Post: Rav Chaim Kanievsky makes the following comment in Taama deKra on parashat Vayeitzei:
במגילה י״ג א׳ כי מטא ליליא אמרה השתא
מיכספא אחתאי מסרה לה סימנים. וצ״ל שלבן
הודיע ללאה ז׳ ימים קודם שיכניסוה תחת רחל
והיא בדקה וטבלה דאל״כ איך בא עלי׳ יעקב
הא קי״ל תבעוה לינשא ונתפייסה צריכה להמתין
In Megillah 13a:
"What was the modesty displayed by Rachel? — As it is written: "And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother". Now was he her father's brother? Was he not the son of her father's sister? What it means is this: He said to her, Will you marry me? She replied, Yes, but my father is a trickster, and he will outwit you. He replied, I am his brother in trickery. She said to him, Is it permitted to the righteous to indulge in trickery? He replied. Yes: with the pure thou dost show thyself pure and with the crooked thou dost show thyself subtle. He said to her, What is his trickery? She replied: I have a sister older than I am , and he will not let me marry before her. So he gave her certain tokens. When night came, she said to herself, Now my sister will be put to shame. So she handed over the tokens to her. So it is written, "And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah."
Rav Kanievsky cites this gemara, or a small portion of it, at least: "When night came, she said to herself, Now my sister will be put to shame. So she handed over the tokens to her." Then, he adds:
"And one must say that Lavan informed Leah seven days before he sent her in place of Rachel, and she checked herself [that she was not a niddah] and immersed, for if not so, how did Yaakov have intercourse with her, when we establish that if a woman was set to get married and acquiesced, she needs to wait seven days."
I would say that on a peshat level in this midrash, it is certainly plausible that Leah was informed by Lavan of his plan more than seven days in advance. Or at the least, it was obvious to her. After all, Rachel intuited what her father, a trickster, would do, and so informed Yaakov about it. Leah was also Lavan's daughter, and would logically be able to intuit his actions just as well.
Even so, this is just a bit over the top. It is fine as midrashic fan-fiction. That is, if he does not really believe it, but in order to come up with something creative, he adopts certain axioms, such as that the Avos could not violate any Torah or Rabbinic law. And then, based on the constraints imposed by those axioms, one constructs an elaborate piece of artistry.
Given the reaction to the "yeshiva guy tells over a vort"
, the sefer Chaim Be'emunasam, and certain aspects of the chareidi world and its leadership, I wonder if he possibly means this in earnest.
The reasons it is utterly ridiculous, if one were to take it seriously, and entirely within the Avos-kept-the-entire-Torah framework, include:
- while Yaakov may have kept the entire Torah, Leah surely did not, at this stage in her life. Why would she count shiva nekiyim?!
- Leah was tricking Yaakov at the time, which makes the simultaneous guarding against this issur slightly less plausible.
- The same way Yaakov was able to marry two sisters outside Eretz Yisrael, he would have been able to overcome any issue of dam chimud.
While on the topic of dam chimud, I'll weigh in that I think that there is no such thing. That is, that Chazal did not hold that dam chimud would make a woman ritually impure the same as dam niddah. Let us perform a quick survey of the sources, and see how this was produced, by the setama degemara.
In Niddah 66a, we seem to have the primary source for the issur of dam chimud:
רבינא איעסק ליה לבריה בי רב חנינא א"ל סבר ליה מר למכתב כתובה לארבעה יום א"ל אין כי מטא לארבעה נטר עד ארבעה אחרינא איעכב שבעה יומי בתר ההוא יומא א"ל מאי האי א"ל לא סבר לה מר להא דרבא דאמר רבא תבעוה לינשא ונתפייסה צריכה לישב שבעה נקיים א"ל אימר דאמר רבא בגדולה דקחזיא דמא אבל בקטנה דלא חזיא דמא מי אמר א"ל בפירוש אמר רבא ל"ש גדולה לא שנא קטנה גדולה טעמא מאי משום דמחמדא קטנה נמי מחמדא
Rabina was engaged in preparations for the marriage of his son at R. Hanina's.48 'Does the Master', the latter said to him, 'intend writing the kethubah four days hence?' 'Yes', the other replied; but when the fourth day arrived he waited for another four days and thus caused a delay of seven days after the day in question.49 'Why', the first asked, 'all this delay?'50 'Does not the Master', the other replied, 'hold the opinion of Raba, Raba having ruled: If a woman had an offer of marriage and she accepted she must allow seven clean days to pass?' 'It is possible', the first suggested, that Raba spoke only of one of mature age who is likely to discharge menstrual blood,51 but did he speak of a minor who is unlikely to discharge menstrual blood?' 'Raba', the other replied, 'has explicitly stated: There is no difference between one of mature age and a minor. For what is the reason why one of mature age is subject to the restriction? Because her passions are excited;52 well, those of a minor also are excited.I would argue that everything until the very last statement is authentically part of the exchange of these Amoraim. But then, at the very end, the setama degemara chimes in to explain just why a minor and a mature woman are subject to the restriction.
However, I would suggest that the true reason to wait seven days is in case she was a niddah. She might not reveal this, since she would not want to lose out on the marriage, or delay the marriage. Therefore, in general, they took it out of everyone's hands, and decreed it. And once they decreed it, they did so as a lo plug, both for mature women, and for minors who would be unlikely to have had a blood flow.
We see elsewhere that Chazal did not worry about dam chimud. Perhaps this was at odds with the position of Rava, since Rav preceded Rava, but it could also be that they did not hold such blood to be impure at all. Thus, in Yevamos 37b:
Thus, Rav and Rav Nachman took women for the night when they traveled abroad.But, surely, this could not be [the accepted ruling], for Rab, whenever he happened to visit Dardeshir,9 used to announce, 'Who would be mine10 for the day'! So also R, Nahman, whenever he happened to visit Shekunzib,11 used to announce, 'Who would be mines for the day'!12 — The Rabbis came under a special category since they are well known.13But did not Raba say: A woman who had an offer of marriage and accepted must allow a period of seven ritually clean days to pass!14 — The Rabbis sent their representatives and these presented the announcements to the women.15 And if you prefer I might say: The Rabbis only had them16 in their private rooms;17 for the Master said, 'He who has bread in his basket cannot be compared to him who has no bread in his basket'.18
The setama degemara protests about dam chimud, and answers that either they were told in advance -- a farfetched suggestion, when compared with the off-the-cuff nature of the proclamation 'who would be mine for the day!' or that they did not actually sleep with these women. Pashut peshat is that they did sleep with these women, and that there was no concern for dam chimud, either because they did not fear that this would happen, or because dam chimud does not render impure.
Finally, we have the expertise of Rav Chisda, discussed also in this parshablog post as it pertains to the authenticity of the Zohar. The gemara in Niddah 20b:
עולא אקלע לפומבדיתא אייתו לקמיה דמא ולא חזא אמר ומה רבי אלעזר דמרא דארעא דישראל הוה כי מקלע לאתרא דר' יהודה לא חזי דמא אנא אחזי ואמאי קרו ליה מרא דארעא דישראל דההיא אתתא דאייתא דמא לקמיה דרבי אלעזר הוה יתיב רבי אמי קמיה ארחיה אמר לה האי דם חימוד הוא בתר דנפקה אטפל לה רבי אמי א"ל בעלי היה בדרך וחמדתיו קרי עליה (תהלים כה, יד) סוד ה' ליראיו
אפרא הורמיז אמיה דשבור מלכא שדרה דמא לקמיה דרבא הוה יתיב רב עובדיה קמיה ארחיה אמר לה האי דם חימוד הוא אמרה ליה לבריה תא חזי כמה חכימי יהודאי א"ל דלמא כסומא בארובה הדר שדרה ליה שתין מיני דמא וכולהו אמרינהו ההוא בתרא דם כנים הוה ולא ידע אסתייע מילתא ושדר לה סריקותא דמקטלא כלמי אמרה יהודאי בתווני דלבא יתביתוOr in English:
From the context, I would say that the reason it is important to distinguish between dam niddah and dam chimmud is that one renders the woman ritually impure and the other does not. It is of a different character, which an expert may sense by smelling. And this was why it was important to distinguish bein dam ledam.'Ulla once visited Pumbeditha3 and when some blood was brought to him for examination he refused to see it. If, he said, R. Eleazar who was the supreme authority in the Land of Israel4 refused to see blood whenever he visited the place of R. Judah, should I see it?5 And why was he described as the supreme authority in the Land of Israel? — Because a woman once brought some blood before R. Eleazar when R. Ammi sat in his presence. Having smelt it he6 told her, 'This is blood of lust'.7 After she went out R. Ammi joined her and she told him, 'My husband was away on a journey but I felt an intense longing for him'. Thereupon he8 applied to him6 the text, The counsel of the Lord is with them that fear Him.9Ifra Hormiz,10 the mother of King Shapur, once sent some blood to Raba when R. Obadiah was sitting in his presence. Having smelt it he said to him, 'This is blood of lust'.7 'Come and see', she remarked to her11 son, 'how wise the Jews are'. 'It is quite possible', he replied, 'that he12 hit upon it like a blind man on a window'. Thereupon she sent to him12 sixty different kinds of blood and he identified them all but the last one which was lice blood with which he was not acquainted. Luckily,13 however, he sent her14 a comb that exterminates lice. 'O, you Jews', she exclaimed, you seem to live in the inner chamber of one's heart'.15