BACKGROUND TO THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim
KIDUSHIN 16-17 - sponsored by Asher and Etti Schoor of Lawrence, NY. May they be blessed with a year filled with the joy of the Torah and see their children continue to grow in Avodas Hash-m.
[17a - 52 lines; 17b - 54 lines]
1) [line 15] CHAMESH SELA'IM (CURRENCY)
(a) Equivalents of coins used in the Gemara:
1 Sela = 4 Dinerin
1 Dinar = 6 Ma'in
1 Me'ah = 2 Pundeyonin
1 Pundeyon = 2 Isarin
1 Isar = 8 Perutos
1 Perutah = the value of 0.018 or 0.022 grams of pure silver, depending upon the differing Halachic opinions. (The first figure represents the opinion of Rabeinu Gershom and Rashi; the second, the Ga'onim and the Rif.) Based upon the recent (May 4, 01) value of $4.33/ounce or $1.70/gram, these values are $0.03 and $0.04, respectively.
(b) Therefore, the values for 1 Dinar are $6.04 and $7.25; the values for 1 Sela are $24.15 and $28.98; the values for 5 Sela'im are $120.76 and $144.90.
(c) At the time of the Gemara, a laborer's wage could amount to 4 Dinerin (Bava Metzia 76a). A loaf of bread cost 1 Pundeyon (Eruvin 82b) while a cheap loaf cost 1 Isar (ibid. 80b). 1 Isar could also buy a flask of oil (Bava Basra 87b). One Perutah could buy lamps and wicks, one Esrog or one pomegranate (Me'ilah 21a). One cloak or shirt could cost 3 Sela'im, while a good quality cloak could cost double that - 1 golden Dinar (ibid.). A dwelling could be rented for 1 Sela per month or 10 Sela'im per year (Bava Metzia 65a). The rent for a bathhouse (as a commercial undertaking) could amount to 1 golden Dinar per month (ibid. 102a). A pair of oxen (for plowing) could cost 200 Dinerin (Bava Basra 77b). A house or a field could cost 1,000 Dinarin (Bava Metzia 48a) (adapted from Aiding Talmud Study by Rabbi Aryeh Carmell, Feldheim, Yerushalayim, Fourth Edition (under previous title), 5740, p. 80).
2) [line 15] MI'KOL MIN VA'MIN - from each type [specified by the verse, sheep, grain and wine (Devarim 15:14)]
3) [line 17] SHELOSHIM SHEL EVED
(a) If a person's Shor ha'Mu'ad kills another person, the bull is put to death by stoning (see Background to Bava Kama 40:28) and the owner of the bull is Chayav Misah b'Yedei Shamayim. The owner can redeem himself by paying "Kofer" to the children or heirs of the dead man, as the verse states, "v'Im Kofer Yushas Alav, v'Nasan Pidyon Nafsho" (Shemos 21:30; see Background to Bava Kama 23:22). If the bull intended to kill another animal, and instead killed a person, the bull is not put to death, and the Amora'im argue whether the owner must pay Kofer (Bava Kama 43b-44a).
(b) If one's Shor ha'Mu'ad kills another person's Nochri slave (Eved Kena'ani -- see Background to Kidushin 22:16), instead of paying Kofer, he owner of the bull must pay 30 Shekalim (Sela'im) to the slave's master. This payment does not vary with the value of the slave that was killed, and it is therefore deemed a "Kenas" (see Background to Bava Kama 74:5). Therefore, if the owner of the bull admits in court that his bull killed a slave (without having been found guilty through the testimony of witnesses), he is exempt from paying the 30 Shekalim.
4) [line 17] CHAMISHIM SHEB'ERCHIN
(a) Erech (= endowment valuation) refers to a special form of vow. If a person declares, "Erech Ploni Alai" ("I accept upon myself to give the endowment value of so-and-so [to Hekdesh]"), he must give the specific value that the Torah designates for the person's gender and age group as stated in Vayikra 27:1-8 (see below, (b)). It makes no difference at all whether the person is healthy or sick, strong or weak.
(b) The Erech that the Torah specifies for children between the ages of 1 month and 5 years is 5 Shekalim for males and 3 Shekalim for females (Vayikra 27:6). For youths and young adults between the ages of 5 years and 20 years, the Erech that the Torah specifies is 20 Shekalim for males and 10 Shekalim for females (Vayikra 27:5). For adults between the ages of 20 years and 60 years, the Erech that the Torah specifies is 50 Shekalim for males and 30 Shekalim for females (Vayikra 27:3-4). For adults over 60 years of age, the Erech that the Torah specifies is 15 Shekalim for males and 10 Shekalim for females (Vayikra 27:7).
5) [line 20] MIVTZAR HU D'LO MEVATZER LEI ME'HAI MINYANA - he may not give less than that [total] value (even though he does not give exactly five Sela'im from each type)
6) [line 22] V'TAFI LEI - and he exceeds [five Sela'im]
7) [line 23] "[...UVA'SHANAH HA'SHEVI'IS TESHALCHENU CHOFSHI ME'IMACH. V'CHI SESHALCHENU CHOFSHI ME'IMACH LO SESHALCHENU] REIKAM." - "[...and in the seventh year you shall send him free from you. And when you send him free from you, do not send him] empty-handed." (Devarim 15:12-13)
8) [line 24] BECHOR (CHAMESH SELA'IM SHEL PIDYON HA'BEN - the five Sela'im of [the redemption of] the firstborn son)
(a) The Torah requires that every Yisrael sanctify the firstborn male of his children, Kosher animals and donkeys, as it is written, "Kadesh Li Kol Bechor, Peter Kol Rechem bi'Vnei Yisrael, ba'Adam uva'Behemah; Li Hu." - "Sanctify to Me every firstborn that initiates the womb among the children of Yisrael, among both man and beast; it is Mine." (Shemos 13:2)
(b) The Mitzvah of Pidyon ha'Ben applies to a Yisrael and not to a Kohen or a Levi. The first male born to a mother (who is the daughter of a Yisrael) must be redeemed by his father (as stated in Shemos 13:13, "v'Chol Bechor Adam b'Vanecha Tifdeh." The Bechor must be redeemed when he is one month old by giving five silver Shekalim of Kodesh (each of which weighs 19.2 or 17 grams; see Midos v'Shi'urei Torah, C. P. Benish, Benei Brak, 5760, pp. 487-488) to a Kohen as stated in Bamidbar (18:16). This applies only if the son was the first issue (i.e. he was not preceded by a Nefel -- stillborn) and was delivered through the womb (i.e. he was not delivered by Caesarian section). (Sefer ha'Chinuch #392)
(c) A number of reasons are given for this Mitzvah. One reason is that HaSh-m wanted to give us merit by having us perform a Mitzvah with the first produce of our efforts so that we should realize that everything is His. A person comes to this understanding when after all his toil he takes these first products, which are as dear to him as the apple of his eye, and gives them to HaSh-m. Another reason for this Mitzvah is to remember the great miracle that HaSh-m did for us by killing the firstborn of Egypt. (Sefer ha'Chinuch #18)
9) [line 28] OLAS RE'IYAH
Every Jewish male is required to appear before HaSh-m in the Azarah of the Beis ha'Mikdash and to bring a Korban Re'iyah on the three festivals (Devarim 16:16). The Korban Re'iyah is a Korban Olah. If the Korban was not brought on the first day of the festival, it may be brought on any of the other six days of Pesach. On Sukos it may be brought on the first day or the next seven days and on Shavu'os it may be brought on Shavu'os or on the six days following the festival. Beis Hillel rule that the minimum amount that one may spend for a Korban Re'iyah is one Me'ah (Chagigah 2a).
10) [line 34] TAFASTA(H) MERUBAH, LO TAFASTA(H); TAFASTA(H) MU'AT TAFASTA(H) - if you take hold of the larger amount you will not be able to grasp it, if you take hold of the smaller amount you will be able to grasp it
(a) This principle states that if you rule according to (lit. take hold of) the larger amount you will not be able to retain that ruling (lit. to grasp it). If you rule according to (lit. take hold of) the smaller amount you will be able to retain that ruling (lit. to grasp it). That is, where the verse is teaching a number or quantity but it is unclear what that number or quantity is, we assume that it is referring to the smaller one. In our Gemara, the unknown item (the amount of money or the value of the goods given as Ha'anakah to the Eved Ivri or Amah Ivriyah) may be compared to the thirty Sela'im of the Eved Kena'ani or the fifty Sela'im of Erchin. We assume that it is referring to the smaller quantity.
(b) The logic behind this principle is that if one is faced with a choice of two numbers and is in doubt which to choose, choosing the smaller number is always preferable, regardless of which of the two numbers was actually the correct one (because included in the larger number is the smaller one). On the other hand, if the larger number is chosen, and the smaller one was the correct one, then an error will be made because the smaller number does not include the larger one. (RASHI, TOSFOS)
11) [line 39] PACHUS SHEB'ERCHIN - the smallest endowment value (see above, entry #4), i.e. 3 Shekalim
12) [line 43] "MICHAH" "MICHAH" GAMAR - Rebbi Shimon actually learned a Gezeirah Shavah connecting Eved Ivri and Erchin from two other words, "V'Chi Yamuch Achicha Imach v'Nimkar Lach" (Vayikra 25:39) and "V'Im Mach Hu me'Erkecha" (ibid. 27:8)
13) [line 47] YESHNAN BI'CHELAL BERACHAH - they are things to which blessing and multiplicity apply
14) [line 49] PERADOS - female mules
15) [line 9] DIBRAH TORAH K'LASHON BENEI ADAM - the Torah [in this instance] speaks in the manner of man
Every word in the Torah is holy and contains worlds of insights and nuances. However, certain sages of the Mishnah felt that there were some phrases recorded in the Torah that paralleled people's speech, and should not be used for homiletics or insights.
16) [line 22] L'YA'ADAH (AMAH IVRIYAH: YI'UD)
(a) A destitute father, under certain circumstances, may sell his daughter into servitude to a Jewish master as long as she is a minor. The sale is for a period of six years or until she becomes a Gedolah (when two pubic hairs grow after she enters her 12th year) or until the Yovel year (the year after seven Shemitah cycles), whichever comes first. During this period she is called an "Amah ha'Ivriyah."
(b) Another way that an Amah Ivriyah goes free is through Gira'on Kesef. At any time during her term, she or someone else may pay her master the money remaining from the sum that the master paid for her, prorated to the amount of time that she worked.
(c) The Torah gives to the master of a Jewish maidservant the option of being Mekadesh her through a procedure called "Yi'ud." The Kidushin takes effect through the money that he initially gave to her father when he purchased her, as described on Daf 19a.
17) [line 22] SEDEH ACHUZAH - an ancestral field
(a) A Sedeh Achuzah is a field that came into the possession of its owner's family after the conquest and division of Eretz Yisrael, at the time of Yehoshua bin Nun.
(b) Such a field may only be sold until the Yovel year, at which time it automatically returns to the possession of its original owner (Vayikra 25:25-28). Because of this, when a person sells an ancestral field he normally intends to sell only the Peiros, or produce, of the land until the Yovel year, and not the land itself.
(c) Beginning two years after the sale, the original owner may redeem the field from the person who purchased it. He does so by returning the proportion of the money that was paid for the remaining years until the Yovel year (Erchin 29a).
(d) If a person was Makdish (consecrated to the possession of the Beis ha'Mikdash) his Sedeh Achuzah, everyone has the right to redeem it from Hekdesh from that day until Yom ha'Kipurim of the Yovel year. If the Makdish redeems it, he must pay to Hekdesh an additional fifth (of the ensuing total, or a quarter of the original value) of the value of the field. If the Makdish does not redeem his field by Yom ha'Kipurim of the Yovel year, but rather it is not redeemed, or another person redeems it, it is given to the Mishmar of Kohanim who are on duty at that time (Vayikra 27:15-21). If the son of the Makdish redeems the field, it is not given to the Kohanim; it returns to the possession of Makdish (Erchin 25b).
(e) When redeeming a Sedeh Achuzah from Hekdesh, its "value" is determined according to the fixed endowment value stated in Vayikra 27:16, i.e. 50 silver Shekels for every parcel of land that is normally sown with a Chomer (1 Chomer = 1 Kor = 30 Se'ah or approximately 216, 248.9 or 432 liters, depending upon the differing Halachic opinions) of barley seed (75,000 sq. Amos). However, fifty Shekels are given only if the field was redeemed at the beginning of a new Yovel cycle; the amount decreases proportionally with every year that passes until it is less than two years before the next Yovel. At that point, it is once again redeemed for fifty Shekels per Chomer (ibid. 25a).
18) [line 23] YIBUM
(a) If a married man dies childless and has brothers who survive him, his widow (or widows) may not remarry until one of the deceased husband's brothers performs Yibum (levirate marriage) or Chalitzah (levirate release) with the widow (or one of the widows), as it states in Devarim 25:5-10. Chazal learn from the verses that if there are a number of brothers, there is a preference for the oldest brother to perform Yibum or Chalitzah (Yevamos 24a).
(b) Yibum is a type of marriage. Unlike ordinary Kidushin, though, it can be accomplished only through Bi'ah and not through Kesef or Shtar (see Background to Kidushin 2:1:II:b). Nevertheless, the Rabanan instituted that one should precede Yibum with an act similar to Kidushei Kesef or Shtar, which is known as Ma'amar (see Background to Kidushin 43:19).
(c) If the live brother does not wish to marry the dead brother's widow, he must perform Chalitzah. To do so, he appears before a Beis Din of three and states, "I do not want to marry her," after which his sister-in-law approaches him before the elders, takes off his right sandal and spits in front of him. She then declares, "This is what shall be done to the man who will not build up a family for his brother." After this process is completed, she is free to marry whomever she wants.
(d) The connection of the live brother or brothers to the dead man's wife or wives, which prevents the wives from marrying without Yibum or Chalitzah, is called "Zikah," and the wife is called a "Zekukah." Another name for the widow who awaits Yibum or Chalitzah is a "Shomeres Yavam." It is forbidden for her to accept Kidushin from anyone while she is a Shomeres Yavam. This prohibition is known as "Yevamah la'Shuk" - "a Yevamah [who is prohibited] to [anyone from] the marketplace. If she transgresses this prohibition and accepts Kidushin from a man other than a Yavam, the Amora'im argue as to whether the Kidushin is legally binding or not (Yevamos 92b).
19) [line 31] "...V'AF LA'AMASCHA TA'ASEH KEN." - "[Then you shall take an awl, and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever.] And also to your female slave you shall do likewise." (Devarim 15:17) - This verse sets up a Hekesh (see Background to Gitin 41:12) between Amah Ivriyah and Nirtzah.
20) [line 37] "V'IM AMOR YOMAR HA'EVED..." - "And if the servant shall plainly say, ['I love my master, my wife (the Shifchah Kena'anis), and my children (the slaves that she bore him); I will not go out free.]" (Shemos 1:5) - This verse describes one of the requirements for Retzi'ah; the [male] slave must make the above declaration.
21) [line 41] "...V'RATZA ADONAV ES OZNO BA'MARTZE'A, VA'AVADO L'OLAM." - "...and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him (i.e. only the master) until the Yovel year (lit. forever)." (Shemos 21:6)
22) [line 43] "V'CHISHAV IM KONEHU..." - "And he shall reckon with him who bought him (i.e. and not with his heirs) [from the year that he was sold to him to the Yovel year; and the price of his sale shall be according to the number of years, according to the time of a hired servant shall it be with him.]" (Vayikra 25:50)
23) [line 47] YAYIN NESECH
(a) Wine that was poured as an idolatrous libation is Asur b'Hana'ah. This is derived from the verse, "Asher Chelev Zevacheimo Yochelu, Yishtu Yein Nesicham" - "Those who ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings" (Devarim 32:38), which compares the wine of libations to an animal sacrificed for idolatrous purposes.
(b) The Chachamim prohibited the wine of a Nochri that was not poured as a libation (Stam Yeinam) out of fear that drinking wine together would lead to intermarriage. In order to avoid confusion between Yayin Nesech and Stam Yeinam, the Chachamim instituted that Stam Yeinam is also Asur b'Hana'ah. Although this is only an Isur mid'Rabanan, it is a very severe prohibition (see Chochmas Adam 75:1).
24) [line 49] CHILUFEI AVODAS KOCHAVIM - objects that were given in exchange for Avodah Zarah
(a) It is prohibited to derive any benefit from objects used in the service of Avodah Zarah, as is learned from the verse in Devarim (7:26). Anyone who benefits from them receives Malkos two times: once for the prohibition from the above verse and once for the prohibition from the verse in Devarim (13:18).
(b) Objects that were served as Avodah Zarah must be burned, as the Torah states in Devarim (12:2, 7:5). Objects that were offered as sacrifices to Avodah Zarah ("Tikroves Avodah Zarah" -- Yevamos end of 103b) and utensils that were used in the service of Avodah Zarah ("Meshamshei Avodah Zarah") must also be destroyed (see Rashi ibid. DH Chalitzasah, and Insights to the Daf Sukah 31:2). In addition, when a Jew sells an object of Avodah Zarah, the money becomes Asur b'Hana'ah, also.
(c) An animal before which a person bows down, worshipping it as an Avodah Zarah, is unfit to be brought as a Korban. However, it is not prohibited for personal use since live animals do not become prohibited when worshiped. Likewise, an object which is attached to the ground that is worshipped, such as a mountain or lake, does not become prohibited when worshipped.
(d) Avodah Zarah is considered Tamei, just like a dead person is Tamei (Avodah Zarah 48b.) The utensils that are used in the service of Avodah Zarah have a lesser degree of Tum'ah (mid'Rabanan) than an object of Avodah Zarah itself. They can make a person Tamei through touching (Maga), but they do not transfer Tum'ah through Masa (carrying) or Even Mesama (see Background to Shabbos 82:34).
25) [line 50] SHEMA YACHZOR L'SURO - lest he return to his previous non-Jewish lifestyle
26) [line 51] KESHE'NISHTATFU - when they were partners [in the objects of Avodah Zarah]
Index to Background for Maseches Kidushin