ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Chagigah 13
(a) Rav Acha bar Ya'akov learns from the Pasuk "u'D'mus al Roshei ha'Chayah
Raki'a" - that there is yet another heaven above the heads of the Chayos.
(b) That heaven comprises ice ("ke'Ein ha'Kerach ha'Nora").
(c) The Pasuk in Ben Sira "be'Mufla Mimcha Al Tidrosh ... " - teaches us
that up to this point one is permitted to delve, but no further.
(a) The connection between Nevuchadnetzar and Nimrod - is that, like the
latter, the former rebelled against Hashem, by attempting to go up to the
sky, as we shall see (he was not really a descendent of Nimrod, as the
Gemara appears to be saying - see Tosfos DH 'Ben' and Agados Maharsha).
(b) Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai says in a Beraisa that, when Nevuchadnetzar
ha'Rasha said "A'aleh al Bamasei Av, Adameh la'Elyon", Hashem replied with
the Pasuk in Tehilim "Yemei Shenoseinu Bahem Shiv'im Shanah ... " - pointing
out to the futility of such an ascent, seeing as it would take many
life-times to get as far as Hashem's Throne, since there are seven heavens
to cross, not to speak of the distance from the feet of the Chayos till the
Throne. The seventy or eighty years life-span would in no way suffice to
reach one's destination.
(c) The distance between the earth and the first heaven, and between one
heaven and the next is five hundred years walking distance (7,300,000 Mil,
at the rate of forty Mil per day).
(d) The distance from the feet of the Chayos till Hashem's Throne is much
further, since the feet of the Chayos corresponds to the total distance of
the earth till there, and so it is with their ankles, their calves and their
thighs, their bodies their necks their heads and their horns.
(a) According to Rebbi Zeira, when Rebbi Chiya quoting a Beraisa, permitted
teaching the 'beginning of chapters' (of the Merkavah) to individuals, he
meant either to an Av Beis-Din or to someone who is constantly worried about
sinning - according to others, he needs to be an Av Beis-Din who is *also*
constantly worried about sinning.
(b) Rebbi Ami restricts teaching the secrets of Torah to anyone who does not
possess five qualities (the first two: an officer of fifty and favored by
all - these and the other three will be discussed later). The secrets of
Torah - comprise the Beraisa of Ma'aseh Merkavah, Seifer Yetzirah and the
Beraisa of Ma'aseh Bereishis.
(c) Rebbi Ami learns from the Pasuk "Lo Asah Chein le'Chol Goy u'Mishpatim
Bal Yeda'um ... " - that one may not teach Torah to a Nochri (see Tosfos DH
(a) Rebbi Elazar declined to learn the Ma'aseh Merkavah from his Rebbe Rebbi
Yochanan, because he considered himself too young (less than fifty - Rabeinu
Chananel, though the age of forty is normally cited). He declined to learn
it from Rebbi Asi after Rebbi Yochanan's death - because he said, if he had
merited to learn it, he would learned it from Rebbi Yochanan.
(b) Rav Yosef struck a deal with the elders of Pumbedisa - that he would
teach them Me'aseh ha'Merkavah, if they would first teach him Ma'aseh
(c) After they had taught him Ma'aseh Bereishis - he declined to teach them
Ma'aseh Merkavah, on the basis of the Pasuk "D'vash ve'Chalav Tachas
Leshonech" (there are certain things that are best kept hidden).
(a) When the elders of Pumbedisa told Rav Yosef that they had already
learned the last two Pesukim in the first chapter of Yechezkel: "va'Eire
Ke'ein Chashmal ... " and "ke'Mar'eh ha'Keshes" - he replied that in that
case, they had already learned Ma'aseh Merkavah.
(b) The Beraisa, where Rebbi defines Ma'aseh Merkavah as until (but
excluding) "va'Eira", according to ...
1. ... the first Lashon - is describing the sections that one is permitted
to teach under all circumstances; whereas Rav Yosef is referring to those
sections that one is only permitted to teach the 'beginning of chapters'.
(c) Fire went out from the Chashmal and consumed that child who was teaching
the Chashmal - because he was too young to be doing that.
2. ... the second Lashon - is describing the sections that one is permitted
to teach only to a Chacham, who, when taught the 'beginnings of chapters',
understands the rest by himself.
(a) According to Rav Yehudah, Chazal wanted to hide the Book of Yechezkel
because of apparent discrepancies that clashed with the Torah. Chananyah ben
Chizkiyah promptly took three hundred barrels of oil up into his attic and
worked on it until he had reconciled all the discrepancies (as described in
Shabbos), earning himself huge praise from the Chachamim.
(b) According to the Beraisa, they wanted to hide the Book of Yechezkel
because of the child that died on his account, as we just learned. Chananyah
ben Chizkiyah argued (successfully) against this happening - because, he
argued, there were not too many children around who could understand Ma'aseh
ha'Merkavah, to whom this might happen.
(a) According to Rav Yehudah, '.Cha.sh.mal.' is the acronym of 'Chayos Eish
Memalelos' (speaking Chayos of fire); according to the Beraisa, it is 'Itim
Chashos, Itim Memalelos' (['Chash, Mal'] (sometimes they are silent - in the
day, and sometimes they speak - by night).
(b) The Pasuk reads "ve'ha'Chayos Ratzo va'Shov ke'Mar'eh ha'Bazak".
1. Rav Yehudah describes "ve'ha'Chayos Ratzo va'Shov" - like the flame that
leaps out of a furnace.
(c) Yechezkel saw a storm-wind accompanying the Chashmal, which was coming
in from the north - where it had just placed the whole world under the yoke
of Nevuchadnetzar. In this way, the nations of the world would not be able
to say that Hashem had given Yisrael into the hands of a lowly nation.
2. Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina describes "ke'Mar'eh ha'Bazak" - like a
multicolored flame that jumps up from the holes in the clay-pans into which
the gold smiths place the gold when purifying it.
(d) This caused Hashem to complain - that Yisrael's sins had caused Him to
serve an idolater (to tend to his needs and raise him to a high pinnacle).
(a) The name of a particular Ofan that Yechezkel saw was Sandalfon, whose
function it was to tie crowns for his Creator. He was standing on the
ground, and his head reached the Chayos - a height of five hundred years'
(b) According to the Beraisa, when he tied the crowns, he was standing
behind Hashem's Throne. This not possible however - because we learn from
the Pasuk in Yeshayah "Baruch Ke'vod Hashem mi'Mekomo" that nobody knows
where Hashem's Glory (i.e. His Throne) is.
(c) Sandalfon pronounced the Name of Hashem and the crowns flew on to
Hashem's Head by themselves.
(d) Yeshayah saw everything that Yechezkel saw, exactly as Rava says.
Nevertheless, it was *Yechezkel* who described Ma'aseh ha'Merkavah in awe,
and not *he*, since for him, it was a common occurrence, and not worth
recording (so to speak); very much like a townsman, who thinks nothing of
seeing the king, whereas a villager is deeply moved by the experience.
(a) Resh Lakish explains the Pasuk in Beshalach "Shiru la'Hashem Ki *Ga'oh
Ga'ah*" - to mean that Hashem is proud (majestic) over the proud ones: the
lion is king of the beasts, the ox is king of the animals, the eagle, of the
birds, and man rules over them all. Yet Hashem rules over man too, as well
as over the entire world.
(b) The four Chayos that support Hashem's Throne - are angels in the shape
of a lion, an ox, an eagle and a man.
(c) In a later chapter, Yechezkel replaces the face of an ox with that of a
K'ruv (cherub) - because it was previously reminiscent of the Eigel
ha'Zahav. So he prayed that it should change its appearance, because we need
the Merkavah to pray for mercy on our behalf, and how can a prosecutor act
as a defense counsel? So it was changed into the face of a child
(specifically a child, so as not to confuse it with the Chayah that had the
face of an Adam - a grown-up man).
(d) 'K'ruv' in this context, is the acronym of 'ke'Ravya' (like a child).
(a) The Pasuk in Yeshayah ascribing *six* wings to each Chayah - speaks in
the time of the Beis Hamikdash, whereas the Pasuk in Yechezkel, which
mentions *four* - is speaking about the time of the Churban (when their
'wings were clipped').
(b) According to Rav Chananel Amar Rav, it was the wings with which they
*sang Shirah* that were covered, and he learns it from the juxtaposition of
the two Pesukim "u'vi'Sh'tayim *Ye'ofef* ... ve'Kara Zeh el Zeh ve'Amar".
The Pasuk "*Hasa'if* Einecha Bo ve'Einenu" completes the picture - inasmuch
as it indicates that the two wings by which it is written "Ye'ofef" are the
ones to have been removed.
(c) The Rabbanan disagree with Rav Chananel Amar Rav. They learn from the
Pasuk "ve'Ragleihem Regel Yesharah" - that it must have been the wings which
covered their *legs* that were removed after the Churban, because otherwise,
how would Yechezkel have known.
(d) The Rabbanan know that Yechezkel did not simply see this when the
Chayos momentarily uncovered their legs as they sang Shirah (by rapidly
moving their wings), just like he saw their faces when they momentarily
uncovered *them* - because, whereas it is *not* a lack of respect to uncover
their *faces* before Hashem, *it* is a lack of respect to uncover their
(a) We initially reconcile the Pasuk in Daniel, which speaks of "the million
angels that serve Him and the hundred million that stand before Him, with
the Pasuk in Iyov "ha'Yesh Mispar li'G'dudav" - by establishing the former
Pasuk *after* the Churban, and the latter Pasuk, *before*.
(b) According to Rebbi in a Beraisa, both Pesukim refer to the same era -
only the former Pasuk is speaking about the number of angels who serve in
one group only, whereas the latter Pasuk refers to the number of groups,
which are numberless.
(c) In our first answer, it was all a matter of time; in the third answer
(given by Rebbi Yirmiyah bar Aba), it was all a matter of location -
because, whereas the former Pasuk refers to those angels who served Hashem
at *Nahar di'Yenur* (the the River of Fire) exclusvely, the latter Pasuk
speaks about *all* the angels, which are numberless.
(d) The source of 'Nahar di'Yenur' is - the sweat of the Chayos, singing
Shirah to Hashem, and it ends in Gehinom, on the heads of the Resha'im.
(a) According to Rav Achah bar Ya'akov, explaining the Pasuk in Iyov "Asher
Komtu ve'Lo Eis, Nahar Yutzak Yesodam", the Nahar di'Yenur pours on to the
974 generations in Gehinom - on to the heads of Resha'im who should have
comprised the 974 generations (one per generation - together with the
twenty-six generations which actually did live until Matan-Torah) making up
the intended thousand generations from the creation until Matan Torah (as
the Pasuk writes in Tehilim: "Davar Tzivah le'Elef Dor").
(b) Hashem changed His mind, when He saw that the world would not last a
thousand generations without Torah.
(c) So He 'planted' them (a few per generation) throughout the twenty-six
generations until Matan-Torah, and they turned out to be the brazen
trouble-makers in each generation, which is why the fire from Nahar di'Yenur
poured on to their heads in Gehinom.
(d) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak interprets "Asher Komtu ve'Lo Eis, Nahar Yutzak
Yesodam" differently. According to him, the Pasuk speaks about
Talmidei-Chachamim. We learn from the Pasuk - that Hashem will reveal to the
Talmidei Chachamim who scrimp on their material needs in this world for the
sake of their Torah-studies, the secrets of Torah in the World to Come.