THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) WHICH SHOE TO PUT ON FIRST
QUESTION: According to Rebbi Yochanan, one should put on the left shoe
first, in order to show deference to the Tefilin which are worn on the left
arm. The Beraisa, on the other hand, maintains that one should put on the
right shoe first. Rav Nachman Bar Yitzchak concludes that a G-d-fearing
person, like Mar brei d'Ravna, should satisfy both opinions by putting on
the right shoe first and tying the left shoe first.
2) SUMMARY: "MUMCHEH KAMEI'A" AND "MUMCHEH GAVRA"
How does this satisfy both opinions? It seems to be *contradicting* both
opinions, since neither the right shoe is being completely donned first,
nor is the left shoe!
ANSWER: TOSFOS (DH v'Sayem) answers that when Rebbi Yochanan said that one
should put on the left shoe first because the Tefilin are placed on the
left arm, he meant that since the Tefilin are *tied* to the left arm, the
left side takes precedence when it comes to *tying*. Therefore, by *tying*
the left shoe first (even though one dons the right shoe first), one is
fulfilling Rebbi Yochanan's opinion. The Beraisa maintains that the right
shoe should be *donned* first, and it is not concerned with which shoe is
tied first. According to Rav Nachman Bar Yitzchak and Mar brei d'Ravna,
then, Rebbi Yochanan does not argue with the Beraisa.
The Gemara discusses what makes a Kamei'a (an amulet for healing) into a
Kamei'a Mumcheh (one that has been proven to be effective), which one may
wear in Reshus ha'Rabim on Shabbos regardless of which doctor wrote it. It
also discusses what makes a doctor into a Rofeh Mumcheh (who has been
proven to be an expert healer with his amulets), and any amulet written by
him may be worn in Reshus ha'Rabim on Shabbos. In order to better
understand the Gemara, it is important to bear in mind several rules:
3) "MUMCHEH KAMEI'A"
(a) There are three factors involved with making a doctor or a Kamei'a into
(1) the Kamei'a that was used
The Rishonim also a fourth factor -- which *sickness* the Kamei'a was used
to cure. However, this is not really an additional factor but it is
included in the first (the Kamei'a that was used). The practice was to
write a different type of Kamei'a for every different type of sickness, and
to write the same type of Kamei'a for the same sickness. Therefore, for
which sickness the Kamei'a was written is really the same as which Kamei'a
was written (#1 above).
(2) the doctor who wrote it
(3) the person who was healed by it.
(b) The success of the cure may depend on the Mazal of the doctor, the
Mazal of the sick person, or both. However, when a Kamei'a is proven
effective, its success is not attributed to its Mazal but rather to the
wisdom that went into writing it. The effectiveness of the doctor, on the
other hand, can be dependant on his Mazal (RASHI 61b, DH Mazlei, and RAN
there, who writes this more clearly). Thus, a doctor who is a "Mumcheh" may
have propitious Mazal, while the "Mumcheh" status of the Kamei'a is
determined solely by the skill and expertise involved in writing it.
(c) A Kamei'a becomes Mumcheh by successfully curing an illness three
times, even if it was written by one doctor, or if it healed the same
patient three times. We do not attribute the success of a Kamei'a that
worked three times to the patient's Mazal or to the doctor's Mazal. Thus,
if a doctor wrote one Kamei'a three times (and it was successful every
time), the doctor does *not* become Mumcheh. The reason for this is either
because the success of the Kamei'a depends on wisdom, and not on Mazal
(Rashi DH Mazlei, and RAN), or because the Kamei'a is the main factor in
improving the health of the sick person, because without the Kamei'a, the
doctor has no chance of curing the illness (RITVA). (Although Rashi at the
beginning of the Sugya seems to contradict this, saying that the doctor
does become Mumcheh if he wrote the Kamei'a three times, we will address
this later -- see 61b #4).
OPINIONS: What is a Kamei'a Mumcheh? What makes it Mumcheh?
(a) RASHI says that the Mumcheh Kamei'a refers to the charm (that is, the
specific script) that is written inside the amulet. Once that charm becomes
Muchzak (once it has worked three times consecutively), it may be written
by any doctor to cure that illness, and it may be worn outside on Shabbos.
According to Rashi, in order for a doctor to become Mumcheh, he must write
three different successful charms. Once he has written three different
successful charms, he may now write any charm, and one may wear it outside
(b) TOSFOS and ROSH (6:8) disagree and say that just because a doctor knows
how to write three charms is no proof that every charm he writes from then
on will be successful. They therefore say that what Rashi describes as
making the Kamei'a Mumcheh is actually what makes the doctor Mumcheh. A
doctor who is Mumcheh, then, is one who has written one charm successfully
three times. Mumcheh Kamei'a, according to Tosfos and Rosh, means that the
*very same* amulet (that is, the actual piece of parchment itself) worked
three times. Such an amulet may be worn by anyone on Shabbos. According to
Tosfos, if the same text of that amulet is re-written and another amulet is
made, even though it contains the same text as the successful amulet, it is
considered an entirely new and different amulet.
4) WHAT MAKES A KAMEI'A "MUMCHEH" AND A DOCTOR "MUMCHEH" ACCORDING TO
(a) RASHI says that a doctor who writes the same Kamei'a three times does
*not* become a Mumcheh to write other Kamei'as (this is Rav Papa's third
case, "Chad Kamei'a l'Tlasa Gavri"). Why, then, does Rashi tell us
elsewhere (61a, DH d'Mumcheh; 61b, dh v'Ha) that the doctor who writes one
Kamei'a three times *is* a Mumcheh?
(b) RASHI (DH v'Itmachi) is discussing the case when a doctor wrote nine
Kamei'as, three different charms for each of three different people, and
they were all successful in healing the illnesses for which they were
written. Rashi asks two questions. First, why does this make the Kamei'a
Mumcheh? We should say that the Kamei'a is *not* Mumcheh, and the success
of the cure is due instead to the Mazal of the doctor! Rashi answers that a
doctor does not have Mazal; he has wisdom, and it must be his wisdom which
made these Kamei'as successful. Therefore, the Kamei'as themselves become
Second, Rashi asks that perhaps it was the patient's Mazal that caused him
to be cured, and not the doctor's expertise nor the Kamei'a's potency.
Rashi answers that it cannot be the patient's Mazal, because this Kamei'a
was successful in curing three *different* people, and not the same person
There are four points in this Rashi which need clarification:
(1) Rashi says that if we could attribute the Kamei'a's success to the
Mazal of the doctor, we would not give the Kamei'a the status of Mumcheh.
However, Rashi himself states (DH Mazlei) that we attribute the success of
a cure to the Kamei'a and not to the doctor or patient! (His reason is
because the Kamei'a is the primary curing agent, more so than the doctor or
the patient. See (c) of Insight #2.)
(2) Rashi concludes that the doctor is not successful due to his Mazal, but
because of his ability to write the Kamei'a. This contradicts what Rashi
writes later in DH Mazlei, where he says that the doctor's success could be
due to his Mazal.
(3) Rashi asks that perhaps we should not attribute the successful cure to
the Kamei'a, but rather to the patient's Mazal. But in DH Mazlei he says
that the Kamei'a overrides the patient's Mazal!
(4) Rashi answers his second question by saying that three different
patients were healed (by each Kamei'a). But Rashi himself writes (DH Tlasa
Tlasa) that each Kamei'a worked for only *one* person, and not for three
(a) The answer to the first question is evident in Rashi's words on 61b, DH
Gavra. It is true that the doctor *does* become Mumcheh through writing one
Kamei'a three times. Rav Papa simply means that the doctor becomes an
expert only for writing *this* Kamei'a, and not for writing other Kamei'as.
We might ask, then, what does it matter that he is Mumcheh to write this
Kamei'a? Anyone can write this Kamei'a, because the Kamei'a itself has
become Mumcheh! What does this doctor's expertise add to writing this
Kamei'a if even a non-Mumcheh doctor can write this Kamei'a?
We could suggest an answer based on the words of TOSFOS (61a, DH Af Al
Gav). Tosfos explains that if a Kamei'a is a Mumcheh or if a doctor is a
Mumcheh, and the Kamei'a or doctor then fails to cure three consecutive
times, he loses his Mumcheh status. If so, we can say that if this Kamei'a
-- which became Mumcheh by being successfully written three times by this
doctor -- fails three times when written by other doctors, it loses its
Mumcheh status and may not be carried on Shabbos if written by any other
doctor. However, the doctor who is a Mumcheh to write this Kamei'a retains
his Mumcheh status and he may still write this Kamei'a (to be worn outside
on Shabbos). Rashi is telling us that even though the Kamei'a lost its
Mumcheh status with regard to other doctors, this doctor is still a Mumcheh
for writing this Kamei'a.
(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH suggests an answer to our other questions on Rashi.
Rashi (DH Mazlei) means that the success of the cure is attributed to the
charm rather than to either the Mazal of the doctor *or* the Mazal of the
patient. However, when there is a possibility that *both* the Mazal of the
doctor and the Mazal of the patient are working together, then the
possibility that the cure is a result of the combination of the two Mazalos
working together outweighs the possibility that the cure is a result of the
Kamei'a's potency. Therefore, when *one* doctor used the Kamei'a three
times on *one* patient, we do not assume that the Kamei'a is a successful
one, but that the cure was a result of the doctor's and patient's combined
(1) This answers the first question -- why did Rashi say that perhaps it is
the Mazal of the doctor that is effecting the cure? Rashi was referring to
the case of Rav Papa, in which one doctor used the same Kamei'a to heal the
same person three times. In that case, it is true that we attribute the
success to the Mazal of the doctor (in combination with the Mazal of the
(2) When Rashi answers that it is not the doctor's Mazal but his wisdom
that effects the cure, Rashi is referring to the case where the doctor was
successful in using nine Kamei'as to heal three people, each with three
illnesses, which makes him a Mumcheh. Since he succeeded with three
different Kamei'as, we no longer attribute his success to his Mazal, but
rather to his wisdom. However, until he becomes a Mumcheh, we do *not* say
that it is his wisdom that is healing, but rather his Mazal, as Rashi says
in DH Mazlei.
(3) To answer the third question, when Rashi said that perhaps the cure is
due to the patient's Mazal, he did not mean that the patient's Mazal
prevents us from determining that the *Kamei'a* is a Mumcheh, but rather
that the patient's Mazal prevents us from determining that the *doctor* is
a Mumcheh to heal other illnesses.
(4) This also answers the fourth question. Rashi means that three different
people were healed by this *doctor* (and not by each Kamei'a).