READING FROM LISTS ON SHABBOS
(Gemara) Question: Why is it forbidden [to read from a list]?
Answer #1 (Rav Bivi): This is a decree lest he [decide not to invite someone and] erase [a name].
Answer #2 (Abaye): This is a decree lest people read secular (business) documents.
Question: What is the difference between these answers?
Answer #1: The list is written high on a wall - there is no concern for erasing, but the concern for reading secular documents applies.
Objection #1: Also Rav Bivi should be concerned for reading secular documents [in general, including this case]!
Objection #2: [Surely,] we are concerned lest one erase even if it is high [just like we are concerned lest one adjust a lamp]!
(Mishnah): One may not read by light of a lamp.
(Rabah): This is forbidden even if it is twice the height of an [average] person above the floor (he is unlikely to tilt it to make it burn better), or two plowshare lengths above the floor, even the height of 10 houses!
Answer #2: Rather, the list is written low on a wall - there is concern for erasing, but not for reading [secular documents], for people do not confuse a wall with a document.
Objection: Also Abaye should be concerned lest he erase [in general, including this case]!
Answer #3: Rather, the list is etched into a tablet or ledger - there is no concern for erasing (it is difficult to erase, one would remember it is Shabbos before erasing), there is concern for reading.
Objection: Also Rav Bivi should be concerned for reading!
Suggestion: Perhaps people do not confuse a tablet or ledger with a document!
Rejection (Beraisa): One may count which guests he will seat inside and which outside, and which courses have not yet been served, reading from [writing on] a wall, but not from a tablet or ledger.
Question: What is the case?
If it is written in ink, what is the difference between them?! (Both should be forbidden, lest he erase!)
Answer: They are etched.
Summation of objection: One may read from a wall but not from a tablet or ledger (this shows that even on a tablet we are concerned for reading secular documents)!
Defense of Answer #1: Really, it is high on a wall - Tana'im argue about Rabah's concern (lest one adjust a high lamp):
(Beraisa): One may count his guests and courses by heart, but he may not read them;
R. Acha permits to read from a list on the wall.
Question: What is the case?
If it is low, we should be concerned lest he erase!
Answer: It is written very high.
The first Tana holds like Rabah, R. Acha argues.
The Tana'im argue like the following:
(Beraisa): One may not look in a mirror on Shabbos (lest he cut uneven hairs);
R. Meir permits to look in a mirror fixed on the wall.
Question: Surely, R. Meir permits a fixed mirror because [by the time he gets a scissors] he will remember that it is Shabbos - the same applies if it is not fixed!
Answer: They argue about a metal mirror:
(Rav Nachman): One may not look in a metal mirror lest one [use its edge to] cut dangling hairs (he need not delay to get a scissors. Tosfos (Avodah Zarah 29A ha'Mistaper) - this refers to women, men may never look in a mirror on account of "Lo Yilbash Gever Simlas Ishah", adorning oneself like a woman. Rama (Y.D. 156:2) - nowadays, men look in mirrors, this is not considered Simlas Ishah.)
(Beraisa): One may not read a caption under a picture or portrait on Shabbos (Rashi - lest he come to read secular documents (reading captions is more stringent than reading regular writing on a wall); R. Chananel - it is no better than secular documents);
Even during the week it is forbidden to look at a portrait (Tosfos - that was made for idolatry) - "Al Tifnu El ha'Elilim"
Question: How do we learn this from the verse?
Answer (R. Chanin): Do not turn to what you make from the depths of your heart (Rashi - Elilim is like Chalalim; Aruch - do not clear Hash-m from your thoughts).
(Mishnah): One may make a lottery with his sons...
Inference: It is permitted with his sons and household, but not with others.
Question: What is the reason?
Answer: Shmuel taught that if a group of people lend to each other and are insistent to get back no less than they gave, they transgress [on Shabbos and Yom Tov] measuring, weighing and counting, lending and repaying on Yom Tov, and according to Hillel, also usury.
Question: If so, it should be forbidden even with one's household!
Answer: Rav taught that one may lend to his household and take usury, to give them a taste of usury (so they will know how terrible it is. Since he feeds them, it is all his money, it is not really usury; similarly, since there is no concern of overcharging (they measure merely to avoid jealousy), they do not transgress measuring, weighing...]
Question: If so, it should be permitted to intend to make some portions bigger than others!
Answer: Indeed, it is - the Mishnah is abbreviated, it means as follows:
One may make a lottery with his sons and household at the table, even if some portions are bigger than others;
Question: Why is this permitted?
Answer: It is permitted like Rav taught.
It is permitted with his sons and household, but not with others.
Question: Why is it forbidden with others?
It is forbidden like Shmuel taught.
With others, one may not make some portions bigger than others, even during the week.
Question: What is the reason?
Answer: This is like gambling, (It is Asmachta - even though everyone agrees that the winner will profit, if the losers would know the outcome beforehand they would not agree; they lack sufficient intent to transfer ownership, hence the winner steals.)
(Mishnah): We may make a lottery [regarding Kodshim, but not regarding the portions].
Question: What does it mean 'But not regarding the portions'?
Answer (R. Yakov brah d'Bas Yakov): One may not make a lottery on Yom Tov to divide portions from a weekday Korban.
Objection: This is obvious!
Answer: One might have thought, since Kohanim are quarrelsome - "V'Amcha ki'Mrivei Chohen" - it should be permitted even to divide weekday portions [to avoid strife] - the Mishnah teaches that this is not so.
THE EVIL OF NEBUCHADNETZAR
(R. Yakov brah d'Bas Yakov): If someone is punished on account of Ploni (Iyun Yakov - and Ploni desires this), Ploni does not enter Hash-m's Mechitzah.
Question: How do we know this?
Suggestion: We learn from "Va'Yomer Hash-m Mi Yefateh Es Ach'av...; Va'Yetzei ha'Ru'ach...Ani Afatenu...; V'Hayisi Ru'ach Sheker... Va'Yomer...Tzei";
Question: What was this Ru'ach?
Answer (R. Yochanan): It was the Ru'ach of Navos (whom Ach'av framed and killed).
Question: Why did Hash-m say "Tzei"?
Answer (Rav): Hash-m told him 'Leave My Presence' (because Ach'av will be punished through him).
Rejection: Perhaps He told him to leave because he offered to lie - "Dover Shekarim Lo Yikon l'Neged Einai".
Answer #1: We learn from "Sovata Kalon..."
"Sovata Kalon mi'Kavod" alludes to Nebuchadnetzar (he intended to sodomize Tzidkiyahu, Hash-m made his Orlah grow tremendously, an awesome disgrace);
"Shese Gam Atah veha'Arel" refers to Tzidkiyahu (he was punished because Nebuchadnetzar was being punished on account of him).
Objection #1: The entire verse refers to Nebuchadnetzar!
Objection #2: Tzidkiyahu was a Tzadik - he did not do anything wrong (surely, he is not accountable)!
(Rav Yehudah): When that Rasha intended to do so to that Tzadik...(he calls Tzidkiyahu a Tzadik).
Answer #2: We learn from "Gam Anosh la'Tzadik Lo Tov" - Lo Tov is Ra;
It says "Ki Lo Kel Chofetz Rasha Atah Lo Yegurcha Ra" - Hash-m is a Tzadik, Ra will not dwell in His dwelling.
Question: The Mishnah discusses casting 'Chalashim' on Kodshim - what is the source that this means 'lotteries'?
Answer: It says "Eich Nofalta mi'Shomayim...Cholesh Al Goyim";
(Rabah bar Rav Huna): He (Nebuchadnetzar) used to cast lots on the great kings, to decide who to sodomize each day;
(R. Yochanan): [When Nebuchadnetzar died "Nachah Shoktah Kol ha'Aretz...] Kol Malchei Goyim" - the kings had respite from forced homosexual relations.
(R. Yochanan): As long as Nebuchadnetzar was alive, no one laughed - "Nachah Shoktah Kol ha'Aretz Potzchu Rinah" - this implies that during his life, no one rejoiced.
(R. Yitzchak): It is forbidden to stand in Nebuchadnetzar's house - "U'S'irim Yerakdu Sham" (Rashi - only Mazikim should be there - when people enter, they leave; Maharsha - it is forbidden to enter on account of danger).
(Rav Yehudah): When that Rasha intended to do so to that Tzadik, his foreskin stretched 300 Amos, the size of the entire assemblage - "Sovata Kalon mi'Kavod Shese Gam Atah veha'Arel" - the Gematri'a of Arel is 300.
(Rav Yehudah): When that Rasha descended to Gehinom, everyone there clamored, unsure if he came to rule over them (it is better to punished directly by Hash-m than through people) or to be punished with them - "Gam Atah Chulesa Chamonu Eleinu Nimshalta" (this is like Memshalah, kingship);
A Bas Kol announced "Mi'Mi No'omta Redah v'Hashkevah Es Arelim" (it will not be more Na'im (pleasant) for you than for them).
(Rav Yehudah): "Eich Shovas Nogesh Shovsah Madhevah" - this nation (Bavel) that said Medod v'Havei (measure out and give [gold] - how did it cease)!
Alternatively, it said Me'od Me'od Havi (bring very much) without measure.
(Rav Yehudah): "U'Rvu Yatirah Husfas Li" - this teaches that [after being an animal for seven years, he returned to his kingship and] he rode on a lion and tied a snake to its (Maharsha - his) head, to fulfill "V'Gam Es Chayas ha'Sadeh Nosati Lo Le'ovdo".