Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 10 - Highlights

The Mishna states: The laws concerning the release from vows float in the air and they do not have Scriptural support (there are methods for annulling a vow, however, their actual source cannot be found in Scripture, and rather it is an oral tradition).

The laws of Shabbos, Chagigah and me’ilah (illegal or improper use of consecrated objects) are like mountains hanging on a hair, for they have few Scriptural allusions, but many halachos.

Monetary law, the laws regarding sacrificial offerings, the laws of purity and contamination and the laws concerning illicit relations all have Scriptural support and are regarded as fundamentals of the Torah. (10a)

The Gemora cites several Scriptural sources from Tannaim and Amoraim for the concept regarding the release of vows.

Rabbi Yitzchak cites a source: It is written [Shmos 35:5]: All who had a willing heart brought. (This verse implies that only one who vowed to donate and whose heart remained willing would still be obligated to donate for the construction of the Tabernacle; otherwise, his vow would not be binding.)

Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel: If I had been there, I would have cited a superior source: It is written [Bamidbar 30:3]: He shall not profane his word. It can be inferred that the one who made the vow cannot profane his vow, but others can annul the vow for him. (10a)

Rava analyzes the sources and reveals the flaw in each one. Rava said: To all the above sayings I have objections, except to Shmuel, to whom it cannot be objected. (10a)

Rava said: I have an objection for Rabbi Yitzchak’s source: Perhaps the verse, All who had a willing heart brought is coming to exclude this instance from Shmuel’s general ruling regarding vows. Shmuel states that one who decides to make a vow must express the vow with his lips; otherwise, it is meaningless. This verse teaches us that when one is donating to the Tabernacle, it is not necessary to utter the vow with his lips; rather a decision to donate is sufficient.

Rava states his objection to the other sources and concludes that he does not have an objection to Shmuel’s source.

Rava said, and others say that Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said: Ravina said: This is as people say, it is better to have one sharp pepper than a full basket of melons. (10a)

The Mishna had stated: The laws of Shabbos are like mountains hanging on a hair, for they have few Scriptural allusions, but many halachos.

The Gemora asks: There are many warnings against violating the Shabbos written in the Torah; why does the Mishna state that there are few Scriptural allusions?

The Gemora answers: The Mishna’s statement is necessary for Rabbi Abba’s halacha. Rabbi Abba said: One who digs a hole on Shabbos and only needs the earth (not the hole), he is not liable for this activity. (The principle which this ruling is based upon is not explicitly mentioned in the Torah.)

The Gemora explains that this is in accordance with Rabbi Shimon, who maintains that one who performs a melachah shein tzricha legufa, an act of labor not for its defined purpose, is exempt.

The Gemora states that even Rabbi Yehudah (who argues with Rabbi Shimon) would agree that the digger is exempt because he is performing an act of destruction (ruining his house) and not a constructive act.

The Gemora asks: Where is there a Scriptural allusion for this distinction?

The Gemora answers: The Torah only prohibits one to perform a meleches machasheves, a calculated labor, on Shabbos. The Torah juxtaposes the laws of prohibited labors on Shabbos to the construction of the Tabernacle. Regarding the construction of the Tabernacle it is said meleches machasheves, calculated labor. Since the guidelines are not written by Shabbos, it is compared to mountains hanging on a hair. (10a – 10b)

The Mishna had stated: The laws of Chagigah are like mountains hanging on a hair, for they have few Scriptural allusions, but many halachos.

The Gemora asks: Isn’t it written explicitly [Vayikra 23:41]: And you shall celebrate it as a festival for Hashem; the Gemora above derived from the term celebrate and festival (chag) that one is obligated to bring a chagigah offering on the festival?

The Gemora answers: It is still not explicit that this is the correct interpretation; perhaps the verse means that there should be a celebration during the festival and not that there is an obligation for a chagigah offering.

The Gemora cites proofs that the word festival (chag) must be referring to a chagigah offering and then rejects the proofs.

The Gemora concludes that we derive through a gezeira shavah (one of the thirteen principles of Biblical hermeneutics - it links two similar words from dissimilar verses in the Torah) that the term festival (chag) in this verse is referring to a chagigah offering.

The Gemora asks: Why does the Mishna state that the Chagigah is compared to mountains hanging on a hair if the halacha is derived through a gezeira shavah?

The Gemora answers: We usually do not learn Biblical laws from the words of the Prophets. (10b)