Tuesday, August 07, 2007


The Gemora (Yevamos 96b) records the following incident: Rabbi Elozar went and related a discussion in this Beis Medrash, but did not relate the discussion in the name of Rabbi Yochanan. When Rabbi Yochanan heard about this omission, he was perturbed. Rabbi Ami and Rav Asi went up to Rabbi Yochanan and said: “Did it not happen, once in the Beis Medrash of Teveryah, that there was a discussion between Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yosi regarding the door lock which had a thick head (and could be used for grinding things, see Rashi), and they debated the matter with such intensity that they tore a Sefer Torah?”

The Gemora explains that they certainly did not intentionally tear a Sefer Torah. Rather, the Sefer Torah divided. Rabbi Yosi Ben Kisma was present at the time, and he declared that he would be astonished if as a result of this discussion which became inappropriate, the shul would not turn into a house of idol worship! Indeed, the Gemora states, the shul eventually became a house of idol worship. [Rabbi Ami and Rav Asi were apparently trying to tell Rabbi Yochanan not to be so particular with Rabbi Elozar, because such behavior could lead to disastrous consequences.]

The Ramban wonders how it is possible that a Sefer Torah was torn because of the dispute of the Sages. Does not the Gemora in Chullin (7a) state that Hashem does not bring a stumbling block to righteous people? How could a Sefer Torah become torn and the synagogue turn into a house of idolatry on account of these sages?

The Ramban quotes Rabbeinu Tam who states that the principle that HaShem does not bring a stumbling block on account of the righteous is applicable only to the inadvertent consumption of forbidden foods. The reason for this is because it is degrading for the righteous to eat forbidden foods. The principle does not apply, however, to other types of sins.

The Ramban challenges this interpretation from a Gemara in Kesubos (28b) that clearly indicates that this principle applies by other sins as well.

The Ramban quotes his teacher who states that the explanation of this principle cannot mean that the righteous do not sin, for we know that there is no righteous person in the land that doesn’t sin. Rather, it means that Hashem does not allow a righteous person to inadvertently cause other to stumble and sin.

The Ramban himself answers that this principle is only applicable for inadvertent transgressions, as Hashem does not allow a righteous person to stumble in such a manner. One who strives to be completely pure, the Holy One, Blessed is He assists him. However, if a righteous person places himself in a situation where he is susceptible to sin, he is in danger just like everyone else. In instances where there were calamities, it was due to the Sages being provoked to anger, and it is known that where there is anger, the Divine Presence does not rest, subsequently leading to disastrous consequences.


Anonymous said...

I have a better question MUKTZAH is DRABBANOM why are they looking at a Sefer Torah?

Avromi said...

I noticed the Mesivta cites an Aruch that learn the way you said: they brought out the sefer Torah to show support from the Torah for their viewpoint, so your question seems strong.

Perhaps we can say: Rashi in Eruvin says that wedging the door with this bolt might constitute building, which is a Biblical prohibition.

Also, we once mentioned a Rashi in Beitzah which said that muktzah is forbidden as a preventive measure not to carry outside on Shabbos.

The question remains better than both answers.

Anonymous said...

Versus somone else who learns how?

Avromi said...

I didn't see another pshat, but I didn't learn like that initially. Perhaps they were learning from a Sefer Torah.

Anonymous said...

Whats stranger is this Gemura in the wake of the Monsey meat scandal.

Avromi said...

I assume that is why there were people looking for things that the community did wrong at the time (possibly according to the Ramban). I think I heard at the time that this principle does not apply when someone is deliberately causing you to stumble.

Anonymous said...

How did you learn it intialy ?

Avromi said...

They were learning from the Sefer Torah.