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Horayos, 13

HORAYOS 12-14 - One week of study material has been dedicated by Mrs. Rita Grunberger of Queens, N.Y., in loving memory of her husband, Reb Yitzchok Yakov ben Eliyahu Grunberger. Irving Grunberger helped many people quietly in an unassuming manner and is dearly missed by all who knew him. His Yahrzeit is 10 Sivan.


QUESTION: The Mishnah states that a Kohen is called to the Torah before a Levi, and a Levi before a Yisrael, only when they are all of equal stature in scholarship. If they are not equal, then honoring of a Talmid Chacham, even if he is a Mamzer, takes precedence over honoring a Kohen who is an Am ha'Aretz. However, the Gemara in Gitin (59b) says that the reason why Rav Huna received the first Aliyah instead of the Kohanim who were present was because Rav Huna was the greatest Torah authority of his time. This implies that in the case of any other Talmid Chacham (who is not the greatest Torah authority of his time) who is more learned that the Kohanim who are present, the Talmid Chacham does *not* precede the Kohen. Rather, the Kohen is given the honor of the first Aliyah even though the other person is more learned. How are these Gemaras to be reconciled?


(a) The RAMBAM (in PERUSH HA'MISHNAYOS to Gitin 5:8) writes that the accepted custom to give a Kohen the first Aliyah, regardless of his stature in scholarship, "has no source in the Torah at all." The Halachah, as expressed here in Horayos, is that the Kohen is given precedence only when all present are of equal levels of scholarship. When the Mishnah in Gitin (59a) says that a Kohen is given the first Aliyah, this applies only when there is no greater Talmid Chacham present; if there is a greater Talmid Chacham present, then he should be given the first Aliyah and not the Kohen. The Rambam explains that we cannot infer from the case of Rav Huna in Gitin that an ordinary Talmid Chacham (who is not the greatest Torah authority of his time) does not take precedence over a less-learned Kohen. The Gemara there is merely emphasizing the greatness of Rav Huna and pointing out that he was even greater than Rav Ami and Rav Asi, who were the greatest Kohanim of the time and were present at that Minyan, and thus only a Talmid Chacham who was greater than they (i.e. Rav Huna) could receive the Aliyah before them.

However, the Rambam's opinion is problematic. The Gemara in Gitin (ibid.) quotes a Beraisa that states that when one recites the Berachah for bread and has in mind to include others who are present in his Berachah, the one who recites the Berachah is supposed to dip his slice of bread first, before the others. If, however, his teacher is present and he wants to give honor to his teacher, he may let his teacher dip first. This applies even to a Kohen who wants to give honor to his teacher, and it implies that the Kohen is given precedence even when his teacher (who is certainly more learned than he) is present! This seems to contradict the Rambam's view that honoring a Talmid Chacham takes precedence over honoring a Kohen!

The PRI CHADASH (OC 135:4) answers that the rule that one who recites the Berachah dips his bread first applies even if he is not a Kohen and not a Talmid Chacham; it is not related to giving honor. Therefore, there is no implication from this Beraisa that the honor of a Kohen precedes the honor of a Talmid Chacham, since the reason he has the right to dip before the Talmid Chacham is not because he is a Kohen, but because he is the one who recited the Berachah over the bread.

(b) The TUR (OC 135) quotes RAV AMRAM GA'ON and RAV NOTRANA'I GA'ON who say that when there is a Kohen in the Minyan, he receives the first Aliyah even if he is ignorant and there is a great Torah scholar present. The BEIS YOSEF (OC ibid.) explains that our Mishnah in Horayos -- which says that a Talmid Chacham has precedence over a Kohen -- applies only to other Mitzvos (such as giving Tzedakah to one before the other when both are poor). The reading of the Torah is an exception to this rule, because the Chachamim wanted to prevent arguments about who gets the first Aliyah, and they therefore instituted that the Kohen *always* reads first, even if he is less learned than the others.

This explanation is valid for the Tur and the Ge'onim quoted above. However, the BARTENURA in Gitin (5:8) applies our Mishnah in Horayos to the Mishnah in Gitin regarding the reading of the Torah and says that the Halachah should be that a Mamzer Talmid Chacham should take precedence over a Kohen Am ha'Aretz. He concludes that the prevalent custom is that a Kohen always reads first. How, though, can he justify the custom?

The TOSFOS YOM TOV in Gitin answers that even though our Mishnah in Horayos is discussing the order of being called to the Torah, the reasoning behind the enactment that a Kohen should not give the honor of the first Aliyah to someone else was in order to prevent arguments about who gets the first Aliyah. Today's custom, which indeed differs from the Halachah that emerges from the Mishnayos, uses the logic of that enactment. Since today it is much more difficult to determine who is a greater scholar, and, on the contrary, trying to determine who is the greater Talmid Chacham would itself lead to arguments, we therefore preserve the peace and give the first Aliyah to the Kohen.

(c) The RITVA in Gitin (59b) has a third opinion. He writes that the Kohen receives the first Aliyah even when there are others present who are more learned than he, but only when the Kohen is not an Am ha'Aretz. When the Kohen is an Am ha'Aretz, the Talmid Chacham precedes him.

The Ritva seems to learn that the nature of the enactment that a Kohen must be given the first Aliyah applies only when the Kohen possesses qualities for which he deserves to be honored, besides the fact that he is a Kohen. In such a case, the Kohen may not relinquish his honor to others. Accordingly, the Ritva maintains that when both the Kohen and a Yisrael are Talmidei Chachamim, even if the Yisrael is a greater Talmid Chacham than the Kohen, the Kohen receives the first Aliyah (as implied by the Gemara in Gitin; see the Rambam's opinion above). However, if the Kohen is an Am ha'Aretz, then the Talmid Chacham has precedence (as implied by our Gemara in Horayos), and therefore there was no enactment that such a Kohen precedes a Talmid Chacham.

HALACHAH: Our practice follows the opinion of the Ge'onim, who say that a Kohen always receives the first Aliyah for the sake of preserving the peace. The BI'UR HALACHAH (OC 135:3) quotes the CHAYEI ADAM who says that when there is an eminent Talmid Chacham present and there is also a Kohen who is learned, as well as a Kohen who is not learned, it is preferable to give the first Aliyah to the Kohen who is a Talmid Chacham and not to the one who is an Am ha'Aretz. (Nevertheless, one still must be careful with this Chumra and avoid causing a Machlokes.) (Y. Montrose)


QUESTION: The Beraisa states that when the Nasi enters, everyone must stand and remain standing until the Nasi says, "Sit." This seems to contradict the Gemara in Kidushin (33b) which quotes Rebbi Avdimi as saying that one should stand for a Nasi upon seeing him and one must remain standing until the Nasi himself sits down. He proves this from the verse, "And they looked after Moshe, until he came to the tent" (Shemos 33:8). The Gemara does not question Rebbi Avdimi's ruling from the Beraisa here in Horayos. This implies that these statements do not argue. How are these two statements to be reconciled?


(a) The bin Kidushin (33b) answers in the name of RABEINU TAM that our Beraisa is not stating a general Halachah, but rather it is teaching that there was a custom that was accepted during the time when Raban Shimon ben Gamliel was the Nasi. This is explicitly stated later in our Gemara by Rebbi Yochanan. The BE'ER SHEVA comments that this statement means that it was only accepted during that time, and not before nor after that time. The statement of Rebbi Avdimi, on the other hand, is the actual Halachah in practice.

(b) The ROSH in Kidushin answers that the case of the Beraisa here is when the Nasi enters a Beis Midrash where people are sitting together. Rebbi Avdimi, on the other hand, is referring to a case in which the Nasi is passing through the marketplace or the street, similar to the verse which mentions the people watching Moshe Rabeinu.

The KESEF MISHNEH (Hilchos Talmud Torah 6:6) and the KORBAN NESANEL point out that this explanation is supported by the different wording used in the two statements. Our Beraisa discusses when the Nasi "enters," and Rebbi Avdimi discusses when he "passes."

This also appears to be the opinion of the RIF and the RAMBAM. The Rif (in Kidushin) and the Rambam (Hilchos Talmud Torah 6:6) record both statements as the Halachah. The BI'UR HA'GRA (YD 244:19) says that this shows that they understood, as did the Rosh, that both statements apply, in different situations.

The BE'EROS HA'MAYIM maintains that the Rambam does not agree with the Rosh. He says that the explanation of the Rosh is difficult to understand. Rebbi Avdimi states that the people do not sit until the Nasi "sits in his place," and this is proved from the verse regarding Moshe Rabeinu. According to the Rosh, who says that Rebbi Avdimi's statement refers to when the Nasi is passing by in a public area, what is the meaning that they should not sit until the Nasi "sits in his place?" What "place" does a Nasi have in a public area?

We may suggest that these Rishonim relied on the similar statement of Rebbi Avdimi in the Yerushalmi in Bikurim (3:3). His statement there reads that one must stand for a *Kohen Gadol* "from when he sees him until he is covered from view." This ruling is also derived from the verse regarding Moshe Rabeinu. The PNEI MOSHE explains that since Moshe had the status of a Kohen Gadol as well as being a Nasi, the Yerushalmi applies this to a Kohen Gadol as well. Since the Yerushalmi uses the phrase, "until he is covered from view," we see that of Rebbi Avdimi's statement is that one may sit down when the Nasi happens to find a place to sit, or when he becomes covered from the person's view. In fact, the ME'IRI in Kidushin, who rules like the Rosh, adds the words, "or until he becomes covered from view."

(c) The MEROMEI SADEH explains that the statements of the Beraisa and Rebbi Avdimi are applicable in the same case. Rebbi Avdimi's statement applies when the Nasi is not communicating anything until he sits down. In such a case, everyone may sit down even before the Nasi speaks, as long as he himself has been seated. The Beraisa is teaching an additional Halachah, similar to that of the Gemara in Kidushin (32b), that a Nasi may forego his honor. The Beraisa teaches this by saying that when the Nasi says that everyone may sit, everyone is allowed to sit even though the Nasi is still standing. The Meromei Sadeh learns that this is also the view of the Rambam. (Y. Montrose)

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