ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Avodah Zarah 18
(a) We learned in the Mishnah in Sanhedrin that someone who denies that
Torah is min ha'Shamayim or that Techi'as ha'Meisim is mentioned in the
Torah, receives no portion in Olam ha'Ba. Aba Shaul adds to that - someone
who pronounces the Name of Hashem the way it is written.
(b) We reconcile Rebbi Chanina ben T'radyon (who did in fact do that) with
the Mishnah, by citing a Beraisa. The Tana learns from the Pasuk (in
connection with the various practices of the Nochrim) "Lo Silmad La'asos ...
" - that the prohibition is confined to learning these things in order to
put into practice, but does not apply to someone who learns them in order to
put them to use in court.
(c) Rebbi Chanina was nevertheless punished - because he pronounced Hashem's
Holy Name in public. Alternatively, it is because there are certain issues
where a great man ought to take a strict line.
(d) According to the alternative explanation, the Heter of "Lo Silmad
La'asos ... " - will apply to Kishuf (black magic [in order to sentence
transgressors]) and drawing pictures of the moon (for the purpose of Kidush
(a) Resh Lakish explained the Pasuk "Avon Akeivai Yesubeini" to mean - that
one will be taken to task even for the careful steps that one takes (like
the daughter of Rebbi Chanina ben T'radyon) or for those (seemingly) minor
infractions which people trample underfoot.
(b) With regard to the current episode, it was ...
1. ... Rebbi Chanina hmself who said "ha'Tzur Tamim Pa'alo ki Chol Derachav
(c) ... his daughter who said the Pasuk "Gadol ha'Eitzah ve'Rav ha'Aliliyah
Asher Einecha Pekuchos al Kol *Darkei Ish*" (aknowledgement that Hashem is
aware even of one's the footsteps).
2. ... his wife who said "Keil Emunah ve'Ein Avel" (see Agados Maharsha) ...
(d) Rav commented - on the righteousness of these three Tzadikim, who
recited the ideal quotations of Tziduk ha'Din at the appropriate moment.
(a) When Rebbi Yossi ben Kisma was sick, Rebbi Chanina ben T'radyon went to
visit him. The former ...
1. ... criticised the latter's public Torah teaching - on the grounds that
Hashem appointed the Romans as the ruling power, and gave them jurisdiction
over us, to destroy His Beis-Hamikdash, burn His Heichal, kill His pious
ones and destroy the Tzadikim, Consequently, one ought to accept their
decrees and not publicly flaunt their orders.
(b) When Rebbi Chanina's asked him whether he would go to Olam ha'Ba, he
replied by asking him whether any good deeds had come his way.
2. ... rebuked Rebbi Chanina for stating that Hashem would have mercy on
him, in reply to his meaningful statement. He foresaw - that they would burn
him together with the Sefer-Torah that he was holding.
(c) Rebbi Chanina then told Rebbi Yossi ben Kisma -that his own Purim-money
once became mixed up with the money in the Kupah shel Tzedakah, and he gave
it all to the poor, prompting Rebbi Yossi ben Kisma to reply 'me'Chelkecha
Yehei Chelki ... !' (May I merit a reward like you!').
(a) When Rebbi Yossi ben Kisma died - all the Roman dignitaries attended his
Levayah and even eulogized him.
(b) Upon their return, they found Rebbi Chanina ben T'radyon, with a
Sefer-Torah in his bosom - initiating large gatherings to teach them Torah
(c) They wrapped him in his Sefer-Torah - and burned them together.
(d) To ensure that he died a slow, painful death - they soaked wads of
cotton-wool in water and placed them on his heart.
(a) When ...
1. ... his daughter expressed pain in seeing him that way - Rebbi Chanina
replied that it would indeed have been bad had he been burned alone.
However, now that he was being burned together with the Sefer-Torah, the One
who will avenge the Sefer-Torah's honor, will take his part too.
(b) The executioner asked him ...
2. ... his Talmidim asked him what he saw, he repied that he saw the
parchment being burned, and the letters flying in the air (a hint that one
can destroy the body of Yisrael but not their Soul).
3. ... they advised him to open his mouth and let in the fumes, so that he
would die more quickly, he replied - that it would be better for the One who
placed his Neshamah inside him should be the one to take it back.
1. ... initially - whether, if he were to add fuel to increase the flames
and remove the wads of cotton-wool from Rebbi Chanina's heart, he would
bring him to Olam ha'Ba.
(c) Rebbi Chanina ben T'radyon died soon afterwards. The executioner -
jumped into the flames and died together with him.
2. ... after he had already replied in the affirmative - to swear to that
effect (which he did).
(d) After the bas-Kol announced that both Rebbi Chanina and the executioner
were ready to go to Olam ha'Ba immediately, Rebbi wept, and declared - that
some people acquire their Olam ha'Ba in a flash, whilst others do so in many
(a) Rebbi Meir's wife B'ruri'ah was concerned about the shameful situation
of Rebbi Chanina's daughter - because she happened to be her sister.
(b) To free her sister - she enlisted the help of her husband, by simply
telling him about her concern.
(c) Rebbi Meir payed his sister-in-law a visit in the brothel, incognito.
When he ...
1. ... accosted her - she feigned being a Nidah.
(d) He drew the conclusion - that she had obviously retained her purity
(because what she had said to him, she obviously said to any other men who
might have accosted her).
2. ... told her that he was willing to wait for her - she disuaded him on
the grounds that there were plenty of women available who were more
beautiful than her.
(e) Rebbi Meir's motive for doing that was - because he knew that if she was
free of sin, then she would be worthy of the miracle that was now enfolding
itself. Otherwise not.
(a) He then approached the guard. When, initially, the latter refused to
allow Rebbi Chanina's daughter to go with him, Rebbi Meir produced three Kav
of golden Dinrim - which he offered him as a bribe, one Kav for himself, and
the other two, to bribe the authorities (whenever they began their
(b) He advised him, that when the money ran out - he should say 'Elaka
(c) The guard was naturally sceptical about that. Rebbi Meir proved to him
however, that those words were really effective - by inciting some wild
killer dogs by throwing clods of earth at them, and then, when they attacked
him, he simply declared 'Elaka de'Meir Aneini'. At which point, the dogs
(d) Subsequently, the authorities got to hear what had happened, and sent
the guard to the gallows. He repeated the words as instructed by Rebbi Meir,
and the hangman was unable to hang him.
(a) When the guard divulged all that had transpired, the authorities put up
a wanted notice at the gate of Rome - in the form of a bust of Rebbi Meir,
with orders that whoever sees the man who resembles the bust must hand him
(b) When one day, he was spotted, and the chase was on, he put off his
pursuers - by running into a brothel, the last place where anyone would
expect such a Tzadik to enter ('I Safra, Lo Sayfa').
(c) Alternatively, he began to eat Bishul Akum - at least, he pretended to,
by dipping one finger into the food, and another finger into his mouth.
(d) According to others, he met Eliyahu - in disguise as a Zonah, whom he
began to embrace (quickly dispelling the notion that this was Rebbi Meir).
(e) According to some, it was a result of this episode that Rebbi Meir fled
to Bavel; whereas according to others, it was the episode with his wife
B'ruri'ah, where as a result of a test that he put her through and which she
failed, she committed suicide (as we learned in Kidushin). Out of
embarrassment, Rebbi Meir moved to Bavel.
(a) The Beraisa talks about someone who goes to watch the bull-fights
described in our Mishnah, or Karkom. 'Karkom' - is a besieging army.
(b) The Tana applies the title 'Moshav Leitzim' to those who watch ...
1. ...the Nachshim and Chaverim (entertainers who perform there different
forms of witchcraft concerning animals).
(c) The Pasuk in Tehilim that serves as the source for the prohibition of
watching these entertainments is - "Ashrei ha'Ish Asher Lo Halach ...
u've'Moshav Leitzim Lo Yashav. Ki Im be'Soras Hashem Cheftzo ... ".
2. ... Bukyon, Mukyon, Mulyon and Lulyon ... - which describe what is a kind
of variety show of fun and jokes. Note, that some opinions forbid watching
the Itztadin anyway, because it constitutes murder (see Rabeinu Chananel).
(d) Another Beraisa permits attending both Itztadin and Karkom. The Tana
allows attending ...
1. ... 'Itztadin' - because sometimes it is possible to plead with the
authorities and save Jewish captives fighting with the bulls.
2. ... 'Karkom' - the army in the course of a siege if it is possible to
help one's fellow-Jews in the town under siege.
(a) We reconcile the two Beraisos regarding Karkom, by establishing the
former Beraisa when he is 'Mis'chashev Imahen', which means - provided he
does assist the besieging army (see also Tosfos DH 'she'Lo Yis'chashev').
(b) Whereas the discrepancy regarding Itztadin we resolve by establishing
the second Beraisa like Rebbi Nasan, who permits attending a session of
bull-fighting - in order to permit the wives of Jewish victims who died to
remarry, by testifying that their husbands have been killed.
(a) In another Beraisa, Rebbi Meir forbids attending 'theaters and circuses'
because these occasions were used to arrange the needs of Avodah-Zarah and
collect donations on its behalf (see also Tosfos DH 'she'Mezavlin Sham').
According to the Chachamim - even when they are not, it is forbidden because
it is a Moshav Leitzim.
(b) Despite the fact that both opinions forbid it anyway, the ramifications
of the Machlokes, Rebbi Chanina from Sura explains - will be manifest in a
case where, according to the Chachamim, they do no prepare for Avodah-Zarah,
and a Yisrael sells them something in such a 'theater or circus', in which
case, the money will be Mutar be'Hana'ah; whereas according to Rebbi Meir it
will be forbidden (since, in his opinion, they inevitably prepare there for
(c) The problem with the Pasuk "Ashrei ha'Ish Asher Lo Halach ba'Atzas
Resha'im, u've'Derech Chata'im Lo Halach, u've'Moshav Leitzim Lo Yashav"
is - that if one hasn't gone, how can one stand, and how can one then sit.
(d) Rebbi Shimon ben Pazi resolves the problem - by interpreting the Pasuk
as a warning: Someone who merely passes by, will be tempted to stop and
watch, and from there, sitting and participating is but one short step away.
(e) When he says "Im Chakamta Chakamta Lecha, ve'Latzta Levadca Tisa" (see
Agados Maharsha) - Shlomoh means that it is only in one's own mind that
Letzanus contain Chochmah, and that consequently, one will have to pay for
having indulged in it.
(a) Rebbi Elazar learns from the Pasuk in Yeshayah "ve'Atah Al Tislotzetzu
Pen Yechezku Moserchem" - that someone who indulges in Letzanus will suffer
(b) Rava begged his Talmidim - not to indulge in Letzanus, so as not to
(c) According to Rav Ketina, Letzim are destined to go short of food. Resh
Lakish explains the Pasuk "Zeid Yahir Letz Sh'mo, Oseh be'Evras Zadon", to
mean - that whoever indulges in Letzanus will end up in Gehinom (which is
described as "Evras").
(d) Rebbi Oshaya explains the Pasuk in the same way, but in connection with
the "Zeid Yahir" mentioned there - a Ba'al Ga'avah (someone who is vain or
(a) In the opinion of Rebbi Chanila'i bar Chanila'i (or Tanchum), the
repercussions of Letzanus are more disastrous still. According to him -
Letzanus brings destruction to the world.
(b) And according to Rebbi Elazar - Letzanus begins with Yisurin and (if one
persists, it) ends with destruction.
(c) Rebbi Shimon ben Pazi Darshens the above Pasuk in Tehilim "Ashrei ha'Ish
Asher Lo Halach" with reference to the Nochri's 'theaters and circuses' and
"u've'Derech Chata'im Lo Amad", to 'Kenigyon' - hunting wild animals.
(d) We know that conforming with these instructions by lying under one's
covers and sleeping one is still deficient - from the continuation of the
Pasuk "Ki Im be'Soras Hashem Cheftzo, u've'Soraso Yehegeh Yomam va'Laylah".