Daf Yomi

For the week ending 5 February 2005 / 26 Shevat 5765

Niddah 44 - 50

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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The Divine Hairdresser

In the first of the sheva brachot the seven blessings made at a wedding and at the festive meals during the seven following days we pay tribute to those who demonstrate that G-d "created everything with the capacity to glorify Him" by emulating the Creators role in bringing joy to a chatan and kalla. All the wedding arrangements for Adam and Chava were made by their Creator to bring them the ultimate happiness, and those who participate in the simcha of newlyweds are glorifying the Creator by following in His ways.

To this explanation of the blessing provided by Rashi (Mesechta Ketubot 8a) we may add what we find in our gemara. The Sage Reish Lakish quoted Rabbi Shimon ben Manasia as stating that G-d even acted as the hairdresser for the first bride. The passage (Bereishet 2:22) which speaks of the Creator "building up the woman" is interpreted by him as building up her hair in an attractive fashion before presenting her to her groom.

It appears that this approach is based on the position that Chava was not built from a rib but was completely formed together with Adam and then separated from him. Nevertheless, the term "building", points out Maharsha, applies to the curling of Chavas hair and serves as the basis for the ruling in Mesechta Shabbat that one who performs such a process on Shabbat is guilty of violating the law against construction on the Day of Rest.

  • Niddah 45b

Unripe Figs

Both in Tanach and Talmud we find the beauty of nature serving as a code for important messages.

When our Sages wished to delicately describe the early stage of a womans physical development, they used the term paga an unripe fruit. This is taken from the passage in Shir Hashirim (2:13) which speaks of "the fig tree putting forth its unripe fruits".

In his commentary there Rashi explains this phrase in the light of our Sages approach to this part of the Song of Songs as a parable for the Exodus from Egyptian bondage. The preceding passages speak of the winter passing, the rain ceasing and the time of singing arriving. This refers to the end of the exile and the suffering in Egypt and the song which a liberated Israel sang at the crossing of Yam Suf. The climax of this liberation, of course, came with the entry into Eretz Yisrael which is symbolized by the blossoming of the figs which were to be brought as bikkurim first fruits to the Sanctuary.

This theme carries on in the phrase which follows "the grapevine blossoms give their scent" which is a reference to the wine which was poured as a libation on the altar.

  • Niddah 47a

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