GEMARA - Maseches Me'ilah, like Temurah and Kerisus, is one of the more difficult Masechtos. What makes it particularly difficult, though, is not the many corrections of the text (as in Temurah), or the considerable length of each page (as in Kerisus), but rather the wording of the Gemara itself is difficult. As TOSFOS (16a, DH v'Rebbi Yehudah Hi... Mai Irya...) writes, "the wording of Maseches Me'ilah is different from all other Gemaras." It is often terse in places that require elucidation, and it uses idiomatic expressions that are not used in other Masechtos. In several places, even after studying all of the Rishonim and Acharonim who toiled to explain the Sugya, it is difficult to fit the various explanations into the Gemara's words. Nevertheless, the pages are generally short, and the Maseches itself is one of the shortest in Shas.
In order to facilitate understanding the Gemara, we write (in Daf-Insights) summaries of the difficult Sugyas, including summaries of the explanations of the Rishonim on those Sugyas. Similarly, will continue to explain (in Daf-Background) the difficult passages of the Gemara when they can be explained in concise terms.
RASHI - the Birkas ha'Zevach, at the beginning of Me'ilah, writes, "It appears that the explanation [of Rashi] in this Maseches is not that of Rashi himself, but rather it was written by one of his students. Pay heed and you will find that this is true." Indeed, we find several indications that the commentary in Me'ilah is not that of Rashi:
The commentary attributed to Rashi cites the words of his teachers in a style that is not endemic to Rashi (see, for example, Rashi 7a, DH v'Ha Ba'aya, "Amar ha'Moreh" (an expression often used by the Tosfos Rid when referring to Rashi); 13a, DH Ilan, "Amar Li Rebbi"; 15b, DH v'Amar Li; 17b, DH Aval; 19a, DH Akshinan, "Amar Lan Rebbi").
Furthermore, Tosfos does not cite the words of Rashi in a single place in all of Me'ilah. (On 14b, at the end of DH Mutar, Tosfos mentions an explanation of Rashi that does not appear in our texts. The Shitah Mekubetzes corrects the reading of Tosfos to say "Maharaf" (Rabeinu Peretz) instead of "Rashi." Tossfos in Yoma (59b, DH Ein) mentions Rashi's explanation to Me'ilah, but again that explanation does not appear in our texts.
In addition, throughout the Maseches, Tosfos explains every part of the Gemara, just as Rashi does throughout Shas, which indicates that Tosfos did not have any other Perush on the Maseches. (Tosfos in Nazir is similar in style to Tosfos in Me'ilah in this respect.)
The commentary printed in our texts was written either by Rashi's students, or by students of his students. We will follow the practice of the Birkas ha'Zevach who -- notwithstanding all that has been said concerning the authorship of Rashi's commentary on Me'ilah -- always refers to this commentary as "Rashi." (See more below in II:b.)
Besides the commentary of Rashi to Me'ilah, two other commentaries that resemble Rashi in style have been printed in the Gemara.
The first is printed in the Vilna edition of the Gemara after Maseches Midos, entitled "Perush Kadmon." Included in this Perush are numerous quotations from the "Rosh," which refers to Rabeinu Elyakim (and not Rabeinu Asher). (See our comments below regarding "Perush Rabeinu Gershom.")
The second was printed by Rav Avraham Sofer in 5726 (1967) as the first of two commentaries (see below for the second) that he published in "Shenei Perushim Kadmonim l'Maseches Me'ilah." In his introduction, Rav Sofer points out that this early Perush includes a number of explanations that Rashi and the Perush Kadmon refer to as "my Rebbi explained...." (The Perush Kadmon and the Perush published by Rav Sofer are very similar, and in many places their wording is identical, so much so that Rav Yakov David Ilan in his introduction to Me'ilah asserts that they are the same commentary. The Perush Kadmon in our Gemara covers less of the Maseches, however.)
TOSFOS - as we mentioned above, Tosfos in Me'ilah differs from Tosfos in other Masechtos, in that he explains the straightforward meaning (Peshat) of the Gemara, in the style of Rashi. Only after Tosfos explains the Peshat of the Gemara does he delve into asking and answering questions in the Sugya in the style of Tosfos in the rest of Shas. (This style is also used by Tosfos in Nazir.) It seem that the concise, Rashi-style comments of Tosfos and the more in-depth, Tosfos-style comments were written by two different authors and then combined, because Tosfos occasionally offers a Rashi-style explanation for the Gemara, and then, in a lengthier analysis of the Sugya, he disproves that explanation and offers an entirely different explanation of the Sugya (see for example Tosfos to 12b, DH v'Damav, and Tosfos to 16a, DH Meisivei).
In a number of places, Tosfos mentions "Mori Rabeinu ha'Rav Rebbi Peretz, she'Yichyeh" (6b, DH she'Lo; 14a, DH sheb'Asherah).
Unfortunately, many printing errors have crept into the text of Tosfos in Me'ilah, sometimes making it very difficult to understand his true intention. Regretfully, our Girsa section in the Daf-Background will be limited to Girsa corrections in Gemara and Rashi, due to limitations of time and resources.
A second commentary to Me'ilah by the authors of Tosfos has been published from manuscript by Rav Avraham Sofer. This commentary is the second of the two commentaries published by Rav Sofer in "Shenei Perushim Kadmonim" (1967).
SHENEI PERUSHIM KADMONIM - as mentioned above, Rav Avraham Sofer published two commentaries of Rishonim in this Sefer (1967), one in the style of Rashi and the other in the style of Tosfos.
RABEINU GERSHOM - as we mentioned in the introduction to Maseches Kerisus, Rav Betzalel Ashkenazi attributes this commentary to Rabeinu Elyakim bar Klonimus. Indeed, the Shitah Mekubetzes in Me'ilah, which frequently cites this commentary, consistently calls it by that name. The Rosh (Teshuvos, Klal 81:11) also calls the author of the "Perush Rabeinu Gershom" to Bava Basra that is printed in our editions, "Rabeinu Elyakim ha'Levi." However, the Aruch (Erech "Aran," Erech "Oref") attributes the commentary on Bava Basra to Rabeinu Gershom (see Rav Elchanan Wasserman Hy'd in his introduction to Kovetz He'oros; see also Rav Ilan's preface to Shitah Mekubetzes to Menachos, and the introduction to Perush Rabeinu Elyakim to Yoma, footnote #18, and pp. 24-25). In the manuscripts of the Shitah Mekubetzes (of Rav Ilan, see (c) below), which cite this commentary in its entirety, the commentary is also attributed to Rabeinu Gershom (however, see Rav Ilan's preface, as noted above).
Everything that appears in the Shitah Mekubetzes or in the Perush Kadmon (printed in our Gemaras) in the name of "Rosh" also appears in Perush Rabeinu Gershom. In Rav Ilan's edition of the Shitah Mekubetzes, the same citations are quoted in the name of "R'A" ("Rabeinu Elyakim"; see Rav Ilan's footnote to the Shitah Mekubetzes #54).
Whoever the author is, the following is clear: (1) It is likely that the same person authored all of the Perushei Rabeinu Gershom printed in the Vilna Shas (on Bava Basra and Ta'anis); (2) That author lived approximately at the time of Rashi or slightly before him; (3) Rashi appears to have had access to this commentary (see Introduction to Temurah I:b). (For more about Rabeinu Elyakim and Rabeinu Gershom, see Introduction to Yoma II:1:a, where we postulate that both the "Perush Rashi" on Me'ilah and the "Perush Rabeinu Gershom" are from the same school, as Rav Yakov David Ilan points out in his introduction to Me'ilah, footnote #40.)
SHITAH MEKUBETZES - an anthology of notes by Rishonim collected by Rav Betzalel Ashkenazi (the Rebbi of the Beis Yosef), frequently cites the comments of "Tosfos Kesav Yad" and "Gilyon Tosfos," although it does not mention a number of the other Rishonim that it quotes frequently in Maseches Kerisus. In general, the comments of the Shitah Mekubetzes in Me'ilah are much shorter than in the past few Masechtos. As in the past Masechtos, the Shitah Mekubetzes makes important corrections to the text of the Gemara.
Rav Yakov David Ilan printed the Shitah Mekubetzes from Rav Shlomo Adani's copy of Rav Betzalel Ashkenazi's notes. (Rav Adani, author of "Meleches Shlomo" on the Mishnayos, was a student of Rav Betzalel Ashkenazi.) According to Rav Ilan (in his preface), Rav Betzalel Ashkenazi prepared two separate manuscripts of his Shitah on Kodshim (some pages of both original manuscripts have been preserved in Hebrew University's National Library), and the one printed in the Shas is not the same one that Rav Adani copied (except for the end of Menachos, and all of Chulin, as the Vilna printers note at the end of the Shitah Mekubetzes on Midos). Rav Ilan's Shitah is printed in clear, block letters with Rav Ilan's own invaluable insights, and occasionally his edition of the Shitah Mekubetzes includes additions to that which is printed in the Gemaras. At the end of each page, this Shitah Mekubetzes cites the entire the commentary of Rabeinu Gershom for that page, as it does in Kerisus. In addition, it cites (in Me'ilah only) another commentary on the Daf, which it calls the "Shitah Lo Noda l'Mi."
In addition to the manuscript of the Shitah Mekubetzes, Rav Yakov David Ilan assembled together all of the commentaries of the Rishonim that appear throughout Shas, Toras Kohanim, and the Sifri, which are relevant to topics discussed in Maseches Me'ilah. He published these in "Keneses Rishonim" (Yerushalayim, 1991), together with his own enlightening insights into the words of the Rishonim.
ASIFAS ZEKEINIM - two commentaries -- Birkas ha'Zevach by Rav Shmuel Kaidonover (R'SH'K', quoted often in the margin of the Gemara) and Mayim Kedoshim -- that deal primarily with corrections of the text of the Gemara, Rashi, and Tosfos.
LIKUTEI HALACHOS - written in the style of the Rif, the Chafetz Chayim compiled a collection of the Gemara's conclusions along with Rashi-style glosses and an additional commentary, called ZEVACH TODAH, in which he provides insights into the Halachos as well as in-depth insights to Me'ilah.
ME'IL YAKOV - of Rav Yakov ha'Cohen of Gerba, first printed in 1712 and reprinted by various publishers.
KEREN ORAH - deep and penetrating Chidushim by Rav Yitzchak of Karlin (1850), well known for his Chidushim on many of the more familiar Masechtos. His brother authored Teshuvos Mishkenos Ya'akov.
SEFAS EMES - short and penetrating insights by Rav Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Gur, the second Gerer Rebbe, grandson of the Chidushei ha'Rim (the first Gerer Rebbe).
TAKANAS EZRA - an outstanding commentary by ha'Gaon Rav Ezra Altschuler on the entire Maseches which addresses important questions in understand the Gemara, Rashi, and Tosfos.
CHAZON ISH - by ha'Gaon Rav Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz, printed in the volume of Chazon Ish on Kodshim.
NEZER HA'KODESH - brilliant insights that address important questions in Me'ilah, by ha'Gaon Rav Moshe Rosen (New York, circa 1940).
PEIROS TE'ENAH - insights and explanations, culled primarily from the major earlier commentaries, written by Rav Shmuel Rothchild.
AVNEI KODESH - insights and explanations of Rav Pinchas Weiss zt'l, including a printing of the Gemara itself, published by his sons (2004).
KOLLEL IYUN HADAF - The Kollel's invaluable "Insights to the Daf" touch on many of the questions one is likely to ask on Gemara and Rashi, as well as Halachic clarifications and in-depth discussions on issues and Agados of the Masechta. Our helpful "Charts" and "Background to the Daf" make the Maseches much more approachable, with translations, Girsa notes, and introductions to concepts discussed on the Daf. Summarize what you have learned with our "Review Questions and Answers," enhance your learning with our "Outlines of the Daf," or, if you prefer Hebrew, review with "Galei Masechta," a concise Hebrew review of the Gemara, Rashi, and Tosfos. Ask the Kollel your questions on the Daf and receive clear, authoritative answers. Write to DAF@DAFYOM[I]CO.IL for more information.
YOSEF DA'AS - published by Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Rav Yosef Ben Arza's renowned Hebrew compendium on the Masechta is now printed in hard cover (with a copy of the Wagschal printing of the Gemara), and is also available online through D.A.F. This outstanding publication provides clear and concise exposure to the distinct approaches of the Rishonim to the Sugya, analyses of the Acharonim, inspiring insights of the masters of Musar and Machshavah, and summaries of the Halachic conclusions of the Poskim. A comprehensive review section is also included.