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) RUN TO SEE NON-JEWISH KINGS
QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan said that one should always run to see non-Jewish
kings, "because if he merits, he will be able to differentiate between the
kings of Israel and non-Jewish kings." RASHI (DH sh'Im Yizkeh) explains
that "if he merits" refers to seeing the *honor* of the *Melech
ha'Mashiach*." (RASHI DH Yav'chin).
2) RAV SHESHES "PUT HIS EYES" UPON THE HERETIC
Rashi's explanation here is not consistent with Rashi's explanation of the
same Gemara on 9b. There, Rashi explains (DH sh'Im Yizkeh) that "if he
merits" refers to seeing "the *greatness* of the *Jewish people* in the
World to Come."
Here, on 58a, Rashi emphasizes seeing the *honor*, while there on 9b he
emphasizes seeing the *greatness*. Second, here Rashi says the honor of
*Melech ha'Mashiach*, while there Rashi says the greatness of *all the
Jewish people*. Why does Rashi vary the explanation of the same Gemara in
two different places?
ANSWER: RAV YAKOV DOVID HOMNICK (Sefer MARBEH SHALOM, #5) explains that
there are two different aspects to the greatness of the Jews in the World
to Come -- honor (= respectability) and greatness (= wealth). Since our
Sugya is discussing the blessing recited upon seeing kings, in which we
describes how Hashem gives from His *honor* to human kings, Rebbi
Yochanan's statement emphasizes seeing the *honor* of the Jews in the World
to Come, which is appropriate only for a *king* (as the blessing recited on
kings makes clear), and therefore Rashi refers to the honor of Melech
On Daf 9b, Rebbi Yehudah Bar Elyakim was quoting Rebbi Yochanan's statement
in a different context. He wanted to show Rav Zeira that it was a privilege
to be taken to see the non-Jewish king. Since it is discussing coming to
the king's palace, rather than seeing the king with his entourage, the
honor of the king is not immediately evident. However, the king's wealth,
i.e. *greatness*, is seen even in that situation. Greatness may be ascribed
to *all* of the Jews in the World to Come, and not just to the Mashiach.
That is why Rashi there refers to the *greatness* of the *Jewish people*.
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Rav Sheshes "put his eyes" on the Tzeduki
who was taunting him. If Rav Sheshes was blind, how could he "put his eyes"
(a) The MAHARSHA explains that Hashem returned to him his eyesight
temporarily in order to punish the heretic.
(b) The MAHARSHA also says that it does not really mean he *looked* at the
heretic. Rather, it means that he cursed him. The MAGID TA'ALUMAH adds that
the eyes here refer to the "Einei ha'Sechel," a higher, intellectual
"sight" and not to the physical optical sense.
3) THE BLESSING OF "MATZIV GEVUL ALMANAH"
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that one who sees "the houses of Israel in their
settled state" says the blessing, "Matziv Gevul Alamanah" ("He establishes
the boundary of the widow"). When is this blessing said?
4) RAV CHANINA BREI D'RAV IKA'S BRILLIANT BLESSING
(a) RASHI (DH Baruch Matziv), according to the first understanding of the
BEIS YOSEF (OC 224), says that this blessing is recited when one sees the
QUESTION: According to the Rif's explanation, what do synagogues have to do
with "the boundary of the widow?"
(b) RASHI, according to the second understanding of the Beis Yosef, says
that this blessing is recited upon seeing Jewish settlements in Israel
during the time of the Beis ha'Mikdash (those two conditions -- in Israel,
and during the time of the Beis ha'Mikdash -- are necessary).
(c) The BACH explains that Rashi means to say that the blessing is recited
upon seeing Jewish homes in their grandeur in Israel *the way they were in
the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash*.
(d) The RIF understands the Gemara to be referring to when one sees
synagogues, even outside of Israel (Levush).
(a) The VILNA GA'ON explains that we find in the Gemara in Megilah (29a)
that in the future, Hashem will bring all the synagogues from the Diaspora
to Israel. The synagogues will not be put inside Israel proper, he asserts,
in order not to take away space from those already residing in Israel.
Rather, Hashem will place the synagogues around the borders of Israel. That
is why we recite the blessing, "He establishes the *boundary* of the widow"
no Diaspora synagogues.
HALACHAH: The practice is in accordance with the Rif's explanation, to
recite the blessing upon seeing synagogues even outside of Israel. However,
because we are concerned that the other opinions might be true, we do not
recite the blessing with Hashem's name (Shem u'Malchus). (SHULCHAN ARUCH
224:10, MISHNAH BERURAH 224:14)
(b) The EINAYIM LA'MISHPAT explains that in exile, the Jewish people is
considered an Almanah, a widow. The verse at the beginning of Eichah
describes the Jewish people as "*like* a widow" ("k'Almanah"), to intimate
that her husband (Hashem) is not gone forever, but will yet return. We say,
therefore, this blessing when we see synagogues flourishing in the
Diaspora, because they are a sign that Hashem is returning to the Jewish
QUESTION: Rav Papa and Rav Huna Brei d'Rav Yehoshua met Rav Chanina Brei
d'Rav Ika and recited two blessings upon seeing him -- the blessing for
seeing a great Torah scholar, and the blessing for seeing a friend after
thirty days. Rav Chanina, in turn, recited *three* blessings on seeing them
-- the two which they recited, and the blessing said upon seeing 600,000
Jews at one time ("Chacham ha'Razim"). Rav Papa and Rav Huna said to him,
"You are so smart!" and they put their eyes upon him and he died.
Why did Rav Chanina recite such a blessing, and why did they cause his life
to end simply because he showed his wisdom by making such a blessing?
(a) The RAMBAN (in MILCHAMOS) explains why Rav Chanina recited the blessing
for seeing 600,000 Jews when he saw only two. A Chacham's knowledge is so
great that he is able to discern what every person in Klal Yisrael can
think of. When we see 600,000 people, we recite the blessing "Chacham
ha'Razim," because we praise Hashem for creating so many different people
with different ways of thinking. Rav Chanina made a blessing upon seeing
these two Chachamim because he discerned from the aura of their countenance
that they could understand as much as 600,000 Jews. They saw his profound
wisdom and perceptiveness, and exclaimed how smart he was. The simple
explanation is that they envied him and gave him an Ayin ha'Ra.
(b) The ASIFAS ZEKEINIM cites HILCHOS KETANOS (1:210) who writes that Rav
Chanina was punished because he was Moreh Halachah bi'Fnei Rabo, he made a
Halachic ruling in front of his Rebbi, since Rav Papa and Rav Huna were
(c) The TZAFNAS PANE'ACH (#50; see Insight 52:2) explains the reason Rav
Chanina was punished as follows. Beis Shamai's methodology of Halachic
ruling was based on following the essence or quality of a thing, and not
the physical appearance or quantity of a thing. Beis Shamai, who were
sharper intellectually but fewer in number than Beis Hillel, felt that the
Halachic ruling is determined by the sharpness of minds of people that
maintain a certain opinion, and not by their physical numbers. Rav Chanina
was acting in accordance with the methodology of Beis Shamai when he
recited a blessing on two people as if they were 600,000, as if to say that
he considers the sharpness of these two sages to be qualitatively
equivalent to the sharpness of the minds of 600,000. The Gemara earlier
(11a) says that anyone who acts in accordance with the opinion of Beis
Shamai is deserving of death. Therefore, Rav Chanina died.