antoninus sent Rebbi a leather sack full of gold every day, he ensured that it was not discovered - by filling the mouth of the sack with wheat.

(c) When Rebbi claimed that he did not need them because he was a rich man, he responded - by telling him to put the money aside, so that when his (Rebbi's) descendants would be threatened by his own successors, they would have funds with which to bribe them.

(a) Antoninus would visit Rebbi to study Torah each day undetected - by means of an underground tunnel.

(b) He would kill the two guards that he posted, one at the entrance and one at the exit (see Tosfos DH 'Chad Katil').

(c) When Antoninus discovered Rebbi Chanina bar Chama there, despite his instructions that Rebbi was to have no man with him when he arrived, Rebbi explained - that this was not a man (meaning that he was more like an angel).

(d) Antoninus put Rebbi Chanina to the test - by asking him to fetch the man who was sleeping outside.

(a) When ...
1. ... Rebbi Chanina found the man outside the door was dead - he was in a quandary, because on the one hand, he did not want to be the harbinger of bad news, whilst on the other, he did not wish to disobey the king. So he prayed that the man should come back to life, and brought him before Antoninus.
2. ... Rebbi Chanina returned with the guard - Antoninus expressed his belief that every Tana was able to revive the dead, but insisted that Rebbi be alone whenever he came to see him.
(b) Rebbi Chanina's stand-in as the one to serve Rebbi was none other - than Antoninus himself.

(c) When Rebbi wished to go and lie down - Antoninus would crouch, so that Rebbi should climb via his back on to the bed.

(d) When Rebbi told that it was undignified for a king to behave like that - he retorted that he wished that he would be a mat for Rebbi to stand on in the World to Come.

(a) When Antoninus asked Rebbi whether he would receive a portion in Olam ha'Ba, he replied - in the positive.

(b) And when he quoted him the Pasuk ...

1. ... "Lo Yih'yeh Sarid le'Veis Eisav" - Rebbi (based on the extra word 'le'Veis') retorted 'be'Oseh Ma'aseh Eisav' (that the Pasuk pertains to those who behave like Eisav).
2. ... (in connection with Gehinom) "Shamah Edom Melachehah ve'Chol Nesi'ehah" - "Melachehah", 've'Lo Chol Melachehah' (to preclude Antoninus ben Asveirus).
(c) Rebbi also extrapolated from "Kol Nesi'ehah" - "Kol Nesi'ehah", 've'Lo Kol Sarehah', to preclude all its important dignitaries (one of whom is not destined to enter Gehinom).

(d) An independant Beraisa attaches this D'rashah to - Keti'a bar Shalom.

(a) When the Emperor asked the important men of Rome what one does with a painful growth on one's leg (with reference to Yisrael, whom he [they] hated, they replied - that one cuts it out [gets rid of them]).

(b) When Keti'a bar Shalom quoted the Pasuk (in connection with Yisrael) "Ki ke'Arba Ruchos ha'Shamayim Perasti Eschem" - he meant that the world can exist without Yisrael no more than it can exist without the four winds.

(c) And besides, he added - a nation without any Jews is called 'Malchus Keti'a (a deficient nation).

(d) He not want to explain the Pasuk to mean that Hashem scattered Yisrael to all the four corners of the earth - because then the Torah ought to have written "Ki *le*'Arba Ruchos ... " (rather than "ke'Arba Ruchos ... ").

(a) The Emperor was forced to admit that Keti'a bar Shalom was right. However, he cited the law that whoever outsmarts the Emperor must die (by being buried alive in a house full of earth [for putting the Emperor to shame]).

(b) Keti'a fell on his male organ and removed the Orlah, as he was being led to his death - when an important Roman matron announced what a shame it was that here he was giving up his life on behalf of the Jews, yet he cold not join them because he was uncircumcised )'Woe to the pot that does not have a lid').

(c) Rebbi Akiva interpreted Keti'a's announcement bequeathing his property to 'Rebbi Akiva and his colleagues' to mean - half to himself and half to his colleagues.

(d) He based this ruling on Chazal's interpretation of the Pasuk "Va'hayah le'Aharon u'le'Vanav" - with reference to the twelve Lechem ha'Panim.

(e) The ramifications of this D'rashah regarding ...

1. ... the Lechem ha'Panim are - that Aharon (the Kohen Gadol) received four five of the twelve loaves (as the Sugya in Yoma explains).
2. ... the Sh'tei ha'Lechem on Shavu'os are - that Aharon took one of the two Loaves.
(a) After Keti'a bar Shalom's death - a bas-Kol (a Heavenly Voice) declared that Keti'a bar Shalom was ready for life in the World to Come, causing Rebbi to cry.

(b) Rebbi cried - because it struck him that some people acquire their portion in Olam ha'Ba in one moment, whereas others acquire it after many years of hard work (see Agados Maharsha).

(c) After Antoninus death, Rebbi announced - 'Nispardah Chavilah' (the bundle has fallen apart), with reference to their friendship (and that is what Rav announced after the death of Adrechan, a Nochri dignitory who served him like Antoninus served Rebbi).

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