OPINIONS: The Mishnah teaches that a judge may not receive a wage for
judging a case. The Gemara derives this from the verse, "See that I have
taught you..." (Devarim 4:5); just as Hashem teaches Torah, and judges,
for no payment, so, too, we must do the same.
In what circumstances is it permitted to receive a wage for teach Torah?
(a) In the Gemara in Nedarim (37a), Rebbi Yochanan rules that it is
permitted to receive a wage for teaching the "Pisuk Ta'amim" (the
cantillational notes on the words in the Chumash), since those notes are
not mid'Oraisa. We see from here that one is permitted to take wages for
teaching Halachos or Mitzvos that are mid'Rabanan. The HAGAHOS MAIMONI
(Hilchos Talmud Torah 1, cited by the REMA in YD 246:5) writes that it is
therefore permitted to take wages for teaching rabbinical enactments.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 246:5) rules that nowadays, teachers may
receive salaries for teaching Torah for the abovementioned reasons. (See
also Insights to Nedarim 37:1.)
(b) The Gemara (Nedarim 37a) says that one who teaches small children who
need to be watched may receive a wage for teaching them, since the salary
is not being paid for the teaching, but for the supervision. The Gemara
assumes that adults and even young girls (who tend to be more mature and
independent than young boys) do not need to be watched. (See the ROSH in
Nedarim, who says that little children have to be kept off the streets so
that they will not cause damage and become accustomed to doing bad
things.) Obviously, in a place where young girls and older children need
to be supervised, their teachers may take a wage.
(c) The RAN in Nedarim and other Rishonim quote a Yerushalmi that says
that one who chooses to teach Torah at the expense of working in a
profession may receive wages for the loss of work that he endures as a
result of teaching. In such a case, he is not taking money for the
teaching, but for not working.
(d) TOSFOS here (DH Mah Ani) and the ROSH say that one who has no other
source of income may receive a wage for teaching.
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that one may not buy deer meat or untanned
leather from a person who is suspect with regard to the laws of Bechor.
RASHI (DH he'Chashud) explains that the person is suspected of
deliberately making a Mum in a Bechor. Rashi (DH Basar) writes further
that because this person is suspected of making a Mum in a Bechor, one may
not buy even deer meat from him, because deer meat is red and it might get
mixed with the meat of a calf. The seller might sell the meat of a calf
that is actually a Bechor without a Mum, saying that it is a deer in order
to convince people to buy from him.
The Gemara infers from the Mishnah that one may buy *tanned* leather from
the person suspected of transgressing the laws of Bechor. We are not
concerned that the leather might be the leather of a Bechor, because a
person will not trouble himself to tan a Bechor's hide out of fear that
the Chachamim might hear about it and make him lose the leather. Rashi (DH
Sham'i Rabanan) explains that the Chachamim might hear that the animal
from which the hide was taken is a Bechor without a Mum and must be
There seems to be a contradiction in the words of Rashi. Rashi first
explains that the seller is a person who is suspected of deliberately
making a Mum in a Bechor. This implies that the Mishnah is not referring
to one suspected of actually slaughtering a Bechor without a Mum. However,
Rashi then writes that the seller is suspected of selling the meat of a
Bechor without a Mum! In his comments on the Gemara, Rashi also writes
that the person is suspected of selling the leather of a Bechor without a
What exactly is the person suspected of -- slaughtering and selling a
Bechor without a Mum, or making a Mum in a Bechor and then slaughtering
and selling it?
ANSWER: The MAHARIT ALGAZI (#31) answers that it cannot be that the person
is suspected of actually slaughtering an unblemished Bechor. He cites two
proofs for this assertion.
First, it is unusual that one would be suspect of transgressing such a
severe transgression. Slaughtering an unblemished Bechor outside of the
Beis ha'Mikdash constitutes a transgression of Shechutei Chutz,
slaughtering Kodshim outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash, for which one is
Chayav Kares. We find that Rashi (36a, DH Aval Hacha) writes that a Kohen
is not suspected of eating Kodshim without a Mum outside of the Beis
ha'Mikdash. However, we do suspect a Kohen of making a Mum in the Bechor,
since this act involves transgressing only a Lo Sa'aseh.
Second, one who wants to eat an unblemished Bechor can alleviate the
severity of the Isur by simply making a Mum in the Bechor before he
slaughters it. There is a principle that we assume a person does not
commit a severe transgression when he has the opportunity to achieve the
same result by doing a less severe transgression. Thus, we assume that one
who slaughtered a Bechor made a Mum in it before he slaughtered it.
In addition, the Maharit Algazi points out that, mid'Oraisa, there is no
prohibition against slaughtering a Bechor with a Mum even when the Mum was
inflicted intentionally. It is forbidden only mid'Rabanan. In contrast, it
is Asur mid'Oraisa to slaughter an unblemished Bechor, as well as to eat
the meat afterwards. Therefore, there is a Chazakah that a person would
choose to commit an Isur d'Rabanan rather than an Isur d'Oraisa.
Consequently, the Maharit Algazi asserts that the second statement of
Rashi in the Mishnah (that the person is suspected of selling an
unblemished Bechor), does not mean that it was unblemished at the time
that he slaughtered it. Rather, Rashi means that it was unblemished
*before he inflicted a Mum* in it. Similarly, when Rashi writes that the
Chachamim might hear that the leather comes from an unblemished Bechor,
this means that they hear that it came from an unblemished Bechor *before*
the owner made a Mum in it.
(See RASHASH to Rashi DH Basar, who also answers that the words "Bechor
Tam," an unblemished Bechor, in the last two statements of Rashi do not
mean that it was unblemished at the time of the Shechitah. See also SHAI
L'MOREH.) (D. Bloom)