Daf Notes is currently being dedicated to the neshamah of
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.
Rav Acha bar Yaakov said: There is a heaven above the heads of the Chayos as is stated in a verse in Yechezkel.
The Gemora warns: Until this point one can discuss, but one cannot discuss any further. In the Book of Ben Sira it is written that one should not expound on matters that are concealed from him, one should not investigate what is covered from him. One can only contemplate matters of which he has been granted permission, because one has no dealing with hidden matters. (13a)
The Gemora cites a braisa (which will discuss the distance of the seven heavens from earth): When Nevuchadnezzar king of Babylon declared, “I will ascend over the tops of the clouds; I will liken myself to the Most High,” a heavenly voice responded: “Wicked one, son of the wicked one, descendant of Nimrod the wicked one, who in his reign caused the entire world to rebel. Man’s years are seventy years. From the earth till the rakiya is a distance of five hundred years. The thickness of the rakiya is five hundred years. The distance between each rakiya is five hundred years. Above all the rakiyos are the holy Chayos. The feet of the Chayos alone correspond to the measurements mentioned above. The ankles of the Chayos correspond to all of the above mentioned measurements. Corresponding to all of those measurements are the thighs of the Chayos. The thighbone (which is near the thigh) of the Chayos corresponds to all of the above mentioned Chayos. The thigh of the Chayos corresponds to all of the above mentioned measurements. The torsos of the Chayos corresponds to all of the above mentioned measurements. The neck of the Chayos corresponds to all of the above mentioned measurements. The head of the Chayos corresponds to all of the above mentioned measurements. The horns of the Chayos correspond to all of the above mentioned measurements. Above all of the previously mentioned measurements is the Heavenly Throne. The feet of the Heavenly Throne correspond to all of the above mentioned measurements. The Heavenly Throne itself corresponds to all of the above mentioned measurements. The living and existing G-d is sitting upon the Heavenly Throne, and you dare declare, ‘I will ascend over the tops of the clouds; I will liken myself to the Most High?’ But to the nether-world have you been lowered, to the bottom of the pit!” (13a)
We learned in the Mishna that we do not expound upon the discussion of the Heavenly Chariot (Ma’aseh Markavah) to an individual.
The Gemora qualifies this ruling by citing a braisa taught by Rabbi Chiya that the Mishna means that we do give over the main ideas of the Ma’aseh Markavah discussion.
This ruling is further qualified by Rabbi Zeira to mean that we only give over the main ideas to the head of the court and to one who takes the matter seriously. Alternatively, we only give over these matters to the head of a court who takes the matter seriously.
Rabbo Ami said: Secrets of the Torah may not be transmitted to another unless he possesses these five attributes:
- Captain of fifty
- A person who is respected
- Teacher of the wise
- Understands mysteries
And Rabbi Ami said: Words of Torah may not be transmitted to an idolater, as it is written: He did not do so for any other nation; such laws – they shall not know them. (13a)
Rabbi Yochanan sought to teach Rabbi Elozar regarding the Ma’aseh Markavah. Rabbi Elozar responded that he was not old enough. When Rabbi Elozar became old enough, Rabbi Yochanan died. Rabbi Assi told Rabbi Elozar that he would teach Rabbi Elozar regarding the Heavenly Chariot. Rabbi Elozar responded, “Had I merited, I would have learned it from Rabbi Yochanan your teacher.”
Rav Yosef knew the Ma’aseh Merkavah; the elders of Pumbedisa knew the Ma’aseh Bereishis (Work of Creation). The latter said to the former: Let the master teach us the Ma’aseh Merkavah. He replied: Teach me the Ma’aseh Bereishis. After they had taught him, they said to him: Let the master teach us in the Ma’aseh Merkavah. He replied: We have learned concerning it: Honey and milk are under your tongue. The things that are sweeter than honey and milk should stay under your tongue.
Rabbi Avahu said: It is derived from this verse: The lambs [kevasim] will be your clothing. The things which are the mystery [kivshono] of the world should stay under your clothing.
The Gemora reverts back to the incident: They then said to him: We have already studied Ma’aseh Merkavah as far as this verse (the last two verses in the first chapter of Yechezkel): And He said to me: Son of man. He replied: This is the very essence of Ma’aseh Merkavah (and you have learned a great deal about it).
An objection was raised from a braisa: How far (in Yechezkel) does the portion of the Ma’aseh Merkavah extend? Rebbe said: As far as the last occurrence of ‘va’eira’ – and I saw (but not including it). Rabbi Yitzchak said: As far as ‘Chashmal.’ [These are before the last two verses!?]
The Gemora answers: As far as ‘va’eira’ (or the ‘Chashmal’) may be taught (in a regular way); from there and on, only the heads of chapters may be transmitted. Some, however, say: As far as ‘va’eira,’ the heads of chapters may be transmitted; from there and on, if he is a scholar able to understand by himself, yes (he may learn it independently); if not, no.
The Gemora asks: But may one expound the secrets of the ‘Chashmal’ at all? For behold there was once a child who expounded the secrets of the ‘Chashmal’ and a fire went forth and consumed him!?
The Gemora answers: The case of the child is different, for he had not reached the proper age.
Rav Yehudah said: The memory of Chananya ben Chizkiyah should be extolled. Due to the seeming contradictions between the Torah and verses in Yechezkel, people wanted to conceal it. Chananya went to an upper room with three hundred barrels of oil (so the candle would be long lasting), and proceeded to resolve all the seeming contradictions, redeeming the book ofYechezkel from concealment.
The Gemora cites a braisa: There was once a child who was reading at his teacher’s house the Book of Yechezkel, and he understood what ‘Chashmal’ was, whereupon a fire went forth from ‘Chashmal’ and consumed him. So they sought to conceal the Book of Yechezkel, but Chananya ben Chizkiyah said to them: If he was a prodigy, are they all prodigies!?
The Gemora asks: What does the word ‘Chashmal’ mean?
Rav Yehudah said: The angels that are called Chashmal are thus called because Chashmal is an acrostic for the words Chayos eish mimalelos, i.e. fire emanates from their speech.
A braisa taught: The word Chashmal can be interpreted to mean that at times they are chashos, i.e. silent, and at times they are mimalelos, i.e. speaking. When Hashem talks they are silent, and when HaShem is not talking they speak. (13a – 13b)
The Gemora begins to explain other verses: And the Chayos ran and returned as the appearance of the bazak. What is the meaning of ‘ran and returned’? Rav Yehudah said: Like the flame that goes forth from the mouth of a furnace (and immediately retreats). What is the meaning of ‘as the appearance of the bazak’? Rabbi Yosi ben Chanina said: Like the flame that goes forth from between the shards (of an earthenware utensil).
It is written: And I looked, and, behold, there was a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud with a fire flashing up, and a brilliance surrounding it; and out of the midst, like the color of the Chashmal, out of the midst of the fire.
The Gemora explains: To where did it go? Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav: It went to subdue the entire world under the wicked Nevuchadneztar. And why was this necessary? It was so that the peoples of the world might not say: Into the hand of a low nation the Holy One, Blessed be He, delivered His children.
The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: What caused Me to be a servant to idol worshippers? The iniquities of Israel, they caused Me.
It is written: Now, as I saw the Chayos, behold, one Ofan was on the earth by the chayos. Rabbi Elozar said: It refers to a certain angel, who stands on the earth and his head reaches (into the heavens) up to the Chayos.
In a braisa it was taught: His name is Sandalfon; he is taller than his fellows by a distance of five hundred years’ journey, and he stands behind the Chariot and weaves crowns for his Maker.
The Gemora asks: But is it so? Behold it is written: Blessed be the glory of Hashem from His place; accordingly, no one knows His place!?
The Gemora answers: He pronounces the Name over the crown, and it goes (by itself) and rests on His head. (13b)
Rava said: Everything that Yechezkel saw was also seen by Yeshaya. Yechezkel was akin to a villager who saw the king whereas Yeshaya was akin to one who lives in the city and sees the king. (13b)
Rish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: I shall sing to Hashem for He is exalted above the exalted? I shall sing a song to he who exalts Himself over the exalted ones. For the master said: The king of the wild animals is the lion, the king of the animals is the ox and the king of the birds is the eagle. Man is exalted above all those, and the Holy One, Blessed be He is exalted above all of them and above the entire world. (13b)
The Gemora asks: It is written: As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a human; and the face of a lion on the right side for the four of them; and the face of an ox on the left side for the four of them (and the face of an eagle for the four of them). And elsewhere it is written:And each one had four faces; the first face was the face of the Keruv, and the second face was the face of a human, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle; but the ox is not mentioned!
Rish Lakish explains: The reason for this discrepancy is because Yechezkel prayed to HaShem that the ox should be transformed to a cherub. Yechezkel posited, “Master of the world! Should the prosecutor, i.e. the ox who was worshipped by the Jewish People when they fashioned the Golden Calf in the Wilderness, become a defense attorney?” (13b)
The Gemora asks: What is the meaning of Keruv?
Rabbi Avahu said: Like a child, for so in Babylonia a child is called ‘ravya.’
Rav Pappa said to Abaye: But according to this, what is the meaning of the verse: the first face was the face of the Keruv, and the second face was the face of a human, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle? Aren’t the face of the Keruv and the face of a human the same?
The Gemora answers: One is a big face, and the other is a small face (of a child). (13b)
The Gemora asks: One verse (in Yeshaya) says: Each one had six wings; and another verse (in Yechezkel) says: And each one had four faces, and each one of them had four wings!?
The Gemora answers: This is not difficult, for Yeshaya lived in the time when the Bais HaMikdash was standing, so he saw the angels with six wings, whereas Yechezkel lived immediately prior to the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, so he only saw the angels with four wings.
The Gemora asks: Which of the wings were reduced?
Rav Chananel said in the name of Rav that the wings with which the angels sing HaShem’s praises were diminished, whereas the Chachamim maintain that the wings that cover the angels’ feet were diminished. (13b)
The Gemora asks: One verse says: A thousand thousands ministered to Him, and a myriad myriads stood before Him; and another verse says: Is there any number of His legions?
The Gemora asks: There is no contradiction: One refers to a time when the Temple was standing, and the other refers to a time when the Temple was no longer standing; as it were, the members of the Heavenly Court was diminished.
It is taught in a braisa (to answer the question): Rebbe said in the name of Abba Yosi ben Dosai:A thousand thousands ministered to Him; this is the number of one legion; but of His legions there is no number.
Rabbi Yirmiyah bar Abba said: A thousand thousands ministered to Him — at the fiery stream, for it is written: A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him; a thousand thousands ministered to Him, and a myriad myriads stood before Him.
The Gemora asks: From where does it come forth?
The Gemora answers: From the sweat of the Chayos.
The Gemora asks: And from where does it pour forth?
Rav Zutra bar Toviyah said in the name of Rav: Upon the head of the wicked in Gehinnom, for it is said: Behold, a storm of Hashem is gone forth in fury; a whirling storm shall rest upon the head of the wicked. But Rav Acha bar Yaakov said: Upon those who were ordained, for it is said:Who were ordained before their time, whose foundation was swept away by a river. (13b)
INSIGHTS TO THE DAF
TEACHING TORAH TO AN IDOLATER
Rabbi Ami said: One is forbidden from teaching Torah to a non-Jew. This is derived from the verse [Tehillim 147: 19 – 20]: He declared His word unto Yaakov, His statutes and ordinances unto Israel. He has not done so with any nation; and as for His ordinances, they have not known them.
Tosfos asks: The Gemora in Sanhedrin (59a) states explicitly that a non-Jew who studies Torah is liable for death; accordingly, one should be forbidden to teach him Torah because he is transgressing the prohibition against placing a stumbling block in front of a blind man? The idolater cannot study Torah, so the Jew should not be able to teach him Torah, why is this new verse necessary?
Tosfos states: The gentile is permitted to study the seven Noahide laws as the Gemora Sanhedrin (ibid) states: Rabbi Meir said: A gentile who engages in the study of Torah is like a Kohen Gadol and the Gemora explains that this is referring to the seven laws which are incumbent upon him to adhere to. A Jew has an obligation to teach him these halachos.
Tosfos answers: Our Gemora is referring to a case where the idolater has another idolater who is willing to teach him Torah and therefore there would be no prohibition (based on the Gemora in Sanhedrin) of teaching him Torah; our Gemora teaches us that nevertheless, a Jew is forbidden from teaching a non-Jew Torah.
The Meor Veshemesh (Parshas Chukas) writes that it is permitted to teach the Written Law to an idolater as we find that Moshe wrote the Torah in seventy languages. The prohibition of teaching Torah to a gentile applies only to the Oral Law.
The Divrei Chaim (Chanukah) rules similarly: The Torah was written on the stones and the nations of the world copied it over. The Medrash states that the Holy One, Blessed is He did not protest and allowed them to study the Written Law. It is forbidden to teach them even one word of the Oral Law.
There are many commentators who disagree with this vehemently and they maintain that it is evident from many sources that it is even forbidden to teach the Written Law to a non-Jew.
In the sefer, Beis Pinchas (I P. 169) from Rabbi Pinchas HaLevi Horowitz, he writes that all are in agreement that it is forbidden to teach even the Written Law to a non-Jew; the aforementioned commentators are merely stating that we are not obligated to protest and prevent a non-Jew from studying the Written Law. This is derived from the Medrash which stated that Hashem allowed the idolaters to copy over the Written Law. It is incumbent on us, however, to ensure that the gentiles do not study the Oral Law.
This explanation is seemingly inconsistent with a ruling issued by Reb Moshe Feinstein in Igros Moshe (Y”D II: 132): He states that it is forbidden to directly teach Torah to a gentile; however, if he happens to be in the room when one is teaching Torah to other Jews, the teacher is permitted to continue teaching Torah since it is not his intention to teach the gentile.
If there is an obligation to ensure that the gentile does not study the Oral Law, it should follow that one would be compelled to cease his discourse and wait for the non-Jew to leave before continuing with the teaching of Torah.
Reveal the Glory of Your Kingdom
The Gemora says: What is the reason that Yeshaya wrote that the angels had six wings, and Yechezkel wrote that they had four wings each? The Gemora answers that with Yeshaya, when there were six wings – that was when the Beis HaMikdash was still standing. There, with Yechezkel, where it says four wings – that when the Beis HaMikdash was no longer standing. From this we see that today when the Beis HaMikdash has been destroyed they are missing two wings and there are now only four wings to the angels.
It is brought in the name of the Vilna Gaon (and in the writings of the Arizal as well) that these six words: Baruch sheim kevod malchuso l’olam va’ed – Blessed is the Name of His glorious Kingdom for all eternity correspond to the six wings of the angels. Therefore, since now, the angels lack two wings, there are two words from these six words that are lacking.
The Rebbe, Reb Elimeilech of Lizensk, said that the two words that are missing are: kevod malchuso – His glorious kingdom. And for this reason, we are asking and praying to HaShem in the Mussaf prayer of Yom Tov: galei kevod malchuscha aleinu – Reveal the glory of Your kingdom upon us.