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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Nedarim 62



(a) Rebbi and Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah arrived at a certain place after the fig-picking season had ended. Rebbi ate from the figs, Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah did not. He continued to decline to eat them even after the owner reminded them that most of the locals had already put away their knives - because he thought that the owner had not really given up on his figs, and that he was just being polite. This was only a Chumra however, since Chazal permitted the figs on the basis of the majority, and did not reckon with the minority who may react differently.

(b) When that fig owner discovered Rebbi Tarfon eating his figs - he tied him in a sack and took him to the river's edge as if he intended to throw him in (see Agados Maharsha).

(c) He did that - because he suspected Rebbi Tarfon of being the thief who had been stealing his grapes throughout the year (though he still seems to have transgressed the Mitzvah of judging one's friend to the scale of merit.

(a) Rebbi Tarfon saved himself from being drowned - by crying out 'Woe is Tarfon, whom this man is about to kill'! At which, the man put down the sack and ran away.

(b) Till the end of his days, he was cross with himself for having done so, due to a statement (that would later be made) by Rabah bar bar Chanah Amar Rebbi Yochanan - who said 'Anyone who uses the crown of Torah for his own well-being will be uprooted from the world' (i.e. will die an unusual death - Tosfos referred to by Mesores ha'Shas).

(c) He learns this from a 'Kal va'Chomer' from Beltshatzar - who used the vessels of the Beis-ha'Mikdash which, on account of abuse, had lost their sanctity, yet he paid for doing so with his life; how much more so, words of Torah, which cannot lose their sanctity.

(a) Rebbi Tarfon's reaction to his own deed implies that he should have allowed himself to be thrown into the river to drown, not because 'Mishtamesh be'Kisrah shel Torah' is included among the Mitzvos for which one is obligated to give up one's life - but because his extreme wealth gave him the option of saving himself by offering to pay for all the thefts.

(b) When we asked why Rebbi Tarfon was cross, we introduce the Kashya with the expression 'I Hachi', suggesting that this would not have been a problem if the owner had for some reason, suspected him of stealing just that once - because then he could have simply informed him that the Halachah permitted him to eat, or, failing that, he could have offered to pay for the figs that he ate. Our problem is how one could expect Rebbi Tarfon to pay for all the grapes that had been stolen throughout the year, to which we reply that he was a wealthy man.

(c) We cannot learn from this episode that a Talmid-Chacham is forbidden to claim tax-exemption on the basis of his being a Talmid-Chacham - because that is a right that the Torah grants him. Our Sugya is speaking specifically about saving oneself from a dangerous situation caused by unjustified suspicion.

(a) We learn from the Pasuk "le'Ahavah es Hashem Elokecha, Lishmo'a be'Kolo u'le'Davkah Bo" - that one should not learn Torah in order to be called a Chacham, a Rav or a Rosh Yeshivah.

(b) We learn from the Pasuk ...

1. ... "Kashram al Etzbe'osecha, Kasvam al Lu'ach Libecha" - that one should learn Torah in order to have it at one's finger-tips (to put into practice) and on one's heart (to serve Hashem).
2. ... "Derachehah Darchei No'am ... ve'Somchehah Me'ushar" - that the ways of the Torah are pleasant and that ultimately, one will receive one's due reward.
(c) When Rebbi Eliezer b'Rebbi Tzadok says 'Asei Devarim le'Shem Pa'alam ve'Daber Lahem bi'Shmam' - he means that one should perform Mitzvos and learn Torah for the honor of Hashem and for the honor of the Torah.

(d) The two forbidden motives that we learn from the 'Kal va'Chomer' from Beltshatzar quoted earlier are - for one's self-aggrandizement or livelihood.

(a) Rava learns from Ovadya, who said to Eliyahu "ve'Avd'cha Yarei es Hashem mi'Ne'urav" - that in a place where he is unknown, a Talmid-Chacham is permitted to reveal his status where necessary to promote his own interests (see Rosh).

(b) Rebbi Tarfon was nevertheless upset with himself - because he had alternative ways of saving himself, as we explained earlier.

(c) Rava reconciles this Pasuk with the Pasuk in Mishlei "Yehalelcha Zar ve'Lo Ficha" - by making a distinction between a place where he is known (the Pasuk in Mishlei) and one where he is not (the Pasuk in Melachim).

(d) In the same context, Rava learns from the Pasuk "u'Venei David Kohanim Hayu" (bearing in mind that David ha'Melech was not a Kohen) - that just as a Kohen has the first right to choose his portion, so too, does a Talmid-Chacham.

(a) And we learn from the Pasuk "ve'Kidashto, Ki es Lechem Elokecha Hu Makriv" - that Kohanim have priority in the three areas that we will now explain.

(b) When Tana de'Bei Rebbi Yishmael, elaborating on this Pasuk, explains ...

1. ... 'Lifto'ach Rishon' - he means that he receives the first Aliyah in Shul.
2. ... 'Levarech Rishon' - he means that he has the first right to Bensch Mezuman after meals.
3. ... Litol Manah Yafeh Rishon' - he means that, when dividing something with a Yisrael, the Kohen has the first right to choose his portion (from the two equal portions).



(a) Rava permits a Talmid-Chacham to say 'Lo Yahivna Akarga' - which is a general term for taxes.

(b) He learns this from the Pasuk in Ezra, where Koresh exempted the Kohanim and all those who worked in the Beis Hamikdash from "Mindoh ve'Lo va'Halach". Rav Yehudah interpret "Mindoh" as a king's land-tax and "Lo" as a head-tax. "Halach" he translates as 'Arnona'. According to one explanation, Arnona means a tax to pay for the food served at the king's table (because it actually means 'a feast' in Greek). According to the other explanation - it means 'partnership' (like in the Pasuk in Chukas "Ki Arnon G'vul Mo'av Bein Mo'av u'Vein ha'Emori"), and refers to an animal-tax, since the king had stakes in all the animals in his kingdom.

(a) Rava permits a Talmid-Chacham to gain exemption from paying taxes by stating that he is 'a servant of "Nura" ' (which translated means 'fire'), despite the fact that this implies that he is a servant of a priest of Avodah-Zarah - because it also implies that he is a servant of Hashem (whom the Torah in Va'eschanan refers to as "Eish Ochlah"), which is course, what he really has in mind when he says it.

(b) Rava specified 'Talmid-Chacham', not because this Heter is confined to a Talmid-Chacham - but to teach us that even Talmidei-Chachamim (with whom the aspect of Chilul Hashem is greater) are permitted to do this.

(c) Rav Ashi sold a forest to 'Bei Nura'. When Ravina asked why he had not transgressed the La'av of "Lifnei Iver Lo Siten Michshol" - he replied that it was - because most wood is used for burning (and not for sacrificing), and that is what most people would think he sold the forest for. If the purchasers then decided to use it for idolatry purposes, that was their business, and not his.

(a) If someone forbids wine 'ad ha'Katzir', he will be permitted to drink - at the beginning of the wheat-harvest (and not the barley-harvest, which begins earlier than the wheat-harvest), because that is what most people mean when they mention 'Katzir' S'tam.

(b) This time-period is not universal - in places where they refer to the barley-harvest as 'Katzir' S'tam, then that will be the gauge.

(c) It does make a practical difference whether he declared his Neder in the mountains or in the valley - because the harvest in the valley commences earlier than that of the mountains.

(d) The Din will therefore be that if the Noder declared the Neder ...

1. ... in the mountains, and he was in the valley when the harvest-season began in the valley - he must continue to keep his Neder until the harvest begins in the mountains.
2. ... in the valley, and he was in the mountain when the harvest season began in the valley - then he will be permitted to relinquish his Neder there and then.
(a) According to the Tana Kama, if someone forbids something up until the rains, he is forbidden until the beginning of the second rainfall - of which there are three.

(b) It make no difference whether he said 'ad ha'Geshamim' or 'ad she'Yehei ha'Geshamim' - because the actual rainfall does not have a fixed period, as we learned above.

(c) 'Raban Shimon ben Gamliel Omer ad she'Yagi'a Z'manah shel Geshamim' - meaning that it is not necessary to wait for the actual rain to fall (seeing as the time of its fall is not absolute), but only until its due date.

(d) According to Rebbi Meir, if the Noder said 'ad she'Yifseku Geshamim', he is forbidden until the end of Nisan; according to Rebbi Yehudah - until the end of Pesach.

11) In matters concerning Nedarim - one follows the conditions as they are at the time of the Neder (not as they are at the time of their fulfillment), as we saw in our Mishnah, and as the Beraisa reiterates with regard to someone who declares a Neder in the mountains of the Galil, and who then descends to the valley.


(a) The Tana Kama and Raban Shimon ben Gamliel in our Mishnah argue over whether 'ad ha'Geshamim' implies until the actual rainfall or until its time is due. Rebbi Zeira says - that, should the Noder declare 'ad ha'Geshem', the Tana Kama will agree with Raban Shimon ben Gamliel (that we go after the time that the rain is due).

(b) The basis for the Rabbanan's distinction between the two Leshonos is the fact that basic Lashon (of 'ad ha'Geshem') implies until it begins (because a person does not enter into S'feikos). 'ad he'Geshamim' however, which is a superfluous Lashon, comes to add that he must wait for the rain to actually fall.

(c) We prove this from the Yerushalmi, which asks a similar She'eilah regarding someone who says 'Konem Yayin ad she'Yehei Mishteh B'ni' - whether the Noder takes into account that he might postpone his son's wedding (in which case he meant the Neder to be effective until the designated time of the wedding-feast), or not (and he meant the actual feast, whenever it would take place).

(d) So we see - that wherever the beginning of a specified period is not fixed, the Noder has in mind the due date rather than the actual event.

(a) Raban Shimon ben Gamliel does not make the same distinction between 'ad ha'Geshem' and 'ad ha'Geshamim' as the Rabbanan - because, in his opinion, people do not tend to differentiate between 'ad ha'Geshem' and 'ad ha'Geshamim', and either way, the Noder would mean the date that the rain was due to fall.

(b) Despite the fact that, as we just explained according to the Rabbanan, 'ad ha'Geshem' means until the time that the rain is due to fall (due to the fact that the actual rainfall is not fixed), we nevertheless do not say the same with regard to 'ad ha'Katzir' - because there, even the due date is not fixed (differing as it does from place to place), unlike the rain-season, whose exact due date is known.

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