QUESTION: The Gemara says that Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva gave honor to wealthy people. Why were they careful to conduct themselves this way, and why does the Gemara mention this form of conduct specifically with regard to Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva?
(a) The GILYON HA'SHAS cites the MAHARIL who points out that Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva were wealthy themselves (see Berachos 57b, Gitin 59a, Sanhedrin 36a, and Nedarim 50a). They did not want people to give them honor because of their Torah wisdom, since one should not take advantage of the Torah for one's personal benefit (Avos 4:5). In order to ensure that people would honor them for their wealth and not for their Torah wisdom, they taught that being wealthy is a positive attribute for which one should be honored.
(b) When Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva became wealthy, they used their wealth for Tzedakah and acts of Chesed. They came to realize the great value of money when it is used for Mitzvos. They assumed, in their modesty, that other wealthy people also used their money for the proper purposes, and therefore they honored them for their Tzedakah and Chesed. (ME'IRI, second explanation)
(c) RAV YAKOV EMDEN (in Sidur ha'Ya'avetz, end of Hilchos Derech Eretz, and in Hagahos ha'Ya'avetz here) explains that wealthy people are not accustomed to being honored, because most people are jealous of them and do not look towards them favorably. Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva were wealthy themselves and thus were able to give sincere and genuine honor to other wealthy people. Their intention was to honor wealthy people so that the wealthy people would experience the good feeling of being honored. This in turn would lead the wealthy people to use their wealth to honor others who are not wealthy, so that they themselves would be the recipients of more honor, as the Mishnah in Avos (4:1) says, "Who is the honored one? He who honors others."
(The people Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva honored were affluent but also righteous. With regard to giving honor to wealthy people who are Resha'im, see RABEINU YONAH in SHA'AREI TESHUVAH 3:9 (#199), and ORCHOS TZADIKIM 24:9 (Sha'ar ha'Chanifus).)
QUESTIONS: The Gemara says that according to Rebbi Yehudah, a Korah which is four Tefachim wide permits one to carry within a Churvah (a destroyed building). RASHI says that the Gemara refers to a Korah suspended above and between two walls. Both ends of the Korah are viewed as though they descend and close off the area below, since the area below measures at least four Tefachim. RASHI explains that if the width of the Korah would be less than four Tefachim, then there would not be sufficient space between the imaginary Mechitzos at the sides of the Korah, and "Pi Tikrah Yored v'Sosem" would not apply. A Mechitzah can be made only for an area with a minimum size of four by four Tefachim.
Rashi adds that the principle of Gediyim Bok'in Bah does not prevent the walls from descending and closing off the area, because Rebbi Yehudah follows the opinion of Rebbi Yosi (86b) who maintains that we are not concerned with Gediyim Bok'in Bah.
(a) Mechitzos that are formed through the rule of Pi Tikrah Yored v'Sosem always hang in the air and thus always have the problem of Gediyim Bok'in Bah. Nevertheless, we find that Rav says that the rule of Pi Tikrah still creates Mechitzos (25a), and Shmuel also says that Pi Tikrah creates Mechitzos where there is already one real wall (94b). Why should Pi Tikrah work at all according to those who maintain that Gediyim Bok'in Bah disqualifies a Mechitzah?
In fact, Rav himself says that a Mechitzah Teluyah (a Mechitzah that hangs in the air) is considered a Mechitzah only when it hangs over water (86b). This implies that under normal circumstances, Gediyim Bok'in Bah is a problem and disqualifies a hanging Mechitzah, in contrast to the view of Rebbi Yosi (ibid.). Why, then, does Rashi say that Pi Tikrah does not work according to those who maintain that Gediyim Bok'in Bah disqualifies a Mechitzah? Gediyim Bok'in Bah does not apply to a Mechitzah formed by Pi Tikrah (as we discussed in Insights to Eruvin 25:2)! (TOSFOS 86b and Rishonim)
(b) TOSFOS (86a, DH Korah) also points out that Rashi seems to say that a Korah which is at least four by four Tefachim is necessary only because we need both sides to descend to form Mechitzos. This implies that if one does not intend to enclose the area below the Korah, but he merely wants a single Mechitzah to descend and separate between two Reshuyos, then the area below does not need to be four by four Tefachim. Why, then, does the Gemara (86b) say that a Korah which is four by four Tefachim serves to separate the pit of water that is located on the border between two Chatzeros? In that case, all that is necessary is a single Mechitzah and not an enclosed area. Why does the Korah have to be four by four Tefachim?
(c) Why does Rashi not address the problem of Gediyim Bok'in Bah with regard to Pi Tikrah earlier in Eruvin (25a)? Why does he wait until here to address the issue?
ANSWER: Rashi understands that Gediyim Bok'in Bah normally poses no problem for Pi Tikrah, because Pi Tikrah does not actually create a Mechitzah. Rather, when the concept of Pi Tikrah is used to enclose an area, it is the edge of the roof itself that serves to separate one area from another in lieu of a Mechitzah. "Yored v'Sosem" does not mean that the edge of the roof extends downward to form a Mechitzah; rather, it means that the edge of the roof itself is Sosem (closes off the area) just as a Mechitzah (which does reach the ground) closes off the area it surrounds.
Rashi addresses a difficulty in the Gemara here which says that the Korah must be four by four Tefachim: If Pi Tikrah is not a Mechitzah, then why must the Korah be four by four Tefachim? Because of this question, Rashi learns that the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah, who requires the Korah to be four by four Tefachim, is a new opinion that maintains that Pi Tikrah does work by creating Mechitzos.
This explains why Rashi earlier does not address the problem of Gediyim Bok'in Bah with regard to Pi Tikrah. As long as we understand that Pi Tikrah does not form Mechitzos, we have no question that Gediyim Bok'in Bah should invalidate it. Here, however, Rashi addresses this problem because Rebbi Yehudah maintains that Pi Tikrah does work by forming Mechitzos.
This also explains why Rashi here mentions that the measure of four by four Tefachim is necessary in order to make a significant area between the Mechitzos. Rashi understands that the Gemara maintains that Pi Tikrah descends and forms a Mechitzah only when both sides of the beam can extend to form Mechitzos. There is no such thing as one side extending by itself, according to this opinion. A Korah must always be four by four Tefachim in order to apply Pi Tikrah Yored v'Sosem. Even if we simply want to separate two Reshuyos with a single Mechitzah (such as in the case of the pit of water), we may apply Pi Tikrah only if the sides of the Korah can extend downward to create Mechitzos that enclose an area of four by four Tefachim. (M. KORNFELD)