THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
YEVAMOS 46-50 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi
publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.
1) TELLING A GER ABOUT AVODAH ZARAH
QUESTION: The Gemara derives the things that we tell a Nochri who wants to convert
from the things that Naomi told Ruth when she wanted to convert. Naomi told her about
the Mitzvah of Techum Shabbos, and that there are 613 Mitzvos that a Jew must
observe, and that once a person becomes a Ger, it becomes forbidden for the person to
serve Avodah Zarah.
2) THE ORDER OF THE GERUS PROCESS
Why do we tell a prospective Ger that if he becomes Jewish, he will no longer be
permitted to serve Avodah Zarah? It is forbidden for any person to serve idols, even
if he is not Jewish! (MAHARSHA, 47a)
(a) The MAHARSHA answers that Naomi did not actually tell Ruth that it will be
forbidden for her to serve Avodah Zarah if she converts. Rather, she told her that
once she becomes Jewish, it will be prohibited for her to leave Eretz Yisrael and go
to Chutz la'Aretz, because "one who lives in Chutz la'Aretz is as if he has no G-d"
(b) The ARUCH LA'NER answers that she was referring to forms of Avodah Zarah worship
that are permitted only to a Nochri and not to a Jew, such as "Shituf" (worshipping
another god along with Hashem; see Tosfos, Sanhedrin 63b, DH Asur l'Adam).
Other Acharonim (MITZPEH EISAN) add that a Jew may not derive benefit from an object
worshipped as Avodah Zarah, while a Nochri may derive benefit from it. The TUREI EVEN
(Chagigah 11b) says that it is prohibited (with an Isur Lav) for a Jew to kiss an
object of Avodah Zarah, while a Nochri is prohibited only from serving it in one of
the main forms of worship (by offering a Korban to it, or by prostrating oneself to
it). The RIF on the Ein Yakov adds that it is prohibited for a Jew even to own an
object of Avodah Zarah and to keep it in one's home, even if he does not intend to
worship it, while a Nochri is permitted to keep such an object in his home.
(c) The RIF on the Ein Yakov asks another question. Naomi had already told Ruth that
there are 613 Mitzvos. Since the Isur against serving Avodah Zarah is one of the 613
Mitzvos, why did she have to state specifically that Avodah Zarah is Asur?
The MITZPEH EISAN and IYUN YAKOV suggest that she was warning Ruth that the Avodah
Zarah of a Jew remains Asur forever and cannot be annulled. In contrast, the Avodah
Zarah of a Nochri becomes permitted once he shows that he no longer worships it.
Naomi was telling Ruth not that there is an Isur of Avodah Zarah, but that the Avodah
Zarah of a Jew is more severe than that of a Nochri.
(d) The Mitzvos that a Nochri must observe (the seven Mitzvos of Noach) are generally
negative commandments (that is, not to do things that rebel against Hashem). A Ger
converts because he wants to get greater reward for keeping all of the Mitzvos of the
Torah. A Ger might think that as long as he keeps the Mitzvos, he will be rewarded
for it and it makes no difference if he considers in his mind another deity to be
That is why Naomi warned Ruth that besides the 613 Mitzvos, one must also have
intention to do the Mitzvos l'Shem Shamayim, for the sake of Hashem, and one must
believe only in Hashem and not in any Avodah Zarah.
QUESTION: The Gemara says that a Ger must have Milah done to him as soon as he
accepts the Mitzvos without delay, before doing Tevilah, because "we do not delay the
performance of a Mitzvah." After he heals from the Milah, he then does Tevilah.
3) THE SOURCE FOR AN "EVED'S" OBLIGATION IN MITZVOS
If we really want to expedite the conversion process. then why should he do Milah
first, wait until it heals, and then do Tevilah? He should do Tevilah first and then
he can do Milah right away, becoming a Ger immediately!
(a) The RAMBAN writes that the Ger must do Milah first because if we let him do it at
the end of the process, he might back out when considers the pain involved, and he
will have wasted the time and energy of Beis Din in being Tovel him. However, if
b'Di'eved he did Tevilah first and then did Milah, it is also a valid Gerus.
(b) TOSFOS and the TOSFOS HA'ROSH seem to say that the order *does* make a
difference. Milah must be done first, or else the Gerus is not valid. The Rosh
mentions the wording of the Gemara (Kerisus 9a) that says "our fathers entered the
Bris of Hashem with Milah, Tevilah, and Haza'ah," putting Milah first and implying
that this is the proper order. It seems that the source for the order is the order in
which our ancestors underwent their Gerus process, and from there we learn that now,
too, a Ger must do it in the same order.
(c) The RASHBA and RITVA explain that Milah must be done first, because Milah -- the
removal of the Orlah -- represents the removal of the Tum'ah of Nochrim, as the
Gemara says in Nedarim (30b). The Tevilah done afterwards is done in order to acquire
the Kedushah of Yisrael. If Tevilah was done while he still had an Orlah, it would be
like someone immersing in a Mikvah in order to become Tahor while holding a Sheretz
in his hand. The Ritva adds that because of this, the order must be followed, and
Milah must be done first or else the Gerus is not valid. (The Rashba, though, is
uncertain whether the order is Me'akev for this reason.)
One difference between the different approaches could be whether a Nochri who had
Milah without Tevilah is considered to be a partial Jew, or whether he is still a
full-fledged Nochri. Does Milah start the process of Gerus, or is it necessary to
have all of the components of Gerus in order for any degree of Gerus to be
The RADBAZ (3:917), who follows the opinion of the Rashba, writes that since Milah
removes the Tum'ah of Nochrim from the Ger, even though he did not yet do Tevilah he
is nevertheless considered a Jew in certain aspects (for example, there is a Mitzvah
to support him if he is poor, and if he touches wine it does not become Asur). The
ARUCH LA'NER (in TESHUVOS BINYAN TZION YD 91) writes that if a Ger did Milah without
Tevilah then he should observe Shabbos (he is no longer considered a Nochri who is
prohibited from observing Shabbos). It might be that this view only follows the
opinions that say that Milah removes him from the category of Nochri, and thus the
process of Gerus has already begun. According to the other opinions, though, Milah
alone might be worthless, because Gerus needs both Milah and Tevilah, and without
either of them, he remains a complete Nochri.
QUESTION: The Gemara says that an Eved does not need Kabalas Mitzvos when he is freed
in order to complete his Gerus. RASHI explains that when he first became an Eved and
did Tevilah l'Shem Avdus (with intention to become an Eved), "he was already Shayach
to Mitzvos." Rashi says that the Eved has some Mitzvos because of "l'Ma'an Yanu'ach
Avdecha" (Devarim 5:14), which requires that he rest from Melachah on Shabbos, and,
in addition, we derive from a Gezeirah Shavah of "Lah Lah" that he is obligated in
the same Mitzvos in which a woman is obligated. Therefore, since he is already
obligated in certain Mitzvos at the time that he becomes an Eved, he does not have to
undergo a new Kabalas Mitzvos at the time of the Tevilah of his emancipation.
Why does Rashi mention two sources for the obligation of an Eved to observe Mitzvos?
It would have sufficed to mention the Gezeirah Shavah that teaches that an Eved is
obligated in Mitzvos like a woman! Why does Rashi have to mention the specific
Mitzvah of "l'Ma'an Yanu'ach Avdecha?" (ARUCH LA'NER)
Moreover, it does not seem correct to cite the verse of "l'Ma'an Yanu'ach Avdecha" as
a source that an Eved is obligated in Mitzvos. That Mitzvah is specifically directed
to a Jewish master and it is commanding him not to have his Eved work on Shabbos. It
does *not* tell us that the Eved himself has a Mitzvah to refrain from working on
Shabbos (like the Gemara mentions later, on 48b; see also Rashi there, DH Bein
ANSWER: Rashi here is bothered by a problem in the Gemara. How can the Gemara say
that the reason the Eved does not need a Kabalas Mitzvos when he is released is
because he already had a Kabalas Mitzvos when he become an Eved? The Gemara itself
says that one can force a person to become an Eved against his will. If an Eved can
become an Eved against his will, then certainly he did not accept upon himself the
Mitzvos at the time he became an Eved. How, then, can the Gemara say that he does not
need Kabalas Mitzvos when he is released?
The answer to this problem can be inferred from the Gemara later (48a). The Gemara
there explains that there is a Machlokes Tana'im whether an Eved is exempt from
Kabalas Mitzvos when he is freed only if he has been an Eved for a long time, or even
if he is freed immediately after becoming an Eved. Rashi (DH b'Yefas To'ar) explains
that an Eved who has been an Eved for a long time does not need Kabalas Mitzvos at
the time of his release, because during his Avdus he was *practicing* the Mitzvos in
which an Eved is Chayav, and thus, through observing those Mitzvos, he accepted the
Mitzvos upon himself.
Apparently, even the opinion that holds that an Eved does not need Kabalas Mitzvos if
he was released immediately after becoming an Eved will also follow the same logic,
even though he has not yet had a chance to practice the Mitzvos. By virtue of
becoming an Eved (whether voluntarily or not), he has become resigned to his fate of
having to observe the Mitzvos, and thus it is considered an acceptance of the
According to this, it could be that Rashi is in doubt whether the Mitzvos that an
Eved practices (or becomes resigned to have to practice) because of the Gezeirah
Shavah of "Lah Lah" can also constitute a Kabalas Mitzvos. Perhaps those Mitzvos are
different, because, first, no one is standing over him making him keep those Mitzvos.
Second, even if those Mitzvos will be enforced, those Mitzvos are generally negative
commandments (Isurim that he may not transgress) and they do not include the positive
Mitzvos Aseh that a person proactively observes. Thus, the Eved will not be seen to
be actively practicing the Mitzvos as an Eved and we will not see any Kabalas
Mitzvos. That is why Rashi also writes that the Eved is obligated in the Mitzvah of
Shabbos by the verse "l'Ma'an Yanu'ach Avdecha" -- the dominating factor in the life
of the Eved is his subservience to his master. On Shabbos, his entire life changes
because his master cannot make him work. Consequently, his drastically different
conduct on Shabbos will definitely demonstrate his acceptance of the Mitzvos. That is
why Rashi mentions "l'Ma'an Yanu'ach Avdecha."
On the other hand, "l'Ma'an Yanu'ach Avdecha" is only a Mitzvah on the master,
telling him how to treat his Eved, as mentioned above. Therefore, Rashi also mentions
the Gezeirah Shavah of "Lah Lah," because those Mitzvos are on the Eved himself.