Thursday, January 29, 2009

Srarah Part 4 - Appointment of King

If imo miyisrael is enough to allow one to have a position of srarah, why were bnei yisrael punished for comforting Agrippas (Sotah 41a-b) who was king with imo miyisrael (as Tosfos in many places asks)? (Note: see end of this post: if this Aggripas was Aggripas I, he was not imo miyisrael, so this question doesn't even begin, he was totally pasul and as Tosfos says, they only called him "brother" because avadim are obligated in certain mitzvos. If it was Aggripas II his mother was miyisrael, and this discussion follows this Agrippas. The lineage of both Agrippas I & II are discussed in that post.)

The basic answer is found in Tosfos in Yevamos 45b s.v. keivan, Ran Sandhedrin 36b s.v. chad (and Ritva Kiddushin 14a), who say that a king must have both parents be yisraelim, and not even one parent a ger, because of the special pasuk by melech: mikerev achicha.

The Ran suggests that Aggripas was a worse problem than father ger, mother bas yisrael, because Agrippas' father was an eved, and he therefore couldn't marry a kohen (see Minchas Chinuch 497 who brings Tosefta Sanhedrin 4:6 & Haghos Maimoni Melachim 1:4 that someone who may be appointed to srarah is equivalent to someone whose daughter may marry a kohen), but the son of a ger and a bas yisrael, a union from which their daughter may marry a kohen, could be melech. However, the Ran goes on to say even the son of a ger & bas yisrael couldn't be melech because you need both parents to be yisraelim.

Ran Sanhedrin 36b says Avshalom (who was mored b'malchus), whose mother was Maacha, a giores (formerly a yefas Toar) and his father was David Hamelech was qualified to be king. That is, his mother being a giores did not disqualify him from being a king because his father was a yisrael. The Kesef Mishna in Melachim 1:4 says this in regard to Rechavam ben Shlomo, (whose mother was a mitzris - bas Paroh) who did serve as king. We can push this off as a proof and say this does not show that if the father (or mother) was a yisrael that child may serve as king, because Avshalom and Rechavam were not appointed out of nowhere, their fathers were already king. So it could be that the din of yerusha in malchus and srarah overrides the requirement of both parents being yisraelim, which is necessary for an initial appointment, but not to appoint the son of someone who already has that srarah. In fact, this line of reasoning is brought by the Noda Biyehuda Kama, C"M 1, quoted by Minchas Chinuch 497 & 498 to answer why Rechavam was allowed to be king if his mother was a giores? Because his father was already king and Rechavam acquired it by yerusha, so he didn't need to have both parents miyisrael.

Ritva, Kiddushin 14a s.v. v'ha d'amrinan says that his Rebbi's Rebbi answered that when it says aviv miyisrael it's davka aviv, but only imo is not enough, but when it says imo miyisrael it's not davka, and could also be aviv. This second thing he says is like Tosfos in the previous post, where I wrote "Tosfos Yevamos 45b s.v. Keivan says that even if a yisrael married a giores, their son may be appointed; the child with aviv miyisrael has the same din as the son of a ger and a yisraelis, imo miyisrael." Tosfos means if imo miyisrael is enough, kal v'chomer aviv miyisrael is enough because he gets yichus mishpachas av from a father, which he doesn't get from his mother. So if imo or aviv miyisrael, he maybe could be a dayan, as we discussed in the previous post. If it's to be a melech, it must be aviv miyisrael davka, and imo moyisrael alone is not sufficient. What I'm not sure about in the Ritva, is that he says that you need aviv & imo miyisrael to be king, like the Tosfos & Ran at the beginning of this post, and then he says Rechavam ben Shlomo had a father from yisrael and mother a giores, and it was mutar because aviv miyisrael davka, as if you don't need both parents miyisrael to be king immediately after saying you do need both parents miyisrael as we see from Agrippas. Ritva uses this (Rechavam) to prove the point that when it says aviv miyisrael it's davka aviv, and Rechavam's father was Shlomo. Unless the point is aviv miyisrael is enough even for king, but Agrippas' father was an eved, so he couldn't be king. But the question remains why did Ritva just say you need both parent sfrom Yisrael in regard to Agrippas?

The bottom line is that this Ritva may be a different answer for how Rechavam was king - for melech, aviv miyisrael is enough.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Srarah Part 3 - Appointment of a Ger

76b says Rav Ada bar Ahava acquired a position of srarah for his guest because the guests's father was a ger, but his mother was a yisraelis.

Sanhedrin 36b brings a gzeiras hakasuv to allow a ger to be a dayan. However, Yevamos 102a says a ger may judge his fellow ger midioraissa and learns it from a pasuk. How can one gemara say a ger may judge everyone and another gemara says a ger may only judge his fellow ger? Rashi says that the Gemara in Yevamos is referring to capital cases; a ger may not judge a yisrael who's not a ger in a capital case. But a ger may judge everyone in dinei mamonos. If his mother was a yisraelis, he may judge everything, as our gemara here in kiddushin says - if imo miyisrael he can have srara positions. Rabbeinu David (Ran Sanhedrin 36b) asks on Rashi, that a 23-member beis din (which may judge capital cases) must be meyuchas. But a ger isn't meyuchas, so how can Rashi say a ger can judge a fellow ger in a capital case, if a ger may not sit on such a beis din? The Ran suggests that to Rashi there may be a 23 member beis din consisting of all geirim and they can only judge capital cases against geirim. Rabeinu David, however, answered when the gemara in Yevamos 102 said "a ger may judge his fellow ger" it means he may be appointed to a regular dayan in dinei mamonos for geirim, but when the gemara (Sanhedrin) implies a ger may judge regular yisraelim in dinei mamonos it means occasionally, but a ger may not have that as his permanent position, but if his mother was a regular yisaelis he may have such a position/appointment. Tosfos Yevamos 45b s.v. Keivan says that even if a yisrael married a giores, their son may be appointed; the child with aviv miyisrael has the same din as the son of a ger and a yisraelis, imo miyisrael.

Tosfos Yeshanim Yevamos ibid. say (to answer our original question - Daf 102 implies a ger can judge a Yisrael in dinei mamonos [like Rashi] but on 45b implies he must have imo miyisrael?) that even for dinei mamonos, a ger may only judge his fellow ger.

Rabbeinu Tam holds (Tosfos on gilyon, Yevamos 45b) that a ger may judge fellow geirim even with kefiya (force) but a ger may not judge a yisrael with kefiya. This is the psak of the Shach & Sma in C"M 7.

There is a daas yachid, Haghos Mordechai in Yevamos that a ger may not even judge his fellow ger with kefiya.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Srarah Part 2 - Shmaye & Avtalyon

As we mentioned, geirim cannot be appointed to positions of srarah. We will go into more detail in the future regarding which appointments, and what about the son of a ger.

Shmaye & Avtalyon, were the Av Beis Din and Nasi. The Tumim (Choshen Mishpat 7:1) shows from Eduyos 5:6 that they were on the Sanhedrin, but I think a bigger proof is Chagiga 2:2 that one of them was nasi and one of them was av beis din. They were the teachers of Hillel and Shamai, and were either descended from geirim, or, as the Rambam (Eduyos 1:3) and in his introduction to Yad Hachazaka says, they themselves were geirim, and they had accents which led to them saying malei hin instead of hin - see Shabbos 15a and Eduyos (loc. cit.). (Tashbatz [see below] shows they were geirim from Yoma 71b and Sanhedrin 96 [it's interesting that the Tashbatz calls Perek Chelek "Aggada in Nezikin,"] Chagiga 2nd Perek [which I quoted], Shabbos 15 and Eduyos 5:3 & 5:6. Sanhedrin & Yoma do not seem to be clear proofs in my opinion.)

If we say they were converts how could they have been on the sanhedrin - that was srarah? The Tashbatz in Magen Avos, Avos perek 1 says (with a "shema" - maybe) that when there is no one as great as a ger, the ger may be appointed. The Tumim gives two answers: (he also asks that one may accept a ger as a judge in monetary manners but not in a capital case, because one may not forfeit his life, so accepting him does not help?) Even though a person may not forfeit his own life by accepting a ger as a judge, a melech may appoint a dayan to judge dinei nefashos, and Shmaye & Avtalyon were appointed by a melech of the Chashmonaim. His second answer is that they were on the sanhedrin, but they recused themselves from capital cases.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

76b: Srarah - Part 1

The Gemara on 76b discusses appointing a ger or son of a ger to a leadership position (srarah). (The word sar, officer is found in Breishis 32:29, sarisa, see Onkelos, and in parshios Vayeishev, Shemos, Korach (historer) and other places as well.) From our Gemara, if one's mother was a bas yisrael and father was a ger, he may be appointed to srarah, but in Eretz Yisrael they would not even let someone like this be in charge of weights and measures, and in Nehardaa he couldn't be in charge of the wells.

Some other positions of srarah include melech, kohein gadol (though this is not discussed that much, at least in what I've seen), dayan, nasi, the gabai tzedaka, possibly a rav or shliach tzibur and even less likely but possibly a member of a board of a shul.

A very famous Rambam (Melachim 1:4-5) states that a ger can't be melech or have any srarah including head of the army, head of water distribution, nasi, judge, etc. because of the gezeiras hakasuv "mikerev achicha tasim alecha melech" - any appointment may only be from your brothers (to exclude a ger). Note our Gemara quotes the beginning of the pasuk that the Rambam quotes - "som tasim alecha melech mikerev achicha," but the Haghos Hagra changes it to the same way the Rambam brings it. In the next halacha, the Rambam says a woman may not be queen (ie head ruler, but it's not a problem to be married to the king) because it says "melech" and not malkah. And other appointments in Yisrael we only appoint men. He does not say srarah here, he says masimos, which I translate as appointments. So we see a neither a ger nor a woman can have srarah positions.

A kohen gadol who became tamei and a replacement served in his absence, when the first kohen gadol can resume his duties, he does. Similarly, someone who killed beshogeg and had to go to an ir miklat, when he returns home, he resumes any srarah he had before he left. See Makos 13a and Ritva s.v. Mai. So it is not easy to remove someone from srarah.

The Gemara in Bava Basra 8b, when discussing the srarah of gabai tzedakah, says we don't appoint one person to srarah, it needs to be two people. (Side point - I think the word gabai by itself means nothing. It seems it is an Aramaic word "gava'ei," meaning "collectors of." So really gavaei tzedaka mean collectors of tzedaka. It therefore seems to me the word gabai was reinvented to mean someone in charge of giving things out - like aliyos, even though the gemara discusses gabai tzedaka as collecting money and food to be distributed to the poor, but not that they distributed it, in fact, Bava Basra 8b says the tzedaka was collected by 2 people and distributed by 3 people, so distribution and collection are two separate things, not two sides of the same coin.) How can that be - there is only one melech! If we see how the Rambam formulates it, though, it's easier to comprehend: "We do not make srarah over the tzibur in monetary matters, less than two people." He adds the word "bemamon," which is not in the Gemara Bava Basra, but it apparently is in Yerushalmi Shkalim 5:2, which is not in my mishna, but when the gemara quotes the mishna, it does include the word bimamon. (Also note the Yerushalmi learns the din from "v'heim yikchu es hazahav" by the mishkan, but the Bavli and Rambam don't quote any pasuk for it). So it seems there are two types of srarah - regular srarah and srarah in money matters. (Does this mean one dayan in dinei mamonos cannot be appointed, because that would be srarah bidinei mamonos, but if 2 parties accept one dayan he may judge, because it's not an appointment, as Sanhedrin 5 says? Maybe so.)

Here is what we'll be dealing with in future posts:
If the son of a ger & bas yisrael can be melech, why were they punished with the incident of Aggripas?
If a woman can't have srarah, how did Devorah judge bnei yisrael?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kohanim bizman Hazeh

Shulchan Aruch E"H 3:1
If someone comes these days and tells us he's a kohen, he is not believed and we don't elevate him to be a kohen according to himself, and he does not get the first aliya and does not duchen.
Hagah: Some say he is believed to get the first aliya and to duchen these days since we don't have terumah dioraissa that we worry [giving him the first aliya and letting him duchen will cause people to give him] terumah (it is a capital offense for a non-Kohen to eat terumah), and this is our practice these days; there is nothing to worry about.
He must not eat kodshei hagvul (i.e., terumah) until he has one witness [testifying that he's a kohen] but he prohibits himself fro mmaqrrying a divorcee, zonah and chalallah; he may not become tamei from a corpse, and if he married [one of these women] or became tamei he receives lashes...

A compendium of the nosei keilim on this halacha:

Why we shouldn't give him Kohen aliya-

Not much of a problem nowadays that there is no real terumah. (I guess we must assume even in Eretz Yisrael bizman hazeh truah is dirabanan which is fine according to most poskim.) If there would be Terumah, even Terumah dirabanan, we wouldn't give him kohein because if people see him getting the aliya, they will give him Terumah. It's not a real problem to give a non-Kohen the kohein aliya - it's only a darkei shalom issue to give a kohen the first aliya (see Chelkas Mechokek E"H 2:1). Beir Heitev asks why aren't we worried someone will redeem their firstborn son through him and he will be over the isur of stealing, and he does not have an answer. (As an interesting aside, I saw at one place they'd give the kohanim teruah oil with which to light their chanukiot.)

Why he can't duchen-
  • It's an isur asei (ko tevarchu - atem velo zarim)
  • He can't make the bracha (AKBV levareich as amo yisrael b'ahava, abbrv. AK)
Why he can duchen-
  • Only in Mikdash is a problem because the Birchas kohanim there included the shem hameforash (see Kiddushin 71a) but bizman hazeh that's not an issue
  • Aruch hashulchan O"C 128:7 if there are other kohanim and he doesn't say the bracha AK, he may say the words of yevarechecha etc. because they are only psukim. But if he's the only one up there, it's asur.

A known Kohein who married a grusha and claimed he didn't know that he really was a kohen - we force him to divorce her (Levush, quoted at end of Beis Shuel 7). Beir Heteiv 6 adds the firstborns who were dedeemed by him do not need to re-redeem themselves with another kohen.

If he's not really a kohen and he redeems a bechor, he is stealing! Rav Yaakov Emden therefore says he should return the money afterward: if he's really not a kohen, it's not his, so he's returning it. If he really is a kohen, even though it's really his, it's a gift back. This is because many hold kohanim bizman hazeh are only muchzakim (as opposed to meyuchasim). There is a
faomus story of the Gra - he found a member of the Rappaport family who were meyuchas as kohanim and re-redeemed his bechor from that Kohen.

There is an important teshuva of R' Moshe Feinstein, see Shut Taam Baruch by R' Baruch Leizerovsky E"H 70 (Yay! I just found it in Igros Moshe Even Haezer 4 siman 39 using Bar Ilan Responsa Online) says that if the only evidence that someone is a kohen is from irreligious people, we say he's not a kohen. (If he has religious relatives who are kohanim, we can't say that he's not a kohen.) And he can then marry a woman who would be forbidden to him as a kohen, and he may become tamei meis. I heard Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz mention situations where he has used this. Some poskim, however, have much more trust that someone who was a kohen really is a kohen and would be unwilling to rely on Rav Moshe's psak.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

82 a - The Last Mishna

1. My rebbe shlit"a asked me last week to look something up for him, as he was out of town and didn't have many sefarim. He asked why does our Mishna say Avraham kept all of the mitzvos if in Yoma 28b Rava says Avraham kept the entire Torah and our Mishna was not quoted. Rabi Akiva Eiger in Gilyon Hashas quotes Rashi in Kanim who points out that something from a mishna was quoted without being introduced with "detnan." It therefore seems that maybe this part of the Mishna was not in all girsaos. In fact, in the R' Kafach edition of Mishna Im Perush Harambam (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 5725) does not have the last 12 lines of our Mishna. Maybe it was incorporated in our text from the Tosefta (but it's not exactly like our Tosefta either).

2. Rebi Meir says to teach your son a clean, easy profession. Later in the mishna, Rebi Nehorai says "I will put all the professions aside and only teach my son Torah." The Brisker Rav (al Hatorah, Parshas Chayei Sarah) asks that Rebi Meir and Rebi Mehorai are the same person, so how could he say contradictory things? In Brachos 35 there is a machlokes Rebi Yishmael and Rebi Shimon bar Yochai if you should have a profession or only learn Torah. The Brisker Rav says that the halacha is like Rebi Yishmael that you must have a profession. But certain people are allowed to act in accordance with Rebi Shimon. In effect he's saying the halacha is like Rebi Yishmael but that does not invalidate the opinion of Rebi Shimon. His nephew, my Rebbe zt"l, in Perach Mateh Aharon (Talmud Torah 1:8) says something very similar and in a different context.

Rambam Talmud Torah 3:10 writes: Whoever thinks he should learn Torah and not work and be sustained by tzedaka is desecrating G-d's name and deriding the Torah and extinguishes the light of the religion and is taking his life from the world to come, because it is forbidden to derive benefit from words of Torah in this world....They also commanded and said do not make it a crown to become great and not a spade to dig with them. They also comanded and said love the work and hate rabbanus and all Torah which is not accompanied with work will be nullified in the end and causes sin. And the end of this man is that he will rob others. [11] It is a great level for one who is supported by the work of his hands. It was the practice of the early chasidim. And with this one merits to all the honor and good in this world and in the world to come....

The Rambam Avos 4:7 (Perush Hamishna) is very long; he discusses "you may not make the Torah a spade to dig with" and how the greatest Tanaim worked and only after they were done went to the beis medrash. He prefaces his remarks with the following statement: "people have blinded themselves to this clear statement and rationalized it with explanations that ar enot understandable, and I will explain them, and they made theselves mertiorious on individuals and communities and made Torah leadership positions set with taxes and they snagged people with deceit that this is obligatory and we must help (support) chachamim and students and people who toil in Torah and Torah is their profession. And this is a mistake which has no foundation in Torah and has no legs on which to stand. When we understand the actions of chazal we do not find they collected [money] from people and they did not solicit gifts for the exalted and honored yeshivos and not for the Exilearch and not for judges and not to mmarbitzei torah and not to anyone who was appointed to any position or any person. Rather, we find all of them - some of them" [let me paraphrase] were terribly ipoverished, soe were very wealthy and chalila they were not generous donors, but had the impoverished opened his hand to accept [gifts or charity] they would have been filled with gold and pearls but they did not do this. They worked to be support theselves, whether comfortably or not, and they refrianed that which was in others hands because the Torah witheld it from them. We know Hillel worked as a wood chopper....

I don't have the time to quote this entire Rambam, but it is so important and I urge you to read it.

(On having a profession and secular education - they are related topics -
Rabbi Dr. Yehudah Levi's books Torah Study: A Survey of Classic Sources on Timely Issues (Feldheim) and Facing Current Challenges (Hemed, good luck finding one, it doesn't have an ISBN) are outstanding resources for more on this subject. I can hear my Rebbe Rav Ahron Soloveichik zt"l in many of the chapters of Facing Current Challenges,and why not; he was also a Rebbe of R' Levi.)

Just because someone is such a special person that he can follow Rabi Shimon bar Yochai doesn't mean he must. 2 examples: The Rambam writes in a teshuva that he had no time to respond to a question because he is so busy working, he only has time to learn on Shabbos. In Brisk, Rav Chaim Soloveichik (Brisker) did not have time to learn until late at night because he was performing acts of chesed all day. Rav Chaim was certainly muchtar b'keser shel Torah, but he "worked" by doing chesed (he was rav of the city) all day and did not learn all day. (I heard this fact, but not this application, from my rebbe, his great-grandson, as well as from a chaver of mine whose great-grandfather, R' Leizer Silver went to Brisk to learn from Rav Chaim.)

UPDATE: My brother just showed me the Meiri, Pesachim 50, that one should be careful to learn a profession so if one becomes impoverished they will have skills to be able to make a living, and not to rely on one's wife for support.

Parshas Vayigash

A connection between our perek (and this post specifically) and Parshas Vayigash

At the very beginning of the Parsha - 44:19, Yehuda discusses how Yosef asked them many details about their family. Comments Rashi: "...Why did you ask all these [questions]? Did we ask to marry your daughter, or did we ask to marry your sister? Still, 'we said to my master,' we did not withhold anything."

Thus we see when you do not know the person's family (and they are from a different place), we do not allow a marriage without first investigating the family.

(True, this was 1) before matan Torah and 2) this Rashi says the woman must investigate the man, even though we don't pasken that way - lo huzharu kesheiros linasei lipsulim, but allow me this drash.)