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(a) Rebbi Yehudah objects to ben Azai, who learns from the S'michus of Mechashefah to bestiality, that Mechashefah receives Sekilah - on the grounds that he doesn't hold of S'michus (except in Seifer Devarim). Consequently, based on the principle 'S'tam Misah Chenek', the witch ought to receive Chenek.
(b) Rebbi Yehudah therefore learns it from Ov and Yid'oni - which were initially part of the K'lal of 'Mechashefah', and now that the Torah singles them out and gave them a Din Sekilah, they reflect on the entire K'lal (one of Rebbi Yishmael's thirteen principle 'Kol Davar she'Hayah bi'Chelal ve'Yatza min ha'Kelal le'Lameid ... ').
(c) To answer the Kashya on Rebbi Yehudah from the fact that Ov and Yid'oni are 'Sh'nei Kesuvim ha'Ba'im ke'Echad', we cite Rebbi Zecharyah - who maintains that Rebbi Yehudah holds 'Sh'nei Kesuvim ha'Ba'im ke'Echad, Melamdin'.
(d) Rebbi Yochanan explained the word 'Keshafim' as - the acronym of 'Makchishin Pamalya shel Ma'alah' (meaning that they negates the Heavenly decrees), even to the point of causing someone who was destined to live, to die.
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(a) Rebbi Chanina on the other hand, based on the Pasuk "Ein od mi'Levado" says - that nothing can negate Hashem's decrees, not even Kishuf.
(b) And this explains why he challenged the witch who was trying to take dust from under his feet (to cast a spell on him) - to go ahead and keep trying, because if he was not destined to suffer, her efforts would be in vain.
(c) We reconcile this with Rebbi Yochanan's previous statement - by differentiating between other people and Rebbi Chanina, who, due to his many merits, enjoyed Divine protection.
(d) Rebbi Ayvu bar Nagri Amar Rebbi Chiya bar Aba translates "Lateihem" ((in Va'eira, in connection with the Egyptian magicians) as Ma'aseh Sheidim (the work of demons) - because Sheidim are generally hidden (and 'Lat' means 'in secret').
(e) And he translates "Lahateihem" as - witchcraft, quoting as a source the Pasuk in Bereishis (following Adam's dismissal from Gan Eden) "ve'es 'Lahat' ha'Charev ha'Mishapeches" because (like Ma'aseh Keshafim, which operate without the assistance of Sheidim) the sword turned round by itself.
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(a) Abaye distinguishes between Ma'aseh Sheidim - which require a vessel, and Ma'aseh Keshafim, which don't. Consequently, one will know which of the two the magician is about to practice, by whether he wis fussy about using a vessel or not.
(b) Abaye compared Hilchos Keshafim to Hilchos Shabbos - inasmuch as, like the latter, there are cases where one is Chayav, cases where one is Patur Aval Asur and cases which are permitted Lechatchilah.
(c) Someone who performs a Ma'aseh Keshafim is Chayav like someone who performs a Ma'aseh Melachah on Shabbos. The case in Hilchos Keshafim that is ...
1. ... Patur Aval Asur, like the Shevusin on Shabbos is - where the magician only creates the illusion that he is performing magic, when really he is not (like we learned in our Mishnah).
2. ... Mutar like it is permitted to guard a trapped animal, to squeeze the pus out of a boil or to trap a snake whilst stopping it from biting is - where one uses the Name of Hash-m, and not a magical formula.
(d) And we learn this latter Halachah from Rav Chanina and Rav Oshaya - who would study Seifer ha'Yetzirah every Erev Shabbos and in the process, they would create a third calf (which we explained earlier), which they would eat on Shabbos.
(e) Rav Ashi saw Karna's father - producing bundles of valuable coats from his nose.
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(a) Commenting on the Pasuk in Va'eira "Etzba Elokim Hi", Rebbi Elazar explains that Paroh's magicians were unable to produce lice - because Ma'aseh Sheidim is incapable of creating anything that is smaller than a barley-grain.
(b) According to Rav Papa, they can't even create larger creatures either, and the reason that the magicians declared "Etzba Elokim Hi" was - because they could not even gather together creatures as small as that (as they can larger creatures), because they are too weak to come from far away.
(c) Rav told Rebbi Chiya that he saw an Arab take ...
1. ... his sword - and cut up his camel into pieces.
2. ... his bell - ring it, and the pieces came together again.
(d) Rebbi Chiya told him - that the Arab did not really cut up his camel at all (otherwise the remains of blood and dung ought to have been visible), but only appeared to do so.
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(a) The (bewitched) donkey that Ze'iri purchased in Alexandria shel Mitzrayim - disintegrated and turned into the plank of a bridge (which it originally was) when he took it down to the river to water it.
(b) He should have known that witchcraft was rampant in Alexandria, and he ought to have tested his purchase by the water before buying it (because whatever is bewitched disintegrates by water).
(c) They nevertheless gave him his money back - because his name was Ze'iri (i.e. he had a good name and people respected him).
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(a) When Yanai arrived at an inn and asked for some water - they brought him Shesisa (a mixture of flour and water), and he noticed that the woman who served it was mumbling something, giving rise to the suspicion she had bewitched it.
(b) He ...
1. ... ascertained that the food was bewitched - by pouring a little onto the floor (where it turned into scorpions).
2. ...reacted to that discovery - by pretending to have drunk the Shesisa, and offered the woman some of his own bewitched drink, upon which she turned into a donkey.
(c) After he rode her into town - her friend came and broke the spell, and Yanai found himself riding on a woman.
(d) The Yanai mentioned in this incident cannot possibly have been the Amora Rebbi Yanai - because the latter would not have practiced witchcraft.
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(a) In spite of the Pasuk "va'Ta'al ha'Tzefarde'a (in the singular) va'Techas es Eretz Mitzrayim", the frogs filled the whole of Egypt - because swarms of frogs were born from it.
(b) This is also the opinion of Rebbi Akiva in a Beraisa. But according to Rebbi Elazar ben Azarya - the frog croaked and all the frogs came from far and wide to plague the Egyptians.
(c) Rebbi Elazar ben Azarya said to Rebbi Akiva - that he should stick to Nega'im ve'Ohalos (the most complex Halachos, because that he was where he was expert), and leave Agadah to others.
Index to Review Questions and Answers for Maseches Sanhedrin