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) THE SMALLEST "PARSHAH" IN "TEFILIN"
QUESTION: The Mishnah says that one is Chayav for carrying a piece of
parchment from Reshus ha'Yachid to Reshus ha'Rabim when the parchment is
large enough to write on it the smallest Parshah in Tefilin, which is the
Parshah of "Shema Yisrael." This is because this is the smallest complete
Parshah that is normally written alone on a piece of parchment (the TOSFOS
YOM TOV explains that people used to write this Parshah for themselves on a
small piece of parchment to read from it Keri'as Shema when going to bed).
3) "MODEH B'SHTAR SH'KASVO, TZARICH L'KAIMO"
TOSFOS in Sotah (17a) asks that we find that an even smaller Parshah which
was written on a piece of parchment. The Mishnah in Sotah describes that
when a woman drank the Sotah waters, the Parshah of Sotah would be written
on a piece of parchment by itself and it would be dipped into the water and
erased (see Bamidbar 5:23).
Tosfos asks why our Mishnah says that the minimum size of a piece of
parchment is based on the size of the smallest Parshah in Tefilin. The
Parshah of Sotah is even smaller! Why, then, is the minimum size of a piece
of parchment only the size of the paragraph of Shema Yisrael, and not the
smaller size of the paragraph of Sotah?
(a) TOSFOS (Sotah 17a) answers that since the Parshah of Sotah is not
written as frequently as the Parshah of Shema, it is not used to establish
the minimum size of a piece of parchment with regard to Hotza'ah.
(b) RAV REUVEN MARGOLIOS (HA'MIKRA V'HA'MESORAH; ch. 12, fn. 1) explains
that if one carefully counts the *letters* of the Parshah of Shema and
those of the Parshah of Sotah, one will notice that Shema is longer in
letter-count than Sotah. However, if one counts the *words* of each
Parshah, one will notice that Sotah has more words than Shema! This is
possible because the words in the Parshah of Sotah are shorter than the
words in Shema.
When writing a Parshah on parchment, one must take into account the blank
spaces between words. Consequently, if one counts the number of blank
spaces (which are equal to one letter's width) between the words in each
Parshah and add it to the letter-count of each Parshah, the total
letter-count of Parshas Sotah will come to 254, and the total letter-count
of Parshas Shema will come to only 252. Therefore, when writing Shema on a
piece of parchment, one will actually have to write *less* than when
writing the Parshah of Sotah on parchment! That is why it determines the
minimum Shi'ur for Hotza'ah of a piece of parchment.
QUESTIONS: Abaye says that the Tana Kama and Rebbi Yehudah are arguing
about "Modeh b'Shtar sh'Kasvo, Tzarich l'Kaimo" -- "when the borrower
admits to the authenticity of the contract, the contract must be
validated." The Tana Kama maintains that the contract must be validated
even though the borrower admits that he wrote it, and Rebbi Yehudah
maintains that it does not need further validation.
(a) In all of the various Sugyos in which this concept appears throughout
Shas, Rashi explains that this concept means that even though the borrower
admits to the authenticity of the contract, the *lender* must still
validate it. That is, if a person says, "It is true that I borrowed money
from you and wrote that contract, but I already paid you back," thus
admitting that the contract was valid but claiming that he paid the debt
already, the lender has to bring witnesses (Edei Kiyum) to authenticate the
contract. (Otherwise, the borrower has the upper hand, since he is the one
who validated the contract, and he himself also said that it has been
RASHI here, however, explains differently. He explains that "Tzarich
l'Kaimo" refers to the *borrower*. What does it mean that the borrower has
to "validate the contract?" It means that he has to admit "I did not pay
back the debt" in order for the contract to be valid for the lender to
collect with it.
Why did Rashi here give this entirely different explanation for this
concept? Why did he not merely explain that "Tzarich l'Kaimo" refers to the
lender, and it means that the lender must validate the contract by bringing
(b) Second, according to Rashi's explanation, why does the Gemara say that
the contract is considered a significant object and usable (so that when
the lender walks out with it on Shabbos, he will be Chayav for Hotza'ah)
when the borrower *did not say that he already paid* (see Rashi 79a, DH Ad
she'Yomar); i.e., the borrower did not admit nor deny the charges. That is
not what makes the contract usable! The contract is only usable when the
borrower says explicitly *"I did not pay*," admitting to the charges!
(The case under discussion is when the lender cannot find witnesses to
authenticate the contract, as Tosfos points out. Therefore, the contract
should be worthless as long as the borrower can simply say "I paid." And if
the borrower is honest and says "I did not pay," what use is the contract?
The borrower's *admission* is what creates his obligation! Why does the
Gemara consider the contract valuable as long as the borrower does not deny
the charges, saying "I paid?")
(b) Why is the contract worth anything? It must be that borrower said that
the contract was valid, and no more. Then, *later*, the lender came back to
him with the contract demanding to be paid. The Tana Kama maintains that
since the borrower was honest in admitting to the contract, he will
probably be honest in admitting that he did not pay back. The lender will
therefore be able to collect with the contract, making the contract
valuable to him.
Normally, "Modeh b'Shtar sh'Kasvo" means that the borrower says both that
he wrote the contract, and that he paid back the debt already. But here it
means that he *only* said it is a valid contract, and said nothing about
whether he had paid it back or not. Here, "Tzarich l'Kaimo" means that
saying that the contract is valid is still not sufficient; he has to also
say (later, at the time of collection) that he did not pay it back yet.
(This implies that a "Migu l'Mafrei'a" is a valid claim in court, as TOSFOS
in Bava Basra (30a, DH Lav) indeed describes as Rashi's opinion.) This
answers the second question.
(a) This answer the first question as well. Rashi wanted to make it clear
that according to this Sugya, the borrower did *not yet* deny the charges
by saying that he paid. The one who says "Lo Tzarich l'Kaimo" maintains
that the contract is valid by default (since the borrower will probably not
deny the charges and say that he paid), while the other opinion maintains
that the contract is invalid by default, even before the borrower insists
that he paid. That is why Rashi explains that the *borrower* must admit
that he did not pay (later, when brought to court), for the contract to be
valid. (M. Kornfeld)