ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous dafEruvin 53
ERUVIN 53 - dedicated by Benjie Gerstman and family in honor of the Lomdei
(a) Me'oras ha'Machpeilah means either two houses one within the other, or
one on top of the other. According to the latter, Machpeilah means simply a
double cave; according to the former, it means that couples were buried
(b) Chevron is called Kiryas Arba - because four couples were buried there:
Adam and Chavah, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rifkah, Ya'akov and Le'ah.
1. ... Nimrod was called 'Amrafel' - because he ordered Avraham to jump into
the fire ('Amar Pol').
(d) Those who learn that "va'Yakam Melech Chadash al Mitzra'im" (in Sh'mos)
must not be taken literally - explain it to mean that he changed his
approach towards Yisrael and began to issue harsh decrees against them.
2. ... Amrafel was called 'Nimrod' - because he led the whole world to rebel
(a) The one Chidush that Rebbi Yochanan learnt from Rebbi Oshaya in the
eighteen days that he studied by him - was that 'Keitzad *Me'abrin'* in our
Mishnah is spelt with an 'Aleph' (with the connotation of 'limb') and not
with an 'Ayin' (with the connotation of 'a pregnant woman').
(b) Rebbi Yochanan did not learn more from Rebbi Oshaya - because, like
Rebbi Meir, Rebbi Oshaya was so profound, that even his contemporaries had
difficulty in fully comprehending him (see above Daf 13b - 6a).
(c) Rebbi Yochanan learnt the level of sharpness and breadth of knowledge of
each of Rebbi Oshaya's disciples.
(d) Rebbi Yochanan may really have learnt much than just that one
interpretation of our Mishnah - because what he really said was that he only
learnt from him one thing *in the Mishnah*, but that does not cover other
areas of Torah.
(a) When Rebbi Yochanan testified how they would sit in front of him 'four
to an Amah' - he meant to point out how they would squeeze together to
listen to his words.
(b) Rebbi testified how they would sit six to an Amah to listen to Rebbi
Elazar ben Shamua.
(a) When Rebbi Yochanan described the heart of the early Rebbe Tana'im as
being as wide as the entrance of the Ulam (twenty Amos), and that of the
later Tana'im, like that of the Heichal (six Amos) - he may have been
referring to Rebbi Akiva and Rebbi Elazar ben Shamua, respectively.
(b) In stark contrast, Rebbi Yochanan compared his own heart to the eye of a
very fine needle.
(c) Abaye said that his own heart with regard to understanding Gemara, was
comparable to knocking a peg into a very narrow hole in the wall.
(d) Rava added that when it came to Sevara, his comprehension was as shallow
as sticking one's finger into hard wax - which comes away with very little;
and Rav Ashi that, when it came to forgetting, he found it as easy to forget
as putting one's finger into the mouth of a well.
(a) The B'nei Yehudah, besides the fact that they would be careful to revise
whatever they learnt from their Rebbes with the exact same wording as they
had been taught, and that they would always make signs by which to remember
it - also used to learn (Sevara - not texts) from more than one Rebbe, and
to teach Torah (or to search for the reasoning behind what they had learnt)
- which is why they succeeded in their learning; whereas the Bnei Galil, who
did not do this, did *not*.
(b) David ha'Melech too, was careful in all the above points, whereas King
Shaul was not. That explains why *he* succeeded in his learning, whilst King
Shaul did not.
(a) We have a good example of the preciseness of the B'nei Yehudah's speech
- in that man from Yehudah, who described the coat that he was selling, not
just as 'green', but as 'green like the leaves of a beet'.
(b) When that Galilean announced 'Imar le'Ma'an', they called him a fool -
because 'Imar' is such a vague term. In fact, he could have meant any one of
four things: a donkey, wine, a woolen coat or a woolen blanket.
(c) When Rebbi's maidservant told the Talmidim ...
1. ... that there was no more wine left in the barrel - she was intimating
that they should go home.
2. ... that they could open a fresh barrel in which the wine was floating
like a ship in the ocean - that they were welcome to stay.
(a) When Rebbi Yossi ben Asi'an asked ...
1. ... for 'an ox in judgment on a poor mountain' - he meant that he wanted
beets ('Tar Din' - Shor Din) with vinegar ('Har Dal' - Chardal).
(b) When Rebbi Avahu said 'Asrigu li'Pechamin, Arki'u li'Zehavin, va'Asu Li
Sh'nei Magidei ba'Alatah' - he meant to say 'Light the coals, until they
become red like an Esrog, spread them out on top of the oven, prepare for me
two roosters (who call out in the night).
2. ... 'Gevar Pum Dein Chai Mah Zu Tovah Yesh' - he meant to ask about the
virtues of a certain host. What he was hinting was 'Ish Pi Zeh Chai, Kamah
Tov Lo' (whether that particular person was a good host) - though it is
unclear why this was not a question of Lashon ha'Ra.
(c) When Rebbi Avahu told the Talmidim who were looking for Rebbi Ila'i
'Alatz be'Na'arah Aharonis, Achoranis, Iranis, ve'Hin'iraso' - he meant to
say that he had just married his second wife, a young bas Kohen, full of
Chen and smart, who kept him awake late. According to the second
interpretation, he had just finished learning a certain Masechta, and had
just begun learning Kodshim, whose depth kept him awake late at night.
Either way, his Talmidim could not find him, because he had subsequently
(d) And when Rebbi Ila'i told the Talmidim who were looking for Rebbi Avahu
'Nisya'etz ba'Machtir, ve'Higniv li'Mefivoshes - he meant that Rebbi Ila'i
had received Semichah from the Nasi, and had gone to learn from the
Chachamim of the south (who were exceptionally sharp - like Mefivoshes).
(a) The woman: who outsmarted Rebbi Yehoshua, his inn-keeper (or the inn-
keeper's wife) was surprised that he did not leave anything over from the
bean-stew that she served him (a matter of manners - like Rus). When this
happened a second time, she served him on the third day, a dish that had
been grossly over-salted. This time he left the dish untouched. When her
queries did not draw from him a satisfactory answer, she reminded him that,
although it is not necessary to leave anything in the serving dish, one
should however, leave something on one's plate. The young girl: questioned
Rebbi Yehoshua, who was walking through a private field. When he replied
that there was a path running through it, she retorted that it was robbers
like him who had created the path. The young boy sitting at the crossroads:
told Rebbi Yehoshua, in reply to his request for directions on how to arrive
at the town - that if he turned way it would lead along a short road which
was long, whereas the other way led along a long way that was short. Rebbi
Yehoshua chose the first route, only to find that it was indeed a short
route to town, only it ended outside gardens and orchards, through which he
had no permission to pass. Upon his return, he met the same boy, and he
asked him that it was why he had informed him that this was a short route.
To which he replied 'But did I not also tell you that it was long'?
(b) Rebbi Yehoshua kissed him on the head, and exclaimed 'How fortunate are
you, Yisrael, that you are all wise, from the youngest to the oldest'!
(a) When Rebbi Yossi ha'Gelili once met Beruri'ah on the road - he asked her
'Which way do we go to Lud'? By way of response, she called him ' Galilean
fool', for saying to a woman more than was necessary - he should have said
'Which way to Lud'?
(b) When Beruri'ah saw that Talmid learning silently she kicked him, saying
that it is only if one absorbs Torah with all of one's two hundred and forty
eight limbs that Torah lasts. Otherwise, it will be forgotten.
(c) The disciple of Rebbi Eliezer who used to learn silently - forgot all
his learning in the space of three years (though it is not clear what 'in
three years' means - When did he begin learning silently?).
(d) We learn from the Pasuk "Ki Chayim Hem *le'Motz'eihem*, u'le'Chol Besaro
Marpei" - that although Torah is a source of life for those who study it,
that is only on condition they pronounce the words, but not if they learn