Daf Yomi Horayos 10

The daf for 4/10/18 comes from Meseches Horayos 10. The are some very interesting aspects to this daf (translation from The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren Noe Talmud Bavli):

The first thing we notice is that Rabbi Yehoshua knew of a star that appears every seventy years. We already discussed (in a previous daf), that Rabban Gamaliel had an instrument for determining the depths of of valleys. here we see a statement that might allude to the periodic appearance of a comet. We do not know if this was Halley’s comet (which has an orbital period of about 76 years and was visible in the year 66 CE), but it is still a remarkable statement of astronomical knowledge 2000 years ago.

The second aspect has to do with honor and humility. The idea that a leader serves the people. Rabbi Yehoshua praises two of Rabban Gamaliel’s students for their vast knowledge and wisdom. Rabban Gamaliel attempts to appoint them to leadership positions. Out of humility, they decline. The last statement from the gemara quoted above is important:

“Do you imagine that I am granting you authority? I am granting you servitude…”

The context of the statement comes from I Kings 12:76-8 in which King Rehoboam is asking for counsel from the elders regarding some people who were unhappy with his predecessors oppression (translation from The Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures by JPS):

The King did not listen to the advice of the wise elders and the result was not good (the reader is invited to review this section in I Kings). The lesson is clear for all who are in leadership positions.


About the Author
Jonathan Wolf is a retired high school physics teacher. He retired to NJ with his wife. He is an adjunct professor of physics at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has published professional papers and has been the author of AP Physics review books as well as general HS and college physics review books. He is a past President and ritual chairman at a conservative synagogue on Long Island, NY before he retired to NJ.
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