Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Daf Yomi - Megillah 21 - Standing while Learning

The Gemora states that from the days of Moshe until Rabban Gamliel, they would study Torah standing. Afterwards, people became weaker and they would study torah while sitting; they didn’t have the strength to stand. This is what the Mishna in Sotah (49a) is referring to when it states that once Rabban Gamliel died, the glory of Torah terminated.

The Gemora in Brochos (28a) says that when Rabban Gamliel was the Rosh Yeshiva, his policy was that any student who was not "tocho c'baro," his inside was not like his outside, would not be allowed to enter the Beis Medrash. Not everyone who applied was automatically accepted into his Yeshiva. Rabban Gamliel only accepted students who were honest and sincere, through and through, without any hints of fakery or hypocrisy.

The Gemora relates that there was a subsequent change in the leadership and Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah was appointed the new Rosh Yeshiva. He implemented a new policy: Everyone was invited into the Beis Medrash even someone who was not "tocho c'baro." Resulting from that, the Gemora records: Many benches were added to the Beis Medrash.

Two questions can be asked. Firstly, how were they able to ascertain who was a “tocho c’baro” and who wasn’t; only Hashem is capable of peering into someone’s heart? Why does the Gemora state that many benches were added; we are not interested in the amount of chairs there were; it should have said that there were many more students learning on the account of the new policy?

Rav Nosson Gishtetner answers based on our Gemora: In the days of Rabban Gamliel, the sincere students would be learning standing; that was a symbol that he was learning Torah for the sake of the mitzvah and not for any ulterior motive. When the new policy was enacted, more benches were added because the generation was weaker and they did not have the ability to stand while they were learning. (Margoliyos Hashas)


Anonymous said...

That seems like a very very doichak pshat. Pashtus the pshat in the gemarah over there is that so many more people were able to come into the bais medrash so they added MORE benches, not that previously there were no benches. So that gemara is possibly a STIRAH to our gemara. Although you can easily answer the steerah by seeing vayta in our gemarah that one amorah learns that there is a chiluk between new learning and chazarah, so possbily here too, it's not that they never used benches until rav gamliel, which anyway is not that mistaber. My father wanted to argue possibly that the gemara means they stood DURING SHIUR but not all the time which is quite similar to the chazarah chiluk.

Avromi said...

I agree, its a bit on the drush site but its a good dimyon to the two gemoros. I wasnt sure how to shtim our gemora where it says when Rabban Gamliel died and that Gemora that he was replaced.

Avromi said...

One of my talmidim, Binyomin gordon asked: The entire Gemora is mashma that they were sitting? 1. Amad hashoel, the questioner arose and asked. 2. Rabban Gamliel instructed Rabbi Yehoshua to stand, and he left him standing. 3. They told Chutzpis Haturgeman to stand.