Makos 14b

Makos 14b

  1. We spoke about the difference of a Gezera Shava (two similar words in the Torah,   – similar laws, similar verdicts) as opposed to a Kal Vachomer (a fortiori).

The Gemara states  ​​that a  person cannot “create” a new Gezera Shava; ” Ein Adam Dan Gezera Shava M’atzmo (No one may draw a conclusion from analogy upon his own authority​)​”. One must have received it from his teacher and his teacher from his teacher etc..​ all tracing it back to Moshe Rabeinu.

​The Ramban explains the reason for this is because in the Torah there are many duplicated words and if every person will make his own analogy’s there is no limit to where this might lead.

Nevertheless we find arguments concerning Gezera Shava’s. One of the reasons explaining  this conundrum​ is that over the years the exact words used in a  Gezera Shava have been forgotten.

Alternatively, the original Gezera Shava was given at Sinai in a general way allowing different opinions as to the exact words.

​For example, it was said that two Mitzvos have similar words and therefore the rules of one apply to the other. However it was never stated where in the Torah is this particular word. Therefore we find  Machlokes about which word it alludes to, etc….​

Tosfaos writes that each ‘school’ had a Kabalah of the total amount of Gezera Shava’s that were transmitted by Moshe. Thus each school was unable to accept a Gezera Shava (claimed to have been received) by another ‘school’ because then the total number would exceed their received total.


2: See previous Shiur  regarding the Machlokes between the Ramabam and Raav’ad if someone did not have a bris.


​Reb Elchonon Wasserman (who is seen in the recent video) explains the machlokes in a unique way:


According to the Ramabam, a person is only Chayav Kares at the last second before he dies. In other words during his whole life period he was never in state of Kares until the last moment.


However according to the Raava”d every day you that you don’t have a bris, you are chayav kares (if you eventually get a bris you fix the sin retroactively and you are patur) but ultimately this man is a walking “kares”.


​Reb Elchonon explains that there is a nafka mina l’halacha between the two:

What happens if someone at the last moment of his life he was an Ones, i.e. it was impossible for him to have a bris at that time?


According to the Ramabam because kares is only applied at the last moment and at the last moment it was not possible for him to have a bris, he will be patur from kares.


According to the Raava”d however, since he was always chayav kares, the last moment of his life is only considered the last time he a chance to fix the sin, but Kares was always there. Therefore the fact that he was an ones at the end is insignificant and thus this person lived and died with Kares.

3- If a Jewish uncircumcised male surgically changes his gender……he cannot obviously be circumcised. He then walks into a Chabad House…. one would assume that according to both above opinions he is a “daily kares” candidate……

S’iz nishto mit vos…….

See below:

Special Video: 1923 Knessiah Gedolah in Vienna

Below is part of a fascinating historical clip from the Knessiah Gedolah of 1923 in Vienna, Austria, when over 900 Jewish leaders met to address issues important to Jewry.

At the beginning is a rare appearance of the Chofetz Chaim, nice and clear.

Among the participants are

  • the Chafetz Chaim,
  • the Rebbe Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Altare of Gur,
  • Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski of Vilna,
  • the Rebbe Rabbi Israel Friedman Tchortkov,
  • Rabbi Moshe Friedman of Boyan,
  • the Rebbe Rabbi Yitzchak Zelig Morgenstern of Sokolov,
  • Rabbi Meir Dan Plotzky the “Kli Chemda”,
  • Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin,
  • Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein of Slabodka,
  • Rabbi Meir Atlas of Shawil,
  • Rabbi Yosef Yehuda Leib Bloch of Telz,
  • Rabbi Yehuda Leib Tzirelsohn from Kishinev,
  • Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer of Slutsk.

The opening speech: Chofetz Chaim.

Important takana: the announcement of the Daf Yomi, by Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin.

An important hachlata: the establishment of “Keren Hatorah”, financial assistance religious institutions because of the difficult situation after the war (WWI).

Knessiah Gedolah is the official name of the conference’s main World Agudath Israel movement in the world, with many participants and political and spiritual leaders, from Israel and abroad. To date, six Knessiahs have been held, the last of which in 1980.

Also seen are the Tchortkover, Rabbi Menachem Ziemba, Rav Elchonon Wasserman, Harav Perlmutter from Warsaw, Rav Y. Rosenheim, Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the Nitra Rav and Rav Sh. of Bobov as a bachur.
In the film also seen are Hagaon  Rabbi Yaakov Meir Biderman and the Rav of Bendin.

See the entire clip here:

Makos 13b Shiur 02/17/15

Makos 13b

  1. In continuation to last week’s discussion whether or not a person can do Teshuvah on something that he is Chayav Kares, We mentioned the Teshuvah of the Noda B’yehudah (See here in English Hebrew):

The Noda B’Yehudah, Rabbi of Prague, in a famous  responsum (Noda B’Yehudah Kama, O.C. 35) addresses a question posed to him by a Yeshiva student who had transgressed the halachos of adultery (“consecutively for three years”) and was now married the daughter of the adulteress.

The questioner he asked; was he required to divulge his transgression to the husband of the adulteress (who was his father-in-law!).

Halachically, it would seem that this poor the father-in-law cannot continue living with his wife, the adulteress.

In response, the Noda B’Yehuda assumed that the decision about whether or not to inform was based on the difference of opinion between the Rosh and the Rambam.

The Noda B’Yehuda wanted to rule leniently in that case, citing p’gam mishpacha – or the potential disaster this revelation would have had on the family.

the Noda B’Yehuda weighs in:

However, in the end, he too rules that the husband needed to be informed because the intimate relationship between the older man and his adulterous wife would be ongoing – with constant, recurring sin.

Part of the teshuvah addressees the request of the yeshiva student asking for a path of teshuvah to repent for his grave sin.


The Noda B’Yehudah discusses at length the concept of Teshuvah.

[We mentioned the sharp words the Noda Biyehuda, an opponent of Chasidus,  has for the “contemporary musar books”. Was he referring to books of Chassidus?]


His basic assumption is that one must accept that there is no sin that teshuva can’t atone for.

On the other hand, we must say say that a Beis Din, despite the claim of teshuva by the accused, still dispenses malkus/misah (depending on the sin).

Image result for no sin which repentance

The reason for this anomaly is because if Beis Din were to accept the accused’s Teshuva then the entire concept of Malkus/Misah would be nixed. Every defendant would obviously tell the Beis Din “I did Teshuva and G-D forgave me……”

So we must say that the reason Beis Din still imposes punishment is because it is a Gezeiras Hakasuv that even though a person does Teshuvah he still gets punished by Beis Din for it.

Image result for no sin which repentance

See here  for the Teshuvah at length


  1. It is interesting to note that the Rebbe in Likutei Sichos  (Footnote 5) always quotes this Noda B’Yehudah but gives the reason of why Beis Din still punishes even though he did Teshuvah because of the rule “Ein Ledayan Ela Mah She’ainov Ro’os”  – a judge can only rule on what he sees, and because the judge cannot see if the person really did teshuvah or not, he therefore still gets punished.

However  the Noda B’Yehuda seemingly does not say that. He implies that the reason is because it is a Gezeiras Hakasuv.

See here  for a lengthy discussion on this topic.

  1. We quoted the Ramabam in Hilchos Milah:

“If a father or Beis Din did not circumcise the child……when [the child] reaches bar mitzvah, he is obligated to circumcise himself. With each and every day that passes after he has reached bar mitzvah, he negates a positive commandment.

He is not, however, liable for karet until he dies uncircumcised, having intentionally [failed to perform the mitzvah].”

rambam milah 1 seferid_9713_page_278

Rambam Milah 1

We discussed to wording of the Rambam that seem to imply that one who does not circumcise himself gets Kores ….when he dies?! 

The Raavad comments  on the last sentence and seems to say that he does not understand how the Rambam can say someone is Chayav Kares after he passes on!!

Rather he holds that he is Chayav kares every day that he does not circumcise himself.

More next week for some explanation into the Ramba”m…

 Hit up the comments for some thoughts!

Makos 13a (2)  Shiur 02/10/15

Makos 13a (2)

Thanks to Eli Chitrik


  1. We mentioned the Machlokes of Rashi and Tosfos in our Mishnah if Min Ha’Torah a Kohen can marry a Chalutza.


Chalutz a
Chalutz a

Rashi follows the opinion that a Chalutzah is Biblically prohibited to a Kohen. This prohibition, is not stated explicitly in the Torah, rather it is derived from the Issur of a Gerusha.

Tosfos maintains that a Chalutzah is prohibited to a Kohen only Rabbinicaly.

2. We started to discuss the concept of if a person is chayav Kareis can he ask Beis Din to give him Malkus to rid himself from the Kareis? Assuming he can, it would only work if the Beis Din was granted the ability (not physically) to administer proper Malkus for it to count as an atonement to cancel the Kareis.

this image has no connection to the text.

But there is no such Beis Din today that has that power since we do not have a members of the Beis Din that have received a proper “Smichah”!


Whip for Malkus

This concept was argued in great detail about 450 years ago as part of an overall argument that split gedolei Yisroel into two camps:



(Parts of this portion were taken from this website.

Thank you Moshe Rosenfeld) You’re welcome.


  1. After the Spanish expulsion, many Jews remained in Spain, practicing their Judaism in secret, while publicly appearing to be Christians. Thousands of these Marrano Jews eventually escaped to areas where they could practice their religion with relative freedom, yet they were haunted by the sins they had committed in previous years.




Many were concerned that they would never escape their more serious sins, many of which carried the punishment of Kareis. Although they had become true baalei tshuvah, they lived in fear of their ultimate day of judgment when they would have to give a reckoning for their actions and face the serious consequences.

baal teshuva


As chief Rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Yaakov Beirav came up with an original solution to the problem. He proposed the creation of Jewish courts that would carry out the punishment of Malkus – lashes, which releases someone from the punishment of Kareis. There was one serious problem with this proposal. In order to create Jewish courts that can exact these punishments, one must have dayanim who have received a special semicha that can be traced to Moshe Rabbeinu.


  1. The Rambam taught that if the sages in Eretz Yisroel would agree to be somech (ordain) one of themselves, they could do so, and that the man of their choice could then ordain others. For a year, Rabbi Yaakov Beirav discussed the halachic issues of re-establishment institution of semicha with the scholars of Safed. After much discussion the scholars at Safed came to the conclusion that Rambam’s view was correct, and that there was a pressing need to re-establish the Sanhedrin. In 1538 twenty-five Rabbis met in an assembly at Safed and ordained Rabbi Yakov Beirav, giving him the right to ordain others who would then form a Sanhedrin.




After sending a delegation to Jerusalem, Rabbi Yaakov Beirav expounded on Shabbat before all the scholars of Safed the halachic basis of the re-establishment of semicha and its implications, with an intent to dispel any remaining doubts. On hearing of this event, approximately two hundred scholars, most of the scholars in Eretz Yisroel, also expressed their consent. Rabbi Yaakov Beirav then ordained a few other Rabbis, including the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem (the Mahralbach), Rabbi Yoseph Karo, Rabbi Moshe of Trani, Rabbi Yosef Sagis, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, Rabbi Abraham Shalom and Rabbi Israel de Curial. Rabbi Yoseph Karo later ordained Rabbi Moses Alsheich, and Alsheich ordained Rabbi Hayyim Vital around 1590.



To be Continued….





Makos 13a. Shiur 2/3/15

Makos 13a.

Thanks to Eli Chitrik

1- Identify yourself!

The Mishnah says that the shogeg, upon entering the city he chooses for asylum, needs to identify himself and advise the inhabitants that “I am a shogeg refugee“. If they show no interest in his status he does not need to remind them again. This is derived from a verse in the Torah.


We mentioned the Yerushalmi that derives from this law that a person who is, say, versed in one Mesechta and he meets people that believe he is knowledgeable in three Mesechtos, he must advise them of their error and humbly admit his limited knowledge!

This is brought down l’halacha in the Hago’os Maimonis.

2- Chazakos of Public Office

The Mishnah continues about the state of the Shogeg upon his release from the city of refuge (as a result of the death of the then presiding Kohen Gadol).

So he goes back to his family to live without fear of retribution from the goel hadom and tries to pick up the pieces of his life.

What if he had a position in his community prior to the accident that caused his exile? Suppose he was the local favorite Chazzan or Rosh Hakahal of his Shtetl; does he have a right to reclaim his position? What if someone else was appointed in his absence?

The Mishnah says that there are two opposing opinions whether or not he can indeed reclaim his original position.

This topic of a Chazakah of public office and if one inherits such a post from a father is rather wide and much has been written about it.

We scratched the surface by discussing a few basic sources on this topic.

Generally, there are a few references in Chumash that a son, if he can “fill his father’s position” is entitled to inherit the position. These references pertain to a King and a Kohen Gadol.

We find this concept of inheriting a position in areas of a different nature, (not monarchy or Kohen, but) positions such as a Rav or a Chazzan.

At first glance it seems from the above two references that all positions (King, Kohen, Rav, Rosh Yeshiva, Menahel etc.,) should have the same ruling, i.e., automatic yerusha to a fitting descendant.

The problem is that the Rashba was asked about a situation of a Chazzan and surprisingly he answers that “it depends on the Minhag”.

But if it is a Biblical directive then the Minhag should have no sway!

So we must say that there are two categories in public positions:

  • One which follows the Torah directive of a son inheriting the position.
  • One which is dependent on the individual community Minhag.

We find a few opinions on how to define and categorize the above two groups.

The Alter Rebbe (O”C 53, 33-34) writes that firstly in regards to a position of Torah – such as a chacham who is appointed to teach Torah or to be a judge there is no automatic inheritance for “Torah is not inherited”;  It is free for anyone to take it. Thus, anyone capable of assuming the post has a right to the vacated position no less than a son. The community thus decides.

alter rebbe oc 53 33-34

[Does the Alter Rebbe’s “Torah category” include a Rav, Dayan or Rosh Yeshiva? Please comment]

On the other hand

1) A non-Torah job such as a Chazzan, then his son, if he fits the position of course, come before other candidates.

2) Now if the Minhag is for the son NOT to inherit his father’s position then all candidates have an equal chance. And in such a case, where the Minhag was not for a son to automatically inherit the position, was the scenario the Rashba was referring to. But if there is no such Minhag then the community must adhere to the Torah principal of a son inheriting his father’s position.

Photo by Nachman Hellman

In short the Alter Rebbe’s opinion is that with regard to inheritance:

  • All positions (except a Torah one) must follow the Torah law.
  • Where there is a Minhag not to follow it!

[Is this a case of Minhag mevatel Halacha?… Please comment]

The Chasam Sofer (O”C 12 ) has a different take on this. He also says that any Torah position is free for all to take. But his opinion is that:

  1.  Any position of authority and communal obligation (like a king) falls into the Torah directive of a son inheriting the position, and
  2. This rule does not apply to any non-authoritative position such a Chazzan or Rav (who is a purely Torah figure with no authority or obligation…).

PDF: chasam sofer oc 12

chasam sofer oc 12


Thus the Rashba, who was referring to a Chazzan, states that one should follow the Minhag and not follow the Torah directive.

We spoke about the story of Rebbi – Reb Yehuda Hanasi – who instructed that his son Reb Gamliel should inherit him as Nasi despite his other son Reb Shimon being a greater Talmud Chacham.


Yanki confirmed via Chazzan Kwartin in his famous piece on the Asara Harugei Malchus that it was in fact Reb Shimon the son of Reb Gamliel who was martyred.

The Tzemach Tzedek (OC 21) writes that the categories (and the reconciliation of the Torah instructive and the Rashba) of the Chasam Sofer are “dochuk“, meaning difficult to accept.


Interestingly, the Chasam Sofer, ten years after penning his first letter had second thoughts about the idea that a Rav has no community obligation.  See here (13)