Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sanhedrin 69b - Only a Son, Not a Daughter

The mishna says that only a son can become a בן סורר ומורה. The gemara quotes a braisa that really it should apply to a daughter as well because if she steals as a young girl, she is more likely to resort to prostitution as she grows older to support her expensive taste. But, since the Torah says "ben", we understand it to be to the exclusion of a daughter. The gemara seems to imply that there is no logical reason to limit the situation to a son, but that is the gezeiras ha'kasuv.
However, the Meiri writes that this situation only applies to a son, not a daughter because:
שלא הקפידה תורה אלא על מי שדרכו להמשך אחר תאוותיו ולהשתקע בהן ואין זה בבת אלא בבן
The meiri seems to hold that a son would have more of a tendency to be drawn after his desires, rather than give them up when he has no money, more than a daughter would. He seems to understand the gemara to be saying that the gezeiras hakasuv to limit it to a son is also logical, just that withou the explicit limitation we would have expanded it to a daughter as well.
The maharatz chiyus says that Rav Shimon is the one who is speaking in the braisa because he is the opinion who generally darshens טעמא דקרא and would therefore expand the issur to a girl as well. The difficulty with this approach is that R. Shimon should then darshen the reason and expand it the concept to a daughter even after the Torah explicitly says a son. Why does he limit it? Based on the Meiri we can say that the reason Rav Shimon limits it is because we have another rationale that a boy would be more prone to being drawn after his desires more than a daughter so there is a ta'am to limit just as there is a ta'am to expand, therefore we follow the simple reading of the pasuk.

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