Sanhedrin 11a: Embarrassing Someone Who Smells Bad

Sanhedrin 11a: Rebbi was sitting and delivering a shiur, when he smelled garlic. He said, “Whoever ate garlic should leave.” Rabbi Chiya got up and left, and then everyone got up and left. The next morning, Rabbi Shimon son of Rebbi met Rabbi Chiya and said to him, “Are you the one who annoyed my father?” He replied, “Such a thing should not happen in Israel.”

 סנהדרין יא ע”א. כי הא דיתיב רבי וקא דריש, והריח ריח שום, אמר: מי שאכל שום ־ יצאִ, עמד רבי חייא ויצא. עמדו כולן ויצאו. בשחר מצאו רבי שמעון ברבי לרבי חייא, אמר ליה: אתה הוא שציערת לאבא? אמר לו: לא תהא כזאת בישראלִ

There was a daf yomi shiur in the city of Bat Yam at 5:30 PM, and one day a local butcher came in to attend the shiur, straight from the meat market, his hands and clothing stinking from meat. The stench was so powerful that no one was able to learn. The maggid shiur’s question was: should he approach the man and ask him to take a shower and change before coming, and the shiur would be scheduled a little later, or should they just cancel the whole shiur?

From this Gemara, it seems that Rebbi held it is permitted to embarrass the smelly person, while Rabbi Chiya held to cancel the shiur. But when they asked Rabbi Ahron Leib Shteinman, his reply was in this case, even according to Rebbi it would be wrong to embarrass him. Because in Rebbi’s case, who asked him to eat garlic right before the shiur? But here, the butcher was smelly because of his job and had no choice. Furthermore, if we embarrass him, who knows if we’ll ever see him again. Therefore, better to cancel the whole shiur. 9


Sanhedrin 22a: Chesed in the Bathhouse

Sanhedrin 22a: No one may see the king when he is taking a haircut, when he is naked or when he is in the bathhouse, as the Torah says, “You shall surely place upon yourself a king” – his fear must be upon you.

סנהדרין כב. ואין רואין אותו כשהוא מסתפר, ולא כשהוא ערום, ולא כשהוא בבית המרחץ, שנאמר (דברים י״ז) שום תשים עליך מלך ־ שתהא אימתו עליך.

In Lublin, there was a Yid who would go to the bathhouse every Friday and distribute combs to all the people there. When the Lubliner Rav zt”l heard about it, he said, “I want to have a part in such a great mitzvah.”

A certain rav heard about this and laughed it off. He quoted a Gemara, proving that there is no mitzvah in this. The Gemara (Menachos 43b) states that Dovid Hamelech went to the bathhouse and said, “Woe unto me, that I stand without mitzvos.” If distributing combs would be a mitzvah, Dovid Hamelech could have done so and acquired many mitzvos in the process…

When the Lubliner Rav heard this comment, he said, “The Rav should forgive me, but it seems he forgot an explicit Mishnah, in which it says that no person may see the king while he is in the bathhouse (Sanhedrin 22a). If so, Dovid Hamelech could not have distributed combs, as there were no other people at the bathhouse while he was there.”


Sanhedrin 65b: Weddings in the second half of the month

Sanhedrin 65b: Rabbi Akiva says: The type of forbidden superstition called “m’onen” means the practice of saying that certain days are luckier than others to embark on a trip, or certain days are luckier to buy merchandise.

סנהדרין סה ע”ב תנו רבנן: מעונן… רבי עקיבא אומר: זה המחשב עתים ושעות, ואומר: היום יפה לצאת, למחר יפה ליקח.

יו”ד קע”ט ב’ נהגו שאין מתחילין בב’ ובד’ ואין נושאין נשים אלא במילוי הלבנה.

רמ”א אה”ע ס”ד ד’ ונהגו שלא לישא נשים אלא בתחילת החדש בעוד שהלבנה במלואה.

A chassidishe Yid asked Rabbi Yisroel Reisman: “Is it allowed to make a chasunah on the 28th day of Sivan? That’s the only day I could find a hall available. Usually we don’t make chasunos during the second half of the month, but perhaps Sivan is different.”  

“I don’t know,” replied Rabbi Reisman, “but I’ll tell you a Hamakneh, written by the Baal Haflaah, Rabbi Pinchus Horowitz, who was chassidish. At the end of the sefer, in his comments on Even Hoezer 64, he asks why the Rema needs to say in Orach Chaim 551:2 that after the 17th of Tammuz we don’t make chasunos – isn’t that the second half of the month? He answers based on a teshuva from the Rema that the rule is that wherever he says נוהגין it means poskim taught that we should do so, but נהגו means that people just do it and we don’t stop them. Here, in the case of getting married in the second half of the month, the Rema (as well as the Mechaber in Yoreh Deah) says נהגו – we allow people to keep this custom. But the Rema never says that one is obligated to keep this custom.

A while later Rabbi Reisman met the man again and asked, “So when is the chasunah?” He replied, “Tu B’av.”

[It would seem that the Mechaber and Rema are telling us that it is allowed to keep this custom and there is no problem of לא לעוננו (superstition). The reason why it is not considered ניחוש and לא תעוננו is because we do it as a good sign, just as we anoint kings next to a spring (Beis Yosef, Yoreh Deah 179; Aryeh Devei Ilai Even Hoezer 18). A good sign is something that we aren’t particular about, but we just do to express our prayers that things will go well. A superstition, on the other hand, would mean refusing to get married in the second half of the month no matter what.] �