THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SANHEDRIN 87 - has been dedicated to the memory of Max (Meir Menachem ben
Shlomo ha'Levi) Turkel, as his Yahrzeit (5 Teves) approaches, by his
children Eddie and Lawrence, and his wife Jean Turkel/Rafalowicz.
1) CAN ONE BECOME A "ZAKEN MAMREI" BY ARGUING WITH A RULING CONCERNING A
OPINIONS: The Gemara cites a Beraisa that lists the laws regarding a Zaken
Mamrei and their sources in the Torah. One of the laws is that in order to
be punished as a Zaken Mamrei, he must argue with a "Davar" (Devarim 17:8).
The Gemara explains that this refers to a Halachah. Still, though, to what
does this "Halachah" refer?
2) BECOMING A "ZAKEN MAMREI" BY ARGUING ABOUT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A LEAP
(a) RASHI seems to have had a Girsa which read, "Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai"
instead of merely "Halachah." We might have thought that a Zaken Mamrei must
argue with a law mentioned explicitly in the Torah. The Beraisa is saying
that the word "Davar" in the verse teaches that even an argument about a
Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai can make someone a Zaken Mamrei.
The RAN explains that we see from the Beraisa that one cannot become a Zaken
Mamrei if he argues with a ruling concerning a Halachah which is
mid'Rabanan. If arguing with a Halachah d'Rabanan would also make him a
Zaken Mamrei, then the Gemara would have said that this is what we learn
from the verse, and we would have inferred from there that certainly arguing
with a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai would make him a Zaken Mamrei. Since the
Gemara only says that the verse is referring to a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai,
we must assume that arguing with a ruling concerning a Mitzvah d'Rabanan
does not make one a Zaken Mamrei.
The Ran points out that when the following Mishnah (88b) says the words
"Divrei Sofrim," it is referring not to a Mitzvah d'Rabanan but rather to a
Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai, such as adding another section to the Tefilin.
Similarly, when Rebbi Shimon in our Gemara says that one can become a Zaken
Mamrei even by arguing with "Dikduk Echad m'Dikdukei Sofrim," he is
referring to a Halachah that is derived through a Derashah, such as a Kal
v'Chomer or a Gezeirah Shavah, which is a Halachah mid'Oraisa.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Mamrim 4:1) argues that one can become a Zaken
Mamrei by arguing about a Halachah d'Rabanan which concerns a Mitzvah which
is punishable by Kares when done intentionally and by a Korban Chatas when
done unintentionally. An example of such a case would be a Zaken Mamrei who
argues that Chametz is permitted during the sixth hour of Erev Pesach. What
is the Rambam's reasoning?
The RAMBAN (in his commentary to Sefer ha'Mitzvos, Shoresh Rishon, p. 24)
understands that the Rambam is following his own view as expressed
elsewhere. The Rambam maintains that one who transgresses a Mitzvah
d'Rabanan is also guilty for transgressing the Torah prohibition of "Lo
Sasur" -- "Do not turn away from what they (the Chachamim) instruct you"
(Devarim 17:11). Accordingly, the Rambam maintains that arguing with a
Mitzvah d'Rabanan can also make one a Zaken Mamrei, since a Mitzvah
d'Rabanan is also of a Torah nature.
The KESEF MISHNAH explains the reasoning of the Rambam differently. He
explains that the Rambam holds that one can become a Zaken Mamrei by arguing
with a Mitzvah d'Rabanan, because a Mitzvah d'Rabanan can have ramifications
that are of a Torah nature. For example, if a man is Mekadesh a woman with
Chametz after the sixth hour on Erev Pesach, and then another man gives her
money to be Mekadesh her, the Zaken Mamrei's ruling will affect a Halachah
d'Oraisa: if he argues that the Chametz is still considered in the first
man's possession, then, according to him, the woman is married to the first
man, and when the second man gives her money for Kidushin, his act is
meaningless. In truth, however, the first man's act of Kidushin was invalid
(since the Chametz was Asur), and the second man's Kidushin was binding, and
when the first man lives with this woman he will be living with an Eshes
Ish. Therefore, arguing with this law can also make a person a Zaken Mamrei.
The Ramban does not accept this explanation of the Rambam's ruling, because
the Torah states that the Zaken Mamrei must argue with a law which is "Al Pi
ha'Torah" (Devarim 17:11). Hence, any law which is mid'Rabanan does not fit
The KIN'AS SOFRIM (on Sefer ha'Mitzvos) gives a third approach to
understanding the Rambam. He explains that the Rambam is merely ruling in
accordance with an explicit Gemara later on the page. The Gemara states that
a person can become a Zaken Mamrei by arguing about whether Beis Din may
establish a leap year during all of Adar or only until Purim. The Gemara
adds that the ramifications of this argument can cause people to eat Chametz
on Pesach; if no extra month is added to the year, then Pesach comes one
month after Purim, and not two. This Gemara implies that merely arguing
about whether or not this is a valid time to establish a leap year can make
someone a Zaken Mamrei. Although the Kin'as Sofrim maintains that this is a
valid source for the ruling of the Rambam, he nevertheless explains how the
Ramban will learn this Gemara. He explains that although the specific
question of the deadline for adding an extra month involves a Halachah
mid'Rabanan, the Torah explicitly empowers Beis Din to establish the
calendar. Therefore, this argument could be considered one that is of a
Torah nature and not mid'Rabanan. (See Sefer ha'Mitzvos, Shoresh Rishon, and
commentaries there for many proofs for both opinions.) (Y. Montrose)
QUESTION: The Gemara states that a person can become a Zaken Mamrei by
arguing against the Sanhedrin with regard to whether Beis Din may establish
a leap year during all of Adar or only until Purim. The Gemara adds that the
ramifications of this argument can cause people to eat Chametz on Pesach; if
no extra month is added to the year, then Pesach comes one month after
Purim, and not two.
We know that one of the conditions necessary in order to punish a Zaken
Mamrei is that the Zaken Mamrei conducts himself, or instructs someone else
to conduct himself, in accordance with his deviant ruling. How is it
possible to conduct himself in accordance with his ruling in the matter of
establishing the leap year? It is Beis Din that establishes a leap year, and
not any individual! How is it possible for a Zaken Mamrei to make a leap
year against the ruling of Beis Din?
(a) The TORAS CHAIM answers that we must be talking about a case in which
the Sanhedrin and Nasi gave this person permission to establish a leap year
(see RAMBAM, Hilchos Kidush ha'Chodesh 5).
The KLI CHEMDAH (Parshas Bo) states that the case is one in which the
Sanhedrin gave permission for a smaller Beis Din to establish a leap year,
and they completed the establishment of the leap year only after Purim. The
Sanhedrin, however, maintains that a leap year should not be established
after Purim, and therefore the smaller Beis Din was not representing the
Sanhedrin when they established the leap year. The Zaken Mamrei is of the
opinion that a leap year may be established at any time throughout the
entire month of Adar, until Nisan. Therefore, he expresses his opinion that
the smaller Beis Din *was* acting as appointees of the Sanhedrin and their
establishment of the leap year is valid. (Y. Montrose)
3) WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A SIN OFFERING OF A "ZAKEN MAMREI?"
OPINIONS: The Beraisa (87a) lists the categories of Halachah to which the
law of Zaken Mamrei applies; that is, if he argues with a ruling in any of
those categories, he can be punished as a Zaken Mamrei. The Gemara gives
specific examples of rulings in those categories. For the category of
Tzora'as, the Gemara gives as an example of a Halachah the argument between
Rebbi Yehoshua and the Rabanan. The Mishnah in Nega'im (4:11) states that
when the Nega appeared before the white hair that grew inside of it, the
Nega is deemed Tamei. When the white hair appeared first, the Nega is deemed
Tahor. When there is a doubt about which appeared first, the Rabanan rule
that it is Tamei, and Rebbi Yehoshua rules that it is Tahor.
In what way is this Halachah applicable to a Zaken Mamrei?
(a) RASHI (DH Kahah) explains that according to the Rabanan, if the person
who is Tamei with Tum'as Nega'im enters the Beis ha'Mikdash, he is punished
by Kares. If the Zaken Mamrei insists that the opinion of Rebbi Yehoshua is
the Halachah, he would permit this person to enter the Beis ha'Mikdash, and
his argument would make him liable to punishment as a Zaken Mamrei.
(b) TOSFOS rejects Rashi's explanation, saying that such an argument would
not make the person into a Zaken Mamrei. This is because a person who is
Tamei with Tum'as Nega'im who accidentally enters the Beis ha'Mikdash does
not bring a normal Korban Chatas. The Gemara in Horiyos (9a) teaches that
such a person brings a Korban Oleh v'Yored. The Gemara earlier (87a) says
that a Zaken Mamrei is only punished when he rules contrary to Beis Din
regarding a sin for which one must bring a normal Korban Chatas for its
Therefore, Tosfos explains that the case is similar to the argument
involving the laws of a Zavah. In a case in which the person who has this
doubtful Nega touches Terumah, and then another person uses that Terumah to
be Mekadesh a woman, according to Rebbi Yehoshua the woman is married, while
according to the Rabanan, the woman is not married. According to the
Rabanan, the person is considered Tamei and thus the Terumah is Tamei and
has no value. When a Zaken Mamrei argues with the ruling of Beis Din (he
rules in accordance with Rebbi Yehoshua), he is declaring the woman to be
married to the first man when she really is not married to him. If a second
man then gives her money for Kidushin, that Kidushin will be valid, and the
first man will be living with an Eshes Ish (a sin for which he must bring a
normal Korban Chatas).
The ARUCH LA'NER suggests that perhaps Tosfos did not fully understand the
intention of Rashi. Rashi means to say that because the sin of entering the
Beis ha'Mikdash while Tamei is punishable with Kares when it is done
intentionally, Beis Din would give lashes to such a transgressor. According
to Rebbi Yehoshua, the Beis Din would *wrongly* be giving him lashes, since
Rebbi Yehoshua holds that such a Nega is not Tamei. Consequently, since Beis
Din injured him unjustly, the members of the Beis Din would owe him
compensation. If Beis Din would pay him that money and then he would take
that money and be Mekadesh a woman with it, then the same Halachic argument
between the Rabanan and Rebbi Yehoshua would apply as in the case that
Tosfos gives. According to the Rabanan, the person deserved lashes and did
not deserve the monetary compensation, and thus the money does not
rightfully belong to him and the woman is not married to him, while
according to Rebbi Yehoshua the woman is married to him. An obligation to
bring a normal Korban Chatas would result from such a situation.
The Aruch la'Ner points out, however, that the RAMBAM (Hilchos Mamrim 4:2)
rules that a sin for which one is obligated to bring a Korban Oleh v'Yored
also qualifies as a sin to make someone into a Zaken Mamrei. The Rambam is
clearly learning the same way that Tosfos understood Rashi to be learning.
The SANHEDRI KETANAH asks another question on the explanation of Rashi and
the Rambam. In the case of a person with a doubtful Nega who enters the Beis
ha'Mikdash, since the person only has a *doubtful* Nega, even the Rabanan
agree that the person is not Chayav Kares out of doubt, nor must he bring a
Korban Chatas out of doubt (whether he must bring a Korban Asham Taluy
depends on a different Machlokes). Rather, the Rabanan are stringent only to
forbid him from entering the Beis ha'Mikdash in the first place, while Rebbi
Yehoshua permits him to enter. (Y. Montrose)