THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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- "ME'ES LE'ES," AND NOT WHAT?
Many of the Mishnayos in our Perek deal with ages which are
relevant to various laws, such as Nidah, Yibum and so forth. Rav rules
that all of the ages recorded in our Perek are "me'Es le'Es". RASHI (DH
b'Kulei) explains that Rav means to say by this that the years of our Perek
must be full years, and not just one day into the final year (i.e. Yom
Echad b'Shanah Harei Hu k'Shanah, or the first day of the year is already
considered a year).
Later, the Gemara quotes a Beraisa which lists several cases where the
Torah states that a time period of a certain amount of years must be
calculated me'Es le'Es. This time, Rashi says that me'Es le'Es excludes a
third way of calculating. It means that the years of the Beraisa do not
end on Rosh Hashanah. Rather, each year begins on the moment that a
particular action (such as a birth or sale) takes place, and ends one
entire year hence.
Why did Rashi explain earlier that me'Es le'Es excludes one way of
calculating, and then explain later that it excludes another way of
From TOSFOS (38 DH Shipurah) it may be learned that these two
issues of me'Es le'Es are mutually dependent. Tosfos explains that we only
say Yom Echad b'Shanah Harei Hu k'Shanah (or Yom Echad b'Chodesh Harei Hu
k'Chodesh) when we are dealing with years that start on a fixed date,
such as Rosh Hashanah. However, when we are dealing with a number of years
that start from a day in a person's life, we do not say Yom Echad
b'Shanah Harei Hu k'Shanah.
Rashi's two statements are therefore based on the same premise. Because the
years of the Mishnah or Beraisa are calculated me'Es le'Es and do not begin
on Rosh Hashanah, therefore we are not able to apply to these cases the
rule of Yom Echad b'Shanah Harei Hu k'Shanah. (See Rashash, who seems to
have understood differently.)
Why then, when explaining the Beraisa, did Rashi mention only that we do
not calculate the beginning of the year from Rosh Hashanah? Why did he not
specify, as he did earlier, that because the years of the Beraisa are
calculated "me'Es le'Es" we do not apply to them the rule of Yom Echad
b'Shanah Harei Hu k'Shanah?
The MAHARAM answers that the Beraisa discusses, among other things, laws
which deal not with a number of years, but with a single year (such as
the age of a sheep for Korbanos, and the time during which one may redeem a
house in a walled city). In such cases, it is obvious that even if the year
is not me'Es le'Es we cannot count one day into the year as an entire year.
- MOST OF HIS LIFE
OPINIONS: The Gemara explains that if a person reaches twenty years of age
and has Simanei Seris, he is a Gadol. If he had neither two pubic hairs nor
Simanei Seris, then he becomes a Gadol only when "most of his years" pass.
At what age do we consider most of his years to have passed?
The verse in Tehilim (90:10) says, "The days of our years ... are seventy
years." From this the Rishonim learn that "most of his years" means 35+
years. However, there is a difference of opinion among the Rishonim as to
how we calculate the 35+ years.
- The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ishus 2;4,12) and SHULCHAN ARUCH (Even ha'Ezer
155:13) say that when he is 35 years old and one day, we consider most of
his years to have passed.
- The RIVASH (Teshuvah #465) says that when he is 35 years and 30 days
old, we consider most of his years to have passed.
- The RAN (and the Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 235:11) says that when
he is 36 full years old we consider most of his years to have passed.
What is the logical basis for this difference of opinion?
- The RAMBAM explains that "most of his years" is not referring literally
to a number of years. It means one day past the mid-point of his life.
- The RIVASH holds that "most of his years" means one year past the
mid-point of his years, but he counts thirty days into a year as a year
(as does Rebbi Yosi Ben Kiper in our Gemara).
- The RAN, too, learns that most of the person's years must pass, but
he maintains that the 36th year also must be a full year.
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