Friday, September 08, 2006

Daf Yomi - Sukkah 6 - Father and Mother

There is a debate in the Gemara if a Sukkah requires two full walls and a third wall that is at least a tefach or should there be three complete walls. This debate is based on whether one reads the word Sukkos in the Torah with the letter vav or without the letter vav. The Chachamim maintain that we say yeish eim lemasores, the transmitted written form has primacy, whereas Rabbi Shimon maintains that yeish eim lemikra, the pronounced form has primacy. The Rif was questioned as to why the Gemara uses the word eim, which means mother, and not av, which means father. A similar question would be that the Gemara refers to one of the thirteen principles of Biblical hermeneutics as a binyan av and not a binyan eim.
Click here for the Rif's response and more
The Rif initially responded that he never heard anyone shed light on this matter, but then he proceeded to offer a possible explanation. When the purpose of a principle is to teach a concept in a different area, the Gemara uses the term av, whereas if the discussion at hand is regarding relying on a principle, the Gemara uses the word eim. Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha explains the words of the Rif. The mother is the akeres habayis, the mainstay of the house as it is said every honorable princess dwelling within. For this reason we say yeish eim lemikra or yeish eim lemasores, as the mother is the central figure in the house and it is the mother who everyone is dependant upon. The father, on the other hand, is not usually found in the house, as he leaves the house to seek a livelihood. The principle of a binyan av, however, is that we are building from one location to another, and this is analogous to a father who influences others. (See Rabbeinu Bachye to Devarim 33:8 for further discussion on the differences between the father and mother.)

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1 comments:

ben said...

interesting that the רחם is also referred to as אם