At the end of last week’s daf Issi posited that women are exempted from the prohibition of making a bald spot between their eyes (Deuteronomy 14:1) just as men are. While one explanation of his opinion has already been proffered, today’s section offers another one.
Abaye explains that Issi exempts women from the prohibition of making a bald spot by comparing the prohibition in Deuteronomy with that in Leviticus. Since Leviticus refers only to men (“sons of Aaron”) and not daughters of Aaron.
The Talmud then asks why we need this gezerah shavah from Leviticus. We could say that the Leviticus 21:1 “Speak to the sons of Aaron” refers to the whole passage, including the prohibition of making a bald spot. Then we could derive from a “kal vehomer” that all women, not just priestly women, are exempt from the mitzvah.
The gezerah shavah is needed so that we can derive that the address in the beginning of Leviticus, “Speak to the sons of Aaron” refers to the whole passage, including that about making a bald spot. If we did not have the gezerah shavah we might have thought that women priests (daughters of priests) are prohibited from making a bald spot and that the exclusion of women refers only to the first few mitzvoth in the passage.
The Talmud pushes the argument further. We could say that “Speak to the sons of Aaron” refers only to the first few verses and not to the prohibition of making a bald spot. And the gezerah shavah is needed for another baraita that teaches the rules governing this prohibition. [The gezerah shavah appears in the continuation]. The baraita teaches two rules. 1) One is liable for each bald spot. 2) The prohibition refers to the whole head, not just between the eyes, as is stated in Deuteronomy.
This is the continuation of the baraita. It contains the gezerah shavah which connects Leviticus with Deuteronomy so that the rules in the former which were stated with regard to priests also apply to the latter, a verse stated with regard to all of Israel.
The Talmud says that the word is written in an unusual fashion, which allows us to “double darshan” the gezerah shavah. The gezerah shavah teaches us that the verse about baldness refers only to men and it also teaches us that the rules in Leviticus apply to the priests, just as the do to Israelites.
Rava offers yet another reason why Issi exempts women from the prohibition of making a bald spot on their heads.
The words “between your eyes” appear in connection with the bald spot prohibition and tefillin—just as women are exempt from tefillin, so too they are exempt from the bald spot prohibition.
At the end of yesterday’s section, Abaye had to posit a different between the word “kerah” and “korhah.” Rava thinks that’s a stretch.
Abaye says we cannot derive one of the rules for the bald spot from tefillin because elsewhere we learn in the opposite direction, deriving the rules for tefillin from the bald spot prohibition. Tefillin must be worn above the hair line, where one can make a bald spot. They are not worn literally between the eyes.
This baraita contains a dispute between R. Judah and R. Meir over whether Israel remains “sons of God” (or children of God) even after they sin. According to R. Judah the verse from Deuteronomy 14 indicates that if they do not behave, Israel can lose their status as sons. R. Meir cites a plethora of verses that refer to Israel as sons even after they sin.
The Talmud explains why R. Meir needs so many verses to prove his point. Ultimately, even idol worshipping Israelites are still called “sons of the living God.” This is a deep, but in some ways problematic message. On the one hand, it provides hope to all Israelites. No matter how much a Jew is distanced from God and Judaism, in the eyes of Judaism, he/she remains a Jew. On the other hand, one could read here a genealogical understanding of Judaism that prioritizes genes over everything else, even morality.
This mishnah lists a number of ritual procedures performed upon bringing a sacrifice which are performed by men and not by women. The Talmud will explain how we know that
The [rites of] laying hands: Most animal sacrifices require the person offering the sacrifice lay his hands upon the animal before the animal is slaughtered (see for instance Lev. 1:4). Only men lay their hands upon the sacrifice. When women bring the sacrifice, no one lays their hands.
Waving: After the animal is slaughtered parts of it are waved jointly by the priest and by the male owner of the sacrifice (see Lev. 7:30). If a woman brought the sacrifice the priest waves it by himself.
Presenting [the meal-offering]: When a person brings a meal-offering (a minhah), they present it to the priest. The priest then takes it and presents it to the altar (Lev. 6:7). Only male priests present the minhah—daughters of priests do not.
Taking the handful: With a minhah offering, the priest takes a handful of the offering (Lev. 2:2). Again, only male priests perform this rite.
Burning [the fat]: See Lev 3:5.
Pinching off [the neck of bird sacrifices]: See Lev 1:15.
Sprinkling and receiving [the blood]: See Lev 5:9.
Except the meal-offering of a Sotah and a female nazirite, where they [themselves] wave the offering: The Sotah waves a minhah offering and the nazirite waves the leg of the animal she/he brings, a bread-offering and a wafer (see Sotah 3:1 and Nazir 6:9). In each case the woman and the priest would jointly wave the offering.
Today’s sugya begins to provide sources for the exemption of women from the rituals mentioned in the mishnah. These are all self-explanatory.
In this case we do not have a verse that specifies that states “sons of Aaron.” But pinching off the head off the bird is compared to burning, so the analogy can be drawn.
The rabbis interpret “shall offer” as drawing the blood near to the altar.