More Discussions for this daf
1. Getting things through prayer 2. Dovid Hamelech and the Harp 3. The speed of the angels
4. Chamor No'er 5. Shema after Tefilla 6. Bedai
7. Moshe and Pharaoh's astrologers 8. Ge'ulah Samuch la'Tefilah 9. Eliyahu in 4 Flights; Rav Elazar bar Avina
10. The Logic of Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi 11. Rashi 12. Bushah & Kelimah
13. Verse proving David was not embarrassed 14. Ashrei 15. Rashi
16. Saying Shema before Shemoneh Esreh 17. Lulei 18. "Lulei"
19. Unneccessary repetition 20. Semichat Ge'ulah l'Tefilah 21. Interpretation of "BeShachbecha"
22. בחצות הלילה 23. King David dealing with Halachic issues
דיונים על הדף - ברכות ד

Menachem M asked (in Hebrew):

הגמרא אומרת בדף ד ע"א "ואני ידי מלוכלכות בדם שפיר ושליא כדי לטהר אשה לבעלה"

שאלתי היא האין זה מתפקיד הסנהדרין וכיו"ב לפסוק שאלות כאלו ומדוע נצרך דוד המלך בעצמו לפסוק בזה. כמו"כ האם מוצאים במקומות אחרים שתפקידו של המלך הי' לפסוק הלכות?

תודה רבה למענכם ויישר כח.

(Translation: Why did David Hamelech himself deal with Halachic rulings such as Shfir and Shilya -- he should have left that for the Sanhedrin!)

Menachem M, Montreal

The Kollel replies:

I am not sure what makes you assume that a king could not judge. Did Shlomoh Hamelech not judge various cases?

Interestingly, someone asked us a similar question regarding Chizkiyahu Hamelech, who, the Gemara informs us on Daf 10b, fixed Nisan in Nisan. And I referred him to the Gemara and Tosfos in Sanhedrin (19a DH 'Aval'), who write that a king is permitted to judge everything other than matters of life and death (see there the reason for that).

Bear in mind also that kings of the caliber of those that I mentioned above were among the Gedolei ha'Dor of their time and were certainly fit to be members of the Sanhedrin, and perhaps even the Nasi or the Av Beis-Din.

Having said that, I must add that when the people approached Shmuel Hanavi with a request to appoint a king, they asked for a king 'to judge them', suggesting that judging is a major function of rulership. As the verse says, ועז מלך משפט אהב (Tehillim 99:4).

Kol Tuv,

Eliezer Chrysler

MM asks further:

Thank you for your answer, actually my question was not if a king has a right to rule but more why do we need the king ruling in halachik matters when theres an existing sanhedrn.

Obviously the king where gedolei hador and the godol from Sanhedrin but the case of shaper and shilyo looks more like casual regular cases so why where the king bothered with these questions?

actually i thing the yossef daas bring a igros moshe to learn from here a rule never to refuse answering a shaaloh as we learn that even a king, etc.


The Kollel replies:

Dear Menachem

Sorry for the long delay in answering.

This Sugya is not actually talking about laws that concern a Sanhedrin (for that, see Tosfos, Megilah 14b), but rather about a king issuing rulings in his capacity as a Rav, and there is no reason why he shouldn't.

The Yosef Da'as does indeed cite the Igros Moshe that you mentioned. To that I would add what I thought I already wrote to you - in the name of the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish, based on Moshe's changing Yisro's "Davar ha'Gadol" and "Davar ha'Katon" to Davar ha'Kasheh" and "Davar ha'Katon", explains that in Torah, there is no such thing as big issues and small issues, only difficult ones and easy ones. That explains why David ha'Melech did not turn down these seemingly trivial matters, and fits nicely with the Igros Moshe's ruling.

Reading your last question, I had a similar thought to what you wrote in the name of the Igros Moshe (even before reading your quote). And it occurred to me to connect it to what I once heard in the name of the Chazon Ish, who said that in Torah, there is no such thing as a small matter.

This is probably based on Moshe Rabeinu, who changed Yisro's statement "All the big matters they shall bring to you, and all the small (trivial) matters they shall judge", to "All the complicated matters they shall bring to you, and all the small (less complicated) matters they shall judge.

That is why Chazal have said that the Din of a P'rutah is no less important than that of a hundred Manah.

Kol Tuv,

Eliezer Chrysler