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Nidah 23

  1. EVOLUTION Rebbi Meir learns that a woman is Temei'ah Leidah when she miscarries the form of an animal. Rebbi Chiya Bar Aba, citing Rebbi Yochanan, states that the reason for this ruling is because the Torah uses the word "Yetzirah" when describing the creation of animals, just as this word is used to describe the creation of man.

    Asked Rebbi Ami, would a woman then be Temei'ah if she miscarried the form of a mountain? The term Yetzirah is also used in reference to the creation of mountains (Amos 4:13)! Rebbi Chiya defends his opinion by retorting that a woman is not large enough to give birth to a mountain.

    MAHARATZ CHIYOS points out that the Talmud Yerushalmi (Halachah 2) answers Rebbi Ami's question differently. The word "Yetzirah" is not used in the original creation of mountains; it appears in a verse in Amos and not in Bereishis. Maharatz Chayos explains this statement according to the scientific fact prevalent in his time. The Yerushalmi means that mountains were not created during the six days of creation. At that point, the world was completely round. Only after many years of persistent storm winds, floods and geologic activity, were the mountains and hills carved out. The Yetzirah of mountains cannot be compared to the Yetzirah of man and animal, since they are only a product of the laws of nature which Hashem imbedded in the world He created.

    • Question: Rebbi Yirmiyah tried to get Rebbi Zeira to laugh but could not succeed. What motivated Rebbi Yirmiyah to try and amuse Rebbi Zeira?

      The CHAVAS YAIR (#152, cited at the end of Sefer Chafetz Chayim) suggests that Rebbi Zeira and Rebbi Yirmeyah each had a very different path in Avodas Hashem. They argued whether abstinence is commendable or forbidden.

      Rebbi Zeira understood that fasting and self-affliction is the correct way to reach Kedushah. We find that he fasted long periods. He would test himself with all kinds of self-afflictions to test his total devotion to Hashem (Bava Metzia end of 85a).

      Rebbi Yirmeyah on the other hand ruled that it is forbidden for a person to afflict himself beyond the call of the Torah, as those who maintained that a Nazir is called a Choteh (Nedarim 9).

      Rebbi Yirmeyah, in accordance with his path in Avodas Hashem, would try and break Rebbi Zeira's somberness since he thought this was an incorrect path in Avodas Hashem.

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