ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Chagigah 16
CHAGIGAH 16 - Dedicated by the Fogel family (California) as a Zechus towards
the Refu'ah Shelemah of Chava Rivka Bas Hendal Falck.
(a) Rabah bar bar Chanah Amar Rebbi Yochanan learns from the Pasuk "ve'Asah
me'Rivevos Kodesh" (and Rebbi Avahu from the Pasuk in Shir ha'Shirim "Dagul
me'Revavah", and Resh Lakish from the Pasuk in Yeshayah "Hashem Tzevakos
Hu") - that Hashem's place is marked ("Asa" from the word 'Os' - a sign)
among the angels. This means that it is possible to avoid looking at Him
(Alternatively, that He is unique among all the angels, and that it is
impossible to confuse another angel with Him - see Agados Maharsha).
(b) The Pasuk in Melachim 1 writes "Lo ba'Ru'ach, Hashem ... Lo ba'Ra'ash,
Hashem ... Lo ba'Eish, Hashem". In fact, Hashem was where the silent, thin
(c) According to Rebbi Chiya bar Aba Amar Rebbi Yochanan, Rebbi Akiva learns
from there not to sin - by looking away whenever he heard the thin, quiet
(a) The Sheidim (demons) have wings like angels, can fly from one end of the
world to the other like angels (see Agados Maharsha. It is also possible
that this ability incorporates the fact that they are invisible like
angels), and they hear from behind the heavenly curtain what is going to
happen like angels. They resemble human beings - inasmuch as they eat and
drink, have children and die like them (see Tosfos DH 'ki'B'nei Adam').
(b) Human beings have knowledge like angels, they walk upright like angels
and they speak (Lashon ha'Kodesh - see Agados Maharsha) like angels. They
resemble animals - insofar as they eat and drink, have children and produce
(a) To answer the Kashya 'What is wrong with questioning what happened
before the world was created, seeing as that is over and done with, Rebbi
Yochanan and Rebbi Elazar give a Mashal - to a king who built a palace on a
trash-heap, and who does not want people to associate the beautiful palace
with the trash-heap.
(b) We learned in our Mishnah that anyone who does not have respect for the
Kavod of Hashem would have been better not to have been born. Rav Yosef
interprets this to mean that one should not perform a sin in private.
According to Rebbi Aba (Rabah) - it refers to someone who looks at the
rainbow (as will be explained shortly).
(a) In light of Rav Yosef, who just explained that not having respect for
the Kavod of Hashem refers to someone who performs a sin in private, the
Pasuk in Yeshayah "Koh Amar Hashem, ha'Shamayim Kis'i, ve'ha'Aretz Hadom
Raglai" - we can learn that anyone who performs a sin in secret, it is as if
he had pushed away the legs of the Shechinah.
(b) If someone feels that the Yeitzer ha'Ra is getting the better of him -
Rav Ila'a ha'Zakein advises him to go to a place where he is not known, wear
black (in order to generate a feeling of sadness at sinning) and sin there,
in order to avoid desecrating Hashem's holy Name.
(c) Rav Ila'a ha'Zakein speaks - about someone who feels that he is unable
to avoid sinning (and whose motivation is purely in order to avoid Chilul
Hashem); whereas Rav Yosef is speaking - about someone who is able to avoid
sinning, and who sins in secret purely in order not to be seen by people
(because he is more afraid of people than he is of Hashem).
(a) Rebbi Yehudah Bar Nachmeini (Resh Lakish's translator), lists three
things that cause one's eyes to go dim by looking at them: two of them are a
rainbow and the Nasi - the third is the Kohanim when they Duchen.
(b) The reason for this is - because, in all three cases, the Shechinah is
(c) The third case of looking at the Kohanim when they Duchen - applies only
in the time when the Beis Hamikdash was standing, but not nowadays, when
there is not.
(a) Rebbi Yehudah Bar Nachmeini also said - that if the Yetzer ha'Ra tries
to convince someone that he may go ahead and sin and not worry about
retribution, because Hashem will pardon him, he should not believe a word of
what he says (because there is no such thing as pardon without Teshuvah).
(b) Some say that it is the stones and the beams of his house that will
testify against him at the Heavenly Tribunal. According to the Chachamim,
based on the Pasuk "mi'Shocheves Cheikecha Shemor Pischei Picha" - it is a
person's own Neshamah who will testify against him.
(c) Whereas according to ...
1. ... Rebbi Zerika, based on the Pasuk "Ki Mal'achav Yetzaveh Lach ... " -
it is the two angels who accompany each person constantly who will testify.
2. ... Yesh Omrim, based on the Pasuk in Yeshayah "ve'Atem Eidai, Ne'um
Hashem va'Ani Keil" - it is the person's very limbs who testify at the
(a) The first Machlokes among the Chachmei Yisrael - was whether or not, one
may make Semichah on Yom-Tov, or whether one has to make it before Yom-Tov.
(b) According to the Tana of our Mishnah (Rebbi Meir), the common factor
1. ... Yosef ben Yoezer, Yehoshua ben P'rachya and Yehudah ben Tab'ai, all
of whom hold that Semichah was *not* done on Yom-Tov, is - that they all
held the title of Nasi.
(c) Menachem was the Av Beis-Din before Shamai. Unlike all the other Avos
Beis-Din, he concurred with Hillel.
2. ... Yosef ben Yochanan, Nitai ha'Arbeili and
Shimon ben Shetach, who all hold that it *was*, is - that they all held the
title of Av Beis-Din.
3. ... Sh'mayah and Hillel, who both hold that Semichah *was* done on
Yom-Tov, is - that both of them were Nasi.
4. ... Avtalyon and Shamai, who both hold that it was *not* is, that both
were Av Beis-Din.
(d) The above is the opinion of Rebbi Meir. According to the Chachamim -
Yehudah ben Tabai was the Av Beis-Din, and Shimon ben Shetach, the Nasi.
(a) Yehudah ben Tabai was particularly pleased at having sentenced to death
one Eid Zomem even though the defendant had not yet been put to death -
because this went against the Tzedokim, who maintained that an Eid was only
sentenced if the defendant had already been put to death.
(b) When Yehudah ben Tabai informed Shimon ben Shetach of what he had done -
he retorted that he had murdered an innocent soul, because one witness
cannot become an Eid Zomem.
(c) We learn this from the Pasuk "ve'Hinei Eid Sheker ha'Eid" - because,
whenever the Torah writes "Eid", it implies *two* Eidim (unless the
expression "Eid Echad" is used).
(d) The same will apply to an Eid Zomem who testified falsely that the
defendant was Chayav Malkos or Chayav to pay money - as Shimon ben Shetach
explicitly says in the Beraisa.
(a) Yehudah ben Tabai undertook that, from then on - he would not issue any
rulings other than in the presence of Shimon ben Shetach.
(b) Every day, he would lie on the grave of the witness and weep bitterly -
although the people who heard his voice believed it to be that of the dead
(c) Yehudah ben Tabai tried to prove that it was *his* voice that they could
hear (and not that of the witness) from the fact that, the moment he would
die, the voice stopped. Rav Acha Brei de'Rava refuted that proof however -
on he grounds that, after his death, he may have succeeded in appeasing the
witness or that the Heavenly Tribunal had issued a ruling one way or the
other. Either way, the voice would have stopped, even if it had been that of
(d) According to the Rabbanan, who maintain that Yehudah ben Tabai was the
Av Beis-Din, when the Tana says that he undertook not to issue rulings
unless Shimon ben Shetach was present - he meant that he would not even
participate in a Beis-Din to issue rulings, other than on the Beis-Din on
which Shimon ben Shetach also sat.
(a) According to Abaye, Menachem went out to evil ways. Rava says - that he
was called to the service of the king.
(b) According to the Tana of the Beraisa, which concurs with Rava - eighty
pairs of Talmidim went with him, wearing royal robes.
(a) Rebbi Yochanan warns us not to treat a Sh'vus lightly, since the
prohibition of Semichah is only a Sh'vus, yet the Chachamim of many
generations argued over it. He mentions this, in spite of the Mishnah in
Beitzah that forbids using an animal on Yom-Tov because of Sh'vus (even when
a Mitzvah is involved) - to teach us that the Machlokes in our Mishnah is
indeed based on whether the Sh'vus of making use of an animal applies to
Semichah or not; to preclude from those who learn that it is based on
whether Shalmei Chovah require Semichah or not.
(b) We extrapolate from here that Semichah must be performed with all one's
strength - because otherwise, what would be wrong with making Semichah (it
is only considered making use of the animal if one is leaning with such
force that, were it not for the animal, he would fall).
(c) The Tana Kama of a Beraisa exempts women from Semichah on their
Korbanos. His source for this - is the Pasuk in Vayikra "Daber el *B'nei
Yisrael* ve'Samach ... " 'B'nei Yisrael Somchin, ve'Ein B'nos Yisrael
(d) Rebbi Yossi and Rebbi Shimon say - that if the women so wish, they may
make Semichah (though they are not obligated to do so).
(a) Rebbi Yossi quoting Aba Elazar, related an incident in which they
brought a calf of Shelamim (belonging to a woman) to the Ezras Nashim for
the women to make Semichah 'to afford them satisfaction'. According to
Rebbi Yochanan, who maintains that Semichah must be performed with all one's
strength - how can we permit the women to make use of Kodshim simply in
order to satisfy them?
(b) Rav Ami answers that the women were instructed to lean on the animal
lightly. Nevertheless, the Tana was justified in saying 'Lo Mipnei
she'Semichah be'Nashim ... ' - because what he meant was that there are two
issues here: one, that it was not Semichah to begin with and two, that they
did it in order to afford the women satisfaction.
(c) Rav Papa assumes that the head is like the side of the animal (seeing as
the main decree prohibited riding an animal, and one does not usually ride
on the head). He then proves from Rebbi Yochanan that Chazal forbade even
using the side of an animal (and not only sitting on it) - because
otherwise, what is the problem with leaning his hands on the head of the
(d) Rav Ashi refutes Rav Papa's proof - on the grounds that the head (and
any part of its body that is in line with its back) is considered like the
back, and is included in the Gezeirah (even if the side of the animal is
not). See Tosfos DH 'Rav Ashi'.