ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Menachos 65
(a) Our Mishnah continues to describe the ceremony of the cutting of the
Omer. The Sheluchei Beis-Din first went out to the field - on Erev Yom-Tov,
to arrange the still attached barley sheaves by tying the tops of the stalks
into fistfuls (to facilitate the cutting that would take place later).
(b) The residents from all the surrounding areas would come to participate -
in order to publicize the event (as will be explained shortly).
(c) To ascertain that the time to cut the barley had fallen due - the
Sheli'ach Beis-Din asked the people whether the sun has set.
(d) He would also ask them whether he was holding a scythe, whether what was
lying in front of him was a box, and (if the sixteenth fell on Shabbos)
whether it was Shabbos - and whether he should proceed to cut.
(a) He would ask each of these questions - three times.
(b) The purpose of all this was - to denounce the Tzedokim, who maintained
that the time of the Omer always fell on the first Sunday of Pesach. With
all this publicity, what they were doing was bound to reach their ears too.
(a) The Beraisa lists the days on which the Rabbanan forbade fasting and
eulogizing. From Rosh Chodesh Nisan until the eighth they were forbidden to
fast (because the Tamid was established [see also Tosfos and Rabeinu
Gershom]) - but not to eulogize,.
(b) Whereas from the eighth until the end of Yom-Tov they forbade even
eulogizing - and certainly fasting, because Shavu'os was established.
(c) The ...
1. ... Tzedokim Darshened from the Pasuk "es ha'Keves Echad *Ta'aseh*
ba'Boker ... " - that even a Yachid could donate the Korban Tamid
2. ... Chachamim, on the other hand, Darshened from the Pasuk there "es
Korbani Lachmi le'Ishai Tishmeru" - that all Korbenos Tzibur had to paid for
with money from the Terumas ha'Lishkah (and could not therefore be donated
by a Yachid).
(a) The Tzedokim contended - that Shavu'os had to fall on Sunday (because
they always began counting the Omer on Sunday).
(b) When Raban Yochanan ben Zakai challenged them to present their source,
all that old Tzedoki could say was - that Moshe Rabeinu loved Yisrael, and
organized that Shavu'os should follow Shabbos, so that they should enjoy two
consecutive days of pleasure.
(c) Raban Yochanan ben Zakai initially answered them (with a reason that was
deliberately as weak as theirs) - that if Moshe loved Yisrael so much, why
did he lead them forty years in the desert, when they could have entered
Eretz Yisrael in eleven days. Note, what he seems to have been saying was
that the events in the desert were not determined by Moshe, but were all
(d) The significance of the eleven days that he referred to is - that had
Moshe led them to Eretz Yisrael via Har Se'ir, they would have arrived in
Kadesh (close to the eastern border of Eretz Yisrael) in only eleven days,
ready to enter the Land at a moment's notice.
(a) When Raban Yochanan ben Zakai said 've'Lo Tehei Torah Sheleimah she'Lanu
ke'Sichah Beteilah she'Lechem!', he meant - that the idle chatter of the
Tzedokim (based On the fact that the Tzedokim had no source for their
argument) was not comparable to the Torah of the Chareidim.
(b) The problem with the Pesukim "Tisperu Chamishim Yom" and "Sheva
Shabbasos Temimos Tih'yenah" is - that if one counts days, one is not
counting weeks, and vice-versa.
(c) Raban Yochanan ben Zakai reconciled the two Pesukim and countered that
old Tzedoki with one stroke - (based on the fact that 'a complete week'
means from Sunday to Shabbos) by establishing the former Pasuk Pesach falls
in the middle of the week, and the latter, when it falls on Sunday, proving
that the Omer can begin on any day, and not just just on Sunday.
(d) To prove the Tzedokim wrong, Rebbi ...
1. ... Eliezer learns from the Pasuk "Shiv'ah Shavu'os *Tispar Lach*" - that
clearly, the Yom-Tov mentioned prior to the Omer means Yom-Tov (which is
fixed by Beis-Din), and not on Shabbos (which was fixed by Hashem at the
creation, and no power on earth can change it).
2. ... Rebbi Yehoshua learns from Kidush ha'Chodesh ('Maneh Yamim ve'Kadeish
Chodesh, Manei Yamim ve'Kadesh Atzeres') - that just as with regard to the
former, the date that precedes Rosh Chodesh (the twenty-ninth, when the new
moon is born) is predetermined, so too is the date that precedes the
counting of the Omer predetermined (the fifteenth of Nisan).
3. ... Rebbi Yishmael learns it from the Sh'tei ha'Lechem which is brought
on Shavu'os, which is the beginning of a Yom-Tov that follows the
termination of the seven weeks, so too, the Omer that is brought at the
beginning of the seven weeks, is preceded by the beginning of a Yom-Tov
(Pesach. and not by Shabbos).
4. ... Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira learns it from 'Shabbos le'Matah' ("ad
mi'Mochoras ha'Shabbos ha'Shevi'is Tisperu') - in that just as Shabbos
(referring to the last day in the seventh week) there means the day next to
the beginning of a Yom-Tov (and not Shabbos), so too, does "Shabbos"
mentioned in the same context with regard to the beginning of the counting
("u'Sefartem Lachem mi'Mochoras ha'Shabbos") refer to the day which follows
the beginning of a Yom-Tov, and not Shabbos.
(a) Another Beraisa cites additional proofs that we always begin counting
the Omer on the sixteenth of Nisan. The Tana first learns from the Pasuk
"u'Sefartem Lachem" - that (unlike the Din of counting the years of the
Yovel) each individual is Chayav to count the Omer.
(b) Each Tana then proves that "Shabbos" refers to Yom-Tov and not Shabbos
citing a different source. Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah proves from the
Pasuk "Tisperu Chamishim Yom" - that one always counts fifty days between
Pesach and Shavu'os (whereas according to the Tzedokim, it can be anything
up to fifty-six [assuming the first day of Pesach falls on Sunday).
(c) Rebbi Yehudah (some read 'Rebbi Yeshoshua') ben Beseira concurs with the
explanation of Rebbi Eliezer in the first Beraisa (see Tosfos D.H. Rebbi
Yehudah ... '), and Rebbi Yossi, according to the second Lashon, with Rebbi
Yehudah ben Beseira there ('Ne'emar Shabbos le'Matah ... '). In the first
Lashon, Rebbi Yossi dismisses the suggestion that "mi'Mocharas ha'Shabbos"
means literally Shabbos Bereishis - because there are many Shabbasos in the
year, and how would we know which one the Torah is referring to?
(a) Finally, Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar learns it from the Pesukim "Sheishes
Yamim Tochal Matzos" (Re'ei) and "Shiv'as Yamim Matzos Tocheilu". He
reconcile the apparent condradiction between the Pesukim - by confining the
former Pasuk to eating Matzos from the new crops, which is only permitted
from the second day, after the Omer has been brought ...
(b) ... a proof that the Omer always begins on the sixteenth of Nisan, and
not on the first Sunday of Pesach).