More Discussions for this daf
1. Kovsim 2. Hilchata Potchim b'Charatah 3. Hataras Nedarim

Tuvya Marcus asked:

Am I correct in assuming that it is not likely that the koves who smacked R. Yishamael bar R. Yosi on the head was the same one who was frequently by Rebbi, since this ma'aseh was two generations prior to Rebbi?

Tuvya Marcus, Jerusalem, IL

The Kollel replies:

I agree with you that it is unlikely that this is the same Koves as Rebbi's, but for a different reason. The Gemara in Kesuvos 103b relates that the Koves mentioned there used to frequent Rebbi every day, which suggests that he had a great love of Talmidei Chachamim. In contrast the Koves of our Gemara used to hit the Rabanan and the Gemara refers to him as an Apikores. If so it does not seem that he would go to Olam ha'Ba, which is what the Koves in Kesuvos merited eventually, as the Bas Kol there proclaimed. (The only way you could reconcile the two accounts is by saying that he did a very great Teshuvah).

However I do not see how you know that the Ma'aseh in Nedarim was two generations before Rebbi. In fact the Gemara in Yevamos 105b relates that R. Yishmael bar R. Yosi came to learn Torah from Rebbi. See also Tosfos Shabbos 51a DH Ilu in the name of Rabeinu Tam that even though originally Rebbi was a pupil of Rebbi Yosi (ie. the father of R. Yishmael) later on he became greater than him.


Dovid Bloom

Tuvya Marcus asks further:

So the words "Ki Hai" in the Mefaresh refers to the *people* like the Koves, and not to *stories* involving Apikorsim that hit the Rabanan?

Tuvya Marcus, Jerusalem, IL

The Kollel replies:

I suppose that it can. But the Rosh clearly writes that it means "like this *story*", not "like this *Koves*."

In my opinion, the Koves may indeed have been the same Koves. Although he hit Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi, he only did so because Rebbi Yishmael was disturbing the Rabanan - i.e. his motivation was out of respect for the Rabanan. Nevertheless, the Gemara may be referring to him - or to what he did - as acting like an Apikores, because he did, in the final analysis, hit a Talmid Chacham.

What I think is that the Koves was a very simple Am ha'Aretz, whose intentions were good but whose deeds were not. He respected Rebbi and his students, but didn't know enough to distinguish between a Talmid Chacham who is legitimately disturbing the students and an ignoramus who is trying to start up. In the same manner, he jumped off the roof when he heard that he missed Rebbi's funeral - an act that is clearly *prohibited* according to the letter of the law (as all of the commentaries there ask -- in fact the Yaavetz (in the collected Acharonim printed in the Wagshall editions of the Gemara) and Ein Eliyahu suggest that the Koves was so agonized that he carelessly fell from the roof, he did not intentionally killed himself). Nevertheless, he was rewarded since his motivation was a strong dedication to the scholars of the Torah. His "suicide" was judged as "Ones" since it was done out of agony over missing Rebbi's funeral - suggest in Kesuvos 103b.

See also Nedarim 41a, more about "the Koves of Rebbi," who overheard all of Rebbi's teachings and memorized them - without ever understanding them, apparently. His memory came to the rescue when Rebbi became sick and forgot his learning.

Best wishes,

Mordecai Kornfeld

Rav Dovid Bloom comments:

I would like to support Reb Tuvya's opinion on the basis of what the Sefer Shalmei Nedarim writes here. He cites Maharit who proves from our Gemara that if an event is Shechiach (frequent), even though the reason that the event happened is not Shechiach, nevertheless this scenario is considered Shechiach.

Shalmei Nedarim writes that R. Yishmael did not think ever that the Koves would strike a person in order to defend the honor of Talmidei Chachamim because since the Koves was generally a transgresser against the honor of Chachomim, R. Yishmael did not think that he would suddenly change his ways, because a hater does not usually become a lover. However since he frequently struck the Chachamim for his own enjoyment, even though he now made an unusual turn-around and hit a person for their benefit, nevertheless this is considered shechiach and is not Nolad.

According to the Maharit this was certainly not Rebbe's Koves, who was always an admirer of the Chachamim.

The Shalmei Nedarm adds that Rosh seems to disagree with Maharit because he writes "like this story". However the Mefaresh does not add the additional word "story" so he could agree with the Maharit that we only look at the *people*, not at the *stories*

See also the Nimukei Yosef who writes that the Koves found a pretext to hit Rebbi Yishmael. This also shows that he was not a Tzadik.

Yeyasher Koach

Dovid Bloom

Mordecai Kornfeld responds:

The Maharit is answering a question on this Gemara. The Gemara says that it is common for Apikorsim to cause suffering to Talmidei Chachamim. Because of that it concludes that it is expected for the Koves to hit someone who is causing suffering to Talmidei Chachamim. The Gemara appears to be self-contradictory.

1. The Nimukei Yosef that you cited (and Rebbi Avraham min Hahar) answer that this was just a pretext for the Koves to hit Rebbi Yishmael. The main reason the Koves hit Rebbi Yishmael was out of a general disrespect for Talmidei Chachamim, and not in order to defend the respect of the other Talmidei Chachamim. This is the simple reading of the Gemara

2. The Rosh seems to be proposing another solution, which involves a Chidush in the laws of Nolad. True, the Koves had good intentions. However, it is common for others (Apikorsim) to hit Rabbis (other Rabbis) in similar situations (i.e. for making Nedarim), and therefore Rebbi Yishmael should have expected to be hit for his Neder. This answer - that *other* people are wont to mistreat Talmidei Chachamim in a manner similar to the Koves, for abusive reasons, is very similar to the way the Maharit explained our Gemara (contrary to what the Shalmei Nedarim writes) - that *this same Koves* was wont to mistreat Talmidei Chachamim in a manner similar to the way he mistreated Rebbi Yishmael, for abusive reasons.

3. The Nimukei Yosef offers another suggestion. He proposes an entirely different reading for the Gemara: It is common for people to "be Mafkir themselves" (i.e. to act without restraint) in order to *prevent* others from causing discomfort to Talmidei Chachamim! The intentions of the Koves were indeed pure.

As for my suggestion - that the misguided Koves had good intentions, but his general lack of proper respect for *all* Talmidei Chachamim (other than Rebbi and his Beis Midrash) led him to hit Rebbi Yishmael - in my opinion, this fits into all of the above explanations. Either, like the Nimukei Yosef, the disregard with which the Koves related to Rebbi Yishmael was rooted in a general lack of respect for Talmidei Chachamim (that is, Talmidei Chachamim other than Rebbi, as above). Alternatively, the Koves indeed had good intentions (as the Nimukei Yosef writes in his second explanation), but perhaps others - out of hate for Talmidei Chachamim - would be expected to abuse Rebbi Yishmael under similar circumstances (as the Rosh wrote).

Of course, the second explanation of the Nimukei Yosef and the Rosh not only fit into my explanation, they even provide it with support.

Be well,

Mordecai Kornfeld

Rav Dovid Bloom responds:

Dear Reb Mordecai, Shlita,

(1) l'Aniyus Da'ati, it is quite probable that according to the 2nd pshat in Nimukei Yosef also, the Katzra was not doing such a good thing. However the difference between the 1st and 2nd pshat is that according to 1st pshat the word "Apikori" in the gemara means Apikores and the seek a pretext to hit Rabbis specifically. According to 2nd pshat "Apikori" is referring to Hefker and they don't hit specifically Rabbis but rather anyone who hurts Rabbis. I think one can explain the word "Mafkirin" used by NY as follows. Some people have a yetzer Hora to violence but in normal situations they manage to control it. However when they see that people are hurting Rabonim they know that it is a Mitzva to hit these people so they do so and they are Mafkir themselves when doing so i.e. they remove their normal restraints and go wild in the knowledge that they

cannot be reprimanded for doing so.

(2) You argue that the Koves had a great respect for Rebbe but hit all other) Talmidei Chachomim. I would suggest that if so, it is surprising that Rebbe did not reprimand him for this wild behavior and on the contrary, below 41a, he said to the Katzra that he had created him (if we accept the Maharsha there and Yaavetz Kesubos 103b that the Katzera there may possibly be Rebbe's Koves).

(3) I was not clear how you learnt in the Rosh, Maharit and Shalmei Nedarim. According to SN the Maharit learns that the Katzra had bad intentions whilst according to Rosh it is possible that he didn't. You seem to say that the Rosh is similar to the Maharit. If so even the Rosh will agree that the Katzra had bad intentions, which contradicts your ta'ana.

(4) In summary the 1st pshat in Nimukei yosef and Rabeinu Avrohom min Hahar state explicitly that the Katzra on 23a was not good, and we also have a diyuk from Maharsha and Yaavetz that only the Katzra on 41a might be Rebbe's Koves which suggests that the Katzra on 23a was certainly not.

A Groiser Yeyasher Koach

Dovid Bloom