Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dvar Hashem Me'Yerushalmi Kesuvos – Daf 13a

Dvar Hashem Me’Yerushalmi, Kesuvos 13a

The Yerushalmi here cites the same story that appears in the Bavli,

Kesuvos 23. The daughters of Shmuel were taken captive by non-Jews
and brought to Teverya. The daughters knew that if their captors
presented them for ransom they would be assumed to have been raped
and rendered unsuitable to marry Kohanim. They therefore asked the
captors to wait outside while they presented themselves in the Beis
Medrash, where they stated that they had been taken captives but had
not been raped by their captors. They thus met the criterion of the
Mishnah there that states that if we only know women were taken
captives because they told us so, they are believed to qualify that
their captors had not raped them (“ha’peh she’asar hu ha’peh
she’hittir"). Only after Rabbi Chaninah pronounced them suitable to
marry Kohanim, did the captors enter and demand the ransom. Rabbi
Chaninah was impressed by the learning of the sisters, who knew how
they could remain suitable for Kohanim. He asked their relative
Shimon bar Ba to take charge of the sisters.

The story in the Bavli ends here. The Yerushalmi continues the story to a
tragic ending. Shimon bar Ba – who was himself a Kohen – married
first one of the sisters, who died, and then went on to marry the
second sister who died as well. The Gemara makes it clear that this
was not, chas v’shalom, because the sisters lied. They had been
truthful in stating that they had not been raped. The Gemara blames
their death on the sin of Chananiah the son of the brother of Rabbi
Yehoshua, who proclaimed a leap year in Chutz la’Aretz, flaunting
the law that such proclamations must be made in Eretz Yisroel (the
episode is related in the Bavli, Berachos 23a).

The question is why should the daughters of Shmuel be punished for
the sin of Chananiah the son of the brother of Rabbi Yehoshua? The
Korban Ha’Edah suggests that perhaps they were descendants of the
sinner. The Gilyon Ephraim notes that Shmuel had a great deal of
respect for Chananiah, and always ruled in accordance with
Chananiah’s positions. He speculates that Shmuel may have followed
Chananiah in the matter of the leap year, and that is why he was
punished through his daughters.

An Addendum

The Gilyon Ephraim and the Chasam Sofer both cite the Gra from Shnos
Eliyahu at the end of Berachos, who poses a brilliant suggestion as
to the link between Chananiah’s sin and the demise of Shmuel’s

He begins by citing the famous Yerushalmi earlier in Kesuvos (4a)
that posits that when Beis Din proclaims a leap year, the very nature
of the world is impacted. The Gemara gives the following example: The
principle is that if a girl under the age of 3 is raped and loses her
virginity, she is nevertheless treated as a virgin because the
besulim regenerate. Once a girl reaches her third birthday, they no
longer regenerate, and a girl older than that who is raped is no
longer treated as a virgin. The Yerushalmi states that when Beis Din
add a month to the year, thus pushing off a girl’s third birthday
by 30 day, Heaven adjusts Nature and her besulim will regenerate for
a month longer, until her birthday according to the new calendar.

On this basis the Gra suggests that the daughters of Shmuel were
raped by their captors just after they turned 3 according to the
calendar that was in effect in Eretz Yisroel, but before their
birthday according to Chananiah’s calendar! For example, if their
birthday was on 7 Nissan, then that year their birthday would have
been on 7 Nissan in Eretz Yisroel, which would have been 7 Adar II in
Chutz la’Aretz! Let us say the girls had been raped on 21 Adar II
according to the calendar in Chutz la’Aretz. The daughters, having
come from Chutz la’Aretz, assumed that they had been raped before
their third birthday, and that therefore they would still be treated
as virgins and permitted to marry Shimon bar Ba. They did not know
that Chananiah’s additional month was null and void, and that
according to the actual calendar they had been raped on 21 Nissan and
were therefore more than three years old at the time! Thus, it was
not as a punishment for Chananiah’s sin that they died, but on
account of his sin that they suffered the consequences!  

No comments:

Post a Comment