Shalom Rav Kornfeld,
On Shabbos 13a at the bottom you write "When Ula would come home from learning, he would kiss his sisters on the [garment over their] chest; some say, on the arm. (Tosfos - he was a total Tzadik,"
What is the source for [garment over their]?
I looked up this gemara on your website as it is not an easy gemara to understand and your translation adding in these words definitely helps.
Eliezer Friedman, RBS, Israel
1) The source for this is the Sefer Toras Chaim (Rav Avraham Chaim Shor, 1560-1632) on Avodah Zarah 17a, where the account concerning Ula is also mentioned.
2) The Toras Chaim infers from the fact that the Gemara does not say that Ula kissed his sisters, Idaihu and Achdaihu, but rather the Gemara says "the father of Idaihu" and "the father of Achdaihu," that this implies that he did not kiss them directly on the hands or chest but rather he kissed them on the garment of the hand and chest.
The Diyuk of the Toras Chaim is from the extra word used by the Gemara to prefix "their hand" and "their chest," which suggests that he did not kiss directly there but there was a garment on the hand and the chest.
3) The Gemara states that this conduct of Ula appears to contradict his teaching that any closeness is prohibited. Tosfos reconciles this by saying that what Ula said was applicable to other people, but since he himself was a Tzadik Gamur, he knew that he would not come to bad thoughts by doing this.
4) The Toras Chaim is cited by the Pischei Teshuvah, Shulchan Aruch, Even ha'Ezer 65:2. He writes that it is forbidden to dance with the bride even if one does not hold her hand directly but with a cloth separating. This is because the Gemara states here that any closeness is forbidden. The Toras Chaim writes that in our times there is nobody who can say he would not have bad thoughts from this.
5) This is consistent with what Tosfos writes, that it was only Ula who was on such a high Madreiga that this would not disturb him.
6) There is a very interesting paragraph in the Sefer Od Yosef Chai, written by the author of the Ben Ish Chai. This is found in Parshas Shoftim #22, DH um'Sh ha'Gaon Toras Chaim. He cites the Toras Chaim but writes that when he said that one requires a garment to separate, this only applies to the chest, but when Ula kissed on the hand, the garment was certainly not necessary.
The context of this statement of the Ben Ish Chai is the issue of a lady who kissed the hand of the Chacham. He writes that the Chacham does not need to tell her not to do this, because her intention is only for the honor of the Torah.
The Sefardi custom of kissing the hand of the rabbi is one that led to quite a lot of discussion. The Sdei Chemed (Ma'areches Kuf, #7, DH v'Ani ha'Hedyot) writes that he heard that Rav Chaim Falagi zt'l of Izmir used to wear gloves all year round in order to avoid this problem. It seems that he did not agree with the Od Yosef Chai, that the Toras Chaim maintained that clothing was only required on the chest, not the hand.