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INSIGHTS INTO THE DAILY DAF

Kollel Iyun Hadaf

prepared by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim

daf@dafyomi.co.il, www.dafyomi.co.il

Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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1) THE DIVISION OF THE TORAH READING ON ROSH CHODESH

QUESTION: The Gemara discusses how to divide the Torah reading on Rosh Chodesh. The Rosh Chodesh reading is comprised of three paragraphs which consist of eight, two, and five verses respectively (Bamidbar 28:1-15). These verses must be divided among four people. However, there are several rules which complicate the division of these verses. One rule is that an Aliyah must begin either at the beginning of a paragraph or after three verses into a paragraph. An Aliyah may not begin less than three verses into a paragraph because latecomers to the synagogue will think that the previous Aliyah (for which they were not present) read only two verses. Similarly, an Aliyah may not conclude when less than three verses remain until the end of a paragraph, because those who leave the synagogue early at that point will think that the following Aliyah is going to read only the remaining two verses. Another rule requires that every Aliyah be comprised of at least three verses. These rules complicate the division of the verses of the Rosh Chodesh Torah reading.

In its lengthy discussion of the problem, the Gemara compares the Rosh Chodesh reading to the reading of the Ma'amados. Rav and Shmuel debate exactly how to divide the reading of the Ma'amados, in which a paragraph of five verses must be divided into two Aliyos. Rav says "Doleg" -- the first Oleh reads the first three verses, and the second Oleh repeats the third verse and continues with the last two verses of the paragraph. Shmuel says "Posek" -- the first Oleh reads two and a half verses, and the second Oleh continues from where the first left off and reads the remaining two and a half verses.

The RIF rules that the Halachah follows the view of Rav who says that when there are not enough verses to divide among two Aliyos, one verse is read a second time by the second Oleh. Therefore, on Rosh Chodesh the second Oleh repeats the verse "v'Amarta," the third verse of the first paragraph (which has eight verses). He reads the next two verses and stops, so that three verses remain in the paragraph for the third Oleh to read (who reads the two verses of the second paragraph as well). In this manner, the eight-verse paragraph becomes a virtual nine-verse paragraph.

The RAMBAN challenges the ruling of the Rif. He points out that the purpose of having the second Oleh repeat the third verse is to avoid a problem for the third Oleh. If the verse would not be repeated, the third Oleh would start with only two verses left in the paragraph (the first Oleh would read three verses, the second would read three verses, and only two verses would be left in the paragraph). The Ramban asks that this benefit of having the second Oleh repeat the third verse is offset by another problem which it creates. By repeating the third verse, people who enter the synagogue for the second Aliyah will see the second Oleh start only two verses into the first paragraph; they will think that the first Oleh read only two verses! What, then, is gained by having the second Oleh repeat the third verse?

ANSWERS:

(a) The RASHBA writes that it still is preferable for the second Oleh to repeat the third verse. The only other option is to have the second Oleh finish the first paragraph and the third Oleh to read the two verses of "uv'Yom ha'Shabbos" and two verses from the third paragraph, "uv'Roshei Chodsheichem." Such a division of verses, however, would create two new problems. First, a person who enters the synagogue during the third Aliyah will assume that he started from the beginning of the third paragraph ("uv'Roshei Chodsheichem") and will think that he read only two verses. Second, a person who enters after the third Aliyah has finished will see the fourth Aliyah begin from the third verse of the paragraph and he will think that the previous Oleh read only two verses. Therefore, it is better to have only one problem of "Mipnei ha'Nichnasin" by having the second Oleh repeat a verse in the first paragraph.

(b) The RAN gives a different reason for why it is better to repeat the verse in the first paragraph. If the Oleh leaves two verses at the beginning of a paragraph, or he begins to read two verses into a paragraph, the people standing there will assume that just as one is permitted to leave two verses remaining in the paragraph when there is no other option, one is permitted to leave two verses even when there is another option. In contrast, if the Oleh repeats a verse, people will not assume that they may do so elsewhere. They will see that it is an unusual situation which causes the need to repeat a verse, as they know that verses are not repeated under ordinary circumstances. (Although repeating a verse does not solve the problem of the people who enter late, that problem is unavoidable in either case.)

(c) The RAMBAN does not accept these answers, and he asserts that the proper practice is not to repeat any verse in the Torah reading. Rather, the first Oleh reads four verses, the second reads the next four verses, the third reads the two verses of "uv'Yom ha'Shabbos" and two verses from "uv'Roshei Chodsheichem," and the fourth reads the remaining three verses. Even though there will be a problem of "Mipnei ha'Yotz'in" (those leaving after the second Aliyah will think that the third Oleh is going to read only the two verses of "uv'Yom ha'Shabbos"), the same problem will exist if a verse is repeated (those entering after the first Aliyah will think that the first Oleh read only two verses), and thus nothing is gained by repeating. The Ramban mentions that this is also the practice recorded in Maseches Sofrim (according to one opinion there).

How does the Ramban understand the Gemara when it says that the Halachah follows the view of Rav, who says that a verse is repeated?

The Ramban explains that the Gemara rules like Rav only with regard to the Torah reading of the Ma'amados. Even though there are no Ma'amados nowadays and thus it seems irrelevant to issue a Halachic ruling about them, the Gemara mentions the Halachah in the case of the Ma'amados in order to teach that on Rosh Chodesh the Halachah does not follow Shmuel (who says that one verse is split into two parts).

(d) The VILNA GA'ON explains that a verse is repeated on Rosh Chodesh, in accordance with the view of Rav, but he gives a different arrangement for the Aliyos than that of the Rif. Instead of repeating the third verse ("v'Amarta"), the second Oleh reads verses 4 to 8. The third Oleh repeats the last three verses of the first paragraph (verses 6, 7, 8) and then reads the two verses of the second paragraph. This avoids the Ramban's problem, as no Aliyah is started within two verses from the beginning or end of a paragraph.

The Ramban actually mentions this approach but rejects it. The MAGEN AVRAHAM also rejects this approach because he maintains that it is preferable to repeat only one verse (and have a problem of "Mipnei ha'Nichnasin") than to repeat three verses.

HALACHAH: The Poskim cite the Ran who defends the view of the Rif and says that the second Oleh repeats the third verse ("v'Amarta"). This is the most common practice. However, there are many congregations in Eretz Yisrael which follow the view of the Vilna Ga'on and repeat the last three verses of the first paragraph for the third Aliyah.

22b----------------------------------------22b

2) WHO REFRAINS FROM WORK ON ROSH CHODESH

QUESTION: The Gemara says that the reason why an extra Aliyah is read in the Torah reading on Rosh Chodesh is because there is no "Bitul Melachah l'Am." Since the people do not work on Rosh Chodesh, adding an Aliyah and requiring them to stay longer in the synagogue will not cause them to miss work.

RASHI explains that it is the custom for women to refrain from Melachah on Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh was given to women as a reward for not participating in the sin of the Golden Calf (see following Insight).

Why should the women's practice to refrain from work on Rosh Chodesh affect how many Aliyos the men read in synagogue? Since the men work on Rosh Chodesh as usual, an extra Aliyah will cause them to miss work.

ANSWERS:

(a) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 282) writes that women are obligated to hear the Torah reading. Accordingly, the Gemara here means that since many of the people (i.e. the women) listening to the Torah reading do not work on Rosh Chodesh, a fourth Aliyah may be added. (The BIRCHEI YOSEF points out that the Gemara here supports the opinion of the Magen Avraham that women are obligated to hear the Torah reading.)

(b) Rashi cites support for the practice to refrain from work on Rosh Chodesh from the verse in Shmuel I (20:19). The verse refers to Erev Rosh Chodesh as "Yom ha'Ma'aseh" ("a day of work"), which implies that Rosh Chodesh itself is not a day of work. The RITVA and RABEINU YEHONASAN MI'LUNIL write that this verse teaches that at one point in time it was the Minhag that no one worked on Rosh Chodesh, even men. This Minhag endured until the time of the Mishnah. Although the Minhag changed since then, the initial enactment to read four Aliyos on Rosh Chodesh remains.

(c) The MORDECHAI (#806) cites the RI who says that even men may not work on Rosh Chodesh, as the verse in Shmuel implies. However, a man's prohibition against Melachah on Rosh Chodesh differs from a woman's prohibition. A man is required to refrain only from heavy work (such as plowing, sowing, harvesting), while a women must refrain even from light work.

(d) The TUREI EVEN suggests a novel approach. He says that during the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash, neither men nor women did Melachah on Rosh Chodesh. The reason for the prohibition was not related to the sin of the Golden Calf. Rather, the source for the prohibition of Melachah on Rosh Chodesh was that the Korban Musaf was offered on Rosh Chodesh from public funds. When a person brings a Korban he treats that day like a Yom Tov and refrains from Melachah (TOSFOS to Pesachim 50a). Since the Korban Musaf is offered on Rosh Chodesh on behalf of the entire Jewish people (from the funds they donated), it is considered like a Yom Tov for every Jew and thus he does not do Melachah! Only now that the Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing has it become the Minhag for women alone to refrain from Melachah, because they were not involved in the sin of the Golden Calf.

The explanation of the Turei Even is debatable, because there is no source for the practice to refrain from Melachah when a public Korban (like the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh) is offered. Indeed, every day a public Korban is offered (the Korban Tamid) but the people certainly do not refrain from work every day. Rather, the practice to refrain from work applies only to an individual who brings a private Korban.

However, the RADAK in Shmuel I (20:19) gives an explanation similar to that of the Turei Even. In the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash, the people did not go to work on Rosh Chodesh but instead came to the Beis ha'Mikdash to see the Korban Musaf being offered and to prostrate themselves before Hash-m, as the verse says with regard to the third Beis ha'Mikdash, "From one new moon to another, and from one Shabbos to another, all mankind will come to worship before Me, says Hash-m" (Yeshayah 66:23). Since the people did not do Melachah, no loss of work on Rosh Chodesh was incurred by the addition of a fourth Aliyah.

3) ROSH CHODESH: THE WOMEN'S REWARD FOR NOT SINNING AT THE GOLDEN CALF

QUESTION: The Gemara says that the reason why an extra Aliyah is read in the Torah reading on Rosh Chodesh is because there is no "Bitul Melachah l'Am." Since the people do not work on Rosh Chodesh, adding an Aliyah and requiring them to stay longer in the synagogue will not cause them to miss work.

RASHI explains that it is the custom for women to refrain from Melachah on Rosh Chodesh. The Yerushalmi (Ta'anis 1:6) explains that women who refrain from work on Rosh Chodesh follow an established custom. The source for this custom is described in PIRKEI D'REBBI ELIEZER (ch. 45, cited by Rashi and Tosfos here) which says that the day of Rosh Chodesh was granted to women as a reward for their refusal to give their gold jewelry to their husbands who wanted to make the Golden Calf.

The sin of the Golden Calf occurred on the Seventeenth of Tamuz, and not on Rosh Chodesh. Why did Hash-m reward women specifically with the holiday of Rosh Chodesh?

ANSWERS:

(a) The TUR (OC 417) offers an explanation in the name of his brother, RABEINU YEHUDAH. On the three festivals -- Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukos -- all of the Jewish people ascend to Yerushalayim to offer Korbanos in the Beis ha'Mikdash. These festivals were given to the Jewish people in the merit of the three forefathers: Pesach for Avraham Avinu, Shavuos for Yitzchak Avinu, and Sukos for Yakov Avinu. Similarly, the twelve days of Rosh Chodesh in the year were meant to be given to the Jewish people in the merit of the twelve tribes. However, when the tribes committed the sin of the Golden Calf they lost that merit. Instead, the days of Rosh Chodesh were given to the women as a reward for their refusal to participate in the sin.

(b) The PERISHAH records an answer in the name of his rebbi, RAV HESCHEL. Rav Heschel explains that the real reward given to the women for their refusal to participate in the sin of the Golden Calf is mentioned at the end of the abovementioned passage in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer. Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer relates that Hash-m also rewarded the women with the assurance that in the World to Come "they will be renewed like the new month, as the verse says, 'Your youth shall be renewed to be [as light] as an eagle (Tehilim 103:5).'" Rosh Chodesh alludes to this future reward of renewal because the moon, after it disappears, becomes "youthful" again at the beginning of every month when it reappears and begins to wax. The holiday of Rosh Chodesh was given to women to allude to their eventual reward of renewal.

However, the Midrash itself requires further clarification. Why did Hash-m choose to reward the women specifically by returning them to their youthfulness? Perhaps the reason is as follows. Had the sin of the Golden Calf never occurred, death would have been eradicated from the world and the Jewish people would have enjoyed eternal life and youthfulness (Avodah Zarah 5a). Since the women did not sin, they will receive that eternal youthfulness in Olam ha'Ba.

(c) The DA'AS ZEKENIM (Shemos 35:22) points out that at the sin of the Golden Calf, the men forced the women against their will to relinquish their jewelry to make the idol. In contrast, when the Mishkan was built, the women donated their jewelry with great joy and eagerness. As a reward, they were granted the day on which the Mishkan was erected as their special holiday. The Mishkan was erected on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, and thus Rosh Chodesh became the women's holiday.

(d) Perhaps a novel approach may be suggested to explain why Rosh Chodesh is the women's reward for their refusal to sin with the Golden Calf.

What exactly does Rosh Chodesh celebrate? While it marks the start of the new month based on the appearance of the new moon, what is special about the new moon?

The Gemara in Eruvin (54a) states that had the Jewish people not committed the sin of the Golden Calf, they never would have been sent into Galus. That sin altered their destiny and effectively condemned them to be a nation in exile. There is, however, another side to Galus. Although it serves primarily as a form of atonement for sin, it also provides a means for the continued existence of the Jewish people.

When they sinned, Hash-m wanted to destroy the Jewish people entirely. "Let my anger flare up against them and I shall annihilate them!" (Shemos 32:10). Moshe Rabeinu pleaded with Hash-m to refrain from punishing them with sudden and total destruction. Hash-m agreed to mete out the punishment slowly throughout the generations: "Now, go and lead the people to where I have told you... [but] each time the Jewish people sin in the future, I shall bring this sin to account against them [along with their other sins]" (Shemos 32:34).

This is the purpose of Galus. Although Galus is a punishment, it is also the key to the survival of the Jewish people. If the Jews had not been granted Galus as an opportunity for atonement, Hash-m would have annihilated them completely in the desert.

This additional role of Galus is expressed by the Gemara in Sanhedrin (37b) which says that "Galus is an atonement for everything," and in Ta'anis (16a): "We have been exiled, may our exile be an atonement for us." Despite the many negative aspects of Galus, it remains a vehicle for Jewish survival.

This concept has more profound implications. The Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 6:3) compares Esav to the sun and Yakov to the moon. Indeed, the nations of Esav (the "greater," or older, brother) base their calendar on the sun (the greater luminary), while the nation of Yakov (the "lesser," or younger, brother) bases its calendar on the moon (the lesser luminary). Esav counts his days by the sun, which is dominant only during the day and not at night. Accordingly, Esav has a portion only in this world but not in the World to Come. Yakov counts his days by the moon, which is seen both during the day and at night. Accordingly, Yakov has a portion both in this world and in the World to Come.

The phases of the moon represent Yakov's fate. The full moon begins to wane and its appearance gets smaller until it virtually disappears. The waning of the moon alludes to Galus, a punishment which necessarily involves the reduction and weakening of the Jewish people. Afterwards, however, the moon again waxes, increasing in size until it becomes full. This represents the other side of Galus -- the eventual strengthening and redemption of the Jewish people.

This explains the reason for the joy experienced upon seeing the moon at the beginning of the month, the time when the moon reappears and begins to increase in size. The arrival of the new moon symbolizes the eventual return of Yakov and his children to their former glory. (See Insights to Rosh Hashanah 25:3.)

This approach sheds light on the Gemara in Chulin (60b). The Gemara relates that the sun and moon were created equal in size. The moon, however, complained that "two kings cannot share the same crown." Hash-m punished the moon and diminished it, making it the "lesser" luminary (Bereishis 1:16). Nevertheless, because the moon's complaint was justifiable, Hash-m comforted the moon and let it rule during both night and day.

The Gemara implies that Hash-m punished the moon in two ways. He made it less luminous than the sun, and He subjected it to phases during which it wanes for half of the month (see Chizkuni to Bereishis 1:16).

Why was the moon subject to punishment? The moon is an inanimate object with no mind of its own or free choice. It does not have the capability of speech or the capacity to sin.

Based on the above explanation of the comparison between the moon and Galus, the Gemara in Chulin may be understood as follows. The descendants of Yakov, represented by the moon, complain to Hash-m that He created Esav (represented by the sun) as the twin of Yakov and granted them equal power. If Esav, who conspires to do evil and does not follow the will of his Creator, is granted power equal to Yakov's (two kings who share the same crown), there can be no assurance that Yakov will prevail. As is evident from the sin of the Golden Calf, Esav and the forces of evil can prevail over Yakov and the forces of good.

Hash-m responds to the complaint of the Jewish people: "Make yourself smaller," an allusion to the punishment of exile. The Jewish people argue that their complaint was valid, and that it is Esav who should be reduced in order to prevent the triumph of evil. Reducing the power of the nation of Yakov will only enable Esav to spread more evil in the world.

Hash-m replies, "You will rule by day and by night." Hash-m assures the Jewish people that Galus will not lead to their downfall, but, on the contrary, it will ensure their survival and their eventual victory. The expiatory effects of Galus will enable the Jewish people to rule both "by day and by night" -- in this world and in the World to Come, as the abovementioned Midrash describes. (See also MAHARSHA to Chulin 60b, and Zohar Chadash 15b.)

This approach explains why the Jewish women were granted the holiday of Rosh Chodesh as reward for their refusal to sin. On one hand, the diminution of the moon represents the exiles and punishments of the Jewish people. The moon's waxing, on the other hand, represents Hash-m's promise that Galus is only temporary and that the tribulations of Galus actually ensure the survival of the Jewish people as Hash-m's nation.

The men -- who committed the sin of the Golden Calf -- do not deserve to celebrate the waxing of the moon. Had the men not sinned, there would have been no need for a Galus to ensure the survival of the Jewish people. The men, therefore, have nothing to celebrate when the moon waxes. The women -- who did not sin and did not deserve to be punished -- are entitled to celebrate the waxing of the moon. They are entitled to rejoice in Hash-m's promise to preserve the Jewish people as a nation forever.

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