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CHAGIGAH 16 - dedicated by Ari Friedman and family of Lawrence, N.Y., in memory of Ari's father, Reb Yakov Yosef ben Rav Nosson Neta Z'L, in honor of his second Yahrzeit (1 Iyar 5767). Always brimming with joy and generosity, Jack Friedman exemplified true Ahavas Yisrael and Ahavas Chesed. May he be a Melitz Yosher for his children and grandchildren and all of Klal Israel.


Shedim (demons) are similar to angels in three ways and similar to humans in three ways. (1)
People are similar to angels in three ways and similar to animals in three ways. (2)
A person should not contemplate events that preceded this world. A king who built a palace on a dumping ground does not want any mention of the dumping ground.
Anyone who does not concern himself with the honor of his Creator is better off not having entered this world. (3)
A person who is unable to fend off the seductions of the evil inclination should dress in black and go to a place where no one recognizes him and do what he pleases, instead of committing a Chilul Hashem.
Someone who stares at a rainbow, at the Nasi, or at the Kohanim during the time of the Beis ha'Mikdash when they blessed the people with the explicit name of Hashem, will suffer from dimmed eyesight.
If the evil inclination tells a person to sin and that Hashem will forgive him, one must not listen to him. (4)
The first dispute in history between the Chachamim was about whether one is permitted to perform Semichah on a Korban on Yom Tov.
Rebbi Yehudah ben Tabai killed an Ed Zomem in order to disprove the Tzedukim who taught that Edim Zomemim are killed only if their evil plans came to fruition. (5)
After Rebbi Yehudah ben Tabai's tragic mistake of killing a single Ed Zomem, for the rest of his life he prostrated on the grave of the Ed Zomem.
The head of the Beis Din may not decide a Halachah in the presence of the Nasi.
Abaye: Menachem was originally the head of the Beis Din until he went off the proper path. Rava: He left for the purpose of serving the king.
Semichah must be done with a person's entire strength.
There is a dispute between the Tana'im about whether women may perform Semichah on a Korban.


1. They have wings, fly from one end of the world to another, and are privy to future events, like angels. They eat and drink, reproduce, and eventually die, like people.
2. They have wisdom, walk upright, and converse in Lashon ha'Kodesh like angels. They eat and drink, reproduce, and defecate like animals.
3. Rebbi Aba: This refers to staring at a rainbow. Rav Yosef: This refers to one who sins in seclusion.
4. Rav Yehudah bar Nachmani: The stones and wood of one's house will testify in the next world against the person who sins. Chachamim: A person's Neshamah will testify against him in the next world. Rav Zereika: The two angels that accompany a person will testify against him. Others: A person's limbs will testify against him.
5. Rebbi Yehudah ben Tabai was mistaken, because Edim Zomemim are killed only when both witnesses are proven to be Edim Zomemim.


The Gemara says that Rebbi Yehudah ben Tabai mistakenly killed an Ed Zomem. Tosfos asks how such an egregious mistake was made by a Tzadik, when Hashem does not allow even the animals of Tzadikim to stumble and sin, and most certainly the Tzadikim themselves are protected from stumbling. Tosfos answers that only with regard to eating a prohibited food is there a guarantee that a Tzadik is protected from sinning. It is a disgrace for a Tzadik to eat forbidden foods. However, with regard to other types of sin, a Tzadik is not guaranteed protection.


At the time that the Kohanim bless the people, they should not stare and should not let their minds wander. Rather, they should look down as if they are standing in Tefilah, and the people should concentrate on the blessing and their faces should be opposite the faces of the Kohanim, and they should not stare at them. (Shulchan Aruch OC 128:22)
The people should not stare at the face or hands of the Kohanim so as not be distracted from paying attention to the blessings of the Kohanim. For that reason, the people should not stare in any other direction as well. According to the letter of the law, only staring is forbidden, but to glance a little bit at the Kohanim is permitted. Only during the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash when the Kohanim blessed the people with the explicit Name of Hashem and the Divine Presence was on their hands was it forbidden even to glance a little bit at the Kohen. However, the Minhag is that nowadays we do not glance at all at the Kohen as he blesses the people, as a remembrance of the Beis ha'Mikdash. (Mishnah Berurah)

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