More Discussions for this daf
1. Tisha b'Av in the 40th year in the desert 2. Meat On Tish'ah B'av 3. Tish'ah B'Av and Tefillin
4. Meat And Wine The Night After Tishah B'Av 5. Restrictions on Motza'ei Tish'ah B'Av 6. The Passing of the Dor ha'Midbar
7. Grape Juice During the 9 Days 8. ha'Tov veha'Meitiv 9. Pilegesh b'Giv'ah
10. Mesei Midbar 11. 40 years in the Midbar 12. Rashbam's Shitah on 40 years in Midbar
13. Tu B'AV - graves 14. The Mikdash of Dan and Beis El 15. 40 years in the Midbar
16. Rashbam's Shitah on 40 years in Midbar

David Goldman asks:


We find in this gemara and in Gittin 88a and Bava Basra 121b that the last king of the northern tribes, Hoshea ben Elah, removed the checkpoints created by Yeravam ben Nevat so that people could go to Yerushalayim.

We also know that in Melachim II the king Baasha ben Achiya tried to build a fortress near Yerushalayim when Asa was king of Yehuda to prevent movement to and from Yerushalayim. And with so many kings the psukim tell us how the kings continued in the ways of Yeravam ben Nevat.

HOWEVER, we never see an EXPLICIT explanation of what exactly was going on. Why don't we see any of the seforim speaking on behalf of neviim telling the Bnai Yisroel to rise up and go to Yerushalayim instead of Dan and Beis El. We do see that some Leviim and Kohanim left service in the north as did some people of the shvatim (which is unclear since the checkpoints were ostensibly in place). But the neviim never discuss this issue DESPITE the fact that for over 400 years Jews were eating korban Pesach outside of Yerushalayim for which they were chayav kares, which certainly would be as serious as the king serving the Baal.

So the question then is WHY did no king seek to destroy Dan and Beis El and why was there a nevua about Yehoshayahu doing it? What about the other kings, and what about the Yidden in Yehuda? And why don't we find any stories about neviim addressing this specific problem say for Pesach, Sukkos and Shavuos?

I have not found any clarifications in meforshim including the Meam Loez.

I think I discovered the answer from the Art Scroll Gemara Gittin 88a on the right side. He brings from Tanna Bei Eliyahu that the Bnai Yisroel sinned because of a yachid, and no full golus was decided until Hoshea ben Elah opened the checkpoints at which time he said that anyone who wanted to go could go to Yerushalayim, but the people did NOT want to go! So the king removed the responsibility from himself and put it on the Yidden. This makes a huge kitrug, and that is why there was a decree of golus on all the tribes.

This would answer my kashe, as to why the neviim didn't talk about it......or do anything about it........because they KNEW Bnai Yisroel would not go to Yerushalayim, and the neviim could not take on themselves the responsibility of creating such a kitrug!! So don't we learn from this that sometimes tsaddikim cannot do an action that would be rejected by the Yidden because of the danger of a gezeyra!?!

Now the shayla is whether the evil of Hoshea ("but not like the kings who preceded him....") is that he KNEW that this would bring a kitrug, or he was evil because he was so stupid that he didn't realize it according to his madrega........

Thanks, David Goldman, NYC

The Kollel replies:

1. This is clearly a very large and important topic which deserves much more attention than I can give, but for the time being I am merely going to relate to one aspect which I think may be a key to understanding a lot of what happened.

I would like to take issue with one point that you wrote, namely that eating the Korban Pesach outside Yerushalayim is as serious as serving the Ba'al. The Gemara in Chulin (5a) states that "worsipping idols is such a severe transgression that if someone denies idols this is considered equivalent to fulfilling the entire Torah." The Rambam (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 2:4) writes, "Anyone who agrees with Avodah Zarah denies the entire Torah, all of the prophets, and everything that the prophets have been commanded from the time of Adam until the end of the world."

In contrast, one who does not observe the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach -- although he commits a very serious transgression -- he remains a part of Klal Yisrael.

Therefore, while the Mitzvah of going to Yerushalayim three times a year is an extremely important one, nevertheless the Nevi'im had an even more severe problem to fight against, namely that the majority of the people were worshiping idols. Only when this sin could be eradicated could other transgressions be addressed effectively.

2. Another way of understanding why the Nevi'im did not rebuke Bnei Yisrael for not going up to Yerushalayim on the Chagim may be suggested as follows.

The Gemara in Gitin (88a) states that although Hoshea ben Alah removed the checkpoints which enabled Yisrael to go up to Yerushalayim, nevertheless they still did not go up. The Gemara tells us that as a punishment for not going up when they could have, Hash-m decreed that they would go into exile and captivity.

We see from there that the opportunity to go up to Yerushalayim did not turn out to be for people's benefit. We find another statement in Chazal which teaches the potential danger of given them this opportunity. Tana d'Vei Eliyahu (Seder Eliyahu Zuta, chapter 9) asks, what was the difference between Hoshea ben Alah and the other kings of Yisrael, such that Yisrel went into exile during Hoshea's rule? Tana d'Vei Eliyahu answers that from the time of Yeravam until the time of Hoshea, the sin of idol worship was "Teluya b'Yachid" -- it happened only because of the sin of one person, namely the ruling king who forcibly prevented Klal Yisrael from going up to Yerushalayim. Consequently, Hash-m did not want to send many Jews into exile because of the sin of just one person. However, when Hoshea ben Alah removed the checkpoints and gave the people the opportunity to ascend to Yerushalayim, and the people did not take advantage of that opportunity, this sin now was attributed to the entire community. As a result, the entire Kingdom of Yisrael went into exile.

3. The Nevi'im (who, after all, foresee the future) knew that this was going to happen. Therefore, they followed the teaching of the Gemara in Yevamos (65b) that "in the same way that it is a Mitzvah to say a word of rebuke which people will accept, it is also a Mitzvah not to say rebuke which one knows that people will ignore." This is why the Nevi'im did not speak out against Yisrael not going up to Yerushalayim. They knew that their words would be ignored and they would only be bringing a worse punishment on Yisrael.

4. I'd like to add a point about the fortress that King Basha built near Yerushalayim. The Metzudas David to Melachim I 15:17 writes that Basha built a high tower opposite the Gates of Yerushalayim from which stones could be case on anyone who tried to exit or enter Yerushalayim.

According to this explanation of the Metzudas David, the fortress had nothing to do with ensuring that pilgrims did not come to Yerushalayim on Yom Tov, but rather it was solely a military exercise to try and put Yerushalayim under a general seige. In fact, this is implied by the verse itself (15:17) which states that the purpose was to prevent anyone from coming in or out to help King Asa.

In addition, it seems probable to me that the checkpoints that Yeravam set up did not function all year round but rather only in the period close to Yom Tov to prevent Olei Regel from going up at those times. If this is correct, then we may understand how the Leviyim and Kohanim and other people left the service in the north: movement throughout the rest of the year, not near the times of the Chagim, might have been much more open.

5. Here are more sources about how Yeravam ben Nevat managed to bypass the Nevi'im:

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (101b-102a) relates at length how Yeravam tricked the entire nation. The Gemara states that he enticed them into signing that they would do everything he said, even worship idols. The Gemara (beginning of 102a) teaches that even Achiyah ha'Shiloni, the greatest prophet of the generation, also erred and signed. (See the Yad Remah in Sanhedrin who explains that Achiyah's mistake was that he signed a general agreement and did not specify explicitly that his consent applied only to commands which did not contradict the Torah.)

The Gemara (103a) also states that of all the other Torah scholars of the time were like grass in comparison to the greatness of Yeravam and Achiyah. It seems that once Yeravam had tricked even Achiyah, the rest of the people automatically followed suit.

Even King Yehu, many years later, whom the Gemara (102a) refers to as a great Tzadik, was also fooled by Achiyah's signature to follow the dictates of Yeravam.

The Yalkut Meam Loez (Melachim I, page 211 in the Hebrew edition, DH v'Yesh b'Sefer) cites an ancient source from the sages of Ashkenaz that Yeravam himself mistakenly interpreted the prophecy of Achiyah to him (Melachim I 11:37) -- "And you shall reign according to whatever your soul desires" -- to mean that he was entitled to erect a Beis ha'Mikdash wherever he wanted. The Yalkut Meam Loez also writes (page 211, DH veha'Melech, and page 212, DH v'Yesh Temehim, and see Abarbanel) that Yeravam's original intention was not to worship idols. Only later did his activities turn into Avodah Zarah (see Radak 12:30).

We get an idea from all of this how Yeravam managed to trick everyone, including Achiyah ha'Shiloni. Later on, when it was clear that the way of Yeravam and his followers was to worship idols, the struggle of the Nevi'im was to fight against Avodah Zarah, and the fact that the people did not go up to the Beis ha'Mikdash on the three festivals was a more minor problem, as I wrote in my very first reply.

Kol Tuv,

Dovid Bloom