Sunday, November 19, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 23 - Give me knowledge or give me death

The Gemara states that Rabbi Yose said that Todos of Rome instituted that the Jews of Rome should eat a whole goat that was roasted along with its entrails on Pesach night. The Chachamim sent Todos a message, saying, “If you were not a great scholar and respected personage in the community, we would have excommunicated you because you are causing Jews to eat kodashim, sacrificial meat, outside of Jerusalem.” Why does the Gemara not record a response from Todos, if he was in violation of the words of the Chachamim? Perhaps we see from here the precept that one who violates the words of the Chachamim is liable the death penalty. In a figurative sense, we can suggest that this refers to the statement in the Gemara that wherever the Chachamim set their eyes, there was either poverty or death. We know that a pauper is akin to being dead. Thus, if the Chachamim were to set their eyes on someone, he would either be poor or dead. The Gemara also states that the true pauper is in knowledge, so if the Chachamim sent Todos a message informing him of his error, they rendered him a pauper in knowledge, and this was sufficient for Todos to understand his error and retract his position.