Everybody knows why a bride enters the nuptial chamber, but against him who sullies his lips by talking about it, the decree for good, though of seventy years' standing,
[*. A prayer consisting of eighteen Collects, which is repeated three times each day.]
shall be reversed into a decree for evil. Rav Chasda says, "Whosoever disgraces his mouth (by evil communication), Gehenna shall be deepened for him; for it is said in Prov. xxii. 14, 'A deep pit for the mouth of strange words (immoral talk).'" Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak says, "The same punishment will be inflicted on him who listens to it and is silent; for it is said (Prov. xxii. 14), 'And he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein.'"
Shabbath, fol. 33, col. 1.
(Jer. xxiii. 29), "Like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces," so is every utterance which proceedeth from the mouth of God, divided though it be into seventy languages.
Ibid., fol. 88, col. 2.
Rabbi Eliezer asked, "For whose benefit were those seventy bullocks intended?" See Num. xxix. 12-36. For the seventy nations into which the Gentile world is divided; and Rashi plainly asserts that the seventy bullocks were intended to atone for them, that rain might descend all over the world, for on the Feast of Tabernacles judgment is given respecting rain, etc. Woe to the Gentile nations for their loss, and they know not what they have lost! for as long as the Temple existed, the altar made atonement for them; but now, who is to atone for them?
Succah, fol. 55, col. 2.
Choni, the Maagol, once saw in his travels an old man planting a carob-tree, and he asked him when he thought the tree would bear fruit. "After seventy years," was the reply. "What!" said Choni, "dost thou expect to live seventy years and eat the fruit of thy labor?" "I did not find the world desolate when I entered it," said the old man; "and as my fathers planted for me before I was born, so I plant for those that will come after me."
Taanith, fol. 23, col.
Mordecai was one of those who sat in the hall of the Temple, and he knew seventy languages.
Meggillah, fol. 13, col. 2.
The Rabbis have taught during a prosperous year in Israel, a place that is sown with a single measure of seed produces five myriad cors of grain. In the tilled districts
of Zoan, one measure of seed produces seventy cors; for we are told that Rabbi Meir said he himself had witnessed in the vale of Bethshean an instance of one measure of seed producing seventy cors. And there is no better land any where than the land of Egypt; for it is said, "As the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt." And there is no better land in all Egypt than Zoan, where several kings have resided; for it is written (Isa. xxx. 4), "His princes were in Zoan." In all Israel there was no more unsuitable soil than Hebron, for it was a burying-place, and yet Hebron was seven times more prolific than Zoan; for it is written (Num. xiii. 22), "Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt." For it is said (Gen. x. 6), "And the sons of Ham, Cush, Mizraim (that is, Egypt), Phut, and Canaan" (that is, Israel). It must, therefore, mean that it was seven times more prolific (the verb meaning both to build and to produce) than Zoan. This is only in the unsuitable soil of the land of Israel, Hebron, but in the suitable soil (the increase) is five hundred times. All this applies to a year of average return, but in one of special prosperity, it is written (Gen. xxvi. 12), "Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him." (The word years, is conveniently overlooked in working out the argument.)
Kethuboth, fol. 112, col. 1.
The astrologers in Egypt said to Pharaoh, "What! shall a slave whose master bought him for twenty pieces of silver rule over us?" Pharaoh replied, "But I find him endowed with kingly qualities." "If that is the case," they answered, "he must know seventy languages." Then came the angel Gabriel, and taught him seventy languages.
Soteh, fol. 36, col. 2.
When the leviathan makes the deep boil, the sea does not recover its calm for seventy years; for it is said (Job xli. 32), "One would think the deep is to be hoary," and we cannot take the word "hoary" to imply a term of less than seventy years.
Bava Bathra, fol. 75, col. 1.
Abba Chalepha Keruya once remarked to Rav Cheyah bar Abba, "The sum total of Jacob's family thou findest
reckoned at seventy, whereas the numbers added up make only sixty-nine. How is that?" Rav Cheyah made answer that the particle in verse 15, implies that Dinah must have been one of twin-sisters. "But," objected the other, "the same particle occurs also in connection with Benjamin, to say nothing of other instances." "Alas!" said Rav Cheyah, "I am possessed of a secret worth knowing, and thou art trying to worm it out of me." Then interposed Rav Chama bar Chanena, "The number may be made up by reckoning Jochebed in, for of her it is said (Num. xxvi. 59) 'that her mother bare her to Levi in Egypt;' her birth took place in Egypt, though she was conceived on the journey."
Bava Bathra, fol. 123, cols. 1, 2.
Rav Yehudah says in the name of Shemuel:--There is yet another festival in Rome, which is observed only once in seventy years, and this is the manner of its celebration. They take an able-bodied man, without physical defect, and cause him to ride upon the back of a lame one. They dress up the former in the garments of Adam (such as God made for him in Paradise), and cover his face with the skin of the face of Rabbi Ishmael, the high priest, and adorn his neck with a precious stone. They illuminate the streets, and then lead the two men through the city, a herald proclaiming before them, "The account of our Lord was false; it is the brother of our Lord that is the deceiver! He that sees this festival sees it, and he that does not see it now will never see it. What advantage to the deceiver is his deception, and to the crafty his craftiness?" The proclamation finishes up thus--"Woe to this one when the other shall rise again!"
Avodah Zarah, fol. 11, col. 2.
The Targum Varushalmi informs us that the Lord God wrought for Adam and his wife robes of honor from the cast-off skin of the serpent. We learn elsewhere that Nimrod came into possession of Adam's coat through Ham, who stole it from Noah while in the Ark. The glib tongue of tradition also tells how Esau slew Nimrod and appropriated the garment, and wore it for luck when hunting; but that on the day when he went to seek venison at the request of his dying parent, in his hurry he forgot the embroidered robe of Adam, and had bad luck in consequence. Then Jacob borrowed the left-off garment, and kept it for himself. The mask alluded to is accounted for
thus:--The daughter of a Roman emperor took a fancy to have the skin of Rabbi Ishmael's face, and it accordingly, when he was dead, was taken off, and so embalmed as to retain its features, expression, and complexion, and the Jews say that it is still preserved among the relics at Rome. The able-bodied man in this prophetic mystery-play represents Esau, and the limping man is intended for Jacob. Rome (or Esau) is uppermost in that ceremonial, but the time is coming when Jacob will rise and invest himself in the blessings he so craftily obtained the reversion of.
Rabbi Yochanan said:--None were elected to sit in the High Council of the Sanhedrin except men of stature, of wisdom, of imposing appearance, and of mature age; men who knew witchcraft and seventy languages, in order that the High Council of the Sanhedrin should have no need of an interpreter.
Sanhedrin, fol. 17, col. 1.
Yehudah and Chiskiyah, the sons of Rabbi Cheyah, once sat down to a meal before Rabbi (the Holy) without speaking a word. "Give the boys some wine," said Rabbi, "that they may have boldness to speak." When they had partaken of the wine, they said, "The son of David will not come until the two patriarchal houses of Israel are no more," that is, the head of the Captivity in Babylon and the Prince in the land of Israel; for it is written (Isa. viii. 14), "And he shall be for a sanctuary, and for a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel." "Why, children," said Rabbi (who was patriarch of Tiberias), "you are thrusting thorns into my eyes." Rabbi Cheyah said, "Do not be offended at them. Wine is given with seventy, and so is a secret (the numerical value of each of these words is seventy); when wine enters the secret oozes out."
Ibid., fol. 38, col. 1.
A certain star appears once in seventy years and deceives the sailors (who guide their vessels by the position of the heavenly bodies; and this star appears sometimes in the north and sometimes in the south.--Rashi.)
Horayoth, fol. 10, col. 1.
As eating olive berries causes one to forget things that he has known for seventy years, so olive oil brings back to the memory things which happened seventy years before.
Ibid., fol. 13, col. 2
The outside of the shell of the purple mollusk resembles the sea in color; its bodily conformation is like that of a fish; it rises once in seventy years; its blood is used to dye wool purple, and therefore this color is dear.
Menachoth, fol. 44, col. 1.
The bearing-time of the flat-headed otter lasts seventy years; a parallel may be found in the carob-tree, from the planting to the ripening of the pods of which is seventy years.
Berachoth, fol. 8, col. 1.