Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Daf Yomi - Rosh Hashana 9 - Highlights


The Gemora presents a dispute regarding the counting of Yovel. The Chachamim hold that Yovel is the fiftieth year in the cycle and the following year is the first year of the next cycle. Rabbi Yehuda maintains that the fiftieth year is reckoned for both cycles. It is the fiftieth year of the previous cycle and the first year of the forthcoming cycle. (8b – 9a)


Rabbi Akiva cites a verse in the Torah and expounds from it: “Six days a week you shall work and on the seventh day you shall rest; at the plowing and the reaping you shall rest.” Rabbi Akiva learns that the second part of the possuk is teaching a halacha regarding Shemitah. One must abstain from plowing prior to the seventh year if it will benefit the seventh year and one must accord Shemitah sanctity for the harvesting of the seventh year from produce that is still growing in the eighth year.
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Rabbi Yishmael learns that one must add from the ordinary onto the holy from a different verse. It is written regarding Yom Kippur “And you shall afflict yourself on the ninth” – it is clear that the obligation to fast is on the tenth of Tishrei and yet the Torah states that one should begin the fast on the ninth. We learn from here that there is a requirement to add from the ordinary onto the holy and one should begin to fast from the ninth. Another verse teaches us that one should add to the conclusion of Yom Kippur as well. The Gemora concludes that this obligation applies to Shabbos and all of the festivals. (9a)


Rabbi Akiva, who derived the principle of adding from the ordinary onto the holy from a different verse, uses the verse “And you shall afflict yourself on the ninth” to teach that anyone who eat and drinks on the ninth, it is considered as if he fasted on the ninth and the tenth. (9a – 9b)


The halacha is that during Yovel, one is not allowed to work the land. The Tannaim disagree as to the criteria required for this halacha to take effect. Rabbi Yehuda maintains that Yovel takes effect even if they did not blow shofar on Yom Kippur and even if they did not return their fields to the ancestral owners. However, if they did not liberate their slaves, the laws of Yovel do not take effect. Rabbi Yosi disagrees and holds that Yovel will only not take effect if they did not blow the shofar on Yom Kippur. The Chachamim maintain that all three halachos are vital to the realization of Yovel status.

Rabbi Yosi explains his reasoning that the blowing of the shofar prevents Yovel from taking effect and not the freeing of the slaves. Firstly, there can always be a possibility that there are no slaves to be liberated but highly improbable that there will not be a shofar available to blow. Rabbi Yosi understands that Yovel will be reliant on something that is always possible. Secondly, the obligation of sounding the shofar is dependent on Beis Din whereas the releasing of the slaves is not in Beis Din’s control to execute. It is assumed that Yovel will be dependent on something whose authority is given over to Beis Din. (9b)