THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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ERUVIN 53 - dedicated by Benjie Gerstman and family in honor of the Lomdei
1) "ME'ABRIN" OR "ME'ABRIN"?
QUESTION: The Mishnah describes how we "extend (Me'abrin) the cities" in
order to determine the boundaries of the Techum Shabbos. The Gemara says
that Rav and Shmuel argue whether the word "Me'abrin" in the Mishnah is
spelled with an Ayin or with an Alef. According to the opinion that it is
spelled with an Alef, it means extending the city by "adding appendages to
it" (from the word "Ever," limb). According to the opinion that it is
spelled with an Ayin, it means extending the city like the body of "a
pregnant woman" (from the word "Ubrah," pregnant).
2) CAVES, NIMROD, AND A NEW KING
Rebbi Yochanan stated that the one thing that he learned as a youth from
Rebbi Oshiyah was that the word "Me'abrin" is spelled with an Alef.
What difference does it make how the world is spelled?
ANSWER: The TORAS CHAIM explains that there is a difference in Halachah
which depends on how the word "Me'abrin" in the Mishnah is spelled. The
Gemara later (55b) says that a group of huts does not qualify as a city in
order for its Techum to be measured from the outermost hut, because huts are
not considered permanent dwelling places. Rather, each hut is viewed
independently and has its own Techum. What is the Halachah if such huts were
located on the outskirts of a real city (within 70 2/3rds Amos)? Would those
huts be considered the border of the city from which the extension is
measured, or, since they are not permanent dwelling places, they would not
be considered part of the city and the city's extension would be measured
from the last permanent house in the city?
According to the opinion that "Me'abrin" is spelled with an "Alef," the huts
would not count as part of the city. Just like a limb is a permanent
appendage on the body, so, too, the houses from which we measure the
extension of the city must be permanent. On the other hand, the opinion
which says that "Me'abrin" is spelled with an Ayin would permit measuring
the extension from the huts, because only a temporary dwelling place is
needed in order to determine the city's extension. Just like a pregnant
woman's "extension" is only temporary, so, too, may the extension of a city
be measured from a temporary structure.
QUESTION: The Gemara cites three more argument between Rav and Shmuel (see
3) THE CAVE OF "MACHPELAH"
(1) They argue whether "Machpelah" means that the Cave of Machpelah
("doubled cave") was two stories high, or that it was the burial place for
What difference does it make in each of these cases?
(2) They argue whether Nimrod's real name was Amrafel and he was merely
called Nimrod, or his real name was Nimrod and he was called Amrafel.
(3) They argue whether the Pharaoh that reigned in Egypt after the death of
Yosef was a new king, or was the same king who made new decrees against the
ANSWER: The TORAS CHAIM answers that there is a Halachic difference in each
of the arguments.
(1) If someone tells his friend that he is selling him a "doubled" burial
cave, the first opinion would hold that he is obligated to give him a cave
with one plot above another plot, and the second opinion would hold that he
is obligated to give him a cave that is large enough to hold four couples
(like the Cave of Machpelah).
(2) One is not allowed to name his child by the name of a wicked person. If
Nimrod's real name was not Nimrod but Amrafel, then one may name his child
Nimrod, but not Amrafel. If his real name was Nimrod, he may name his child
Amrafel, but not Nimrod.
(3) If someone sells to his friend a "new" house, according to the first
opinion, he is obligated to give him a newly built house. According to the
second opinion, he may give his friend an old house that was made to look
[I] QUESTION: Rav and Shmuel argue about the meaning of the word "Machpelah"
("doubled"). One says that it means that the Cave of Machpelah was one room
*on top* of another, and the other opinion says that it means that there
were two rooms, one *behind* the other. The Gemara says that the word
"Machpelah" implies that it was one room on top of another (that is, it was
*discernibly* doubled when viewed from the outside). If so, how does the
other opinion understand the word "Machpelah?" The Gemara answers that the
other opinion holds that "Machpelah" means that it was the burial place for
How, then, does that opinion know that the cave of Machpelah was one room
behind another, if the word "Machpelah" does not mean that (MAHARSHA)?
(a) RAV ELIEZER MOSHE HA'LEVI HOROWITZ answers that the one who says that
the Cave of Machpelah was one room behind another *rescinded* his opinion,
and instead maintains that "Machpelah" means that it was a cave for couples.
He adds that the word "Ela" -- "rather" -- should be inserted into the text
of the Gemara, to indicate a change of opinion. (The TORAS CHAIM also says
that this opinion changed its mind, but he does not require the word "Ela"
to be added to the Gemara, since the word Ela is often omitted when no
question was asked by an Amora.)
RASHI on the Chumash (Bereishis 23:9) gives two explanations for the word
"Machpelah," which seem to be the two opinions in our Gemara. First, he says
that it means one room on top of another. Alternatively, it means a burial
place for couples. Rashi seems to understand the Gemara like Rav Eliezer
Moshe ha'Levi Horowitz, that one opinion changed its mind (this is how the
SIFSEI CHACHAMIM understands Rashi).
(b) The SEFAS EMES answers that this opinion did not change its mind.
Rather, he knew from a *tradition* that the Cave of Machpelah was one room
behind another room, and he therefore interpreted the word "Machpelah" to
mean a burial place for couples. (Accordingly, the Sefas Emes explains that
Rashi on the Chumash did not learn that one opinion changed its mind.
Rather, the two opinions had different traditions what the Cave of Machpelah
looked like. They both agree, though, that the word "Machpelah" means a
burial place for couples, but according to the first opinion the word
"Machpelah" has another connotation as well, that it was one room on top of
(c) Perhaps it was ordinary practice to bury each group in separate rooms.
If there were many pairs buried in the Me'arah, then they were obviously
buried in different rooms; hence, "one room within another room."
(d) It is interesting to note that there are other ways entirely of
understanding the words "Me'aras ha'Machpelah." The RAMBAN (ad loc.) says
that "Machpelah" must be the name of the area where the field and cave were
located, as is clear from the verse later on ("Me'aras Sedeh ha'Machpelah."
v. 17), and there is no need to search for deeper meanings of the word to
understand the simple intention of the verse. (According to the Ramban, our
Gemara is perhaps explaining why the Torah found it necessary to tell us the
name of the cave.) Secondly, RAV ELIE MUNK zt'l (in "Call to the Torah")
cites the Zohar (I:129a) which implies that "Machpelah" means the
*counterpart* burial place of the body in this world. That is, just as the
*Neshamah* ascends to its final place beneath the Divine throne, so, too,
the *bodies* of the Avos are buried in a corresponding place -- the Cave of
4) LEAVING FOOD FOR THE ATTENDANT
QUESTION: Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah relates an incident that he was once
lodging as a guest at the inn of certain woman. The first two days, he did
not leave over a portion of the food from his plate. The third day the
hostess spoiled his food. When he did not eat from it, she asked him why he
was not eating. She then said to him that even though the Chachamim taught
that one does not leave over food in the pot in which it cooks, one does
leave over food in one's plate so that the attending waiter will have
something to eat.
The MAHARSHA asks why did Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah in fact not leave
food over on his plate? Did he not know this Halachah of Derech Eretz?
Secondly, why was the hostess so upset that Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah did
not leave food on his plate for the attendant? Of what concern was it to
(a) RAV YAKOV EMDEN answers that Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah thought that
the attendant had already left food for himself in the pot, and that is why
Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah did not leave food in his plate for the
attendant. The hostess became upset because the attendant was coming to her
to complain that he was not getting his share from the guest's plate, and
she, as well, was not leaving over food in the pot for him, because she
expected Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah to leave over some food from his
plate. That is why she said both Halachos -- that one does not leave over
food in the pot (and therefore, she did not leave food for the attendant in
the pot), and that one should leave food on one's plate (and she expected
Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah to leave over some food).
(b) The YAD BINYAMIN answers that Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah thought that
the requirement to leave food on one's plate applies only when there is an
attendant. Here, there was no attendant; the hostess herself made the food
and was serving it. Since she made the food, Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah
did not leave any food over on his plate, because he assumed that she was
taking her share from the pot. She became upset because she felt that, as an
attendant, she still deserved the left-over portion from the plate, since
she followed the dictum of the Chachamim that one does not leave over food
in the pot.