PROPHETS TAUGHT THE FINAL LETTERS OF THE ALEPH-BEIS
(R. Yirmeyah): Prophets taught the five final-letters of the Aleph-Beis.
Question #1: "Eleh ha'Mitzvos" - a Navi may not change a law through prophecy (changing the letters affects Tefilin and Mezuzos)!
Question #2 (Rav Chisda): The Samech and final Mem stood miraculously in the Luchos (this shows that the final letters were given to Moshe)!
Answer: All the letters were already known, just it was not known which are the final letters and which come in the beginning or middle of words.
Question: Still, this is something new, a prophet may not teach it!
Answer: The Nevi'im merely restored something that had been known and was forgotten. (Pnei Yehoshua – Yehoshua forgot Halachos, and Hashem said 'I may not restore them to you' Temurah (16a)! We must say that the Nevi'im brought proofs; we did not rely on their Nevu'ah. He'aros Rav Elyashiv (Shabbos 104a) – what can be returned through Chachmah, Hashem does not return through prophecy. In Sotah (4b), he said that Nevi'im may not teach actual Halachos, but they may clarify Metzi'us, e.g. the Shi'ur of time needed for Bi'ah. It seems that he holds that which are the final letters is Halachah, and not Metzi'us. – PF)
THE ARAMEIC TRANSLATION OF THE TORAH
(R. Yirmeyah): Onkelus revealed the translation of the Torah, which he received from R. Eliezer and R. Yehoshua.
Yonasan ben Uzi'el revealed the translation of Nevi'im, which he received from Chagai, Zecharyah and Malachi.
Eretz Yisrael shook 400 Parsa'os, and a voice from Heaven protested that secrets are being revealed.
Yonasan replied that his only intention was to prevent disputes.
Yonasan wanted to reveal the translation of Kesuvim. A Heavenly voice told him that he had already revealed enough.
Question: Why was he allowed to reveal the translation of Nevi'im, but not of Kesuvim?
Answer: The translation of Kesuvim contains the time when Mashi'ach will come.
Question: Onkelus did not reveal the translation of Torah. It was already known in the days of Ezra, long before Onkelus!
(Rav Ika bar Avin): "Va'Yikre'u va'Sefer b'Soras ha'Elokim" refers to the (Hebrew) text itself; Mefurash refers to the translation; "v'Shum Sechel" refers to the breaks between verses; "va'Yavinu ba'Mikra" refers to the cantillation (which shows how the words should be grouped).
Answer: The translation was forgotten, and Onkelus re-established it.
Question: Why did Eretz Yisrael shake when the translation of the Nevi'im was revealed, but not when the translation of Torah was revealed?
Answer: The Torah is generally revealed, but many things in the Nevi'im are hidden, and are known only through the translation, e.g. "like the eulogy of Hadadrimon in the valley of Megidon";
Rav Yosef: Without the translation, I would not understand this (we do not find that he was eulogized there)!
The translation reveals that these are the eulogies of Achav (who was killed by Hadadrimon) and Yoshiyahu (who was killed in the valley of Megidon).
Question: "I, Daniel, saw the vision; the people with me did not, but they were frightened and hid" - who were the people with Daniel?
Answer (R. Yirmeyah): They were Chagai, Zecharyah and Malachi.
In one respect, they are better than he is - they are Nevi'im, and Daniel is not.
In one respect, he is better than they are - he saw, and they did not.
Question: If they did not see, why were they frightened?
Answer: Their Mazalos (the angels appointed over them) saw.
(Rav Yosef): This teaches that if one is frightened and does not know why, it is because his Mazel saw something.
Question: What should he do?
Answer: He should recite Shema. If he may not because the area is unclean, he should move four Amos away (perhaps the danger is only right here). If not, he should say 'The goat at the butchery is fatter than I am' (suggesting to the Mazikim to harm something else).
WE ABANDON OTHER MITZVOS TO HEAR THE MEGILAH
Question: If we expound "Medinah u'Mdinah" and "v'Ir va'Ir", we should also expound "Mishpachah u' Mishpachah"!
Answer (R. Yosi bar Chanina): This teaches that Kohanim and Leviyim abandon Temple Service to go to hear the Megilah:
(Rav Yehudah): Kohanim, Leviyim and Yisraelim abandon their Avodah, singing and Ma'amados (overseeing the Avodah) to hear the Megilah.
Support (Beraisa): Kohanim, Leviyim and Yisraelim abandon their Avodah, singing and Ma'amados to hear the Megilah.
In Rebbi's house they abandoned learning Torah to hear the Megilah - they learned from here:
We abandon Avodah to hear the Megilah - all the more so we abandon Torah to hear the Megilah!
Question: The Kal va'Chomer assumes that Temple Service is greater than learning Torah - but this is not so!
Question: "Yehoshua saw (what looked like) a man and bowed to him"- how could he do so?
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): One may not greet a friend with 'Shalom' at night, perhaps it is a Shed! (We do not put Shalom, a name of Hash-m, on a Shed; all the more so one may not bow to it, for this is like idolatry!)
Answer: The man had said "I am an officer in the legion of Hash-m", so Yehoshua knew that he was not a Shed.
Question: Perhaps he lied!
Answer: We have a tradition that Shedim do not say Hash-m's name l'Vatalah.
The angel rebuked Yehoshua for having omitted offering the afternoon Tamid, and for not learning at night.
Yehoshua: Which was the main reason you came?
The angel: "I came (because of Bitul Torah) now".
(R. Yochanan): "Yehoshua spent the night in the valley" - he lodged in the depth of Halachah.
(R. Shmuel bar Uniya): The fact that the angel came for Bitul Torah shows that Torah is greater than Avodah! (This sums up the question.)
Answer: Torah of the Rabim is greater than Avodah, but an individual's Torah is not.
Question: The Torah of an individual is also great!
(Mishnah): On Chol ha'Mo'ed, women may eulogize together, but do not beat themselves over a death;
R. Yishmael says, those close to the coffin are permitted.
On Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah and Purim, they may eulogize together and beat themselves;
At all of these times they may not answer to one eulogizer.
(Rabah bar Huna): These restrictions of the Mo'ed do not apply to [eulogizing] a Chacham, and all the more so Chanukah and Purim [do not]
Answer: The honor of an individual that learns is great (R. Chananel - more than Keri'as ha'Megilah and Avodah), but his learning is not as great.
(Rava): I know that Keri'as ha'Megilah has precedence over Avodahfrom R. Yosi b'Ribi Chanina (b);
I know that Keri'as ha'Megilah has precedence over learning Torah from Rebbi's house (b:3);
I know that a Mes Mitzvah (burying an unattended corpse) has precedence over learning Torah;
(Beraisa): We abandon Torah for burial and to bring a bride to the Chupah.
I know that a Mes Mitzvah takes precedence over Avodah:
(Beraisa) Suggestion: If one was heading to offer Korban Pesach or to circumcise his son, and he heard that a relative died, perhaps he interrupts to bury the Mes (even though he will lose the first Mitzvah)!
Rejection: "Lo Yitama" (just like a Nazir does not become Tamei for a relative, also someone doing a Mitzvah).
Suggestion: Perhaps just like he does not interrupt for his sister, he does not interrupt for a Mes Mitzvah!
Rejection: "Ul'Achoso" - he does not interrupt for his sister; but he interrupts for a Mes Mitzvah.
Question (Rava): Which has precedence - Keri'as ha'Megilah, or a Mes Mitzvah?
Perhaps Keri'as ha'Megilah comes first, because it publicizes the miracle.
Perhaps a Mes Mitzvah comes first, because it honors Hash-m's creations.
Answer (Rava): A Mes Mitzvah has precedence:
It was taught that honoring people is such a great Mitzvah that it overrides a Lav of the Torah (one may ignore a lost object if it would be beneath his dignity to carry such an item in public).
WHAT IS CONSIDERED A WALLED CITY
R. Yehoshua ben Levi: A walled city and every place close to it and every place seen with it are treated as a walled city.
(Beraisa): It suffices to be close or visible.
Question: We understand how a place can be visible but not close, e.g. the top of a mountain;
But how can it be close but not seen? (Seemingly, this is not difficult at all! Eliyahu Rabah (688:4) answers that here, "close" means within the Ibur of the city, about 71 Amos.)
Answer (R. Yirmeyah): It is in a valley.
R. Yehoshua ben Levi: A walled city which was inhabited and then enclosed by a wall is not considered a walled city (regarding Megilah (Tosfos) or the right to redeem a house sold in a walled city (Rashi)).
Question: What is the reason?
Answer: We learn from "If a man will sell Bayis Moshav Ir Chomah" - the Yishuv (settlement of the city) occurred when it already had a wall.
R. Yehoshua ben Levi: A large city without 10 Batlanim (people without a job who spend all day in the Beis ha'Keneses) is considered a village. (Tosfos - this does not apply to walled cities; the Ran gives other Pirushim.)
Question: We already know this from a Mishnah!
(Mishnah): A large city is one with 10 Batlanim.
Answer: He teaches that if outsiders come and are found in the Beis ha'Keneses, it is considered a village; a city must have 10 residents that are Batlanim.
R. Yehoshua ben Levi: If a walled city became desolate and was later inhabited, it is considered a walled city.
Question: What does it mean 'became desolate'?
Suggestion: Its walls fell; if they were not rebuilt, it is not considered a walled city.
Rejection (Beraisa - R. Eliezer bar Yosi): "Asher Lo Chomah" - we can read Lo (to it) like Lamed Aleph (not), i.e. '[even if] it does not have a wall (now, but it used to have one)!
Answer: It means that it became desolate of 10 Batlanim.