POINT BY POINT OUTLINE
THE NEFF FAMILY MASECHES BERACHOS
prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
1) DO THE DEAD KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS WORLD? (cont.)
(a) Version #1 - Question: If the dead know what happens here, there would be no need to tell them!
(b) Answer: Hash-m told Moshe to tell them in order that they will be grateful to Moshe (for bringing them to the border of Eretz Yisrael).
(c) Version #2 (Tosfos Sotah 34b) Rejection: If the dead know what happens here, then why would Hash-m tell Moshe to tell them? Is this in order that they should be grateful to Moshe?! (Even without this, they would be grateful to him!)
2) SPEAKING AGAINST CHACHAMIM
(a) (R. Yitzchak): Speaking [bad things] about a Mes is like speaking about a rock.
(b) Version #1: This is because they do not know what is said.
(c) Version #2: Even though they know what is said, they do not care.
(d) Question: Rav Papa related that someone spoke badly about Shmuel (after Shmuel died), and his roof caved in and split his skull!
(e) Answer: Hash-m defends the honor of Chachamim.
(f) (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): One who says bad things about a Mes falls to Gehinom. "Veha'Matim Akalkalosam Yolichem Hash-m Es Po'alei ha'Aven" teaches that he will be with Resha'im (in Gehinom);
1. This is even when "Shalom Al Yisrael." (I.e. the victim that Ploni spoke about cannot quarrel with Ploni, for the victim is dead,)
(g) (Beraisa - Tana d'Vei R. Yishmael): If you see a Chacham sin at night, do not suspect him the next day. Perhaps he repented.
(h) Objection: He cannot mean "perhaps"!
(i) Correction: Rather, certainly he repented.
1. This does not apply if he owes money for what he did. Then, the Teshuvah is not complete until he returns the money.
(j) (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): Beis Din excommunicates for the honor of Chachamim (or their enactments) in 24 cases. All are learned in Mishnayos.
(k) R. Elazar asked where they are taught. R. Yehoshua told him to investigate. He found three -- disrespect for Netilas Yadayim (the enactment to wash the hands), saying bad things about a deceased Chacham, and acting haughtily towards Hash-m;
1. Disparaging a dead Chacham - (Mishnah): Akavya ben Mahalal'el used to say that a convert or freed slave may not drink Sotah water. (The Parshah discusses "Bnei Yisrael");
i. Chachamim: A case occurred in which Shemayah and Avtalyon ordered that a freed slave drink Sotah water!
ii. Akavya: They gave Dugma to drink. (Rashi - someone like themselves. They descended from converts, so they wanted to demonstrate that converts are important like Yisraelim. Aruch - they gave her imitation Sotah water, to scare her into admitting.)
iii. Chachamim excommunicated Akavya for saying this, and stoned his coffin.
2. Disrespect for Netilas Yadayim - (Mishnah - R. Yehudah): Heaven forbid [to say that they excommunicated Akavya]! There was no one as great in wisdom, purity, and fear of sin as Akavya!
i. Rather, they excommunicated Elazar ben Chanoch for disgracing Netilas Yadayim. When he died, they put a rock on his coffin.
ii. This is done to anyone who dies in Niduy.
3. (Acting haughtily towards Hash-m -) (Mishnah): (People had asked Choni ha'Me'agel to pray for rain. Choni was very particular about how Hash-m should fulfill his request.) Shimon ben Shetach sent to Choni "You are worthy of Niduy. If you were not Choni, I would excommunicate you! However, I see that you grumble in front of Hash-m, and he does your will like a father does for a son!
i. I apply to you the verse "Yismach Avicha v'Imecha..."
(l) Question: There are more cases! (Why could R. Elazar find only three?)
1. (Rav Yosef - Beraisa): Tudus Ish Romi accustomed Yisre'elim in Rome to eat goats roasted whole on Pesach night. Shimon ben Shetach sent to him "you are worthy of Niduy! If you were not Tudus, I would excommunicate you, for the Chachamim forbade this, lest people think that we may eat Kodshim outside the Mikdash!"
(m) Answer: He found only three cases in the Mishnayos. That case is in a Beraisa.
(n) Question: There are more cases in the Mishnayos!
1. (Mishnah): (If an oven became Tamei, one may dismantle it into rings in order to make it Tahor.) If the rings were connected with mud (without firing it in a kiln), this is the oven of "Achnai":
2. R. Eliezer says, it is not Mekabel Tum'ah;
3. Chachamim say, it is Mekabel Tum'ah.
4. (Rav Yehudah): It is called "Achnai" because Chachamim surrounded the oven like an Achnai (snake) with proofs that it is Tamei.
5. (Beraisa): That day, they took all the food that was Tahor according to R. Eliezer (and Tamei according to Chachamim) and burned it in front of him. They voted and excommunicated him.
(o) Answer: The Mishnah itself does not say that they excommunicated him.
(p) Question: What are the other cases to which R. Yehoshua ben Levi refers?
(q) Answer: R. Yehoshua extrapolates. (Wherever he finds lack of respect for Chachamim, he says that it is worthy of Niduy);
1. R. Elazar found only three, for he does not extrapolate.
3) WHO IS EXEMPT?
(a) (Mishnah): The law of those carrying the coffin, Chilufeihem...
(b) (Beraisa): We do not begin to take a Mes to be buried close to the time of Keri'as Shema. If they began, we do not interrupt for Shema.
(c) Question: They began to take Rav Yosef to be buried close to the time of Shema!
(d) Answer: The law is different for a great person.
(e) (Mishnah): Those in front of the coffin and in back...
(f) (Beraisa): Those engaging in eulogies:
1. If the Mes is in front of them, they slip away one at a time to say Shema;
2. If the Mes is not front of them, they all say Shema together. The mourner is silent. They stand for Tefilah. He stands and says Tziduk ha'Din (justifies Hashem's decree);
i. He says "Hash-m, I sinned greatly in front of You. You did not punish me one part in 1000. May it be Your will to fence our breaches and those of all Yisrael with mercy."
(g) Objection (Abaye): One should not speak like this!
1. (Reish Lakish): One should not incite the Satan (i.e. mention that he is worthy of punishment)!
2. (Rav Yosef): He learns from "Kim'at ki'Sedom Hayinu." After we equated ourselves to Sedom, the Navi responded "Shim'u Devar Hash-m Ketzinei Sedom."
(h) (Mishnah): After the burial...
(i) Inference: If they can complete Shema before reaching the Shurah, they should begin. If not, they do not.
(j) Contradiction (Beraisa): After the burial, if they can complete even one chapter or even one verse, they begin.
(k) Resolution: Indeed, that is what the Mishnah means;
1. After the burial, if they can complete even one chapter or verse, they begin. If not, they do not.
(l) (Mishnah): Those in the Shurah...
(m) (Beraisa): Those on the inside are exempt. Those on the outside are obligated;
(n) R. Yehudah says, those who came to console are exempt. Those who came due to curiosity are obligated.
4) KEVOD HA'BERIYOS OVERRIDES A LAV
(a) Version #1 (our text) (Rav Yehudah): If one finds Sha'atnez in his garment, even in the market, he must take it off.
(b) Version #2 (Rambam) (Rav Yehudah): If one finds Sha'atnez in someone else's garment, even in the market, he tears it off. (end of Version #2)
(c) Question: What is the reason?
(d) Answer: "Ein Chachmah v'Ein Tevunah v'Ein Etzah l'Neged Hash-m" -- wherever desecration of Hashem's name is involved, we do not give honor to an important person (to leave the garment on him).
(e) Question (Beraisa): If an Avel was returning from burying his Mes on a Tamei path, Kohanim may accompany him, even if there is also a Tahor path, for his honor.
1. We should say "Ein Chachmah... l'Neged Hash-m"!
(f) Answer (R. Aba): The path was a Beis ha'Pras. (A field in which a grave was plowed. We are concerned that the plow dragged bones and spread them throughout the field.) Its Tum'ah is only mid'Rabanan. (Perhaps one who walks there will touch or move a bone k'Se'orah, i.e. the size of a barley seed.)
1. (Rav Yehudah): One may walk through a Beis ha'Pras by bending down and blowing [the earth before each step, so he will see any small bones that might be there].
2. (Rav Yehudah bar Ashi): If many people walked through a Beis ha'Pras, it is Tahor. (We assume that any bones have been crushed to less than k'Se'orah. If Tum'as Beis ha'Pras were mid'Oraisa, Chachamim could not allow these leniencies.)
(g) Question: R. Eliezer b'Rebbi Tzadok taught 'we (Kohanim) used to go over coffins to see Yisrael kings, and even Nochri kings, so that if we merit, we will perceive the difference between Malchei Yisrael (Mashi'ach) and Nochri kings.'
1. We should say "Ein Chachmah..."!
(h) Answer: Rava taught that mid'Oraisa, Tum'as Mes does not penetrate through a roof that is at least one Tefach above it;
1. The cover of most coffins is one Tefach above the Mes. Chachamim decreed that one who passes over any coffin is Tamei, due to those without a Tefach above the Mes.
2. Due to the honor of kings (to enable people to see them), they did not decree.
(i) Question (Beraisa): Kevod ha'Beriyos (human dignity) overrides [any] Lav of the Torah.
1. We should say "Ein Chachmah..."!
(j) Answer (Rav bar Sheva): It overrides [only] the Lav of "Lo Sasur" (do not veer from what the Chachamim say).
(k) Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael laughed at this. If so [Kevod ha'Briyos overrides Chachamim's rulings about Mitzvos], one may transgress any Lav!
(l) Rav Kahana: Do not laugh at anything that a great Chacham says! All mid'Rabanan laws are based on Lo Sasur. Chachamim [pardoned their honor, and] said that Kevod ha'Beriyos overrides their laws.
(m) Question (Beraisa): "V'His'alamta Mehem" -- sometimes you ignore a lost object, and sometimes you may not;
1. A Kohen ignores a lost object in a cemetery, a Chacham ignores it if it is below his dignity to carry such an item, and a worker ignores it if the wages he will lose through returning it are more than it is worth.
2. We should say "Ein Chachmah..."!
(n) Answer: There is different, for it says explicitly "v'His'alamta."
(o) Question: We should learn from here that Kevod ha'Beriyos overrides every other Lav mid'Oraisa!
(p) Answer: We do not learn Isurim (e.g. Sha'atnez) from monetary laws.
(q) Question (Beraisa) Question: What do we learn from "ul'Achoso" (a Nazir may not become Tamei to bury his sister)?
1. Answer - Suggestion: If someone (Tosfos; Rashi - the Kohen Gadol, who was a Nazir) was going to slaughter his Korban Pesach or circumcise his son, and he heard that a relative died, perhaps he should be Metamei (become Tamei to help bury the relative, even though this will prevent him from fulfilling the Mitzvah of Pesach (or Milah on the eighth day)!
i. Rejection: It says "Lo Yitama."
ii. Suggestion: Just like he is not Metamei for relatives, he is not Metamei for a Mes Mitzvah!
iii. Rejection: "Ul'Achoso" teaches that for relatives he is not Metamei, but he is Metamei for a Mes Mitzvah.
2. Summation of question: We should say, "Ein Chachmah..."!