Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 25 - A Dog is the most Brazen

I was in the process of writing on this Daf when my computer began (continued) crashing all too frequently. I bought a new one and am in the process of acclamating myself to it. I noticed two interesting discussions by Kollel Iyun Hadaf and I bring them to you here. Once again, if you're ever looking for a good discussion or insightful answer on a Daf related issue, please visit them here.

QUESTION: The Gemara says that the dog is the most brazen of all wild animals. However, the Mishnah in Avos (5:20) says that a person should be as brazen as a leopard to do the will of Hash-m. If the Mishnah's intent is to emphasize how brazen one must be in the service of Hash-m, why does it use the leopard as an example and not the dog? Conversely, if the leopard is the most brazen of animals, why does the Gemara here not mention it? (BEN YEHOYADA)

ANSWER: The BEN YEHOYADA answers, based on the BARTENURA in Avos, that the reason a leopard ("Namer") is so brazen is because it is the product of the union between a lioness and a wild boar. As a Mamzer, a product of inappropriate cross-mating, it is particularly brazen, for brazenness is a common trait of Mamzerim (see Bava Basra 58a, Maseches Kalah ch. 1). Any animal that is a Mamzer has that trait, but all leopards have that trait because they are all Mamzerim, and that is why the Mishnah mentions the leopard as an example of how brazen one should be in serving Hash-m. The Gemara here, however, discusses animals which are naturally endowed with the characteristic of brazenness and not animals which are brazen as a result of their pedigree.


joshwaxman said...

One could also answer that עז has multiple connotations which are not synonymous. Thus, Jastrow (on the word עז) happens to cite עז כנמר which he translates as *energetic* like a tiger.

Meanwhile, on the word עז - goat (same page), he cites this aggada, since it has the word goat in it (as well as the adjective עז), and translates it as *aggressive.*

Context can disambiguate the two, and so perhaps there is no contradiction.

Anonymous said...

is there a clear association between az and oz, meaning strength?