Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Shavuos 2

In the two plus years that I have been writing this blog, I don't recall ever having the opportunity to post a Tuesday Thoughts on the Daf which opened a mesechta, so to this I say shechiyanu!

Meseches Shavuous discusses the laws related to oaths. In Judaism there are four basic categories of oaths - a Shevuas Bittui which is an oath uttered that something will or will not be done or has or has not been done; Shevuas Shav which is a false oath; Shevuas Edus which is testimony given in Beis Din related to a case and Shevuas Pikadon which is testimony regarding an object which had been deposited with the declarant which has been lost or stolen.

Although the mishna begins by discussing the types of oaths which can fall in the Bittui category, it quickly digresses to discuss other non-oath related laws which also start as two categories and branch into four. Tosafos (d'h Shavuos) is bothered by the way that the mesechta commences (as opposed to discussing the actual language of the oath) but concludes that the mishna begins in this fashion because it is continuing a similar theme which was found in the mishna in the last perek of Makkos.

Towards the bottom of 2a, the gemara begins a discussion about the purpose of the seirim which were brought on Rosh Chodesh, Yom Kippur and the Shalosh Regalim. R' Shimon Ben Yehuda stated in the name of R' Shimon Ben Yochai that the seirim provide cumulative atonement - the seir for Rosh Chodesh atones for a person who forgot he was tamei and ate kodesh while tamei, the seir for the Regalim atones for the identical problem as well as for a person who a person who unknowingly ate kodesh while tamei and never learned that he had been tamei and the seir for Yom Kippur atones for the above two scenarios as well as person who did not know he was tamei, ate kodesh and later learned that he had been tamei while eating kodesh.

The question I heard asked was - why do we bring multiple seirim on holidays? If the one seir is michaper, that should be enough.

The answer that I heard to the question does not do the question justice, as my friend (quoting a sefer I do not recall) indicates that the second seir is brought because of gezeras hakasuv.

If you are aware of a different answer to the question, please email me.

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