THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) MEFIBOSHES SHAMED DAVID; KIL'AV DISGRACED MEFIBOSHES
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that David conferred with his Rebbi,
Mefiboshes, after every Halachic ruling. This is why his Rebbi was called
"Mefiboshes," because he would shame ("Mevayesh") King David in Halachah by
correcting him. In reward for his humility, David merited to have a son who
disgraced Mefiboshes in Halachah. This son was called "Kil'av," because he
disgraced ("Machlim") the father ("Av") of Halachic ruling, Mefiboshes.
2) HASHEM'S PROMISES
Why is the word "shame" ("Bushah/Mevayesh") used with reference to
Mefiboshes and David, and the word "disgrace" ("Kelimah/Machlim") is used
with reference to Kil'av and Mefiboshes?
ANSWER: The VILNA GA'ON, MALBIM, and others point out that "Bushah" is the
shame that one causes to himself, through his own words or actions.
"Kelimah" is the disgrace that others cause a person to experience. They
base this on a number of verses. For example, the verse in Yechezkel
(16:63) says, "In order that *you remember* and *be ashamed* (va'Vosh't),
and never open your mouth any more because of your *disgrace*
(Kelimasech)." The verse in Yirmeyah (3:25) says, "Let us lie down in our
*shame* (bi'Vashteinu) and let our disgrace (Kelimaseinu) cover us (i.e.
from the outside), because we have sinned against Hashem our G-d...."
David caused himself to be shamed by going, on his own initiative, to
Mefiboshes for his Halachic rulings to be scrutinized. Therefore, the
Gemara uses the word "Mevayesh," and hence the name "Mefiboshes." Kil'av,
though, used to correct Mefiboshes because he heard that Mefiboshes made a
mistake. Mefiboshes did not ask to be corrected. Hence, the word "Machlim"
is used, and David's son was called "Kil'av."
QUESTION: Yakov Avinu was promised that Hashem would protect him, but he
was still afraid that harm might befall him because he had sinned and
forfeited Hashem's promise to him. This implies that a person's sins can
even bring about the cancellation of a Divine promise.
The Rambam (in his Introduction to his commentary on the Mishnah) asks a
question on this supposition from an explicit verse in the Torah. "When a
prophet says something in the name of Hashem and it does not take place nor
come about, Hashem did not speak that prophecy" (Devarim 18:22). A prophecy
must come true, especially if it is a prophecy of good tidings (Rambam,
ibid. and Hilchos Yesodei ha'Torah 10:4). If the word of Hashem can be
retracted as a result of a person's sins, as Yakov thought, how can one
know that a prophet is false if his prophecy is not fulfilled? Perhaps he
was indeed a genuine prophet, but his prophecy was rescinded!
(a) The Rambam explains that logically, if someone was promised something
through a prophecy and he sins, it should be retracted. The only reason it
is not retracted is in order to show that the prophet who related the
prophecy was a true prophet. It follows that prophecy will not be retracted
when it was said by Hashem to a prophet to relate to someone else. When
Hashem speaks *directly* to a prophet and promises him personal reward,
there is no need for it to be irretractable, for if the prophecy does not
occur as a result of his sins, doubt cannot be cast on his legitimacy. Only
the prophet saw the prophecy retracted and he himself knows that he is a
true prophet. Since Yakov's promise of protection was issued by Hashem
Himself, the promise was indeed subject to cancellation if Yakov's piety
was found lacking.
(b) The MAHARAL (Gevuros Hashem 7) explains that there is a difference
between a prophesy that is a promise of reward or punishment for one's
righteousness, and an unconditional prognostication of a future event. A
promise of reward or punishment can change, depending on the deeds of the
person. An unconditional report of a future event cannot change. The
prophecy to Yakov was a promise of reward, and therefore he indeed had
grounds to fear that it could be rescinded. The verse that says a prophet
is true only if his prophecy actually occurs is talking about an
unconditional prognostication of a future event. This cannot be rescinded,
and therefore it is an accurate assessment of the legitimacy of the
3) THE REWARD FOR SUCCEEDING REDEMPTION WITH PRAYER
QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan says that one who prays the Shemoneh Esrei
immediately after reciting the passage praising Hashem for the redemption
from Egypt is assured that he will be worthy of a share in the World to
Come. What is so special about this simple act of following the order in
the prayerbook that gives it such a lofty reward?
ANSWER: Two explanations are given by TALMIDEI RABBEINU YONAH. Both
explanations assume that it is not simply by following the prayerbook that
one becomes a "Ben Olam ha'Ba." One will achieve this lofty level only if
he follows the mention of the redemption with the Shemoneh Esrei prayer
*for the proper reasons*. If one follows through and conducts himself
throughout the day according to the principles inherent in connecting the
account of the Exodus to the Shemoneh Esrei, he will be worthy of the World
(a) In Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah's first approach, the principal lesson
learned from the Egyptian Exodus is that we are Hashem's servants. Hashem
redeemed us from Egypt in order to be His servants and to *serve* Him
(Vayikra 25:42). How do we serve Him? "What is meant by the verse, 'And you
shall *serve* Hashem your God' (Shemos 23:25)? This refers to the *Amidah
prayer* (Bava Kama 92b).
This is the connection between mentioning the redemption from Egypt and
praying the Shemoneh Esrei. A person who learns the lesson taught to us by
the Exodus (that he is a servant of Hashem) and immediately puts this
lesson into practice (by serving Hashem in the form of prayer) has
internalized a very important lesson. Such a person, who recognizes that he
is a servant of Hashem, will eagerly perform all of Hashem's commandments.
He will certainly be worthy of a portion in the World to Come.
(b) Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah offer a second explanation. The most
significant point of the Exodus was that the Jews trusted in Hashem. As a
result of their trust in Hashem, they were saved from Egypt in so
miraculous a manner. When a person mentions the Exodus from Egypt, he is
acknowledging the reward of those who put their trust in their Creator.
Prayer demonstrates a person's trust in Hashem. As Rabbeinu Yonah puts it,
"One who does not trust in Him will not request anything of Him." By
praying immediately after mentioning the Egyptian Exodus, a person shows
that he has learned from the experience of his ancestors. He, too, places
his trust in Hashem.
This is the message of the Gemara. If a person prays the Amidah prayer
after mentioning the redemption from Egypt *because* he has learned to
trust in Hashem, his reliance on his Creator will certainly guide him
through all of life's trials and tribulations, and lead him along the path
to Olam ha'Ba.