July 19, 2024
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July 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

May these words of Torah serve as a merit l’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David Balk, a”h.

 This week we learned Sanhedrin 96 and 97. These are some highlights.

Sanhedrin 96: Can I write my father’s name on a form?

A man went to a government office. They gave him a form to fill out. The form asked for his father’s name. He asked Rav Zilberstein if he was allowed to write out his father’s name. Shulchan Aruch (YD 240:2) rules that a son is not allowed to call his father by name, both during his father’s lifetime and after his passing. A son should refer to his father as Abba Mari. Does this apply to writing? Is a son not allowed to write his father’s name?

Ruach Chaim is strict. He rules that a son normally may not write his father’s name. He is only allowed to write his father’s name when he intends to give his father honor, as in our Gemara. In our Gemara it was related that King Beladan had to leave the throne for his face changed and he looked like a dog. His son, Merodach, took over. Merodach used to write on the royal decrees, Merodach Beladan son of Beladan. Maharsha explains the practice. Beladan looked like a dog. People do not give honor to someone who looks like a dog. It would be understood if the son would have attempted to hide the name of his father. He would write the name of his father to show that, as far as he was concerned, his father’s name was the most special and honorable name in the world.

Shu”t Yosef Ometz (Siman 87) points out that many Sages would write the names of their fathers. Rashi signs his responsa as Shlomo Ben Yitzchak, Rambam used to sign his letters with Moshe ben R’ Maimon, Rabbeinu Tam writes Yaakov ben R’ Meir. Since many Torah giants would sign their names with their fathers names, it is clear that a son is allowed to write the name of his father.

Igrot Moshe (YD Chelek Alef Siman 133) is also lenient. He rules that there is no prohibition against writing the name of one’s father. Saying differs from writing.

Since Rav Moshe Feinstein is lenient on this question, Rav Zilberstein rules that the man can fill out the form and write his father’s name. If there is enough room on the sheet, he should add a title, like Rabbi, to his father’s name to make the act a respectful one. (Chashukei Chemed)

Sanhedrin 97: Is the world ending in the year 6,000?

Rav Katina teaches, “The world will exist for 6,000 years, (then) in 1,000 it will be destroyed, as the verse declares, ‘And Hashem will be exalted by Himself on that day.’” Most interpret this to mean that the world will continue normally for six millennia and then in the seventh millennium it will be destroyed. Does this really mean that the world will come to an end in the seventh thousand? Is life on its way to destruction? There are many different opinions about this topic. Here are some of them:

Ra’avad (Hilchot Teshuva 8:8) interprets the Gemara literally. The world will be in its present form for 6,000 years. It will then be destroyed. It will be a wasteland for 1,000 years.

Some teach that this process will repeat itself. After 6,000 years the world will return to nothingness. Then the world will restart. Just as shemita occurs each seventh year and then in the eighth year the cycle starts anew, each thousand years will be like a year in the shemita cycle. In the seventh thousand, a time of cessation of activity, but then a new six thousand years of life. This will continue for 49,000 years. In the year 50,000, a year corresponding to the yovel year, the world will come to an end in a final manner (Rikanati Parshat Behar, Rav Chisda’i Kreskas Or Hashem Ma’amar Dalet Sof Derush Aleph, Ma’amar Gimel Kelal Aleph, Machzor Vitri Siman 134, Rabbeinu Bechaye Parshat Behaalotecha).

In the work Maggid Mesharim (Parshat Behar), the angel tells Rav Yosef Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch, that in the seventh thousand, the inhabitants of earth will not die. The power of nature will merely weaken. This is called destruction in the Talmud. Shelah Hakadosh (Ma’amar Beit David) teaches that in the seventh thousand there will not be any new souls. Hashem will only send down to live on earth souls that lived already at least once before in the earlier 6,000 years of life. Radbaz (Shu”t Chelek Bet Siman 839) disagrees with Shelah and Maggid Mesharim. He argues that all living creatures will die in the seventh thousand, but he feels that the world will not return to the pre-Genesis state of tohu vavohu.

A novel interpretation of the Gemara is suggested by Meiri in his introduction to Avot. Meiri teaches that the world will have life for 6,000 years. Out of those 6,000, one thousand will be a time of terrible difficulties. Since it is a time of great misfortunes and travails, it is called a time of destruction. The meaning of the Gemara is that the 6,000, the years 1240-2240 in the common era, are a time of travails and disasters for our nation. This era has already been witness to the expulsion from Spain, blood libels and the Holocaust. Meiri feels that our Gemara is predicting these difficult times.

By Rabbi Zev Reichman

 Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim Chelek Bet Perek 29) rules that the world is not slated for destruction at all. The verse (Kohelet 1:4) says, “V’ha’aretz le’olam omadet, And the world stands forever.” The earth will continue. Our Gemara continues a lesson from Rav Katina. According to Rambam, it is a minority view. Halacha is in accordance with the majority view that the world is not hurtling toward tohu vavohu. (Me’orot Daf Hayomi)

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