THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SANHEDRIN 92 (7 Teves) - Dedicated by Josh Daniel of Efrat, Israel, in
memory of his brother, Yitzchok Yisroel [ben Refael Noach Yosef] Daniel, on
his Yahrzeit (7 Teves).
1) THE SEQUENCE OF STATEMENTS REGARDING "TECHIYAS HA'MESIM"
QUESTION: In the midst of a lengthy discussion of Techiyas ha'Mesim and its
source in the Torah, the Gemara interjects some seemingly entirely unrelated
statements. The Gemara first quotes Rav who discusses the severity of
withholding a teaching from a student. The Gemara continues with a
discussion of what a teacher merits if he does teach a student. The Gemara
then returns to sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim. Afterwards, the Gemara quotes
Rebbi Elazar who says that a leader who is patient with his constituents
will merit leading them in the World to Come. The Gemara then records a
number of unrelated teachings of Rebbi Elazar. The Gemara then returns again
to the subject of sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim.
2) THE GREATNESS OF "DE'AH," "MIKDASH," AND "NEKAMAH"
What is the logical sequence of these statements in the Gemara?
ANSWER: The NODA B'YEHUDAH (end of Yoreh De'ah 2:190) explains why the
Gemara discusses withholding one's teachings from a student. He points out
that the Gemara concludes that one who teaches Torah in this world merits
teaching Torah in the World to Come as well. This occurs after Techiyas
ha'Mesim, and therefore it is related to the subject of Techiyas ha'Mesim.
This answer does not explain why the statements of Rebbi Elazar are cited by
the Gemara. Also, it is not clear why the Gemara should cite this statement
in a discussion of sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim; the Gemara is not
discussing what occurs during Techiyas ha'Mesim!
Perhaps his intention is as follows. The Gemara immediately prior to the
discussion of teaching a student cites two sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim.
One source is the verse, "Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha, Od Yehalelucha Sela" --
"Happy are those who dwell in Your house, they will praise You forever more"
(Tehilim 84:5); the verse does not say that "they *praised* You," but rather
that "they *will* praise You," implying that they will come back to life in
the future and praise Hashem. Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi reiterates this theme
by saying that one who says Shirah in this world merits to say Shirah in the
World to Come. Rebbi Yochanan then cites a source for Techiyas ha'Mesim from
the verse that states that the "Tzofayich," the prophets, "will together
sing to Hashem," implying that they will come back to life and sing to
Hashem. Rebbi Yochanan reiterates this by saying that all of the prophets
will sing Shirah as one in the World to Come.
The statements of the Gemara regarding teaching a student and leading one's
constituents are directly related to these two teachings. A source for the
statement that one who teaches Torah in this world merits to teach Torah in
the World to Come can be found in the verse of "Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha,"
referring to those who teach Torah in the Beis Midrash, "Od Yehalelucha
Sela," they will continue to praise You by teaching Torah in the World to
Come. This is what the Gemara refers to as saying Shirah in the World to
Come, as we find in the Gemara in Nedarim (38a), "Learning Torah is referred
to as saying Shirah," and as the Gemara in Chagigah (12b) says (see also
Eruvin 18b). This is why the Gemara mentions the reward of teaching a
student in the World to Come. The statement of Rebbi Elazar has a source in
the verse that discusses how the prophets will praise Hashem together after
Techiyas ha'Mesim. The verse is saying that those who lead the people
truthfully and patiently in this world will be restored to their position in
the World to Come, where they will lead the people in Shirah. This is why
Rebbi Elazar's statement is cited here. The Gemara then cites, tangentially,
other statements of Rebbi Elazar.
Why does the Gemara separate the discussion of teaching Torah and Rebbi
Elazar's discussion of a good leader with two additional sources for
Techiyas ha'Mesim? Perhaps it is because those are the only remaining proofs
that were brought by Amora'im who started their statements with the
question, "From where in the Torah do we know Techiyas ha'Mesim?" The Gemara
wants to end the discussion of Techiyas ha'Mesim before recording all of
Rebbi Elazar's unrelated statements at length.
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes Rebbi Elazar who says that De'ah and Mikdash are
great, because they are mentioned between two "Osiyos," two Names of Hashem.
The Gemara asks that Nekamah, revenge, should also be great because of this
reason, as it is also mentioned between two Names of Hashem. The Gemara
answers that Nekamah indeed is great when Hashem does it for a positive
purpose, to punish the evildoers and reward the righteous.
What does Rebbi Elazar mean when he says that these three elements are
"great?" Moreover, is there any common theme among them?
ANSWER: The MAHARSHA and TORAS CHAIM explain that the two Names that
surround these terms are not identical. In each case, one represents
Hashem's trait of Gevurah, or Din, might and justice, and the other
represents the trait of Rachamim, the merciful kindness of Hashem. The
Gemara is saying that these three qualities -- De'ah, Mikdash, and
Nekamah -- involve a combination of Din and Rachamim. The Toras Chaim says
that we find the same Midos of Hashem written at each side of Yakov Avinu,
"v'Hayah Hashem Li l'Elokim" (Bereishis 28:21), for it is Yakov who
exemplified the unification of the Midah of Chesed (the Midah of Avraham)
and the Midah of Din (the Midah of Yitzchak).
On a deeper level, this can be understood based on the words of Rashi at the
beginning of the Torah. Hashem wanted to create the world with Midas ha'Din.
When He saw that the world would not endure with Midas ha'Din, he combined
with it the Midah of Rachamim. The purest comprehension of Hashem's
attributes occurs when His Midas ha'Din is revealed, when it becomes clear
that everything that occurs is just. However, in this world, there are times
when a Tzadik suffers and a Rasha flourishes. This is because of the Midas
ha'Rachamim which veils Hashem's presence in this world. A person can reveal
the presence of his Creator in all that occurs and in all that exists when
he is able to combine the Midos of Rachamim and Din and accept the
underlying justice in everything that occurs in this world. This underlying
justice will be revealed to everyone in the World to Come, as we find in the
Gemara in Pesachim (50a; see Insights there).
Through De'ah, a person can combine Rachamim and Din and elevate himself to
this level of understanding of the world and to this level of awareness and
appreciation of Hashem. This is also the level to which the Beis ha'Mikdash
was able to elevate a person (see TOSFOS, Bava Basra 21a, DH Ki mi'Tzion).
This is what will become revealed to all mankind on the day of ultimate
Nekamah, when Hashem will reveal Himself and mete out vengeance upon the
evildoers on the day of justice at the time of the War of Gog u'Magog and
the rebuilding of the Beis ha'Mikdash.
We may add that the Torah recognizes three dimensions of experience: the
person, the place, and the time. According to our explanation, the Gemara is
teaching where it is most conducive in each of these dimensions for the
Midos of Din and Rachamim to be united in the greatest form. The De'ah
accomplishes this in the person. The Mikdash accomplishes this in space. The
Nekamah, which will occur at the final Yom ha'Din, accomplishes this in
2) THE CHILDREN OF EFRAIM WHO LEFT EGYPT TOO EARLY
QUESTION: The Gemara says that Benei Efraim left Mitzrayim thirty years
before the destined time in their impatience to end the slavery. Consequent,
they were decimated by the Plishtim. The Midrash (Shemos Rabah 20:11)
explains that they calculated the 400 years of slavery from the Bris Bein
ha'Besarim rather than from the birth of Yitzchak, and that is why they
thought that the slavery ended thirty years before it actually ended.
Why was it specifically the Benei Efraim, the grandchildren of Yosef, who
were made this tragic error?
ANSWER: RAV YAKOV KAMINETZKY zt'l (in Emes l'Yakov, Bereishis 41:51, 48:5,
and Shemos 13:17) provides enlightening insights on this subject. He
explains that it is easy to understand why it was the children of Yosef,
more than the other Shevatim, who were impatient to leave Mitzrayim. It was
their father, Yosef, who built up the nation of Mitzrayim, making it the
wealthiest nation in the world. Now, a new king rose to power who not only
did not repay or show gratitude to Yosef's family, but he spread rumors that
"these unwanted foreigners are the source of all of our troubles." He made
the people think that "this Jewish king paid off the royalty to give him an
important position, and then brought his entire family to the land. They
hate us and cannot wait to seize the opportunity to conquer us." No one
could be so patient as to endure such a lack of gratitude and not let it
Second, the children of Yosef had weaker Emunah because they were born in
Mitzrayim, the land of Tum'ah, and therefore they were more vulnerable to
making a mistake and trying to get out too soon. That is why Yakov Avinu
gave the children of Yosef a special Berachah, in addition to the Berachah
that all of the Shevatim received; he saw that they needed extra help from
Hashem to succeed in persevering in Mitzrayim.
This, he explains, is why they counted the 400 years of slavery from the
time of the Bris Bein ha'Besarim. At the Bris Ben ha'Besarim, Hashem gave
Eretz Yisrael to Avraham, and, nevertheless, in the eyes of those living
there he was just a visitor, a foreigner. The children of Yosef, more than
any of the other tribes, could identify with the feeling of distress of a
person who knows that he is a fully-privileged citizen and yet is treated
like a foreigner.
Why, though, was it specifically the children of Efraim who stumbled and not
the children of Menasheh?
Rav Yakov explains that Efraim was born later. By the time he was born, the
culture of Mitzrayim had had more of an impact on Yosef's life than when
Menasheh was born. This is reflected in their names. Menasheh's name was
given to him as an expression of gratitude to Hashem for ending Yosef's
suffering -- the removal of adverse circumstances. Efraim's name was given
as an expression of gratitude to Hashem for causing Yosef to multiply and
succeed in the land (Bereishis 42:51-52) -- the presence of favorable
circumstances. He already was accepting the positive aspects of being in
Mitzrayim, and not just focusing on the fact that he was no longer
suffering. The Egyptian influence is also evident in the phonemic
composition of the name Efraim, as Egyptian names are give emphasis to the
letters "Peh" and "Reish," as in the names Shifra, Pu'ah, Pharaoh, Tzafnas
Pane'ach, and Potifar.
Rav Yakov suggests that this is why Yakov Avinu "adopted" Efraim as his
student. Menasheh was on more firm footing, which is why he was more
comfortable with Lashon ha'Kodesh, as Rashi writes that he was the
interpreter between Yosef and his brothers (Rashi to Bereishis 42:23).
Efraim, on the other hand, was raised with more of the Egyptian culture and
he did not speak Lashon ha'Kodesh as fluently as Menasheh did. Yakov Avinu,
therefore, tried to influence him and teach him so that he would grow in the
ways of his fathers. Yakov's worries came to fruition when Efraim's children
attempted to leave Mitzrayim before the destined time.