THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SANHEDRIN 101-103 (18 Teves) - dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham Fawer to
honor the third Yahrzeit of her father, Reb Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi
(Weiner). May the merit of supporting and advancing Talmud study serve as an
Iluy for his Neshamah
1) THE SINS OF YAROV'AM
QUESTIONS: The Gemara discusses at length the sins of Yarov'am. There are a
number of questions that we may ask on the Gemara.
(a) The Gemara says that the Torah learning of Yarov'am contained no
falsehood ("Dofi"). We know that the Torah that a person learns protects him
from sin and brings him to repent (see Sotah 21a, and Insights there in the
name of the OR HA'CHAIM to Vayikra 26:3:7). Why did Yarov'am's Torah
learning not protect him from sin? (CHIDA in PESACH EINAYIM)
(b) What is the connection between the Derashah of "v'Di Zahav" regarding
the Egel ha'Zahav, and the story of Yarov'am? RASHI writes that the
connection is simply that Yarov'am set up golden calves as Avodah Zarah,
similar to the Egel ha'Zahav in the Midbar. There are many Derashos about
Agalim, though; why should the Gemara choose specifically this one?
(c) Why does the verse say, according to the Gemara's explanation, that the
people will be punished for following Yarov'am and for leaving the "one who
killed the Plishti and who conquered Gas," referring to David ha'Melech. Why
does the Gemara refer to David ha'Melech as the one who killed the Plishti
and not simply as David ha'Melech? How is David's act of killing Golyas (the
Plishti) related to the fact that the people should not have been following
(d) The Gemara then says that Hashem seized Yarov'am by his garment and
urged him to do Teshuvah, and thereby to merit to stroll with Him and with
David ha'Melech in Gan Eden. Yarov'am refused, because David ha'Melech would
be walking before him.
How are we to understand the statement that Hashem "seized his garment," and
that Yarov'am refused Hashem's plea? (YAD RAMAH)
(e) The Gemara says that a person who eats without reciting a Berachah is
compared to Yarov'am, who caused the Jewish people to sin. Why is one who
eats without a Berachah compared to Yarov'am, of all sinners?
(a) The OR HA'CHAIM (loc. cit.) writes that only when one learns Torah
*Lishmah* does the Torah that he learn have the power to protect him from
sin even at times when he is not actively involved in learning Torah. When
the Gemara says that the Torah learned by Yarov'am had no falsehood, it
means that he was learning Torah Lishmah until the time that Achiyah
ha'Shiloni promised him kingship. After he became king, he became haughty
because of his lofty position. We find with regard to Shaul ha'Melech (in
Menachos 109b) that before he was proclaimed to be king, he fled due to his
humility in order to avoid receiving such great honor. However, after he
became king, he lost some of his humility and wanted to kill David ha'Melech
when he felt that his kingship was threatened. The rise to power affected
Yarov'am's Torah learning as well, and his learning became she'Lo Lishmah,
only for the purpose of gaining respect. Therefore, his learning could no
longer protect him from sin during times when he was not learning.
(b) This is the connection between the discussion of Yarov'am's sin and the
Derashah regarding the sin of the Egel ha'Zahav. Moshe Rabeinu complained to
Hashem that the Jewish people would not have sinned with the Egel ha'Zahav
had Hashem not given them riches. This shows that when a person unaccustomed
to riches receives sudden wealth, that causes him to become arrogant and to
sin (just as a lion feels satiated only after eating meat).
To explain this in more detail, the commentators ask how could Achiyah
ha'Shiloni, a Navi, give the kingship to a person who was not from Shevet
Yehudah? They answer that Achiyah ha'Shiloni did not anoint Yarov'am to be
equal to and independent of the king of Yehudah, but rather he was supposed
to be subservient to them. However, when Yarov'am attained a position of
kingship, he found it unbearable to have to be subservient to a more
powerful authority, and thus he arrogantly attempted to claim the exclusive
kingship for himself. This is what the Gemara (101b) means when it says that
the source of Yarov'am's sins was his arrogance. He set up the idols outside
of Yerushalayim in order to prevent people from going to Yerushalayim and
giving honor to the Malchus Yehudah that was based there. It was the Gedulah
that Hashem gave him that caused him to sin, just as the riches that He gave
the Jewish people caused them to sin with the Egel ha'Zahav.
(c) This is why the verse complains that the Jewish people did not follow "
the one who killed the Plishti," referring to David ha'Melech. David came to
fight Golyas not with claims of power and might, but with Yir'as Shamayim,
attributing all of his success to Hashem. Because of this, Hashem answered
his Tefilos and vanquished Golyas, who personified Ga'avah, arrogance. Even
after David's miraculous success, he remained humble, and so he remained
throughout his kingship, as the Gemara says in Megilah (11a). The verse
quoted here is contrasting the actions of Yarov'am, who became arrogant when
he received the kingship, with the actions of David who remained humble.
(d) The Gemara says that Hashem seized Yarov'am by his garment. The ARUCH
LA'NER explains that this means that Hashem tried to save Yarov'am from
sinning through the merit of his learning Torah, which the Gemara earlier
compares to a "new garment." In light of what we have explained, this means
that Hashem wanted Yarov'am's Torah learning that was done Lishmah to
protect him from sinning. However, since Yarov'am was no longer learning
Torah Lishmah, it could not protect him.
The YAD RAMAH explains that when the Gemara says that Hashem said to
Yarov'am, "You will stroll with Me in Gan Eden," it means that Hashem wanted
to teach Yarov'am the secrets of the Torah, which is compared to "strolling
in the 'Pardes.'"
Yarov'am's Torah learning did not protect him, because it was affected by
his arrogance, and this is what the Gemara means when it says that he did
not repent because he wanted to be in front of David ha'Melech; he did not
want to be subservient to the kingship of Malchei Yehudah.
(e) The Gemara compares a person who does not make a Berachah before eating
to Yarov'am for the following reason. A person who does not make a Berachah
rationalizes that he is doing nothing wrong (as the verse says, "Ein
Poshe'a"). How, though, does he justify himself? The person makes a mistake
by thinking that Hashem already gave the land to people, as it says,
"v'ha'Aretz Nasan Livnei Adam" (Tehilim 115:16), and that is why one does
not have to make a Berachah before eating, since the land belongs to man
now. This is a mistake because, as the Gemara in Berachos (35a) points out,
there is another verse which says that everything belongs to Hashem --
"la'Hashem ha'Aretz u'Melo'ah" (Tehilim 24:1). The Gemara answers that only
after a person humbles himself to Hashem by saying a Berachah does Hashem
give a person "ha'Aretz u'Melo'ah." The person whom the verse is discussing,
who does not recite a Berachah before eating, is acting with arrogance,
since he knows that Hashem gave man the entire world to derive benefit from
but he is forgetting that he may only derive benefit from it when he
acknowledges Hashem and humbles himself before Hashem. This is comparable to
the sin of Yarov'am, to whom Hashem gave Malchus on the condition that he
humble himself to the Malchei Yehudah. Instead, Yarov'am became arrogant and
claimed the Malchus for himself, refusing to humble himself to the kings of
the house of David.
2) THE QUESTION AND ANSWER OF KING MENASHEH
QUESTION: When Rav Ashi reached Perek Chelek, he told his students that
"tomorrow, we will discuss our colleagues," equating the level of
scholarship of these kings (Yarov'am, Achav, and Menasheh) with his own.
Menasheh appeared to him that night in a dream and rebuked him for calling
him his "colleague."
3) THE MERITS OF ACHAV
Menasheh asked Rav Ashi, "Where do you cut the bread when you recite the
Berachah of ha'Motzi?" Rav Ashi said that he did not know. He asked Menasheh
to teach him the answer, and he told him that he would teach it in the
Yeshivah, in Menasheh's name, the next day. Menasheh taught him that the
Berachah is to be recited upon the first place that the bread becomes baked.
Rav Ashi consented that because Menasheh knew this Halachah, he was a much
Rav Ashi then asked Menasheh, "If you are so wise, then why did you serve
Avodah Zarah?" Menasheh replied that the Yetzer ha'Ra was so great at that
time that "even you would have lifted up your coattails and run to serve
The following day, Rav Ashi referred to Menasheh by saying, Let us discuss
our teachers," and he did not say "our friends."
(a) This exchange between Menasheh and Rav Ashi is very difficult to
understand. First, why, of all Halachos, did Menasheh choose to discuss this
Halachah of where one should cut the bread when he recites the Berachah?
ANSWER: These questions are discussed at length by many of the Acharonim
(see, for example, MAHARSHA, TORAS CHAIM, MAHARAL, IYUN YAKOV, AKEIDAS
YITZCHAK (Sha'ar 40), CHIDA (Devarim Achadim, Derush #14), REBBI TZADOK (in
RESISEI LAILAH, p. 13a)). We will present an explanation based primarily on
the ideas of the SHA'AREI YERUSHALAYIM cited by the MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM (#3),
with some additional points of our own.
(b) Second, why did Rav Ashi not know the answer to this question? This is a
Halachah which should have been part of his daily routine!
(c) In addition, why did the knowledge of this Halachah prove that Menasheh
was so much more knowledgeable than Rav Ashi?
(a) The previous Gemara explains that Rebbi Avahu expounded upon the
shameful sins of these three kings even though, when he was ill, he promised
not to do so. When his students asked him why he did not keep his promise,
he replied that "they did not change their evil ways, so why should I change
my mind about discussing their wickedness?"
This attitude is based on the Derashah of Reish Lakish in Eruvin (19a).
Reish Lakish there says that Resha'im do not change their evil ways even
when "they stand at the gates of Gehinom," in Olam ha'Emes (see also Gitin
57a). Reish Lakish derives this from the verse that refers to evildoers
after death as "ha'Posh'im Bi" -- "those who are sinning against me"
(Yeshayah 64:24). He says that the verse uses the present tense
("ha'Posh'im") to teach that they are still sinning.
Rav Kahana in the Gemara there challenges this assertion of Reish Lakish. He
points out that the word "ha'Posh'im" does not necessarily mean that they
are still sinning. It can also mean that they sinned in the past. He proves
this from the verse that says that Hashem is "ha'Motzi Eschem..." -- "the
One who *took* you out of Mitzrayim" (Vayikra 22:33). The word "ha'Motzi" is
used in the past tense, and thus "ha'Posh'im," too, can be in the past
Rebbi Avahu and Rav Ashi in our Gemara seem to accept the Derashah of Reish
Lakish, despite Rav Kahana's challenge to it.
The question of whether "ha'Motzi" and "ha'Posh'im" refer only to the
present (and future) or also to the past is actually a Machlokes Tana'im in
Berachos (38a). Rebbi Nechemyah maintains that the proper wording of the
Berachah to recite on bread is "*Motzi* Lechem Min ha'Aretz," which means
that Hashem *brought* forth the bread from the ground. One should not say
"*ha'Motzi* Lechem," because "ha'Motzi" implies that Hashem *will* bring the
bread from the ground, and that is not an accurate statement when reciting
the Berachah because the bread that one is eating is already present. The
Rabanan argue and say that "ha'Motzi Lechem" also means that Hashem
*brought* forth bread from the ground, in the past.
Those who hold like Reish Lakish (who says that "ha'Posh'im" means that they
are sinning and will be sinning) should recite a Berachah of "*Motzi*
Lechem," as Rebbi Nechemyah says. However, this is not the Halachah. The
Gemara in Berachos (38b) concludes that the Halachah is to recite
This was the question that Menasheh was posing to Rav Ashi. Rav Ashi was
prepared to discuss the wickedness of Menasheh, because he maintained that
Menasheh was still following his evil ways, even at the gates of Gehinom.
Rav Ashi agreed with the view of Reish Lakish that "ha'Posh'im" means that
they are still sinning. For this reason, Menasheh chose to discuss the
Halachah of the text of the Berachah of "ha'Motzi," because it is dependent
on the teaching of Reish Lakish. He was asking that "if you, Rav Ashi, hold
like Reish Lakish, then how can you recite a Berachah of 'ha'Motzi' and not
(b) If Rav Ashi held like Reish Lakish, why indeed did he recite the
Berachah with the word "ha'Motzi" and not "Motzi?" Why did this
contradiction not occur to him? The answer is that Rav Ashi thought that the
Berachah for bread is recited on the bread that Hashem constantly brings
forth from the ground, and not on the bread that the person is eating at
that moment, which has already been produced.
Menasheh did not accept this argument. Why, when eating a loaf of bread,
should one thank Hashem for all of the *other* bread that He constantly is
bringing to the world? It would be more logical to thank Hashem for this
bread itself that one is eating (as the Gemara indeed asserts in Berachos
38a)! This is the intent of Menasheh's words, "Where do you cut the bread
when you recite the Berachah of ha'Motzi?" He meant, "If you are saying the
word 'ha'Motzi,' and thanking Hashem for bread that *will* come, then how
can you eat from the bread for which you are thanking Hashem? It is not
possible to partake of a slice of bread that has not yet grown!
Rav Ashi acknowledged the question. He asked Menasheh why indeed we make a
Berachah referring to the way Hashem will bring forth bread from the ground
in the future (since he agreed to Rebbi Nechemyah's statement that
"ha'Motzi" is present and future tense, not past tense).
(c) Menasheh answered that the Berachah is recited on "Heicha d'Kadim
Bishula," where it starts to become baked. His answer can be understood
based on the Yerushalmi in Berachos (6:1). The Yerushalmi cites the same
Machlokes whether "ha'Motzi" means that Hashem *will* bring forth bread from
the ground, or whether it means that Hashem *brought* forth bread from the
ground. However, the Yerushalmi explains that the Berachah is *not* being
recited specifically on the bread that one is eating, since that bread did
not actually grow *from the ground*; wheat grew from the ground and was made
When did bread actually come from the ground? Bread came from the ground
before the sin of Adam ha'Rishon, before Adam was punished with having to
labor in order attain bread. Fully formed loaves of bread actually grew from
the ground. In the future, when Mashi'ach comes, we will again eat loaves of
bread that will grow directly from the ground, as the Gemara says in Kesuvos
The blessing that we recite, according to the Yerushalmi, is to thank Hashem
for the bread which Hashem originally made grow from the ground, and which
Hashem, in the future, will again cause to grow from the ground. Since the
Berachah praises Hashem for bread that does not exist in the world at this
point, it cannot be recited on the piece of bread that the person is eating
right now. This explains why the text of the Berachah is "ha'Motzi," meaning
that Hashem *will* bring forth bread from the ground.
Menasheh alluded to this in his answer, "We bless on the bread that becomes
*baked* first." Although at face value, he was simply citing the day-to-day
Halachah regarding which part of the loaf one should eat when reciting the
blessing of ha'Motzi, he was alluding to the fact that the Berachah is made
on the bread that *ripened* first (ripening is also called "Bishul"), i.e.
the bread of Adam ha'Rishon, which grew from the ground whole and which will
again grow that way in the future. (According to the Girsa "d'Karim
Rifta" -- "where the bread crusts," the Berachah can be made on either edge
of the bread, but not the middle. Similarly, Menasheh was hinting that in
the Berachah we refer to the first and last breads of the world -- those
from the times of Adam ha'Rishon and from the times of Mashi'ach -- as
opposed to the bread that we eat currently.)
The obvious question, though, is why does the Berachah for bread differ from
all other Berachos? Why does the Berachah recited for bread give praise to
Hashem for the bread that will grow in the future, and it does not praise
Hashem for the bread that we are eating now, which was made from wheat that
grew in the ground?
The answer is as follows. Because a person puts so much effort into making
bread, there is concern that a person might become arrogant through his
accomplishment and forget the great kindnesses that Hashem does for him, as
the verse says in Devarim (8:9), where it describes the abundance of bread
that will exist in Eretz Yisrael and it adds that we must be careful lest we
eat and become satiated, and, as a result, become arrogant and forget
Hashem. In order to avoid such arrogance, we humble ourselves when we bake
bread by reminding ourselves that baking bread is not something to take
pride in; it is a consequence that developed as a result of man's sin. It
would be much better to receive the original loaves that grew straight from
the ground in the time of Adam ha'Rishon, which will return in the times of
Mashi'ach. By phrasing the Berachah in this way, we remind ourselves not to
allow our accomplishments to make us arrogant.
Based on this explanation we can understand Rav Ashi's response. Rav Ashi
asked Menasheh, "If you are so wise, then why did you serve Avodah Zarah?"
He was asking, "If you are so G-d-fearing that you realized this deeper
meaning underlying the Berachah recited upon eating bread, and every meal
for you was a lesson in humility before Hashem, then how did you come to
serve Avodah Zarah?"
Menasheh answered that the Yetzer ha'Ra for Avodah Zarah was much stronger
in his generation. The Gemara concludes that Rav Ashi acknowledged that
Menasheh was a much greater Talmid Chacham than he, and he called him "our
teachers" rather than "our friends."
QUESTIONS: Rav Nachman derives from a verse (Melachim I 22:20) that Achav
was "Shakul" ("balanced") -- he had an equal number of Mitzvos as Aveiros.
Rav Yosef asks how can it be that Achav was "balanced?" The verse (Melachim
I 21:25) states that "no one was like in Achav" in the evil that he did! The
Gemara concludes that it must be that it was the merit of being generous
with his money, allowing Talmidei Chachamim to benefit from his possessions,
that caused half of his sins to be forgiven, giving him a status of
This Gemara is difficult to understand. First, why was this Mitzvah in
particular able to achieve atonement for him? Second, why was it able to
achieve atonement for specifically *half* of his sins, and not more and not
Third, where do we find that Achav allowed Talmidei Chachamim to benefit
from his possessions?
(a) The MAHARSHA explains that Achav's sin was that he served Avodah Zarah.
When a person provides food and support to Talmidei Chachamim, however, he
is considered to be bound to the Shechinah, as the Gemara says in Kesuvos
(111b). Since, on one hand, he was attached to his Avodah Zarah, and, on the
other hand, he was considered to be bound to the Shechinah, he was
considered to be half-meritorious and half-guilty.
Regarding where we find that Achav provided support for Talmidei Chachamim
from his property, the Maharsha says that it is either a Kabalah, a
tradition, that Achav did such a thing, or the Gemara is referring to the
incident recorded in Chulin (4b), wherein Achav made a Se'udah and invited
Yehoshafat to dine with him.
(b) The Gemara (Sotah 21a) teaches that when a person supports Talmidei
Chachamim and enables them to learn Torah, he receives merit for what the
Talmid Chacham learns, just like the Talmid Chacham himself.
Achav, on one hand, was guilty for the many Aveiros which he had committed,
but, on the other hand, he was credited with all of the Mitzvos that those
he helped to supported performed. Therefore, he was considered "Shakul,"
balanced with Mitzvos and Aveiros.
The Navi relates (in Melachim I 18:4) that that Ovadyah, a servant of Achav,
hid one hundred Nevi'im in caves to protect them from Izevel, Achav's wife,
who wanted to kill all of the Nevi'im. The verse adds that he gave them
bread and water during a time of famine. From where did he procure the food
which he gave them? At that time, due to the famine, food was very
expensive, especially food for a hundred people. Apparently, Ovadyah took
the food from the king's palace; the Gemara in Chulin (4b) says that Ovadyah
worked in the royal slaughterhouse and kitchen and prepared the food for the
king. Because of this, the verse (18:3) calls Ovadyah a "great G-d-fearing
person" -- "Yarei Es Hashem Me'od" -- as the Gemara mentions in Sanhedrin
(39b). The verse there implies that Achav also knew that Ovadyah was a great
Why, though, should Ovadyah be considered a Yarei Hashem for taking food
from the king's kitchen? In addition, if he was a Yarei Hashem because he
hid the Nevi'im and provided for them, and the verse says that Achav knew
that Ovadyah was a Yarei Hashem, then how did Achav know about the fact that
he hid the Nevi'im? Apparently, Ovadyah had received permission from Achav
to provide the hidden Nevi'im with food. Achav was not as intent on killing
the Nevi'im as his wife was. This might be why the Gemara in Chulin (5a)
tells us that when ravens brought food daily to Eliyahu ha'Navi during the
time of famine, they were taking the food from the slaughterhouse of Achav.
Because Achav was prepared to let the Nevi'im subsist on food from his
kitchen, he was considered meritorious for this deed. (M. Kornfeld)