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) QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED TO BE A NAVI
QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan says that Hashem's Shechinah dwells only upon a
person who is a Gibor (powerful, brave), Ashir (rich), Chacham (wise), and
Anav (modest). Why is it necessary to have these four attributes? It seems
particularly strange that a Navi must be powerful and wealthy in order to
have the Shechinah rest upon him.
(a) The RAN (in DERASHOS HA'RAN) explains that these four attributes
represent the major facets of a person's being, and a Navi must excel in all
of them. That he must be a "Chacham" means that he must have perfected his
intellectual (Sichliyos) abilities. That he must be an "Anav" means that he
must have perfected his Midos, his character traits, since modesty is the
highest level of all the Midos (see Avodah Zarah 20b). Power and wealth
represent the outstanding nature of his physical abilities.
While we understand that it is important to be on a very high spiritual
level in order to be a Navi, it is still difficult to understand why it is
necessary to excel in physical traits.
The Ran quotes the view of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Yesodei ha'Torah 7:1) who
says that Rebbi Yochanan does not mean that one must be physically powerful
and materially wealthy. Rather, he means that the Navi must be powerful in
spirit, having full self-control over his physical desires and drives. He
must be "rich" in that he leads a simple life and is content with what he
has, in accordance with the Mishnah in Avos (4:1), "Who is the rich one? The
one who is happy with his lot." (See also SICHOS MUSAR of RAV CHAIM
SHMULEVITZ (5731, #21; 5732, #28); SHALMEI NEDARIM
The RAN disagrees with this explanation, because the proofs cited by our
Gemara indicate that a Navi must indeed be physically strong and materially
wealthy (see also KESEF MISHNAH). (Moshe Rabeinu became rich from the
fragments of precious stone upon which the Luchos were written, and he was
physically able to erect the Mishkan and to lift and throw the heavy stone
Luchos (see Shalmei Nedarim). Yonah was wealthy enough that he was able to
hire a large, expensive boat.)
(b) The Ran explains instead that Rebbi Yochanan is referring to a person
who not only prophecizes for himself, but he is a Navi for the entire Jewish
people. Although it is enough to be on a high spiritual level to be close
with Hashem and to merit His presence on a personal level, a Navi who
transmits Hashem's word to the masses most be someone who is highly
respected by all. Even the simple people who do not realize the true value
of wisdom and good Midos nevertheless respect physical power and wealth, and
thus they will listen to the Navi's words. The Ran cites support to this
explanation from the Gemara in Ta'anis (16a) that says that when a Ta'anis
is declared, all of the residents of the town gather together and one of the
elders says words of rebuke, and if there are no elders, then a man of
physical stature says the rebuke.
The Ran adds that it is also necessary for a Navi to be physical powerful so
that he not be afraid of the people to whom he is relating the prophecy.
(c) REBBI CHAIM OF VOLOZHEN (in RU'ACH CHAIM) explains that the most
important attribute of a Navi is his Anavah, humility and modesty (see
Mesilas Yesharim, who shows that Anavah precedes Ru'ach ha'Kodesh). It is
easy for a weak, poor person to be humble. For a powerful, wealthy person to
be humble is very difficult. Hence, in order to truly excel in humility, the
Navi must be powerful and wealthy and *still* be humble.
2) FEEDING THE FAMILY OF ONE'S FRIEND
OPINIONS: The Mishnah (38a-b) says that one who makes a Neder not to give
any benefit to his friend is permitted to feed his friend's wife and
3) HALACHAH: GIVING SMALL BENEFITS TO A "MUDAR HANA'AH"
(a) TOSFOS says that it is permitted only according to Chanan (33b) who
permits a person to pay his friend's debts even though his friend is
prohibited from receiving benefit from him, or according to the Rabanan when
one feeds them extra food that the husband is not required to give them.
QUESTION: The preceding Mishnah (35b) states that one who makes a Neder not
to give any benefit to his friend is permitted to separate Terumos and
Ma'aseros on behalf of his friend's produce.
(b) The RAN disagrees and writes that even the Rabanan -- who prohibit him
to repay his friend's debts -- permit him to feed his friend's children. He
explains that it is permitted since he is feeding them for the sake of the
Mitzvah of helping others and not in order to pay his friend's obligation to
feed his family. The RASHBA agrees with the Ran.
According to the Ran, even the Rabanan who disagree with Chanan permit him
separate Terumah from his own produce on behalf of his friend's produce. He
explains that since he has personal gain from separating and giving the
Terumos in that he may give it to any Kohen he chooses, the act is being
down for his own gain and his friend is benefiting only as an indirect
result (Grama) of his act which is permitted. The Ran writes that the RASHBA
disagrees with him and holds that the Rabanan who disagree with Chanan
prohibit him from separating Terumos on behalf of his friend.
The following Mishnah (end of 38b) says that one who makes a Neder not to
give any benefit to his friend is permitted to visit him when he is sick.
All of the Rishonim agree that this is permitted even according to the
Rabanan who disagree with Chanan.
Why do the Ran and Rashba agree that a person may feed the family of his
friend who is prohibited to receive Hana'ah from him, but they disagree
about whether one may separate Terumos on behalf of that friend? Moreover,
why does Tosfos disagree with them in both cases? Finally, why do they all
agree that it is permitted for him to visit his sick friend?
ANSWER: The Gemara in Kesuvos (108a) says that everyone agrees that one may
return his friend's lost object even though his friend is prohibited to
receive Hana'ah from him, because he is doing a Mitzvah by returning the
object. The Gemara points out that this reason does not suffice to permit
him to pay his friend's debts, since his friend has a monetary gain by the
fact that he does not have to pay back his loans with his own money. The
Gemara answers that it is only Chanan who permits paying back the debts of
one's friend. (See Insights to Nedarim 33 regarding concerning paying back
loans and returning lost objects.)
All of the Rishonim agree that even according to the Rabanan, the person is
only prohibited to do an "act of giving pleasure" to his friend. If the act
is not done *for his friend* but is merely causing him pleasure indirectly
(Grama), then it is permitted. Hence, he is permitted to visit his sick
friend even according to the Rabanan, since he is not doing the act in order
to give pleasure, but rather in order to fulfill the Mitzvah, and the
pleasure is merely an outcome (Grama) of the act.
In contrast, in a case where a person causes his friend to have a monetary
gain by saving him money through repaying his debts for him, the Rishonim
disagree. Tosfos understands that the Rabanan hold that as long as the
person's money is saving his friend from having to pay back by himself, his
friend is gaining and thus is obligated to compensate. Even if he gave his
money for his personal gain, the fact that his friend benefited from it
requires his friend to pay him for the benefit. Therefore, it is prohibited
for him to pay any debt for his friend, since his friend is benefiting by
gaining money from him.
The Ran understands that the Rabanan treat giving money to one's friend as a
monetary gain *only* when he pays for the sake of his friend's benefit. When
he does the act for his own personal gain (such as separating Terumah from
his own produce on behalf of his friend so that he can choose to which Kohen
to give it), or he does it in order to benefit others and not his friend
(such as feeding his friend's wife and children), his friend gains only as
indirect result of the act, and therefore he is not required to pay for the
benefit and is permitted to receive such benefit.
The Rashba agrees with the Ran only in the case where the person feeds his
friend's family. In such a case, the Rabanan agree that he has no claim on
his friend since he just gave a gift to the family and did not do so in
order to pay his friend's debts. The fact that his friend gains by not
having to feed his family now that they have been fed by someone else is
only an indirect outcome of his act and does not require compensation.
However, in the case where the person separates Terumah from his own produce
on behalf of his friend, the Rashba disagrees and says that the Rabanan do
not permit it, since he is spending the money to make *his friend's produce*
usable. Even though he has personal gain from the act, it is considered that
his friend is directly benefiting from his money since it is being given
also for his friend's benefit.
(The fact that he is fulfilling a Mitzvah by separating Terumah is not a
reason, according to the Rashba, to treat this as indirect benefit from the
money, since the Mitzvah is only a reason why he is doing the act, but the
money is being given directly for his friend's benefit. Only when he invests
(gives) the money for his personal gain do we say that the money was not
spent for his friend. In a case where he only does a service but does not
give any money, the only issue is *why* is he doing the service, and since
he is doing it as a Shali'ach of Hashem's will, it is not considered as
though he is doing an act of giving pleasure to his friend.)
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yakov states that for a person who is "Madir B'no l'Talmud
Torah," it is permitted to fill a barrel of water and to light a candle.
What exactly is Rebbi Yakov's case? Who made the Neder to prohibit whom?
There are two ways of explaining the statement of Rebbi Yakov.
(a) The RAN and most other Rishonim explain that Rebbi Yakov is discussing a
father who does not want to disturb his son's Torah learning, and therefore
he makes a Neder prohibiting himself from receiving benefit from his son.
Rebbi Yakov rules that his son is still permitted to fill a barrel of water
for his father, or to light a candle for his father, since these are actions
that do not take a person away from his learning.
HALACHAH: According to these two explanations of the Gemara, is a person
who is prohibited from receiving benefit from someone else nevertheless
permitted to receive *small* benefits?
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Nedarim 6:17; see ROSH) explains that Rebbi Yakov is
discussing a father who sees that his son is not learning Torah and he
therefore makes a Neder prohibiting his *son* from receiving any benefit
from him in order to give the son an incentive to start learning.
According to the RAN's explanation of the Gemara, even though the son may
perform small acts of Hana'ah for the father, we cannot learn from here that
it is permitted to do small acts of Hana'ah in every case of a Mudar
Hana'ah. The only reason why it is permitted in this case is because the
intention of the father in making the Neder was to prevent disturbing his
son from learning Torah, and since such small actions do not disturb his
learning, it is assumed that the father did not intend to prohibit them. In
other cases where a person made a Neder prohibiting himself from receiving
Hana'ah from someone, it could be that even small acts of Hana'ah are
prohibited as well.
In contrast, according to the RAMBAM's explanation of the Gemara, we could
learn from here that it is permitted to do small acts of Hana'ah for someone
who is prohibited from receiving benefit from the benefactor. It is not
clear, though, whether the Rambam would indeed permit doing small acts of
Hana'ah for every Mudar Hana'ah, since in this case the father made the
Neder in order to discipline his son, and perhaps the father only prohibited
his son from things that are important to the son, and he knows that filling
a barrel of water and lighting a candle are not important to him. The ME'IRI
quotes an opinion ("Gedolei ha'Rabanim") that learns from here that giving
small pleasures *is* permitted in every case of a Mudar Hana'ah, but the
Me'iri himself disagrees with this opinion, since this case is a novel case
and we cannot learn from it to other cases.
The ME'IRI and the PERISHA (cited by the SHACH YD 223:1) write that
according to the Ran's explanation of the Gemara that the father prohibited
himself from receiving Hana'ah from his son in order not to interrupt his
son's learning, in a case where the father prohibited the *son* from
receiving Hana'ah from him in order to motivate the son to learn, it would
indeed be prohibited for the father to do small favors for the son, such as
filling a barrel of water and lighting a candle for him.
The opinion of the RAN (and other Rishonim) and the opinion of the RAMBAM
are expressed by their respective explanations of the following Gemara as
well. Rebbi Yirmiyah says in the name of Rebbi Yochanan that it is permitted
for a person to give his Mudar Hana'ah the "mourner's cup" or a cup to drink
in the bathhouse. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Nedarim 6:10) writes that this is
permitted since it is *not considered giving him pleasure*. The Rambam is
consistent with his understanding of the previous Gemara that doing certain
small acts of benefit for a Mudar Hana'ah is permitted.
The RA'AVAD (ad loc.) disagrees with the Rambam and says that it is
permitted because the person is just filling up the cup and it is a Mitzvah
to do so, but not because it is not considered that he is giving him
pleasure. The Ra'avad is consistent with his explanation (and that of the
Ran and other Rishonim) of the previous Gemara, that it is not permitted to
do small acts of benefit for a Mudar Hana'ah (but rather the small acts that
are permitted in that case are permitted for a different reason) and
therefore there is no reason to permit doing small acts of benefit for a
Mudar Hana'ah. Only where one does a service for the sake of a Mitzvah is he
permitted to do an act that will result in a small benefit for the Mudar