THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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1) HALACHAH: THE ORDER OF THE ALIYOS WHEN READING THE TORAH
QUESTION: The Gemara lists the order of the Aliyos, describing who takes
precedence for being called to read from the Torah. We do not follow this
practice today. Why do we not follow this order? Moreover, it seems from the
Gemara that there is nothing special about the sixth Aliyah ("Shishi"). Why,
then, do many people consider "Shishi" to be a more honorable Aliyah?
2) HALACHAH: READING FROM A SEFER TORAH THAT IS "PASUL"
ANSWER: The ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN (OC 136:2) writes that today, we no longer
have Parnasim (community leaders), nor Talmidei Chachamim who can answer a
Halachic question in any area of Torah. Hence, we cannot follow the order
mentioned in the Gemara.
He writes that it is a Mitzvah to put an end to the common but mistaken
assumption that certain Aliyos are a disgrace. When one sees that people
look down upon a certain Aliyah, he should go out of his way to get that
Aliyah in order to prevent disgrace of the Torah and the emergence of
The prevailing custom is to give the Rav of the congregation the third
Aliyah ("Shelishi"). In certain places, the custom is to give the Rav the
last Aliyah (see Aruch ha'Shulchan, ibid., and Mishnah Berurah 136:5).
The source for treating "Shishi" as a more honorable Aliyah is from the
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that the weekly Parshah should not be read from a
Sefer Torah that is missing a section of its parchment (Yeri'ah). Does this
imply that a Sefer Torah is Pasul only when it is missing an entire Yeri'ah?
In addition, does this imply that a Sefer Torah that is Pasul may not be
used for the public reading of the Torah?
(a) TOSFOS in Megilah (9a) proves from here that a Sefer Torah that is
missing just one word is valid as long it is not missing an entire Yeri'ah.
HALACHAH: If the Sefer Torah was found to be Pasul in the middle of the
Torah reading, we do not re-read the previous Aliyos that were read before
the error was found, because we rely on the opinions that a Sefer Torah that
is Pasul is still valid to be used for the Torah reading.
(b) The RASHBA here says that even if the Sefer Torah is missing one letter,
it is Pasul. He explains that our Gemara does not mean to imply that if only
one letter is missing, the Sefer Torah is valid. In his Teshuvos (I:611),
the Rashba writes that the Gemara mentions that the Sefer Torah is Pasul
when it is missing an entire Yeri'ah, because in such a case it is not
permitted even to read from another Chumash in that Sefer Torah. In
contrast, when it is missing only one letter, it is permitted to read from
the other Chumashim in that Sefer Torah.
(c) The RAMBAM (in a Teshuvah quoted by the KESEF MISHNAH, Hilchos Sefer
Torah 10:1) maintains that a Sefer Torah that is missing even one letter is
Pasul. He proves from our Gemara that a Sefer Torah that is Pasul can be
used for the public Torah reading, and only if is missing an entire Yeri'ah
is it Pasul for the public Torah reading. This ruling, however, is not
consistent with the Rambam's ruling in Hilchos Sefer Torah, where he writes
that a missing letter renders a Sefer Torah unfit for public Torah readings.
If the mistake was found in the middle of an Aliyah, the MAHARI BEI RAV is
of the opinion that the person who was called up for that Aliyah should
*not* recite the Berachah that is normally recited after an Aliyah
("Baruch... Ashar Nasan Lanu Toras..."). Rather, the reader must first read
at least three verses from a valid Sefer Torah, and then the person may
recite the Berachah. The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 143) rules in accordance with
The MORDECAI maintains that if one can conclude his Aliyah where the mistake
was found, he should recite the concluding Berachah at that point. If he
cannot end his Aliyah there (due to the nature of the Pesukim being read, or
because he has not yet read the minimum number of verses), he should read by
heart until a point that he can end the Aliyah and then recite the
The REMA makes a compromise and writes that if the mistake was found at a
point where the Aliyah can be concluded, he should recite the concluding
Berachah at that point. If the Aliyah cannot end there, they should take out
the valid Sefer Torah and finish the Aliyah in it, and then recite the
The MISHNAH BERURAH (143:13) quotes Acharonim who say that if a mistake was
found after several Aliyos have been read, then when it is possible to split
the remainder of the Parshah into seven Aliyos, it is preferable to do so.
The Mishnah Berurah (143:29) discusses what should be done if the synagogue
does not have another Sefer Torah. Some Acharonim say that in such a case
the rest of the Aliyos should be read *with* the Berachos, but the NODA
B'YEHUDAH and the SHA'AREI EFRAIM say that no additional Berachos should be
said. Therefore, the one who received the Aliyah in which the mistake was
found should remain standing at the Bimah and he should not recite the
concluding Berachah. The Gabai should call up others for the rest of the
Aliyos, but they should *not* recite the Berachos. When they finish reading
the Parshah, the one who received the Aliyah in which the mistake was found
should make his concluding Berachah.
3) MORE WRITTEN TORAH THAN ORAL TORAH
QUESTION: Rebbi Elazar maintains that the majority of the Torah is the
Written Torah (Torah she'Bichtav). Rebbi Yochanan argues and says that the
majority of the Torah is the Oral Torah (Torah she'Ba'al Peh).
How can Rebbi Elazar possibly assert that the majority of the Torah is the
Written Torah? It is clear that there are many more volumes of Torah
she'Ba'al Peh than Torah she'Bichtav!
(a) RASHI explains that Rebbi Elazar and Rebbi Yochanan are not discussing
the Written Torah in comparison to the Oral Torah, but rather they are both
discussing the Oral Torah. Rebbi Elazar is referring to the Halachos of
Torah she'Ba'al Peh that are derived from Derashos from the Pesukim in the
Written Torah, while Rebbi Yochanan is referring to the Halachos of Torah
she'Ba'al Peh that were given to Moshe Rabeinu at Har Sinai and passed down
from him, which do not have any apparent source in the Written Torah.
The MAHARSHA asks that, according to Rashi's explanation, if Rebbi Elazar is
saying that all Halachos that are learned from Derashos are included in the
Written Torah, then it is obvious that the Written Torah is larger! Why,
then, does Rebbi Yochanan disagree? He answers that perhaps novel
interpretations that the Sages teach are also included in the Oral Torah,
which would make the Oral Torah larger than the Written Torah.
(b) The BE'ER SHEVA explains that everyone agrees that if we include all
that is learned from Derashos (through the Thirteen Midos she'ha'Torah
Nidreshes ba'Hen) in the Written Torah, then the Written Torah is larger.
The disagreement is whether we should include that which is learned from
Derashos as part of the Written Torah or as part of the Oral Torah.
The PRI MEGADIM (beginning of the "Pesicha ha'Koleles") writes that this
dispute has Halachic implications. The following Gemara mentions the
Halachah that the Oral Torah may not be written down. If we include Halachos
that are learned from Derashos in the Oral Torah, then those Halachos and
Derashos should not be written down, but if we include them in the Written
Torah, then they may be written down. (In practice, it is permitted today to
write the Oral Torah so that it not be forgotten ("Eis la'Asos la'Shem..."),
but not for other reasons.)
The Gemara cites the verse, "Echtav Lachem Rubei Torasi..." - "I wrote for
him the great things (or majority) of My Torah..." (Hoshea 8:12) as support
for the opinion that most of the Torah is written. The Gemara says that
Rebbi Yochanan -- who holds that the Oral Torah constitutes most of the
Torah -- understands that verse to be en exclamation of Hashem, saying,
"Should I write the majority of the Torah?! If so, the Jews will be the same
as the other nations!" (This is according to Tosfos' explanation of the
Gemara. Tosfos explains that if the Oral Torah would be written down, the
other nations would copy it (and say that it was also given to them).) Based
on the Pri Magadim and Be'er Sheva, it is possible to suggest that this
interpretation of the verse is also giving an explanation *why* Halachos
that are derived from Derashos are considered part of the Oral Torah and
therefore may not be written: if this part of the Oral Torah would be
written, the other nations would have all of our Derashos.