1) EXAMPLES OF WALLED CITIES
OPINIONS: The Mishnah lists examples of Arei Chomah (walled cities) in which the laws of Batei Arei Chomah apply, such as Katzrah ha'Yeshanah of Tzipori, Chakrah of Gush Chalav, Yodfas ha'Yeshanah, Gamla, Gedud, Chadid, Onah, and Yerushalayim.
The Gemara quotes a Beraisa which lists Gamla in the Galil, Gedud in Ever ha'Yarden, and Chadid, Onah, and Yerushalayim in Yehudah as walled cities. The Gemara asks, "Mai Ka'amar?" -- "what is it saying?"
What is the Gemara's question? What words in the Beraisa are difficult to understand?
(a) RASHI (DH Mai Ka'amar) explains that the Gemara is asking why the Beraisa gives only one example of a walled city in both Galil and Ever ha'Yarden, implying that there was only one walled city in each of these places (which in fact was not the case). The Gemara asks why the Beraisa gives this misleading implication.
TOSFOS (DH Mai Ka'amar) asks that this question also seems to apply to the Mishnah, with lists only Gamla and Gedud from all of the walled cities in Galil and Ever ha'Yarden. Why does the Gemara not ask this question on the Mishnah? The TZON KODASHIM adds that although the Mishnah says, "and others like these" ("v'Chen ka'Yotzei Bahen"), which the Beraisa does not say, this phrase indicates only that there are a few more like these, but in truth there were many more cities in Galil and Ever ha'Yarden that were walled. (See the MUTZAL ME'ESH who does not know the source for the Tzon Kodashim's assertion that "v'Chen ka'Yotzei Bahen" includes only a few, and not many, more examples.)
Tosfos answers that this question applies more to the Beraisa than to the Mishnah, because the Beraisa explicitly states Gamla in the Galil, in contrast to the Mishnah which merely happens to give one example from the Galil.
The BI'UR HA'GRA on Erchin (printed after Maseches Nidah) gives a seemingly simple answer to the question of Tosfos. The Gemara later (32b) quotes a Beraisa in which Rebbi Yishmael specifically asks why the Mishnah lists these examples. Since Rebbi Yishmael in the Beraisa explicitly asks this question on the Mishnah, the Gemara asks "Mai Ka'amar" only on the Beraisa quoted here, and not on the Mishnah. The Gemara is asking why the Beraisa lists only a few examples when the Mishnah lists many examples.
The YAD BINYAMIN upholds the question of Tosfos. The Toras Kohanim (the source of the Beraisa) lists the same places as the Mishnah lists. When the Gemara quotes the Beraisa, it quotes it in an abbreviated form. It follows that the Gemara could not ask the question that the Bi'ur ha'Gra says that it is asking, because all of the places mentioned in the Mishnah indeed are mentioned in the Beraisa (in its original form in the Toras Kohanim).
Even though Rebbi Yishmael, in the Gemara later, asks about the examples of cities listed in the Mishnah, Rebbi Yishmael is asking an entirely different question. Rebbi Yishmael is asking why the examples of walled cities mentioned in the Torah itself are not mentioned in the Mishnah. In contrast, the Gemara here is asking a specific question about examples from the Galil and Ever ha'Yarden. (The Yad Binyamin suggests that the Vilna Ga'on might maintain that the Beraisa in Toras Kohanim is not the same Beraisa quoted by the Gemara.)
(c) The MUTZAL ME'ESH writes that if not for the explanation of Rashi and Tosfos, he would have explained the Gemara's question differently. The Gemara is noting the strange wording of "Gamla in the Galil." There is only one place called Gamla in all of Eretz Yisrael. Why, then, does the Beraisa need to specify that it is in the Galil when the identity and location of Gamla is known without those words? This is the Gemara's question. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) "AD GAMLA B'GALIL"
OPINIONS: Abaye explains that when the Beraisa mentions "Gamla in Galil" as an example of a walled city to which the laws of Batei Arei Chomah apply, it means "Ad Gamla" -- "until Gamla" in the Galil. What does this mean?
(a) RASHI (DH Ad Gamla) explains that all of the walled cities in the Galil, from the southern edge of Galil until Gamla in the north, are cities that were walled from the days of Yehoshua (and the laws of Batei Arei Chomah apply to all of them).
(b) RABEINU GERSHOM explains that all of the walled cities in Galil are considered Arei Chomah -- even the small ones until the size of Gamla. Gamla has three courtyards, each of which contains two houses, which is the minimum size of a city to be considered a walled city with regard to the laws of Batei Arei Chomah.
3) "YEHOSHUA" WITHOUT A "HEH"
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that when Ezra led part of the Jewish people back to Eretz Yisrael, the Chachamim abolished the Yetzer ha'Ra to worship Avodah Zarah. This is alluded to in the verse, "va'Yeshvu ba'Sukos Ki Lo Asu Mimei Yeshu'a bin Nun" -- "and they (the Jewish people) dwelled in Sukos, for the Jewish people had not done so from the days of Yeshu'a bin Nun" (Nechemyah 8:17). It is obvious that the verse is not saying that this was the first time in hundreds of years that the Jewish people had fulfilled the Mitzvah of Sukah, because they certainly sat in Sukos throughout the years between Yehoshua and Ezra. Rather, the verse is hinting that when they abolished the Yetzer ha'Ra of Avodah Zarah, the merit of Ezra protected them like a Sukah.
The Gemara points out that that the verse writes Yehoshua's name without the letter "Heh" (Yeshua). The Gemara understands that this omission has a negative connotation; it implies that Yehoshua should have done this many years earlier, when he brought the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael. How does the Gemara infer this from the missing letter "Heh" letter "Heh" in Yehoshua's name?
(a) The MAHARSHA writes that Yehoshua should have realized that he had the right to ask Hash-m to abolish the Yetzer ha'Ra for Avodah Zarah in the merit of entering Eretz Yisrael. Since he did not take advantage of this opportunity, the letter "Yud" -- which Moshe Rabeinu added to his name when he prayed in the merit of Eretz Yisrael that Hash-m should save Yehoshua from following the evil plot of the Meraglim -- was removed from his name.
The Maharsha's explanation has an obvious difficulty. The Maharsha says that the letter "Yud" is missing from Yehoshua's name in the verse in Nechemyah. However, in our text of the Gemara and the verse in Nechemyah, it is not the "Yud" that is missing from his name, but it is the "Heh" that is missing. How are to understand the Maharsha?
The OTZAR BLUM on the EIN YAKOV explains the Maharsha's intention as follows. Moshe Rabeinu added the letter "Yud" to Yehoshua's name so that the name of Hash-m -- "Yud-Heh" -- would save Yehoshua from the plot of the Meraglim. The removal of the letter "Heh" from Yehoshua's name in the verse in Nechemyah shows that the special power of this name that Moshe Rabeinu gave to Yehoshua in the merit of Eretz Yisrael is no longer effective. This alludes to the fact that Yehoshua did not use the merit of Eretz Yisrael to pray to Hash-m to annul the Yetzer ha'Ra for Avodah Zarah. When the Maharsha says that the "Yud" was removed from Yehoshua's name, he means that the power that the Yud gave to Yehoshua (by forming the name of Hash-m in his own name) was diminished, since it no longer could combine with the "Heh" (which was removed) to form the name of "Yud-Heh." This shows how Yehoshua failed by not using his power of Tefilah to abolish the Yetzer ha'Ra of Avodah Zarah.
(b) The TZON KODASHIM gives a different explanation. He explains that Moshe Rabeinu gave the letter "Yud" to Yehoshua to protect him from doing what most of the other Meraglim did: giving Eretz Yisrael a bad name in the eyes of the people. Yehoshua could have prayed in the merit of Eretz Yisrael and achieved a tremendous accomplishment of abolishing the Yetzer ha'Ra of Avodah Zarah. He lost an exclusive opportunity to demonstrate the merit of Eretz Yisrael. Due to the fact that Eretz Yisrael was not exalted by Yehoshua in this manner, the "Heh" was removed from his name in the verse as a way of showing that he did not fulfill the potential given to him by Moshe Rabeinu with the name "Yud-Heh" to make a Kidush Hash-m in the merit of Eretz Yisrael. It is considered as though he, too, in a way degraded Eretz Yisrael. The Tzon Kodashim adds that in deference to Moshe Rabeinu the verse did not want to take away the "Yud" to teach this, since the "Yud" was given to Yehoshua by Moshe Rabeinu. (Y. MONTROSE)