Adam – Unity – Bava Metzia Daf 114


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Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai said: The graves of idolaters do not transmit tumah through the roof (if the tumah source and a person or object is under the same roof). He cites a Scriptural source to prove this point. It is written [Yechezkel 34:31]: Now you my sheep, the sheep of my pasture; you are adam. You, Israel, are referred to as “Adam,” man, but an idolater is not regarded as “Adam.” (The word “Adam” is the term used in the Torah regarding the laws of tumah by way of a roof; thus we see that the grave of an idolater does not transmit this tumah.)

The Ol’los Efraim says that there are four names for man; Adam, Gever, Enosh and Ish. Each of them can be written in a singlular form as well as in a plural form. However, the term “Adam” can only be written in a singular form. He explains this with our Gemora. Only a Jew is referred to as Adam, not an idolater. Klal Yisroel has the quality of achdus, uniting as one; therefore only we can be called Adam.

Using this principle, we can answer a famous question. It is written [Koheles 12:13]: The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. The Shalah comments that the verse fear God is referring to the negative prohibitions; the verse and keep His commandments is referring to the positive commandments; and the verse for this is the whole man is the essence of man, the two hundred and forty eight limbs and the three hundred and sixty five veins, which are corresponding to the two hundred and forty eight positive commandments and the three hundred and sixty five negative prohibitions.

There are those that ask: If so, it is impossible for any single individual to be complete; it is impossible to fulfill all six hundred and thirteen mitzvos. Some mitzvos are only applicable to a Kohen; some are unique to a Levi; others are only to a Yisroel; men have mitzvos that are only relevant to them, and women have their special mitzvos. How can a person be considered complete?

Perhaps the answer is because Klal Yisroel is Adam. We are all united. One person’s performance of a mitzvah effects everyone else. If everyone does their particular mitzvah, Klal Yisroel can be regarded as being complete.