Nedarim - Daf 39

  • Visiting the sick in the case of a mudar hana’ah

The Mishnah on 38b taught: המודר הנאה מחבירו ונכנס לבקרו, עומד אבל לא יושב – One who is mudar hana’ah from his friend and he comes to visit him when he is sick, he may stand, but he may not sit. The Gemara on this Daf provides three explanations for this halachah. Shmuel said the case is where the sick person is mudar hana’ah from his visitor. The visit itself is not a forbidden benefit, because he is performing his own mitzvah and the ill person benefits indirectly. However, the Mishnah is discussing a place where those who sit with the sick when visiting, receive compensation for it, therefore doing so without payment would be a direct benefit and forbidden. Standing with the sick, however, is never allowed to be compensated (being the minimal form of the mitzvah), so doing so for free is permitted. The Gemara offers a second explanation: גזירה שמא ישהא בישיבה – a decree lest he remain sitting for longer than necessary for the mitzvah, which would be forbidden (since this would entitle him to compensation). Standing is permitted, because the requirement not to sit reminds him not to overstay.

Ulla explained that the Mishnah is speaking where the visitor is mudar hana’ah from the patient, but we assume דלא אדריה מן חיותיה – that the ill person did not prohibit him from helping him with his well-being, such as visiting him. Sitting is extraneous, so it is included in his neder.

  • The mouth of Gehinnom was one of the seven things created before the world

Rava taught: Moshe said regarding Korach: "אם בריאה יברא ה'" – “If a creation Hashem will create and the earth opens it mouth to swallow them.” He meant, אם בריאה גיהנם מוטב תהיה, אם לאו יברא השם – If Gehinnom is a creation already, good, but if not, Hashem should create it. The Gemara wonders how Moshe could have been uncertain if Gehinnom existed? But a Baraisa taught that seven things were created before the world: Torah, teshuvah, Gan Eden, Gehinnom, the Kisei HaKavod, the Beis Hamikdash, and the name of Moshiach. The Gemara answers that Moshe was asking if the “mouth” (i.e., entrance) to Gehinnom was already created. When the Gemara objects to this, from the passuk which states: אין כל חדש תחת השמש – there is nothing new under the sun, which means that nothing new was created after the original Creation, the Gemara clarifies that he was asking if an entrance to Gehinnom was nearby, and if not, Hashem should bring one close.

  • ביקור חולים אין לה שיעור

A Baraisa taught: ביקור חולים אין לה שיעור – Visiting the sick has no limit. Rav Yosef originally understood this to mean אין שיעור למתן שכרה – that there is no limit to the reward given for the mitzvah. Abaye asked, do we know the limits of other mitzvos? But the Mishnah taught: הוי זהיר במצוה קלה כבחמורה – Be as careful with a “minor” mitzvah as you are with a “major” one, שאין אתה יודע מתן שכרן של מצות – for you do not know the reward of various mitzvos. The Gemara therefore explains that the Baraisa refers to the mitzvah obligation as being without limit. Abaye said: אפי' גדול אצל קטן – Even a great person must visit a lesser person. Rava said: אפילו מאה פעמים ביום – One should visit even one hundred times a day. Rebbe Acha bar Chanina said: כל המבקר חולה - נוטל אחד מששים בצערו – Whoever visits a sick person takes away one sixtieth of his suffering. The Gemara proceeds to clarify the parameters of this teaching.