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?


arnie draiman said...

very nice discussion about the tzedakah angle. yasher koach.

arnie draiman

The Talmid said...

See Megillah 13b and Zevachim 102 that ther is a meimra that srarah passes from father to son from a pasuk in Iyov. However, nobody I've seen quotes this limud.

The Talmid said...

tzedaka was collected by 2 people and distributed by 3 people
Rabbeinu Yonah Sanhedrin 17b brings Rashi that the gabaim were 2, and there were 3 separate people who distirbuted the money, but R"Y holds they added one person to the 2 Gabaim to get 3 total.

The Talmid said...

see Rashi, Shemos 29:30hakohen tachtav mibanav - melamed that the son is memalei makom of the fatehr to be appointed Kohen Gadol. From Toras Kohanim Acharie Mos 8:5 and Yoma 72a.

The Talmid said...

See Aruch Hashulchan O"C 53:30 - no yerusha in Torah. R' Elchanan proved this from Bava Basra 12b that after Rav Ashi died they did not appoint his son as Rosh Yeshiva. See Kovetz Shiurim BB 59, and Kovetz He'aros 40:6.

The Talmid said...

See, however, Tosfos, Brachos 4a s.v. Benayahu that Benayahu and Yehoyada, one was a son and one was the father, "mistama the son filled the place of his father and just like his father was on the Sanhedrin, so was the son."

The Talmid said...

Proof to Rashi that the mechalkei tzedaka did not include the Gaba'ei tzedaka - Shabbos 118b where Rav Yosi said I would be gabai tzedaka but not mechalkei tzedaka. If Rabbeinu Yonah is correct, the Gabai also has to be mechalek.