THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SHEKALIM 6-8 (1-3 Teves) - the Dafyomi study for the last days of Chanukah
and 3 Teves has been dedicated to the memory of Hagaon Rav Yisrael Zev
Gustman ZaTZaL (author of "Kuntresei Shiurim") and his wife (on her
Yahrzeit), by a student who merited to study under him.
1) USING GREEK LETTERS IN THE BEIS HA'MIKDASH
QUESTION: The Mishnah says that written upon the three boxes used for the
Terumas ha'Lishkah were the letters Alef, Beis, and Gimel, to denote which
was separated first. Rebbi Yishmael notes that the letters on the boxes were
actually written in Greek -- Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Why were these letters
written in Greek?
ANSWER: The KORBAN HA'EDAH explains that using Greek letters on the boxes of
the Terumas ha'Lishkah is based on the verse, "Yaft Elokim l'Yefes v'Yishkon
b'Ohalei Shem" -- "Ascribe beauty to Yefes, and he shall dwell in the tents
of Shem" (Bereishis 9:27). The beauty of Yefes in this verse refers to the
Greek language ("Yevanis" - Yavan, the patriarch of Greece, was one of the
sons of Yefes). The tents of Shem refers to the Beis ha'Mikdash (just as the
Gemara in Megilah 9b says that it refers to the Beis ha'Midrash, and
therefore permits writing a Sefer Torah with Greek script).
This can be understood on a deeper level. Hashem puts objects of beauty into
this world. The reason they are here, though, is not to serve our
indulgences and gratify our appetite for pleasure. Rather, they are meant to
be used in the service of Hashem by inspiring awe for Hashem's majesty. As
the verse states, "Sheker ha'Chen v'Hevel ha'Yofi, Ishah Yir'as Hashem Hi
Tis'halal" -- beauty is false, unless it is used to acquire *Yir'as Hashem*.
That is why the Midrash (Shemos Rabah 35) tells us that the world is not fit
to use such beautiful items as gold and the cedars of Levanon; those items
were created only to be used for the Beis ha'Mikdash and the Mishkan.
Similarly, we find in Kidushin (49b) that when Hashem put beauty into the
world, He gave nine portions of beauty to Yerushalayim and one portion to
the rest of the world. Yerushalayim is the place where beauty is utilized
the way for which it was intended -- for the service of Hashem.
The Greeks prided themselves in beautifying their language and all of the
objects of their creativity out of indulgence and hedonism. We demonstrate
that the proper place for beauty is in the Beis ha'Mikdash, where it induces
awe for Hashem's majesty, by using the Greek language upon the boxes of the
Terumas ha'Lishkah, from which the Korbanos are brought.
This might also be why the Kohen Gadol was anointed by smearing oil on his
head in the shape of "the *Greek* letter, Xi" (Horayos 12a). The Kohen
Gadol, wearing his unique majesty-invoking garments of "Kavod and Tiferes,"
was a living demonstration of how beauty should be channeled towards Yir'as
Shamayim. Similarly, oil was smeared on the breads of the Menachos offerings
in the shape of "the *Greek* letter Xi" (Menachos 74b).
2) USING WINE OF SHEVI'IS FOR A "KOS SHEL BERACHAH"
QUESTION: The Gemara asks whether one fulfills his obligation of drinking
the four cups of wine on Pesach with wine of Shevi'is. The Gemara answers
with a Beraisa that says in the name of Rav Oshiya that one does fulfill his
obligation with wine of Shevi'is.
What was the Gemara's question to begin with? Why would we think that one
does not fulfill his obligation with wine of Shevi'is?
(a) The TIKLIN CHADETIN says that the Gemara is asking whether one fulfills
his obligation with wine of Shevi'is *after* the time of Bi'ur, when it
becomes forbidden to eat Shevi'is products, which happens to be *Erev
Pesach*, with regard to grape products (Pesachim 53a).
The Gemara answers that one does fulfill his obligation with wine of
Shevi'is. The reason is because one is not considered to be deriving
personal benefit from the wine, since he is using it to perform a Mitzvah,
and "Mitzvos Lav le'Hanos Nisnu" -- the benefit one derives while performing
a Mitzvah is not considered a benefit.
RAV CHAIM KANIEVSKY, in the name of the CHAZON ISH, adds a twist to this
explanation. We know that once the time of Bi'ur has arrived for a
particular Shevi'is item, one is still permitted to eat three meals' worth
of that item. The Gemara in Eruvin (29a) says that a Revi'is of wine is
considered one meal's worth (with regard to making an Eruv Techumin with
it), and thus three Revi'ios are considered three meals' worth of wine.
However, on Pesach night, one needs to drink *four* Revi'ios in order to
fulfill the obligation of drinking the four cups. Therefore, the Gemara is
asking whether one may drink all four cups on Pesach night from wine of
Shevi'is, since they are all needed for the meal and they are like a single
meal, or only the first three.
(b) The KORBAN HA'EDAH explains that we might have thought that one does not
fulfill his obligation with wine of Shevi'is because wine of Shevi'is is
Hefker and does not belong to anyone. When one drinks it, he is not drinking
wine that he owns. When it comes to fulfilling the Mitzvah of Matzah on
Pesach, one must *own* the Matzah that he eats (Pesachim 38a). We might have
thought that the same applies to the Mitzvah of drinking the four cups of
wine. The Gemara answers that one fulfills his obligation with wine of
Shevi'is, and there is no obligation to own the wine (or it is only required
(c) RABEINU MESHULAM explains that since wine of Shevi'is comes from grapes
that were Hefker, the wine is not of a high quality. Grapes that were not
carefully nurtured and tended produce wine of a lower quality. Therefore, we
might have thought that one does not fulfill his obligation with such wine.
(d) The OR SAME'ACH (end of Hilchos Shabbos) writes that the Gemara (Bava
Basra 97a) teaches that Kidush (and other Mitzvos which require a cup of
wine) may only be recited on a type of wine which may be used for the
Nesachim, the wine libations that were poured on the Mizbe'ach. Wine of
Shevi'is was not permitted to be used for the Nesachim, because it is only
permitted to be used for human consumption. The Gemara is asking whether
such wine is also unfit for use as a Kos Shel Berachah, since it could not
be used for Nesachim.
The Gemara answers that one does fulfill his obligation with such wine,
because there is no inferiority to such wine; it is merely unfit for
Nesachim since it must be consumed by man. Only if it is not used on the
Mizbe'ach due to its inferiority, it may not be used for Kidush, therefore
Shevi'is wine may be used for a Kos Shel Berachah.