Friday, July 4, 2008

Daf: Sotah 38-41 - Torah Reading, Hakhel, Flattery and more

Lots of very interesting material in these pages of gemara; as always, please read with a gemara in front of you.

38b (in addition to the notes on 38b from the last Daf segment here)
The gemara mentions that financial need is considered an אונס situation, a condition which forces one into conduct that is not halachically ideal, but is acceptable due to duress.
For similar ideas, see the mishnah on Beitzah 35b, as well as Shitah Mekubetzet there on the difference between that case and the one on Shabbat 126b of clearing a storage area on Shabbat to make room for learning Torah. See also Berachot 30a on davening earlier than appropriate before a business trip, and Moed Katan 14a on searching for your own lost property rather than preparing for Yom Tov.

The gemara says that we aren’t concerned about tall people constituting a physical interruption when standing between shorter people and the kohanim. Rashi (end of the page) explains that this is because it would be impractical to worry about this (אין לדבר סוף). It is odd to see impracticality as a halachic consideration; we do invoke אין לדבר סוף in the beginning of Yoma, but as a practical consideration, not a halachic consideration!

See the Maharitz Chayes on how the gemara knows that the kohanim have a mitzvah to bless the nation with love, specifically.

The verb אדבריה is usually associated with setting up a student as a speaker before a sage. See Maharitz Chayes on this.

The classic long “Amen” sung by the baal keriah before beginning an aliyah has a liturgical purpose: It warns everyone to stop talking before the reading begins, per our gemara here. See Mishneh Berurah 141:17.

The gemara here does not explain why the person who reads the Haftorah must also read from the Torah. Ulla, in Megilah 23a, explains that it’s for the sake of the honor of the Torah.

The gemara talks about waiting to start the Haftorah until the Torah is all wrapped up. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 147:7) explains that this is in order to allow the גולל (wrapper of the Torah) to complete his task and listen to the Haftorah. However, the Mishneh Berurah (147:22) notes that no such concern applies regarding the יהי רצון recited on Mondays and Thursdays.

Tosafot כל seems to believe that dreams have real power, such that one is in real danger if he has a bad dream. This seems to run counter to Berachot 55-57, where the great majority of sages weigh in saying that dreams are largely a function of psychology! Perhaps Tosafot is referring to psychological danger - but note that Ibn Ezra to Bereishit 40:8 says we rule, as a matter of law, with the view that dreams are considered potent.

The Maharsha explains that R’ Abba’s humility is greater than that of R’ Avahu because R’ Avahu endures public embarrassment rather than private.

On people’s preference for aggada: Shabbat 115a and 116b says one should not read Tanach on Shabbat, because it draws the heart away from the Beit Medrash. The same draw is noted for non-law-oriented aggada passages of learning in our gemara, and in Rashi Shmot 13:5.

Rav Pappa here merges existent versions of liturgy to create one text for all to read; he does similar things with the berachah for seeing a rainbow (Berachot 59a) and the berachah at the end of megilah reading on Purim (Megilah 21b). (R’ Akiva Eiger notes some further places on the page, but I didn’t look them up to see whether those are Rav Pappa or not, and I don’t remember off-hand.)

See Tosafot וכל כך and ומנין.

Rashi קומו וברכו’s explanation of the inclusion of מן העולם ועד העולם in berachot is odd; see Rashi on Berachot 54a and Rashash there on which berachot contained that text.

Rashi here justifies bringing Sifrei Torah to the Beis haMikdash on Yom Kippur by (1) taking the view that one may transport items on Yom Kippur, or that (2) Yerushalayim was considered encloseable by an Eruv. The latter view is problematic, in light of the gemara (Pesachim 66a) about the debate on how the Jws could get Korban Pesach knives to the Beis haMikdash when erev Pesach was Shabbat. (unless they were coming from outside Yerushalayim?)

Note that although we always say the King leads Hakhel, and our mishnah says it here, this isn’t necessarily so. The Torah does not specify a King, and they didn’t have an halachic king until Shaul.

Regarding the “You are our brother” line addressed to King Agrippas, see Rashi here, Rashi on 41b and Tosafot on 41b אותו היום.

Rashi on the mishnah ושמע seems to have an order of the Hakhel reading that varies from that of our mishnah?

The tithes were considered important enough to be included in the reading for Hakhel. Similarly, see Yevamot 47a that this is one of the issues of which we must inform a potential convert, apparently because the consequences of failure to tithe properly are dire for the nation as a whole.

The gemara here goes on at length regarding the evils of flattery. There are two kinds of flattery: False praise, and Praise of wicked behavior. Here we are talking about the latter variety, which is particularly pernicious as it undermines society. See mishnah Shviit 4:3 and Gittin 62a, and Magen Avraham 347:4, among other sources on praising and flattering people who are acting improperly. As Tosafot says here: Better to keep your mouth closed.
On the other hand, the former is an issue of lying in general; see Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel’s famous debate about how to praise a bride, in Ketuvot 16b-17a.

Rashi here מאתחלתא דמועד has one view on why Hakhel could not be on the first day of Yom Tov; see, though, the opposition of Tosafot כתב, printed on 41a.

Add to Technorati Favorites

No comments:

Post a Comment