1) "SHIRTUT," MUSIC, BORDER TOWNS, CROWNS, AND TZEDAKAH
QUESTION: The Gemara (6b) discusses Rebbi Evyasar's reliability as a Halachic authority with regard to three areas (bringing a Get from Bavel, Shirtut, and the misdeed of Pilegesh b'Giv'ah). The Gemara then digresses into a list of a number of seemingly unrelated discussions:
1. Mar Ukva's plea to Rebbi Elazar to allow him to speak up to the authorities against those who were causing him harm
2. The question of why listening to music is not permitted (see Insights to Sotah 48a)
3. Derashos regarding the names of border towns in Eretz Yisrael
4. The source for the prohibition of Kelila (a bridal tiara)
5. The Derashah of Rav Avira regarding giving Tzedakah regardless of whether one is rich or poor, and how doing so will save the giver from Gehinom.
What is the connection between these different teachings?
(a) The MAHARATZ CHAYOS writes that the connection between the teachings is only external in nature:
1. The Gemara discusses the story of Mar Ukva's plea to save himself from his oppressors because of Rebbi Elazar's reply to him that he should write a verse with Shirtut. This is related to the laws of Shirtut which Rebbi Evyasar discussed earlier.
2. For the same reason, the Gemara records the discussion of the source for the prohibition against listening to music. When Mar Ukva provided the source, he wrote the verse with Shirtut.
3. The discussion of the names of the border towns is cited here because it emphasizes the importance of remaining silent in the face of oppressors, and provides support for Rebbi Elazar's original answer to Mar Ukva (in statement #1), that when a person is subject to the taunts and abuse of oppressors, he should remain silent.
4. The discussion of the prohibition of Kelila is mentioned because of its similarity to the prohibition of music. Both were instituted because of Zecher l'Churban.
5. The discussion of giving Tzedakah is mentioned here simply because Rav Avira taught that Derashah, at times citing it in the name of Rebbi Ami and at times citing it in the name of Rav Asi, just as Rav Avira made the previous Derashah in the name of Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Asi regarding the verse, "Haser ha'Mitznefes" (the source for the prohibition of Kelila). Although Rav Avira does not cite that verse as the source for the prohibition of Kelila, after the Gemara brings that verse as the source it cites Rav Avira who uses that verse for a different Derashah, and then it continues with another Derashah which Rav Avira taught.
As the Maharatz Chayos points out, this approach is not entirely satisfactory, because the Gemara does not cite every statement of an Amora every time one of his statements is quoted. Rav Avira made many statements in the name of Rebbi Asi throughout Shas. See also the TUREI EVEN in Megilah (end of 2b) who shows that when the Chachamim provide a list of statements from a certain Amora, it is not necessarily an exhaustive list. (It is also evident from Rashi in various places that the connection between statements which the Gemara quotes is not just technical, related to the name of the person who said the statements, but the connection is thematic as well. That is, there is an additional factor besides the technical element which connects them.) Accordingly, what more can be added to explain this Gemara?
(b) Perhaps the connection between these different statements of the Gemara may be understood as follows.
1. Geniva, who was oppressing Mar Ukva (who was either already the Reish Galusa at the time or was not yet the Reish Galusa at the time), may have been a member of the family of the Reish Galusa. The Gemara records the incident with Mar Ukva and Geniva as an example of the effects of being "Matil Eimah Yeseirah," of placing undue fear in one's home. Not only can such conduct cause one to transgress the laws of the Torah, but it can also cause a person to meet an untimely death, as was the case with Geniva.
2. The next Gemara discusses Mar Ukva's reply to those who asked him for the source that music is prohibited. The Yerushalmi, cited by Tosfos (6b, DH Amar Rebbi Yitzchak), expounds on that story and explains that Mar Ukva's reply was sent to the house of the Reish Galusa (before Mar Ukva was appointed to that position), the members of which were accustomed to arising and going to sleep to the sound of music. (In the Yerushalmi's version, Mar Ukva reversed the words of the verse in order to circumvent the necessity to write it with Shirtut.) Hence, the connection between this incident and the previous one recorded in the Gemara might be that this message of Mar Ukva was the source of strife between him and the Reish Galusa's household which led to the conviction of Geniva at the hands of the king. The Reish Galusa's household did not want to accept Mar Ukva's ruling, which is why Mar Ukva needed to provide them with an indisputable source.
3. The discussion of the names of the border towns is related to Rebbi Elazar's original advice to Mar Ukva to stand silent in the face of oppression, as the Maharatz Chayos explains (see also next Insight).
4. The next Gemara relates that the Reish Galusa asked Rav Huna for the source that Kelila is prohibited. Once again, it was the Reish Galusa -- who was accustomed to extravagance -- who wanted to make a Kelila for his daughter's marriage, and the Chachamim prohibited it because of Zecher l'Churban. Rav Chisda was afraid that the Reish Galusa would not listen to the words of the Chachamim, so he attempted to find a source for the prohibition in the words of the Nevi'im. Rav Huna, however, insisted that the prohibition was only mid'Rabanan and that the verse was an Asmachta. He did not want the Reish Galusa to treat the words of the Chachamim lightly. He wanted to teach the Reish Galusa that even a rabbinic requirement obligates him, just like a verse.
5. The next Gemara -- which discusses giving Tzedakah -- cites a verse that teaches that even if a person is poor, and certainly if he is rich, he should give Tzedakah. Why is it necessary to point out that "certainly if he is rich" he should give Tzedakah? Why would one think that a poor person has a greater obligation to give Tzedakah than a wealthy person? The Gemara says that the verse teaches that a person who is rich should not consider the wealth to be his own earnings and a result of his own luck and thus spend it on extravagant items which people are not normally accustomed to buying, as the Reish Galusa did. Rather, one should realize that all of his money is a gift from Hash-m, and if one receives more money, the purpose of it is to give more Tzedakah. Instead of spending it on a Kelila for a wedding, he should spend the extra money to provide Simchah at the weddings of poor people. The verse is emphasizing that the fact that a person is wealthy does not entitle him to spend more money on luxuries for himself than is necessary. Rather, it obligates him to give more to Tzedakah than other people give.
2) THE MESSAGES INHERENT IN THE NAMES OF TOWNS
QUESTIONS: The Gemara presents two exegetical interpretations of verses which list the names of towns on the southern border of the region of Shevet Yehudah. The verse, "Kinah, v'Dimonah, v'Ad'adah" (Yehoshua 15:22), teaches that when a person is suffering from the antagonism of someone else and yet he remains silent, "Shochen Adei Ad" -- the One who dwells eternally -- will take up his case. "Tziklag, u'Madmanah, v'Sansanah" (Yehoshua 15:31) teaches that when a person has a complaint against his fellow man for taking away his livelihood and yet he remains silent, "Shochen ba'Sneh" -- the One who dwells in the [burning] bush -- will take up his case.
(a) Why does the Gemara address only these sets of towns from all of the different sets of towns listed in Sefer Yehoshua?
(b) Why does the first verse allude to Hash-m by the appellation of "Shochen Adei Ad," while the second verse alludes to Hash-m as "Shochen ba'Sneh"? (See IYUN YAKOV.)
(a) The MAHARIM SHIF explains that these lists contain names of towns with somewhat odd pronunciations. They are the only names that have repetitive syllables ("Ad'adah," "Sansanah"). The names of the cities might have been only "Adah" and "Sanah," and the syllables were doubled in order to teach these Derashos.
(b) The first verse teaches that if a person is being oppressed by someone, he should remain silent, because he is not the only one who is being angered by others and remains silent. Hash-m Himself constantly tolerates sinners who willfully transgress His word and "anger" Him, and He remains silent and is "Erech Apayim," slow to anger, as the name "Shochen Adei Ad" implies -- Hash-m remains patient, forever waiting for the sinner to repent. (The Gemara in Megilah (31a) mentions the verse which uses this phrase to describe Hash-m, "Shochen Ad v'Kadosh Shemo, Marom v'Kadosh Eshkon, v'Es Daka u'Shefal Ru'ach..." (Yeshayah 57:15). The verse teaches that Hash-m lowers Himself, as it were, to take care of the downtrodden, and as great as Hash-m is, He acts in a way which teaches humility to mankind.)
The verse says that just as Hash-m eventually brings justice to the Resha'im who anger Him, a person may rest assured that the people who oppress him will have to face justice at some point, even if he remains silent.
The next Derashah discusses a person whose livelihood is taken away by someone else and yet he remains silent. The verse says that he is not the only one who suffers a loss because of what others perpetrate against him. Hash-m appeared to Moshe Rabeinu in a burning bush in order to teach him that "Imo Anochi b'Tzarah" -- "I am with him in his suffering" (Tehilim 91:15); when the Jewish people suffers, Hash-m, as it were, experiences the suffering with them. When Pharaoh subjected the Jewish people to forced labor, there was a "Tzimtzum" -- Hash-m's Divine abode was restricted. The oppressor of His nation takes away from Hash-m's peace, as it were. Hash-m ultimately does justice to sinners who cause "Tzimtzum" to the Divine presence by distracting His people from serving Him, the same way the person whose livelihood is being infringed upon may rest assured that even if he remains silent, Hash-m will eventually take up his case and see to it that justice is carried out.
3) THE STATUS OF RIVERS IN ERETZ YISRAEL
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the Halachah of a Shali'ach who delivers a Get from a boat traveling on a river in Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara suggests that the Halachah depends on the Machlokes between Rebbi Yehudah and the Chachamim, who argue about whether the plants that grow in soil in a boat traveling on a river in Eretz Yisrael is obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros. The Gemara says that if such soil is obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros, it must be considered part of Eretz Yisrael, and therefore one who brings a Get from the boat would not have to say "b'Fanai Nichtav."
Why does the Gemara suggest that the Halachah of Gitin is connected to the obligation of Terumos and Ma'aseros? The reason why the Chachamim instituted that a Shali'ach must say "b'Fanai Nichtav" was the concern that the Get was not written Lishmah, or the concern that there will be no witnesses available to validate the Get. People in a boat traveling in the middle of Eretz Yisrael are certainly available to validate the Get if necessary, and if they live in Eretz Yisrael they are assumed to be knowledgeable in the laws of Lishmah. The Halachah of one who brings a Get from a boat should depend on whether the witnesses are available to validate it, and whether they are knowledgeable in the laws of Lishmah; it should not depend on whether or nor plants that grow on a boat are obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros!
ANSWER: TOSFOS (DH Atzitz Nakuv, and 8a, DH Rebbi Yehudah Omer) explains that the people who write the Get certainly are considered to be available to validate it (Metzuyin l'Kaimo) and they know that it must be written Lishmah (Beki'in Lishmah). Nevertheless, if the boat is not considered to be in Eretz Yisrael, they would be required to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" due to a Gezeirah of "she'Lo Tachlok b'Medinas ha'Yam," to avoid differentiating between areas outside of Eretz Yisrael; all of Medinas ha'Yam is given the same Halachah.
The Gemara proposes this logic earlier (4a) with regard to cities that are "Muvla'os" when it explains why Rebbi Eliezer requires a Shali'ach who comes from such cities to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" even though they are Metzuyin l'Kaimo and they are Beki'in Lishmah. The reason why a Shali'ach from those cities must say "b'Fanai Nichtav" is "she'Lo Tachlok b'Medinas ha'Yam." Although the Chachamim argue with regard to "Muvla'os" and maintain that the Gezeirah applies only to areas that are distant from Eretz Yisrael and not to areas that border Eretz Yisrael, they agree that when a Shali'ach brings a Get within a country that is distant from Eretz Yisrael -- but which happens to have frequent internal travel ("Shayaros Metzuyos") and the people there happen to be Beki'in Lishmah -- he still must say "b'Fanai Nichtav" because of "she'Lo Tachlok b'Medinas ha'Yam."
(Bavel, according to Rav on 6a, is an exception to this rule. Since there was a large Jewish population there and it was known to have "Shayaros Metzuyos" and to be Beki'in Lishmah, there was no fear that it would be confused with the rest of Medinas ha'Yam. See CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN, cited in Insights to 6a.)
A river in Eretz Yisrael is not considered to be like "Muvla'os" because people do not normally write Gitin there, and therefore the Chachamim did not exclude it from being considered like Chutz la'Aretz.
However, it is problematic to suggest that the Chachamim considered all of Chutz la'Aretz to have the requirement of "b'Fanai Nichtav" according to Rava. According to Rava, the enactment to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" is not related to Chutz la'Aretz per se; rather, "b'Fanai Nichtav" must be said whenever one travels from one Medinah to another Medinah, and it is not said whenever one travels within a single Medinah where "Shayaros Metzuyos." What difference does it make if the river is called "Medinas ha'Yam" or not? The fact that it is called "Medinas ha'Yam" should not automatically require that "b'Fanai Nichtav" be said if there are "Shayaros Metzuyos."
The same question may be asked on the Gemara earlier (4a), which says "she'Lo Tachlok b'Medinas ha'Yam" even according to Rava.
The answer is that according to Rava, the decree was to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" when one travels from one Medinah to another. If a river in Eretz Yisrael is not considered part of Eretz Yisrael, it is considered a different Medinah, a Medinah in its own right. Although there are "Shayaros Metzuyos," a Shali'ach still must say "b'Fanai Nichtav" since he is bringing the Get across a border from one Medinah to another. The same applies to two neighboring cities on opposite sides of the border between two Medinos. The requirement to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" applies because of "she'Lo Tachlok b'Medinah l'Medinah," according to Rebbi Eliezer, even if one city is "Muvla" within the border of the other Medinah. The Tana Kama of the Mishnah will exempt any cities in different Medinos which are either "Muvla" or "Samuch" to the other Medinah.
However, if the decree was to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" even when there are "Shayaros Metzuyos" in certain places because of "she'Lo Tachlok b'Medinas ha'Yam," then why should "b'Fanai Nichtav" not be necessary after the people became Beki'in Lishmah in Bavel, or after transportation between places in Bavel became frequent (according to Rashi on 6a, m'Chi Asa)? There is a rule that any Gezeirah made by the Chachamim "b'Minyan" needs another Minyan of Chachamim to remove it. When did the Chachamim remove the Gezeirah to say "b'Fanai Nichtav"?
The answer must be similar to the answer that TOSFOS gives to a parallel question in Avodah Zarah (35a and 57b). The Gezeirah was made only to apply to places which were not Beki'in Lishmah, or which did not have "Shayaros Metzuyos" between them. Although in a country where the Gezeirah applied generally, it also applied to the few cities that were exceptions and were Beki'in Lishmah and Metzuyin l'Kaimo, nevertheless for an entire country that was Beki'in Lishmah and Metzuyin l'Kaimo the Gezeirah was never instituted. (See also Tosfos to Beitzah 6a, DH v'ha'Idna.)
4) SOIL OF CHUTZ LA'ARETZ IN ERETZ YISRAEL
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that plants which grow in soil of Chutz la'Aretz in a boat on a river in Eretz Yisrael are obligated in Ma'aser and Shevi'is. Rebbi Yehudah exempts such plants, except when the boat is "Gosheshes" (it touches the riverbed). The Gemara suggests that the same Machlokes would apply in the case of an Atzitz Nakuv on top of stilts in Eretz Yisrael.
With regard to an Atzitz Nakuv, the Gemara does not mention that it contains soil of Chutz la'Aretz. Presumably, the Halachah would apply regardless of the source of its soil. Why, then, does the Mishnah mention specifically that the plants in the boat grow in soil of "Chutz la'Aretz"?
(a) The MISHNEH L'MELECH (Hilchos Bikurim 2:9, DH v'Da she'Rabeinu Ovadyah) writes that it is an obvious and simple fact that soil of Chutz la'Aretz and soil of Eretz Yisrael have the same Halachah: when it is in an Atzitz Nakuv resting on the ground it is considered part of Eretz Yisrael, and when it is separated from Eretz Yisrael it is considered part of Chutz la'Aretz and is exempt from Ma'aser and Shevi'is. He adds that this point is clear from the Gemara here as well (presumably because if plants that grow in soil of Eretz Yisrael are obligated in Ma'aser when the soil is on the boat, why should a Shali'ach who brings a Get from the boat be obligated to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" as though he brings a Get from Chutz la'Aretz?). He explains that the reason why the Mishnah says that the soil is from Chutz la'Aretz is to teach that even soil from Chutz la'Aretz has the status of Eretz Yisrael when it arrives in a boat within the boundaries of Eretz Yisrael (according to the Chachamim in every case, and according to Rebbi Yehudah only when the boat is "Gosheshes").
(b) However, RABEINU KRESKAS and the ME'IRI explain that the Atzitz Nakuv resting on top of stilts -- which the Gemara compares to plants in a boat on a river in Eretz Yisrael -- also contains soil from Chutz la'Aretz. Their words imply that there is a difference between soil of Chutz la'Aretz and soil of Eretz Yisrael. If the soil would be from Eretz Yisrael, even Rebbi Yehudah would agree that the plants that grow in it are obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros.
This also seems evident from TOSFOS (DH Ha Rebbi Yehudah). Tosfos asks, why is a Shali'ach not obligated to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" when he brings a Get from an upper story (Aliyah) of a house in Eretz Yisrael? After all, it should be no different from a case of a plant in soil from Chutz la'Aretz that was brought to that Aliyah which is exempt from Ma'aser (because it is like a plants in an Atzitz she'Eino Nakuv)! Tosfos' question implies that he maintains that plants that grow in soil from Eretz Yisrael are obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros even if they grow in an Atzitz she'Eino Nakuv.
Tosfos must have learned this from the Mishnah which implies that plants in soil from Eretz Yisrael in a boat that is not "Gosheshes" are obligated in Ma'aseros even according to Rebbi Yehudah. (When the TOSFOS HA'ROSH asks this question, he omits the words "[soil] of Chutz la'Aretz," which implies that he understands the Gemara like the Mishneh l'Melech.)
The MIKDASH DAVID (Zera'im 55a) cites proof to this from the Yerushalmi (Chalah 2:1) which says that if earth from the riverbank on the western side of the Jordan River washes away to the eastern side, the plants which grow there are obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros. This implies that the earth of Eretz Yisrael is always obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros, regardless of where it is (unless it is placed on top of earth of Chutz la'Aretz, in which case it becomes Batel to Chutz la'Aretz). The Yerushalmi (Chalah 4:4:) explains that the reason why soil of Chutz la'Aretz in a boat becomes obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros is the Halachah that when land outside of Eretz Yisrael is conquered it becomes like land of Eretz Yisrael with regard to Ma'aseros. The soil in the boat (when the boat is not "Gosheshes" according to the Chachamim, or when it is "Gosheshes" according to Rebbi Yehudah) is obligated in Ma'aseros because it is transformed into soil of Eretz Yisrael by virtue of its location on a river which is inside Eretz Yisrael (it is as if it was conquered). (See also the explanation of MAHARI BEN MALKITZEDEK on the Mishnah there.) This implies that if the soil originally came from Eretz Yisrael it certainly would be obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros.
According to this opinion, why should a person who brings a Get from a boat in Eretz Yisrael be obligated to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" just because the soil of Chutz la'Aretz is exempt from Terumos and Ma'aseros? If the boat would contain soil of Eretz Yisrael, it would be obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros, and the only reason why the soil of Chutz la'Aretz is exempt is that it is not mixed together with the land of Eretz Yisrael (and therefore it is not considered as if it was conquered) and it is not Batel to the rest of the land of Eretz Yisrael! The boat itself, however, might be considered to be in Eretz Yisrael, but it cannot be Mevatel the soil of Chutz la'Aretz inside of it because the soil of Chutz la'Aretz still remains separate and distinct.
It must be that the soil of Chutz la'Aretz becomes Batel to Eretz Yisrael when it is brought to Eretz Yisrael not because it is no longer recognizable and distinct, but because everything underneath it is Eretz Yisrael, and the upper soil cannot have a different status than everything beneath it unless it is separated from the rest of the ground (in an Atzitz she'Eino Nakuv). Therefore, if a boat floating on the river would be considered to be touching the ground of Eretz Yisrael, the soil inside of it would be like topsoil (since the boat is considered like an Atzitz Nakuv). Since Rebbi Yehudah maintains that plants that grow in the boat are not obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros, he does not consider the boat to be resting on the land of Eretz Yisrael (since the water is not considered like part of Eretz Yisrael). Consequently, a person standing on the boat is considered standing in Chutz la'Aretz.
(According to this opinion, whenever the Mishnah discusses the Halachah of Atzitz Nakuv, it refers to an Atzitz Nakuv filled with soil from Chutz la'Aretz.)