For the week ending 31 March 2012 / 7 Nisan 5772

Keritot 9 - 15

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • When atonement sacrifices are required even for willful violations
  • The sacrifices of a woman after childbirth
  • The "sliding scale" of certain atonement sacrifices
  • When a man and woman have different atonements for the same sin
  • Witnesses and defendant denial in regard to sin of eating forbidden food
  • How one act of eating can result in multiple sins
  • Time span for combining two acts of eating
  • Intoxication's effect on sacrificial service and halachic rulings
  • Multiple sins in one act of sexual relations

No Escape

May one teach Talmud while intoxicated?

The answer to this question depends on how we understand the Torah's command to Aharon and his sons to refrain from drinking intoxicating wine "in order to distinguish between the sacred and the profane… and to teach the Children of Israel all the decrees that G-d had spoken to them through Moshe" (Vayikra 9-11).

Our Sages saw this as extending to Torah scholars refraining from teaching Torah while intoxicated. One view is that it is not only forbidden to offer halachic rulings in such a state, but to even teach Talmud. Rabbi Yosse ben Rabbi Yehuda, however, contends that Talmud can be taught since it is not direct rendering of halachic judgment.

The Sage Rav accepted the latter position. He nevertheless refrained from giving a public Torah lecture on Midrash the day after a Festival because of the drinking he had indulged in on the holy day. The gemara's explanation is that wherever a Sage like Rav was present he would inevitably be asked by people attending his lecture questions in halacha which he would not be permitted to answer.

  • Keritot 13b

What the Sages Say

"How do we know that we accept a convert even when there is no possibility for him to bring a sacrifice? Because the Torah states (Bamidbar 15:14) 'When a proselyte sojourns with you or one who is among you throughout your generation...'"

  • Rabbi Acha bar Yaakov - Keritot 9a

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