THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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BECHOROS 7-10 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi
publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.
1) THE EARTH OF ATHENS
AGADAH: Rebbi Yehoshua successfully triumphed over the Elders of Athens in
the debate, and he brought them to the Keisar (Caesar) in Rome as the Keisar
had requested. Rebbi Yehoshua brought with him dirt from Athens, as well as
a flask of the water of Bei Beli'ei.
2) SEPARATING A LAMB FOR "PIDYON PETER CHAMOR" OUT OF DOUBT
When he brought the Elders to the Keisar, they were humbled because they
were not in their own land. The Keisar did not believe that they were the
Elders of Athens. Rebbi Yehoshua took a handful of earth that he had brought
with him from Athens and threw it in front of the Elders. When they sensed
familiar surroundings, they immediately regained their composure and their
customary arrogance. The spoke brazenly to the Keisar, who authorized Rebbi
Yehoshua to do to them as he pleased.
It is clear from the account of the Gemara that a person feels humbled when
he is in a foreign place. We find this concept in the Gemara in Eruvin (61a)
as well, where the Gemara says that even an aggressive, vicious person tends
to act in a tame and humbled manner when he is not in his own land. "Even af
ter seven years, a dog will not bark in an unfamiliar place." People and
animals alike lose their aggressiveness when they are in a foreign
This also is the intent of Rebbi Ila'i in the Gemara in Moed Katan (17a) and
Chagigah (16a), who says that if a person sees that his Yetzer ha'Ra is
overcoming him, he should go to a place where nobody knows him, dress in
black clothing, wrap himself in black, and then do what his heart desires,
in order not to be Mechalel Shem Shamayim in public. RASHI explains that
Rebbi Ila'i is not giving permission to sin, but rather, he is saying that
when the potential sinner goes to a foreign place and dresses in black, he
will become humbled and his urge to sin will leave him.
With this principle, RAV YEHOSHUA LEIB DISKIN zt'l explains the words that
Hashem spoke through Moshe to Pharaoh, "If you do not send out My people, I
will send among you, your servants, and your people and in your houses wild
animals; the houses of Egypt will be full of the wild animals, and also the
ground on which they are" (Shemos 8:17). Why does Hashem say that the plague
of wild animals will affect "the ground on which they (the Egyptian people)
are"? Hashem already said that the plague of wild animals will affect all of
the houses and people of Egypt! To what additional aspect of the punishment
is this phrase alluding?
The Maharil Diskin answers this question based on the principle of the
Gemara here. The purpose of the plague of wild animals was to subject the
Egyptians to the attacks of the wild animals. If the natural ferocity of the
animals would be tempered due to their presence in a foreign environment,
then the purpose of the plague would not be achieved. Hashem therefore
declared that He would bring with the animals some of "the ground on which
they are" -- that is, the ground on which the *animals* live, referring to
earth from the native land of the animals! The animals would feel at home,
and they would fully exercise their natural tendencies of ferocity against
the Egyptians! (See also PANIM YAFOS, and RAV YONASAN EIBESHITZ in MIDRASH
QUESTION: The Mishnah says that when a donkey gives birth to both a female
and a male and we are unsure which was born first, the owner of the donkey
must separate a lamb as Pidyon Peter Chamor because of the possibility that
the male was born first. However, he is not required to give the lamb to a
Kohen, because it is also possible that the female was born first, and in
order for the Kohen to claim the lamb he must prove that the male was born
The Mishnah continues and says that when two female donkeys give birth at
the same time to either two females and one male or two females and two
males, "the Kohen gets nothing," because the females may have been born
first, one to each mother donkey.
Why, though, does the Mishnah not specify here as well that the owner must
separate a lamb for Pidyon Peter Chamor (out of doubt) and keep it for
himself? Perhaps one of the donkeys indeed gave birth to a male first!
(a) RASHI and TOSFOS (DH Shnei Zecharim) assert that the owner indeed must
separate a lamb (or two, if two males were born) to account for the
possibility that the male was born first.
(b) The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos and in Hilchos Bikurim 12:21) writes
that the Yisrael is not required to separate a lamb in this case, because
there is a Sfek Sfeika, two doubts. First, there is a doubt whether this
mother donkey gave birth to a male at all. Second, even if she did give
birth to a male, there is a doubt whether it was preceded by a female. Since
there is a Sfek Sfeika, the owner is exempt from having to redeem a Peter
Chamor out of doubt.
The Rishonim who disagree with the Rambam might not consider this a Sfek
Sfeika, because the two doubts, when expressed in the opposite order, become
a single Safek: was the male that was born preceded by a female? (If it was
not preceded by a female, there is no further doubt that can be said to
exempt it from Bechorah.)
3) "KIDUSHIN" WITH "MA'ASER SHENI"
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah in Kidushin (52b) in which Rebbi
Yehudah argues with Rebbi Meir and states that when a man intentionally is
Mekadesh a woman with fruit of Ma'aser Sheni, the Kidushin takes effect.
4) "TUM'AS OCHLIN" OF AN "EGLAH ARUFAH"
Why does the Kidushin take effect? One may not benefit from Ma'aser Sheni in
any way other than eating it in Yerushalayim!
(a) The RAMBAM and BARTENURA in Kidushin maintain that even though Ma'aser
Sheni is Asur b'Hana'ah, the Kidushin nevertheless takes effect, because the
man who gives her the fruit of Ma'aser Sheni for Kidushin has in mind to
redeem the fruit through the act of Kidushin.
(b) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (on the Mishnayos in Kidushin) questions the Rambam's
explanation. How is it possible for to redeem the Ma'aser Sheni by giving it
to a woman for Kidushin? The Gemara explicitly states that the only way to
redeem Ma'aser Sheni is with minted coins! Rebbi Akiva Eiger therefore
concludes that the reason why the Kidushin takes effect is because she knows
that the fruit is Ma'aser Sheni and thus she has explicit intention to bring
it to Yerushalayim and eat it there. This indeed is the view of Rebbi Elazar
in the Gemara here (and as quoted in Kidushin (55b) as well).
This is comparable to a case in which a man gives to a woman an object worth
less than a Perutah. If the object is worth more than a Perutah in another
place, then the Kidushin takes effect (see Kidushin 12a). (See Insights to
Kidushin 53:1-2.) (E. Chrysler)
QUESTION: The Gemara says that Rebbi Shimon maintains that an Eglah Arufah
does not become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin when a Tamei object touches it.
This is because he maintains that any object from which it is forbidden to
derive benefit does not become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin. The Rabanan argue
and maintain that it can become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin.
How can an Eglah Arufah become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin? It is already Tamei
with Tum'as Neveilah!
(a) RASHI (DH v'Shor ha'Niskal) writes that an Eglah Arufah can become Tamei
with Tum'as Ochlin in a case in which the proper Arifah was not performed,
but rather the cow was slaughtered with Shechitah. In such a case the cow is
not a Neveilah and is not Tamei with Tum'as Neveilah. It is nevertheless
Asur b'Hana'ah because of its status of Eglah Arufah, even though its neck
was not broken, according to the opinion that maintains that the mere
descent into the Nachal Eisan causes it to become Asur b'Hana'ah.
(b) TOSFOS in Menachos (101b, DH v'Eglah Arufah) points out that the Gemara
in Zevachim (70b) implies that even when Arifah is performed, the Eglah does
not become a Neveilah. Breaking the neck of the Eglah Arufah is considered
to be a form of Shechitah and is Metaher the animal from Tum'as Neveilah.
Therefore, the animal is Tahor and may be subject to the laws of Tum'as
Ochlin. (See Insights to Menachos 101:2.)
(c) RASHI (DH u'Peter Chamor) offers another explanation. The Gemara is
discussing a piece of flesh from an Eglah Arufah that is smaller than a
k'Zayis. A piece of flesh that small does not become Tamei with Tum'as
Neveilah. Nevertheless, it does become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin, either by
itself (according to Rashi's view in Pesachim 33b, DH b'k'Beitzah; see
Insights to Chulin 25:1), or when joined with other food to equal a
k'Beitzah (according to the view of the other Rishonim that a food can
become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin only when it is at least the size of a