1) THE "GID HA'NASHEH" FROM THE RIGHT AND LEFT LEGS
QUESTION: The Gemara (90b) teaches that Rebbi Yehudah maintains that the Isur of Gid ha'Nasheh applies to one of the legs of the animal, and logic dictates that it is the right leg. The Gemara asks whether it is obvious to Rebbi Yehudah that the Isur applies to the Gid of the right leg, and the logic referred to is "Da'as Torah," or whether Rebbi Yehudah is in doubt about whether it is the right or left leg, but he is inclined logically to say that it is the right leg.
The Gemara attempts to answer this question from a Beraisa. The Beraisa states that one who ate the Gid ha'Nasheh from two different animals is punished with two sets of Malkus, according to the Tana Kama. Rebbi Yehudah in the Beraisa argues and says that he is punished with only one set of Malkus. The Gemara points out that the Machlokes between the Tana Kama and Rebbi Yehudah is expressed only in a case in which a person ate two Gidim from two animals. According to the Tana Kama, who maintains that the Gidim of both the right and the left legs are forbidden, it would have sufficed to discuss a case in which a person ate two Gidim from one animal. The reason why the Beraisa discusses two Gidim from two animals is to teach that Rebbi Yehudah maintains that one who eats both Gidim is punished with Malkus. The Gemara adduces a conclusive proof from this Beraisa that it is obvious to Rebbi Yehudah that the Isur applies only to the Gid of the right leg: if Rebbi Yehudah would have been in doubt, then he would not have said that one who eats the two Gidim receives Malkus. (See RASHI DH ul'Rebbi Yehudah.)
The Gemara then asks that if it is obvious to Rebbi Yehudah that the Isur applies to the Gid of the right leg, then why does he say that one who eats two Gidim from two animals receives only one set of Malkus? If he ate two Gidim from two right legs, he should receive two sets of Malkus!
The Gemara implies that this question is problematic only because the Gemara concluded that it is obvious to Rebbi Yehudah that the Isur applies only to the Gid of the right leg. If Rebbi Yehudah would be in doubt about whether the Isur applies to the right or left leg, then there would be no question on the Beraisa. However, this is not true. The Beraisa is even more difficult if Rebbi Yehudah is in doubt, for why should the person receive Malkus at all? He might have transgressed no Isur!
ANSWER: The RASHBA answers that when the Gemara says, "Iy Peshita Lei" -- "If it is obvious to him [that one receives Malkus for eating the Gid of the right side]," the Gemara is not actually questioning whether the conclusion reached on the basis of the Beraisa (that it is obvious to Rebbi Yehudah) is in fact the correct one. This conclusion has been decided already and is no longer subject to discussion. Rather, the intention of the Gemara is that even though it is clear from the Beraisa that Rebbi Yehudah forbids the right Gid, it remains difficult why one who eats two Gidim from two animals does not receive two sets of Malkus, since he committed two separate forbidden acts of eating with a warning for each one. (The RITVA adds that it is clear that there were two warnings, because otherwise the Tana Kama would not say that he receive two sets of Malkus.) (D. BLOOM)
2) THE MITZVOS PERFORMED BY THE AVOS
QUESTION: Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina quotes the verse, "u'Tevo'ach Tevach v'Hachen" (Bereishis 43:16), from which he derives that Yosef removed the Gid ha'Nasheh before the eyes of his brothers when he served them meat. He says that this verse supports the view that the Gid ha'Nasheh is forbidden to Nochrim.
How does the conduct of Yosef prove that the Isur of Gid ha'Nasheh applies to Nochrim? Rebbi Yosi also derives from the verse that Yosef showed his brothers that he had slaughtered the animal properly, and yet we do not learn from there that the requirement of Shechitah applies to Nochrim as well! RASHI (DH u'Fara) explains that we do not infer from Yosef's conduct with regard to Shechitah that Shechitah applies to Nochrim, because the children of Yakov observed the Mitzvos even though they were not yet commanded to do so (this is in contrast to the opinion of the RAMBAN in Bereishis 26:5 and Vayikra 18:25, who maintains that they observed the Mitzvos only in Eretz Yisrael). If this is true, however, then why does the Gemara infer from Yosef's conduct with regard to the Gid ha'Nasheh that the Isur of Gid ha'Nasheh applies to Nochrim? Just as he observed the other Mitzvos of the Torah, he also observed the Isur of Gid ha'Nasheh; it was not because he was a Nochri, but because he was a son of Yakov! (TOSFOS DH k'Man)
(a) The MAHARAL (Chidushei Agados; Gur Aryeh to Bereishis 46:10) explains that Rashi intends to differentiate between a Mitzvas Aseh and a Lo Sa'aseh. Rashi means that the Avos observed all of the Mitzvos Aseh before the Torah was given, but not the Mitzvos Lo Sa'aseh. One is rewarded for observing Mitzvos Aseh even when he is not obligated to do so, but there is no reward for observing a Lo Sa'aseh when one is not obligated to do so. One is rewarded for refraining from an act only when that act is forbidden; when there is no temptation to do the act, refraining from it is not a cause for merit.
(b) Perhaps the Gemara's inference is not from the verse but from the wording of Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina who expounds the verse. When he discusses Shechitah, he explains that Yosef told his servants "to reveal for them (Lahen) the slaughtered neck," which implies that he was doing it only for them, for they observed the Torah as Jews. In contrast, with regard to Gid ha'Nasheh he says that Yosef told his servants, "Remove the Gid in front of them (Bifneihem)." He does not say "for them," which would have implied that it was only for them that he was removing the Gid ha'Nasheh. Rather, "in front of them" implies that he, too, as a Nochri (the brothers did not know that he was Yosef) was obligated to observe the Isur. (M. KORNFELD)
(However, this approach is problematic according to the Girsa of the DIKDUKEI SOFRIM here, who adds the word "Bifneihem" in the case of Shechitah as well.)
(c) In his first answer, TOSFOS (DH k'Man) suggests that the word "v'Hachen" implies that it was an act that must be done in the preparation of an animal, and it was not just a personal custom of the sons of Yakov.
(d) In his second answer, Tosfos suggests that even as Nochrim, Yosef needed to show his brothers the slaughtered neck. Although Nochrim are not required to perform Shechitah, they must perform Nechirah, an act of killing the animal (as opposed to eating an animal that died on its own). (See following Insight for a discussion of this answer.)
3) THE REQUIREMENT OF "NECHIRAH" FOR NOCHRIM
QUESTIONS: TOSFOS (DH k'Man) explains that Yosef showed his brothers the cut in the slaughtered animal's neck because Bnei Noach may eat only from an animal to which Nechirah was performed. The animal must have died through human intervention, and not on its own. RASHI (92b, DH b'Makulin) makes a similar statement. He says that one of the Mitzvos that Bnei Noach observe even today is the Mitzvah not to eat meat from an animal that died by itself. This implies that Nochrim are obligated to eat meat only from an animal that was put to death by human hands.
(a) Where is it written that a Nochri is forbidden to eat meat without Nechirah?
(b) The Torah states, "You shall not eat anything that dies by itself (Neveilah); you shall give it to the stranger who is in your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a Nochri" (Devarim 14:21). This verse clearly implies that a Nochri is permitted to eat an animal that died by itself!
(a) There are several approaches to answer the first question.
1. The verse says, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you" (Bereishis 9:3). The Pesikta Zutresa explains that this verse forbids Bnei Noach from eating an animal that died on its own.
2. The verse in Devarim (14:21) that implies that a Nochri may eat a Neveilah is referring to an animal that died through an invalid Shechitah, but not to an animal that died by itself. This is explicit in the TARGUM YONASAN who translates "Neveilah" as "d'Mekalkela b'Nichsa" ("[an animal whose Kashrus] was ruined through an improper Shechitah").
(b) The ROSH YOSEF explains that Tosfos does not mean that a Nochri must perform Nechirah. Rather, he means merely that Yosef showed his brothers that the animal was dead before its limbs were severed, and the meat was not Ever Min ha'Chai, which Nochrim are forbidden from eating.
Rashi (92b, DH b'Makulin) might also be referring only to the prohibition of Ever Min ha'Chai. When he writes that Nochrim may not eat "Basar ha'Mes," the meat of an animal that died by itself, he may mean that the meat, but not the animal, died by itself; that is, the limb was removed from the animal when the animal was still alive. (Accordingly, "Basar ha'Mes" is an expression that refers to Ever Min ha'Chai.) (M. KORNFELD, Z. Wainstein)
4) THEIR MONEY IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN THEIR BODIES
QUESTION: The Gemara derives from the conduct of Yakov Avinu that "the money of the righteous is more precious to them than their bodies." What does this mean? Is it a good trait to be willing to give up one's life for his money? (See RASHI to Bereishis 19:16.)
ANSWER: The Gemara in Berachos (61b) quotes a Beraisa in which Rebbi Eliezer explains the meaning of the verse (recited as part of Keri'as Shema), "You shall love Hash-m your G-d with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your might (money)." Once the verse commands the person to love Hash-m with all of his soul, why must it command him to love Him with all of his money? Rebbi Eliezer explains that there are those who love their bodies more than their money; to them the Torah says, "With all of your soul." Others love their money more than their bodies; to them the Torah says, "With all of your money."
The VILNA GA'ON asks, why must the Torah address people who are not normal, who find their money more dear to themselves than their own lives? The Vilna Ga'on answers that Rebbi Eliezer is not explaining "b'Chol Nefshecha" to refer to one's physical body. Rather, it refers to physical exertion. Some people prefer to pay money than to exert themselves physically, while others prefer to save money and exert themselves. (Rebbi Eliezer is not discussing giving up one's life for the Mitzvos at all. When the Gemara in Pesachim (25a), Yoma (82a), and Sanhedrin (74a) cites his words as a proof that one must forfeit his life for the sake of the Torah, the proof is actually from the continuation of the Beraisa, in which Rebbi Akiva explains the verse differently.) (KOL ELIYAHU, Parshas Va'eschanan, from SHENOS ELIYAHU, end of Berachos; see also NIFLA'OS ELIYAHU pp. 19-20.)
It is obvious that, according to the Vilna Ga'on, the statement that "the money of the righteous is more precious to them than their bodies" should be understood in a similar manner. Righteous people prefer to exert themselves physically to attain their goals than to spend their hard-earned money and avoid exerting themselves.
5) A TALMID CHACHAM SHOULD NOT GO OUT ALONE
QUESTION: Rebbi Yitzchak learns from the verse that says that Yakov was left alone and was injured (Bereishis 32:25) that a Talmid Chacham should not go out at night by himself. RASHI (91a, DH mi'Kan) implies that a Talmid Chacham should not go out alone at night because of the risk of being harmed (by the forces that roam at night).
Rashi later, however, gives a different reason. Rebbi Aba bar Kahana derives that a Talmid Chacham should not go out alone at night from Naomi's advice to Ruth that she would find Boaz in the silo at night (Ruth 3:2). Rashi (DH Hineh) explains that Naomi told Ruth that she would find Boaz in the silo because it was below his dignity as a Talmid Chacham to walk home at night. Why does Rashi give a different reason here for why a Talmid Chacham should not go out alone at night?
ANSWER: The MAHARSHA (91a, Chidushei Agados) explains that Rashi understands that danger alone would not have prevented Boaz from going out at night and returning to his home, since he could have taken his workers along with him. Rashi therefore says that the reason why he did not go out was that it was below his dignity to go out at night, even when escorted, lest he be suspected of engaging in immoral behavior at night. Similarly, as Rashi explains (DH va'Yashkem), Avraham did not leave his home at night even with an escort. (Z. Wainstein)
6) RAV'S SOURCE THAT A TALMID CHACHAM SHOULD NOT GO OUT ALONE
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a number of sources for the warning that a Talmid Chacham should not go out alone at night. The Gemara says that Rav derives this rule from the verse, "va'Yizrach Lo ha'Shemesh" -- "The sun rose for him... and he was limping on his thigh" (Bereishis 32:32).
How does this verse imply that a Talmid Chacham should not go out alone at night? Rav cannot be learning this rule from the fact that Yakov was harmed by the angel when he was left alone, because that is the source of Rebbi Yitzchak (91a) and Rav would not merely repeat the source of Rebbi Yitzchak.
(a) The MAHARSHA explains that Rav's source differs from Rebbi Yitzchak's source. Rav learns this rule from the words, "The sun rose for him." Why does the verse emphasize that Hash-m made the sun shine specifically for Yakov? Hash-m must have done this in order to protect Yakov, who was traveling alone, from the Mazikim.
(b) The MAHARAM SHIF explains that Rav's source is not from the verse itself, but rather from Rebbi Akiva's interpretation of the verse. According to Rebbi Akiva, the sun set early in order for Yakov to go to sleep in Beis El. This implies that Yakov would stop traveling at the moment the sun set. Why would he stop traveling? It must be because he knew that a Talmid Chacham should not travel alone at night.
(c) Perhaps Rav's intention is like the conclusion of the Gemara later. The Gemara later says that Hash-m stood on the ladder in Yakov's dream, as it were, in order to protect Yakov from being harmed by the jealous angels. This shows that a Talmid Chacham should be afraid of the jealousy of angels, as Rashi mentions in Berachos (end of 54b, DH Chasan). (Although the Gemara could have quoted the verse that describes Hash-m's protection of Yakov without quoting the lengthy Derashah about Yakov's dream, the Gemara records the entire Derashah because the story of the dream is related to the sun that rose for Yakov after his thigh was injured.) (M. KORNFELD)
7) AGADAH: THE FIGHT AMONG THE STONES
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the stones upon which Yakov slept fought with each other for the privilege of being the stone upon which Yakov would rest his head. Hash-m therefore made all of the stones into one.
Why was it so important to the stones to have Yakov rest his head upon them?
(a) The MESILAS YESHARIM explains that when a Tzadik uses an object to do a Mitzvah, he elevates both himself and the object. The stones fought because each one wanted to be used by Yakov in order to be elevated by him.
(b) The RAMBAN (Bereishis 28:17) quotes from Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer that Yakov took the twelve stones which comprised the Mizbe'ach on which the Akeidah took place and placed them by his head. This symbolizes that he would give birth to twelve tribes (in the merit of the Akeidah). Their fusion into one stone symbolized that the twelve tribes would form one unified nation.
8) "MAL'ACHIM" ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the ladder in Yakov's dream was wide enough to contain four Mal'achim at the same level -- two Mal'achim ascending and two descending. This implies that the Mal'achim that were going up were not the same ones that were going down. Similarly, RASHI (to Bereishis 28:12) explains that the Mal'achim of Eretz Yisrael who had escorted Yakov were going up, while the Mal'achim of Chutz la'Aretz were coming down to escort him in Chutz la'Aretz.
However, the Gemara later quotes a Beraisa that asserts that the Mal'achim went up the ladder, saw the image of a man (whose countenance resembled Yakov) on the Merkavah of Hash-m, and then came down to see the countenance of Yakov in this world. This implies that the Mal'achim who ascended were the same ones that descended!
ANSWER: TOSFOS (DH Olin) explains that the two statements indeed disagree with each other concerning this point. The MAHARSHA points out that the Midrash on this verse cites two opinions that explicitly disagree about whether the same pair of Mal'achim went up and down or whether there were two different pairs of Mal'achim. (Z. Wainstein)
9) AGADAH: "THE LAND UPON WHICH YOU ARE LYING"
QUESTION: Hash-m promised Yakov that He would give him the land on which he was lying, for himself and for his descendants (Bereishis 28:13). The Gemara explains that the entire land of Eretz Yisrael was folded up underneath him "in order that it be easier for his descendants to conquer." How did this make it easier for his descendants to conquer the land?
(a) The ROGATCHOVER GA'ON in TZAFNAS PANE'ACH (to Bereishis 28:13) explains that this was the method by which Yakov acquired the legal rights of ownership of Eretz Yisrael. The RASHBAM in Bava Basra (53b) rules that one who prepares a bed and lies down on a piece of ownerless land thereby makes a Kinyan and the property becomes his.
(b) The RAMBAN (Bereishis 12:6) explains that a prophecy which is accompanied by a physical act symbolic of that prophecy is a "more certain" prophecy. This explains why Hash-m had Yakov sleep on the entire land of Eretz Yisrael "in order that it be easier for his descendants to conquer."
The RAN (Derashah #11) explains that there are two types of prophecy that need to be made "more certain" in such a manner. The first type is a prophecy that was told personally to the prophet and was not given to him to deliver to the people. This is the case with the prophecies of the Avos. The second type is a negative prophecy, one that foretells doom.