ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bechoros 5
BECHOROS 5 (28 Sivan) - dedicated to the memory of Hagaon Rav Yisroel Zev
[ben Rav Avrohom Tzvi] Gustman, Zecher Tzadik Li'Vrachah, author of
"Kuntresei Shi'urim", renowned Dayan of pre and post-WWII Vilna, and Rosh
Yeshiva of "Yeshivas Netzach Yisrael-Ramailes" of
Vilna/Brooklyn/Yerushalayim), on the day of his Yahrzeit. Sponsored by a
number of students who merited to study under him: Harav Eliezer Stern and
Harav Zalman Stern of Brooklyn NY; Yechiel Wachtel and Michoel Starr of
(a) Rav Mordechai's version of Rebbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish's Machlokes
is - Rebbi Yochanan Amar 'Lo Kidshu Bechoros ba'Midbar, ve'Resh Lakish Amar
(b) Rav Ashi asked him whether he also switched the exchange of questions
and answers between Rebbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish, particularly Rebbi
Elazar's final comment (concerning Rebbi Yochanan's dream). This bothered
him - because Rebbi Elazar was a close Talmid of Rebbi Yochanan, and would
have been unlikely to have misquoted him.
(c) Rav Mordechai's replied that when Rebbi Yochanan said 'Lo Kidshu' - he
meant 'Lo Hutzrechu Likadesh' (meaning that it was not necessary to sanctify
the Bechoros in the desert, because they were already sanctified.
(d) In that case, they are not even arguing ('Mar Amar Chada, u'Mar Amar
Chada, ve'Lo P'ligi'). This teaches us the principle - that one should
always cite what one learned from one's Rebbe, using the same terminology as
(a) Kuntrukes the ruler asked Raban Yochanan ben Zakai (or Raban Gamliel)
why it is that in the detailed count of Gershon, Kehas and Merori there were
twenty-two thousand, three hundred Leviyim, whereas the Torah gives the
total figure as twenty-two thousand.
(b) The latter replied - that the three hundred omitted by the Torah were
firstborn, and firstborn cannot redeem firstborn.
(c) Abaye explains that this is - because it is enough for a firstborn to
(a) To explain why Moshe did not account for more than half of the silver
that Yisrael had donated for the Mishkan - Kuntrukus the governor accused
Moshe Rabeinu of being either a thief, a gambler or simply a poor
(b) The total half-Shekalim, he claimed, amounted to three hundred and one
thousand, seven hundred and seventy-five Shekalim. If 1Kikar = 60 Manah and
1 Manah = 100 Dinrim = 25 Shekalim/Sela'im - there are a hundred Kikar in
(c) Raban Yochanan ben Zakai (or Raban Gamliel) replied that Moshe was a
most reliable treasurer. Kuntrukus' mistake in accusing Moshe of 'stealing'
more than fifty percent of the silver that was donated for the Mishkan - lay
in the fact that the Manah shel Kodesh is double that of Chol, in which case
the hundred Kikar was really two hundred.
(d) As for the remaining 1775 Shekalim, the Torah has already informed us
that it was used to make hooks for the pillars ... . Nevertheless, Kuntrukus
mentioned them - in order to stir up trouble, so he ignored that fact.
(a) Kuntrukus' query was based on the Pasuk "Va'yehi Me'as Kikar ha'Kesef
Latzekes". According to Rav Acha'i, Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai could have
answered more simply - that the hundred Kikar was used to cast the silver
sockets (as stated in the Pasuk), and the remaining hundred Kikar was placed
in the Temple Treasury.
(b) He didn't do that however - because of another Pasuk in the same
Parshah, which gives the total amount of silver collected as a hundred
Kikar, without mentioning what it was used for.
(c) We try to prove from the fact that the Pasuk presents the leftovers ...
1. ... here as 1775 Shekel - that the Manah shel Kodesh must be double that
of shel Chol (because otherwise, the Torah ought to have converted it into
another Kikar, to total a hundred and one Kikar and 275 Shekel).
(d) We refute ...
2. ... over seventy Kikar of copper as 2400 Shekel - that the Manah shel
Kodesh must be double that of shel Chol, because otherwise, the Torah ought
to have reckoned seventy-one Kikar and nine hundred Shekel.
1. ... the first proof on the grounds that - the Torah does not bother to
convert less than a hundred Kikar of Shekalim into Shekalim.
2. ... the second proof - that it does not even bother to convert less that
ten Kikar of Shekalim, either.
(a) In simple terms, the Pasuk " ... Esrim Shekalim, Chamishah ve'Esrim
Shekalim, Asarah va'Chamishah Shekel ha'Manah Yih'yeh Lachem" means - that
there are sixty Shekel in a Manahn, which is equivalent to two hundred and
(b) This proves - that a Manah shel Kodesh sixty Shekalim (two hundred and
forty Dinrim) equal one Manah, double the hundred Dinrim of Chol.
(c) And we also learn from the extra forty Shekel - that the Chachamim are
permitted to add to the Torah's measurement as much a sixth (but no more).
(d) We refer to the fraction as a sixth, even though forty is a fifth of two
hundred - because if one has five portions of forty, one adds a sixth
portion to make it two hundred and forty.
(a) Rebbi Chanina asked Rebbi Eliezer why the Mitzvah of Peter Chamor
applies specifically to donkeys, and not to horses and camels. Besides the
fact that it is a 'Gezeiras ha'Kasuv, he added - that it to reward the
donkeys for having helped Yisrael carry their belongings out of Egypt ....
(b) ... because each and every Jew owned at least ninety donkeys ...
(c) ... sturdy donkeys - (Chamri Lubi) to help them carry the silver and
gold that they had 'borrowed' from the Egyptians.
(d) When he also asked him what "Refidim" means, he replied that it was no
more than a place name, and that is what he answered when he asked him about
"Shitim". But Rebbi Yehoshua (in a Beraisa) explained that the Torah refers
to it as ...
1. ... "Refidim" - because they were weak in Torah (because "Refidim" is the
acronym of 'Rafu Yadayim (min ha'Torah)', which is why Amalek attacked them
(e) Rebbi Eliezer interprets the word "Va'tikrenah" (in "Va'tikrenah la'Am
le'Zivchei Eloheihen" [Balak] as 'naked'. Rebbi Yehoshua explains it to
mean - that all the men had an emission when they made contact with them.
2. ... "Shitim" - because a spirit of nonsense entered into them.
(a) Our Mishnah exempts a cow that gave birth to a kind of donkey, or a
donkey that gave birth to a kind of horse - from the Bechorah.
(b) And the Tana learns this from the Pasuk's repetition of "Peter Chamor" -
once to teach us that the baby must be a donkey, and once, that the mother
must be a donkey, too.
(c) The Tana draws a distinction between the same two animals - permitting
the former to be eaten, and forbidding the latter ...
(d) ... based on the principle that 'whatever comes out from something Tamei
is Tamei, whilst whatever comes out from something Tahor is Tahor.
(a) The Mishnah later, learns from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "[Ach] Bechor Shor" - that both the Bechor and the mother must be
from the family of a Shor, for the Din of Bechor to take effect.
(b) "Ach" - that it is sufficient for there to be a slight resemblance
between the mother and the baby.
2. ... "Bechor Kesev" - that they must both be from the family of Kesev.
3. ... "Bechor Eiz" - that they must both be from the family of Eiz.
(c) We reconcile this Mishnah with our Mishnah, which learns the same thing
from the Torah's repetition of Peter Chamor - By establishing it like Rebbi
Yossi Hagelili, who learns it from "Ach Bechor Shor".
(d) The basis of the Machlokes between our Tana and Rebbi Yossi Hagelili
is - that according to one, the Torah writes the Din in connection with
Kedushas ha'Guf, and we learn Kedushas Damim from it, whilst according to
the other one, it is the other way round.
(a) The Tana of our Mishnah learns from the Pasuk "Bechor Shor O Bechor
Kesev O Bechor Eiz" like Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina who learns from this
Pasuk (which concludes "ve'es Damam Tizrok ... ve'es Chelbam Taktir") - that
all of the Eimurin of each of the three species of animals must be brought
on the Mizbe'ach.
(b) We could not learn the other two from ...
1. ... "Bechor Shor" - because its Nesech (drink-offering) is larger than
(c) Neither can we learn ...
2. ... "Bechor Kesev" - because its fat-tail goes on the Mizbe'ach, whereas
their tails do not.
3. ... "Bechor Eiz" - because it is brought as a Chatas Yachid to atone for
1. ... Par from Kesev and Eiz - since they are both eligible to be brought
as the Korban Pesach, which it is not.
(d) Rebbi Yossi Hagelili precludes the firstborn of horses and camels from
the Din of Bechor from "Peter Chamor". From the Torah's repetition of "Peter
Chamor" - he precludes the possibility of learning from the previous
D'rashah that a donkey can only be redeemed with a lamb, but they can be
redeemed with any Tahor animal.
2. ... Kesev from Par and Eiz - which are both brought as the Korban Tzibur
for Avodah Zarah (as the Olah and the Chatas respectively).
3. ... Eiz from Par and Kesev - which both have more parts of the Korban
brought (as we just explained) than it does.
(a) Rav Acha'i asks that on the contrary, if the Torah had only written
"Peter Chamor" once, we would view it as a 'Davar she'Hayah bi'Ch'lal
ve'Yatza min ha'K'lal Lelamed' - with reference to the Pasuk in Korach
"ve'es Bechor ha'Beheimah ha'Temei'ah Tifdeh".
(b) And now that the Torah teaches us that a donkey needs to be redeemed
with a lamb - this would incorporate all the Beheimos Temei'os that are
included in the original Pasuk.
(c) And we would then learn from the second "Peter Chamor" - that the other
Tamei animals could be redeemed with any animal (as we just suggested a
(d) We refute that however, on the grounds that if the Torah had not wanted
to preclude other Tamei animals from the Din completely - it would have
omitted the word "Peter" from the second Pasuk, and written "va'Chamor