THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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SOTAH 37 (3 Shevat) - Dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas: R' Zvi ben R' Zev zt'l --
HaRav Hirschel Milner, who passed away on 3 Shevat 5755 (January 4, 1995),
by his granddaughter, Chani (Pogrow) Shaw and family.
1) THE NAME OF YEHUDAH
QUESTIONS: The Gemara says that Yehudah performed an act of public Kidush
Hashem when the members of his Shevet walked into the Yam Suf first, before
anyone else, with the trust in Hashem that He would split the Sea. Because
of this act, the four letters of Hashem's name were incorporated into
(a) Why should Yehudah receive this reward of having the letters of Hashem's
name placed into his name because of what his great-grandson, Nachshon ben
Aminadav, would do at the Yam Suf? Nachshon himself should have received the
(b) What does the Gemara mean that Yehudah was rewarded by having his name
include the letters of Hashem's name? His name was given to him by his
mother, Leah, upon his birth (Bereishis 29:35), because she wanted to thank
Hashem ("Odeh Es Hashem"), long before his descendant performed the act of
Kidush Hashem! How can a person receive reward for a deed before performing
that deed? Since a person has free choice, it is possible that he might not
perform that deed!
(a) The Gemara earlier (10b) also cites the statement that Yehudah's name
incorporated the name of Hashem because he was Mekadesh Shem Shamayim, but
with reference to another act of public Kidush Shem Shamayim that Yehudah
performed. The Gemara there discusses Yehudah's public admission that Tamar
was right and that he had acted improperly. The MAHARSHA there points out
the contradiction and answers that both Gemaras are correct: he was called
Yehudah both because of the incident with Tamar and because of the act of
his descendant Nachshon.
This can be explained further as follows. Yehudah set the precedent for
public repentance for one's sins when he confessed in the incident with
Tamar. The Gemara earlier (7b) tells us that when Yehudah confessed,
teaching the concept of repentance, Reuven learned from there how to repent
for his sin.
Yehudah's momentous act instilled in future generations the ability to lead
the way and to be Mekadesh Hashem when necessary. This is what gave Nachshon
the ability to jump into the Sea when everyone else was hesitating.
Therefore, it is Yehudah's name which incorporates the name of Hashem.
(b) The RIF in the Ein Yakov (10b; see also MAHARSHA there) explains that
Yehudah was named based on the future. We find in Berachos (7b) that
sometimes a person's name can hint to major events from his life. Ruth was
called such because of David who came from her, who "satiated (Riveyhu)
Hashem with his praises."
However, this concept is more difficult to apply in our Sugya. Ruth's name
only hinted to the concept of "Riveyhu," satiated, which does not have an
inherently positive connotation; it could have meant that he satiated Hashem
with Mitzvos, or the opposite. In contrast, the fact that Yehudah's name
incorporates the name of Hashem seems to be inherently positive, as the
The comparison to the Gemara in Berachos is particularly problematic
according to the Girsa of our Gemara earlier (10b), that says that because
of Yehudah's Kidush Hashem he "merited" to have the entire name of Hashem
incorporated into his entire name. This implies that this was a reward for
Perhaps the Gemara means as follows. Yehudah was not the first person to
teach the concept of Kidush Shem Shamayim. His mother, Leah, already taught
that concept when she chose the name for Yehudah, like the Gemara says in
Berachos (7b), where it says that Leah was the first to express gratitude to
Hashem for the gifts that He gave. Because she was Mekadesh Shem Shamayim by
publicly thanking Hashem, therefore Hashem put into her mind the idea to
call her son Yehudah (rather than Odeh; see MAHARSHA) and to incorporate the
name of Hashem into his name. This instilled in Yehudah, and in his
descendant Nachshon, the strength and courage to lead the way with Kidush
Shem Shamayim (in the incident with Tamar, and in jumping into the Yam Suf),
and his descendants eventually became the kings of Klal Yisrael, leading the
The Gemara might mean that because Leah attained this trait of Kidush Shem
Shamayim when she gave birth to Yehudah and she prayed that Yehudah should
embody this trait, she instilled in Yehudah the merit to have the name of
Hashem in his name and to always find the strength to be Mekadesh Shem
This might also be the idea behind the Gemara in Berachos that says that a
person's name can influence his future. It means that if the mother embodies
a certain trait and she gives her child a name in the hope that the child
will also embody that trait, it can influence the child. That is why, when
Ruth called herself "Ruth" in the hope that she would have a grandchild who
would sing praises to Hashem, David eventually came from her. When Leah gave
birth to Reuven, she prayed that he should not be envious of his brothers
like Esav was (see Berachos 7b), and her prayers bore fruit. That is why the
Gemara that describes the name of Reuven and Ruth immediately follows the
Gemara that discusses how Leah thanked Hashem when Yehudah was born.
2) RESPONSIBILITY FOR OTHERS
QUESTION: The Gemara records a Machlokes between Rebbi and Rebbi Shimon ben
Yehudah who argue whether Rebbi Shimon holds that each Jew is simply an Arev
for every other person, or whether each Jew is also an Arev for the Arvus of
every other person. What practical difference is there between the two
opinions? According to both of them, every person is responsible for what
every other Jew does!
3) THE OBLIGATION OF "ARVUS"
ANSWER: The TOSFOS HA'ROSH answers that there is a practical difference in a
case where a person dies after another person sinned. The punishment of
Arvus apparently affects all of the Arevim at the same time. If one passed
away before the punishment for the Arvus was administered, then he obviously
will not suffer the punishment for that Arvus. According to Rebbi Shimon ben
Yehudah, who says that each person is only an Arev for every other person's
Mitzvah observance (but not for every other person's obligation of Arvus),
the death of the first person will not affect the punishment that the others
are destined to suffer. However, according to Rebbi, who says that each
person bears responsibility *for the responsibility* of the others, then the
punishment that the deceased person was supposed to receive will now be
divided up among all of his survivors, since they have to bear his
punishment for the Arvus that he took upon himself.
OPINIONS: Rebbi Shimon says that for every one of the 613 Mitzvos in the
Torah, 48 covenants were made, multiplied by the number of people (603,550)
who left Mitzrayim and received the Torah, for a total of 17,758,855,200
covenants. The number 603,550 is taken from the verse in the Torah (Shemos
38:26, Bamidbar 1:45); it represents the count of the Jewish men capable of
going to war ("Anshei Tzava"), men between the ages of 20 and 60 who left
Does this mean that the obligation of Arvus is limited to the
Mitzvah-observance of men between the ages of 20 and 60? What about Gerim
and Nashim, who were not included in the count of 603,550?
(a) GERIM. RASHI in Nidah (13b) cites a view that explains that the Gemara's
statement that Gerim cause suffering to the Jews means that some Gerim are
not sincere and the Jews must bear the burden for their sins. Rashi rejects
this explanation, saying that the obligation of Arvus does not apply to
Gerim. The Jews are not responsible for the sins of Gerim, and therefore the
Jews do not suffer for the sins of Gerim. Rashi proves this from the number
cited in our Gemara (603,550). If Arvus includes Gerim, the number should be
much higher, because it should reflect the people of the "Erev Rav" as well.
TOSFOS there questions Rashi's statement. The number chosen by our Gemara
might have been chosen simply because it is the only number that is
specified by the Torah. It is not meant, though, to exclude any people that
were not included in that count. It is obvious that men under 20 and over 60
would also be included in Arvus, even though they are not included in the
count of 603,550. Hence, the Erev Rav should also be included in the
obligation of Arvus.
Tosfos answers that the Gemara knew the number of people included in the
Erev Rav (according to the Mechilta, which says that they were double the
number of people who left Mitzrayim). Therefore, the fact that the Gemara
does not include their numbers in the obligation of Arvus, even though their
numbers were known, shows that Gerim are not included in Arvus.
Alternatively, the men younger than 20 and older than 60, and women, are all
secondary to those who were counted, and therefore the number 603,550
alludes to them as well. The Gemara is saying that there are covenants for
each individual of the group from which 603,550 were counted. The number of
covenants, though, indeed include the other people as well. The Erev Rav, in
contrast, have no reason for being secondary to the men of the Jewish people
who were counted, since the Erev Rav were just as capable Anshei Tzava as
those who were counted. Therefore, if the Gemara does not allude to their
numbers, it means that they were not included in the obligation of Arvus.
(b) NASHIM. The ROSH in Berachos (3:13) writes that the reason why a man who
ate only a k'Zayis may exempt a man who ate his full is because of the
concept of "Arvus" -- "responsibility:" every Jew is responsible to see that
every other Jew fulfills the Mitzvos (see Rashi, Rosh Hashanah 29a, DH Af Al
Pi she'Yatza). The Torah thus allows one man to exempt another man even if
the first one ate *nothing*. The Rabanan, though, instituted that in order
to exempt another man, he must at least eat enough to obligate himself to
recite the blessing mid'Rabanan.
Women, on the other hand, do not bear group "responsibility;" they have no
obligation to see to it that every other Jew fulfills his obligation of
Birkas ha'Mazon. Therefore, unless a woman's obligation to recite Birkas
ha'Mazon is on the same level as a man's (i.e. mid'Oraisa), she cannot
exempt him from his obligation.
The DAGUL MEREVAVAH (OC 271:2) refers to the MAGEN AVRAHAM (271:1) who says
that if a person Davens the Shemoneh Esreh of Ma'ariv on Shabbos night, he
fulfills his Torah obligation to recite Kidush (although he must still
fulfill his obligation d'Rabanan to recite Kidush over a cup of wine). The
Dagul Merevavah writes that according to this, even though a woman normally
has the same obligation of Kidush as a man has, if a woman recited Ma'ariv
on Shabbos night she cannot exempt a man who has not Davened. Since her
obligation is now only mid'Rabanan (because she already fulfilled her
d'Oraisa obligation), she cannot exempt a man's d'Oraisa obligation, because
women are not in the category of "responsibility" that would enable her to
exempt another person even when she herself is not obligated. The Dagul
Merevavah then questions whether a man who already Davened Ma'ariv may
exempt a woman who has not Davened Ma'ariv. Perhaps just like a woman does
not have responsibility of Arvus for a man, a man does not have
responsibility of Arvus for a woman (and thus he cannot exempt her if he is
obligated in Kidush only mid'Rabanan).
The Rosh and the Dagul Merevavah seem to infer from our Gemara that only men
accepted the responsibility of Arvus, since the number 603,550 only included
REBBI AKIVA EIGER (Teshuvos 1:7) responds that when the Rosh writes that
women are not bound by group "responsibility," he does not mean that they
are *never* responsible for another Jew's fulfillment of the Mitzvos.
Rather, a woman is not "responsible" only when it comes to a Mitzvah that
she is not obligated to perform herself. With regard to a Mitzvah that she,
too, is also obligated mid'Oraisa to perform, she does have "responsibility"
for other Jews, and other Jews have responsibility for her. Therefore, she
*could* exempt a man from his d'Oraisa obligation to recite Kidush.
Rebbi Akiva Eiger's understanding is consistent with what Tosfos writes in
Nidah, that the only reason the number of women who left Mitzrayim was
omitted was because their numbers were unknown; they were, nonetheless,
included in the obligation of Arvus.
According to the Rosh in Berachos, however, and according to Rashi in Rosh
Hashanah, who say that one Jew may exempt another Jew in the obligation of
Birkas ha'Mitzvos because of Arvus, even though the one reciting the
blessing is not performing the Mitzvah himself, there is a problem. How can
a Ger be Motzi a Jew, or vice versa? We learned that Rashi in Nidah (13b)
writes that Gerim were not included in Arvus! Accordingly, we should
conclude that a Ger cannot be Motzi a Jew and a Jew cannot be Motzi a Ger!
The Rosh himself might follow his opinion in the TOSFOS HA'ROSH in Nidah
(13b), where he rejects Rashi's suggestion that Gerim are not included in
Arvus. According to Rashi, however, who does exclude Gerim from Arvus, how
can a Ger be Motzi another Jew, and vice versa?
The answer is that Rashi in Nidah is referring to Gerim who did not convert
wholeheartedly and returned to their earlier ways. These are comparable to
the Erev Rav who joined the Jews to leave Mitzrayim but later returned to
their earlier ways of idol worship. Such Gerim are not included in the
Arvus, and Jews bear no responsibility for their acts (since their eventual
defection shows that they never converted wholeheartedly in the first place;
see Rambam, Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 13:16). However, a Ger who converts
wholeheartedly is certainly included in the obligation of Arvus, and
therefore he can be Motzi a Jew and a Jew can be Motzi him. (If he later
sins, then the Jews do bear responsibility for his actions. This is evident
from Shavuos 39a.)
(c) KOHANIM. According to what we wrote above, women are not included in
Arvus, at least not for Mitzvos in which they themselves are not obligated.
Nevertheless, our Gemara says that every one of the 603,550 Jews was
responsible for every other Jew's observance of the 613 Mitzvos, which
implies that a Yisrael is responsible for the Aveiros that a Kohen performs,
even though the Yisrael has no Mitzvah to refrain from those acts! What is
the difference between women, who are exempted from the Arvus of Mitzvos in
which they are not obligated, and Yisraelim, who are not exempt from the
Arvus of Mitzvos in which only Kohanim are obligated?
The answer is that women were exempted from certain Mitzvos because the
Torah did not want to give them the responsibility to observe them because
of their obligations to their families and children. That same reason would
exempt them from the responsibility to see to it that others keep those
Mitzvos, since they cannot be available at the time that others are supposed
to do those Mitzvos. However, Yisraelim were not exempted from the Mitzvos
of Kohanim; rather, the Torah simple did not give those Mitzvos to
Yisraelim, but gave them only to Kohanim because of their extra Kedushah.
Hence, there is no reason to exempt the Yisraelim from the Arvus of those
Mitzvos. (See AVNEI NEZER, YD 352, cited by YOSEF DA'AS.)