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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.
How long did the Greeks rule?

(b) How many years did the Chashmona'im and the Kingdom of Hurdus each last?

(c) According to what we just learned, how many years before the Churban did the Romans then come to power?

(d) How do 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?

(a) Should the Tana'im or the Sofrim be uncertain about the exact year of an event that they wished to document, how many years did Rav Papa advise the former to add and the latter to detract, by asking the other?

(b) What is then the significance of ...

  1. ... the Pasuk in Vayeitzei (said by Ya'akov to Lavan) "Zeh Li Esrim Shanah be'Veisecha"?
  2. ... the saying 'Safra Betzira Tana Tosfa'ah'? What does this mean?
(c) This discrepancy is based on the different systems of dates that they used. If the Tana'im would document events from the Churban, what system did the Sofrim use in their Sh'taros?

(d) We learned earlier that the Greeks came to power thirty-four years into the second Beis-Hamikdash. Why then, did the Sofrim date the documents beginning three hundred and eighty years before the Churban and not three hundred and eighty-six?

(a) Why do we only take into account the P'rat and not the K'lal?

(b) So, if the ...

  1. ... P'rat written in documents was fifteen, how would the Tana'im date any given event in the same year?
  2. ... Tana'im were dating events in the year two hundred and thirty, how would the Sofrim date their Sh'taros?
(c) What does 'Mashkach Leih le'Chumreih' mean?
(a) According to Tana de'Bei Eliyahu, how long is this world destined to last?

(b) It describes the first two thousand years as 'Tohu' (devoid of Torah).
How does it describe the second and third periods of two thousand years?

(c) What does Tana de'Bei Eliyahu lament about the latter?

(d) If the period of Torah did not begin from Matan Torah, then from which event did it begin? What year was that?

(a) Why indeed, can the period of Torah not have begun from Matan Torah? How many years elapsed between Matan Torah and the year four thousand?

(b) What might we alternatively have asked (see Maharsha)?

(c) In which year of the creation was Avraham Avinu born?

(d) And how old was he when he began bringing people close to the Shechinah?

(e) So 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, how many years elapsed between Churban Bayis Sheini and the year 4000?

Answers to questions



(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.
What date did the Sofrim enter into their Sh'taros in the year 4000?

(b) By the same token then, how many years would a Tana who was uncertain of the P'rat need to add, or a Sofer who was uncertain need to subtract, based on the other one's date?

(c) This time, the Si'man for the forty-eight that the Tana adds lies in the Pasuk in Mas'ei "Arba'im -u'Shemoneh Ir".
On what grounds do we reject 'Safra Betzira, Tana Tosfa'ah' (the Si'man for the Si'man for detracting the same from the Sofrim)? What is then the correct wording?

(d) We could equally well have detracted fifty-two from the Sofer's date and added fifty-two on to the Tana's.
Why did Rav Papa (both before and here) choose the reverse?

(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).
Why is that?

(b) Which other two similarities (date-wise) did the second Churban share with the first?

(c) How do we know all this?

(d) Why does one then add two Yovlos per century? Like which Tana does that go?

(a) How does one finally work out the current year of the Sh'mitah?

(b) What relevance does this have according to Rebbi, who holds that even Sh'mitas Kesafim (the cancellation of debts) only applies concurrently with Sh'mitas Karka?

(c) What is the significance of the Si'man "Ki Zeh Shenasayim ha'Ra'av be'Kerev ha'Aretz"?

(d) Bearing in mind that the Beis-Hamikdash stood for four hundred and twenty years, how can the Churban have taken place on Motza'ei Shevi'is, since according to what we just learned, if we were to add the eight years (two per century) to the twenty of the P'rat, it appears to have been destroyed in the Sh'mitah-year (since twenty-eight is divisible by seven)?

(a) What did Rebbi Chanina say about an offer of a field (in Chutz la'Aretz) worth a thousand Zuz for one Dinar from the year 4228 (four hundred years after the Churban)?

(b) What did the Beraisa say about this?

Answers to questions

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