June 16, 2024
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June 16, 2024
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The learning is dedicated le’iluy nishmas Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel Dovid Balk a”h


This week we learned Gittin 61-67. The following are some highlights from the topics the daf dealt with.

Gittin 61

Jewish Cemeteries

The Beraita taught several laws that were enacted to encourage peace, mipnei darkei shalom. Just as one provides food to indigent Jewish individuals, one should feed the poor who are gentiles to encourage peace. Just as one is to visit a Jew who is ill, one should visit non-Jews who are ill for the sake of peace. Finally, we are to bury Jews and gentiles for the sake of peace. Rashi points out that the Beraita did not intend to teach that gentiles and Jews should be buried together, side by side. The Gemara in Yevamot taught that even two Jews are not to be buried adjacent to each other if they are not of the same spiritual level. We are not to bury a rasha next to a tzadik. Certainly then, a Jew is not to be buried adjacent to a gentile. Rashi explains that the meaning of this enactment was that if we found Jewish and gentile corpses, just as we must bury the Jewish remains, we must bury the remains of the gentiles for the sake of peace; however, they are not buried next to each other.

Rav Shlomo Kluger, in his work “Tuv Ta’am Vada’at,” reported that he was asked by a community if they could tear down the wall that separated the Jewish cemetery from the non-Jewish cemetery. He responded that it is certainly not allowed. He was upset that they even asked the question. They thought such a proposal might be permitted, and he was deeply upset by such thoughts. The Gemara in Gittin 61 stated, kovrin meitei nochrim im meitei Yisrael mipnei darkei shalom—literally, they bury the deceased gentiles with the deceased Jews for the sake of peace—yet Rashi went out of his way to clarify that it did not mean that they are buried side by side. The Beraita only meant to teach that just as we must ensure that Jews get buried, we must ensure that gentiles are buried; however, they are to be buried in separate areas. If there would be no wall between the Jewish cemetery and the gentile burial plot, Halacha would view all the graves as being side by side. To do so would violate the mandate of ain kovrin tzadik etzel rasha. (Mesivta)

Gittin 62

Feeding the Fish

The Gemara related a conversation that Rav Huna and Rav Chisda had with the scholar Geneiva. When Geneiva saw them he told them, “Peace to you, kings, peace to you, kings.” They asked him, “Why did you refer to us as royalty?” He responded, “You are Torah scholars and the verse in Proverbs declares about Torah, ‘bi melachim yimlochu,—with me kings will rule.’ Any scholar of Torah is therefore a king, and it also is appropriate to greet a king twice, just as people would greet King David.” They then offered to give him some food to eat. He responded that since he had been traveling he had not fed his animal and Rav Yehuda taught in the name of Rav that one may not taste anything until he feeds his animal, as the verse stated, “And I will give grass in your field for your animal,” and afterwards,”And you will eat and be satiated.”

Ya’avetz was asked by a person who owned a dog and a cat if based on the lesson of Geneiva he was obligated to first feed his pets before he would himself eat. Ya’avetz answered that the obligation to feed the animals first applies to large animals, like a cow and a horse. These animals need a lot of food. If they are not regularly fed they will feel pain since it may not be so easy for them to find sufficient food on their own. Therefore, to train man to be compassionate, the Torah obligated the owner of the large animals to feed them before he feeds himself. Dogs and cats are different. Dogs rummage through garbage and find plenty to eat. Cats find leftovers and are usually full. Therefore, one may eat before he feeds his dog and cat.

Based on this ruling, Shut Mishneh Halachot taught that if one owns an aquarium with fish he must feed the fish before he eats his own meals. If they are in an aquarium, fish do not have the ability to find their own food. As a result, the owner must see to it that they eat first before he eats, to acquire the attribute of mercy. However, if the fish bowl has plants growing in it, and those plants can provide enough sustenance for the fish, then one may eat before he feeds his fish, for those fish would be like dogs and cats who have food available to them at all times. (Mesivta)

Gittin 63

There was once a man from Buenos Aires who divorced his wife. Many years later he asked the beit din for a copy of his get. He immediately realized a problem. The get only identified his city as Buenos, for the scribe had left out the word Aires. The local rabbi reasoned that the get should be valid even though the name of the city was not properly identified, but since the question related to the very serious and sensitive issue of a married woman, he sent the question to Rav Meshulam Roth, author of Teshuvot Kol Mevaser, for a ruling.

Rav Roth ruled that, unfortunately, the get was not kosher.

Rav Roth quoted Gittin 63. Gittin 63 records that there was once a woman named Nefasa whose husband had told witnesses to write a get and divorce her. The witnesses mistakenly wrote that her name was Tefasa. The Gemara teaches that this get was now merely a shard of pottery and completely worthless. Based on this statement, Rav Roth taught that if the name of the city was misspelled, it too would fully disqualify the get. This would be especially true in the case of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires means good air in Spanish. These are two distinct words. The get that only has the word Buenos is missing the second word and is therefore disqualified. Rav Roth pointed out that if someone’s name was Ben-Tzion and the scribe only wrote in the get the first name, Ben, it would not be kosher. Therefore, he taught that the same standard should apply to a locale whose name is made up of two words.

By Rabbi Zev Reichman

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