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Nidah 31

The Gemara, drawing on the Pasuk "Oseh Nifla'os Levado, u'Varuch Sheim Kevodo Le'olam," writes that there are times when even the recipient of the miracle is not aware of the miracle that has been performed on his behalf. The following story, told over in 'The Royal Resident' by Marcus Lehman about Rabbi Yoselman, a famous 'Sh'tadlan' (protector of Jewry) who lived in the middle ages, demonstrates this point.

Rabbi Yoselman was a close friend and counselor of the King, of whom the other courtiers were eternally jealous. On one occasion, they actually succeeded in provoking the King into believing that Rabbi Yoselman was untrustworthy, and they got the king to agree to have him killed.

It was the King's custom to get rid of unwanted subjects discreetly, by sending them to a distant part of his kingdom with a message to hand over to an ex-captain who resided there. The message consisted of the words "Has the King's word been carried out"? In truth this was nothing other than a signal for the captain to take the bearer of the message and to hang him without any more ado. And this message was now handed to the trustworthy and unsuspecting Rabbi Yoselman.

Rabbi Yoselman departed early the next morning to carry out the king's orders without delay. However, his journey required him to pass through many villages, some of them inhabited by Jews. As he was passing through one such village, he was confronted by a certain Jewess, who, seeing this saintly figure riding towards her house, came running out of her house to flag him down. She explained to Rabbi Yoselman that she had given birth to a son, and that the baby was due to have a Bris Milah a day or two later, but that there was no Mohel in the vicinity to perform the Mitzvah. Was he by any chance a Mohel?

Rabbi Yoselman was indeed a Mohel. Nevertheless, he initially declined to perform the Bris, on the grounds that he was on an urgent mission on behalf of the King, and that he was duty-bound to continue without delay. But the woman prevailed upon him to stay and perform the Milah on the grounds that if the King orders someone to do one thing, and the King of Kings orders him to do another, to whom does one listen? (Divrei ha'Rav, ve'Divrei ha'Talmid, Divrei Mi Shom'in?) The Bris was celebrated on the due date, and Rabbi Yoselman proceeded on his way, two days behind schedule.

In the meantime, the minister who had convinced the King of Rabbi Yoselman's 'disloyalty,' eager to be the first to see that the 'evil' Jew was gone once and for all, rode after Rabbi Yoselman - one day behind him.

Unaware of Rabbi Yoselman's delay, he arrived at the ex-captain's residence, and, in anticipation, asked him whether the king's word had been carried out. The ex-captain seized and hanged him immediately. When Rabbi Yoselman arrived a day or two later and asked him the same question, he replied "Certainly it has! Come, let me show you!"

Sometimes, even the recipient of the miracle is unaware of Hashem's kindness. He does not know what a great miracle has been performed on his behalf except in retrospect.


QUESTION: The Gemara explains that when our Mishnah says that Bnos Kusim have the status of Nidos from birth, the Mishnah is in accordance with Rebbi Meir who is Chayish l'Mi'uta and rules that Kusim are sincere converts (Gerei Emes).

The Gemara (Shabbos 17) says that the ruling that Bnos Kusim have the status of Nidos from birth is one of the 18 points about which Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai agreed unanimously. How, then, can the Gemara insist that the Mishnah's ruling is only in accordance with Rebbi Meir?

ANSWER: TOSFOS (32a, DH Rebbi Meir) explains that although according to both Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yossi our Mishnah's ruling is one of the 18 points, the two differ as to the nature of the decree. According to Rebbi Yossi, the Rabbanan gave Benos Kusim the status of Nidos in order to prevent us from mingling with them. According to Rebbi Meir, the Rabbanan gave them the status of Nidos from an early age because they did not accept the Torah Law that a 1-day old girl becomes a Nidah through a discharge of blood, and we suspect every Bas Kusi of having had a discharge of blood.

The Gemara establishes our Mishnah to be in accordance with Rebbi Meir and not Rebbi Yossi since the Mishnah mentions the reason, "Since they are Machmir for every shade of blood," which implies that their Tum'ah is due to the laws of Nidah, and not to a decree for the sake of preventing intermingling. (And even Rebbi Meir, who is Chayish l'Mi'uta, agrees that our Mishnah is only a Gezeirah and not Torah law, because it is *unusually rare* for a girl to become a Nidah at such a young age.)

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