ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler of Kollel Iyun Hadaf
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
(a) Our Mishnah refers to saying 'Yevarchucha Tovim' as Derech Minus - because it suggests that Resha'im should not participate in the Tefilos of the Tzibur; whereas Chazal learn from the foul-smelling Chelbenah (which was included in the eleven spices that formed the Ketores) that they should.
(b) We silence (for their blasphemous public statements): someone who says 'Your mercy extends to a bird's nest', 'Your Name should be mentioned for the good' - and 'Modim, Modim'.
(c) It is wrong to say ...
1. ... 'Your Name should be mentioned for the good' - because we have learned in Berachos that one is obligated to thank Hash-m for the bad no less than for the good.
2. ... 'Modim, Modim' - because it looks as if one is thanking two gods (Chas v'Shalom).
(d) Rebbi Yosi bar Avin and Rebbi Yosi bar Zevida argue in Eretz Yisrael over why it is wrong to say 'Your mercy extends to a bird's nest'. One says because it suggests that Hash-m's mercy extends more to birds than it does to animals. According to the other one - it is because one is ascribing Hash-m's Mitzvos to His emotions (Chas v'Shalom), whereas they are really decrees of a Master on His servants (possibly to teach us the Midah of mercy).
(e) Rabah praised that Chazan who said 'Just as Your mercy extends to a bird's nest, so may it extend to us' - in order to test Abaye, to see if he was on the ball.
(a) Rebbi Chanina asked that Chazan who added a string of praises to 'ha'Kel ha'Gadol, ha'Gibor v'ha'Nora' - whether he had exhausted all of Hash-m's praises.
(b) Chazal illustrated that we should not really praise Hash-m at all - with the parable of a man who possessed millions of golden Dinarim, and people (who could not fathom such wealth) were praising him for the silver Dinarim that he owned.
(c) Even though praising Hash-m is forbidden, we nevertheless insert the three praises 'ha'Gadol, ha'Gibor v'ha'Nora' - because Moshe and the Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah said them.
(a) Rebbi Chanina extrapolates from the Pasuk in Ekev "Mah Hash-m Elokecha Sho'el me'Imach Ki im l'Yir'ah" - that the fear of G-d is the one thing that is in our hands, and not in Hash-m's. (It is the only thing He asks from us, say the commentaries, because it is the only thing that He does not possess).
(b) For most people, the fear of G-d is not really such an easy thing at all - but for Moshe it was.
(c) To illustrate this, Chazal gave a parable to someone whom one asks for a big (expensive) vessel. As long as he has it, it appears to him like a small vessel; whereas if one were to ask someone for a small (cheap) vessel, and he does not have it, then it is as if one were asking him for a big one.
(a) Rebbi Zeira says that if someone says 'Shema, Shema' in public - we silence him like someone who says 'Modim Modim'.
(b) We resolve Rebbi Zeira's statement with the Beraisa, which says that saying 'Shema, Shema' is despicable (implying that it is not necessary to silence him) - by differentiating between someone who repeats just the word 'Shema' (which does not have connotations of accepting two gods, in which case, although it is despicable, it is not necessary to silence him), and someone who repeats the entire Pasuk (which does).
(c) Rav Papa asked Rava what is wrong with repeating Shema, when maybe the person is repeating it because he failed to have Kavanah the first time (and we have already learned in Berachos that the first Pasuk must be said with Kavanah). The question caused Rava to become very agitated - because he could not understand how it is possible to say 'Shema' without Kavanah. Is Hash-m on a par with one's buddies, he wanted to know (with whom one possibly speaks so lightheartedly)?
(a) When the Tana of our Mishnah says 'ha'Mechaneh ba'Arayos, Meshaskin Oso' - he is talking about someone who explains that, when the Torah says that one should not uncover the nakedness of one's father or mother, it is not referring to committing incest, but to revealing his father's or mother's shame in public.
(b) One should react to someone who amends the Pasuk which forbids passing one's children to Molech to mean something else - by silencing him angrily.
(c) He actually explains the Pasuk to mean - that it is forbidden to marry a Nochri woman, because this will result in her bearing children who will serve idols.
(d) It is so wrong to explain the Pasuk like that - because in doing so, one exonerates someone who hands over his child to Molech from Kares on the one hand, and sentences someone who lives with a Nochri woman to Kares, on the other.
(a) 'Ma'aseh Reuven Nikra v'Lo Metargem, Ma'aseh Tamar Nikra u'Metargem'.
1. 'Ma'aseh Reuven' - refers to the sin of Reuven (when he switched the beds of Bilhah and Le'ah.
2. 'Ma'aseh Tamar' - refers to the episode with Yehudah and his daughter-in-law Tamar.
(b) The former is not translated in deference to Reuven. The latter is translated - because translating it actually constitutes Yehudah's honor (because his admission at what he had done was exceptionally praiseworthy).
(c) The ...
1. ... first part of Ma'aseh ha'Egel is translated, despite the honor of Yisrael that is thereby denigrated - because to be denigrated in this way helps to atone for the sin, whereas ...
2. ... second part - constituting the dialogue between Moshe and Aharon (32: 21- 24) is not, either out of respect for Aharon, or because of the serious implications that emerge from Aharon's words, as we shall see shortly.
(d) Birchas Kohanim and the story of Amnon and Tamar are read but not translated. One does not translate ...
1. ... Birchas Kohanim - because people will accuse Hash-m of favoritism (since the Pasuk writes "Yisa Hash-m Panav Eilecha", as indeed we find even the angels querying Hash-m on this point [see Berachos 20b]).
2. ... the story of Amnon and Tamar - out of respect for David ha'Melech.
(a) The Tana Kama forbids reading the Haftarah from Ma'aseh ha'Merkavah. Rebbi Yehudah - permits it.
(b) Rebbi Eliezer - forbids reading the Haftarah from "Hoda es Yerushalayim".
(c) The Beraisa lists three categories of incidents: Some things may be read and translated, says the Tana, others may be read but not translated - whilst yet others may be read and translated.
(a) We might have thought that one should not translate ...
1. ... Ma'aseh Bereishis - to avoid delving into what is above the heaven, what is below the earth, what happened before the creation and what will happen at the end of time (see Tosfos DH 'Mah'), (each of which, is strictly forbidden).
2. ... the story of Lot and his two daughters - out of respect for Avraham.
3. ... the Klalos and the Berachos - because this might cause us to serve Hash-m out of fear rather than for the sake of performing Hash-m's will.
4. ... the punishments for transgressing the Mitzvos - because that might cause us to throw off the yoke of Mitzvos altogether and to enjoy the pleasures of this world, whilst the going is good.
(b) The Beraisa permits reading and translating the Haftarah from Ma'aseh Avshalom and Pilegesh b'Giv'ah. We might have thought that it is forbidden to translate that of ...
1. ... Ma'aseh Avshalom - out of respect for David.
2. ... Pilegesh b'Giv'ah - out of respect for Binyamin.
(c) When ...
1. ... Rebbi Eliezer once heard someone read the Haftarah from "Hoda es Yerushalayim" - he remarked that he should rather examine the abominations of his mother than those of Yerushalayim. It was later discovered that there was a slight flaw in his pedigree.
2. ... Rebbi Chanina ben Gamliel arrived in Kevul and the Ba'al Korei read the Pasuk (regarding Reuven) "Vayehi bi'Shechon Yisrael, va'Yelech Re'uven ... va'Yih'yu Bnei Yakov Shneim-Asar"- he instructed the translator to translate the second half of the Pasuk but not the first, for which the Chachamim praised him.
(d) We learn from Aharon's reply to Moshe "va'Ashlicheihu ba'Esh, va'Yeitzei ha'Egel ha'Zeh" - how careful one needs to be in replying to questions. Because from Aharon's reply (which implied that the Calf emerged by itself) the Apikorsim found support for their contention that the Golden Calf was a real god.
(a) The parts of the episode concerning Amnon and Tamar which refer to Amnon as 'Amnon' (Stam) are translated; whereas the parts where he is called 'Amnon ben David' are not.
(a) Words that are unclean appear in the Torah in the form of a 'K'ri K'siv' (they are read differently than they are written). We read ...
1. ... "Yishgalenah" - "Yishkavenah"...
2. ... "ba'Apolim" - "ba'Techorim ...
3. ... "Charyonim" - Davyonim ...
4. ... "Le'echol es Choreihem v'Lishtos es Meymei Shineihem" - "le'Echol es Tzo'asam v'Lishtos es Meymei Ragleihem" ...
5. ... "l'Machara'os" - "l'Motza'os", all of which are less explicit.
(b) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah disagrees with the Tana Kama in the last case - because, since the Pasuk is referring to idolatry, he maintains that the disgusting word should remain as it is, in order to mock the idol and denigrate it.
(c) Rav Nachman learns from the Pasuk "Kara Bel Karas Nevo ... Karsu Kar'u Yachdav Lo Yachlu Malet Masa" - that although mockery is generally forbidden, it is permitted to mock idolatry.
(d) Rebbi Yanai interprets the Pasuk there (with reference to the calves of idolatry that they worshipped in Shomron) "Ki Avel Alav Amo u'Kemarav Alav Yagilu, al Kevodo Ki Galah Mimenu" - to mean that the priests of Beis Avon (alias Beis-El), who used to rejoice over the idol, have now gone into mourning because of the heavy burden that it carried in its stomach, of which it was now relieved (as if the Pasuk had written "Keveido", instead of "Kevodo").
(a) Huna bar Mano'ach in the name of Rav Acha brei d'Rav Ika permits telling an idolater - to take his idols and to stick them up his back passage.
(b) 'Shin' v'Tav' in this context, stands for - "Chasufei Sheis" (a Pasuk in Yeshayah referring to the nakedness of the Egyptians.
(a) One is permitted to insult someone about whom evil rumors (of his having committed adultery) are being spread, that he is a 'Gimel' and 'Shin' - which stand for 'son of a Giyurta' (a prostitute) and 'son of a Shotah' (a crazy woman). Note, that One is even permitted to implicate the man's mother.
(b) Rav Ashi says - one is permitted to praise a person about whom good rumors are being spread
(c) This is allowed - even though it is normally forbidden, because, the moment one speaks good about somebody, someone in the audience is bound to interrupt with 'but ... do you know what he did'? It is therefore considered a branch of Lashon ha'Ra.
Hadran Alach, ha'Korei Omed