BACKGROUND TO THE DAILY DAF
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[80a - 42 lines; 80b - 24 lines]
1) [line 7] (BAL TOSIF / BAL TIGRA)
(a) One may not add onto or detract from any Mitzvah in the Torah, even temporarily (Devarim 13:1; see SEFER HA'CHINUCH #454-455. According to the RAMBAM in Hilchos Mamrim 2:9, the source for this Mitzvah is Devarim 4:2). One who transgresses either of these prohibitions in front of witnesses, after receiving a proper warning, is liable to receive Malkus.
(b) The commandment of "Bal Tosif" -- "do not add" -- can be transgressed in many ways. One transgresses the prohibition of Bal Tosif if he performs a Mitzvah at any time other than that commanded by the Torah, if he adds quantitatively onto a Mitzvah of the Torah (such as placing five Parshiyos instead of four into Tefilin, or taking five species instead of four on Sukos), and if he adds a completely new Mitzvah to the Torah. Similarly, "Bal Tigra" -- "do not subtract" -- can be transgressed if he does not perform a positive Mitzvah when it is incumbent upon him to do so (in addition to the transgression of not performing that Mitzvah - SIFRI #30), if he subtracts quantitatively from a Mitzvah of the Torah (such as placing three Parshiyos instead of four into Tefilin, or taking three species instead of four on Sukos), and if he claims that a certain negative commandment is not prohibited at all or only prohibited mid'Rabanan. (The third example given for both Bal Tosif and Bal Tigra is in accordance with the opinion of the RAMBAM, Hilchos Mamrim 2:9. The Ra'avad maintains that one does not transgress Bal Tosif or Bal Tigra by adding or subtracting an entire Mitzvah.)
(c) These prohibitions do not prevent Beis Din from forming new Rabbinic Mitzvos (such as the reading of Megilas Esther) or enacting Rabbinic prohibitions (such as the prohibition of blowing the Shofar on Shabbos). Numerous explanations are offered by the Rishonim to explain why this is so. The Rambam (ibid.) and other Rishonim (see Rabeinu Bachya, Devarim 4:2) explain that the Torah only prohibits adding a Mitzvah when one claims that the additional Mitzvah is a Torah prohibition (or commandment). By adding to the Torah in such a manner, a person shows that in his view the Torah is imperfect (see also Sefer ha'Chinuch ibid.). This does not apply to Rabbinic prohibitions. The Chachamim who put these new laws in practice do not claim that they are Torah commandments; rather, they are enacted in order to preserve that which is commanded in the Torah. Similarly, Chazal saw it necessary, at times, to add Mitzvos Aseh in order to preserve or make it easier to fulfill the Mitzvos of the Torah (see, for example, Rambam at the end of his list Minyan ha'Mitzvos ha'Katzar). There are many other reasons why Rabbinic decrees and Mitzvos do not fall into the category of Bal Tosif or Bal Tigra (see Sefer ha'Chinuch 454:2 at length).
(d) There is much discussion among the Rishonim and Acharonim regarding the circumstances under which the prohibitions of Bal Tosif and Bal Tigra would not apply. For example, one does not transgress Bal Tosif if he repeats a Mitzvah (or refrains from performing it) out of uncertainty as to whether or not he has already fulfilled the Mitzvah (RITVA, Rosh Hashanah 16b). In addition, Tosfos (Rosh Hashanah 28b DH Mena Teimra) posits that one does not transgress Bal Tosif if he repeats the performance of a Mitzvah (such as by taking an Esrog and Lulav a second time, or blowing the Shofar an additional time). For further discussion of these and related points, see Insights to Sukah 34b, and to Rosh Hashanah 28b and 33a.
2) [line 23] TZELUCHIS - a flask
3) [line 26] YESH BILAH / EIN BILAH
"Yesh Bilah" (lit. "there is [equal] mixture") means that when one liquid becomes mixed with another, we assume that it disperses amidst every part of the other liquid. "Ein Bilah" (lit. "there is no [equal] mixture") means that we cannot assume that the second liquid disperses amidst every part of the first, and there may be a disproportionate amount of the second liquid in one area of the mixture.
4) [line 38] KI HEICHI D'LO MISHTARESH LEI - so that he will not benefit from it (the water that mixed with the Mei Chatas, increasing their volume)
5) [line 6] D'IKA RUBA ELYONIM - there is a majority of upper blood (that is, blood which must be cast on the upper half of the Mizbe'ach)
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