ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
Prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
1) click for question
(a) A certain heretic informed Raban Gamliel that Hash-m was a Ganav - because, as the Torah describes, he put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs.
(b) In reply, Raban Gamliel's daughter - informed him that she was looking for a judge, to deal with a thief who had stolen from her a silver jug, leaving a golden one in its place.
(c) The heretic - expressed the wish that he should only attract such Ganavim.
(d) And when he explained that his problem was with the fact that Hash-m took the limb whilst Adam was asleep, and not whilst he was awake - Raban Gamliel's daughter took a piece of raw meat, grilled it under hot ashes in front of him, and offered him a piece. (e) And when he declined her offer, because, having seen the raw meat being prepared mixed with ashes, they disgusted him, she pointed out to him that, by his own word of mouth, some things are better unseen.
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(a) When a certain heretic claimed that he knew what Hash-m was doing, Raban Gamliel sighed - because he explained, he was thinking of his son who was overseas, whom he had not seen for a long time, and whom he was keen to see again.
(b) When he asked the non-believer whether he could perhaps show him where he was, and he replied that he had no idea, Raban Gamliel commented to him - that if he did not know what was happening here on earth, how could he possibly know what was happening in heaven?
(c) Raban Gamliel proved to that non-believer that he could not possibly ...
1. ... count the stars - just like he could not count quinces spinning round on a sieve, since the stars spin around too.
2. ... know how many stars there are in the sky (according to the second Lashon), seeing as he didn't even know how many teeth he had in his mouth, without counting them.
3) click for question
(a) That heretic tried to prove from the fact that the Pasuk in Amos "Ki Hinei Yotzer Harim u'Vorei Ru'ach" changed from "Yotzer" to "Borei""Ki Hinei Yotzer Harim u'Vorei Ru'ach" - that there must be different gods (Kevayachol), and that the one who formed mountains must be different than the one who created the wind.
(b) When Raban Gamliel countered with the Pasuk "ha'Noteh Ozen ha'Lo Yishma, ve'Im Yotzer Ayin ha'Lo Yabit", he meant to ask - whether by the same token, it was a different god who stretched the ear than the one who formed the eye (even though both are located in the same area).
(c) When this didn't seem to bother the heretic, Raban Gamliel's final word on the matter was - how it is possible that the two gods always seem to come to terms when a person dies, each one withdrawing his section of soul from the body at the same time.
(d) Ameimar replied to that sorcerer who claimed that the top half of man belonged to Hurmiz (the name of a demon), and the lower half, to Ahurmiz (Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu) - that it is most unlikely that the latter would allow sewage on its way to the outlets belonging to the former, to pass through his territory.
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(a) When the Emperor's suggested that the Jews and the Romans merge into one nation (meaning that the Jews should convert) - Rebbi Tanchum replied that, although it was possible for the Romans to circumcise and become like the Jews, the opposite was not.
(b) The Emperor - conceded that Rebbi Tanchum was right, but cited the law, that whoever defeated the Emperor in an argument had to be thrown to the wild beasts.
(c) When they threw...
1. ... Rebbi Tanchum to the wild beasts - they did not touch him.
2. ... the heretic (who attributed the wild animals not devouring Rebbi Tanchum to the fact that they were not being hungry) to them - they suddenly developed an appetite.
5) click for question
(a) Based on the Chazal that the Shechinah is to be found wherever there is a Minyan, a certain heretic asked Raban Gamliel - how many Shechinahs there are in the world.
(b) In response to the non-believer's question - Raban Gamliel called the non-believer's Shames and slapped his neck (it is unclear why he did this).
(c) To answer Raban Gamliel's question why the sun shines through a heretic's window, the Shames explained - that the sun shines on the whole world, including through any window that happens to be open, even through that of a heretic.
(d) And if the sun, which is only one of Hashem's myriad's of servants, shines over the entire world - how much more so Hash-m Himself.
6) click for question
(a) That heretic told Rebbi Avahu that Hash-m was a jester, by virtue of the fact that He made Yechezkel - lie down, first on his left side, then on his right.
(b) Immediately after that, a disciple asked Rebbi Avahu - the underlying reason for the Mitzvah of Sh'mitah.
(c) Rebbi Avahu said that he would give an answer that was 'Milsa de'Shaveh le'Tarvaichu' - 'an answer that would satisfy both questioners.
(d) In answer to the second questioner - he explained that Hash-m commands us to sow six years and leave the land fallow on the seventh, to remind us that He is Master of the land.
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(a) To answer the heretic's question, he explains how different kings react differently to rebels. At the hand of ...
1. ... a cruel king - rebellious subjects would all be put to death.
2. ... a merciful king - half of them would be spared.
3. ... a king who was brimming with mercy - the leaders would be made to suffer (to atone for the people's sins).
(b) Consequently, when Yisrael rebelled against Hash-m and failed to observe the Sh'mitah, He dealt with them in the way that we described (thereby answering the heretic's Kashya).
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(a) A certain heretic claimed that Hash-m must be a Kohen - based on the Pasuk "ve'Yikchu Li Terumah" (and it is only Kohanim who receive Terumah).
(b) The heretic's problem was how Hash-m subsequently Toveled. He could not have Toveled in water, he maintained - due to the Pasuk in Yeshayah "Mi Madad be'Sha'alo Mayim" (in which case, Hash-m would not fit into all the water in the world).
(c) Rebbi Avahu answered - that Hash-m Toveled in fire ...
(d) ... and he confirmed his answer - from the Dinim of Hag'alah, where water is second to fire in order of priorities.
9) click for question
(a) That heretic tried to make nothing of the Pasuk in Shmuel "u'Mi ke'Amcha Yisrael Goy Echad ba'Aretz" based on the Pasuk in Yeshayah "Kol ha'Goyim ke'Ayin Negdo" - which initially seems to incorporates Yisrael.
(b) When Rebbi Avina answered him 'mi'Didchu As'hidu Alan', he meant - that one of them (a Nochri) already gave testimony that Yisrael was not a member of the family of nations.
(c) And he said this with reference to - Bil'am, who proclaimed "u'va'Goyim Lo Yischashav", (precluding us from the international community of nations).
(d) Rebbi Elazar explains the apparent contradiction between the Pasuk in Tehilim "Tov Hash-m la'Kol" and the Pasuk in Eichah "Tov Hash-m le'Kovav" (to those who hope for Him) - with a Mashal of a person who waters all the trees in his orchard (since watering is easy), whereas when he digs (a task that requires far more effort), he only digs around those trees that are growing successfully.
(d) This translates into terms of Tzadikim and Resha'im - inasmuch as when it comes to feeding the world, Hash-m sustains the Resha'im together with the Tzadikim, but when it comes to giving reward and to shield from punishment, He reserves them for those who trust in Him exclusively.
9) click for question
(a) Based on the Pasuk in Mishlei "ba'Avod Resha'im Rinah", Rebbi Acha bar Chanina explains the Pasuk in Melachim (in connection with the death of Achav, King of Yisrael) "va'Ya'avor ha'Rinah (ba'Machaneh"), as if it would have written 'ba'Avod Achav Rinah'.
(b) He connects the second Pasuk with the first one by virtue of the extra 'Hey' in "ha'Rinah", an indication that it refers to another location where it has been mentioned.
(c) From the fact that the Pasuk in Divrei ha'Yamim (in connection with Yehoshafat's defeat of Amon) "be'Tzeis Lifnei ha'Chalutz ve'Omrim Hodu la'Hashem Ki le'Olam Chasdo" omits the words "Ki Tov" - Rebbi Yonasan learns that Hash-m does not rejoice over the destruction of Resha'im.
(d) Quoted by Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni, he learns the same thing from the Pasuk "ve'Lo Karav Zeh el Zeh Kol ha'Laylah" (which he read as if it had written 've'Lo Kara Zeh el Zeh ... '), where he explains to mean - that when the Egyptians were drowning, Hash-m stopped the angels from singing Shirah.
(e) Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina reconciles this with the Pasuk in Ki Savo "Kein Yasis Hash-m Aleichem Leha'avid Eschem" (implying that Hash-m does rejoice when Resha'im are destroyed) - by pointing out that the Torah writes "Kin Yasis" (rather than 'Yasus') - implying that although Hash-m allows others to rejoice at the destruction of Resha'im, He himself does not participate in the rejoicing.
10) click for question
(a) When Achav died, the Pasuk writes that the prostitutes bathed in his blood. Rebbi Elazar interprets the words "ve'ha'Zonos Rachatzu" as 'le'Marek Sh'tei Chezyonos', by which he means the two visions of Michoyhu and Eliyahu. The vision of ...
1. ... Michoyhu was - that if Achav would return from the battle alive, then Hash-m had not spoken to him.
2. ... Eliyahu was - that the dogs would lick his blood at the same spot where they licked that of Navos (whom Achav had had killed).
(b) 'le'Marek Sh'tei Chezyonos' means - to clarify the two prophesies.
(c) In spite of the unlikelihood of the phrase "ve'ha'Zonos Rachatzu" being literal, Rava translates it literally, because the prostitutes referred to by the Pasuk are - the images of two prostitutes that Achav kept in his chariot (to arouse himself).
11) click for question
(a) The Syrians won the battle by shooting only one arrow - a random arrow to boot, which one of the soldiers (the famous Na'aman) shot at nobody in particular.
(b) That arrow - hit Achav, critically wounding him.
(c) Rebbi Elazar interprets the word "le'Tumo" as 'L'fi Tumo' (innocently), as we explained. Rava interprets it to mean - to make come true ('Letamem') the two prophesies (as we explained earlier).
(d) To connect the two phrases "Vayikra Achav el Ovadyahu ... ve'Ovadyah Yarei es Hash-m Me'od", Rebbi Yitzchak explains - that Achav (citing as a precedent, the estates of Lavan and Potifera respectively, both of which prospered under the management of Ya'akov and Yosef, respectively), asked Ovadyah why, if he was a G-d-fearing man (like they were), were his (Achav's) estates not prospering under his management, like those of Lavan and Potifera?
12) click for question
(a) When Rebbi Aba says that what is written by Achav is greater still than what is written by Avraham, he is referring to - the word "Me'od", which does not appear in connection with Avraham.
(b) Rebbi Yitzchak ascribes Ovadyah meriting prophecy - to his having hidden a hundred prophets in two caves, to save them from the clutches of Achav and Izevel. Otherwise, he could not have possibly attained it - in his capacity as a Ger, bearing in mind that the Shechinah only rests on families in Yisrael that have a pure Yichus.
(c) According to Rebbi Avahu, Achav hid the hundred prophets in two caves simply because he could not fit them all into one. Rebbi Elazar however, explains that he took his cue from Ya'akov Avinu - who divided his camp into three, so that should Eisav attack one of them, the others could escape.
(d) Ephrayim Maksha'ah, a disciple of Rebbi Meir, attributes Hashem's choice of prophesying about Edom's downfall through Ovadyah to the fact that he was an Edumean convert (as a sort of poetic justice). Rebbi Yitzchak ascribes it to the fact that he did not learn from the evil ways of the two Resha'im - Achav and Izevel, with whom he lived, and it was therefore appropriate that he should prophesy about the downfall of Edom, descendants of Eisav, who lived with two Tzadikim - Yitzchak and Rifkah, from whose deeds he did not learn either.
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(a) Bearing in mind Ephrayim Maksha'ah's previous explanation, based on the Pasuk "Va'yach es Mo'av va'Yemadedem ba'Chevel Hashkev Osam Artzah", Rebbi Yochanan in the name of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai points out - that it was as appropriate for David to defeat Amalek (Eisav's grandson) as for Ovadyah to prophecy about Edom's, since he, like Ovadyah, was a descendant of Mo'av, via Rus.
(b) The two above incidents are the source of the common adage (the latter specifically cited by Rebbi Yochanan in the name of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai) 'Mineih u'beih Aba Neizel beih Narga' - which means that sometimes the handle of the very ax that is used to chop down a tree is fashioned from wood from the very same forest.
(c) When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael and said, in similar vein, 'Yerech mi'Tohah Masrachas' - (the thigh begins to smell putrid from within itself), he meant - that trouble often begins from within one's own ranks, as we just explained.
14) click for question
(a) Rav and Shmuel dispute whether Meisha, the king of Mo'av meant le'Shem Shamayim or not, when he sacrificed his first-born son as a burnt-offering on the wall. This might have caused Hash-m to be angry with Yisrael - because in the event that he did, Yisrael were guilty of similar behavior, but not le'Shem Shamayim.
(b) On the other hand, in the event that he did not do what he did Le'shem Shamayim, it might help us understand Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, who, in order to resolve the apparent discrepancy between the two Pesukim - explains that "u'che'Mishp'tei ha'Goyim Asher Sevivoseicham Lo Asisem" refers to the best of them (Eglon Melech Mo'av, who honored Hash-m, by rising at the mere mention of Hashem's Name [see also Agados Maharsha]), and "u'che'Mishp'tei ha'Goyim Asher Sevivoseicham Asisem", to the worst of them (Meisha, Melech Mo'av, who reached the lowest levels of evil)
(c) Rebbi Chanina bar Papa explains ...
1. ... the Pasuk in Melachim "va'Yis'u me'Alav ve'Yashuvu la'Aretz (and not le'Artzam)" (after the Pasuk expressing Hashem's anger with Yisrael that we just discussed) - to mean that, following the above episode, Yisrael sunk to the lowest possible levels.
2. ... that the words "ad Me'od" (in the Pasuk there (in connection with Avishag ha'Shunamis ["ve'ha'Na'arah Yafah ad Me'od"]) - insinuates that although Avishag ha'Shunamis was beautiful, she was nowhere near as beautiful as Sarah (about whom the Torah wrote "Ki Yafah Hi Me'od").
***** Hadran Alach 'Echad Diynei Mamonos' *****
Index to Review Questions and Answers for Maseches Sanhedrin