1) "NEKAMAH" AND "NETIRAH"
QUESTION: The Beraisa discusses the prohibitions of Nekamah and Netirah (revenge and grudge-bearing) and it gives an example of each prohibition. Nekamah applies when Reuven asks Shimon to lend him a Magal (sickle) and Shimon refuses, and the next day Shimon asks Reuven to lend him a Kardum (ax). If Reuven refuses, he transgresses the prohibition of Nekamah. In the example of Netirah, Reuven asks Shimon to lend him a Kardum and Shimon refuses, and the next day Shimon asks Reuven to lend him a shirt. If Reuven says, "I will lend you a shirt because I am not like you who refused to lend," he transgresses the prohibition of Netirah.
Why does the Beraisa change the objects in each example? In the case of Nekamah, the first person asks for a Magal, and the second person asks for a Kardum. In the case of Netirah, the first person asks for a Kardum, and the second person asks for a shirt!
ANSWERS: A careful examination reveals numerous versions in the Rishonim with regard to what objects are mentioned in the Beraisa's examples. Each version necessitates a separate analysis.
(a) The SEFER HA'CHINUCH (Mitzvah 241 and 242), the RAMBAM (Sefer ha'Mitzvos, Lo Ta'aseh 304 and 305), and the ME'IRI write that the first person, Reuven, asks for a Magal, and the second person, Shimon, asks for a Kardum, in both the case of Nekamah and the case of Netirah.
The RITVA mentions that it is the normal manner of the Beraisa to use alternate objects (a Magal and a Kardum) in a single illustration. (Perhaps the reason for this is because if Reuven asks for a Kardum and Shimon refuses to lend him one, it is obvious that Shimon owns one. Clearly, then, Shimon is not going to ask Reuven for a Kardum the next day. Therefore, the Beraisa says that he asks for a different object, a Magal, the next day.)
(b) According to the Girsa of the TORAS KOHANIM, in the case of Nekamah, Reuven asks for a Magal and Shimon asks for a Kardum. In the case of Netirah, Reuven asks for a Kardum and Shimon asks for a Magal. (This Girsa is similar to that of our edition of the Gemara, except that in the Gemara's case of Netirah, Shimon asks for a Chaluk (shirt) and not for a Kardum. See (d) below.)
The Girsa of the DIKDUKEI SOFRIM is similar, except that the order of the objects is switched. In the case of Nekamah, Reuven asks for a Kardum and Shimon asks for a Magal. In the case of Netirah, Reuven asks for a Magal and Shimon asks for a Kardum.
According to these versions, why is the order of the two objects (Kardum-Magal) in the second case (Netirah) the reverse of the order of the two objects (Magal-Kardum) in the first case (Nekamah)? Perhaps it is simply the Beraisa's style to mention first in the new case the object that was mentioned last in the previous case.
Alternatively, perhaps the Girsa of the Toras Kohanim is intended to teach a Chidush. A Kardum is worth more than a Magal. Consequently, in the case of Nekamah, the Toras Kohanim teaches a Chidush when it says that Reuven may not refuse to lend an object to Shimon (who refused to lend him an object yesterday) even when the object that Shimon requests is worth more than the object which he refused to lend to Reuven the day before (and thus Reuven may have grounds to justify his refusal to lend the object to Shimon). In the case of Netirah, the Chidush is that even though Reuven now lends a less valuable object to Shimon, and perhaps his begrudging attitude is not considered Netirah (because he knows that Shimon himself would not have refused to lend an object of such little value to Reuven, had Reuven asked for it in the first place), nevertheless the fact that he lends it begrudgingly does constitute Netirah. (The opposite explanation may be said for the Girsa of the Dikdukei Sofrim, according to which the Magal is worth more than the Kardum.)
(c) The Girsa of the RITVA and in the original EIN YAKOV is that in the case of Nekamah, both Shimon and Reuven request a Kardum from each other. In the case of Netirah, Reuven requests a Magal and Shimon requests a Kardum.
Why does the Beraisa switch from Magal to Kardum only in the case of Netirah?
The Ritva answers that a Kardum is more valuable than a Magal. The Beraisa teaches that even though Reuven lends to Shimon an object worth more than the object which Shimon refused to lend to Reuven, nevertheless his act constitutes Netirah because he gives it begrudgingly.
(d) The Girsa of our Gemara is difficult to understand. In the case of Nekamah, Reuven asks for a Magal and Shimon asks for a Kardum. In the case of Netirah, Reuven asks for a Kardum and Shimon asks for a Chaluk. Why does the Beraisa replace the Magal with a Chaluk and reverse the order, in the second case?
The GEVURAS ARI explains that when the Beraisa gives an example of a case of Netirah, it is not giving an entirely new case, but rather it is giving a continuation of the case of Nekamah. Reuven asked for a Magal and Shimon refused, and the next day Shimon asked for a Kardum and Reuven refused out of revenge. The Beraisa then repeats the last incident of Reuven's refusal to lend a Kardum to Shimon out of revenge. It adds that if Reuven then asks Shimon for a Chaluk, if Shimon lends it to Reuven begrudgingly because Reuven himself committed Nekamah against Shimon, nevertheless Shimon thereby transgresses the prohibition of Netirah. The Chidush is that even when Reuven commits Nekamah against Shimon, Shimon is still prohibited from harboring feelings of malice in his heart against Reuven for it.
Accordingly, in the example of Netirah, the Beraisa must mention "Chaluk" and not "Magal," because Reuven already asked Shimon for a Magal and was refused by Shimon (in the very first incident), and thus in this case he must ask for something else.
2) HOW FORGIVING MUST A TALMID CHACHAM BE
QUESTION: The Gemara says that a Talmid Chacham should not forgo his honor when he is slighted, and he should remember the affront in his heart unless the offender asks him for forgiveness.
How is the Gemara here to be reconciled with the Gemara in Megilah (28a) which relates that Mar Zutra, as he went to sleep every night, would forgive everyone who slighted him?
(a) The MAHARSHA answers that Mar Zutra would forgive only those offenders who apologized to him. Although some he forgave immediately while others he did not forgive immediately, he never went to sleep without forgiving all of the penitent offenders. He did not forgive those who did not apologize to him, as the Gemara here says.
(b) The RITVA says that it is not reasonable to suggest that Mar Zutra forgave only those who apologized to him. He certainly forgave the penitent offenders immediately and did not wait until he went to sleep. Rather, the Ritva explains that the Gemara here refers to a Talmid Chacham who was insulted with regard to "Mili d'Shemaya," matters pertaining to Torah and Mitzvos. When it comes to such matters, a Talmid Chacham should not forgive the offense to the honor of the Torah. The Gemara in Megilah, in contrast, refers to insults that pertain to "Mili d'Alma," worldly matters. When a Talmid Chacham is insulted with regard to a worldly matter, he should certainly forgive the offender with a full heart, as Mar Zutra did.
(c) The KESEF MISHNEH (end of Hilchos Talmud Torah) points out that the RAMBAM answers this question when he explains that the Gemara here refers to a Talmid Chacham who was disgraced in public. In such a case the Talmid Chacham should not forgive the offense, but he should remember it in his heart until the perpetrator apologizes. If, however, the affront was committed only in private, then he should forgive the perpetrator even in his heart, as Mar Zutra did.
(This approach is based on logic similar to that of the answer of the Ritva. A public affront to a Talmid Chacham is itself an affront to the honor of the Torah.)
(d) RASHI's words here may address this question. When the Gemara says that a Talmid Chacham should remember in his heart the offense done to him, Rashi explains that it means that although the Talmid Chacham should forgive the perpetrator wholeheartedly, if someone else wants to defend the honor of the Talmid Chacham the Talmid Chacham should not prevent him from doing so, because his intention is for the sake of the honor of the Torah. The Gemara in Megilah refers only to the personal feelings of the Talmid Chacham; he should forgive the offense wholeheartedly, as Mar Zutra did. He should not mete out justice on his own, lest his act be motivated by a desire for revenge and not just by Kavod ha'Torah.