THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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YOMA 59-88 have been dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Simcha
Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens N.Y. by his wife
and daughters. Well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah, he
will long be remembered.
1) THE JEWISH PEOPLE COMPLAIN FOR "FISH"
QUESTION: Upon their departure from Har Sinai, after spending nearly a year
encamped there, the Jewish people complained that they missed the fish which
they had eaten in Mitzrayim (Bamidbar 11:5). The Gemara says that these
"fish" refer to the Arayos (the incestuous relationships) that had been
permitted until they received the Torah at Har Sinai.
Why did they suddenly start complaining now, upon leaving Har Sinai? The
prohibitions of Arayos were given to them at the time that the Torah was
given (in Sivan), eleven months earlier! Why did they wait until leaving Har
Sinai to complain about it? (MIZRACHI, Bamidbar 11:10)
(a) The SIFSEI CHACHAMIM answers that when they were encamped around Har
Sinai, all of the tribes were grouped together. However, when they started
to travel, the Jewish people were separated into various different camps, so
that the only women in their midst were those from their own immediate
family. Since many of the women of their own family and tribe were forbidden
to them, they felt the restriction more than before they started to travel.
(b) The MAHARAL (Gur Aryeh) says that when the Jewish people complained
about missing the "fish," they were indeed complaining about the foods that
they missed. Now that they became overcome with Ta'avah (lust) for those
foods, they added the other things for which they had a craving, including
It could be that the Maharal's intention is to say that for the duration of
time that they sojourned at Har Sinai they constantly experienced the awe of
the Shechinah's presence, as Hashem taught Moshe the Mitzvos along with
thunder and flame (Rashi, Ta'anis 21a, DH El Mul). As a result, they had no
Ta'avos when they stood at Har Sinai, because the awe of Hashem overcame
them. Once they departed from Sinai, though, their Ta'avos overcame them and
(c) The TOSFOS YOM HA'KIPURIM suggests that if a person is permitted to
marry someone who is closely related to him, it is easier to find a wife (or
a husband) who will be totally subservient to the will of the other, because
one could find a close relative who, because of the relationship, will be
willing to be subservient. When the people became limited to marrying
someone who is not a relative and would not be so subservient, the women (or
men) who would have been subservient had they married relatives were then
able to make all sorts of demands upon their husbands (or wives). At Har
Sinai, the people had enough of an income (since they were settled down and
were not traveling) to give in to those demands. But once they started
traveling and had no income and had to buy food from the gentile merchants,
they were disturbed that they had to spend so much money for their spouses.
(d) The KLI YAKAR suggests that the Gemara (Bava Kama 83a) teaches that the
Shechinah dwells upon the Jewish people only when there are at least 22,000
Jews dwelling in one place. The Gemara learns this from the verse, "...
Shuvah Hashem Rivevos Alfei Yisrael" (Bamidbar 10:36; see Rashi there),
which was said as the Jews left Har Sinai, in the Parsha of "Vayehi Binso'a
ha'Aron." The fact that the Shechinah dwells only upon such a large number
of Jews teaches the importance of increasing the number of Jews, for without
large numbers the Shechinah cannot dwell among us.
When the Jews were commanded at Har Sinai to divorce their spouses who were
close relatives, they reasoned that there is no need to be married. When
they left Har Sinai, though, Hashem said to them, "... Shuvah Hashem Rivevos
Alfei Yisrael," telling them that they must multiply in order to have the
Shechinah among them. They realized that it was Hashem's intention for them
to be married, and thus they complained that they were commanded to divorce
their original wives.
This explains why they complained about their wives in terms of "fish" --
fish represent the ability to multiply rapidly, as the verse says, "v'Yidgu
la'Rov" (Bereishis 48:16). The Kli Yakar further explains that this is the
reason for the backwards "Nun" at the beginning and end of the verses of
"Vayehi Binso'a ha'Aron...." The word "Nun" means fish. The people
complained that they were "reversed fish" -- forced to divorce their wives,
while at the same time commanded to multiply!
2) THE "SLAV" WHICH CAME DOWN WITH THE MAN
QUESTIONS: The verse says that Hashem gave the Jewish people Slav after they
complained "and it was spread out (Shato'ach) around the encampment"
(Bamidbar 11:32). Rebbi Yehoshua ben Karchah says: Do not read the word
"Shato'ach" but rather "Shachot." This teaches that along with the Man came
something which needed Shechitah.
3) THE GEMARA'S DISCUSSION OF THE "MAN"
Rebbi argues and says that the source that Slav came down is not from the
Derashah of the word "Shachot." Rather, we already know that Slav came down,
because it says in Tehilim (78:27) that "it rained down upon them... winged
birds." In addition, Rebbi says that the verse "v'Zavachta... Ka'asher
Tzivisicha" (Devarim 12:21) teaches that Hashem commanded the laws of
Shechitah, including the law that a bird must be slaughtered by cutting the
majority of one of the two Simanim.
(a) Where does Rebbi Yehoshua ben Karchah see anything about the Man in the
verse? The verse is discussing the Slav and says nothing about the Man!
(b) Why is Rebbi Yehoshua ben Karchah trying to prove that birds came down
with the Man by reversing the letters of the word "Shato'ach," and why is
Rebbi trying to prove that birds came down from the verse in Tehilim? We do
not need any proof, for the verse states explicitly that Slav came down and
covered the camp!
(c) When Rebbi counters that we already see from Tehilim that birds came
down, why does the Gemara have to add that Rebbi holds that birds require
Shechitah? What difference does it make if they require Shechitah? The point
of Rebbi Yehoshua ben Karchah's Derashah was to teach that birds came down.
If Rebbi shows us that birds came down from the verse in Tehilim, thus
making Rebbi Yehoshua ben Karchah's Derashah unnecessary, why is it
necessary to add the Halachah of Rebbi that birds need Shechitah?
If, on the other hand, Rebbi Yehoshua ben Karchah's intention was to teach
that birds need Shechitah, then why did Rebbi counter with the verse in
Tehilim that says that birds came down, but makes no mention of Shechitah?
(a) The NIMUKEI HA'GRIV points out that RASHI does not quote the words "with
the Man." It seems that his Girsa in the Gemara did not include those words,
because, as we mentioned, the verse regarding the Slav has nothing to do
with the Man. (Even according to our Girsa, the words "with the Man" simply
mean that Slav came down in the Midbar for the Jewish people *just like* Man
came down -- but the two have nothing to do with each other.)
(b) Apparently, Rebbi Yehoshua ben Karchah was not sure what Slav were. The
verse states that they "came from the sea" (Bamidbar 11:31). He was not sure
whether the Slav were birds, or whether they were fish! That is why he
derived from the word "Shato'ach -- Shachot" that the Slav must have been
birds, because fish do not require Shechitah.
(c) As for why Rebbi had to bring two proofs, one that the Slav were birds
and one that birds need Shechitah, apparently Rebbi was not sure what Rebbi
Yehoshua ben Karchah was trying to prove. In case he wanted to prove that
birds came down and not fish, Rebbi cited the verse in Tehilim which tells
us that. In case Rebbi Yehoshua ben Karchah knew that the Slav were birds,
but wanted to prove that birds need Shechitah, Rebbi showed that we already
know that as well from the verse "v'Zavachta Ka'asher Tzivisicha." (M.
AGADAH: There is an argument regarding why the Man was called "Lechem
Abirim" (Tehilim 78:25). According to Rebbi Akiva, the Man was the food of
angels ("Abirim"). According to Rebbi Yishmael, the Man was absorbed into
all of one's limbs ("Nivla b'Evarim"), leaving no waste products.
REBBI TZADOK (Pri Tzadik, Erev Yom Kipur, end of #1) says that it is not by
chance that the Gemara in this Perek gets involved in a lengthy discussion
about the Man. He explains that whenever the Gemara discusses an Agadah at
length, it has some connection to both the name of the Maseches and to the
first words of the Perek. For example, the Gemara in Perek ha'Nizakin, the
fifth Perek of Gitin, discusses at length the topic of the Churban Beis
ha'Mikdash. When the Jewish people were exiled by Hashem at the time of the
Churban, it was similar to a man giving his wife a Get (as the verse says in
Yeshayah 50:1). In that way, the discussion of the Churban is related to the
name of the Maseches, Gitin. In addition, the discussion of the Churban is
related to Perek "ha'Nizakin" because it was as if Hashem did damage
("Nezek") to the Jewish people, as the Gemara in Bava Kama (60b) describes.
(The Gemara says that Hashem will have to repay, as it were, for burning
down the Beis ha'Mikdash by rebuilding it, just like a Mazik, a person who
damages another person's property, is required to repay for the damages).
Regarding our Gemara, Rebbi Tzadok explains that both Rebbi Yishmael and
Rebbi Akiva are correct. The Man was the food of the angels. How, then,
could it be eaten by humans? The substance of the Man in heaven was
certainly spiritual. When that spiritual entity, though, descended to our
world, it became corporeal (like any Neshamah that comes to this world), and
could be eaten by humans.
The experiences of eating on Erev Yom Kipur and fasting on Yom Kipur may be
described as delighting in the two forms of the Man, i.e. its original
spiritual form and its ultimate physical form. On Erev Yom Kipur, there is a
Mitzvah to eat and to enjoy physical food (81b). In contrast, on Yom Kipur,
we reach a higher level -- even higher than that which we reach on Shabbos -
- and our source of pleasure becomes the spiritual pleasure of Olam ha'Ba,
where "there is no eating or drinking, but rather the righteous sit with
their crowns upon their heads, basking in the pleasure of the Shechinah"
(Berachos 17a). The pleasure which we have on Yom Kipur itself corresponds
to the enjoying the pristine, spiritual Man itself, the food of angels.