Zevachim 65 - 71
How Much is Enough?
It is enough to learn from a kal v’chomer that the result derived for the “target case” should be equal to (but not greater than) that which exists in the source case.”
The rule of kal v’chomer reasoning is one of the familiar methods widely used throughout Shas to explain how numerous unstated Torah laws can be derived from the words written in the Torah. Also referred to as “a fortiori” reasoning, this logical methodology is something that “a person may do on his own” (a very wise person, that is, who is highly attuned to Torah logic). Not every other method can be “man-made” — for example, a gezera shavah rule for deriving the halacha in one case from that in another, based on the appearance of the same (or similar) wording in both cases, requires a clear tradition from one’s Torah teacher.
The premise of the kal v’chomer methodology is as follows: If the Torah reveals a certain halachic feature in a case that is kal (relatively less strict), then that same feature should “all the more so” be true in a chomer (stricter) case, despite the Torah not explicitly stating it in that chomer case. This method of kal v’chomer is taught in the beraita of Rabbi Yishmael (also known as “the thirteen rules by which the Torah is interpreted”), which is found in the Siddur as part of the introduction to our daily morning prayers. (This logic not only works to learn a stringency that exists in the kal case to apply in a chomer case, but, by the same logic, can be used to learn that a leniency that exists in a chomer case should also apply to a kal case.)
However, we find in our sugya a limitation to the application of the kal v’chomer rule. This limitation is of Torah origin and is called daiyo, meaning sufficient or enough. What does this mean? Despite the second case being stricter in nature, we can only extend from the kal case to the chomer case the exact feature of the kal case, but we cannot derive that the chomer case should deserve a more serious halacha than that which exists in the kal case.
A beraita in our sugya teaches the source for this concept of daiyo. Miriam, the sister of Moshe and Aharon, spoke negatively about Moshe, and as punishment was afflicted by
The logic is that if a parent’s rebuke should lead to a seven-day punishment, a rebuke from
Actually, Tosefot asks this question and offers two answers. One answer is that we learn in another gemara (Niddah 31a) that Gd’s share in the formation of a new person is double that of a parent. Therefore, we might think that the affront to the honor of
- Zevachim 69b