MEGILAH 25 - Dedicated by Mrs. Gitti Kornfeld in memory of her father, Reb Yisrael Shimon ben Shlomo ha'Levi Turkel, whose Yahrzeit is on 10 Av.

[25a - 47 lines; 25b - 45 lines]

1)[line 3]המכנה בעריותHA'MECHANEH B'ARAYOS- one who substitutes words which distort the prohibitions of sexual immorality

2)[line 5]להעביר למולךL'HA'AVIR LA'MOLECH- to pass to Molech (an idolatry/cult served by passing one's child(ren) through fire)

3)[line 5]לאעברא בארמיותאL'A'ABARA B'ARAMAYUSA- to impregnate a non-Jew

4)[line 6]בנזיפהB'NEZIFAH- with rebuke

5)[line 20]לרצויי למריהL'RATZUYEI L'MAREI- to appease his master

6)[line 25]סיימתינהו לשבחיה דמרךSIYAMTINHU L'SHIVCHEI D'MARACH- have you completed the praises of your master?!

7)[line 29]"ועתה ישראל מה ה' אלקיך שאל מעמך כי אם ליראה ...""V'ATAH YISRAEL, MAH HASH-M ELOKECHA SHO'EL ME'IMACH, KI IM L'YIR'AH …" - "And now Yisrael, what does HaSh-m ask from you other than to fear [HaSh-m your G-d to go in all His ways, and to love Him and to serve HaSh-m with all your heart and with all your soul." (Devarim 10:12) (THE FEAR OF HASH-M)

(a)The Gemara learns from this verse that "everything is in the hands of HaSh-m except for Yir'as Shamayim." The reason why the Gemara does not explain the verse simply to mean that Yir'as Shamayim is the only thing that HaSh-m asks of us is that there are so many more things that the Torah expects of us, many of which are listed in these verses (Torah Temimah).

(b)Rather, what the Torah means is that there is only one thing that we are obligated to develop, and that is Yir'as Shamayim. Once we have that, all other attributes and Midos that we are expected to attain are in the Hands of HaSh-m, and He will help us to attain them.

(c)It is interesting to note that although almost every phrase from "l'Ahavah Oso" onwards contains the prefix "Vav" ("and"), the phrase that precedes it ("la'Leches b'Chol Derachav") does not. This may imply that HaSh-m is indeed asking us only to fear Him, and once one attains that, then going in His ways, loving Him, and serving Him follow automatically. Accordingly, the verse may be read as follows: "And now Yisrael, what does HaSh-m ask from you other than to fear Him, in order to go in all His ways, to love Him, and to serve Him...."

8)[line 38]חברותא כלפי שמיאCHAVRUSA KELAPEI SHEMAYA- he is a colleague of HaSh-m?!

9)[line 38]מחינא ליה בארזפתא דנפחאMECHINA LEI B'ARZATFA D'NAFCHA- I will hit him with a smith's hammer (O.F. martil)

10)[line 40]קלון אביוKELON AVIV- the shame of his father

11)[line 44]מעשה דוד ואמנוןMA'ASEH DAVID V'AMNON- the episode of David and Amnon

12)[line 44]במרכבהMERKAVAH- chariot (of HaSh-m, described in Yechezkel's prophecy)

13)[line 43]מעשה דוד ואמנוןMA'ASEH DAVID V'AMNON

(a)Tamar was the daughter of David and Ma'achah, daughter of the King of Geshur, whom David had captured in war and who conceived before she converted. Tamar was the (biological) sister of Avshalom, who was also a child of David and Ma'achah, but who was conceived after she converted.

(b)Amnon, one of David's sons (but from a different mother than Tamar), became enraptured with his (biological) half-sister, Tamar. Not quite knowing what to do about it, Amnon kept his feelings to himself, causing him to become increasingly dejected with each passing day.

(c)Amnon had a friend by the name of Yonadav, who took note of Amnon's dejected appearance, and asked him about it. Amnon poured out his heart to his friend, who proposed a plan which Amnon proceeded to put into practice. He pretended to be ill, knowing that his father would come to visit him. When David ha'Melech came to visit him, Amnon told his father that the only way to arouse his appetite was to send Tamar to prepare him a meal in his presence (as the aroma of the food would arouse his appetite). His request was granted; David ha'Melech sent Tamar to Amnon's chambers to cook a meal for him.

(d)Tamar prepared pancakes in Amnon's presence, and placed them in front of him, but he refused to eat them. After asking everyone else in the room to leave, he told Tamar to bring the pancakes into his bedroom and to feed him directly. She did, and as she approached him, he grabbed hold of her and asked her to lie with him. She pleaded with him to desist, arguing that this was not to be done in Yisrael, and she begged him not to act in such a disgusting way. She claimed all he had to do was to ask the king for permission to marry her, a request that the king certainly would have granted (for, as explained earlier, Tamar was related to Amnon only biologically, but not Halachically).

(e)Amnon, however, overcome by lust, was not interested in her suggestion. After he raped her, he felt a loathing towards Tamar that was even more powerful than the love that he had previously felt for her. Once again he ignored her supplications (that he marry her) and ordered her to leave immediately. To ensure that she left, he called his valet and instructed him to throw her out and to lock the door.

(f)The Radak explains that this unnatural hatred was a Heavenly decree, designated to cause Avshalom's hatred of Amnon, resulting in his personal vendetta and his ultimate revenge by killing Amnon. It was part of HaSh-m's punishment for David's mistakes with Bas Sheva and Uriyah ha'Chiti, as the Navi specifically informed David at the time (see also Rashi and Ralbag).

(g)Tamar, overcome by embarrassment, placed ashes on her head, tore the special cloak that princesses wore, and walked around screaming in distress, until Avshalom met her. Guessing immediately what had happened, he calmed her down and invited her to stay with him. The seeds of hatred had been planted, and he waited for an opportunity to avenge his sister's honor.

14)[line 44]"הודע את ירושלם""HODA ES YERUSHALAYIM" - "[And the word of HaSh-m came to me saying. And now son of man,] inform Yerushalayim [of its abominations.]" (Yechezkel 16:1-2). (THE ABOMINATIONS OF YERUSHALAYIM)

(a)HaSh-m lists the abominations of the people, starting from the early days in Egypt. He first mentions His kindnesses. He compares Yisrael in Egypt to a newborn, abandoned baby lying in the field with nobody to see to its needs. He describes how He cared for them and provided them with all of their needs. He helped them to grow and mature until they reached marriageable age. Then, after clothing them and giving them ornaments, He "married" them (at Har Sinai).

(b)What did Yisrael do? Starting already in Egypt, they were unfaithful to HaSh-m. Moreover, they took all the gifts which He had showered upon them and gave them to their mistresses (a metaphor for idolatry).

(c)The prophet goes on to explain how this scenario recurred, first in the desert, and then over and over again in Eretz Kena'an. He describes how they adopted the gods of all the surrounding nations, and how the ten tribes did not learn from the fate of Sedom and Amorah, and how Yehudah and Binyamin did not learn from the fate of their sister, the ten tribes.


15)[line 11]פייגא דעתייהו דצבוראPAIGA DA'ATAIHU D'TZIBURA- the congregation will despair

16)[line 16]מעשה פילגש בגבעהMA'ASEH PILEGESH B'GIV'AH- the episode of the concubine in Giv'ah (which led to a civil war)

17)[line 23]לכבולKEVUL- the name of a city (towards the south-east of Akko)

18)[line 33]בטחוריםTECHORIM- the anal sphincter (from which we excrete)

19)[line 33]דביוניםDIVYONIM- what flows (DAV is Aramaic for Zav) from doves (Yonim), i.e. excrement

20)[line 34]"[ויאמר אליהם רב שקה העל אדניך ואליך שלחני אדני לדבר את הדברים האלה הלא על האנשים הישבים על החמה] לאכל את צואתם ולשתות את מימי רגליהם [עמכם]""... LE'ECHOL ES TZO'ASAM V'LISHTOS ES MEIMEI RAGLEIHEM..." - "[And Ravshakeh said to them, 'Did my master send me to speak these words to your master and to you? Did he not send me to speak to the men, who will be forced to sit on the wall] to eat their feces and to drink their urine [with you?]" (Melachim II 18:27). (RAVSHAKEH)

(a) Sancheriv, king of Ashur, having completed the exile of the ten tribes in the fourteenth year of Chizkiyahu's reign, turned to Yehudah. He succeeded in seizing all of the fortified cities, and he set his sights on Yerushalayim. When Chizkiyahu apologized for having rebelled against him, he clamped on him a hefty fine. To pay this fine, Chizkiyahu found it necessary to empty the Beis ha'Mikdash treasury and even to cut down the valuable doors of the Heichal, all of which he handed to Sancheriv.

(b)However, Sancheriv tricked Chizkiyahu. Despite of the having taken the fine, he sent a large army to besiege Yerushalayim under his general, Ravshakeh, an apostate Jew.

(c)Ravshakeh called for the Jewish king to appear and listen to his message, but it was three dignitaries who appeared on the wall instead, led by Elyakim ben Chilkiyah who was in charge of the king's household. Addressing himself to Chizkiyahu, Ravshakeh proceeded to chide Chizkiyahu for placing his trust in Egypt, whom he compared to a broken cane. Moreover, he mocked Chizkiyahu for trusting in HaSh-m, Who, he assured him, would not save him despite of all of Chizkiyahu's efforts to clear Yisrael of all the Bamos and forbidden altars. On the contrary, Ravshakeh explained, it was with HaSh-m's blessing that the Assyrian army reached Yerushalayim, and Chizkiyahu's soldiers, in their weak state, were no match for his.

(d)Elyakim ben Chilkiyahu and the other dignitaries pleaded with Ravshakeh to switch from Lashon ha'Kodesh (the language in which he was speaking) to Aramaic, which they understood but the people did not. Their intention was that the people should not hear his harsh words (which did not concern them). Ravshakeh had different ideas, and his reply is contained in the above verse with reference to the hunger that would accompany the siege that was about to begin.

(e)Tragically, what Ravshakeh had said until now was nothing compared to what he was about to say. Pointing out how no god had saved his nation from the hand of Sancheriv, he went on to compare HaSh-m (keva'Yachol) to all the other gods. They did not succeed, and HaSh-m (keva'Yachol) would not succeed either.

(f)Following Ravshakeh's blasphemous speech, the three men tore their garments and went to inform Chizkiyahu ha'Melech, who did likewise when he heard what Ravshakeh had said.

(g)The only positive aspect of his speech, which was not his own, of course, but his master Sancheriv's, was his inferred praise of Eretz Yisrael. For this HaSh-m rewarded Sancheriv by conferring upon him the title "the great and venerated Asnapar" (Ezra 4:10).

21)[line 34]"[ויתצו את מצבת הבעל ויתצו את בית הבעל וישמהו] למוצאות [עד היום]""... L'MOTZA'OS..." - "[And they smashed the basis of the statue of Ba'al, and they smashed the house of Ba'al, and turned it] into a bathroom [until this day.]" (Melachim II 10:27) - "L'Motza'os" means "the things which leave" (i.e. excrement). (YEHU DESTROYS BA'AL AND ITS ADHERENTS)

(a)Yehu, who had been anointed by Yonah (under the auspices of Elisha) to succeed Yoram ben Achav as king of Yisrael, had been charged by the prophet to exterminate Achav's entire family, starting with his wife Izevel, and his son and successor Yoram. He set about doing this with admirable thoroughness, incorporating all of the worshippers of Ba'al in his initial killing spree, which included Achav's numerous sons, as well as his son-in-law Achazyahu, king of Yehudah (who was no less an idolater than Achav himself) and his numerous brothers. Nobody escaped his sharp sword, including anyone who had professed to be a relative of Achav or of Achazyahu.

(b)Finally, he arrived in Shomron and called for all the prophets, servants, and priests of Ba'al, without exception, to gather in the temple of Ba'al in his honor. Pretending to be a loyal follower of Ba'al, he ordered all the followers of Ba'al to wear the special vestments that were worn for such occasions. Then, together with Yonadav ben Reichav, he entered the temple and ordered the removal of anyone who was not an adherent of Ba'al, at which point the priests proceeded to bring sacrifices to Ba'al.

(c)Meanwhile, the eighty men loyal to HaSh-m, whom Yehu placed outside the temple with orders to kill every single person who remained inside, were waiting for the designated signal from Yehu.

(d)As they finished sacrificing, Yehu gave the signal to proceed, and the men carried out his instructions to the letter. Not a single worshipper of Ba'al survived. When they finished their gruesome task, they destroyed all of the single-stone altars of Ba'al, and, finally, they demolished the temple of Ba'al (as described in the verse). With that, Yehu successfully abolished every trace of Ba'al and the idolatry connected with it. He was rewarded with a promise that four generations of his would rule over Yisrael (more than any other king of Yisrael merited).

(e)Unfortunately, however, he failed to rid Yisrael of the two altars in Beis El and Dan which Yeravam had set up. Worse than that, he eventually followed in Yeravam's footsteps and himself became a follower of Ba'al.

22)[line 37]"כרע בל קרס נבו""KARA BEL KORES NEVO"- "Bel and Nevo (the idols of Babylon) bowed [amidst diarrhea.]" (Yeshayah 46:1)

23)[line 37]"קרסו כרעו יחדיו לא יכלו מלט משא""KARSU KAR'U YACHDAV LO YACHLU MALET MASA"- "They bowed together, they could not excrete properly." (Yeshayah 46:2)

24)[line 38]"לעגלות בית און יגורו שכן שומרון כי אבל עליו עמו וכמריו עליו יגילו""L'EGLOS BEIS AVEN YAGURU SHECHAN SHOMRON KI AVAL ALAV AMO, U'CHEMARAV ALAV YAGILU"- "Because of the (idolatrous) calves of Beis On (i.e. Beis El), its neighbor Shomron fears, for its nation mourns over it (the calves that were taken captive) and its priests rejoice over it." (Hoshea 10:5)

25)[line 39]כבידוKEVEIDO- its heavy burden, i.e. its excrement

26)[line 41]בשין תיו שלוB'SHIN TAV SHELO- on its buttocks (SHIN TOV = SHES, Yeshaya 20:8, foundation). The Rif's girsa is SHELCHA (in your buttocks)

27)[line 42]דסנאי שומעניהSAN'EI SHUM'ANEI- he is notorious for immorality (lit. hateful are his reports)

28)[line 42]בגימ''ל ושי''ןB'GIMEL V'SHIN- with being the son of a convert (GIMEL - Giyorta) and slave (SHIN - Shifcha)


29)[last line]מטפחותMITPACHOS- covers of a Sefer