THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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KIDUSHIN 82 (Grand Siyum of Seder Nashim!) - dedicated by Rabbi Ari and
Esther Maryles in profound gratitude to Hashem on the occasion of the birth
of their triplets, Shimon Simchah, Mordechai Leib, and Bayla Malka Rus. May
they grow up to be proud bearers of their illustrious heritage and aspire to
the greatness of their ancestors, including the Rebbe of Yoruslav
(Jaroslaw), Rebbi Shimon Maryles, and the Rebbe of Litovisk, Rebbi Naftali
1) A CLEAN AND PLEASANT TRADE
QUESTION: The Mishnah quotes Rebbi Meir who says that "one should always
teach his son a clean and pleasant trade (Umnus Nekiyah v'Kalah)." Within
that category there are many professions, though. What guidelines should one
follow when choosing a trade?
2) THE "PARNASAH" OF ANIMALS
ANSWER: The CHOVOS HA'LEVAVOS (Sha'ar ha'Bitachon, end of Perek 3) writes
that a person should choose the type of job in which he is naturally
inclined and interested. He draws an analogy from the animal kingdom. We
find that different species eat and survive on different types of food. Some
animals eat vegetation, some eat insects, and others prey on other animals.
Those that prey on other animals are equipped with the tools that they
need -- sharp claws and teeth, and so on, while those that eat plants do not
have those tools. The Chovos ha'Levavos explains that the way to understand
the differences that exist in the creatures in the world is not that since
some have claws, they therefore attack and eat, bur rather these animals
were given a nature to enjoy meat, and thus Hashem equipped them with the
proper tools to obtain it.
The same is true with man. Hashem gave a person a natural inclination,
interest, and desire for a certain activity, and He also properly equipped
the person with the necessary tools for that activity towards which he is
inclined. A person, therefore, should pursue the activities which interest
him and assume that Hashem has given him the necessary talents to succeed.
In the Mishnah, Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar says, "Did you ever see a beast and
fowl that have a trade? And yet they receive sustenance with no trouble! And
yet, they were they created only to serve me (man), and I was created to
serve my Creator, so certainly I should receive sustenance with no trouble!
Rather, I made my actions evil and I ruined my [entitlement to] sustenance."
3) THE BEST OF THE DOCTORS
It is interested to note that Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar mentions only "Chayah"
and "Of" (beast and fowl) as examples of animals that have no trouble with
their Parnasah, but he does not mention "Behemah."
The IYUN YAKOV explains that most Behemos are domesticated, while most
Chayos and Ofos are wild, roaming freely in the wilderness. Animals that are
domesticated receive their sustenance from their owners, while those that
live in the wilderness receive their sustenance directly from Hashem.
Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar chose to make his Kal v'Chomer from the Chayah and
Of in order to show that not only is a person assured to receive a Parnasah,
but that his Parnasah will be given to him directly from Hashem, without any
QUESTION: The Mishnah quotes Rebbi Yehudah who says in the name of Aba Gurya
that "the best of the doctors [will go] to Gehinom, and the most fit of the
slaughterers are the partners of Amalek."
3) RELYING ON HASHEM
Why does the Tana use the word "best" ("Tov") when referring to doctors, and
"fit" ("Kasher") when referring to slaughterers? (See Rashi, whose text
indeed reads "best" ("Tov") with regard to slaughterers as well.)
ANSWER: "Kasher" means upstanding. "Tov" means good. "Kasher" refers to a
person's character traits, and not to the way he performs his job. The
problem of being a slaughterer is that one is faced with the temptation to
say that a non-Kosher piece of meat is really Kosher, in order to avoid
suffering a loss of money. This is a deficiency in one's honesty, and not in
the way one does his job.
In contrast, the ETZ YOSEF explains, "Tov" does not refer to the person's
nature or character traits, but rather it describes how well a person
performs his profession. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being a
doctor. The choice of that profession shows no bad element of character. On
the contrary, the choice of that profession can show that a person has the
Midah of Chesed, for he wants to serve and be of help to his community. The
problem is that there is an occupational hazard of being a doctor -- on
occasion, because of his important role, a doctor might tend to become
arrogant and conceited, believing that his opinions are truth and that he is
perfect and makes no mistakes. Consequently, he might perform operations
that are not necessary, or misdiagnose a patient and treat him with the
wrong medication. He might feel that he does not have to consult others or
that he does not have to commit the necessary time and thoughtfulness to
dealing with each patient, due to his years of experience and
professionalism. If a doctor comes to such a view of himself, he will end up
in a state of selfishness and he will endanger others' lives, instead of
being a source of Chesed and one who saves others' lives. It is the
"best" -- "Tov" -- of the doctors, the ones who perform their job the best
and who are the most professional, who must be the most cautious in order to
avoid falling into such a mindset.
QUESTION: The Mishnah quotes Rebbi Nehora'i who says, "I leave all trades
and I do not teach my son anything other than Torah."
4) WHAT TO TEACH ONE'S SON: TORAH OR A TRADE
How are we to understand Rebbi Nehora'i's statement in light of the Mishnah
in Avos (2:2) which says that "any [study of] Torah that is not accompanied
with Melachah (work), will in the end become annulled?"
ANSWER: The SEFER HA'MIKNAH explains that both statements are true,
depending on the person's level of Bitachon. If a person has a high level of
trust in Hashem, then he may depend on Hashem to supply him with all of his
needs while he immerses himself totally in the study of Torah. Not everyone,
though, is on that level, and therefore one who is not on that level must
put forth the necessary effort of Melachah as well.
We might add that what Rebbi Nehora'i means when he says, "I do not teach my
son anything other than Torah," is that he does not teach his son anything
other than Torah, *and* the Emunah and Bitachon necessary for living a life
dedicated exclusively to Torah learning. The CHAZON ISH (Igros Chazon Ish)
writes that if one wants to rely entirely on Bitachon, he must be extremely
honest with himself and not fool himself into thinking that his Bitachon is
more than what it really is. Hashem directly provides a person with his
needs in accordance with that person's true reliance on Hashem. If a person
claims to have Bitachon, but his trust in Hashem is superficial and not
real, he cannot expect Hashem to provide his needs directly.
QUESTION: The Mishnah quotes Rebbi Meir who says that "one should always
teach his son a clean and pleasant trade (Umnus Nekiyah v'Kalah)." The
Mishnah later quotes Rebbi Nehora'i who says, "I leave all trades and I do
not teach my son anything other than Torah."
It is apparent that Rebbi Nehora'i and Rebbi Meir are arguing whether or not
one must teach one's son a trade.
Earlier (29a) the Gemara quotes a Beraisa that teaches that "a father is
obligated to circumcise his son, to redeem him, to teach him Torah, to marry
him off, and to teach him a trade.... Rebbi Yehudah says that anyone who
does not teach his son a trade... is considered as though he taught him
robbery." The Gemara there (30b) says that the difference between Rebbi
Yehudah and the Rabanan is whether a father may teach his son commerce
(Rabanan) or he must teach him specifically a skilled trade (Rebbi Yehudah).
Chizkiyah says that the source for the obligation to teach one's son a trade
is the verse, "Re'eh Chaim Im Ishah..." (Koheles 9:9).
Apparently, the Tana'im earlier are all following the view of Rebbi Meir,
who says here that one must teach his son a trade.
The RAMBAM makes no mention of the obligation to teach one's son a trade,
apparently ruling like Rebbi Nehora'i, who maintains that there is no
obligation to teach one's son a trade (see also IGROS MOSHE OC 2:111, who
also says that the Halachah follows Rebbi Nehora'i).
However, the Rambam seems to contradict this ruling. The Rambam (Hilchos
Shabbos 24:5) writes that it is permitted to teach a trade to a child on
Shabbos "because it is a Mitzvah." This is based on the Gemara in Shabbos
(150a) that teaches that it is permitted to discuss matters of Shiduchim on
Shabbos, as well as to arrange with a teacher to teach a child a trade, and
such discussion is not included in the mandate to refrain from talking about
mundane matters on Shabbos (Yeshayah 58:13). Rashi there explains that it is
permitted on Shabbos to discuss arrangements with a teacher for teaching
one's child a trade, because teaching a trade to the child is a Mitzvah.
Rashi proves that it is a Mitzvah from the Gemara in Kidushin (29a and 30b).
It would seem, therefore, that according to Rebbi Nehora'i, it would *not*
be permitted to discuss arrangements on Shabbos for teaching a trade, since
Rebbi Nehora'i holds that there is no Mitzvah to teach a child a trade.
If the Rambam does not hold that it is a Mitzvah to teach one's son a trade,
why does he rule that it is permitted to discuss teaching a trade on
ANSWER: The DIVREI SHALOM answers based on the ME'IRI (Kidushin 30b, DH
Kevar Bi'arnu) who explains that the reason a father must teach his son a
trade is because when the son grows up, he will be drawn to do what he has
become trained and accustomed to do, and if he was never trained to do
anything, then he will be drawn to robbery. The Me'iri adds, however, that
"nevertheless, one who teaches his son Torah does not need to teach his son
any other trade, because once he has Torah, he has 'flour,' and [when the
Beraisa lists the obligations of] teaching Torah to one's son and teaching a
trade to one's son, it means to say that one may teach *either one* [but not
that one must teach both, for either one will save one's son from becoming a
According to the Me'iri's explanation, the Beraisa (29a) is saying that one
must teach his son a trade only if he does not teach him Torah. The Divrei
Shalom points out that Rebbi Meir *argues* with the Beraisa, because he says
that "one should *always* teach his son" a trade. It seems that Rebbi Meir
holds that one must be concerned for the possibility that one's son will not
be drawn towards Torah learning, and therefore one must always teach his son
a trade just in case, to ensure that his son will not become a robber.
Rebbi Nehora'i, however, argues with Rebbi Meir and *agrees* with the
Beraisa. He holds that, granted, one must teach his son a trade if he is not
going to teach him Torah, but "I leave all trades and I do not teach my son
anything other than Torah," and it is the Torah learning which will prevent
the son from becoming a robber. Rebbi Nehora'i holds that one need not be
concerned that one's son will not be drawn after Torah learning.
Based on this understanding of the Beraisa, and of the statements of Rebbi
Meir and Rebbi Nehora'i, we can understand the ruling of the Rambam. The
Rambam rules like Rebbi Nehora'i and the Beraisa and holds that one is not
obligated to teach his son a trade if he teaches him Torah, but if one does
not teach his son Torah then he *is* obligated to teach him a trade.
Therefore, he makes no mention of the obligation of the father to teach his
son a trade, since it is not a blanket obligation. With regard to Shabbos,
though, the Rambam rules that it is permitted to discuss, on Shabbos,
teaching one's son a trade, because he agrees that when one does not teach
one's son Torah, one has a Mitzvah to teach his son a trade.
On to Bava Kama