Rabbi, Yehoshua ben Levi said, "In twenty-four cases doth the tribunal excommunicate for the honor of a Rabbi, and all are explained in our Mishna." Rabbi Elazer interposed and asked, "Where are they?" The reply was, "Go and seek, and thou shalt find." He went accordingly and sought, but found only three--the case of the man who lightly esteems the washing of hands; of him who whispers evil behind the bier of a disciple of the wise; and of him who behaves haughtily toward the Most High.
Berachoth, fol. 19, col. 1.
There are three degrees of excommunication, i. e., separation, exclusion, and execration. That mentioned in the above extract is of the lowest degree, and lasts never less than thirty days. The second degree of excommunication is a prolongation of the first by thirty days more. The third or highest degree lasts for an indefinite time. See Moed Katon, fol. 17, col. 1; Shevuoth, fol. 36, col. 1; and consult Index II. appended.
A certain matron once said to Rabbi Yehuda ben Elaei, "Thy face is like that of one who breeds pigs and lends
money on usury." He replied, "These offices are forbidden me by the rules of my religion, but between my residence and the academy there are twenty-four latrinæ; these I regularly visit as I need."
Berachoth, fol. 55, col. 1.
The Rabbi meant to say that paying attention to the regular action of his excretory organs was the secret of his healthy looks, and to imply that a disordered stomach is the root of most diseases,--a physiological opinion well worthy of regard by us moderns.
Rav Birim says that the venerable Rav Benaah once went to all the interpreters of dreams in Jerusalem, twenty-four in number. Every one of them gave a different interpretation, and each was fulfilled; which substantiates the saying that it is the interpretation and not the dream that comes true.
Ibid., fol. 55, col. 2.
Twenty-four fasts were observed by the men of the Great Synagogue, in order that the writers of the books, phylacteries, and Mezuzahs might not grow rich, lest in becoming rich they might be tempted not to write any more.
P'sachim, fol. 50, col. 2.
When Solomon was desirous of conveying the Ark into the Temple, the doors shut themselves of their own accord against him. Here cited twenty-four psalms, yet they opened not. In vain he cried, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates" (Ps. xxiv. 9). But when he prayed, "O Lord God, turn not Thy face away from Thine anointed; remember the mercies of David, Thy servant" (2 Chron. vi. 42), then the gates flew open at once. Then the enemies of David turned black in the face, for all knew by this that God had pardoned David's transgression with Bathseheba.
Moed Katon, fol. 9, col. 1.
In the Midrash Rabbah (Devarim, chap. 15) the same story is told, with this additional circumstance among others, that a sacred respect was paid to the gates when the Temple was sacked at the time of the Captivity. When the glorious vessels and furniture of the Temple were being carried away into Babylon, the gates, which were so zealous for the glory of God, were buried on the spot (see Lam. ii. 9), there to await the restoration of Israel. This romantic episode is alluded to in the closing service for the Day of Atonement.
There are twenty-four species of unclean birds, but the clean birds are innumerable.
Chullin, fol. 63, col. 2.
In twenty-four places priests are called Levites, and this is one of them (Ezek. xliv. 15), "But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok."
Tamid, fol. 27, col. 1.
There are twenty-four extremities of members in the human body which do not suffer defilement in the case of diseased flesh (see Lev. xiii. 10, 24). The tip-ends of the fingers and toes, the edges of the ears, the tip of the nose, etc.
Negaim, chap. 6, mish. 7.