THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Avodah Zarah, 37
1) STIPULATING THAT THE GET TAKE EFFECT AFTER DEATH
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah in Gitin (72a) which states that
when a man gives a Get to his wife and stipulates that the Get should take
place when he dies, the Get is not valid (since a Get cannot take effect
after the husband's death). The Gemara cites the opinion of Rebbi Yosi who
says that in such a case the Get does take effect, because since the date is
written in the Get, we interpret the man's stipulation to mean that at the
time that the husband dies, the Get will take effect *retroactively* from
the time of the date written in the Get.
RASHI (DH k'Rebbi Yosi, and in Gitin 72a, DH v'Rav Huna) explains that Rebbi
Yosi's logic (in a case of a person who gives a gift to take effect after
his death) is that if the person's intention was to give the gift after his
death, then he would not have written the date in the document.
The Gemara earlier in Gitin (17a) teaches that the Chachamim decreed that
every Get must have the date written in it. However, in order for the date
written in the document to be proof that the man wants the transaction to
take place from that date, he must have had the option *not* to write the
date in the document, as Rashi writes. In the case of a Get, though, he
*must* write the date! How, then, can the fact that the date is written in
the Get be proof that he wants the Get to take effect from that date?
(a) The TORAS GITIN (in Gitin 72a) answers that even though a date must be
written in the Get, if the man would have wanted the Get to take effect only
after his death, then he should have written in the Get the date as "*the
time of his death*" (even though he would not be writing a specific date
since he does not yet know when he will die, it suffices to write a time
that can easily be verified). Since he did not write "the time of his death"
in the Get, but rather the actual date on which the Get was written, we
assume that he wants it to take effect from the time it was written.
(b) The PNEI YEHOSHUA there answers that when Rashi writes that the proof
(of Rebbi Yosi) that the man wants the Get to take effect from the time it
was written is from the fact that he wrote the date, Rashi is only referring
to a case in which the man wrote that he wants it to take effect "*after he
dies*." The Mishnah in Gitin is dealing with a case in which the man wrote
that it should take effect "*if* he dies." Since the term "if..." can be
interpreted to mean that it should take effect retroactively (see the words
of Abaye in Gitin 17a), Rebbi Yosi holds that we use the date written in the
Get to interpret the term "if he dies" to mean that it will take place
retroactively even though we do not have the above-mentioned proof that that
is his intention.
(c) The MITZPEH EISAN says that Rashi's opinion earlier in Gitin (17a) is
that it is enough to write the year in which the Get was written in order to
satisfy the requirement for writing the date in the Get. Since the man went
ahead and specified the full date when he did not need to do so (since the
year would have sufficed), we use this as proof that he wanted the Get to
take effect retroactively from that day. (See Insights to Gitin 72:1.)
2) THE PROHIBITION OF BREAD BAKED BY NOCHRIM
QUESTION: The Mishnah (35b) lists various items of Nochrim which the
Chachamim prohibited a Jew from eating, but from which they did not
prohibited a Jew from deriving benefit. Two of these things are bread baked
by Nochrim and food cooked by Nochrim ("Shelakos").
The Gemara inquires about the source for the prohibition against eating food
cooked by Nochrim. It concludes that the Derashah cited is not the source
for the prohibition, but only an Asmachta. What, then, *is* the source for
the prohibition? For what reason did the Chachamim prohibit eating the
cooked food of Nochrim?
In addition, why does the Gemara not inquire about the source for the
prohibition against eating bread of Nochrim?
(a) TOSFOS (DH v'ha'Shelakos) quotes RABEINU TAM who explains that the fact
that the Gemara inquires about the source for the prohibition of Shelakos
implies that the Gemara considered that it might be a Torah prohibition. The
Gemara concludes that it must have been a very early decree, originally
instituted only with regard to food cooked by Nochrim (and not bread baked
by them) to prevent the intermingling that would result by eating their
food, which could potentially lead to mixed marriages. Only in the times of
Hillel and Shamai was it deemed necessary to add another decree and forbid
bread baked by Nochrim for the same reason. Although bread of Nochrim was
eventually permitted (to an extent, that is; see 35b), the prohibition
against cooked food remained in force, since it was an earlier decree (and
apparently was a greater concern for leading to mixed marriages).
(b) The RAN in Beitzah (8a of the pages of the Rif, DH Mena) says, as a
general principle, that the fact that the Gemara asks for the source of a
prohibition does not mean that the Gemara is necessarily entertaining the
possibility that it is a Torah prohibition. He says that this is apparent
from the Gemara here. Accordingly, the Ran in our Mishnah (DH ha'Pas) states
that the decree prohibiting the bread of Nochrim was established prior to
the decree prohibiting their cooked food. This is also the opinion of the
RAMBAN (35b) and the RITVA. The Gemara earlier (36b) explains that the
decree prohibiting their bread was made in order to prevent one from
drinking their wine, which was already forbidden (as a safeguard against
intermarriage). In those days (and even in some places today), it was the
common practice to drink wine when eating bread. This was the reason for the
initial prohibition against eating the bread of Nochrim. Only afterwards did
another Beis Din decree that all cooked food is similarly prohibited.
The Ran later lists two reasons for the prohibition against eating the
cooked food of Nochrim. One reason is that of Rabeinu Tam, as mentioned
above, and another reason is that of RASHI (38a, DH mid'Rabanan), who says
that a person who frequently eats in the company of Nochrim might end up
eating forbidden food.
The Ritva here explains that the reason the Gemara does not ask this
question regarding bread as well is because it was well known that the
reason for that prohibition was to prevent intermarriage. The reason for the
prohibition of cooked food of Nochrim was not as well known and was not an
obvious cause of intermarriage.
This argument gives us another important insight into the Gemara's question
concerning the source for the prohibition ("Mena Hani Mili"). Rabeinu Tam
seems to hold that the Gemara only asks this question when it thinks that
the topic is a Torah law, while the Ramban, Ritva, and Ran argue that there
is no such principle. The TORAS CHAIM and YAD MALACHI (#430) side with these
Rishonim, unlike the HALICHOS OLAM. (Y. Montrose)