Sunday, February 16, 2020

.מ"ד Brothers and Sisters

עִיר אַחַת הָיְתָה בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגוּפְנִית שְׁמָהּ, שֶׁהָיוּ בָּהּ שְׁמֹנִים זוּגוֹת אַחִים כֹּהֲנִים נְשׂוּאִים לִשְׁמֹנִים זוּגוֹת אֲחָיוֹת כֹּהֲנוֹת. וּבְדַקוּ רַבָּנַן מִסּוּרָא וְעַד נְהַרְדָּעָא וְלָא אַשְׁכַּחוּ בַּר מִבְּנָתֵיהּ דְּרַב חִסְדָּא, דַּהֲווֹ נְסִיבָן לְרָמִי בַּר חָמָא וּלְמָר עוּקְבָא בַּר חָמָא. וְאַף עַל גַּב דְּאִינְהִי הֲווֹ כָּהֲנָתָא, אִינְהוּ לָא הֲווֹ כָּהֲנֵי.
This is certainly interesting. But the גמרא is in the midst of discussing some pretty impressive areas of ארץ ישראל and the various forms of abundant sustenance they provide. What is this part doing here? How is this a praise of ארץ ישראל?

It can be suggested that when a couple marry, it is perfectly natural for them to be some degree of strife - hopefully minimal - between the two families. That two families come together and maintain such a positive relationship with each other that they are inclined to do it all over again is something special indeed. While this might not speak to a quality of the land of ארץ ישראל, it certainly speaks to the quality of its inhabitants and their ability to get along.

Now for the ironic twist: while I was learning this גמרא this morning, just two rows ahead of me was someone - a כהן no less - who he and his brother are married to sisters (cousins of mine, in fact.)

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