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THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) ONLY HASHEM OPENS GRAVES
The Gemara records a conversation between Rav Nachman and Rav Achai bar
Yoshiah, who was speaking from the grave. When Rav Nachman reached into the
grave and felt the body of Rav Achai and saw that his body had not
deteriorated, he suggested that Rav Achai leave the grave and go home,
since he was able to talk and move. Rav Achai responded that only Hashem
can open graves, as it says, "You will know that I am G-d when I open your
graves" (Yechezkal 37:13).
2) WHAT THE DEAD KNOW
It has been said that this Gemara explains a cryptic conversation that we
find in Melachim II (4:18-23), in the story of the Shunamite woman whose
son died and was revived by the prophet Elisha. When her husband returned
from the fields, the woman did not tell him what had happened to their son.
Rather, she said that she was going to the prophet. When her husband asked
her why she was going to visit the prophet, all she said was, "Shalom." Why
was she so secretive about the boy's death? Why did she refrain from
telling her husband about it?
The answer may be that if she would have told him, then the father would
have become an Onen and would have been obligated to bury his son. Once the
son was buried, the prophet would not have been able to revive him -- only
Hashem can open graves, as our Gemara says. That is why she did not tell
her husband that their son had died -- so that the father would not be
obligated to bury him and the prophet would be able to revive him!
QUESTION: The Gemara records a conversation between Rav Nachman and Rav
Achai bar Yoshiah, who was speaking from the grave (see previous Insight).
How was Rav Achai able to answer the questions of Rav Nachman? The Gemara
(Berachos 18b) says that dead people do not know anything once they are
dead; even the Avos do not know anything about this world.
Similarly, we find the Rav Bana'a had a conversation with Eliezer, the
servant of Avraham, and asked him what Avraham was doing at that time. How
could he have a conversation with Eliezer, who was dead, if the dead do not
know what is happening?
ANSWER: The Gemara in Berachos (18b) says that although the dead are not
aware of what is happening in this world, they are aware of matters that
pertain to themselves. When they are addressed, and questioned about their
own matters, they can therefore hear the question and reply to it.
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