Blog Yomi – Yevamos #13

We concluded yesterday’s blog with a major dispute between בֵּית שַׁמַּאי and בֵּית הִלֵל. Our epic Mishnah at the outset of יְבָמוֹת said that, according to בֵּית הִלֵל, any of the 15 women listed falling to a יָבָם who is an עֶרְוָה would release everyone from any obligation to marry the parties involved. There is no יִבּוּם or חַלִיצָה, and the צָרָה goes free. בֵּית שַׁמַּאי disagrees, and says that while of course the עֶרְוָה is still off-limits to the surviving brother, the יָבָם, there is an obligation for him to be מְיַבֵּם the צָרָה and perpetuate his brother’s lineage in that manner.

The practical difference is that according to בֵּית שַׁמַּאי, if the יָבָם did not marry the צָרָה and instead performed חַלִיצָה, she is אַסוּר to marry a כֹּהֵן. If in fact she did marry a כֹּהֵן, the child of this illicit relationship would be a מַמְזֵר. We pick up today’s Daf on דף י״ג עמוּד ב, right before the lines get wide.

The seemingly factious nature of this dispute between בֵּית שַׁמַּאי and בֵּית הִלֵל takes us to the topic of “לֹא תִתְגּוֹדְדוּ”. The Gemara states:

אֲמַר לֵיהּ רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ לְרַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: אִיקְּרִי כָּאן ״לֹא תִתְגּוֹדְדוּ״, לֹא תֵּעָשׂוּ אֲגוּדּוֹת אֲגוּדּוֹת? הַאי ״לֹא תִתְגּוֹדְדוּ״ מִיבְּעֵי לֵיהּ לְגוּפֵיהּ, דְּאָמַר רַחֲמָנָא: לֹא תַּעֲשׂוּ חַבּוּרָה עַל מֵת

Reish Lakish said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: I should read here the verse: “You shall not cut yourselves [titgodedu]” (the complete פָּסוּק in פַּרְשַׁת רֽאֵה is: בָּנִ֣ים אַתֶּ֔ם לַיהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם לֹ֣א תִתְגֹּֽדְד֗וּ וְלֹֽא־תָשִׂ֧ימוּ קרְחָ֛ה בֵּ֥ין עֵינֵיכֶ֖ם לָמֵֽת ), which is interpreted as meaning: Do not become numerous factions [agudos]. In other words, the Jewish people should be united, rather than divided into disparate groups that act in different ways. This is mindful of the apocryphal story about the Jew who was found on a desert island with two synagogues. When they asked him why one person would need two different synagogues, he replied: “This is the one I daven in; and that is the one I daven in when I get upset.”

Rashi’s comment on the intent of לֹא תִתְגּוֹדְדוּ is that there shouldn’t appear as if there are factions with two different versions of the Torah:

לא תעשו אגודות אגודות – דנראה כנוהגין ב’ תורות כשקורין כפרים את המגילה ביום כניסה ועיירות גדולות בי”ד ומוקפין חומה בט”ו

It is interesting, parenthetically, that the international movement of אַגוּדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל took this concept of countering divisiveness and turned it into a catalyst for unification.

It is also interesting to note that the literal interpretation of the pasuk in play, בָּנִ֣ים אַתֶּ֔ם לַיהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם לֹ֣א תִתְגֹּֽדְד֗וּ וְלֹֽא־תָשִׂ֧ימוּ קרְחָ֛ה בֵּ֥ין עֵינֵיכֶ֖ם לָמֵֽת, refers to a practice common among the אֱמוֹרִיִּים to make incision in their skin in conjunction with death, and shave your head a certain way as Rashi notes:

לא תתגדדו. לֹא תִתְּנוּ גְדִידָה וְשֶׂרֶט בִּבְשַׂרְכֶם עַל מֵת כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהָאֱמוֹרִיִּים עוֹשִׂין, לְפִי שֶׁאַתֶּם בָּנָיו שֶׁל מָקוֹם וְאַתֶּם רְאוּיִין לִהְיוֹת נָאִים וְלֹא גְּדוּדִים וּמְקֹרָחִים

In other words, “no skinheads or tattoos among the Jews”.

Well, we’re only in the early phases of today’s Daf video, which is going to go deep into the weeds of the Montague and Capulet-like relationship between בֵּית שַׁמַּאי and בֵּית הִלֵל. I’ll take leave of you at this point, and leave you to the pleasures of the rest of the video.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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2 Responses to Blog Yomi – Yevamos #13

  1. doctuhdon says:

    Nice to see Rav Shmuel K. in the Aguda video

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