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THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) PERSONAL HYGIENE
The Gemara records various reasons why a person should clean himself in the
bathroom with his left hand, and not with his right hand.
The last four reasons (b-e) would dictate that a left-handed person may not
wipe himself with his *left* hand, but should use his right hand. Those
reasons are based on the idea that the hand which is used for important and
respectable acts should not be used for the lowly act of wiping oneself.
However, according to the first reason (a), even a left-handed person
should not wipe himself with his right hand. (Perhaps this is why that
reason is mentioned first even though it was given by Rava, who lived later
than some of the Amora'im who gave the other reasons. -- Y. Tavin)
- (a) The Torah was given with the "right hand" of Hashem, as the verse says in Devarim (33:2).
- (b) One eats with his right hand.
- (c) One wraps the straps of his Tefilin with his hand right hand.
- (d) One shows the notes for reading the Torah with one's right hand.
- (e) The right hand is used for writing.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 3:10) rules that one should not wipe
himself with his right hand. Regarding a left-handed person, the TAZ writes
that the Halachah follows the majority of reasons in the Gemara, and
therefore a left-handed person should use his right hand. For this reason,
the Me'iri leaves out the reason of Rava, and so does Rabeinu Chananel.
2) COUNTING THE JEWISH PEOPLE
QUESTION: David ha'Melech was punished since he attempted, at one point, to
count the Jewish people directly (II Shmuel ch. 24). How could David
ha'Melech make such a mistake, violating a clear prohibition from the Torah
(Shemot 30:12) and facing the Torah's threat of a punishing plague?
(a) The RAMBAN (Shemot 30:12) explains that David ha'Melech thought that
only in the Sinai desert was it necessary to give coins for the count,
since there was a need for the coins (in order to make the Adanim for the
Mishkan out of the coins). He did not realize that it was a commandment
that was binding for all future generations.
(b) The MIZRACHI (ibid.) explains that David ha'Melech thought that the
coins were not given as a means *by which* to count the Jewish people.
David ha'Melech thought that a regular census could indeed be conducted,
*after* which a Machatzis ha'Shekel had to be given as Kofer Nefesh in
order to avoid the plague that would otherwise follow due to Ayin Hara.
(c) The BE'ER SHEVA (in Tamid) explains that David ha'Melech actually was
caused by Hashem to make this mistake as a punishment for something else
that he did. As the Gemara tells us, "[Hashem told David,] 'You said that
I "persuade" people to sin? I will punish you by having you forget
something that even children know....' " There was a Divine decree for
David to forget the verse this one time.
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