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Tzvi Gershon Ben Yoel (Harvey Felsen) o”h
May the studying of the Daf Notes be a zechus for his neshamah
and may his soul find peace in Gan Eden and be bound up in the Bond of life.
The Mishna states: Only a mourner of a close relative may rend his garments, reveal their shoulders or get served the mourner’s meal. The mourner’s meal is served on an upright bed (the people who are comforting the mourner). (24b)
The Gemora states that the laws discussed in the Mishna apply to a Torah scholar that passes away, as well.
The Gemora asks: The halacha is that we rend our garments on the loss of a righteous person, as well; it is written in a braisa: One who cries and mourns over a righteous person will have all his sins forgiven; why does the Mishna state the halacha of rending garment only by a close relative? The Gemora answers: The Mishna is referring to a case where the deceased was not a righteous person.
The Gemora qualifies the Mishna further: The Mishna is referring to a case where the people were not there at the time the soul departed, for otherwise, they would be obligated to rend their garments. (25a)
When Rav Huna departed, they intended to place a sefer Torah on his bier (as if to say: He has fulfilled what was written here). Rav Chisda said to them: Shall we now act against his will? Has not Rav Tachlifha said: I once observed when Rav Huna wanted to sit down on a cot on which a sefer Torah was lying, and he turned over a pitcher on the ground, placing the sefer Torah on it and only then did he sit down? It is evident that he was of the opinion that one must not sit on a cot on which a sefer Torah is placed?
When the bier was to be removed from the house, they realized that it could not pass through the door; and they intended to remove it through the roof opening. Rav Chisda said to them: We have a tradition from Rav Huna that the proper respect for a deceased Torah scholar demands that he be removed through the door opening. They then wanted to place him on a bier of smaller dimensions, but Rav Chisda again remarked: We have a tradition from him that the proper respect for a deceased Torah scholar demands that he be removed in the first bier he was placed on. They broke open the doorway, and passed him through.
Rabbi Abba began the following eulogy: Our teacher was worthy that the Heavenly Presence should rest upon him, but the fact that he resided in Bavel prevented it. (The Gemora asks from Yechezkel who received prophecy outside Eretz Yisroel. The Gemora answers that this was an exception to the rule or that he was initially in Eretz Yisroel.)
When his corpse arrived in Eretz Yisroel, Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Assi were informed that Rav Huna had arrived. They said (under the impression that he was alive): When we were in Bavel, we could not raise our heads on account of him (we were embarrassed of ourselves on the account of his great learning), and now he has followed us here. They were then told: His coffin has arrived. Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Assi went out (to accompany the coffin). Rabbi Aila and Rabbi Chanina remained behind (they continued their studying ). Others, however, said that only Rabbi Chanina remained. What was the reason of those who went out? The Gemora cites a braisa: When a coffin is being removed from one place to another, those present must form a row and must pronounce the mourning benediction and the words of consolation. The reason, however, of those who did not go out is from the following braisa: When a coffin is being removed from one place to another, those present need not form a row and they are not required to pronounce the mourning benediction and the words of consolation. The Gemora asks: These two braisos contradict each other? The Gemora answers: One braisa refers to a case where the skeleton is still intact; the other where it does not. Rav Huna’s skeleton was still intact but they were not aware of that.
They then began to deliberate where to bury him and they concluded to place him alongside of Rabbi Chiya. They said: Rav Huna disseminated Torah as much as Rabbi Chiya.
The question arose: Who should enter Rabbi Chiya’s crypt in order to bury Rav Huna? Rabbi Chaga said to them: I will do it, for I was an established student at the age of eighteen. I never experienced a seminal emission, and I have served Rabbi Chiya and know his deeds. It once happened that one of his tefillin straps turned over without him realizing and he fasted forty days because of it.
Rabbi Chaga brought in the coffin into the crypt, he noticed that Yehudah, Rabbi Chiya’s older son was lying at the right of his father and Chizkiyah, Rabbi Chiya’s younger son at his left. He heard Yehudah say to his brother: Rise, for it would not be proper for Rav Huna to stand and wait to be buried. When Chizkiyah arose, a pillar of fire arose with him. Rabbi Chaga became frightened, lifted up the coffin of Rav Huna to protect himself from the fire and then left the crypt. (25a)
When Rabbah bar Huna and Rav Hamnuna died in Bavel, they were brought on camels to Eretz Yisroel. They came to a narrow bridge, where the two camels could not pass at once, the camels remained standing. An Ishmaelite merchant was surprised and asked the sages to explain to him why the camels stopped. They told him: Each of the deceased wishes to respect the other and let him go first. The merchant said: My opinion is that Rabbah bar Huna should have preference because his father was Torah scholar, as well. He had hardly concluded his remarks, when the camel bearing Rabbah bar Huna passed the bridge. As a punishment for not paying proper respect to Rav Hamnuna, the molars and front teeth of the Ishmaelite fell out. (25a – 25b)
The Gemora quotes two eulogies which were said in honor of Rabbah bar Huna and Rav Hamnuna. (25b)
Rav Ashi asked Bar Papik the eulogizer: What will you say about me when I die? He replied: I will say: If upon cedar trees a flame has fallen, what shall the hyssops of the wall do? A Livyasan was lifted from the sea with a fish hook; what shall the small fry do? Into a rushing stream dryness descended; what shall the stagnant pond waters do?
Another eulogizer, named Bar Avin, said to Bar Kipuk: Heaven forbid that a fish hook or a flame should be used in orations over the righteous. Bar Kipuk asked Bar Avin: What, then, would you say? Bar Avin replied: I would say: Weep for the mourners but not for the lost (deceased), for he is destined to go to Gan Eden and the mourners will be left sighing.
Rav Ashi felt discouraged (for one eulogizer used the words fish hook and flame and the other used the word lost, when in fact the soul of the righteous is not lost at all), and as a result, their feet became inverted. When Rav Ashi died, neither of these eulogizers came to eulogize him.
This is what Rav Ashi meant when he said: Neither Bar Kipuk nor Bar Avin are fit to perform the ceremony of chalitzah. (since the Gemora Yevamos 103a states that those who have inverted feet are not fit to perform chalitzah). (25b)
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POSITIONING RAV HUNA'S COFFIN UPRIGHT
The Gemora describes how Rav Chaga brought Rav Huna's coffin into the burial cave in which Rebbi Chiya and his sons, Yehudah and Chizkiyah, were buried. When Chizkiyah arose to make room for Rav Huna, a terrifying pillar of fire appeared. Rav Chaga, in his fright, erected the coffin of Rav Huna in an upright position and fled the burial cave. The Gemora adds that "the reason why he was not punished was because he positioned the coffin of Rav Huna in an upright position."
What does the Gemora mean when it says that Rav Chaga was not punished for this reason? On the contrary, he should have been punished for placing Rav Huna's coffin in such a disrespectful position. (Leaving the deceased in an upright position is disrespectful to the deceased, as the Gemora says in Bava Basra 101b.)
(a) RASHI here (and RASHI KESAV YAD) implies that Rav Chaga stood up Rav Huna's coffin in front of him so that the pillar of fire would not harm him. However, to protect oneself with the coffin of the deceased is also disrespectful. Why did it serve to protect him?
The BEN YEHOYADA explains that Rav Chaga did not attempt to shield himself with Rav Huna's coffin against the pillar of fire. Rather, Rav Chaga did not want to gaze at the pillar of fire. Gazing at the pillar of fire would have been disrespectful because the pillar of fire represented the glory of Hashem (see Chagigah 16a). His act of standing up Rav Huna's coffin was not an act of self-protection, but an act done out of honor for Hashem and for the deceased.
(b) RAV NISAN ZAKS in his notes to the PERUSH RABEINU GERSHOM ME'OR HA'GOLAH explains that Rav Chaga's action was not an attempt to protect himself from the fire. Rather, his intention was to protect the coffin of Rav Huna from the fire by standing it upright. When Rashi says that "he stood up the coffin before the pillar of fire so that it should not harm him," he means so that it should not harm Rav Huna.
(c) The Girsa of RABEINU CHANANEL differs slightly from the Girsa in our text. According to his Girsa, the Gemora cryptically says that "the reason why the members of the household of the Reish Galusa (d'Vei Reish Galusa) were not punished was because he stood up the coffin of Rav Huna in an upright position." This is also the Girsa of RABEINU TAM in SEFER HA'YASHAR (#513) and PERUSH RABEINU SHLOMO BEN HA'YASOM and other Rishonim. The DIKDUKEI SOFRIM (in Hagahos) writes that he does not know what the Gemora means according to this Girsa.
Perhaps the Gemora according to this Girsa means as follows. The disgrace shown to Rav Huna in his burial (by being interred vertically) served as an atonement not only for him but also for his descendants who comprised the family of the Reish Galusa (as Tosfos points out, Rabeinu Chananel maintains that "Rav Huna" here refers to Rav Huna the Reish Galusa). Accordingly, the meaning of the Gemora is clear when it says, "The reason why the members of the household of the Reish Galusa were not punished was because he stood up the coffin of Rav Huna in an upright position."
Our Gemora states that at Rav Huna’s funeral, R’ Abba began a Hesped, saying that if not for the fact that Rav Huna had lived in Bavel (outside Eretz Yisroel, which is deemed permanently tamei), the Shechinah would have undoubtedly rested upon him. Rav Chisda’s son asked, doesn’t the verse say that Yechezkel received prophecy in Kasdim? Rav Chisda answered: since Yechezkel had begun his prophecies in Eretz Yisroel, the Shechinah remained with him when he went to Kasdim.
The Zohar states that the presence of Yosef’s coffin in Egypt ensured that Bnei Yisroel would be able to survive the bondage. But how could Yosef, who had so withstood tests, be subjected to the Tum’ah of an Egyptian burial? The Zohar answers that we see how Yechezkel continued to enjoy the Shechinah while in the land of Kasdim on the river Kevar. Since he was by the river, and water of Chutz LaAretz does not become tamei like the land of Chutz LaAretz, Yechezkel was able to retain the Shechinah. As such, Yosef was also protected from tumah by being sunk in the Nile.
The verse says that the well of Lechai Roi was situated between Kadesh and Bored. The Targum says that these were also known as Rekem and Chegra. The Mishna (Gittin 2a) indicates that Rekem and Cheger were Chutz LaAretz, thus requiring one who delivered a bill of divorce from there to say he had witnessed its writing and signing. As such, how could an angel appear before Hagar in the vicinity of Lechai Roi which was Chutz LaAretz, if the Shechinah does not rest on anyone in Chutz LaAretz?
The Ramas Shmuel suggests that for this reason, the verse took pains to identify exactly where the angel appeared to Hagar, since the Shechinah can appear even in Chutz LaAretz, near water.