TalmuDigest

For the week ending 6 November 2010 / 28 Heshvan 5771

Horiyot 8 - 14

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • For which erroneous judgments does the court or kohen gadol bring a sacrifice
  • Other exceptions to the rule of erroneous judgment
  • Which animals are brought as atonement sacrifices by individual or collective sinners
  • The kohen gadol or king who lost their position after sinning or only gained it after sinning
  • The astronomical expertise of Rabbi Yehoshua
  • An improper mitzvah and a proper sin
  • The sinner who cannot offer a sacrifice
  • The kohen gadol anointed with oil and one who is otherwise appointed
  • Priorities in sacred service and in lifesaving

Sinai and Mountain Mover

  • Horiyot 14a

When the Sages in Babylon had to choose a leader, there were two outstanding candidates. Rabbi Yosef was renowned as "Sinai" because of his encyclopedic knowledge of Torah. The Sage Rabba was distinguished as a "mover of mountains" because of his analytic skills.

The Sages in Eretz Yisrael advised them to appoint Rabbi Yosef because "everyone depends on the owner of the wheat", a reference to the importance of information. Rabbi Yosef declined the offer of the position and Rabba served as leader for 22 years.

During all those years Rabbi Yosef, in his great humility, avoided doing anything that might infringe upon Rabba's honor. Although occasional bloodletting was a standard health practice in those days, he never summoned a surgeon to his home. Rashi offers two different explanations for this behavior. One is that he felt that summoning the surgeon to his own home might appear to be a show of authority. He therefore waited until bloodletting was done in the home of Rabba and he would go there. Another explanation is that throughout all those years Rabbi Yosef was so preoccupied studying Torah with Rabba that he never had time for bloodletting.

In his commentary on Chumash, Ramban offers a totally different perspective of Rabbi Yosef's behavior. He was so totally attached to G-d that he had no need for human healing "for there is no need for doctors in the home of the righteous."

What the Sages Say

"G-d does not withhold reward even for only using dignified language."

  • Rabbi Chiya bar Abba on behalf of Rabbi Yochanan - Horiyot 10b

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