1) AGADAH: OFFERING AN OX WITH ONE HORN
QUESTION: Rav Yehudah states that the bull that Adam ha'Rishon brought as a Korban had one horn, as the verse says, "And it shall be pleasing to Hash-m more than a full-grown bull that has horns and hoofs" (Tehilim 69:32). The Gemara asks that the verse implies that the Korban of Adam had two horns, and not one horn. Rav Nachman explains that the word "Makrin" ("has horns") in the verse is spelled without a "Yud," which implies a single horn.
Why did Adam ha'Rishon specifically choose to bring a Korban that had one horn?
(a) The HA'KOSEV in the EIN YAKOV quotes the RASHBA who explains that when Adam ha'Rishon sinned by eating the forbidden fruit of the Etz ha'Da'as, his sin was a result of following the desires of his heart, and not following what he knew was right. In order to show that he repented and was no longer going to follow his personal desires, and he would be solely committed to doing the will of Hash-m, he brought a Korban which had only one horn coming out of the middle of its head. This symbolized that he was going to follow the single, straight, and logical way, the will of Hash-m, and not deviate due to his desires.
The Rashba continues that this concept was symbolized as well in the building of the Mishkan, in which the hide of the Tachash was used for the covering of the Mishkan. The Tachash also had only one horn (see Shabbos 28b). It was used in the Mishkan to cover the entire Mishkan and make it into one compact unit, to show that the Jewish people repented for their sin of the Egel ha'Zahav through which they showed that they believed that there was more than a single power in the world.
(b) The MAHARSHA explains that the word "Keren" has an additional meaning, besides a horn. It also refers to the principle part of an object (as in the Mishnah in Pe'ah (1:1), "veha'Keren Kayemes Lo la'Olam ha'Ba"). The Gemara in Sanhedrin (38b) says that part of Adam's sin was that he considered the possibility that there was more than one power in the world. He therefore brought a bull with one horn to show that he no longer considered such a possibility.
(c) The IYUN YAKOV in Avodah Zarah (8a) says that when Adam ha'Rishon saw this animal with one horn, he knew that he was supposed to be bring it as a Korban. He understood from the fact that it had only one horn that it was created by Hash-m directly, and it was not born by a mother. Adam realized that he must bring this animal as his atonement. Bringing a Korban as part of one's atonement symbolizes one's willingness to offer himself as a Korban for atonement, and the animal is offered in place of the person. Adam understood that just as he was created directly from Hash-m (and not from parents), it was fitting for him to bring as a Korban an animal that also was created directly by Hash-m. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) THE TWO GREAT LUMINARIES
QUESTION: Rebbi Shimon ben Pazi asks that the words, "And Hash-m made the two large luminaries" (Bereishis 1:16), contradict the second part of the verse that says, "the large luminary to rule during the day, and the small luminary to rule during the night." If they were "two large luminaries," then how can the verse say that one was large and one was small?
What is Rebbi Shimon ben Pazi's question? Perhaps both of the luminaries are called "large" because they are large relative to other creations. One luminary, though, was smaller and the other.
ANSWER: The VILNA GA'ON quotes the Gemara in Yoma (62b) that says that it is not necessary for the Torah to use the word "two" when discussing a plural noun. The minimum number that a plural noun denotes is two, and thus there is no need for the Torah to specify two unless the Torah is teaching an additional law. In the case in Yoma, the reason why the Torah says the word "two" with regard to the goats that are offered on Yom Kippur is to teach that the two goats must be identical to each other in appearance.
The verse that discusses the luminaries refers to them with a plural noun ("ha'Me'oros"). When it adds the word "two," the Torah must be comparing them and saying that the two were identical to each other. Consequently, when the verse later refers to one as large and the other as small, it is evident that something changed.
3) AGADAH: THE MOON'S PUNISHMENT
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that, initially, Hash-m created the sun and moon as equal in size. When the moon objected and complained that "two kings cannot share one crown," Hash-m diminished the moon. However, because the moon's claim nevertheless was correct, Hash-m comforted the moon and made it rule both during the day and during the night. Moreover, the Jewish people will count days and years according to the phases of the moon.
The Gemara implies that Hash-m punished the moon by making it both less luminous than the sun, and by making it subject to phases, during which it decreases in size for half a month (see CHIZKUNI to Bereishis 1:16). Why, though, is the moon subject to punishment? It has neither mind nor free choice; it has neither the ability to speak nor the capacity to sin!
ANSWER: The Gemara in Eruvin (54a) says that had the Jewish people not committed the sin of the Egel ha'Zahav, they never would have been punished years later with Galus. It was their sin that altered their destiny to be a nation in exile. However, there is another side to Galus. Although it is clearly intended as retribution for our sins, it also ensures the continued existence of the Jewish people.
When the Jewish people sinned, Hash-m wanted to completely destroy them, as He said, "Let my anger flare up against them and I shall annihilate them!" (Shemos 32:10). After Moshe Rabeinu pleaded with Hash-m to refrain from punishing them with sudden and total destruction, Hash-m agreed to mete out the punishment slowly throughout the generations. Hash-m said to Moshe, "Now, go and lead the people to where I have told you... [but] each time the Jewish people sin in the future, I shall bring this sin to account against them [along with their other sins]" (Shemos 32:34). This is the purpose of Galus. Although Galus is a punishment, it is also the key to our continued existence. If the Jews had not been granted Galus as an opportunity for atonement, Hash-m would have annihilated them in the desert.
This second role of Galus is expressed by the Gemara in Sanhedrin (37b) when it says that "Galus is an atonement for everything," and in Ta'anis (16a), "We have been exiled, may our exile be an atonement for us." Although Galus has many negative aspects, it is also a vehicle for Jewish survival.
This concept has deeper implications. The Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 6:3) compares Esav to the sun and Yakov to the moon. The nations of Esav (the greater, or older brother) base their calendar on the sun (the greater luminary), while the nation of Yakov (the lesser, or younger brother) bases its calendar on the moon (the lesser luminary). Esav counts his days by the sun, which is greater. The sun rules only by day and not by night, and so, too, Esav has a portion only in this world, but not in the World to Come. Yakov counts his days by the moon, which is smaller. Just as the moon can be seen both by day and by night, so, too, Yakov has a portion both in this world and in the World to Come.
Since Yakov is compared to the moon, the phases of the moon represent Yakov's fate. The moon shrinks, getting smaller and smaller until it reaches its smallest size. This alludes to Galus, a punishment that necessarily involves the diminishment and weakening of the Jewish people. Afterwards, though, the moon again waxes, increasing in size until it becomes full. This represents the other aspect of Galus -- the eventual strengthening and redemption of the Jewish people. This explains the reason for the joy experienced upon seeing the moon at the beginning of the month, a time when the moon has just begun to return after its disappearance. We celebrate the return of Yakov and his children to their former glory.
Having shown the comparison between the moon and Galus, we can better understand the Gemara here. The moon represents the Jewish people. It is the Jewish people who complain to Hash-m that He created Esav as the twin of Yakov, thereby granting them equal power. If Esav, who conspires to do evil instead of the will of his Creator, is granted strength equal to Yakov's (that is, two kings sharing the same crown), then there is no guarantee that Yakov will prevail. Instead, as we see from the sin of the Egel ha'Zahav, Esav and the forces of evil can prevail over Yakov and the legions of good.
Hash-m responds to the complaint of the Jewish people, "Make yourself smaller!" This alludes to the fact that the Jews will be punished for their sin with exile. The moon then counters that its complaint was valid -- it is Esav who should be minimized in order to prevent the triumph of evil, while no good will be accomplished by shrinking the moon. Hash-m replies, "Rule by day and by night!" Hash-m assures the Jewish people that Galus will not destroy them and allow evil to triumph, but, on the contrary, He is ensuring their survival and their eventual victory. Due to the expiatory effects of the Galus, they will eventually rule both "by day and by night" -- in this world, and in the World to Come, as the Midrash says. (See MAHARAL in BE'ER HA'GOLAH #4, MAHARSHA here, and Zohar Chadash 15b. See also Insights to Rosh Hashanah 25:3, and Megilah 22:3.)
4) THE "SHESU'AH"
QUESTION: Rav Chanan bar Aba says that the Shesu'ah is a "Biryah Bifnei Atzmah." It has two backs and two spines. TOSFOS (DH v'Chi) explains that a Shesu'ah is an animal with a deformity of a double spine that was born to a Kosher animal. It is called a "Biryah Bifnei Atzmah" only as a way of expressing that it can survive at birth and live independently (as Shmuel in Nidah 24a maintains), and that its deformity will not cause the fetus to die at birth (as Rav in Nidah 24a maintains).
RASHI in Nidah (24a, DH b'Alma) explains that only according to Rav is a Shesu'ah an animal with a birth defect. Shmuel there apparently maintain that it is a distinct species of its own.
The Gemara earlier (58b) taught a principle called, "Yeser k'Natul Dami" (an extra limb is like having a limb removed; see Insights to Chulin 58:6
). According to this principle, a Shesu'ah should be prohibited as a Tereifah because of "Yeser k'Natul Dami," even without the verse of "ha'Shesu'ah" (Devarim 14:7) prohibiting it!
ANSWER: According to Rav, the Torah's intention is to prohibit the Shesu'ah mutation even if it was found in the womb of an animal after Shechitah (see Nidah 24a and Tosfos there). Normally, such an animal would be permitted, since it is considered part of the flesh of the mother. According to Rashi's understanding of Shmuel, the second spinal column of the Shesu'ah is not "extra," since it normally develops in such a manner.
According to Tosfos' understanding of Shmuel, however, the Shesu'ah indeed is a mutation, and the Torah is not discussing a Shesu'ah that is found in the womb. Why, then, does Shmuel require a verse to teach that one may not eat it? The extra spine should render it a Tereifah because of "Yeser k'Natul Dami"!
Perhaps a verse is needed to prohibit it because one might have thought that since it has two spines, it is really two animals fused together. Since there are two animals in each Shesu'ah, the second spine is not "extra." (M. KORNFELD)