1) AGADAH: THE EXILE OF A MAN
QUESTION: Hash-m informed Shavna that for his audacity, he would be punished with "Taltelah Gaver" (Yeshayah 22:17), the "exile of a man." The Gemara says that the exile of a man is more difficult than that of a woman.
Why is the exile of a man more difficult than that of a woman?
(a) The RADAK in Yeshayah explains that people tend to have more mercy for a wandering woman than for a wandering man, because of her helplessness. Therefore, a man's exile is more difficult.
(b) The MESHECH CHOCHMAH (Vayikra 14:31) cites the Mishnah in Kerisus (8b) which says that one Halachic difference between a man and a woman is that a man who is a Metzora Muchlat must perform Peri'ah and Perimah, he must tear his clothing and let his hair grow. A woman, in contrast, does not need to perform Peri'ah and Perimah. Hash-m was hinting to Shavna that he would become a Metzora Muchlat and would have to perform Peri'ah and Perimah, which is required of a man who becomes a Metzora Muchlat.
The Meshech Chochmah adds that this might be the reason why the men of Sancheriv laughed at Shavna when he emerged from the city alone to greet them. They thought that he was trying to fool them and that he really never had a following at all, and that the only reason he left the city was that he was expelled from there (the walled city of Yerushalayim) due to his affliction of Tzara'as.
2) AGADAH: THE TORAH WAS GIVEN IN SECRET
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the Torah is called "Tushiyah" (Yeshayah 28:29) because "it was given to the Jews secretly, because of the Satan." RASHI explains that the Torah was given in secret so that the Satan would not be able to argue that the Torah should not be given to the Jews but that it should remain in heaven.
The Gemara in Shabbos (89a) relates that when Moshe Rabeinu left Har Sinai after the Torah was given, the Angel of Death (who is the Satan as well as the Yetzer ha'Ra, as the Gemara in Bava Basra (16a) teaches) came to Hash-m and asked, "Where did the Torah go?" TOSFOS there explains that the Satan did not know that the Torah had been given to the Jews. Tosfos cites the Midrash which explains that Hash-m kept the Satan preoccupied with other matters at the time the Torah was given so that he should not say, "How can you give the Torah to the Jews when they will sin in only forty days by building a golden calf?" The Midrash explains that Hash-m did not want the Satan to know about the giving of the Torah, so He arranged to have the Satan "miss" the event.
How, though, was this accomplished? The Torah (see Shemos 19:16, 19) describes how the Torah was given amidst great fanfare, with loud thunder and lightning. How was such an event kept "concealed" from the Satan?
ANSWER: The answer may lie in the comments of Tosfos elsewhere. The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (16b) teaches that although the Torah requires that the Shofar be blown only once on Rosh Hashanah, we blow the Shofar a number of times in order to "confound the Satan." In what way does blowing the Shofar confound the Satan and prevent him from interfering with our pleas for mercy? Tosfos, based on Midrashic sources, explains as follows. In the "end of days" Hash-m will "slay the Angel of Death" (Yeshayah 25:8). The coming of the end of days will be signaled by a loud and long blast of the Shofar (Yeshayah 27:13). When the Satan, who is also the Angel of Death, hears the long series of Shofar blasts, he immediately becomes gripped by the fear that his end has arrived. Consequently, explains the Midrash, he hides himself until after the Jewish people have finished their prayers.
When the Torah was given on Har Sinai, it was accompanied by a series of extremely loud Shofar blasts (Shemos 19:16 and 19). Perhaps these Shofar
blasts, like those of the Shofar of Rosh Hashanah, "frightened the Satan away" so that he would not intervene and prevent the Torah from being given.
The Gemara in Nedarim (32b) teaches that the word "ha'Satan" ("the Satan") has a numerical value of 364, which is one less than the number of days in the year. This is meant to indicate that the Satan rules over man only 364 days of the year. On Yom Kippur, the Satan has no rule. Perhaps the Satan is "sent away" on Yom Kippur for the same reason that he was sent away when the Torah was given. Although the Luchos were given on Shavuos, the Jews lost the Luchos when they sinned with the Egel ha'Zahav. The Luchos were returned to them only on the tenth of Tishrei, Yom Kippur (Rashi to Shemos 31:18). On that day, and again on every subsequent year, the Satan is "preoccupied" and not free to challenge the prayers of the Jewish people while they reaffirm their acceptance of Torah and Mitzvos.
It is evident from the Gemara here and from other sources that the Satan deems it very important to prevent the Jews from receiving the Torah. Why does the Satan feel so threatened by the thought of leaving the Torah in the hands of the Jewish people? One would think that he would be pleased with the prospect of having 613 ways to accuse them, and not just seven (the number of Mitzvos which Bnei Noach are obligated to observe).
The answer is that Satan knows that only the study of the Torah can give the Jews the power to resist his advances. Hash-m told the Jews, "My children! I created the Evil Inclination, and I created the Torah to be its antidote. As long as you study the Torah, you will be free from its clutches" (Kidushin 30b). Similarly, the Gemara in Berachos (5a) says that one should always wage a war with his Evil Inclination. "If he defeats it, then that is good, but if not, then let him study the Torah (for that will help him conquer it)." The Satan, therefore, would do anything in his power to prevent the Jews from receiving the Torah. In order for the Torah to be given to the Jewish people, the Satan had to be kept away until it was too late for him to do anything. That is, in order to be worthy of receiving the Torah the Jews had to be elevated to a level from which they could plainly see Hash-m's dominion and see the emptiness of the forces of evil.
Hash-m, of course, foresaw this from the beginning of time. The Torah relates that upon the completion of the six days of Creation, "Hash-m saw all that He created, and behold it was very good" (Bereishis 1:31). The Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 9:9) explains, "'And behold it was very good' -- this refers to the Evil Inclination."
The verse continues, "and it was evening and it was morning of the sixth day." Rashi there points out that "the extra letter 'Heh' ('the') is meant to indicate that all of Creation was conditional on the Jews receiving the five (the numerical value of Heh) Books of the Chumash at a future point in time. Also, all of Creation was waiting for the sixth day -- that is, the sixth day of Sivan, on which the Torah was given at Har Sinai." Hence, the world was created with the condition that the Torah be given to the Jewish people. Only with the Torah -- and the protection that it gives against the temptations of the Yetzer ha'Ra -- is the world considered "very good." (See Parshah Page, Shavuos 5758.)
3) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "MALKUS D'ORAISA" AND "MAKAS MARDUS"
OPINIONS: Rav Nachman rules that a person who is suspected of adultery may testify as a witness in court. Rav Sheshes protests, "How can we accept his testimony after he has been given forty lashes because of his sin?" RASHI is bothered why Rav Sheshes assumes that such a person receives forty lashes. After all, the person is only suspected of sinning. Moreover, in order to be punished with Malkus, the transgressor must be warned by witnesses with "Hasra'ah," and perhaps this suspected sinner was not warned with Hasra'ah. Rashi answers that these lashes are mid'Rabanan, based on the Gemara in Kidushin (81a) which says that Beis Din administers Malkus to a person who, through his actions, has aroused suspicion of sinfulness. The Gemara there explains that the Malkus is not for transgressing a verse in the Torah, but rather for transgressing a verse in Navi (Shmuel I 2:24).
Lashes that are mid'Rabanan are called "Makas Mardus." The wording of the Gemara implies that the same number of lashes are administered for Makas Mardus as for Malkus d'Oraisa (forty, which means forty minus one, or 39). However, the Mishnah in Nazir (23a) teaches that when a woman drinks wine under the impression that she is a Nazir, unaware that her husband already annulled her Nezirus, she does not receive the Torah-prescribed Malkus which one normally would receive for transgressing a Neder. Rebbi Yehudah adds that she does receive Makas Mardus (Malkus d'Rabanan). The Gemara there implies that Makas Mardus differs from Malkus d'Oraisa.
In what ways does Makas Mardus differ from Malkus d'Oraisa?
(a) TOSFOS (Nazir 20b, DH Rebbi Yehudah) and the ROSH (ibid.) cite a Tosefta in Makos (3:10) which teaches that Malkus d'Oraisa is comprised of 39 lashes, but Beis Din must evaluate the strength of the person liable for Malkus and determine how many lashes he can tolerate (before they endanger his life). Makas Mardus is different; the person is beaten until he either accepts to do what Beis Din tells him to do or "until his soul leaves him" (Kesuvos 86a).
The ARUCH (Erech "Mered") differentiates similarly between the two types of Malkus. He writes that one who transgresses a Mitzvas Aseh (by refusing to fulfill it) is lashed until his soul leaves him, and one who transgresses the words of the Chachamim is lashed with no assessment of his strength and no set number of lashes. (The Aruch writes that these lashes are called "Makas Mardus" because the person "rebelled" (Marad) against the Chachamim and the Torah.) This is also the opinion of the GE'ONIM (cited by the NIMUKEI YOSEF, end of Makos). The RAMBAM (Hilchos Chametz u'Matzah 6:12) also writes that Makas Mardus for one who eats Matzah on Erev Pesach (an Isur d'Rabanan) is administered until he does what he is supposed to do or until his soul leaves him. RASHI in Chulin (141b, DH Makas) also writes that Makas Mardus involves lashes without limit (until the person accepts to do what he is supposed to do).
According to these Rishonim, why does the Gemara here mention forty lashes? The answer might be what the RIVASH (#90) writes with regard to another question. The Rivash was asked why the laws of Malkus d'Rabanan are more strict than the laws of Malkus d'Oraisa. The Rivash answered that Makas Mardus which is administered "until his soul leaves him" is merely a form of preventative Malkus, given as rebuke to convince a person to fulfill a Mitzvah actively (Kum v'Aseh). However, if a person transgressed a Mitzvah d'Rabanan and Beis Din simply wants to punish him for his wrongdoing, Makas Mardus certainly has a limit, and it is treated like Malkus d'Oraisa. TOSFOS and the ROSH in Nazir make a similar distinction. (According to the Rivash, the word "Mardus" does not mean "rebelling" but "rebuke," as in Berachos 7a. See also Rashi in Chulin, loc. cit.)
(b) The RIVASH cites TOSFOS (see Tosfos to Bechoros 54a, DH u'Shnei) who explains that Makas Mardus is comprised of 39 lashes like Malkus d'Oraisa, but they are not as powerful. They are given while the person is dressed and without the full strength of the one who administers them. This explains why Beis Din is not required to assess whether the person can tolerate the Malkus. He cites the Gemara in Kidushin (28a), which mentions forty lashes with regard to Makas Mardus, as his source for this ruling.
Some add that Makas Mardus is administered with a stick instead of a whip (see Rashi to Sanhedrin 7b, DH Makel). According to this view, the word "Mardus" may be based on the expression, "Rodeh b'Makel" (see Sotah 40a, Shabbos 52b).
(c) The Rivash himself proposes that Makas Mardus are comprised of no set number of lashes. In contrast to Malkus of the Torah for which the number of lashes is determined by the strength of the sinner, the number of lashes of Makas Mardus is determined by the severity of the sin. He concurs with Tosfos that the lashes are not as strong or as painful as Malkus d'Oraisa. However, if the sin was not severe, he is given only the number of lashes which that particular transgression warrants even if he can tolerate more lashes.
(d) RABEINU TAM (cited by the SHILTEI GIBORIM on the MORDECHAI, Bava Basra 8:1, and by the TESHUVOS RASHBASH #96) explains that the punishment of Makas Mardus for a transgression which one already committed is comprised of only 13 lashes and not 39. The Torah prescribes 39 lashes because it requires that a triple set of lashes be given -- one set on each of the two shoulders, and one set on the stomach. Makas Mardus does not need to be tripled and is administered only on the back, and therefore only 13 lashes are given. (See Insights to Yoma 77:1.) This may be the intention of the Aruch when he mentions that Malkus d'Oraisa must be "Meshulashos," but not Makas Mardus.
According to the Rivash and Rabeinu Tam, why does the Gemara here mention forty lashes? The GILYONEI HA'SHAS cites the TESHUVOS RA'ANACH (2:42) who explains that since this Malkus is based on a verse in Navi, it is more severe than Makas Mardus. It is Malkus "mi'Divrei Kabalah," and therefore forty lashes are administered, like Malkus d'Oraisa. (The Ra'anach uses this approach to explain the opinion of the Ge'onim cited above.) (See also Insights to Nazir 23:1, Kidushin 28:2, and Chulin 141:4.)
4) THE SWEETNESS OF STOLEN WATERS
QUESTION: The Gemara says that a person who is suspected of transgressing sins of Arayos is not believed if he testifies about the marital status of a woman. Rav Papa adds that he is believed to testify that a woman is married. The Gemara explains that this is not obvious, because one might have thought that he prefers for the woman to be married (even though she really is not married) so that when he has a courtship with her, she will be "Mayim Genuvim," "stolen waters" (Mishlei 9:17), which means that since he will have made her prohibited to him by law, his sin will be more pleasurable. Therefore, Rav Papa teaches that even though she becomes prohibited to him through his testimony, an adulterer would prefer that his mistress not be married, because as long as she is not considered married it is much easier for him to have a relationship with her.
If the adulterer lies and testifies that the woman is married, then how will that make her "Mayim Genuvim"? Since he is lying, he knows that she is not really married and that she is just as permitted now as she was before he testified! (ARUCH LA'NER)
(a) The ARUCH LA'NER and BEIS MEIR answer that "Mayim Genuvim" does not refer specifically to prohibited objects. It refers to anything that has become difficult to obtain, whether it is difficult to obtain because it is prohibited or whether it is difficult to attain because it is protected. The mentality of the sinner is that the harder a person must work for something, the more he enjoys it. A woman who is assumed to be married, even though she is not really married, is still more difficult to sin with, and therefore the sinner might consider her to be "Mayim Genuvim."
The MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM points out that this concept is expressed more clearly in the end of the verse, "v'Lechem Setarim Yin'am" -- "and bread eaten in secret is pleasant"; when a sinner steals bread that is hidden, it tastes sweeter to him.
(b) RAV CHAIM SHMUELEVITZ zt'l (Sichos Musar 5731, #25, and 5732, #16) explains that a sinner has an appetite for transgression. Therefore, he might build an imaginary wall of a prohibition so that he will enjoy transgressing the imaginary Isur that he created.