For the week ending 27 February 2010 / 12 Adar I 5770

Sanhedrin 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Judging the head of a tribe in Israel or a false prophet
  • King David's harp and a decision to make war
  • Adding on to Yerushalayim or the Beit Hamikdash
  • Creation of lower courts
  • Limitations on mitzvah of destroying idol worshipping city
  • The first Sanhedrin and the Levite redemption of the firstborn
  • Requirements for creating a court and serving on one
  • The code names of certain Sages
  • Rules of the kohen gadol and the king
  • David and King Shaul in halachic dispute
  • The heroes who resisted temptation
  • King David at the funeral of Avner
  • The three mitzvot commanded upon entering Eretz Yisrael
  • Limitations on the king in regard to wives, money and horses
  • Special Sefer Torah of the king
  • Importance of a wife
  • Why a kohen can drink wine today

Purim Drinking and Sleeping

  • Sanhedrin 22b

In honor of upcoming Purim we will share some "Purim Torah" based on a daf learned this week.

In its discussion of the Torah prohibition against a kohen performing the sacred service in the Beit Hamikdash while he is intoxicated, the question arises as to how sobriety can be restored after drinking wine. The conclusion is that if only revi’it of wine (the amount required for kiddush on Shabbat and Festivals) is imbibed, a short nap will make the drinker sober. If he has drunk more than that amount any slumber which follows will make him more intoxicated.

On the basis of a gemara (Mesechta Megillah 7b), the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 695:2) rules that "one is required on Purim to drink until he reaches the stage in which he can no longer distinguish between 'cursed be Haman, blessed be Mordechai.' "

In contrast to this tall order Rabbi Moshe Isserles (RaMA) cites an opinion that "one need not get that drunk but should drink more than is his custom and then go to sleep, which is a state in which he cannot make the above-mentioned distinction."

A simple reading of this formula leaves us with a problem of understanding how sleep following a little extra drinking qualifies as the intoxication mentioned in the gemara in Megillah. It has therefore been suggested that this approach is based on our gemara. By drinking more than is his custom – a revi’it of wine – and then taking a nap, one truly achieves a state of intoxication.

What the Sages Say

"Anyone who teaches Torah to another is considered as if he gave birth to him."

  • Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni in the name of Rabbi Yonatan - Sanhedrin 19b

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