Monday, November 17, 2008

Daf Yomi Kiddushin 31a/32a: Dama ben Netina as Rabbi Eliezer's Paradigm For Kibbud Av VaEm

Sometimes, with all the intricate discussions of various Amoraim in the gemara, it is difficult to see the forest for the trees. This, I think, is the case here, where a discussion of Rabbi Eliezer's position on Kibbud Av VaEm spans from Kiddushin 31a to 32a, with a large gap in between. But something jumped out at me when I learned it in the Rif.
{Kiddushin 31a}

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל שאלו את רבי אליעזר עד היכן כבוד אב ואם
אמר להם צאו וראו מה עשה עובד כוכבים אחד לאביו באשקלון ודמא בן נתינה שמו
פעם אחת בקשו ממנו אבנים לאפוד בששים רבוא שכר
ורב כהנא מתני בשמונים רבוא שכר
והיה המפתח תחת מראשותיו של אביו ולא צערו לשנה נתן לו המקום שכרו נולדה לו פרה אדומה בעדרו נכנסו חכמי ישראל אצלו אמר להם יודע אני בכם שאם אני מבקש מכם כל ממון שבעולם הרי אתם נותנין לי אלא איני מבקש מכם אלא אותו ממון שהפסדתי בשביל אבא
א"ר חנינא ומה מי שאינו מצווה ועושה כך מצווה ועושה על אחת כמה וכמה
כי אתא רב דימי אמר פעם אחת היה לבוש סריקון של זהב ויושב בין גדולי רומי ובאת אמו וקרעה ממנו וטפחה לו על ראשו וירקה בפניו ולא הכלימה:

Rav Yehuda cited Shmuel: They asked Rabbi Eliezer: To what extent honoring father and mother? He said to them: Go and see what a certain idolater does for his father in Ashkelon, and Dama ben Netina is his name. One time, they requested from him stones {gems} for the Ephod for an amount of 600,000 in payment -- and Rav Kahana taught it as 800,000 in payment -- and the key was under the head of {sleeping} his father, and he did not vex him {to get the key}. The {next} year, the Omnipresent give him his wages. There was born to him a red heifer {parah aduma} in his herd. The sages of Israel came to him. He said to them: I know about you that if I request from you all the money in the world, you would give it to me, but I will only request from you that money that I lost because of father.
Rabbi Chanina said: And if one who is not commanded and does this so, then one who is commended and performs it, even more so {will he be rewarded}.
When Rav Dimi came {from Eretz Yisrael}, he said: One time he was wearing a silken garment woven with gold, and was sitting among the nobles of Rome, and his mother came and tore it from him, hit him on the head, and spat before him, and he did not embarrass her.

{Kiddushin 32a}
ועוד שאלו את רבי אליעזר עד היכן כבוד אב ואם
אמר להם כדי שיטול ארנקי שלו ויטילנו לים בפניו ואין מכלימו:
And they further asked of Rabbi Eliezer: To what extent is honoring father and mother? He said to them: Such that he {=one of them} takes his wallet and throws it into the sea before him, and he does not embarrass him.

{Kiddushin 31b}
רבי טרפון הוה ליה אימא סבתא דכל אימת דבעיא מסקא לפוריא גחין וסלקא עליה אתא וקא משתבח בי מדרשא אמרו לו עדיין לא הגעת לחצי כבוד כלום זרקה ארנקי שלך לים בפניך ולא הכלימתה:
Rabbi Tarfon had an elderly mother, that whenever she wished to leave the bed, he would bend down and she would come down upon him. She came and praised him in the study hall. They said to him: You have still not reached half of 'honor.' Did she throw your wallet into the sea and you did not embarrass her?
In the first instance, as to the extent of the honor one must accord one's father (and mother), Rabbi Eliezer cited the case of Dama ben Netina. Therefore, I think it fairly straightforward that when Rav Dimi cites another story of Dama ben Netina conducting himself towards his mother, that too forms a partial basis for Rabbi Eliezer's second statement. After all, she damaged an expensive gold and silk garment he was wearing, and his response was ולא הכלימה. And this then becomes Rabbi Eliezer's statement, as well as the standard for judging Rabbi Tarfon's conduct.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

וַיָּבֹא הָאִישׁ הַבַּיְתָה וַיְפַתַּח הַגְּמַלִּים וַיִּתֵּן תֶּבֶן וּמִסְפּוֹא לַגְּמַלִּים וּמַיִם לִרְחֹץ רַגְלָיו וְרַגְלֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ.
Rashi on this Posuk says that He loosened their muzzles, for he had sealed their mouths, so they (the camels) should not graze in other people's fields. The Ramban among many others asks a question on this Pshat. The Gemara says that the donkey of Reb Pinchas Ben Yair would not eat from non Tithed (not taken Masser from) crops, so why is it that for Avraham Camels we are concerned? To answer Let me begin with a story that happened in an office to illustrate a point. There was a person who worked in a frum office and brought his own milk and every day. The milk would mysteriously go missing at the end of every day. He tried many different preventative measures including writing "Lo Signov" on the milk all of this accomplished nothing, as everyday his milk was still missing. Then one day he had a bright Idea. He poured the milk in a container that was Chalav Stam and low and behold the milk was there at the end of the day untouched. Now we have the answer to the original question a Donkey will not eat un-tithed food yet when it comes to Dishonesty it might not be so stringent.


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