(a) I don't understand several inyanim in daf 18. Firstly - amud alef refers to reward for the mishmar that opens and closes the gates. I thought that it was the Leviyyim that opened and closed the gates. Rashi in Behaalotecha says that the Leviyyim who are over 50 don't carry but they do open and close gates, load and do shira. Also I remember a gemara in which a Levi (I think) tried to help another close the gates and he said: "Back away - you're chavay b'nafshecha because you're from the singers and I'm from the Gate keepers and it's assur to switch or help."
(b) Daf Bet - What do we learn from the story of Rav and Rav Nahman seeking a wife for a night in a new city? What does the woman get out of this arrangement? Once she's married and divorced, even for a night, she's posul l'kehuna. If she is not a nidda I would think that he must have relations with her for mitzvat onah . Did they tell their wives of this practice? If a child did result would they ever be around to help raise the child or provide support?
(c) As to her becoming a nidda because of the excitement - does that happen to most kallahs now? Did it ever? Do the rov become niddot? If there is only yichud and no relations would that really result in lesser desire? If he knows that he'll be leaving soon and never have relations would that really be "pat b'salo?"
(a) Excellent question! (The incident which you are referring to is in Erchin (11b) and involved Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananya who wanted to help Rebbi Yochanan ben Gudgeda.) However, that is referring to the doors of Har ha'Bayis, which the Leviyim guarded throughout the entire day and night. The keys to the doors of the Azarah , though, were in the hands of the elder Kohanim of each Beis Av, and it was the Kohanim who opened those doors each day (Tamid 1:1, 1:3). It was the Kohanim, also, who opened the doors of the Heichal and the Ulam (Tamid 3:7), which were very heavy (Yoma 39b) and probably not easy to open.
(b) We learn from the practice of our Sages how important it is to avoid any element of moral impropriety, to guard one's eyes and one's thoughts from anything that might cause him to come to a nocturnal mishap, which is an Isur d'Oraisa (Shabbos 150a). We see to what extent the holy Sages went in order to avoid such a situation.
The women were certainly agreeable to the arrangement and it seems clear from the Gemara that they went into it willingly. It was apparently a great privilege for the woman to be called by the name of that great Sage, even for only one day. Regarding Yichud and other problems, see what we wrote in the Insights.
(c) I do not know if most Kallos today see Dam as a result of such excitement, but it is known that such emotional excitement causes a woman to see Dam (as a number of Chasan and Kallah instructors will testify). The contemporary Gedolim have said that most women in our day are considered "Cholos" with regard to Nidah (as we find that very few women actually have a Veses Kavua, for example). Besides all this, even if the circumstances were highly unusual, we find in many instances that because of the severity of the Isur of Nidah, Chazal made many stringencies.
Well, wouldn't the woman have received d'mei kesuba? If so, it wasn't a cheap thing for the sages to do, and even so we see they did it in order not to come to an aveirah chas v'shalom.
That is a very good suggestion. The money of the Kesuvah was certainly a significant and meaningful amount.
(Although the Gemara makes no mention of it, perhaps the manner in which they married another woman was by making her a Pilegesh, in which case there would be no Kesuvah, and even no Kidushin, according to those Rishonim who permit a Pilegesh -- see RAMBAM, Hilchos Melachim 4:4, and Hilchos Ishus 1:4; Rosh Kesuvos 1:12, Ramban Bereishis 25:6.)
In response to answer (b) please see the "Ben Yehoyadah" for an interesting explanation along the lines of what you wrote (regarding the sages' conduct in other cities).
In response to answer (c), "dam chimah" is the "mikor" (source) for a choson and kallah not seeing each other in the week prior to the wedding. It is my understanding that in our days since (unfortunately) chosonim and kallos see each other so often "dam chimah" is not common. However, the "minhag" has still continued and choson-kallah do not see each other during this week.
I don't understand why people have extended this "minhag" (that really no longer has a reason) to choson-kallah not talking on the phone in the week prior to the wedding. Additionally, there definitely would not be any problem with the choson seeing the kallah as long as she does not see him. I think the continuance of these practices evolved from the non- jewish concept of "it's bad luck to see the bride or groom before the wedding".
Yasher Kochach for your interesting comments.
The practice of not seeing the Kalah, or even speaking to her, immediately before the Chasunah, has another source, which may answer some of your questions. The Acharonim bring as a source the verse (Mishlei 25:17), "Keep away from the house of your friend (Re'acha), lest he get too used to you and feel contempt towards you." Separating the Chasan and Kalah (who often talk together for hours daily) is a way to increase their love and appreciation of each other at this crucial moment in their married life.
The mishlei verse of "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is said to be the source of niddah separation. however, I have never seen this in regard to choson and kallah. Please send me a "mkor" where the "achronim" apply this to the week prior to the mariage.
Lkavod Rav Kornfeld;
If we have introduced the "non-Jewish influence of Bad luck to the Bride and Groom to see each other before the wedding" why is it that we say that the custom has merit other than bechlal what Rav Kornfeld said, From Mishlei, "Hoker Raglecha mBais Reyacha" which wouldnt neccesary apply only to the week before but rather after they Chosen and kallah have substantially grown accustomed to each other enough to commit to Chitun... Marriage.
To say that the "minhag" comes from this issur of waiting Zayin Nekiyim once there is an announcement of marriage is a little hard, because what this "minhag" serves to do is actually increase the possibility of seeing Dam machmas Chimud WHEN the kallah finally gets to see the Chosun, after having been seperated for some time. Indeed I have heard that Rab Gustman Ztl took his Kallah the DAY OF THE WEDDING to rav Chaim Ozer Ztl for a beracha, which would imply that the Minhag is more Eitzah Tovah ("Good Idea") as Rav Kornfeld said rather than actual issur or halachah or even minhag.
Yaakov Yehoshua Fischer
Regarding whether there will be a greater fear of Dam Chimud at the Chasunah after having not seen each other for a number of days, we should point out that the TAZ and DEGUL MERAVEVAH (YD 192:1) write that there is no Chimud except at a time other than that of Nisu'in. If the Nisu'in is going to take place immediately, the same day, there is no concern that there will be Dam Chimud at the time the Chasan proposes to the Kalah. (The Taz explains that this is why Avigayil was permitted to David.)
I have heard that for this reason, there are some who are lenient to permit photographing the Chasan and Kalah together right before the Chupah, despite the custom for the two not to see each other prior to the wedding ("because of Dam Chimud," as Moshe noted above). See, however, the Pischei Teshuvah there (end of #3) who shows that the suggestion of the Taz may not accepted by all.
I never heard the Ma'aseh which you mentioned concerning my Rebbi, Rav Gustman, zt'l. Another Talmid of his told me that Rav Gustman told him not to speak with his Kalah on the day of the Chupah, even to ask her if she was a Nidah! The Beis Shmuel (Even ha'Ezer 35:2), however, does record that the custom once was to make a meal in which both the Chasan and Kallah would participate on the night prior to the wedding (so that they can meet each other for the first time in person!). In fact, I have not found the custom of not meeting each other for a few days before the wedding recorded anywhere.
Be well, Mordecai