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QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Reish Lakish asked a question while lying on his stomach in the Beis Midrash. Why was Reish Lakish in this position in the Beis Midrash? What lesson does the Gemara intend to teach by mentioning this fact?

(a) The Gemara may be pointing out that Reish Lakish continued to learn Torah even when he had so little strength left that he could not even sit up, but only could lie on his stomach. Despite his lack of strength, his mind remained sharp and active.

(b) The KEREN ORAH suggests that the Gemara might not mean that Reish Lakish actually was on his stomach. Rather, it means that Reish Lakish's question pertains not only to Korbanos brought she'Lo Lishmah, but it also alludes to the food one puts into his stomach.

He prefaces his explanation by quoting the Gemara in Menachos (97a). The Gemara there teaches that now that there is no Mizbe'ach upon which to bring Korbanos, the table of a person serves to atone for his sins. However, the Keren Orah explains, one's table atones for him only if he says Divrei Torah during his meal, or he eats in order to sustain himself for the purpose of serving Hash-m. In this way his food is like a Korban, since he uses the food of the physical world for Avodas Hash-m.

However, often people neglect to say Divrei Torah or to have positive intent to eat in order to serve Hash-m. Such eating cannot be considered a Korban that atones. If his meal, under those circumstances, does not considered like a Korban, then is it in fact considered like an invalid Korban, which is rejected by Hash-m?

Reish Lakish answers with the verse, "Motza Sefasecha Tishmor" (Devarim 23:24). This means that if one is careful to recite a Berachah Rishonah before he eats, and a Berachah Acharonah after he eats, with proper intent, then even without Divrei Torah or intent to eat in order to strengthen his body to serve Hash-m, his meal is not considered an invalid Korban. It merely does not atone like a Korban, provided that he does not have an explicit "Pigul" thought while he eats (for example, he eats with intent merely to satisfy his desires) that would "disqualify" his meal. (Y. Montrose)

QUESTION: Reish Lakish asks that if Korbanos brought she'Lo Lishmah do not atone, then why are they brought? Rebbi Elazar answers that this should not be considered strange, since a Korban may be brought after the death of its owner. Reish Lakish counters that while this is true in the case of a Korban Olah, a Korban Asham is not brought after the death of its owner.

Reish Lakish therefore gives his own answer from the verse, "Motza Sefasecha Tishmor" (Devarim 23:24). The Gemara (2a) learns from the verse that if a Korban is not considered sufficiently valid to fulfill one's Neder, it still may be valid enough to be considered a Nedavah. (It is a valid Korban, but it does not fulfill the person's obligation.)

The Gemara asks that this verse discusses only Neder and Nedavah, both of which are donated by a person. Perhaps only these types of Korbanos are valid when they are not brought Lishmah, while other types of Korbanos which one is obligated to bring are not valid when offered she'Lo Lishmah! The Gemara answers that the verse "Osah" (Vayikra 4:33), which discusses the Korban Chatas, teaches that only a Korban Chatas is invalid when brought she'Lo Lishmah, but not other obligatory Korbanos.

The Gemara then asks that perhaps Nedarim and Nedavos brought she'Lo Lishmah are valid but do not atone, while an Asham should be valid and atone.

The SHITAH MEKUBETZES (#4) asks that this question seems to contradict the Gemara's previous question. The Gemara originally thought that an Asham should be invalid when brought she'Lo Lishmah, since it is an obligatory Korban, and not a Neder or Nedavah. How can the Gemara now ask that an Asham not only should be valid but also should atone completely, for the very reason that it is not a Neder or Nedavah? This line of reasoning is the exact opposite line of reasoning of the Gemara's initial assumption!

ANSWER: The SHITAH MEKUBETZES answers that before the Gemara introduced the verse of "Osah" (which teaches that only a Chatas brought she'Lo Lishmah is invalid), it indeed thought that an Asham brought she'Lo Lishmah was more likely not to atone than a Neder or Nedavah. However, once the Gemara has introduced the teaching from "Osah," which essentially implies that an Asham brought she'Lo Lishmah at least should be valid and possibly even atone, as opposed to a Chatas, it is more likely that it should completely atone. This is because once the Torah teaches that such a Korban is valid, it is more likely that it means that the Korban is totally valid, and not that it has an odd status of being valid but not fulfilling the need for atonement.

The logic of the Shitah Mekubetzes does not seem clear. Why is it less likely to assume that the Torah is teaching that a Korban offered she'Lo Lishmah is valid but does not atone? Why should this not be the intent of the Torah when it says "Osah" with regard to a Korban Chatas?

The SHI'UREI IYUN HA'TALMUD answers that when one vows to bring a Korban, such as an Olah or Shelamim, and he fulfills his vow and brings the Korban, he does two different things. He fulfills his vow to bring the Korban, and he serves Hash-m by bringing a Korban of this nature. These Korbanos are expressions of gratitude and servitude to Hash-m. In contrast, a Korban Asham is exclusively a fulfillment of an obligation to atone for a sin. Without the aspect of atonement, it is void of any role as a Korban.

This is why the Shitah Mekubetzes understands that after the Gemara introduces the derivation from "Osah," an Asham should be considered either completely invalid or completely valid.

(This is the reason why the Gemara later (5b) requires the Hekesh of "Zos ha'Torah." It teaches that even an Asham can acquire a new status similar to that of a Nedavah, in that it becomes a new Korban of gratitude and servitude to Hash-m despite the fact that it does not atone.) (Y. Montrose)


QUESTION: The Gemara earlier (5a) proves that an Olah may be brought without providing atonement from the case of an Olas Yoledes, which may be brought after the woman's death. Rebbi Eliezer says that the Olas Yoledes proves that even though a Korban Olah brought she'Lo Lishmah does not atone, it remains valid.

Rav Asi questions the Gemara's proof. If the woman would be alive and her Korban would be brought she'Lo Lishmah, she would attain atonement for any Mitzvos Aseh she had transgressed. Consequently, when her Olas Yoledes is offered after her death, it atones for any Mitzvos Aseh transgressed by her heirs who now are bringing the Korban (just as a Korban Olah normally atones for transgressing Mitzvos Aseh). If so, the Olas Yoledes cannot serve as proof that a Korban may be brought when it does not provide atonement, because the Olas Yoledes indeed provides atonement!

The SEFAS EMES has difficulty understanding the Gemara's question. What does the fact that the Korban will provide atonement have to do with the atonement of a Korban brought she'Lo Lishmah? Even if an Olas Yoledes atones for Mitzvos Aseh transgressed by the heirs of the woman, and even if an Olah brought she'Lo Lishmah atones for Mitzvos Aseh transgressed by the owner, this still does not prove that the vow made by the owner to bring a Korban is fulfilled (and he should be required to bring another Korban)!

Apparently, Rebbi Eliezer means that these Korbanos may be brought since they do provide some form of atonement, but they do not fulfill the vow to bring such a Korban. Just as the woman who gave birth and died does not fulfill her obligation (which she no longer has) to bring a Korban after her Korban is brought by her heirs, so, too, a Korban brought she'Lo Lishmah should not fulfill the vow of the owner, even if Mitzvos Aseh are atoned for by its offering! What, then, is the Gemara's question on the proof from Olas Yoledes?

ANSWER: The SEFAS EMES answers that Rav Asi's question is not from Olah, but from Korbanos like Shelamim and Todah. In the case of Olas Yoledes, the Korban should be brought because it provides atonement for Mitzvos Aseh. However, Rebbi Eliezer attempts to prove from Olas Yoledes that all Korbanos brought she'Lo Lishmah should be valid, despite the fact that they do not provide atonement. Rav Asi asks, how is this apparent from an Olas Yoledes, as an Olah always provides atonement for a Mitzvas Aseh? How do we know that this also applies to Korbanos like Shelamim and Todah, which do not provide atonement in general? Perhaps they are not valid at all when they are brought she'Lo Lishmah. (Y. Montrose)

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