כ״ב באלול ה׳תשע״ד (September 17, 2014)

Hagiga 9a-b: Lost Opportunities

If someone does not take the opportunity to bring the required holiday sacrifices on the first day of Yom Tov, he can still bring them throughout the holiday. If he allows the entire holiday to pass without bringing them, he is not obligated to bring any kind of a “make up” sacrifice – he has simply lost his opportunity to fulfill this mitzva. The Mishna on our daf applies the passage (Kohelet 1:15) me’uvat lo yukhal litkon, ve-hesron lo yukhal le-himanot which is translated literally as “that which is crooked cannot be made straight; and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.” The Mishna offers two other examples to which that pasuk (verse) can be applied –
Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya suggests the case of someone who has sexual relations with a forbidden relative, and a is born.
Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai puts forward the case of a Sage who leaves the path of Torah.

The Gemara quotes a baraita in which other examples are offered, as well.
Bar Hei Hei suggests applying this pasuk to a case where a group of people joined together to perform a mitzva (say, to pray together in a group), and one individual stepped away and chose not to participate.

There is a tradition that teaches that Bar Hei Hei (and his colleague, Ben Bag Bag) were converts; according to some, they were the converts accepted by Hillel HaZaken against the opinion of Shammai HaZaken (as described in Shabbat 30b), when Shammai lost patience with the questions and attitudes of the non-Jews who came to inquire about conversion, while Hillel welcomed them and their questions. These odd names hint to their unusual family background, and they may have been called by these names in order to protect them from the government. In the fifth chapter of Massekhet Avot, we find a teaching offered by Bar Hei Hei – le-fum tza’ara agra– “the more effort, the greater the reward.” This teaching fits in with other ideas shared by Bar Hei Hei on our daf, like his suggestion that someone who does not review his Torah studies 101 times is considered someone who is lacking in his service of God.

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