THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) AGADAH: OFFERING AN OX WITH ONE HORN
QUESTION: Rav Yehudah states that the bull that Adam ha'Rishon brought as a
Korban had one horn, as the verse says, "And it shall be pleasing to Hashem
more than a full-grown bull that has horns and hoofs" (Tehilim 69:32). The
Gemara asks that the verse implies that the Korban of Adam had two horns,
and not one horn. Rav Nachman explains that the word "Makrin" ("has horns")
in the verse is spelled without a "Yud," which implies a single horn. This
is how Rav Yehudah understood that the verse is referring to an animal with
Why did Adam ha'Rishon specifically choose to bring a Korban that had one
(a) The HA'KOSEV in the EIN YAKOV quotes the RASHBA who explains that when
Adam ha'Rishon sinned by eating the forbidden fruit of the Etz ha'Da'as, his
sin was a result of following the desires of his heart, and not following
what he knew was right. In order to show that he repented and was no longer
going to follow his personal desires, but he would be solely committed to
doing the will of Hashem, he brought a Korban which had only one horn coming
out of the middle of its head. This symbolized that he was going to follow
the single, straight, and logical way, the will of Hashem, and not deviate
due to his desires.
The Rashba continues that this concept was symbolized as well in the
building of the Mishkan, in which the hide of the Tachash was used for the
covering of the Mishkan. The Tachash also had only one horn (see Shabbos
28b; for a discussion of the identity of the Tachash, see Rabbi Nosson
Slifkin's "Mysterious Creatures," Targum Press, 2003). It was used in the
Mishkan to cover the entire Mishkan and make it into one compact unit, to
show that the Jewish people repented for their sin of the Egel ha'Zahav
where they showed that they believed that there was more than a single power
in the world.
(b) The MAHARSHA explains that the word "Keren" has an additional meaning,
besides a horn. It also refers to the principle part of an object (as in the
Mishnah in Pe'ah (1:1), "v'ha'Keren Kayemes Lo la'Olam ha'Ba")." The Gemara
in Sanhedrin (38b) says that part Adam's sin was that he considered the
possibility that there was more than one power in the world. He therefore
brought a bull with one horn to show that he no longer considered such a
(c) The IYUN YAKOV in Avodah Zarah (8a) says that when Adam ha'Rishon saw
this animal with one horn, he knew that he was supposed to be bring it as a
Korban. He understood from the fact that it had only one horn that it was
created by Hashem directly, and it was not born by a mother. Adam realized
that he must bring this animal as his atonement. We know that bringing a
Korban as part of one's atonement symbolizes one's willingness to offer
himself as a Korban for atonement, and the animal is offered in place of the
person. Adam understood that just as he was created directly from Hashem
(and not from parents), it was fitting for him to bring as a Korban an
animal that also was created directly by Hashem. (Y. Montrose)
2) THE TWO GREAT LUMINARIES
QUESTION: Rebbi Shimon ben Pazi asks that the words, "And Hashem made the
two large luminaries" (Bereishis 1:16), contradict the second part of the
verse that says, "the large luminary to rule during the day, and the small
luminary to rule during the night." If they both were "two large
luminaries," then how can the verse then say that one was large and one was
3) AGADAH: THE MOON'S PUNISHMENT
What is Rebbi Shimon ben Pazi's question? Perhaps both of the luminaries are
called "large" because they were large relative to other creations. One
luminary, though, was smaller and the other!
ANSWER: The VILNA GA'ON quotes the Gemara in Yoma (62b) that says that it is
not necessary for the Torah to use the word "two" when discussing a plural
noun. The minimum number that a plural denotes is two, and thus there is no
need for the Torah to specify two unless the Torah is teaching an additional
law. In the case in Yoma, the reason why the Torah says the word "two" with
regard to the goats that are offered on Yom Kipur is in order to teach that
the two goats must be identical to each other in appearance.
The verse that discusses the luminaries refers to them with a plural noun
("ha'Me'oros"). When it adds the word "two," the Torah must be comparing
them and saying that the two were identical to each other. Consequently,
when the verse later refers to one as large and the other as small, it is
evident that something changed.
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that, initially, Hashem created the sun and
moon as equal in size. When the moon objected and complained that "two kings
cannot share one crown," Hashem diminished the moon. However, because the
moon's claim nevertheless was correct, Hashem comforted the moon and made it
rule both during the day and during the night. Moreover, the Jewish people
will count days and years according to the phases of the moon.
4) THE "SHESU'AH"
The Gemara implies that Hashem punished the moon by making it both less
luminous than the sun, and by making it subject to phases, during which it
decreases in size for half a month (see CHIZKUNI to Bereishis 1:16). Why,
though, is the moon subject to punishment? It has no mind nor free choice,
nor does it have the ability to speak or the capacity to sin!
ANSWER: The Gemara in Eruvin (54a) says that had the Jewish people not
committed the sin of the Egel ha'Zahav, they never would have been punished
years later with Galus. It was their sin that altered their destiny to be a
nation in exile. However, there is another side to Galus. Although it is
clearly intended as retribution for our sins, it is also ensures the
continued existence of the Jewish people.
When they sinned, Hashem wanted to completely destroy them, as He said, "Let
my anger flare up against them and I shall annihilate them!" (Shemos 32:10).
After Moshe Rabeinu pleaded with Hashem to refrain from punishing them with
sudden and total destruction, Hashem agreed to mete out the punishment
slowly throughout the generations. Hashem said to Moshe, "Now, go and lead
the people to where I have told you... [but] each time the Jewish people sin
in the future, I shall bring this sin to account against them [along with
their other sins]" (Shemos 32:34). This is the purpose of Galus. Although
Galus is a punishment, it is also the key to our continued existence. If the
Jews had not been granted Galus as an opportunity for atonement, Hashem
would have annihilated them in the desert.
This second role of Galus is expressed by the Gemara in Sanhedrin (37b) when
it says that "Galus is an atonement for everything," and in Ta'anis (16a),
"We have been exiled, may our exile be an atonement for us." Although Galus
has many negative aspects, it is also a vehicle for Jewish survival.
This concept has deeper implications. The Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 6:3)
compares Esav to the sun and Yakov to the moon. The nations of Esav (the
greater, or older brother) base their calendar on the sun (the greater
luminary), while the nation of Yakov (the lesser, or younger brother) bases
its calendar on the moon (the lesser luminary). Esav counts his days by the
sun, which is greater. The sun rules only by day and not by night, and so,
too, Esav has a portion only in this world, but not in the World to Come.
Yakov counts his days by the moon, which is smaller. Just as the moon can be
seen both by day and by night, so, too, Yakov has a portion both in this
world and in the World to Come.
Since Yakov is compared to the moon, the phases of the moon represent
Yakov's fate. The moon shrinks, getting smaller and smaller until it reaches
its smallest size. This alludes to Galus, a punishment that necessarily
involves the diminishment and weakening of the Jewish people. Afterwards,
though, the moon again waxes, increasing in size until it becomes full. This
represents the other aspect of Galus -- the eventual strengthening and
redemption of the Jewish people. This explains the reason for the joy
experienced upon seeing the moon at the beginning of the month, a time when
the moon has just begun to return after its disappearance. We are
celebrating the return of Yakov and his children to their former glory.
Having shown the comparison between the moon and Galus, we can better
understand our Gemara. The moon represents the Jewish people. It is the
Jewish people who complain to Hashem that He created Esav as the twin of
Yakov, thereby granting them equal power. If Esav, who is conspiring to do
evil instead of the will of his Creator, is granted strength equal to
Yakov's (that is, two kings sharing the same crown), then there is no
guarantee that Yakov will prevail. Instead, as we see from the sin of the
Egel ha'Zahav, Esav and the forces of evil can prevail over Yakov and the
legions of good.
Hashem responds to the complaint of the Jewish people, "Make yourself
smaller!" This alludes to the fact that the Jews will be punished for their
sin with exile. The moon then counters that its complaint was valid -- it is
Esav who should be minimized in order to prevent the triumph of evil, while
no good will be accomplished by shrinking the moon! Hashem replies, "Rule by
day and by night!" Hashem assures the Jewish people that Galus will not
destroy them and allow evil to triumph, but, on the contrary, He is ensuring
their survival and their eventual victory. Due to the expiatory effects of
the Galus, they will eventually rule both "by day and by night" -- in this
world, and in the World to Come, as the Midrash says. (See MAHARAL in BE'ER
HA'GOLAH #4, MAHARSHA here, and Zohar Chadash 15b. See also Insights to Rosh
Hashanah 25:3, and Megilah 22:3.)
QUESTION: Rav Chanan bar Aba says that the Shesu'ah is a "Biryah Bifnei
Atzmah." It has two backs and two spines. TOSFOS (DH v'Chi) explains that a
Shesu'ah is an animal with a deformity of a double spine that was born to a
Kosher animal. It is called a "Biryah Bifnei Atzmah" only as a way of
expressing that it can survive at birth and live independently (as Shmuel in
Nidah 24a maintains), and that its deformity will not cause the fetus to die
at birth (as Rav in Nidah 24a maintains).
RASHI in Nidah (24a, DH b'Alma) explains that only according to Rav is a
Shesu'ah an animal with a birth defect. Shmuel there appears to hold that it
is a distinct species of its own.
We learned earlier (58b) that there is a principle called, "Yeser k'Natul
Dami" (an extra limb is like having a limb removed; see Insights to Chulin
58:6). According to this principle, a Shesu'ah should be prohibited as a
Tereifah because of "Yeser k'Natul Dami," even without the verse of
"ha'Shesu'ah" (Devarim 14:7) prohibiting it!
ANSWER: According to Rav, the Torah's intention is to prohibit the Shesu'ah
mutation even if it was found in the womb of an animal after Shechitah (see
Nidah 24a and Tosfos there). Normally, such an animal would be permitted,
since it is considered to be part of the flesh of the mother. According to
Rashi's understanding of Shmuel, the second spinal column of the Shesu'ah is
not "extra," since it *normally* develops in such a manner.
According to Tosfos' understanding of Shmuel, though, the Shesu'ah is indeed
a mutation, and the Torah is not discussing a Shesu'ah that is found in the
womb. Why, then, does Shmuel require a verse to teach that one may not eat
it? The extra spine should render it a Tereifah because of "Yeser k'Natul
Perhaps we need a verse to prohibit it because we might have thought that
since it has two spines, it is really two animals fused together. Since
there are two animals in each Shesu'ah, the second spine is not "extra." (M.