More Discussions for this daf
1. Birkas v'Lamalshinim 2. Yehudah Ger Amoni 3. R. Gamliel and R. Elazar ben Azaryah
4. Bribes (Shochad) 5. Know before Whom you stand 6. Sancheriv
7. Shmuel ha'Katan 8. Raban Gamliel being reinstated as Nasi 9. May the Living Lie about the Dead?
10. The Right to Depose Raban Gamliel 11. Tocho K'Boro 12. "Nikra Poshe'a"
13. Chizkiyahu 14. Tocho K'Boro 15. Musaf after Seven Hours
16. Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai 17. Shimon bar Yochai 18. Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah taking over the Nesi'us from Raban Gamliel
19. Praying for a friend in order to be answered first 20. Shmuel ha'Katan and Birkas ha'Minim 21. Zav
22. Which prayers require standing 23. R. Gamliel and R. Elazar ben Azaryah

Yitzchok Gesser asked:

When the Chochomim decided to appoint R' Elazar his wife felt he would not be suitable since he lacked white hair. A miracle happened and 18 rows of white hair appeared. Effecting a nes is not a simple matter. Was this such an important consideration to warrant a miracle here? After all, a little earlier on 27b when his qualifications were being discussed -- eg. he was wealthy, had zechus avos,etc. -- this point didn't come up. R' Elazar here could have assured his wife that the Chochomim feel he is fit without white hair. They obviously felt he fulfilled their needs in a way the other candidates didn't so a miracle of this scope seemingly wasn't needed.

Yitzchok Gesser, Mexico City, Mexico

The Kollel replies:

It is clear from the Sugya that Raban Gamliel was very stringent with regard to the Kavod of the Nesi'us (see also Rashi in Sanhedrin 12b). The reason he was so stringent was certainly because if there was a lack of Kavod for the Nesi'us, then the Machlokesim would multiply, and the Kavod of Torah would be diminished (like Rashi says in Bava Metzia 33b). Raban Gamliel feared that if someone too young was appointed to be Nasi, the Kavod of the Nesi'us might be completely diminished, and therefore he was stringent.

This is what the wife of Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah told him -- "they will not look upon you favorably, or with respect, since your youth is evident upon your appearance, and therefore at this stage it is not fitting for you to become the Nasi, lest the Kavod of Torah, Chas v'Shalom, be diminished as a result."

It is interesting to note, however, as you point out, that it took the Binah Yeseirah of the wife of Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah to point out a concern which the Chachamim did not notice, or did not think was important. Moreover, the Nes which occurred confirmed the validity of her concern.

Kol Tuv,

M. Kornfeld