Thursday, September 11, 2008

Daf Yomi Gittin 62a: ואין כופלין שלום לעובדי כוכבים

An interesting gemara in today's daf (available in Rif Yomi here):

ואין כופלין שלום לעובדי כוכבים
רב חסדא הוה מקדים יהיב להו שלמא
ר"נ בר יצחק אמר להו שלמא למר
תניא לא יכנס אדם בביתו של עובדי כוכבים ביום אידו ויתן לו שלום מצאו בשוק נותן לו בשפה רפה ובכובד ראש
'Nor to give double greeting to heathens' --
Rav Chisda would give them greeting first.
Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak {our gemara: Rav Kahana} used to say: Peace {to you,} sir.

They learnt {in a brayta}: A man should not enter the house of a heathen on his feast day and give him greeting. Should he meet him in the street, he should greet him in a mumbling tone and with downcast head.'
I did not look far -- anywhere past the actual daf, but I had a thought that I did not see in Rashi or Tosafot. We know from other languages that there is sometimes a pattern in which one responding to a greeting gives a greeting that is stronger. Thus, in Yiddish, in response to "gut morgen," one would say "gut yohr."

Thus, I would suggest that Rav Chisda giving heathens greeting first is not showing his leniency in this regard, but rather a strategy in avoiding giving the double greeting of "shalom shalom." For in response to a shalom, one would double the shalom. And similarly, perhaps we can interpret Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak, of Rav Kahana's statement of shelama lemar not as Rashi gives it, that he says this and really has in mind Hashem -- something Tosafot objects is geneivas daas -- but rather also something that he says in response. That is, say that the heathen greeted Rav Kahana with shalom first, but rather than saying shalom, shalom, he one-upped it in a different way, by saying shalom leMar, calling him "master" as a way of respect.

1 comment:

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

in Irish [Gaelic], the traditional greetings become more and more religiously-specific as you go along. If you greet someone with the equivalent of "God be with you", the proper response is "God and Mary be with you".


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