1) THE IDENTITY OF ZERUBAVEL AND NECHEMYAH
QUESTIONS: Rebbi Yochanan (end of 37b) states that exile can completely cleanse a person from punishment. He proves this from Yechanyah. The prophet Yirmeyahu pronounced that Yechanyah would not have children (Yirmeyahu 22:30), and yet the verse in Divrei ha'Yamim I (3:17) relates that after Yechanyah was exiled he had children. The Gemara goes on to explain that the name of Yechanyah's son, Shaltiel, alludes to the unusual circumstances of his birth. The Gemara also interprets the name of another person, Zerubavel, as an allusion to the fact that he was born in Bavel, while his real name was Nechemyah ben Chachalyah.
(a) Why does the Gemara discuss Zerubavel? He was not the son of Yechanyah (whom the Gemara is discussing), but rather a later descendant (Yechanyah's great-grandson). (See MAHARSHAL here. The SEDER HA'DOROS points out that although the verse usually refers to Zerubavel as the son of Shaltiel, he was actually the son of Pedayah and the grandson of Shaltiel. He was called "Zerubavel ben Shaltiel" because "grandsons are like sons," and perhaps because the verse wants to link him to Shaltiel, a more prestigious personage that Pedayah.)
(b) How is it possible to identify Zerubavel as Nechemyah? It is clear from the verses in Ezra (2:2) and Nechemyah (7:7) that Zerubavel and Nechemyah were two different people. (YAD RAMAH)
(c) If Zerubavel is Nechemyah, then why does the verse (Nechemyah 1:1) call him the son of Chachalyah? It should call him the son of Pedayah. (CHAMRA V'CHAYEI)
(a) The MAHARSHA addresses the first question by explaining that Zerubavel's name is significant in understanding that exile serves as atonement for punishment. The Gemara is explaining why Shaltiel's grandson was named Zerubavel. Zerubavel's father, Pedayah, realized that had his grandfather, Yechanyah, not been exiled, he would not have been born. In recognition of the cleansing element of exile, he named his son Zerubavel.
(b) The CHAMRA V'CHAYEI suggests two approaches to the second question.
1. The Chamra v'Chayei suggests that when the verse gives a list of names, those names may be all the names of a single person who had many names, and not the names of different people. He explains that this is the meaning of the verse in Nechemyah (7:7) which lists those who came back from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael with Zerubavel: "The people who came with Zerubavel: Yeshua, Nechemyah, Azaryah, Ra'amyah, Nachmani, Mordechai...." The punctuation of the verse should be modified such that it is listing the *full name* (all of the names) of Zerubavel: "The people who came with Zerubavel Yeshua Nechemyah: Azaryah, Ra'amyah, Nachmani, Mordechai...." Accordingly, "Zerubavel Yeshua Nechemyah" is his full name. (See also Megilah 13a.) (The MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM cites this approach in the name of the CHIDA in Pesach Einayim, but only the question appears there.)
2. The Chamra v'Chayei says that it seems that there were more than one person named Nechemyah. When the verse in Sefer Nechemyah lists those who returned from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael with Zerubavel and it mentions Nechemyah, it says only "Nechemyah" and not that he was the son of Chachalyah, which suggests that this was a different Nechemyah. The verse indeed mentions a different Nechemyah: "Nechemyah ben Azbuk" (3:16).
The MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM cites RAV ARYEH LEIB LIPKIN in CHIDUSHEI AGADOS MAHAR'AL (the brother of Rav Yisrael Salanter) who proves that when the name Nechemyah is mentioned in the same verse as the name Zerubavel, it refers to a different Nechemyah and not to Nechemyah ben Chachalyah (for Zerubavel himself was Nechemyah ben Chachalyah). He points out that in every place that Nechemyah ben Chachalyah is mentioned, the verse mentions either that he was the son of Chachalyah ("ben Chachalyah") or it calls him Nechemyah "ha'Tirshasa" (a title of prominence in the language of the Kasdim (IBN EZRA), or a contraction of the words "Hitir Shasa," referring to the fact that the Chachamim permitted him to drink the wine of Nochrim when he served as the king's cupbearer (MEZTUDAS DAVID)), or the verse calls him "ha'Pechah" ("the governor"); see, for example, Ezra 2:63, Nechemyah 7:5, 8:9, 10:2, 12:26. Only on two occasions does the verse say "Nechemyah" alone without any addition -- in the two verses in which Nechemyah is mentioned together with Zerubavel!
(However, RAV YAKOV EMDEN asks that there *is* a verse which mentions Zerubavel together with Nechemyah without mentioning any other modifier to Nechemyah's name, and yet it clearly refers to Nechemyah ben Chachalyah, the leader of the Jewish people: "All of Yisrael, in the days of Zerubavel and in the days of Nechemyah, gave portions of food for the singers and gatekeepers..." (Nechemyah 12:12).)
(c) The CHAMRA V'CHAYEI proposes that the words "ben Chachalyah" do not refer to the name of Nechemyah's father, but rather they mean that Nechemyah was the offspring of the person (Yechanyah) who was "Chayav Kalyah," destined to be punished with absolute destruction (as Yirmeyahu prophesied). "Chachalyah" is a contraction of the words "Chayav Kalyah." (See YOSEF DA'AS in the name of BEIS YISHAI.)
2) AGADAH: THE REASON NO TWO FACES ARE THE SAME
QUESTION: The Beraisa states that the reason why Hash-m made every person unique with a different appearance is so that a person will not see an attractive house or an attractive woman and take the house or woman for himself, claiming that he is the true owner or husband. RASHI explains that no one would be able to contradict him if everyone looked the same.
What does this mean? If every person would have the same appearance, then no woman would be more attractive than another! Why, then, would a man want to take someone else's wife?
ANSWER: The ARUCH LA'NER explains that only the faces of people would have been the same. Their limbs, though, would have been different. Hence, there could have been a woman more attractive than another because of her more attractive limbs.
RAV YAKOV EMDEN adds, similarly, that one woman could have been healthier than another. However, he says that the main explanation is that one woman might be a better person, possessing better character traits and doing good deeds.
In this vein, Rav Yakov Emden explains that the Gemara adds that had all people been created with the same face, a person might have taken away someone else's *house*, because a house is associated with the woman inside of it. As everyone knows that this is her house, if a man would take her away from her husband, he also would be claiming the house for himself as well. (Y. MONTROSE)
3) AGADAH: THE LANGUAGE SPOKEN BY ADAM HA'RISHON
OPINIONS: Rav Yehudah in the name of Rav says that Adam ha'Rishon spoke in Aramaic. He proves this from the verse, "v'Li Mah Yakru Re'echa Kel" -- "How precious to me are Your friends, G-d" (Tehilim 139:17). Reish Lakish says that Adam ha'Rishon said this verse when Hash-m showed him the generation of Rebbi Akiva.
What is the proof from here that Adam ha'Rishon spoke Aramaic?
(a) The YAD RAMAH explains that the word "Re'echa" could be read as "Rai'echa" ("Your thoughts"), an Aramaic word mentioned in Daniel (2:29), "Rai'yonach Al Mishkevach Seliku" -- "Your thoughts [that you have while sleeping] upon your bed have gone up."
(b) Alternatively, the YAD RAMAH explains that the word "Yakar" is an Aramaic word. This is apparent from its appearance in Ezra (4:10) describing Asnapar (Sancheriv) as "Raba v'Yakira" -- "great and honored."
The ARUCH LA'NER cites support for this explanation from the Gemara in Megilah (9a). The Gemara there asks where in the Megilah is a word which is really Aramaic but which was changed into Hebrew. Rav Nachman answers that such a word appears in the verse that describes the edict of the king that all women should give honor to their husbands -- "Yitnu Yekar l'Va'aleihen" (Esther 1:20). The word "Yekar" ("honor") is Aramaic.
The MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM adds that there is a hint to Aramaic in the verse quoted by the Gemara. The first letters of the Hebrew words "Mah Yakru Re'echa Kel" spell the word "Arami."
(c) RAV YITZCHAK ISAAC CHAVER writes that "Yakar" has different meanings, depending on whether it is being used in Hebrew or in Aramaic. When used in Hebrew it means "honor," while in Aramaic it means "heavy" (meaning difficult, serious, or severe). He explains that this is why the Gemara quotes Reish Lakish as part of the proof that Adam ha'Rishon spoke Aramaic, instead of merely citing the verse in Tehilim. Reish Lakish says that Adam was happy with Rebbi Akiva's learning while saddened by his death, and it was these thoughts that Adam was thinking when he said, "v'Li Mah Yakru...." This shows that Adam was using the word "Yakru" to express how complex Hash-m's dealings are with His beloved ones (as the tragic death which Rebbi Akiva met is difficult for mortals to understand). The Aramaic usage of "Yakar" shows that Adam spoke Aramaic.
(Rav Yitzchak Isaac Chaver's explanation seems difficult to understand. The Gemara in Megilah quoted above says that "Yakar" is Aramaic and quotes a verse in which "Yakar" means "honor." It does not seem appropriate in that context to say that the women should "give seriousness" to their husbands. This implies that "Yakar" can mean honor both in Hebrew and in Aramaic.) (Y. MONTROSE)