YESHIVAT HAR ETZION
ISRAEL KOSCHITZKY VIRTUAL BEIT MIDRASH (VBM)
Introduction to the Study of Talmud
by Rav Michael Siev
A scan of the classic printed daf can be found at:
Key words and phrases in Hebrew and Aramaic are marked in blue, and their translation/explanation can be seen by placing the cursor over them.
From time to time, the shiur will include instructions to stop reading and do some task on your own. This will be marked by a
Within the quoted texts, my explanations and additions are also noted in red.
Last week, we continued our discussion of showing respect for elders and Torah scholars, and particularly standing in their honor when they pass by. The gemara taught that one need not stand if it will cause a loss of money, and that therefore artisans should not interrupt their work in order to stand for passing sages.
We resume this week with the second to last short line on 33a.
But we learn in a mishna: "All artisans stand before them (those bringing bikkurim) and ask after their well-being,
and say to them: 'Our brothers, men of such and such a place, may your coming be to peace!'"
Rabbi Yochanan said: "From before them they stand,
from before Torah scholars they do not stand."
Rabbi Yosei son of Avin said: "Come and see how dear is a mitzva in its time,
for before them they stand, before Torah scholars they do not stand."
And maybe it is different there,
for if so (that artisans need not stand), you make them (those bringing bikkurim) stumble in the future.
והתנן: כל בעלי אומניות עומדים מפניהם ושואלים בשלומם,
ואומרים להם: אחינו, אנשי מקום פלוני, בואכם לשלום!
א"ר (אמר רבי) יוחנן: מפניהם עומדים,
מפני תלמידי חכמים אין עומדים.
אמר רבי יוסי בר אבין: בוא וראה כמה חביבה מצוה בשעתה,
שהרי מפניהם עומדים, מפני תלמידי חכמים אין עומדים.
ודלמא שאני התם,
דא"כ (דאם כן), אתה מכשילן לעתיד לבא.
The gemara here questions its previous assertion that artisans need not interrupt their activities in order to rise in honor of a zaken: this ruling seems to contradict a mishna (Bikkurim 3:3)! A word of background is in order here. The Torah (Shemot 23:19) introduces the mitzva of bikkurim, which requires that one take the first of one's crop to the Beit Ha-mikdash (Temple), where a special ceremony is performed and the fruits are given to the kohanim. The mishna describes how the procession of people taking their crops to Jerusalem was a joyous one, and that when they would arrive, all of the artisans would rise to greet and bless them. This implies that even artisans must interrupt their work and rise for those who deserve honor!
Rabbi Yochanan answers that this does not contradict the previous ruling regarding standing for Torah scholars: although artisans would stand for those bringing the bikkurim, they would not stand for Torah scholars. Rabbi Yosei bar Avin notes the significance of this statement: apparently, doing a mitzva in its appropriate time is so significant that a person doing so is more deserving of honor than a Torah scholar! The gemara, however, offers an alternate explanation, which would preclude Rabbi Yosei's conclusion: perhaps the reason artisans would stand for those bringing bikkurim while they are exempt from rising in honor of Torah scholars is not because those bringing bikkurim were more worthy of honor but because there was a greater level of danger if their honor were to be slighted. The rabbis understood that if the people were greeted warmly and accorded honor when they brought their bikkurim, they would be more likely to continue to do so in the future. On the other hand, if the people were to be ignored, their resolve to bring bikkurim the following year might be weakened.
Back to the Gemara
We continue with the gemara on the fifth long line of 33a.
The master said: "'One might [think that he must] stand before him in the lavatory and bathhouse.'
And [does he] not? But Rabbi Chiyya was sitting in the bathhouse,
and Rabbi Shimon son of Rebbi passed by and he (Rabbi Chiyya) did not stand before him,
and he took umbrage,
and he came and said to his father:
'Two books I taught him in the book of Tehillim and he did not stand before me!'
And further, Bar Kappara, and some say Rabbi Shemu'el son of Rabbi Yosei,
was sitting in a bathhouse;
Rabbi Shimon son of Rebbi entered and came, and he (the other sage) did not stand in front of it,
and he (Rabbi Shimon) took umbrage, and came and said to his father:
'Two thirds of a third I taught him in Torat Kohanim and he did not stand before me!'
And he (Rebbi) said to him: 'Perhaps he is sitting and thinking about them (those laws of Torat Kohanim).'
The reason is that he was sitting and thinking about them;
without that, no!"
אמר מר: יכול יעמוד מפניו מבית הכסא ומבית המרחץ.
ולא? והא ר' חייא הוה יתיב בי מסחותא,
וחליף ואזיל רבי שמעון בר רבי ולא קם מקמיה,
ואתא אמר ליה לאבוה:
שני חומשים שניתי לו בספר תהלים, ולא עמד מפני!
ותו, בר קפרא, ואמרי לה ר' שמואל בר ר' יוסי
הוה יתיב בי מסחותא;
על ואזיל ר' שמעון בר רבי ולא קם מקמיה,
ואיקפד, ואתא א"ל לאבוה:
שני שלישי שליש שניתי לו בתורת כהנים, ולא עמד מפני!
ואמר לו: שמא בהן יושב ומהרהר;
טעמא דבהן יושב ומהרהר,
הא לאו הכי לא!
The gemara here begins by quoting a passage from the beraita that was presented on 32b, which derived various laws from the pasuk that commands one to stand in the presence of elders. The first issue discussed in that beraita is what type of "elder" must be honored; we have studied the gemara's discussion of that topic over the past two weeks. The gemara then analyzes the next ruling, that one need not give honor to elders in a way that will lead to monetary loss; we concluded our study of that analysis at the beginning of today's shiur. At this point, the gemara moves on to analyze one of following statements of that beraita: because the pasuk uses the word hiddur, honor, the beraita derives that the law of standing only applies in a place where there is honor; thus, one would not have to stand if one is located in a bathroom or bathhouse, which are places inherently devoid of honor. Mar (literally, "Master") now challenges this ruling based on the precedent of Rabbi Shimon bar Rebbi. Rabbi Chiyya was once in a bathhouse, and did not stand when Rabbi Shimon passed by. Rabbi Shimon was insulted by this lack of honor, and complained to his father, the famed Rabbi Yehuda ha-Nassi (known simply as "Rebbi"), that despite the fact that he had taught Rabbi Chiyya a great deal (the book of Tehillim is sub-divided into five books; thus, Rabbi Shimon had taught Rabbi Chiyya about two-fifths of Tehillim), Rabbi Chiyya did not stand when he passed by, an indication that Rabbi Chiyya did not view Rabbi Shimon as his teacher. This incident seems to prove that one is required to stand in honor of a scholar or teacher, even in a bathhouse!
Mar supports his question with an additional incident: Bar Kappara, or perhaps it was Rabbi Shemu'el, was similarly sitting in a bathhouse and failed to rise when Rabbi Shimon bar Rebbi entered. Rabbi Shimon was insulted and complained to his father that he had taught the other sage two thirds of a third (i.e., two ninths) of Torat Kohanim, and yet Bar Kappara (or perhaps Rabbi Shemu'el) still did not view him as a teacher. Torat Kohanim is a medrash halakha, a compilation of halakhic derivations, based on the book of Vayikra. Rebbi attempted to pacify his son by suggesting that perhaps his student had not noticed that Rabbi Shimon had entered because he was engrossed in thought about the very subject matter that Rabbi Shimon had taught him. Again, the clear implication is that one is required to rise in honor of one's teacher even in a bathhouse, which contradicts the beraita's ruling that one is not obligated to do so!
The gemara answers:
There is no difficulty: this in the inner room, this in the outer room.
This is also logical,
for Rabba son of Bar (son of) Chana said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan:
"In every place it is permitted to think (about Torah)
except for the bathhouse and bathroom!"
Perhaps accident is different.
לא קשיא: הא בבתי גואי, הא בבתי בראי.
ה"נ (הכא נמי) מסתברא,
דאמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר ר' יוחנן:
בכל מקום מותר להרהר,
חוץ מבית המרחץ ומבית הכסא!
דילמא לאונסיה שאני.
The gemara resolves the difficulty by differentiating between different areas on the premises of a bathhouse. The incidents with Rabbi Shimon took place in the outer room of the bathhouse, where people are fully clothed. Although this is on the premises of the bathhouse, it is considered an inherently honorable place. The beraita which ruled that one need not stand in such a place was referring to the inner room of the bathhouse, where people undress; such a place is devoid of honor, and the rules of honoring elders do not apply there.
The gemara attempts to prove that the stories with Rabbi Shimon occurred in the outer room of the bathhouse: Rabba bar Bar Chana taught in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that one may not think about Torah in a bathhouse or a bathroom, as it is not respectful to the Torah to have it in mind in such locations. Thus, if Rebbi was trying to defend the conduct of the sage who did not rise in Rabbi Shimon's presence, he would not do so by suggesting that the sage was violating a different precept in that he was thinking about Torah in an unclean place. Clearly, then, the story must have happened in the outer room of the bathhouse, where it is permitted to think about Torah - and where, similarly, one is required to rise in honor of elders and teachers.
The gemara rejects this proof: if one is unable to refrain from thinking Torah thoughts while in an unclean place, he is not held responsible for doing so. Rashi (s.v. Le-onsei) explains that if one is deeply engrossed in Torah study before he enters an unclean place, it will be very difficult to completely stop thinking about his studies. Thus, it would not necessarily have been a violation for the sage to have been thinking such thoughts at that time.
Despite the fact that the gemara has rejected the proof to its answer, the answer itself still stands; the discrepancy between the ruling of the beraita and the incidents involving Rabbi Shimon may be explained by differentiating between different areas in the bathhouse complex.
Back to the Gemara
We resume from the two-dots about two-thirds of the way down the page on 33a.
One might [think] that he may close his eyes like one who did not see him.
Are we dealing with evildoers?
Rather, one might [think] he may close his eyes before the time of obligation comes,
such that when the time of obligation comes,
he does not see him in order to stand in his presence?
[Scripture] states: "You shall stand . . . and you shall fear."
יכול יעצים עיניו כמי שלא ראהו.
אטו ברשיעי עסקינן?
אלא, יכול יעצים עיניו מקמי דלימטיה זמן חיובא,
דכי מטא זמן חיובא
הא לא חזי ליה דקאים מקמיה?
ת"ל (תלמוד לומר): תקום ויראת.
The gemara begins by quoting another statement from the beraita on 32b, which prohibits one from closing one's eyes so as not to have to stand in the presence of an elder. The gemara questions why we need to derive this law from the wording of the pasuk; are we dealing with evildoers who purposely fail to live up to the their halakhic responsibilities? Why would one have ever thought that closing one's eyes removes the obligation of standing in the presence of an elder?
The gemara clarifies the meaning of the beraita's ruling: one may not close one's eyes before the elder comes close enough to obligate others to stand in his honor. Even though the person who has closed his eyes will actually not know when he becomes obligated to stand, this is prohibited: Scripture mentions "takum" ("you shall rise") and "ve-yareita" ("you shall fear") in the same verse in order to teach us that one must not take action to ensure that he does not have to stand in the presence of elders.
We will continue our discussion next week with the gemara's explanation of how close a zaken has to come in order for one to be obligated to rise in his honor, and a discussion of the full parameters of the rule expressed here.