Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Kiddushin 76

Kiddushin 76 continues the Asarah Yuchsin theme of examining suspect classes and explaining the reason why they were prevented from marrying into mainstream klal yisrael. Towards the top of Kiddushin 76a there is a discussion about kusim in which the "yesh omrim" (later defined as R'Eliezer) states that they are not permitted to marry because they are not experts in "dikdukei mitzvos".

In proving this point, the gemara cites to a dispute involving matza made by kusim. The Tanna Kamma states that matza made by a kusi is permitted to be eaten on pesach while R' Eliezer states that it may not be eaten. Rashi explains that on the first night of pesach one can eat matza made by non-Jews provided that he eats a kizayis of "shmurah matza" at the end of the meal. However, the matza made by a kusi is acceptable according to R' Eliezer as the kusim are experts in the laws of shmurah matza (citing to a gemara in Pesachim 40a).

On 76b, the gemara relates a story involving a dispute between R' Bibi and R'Adda bar Ahva's landlord (who was the child of a male convert and a Jewish woman) over who should have a position of authority in the city. The story is noteworthy for two reasons. First, there is a great punchline where R' Adda argues successfully that the landlord should be permitted to hold a position of authority - the gemara remarks that whomever takes in a talmid chacham as a boarder would be praised if they take in one like R'Adda bar Ahva who was able to argue successfully on his behalf.

The other thing I find interesting is on more of a personal level. The gemara relates that the landlord was given civil responsibilities. Rashi includes among those civil jobs as being in charge of "Turzina." The Likutei Rashi explains that Turzina involved watching the weapons. V'hameivin Yavin.

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