KIDUSHIN 76 (Lag b'Omer) - dedicated by Avi and Lily Berger of Queens, N.Y., in memory of Lily's father, Mr. Benny Krieger (Chananel Benayahu ben Harav Yisrael Avraham Aba), zt"l. Mr. Krieger exemplified Ahavas Chesed, Ahavas Torah and Ahavas Eretz Yisrael.

The reference numbers below that appear in parentheses (e.g., TY #43) represent vessels or parts of the structure of the Beis ha'Mikdash. The labeling follows that of the diagram of the Tiferes Yisrael. This diagram, which has been included in a separate mailing and can also be found on our site (at, is printed both in the Tiferes Yisrael Mishnayos (Midos Chapter 2 or following Midos) and in Rav P. Kahati's Mishnayos (page 290, at the beginning of Midos).

[76a - 43 lines; 76b - 46 lines]

1)[line 1]ופוטרים את הנשואותPOTRIM ES HA'NESU'OS- they exempt the fully-married women (married with Nisu'in) from Yibum and Chalitzah altogether

2)[line 8]מצת כותיMATZAS KUSI - the Matzah of a Kusi (KUSIM)

(a)The King of Ashur brought the people of Kusa to Eretz Yisrael and made them settle in the Shomron. They converted to Judaism after they found themselves under attack from lions (Melachim II 17:24-41 - See Background to Kidushin 75:12). The Chachamim disagree as to whether their conversion was honest and valid (Geirei Emes) or not (Geirei Arayos).

(b)After the times of the Mishnah, the Kusim were found worshipping an image of a dove (Chulin 6a) and the Chachamim gave them the status of Nochrim. (According to most Rishonim, this means that they decided to treat them like Nochrim l'Chumra, even if they were Geirei Emes. According to the RAMBAM (Peirush ha'Mishnayos to Berachos 8:8 et al), however, this means that they decided that their conversion was not sincere and deemed them Nochrim (Geirei Arayos) for all Halachic matters.)

(c)The Kusim kept many Mitzvos of the Torah down to their last detail. For example, Matzos that were baked by the Kusim, besides being perfectly free of Chametz, were fit to be used for the Mitzvah d'Oraisa of eating a k'Zayis of Matzah Shemurah on the Seder night (Tosefta Pesachim 2:2, Kidushin 76a). However, there were other Mitzvos that they did not keep at all. For example, the Kusim did not refrain from causing others to sin (which is prohibited by the verse, "Lifnei Iver Lo Siten Michshol" - "You shall not put a stumbling block before the blind" - Vayikra 19:14).

(d)One of the Halachos about which the Kusim were not careful was the requirement of Kidushin (betrothal) before marriage. Kidushin forms a bond of husband and wife that is only severed by a Get (bill of divorce), but Kusim would not give a Get after effecting Kidushin with a woman. It is possible that one Kusi effected Kidushin with a woman and another Kusi married her before she received a Get from her first husband, a situation that led Chazal to fear that many of their offspring might be Mamzerim (RASHI to Yevamos 37a).

3)[line 14]בקיאין בתורת קידושין וגירושיןBEKI'IN B'SORAS KIDUSHIN V'GEIRUSHIN

See previous entry, (d).

4)[line 22]אשה כהנתISHAH KOHENES- a woman who is the daughter of a Kohen

5)[line 22]ארבע אמהות שהן שמנהARBA IMAHOS SHE'HEN SHEMONAH- four lines of maternal lineage, which are actually eight individuals

6)[line 23]ואם אבי אמה ואמהV'EM AVI IMAH V'IMAH- and the mother of the father of her mother (i.e. her great-grandmother), and her mother (i.e. her great-great-grandmother)

7)[line 25]מוסיפין עליהן עוד אחתMOSIFIN ALEIHEN OD ACHAS- we add another one (maternal forebear to investigate) in addition to those

8)[line 26]אין בודקין לא מן המזבח ולמעלהEIN BODKIN LO MIN HA'MIZBE'ACH UL'MA'ALAH- (lit. we do not check from the Mizbe'ach and above) If a Kohen has been performing the Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash, his lineage is not questioned

9)[line 27]הדוכןHA'DUCHAN

(a)The Duchan was a platform with three steps that was hewn into the stone floor of the Azarah. Each step was half an Amah high and half an Amah wide. The bottom step rose one Amah above Ezras Yisrael. The highest step was level with the floor of Ezras Kohanim. The distance from the beginning of the lowest step until the Mizbe'ach was 11 Amos, all of which was Ezras Kohanim. The Duchan extended for the entire width of the Azarah (135 Amos).

(b)The main purpose of the Duchan was for the Leviyim to stand upon it facing the Sanctuary (their backs to the people) while singing to HaSh-m, when the Kohanim offered the daily obligatory public Korbenos Olah (burnt offerings) or the Shelamim (peace offering) of Shavuos. They also played musical instruments to accompany the singing.

(c)The Duchan was also used for Birkas Kohanim (see Background to Kidushin 71:17) when there were too many Kohanim standing on the steps of the Heichal, the usual place for Birkas Kohanim. (They would face the people, with their backs towards the sides of the Azarah, in order that their backs should not be turned towards the Heichal.) (Notes of the TIFERES YISRAEL on the Beis ha'Mikdash Diagram TY #25 and TIFERES YISRAEL to Midos 2:6)

(d)If one served on the Duchan, it could serve as proof that one is of prestigious ancestry, and that he is a Levi.

10)[line 28]משוטרי הרביםSHOTREI HA'RABIM- officials (judges - RASHI 76b) of the public

11)[line 28]וגבאי צדקהGABA'EI TZEDAKAH- collectors or treasurers of charity funds

12)[line 31]בערכי הישנה של ציפוריB'ERCHEI HA'YESHANAH SHEL TZIPORI- in the court of Yeshanah, a city near Tzipori

13)[line 32]מוכתב באסטרטיא של מלךMUCHTAV B'ISTERATYA SHEL MELECH- one who is [an ancestor of a man who was] listed [as a soldier] in the records of the army of King [David]

14)[line 35]מינצוMINTZU- quarrel

15)[line 41]ד' אמהות שהם שתים עשרהARBA IMAHOS SHE'HEM SHTEIM ESREI- four lines of maternal lineage, which are actually twelve individuals

16)[line 42]ד' אמהות שהם שש עשרהARBA IMAHOS SHE'HEM SHESH ESREI- four lines of maternal lineage, which are actually sixteen individuals


17)[line 2]זוג אחתZUG ACHAS- one additional pair of mothers (a mother and a grandmother)

18)[line 6]כשקורא עליו ערערKESH'KOREI ALAV IR'ER- when a protest about her lineage has been issued (through the testimony of two witnesses in court, claiming that they heard people say that her lineage was flawed)

19)[line 16]מנוקין בצדקMENUKIN B'TZEDEK- (lit. cleansed with justice) totally just

20)[line 17]"כולך יפה רעיתי ומום אין בך""KULACH YAFAH RA'AYASI, U'MUM EIN BACH"- "You are entirely beautiful, my love, there is no blemish in you" (Shir ha'Shirim 4:7).

21)[line 19]"והקל מעליך ונשאו אתך""V'HAKEL ME'ALECHA, V'NAS'U ITACH"- "It will become eased from upon you, and they will bear [the burden] with you" (Shemos 18:22).

22)[line 25]ממשכנים על הצדקהMEMASHKENIM AL HA'TZEDAKAH- the treasurers of charity funds are entitled to seize property as collateral for money owed to charity

23)[line 27]סררותא דמתאSERARUSA D'MASA- authority over the affairs of the town

24)[line 28]"שום תשים עליך מלך... מקרב אחיך [תשים עליך מלך לא תוכל לתת עליך איש נכרי אשר לא אחיך הוא]""SOM TASIM ALECHA MELECH...; MI'KEREV ACHECHA [TASIM ALECHA MELECH, LO SUCHAL LASES ALECHA ISH NOCHRI ASHER LO ACHICHA HU]"- "You shall surely set over yourself a king...; from among your brothers [you shall set over yourself a king, you may not put over you a foreigner who is not your brother]" (Devarim 17:15).

25)[line 29]משימותMESIMOS- appointments (to positions of authority)

26)[line 34]מטפל בהוMETAPEL BEHU- he dealt with them (converts) [in a kind manner]

27)[line 35]ריש כוריREISH KUREI- the head inspector of weights and measures

28)[line 36]ריש גרגותאREISH GARGUSA- the inspector of irrigation (who makes sure that no one took water from the well on a day that was not designated for him to take)

29)[line 39]"והתיחסם בצבא במלחמה""V'HISYACHASAM BA'TZAVA BA'MILCHAMAH"- "And their lineage was verified in the army, in the war" (Divrei ha'Yamim I 7:40).

30)[line 40]צלק העמוניTZELEK HA'AMONI- Tzelek the Amonite (Shmuel II 23:37), presumably descended from Amon (see Background to Kidushin 74:20)

31)[line 42]"[ויתאוה דוד ויאמר מי ישקני מים מבאר בית לחם אשר בשער. ויבקעו שלשת הגברים במחנה פלשתים וישאבו מים מבאר בית לחם אשר בשער וישאו ויבאו אל דוד ולא אבה לשתותם ויסך אתם לה'...] צלק העמוני [נחרי הבארתי נשאי כלי יואב בן צריה....] אוריה החתי [כל שלשים ושבעה]""... TZELEK HA'AMONI... URI'AH HA'CHITI... " - "[And David desired (to drink), and he said, 'If only someone would bring me water from the well of Beis Lechem which is by the gate.' And three mighty men broke through the camp of the Pelishtim and they drew water from the well... which was situated beside the gate; and they took it and brought it to David, who declined to drink it, and he poured it out for HaSh-m....] Tzelek the Amoni, [Nachrai the Be'erosi, the armor-bearers of Yoav ben Tzeruyah...] Uriyah the Hitite; all his mighty men numbered thirty-seven]" (Shmuel II 23:15-16, 37-39) (KING DAVID'S MIGHTY MEN AND A DRINK OF WATER)

(a)On an exceptionally hot day towards the end of his life, David expressed a desire for some cold water from the well of Beis Lechem, which was nearby. Upon hearing his wish, three of his mighty men broke through the ranks of a powerful contingent of Pelishtim who gathered there to wage war, and brought him the water that he requested. David, however, declined to drink it, since the men had contravened the Halachah by risking their lives to obtain it. Instead, he poured it out in the name of HaSh-m.

(b)The verses proceed to list the other exceptionally strong men in David's army, beginning with Adino ha'Etzni, Elazar ben Dodo, and Shamah ben Agei (although it is obvious that Yoav, the general, topped the list); then Avishai ben Tzeruyah and Benayahu ben Yehoyadah (some of whose incredible feats the Navi lists), and Asah'el ben Tzeruyah, brother of Yoav and Avishai.

(c)The Navi then goes on to list some thirty names, ending with those mentioned above.

32)[line 41]אוריה החתיURIYAH HA'CHITI- Uriyah the Hitite (Shmuel II 23:39), presumably descended from Ches, one of the seven nations whom the Jewish people were commanded to destroy upon entering Eretz Yisrael

33)[line 42]"[ויאמר המלך אל] אתי הגתי [למה תלך גם אתה אתנו שוב ושב עם המלך כי נכרי אתה וגם גלה אתה למקומך]""... ITAI HA'GITI..." - "[And the king (David) said to] Itai from Gas, ['Why will you go with us? Return to your place and remain with the king (Adoniyahu), for you are a foreigner and even if you are an exile, go back to your place']" (Shmuel II 15:19) (ITAI HA'GITI)

(a)Itai the Gitite was presumably descended from Gas, a people of the Philistines.

(b)Following Adoniyahu's rebellion against his father, David (see Sotah 34b), David is forced to flee Yerushalayim. He is currently taking stock of all those loyal to him who are accompanying him as he leaves Yerushalayim, among them 600 men from Gas who, according to some, were Nochrim, and who had come to know him when he was on the run from Shaul ha'Melech many years earlier.

(c)When David spotted Itai ha'Giti among them, he took pity on him, for he had moved to Yerushalayim from Gas just recently, and it would be most unsettling for him to have to be exiled again (together with his family, who were with him). Moreover, he was not known to be a follower of David, and thus he was not in danger of being molested by Avshalom.

(d)Itai insisted, however, on accompanying the king wherever he went, whatever that entailed. David waved him and his family on to join the ranks of the exiles.

34)[line 43]אתי הגיתי בא ובטלהITAI HA'GITI BA U'VATLAH - Itai the Gitite came and annulled it (the idol) (AVODAH ZARAH: BITULAH)

It is impossible to Mevatel (nullify) an Avodah Zarah that belongs to a Jew. A Nochri can Mevatel an Avodah Zarah that belongs to a Nochri, whether it is his own or it belongs to someone else, thereby removing its Isur Hana'ah. There is a Machlokes whether the Nochri must do some abusive action to the Avodah Zarah in order to annul it (e.g. cutting off its nose) or it is enough to verbally annul it (Yoreh De'ah 146).

35)[line 44]יפת תוארYEFAS TO'AR

(a)The Torah (Devarim 21:10-14) permits a Jewish soldier to take home a foreign female prisoner of war, convert her, and marry her. The Torah permits this "only in recognition of the power of a man's evil inclination," in order to prevent the strong likelihood that some Jews might be overcome by their Yetzer ha'Ra and engage in forbidden relations with her.

(b)However, the Torah requires first that she undergo a thirty-day period of mourning for her parents (as well as for their idolatrous practices; Yevamos 48b, RAMBAM Hilchos Melachim 8:5). This involves shaving her head, letting her fingernails grow (or be cut; see Yevamos 48b), and replacing the fine garments that she was wearing when she was captured with ordinary clothes. This is done in order to make her less attractive (RASHI to Devarim ibid., IBN EZRA to Devarim ibid.) and to signify purification and a new status (CHIZKUNI to Devarim ibid.).

(c)There is a Machlokes Rishonim regarding whether it is permitted for the Jewish soldier to have relations with the Yefas To'ar a single time, during the war, before bringing her home (RAMBAM, RABEINU TAM), or whether such an act during war is forbidden and that the soldier must wait until after her period of mourning is completed (RASHI, according to TOSFOS; see RITVA).

36)[line 44]מסתפרים קומיMISTAPRIM KUMI- they would cut [their hair] in front (in the manner of Nochrim)

37)[line 45]ומגדלים בלוריתU'MEGADLIM BELURIS- and they would grow Beluris, the long hair grown at the back of the head by idol worshipping youths of the upper classes in honor of their gods (that was offered to their gods once a year).

38)[line 45]בקרוניות של זהבKARONIYOS SHEL ZAHAV- chariots of gold

39)[line 45]בראשי גייסותROSHEI GAYASOS- the heads of the battle troops

40)[last line]בעלי אגרופיםBA'ALEI EGROFIM- strong men

41)[last line]דאזלי לבעותי עלמאD'AZLEI LI'VE'USEI ALMA- they went into battle only in order to frighten the [enemy] people (but they were not actual members of the army, since they were not of pure lineage)