Makos 16b (2) Shiur 4/28/15

Makos 16b (2)

  1. ​The Gemara we learned speaks about the concept of Produce that needs to be tithed. There are five types of tithes that need to be given:


Truma –                         2%  from the Yisroel to the Kohen.

Ma’ser Rishon –           10%  from the Yisroel to the Levi.

Trumos Ma’ser             10%  from the Levi to the Kohen.

Ma’ser Sheni-             10% for the Yisroel’s personal use to be eaten in Yerusholayim only.

Ma’ser Ani-                 10% from the Yisroel to the poor and needy.

Until the all of first four of the above are set aside or given away the produce is definitely considered Tevel.

The question in our Gemara was whether the ‘Lav’ of eating Tevel applies also to produce that is only lacking the giving of the last Tithe, Ma’ser Ani. # 5 above.

We discussed the physiological mind-set of simple farmers of old (times of the Tannaim) that would sell their produce as ‘Kosher’ when in reality only the Truma would be given by them. The other 3 or 4 tithes would be inside the produce despite their claim to the contrary.

Their reasoning was that people were not suspected of causing someone to eat Truma; this is something they were not comfortable with. On the other hand withholding Ma’ser from the Levi (stealing in other words) is something that they could live with….

Mentioned also was the famous opinion of Rashi that the prohibition of Tevel is because of the Truma that is in the Tevel prior to the removing the Truma.

(Yevamos 86a, Rashi, and Tosafos “Ma Toveles”, and R’ Y Engel, Asvun D’oraisa, klal 2 here)

​2. We mentioned an interesting idea pertaining to this weeks Parsha about the “Azazel” – the scapegoat.

On Yom Kippur 2 he goats would be selected then and a Goral performed to choose the one to be sacrificed on the Mizbe’ach and the other to be sent to Azazel.

The Kohen Gadol confessed the sins of the people while laying his hands on the head of the goat which was sent out to Azazel in the wilderness.

The word Azazel is what philologists call a ‘hapax legomenon’. It is unique, found only in this passage; and therefore, its meaning cannot be easily deduced by comparing it with its usage in other places. The word sounds vaguely lik e a proper name, similar to names of supernatural beings that appear in Jewish mystical texts.

A most intriguing attempt to explain the text is provided by Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra. He writes cryptically:

And if you were capable of grasping the mystery of the word Azazel, then you would know its secret and the secret of its name, for it has equivalents elsewhere in the Bible. I shall reveal to you a portion of the mystery, only by way of an indirect hint. When you reach [the age of] thirty-three you will know it.

What did the Even Ezra mean with this “33” code?

The Ramban deciphers it.

He justifies his indiscretion by claiming that Ibn Ezra’s mysterious secret is not a secret at all, and merely refers to an interpretation that was well known from the Talmud and Midrash. According to the Ramban, the thirty-three does not designate a minimum age, but rather the number of verses that we are instructed to count until we arrive at the key to the solution. Do the math, and you will arrive at  17:7. The Torah talks about the prohibition against bringing any offering off-site; not in the Beis Hamikdash.

And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices unto the satyrs [demons], after whom they go astray.

That is what the Even Ezra meant to say- count 33 verses ahead and you arrive at the prohibition on dealing/offering to demons- a practice common in the post-Egyptian era.

He equates both Azazel and the satyrs with tangibly demonic forces of evil. Azazel = satyr = goat = Se’ir = Esau = Sam”mael = the lord of metaphysical wickedness. Hence, the Torah is advising us that, though at all other times of the year we are supposed to be occupied in a relentless war against Azazel and his evil minions,

only on the Day of Atonement, has G-d commanded us to buy them off with a generous offering of a sin-bearing goat, because the goat is Sammael’s  favorite animal.​

It a mystical explanation. True. But he does crack the code of the Even Ezra.

There are other explanations on the 33 mystery. Here is one.

The Torah, with the commandment to ‘send away the goat to Azazel in the desert’, means to drive home the point that sorcery and witchcraft are out of the realm of the Jewish religion.

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (105a) Says that the great sorcerer of all times was Bilam. His power was [in a sense] derived from sorcery. His life span was shortened due to his shortcomings etc. He was killed at the age of 33 (106b)!

sanhedrin 106b

And that is what the Even Ezra meant.

Nu nu. A bit of a stretch.

We mentioned another attempt at cracking the number 33…but it is so ridicules that it’s not worth writing….

…you say a dude was trying to throw you off of what now?

Makos 16b Shiur 4 21 15

Makos 16b

  1. While discussing the concept if a person is allowed to annul his vow made in public and with the consent of the public we mentioned an interesting story:

Rabbi Benyamin Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva in Melbourne Australia relates that he once walked into 770 and two older Chassidim (one was reb Mendel Futerfas)  asked him to sit down with them to be part of a Beis Din in to order to annul a vow.

The famed Chossid Reb Bentze Shemtov got up in front of the Beis Din and told the following:  upon his arrival to America he made a Neder that he would not walk into 770 without going first to the Mikvah. However it has since become very hard for him to continuing doing so because of his old age, therefore he is asking of the of the Beis Din to annul his vows.

And the Beis Din continued to ask the standard question, “If you would have known that you would come to such a stage would have you still made that Neder”?

To which he replied “NO” and with that they were Matir his Neder.

Interesting piece of history.


  1. Our Gemore discusses the Mitzvah of Peah – leaving the edge of a field for the poor. Peah is one the Mitzvas associated with harvesting ones fields directing him to leave some of the produce for the poor.


We discussed the Vort from the Beni Yissachar (See here English Hebrew) the founder of the Munkatch dynasty.


It is brought in Tosefta a story about a father who once forgot a bundle in the field, out of excitement that he was now able to be Mekayem the Mitzvah of Shik’cha, he told his son that he should bring him a cow to be Makriv a Korbon Olah.


The Bnei Yisschar asks, what is so significant regarding the Mitzvah of Shikcha that he felt that he had to bring a Korban?


He explains, all the Mitzvos in the Torah were given in a way that person has to have intent when he performs the Mitzvah. If a person does not have Kavanah when he does the Mitzvah according to many he was not Mekayem the Mitzvah.


The only Mitzvah in the Torah that a person can only perform without intent is the Mitzvah of shikcha. If a person intentionally left a bundle in the field he is not Mekayem the Mitzvah.


Why did the Torah command of such a awkward Mitzvah that can only be done only without intention?


Unfortunately, although we are commanded to have Kavanah for every Mitzvah, many  times we do it without proper intention, we do it more in a way of “Hergel” routine.


This is why the Torah gave us the commandment of Shikcha, a Mitzvah that can only be performed without intention but nevertheless you are Mekayem this Mitzvah, it is through this Mitzvah that a person is “Maale’h” elevates all the other Mitzvos he did without Kavanah.


This is also why in the Torah by the Mitzvah of Shikcha it states: Hashem will bless you “Bechol Masseh Yadacha” (and not the usual “B’echol Asher Taaseh”)  this is because through the Mitzvah of Shikcha you elevate all of your other Mitzvos.


And this is why by the Mitzvah of Shikcha the father brought a Korban Ola’h.


When he was Mekyem the Mitzvah of Shikcha he thought to himself that this must have happened in order for him to elevate all the Mitzvos he did without proper intention. Therefore he brought a Korban to atone for all the Mitzvos which were not done properly.

Makos 16a. Shiur 4/14/15

Makos 16a.

Some background.

When a husband sends his wife a Get via a shliach he can in theory
(before the shliach hands over the Get to his wife), cancel the
shlichus and the Get is null and void.

A potential problem occurs when the shliach is traveling and is
unaware of the cancellation. He arrives to his destination and gives
the Get to the woman, both being unaware that the Get is worthless!

The woman, being under the impression that she is divorced, goes and remarries and has a child when in reality she is still married to her first husband, leading to a mamzer. Ouch.

In such a scenario Chazal created a rarely-used edict to be used at their discretion known as Hafka’as Kidushin Le’Mafre’a – retroactive anullment of Kiddushin. The basis for this edict goes like this: Since all Jews upon their marriage attest that their marriage is accordance to Jewish law (Kedas Moshe v’Yisroel), one in a sense “conditions” his marriage on the consent of Chazal.

Thus, in the case above (canceling the Get-messenger without notifying him of the canellation), Chazal, seeing the potential problem have ruled that this man and woman were never married. In
other words they retroactively annul their marriage; They were just a man and woman living together.

So this woman (who thought she was divorced) has no halachic issue with her new (and only) husband and their child is not a mamzer.

In Tosfos we find Rabbeinu Shmuel (and other Rishonim) raised many fascinating issues on the above. Firstly, if indeed such is the case then in theory all cases of adultery have a great legal defense; The defendants, man and/or woman, can say that the “hasra’ah’ or warning given to them prior to them sinning was a ‘hasra’as safek’.

How? They can say to Beis Din “how do you know that we are married? True that we may be married now but at some point in the future husband can send wife a Get via a shliach (as described above), then simply cancel the Get and recall the messenger without  advising him, messenger hands Get to wife, causing the marriage to be retroactively nullified and voila! I was never married”.

True it may not happen but it is still a ‘hasra’as safek’!
The second issue raised is even more intriguing. Why do we not utilize this edict and legally reverse the status of all known mamzerim?

How? Have the husband of the woman who had an illicit fair (and had a child from this affair) send her a Get via a shliach, recall but don’t advise the shliach, give over the Get to the adulterers and Presto! The marriage is retroactively nullified and she was never married. We would thus have a world free of mamzerim……

The conclusion of all the Rishonim of why this suggestion would not
work is disarmingly simple.

This edict is enacted only ‘b’dieved’ – when no sin was transgressed,
such as a man changing his mind after the shliach has begun his shlichus and cannot be reached.

Thus, to avoid a potential and unintentional mamzer issue Chazal used their Torah vested power to nullify a marriage.

But to use it to “clean up a mamazer” is something Chazal

surely do not sanction.   And here is the clincher – such a general
ruling would cause “Pritzus” for the fear of illicit affairs that may produce a mamzer would be eliminated.

So for hundreds of years this issue was put to rest. A mamzer status cannot be reversed in this manner.

So here we are in the middle of Ukraine sometime in the late 1800’s.

The famous Rabbi Sholom Shvadron (a Chossid of many Rebbes)
universally accepted for his knowledge and boldness in Halachik
rulings receives a letter from Odessa requesting a ruling on a rather
tragic story.

שו”ת מהרש”ם חלק א – שלום מרדכי בן משה הכהן שוואדרון3 (page 28 of 240) MAHARSHAM’
A distraught Aguna finally receives the unfortunate news that her
husband has died. The Beis Din interrogates the witness and allows her to remarry which she does and is now carrying a child.

Alas! The husband reappears…a case of mistaken identity….
Husband had loaned his passport and the borrower is the deceased. The child to be born will be declared a mamzer.

The Brezhaner Rov, (english) as Reb Sholom Mordechai was called, (Maharsham) comes with a suggestion – only in theory but not in practice as he writes: Have the husband send her a Get etc.… you get the picture. (See above)

see full teshuva here:

שו_ת מהרש_ם חלק א – שלום מרדכי בן משה הכהן שוואדרון3 (page 28 of 240) MAHARSHAM’

As to the ruling of the Rishonim that one should never do it because the ruling was made as a ‘takanah’ and to prevent the creation of a ‘takalah’, argued the Brezhaner Rov, this poor woman is totally innocent. She followed the ruling of the local Beis Din. This case is indeed a ‘takanah’.

Many, rather most, Poskim strongly opposed this suggestion.

Furthermore in this case, as the Maharsham writes, the local beis din had already instructed the poor woman to divorce her first husband, rendering the suggestion moot.

See this link

and other related discussion of retroactive rectification of Mamzeirus here

We discussed the laws of a ‘me’anes’ (rapist) who must marry his victim (with her consent) and is prohibited from ever divorcing her. If he does divorce her then he transgresses a Lo Saa’se and would be chayav Malkus but for the fact that the Torah allows him the opportunity to repent and remarry his wife thus avoiding the Malkus.

The only way he can be Chayev malkus is if he creates a situation which prohibits him from remarrying her. The Gemara attempts to find just such a scenario. Such as if he kills her?  But then he would not be chayav Malkus – he would be subject to much worse.

(shiluach hakan just looks good here).

Reb Akiva Eiger ask as to why not suggest that his wife was a ‘Treifa’, (and would not live 12 months anyway) thus taking her life does not render him chayv misa but nevertheless he must still remarry her…?

The Gemara concludes that the only scenario possible would be if he makes a ‘vow based on the public’s opinion’ (Neder al daas rabim) that he will not have anything to do with this woman who is required to marry. Being that such vows are irrevocable, making such a vow is considered ‘bi’tlo’  – (see end of shiur 3/31/15) he causes the impossibility for him to remarry her and would be indeed chayav Malkus.

We spoke about the Rebbe’s mentioning of this concept regarding the bringing of Moshiach. Tamuz 7549. See here:

ספר השיחות תשמ”ט – חלק ב – שניאורסון, מנחם מנדל, 1902-1994 (page 168 of…

Makos 15a (2)  Shiur 03/31/15

Makos 15a (2)

  1. In continuation of last weeks Shiur where we discussed the Admur Hazaken in the Kuntras Achron, we continued with another topic that has to do with Pesach.

Introduction: The shiurim (Halachic measurements) we have today are all Halacha L’Moshe M’Sinai. e.g. reviis, kezayis etc.

If one eats or drinks less than a Shiur, then there certainly no corresponding punishment. But is it prohibited?

This is the famous Machlokes between Reb Yochanan and Reish Lakish know as to the Halacha of Chatzi Shiur (literally: half a Shiur)

According to Reish Lokish a Chatzi Shiur is not prohibited Min Hatorah Only Midirabanan.

On the other hand Reb Yochonon’s opinion is that all shiurim are only in regards to punishment. For example, the drinking of blood is a punishable Lav. But one needs to drink a Reviis to receive this punishment.

As to the actual prohibition even less than the Shiur is surely prohibited Min Hatorah and such is the accepted Halocho.



Reb Yochnon’s opinion is that Chatzi Shiur is Assur Min Hatorah because being that it can accumulate to an Issur therefore even a bit is part of and Issur.


The universal understanding of the term Chatzi Shiur means “anything less than the Shiur”. Even a crumb or a drop.

It does not mean if you eat a “half” rather it means if you eat anything less than a Kezayis, even a crumb.

Surprisingly, the Tzemach Tzedek in Piskei Dinim (Here, first paragraph, line starts with the word “Bilvad”) writes “Only a Chatzi Shiur is Assur.”

tzemach tzedek piskei dinim 2 seferid_30499_page_306


Does he mean to say that the Issur of Chatzi Shiur is if you eat less than the full Shiur but at least half or more of of the full Issur?

That runs contrary to the common understanding of the opinion of Reb Yochanan and the Halacha that any infinitesimal amount is prohibited!

We mentioned that Reb Chaim Naeh seems to be of the opinion that the Tzemach Tzedek never wrote this.


However ever a few years ago the original manuscript was discovered and it clearly in the handwriting of the T”T.

In 1935 the Rebbe asked his father Reb Levik to explain this perplexing passage in the Tzemach Tzedek, Reb Levik responded that it is indeed difficult to understand and attempts to explain it. See here.

L Levi Yitzchak seferid_31679_page_319



The Rebbe himself in his published notes on the Piskei Dinim (See here) 


haaros seferid_30507_page_271

writes that this T’T need to be explained. He adds some footnotes. Here is one: See The Kesef Mishnah in the first Perek in the Ramabam in Hilchos Chametz and Matzah.


The Rambam writes “Eating even the slightest amount of chametz itself on Pesach is forbidden by the Torah as it states: “Do not eat”.


The Rambam seems to say that we need an extra Pasuk for chametz to tell us that even a tiny drop is assur on Pesach.

Asks the Kesef Mishnah; why do we need an extra Pasuk specifically for Peasach? Since Chatzi Shiur is always assur even if he only eats a tiny crumb, it is Asur Min Hatorah in every scenario including Pesach?!

The Kesef Mishnah finishes with “tzarich iyun” on the Rambam.

However according to the Tzemach Tzedek this question is easily answered: Since Chatzi Shiur means only a half (or more) then the proscribed amount, we then do need a special Pasuk for Pesach to tell us that even a single drop is Asur!

See here for more details.

chatzi shiur TT

A Kosher and Happy Pesach to all!