Friday, January 05, 2007

Daf Yomi - Rosh Hashana 31 - Highlights

The Gemora cites a braisa which lists the hymns that were sung by the Leviim together with the korban tamid. It also discusses the reason that particular psalm was recited then. Rabbi Yehuda in the name of Rabbi Akiva maintains that each day’s song was referring to the event that happened on the corresponding Day of Creation. Shabbos, however, was different and its psalm discussed the harmony that will exist in the future. Rabbi Nechamya holds that the psalm recited on Shabbos also referred to the Shabbos Day of Creation. (31a)

The Gemora discusses the hymns that were sung on Shabbos by the korban mussaf and by the afternoon korban tamid. The Gemora concludes that they would divide Parshas Haazinu into six segments and one segment was recited each week by the korban mussaf. (31a)
 It was said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that the Heavenly Presence of Hashem journeyed ten journeys during the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdosh. Correspondingly, the Sanhedrin was exiled ten exiles during the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdosh. The Gemora cites Scriptural verses which specify the ten journeys of the Shechina. The Gemora lists the ten locations that the Sanhedrin was exiled to during the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdosh.

[The Sanhedrin's first stop after leaving Jerusalem was the city of Yavneh, which was established as a center of Torah study by Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai, and became most famous under the direction of Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh. Throughout its continuing travels, the Sanhedrin was headed by descendants of the family of Hillel.

It appears that the Sanhedrin was moved to Usha in the aftermath of the Bar-Kokhba revolt, where a series of Rabbinic enactments - called takkanot Usha - were established. Under the leadership of Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel there was an unsuccessful attempt to return the Sanhedrin to Yavneh, but due to the overwhelming devastation in the southern part of the country, they returned to the Galilee, first to Usha and then to Shefar'am.

Rabbi Yehudah ha-Nassi first sat in Bet She'arim together with the Sanhedrin, but he was forced to move to Tzippori, which was on a higher altitude, for reasons of health. His son, Rabban Gamliel, settled in Teverya, and the Sanhedrin remained in that city until it was finally dissolved. Courtesy of the Aleph Society)] (31a – 31b)
 The Mishna states that even if the Head of the Beis Din was elsewhere, the witnesses were still required to go to the place that Beis Din was regularly assembled. (31b)

The Gemora relates an incident regarding a woman who was called by Ameimar (the head of the Beis Din) to Nehardea, but then he left for Mechoza and she didn't follow him, so they excommunicated her. Rav Ashi asked Ameimar "What about that Mishna which states that that one should go to the Beis Din even if the Head of the Beis Din is elsewhere. Ameimar responded that the Mishna only applies to testimony for the new moon so that they'll come back in the future. However, this does not apply to other types of litigation. (31b)
 One of the nine decrees of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai is that the Kohanim are not allowed to wear sandals when they ascend the duchan to bless the congregation.

When the Temple stood, a convert had to bring a pair of birds as an offering. Afterwards, in the absence of a Temple, they still had to set aside a quarter-shekel for the offering. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai annulled this decree since it can lead to a stumbling block of someone benefiting from the hekdesh money.

There is an argument in the Gemora regarding the ninth decree of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. Rav Papa maintains that it was regarding the fourth-year fruits from a vineyard. The produce of a vineyard in its fourth year must be brought to Yerushalayim. However, if one lives within a day of Yerushalayim, he would be required to bring the fruits itself. Rabbi Eliezer wanted to give the fruits to the poor since it was too difficult for him to travel. He was told that Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai already permitted one to redeem the fruits even if one is within one day of Yerushalayim.

Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak disagrees and he holds that the ninth decree was regarding the strip of red wool. There was a red ribbon that was hung up outside the entrance of the Temple on Yom Kippur. It would turn white if the people's sins had been cleansed. If it turned white, they were happy; if not, they felt distressed. They didn’t want Klal Yisroel feeling sad so they began to tie it inside of the Beis Hamikdosh. They were able to peek in anyway and it was decreed that half of it was tied to the rock and the other half went over the cliff with the he-goat. This was instituted by Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. (31b)