1) AGADAH: THE FIERY FATE OF THOSE WHO SEPARATE THEMSELVES FROM TORAH
QUESTION: Rav Yehudah states that one who separates himself from words of Torah is consumed by fire, as it says, "And I will set My wrath upon them, from the fire (i.e. the Torah) they left, and the fire (of Gehinom) will consume them" (Yechezkel 15:7). When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael he said that anyone who separates himself from words of Torah falls to Gehinom, as it says, "A person who strays from the way of wisdom (i.e. the Torah), in the congregation of Refa'im (i.e. Gehinom) he will rest" (Mishlei 21:16). The word "Refa'im," Rav Dimi explains, refers to Gehinom.
Do Rav Yehudah and Rav Dimi agree about the fate of one who separates himself from Torah, and they argue only about the scriptural source, or do they argue also about the very fate of such a person? Alternatively, are they discussing two entirely different situations?
(a) The MAHARSHA explains that Rav Yehudah and Rav Dimi may agree with each other, and their two statements refer to two entirely different situations. Rav Yehudah refers to two people who interrupt each other's learning, and both of them stop learning. When they were learning, the fire of Torah protected them from harm (as the Mitzvah of learning Torah "protects and saves"; see Sotah 21a). However, once they stop learning, they forfeit the protection of the Torah and now are vulnerable to be consumed by the fire of the nations of the world. Rav Dimi refers to an individual. Even though he does not prevent anyone else from learning Torah, if he leaves the path of Torah he will fall into Gehinom.
The Maharsha adds that this difference explains why Rav Yehudah derives his lesson from a verse which deals with many people ("Bahem" is plural), while Rav Dimi derives his lesson from a verse which refers to a single person ("a person").
(b) The MAR'EH KOHEN also apparently understands that Rav Yehudah and Rav Dimi are saying two entirely different things. This is clear from his assertion that the correct text of Rav Dimi's statement is "anyone who loosens himself" from words of Torah. Although the Mar'eh Kohen does not explain the difference between the two statements, according to his Girsa (which is also the text in the EIN YAKOV) the difference is apparent. Rav Yehudah is discussing people who actively leave Torah learning. This is implied by his statement "anyone who separates himself" from words of Torah, and by the verse he quotes which states "from the fire they left." Rav Dimi, in contrast, is discussing a person who merely loosens his grip on Torah, and as an indirect result strays from the path of Torah. This is apparent from his wording of "anyone who loosens himself" from Torah, and from the verse he quotes which states, "A person who strays from the way of wisdom (Torah)." (Y. MONTROSE)
2) THE DEFINITION OF "AVIDI D'ASU"
QUESTION: Rabah explains that Rebbi Elazar and the Rabanan argue in a case in which a person is Makdish a well or pigeon coop: does one transgress Me'ilah when he benefits from the water which later fills up the well, or from the pigeons which later fly into the coop? Rebbi Elazar maintains that one transgresses Me'ilah, while the Rabanan maintain that he does not. What is the basis of their dispute? The Gemara suggests that their dispute is the same as the dispute between Rebbi Meir and the Rabanan in the case of a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam" -- "something which has not yet entered the world." The Rabanan maintain that such an object is not considered extant. Rebbi Meir maintains that it is considered extant even before it actually exists. Similarly, in the case of the Mishnah here, the Tana Kama follows the view of the Rabanan and says that the water which later fills the well is not included in the owner's pledge of Hekdesh since it does not exist at the time of the pledge. Rebbi Elazar follows the view of Rebbi Meir and says that a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam" is included in the owner's pledge.
The Gemara asks that even according to Rebbi Meir, a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam" is considered extant only when it is "Avidi d'Asu" -- "expected to arrive," but not when its arrival into the world is unknown. Since it is unknown whether water will fill the well, or whether pigeons will fill the coop, why does the Gemara apply the opinion of Rebbi Meir to the case of the Mishnah here? Rava answers that the in the case of the Mishnah, water from the person's yard always runs into the well.
TOSFOS (DH Eimur) asks that the Gemara's source that Rebbi Meir maintains that a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam" is considered to exist is based on the Gemara in Yevamos (93b). The Gemara there discusses a case in which an Eved Kena'ani gives money to a Jewish woman and says to her, "You are betrothed to me after I will be freed." Although he is not a full-fledged Jew until he is freed and thus is like a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam," Rebbi Meir rules that he, as a Jew, is considered present in the world and his Kidushin will take effect. That case is not a case of "Avidi d'Asu," because no one knows for certain that the Eved Kena'ani's master will free him. Why, then, does the Gemara here assume that Rebbi Meir says that a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam" is considered to exist only when it is "Avidi d'Asu"?
(a) TOSFOS quotes RABEINU SHMUEL who answers that the case in Yevamos involves an Eved Kena'ani whose master has promised to free him. Accordingly, his eventual status as a Jew is considered "Avidi d'Asu." (See RASHI to Bava Metzia 49a, DH Mishum Hachi).
(b) Tosfos quotes the RIVAN who explains that the freeing of an Eved Kena'ani is considered "Avidi d'Asu" in a case of a "Chatzi Eved v'Chatzi Ben Chorin" -- one who is a "half slave and half free man," in which case his master is bound by Halachah to free him (see Chagigah 2b).
The CHIDUSHIM U'VI'URIM adds that the wording of the Gemara in Yevamos indeed implies that this is the case. In the case of the Gemara there, the Eved Kena'ani says, "You are betrothed to me after I will be freed." If the case involves an Eved Kena'ani who has no basis to expect that he will be freed, then he should say, "You are betrothed to me if I will be freed." The fact that he says "after I will be freed" implies that the Eved Kena'ani has grounds to assume that his freedom is imminent.
According to both Rabeinu Shmuel and the Rivan, "Avidi d'Asu" clearly means that the event is expected to happen.
(c) Tosfos quotes RABEINU ELIEZER MI'FLIRA who explains that in the case in Yevamos, the fact that the Eved Kena'ani presently exists is enough to satisfy the requirement of "Avidi d'Asu." Since the Eved is present, his status as a free man is considered "Avidi d'Asu." In the case of the Gemara here, the water which eventually will fill the well is not considered "Avidi d'Asu" since it is not presently here, even though it is expected that it will come.
Rabeinu Eliezer apparently understands that "Avidi d'Asu" means that the object (or status) is presently represented by some physical presence. This is also the opinion of the RASHBA. The RITVA clarifies this explanation further and writes that the creation of any object or status that depends on a person's action (such as the master's act of freeing his Eved) is considered "Avidi d'Asu." In contrast, the creation of any object or status which does not depend on the act of a person (such as rainfall) is not considered "Avidi d'Asu." Since the Eved can convince his master to set him free, his status as a free man is considered "Avidi d'Asu," while rainfall, which depends entirely on Hash-m's will, is not considered "Avidi d'Asu." (Y. MONTROSE)