THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) EXAMINING THE LINEAGE OF ONE'S PROSPECTIVE SPOUSE
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that when a man wants to marry a Kohenes, he
must check her lineage four generations back.
2) THE KOHEN'S "BEDIKAH" OF HIS PROSPECTIVE WIFE
Must any man who marries a Kohenes perform this examination? What exactly is
one to look for?
There are various opinions among the Rishonim about how this examination is
1. TOSFOS maintains that the Bedikah is necessary only for a Kohen who
marries a Kohenes. He must check to see if there is Chalal in the woman's
2. The RAN maintains that *any* man, even a Yisrael, must perform this
Bedikah when marrying a Kohenes. The Bedikah is necessary in order to
clarify that there are no Mamzerim in the family.
The Ran's view is supported by the variant Girsa of the Mishnah. According
to our Girsa, the Mishnah states that when marrying a "Leviyah and
Yisraelis," one must add an additional generation to the genealogical
Bedikah. However, another Girsa reads that "Leviyim and Yisraelim" (see
Mesores ha'Shas and Rishonim). According to the second Girsa, not only
Kohanim have to make such a Bedikah, but every Jewish man as well must make
such a Bedikah (to clarify that there are no Mamzerim in the woman's
3. RASHI explains, like the Ran, that the Bedikah is in order to clarify
that there are no Mamzerim in the family. However, he maintains that only a
Kohen must perform this Bedikah.
(a) The Gemara asks that the woman should also be required to check her
prospective husband's lineage. It answers that Kesheros, women of pure
lineage, are not prohibited from marrying Pesulim, men of impure lineage.
All of the Rishonim explain that this refers only to Pesulim of Kehunah, for
the Torah clearly prohibits a woman from marrying a Pesul of Mamzerus. We
can infer from this Gemara that the purpose of the Bedikah of the Mishnah is
to verify the Kashrus of the spouse with regard to marrying into the Kehunah
(i.e. to ensure that there is no Chalal in the family), and it is *not* done
to verify the Kashrus of the spouse with regard to marrying into the overall
community (i.e. to ensure that there are no Mamzerim in the family).
How, then, will the RAN and RASHI explain this Gemara?
(b) According to the Girsa of our Mishnah, which states that one must do a
Bedikah when marrying a "Leviyah and Yisraelis," why would such a Bedikah be
necessary according to Tosfos, who says that only a Kohen needs to do a
Bedikah of his wife to make sure there is no Pesul of Chalal? A Pesul of
Chalal exists only in a family of Kohanim; there is no Pesul of Chalal for a
family of non-Kohanim!
(a) RASHI (DH Lo) explains that since we find a leniency in the Torah with
regard to women marrying Pesulim (i.e. they are permitted to marry Pesulim
l'Kehunah), the Chachamim followed the Torah's precedent and did not
institute that this Bedikah be done even to check for Pesulei Kahal (such as
(b) TOSFOS (DH Tzarich) answers that since a Kohen must investigate his
prospective spouse's lineage in order to ensure that there is no Pesul of
Chalal, the Chachamim also required him to check for *all* Pesulim (and thus
we must check even when marrying a Leviyah or Yisraelis). (No such Bedikah,
for Pesulim of Mamzerus, was instituted for a Yisrael (a non-Kohen) who
wants to marry a woman, because, as Tosfos explains, "the Jewish people know
who the Mamzerim are among them," and thus if a Pesul exists, it would
already be known.)
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that when a man wants to marry a Kohenes, he
must check her lineage four generations back. RASHI (DH Leviyah) explains
that only a Kohen must perform this Bedikah, and he must do it in order to
ensure that there are no Mamzerim in the family.
Why does Rashi wait until his comments on the second case of the Mishnah
("Leviyah") to explain what the first case ("Kohenes") is referring to?
ANSWER: The PNEI YEHOSHUA explains that since the first case of the Mishnah
is discussing a Kohenes, we would assume that the Bedikah that must be done
is a Bedikah for the Pesul of Chalal. If the Bedikah is only for the Pesul
of Chalal, then it is obvious that it is a Kohen who is marrying the woman,
for no one else needs to be concerned with marrying a Chalal. The second
case of the Mishnah, though, is referring to a Bedikah to check for the
Pesul of Mamzer (see there is no Pesul of Chalal for a Leviyah or
Yisraelis), and thus Rashi must point out that, nevertheless, this Bedikah
needs to be done only by a *Kohen* who marries a Leviyah or Yisraelis, and
not by a Yisrael.
The Pnei Yehoshua explains that the reasoning of Rashi is based on a
"Ma'aleh" which the Chachamim established for the Yuchsin of Kohanim, which
they did not establish for Yisraelim, who may rely on a Chezkas Kashrus.
3) REQUISITES FOR POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY
QUESTION: The Gemara derives from the verse, "Som Tasim Alecha Melech...
mi'Kerev Achecha" -- "You shall surely place upon yourself a king... from
among your brethren" (Devarim 17:15), that whenever a person is appointed to
a position of leadership, he must be "from among your brethren."
The Mefarshim ask how could Rechavam, the son of Shlomo ha'Melech, have been
appointed as king of Yehudah? Rechavam's mother was Na'amah ha'Amonis, and
our Gemara states that in order to be fit to be appointed, one must have a
mother who is Jewish! Since Rechavam came from a convert, how could he be
appointed as king?
(a) The KESEF MISHNAH (Hilchos Melachim 1:4) answers by making a "Kol
she'Ken" from our Gemara. He says that if, as our Gemara says, the son of a
Jewish mother and a father who is a convert is fit to be appointed as king,
then certainly the son of a Jewish father and a Giyores mother should be fit
to be appointed as king, even though his mother is a convert. (The basis of
this "Kol she'Ken" is that even though, with regard to Yuchsin, the status
of the son follows the mother, with regard to positions of authority (such
as king), the son's status follows that of the father, and thus if the
father held a position of authority, then the son is fit to hold that
position as well.)
(b) The NODA B'YEHUDAH explains that the rule of the Gemara applies only to
an initial appointment. In order to *start* a kingdom or any other position,
it is necessary for the first bearer of the position to have been born to a
Jewish mother. However, once a dynasty has been established and the new king
is merely inheriting the throne (and not *creating* the position), the rules
of the Gemara with regard to the appointment of positions of authority do