THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SUKAH 50 (1st day of Shavuos) dedicated by Mrs. Bekelnitzky on the occasion
of the 34th Yahrzeit of her late husband's father, Shraga Feivish ben Nosson
Yakov (and Sima Gitle) Bikelnitzky.
1) STRAINING WATER ON SHABBOS
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that if the water that was set aside before
Shabbos to be used for the Nisuch ha'Mayim on Shabbos was left uncovered, it
may not be used on the Mizbe'ach. Instead, water from the Kiyor is used. The
Gemara asks that the water that was left uncovered should still be able to
be used by being strained, at least according to Rebbi Nechemyah who holds
that straining the water is effective in separating the venom of the snake
from the water. The Gemara answers that even Rebbi Nechemyah would not
permit straining in order to use it on the Mizbe'ach, because it is still
disrespectful to use such water.
How could the Gemara suggest that the water be strained and then used for
Nisuch ha'Mayim? The Mishnah is discussing water which was left uncovered on
*Shabbos*, and straining with a strainer is prohibited mid'Oraisa on Shabbos
because of "Borer" (Shabbos 138b)! (CHAZON ISH 150:23)
Furthermore, even if, for some reason, there is no Isur d'Oraisa of Borer,
it should at least be prohibited mid'Rabanan because of Tikun Kli, since one
is making the water fit for use for the Mitzvah (as in Sukah 33b)!
(a) RAV Y. S. ELYASHEV (quoted in He'aros b'Maseches Sukah) answers that the
Gemara is not saying that the water should be strained in order to separate
the water from the venom. Rather, the Gemara is suggesting that the water be
strained to ensure that there never was venom in the water (i.e. that no
snake drank from it), and then the water may be used, and it will not be
necessary to use water from the Kiyor. Using a strainer to determine that
there is no venom in the water is not Borer, since the act of straining is
not being done for the purpose of separating. Rather, it is merely a way of
determining ("Giluy Milsa") what the state of this water is. If the strainer
shows that there actually is venom in the water, then the water is, in fact,
unfit for use on the Mizbe'ach, and thus the act of straining is not Borer,
because both items are unusable. (Borer applies only when one separates
Pesoles from Ochel, but not when one separates Pesoles from Pesoles.)
However, according to this explanation, when the Gemara asked that they
should just strain the water with a strainer, the Gemara should have
answered that they *do* use a strainer in order to determine that there is
nothing in the water. When the Mishnah says that they must use the water
from the Kiyor, it means that when the strainer showed that there *was*
venom in the water, then the water must be taken from the Kiyor! (M.
(b) Perhaps an alternative approach may be proposed. RASHI in the Mishnah
(48b) explains that the problem of using uncovered water for Nisuch ha'Mayim
is that some venom might be taking the place of what should be water, and
therefore the necessary amount of water is no longer present (see Insights
to 48:1). According to Rashi, it is clear why straining the water presents
no problem of Borer or Tikun Kli; the whole purpose of straining the water
is not to remove the venom. Rather, the straining is done merely to find out
*how much* of the mixture is venom and how much is water. Afterwards we
determine how much water is left, more water may be added as necessary. The
act of straining is not done in order to separate something that is Pasul
(since Rashi holds that there is nothing inherently wrong with mixing venom
into the Shi'ur of water necessary for Nisuch ha'Mayim), but it is merely
measuring how much water there is. "Medidah Shel Mitzvah" -- "measuring for
the sake of a Mitzvah," is permitted on Shabbos (Shabbos 157a).
It could be that this question -- how could the Gemara permit straining on
Shabbos -- is what forced Rashi on the Mishnah to explain that the Gemara is
assuming that the reason water that was left uncovered may not be used is
because it is not known how much is really water, and not because that water
is forbidden to be consumed. (M. Kornfeld)
2) "SIMCHAS BEIS HA'CHASHUVAH"
QUESTION: According to one opinion, the celebration of the Nisuch ha'Mayim
was not called "Simchas Beis ha'Sho'evah," but rather "Simchas Beis
ha'Chashuvah." The Gemara explains, according to this opinion, that the
celebration is called "Simchas Beis ha'Chashuvah" because it has been
distinguished ("Chashuvah") since the six days of Creation. In what way has
the Nisuch ha'Mayim been distinguished since Creation? RASHI explains that
during the six days of Creation, Hashem formed the Shisin (the ducts
underneath the Mizbe'ach) into which the Nesachim flow when they are poured
upon the Mizbe'ach.
3) ATTAINING PROPHECY DURING THE FESTIVAL
Why, though, does that make the Nisuch ha'Mayim and its celebration so
distinguished, so "Chashuv?" The Shisin were not only used for the Nisuch
ha'Mayim, but the wine of the Nisuch ha'Yayin -- which was performed every
day -- also flowed into the Shisin!
(a) TOSFOS cites the Yerushalmi which says that the verse "u'She'avtem Mayim
b'Sason" (see 48b) refers to the Nisuch ha'Mayim because it was at that time
that Ru'ach ha'Kodesh was drawn ("Sho'evah") upon the people, because it is
through immense joy that people are able to experience Ru'ach ha'Kodesh. The
joy that they experienced at the time of Simchas Beis ha'Sho'evah caused
them to have Ru'ach ha'Kodesh.
According to the Yerushalmi, we can explain the Gemara here as follows. It
is true that the Shisin served the wine of the Nisuch ha'Yayin the same way
it served the water of the Nisuch ha'Mayim. However, the Nisuch ha'Mayim is
performed at a time of great joy when the Shechinah dwells amidst the
people. Since much greater spiritual heights are attained at the time of
Nisuch ha'Mayim, it must be that Hashem prepared the Shisin "from the days
of Creation" primarily for the Nisuch ha'Mayim.
(b) The MAHARSHA explains that during the six days of Creation, the Shisin
were formed so that they reached all the way to the Tehom, the subterranean
depths underneath the earth's surface. If the Shisin were only necessary for
the wine of Nisuch ha'Yayin, then it would not have been necessary for them
to descend down to the Tehom. It must be that they were formed for the
Nisuch ha'Mayim, in order for the water that we pour onto the Mizbe'ach to
descend to the depths of the earth, because it is through the Nisuch
ha'Mayim that ask Hashem to send us water "from the heavens and the depths,"
at the time that we are being judged for water (Rosh Hashanah 16a).
(c) The SEFAS EMES explains the Gemara differently than Rashi. RASHI on the
Torah (Vayikra 2:13) writes that at Creation, when the upper waters were
separated from the lower waters, Hashem promised the lower waters that they,
too, would be used for a sanctified purpose -- they would be offered upon
the Mizbe'ach on Sukos as the Nisuch ha'Mayim. This is where we find that
specifically Nisuch *ha'Mayim* was distinguished from the time of the six
days of Creation!
AGADAH: TOSFOS cites the Yerushalmi which says that the Simchas Beis
ha'Sho'evah is called "Sho'evah" not only because they drew the water from
the spring at that time, but because they drew Ru'ach ha'Kodesh upon
themselves from the great joy of the Mitzvah. The Yerushalmi gives Yonah the
Prophet as an example. Yonah was a simple Jew who had never experienced
prophecy. As a result of the great joy that he experienced one year as a
result of being Oleh l'Regel, he reached the state of Nevu'ah.
Why was Yonah singled out, from all of the people of Israel, to receive
Nevu'ah as a result of the joy he experienced when he was Oleh l'Regel? The
simple reason is because he was especially fervent about the Mitzvah of
Aliyah l'Regel (as the Gemara in Eruvin (96a) states, that even his wife was
Olah l'Regel, even though most women did not go). Let us attempt to suggest
a deeper reason why Yonah was granted prophecy while being Oleh l'Regel.
When the Torah describes the blessings that Moshe Rabeinu gave to each
tribe, the Torah states, "Rejoice, Zevulun, when you go out, and Yissachar
in your tents. Nations will gather at the mountain; there they will
slaughter offerings of righteousness" (Devarim 33:18-19). Rashi there
comments that "nations will gather at the mountain" refer either to the
Jewish people who would come to the Beis ha'Mikdash (at Har ha'Mori'ah) when
the scholars of Yissachar, who had mastered the intricacies of the lunar
calendar thanks to the support provided by Zevulun, told them that it was
time to go, or it refers to foreign nations who would come to Yerushalayim
on their business trips to trade with Zevulun. When they would come and see
all of the Jewish people serving Hashem, they would be so overcome with awe
that they would convert.
Yonah was from the tribe of Zevulun (Yerushalmi Sukah 5:1). The tribe of
Zevulun had a pivotal role in the pilgrimages to Yerushalayim on the
festivals and their associated festivities ("*Rejoice*, Zevulun, when you go
out..."). The Aliyah l'Regel was "his" Mitzvah, so to speak. Yonah,
therefore, was able to take full advantage of these Mitzvos and gain from
them true spiritual growth -- and even to achieve prophesy. (See also Eruvin
96a, "Even Yonah's wife was Olah l'Regel....")
The prophetic message he was entrusted with, however, was not directed
towards the Jewish people. Rather, his assignment was to go out to the
nations of the world and bring them to repent and follow the just and moral
ways of Hashem, just as Moshe Rabeinu expressed in his blessing to Zevulun!
The fact that Yonah, rather than any other Zevulunite, was chosen for this
mission was not by chance. The Gemara in Berachos (7b) teaches that a
person's name determines his role in life. We can understand Yonah's role in
life by looking at a Midrash, which draws a fascinating analogy between the
Jewish people and the bird known as the "Yonah" (pigeon dove). The Midrash
(Midrash Rabah, Shir ha'Shirim, 1:15) states that the Jewish people are
compared to a Yonah in a number of ways:
(1) Just as the Yonah's walk is a pleasure to behold, so, too,
the Jewish people's walk is a pleasure to behold when they are Oleh l'Regel
for the festivals.
The prophet Yonah's destiny was almost entirely spelled out in his name!
Using the numbers we assigned to the Derashos in the above Midrash, we can
point out several important facts about Yonah:
(2) Just as the Yonah is modest, so, too, the Jewish people are modest.
(3) Just as the Yonah stretches its neck to be slaughtered, so, too, do the
Jewish people, as it is stated, "For You [Hashem] we have been killed
throughout the day."
(4) Just as the Yonah atones for sins (by being used as a Korban), so, too,
the Jewish people atone for the nations. The seventy cows that they bring on
Sukos as Korbanos are offered on behalf of the well-being of the seventy
nations of the world.
(5) Just as we find with the Yonah that even if one takes its young from
under it, it will never leave its nest, so, too, the Jewish people did not
cease to make their festival trips to Yerushalayim even after the Beis
ha'Mikdash was destroyed.
(6) Rebbi said, "There is one type of Yonah which, when fed, gives off a
scent that attracts other pigeons to its nest. So, too, when the Chachamim
expound on the Torah, they attract many foreigners who hear them and
- Just like the Yonah bird represents the Jewish people's fulfillment of the
Mitzvah of Aliyah l'Regel, so, too, Yonah ben Amitai was outstanding in his
observance of the festival pilgrimages (#1, #5).
- His prophecy was given to him on Sukos, when we bring Korbanos to atone
for the nations, and his mission was indeed to save a foreign nation from
- Modestly, he tried to hide his prophetic status and escape from his
- When confronted by the storm, he willingly offered his life, accepting it
as Divine retribution (#3).
- Finally, Yonah made such a deep impression on the foreign passengers of
the ship that they all chose to convert to Judaism (#6). According to the
Midrash (Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer, ch. 10), representatives of each of the
*seventy* nations of the world were on board Yonah's ship, all of whom left
their idols behind and turned to the ways of Hashem after their experience
with Yonah (#4, again). Yonah eventually proceeded to Ninveh, where he
succeeded in turning an entire city of sinners to the ways of their Creator