Nedarim - Daf 37

  • Accepting payment for teaching Torah

The Mishnah on 35b taught: מלמדו מדרש, הלכות ואגדות, אבל לא ילמדנו מקרא – One may teach [a mudar hana’ah] Midrash, halachah, and Aggadah, but he may not teach him Mikrah. The Gemara on the previous Daf asked, that just as he may not teach him Mikrah without payment, because the free service is a forbidden benefit, teaching him Midrash for free should likewise be forbidden. (The Ran notes that the teaching itself is not deemed a benefit because מצות לאו ליהנות ניתנו – Mitzvos were not given for their benefit). The Gemara answers that our Mishnah is speaking where it was customary to remit payment for teaching Mikrah, but not for Midrash, because while it is permitted to receive payment for teaching Mikrah, it is not in the case of Midrash. The Gemara quotes the source requiring teaching Torah for free: Moshe said, “ראה למדתי אתכם חוקים ומשפטים כאשר צוני השם” – “See, I have taught you laws and statutes like Hashem commanded me.” We expound this to teach, מה אני בחנם אף אתם נמי בחנם – “Just as I [Moshe] taught you for free, so too you should teach others for free.

  • שכר שימור and שכר פיסוק טעמים

The Gemara wonders what the difference should be between Midrash and Mikrah, for just as Midrash must be taught for free, based on this passuk, we should say the same for Mikrah. Rav answers: שכר שימור – the Mishnah is discussing payment for watching. The Gemara clarifies that the Mishnah is discussing teaching Mikrah to minors, who require supervision. Such payment is permitted to collect, therefore teaching at no charge would constitute a financial benefit for the student. Midrash, on the other hand, is usually taught to older children who do not require supervision, so payment is not permitted. Rebbe Yochanan answers, שכר פיסוק טעמים ­– the Mishnah is discussing payment for teaching correct cantillation notes. These are not mid’Oraysa and are thus not included in the prohibition of collecting payment for teaching Torah. The Gemara on the following amud explains the basis of their dispute: Rebbe Yochanan was unwilling to explain our Mishnah based on supervision , because this would not apply to girls, as they do not need supervision since they do not usually go outside. Rav rejected the explanation of payment for cantillation notes, because held cantillation notes are actually mid’Oraysa, for which the Gemara proceeds to provide the source.

  •  Why children cannot be taught new material on Shabbos

The Gemara poses a challenge to Rav from a Baraisa: תינוקות לא קורין בתחילה בשבת אלא שונין בראשון – Children cannot learn new Mikrah on Shabbos, but they can review it for the first time. The Gemara reasons that according to Rebbe Yochanan this is understood, because since payment is for teaching cantillation notes, which is most difficult when teaching new material, payment is primarily for that session. Therefore, it cannot be taught on Shabbos, since paid employment is prohibited on Shabbos. Reviewing would be permitted, since he is not paid for reviewing. However, according to Rav, who explained that payment is given for supervision, both types of sessions should be equally prohibited?! The Gemara responds that it is actually no less difficult according to Rebbe Yochanan, because such payments are generally made by הבלעה – absorption, meaning the pay for Shabbos is included in a lump sum for a number of days of service, which is permitted. Two other explanations for the Baraisa forbidding learning new material on Shabbos are presented: Firstly, because their fathers would be reluctant to prevent their children from missing the new material taught, and their attending would detract from the fathers’ Shabbos pleasure of spending time with their children. Secondly, because the children eat more than usual on Shabbos, they become lethargic, and it would be difficult for them to learn new material.