12th Cycle dedication

CHULIN 86 (21 Elul) - Dedicated by Dr. Alain Bitton of Geneva, Switzerland, l'Iluy Nishmat his grandfather, Harav Chaim ben Esther Bitton, in honor of the day of his Petirah.

QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that the merit of a Tzadik protects the well-being of others, but it does not protect his own well-being. When Rebbi Chiya came to Eretz Yisrael, his merit protected the entire country from losing its crops, but it did not protect his own crops. Similarly, the Gemara relates that every day a Bas Kol issued forth and proclaimed, "The entire world is sustained in the merit of Chanina, My son, while for Chanina, My son, it is enough to have one Kav of carob from one week to the next."
Why does the Tzadik's merit protect others but not himself?
(a) The Midrash comments on the verse, "Eshkol ha'Kofer Dodi Li" -- "My Beloved is to me a cluster of henna" (Shir ha'Shirim 1:14), that "Eshkol" refers to a Talmid Chacham who knows all parts of the Torah ("Ish sheha'Kol Bo"), whose merit brings atonement ("ha'Kofer") for the sins of the people, such that he says to Hash-m's attribute of justice, "enough" ("Dodi," from the words, "Dod Din Dai" -- "the beloved one who says 'enough' to the Midas ha'Din"). Hash-m then takes him as an atonement for the sins of the entire nation.
Similarly, we are taught that the righteous are taken from this world due to the sins of the generation (Shabbos 54b, Moed Katan 28a).
How does the Talmid Chacham atone for the sins of the people, and why should the righteous suffer because of their sins?
The TORAS CHAIM answers with the words of the Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 12:15) cited by RASHI at the beginning of the Torah (Bereishis 1:1). The Midrash says that Hash-m planned to create the world with the attribute of strict justice, but He saw that the world would not be able to endure on that level. Therefore, he joined the attribute of mercy to the attribute of justice, creating the world with both attributes.
Since the world was created with an equal amount of both attributes, half of the Jews must be treated with strict justice, while the other half must be treated with mercy.
Due to his righteous deeds, a Tzadik can be equated to a large number of people. In situations where the attribute of justice claims that, for its share, it must punish a large number of Jews, Hash-m tells it that it is enough to take the Tzadik alone, for he is equivalent to half of the total number of Jews. In this manner, all of the rest of the Jews are saved from punishment and treated with mercy. This is the atonement that the Tzadik provides to the Jewish people. (Z. Wainstein)
However, this approach does not seem to explain the Gemara's statement about Rebbi Chanina. The Gemara says that one Kav of carobs "was enough for him" ("Dai Lo"), implying that he was satisfied with less, and not that he received less because of the sins of the generation. Perhaps if Rebbi Chanina would not have accepted such difficulties with love, Hash-m would not have given him such difficulties. (See RAMBAN in Sha'ar ha'Gemul, who says that even when Hash-m brings suffering upon the righteous for the purpose of purifying them, he does not do so with wrath but rather with love.) In this way, it was Rebbi Chanina's acceptance of his meager venue that brought mercy on the rest of the Jews. That is what the Gemara means when it says, "v'Rebbi Chanina Dai Lo."
(b) The RIMON PERETZ explains that Rebbi Chanina (and, similarly, Rebbi Chiya) did not want for himself any preferential treatment from Hash-m that would supersede the laws of the natural world, because he did not want to forfeit any reward in Olam ha'Ba (as the Gemara in Ta'anis (25a) explicitly says about Rebbi Chanina). Therefore, it sufficed for him to have the most minimal subsistence in this world, leaving the rest of his reward for the eternal life in Olam ha'Ba.
The people of his generation, however, were not losing out by receiving sustenance beyond the laws of the natural world in the merit of Rebbi Chanina, because they were not using their own merits for that sustenance. Rebbi Chanina did not lose any of his merits, because he did not use them for himself.
The LEV ELIYAHU (volume 3) records a similar explanation. When the Bas Kol said that "the entire world is sustained 'Bishvil' Chanina, My son," the meaning of "Bishvil" is not "because of," but rather "bi'Shevil" -- "in the path of." This means that the merits of Rebbi Chanina were able to influence the entire world beyond the laws of the natural world. Of course, there would also be enough to sustain him, but he so strongly desired to give benefit to the world that he pushed towards the rest of the world the pathway of Divine blessing that was intended for him. For him it sufficed to have the most minimal subsistence in order not to take anything away from the rest of the world.
Similarly, Rebbi Chiya did not want any special Divine intervention for himself, either because he did not want his reward in Olam ha'Ba to be diminished in any way (as the Rimon Peretz writes about Rebbi Chanina), or because he did not want to detract any blessing from the rest of the world (as the Lev Eliyahu writes).
(c) RAV CHAIM SHMUELEVITZ zt'l in SICHOS MUSAR (5733, #17) explains that Rebbi Chanina received only a Kav of carob each week, but he was satisfied with that amount. He had no desire for the pleasures of this world that cause a person never to be satisfied, and thus the bare minimum satisfied him. It was in the merit of this that the whole world was showered with blessing.
(The words of the Gemara, "Their merits help the world, but do not help them," imply that the merits of the righteous cannot help them, as the Toras Chaim explains, and not that the righteous choose not to benefit from their merits, as the Rimon Peretz, Lev Eliyahu, and Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz explain.) (Mordechai Zvi Dicker)


QUESTION: The Gemara explains that Rebbi Meir is concerned for the "Mi'ut," the minority of cases, only in cases involving questions of Tum'ah and Taharah (for example, is the dough near the child Tamei or Tahor), but not in cases involving questions of Isur and Heter (for example, may one slaughter an animal on the same day that a child slaughtered the animal's mother).
However, it seems that every question of Tum'ah and Taharah is also a question of Isur and Heter, since a person who is Tamei is not permitted to enter the Beis ha'Mikdash, or to eat Terumah. Why, then, does Rebbi Meir follow the Mi'ut in cases of Tum'ah and Taharah?
ANSWER: When, in a situation of doubt, a Mi'ut is supported by a Chazakah, Rebbi Meir considers the doubt to be balanced ("Safek ha'Shakul"); both possibilities are equally likely. Consequently, in a case of Isur v'Heter, he maintains that one must follow the stringent possibility (because of the rule, "Safek Isur l'Chumra").
In contrast, in a case of Tum'ah and Taharah, when there is a balanced doubt, the rule is that it is Tahor in a case of a "Davar she'Ein Bo Da'as Lisha'el" -- when the question involves the Taharah of an object that cannot be asked whether it is Tahor or not (such as a child). The Gemara in Sotah (28a) teaches that an item that is a Safek Tum'ah in Reshus ha'Yachid is Tamei, but only when that item is a "Davar she'Yesh Bo Da'as Lisha'el." If the item is in Reshus ha'Rabim, or it is a "Davar she'Ein Bo Da'as Lisha'el" (even in Reshus ha'Yachid), the Safek Tum'ah is Tahor. (See Insights to Sotah 28:2.)
OPINIONS: In the Mishnah, Rebbi Yehudah states that one who plans to slaughter both a Chayah and a bird must perform Kisuy ha'Dam after he slaughters the Chayah, and then he may slaughter the bird and perform a second Kisuy ha'Dam. The Gemara quotes Rebbi Chanina who says that Rebbi Yehudah agrees that one recites only one blessing for multiple animals.
To what blessing does Rebbi Chanina refer? Does he refer to the blessing for the Shechitah, or to the blessing for the Kisuy ha'Dam?
(a) RASHI (DH l'Inyan) explains that Rebbi Chanina refers to the blessing for the Shechitah. He is teaching that Rebbi Yehudah agrees that one recites only one blessing before one slaughters many animals.
The RASHBA (DH Modeh) understands from the words of RASHI that it is specifically with regard to Shechitah that Rebbi Yehudah maintains that one recites only one blessing at the beginning of all of the Shechitos. With regard to Kisuy ha'Dam, however, Rebbi Yehudah maintains that one must recite a separate blessing before every act of Kisuy. The Rashba explains that the first Kisuy is the completion of the first Shechitah, and, therefore, that act of Kisuy is not an interruption between the blessing for the first Shechitah and the performance of the second act of Shechitah. However, the second Shechitah is not related to the first act of Kisuy, and thus it is an interruption between the blessing said for the first Kisuy and the performance of the second act of Kisuy.
The ROSH offers another reason for Rashi's distinction between the blessing for Shechitah and the blessing for Kisuy ha'Dam. When the Shochet performs Kisuy ha'Dam between two acts of Shechitah, he does not remove his attention from performing Shechitah; his mind is still on Shechitah, and he performs Kisuy between Shechitos because the Torah obligates him to do so. The two Shechitos, therefore, are considered like a single act. In contrast, Kisuy ha'Dam is the end of the Shechitah that preceded it. Each act of Kisuy, therefore, is an independent act, and thus one blessing does not cover multiple acts of Kisuy when they are separated by an act of Shechitah.
(b) The Rashba quotes RABEINU TAM who argues with Rashi and maintains that since the second Shechitah can be done at the same time as the first Kisuy, the Shechitah is not considered an interruption between the two acts of Kisuy. The Rosh also concludes that it is logical to assume that since the Shochet has in mind to perform many acts of Shechitah, one blessing should suffice for the multiple acts of Kisuy ha'Dam.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 19:5) rules like Rabeinu Tam that Shechitah is not considered an interruption between the multiple acts of Kisuy ha'Dam, and thus one blessing suffices. (Z. Wainstein)
OPINIONS: The Gemara questions Rebbi Chanina's assertion that Rebbi Yehudah agrees that when one slaughters many animals, he recites only one blessing for all of them (see previous Insight). The Gemara proves from an incident involving the students of Rav that an interruption (like Kisuy ha'Dam) requires that a new blessing be said for the second Shechitah. The students of Rav were having a meal, and they said to Rav Yeiva the Elder, their attendant, "Give us [the cup of wine on which] to bless [Birkas ha'Mazon]" ("Hav Livrich"). They then changed their minds and said to him, "Give us more to drink." Rav Yeiva said to them that Rav ruled that once a person says, "Hav Livrich," at a meal, he may no longer drink any more, since he has expressed his desire not to partake of any more drink. This proves that an interruption necessitates a new blessing.
When Rav ruled that once a person expresses his intent to recite Birkas ha'Mazon, does this mean that he must recite Birkas ha'Mazon before he drinks more, or must he merely recite a new Berachah Rishonah if he wants to drink more?
(a) RASHI (Keivan) explains that Rav's ruling does not mean that one is not permitted to drink until he recites Birkas ha'Mazon. Rather, it means that he must recite a new Berachah Rishonah if he wants to drink. Since he has expressed intention to end his meal, whatever he wishes to consume now is no longer considered part of his meal, and therefore he must recite a new blessing before he drinks more.
(b) The RITVA explains that once a person says "Hav Livrich," showing his intention to end his meal, he is not permitted to drink more before he recites Birkas ha'Mazon, even if he wants to recite a new Berachah Rishonah.
(The ROSH (6:5) argues with the Ritva's explanation. According to the Ritva's explanation, the case of "Hav Livrich" is not similar to the case of Kisuy ha'Dam. According to the Ritva, in the case of "Hav Livrich" the interruption that requires a new blessing to be recited on more drink is Birkas ha'Mazon itself. This is an absolute interruption between the original Berachah Rishonah and drinking the additional wine. Performing Kisuy ha'Dam between the two acts of Shechitah is not such a significant interruption.)
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Berachos 4:8) also rules that one is not permitted to drink more after he decides to recite Birkas ha'Mazon. However, the Rambam adds that if he wants to drink more before Birkas ha'Mazon, then he must recite a Berachah Rishonah.
Why, according to the RITVA, is one prohibited to drink after saying "Hav Livrich"?
The Ritva in Berachos (42a, DH Shalosh) explains that once a person has washed with Mayim Acharonim, he has "accepted upon himself" to recite Birkas ha'Mazon and may not interrupt by drinking even with a new Berachah Rishonah. The Ritva here might mean that saying "I will bless" is like making a pledge (like Nidrei Mitzvah) to recite Birkas ha'Mazon right away, and thus one must fulfill that pledge and not interrupt. (The CHASAM SOFER here also explains that it is prohibited to drink because of a Neder.) (Z. Wainstein)
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 179:1) rules like Rashi and the Rosh, and writes that one may not drink after saying, "Hav Lan u'Nevarech," unless he recites a new Berachah Rishonah.
With regard to eating before Birkas ha'Mazon when one has already expressed his intent to recite Birkas ha'Mazon, the Shulchan Aruch records a dispute about whether the same Halachah applies to eating. The ROSH rules that one may not eat until he recites a new Berachah. RABEINU YONAH and the RAN rule that one may eat more food without reciting a new Berachah, as long as he has not washed his hands with Mayim Acharonim. It is the washing of the hands that indicates his intention to stop eating food, while it is the declaration of "Hav Lan u'Nevarech" that indicates his intention to stop drinking. (See MISHNAH BERURAH there, 179:3 and 8; BI'UR HALACHAH DH Ein Tzarich. See also Shulchan Aruch OC 179:2, and Mishnah Berurah there, for exceptions.)
OPINIONS: Rebbi Chanina asserts that Rebbi Yehudah agrees that when one slaughters many animals, he recites only one blessing for all of them. Some Rishonim explain that this means that one blessing is said for all of the acts of Shechitah, while others explain that this means that one blessing is said for all of the acts of Kisuy ha'Dam (see Insight #3 above).
At which point in the performance of the Mitzvah is the blessing for Kisuy ha'Dam recited?
(a) The ROSH (6:6) quotes the BEHAG who rules that even though one generally recites a blessing immediately before he performs the Mitzvah, in the case of Kisuy ha'Dam one first performs the act of Kisuy and then recites the blessing. Since Kisuy ha'Dam is performed in the middle of another Mitzvah (it is the final part of the Shechitah), one may recite the blessing only after the Kisuy.
The RASHBA (DH Modeh) explains the logic of the BEHAG's ruling as follows. Since Kisuy ha'Dam depends on the validity of the Shechitah (that is, if the Shechitah would be found to be invalid, there would be no obligation to perform Kisuy ha'Dam), the Shechitah is viewed as the beginning of the Mitzvah of Kisuy. Reciting the blessing after Shechitah but before Kisuy would be like reciting the blessing in the middle of a Mitzvah, and therefore it is recited only after the Kisuy.
Some explain that when the beginning of the act of Shechitah is the beginning of the Mitzvah of Kisuy ha'Dam, because the Mitzvah of Kisuy ha'Dam requires that earth be placed both beneath the blood (before it falls to the ground) and above the blood. Accordingly, when one slaughters the animal and the blood spills onto earth, it is as if he has already started the Mitzvah of Kisuy ha'Dam, since he has caused earth to be beneath the blood.
(c) The ROSH concludes that the custom is to recite the blessing before the act of Kisuy ha'Dam, because Kisuy ha'Dam is considered an independent Mitzvah. (Z. Wainstein)