Monday, October 30, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 4 - Wine: settling and unsettling

The Gemara states that Rav would not place an amora, an expounder, by his side from the onset of Yom Tov until the next day because he was concerned about intoxication. Rav would not lecture after eating his Yom Tov meal, because had he drunk wine, he would have been forbidden to issue halachic rulings, and one who is intoxicated is prohibited from deciding on halachic matters. It is noteworthy that the Gemara in Megillah states that when Achashveirosh requested that the Jewish sages render a judgment regarding Vashti’s infraction of not appearing before the king, the Jewish sages responded that they were not fit to judge because they were in exile. The Chachamim recommended to Achashveirosh that he consult with the wise men of Moav who were like wine that had settled, as Moav had not been exiled. Thus, we see that wine can unsettle a person to the point that he is prohibited from issuing halachic rulings, yet one can be in a state that is akin to wine that has settled and this state is conducive to render judgment.


eliezer said...

The gemara in Eiruvin quotes Rava as saying that wine made him smart , but only if in the right amount.

David said...

This incident with the wine is brought down by Rav Papa. Rav Papa was a beer merchant by trade, and therefore he frequently commented in any halachic discussion having to do with wine or beer.

The Maharsha makes an astonishing comment in connection with this. Rav Papa states, in Shabbos 140b, that one who can drink beer and instead drinks wine, violates a verse in the Torah.ואמר רב פפא האי מאן דאפשר למישתי שיכרא ושתי חמרא עובר משום בל תשחית ולאו מילתא היא בל תשחית דגופא עדיף . The Maharsha says Rav Papa said this because he was a beer merhcant, and would thereby profit if more people drank beer. I know, people have been excommunicated for less in our day, but that is what the Maharsha says. The Reshash in the back of the Gemara was very displeased with this statement, and said a line should be drawn through it.

In fact, the Reshash uses the Maharsha's remark to explain an enigmatic pasage in Sahabbos 118b. Rav Yosie there says he would like to have the reward of those falsely accused, and Rav Papa adds, without explanation , that he too was falsely accused. וא"ר יוסי יהא חלקי ממי שחושדין אותו ואין בו אמר רב פפא לדידי חשדן ולא הוה בי . No explanation is given for this mysterious remark. The Reshash says Rav Papa means to say he was falsely accused by people like the Maharsha, of exploiting halacha for personal gain.

(I personally think it is a reference to the indcident recorded in Berachos, where a gentile woman placed a dead baby under Rav Papa's bed, falsely accusing him of somethering it).

David said...

Eliezer - see also Yoma 76b: "With wine, if one merits it can make you the top, if one does not merit, it can impoverish you." (Tirosh/Rosh/Rash). The idea is that wine in moderation is good, similar to the passge you quoted.

ben said...

Thank you all for the posts. If you want to see more on wine, I can send you my sefer Parashas HaKesef on Megillah and Purim. Iy"h I will post more on this soon.