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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bechoros 5

BECHOROS 5 (28 Sivan) - dedicated to the memory of Hagaon Rav Yisroel Zev [ben Rav Avrohom Tzvi] Gustman, Zecher Tzadik Li'Vrachah, author of "Kuntresei Shi'urim", renowned Dayan of pre and post-WWII Vilna, and Rosh Yeshiva of "Yeshivas Netzach Yisrael-Ramailes" of Vilna/Brooklyn/Yerushalayim), on the day of his Yahrzeit. Sponsored by a number of students who merited to study under him: Harav Eliezer Stern and Harav Zalman Stern of Brooklyn NY; Yechiel Wachtel and Michoel Starr of Yerushalayim.



(a) Rav Mordechai's version of Rebbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish's Machlokes is - Rebbi Yochanan Amar 'Lo Kidshu Bechoros ba'Midbar, ve'Resh Lakish Amar Kidshu'.

(b) Rav Ashi asked him whether he also switched the exchange of questions and answers between Rebbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish, particularly Rebbi Elazar's final comment (concerning Rebbi Yochanan's dream). This bothered him - because Rebbi Elazar was a close Talmid of Rebbi Yochanan, and would have been unlikely to have misquoted him.

(c) Rav Mordechai's replied that when Rebbi Yochanan said 'Lo Kidshu' - he meant 'Lo Hutzrechu Likadesh' (meaning that it was not necessary to sanctify the Bechoros in the desert, because they were already sanctified.

(d) In that case, they are not even arguing ('Mar Amar Chada, u'Mar Amar Chada, ve'Lo P'ligi'). This teaches us the principle - that one should always cite what one learned from one's Rebbe, using the same terminology as he used.

(a) Kuntrukes the ruler asked Raban Yochanan ben Zakai (or Raban Gamliel) why it is that in the detailed count of Gershon, Kehas and Merori there were twenty-two thousand, three hundred Leviyim, whereas the Torah gives the total figure as twenty-two thousand.

(b) The latter replied - that the three hundred omitted by the Torah were firstborn, and firstborn cannot redeem firstborn.

(c) Abaye explains that this is - because it is enough for a firstborn to redeem himself.

(a) To explain why Moshe did not account for more than half of the silver that Yisrael had donated for the Mishkan - Kuntrukus the governor accused Moshe Rabeinu of being either a thief, a gambler or simply a poor mathematician.

(b) The total half-Shekalim, he claimed, amounted to three hundred and one thousand, seven hundred and seventy-five Shekalim. If 1Kikar = 60 Manah and 1 Manah = 100 Dinrim = 25 Shekalim/Sela'im - there are a hundred Kikar in 300,000 Shekalim.

(c) Raban Yochanan ben Zakai (or Raban Gamliel) replied that Moshe was a most reliable treasurer. Kuntrukus' mistake in accusing Moshe of 'stealing' more than fifty percent of the silver that was donated for the Mishkan - lay in the fact that the Manah shel Kodesh is double that of Chol, in which case the hundred Kikar was really two hundred.

(d) As for the remaining 1775 Shekalim, the Torah has already informed us that it was used to make hooks for the pillars ... . Nevertheless, Kuntrukus mentioned them - in order to stir up trouble, so he ignored that fact.

(a) Kuntrukus' query was based on the Pasuk "Va'yehi Me'as Kikar ha'Kesef Latzekes". According to Rav Acha'i, Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai could have answered more simply - that the hundred Kikar was used to cast the silver sockets (as stated in the Pasuk), and the remaining hundred Kikar was placed in the Temple Treasury.

(b) He didn't do that however - because of another Pasuk in the same Parshah, which gives the total amount of silver collected as a hundred Kikar, without mentioning what it was used for.

(c) We try to prove from the fact that the Pasuk presents the leftovers ...

1. ... here as 1775 Shekel - that the Manah shel Kodesh must be double that of shel Chol (because otherwise, the Torah ought to have converted it into another Kikar, to total a hundred and one Kikar and 275 Shekel).
2. ... over seventy Kikar of copper as 2400 Shekel - that the Manah shel Kodesh must be double that of shel Chol, because otherwise, the Torah ought to have reckoned seventy-one Kikar and nine hundred Shekel.
(d) We refute ...
1. ... the first proof on the grounds that - the Torah does not bother to convert less than a hundred Kikar of Shekalim into Shekalim.
2. ... the second proof - that it does not even bother to convert less that ten Kikar of Shekalim, either.
(a) In simple terms, the Pasuk " ... Esrim Shekalim, Chamishah ve'Esrim Shekalim, Asarah va'Chamishah Shekel ha'Manah Yih'yeh Lachem" means - that there are sixty Shekel in a Manahn, which is equivalent to two hundred and forty Dinrim.

(b) This proves - that a Manah shel Kodesh sixty Shekalim (two hundred and forty Dinrim) equal one Manah, double the hundred Dinrim of Chol.

(c) And we also learn from the extra forty Shekel - that the Chachamim are permitted to add to the Torah's measurement as much a sixth (but no more).

(d) We refer to the fraction as a sixth, even though forty is a fifth of two hundred - because if one has five portions of forty, one adds a sixth portion to make it two hundred and forty.




(a) Rebbi Chanina asked Rebbi Eliezer why the Mitzvah of Peter Chamor applies specifically to donkeys, and not to horses and camels. Besides the fact that it is a 'Gezeiras ha'Kasuv, he added - that it to reward the donkeys for having helped Yisrael carry their belongings out of Egypt ....

(b) ... because each and every Jew owned at least ninety donkeys ...

(c) ... sturdy donkeys - (Chamri Lubi) to help them carry the silver and gold that they had 'borrowed' from the Egyptians.

(d) When he also asked him what "Refidim" means, he replied that it was no more than a place name, and that is what he answered when he asked him about "Shitim". But Rebbi Yehoshua (in a Beraisa) explained that the Torah refers to it as ...

1. ... "Refidim" - because they were weak in Torah (because "Refidim" is the acronym of 'Rafu Yadayim (min ha'Torah)', which is why Amalek attacked them then.
2. ... "Shitim" - because a spirit of nonsense entered into them.
(e) Rebbi Eliezer interprets the word "Va'tikrenah" (in "Va'tikrenah la'Am le'Zivchei Eloheihen" [Balak] as 'naked'. Rebbi Yehoshua explains it to mean - that all the men had an emission when they made contact with them.
(a) Our Mishnah exempts a cow that gave birth to a kind of donkey, or a donkey that gave birth to a kind of horse - from the Bechorah.

(b) And the Tana learns this from the Pasuk's repetition of "Peter Chamor" - once to teach us that the baby must be a donkey, and once, that the mother must be a donkey, too.

(c) The Tana draws a distinction between the same two animals - permitting the former to be eaten, and forbidding the latter ...

(d) ... based on the principle that 'whatever comes out from something Tamei is Tamei, whilst whatever comes out from something Tahor is Tahor.

(a) The Mishnah later, learns from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "[Ach] Bechor Shor" - that both the Bechor and the mother must be from the family of a Shor, for the Din of Bechor to take effect.
2. ... "Bechor Kesev" - that they must both be from the family of Kesev.
3. ... "Bechor Eiz" - that they must both be from the family of Eiz.
(b) "Ach" - that it is sufficient for there to be a slight resemblance between the mother and the baby.

(c) We reconcile this Mishnah with our Mishnah, which learns the same thing from the Torah's repetition of Peter Chamor - By establishing it like Rebbi Yossi Hagelili, who learns it from "Ach Bechor Shor".

(d) The basis of the Machlokes between our Tana and Rebbi Yossi Hagelili is - that according to one, the Torah writes the Din in connection with Kedushas ha'Guf, and we learn Kedushas Damim from it, whilst according to the other one, it is the other way round.

(a) The Tana of our Mishnah learns from the Pasuk "Bechor Shor O Bechor Kesev O Bechor Eiz" like Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina who learns from this Pasuk (which concludes "ve'es Damam Tizrok ... ve'es Chelbam Taktir") - that all of the Eimurin of each of the three species of animals must be brought on the Mizbe'ach.

(b) We could not learn the other two from ...

1. ... "Bechor Shor" - because its Nesech (drink-offering) is larger than theirs.
2. ... "Bechor Kesev" - because its fat-tail goes on the Mizbe'ach, whereas their tails do not.
3. ... "Bechor Eiz" - because it is brought as a Chatas Yachid to atone for Avodah Zarah.
(c) Neither can we learn ...
1. ... Par from Kesev and Eiz - since they are both eligible to be brought as the Korban Pesach, which it is not.
2. ... Kesev from Par and Eiz - which are both brought as the Korban Tzibur for Avodah Zarah (as the Olah and the Chatas respectively).
3. ... Eiz from Par and Kesev - which both have more parts of the Korban brought (as we just explained) than it does.
(d) Rebbi Yossi Hagelili precludes the firstborn of horses and camels from the Din of Bechor from "Peter Chamor". From the Torah's repetition of "Peter Chamor" - he precludes the possibility of learning from the previous D'rashah that a donkey can only be redeemed with a lamb, but they can be redeemed with any Tahor animal.
(a) Rav Acha'i asks that on the contrary, if the Torah had only written "Peter Chamor" once, we would view it as a 'Davar she'Hayah bi'Ch'lal ve'Yatza min ha'K'lal Lelamed' - with reference to the Pasuk in Korach "ve'es Bechor ha'Beheimah ha'Temei'ah Tifdeh".

(b) And now that the Torah teaches us that a donkey needs to be redeemed with a lamb - this would incorporate all the Beheimos Temei'os that are included in the original Pasuk.

(c) And we would then learn from the second "Peter Chamor" - that the other Tamei animals could be redeemed with any animal (as we just suggested a moment ago).

(d) We refute that however, on the grounds that if the Torah had not wanted to preclude other Tamei animals from the Din completely - it would have omitted the word "Peter" from the second Pasuk, and written "va'Chamor be'Seh Tifdeh".

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