HaBucher HaChushev Ploni ben Nistar here for shtick, news and fun. You know, a Chassidic life isn't as boring and heavy as most people might think! ;-)
מצוה גדולה להיות בשמחה תמיד
Remember you can always easily stop the playlist at the bottom of this page. Also don't hesitate to send me an 'ask' if you have any questions. I don't bite at the first time.
DISCLAIMER: Questions on Jewish Law (Halacha), I will try to answer to the best of my ability. Note that my understanding may not be accurate nor be the final word on asked topic. One should consult an Orthodox Rabbi before drawing any conclusions.
Aaand the last count of Sefiras HaOmer is over! Immediately after Maariv I rushed to the barber to get rid of my annoyingly long hair (which most in the non-Jewish/secular world would probably still call short).
As most of my followers will know, we don’t cut our hair from Pesach until Shavuos. So, with tomorrow evening being Shavuos everyone is cutting their hair Erev Yom Tov (tonight and tomorrow). The tiny barbershop was packed to such an extent that people were waiting outside. With his barber being a popular one it was inevitable to bump into people you know, including my younger brother. He was there with a friend from his yeshive.
My luck is that I’m on very good terms with the owner and always take a haircut number 0 (which is done in a few minutes). So I only had to wait for 5 minutes while my brother had to wait for more than half an hour. He found it necessary to follow the ‘trend’ in his yeshive (and probably lots of other places) to have a #2 haircut.
Anyway, I’m glad I finally got rid of that hair. I can’t stand having long hair. It’s too hot, becomes itchy, and interferes with my hat.
May we all merit to see that next Sefiras HaOmer won’t be a time of mourning anymore!
[Follow up on this ask]
Well… Hebrew school isn’t exactly what I would want for my children.. so yeah.
But yes, I did learn it in yeshive. We study gemorah. In the Talmud and meforshim it’s often explained at length.
ס’איז נישט אלעמאל גרינג מיט די בין הסדרים אין ישיבה, אבער ס’גייט.
דער רבונו של עולם געבט כח…:)
עניוויי… שכוח פאר דיין שיינע ווערטער
I’m not a posek and I’m sure there are various opinions on this concerning non-Jewish governments. I vaguely remember a responsa from Reb Moshe Feinstein zt”l on this matter. But we, as a Jews, are generally forbidden to do so.
Only the Sanhedrin had/has the power to give out death penalties. But they lost this power when they exiled themselves from the chamber of Hewn Stone in 30CE (as I’ve mentioned in this post, see footnote #4). As you probably know, we don’t have a Sanhedrin today, and won’t get a new one before Moshiach’s arrival and the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash.
What should be done to the criminals is probably different for each case, and that is something up to the Beis Din to decide.
No. Since that would be the total opposite of everything we claim to stand for. It’s not Jewish and goes against the Torah to be like that.
Due to social and communal security threats I cannot provide you with that kind of information. A.K.A:
But any other questions I am more than willing to answer. ;-)
Your ask is about the Mishna in Sotah 41, and is a very interesting question (and definitely a nice change of the regular ones as well; not that I mind the other questions though, not at all).
The answer is that ‘no, we don’t learn from this mishna that descendants from geirim are not our brothers.’ After all, we all know that someone who had an halachic conversion is just as Jewish as any born Jew; kal v’chomer [even more so] their children who are born from Jewish parents.
So, what did the Mishna mean? In order to understand this, you have to know a bit about Jewish history. Agrippas HaMelech, while relatively being a ‘good’ king, was not the rightful king of the Jews. He appropriated the powers of malchus (monarchy) from Beis Dovid. So, Al Pi Haloche he wasn’t allowed to rule because of his non-Davidic lineage.
Agrippas was a close friend of the Roman emperor and had enjoyed a Roman upbringing (being a huge fan of gladiator battles, Greek theaters, places of worship for Avodoh Zoroh, etc). But at the same time he showed a remarkable kovod for haloche and Talmidei Chachomim (Torah scholars).
Apparently Agrippas HaMelech was also a very humble man. Chazal actually praise him for this. One time he stopped his royal entourage in order to allow a bridal procession to pass by before him. The other time is the scenario of your ask; but before I get to that let me first jump back some more years in Jewish history.
The Gemorah in Yoma 39b says:
“The rabbis taught: Forty years before the churban, the goral (*1, see below) did not come up in the right hand, and the strip of red wool did not whiten (*2), and the western lamp [of the menorah] did not burn [the whole day], and the doors of the Heichal [holies] opened by themselves until Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai rebuked them. He said to it, ‘Heichal, Heichal, why are you alarmed? I know you will be destroyed. Zecharyah ben Ido already prophesied about you, ‘Levanon [i.e Beis Hamidkash), open your gates and let fire burn your cedars.’”
The Maharsha brings a slightly different Yerushalmi saying “Heichal, Heichal, why are you panicking us?”
In a failed attempt to save everything it says in Gittin 56a that R’ Tzadok fasted for forty years before the churban. But now, because murder had become more prevalent, the Sanhedrin exiled itself from the chamber of hewn stone (*3) in the Beis Hamikdash area and moved to Chanuyos. Once the Sanhedrin moved there, no beis din of twenty-three could give out death penalties since this is only permitted when the Sanhedrin is sitting in the actual Beis Hamikdash grounds. (*4)
This is where Agrippas HaMelech appears again on Sukkos 3802/41CE. Every seven years after shmitah the king would read publicly from the Torah in a ceremony called ‘Hakhel’.
This is the second time where Chazal actually praise Agrippas in the mishna in Sotah 41. It was when he stood during the layening (reading) of Sefer Devorim in the Beis Hamikdash, even though, Al Pi Haloche, everyone stands and listens while the king sits and reads. Agrippas was being mevatel his own honor and stood anyway.
When he reached the verse, “You may not place over yourselves a foreign person [to be king]” (Devorim 17), his eyes flowed with tears, and the people cried out to him, “Do not fear, Agrippas. Acheinu Atoh! [You are our brother!]”
Later on in the Gemorah it says B’Shem R’ Nosson “at that time the enemies of Yisroel [meaning the Jewish people] became liable for destruction because they flattered Agrippas.”
So what made the mishna call Agrippas an Ish Nochri? Agrippas was a direct descendant from Herod the Great. Herod was a slave who took the power from the Chasmonaim. I won’t go into the full details of Herod’s dubious ‘yichus’ of slaves, but I’ll try try to go over it briefly. As we know the Chashmonaim had a wonderful and miraculous start during the events of Chanukah when they successfully fought off the Greeks and revived the spiritual state of the Jewish people. Nevertheless, it ended ignominiously at the hands of a slave named Herod, who killed off the family and reigned in their stead. Besides that, he took the name of the Chasmonaim for himself and was associated with them to such extent that the Gemorah found it necessary to rule that anyone from the House of the Chashmonaim descended from slaves. The Talmud describes how Herod took power:
“Herod was a slave of the house of the Chasmonaim. He had set his eyes on a certain young girl [from that family]. One day he heard a Bas Kol that said: ‘Any slave that revolts now will succeed’. He rose and killed all of his masters but left that girl alive. When she saw that he wanted to marry her, she ascended to the roof and raised her voice saying: ’Whoever comes and says: I am descended from the house of the Chasmonaim is a slave, for no one was left from them except this girl (herself) and this girl is hurling herself from the roof to the ground’. [Then she killed herself]”.
Agrippas was Herod’s descendant (some say grandson, others say great-grandson), and so a descendant of a slave. During the early time of Herod’s rule he killed off all of his Jewish children during the extermination of the Chasmonaim. Rashi in Kiddushin comments that Herod’s children did not marry Jews; Aristobolus’s (supposedly Agrippas’ father) children were children from slaves and apparently were not killed by Herod.
According to another opinion cited by Seder HaDoros’ Agrippas was a son of Aristobolus, who was a son of Alexander, son of Herod. Apparently this Alexander was already dead when his father died. According to this opinion Agrippas was for sure a slave since his father married a slave. Various Rishonim say explicitly that Agrippas had a status of a slave.
Rashi in Sotah 41b (see Tosafos) says, though, that Agrippas his mother was Jewish, and therefore he was fully qualified to be king (as a Jew). But his paternal descent was still from the slave-king Herod. Meaning that it was a zilusa (denigration) for him to be king over the Jewish people.
Tosafos, on the other hand, holds differently. He says that it’s impossible that the Jews would be subject to such terrible punishment if Agrippas kingship was just a zilusa. Therefore, he disagrees with Rashi and maintains that Agrippas’ paternal descent invalidated him being appointed as king (Tosafos Sotah 41b). Somewhere else Tosafos even says that even Agrippas’ mother was of slave descent.
Because of this Agrippas was called ‘Ish Nochri’, not because he was a descendant of sincere converts.
Now we know why he was called an Ish Nochri, I do feel I have to go over one more thing in order to understand this mishna well. “What was exactly so bad that the Jews were punished this severely?”
Tosafos explains that Agrippas had ruled by force and not according to din Torah, and the Jews agreed to him and supported him in this. In our case with Agrippas there was even no definite danger in withholding approval of him (since he was a just king); therefore the Jews were at fault for their flattery. And even if they could not protest, they should have kept silent and not encouraged him. Flattery is punished as a sin because someone who flatters someone else out of his fear for him, and is not concerned about fear of Heaven makes the eye of Above as if it cannot see.”
Sefer Mishpitai HaSholom adds that “even though they acted out of fear of the ruler, their fear of Hashem should have been stronger.” Another opinion holds that the Jewish people’s transgression was in flattering Agrippas for the purpose of not losing his favor towards them. However, had they felt a real fear for their safety, there would have been nothing wrong with their remaining silent. Because, when certain danger exists, you may express approval of the sinner to save your life, since this is not a matter of yehareg v’al yaavor (a case where you have to be killed rather than transgress).
- - On Yom Kippur, a Goral (lot) is performed by the Kohen Gadol to choose between two identical goats (Vayikra 16:7-10). One (the Sa’ir laShem) is offered as a Korban Chatas haNisraf and its blood is sprinkled in the Kodesh haKodoshim (Vayikra 16:15); the other (the Sa’ir laAzazel) is sent to Azazel (a hard rocky cliff), from which it is pushed off to its death (Vayikra 16:21-22).
- - Which would have indicated divine forgiveness.
- - The ‘Great Sanhedrin’ would meet in this chamber mostly discussing the halachos of Kehuna (priesthood). Kohanim on duty would also pray and do lotteries over here.
- Which is yet more proof to Christian accusations that, unlike the NT claims, the Jews had nothing to do with JC’s death. Historians estimate that his execution was in between 30–36 CE. A frequently suggested date is Friday, April 3, CE 33[x]. The Sanhedrin lost its power to execute -by its self-imposed exile- 40 years prior to the Beis Hamikdash’s destruction; which is 30CE.