Bablyonian Talmud, Book 8: Tract Sanhedrin, tr. by Michael L. Rodkinson, , at sacred-texts.com
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THE HAGGADIC PART ABOUT RESURRECTION; SHARES IN THE WORLD TO COME; AND ABOUT THE MESSIAH, ETC.
MISHNA I.: All Israel has a share in the world to come. As it reads [Is. lx. 21]: "And thy people-they will all be righteous, for ever shall they possess the land, the sprout of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may glorify myself." The following have no share in the world to come: He who says that there is no allusion in the Torah concerning resurrection, and he who says that the Torah was not given by Heaven, and a follower of Epicurus R. Aqiba added, him who reads books of the Hizunim and him who mumbles over a wound, reciting the verse [Ex. xv. 26]: "I will put none of those diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I the Lord am thy physician." Abba Shaul said: Also he who speaks out the Holy Name with its vocals. 1 Three kings and four commoners have no share in the world to come. The three kings are Jeroboam, Achab, and Menasseh. R. Jehudah, however, said: Menasseh has a share in the world to come. As it reads [II. Chron. xxxiii. 13]: "And he prayed unto him and he permitted himself to be entreated by him, and heard his supplication and brought him back to Jerusalem unto his kingdom." And he was answered: He was returned to his kingdom, but not to the world to come. The four commoners are Bileam, Doeg, Achitopel, and Gechazi.
GEMARA: Is he who does not believe that the resurrection is hinted at in the Torah such a criminal that he loses his share in the world to come? It was taught: He denies resurrection therefore he will not have a share in it, as punishment corresponds to the deed; for all retributions of the Holy One, blessed,
be He, are in correspondence with man's doing. And R. Samuel b. Na'hmani in the name of R. Jonathan said: Whence do we know that so it is? From [II. Kings, vii. 1, 2]: "Then said Elisha, Hear ye the word of the Lord: Thus hath said the Lord, About this time to-morrow a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. Then answered the lord of the king, on whose hand he used to lean, the man of God, and said, Behold will the Lord make windows in the heavens, that this thing shall be? And he said, Behold, thou shall see it with thy eyes, but thereof shalt thou not eat." And this chapter ends [ibid. 20]: "And it happened unto him so; for the people trod him down in the gate and he died." But perhaps this was because Elisha cautioned him? As R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh said: If a sage cautions some one, even if the one cautioned had not deserved such, it falls upon him nevertheless? If it were so, it should read: "And the people trod on him and he died." Why in the gate? Thus because of his protest which he made at the gate.
Where is resurrection hinted at in the Torah? [It reads, Num. xviii. 28]: "And ye shall give thereof the heave-offering of the Lord to Aaron the priest." Should, then, Aaron remain alive forever? He did not even enter into the land of Israel. How, then, could Israel give him heave-offering? Infer from this that he would experience resurrection and Israel would give him heave-offering. Hence here is a hint of resurrection. The school of R. Ismael, however, taught: (Nothing is to be inferred from this,) as the words "to Aaron" mean priests who are similar to him--viz., scholar as he was. And from this it is inferred that no gift whatsoever should be given to a priest who is ignorant. Samuel b. Na'hmani in the name of R. Jonathan said: Whence do we know that one must not give heave-offering to a priest who is an ignoramus? From [II. Chron. xxxi. 4]: "To give the portion of the priests and the Levites, in order that they might hold firmly to the law of the Lord." Hence the priest who knows to hold firmly the law has a portion, but not he who is ignorant of the law. R. Johanan said that he who does so causes death to the ignorant priest. As it reads [Lev. xxii. 9]: "That they may not bear sin through it, and die therefor, if they profane it." The disciples of R. Eliezer b. Jacob taught that [ibid., ibid. 16] also applies to him who gives heave-offering to an ignoramus.
There is a Boraitha: R. Sinai said: The hint of resurrection in the Torah is to be found in [Ex. vi. 4]: "And as I did also
establish my covenant with them, to give unto them the land of Canaan." It does not read "to you" (as it should, the patriarchs of that time being already dead), but "to them"--hence this is a hint that they would be restored. The Minim questioned Rabban Gamaliel: Whence do you deduce that the Holy One, blessed be He, would restore the dead? And he answered: From the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Hagiographa. However, they did not accept it. From the Pentateuch--[Deut. xxxi. 16]: "Thou shalt sleep with thy parents 've-qom,'" "and arise." 1 And they answered: Perhaps this word ve-qom is connected with its succeeding words.
From the Prophets--[Is. xxvi. 19]: "Thy dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for a dew on herbs is thy dew, and the earth shall cast out the departed." And they answered: Perhaps the verse cited means those dead who were restored by Ezekiel [chap. xxxvi.]. In the Hagiographa--[Solomon's Song, vii. 10]: "And thy palate like the best wine, that glided down for my friend gently, exciting the lips of those that are asleep." And they answered: This cannot be taken as an evidence, for it is not certain that "are asleep" means the dead. [(Says the Gemara:) R. Johanan, in the name of R. Simeon b. Jehozodok, used to cite this verse with his statement that if a Halakha is mentioned in the name of a dead sage the lips of the latter move (mumble) in his grave.] Thereafter, when Gamaliel mentioned to the Minim [Deut. xi.
[paragraph continues] 9], "And the Lord hath sworn unto your fathers to give unto them" which does not read "to ye," but "to them"--hence it is a hint of resurrection from the Torah--it was accepted. According to others he mentioned before them [Deut. iv. 4]: "But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day" which means, as this day every one of you is alive, so will it be in the world to come. The officers of Rome questioned R. Jehoshua b. Hananiah: Whence do you know that the Holy One, blessed be He, will restore the dead and that there is also revealed before Him all that will be in the future? And he answered: Both things are inferred from Deut. xxxi. 16, cited above. And to their answer: Perhaps the word "ve-qom" belongs to its succeeding words, he rejoined: Accept at least the half (the second question)--that there is revealed before Him all that will be in the future. The same was taught also by R. Johanan in the name of R. Simeon b. Jehai, that from this verse both the resurrection and that there is revealed before Him all that will be in the future is inferred.
There is a Boraitha: R. Eliezer b. Jose said: I have shown the falsification in the books of the Minim, who used to say that there is no hint about resurrection in the Pentateuch. And I said to them: You have falsified your Torah, but you have nothing in your hand to say that there is no hint of resurrection. Does it not read [Num. xv. 31]: "That person shall be cut off, his iniquity is upon him"? Upon him--when? Does it not mean after he shall be cut off? Hence it means even in the world to come. (Questioned the Gemara:) Above, this passage is explained by R. Aqiba and R. Ishmael. But neither of them has explained what means "his iniquity shall be upon him"? They may explain it as in the following Boraitha: Lest one say that he will be cut off even after his repentance, therefore "the iniquity is upon him" means only when it is still upon him, but if he repented it is no more upon him.
Queen Cleopatra questioned R. Mair thus: I am aware that the dead will be restored. As it reads [Ps. lxxii. 16]: "And (men) shall blossom out of the city like herbs of the earth." My question, however, is: When they shall be restored, will they be naked or dressed? And he answered: This may be drawn by an a fortiori conclusion from wheat. A grain of wheat which is buried naked comes out dressed in so many garments: the upright, who are buried in their dress, so much the more shall they come out dressed in many garments.
Cæsar questioned Rabbon Gamaliel: You say that the dead will be restored. Does not the corpse become dust? How, then, can dust be restored? And the daughter of Cæsar said to R. Gamaliel: Leave the question to me and I myself shall answer it. And she said (to her father): If there were two potters in our city, of whom one should make a pot from water and the other from clay, to which of them would you give preference? And he said: Certainly to him who creates from water; for if he is able to create from water, he is undoubtedly able to create from clay. (And she said: This is an answer to your question.)
The school of R. Ismael taught: One may learn it from glass-wares, which are made by human beings, and if they break there is a remedy for them, as they can be renewed: human beings, who are created by the spirit of the Lord, so much the more shall they be renewed (restored).
There was a Min who said to R. Ami: You say that the dead will be restored. Does not the corpse become dust? How, then, can dust be restored? And he told him: I will give you a parable showing to what this thing is similar. A human king said to his servants: Go and build me a palace in such a place, where there is no earth and no water. And they did so: and after it collapsed he commanded the same to build it for him in a place where there was earth and water. And they answered: We cannot do so. And he became angry, saying: When you could build it in such a place where there was no earth and no water, ought you not to be able to build it where they are? And if you don't believe it, go into a valley and see a mouse, which is half flesh and half earth (it being believed that there is a species of mice developed from earth), and to-morrow it multiplies and becomes all flesh. And should you say that it takes much time till it becomes so, go up into the mountain, and see that to-day you cannot find even one helzun, 1 and on the morrow, after rain, you will find the mountains full of them.
There was another Min who said to Gebiah b. Psisa: Woe to you, wicked, who say that the dead are restored. The living die--should the dead come to life? And he answered: Woe to you, wicked, who say that the dead will not come to life. That which has not existed at all comes to life--shall those who had
life once not come to life again? Said the Min to him: You call me wicked. If I arise, I will kick thee and level thy hump from off thee (drive out thy conceit). And he rejoined: If you do so, you will be a specialist physician, and you will receive a great reward.
The rabbis taught: On the twenty-fourth of Nissan the contractors of duty were taken off from Judah and Jerusalem. This was when the Africans summoned Israel before Alexander of Macedonia, claiming that the land of Canaan belonged to them. As it reads [Num. Xxxiv. 2]: "The land of Canaan according to its boundaries"--and that they were the descendants of Canaan. Said Gbiah b. Psisa to the sages: Permit me, and I will appear before Alexander as advocate of the defendant Israel, and if they defeat me, say to them, "You have defeated an ignoramus among us"; and if I defeat them, say to them, "The law of Moses has defeated you." He got this permission, and did so. Then he said to them: What is your evidence? And their answer was: From your Torah. Then said he: I in defence will also bring my evidence from the same. It reads [Gen. ix. 25]: "And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." Now, to whom belongs the estate of a slave, if not to his master. And not this only, but I summon you before the king for the many years you have not done any service for us. And Alexander commanded them to give answer, for which they requested from him three days' time. And he gave it to them. And as they could not find any right answer at the appointed time they fled, leaving their fields, which were sown, and their vineyards, which were planted. And this year was a Sabbatical one.
It happened again that the Egyptians summoned Israel before Alexander of Macedonia, demanding from them the gold and silver which they had borrowed from them at the time of their exodus. As it reads [Ex. xii. 36]: "And the Lord hath given the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, so that they gave unto them what they required; and they emptied out Egypt." And Gbiah b. Psisa requested from the sages permission to be the advocate of the defendant Israel, with the same reason mentioned above. He got this permission, and did so. Then he said to them: What is your evidence? And their answer was: From your Torah. Then said he: I in defence will also bring my evidence from the same, which reads [ibid., ibid. 40]: "Now the time of the residence of the children of Israel, which they dwelt
in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years." Hence I demand of you the wages for the labor of six hundred thousand men whom your parents compelled to work for them all the time they were in Egypt. And Alexander decided that the Egyptians should give a proper answer--for which they requested three days' time, which was allowed to them. But they could not find a satisfactory answer, and they fled, leaving their sown fields and their planted vineyards. And also this year was a Sabbatical one.
And it happened again that the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Keturah summoned Israel before Alexander, claiming to have a share in the land of Canaan, as they also were descendants of Abraham. And again Gbiah b. Psisa requested for permission to be Israel's advocate, which he received. And the same question of evidence was put to them, and their answer was: From your Torah [Gen. xxv. 12 and 19], which shows that Ishmael as well as Isaac were Abraham's children. And he then also brought his evidence from the same [ibid., ibid. 5 and 6]: "And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts; and he sent them away from Isaac his son." Now, on a father who made a legatum (bequest) to his children, and separated them while he was still alive, can they have any claim thereafter!
Antoninus said to Rabbi: The body and the soul of a human may free themselves on the day of judgment by Heaven. How so? The body may say: The soul has sinned; for since she has departed I lie in the grave like a stone. And the soul may say: The body has sinned; for since I am separated from it, I fly in the air like a bird. And he answered: I will give you a parable to which this is similar: A human king, who had an excellent garden which contained very fine figs, appointed two watchmen for it--one of whom was blind, and the other had no feet. He who was without feet said to the one who was blind: I see in the garden fine figs. Take me on your shoulders, and I shall get them, and we shall consume them. He did so, and while on his shoulders he took them off, and both consumed them. And when the owner of the garden came and did not find the figs, and questioned them what became of them, the blind one answered: Have I, then, eyes to see them, that you should suspect my taking them? And the lame one answered: Have I, then, feet to go there? The owner then put the lame one on the shoulders of the one who was blind, and punished them together. So also
the Holy One, blessed be He--He puts the soul in the body and punishes them together. As it reads [Ps. 1. 4]: "He will call to the heavens above, and to the earth beneath, to judge his people." "To the heavens above" means the soul, and, "to the earth beneath" means the body.
Antoninus again questioned Rabbi: Why does the sun rise in the east and set in the west? And he answered: If it were contrariwise, you would also question the same. Rejoined Antoninus: I mean to say, why does he set in the west (let him go around without setting, until he reach the place where he arose)? And he answered: For the purpose of greeting with peace his Creator (as the Shekhina is in the west). Rejoined again Antoninus: Let him then travel to half of the sky, greet the Creator, and set? This would harm the laborer, and those who are on the road.
The same questioned again the same: At what time does the soul come into the body--at the moment of conception, or at the time the embryo is already formed? And the answer was: When it is already formed. Said Antoninus to him: Is it possible that a piece of flesh shall keep three days or more without being salted, and it shall not become stinking? And therefore it must be said: At conception. Said Rabbi: This teaching I accepted from Antoninus, and a support to him is to be found in [Job, x. 12]: "And thy providence watched over my spirit." 1
Antoninus questioned Rabbi again: At what time does the evil spirit reach man? At the time the embryo is formed, when it comes out from the womb? And he was answered: At the time it is formed. Rejoined Antoninus: If so, the embryo would kick the entrails of the mother and go out; therefore it must be from the time it comes out. And Rabbi said: This teaching I received from Antoninus, and he is supported by Gen. iv. 7: "Sin lieth at the door."
Resh Lakish proposes the following contradiction: It reads [Is. xxxv. 6]: "Then shall the lame leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing"; and [Jer. xxxi. 7 2]: "Among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she that
travaileth with child together." (Hence the passages contradict each other.) It must therefore be said: They will be restored with the blemishes they had in their life, and thereafter they will be cured.
Ula advanced another contradiction: It reads [Is. xxv. 8]: "He will destroy death to eternity; and the Lord Eternal will wipe away the tear from off all faces, and the shame of his people will he remove from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it"; and [ibid. lxv. 20]: "There shall no more come thence an infant . . . for as a lad shall one die a hundred years old"? This presents no difficulty. The former speaks of Israel's self, and the latter of those concerning whom it reads [ibid. lxi. 5]: "And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the son of the alien shall be your ploughmen and your vintners."
R. Hisda also advanced a contradiction: It reads [ibid. xxiv. 23]: "And the moon shall be put to the blush and the sun be made ashamed; for the Lord of hosts will reign on mount Zion"; and [ibid. XXX. 26]: "And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of the seven days"? This presents no difficulty. The latter speaks of the time when the Messiah shall appear, and the former, of the world to come. And to Samuel, who maintains that there will be no difference between this time and the time of Messiah, except that Israel will no longer be under the dominion of foreigners, the explanation of these contradictory verses may be thus--that the latter speaks of the camp of the upright and the former of the camp of the Glory of the Shekinah.
Rabha propounded another contradiction: It reads [Deut. xxxii. 39]: "I make one die and I make one alive"; and further on it reads: "I wound and I heal"? It means that the Holy One, blessed be He, says: All that I made to die shall I bring to life again, and thereafter shall I cure what was wounded.
The rabbis taught: Lest one say that the verse just cited means, I make one die and another one shall I bring to life, therefore it reads, "I wound and I cure." As wounding and curing apply to one person only, the same is the case with death and life--they apply to one person. This is an answer to those who say that there is no hint in the Torah about resurrection.
There is a Boraitha: R. Mair said: It reads [Ex. xv. 1]: "Then Moses and the children of Israel will sing this song." It does not read "sang," but will sing (yoshir). This is a hint of
resurrection in the Torah. Similar to this is [Joshua, viii. 30]: "Then Joshua will build an altar." It does not read "did build," but "will build." This is also a hint of resurrection. (Says the Gemara): However, this cannot be taken as a support, as the same expression is to be found in I. Kings xi. 7, and nevertheless it does not mean in the future, but in the past.
R. Jeoshuah b. Levi said: It reads [Ps. lxxxiv. 5]: "Happy are they who dwell in thy house: they will be continually praising thee." It does not read "praised thee" in the past, but in the future. Hence it is a hint of resurrection.
The same said again: He who sings to his Creator in this world will be rewarded by singing the same in the world to come, as the verse just cited reads.
Hyya b. Abah in the name of R. Johanan said: It reads [Is. lii. 8]: "The voice of thy watchmen--they raise their voice, together shall they sing; for eye to eye shall they see, when the Lord returneth unto Zion." It does not read "sung," in the past, but in the future. Hence it is a hint of resurrection.
The same said again in the name of the same authority: In the future all the prophets together will sing a song of praise with one voice, as the verse just cited reads.
R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: He who hesitates in declaring a Halakha to a disciple is considered as if he would rob him of the inheritance of his parents. For it reads [Deut. xxxiii. 4]: "The law which Moses commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Israel." Hence the law is considered as an inheritance to all Israel since the creation of the world.
R. Hana b. Bizna in the name of R. Simeon the Pious said: He who hesitates in declaring a Halakha to a disciple, even the embryos in the entrails of their mothers denounce him As it reads [Prov. xi. 26]: "Him that withholdeth corn, the people 1 will denounce." And what is the reward for declaring such? Said Rabha in the name of R. Shesheth: He will be rewarded with the blessing with which Joseph was blessed, as the end of the verse cited reads: "But blessing will be heaped upon the head of the one that selleth it," which means Joseph; as it reads [Gen. xlii. 6]: "And Joseph, he was the governor over the land, he it was that sold corn to all the people."
R. Shesheth said again: He who teaches the Torah in this world will be rewarded by teaching it in the world to come. As it reads [Prov. xi. 25]: "He that refresheth (others) will do same in the future." 1 Rabha said: Resurrection is hinted at in the Torah in [Deut. xxxiii. 6]: "May Reüben live, and not die"--which means that he may live in this world, and not die in the world to come. Rabhina, however, maintains that it is hinted at in [Dan. xii. 2]: "And many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to disgrace and everlasting abhorrence." And R. Ashi said: From [ibid., ibid. 13]: "But thou, go (thy way) toward the end; and thou shalt rest, and arise for thy lot at the end of the days."
R. Elazar said: A leader of a congregation, who leads them humbly, will be rewarded by leading the same in the world to come. As it reads [Is. xlix. 10]: "For he that hath mercy on them will lead them, and by springs of water will he guide them."
The same said again: Great is wisdom, as it was placed between two divine names [I Sam. ii. 3]: "For a God of knowledge is the Lord."
And he said again: Great is the Temple, as the word "mikdash" (Temple) [Ex. xv. 17] is also placed between two divine names.
R. Adda b. Karthinaah opposed: According to this theory "revenge" is also great, as it is also placed [Ps. xciv. 1] between two divine names. And he was answered: And it is in accordance with Ula. (This will be translated in Berachoth, as the proper place.) R. Elazar said again: Every man who possesses wisdom may consider himself as if the Temple were built in his days, as both "wisdom" and "temple" are placed between two divine names. And he said again: A man who possesses true wisdom will finally become rich. As it reads [Prov. xxiv. 4]: "And thorough knowledge are chambers filled with all manner of precious and pleasant wealth." And he said again: He who does not possess any knowledge does not deserve that one should have mercy with him." As it reads [Is. xxvii. 11]: "For it is not a people of understanding: therefore he that made it will not have mercy on it, and he that formed it will show it no favor." And he said again: He who feeds one who does not possess any
knowledge, chastisement will be the reward for it. As it reads [Ob. i. 7]: "They that eat thy bread have struck thee secretly a wound. There is no understanding in him." And he said again: Such a man as has no knowledge will finally be exiled. As it reads [Ps. v. 13]: "Therefore are my people led into exile, for want of knowledge." 1 R. Jehudah said: Exile atones for three things. As it reads [Jer. xxi. 9]: "He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, or by the famine, or by the pestilence; but he that goeth out and runneth away to the Chaldeans that besiege you, shall remain alive, and his life shall be unto him as a booty."
R. Johanan, however, said: Exiles atones for everything. As it reads [ibid. xxii. 30]: "Thus hath said the Lord, Write ye down this man as childless, as a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall succeed to sit upon the throne of David, and to rule any more in Judah." And in I Chron. iii. 17, it reads: "And the sons of Yechonyah: Assir, Shealthiel his son." And there is a tradition that Assir, Shealthiel is one person, and was Nehemiah b. Chachalyah. And why was he called Assir? Because he was conceived in prison. (The term in Hebrew for prisoner is Azzir.)
R. Elazar said: A house in which the words of the Torah are not heard in the nights will finally be burned. As it reads [Job, XX. 26]: "Entire darkness is laid by for his treasures: a fire not urged by blowing will consume him; it will destroy any one left in his tent." The Hebrew term for left is "sharid." As it reads [Joel, iii. 5]: "Among the remnant (shridim)." And he said again: He who does not benefit scholars by his estate will never see a sign of blessing: As it reads [Job, XX. 21]: "Nothing was spared from his craving to eat; therefore shall his wealth not prosper." (There also the Hebrew term is "sharid," which, according to him, means a scholar, as analogized above.) And from the same passage the same inferred that he who does not leave any bread after his meal will not see any blessing. But did not the same say elsewhere that he who left pieces of bread after his meal is considered as if he were to worship idols? This presents no difficulty. In the latter saying he means, after finishing the meal he puts a whole loaf on the table, which is prohibited. As it reads [Is. lxv. 11]: "That set out a table for the god of Fortune and that fill for Destiny the drink-offering." On the
former saying he speaks of leaving some crumbs of bread for the poor. The same said again: He who changes his word is considered as if he were to worship idols. As Gen. xxvii. 12 reads: "Seem to him as a deceiver"; and as in Jer. x. 15: They are vanity, the work of deception." And he said again: A man shall always be modest, but nevertheless shall be strong in his mind, so that he shall not be overruled by any one. (As then he may be sure that he will exist.) Said R. Zera: A hint of this is to be found in the following Mishna (Negaim vii. 3): If there seems to be leprosy in a house which is dark, windows must not be opened for investigation. (Hence if one is strong in his mind, and at the same time modest, his defects cannot be investigated.)
R. Tabi in the name of R. Joshiah said: It reads [Prov. xxx. 16]: "The nether world, and a barren womb; the earth which is not satisfied with water; and the fire which never saith, Enough." What correspondence is there between the nether world and the womb? This is only to say that as the nature of the womb is, if something be brought in, to give it out, the same is the case with the nether world--it gives out what is brought in. And it is to be inferred by an a fortiori conclusion thus: A womb into which corpses are privately brought gives them out with much noise, the nether world, into which corpses are brought with much noise, so much the more shall they come out with great noise. And this may be an answer to those who say that resurrection is not hinted at in the Torah.
The disciples of Elijah taught: The upright who will be restored in the future by the Holy One, blessed be He, will never return to dust. As it reads [Is. iv. 3]: "And it shall come to pass that whoever is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, everyone that is written down into life in Jerusalem." And as the Holy One is forever, so also those who are mentioned in this verse will be forever. And lest one say, "What will they do at the time the Holy One, blessed be He, shall renew his world," as it reads [ibid. ii. 17]: "And exalted shall be the Lord alone on that day." The upright in question will be supplied with wings similar to the wings of the eagles, and they will fly over the world. As it reads [Ps. xlvi. 3]: "Therefore will we not fear when the earth is transformed, and when mountains are moved into the heart of seas." And lest one may say that they will be inflicted--to this it is written [Is. xl. 3 1]: "Yet they that wait upon the Lord shall acquire new strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall
run and not be weary; they shall walk and not become faint." But why not infer from the dead who were restored by Ezekiel, and who died again? He (Elijah) holds with him who says that in reality Ezekiel did not restore any dead at all, and the prophecy was only a parable for the Jewish nation that it would be restored again. And this is related in the following Boraitha: The dead whom Ezekiel restored arose on their feet, sang a song, and died again. And what kind of a song was it? The Lord makes one die justly, and mercifully restores him. So R. Eliezer. R Joshua said: The song was from I Sam. ii. 6: "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up." R. Jehudah, however, said: Really, it was only a parable Said R. Nehemiah to him: If really, then it is not a parable; and if a parable, it is not really. Say, then, in reality it was a parable R. Eliezer b. R. Jose the Galilean, however, said: The dead who were restored by Ezekiel went to the land of Israel, married, and brought forth sons and daughters. And R. Jehudah b. Bathyra arose on his feet, saying: I myself am a descendant of them, and these are the phylacteries which I inherited from my grandfather, who told me that they were used by the restored. But who were the restored dead in question? Said Rabh: They were the sons of Ephraim who erred concerning the promised time of redemption from Egypt. As it reads [I Chron. vii. 20-23]: "And the sons of Ephraim: Shuthelach, and Bered his son, and Thachath his son, and Eladah his son, and Thachath his son, and Zabad his son, and Shuthelach his son, and Eser and Elad whom the men of God that were born in that land slew . . . And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him." Samuel, however, said: They were the men who disbelieved in resurrection. As it reads [Ezek. xxxvii. 11]: "Then said he unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, Dried are our bones, and lost is our hope; we are quite cut off." R. Jeremiah b. Abah said: They were the bodies of men in whom there was no sap of any meritorious act. As it reads [ibid., ibid. 4]: "O ye dry bones, hear ye the word of the Lord." And R. Itz'hak of Nabhar said: They were the men who did what was mentioned in [ibid. viii. 10]: "So I went in and saw; and behold there was every form of creeping things, and cattle, abominations, and all the idols of the house of Israel, engraven upon the wall all round about." And it reads [ibid. xxxvii. 2]: "And he caused me to pass by them all round about," etc. And R. Johanan said: They were the dead of the
valley of Dura, whom Nebuchadnezzar killed. This is what he said elsewhere, that from the river Achar to the city of Rabath in the valley of Dura there were young men of Israel who were exiled by Nebuchadnezzar the wicked, who were so beautiful that there were none similar to them under the sun; and the women of Chaldea became sick when they looked upon them. The king then commanded to slay them all and to tread down their faces.
The rabbis taught: At the time Nebuchadnezzar threw Chananya, Mishael and Azaryah into the caldron the Holy One, blessed be He, told Ezekiel to go and restore the dead of the valley of Dura, and the vessels which were made from the bones of those who were slain by Nebuchadnezzar kicked him in the face. And to his question, "What is the matter?" he was told that the colleagues of those whom he had thrown into the caldron were engaged in restoring the dead of the valley of Dura. He then said [Dan. iii. 33]: "His signs--how great are they! and his wonders--how mighty are they! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his rule is over every generation." Said R. Itz'hak: May hot melted gold be put in the mouth of that wicked, for if an angel had not come and shut his mouth, he would have brought to shame all the songs and praises which were said by David in the Psalms.
The rabbis taught: Six miracles occurred on that day: (a) The caldron floated upwards; (b) it broke; (c) its foundation was crumbled by the heat; (d) the golden image fell upon his face; (e) men from four kingdoms were burned; and (f) Ezekiel restored the dead in the valley of Dura. All of them are known tradition. ally. However, concerning the men from the four kingdoms, there is to be found in the Scripture [Dan. iii. 2]: "And King Nebuchadnezzar sent to assemble (his) lieutenants, the superintendents and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, those learned in the law, and all rulers of the provinces; and [ibid., ibid. 12]: "There are certain Jewish men," etc., and further on (27) it reads: "And the lieutenants, superintendents and governors, and the king's counsellors, being assembled together, saw these men," etc. (Hence four of those mentioned in verse 2 are missed.)
The disciples of R. Eliezer b. Jacob taught: Even at the time of danger one shall not change the dress belonging to his dignity. As it reads: [ibid., ibid. 21]: "Then were these men bound in their mantles," etc. Said R. Johanan: Upright men are greater than angels, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 25]: "He answered and said, So, I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and
there is no injury on them; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods." (Hence the angels are mentioned last.)
R. Tanhin b. Hanilai said: When Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah came out of the caldron, the nations came and kicked Israel in their faces, saying: Ye have such a God, and ye bowed yourself to the image! They (Israel) immediately confessed, saying [ibid. ix. 7]: "Thine, O Lord, is the righteousness, but unto us belongeth the shame of face, as it is this day."
R. Samuel b. Nah'maine, in the name of R. Jonathan, said: It reads [Solomon's Song, vii. 9]: "I thought, I wish to climb up the palm-tree, I wish to take hold of its boughs." I thought, I will take hold of the whole tree, but now I claim only one branch (of the palm Israel)--that of Hanania, etc. R. Johanan said: It reads [Zech. i. 8]: "I saw this night, and behold there was a man (ish) riding upon a red horse," etc. "This night"--the Lord intended to plunge the whole world into night. "Behold there was a man"--the Holy One, who is named [Ex. xv. 31 "ish, lord of war." "Upon a red horse"--he intended to plunge the world into blood, but after looking upon Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah he gave up his intention. As it reads further on, "And he was standing among the myrtle-trees (hadisin)." And by myrtle-trees are meant the upright. As it reads [Esther, ii. 7]: "And he brought up Hadassah." And "deep valley" means Babylon. As Is. xliv. 27 reads: "That saith to the deep, Be dry, and thy rivers will I dry up." "Behind them were red"--immediately the red which were filled with anger became pale, and the red became white. Said R. Papa: Infer from this that if one sees a white horse in his dream, it is a good sign. But what became of Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah after they came out of the caldron (as there is no further mention of them)? According to Rabh, they died from an evil eye; and according to Samuel, they died in order not to bring further shame on Israel. R. Johanan, how. ever, said that they returned to Palestine, married, and begot children. As it reads [Zech. iii. 8]: "Do but hear, O Joshua the high-priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee, for men of wonder are they." And who were the men to whom wonder was done, if not Chananyah, etc.? But where was Daniel at the time that they were thrown into the caldron? Said Rabh: He went to dig a river in the city of Tiberius. And Samuel said: He was sent by Nebuchadnezzar to bring a certain kind of grass from Palestine, to build it in Babylon. And R. Johanan says: He was sent to bring swans from Alexander of Egypt. But was it
not said above by Tudus the physician that no swan left Alexandria without removal of the womb (for the purpose that they should not multiply in other countries)? He brought little ones, and the Egyptians were not aware that he took time for the purpose that they should multiply in Babylon.
The rabbis taught: According to the advice of the following three, Daniel went away before the affair of Chananyah, etc., happened: The Holy One, blessed be He, Daniel himself, and Nebuchadnezzar. The Holy One, for the reason that people should not say they were saved because of Daniel's good deeds. Daniel said: I shall go away that it shall not be done with me as in Deut. iii. 25: "The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire," And Nebuchadnezzar said: Let Daniel go, in order that people shall not say I have burnt my god in fire. And whence do we know that Nebuchadnezzar worshipped him? From [Dan. ii. 46]: "Then did king Nebuchadnezzar fall upon his face, and he bowed down to Daniel."
It reads [Jer. xxix. 21-23]: "Thus hath said the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Achab the son of Kolayah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maasseyah, who prophesy unto you in my name falsehood . . . And a curse shall be derived from them for all the exiled of Judah who are in Babylon, saying: May the Lord make thee like Zedekiah and like Achab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire." It does not read whom he "burned," but whom he "roasted." And R. Johanan in the name of R. Simeon b. Johai said: Infer from this that they were roasted as people roast grain. It reads farther on [ibid., ibid. 23]: "Because they have done scandalous deeds in Israel, and have committed adultery with the wives of their neighbors." What had they done? They went to the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. Achab said: The Lord has commanded me to tell thee that thou shalt listen to Zedekiah. And the latter said the same-that she should listen to Achab. And she went and told this to her father. To which he answered: It is known to me that their God abhors incest. When they shall come to you again, send them to me. She did so. And to the question of Nebuchadnezzar: Who told you to do so? they said: The Lord. "But Chananyah and his colleagues told me that such a thing is prohibited." And they answered: We are also prophets as they are, and this command was given to us, of which they were not aware. Then said the king: I would try you as I did Chananyah and his colleagues. And to their claim, "They were three, and we are only two," he gave
them the choice of any one they liked, who should be thrown with them into the caldron. And they selected Jehoshua the high-priest, thinking that his merit was so great that it would save them also. Jehoshua was then brought, and all three were thrown into the caldron. They were burned, but Jehoshua was saved; only his garments were singed. And this is what it reads [Zech. iii. 1-3]: "And he showed me Jehoshua the high-priest standing before the angel of the Lord. And the Lord said unto the accuser, The Lord rebuke thee, O accuser," etc. Satan said to him: I know that you are an upright man, but why did the fire affect your garments, which was not the case with Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah? And he answered: They were three, and I one. And to the question: Was not Abraham the patriarch also only one when he was thrown into the caldron? he answered, With Abraham there were no wicked ones whom permission was given to the fire to affect, but with me were two wicked, and permission was given to the fire. And this is what people say: Two dried pieces of charred wood burn the third which is wet.
But why was he punished? Said R. Papa: Because his sons married such as were not fit to be the wives of priests, and he did not object; and this is meant by "filthy garments," mentioned in the verse cited.
R. Tanhun said: Bar Kappara lectured in Ciporias thus: It reads [Ruth. iii. 17]: "These six barleys gave he unto me." How is to be understood six barleys? It cannot be meant literally, for would a man like Boas give six grains of barley as a gift? And it also cannot be said "measures of barley," as it is not customary for a woman to carry six measures. Therefore the six barleys were a hint that in the future six sons would come out from her, each of whom would be blessed with six blessings: viz., David, Messiah, Daniel, Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah. David--as it reads [I Sam. xvi. 18]: "Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlechemite, who is skilful as a player and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and intelligent in speech and a person of good form, and the Lord is with him." Messiah--as it reads [Is. xi. 2]: "And there shall rest upon him the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." Daniel, Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah--as it reads [Dan. i. 4]: "Lads in whom there should be no kind of blemish, but who should be
handsome in appearance, and intelligent in all wisdom and acquainted with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as should have the ability to serve in the king's palace, and that these should be taught the learning and the language of the Chaldeans." (Hence all of them were blessed with six things.)
[Concerning the verse cited about David, said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: The whole verse is a slander, said by Doeg the Edomite. "Who is skilful as a player"--who knows how to propound questions; "mighty valiant man"--who knows how to answer questions; "a man of war"--who understands argument in the disputations of the Torah; "intelligent in speech" 1--he understands from one thing another one; "a person of good form"--who is able to give good reasons for Halakhas; "the Lord is with him"--the Halakha always prevails with him. To all the things mentioned above Saul said: "My son Jonathan possesses all the same qualities. But when he heard that the Halakha prevailed with him, a qualification which he himself did not possess (for concerning Saul it reads [I Sam. xv. 47]: "And whithersoever he turned himself, he caused terror," and about David it is written: "In whatsoever he turned to be he was successful" 2), he was dejected, and began to be jealous. But whence do we know that it was Doeg who said so? From [ibid. xvi. 18]: "One of the servants"--the most distinguished of them and [ibid. xxvi. 8]: "And his name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of the herdsmen that belonged to Saul." Concerning the verse cited about Messiah, it reads also farther on "vahari'hu" (animated), from which R. Alexandri infers that he is always overloaded with the divine commandments and chastisements resting upon him as "re'hayim" (a handmill). And Rabha said: The term "vahari'hu" means smelling--i.e., he judges by smelling. As farther on it reads: "And not after the sight of the eyes shall ye judge, and not after the hearing of the ears . . . (but nevertheless) he judges with righteousness the poor and decides with equity for the suffering ones of the earth, and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breadth of his lips shall he slay the wicked." Hence, if not by the eye and not by the ear, it must be by smelling; and therefore the sages did not recognize Bar Kochba, who claimed to be the Messiah and ruled
two and a half years, because he did not judge by smelling. And now concerning the verse cited about Chananyah, Mishael, etc., that they had no blemish. Said R. Haman b. Hanina: Not even a scratch was to be found on their bodies. "The ability to serve in the king's palace"--that they were able to restrain themselves from laughing, sleeping, and dreaming, and even from departing for one's necessity for fear of the king. It reads farther on [ibid. 6]: "Now there were among these, of the children of Judah," etc. According to R. Elazar, all of them were of the tribe of Judah, and according to Samuel b. Na'hmane, Daniel only was of Judah, but Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah were of other tribes.
It reads [Is. lvi. 5]: "I will indeed give unto them . . . an everlasting name." Said R. Tanhun: Bar Kappara lectured in Ciporias that this means the book of Daniel, which is named after him. 1 Let us see! All which is written in the book of Ezra was said by Nehemiah b. Chackhalyah. Why, then, was it not named after him? (The book of Nehemiah in our Bible was not as yet separated from Ezra in the time of the Talmud.) Said R. Nehemiah b. Abah: Because he was proud of it. As it reads [Neh. v. 19]: "Remember for me, my God for good, all that I have done for this people." But did not David also say similar to this [Ps. lvi. 4]: "Remember me, O Lord, when thou favorest thy people?" This was said only as a prayer.
R. Joseph said: The book was not named after him because he slandered the former governors. As it reads [Neh. v. 15]: "Former governors . . . had made it heavy . . . had taken of them bread and wine, besides forty shekels." And in this slander Daniel, who was greater than he, was also included, as he was of the former governors who made their exodus from Babylon a long time before Nehemiah. And whence do we know that Daniel was greater than he? From [Dan. x. 7]: "And I, Daniel, saw alone this appearance; but the men that were with me did not see the appearance; nevertheless a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves." Who were these men? Said R. Jeremiah, and according to others, R. Hyya b. Abah: Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. In one respect he
was better than they, for he saw the appearance, but they did not. And in another respect they were better than he, as they were prophets, while he was not. But why were they shocked when they saw nothing? Though they did not see it, their guardian angels did. Said Rabhina: Infer from this, that if a man is shocked, unaware of the cause, his guardian angel must be aware of it; and his remedy is stepping back four ells, or reading the portion of Shema. And if he stands in a dirty place, where it is not allowed to recite the portion of "Shema Israel," he may say, "The goats of the butcher are stronger than I."
It reads [Is. ix. 6]: "For promoting the increase of the government, and for peace without end," etc. Said R. Tan'hun: Bar khapara lectured in Ciporias about this verse thus: Why is the first word of this verse distinguished? In all other words if a "mem" happens to be among its letters, if at the beginning or in the middle, it is an open one מ. Here, however, the "mem," which is the second letter of this word, is closed ם, which is usually only at the end of a word? It is because the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to make Hiskiah the Messiah, and Sanherib who declared war against him as a substitute for Gog and Magog the future nations who will declare war against the Messiah. Said the divine attribute of justice for Him: Lord of the Universe, David, the king of Israel, who recited before Thee so many songs and praises, Thou madest him not a Messiah; Hiskiah to whom Thou hast done so many miracles, and he recited neither songs nor praises--shouldst Thou make him a Messiah? And therefore the "mem" was closed (as a hint to this). The earth, however, opened her mouth and said: Lord of the Universe, I will recite songs before Thee instead of this upright, and Thou, I pray Thee, make him a Messiah. And she did so immediately, as it reads [ibid. xxiv. 16]: "From the edge of the earth have we heard songs 'Glory be to the righteous.'" And the governor of the world also said before Him: O Lord of the Universe, do, I pray Thee, the desire of this upright. Then a heavenly voice was heard saying: "It is my secret, it is my secret! To which the prophet exclaimed: Woe is me! Tell what time will it be postponed? And the heavenly voice answered: "Till the treacherous will have dealt treacherously." And Rabha, and according . to others, R. Itz'hak, explained this: Until disgrace after disgrace will have come upon Israel.
It reads [ibid. xxi. 11]: "The prophecy concerning Dumah. Unto me one calleth out of Le'ir, Watchman, what of the night?
[paragraph continues] Watchman, what of the night? Said R. Johanan: The angel who rules the souls after their departure from this world, is named Dumah. And the latter said that all spirits gathered themselves to him questioning him: What said the watchman of the world (the Lord) about the exile which is equalized to night? And he answered. So said the watchman: The morning cometh, but previously will be a long, long night. If, however, ye desire to pray that He shall hasten it, try to do so by repenting of your sins, and coming again prepared for redemption.
It was taught in the name of R. Pepiyas: It is a shame for Hiskiah and his associates not to have recited any song until the earth recited hers, as the verse "from the edge of the earth," etc., cited above, reads. Similar to this it reads [Ex. xviii. 10]: "Blessed be the Lord who hath delivered you." And it was taught also in the name of Pepiyas: It was a shame for Moses and the six hundred thousand Israelites with him who didn't say this benediction till Jithro came. It reads [ibid., ibid. 9]: "Vayi'had" (rejoiced) Jithro, the Hebrew term "had" means to sharpen. And according to Rabh, it means that he passed a sharp razor upon the flesh of his body. (He performed the ceremony of circumcision). And according to Samuel it means that his whole body pained as if stuck with sharp needles. Said R. Papa: This is what people say: One shall not dare to disgrace any heathen before a descendant of a proselyte, even if he is of the tenth generation.
It reads [Isa. x. 15]: "Therefore will the Lord, the Eternal of hosts, send forth among his 'bmashmanov' (fat ones) leanness." What is meant by the term "bmashmanov"? (in Hebrew shamuno means eight). The Lord said: Hiskiah who has eight names shall take revenge on Sanherib who also has eight names. Hiskia's eight names are enumerated in [Isa. ix. 5]: "For a child is born unto us, a son hath been given unto us, and the government is placed on his shoulders and his name is pele, yaez, el gibaur, abbi, ad, sar, shalaum." And concerning Sanherib it reads [II Kings, xv. 9]: "Thiglash pilesser" [ibid., ibid. 19]: "Pul" [II Chron. xxviii. 20]: "Pilnesser" [II Kings, xvii. 3]: "Shalmanesser" [Isa. xx. i]: "Sargon" and [Ezra, iv. 70]: "Assnapper, rabha, v'yaqira." The name Hiskia is not counted, for he was named so because God strengthened him. And the name Sanherib is also not counted, for he was named so because he said vile words against Heaven.
Said R. Johanan: Why was he named Assnapper, the honored
and the great? Because he did not speak evil of the land of Israel, as it reads [II Kings, xviii. 32]: "Until I come and take you away to a land like your own," etc.
Rabh and Samuel. According to one he was a clever king, because if he would have said that he would take them in a better land than theirs they would consider him a liar. And according to the other he was a fool, for what use could it be for them to go in a land which is not better than their own? To where did he exile the ten tribes of Israel? According to Mar Sutra to Africa, and according to R. Hanina to the mountains of Slug. However, the ten tribes of Israel slander the land of Israel, for when they reached the city of Sus they said that it was like their own land. And when they came to the city of Elmin they said that it is like our Elmin (Jerusalem). And when they reached the second Sus they said that it was much better than their own land.
It reads [Isa. x. 16]: "And under his glory shall be kindled." According to R. Johanan it means "under his dress garments," as he used to call garments glory. Hence the body was burned, but not the garments. R. Elazar, however, maintains "under his glory" means under the flesh--i.e., only the soul was burned as by the children of Aaron.
There is a Boraitha in the name of R. Joshua b. Kharha: Pharaoh who personally blasphemed Heaven, was also punished by Heaven. Sanherib, who blasphemed though a messenger, was also punished though a messenger. Concerning Pharaoh, it reads [Ex. V. 2]: "And Pharaoh said, Who is the Everlasting, whose voice I am to obey?" And he was punished by Heaven, as it reads [ibid. Xiv. 27]: "And the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea." And also [Habakkuk, iii. 15]: "(But) thou didst pass along over the sea." Concerning Sanherib it reads [II Kings, xix. 23]: "By thy messengers thou has blasphemed the Lord." He was punished through a messenger, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 3 5]: "And it came to pass . . . that an angel of the Lord smote in the camp of the Assyrians, one hundred eighty and five thousand.
R. Hanina b. Papa propounded a contradiction from [Isa. xxxvii. 24]: "I will enter into the height of its summit." [II Kings, xix. 23]: "I will enter into the lodgings of its summit." Thus thought Sanherib: I will first destroy the lower dwelling and thereafter the higher one. R. Jehoshua b. Levi said: It reads [ibid. xviii. 25]: "Now am I come up without the Lord('s will)
against this place to destroy it? The Lord hath said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it." What is it? He heard the prophet who said [Isa. viii. 6-7]: "Forasmuch as this people despiseth the waters of Shiloach that flow softly, and rejoice in Regin and Remalyabu's son," etc. Said R. Joseph: Were it not for the translation of this verse into Chaldaic, we would not understand its meaning. The translation is thus: Because this people despised the kingdom of David, who ruled them gently like the waters of Shiloach which flow gently, and grew fond of Regin and the son of Remalyabu.
R. Johanan said: It reads [Prov. iii. 33]: "The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked"--Peckach b. Remalyabu, who used to consume forty saas of pigeon as a dessert. "But the habitation of the righteous will he bless"--Hiskia, king of Judah, whose whole meal consisted of a liter of herbs.
It reads [Isa. viii. 7 and 8]: "The king of Assyria . . . and he shall penetrate into Judah, overflood and flood over, even to the neck shall he reach. Now as Sanherib acted in accordance with the prophecy, why then was he punished? The prophet prophesied concerning the ten tribes, and he himself made up his mind to go to Jerusalem. Then came the prophet and said [ibid., ibid. 23]: "And no fatigue (befalleth) him that oppresseth them." And R. Elazar b. Breakhya explained the passage thus: A people who are occupied with the study of the law will not be delivered over to their oppressor. "In the first time, he made light of the land of Zebulun and of the land of Naphtali, and at the last he will deal hard, with the way by the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, (up to) the Galilee of the nations"--not like the first, who threw off the yoke of the Thorah, but like the latter, who tolerated the heavy yoke of the Thorah, and therefore deserved that a miracle should happen to them as happened to those who passed the Red Sea and to those who stepped over the Jordan. Hence if he will retract to turn away from Jerusalem, well and good, but if not, I will make him a shame among all other nations.
It reads [II Chron. xxxii. i]: "After these things and veritable events came Sanherib the king of Assyria, and invaded Judah, and encamped against the fortified cities, and thought to break them open for himself." Is such a present given to the men of truth? And also what is meant by "after"? Said Rabhina: It means after the Holy One, blessed be He, had sworn, saying, If I would tell Hiskiah that I will bring Sanherib, and
deliver him in his hands, he would say I want neither to be scared nor to have him delivered to me. And therefore the Lord swore that he will bring him in, as it reads [Isa. Xiv. 24 and 25]: "Sworn hath the Lord of host, saying, Surely as I have purposed, so doth it come to pass; and as I have resolved, so shall it occur. To break Asshur in my own land, and upon my mountains will I tread him under foot; then shall his yoke be removed from off them, and his burden shall be removed from off their shoulders."
Said R. Johanan: The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Sanherib with his companions shall come and be made a crib for Hiskiah and his associates.
It also reads [ibid. x. 27]: "And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be removed from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be broken because of the fatness." Said R. Itz'hak of Nafha: The yoke of Sanherib was broken because of the fats of Hiskia which he used to kindle in the prayer house and in house of learning. He placed a sword on the gate of the house of learning as a sign that he who will not occupy himself with the Thorah shall be slain by the sword. And thereafter a search was made from the city of Dan to the city of Beersheba, and there was not found one ignoramus among them. And also from the city of Gebeth to the city of Antiphras, and there was not found one who was not acquainted with the law of purification, even among the women and children. And to that generation it reads [ibid. vii. 21]: "And It shall come to pass on that day, that a man shall nourish (but) one young cow and two sheep." And (23): "And it shall come to pass on that day that every place, where there are (now) a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, shall be--yea, this shall be (given up) to briers and thorns," which means though the vine was so valuable it was left to briers and thorns because all of them occupied themselves with the study of the law.
It reads [ibid. xxxiii. 4]: "And your spoil shall be gathered as the cricket gathereth." The prophet said to Israel: Gather your spoils. And to the question: Shall each one gather for himself or shall it be divided into equal shares? the prophet answered: As the cricket gathereth--as the gathering of the cricket is each one for himself, so also shall be your gathering. And when they objected, saying, Is there not among these the property of the ten tribes which was robbed by the Assyrian? he answered;
[paragraph continues] So long as it was mingled among it, it is not considered the property of the ten tribes. 1
R. Huna said: Ten trips had the wicked made on that day, as it reads [ibid. x. 28 to 32]: "He cometh to Ayath, he passeth on to Migron; at Michmash he layeth up his baggage: They go through the pass; they take up their lodgings at Geba; Rama trembleth; Gib'ah of Saul fleeth. Let thy voice resound, O daughter of Gallim! listen Layshah; O poor Anathoth! Madmenah is in motion (the inhabitants of Gebin)," etc. Are there not enumerated more than ten places? Verse 30 the prophet said to the assembly of Israel thus: Those daughter of Gallim means Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who performed divine commandments as numerous as the waves of the sea. Layshah means be not afraid of Layshah, which means Sanherib, but of Nebuchadnezzar, who is equalized to a lion, as it reads [Jer. iv. 7]: "The lion has come up from his thicket. O poor Anathoth!"--there will come a prophet from Anathoth, Jeremiah, who will prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem.
(Verse 32): "As yet will be remain at Nob." What does this mean? Said R. Huna: There was one day more appointed for the punishment of the iniquity of Nob. And the astrologers told Sanherib that if he could reach Jerusalem on that day he would be victorious. He therefore hastened his march and made a journey of ten days in one. And when he reached Jerusalem a ladder was made for him, upon which he ascended to view the whole city which was visible from that place. And it appeared to him very small, so that he exclaimed: Is this the city of Jerusalem for which I have troubled all my forces? Is she not smaller and weaker than all the great cities and countries which I have besieged with my powerful arm? He nodded his head, and gestured with his hands over the mountain of the Temple in Zion and over the court of the Temple in Jerusalem. And as his army wanted to put their hands on Jerusalem immediately, he told them that they were at present too tired, but on the morrow everyone of them should bring with him a piece of the wall which surrounds it. Concerning that night, however, it reads [II Kings, xix. 35]: "And it came to pass, on that same night, that an angel of
the Lord . . . . smote . . . . of the Assyrians one hundred eighty and five thousand men; and when the people arose early in the morning, behold they were all dead corpses."
Said R. Papa: This is what people say: If the judgment is postponed over one night, there is hope that it will be abolished entirely.
It reads [II Sam. xxi. 16]: "And Yishbi at Nob, who was of the children of the Raphah, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of copper, he being girded with a new armour, thought to slay David." What is meant by "Yishbi at Nob"? Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: It means that this happened because of that which was done to the city of Nob. The Lord said to David: How much longer will the iniquity of Nob rest upon thee? Thou caused the destruction of the priest's city of Nob. Thou caused the iniquity of Doeg the Edomite, and through thee Saul and his three sons were killed. Now thou hast the choice of one of the following two. Either thou shalt not leave any issue, or that thou couldst be delivered over to thy enemies. And he answered: Lord of the Universe, it is better for me to be delivered over to the enemy than my descendants shall be destroyed.
It happened then that David went to a village and the Satan appeared to him in the form of a ram. He shot an arrow at it, but it did not reach it. So he ran after it till he passed the border of the Philistines. And when Yishbi of Nob saw him he said: This is he who killed my brother Goliath. He bound him, gagged him and put him under an olive press. However, a miracle occurred in that the earth under him became soft, and he was not killed. To this it is written [Ps. xviii. 37]: "Thou enlargest my steps under me, so that my joints do not slip." That day was an eve of Sabbath. And Abishai b. Zeruyah used to wash his head with four pitchers of water, and spots of blood appeared on the water. According to others, a dove flew to him, flapped her wings as if in trouble. And he said the assembly of Israel is equalized to a dove. Hence it must be that David the king of Israel is in trouble. He went to David's house but did not find him there. And he said, I was taught: One must not ride on a king's horse, must not sit on his chair, etc. But how is it at the time of danger? He went to the college and questioned concerning it. To which he was answered that at the time of danger one may. Then he rode upon the king's mule and miraculously the earth jumped towards him. And while riding he saw
[paragraph continues] Arpa, the mother of Yishbi, sitting and spinning. When she saw him she broke the thread of her spindle and threw it at him with the intention of killing him (simulating that it had accidentally slipped). Then she said: Young man, hand me my spindle. And he took the spindle, threw it at her head, and she was killed. When Yishbi of Nob saw Abishai, he said: Now there are two, and they will be able to kill me. He took David and threw him up high, and placed the point of his spear so that David should fall upon it, and be killed. And Abishai mentioned a certain holy name, through which David remained between the sky and the earth. [But why didn't David himself mention such a name? Because a prisoner cannot liberate himself from prison without help.]
Abishai then questioned David what he was doing there. And he narrated before him what the Lord told him and what his answer to it was. Said he to him: Reverse thy prayer. Thy grandson may go and sell wax, but thou thyself must not take any trouble upon thee. Rejoined David: If it must be so, then succor me to pray. For it reads [Sam. xxx. 17]: "But Abishai the son of Zeruyah succoured him." And R. Jehudah, in the name of Rabh, said that he succored him in prayer. Thereafter Abishai mentioned another holy name and took David up on the knees, and both ran away. And Yishbi ran after them. And when they reached the village of Kubi (situated on the boundary of Palestine) they thought: Let us stop here and fight him. However, they went to the village of Tri and said to themselves that two cubs of a lion are able to kill a big lion. When the fight began they said to him: Go back, and you will see that your mother is dead. And when he heard this he became weak, and then they killed him. And this is what is written [ibid. 17]: "Then swore the men of David unto him, saying: Thou shall go out no more with us to battle, that thou mayest not quench the lamp of Israel."
The rabbis taught: To the following three the earth jumped: To Eliezar the servant of Abraham, to Jacob our father, and to Abishai b. Zeruyah: To the latter, as it was said above. To Eliezar the servant of Abraham, as it reads [Gen. xxiv. 42]: "And I came this day unto the well." "This day" means on the same day he went from home. To Jacob our father, as it reads [ibid. xxviii. 10 and 11]: "And Jacob went out from Beersheba and went towards Charan. And he "vayiphga" (lighted) upon a certain place and tarried there all night, because the sun
was set," etc. When he reached Charan he said: Is it right of me not to have prayer when I passed the place my parents passed? He resolved to return, and soon after his resolution the earth jumped and he met Bethel.
And another explanation is that "vayiphga" means praying, as it reads [Jer. vii. 16]: "But thou--pray not thou in behalf of this people, nor lift up in their behalf entreaty or prayer, nor make an intercession ("al-tiphga") to me, for I will not hear thee." "And tarried there all night," etc. He wanted to return after he prayed, but the Holy One, blessed be He, however, said: This upright came to my inn and he should go away without staying over night. He made, therefore, the sun set immediately. And this is what it reads farther on [ibid. xxxii. 32]: "And the sun rose unto him as he passed by Penuel." Does the sun only rise to him and not to the whole world? Therefore said R. Itz'hak, it means the sun which has set for his sake has risen now for him.
And whence do we know that David's children were destroyed? From II Kings xi. 1: "And when Athalyah the mother of Achazyahn saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. But did not Yoash remain? There in the case of Nob also Ebyathar remained, as it reads [I Sam. xxii. 20]. And R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: If from Achimelech's family there would not one have remained there would not have remained from David's family a single soul.
R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh said: Sanherib the wicked, when he came to attack, brought with him forty-five thousand princes with their concubines in golden carriages, and eighty thousand valiant men which were clothed in coats of mail, and sixty thousand girded with swords, who ran before the army. And the remainder were riders. Similar to this army was the one that attacked Abraham. And such will come in the future with Gog and Magog. In a Boraitha it was taught: The length of his camp was four hundred parsus, and the width of the necks of his horses were forty parsus. And the total of camp was two hundred and sixty thousand, less one. Questioned Abayi: What is meant by "less one"? Less one thousand, less one hundred, or less, one literally? The question was not decided.
There is a Boraitha: The first part of Sanherib's army passed the Jordan by swimming, as it reads [Is. viii. 8]: "He shall penetrate into Judah, overflow," etc.; the middle part standing on their feet, as it reads: "Even to the neck shall he reach." (The water was so diminished by the swimming of the first part, that these
had to pass over on foot.) And by the last part (the Jordan was so dry) that the dust whirled up by the tramping of their feet. And they found no water to drink, and they had to bring it from another place; as it reads [ibid. xxviii. 25]: "I have dug and drunk water." But is it not written that the angel smote only one hundred eighty and five thousand, and when they arose early in the morning they were all corpses? Said R. Abuhu: This enumerates only the officers of the army. Said Rabhina: It seems to be so from [II Chr. xxxii. 21]: "And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off every mighty man of valor and leader and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria, and when he returned with shame of face to his own land, he went into the house of his god, and (those) that were come forth from his own bowels felled him there with the sword."
With what did the angel smite them? R. Eliezar said: With his hand. As it reads [Ex. xiv. 31]: "And Israel saw that great hand which the Lord had shown," i.e., that which will take revenge on Sanherib. And R. Jehoshua said: With the finger. As it reads [ibid. viii. 15]: "Then said the magicians unto Pharaoh, this is a finger of God," "this" means the one which will take revenge on Sanherib. And R. Eliezar b. R. Jose the Galilean said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Gabriel: Is thy sickle (of death) polished? And he answered: Lord of the Universe, it is ready, polished, since the six days of the creation. As it reads [Is. xxi. 15]: "From the drawn sword, from the bent bow." R. Simeon b. Jochai said: That was the time when the fruit became ripe, and the Holy One said to Gabriel: When thou will go to make the fruit ripe, by the way, thou shalt attend to them. As it reads [ibid. xxviii. 19]: "For morning by morning shall it pass by, by day and by night; and the mere understanding of the report shall cause terror." Said R. Papa: This is what people say: When thou passest by the door of thy enemy, look at it. According to others the angel blew into their nostrils till they died. As it reads [ibid. X1. 24]: "When he breathed upon them, they withered." R. Jeremiah b. Abah said: They died from the striking of his hands. As it reads [Ezek. xxi. 22]: "I will strike my hands together, and I will cause my fury to be assuaged."
And Itz'hak of Nafha said: He revealed their ears so that they hear the songs of the angel and become death from it. As it reads [ibid. xxxiii. 3]: "When thou liftedst thyself up nations were scattered." And how many remained of them? According
to Rabh, ten, as it reads [ibid. x. 19]: "And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few in number, so that a boy may write them down." And what can a boy write a י (yad) which counts ten. And Samuel said: Nine, as it reads [ibid. xvii. 6]: "Two or three berries on the top of the uppermost bough, four to five on the outmost branches of a fruitful tree." And R. Jehoshua b. Levi said: Fourteen, as the just cited verse reads two, three . . . four, five. R. Johanan, however, said: Only five, and they were Sanherib and his two sons, Nebuchadnezzar and Nebusaradan, the latter is known by tradition, and concerning Nebuchadnezzar, it reads [Dan. iii. 25]: "And the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods," and if he would not have seen him first, how would he know how an angel looks? And concerning Sanherib, it reads [II Kings xix. 37]: "And it came to pass, as he was prostrating himself in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smite him."
R. Abuhu said: Were it not for the following verse it would be impossible to believe. It reads [Is. vii. 20]: "On the same day, will the Lord shave with the razor that is hired, from among those on the other side of the river, with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet, and also the beard shall it entirely remove." The Lord sent an angel, who appeared before Sanherib as an old man, and questioned him: When thou wilst return to the kings of the East and the West, whose sons thou broughtst with thee, and who were killed, what excuse canst thou give to them? And he answered: I myself am trembling about this. Canst thou advise me what to do? And he rejoined: Go and change thyself that thou mayest not be recognized. And to the question how should this be done, he told him, Bring me scissors and I will cut your hair off. And to the question where he shall take the scissors, he showed him a certain house, telling him to go there and that he will find what he needs. He went there, and found angels who had appeared before him as men, engaged in grinding the kernels of dates. And he asked them for a scissors. To which they answered, grind one kernel and thou wilst get it. He did so and got the requested scissors. But when he returned it grew dark, and he was told to bring light. And while carrying the light, the wind blew and caught his beard, and therefore he was compelled to cut off his hair and his beard. And this is what is written, "and also the beard shall it entirely remove." [Said R. Papa, this is what people say: Then
you are engaged in cutting the hair of an Aramaen, cinge his beard, and you will have to laugh for a long time.] When he went away he found a board from the ark of Noah. And he exclaimed, This is the great God, who saved Noah from the flood. I vow that if I will succeed in the future, I will sacrifice my two sons to him. This his sons heard, and therefore they killed him, and this is what is written in the above cited verse [II Kings, xix. 37].
It reads [Gen. xiv. 15]: "And he divided himself against them, he and his servants by night (lajlha), and smote them." Said R. Johanan: The name of the angel who came to assist Abraham was lajlha (night), as it reads [Job, iii. 3]: "And the night when it was said, There hath been a male child conceived," etc. And R. Itz'hak of Nafha said: The term lajlha concerning Abraham means that the stars of the night assisted him in his war as they did in the war with Sissera [Judges, V. 20]: "From heaven they fought--the stars in their courses fought against Sissera." Said Resh Lakish: The explanation of Nafha is better than that of the bar Nafha (Johanan, who is always called bar Nafha).
R. Johanan said: When this upright (Abraham) reached the city of Dan he became weak, as he saw that in the future his children will worship idols in Dan, as it reads [I Kings, Xii. 29]: "And the other put he in Dan." And also this wicked (Sanherib) did not feel. strong until he reached Dan, as it reads [Jer. viii. 16]: "From Dan was heard the snorting of his horses."
R. Zera said: Although R. Joshua b. Levi sent a message, in which among other things he said be careful with the children of the gentiles, as it happens very often wisdom emanates from them, the following may be nevertheless proclaimed. It reads [ibid., xii. 1 to 3]: "(Too) righteous art thou, O Lord, that I could plead with thee; yet must I speak of (the principles of) justice with thee: Wherefore is the way of the wicked happy? Do all those prosper that deal treacherously? Thou hast planted them; they have also taken root; they grow; they also bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their mind." And he was answered [ibid., ibid. 5]: "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, how then canst thou contend with the horses? and if in the land of peace, (wherein) thou trusted, (they wearied thee), how then wilt thou do in the swelling of the Jordan?" As a parable to this is: One who proclaims that he is able to run three parsus in front of
horses in the swamps. And a pedestrian happened to say to him that he is able to do the same. And he tried to run in front of him three miles and became tired. And then he said, If you become tired by running in front of me, how much the more in front of horses? If only from three miles, how much the more from three parsus? If you become tired on dry land, how much the more would you become so in the swamps! Similar to this was it said to Jeremiah. Thou art wondering that I have rewarded that wicked for the four steps he was running for the sake of my glory: how much more will you wonder when I will come to pay the reward of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who used to run for me like horses! And this is what is written [ibid. xxiii. 9]: "To the prophets--Broken is my heart within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, because of the Lord, and because of his holy words."
But what four steps arc meant? Those of [Isa. xxxix. i]: At that time sent Merodach-baladon, the son of Baladon, the king of Babylon, letters and presents to Hezekiah, for he had heard that he had been sick, and was becoming strong again." And to this it reads also [II Chron. xxxii. 31]: "And in the same manner in the business of the ambassadors . . . who sent unto him to inquire concerning the wonder that had happened in the land." (And what is it?) What R. Johanan said: That the day on which Achaz died consisted of only two hours. And when Heskiah became sick and thereafter recovered, the Holy One, blessed be He, returned the ten hours to that day, as it reads [Isa. xxxviii. 8]: Behold, I will cause the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down on the dial of Achaz by the sun, to return backward ten degrees. So the sun returned ten degrees, by the degrees which he was gone down." Merodach-baladon then questioned why that day is so long. And he was told, because Hiskia was sick and recovered. He said then: If there is such a man, must he not be greeted? Write him a letter of greeting. And they wrote, Peace to the king Hiskiah, peace to the city of Jerusalem, and peace to the great God.
At that time Nebuchadnezzar was Merodach's scribe. But this letter was written in his absence. When he returned and heard of this he asked them what they wrote. And they told him so and so. And he exclaimed: Ye named Him the great God, and greet Him at the end! It ought to have been written, Peace to the great God, peace to the city of Jerusalem, and peace to Hiskiah! And they told him that the dictator of the letter
should be the messenger. He then ran after the messenger to make him return. But after he ran four steps Gabriel came and stopped him. And R. Johanan said: If Gabriel would not have stopped there would be no remedy for the people of Israel.
What does the term "ben baladon" mean? It was said that Merodach's father was a king whose appearance was changed to that of a dog. And his son baladon sat on the throne. And when he used to sign his name he did so in conjunction with his father's for the sake of his honor. And to this it reads [Malachi, i. 6]: "A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master." A son honoreth his father, as just mentioned, and a servant his master, as in [Jer., lii. 12 and 13]: "And in the fifth month on the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, came Nebusaradan, the captain of the guard, (who) served the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem. And he burnt the house of the Lord," etc. But was Nebuchadnezzar, indeed, at that time in Jerusalem? Is it not written [II Kings xxv. 20]: "And Nebusaradan, the captain of the guard, took these, and conducted them to the king of Babylon to Riblah." And R. Abuhu said that Riblah is identical with Autukhia? R. Hisda and R. Itz'hak b. Abudimi: One said that the image of Nebuchadnezzar was engraved on his carriage, and the other that the fear of Nebuchadnezzar rested upon Nebusaradan, so that it always appeared to him that he was standing by him.
Rabha said: Three hundred mules loaded with iron saws which cut iron were given to Nebusaradan by Nebuchadnezzar while going to attack Jerusalem. And all of them were broken at one gate of Jerusalem, as it reads [Ps. lxxiv. 6]: "And now they hew in pieces the carver work thereof altogether with hatchets and hammers." Seeing this he thought to return, but a heavenly voice was heard: "Jumper, the son of a jumper, O Nebusaradan, jump now, and thou wilst succeed, as the time for the destruction of the sanctuary and for the burning of the Temple has arrived." And one saw remained with him, and with it he struck the gate, and it opened, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 5]: "(The enemy) is known as one that lifteth up high axes against the thickets of a forest." Then he slew every one coming under his hand till he reached the Temple and kindled it. However, the Temple wanted to fly away, but it was prevented by Heaven and was trodden down, as it reads [Lamentations, i. 15]: "A winepress hath the Lord trodden over the virgin, the daughter of
[paragraph continues] Judah." Nebusaradan became proud of all this, and a heavenly voice was heard saying: "You slew a killed nation, a burnt temple have you burned, grind flour have you grind," as it reads [Isa. xlvii. 2]: "Take the mill and grind meal; Uncover thy locks, lift up the train, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers." It does not read "and grind wheat," but "grind meal."
He then saw the blood of Zecharyah the prophet, which was boiling. He asked: What is it? And he was told that it is blood of sacrifice which was spilled. And he said: I will bring such blood and see if it will be similar. He did so, but it didn't correspond. Said he to them: Reveal to me this secret, for if not I will scratch your flesh with iron combs. They told him then that it was that of a priest and prophet, who had prophesied the destruction of the Temple and was slain. Said be to them: I will reconcile him. He slew the rabbis over his blood, but it didn't become quiet. He brought then the little school children, slew them, and it didn't effect. He slew then the young priest over it, and it didn't cease to boil. He slew then altogether nine hundred and forty thousand, and still the blood did not rest. He approached the blood, saying: Zecharyah, the best of thy people I slew; dost thou want that I shall slay all of them? And the blood immediately rested. He then repented, thinking they had suffered so much only for one person. I who have shed so much blood, how much will I have to suffer? He then ran away, sent his will to his house, and became a proselyte.
The rabbis taught: Naamani's proselytism was only to perform the seven commandments given to the descendants of Noah. Nebusaradan, however, was a true proselyte, from the descendants of Sissera were such who studied the law in Jerusalem, and from the descendants of Sanherib were such who taught the Torah among a majority of Israelites, and they are Shmayah and Abtalia. From the descendants of Haman were such who learned the Torah in the city Bne-Brack. And even the descendants of Nebuchadnezzar, the Holy One, blessed be He, thought to enter them under the wings of the Shekinah. But the angels prayed before Him: Lord of the Universe, he who has destroyed your house, burned your Temple, shouldst thou enter him under the wings of the Skekinah? And this is what reads [Jer. li. 9]: "We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed." And Ula said this means Nebuchadnezzar. Samuel b. Na'hman, however, said: It means the waters along the (dry, or stony) palms of Babylonia.
Ula said: Amon and Moab were the two bad neighbors of Jerusalem, and when they heard the prophets prophesying the destruction of same, they sent to Nebuchadnezzar, "Come up," and to his answer that he is afraid that they will do to him as they have done with their former enemies, they said to him [Prov. vii. 19]: "For the man is not in his house," and by the man is meant the Lord. He, however, sent to them; he is near to them, and will return. They sent again to him, "He is gone on a journey a great way off." Nebuchadnezzar, however, sent to them: I am aware that among them are upright, who will pray for them to Him and He will return; and they answered: The bag of money hath he taken with him, and by a "bag of money," the upright are meant, as it reads [Hosea, iii. 2]: "So I bought me such a one for fifteen pieces of silver," etc. He sent again: The wicked of them will repent, pray, and will be listened to. And they answered: He has already appointed a time for repenting, as it reads [Prov. vii. 19]: "By the day of kesa only will he return," and the term kesa means "an appointed time," as it reads [Ps. lxxxi. 4]: "Blow on the new moon, the cornet at the time appointed (kesa) on the day of our feast." He, however, sent to them: It is winter, and I cannot come up because of snow and rain. And they sent to him: The mountains will protect thee, as it reads [Is. xvi. 1]: "Send ye the lambs of the ruler of the land from Sela, through the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion." He (Nebuchadnezzar) sent to them: When I will arrive there I will have no place to reside. And they answered: Their graves are better than your palaces, as it reads [Jer. viii. 1 and 2]: "At that time, saith the Lord, shall they bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of the princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves. And they shall spread them out before the sun, and the moon and all the hosts of heaven, which they have loved, and which they have served, and after which they have walked."
R. Na'hman said to R. Itz'hak: Have you heard when the fallen son will come? And to the question, Who is it? He answered: The Messiah. And the Messiah you call "The fallen son"? And he said: Yea, for it reads [Amos, ix. 11]: "On that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David, which is fallen." And he answered: Thus said R. Johanan: In the generation in which the son of David will come scholarly men will decrease, and
by the remainder their eyes will protrude from sighing and sorrow, many chastisements and many evil decrees will be renewed, one will not cease as yet, while another will have come.
The rabbis taught: In this Sabbatic period in which the son of David will appear in the first year there will be fulfilled what is written, in [Amos, iv. 7]: "And I caused it to rain upon one city, and upon another city I caused it not to rain." In the second year, arrows (tokens) of famine will be sent. In the third, a great famine, from which men, women, and children, pious men and men of good deeds will die, and the Torah will be forgotten by their scholars. In the fourth there will be abundance, and not abundance. In the fifth there will be great abundance, and the people will eat, drink, and enjoy themselves, and the Torah will return to her scholars. In the sixth, voices will be heard saying that the Messiah is near. In the seventh, war will be, and at the end of the seventh, ben David will come. Said R. Joseph: Were there not many Sabbatical periods which were like this, but still he did not come? Said Abayi: Were then the above-mentioned voices heard in the sixth? And was there in the seventh war? And secondly, has it then happened in the same order as said above? There is a Boraitha. R. Jehudah said: The generation in which the son of David will come, the houses of assembly will be converted into houses of prostitution. Galilee will be destroyed. The place called Gablan will be astonished. Men of the borders of Palestine will travel from one city to another, but will find no favor. The wisdom of the scribes will be corrupted. Men fearing sin will be hated. The leaders of that generation will have the nature of dogs. And truth will be missing, as it reads [Is. lix. 15]: "And thus is the truth missing." What does this mean? It was said in the college that it passes away like flocks. 1 "And he that departeth from evil is regarded as foolish." Said the school of Shila: He who turns away from evil is regarded as foolish in the eyes of the people. Said Rabha: Previously I thought there is no truth in the whole world. However, I met thereafter a certain rabbi named Tubuth, according to others R. Tibumi, and if the whole world filled with gold would be given to him, he would not change his word or tell a lie. It happened once that he came to a city named Kushta (truth). And the inhabitants of
that city would not change their word, and it never happened that one should die an untimely death. And he married one of its inhabitants, and she bore him two children. It happened once that his wife washed her head and a female neighbor came to ask for her, and he thought that it was not nice to say that she is washing her head, and therefore said that she is out. And the two children died. And when the inhabitants came to ask him what was the reason that such an unusual thing happened to him, he told them the truth. And they requested him to move away from their city in order not to cause untimely death.
R. Nehuraia taught: The generation in which the son of David will come, young men will make pale the faces of the old, old men will rise before youth, a daughter will rebel against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, the leaders of the generation will have the nature of dogs, and a son will not be ashamed when his father reproaches him.
There is a Boraitha: R. Nehemiah said: The generation in which ben David will come, insolence will increase, an evil man will be honored, respect will be missed, the vine will give forth its fruit abundantly; wine, however, will be dear, and all the governments will be turned over to Minuth (will embrace the religion of the Minim), and no preaching will avail. And this is a support to R. Itz'hak, who said that ben David will not come unless all governments will be turned over to Minuth. Where is to be found a hint to this in the Scripture? [Lev. xiii. 13]: "It is all turned white, he is clean."
The rabbis taught: It reads [Deut. xxxii. 36 and 37]: "For the Lord will espouse the cause of his people, and bethink himself concerning his servants: When he seeth that their power is gone, and the guarded and fortified are no more." Ben David will not come until the denouncers will increase. According to others, unless the disciples will decrease; and still according to others, until the pockets will be empty of aperuthar. And some others also say unless they will renounce their hope to be redeemed. And this is as R. Zera found the rabbis occupying themselves with the question of the Messiah. And he told them, I beg you do not make the thing further than it is, as there is a Boraitha that the following three come suddenly after renouncing all hope for them, viz., the Messiah, found and a bite of a serpent. R. Ktina said: For six thousand years the world will continue, and in the seventh it will be destroyed. As it reads [Isa. xii. 11]: "And exalted shall be the Lord alone, on that day."
[paragraph continues] Abayi, however, said two thousand will be destroyed, as it reads [Hosea, vi. 2]: "He will revive us after two days. There is a Boraitha in accordance with R. Ktina: As in the Sabbatic period, the seventh year is a release, so will it be with the whole world that one thousand years after six will be a release, as above cited verse [Isa. xii. i] and [Ps. xcii. 11]: "A Psalm or song for the Sabbath day," which means the day which will be all Sabbath. And as [ibid. xc. 4]: "For a thousand years are in thy eyes but as the yesterday when it is passed."
The disciples of Elijah taught: The world will continue for six thousand years, the first two thousand of which were a chaos (Tahu), the second two thousand were of wisdom, and the third two thousand are the days of the Messiah, and because of our sins many, many years of these have elapsed, and still he has not come. Elijah said to R. Jehudah, the brother of R. Sala the Pious: The world will continue for no less than eighty-five jubilaic periods, and in the last jubilaic period ben David will come. And to the question: At its beginning or at its end? he answered: I don't know. Has this passed already, or will it come? He also answered, I don't know. R. Ashi, however, said: Elijah told him thus: Until the above mentioned time will pass you shall not have any hope for him. But after that time, you may hope.
R. Hanan b. Tahlipha sent a message to R. Joseph: I met a man who possessed scrolls written in Assyrian characters and in the holy language. And to my question from where he got it, he answered: I hired myself to the Persian army, and among the treasures of Persia I found it. And it was written therein that after two thousand, two hundred and ninety-one years of the creation, the world will remain an orphan, many years will be the war of whales, and many more years will be the war of Gog and Magog, and the remainder will be the days of the Messiah. But the Holy One, blessed be He, will not renew the world before seven thousand have elapsed. And R. Aha b. R. Rabha said: After five thousand years from to-day.
There is a Boraitha: R. Nashan said: The following passages bore a hole to the depth (i.e., as no one can fathom the depth, so no one can come to the exact meaning of these), viz. [Habukkuk, ii. 3]: "For there is yet a vision for the appointed time, and it speaketh of the end, and it will not deceive: Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not be delayed." It is not as our masters lectured about this from [Dan. vii. 25]:
[paragraph continues] "And they will be given up into his hand until a time and times and half a time." And not in accordance with R. Simlai, who used lecture about this form [Ps. lxxx. 6]: "Thou feedest them with the bread of tears, and givest them tears to drink in great measure. And also not in accordance with R. Aqiba, who used to lecture about this from [Haggai, ii. 6]: "For thus said the Lord. . . . Yet one thing more (will I do), it is but little, when I will cause to quake the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land." But the. first kingdom was of seventy years, the second of fifty-two, and the kingdom of Bar Kochba, two years and a half. 1
What does the verse "Speaketh of the end" to mean? Said R. Samuel b. Na'hman, in the name of R. Jonathan: Blown out shall be the souls of those who are sitting and appointing times for the arrival of the Messiah. Because they usually err, and when the appointed time comes and the Messiah does not appear, they say that he will not come anymore. But everyone has to wait for him, as it reads: "Wait for him, because he will surely come." And lest one say, We are awaiting but He does not wait, therefore it reads [Isa. xxx. 18:] "And therefore will the Lord wait, to be gracious unto you, and therefore will he exalt himself, to have mercy upon you." But if He and we are awaiting, who prevents Him to come? The divine attribute prevents. But if so, what is the use of our waiting? To receive reward for waiting, as the cited verse ends: "Happy are those that wait for him."
Abayi said: There are no less than thirty-six upright in every generation who receive the appearance of the Shekhina (see Succah, p. 68, and there it reads every day instead of every generation.) Is this so? Did not Rabha say that the row in front of the Holy One, blessed be He, contains eighteen thousand parsus, as it reads [Ezek. xlviii. 35]: "All around it shall be eighteen thousand rods"? This presents no difficulty. Abayi speaks of those who are looking in a "speculare," which gives the right light. And Rabha speaks of those who are looking in such, which does not give the right light. But are there, indeed, so many? Did not R. Simeon b. Jochai say: I see the very greatest men in the world are very few, etc. (see ibid., ibid., line 6)? This presents no difficulty. R. Simeon b. Jochai speaks of those who may enter without permission, and Rabha speaks of those who must have
permission. Said Rabh: All the appointed times for the appearance of the Messiah have already ceased. And it depends only on repentance and good deeds. Samuel, however, said: It is sufficient for the mourner to remain with his own sorrow (i.e., the suffering of Israel for such a long time is sufficient that they should be redeemed even without repentance.) And on this point the following Tanaim differ. R. Eliezar said: If the people of Israel will repent they will be redeemed, but not otherwise. Said Jehoshua to him: According to you, if they will not repent they will not be redeemed at all? (Replied R. Eliezar 1): The Holy One, blessed be He, will appoint, for this purpose, a king whose decrees concerning Israel will be as severe as Haman's were. And this will bring them back to the better side, and they will repent.
There is another Boraitha: R. Eliezar said: If the people of Israel will repent they will be redeemed, as it reads [Jer. iii. 14]: "Return, O backsliding children, I will heal your backslidings." Said R. Jehoshua to him: Is it not written [Isa. lii. 3]: "For thus hath said the Lord, for naught were you sold, and without silver shall ye be redeemed," i.e., for naught were you sold to the idolaters, and not because of repentance and good deeds will you be redeemed. Rejoined R. Eliezar: But does it not read [Malachi iii. 7]: "Return unto me, and I will return unto you, said the Lord"? Rejoined he: Does it not read [Jer. iii. 14]: "For I am become your husband, and I will take you one of a city and two of a family, and bring you to Zion"? Said R. Eliezar again: It reads [Isa. xxx. 15]: "In repose and rest shall ye be helped." And R. Jehoshua answered: I call your attention to [ibid. xlix. 7]: "Thus hath said the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him who is despised by men, to him who is abhorred by nations, to the servants of rulers, kings shall see it and rise up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, for the sake of the Lord who is faithful." And R. Eliezar rejoined: To this it is written [Jer. iv. 1]: "If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, unto me, must thou return." Said R. Jehoshua to him: I call your attention to [Dan. xii. 7]: "Then heard I the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; and he lifted up his right hand and his left hand unto the heavens, and swore by the Everliving One that after a time, times and a half, and when there shall be an end to the crushing of the power of the holy people, all these things shall be ended." And R. Eliezar
kept silent. Said Rabha: The appointed time for the Messiah cannot be more revealed than in this passage, as it reads [Ez. xxxvi. 8]: "But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall send forth your boughs, and your fruits shall ye bear for my people Israel." R. Elazar said also from [Zech. viii. 10]: "For before those days, there was no reward for man, nor any reward for beast; and for him that went out or came in there was no peace, because of the oppressor." What do the last words in this passage mean? Said Rabh: Also the scholars, of whom it reads [Ps. cix. 165]: "Abundant peace have they who love thy law," will also have no peace from the oppressor. Samuel, however, said: The cited verse means the Messiah will not come until high prices will be for all articles of life. R. Hanina said: The son of David will not come unless even a piece of fish will be sought for a sick one and it will not be found, as it reads [Ez. xxxii. 14]: "Then will I make clear their waters, and cause their rivers to flow like oil." And it reads also [ibid. xxix. 21]: "On that day will I cause to grow a horn for the house of Israel, and unto thee will I open the mouth in the midst of them. 1 R. Hana b. Hanina said: Ben David will not appear unless every office of the government, even the least one will be removed from the children of Israel, as it reads [Isa. xviii. 5]: "He will both cut off the tendrils with pruning-knives, and the sprigs will he remove and cut down." And thereafter it reads [ibid. 7]: "At that time shall be brought as a present unto the Lord of hosts a people pulled and torn." And Zera, in the name of R. Hanina, said: Ben David will not come until the haughty men of Israel will cease to be, as it reads [Zeph. iii. 11]: "For then will I remove out of the midst of thee, those that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shall never more be haughty again on my holy mount." And thereafter it reads : "I will leave remaining in the midst of thee an humble and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord." R. Simlai said, in the name of R. Elazar b. Simeon: Ben David will not come unless there will cease to be judges and officers of Israel, as it reads [Isa. i. 25 and 26]: "And I will turn my hand against thee, and I purge away as with lye thy dross, and remove all thy tin. And I will restore thy judges as at first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning," etc.
Said Ula: Jerusalem will not be redeemed but by charity, as
it reads [Isa. i. 27]: "Zion shall be redeemed through justice, and her converts through zdaha" (the meaning of which is both righteousness and charity). Said R. Papa: When insolence shall cease to be in Israel, the magus of the Persians who causes much trouble will also cease to be, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 25]: "And purge away as with lye thy dross, and remove all thy tin." When judges of Israel will cease to be, the brutal executions of the Persian court-servants will be abolished, as it reads [Zeph. iii. 15]: "The Lord hath removed mishophtakha (literally "the judges from thee"), he hath cleared away thy enemy." R. Johanan said: When you see that wisdom decreases continually from a generation, you may hope for the Messiah, as it reads [II Sam. xxii. 28]: "And the afflicted people thou wilt save." And he said again: If you see chastisements and evils are increasing in a generation like the waters of the rivers, await the Messiah, as [Isa. lix. 19]: "For there shall come distress like a stream." And the next verse reads: "But unto Zion shall come the redeemer." He said again: Ben David will appear either in a generation in which all will be upright or in one in which all shall be wicked. "All upright," from [ibid. ix. 21]: "And thy people--they all will be righteous, for ever shall they possess the land." And "all wicked," from [ibid. lix. 16]: "And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor." And [ibid. xlviii. ii]: For my own sake, for my own sake, will I do it."
R. Alexandri said: Jehoshua b. Levi propounded a contradiction: It reads [ibid. ix. 22]: "I the Lord will hasten it in its time." "Hasten" and "in its time" contradict each other. And the answer was that if they will be worthy I will hasten it, and if not, they must wait till the right time will come. The same said again that the same authority propounded another contradiction from [Dan. vii. 13]: "Behold with the clouds of heaven came one like a son of man . . . " [Zech. ix. 9]: "Lowly and riding upon an ass." And the answer was, if they will be worthy he will come with the clouds of heaven, and if not, he. will come upon an ass.
The king Sabur said to Samuel: You say that your Messiah will come upon an ass, let me send him the best horse of my stable. And he answered him: Do you then possess a horse of a hundred colors as the ass of the Messiah? (a joke to a joke). R. Jehoshua b. Levi met Elijah standing at the gate of the cave of R. Simeon b. Jochai and asked him if he will have a share in
the world to come. And he answered: If it will be the will of this Lord. Said R. Jehoshua: Two persons have I seen and the voice of the third have I heard. 1 I questioned him further when the Messiah will appear. And he answered: Go and ask him himself. "But where is he to be found?" "At the gate of Rome, among poor people inflicted with wounds." "And how can I recognize him?" All the inflicted poor open the bandages of all their wounds, fix all of them and then dress them. And he opens one bandage, fixes the wound and dresses it, and then goes on to the next one, for the reason that perhaps he will be cold and there will be a delay till all the wounds are dressed. R. Jehoshua went to him, and when he met him he said: Peace be to thee, my master and teacher. And he answered: Peace be with thee, son of Levai. And to Jehoshua's question: When will the master appear? he answered: This day. When Jehoshua met Elijah again, the latter questioned him as to what the Messiah said to him. And he said: Peace be with thee, son of Levai. Said Elijah: He assured you of a share for thyself and for thy father in the world to come. Rejoined Jehoshua: He made a fool of me by saying that he will come this day. And Elijah answered: The expression "this day" means as in [Ps. xcv.] "Yea this day, if you will hearken to his voice."
The disciples of R. Jose b. Kisma questioned him when the son of David will appear. And he answered: I am afraid you will request from me a sign. And they assured him that they would not. He then said to them: When this gate will fall, be rebuilt and fall again, be rebuilt again and fall again. And before it will be rebuilt for the third time the Messiah will appear. The disciples then said: Our master, give us a sign. "Have you not promised that you will not ask of me for any sign?" They answered: Nevertheless we would like to have it. And he said: If it is as I say, the spring of the cave of Paneas shall be converted into blood. And so it happened. While dying he said to his disciples: Put my coffin very deep into the earth, for there will not be one tree in Babylon to which a horse of the Persians will not be tied. And there will not remain one coffin in the land of Israel from which the horses of the Modoites will not eat straw.
Rabh said: Ben David will not arrive until Rome shall have dominated over Israel nine months (see Yomah, p. 13, where it
is said, "over the entire world"; see there the sources also). Said Ula: Messiah may appear in the near future; I, however, wish not to see him. And the same said Rabba. R. Joseph, however, said: I pray for his coming in my days, and that I shall have the preference to sit in the shadow of his ass. Said Abayi to Rabba: Why does the master not wish to see the Messiah? Is it because of the lot which will be at that time? Is there not a Boraitha that the disciples of R. Elazer questioned him: What may one do to be saved from the lot of the Messiah? And he answered: He shall occupy himself with the Torah and with bestowing favors to the people, and you, master, are doing both; why then are you afraid? And he answered: Perhaps sin will cause me to suffer by the lot. And this is in accordance with R. Jacob b. Idi, who propounded the following contradiction: It reads [Gen. xxviii. 15]: "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee withersoever thou goest." And [ibid. xxxii. 8]: "Then Jacob was greatly afraid, and he felt distressed." Hence after he was promised by the Lord, he was still afraid? And the answer was that he was afraid perhaps his sins caused what happened, as we have learned in the following Boraitha. It reads [Ex. xv. 16]: "Till thy people pass over "--i.e., their first coming to Palestine; "till this people pass over"--i.e., their second coming to Palestine from Babylon; from which we may infer that the second coming ought to be equal in miracles with the first. And why did not miracles occur at the second coming? Because of their sins. R. Johanan also said: The Messiah may come, but I shall not see him. Said Resh Lakish to him: What is your reason? Is it because of [Amos, v. 19]: "As if a man were to flee from a lion, and a bear should meet him; and he enter into the house, and lean his hand against the wall, and a serpent should bite him." Come, and I will show you a similarity to this in the world at this time--e.g., one is going to his field and a bailiff meets him (trying to contest this title to the field): is this not equal as if a lion should meet him? And when he enters the city a collector from the government meets him: is this not equal as if a bear should meet him? And when he enters his house and finds his sons and daughters starving: is this not equal as if a serpent would bite him? It must then be because of [Jer. xxx. 6]: "Ask ye now, and see whether a male doth give birth to a child? Wherefore do I see (gebher) every man with his hands on his loins as a woman in giving birth? and why are all faces turned pale?"
What is meant by "I see every gebher? Said Rabba b. Itz'hak in the name of Rabh: Him (God) from whom all the strength comes. And what is meant by "all faces turned pale"? Said R. Johanan: The heavenly household and the household of the earth, as at the time the Holy One, blessed be He, said: Both Israel and the nations are my work, why then should I destroy the one for the other? Said R. Papa: This is what people say: If the ox which is liked by the owner falls while going on his way, and he is compelled to substitute for it a horse which he does not like very much, when the ox, however, becomes better it is difficult for him to remove the horse because of the ox. 1
R. Giddel said in the name of Rabh: The years of abundance in the time of the Messiah, will benefit Israel. Said R. Joseph: Is this not self-evident? Who else then should have benefit from them, Hilek and Bilek (as in English Dick and Harry)? This was said by him in order to deny R. Hillel's theory, who said farther on, that Israel has no more to wait for a Messiah, as they have consumed him already at the time of Hezekiah. Said Rabh: The world is created only for such men as David. And Samuel said: For such men as Moses. And R. Johanan said: For such men as the Messiah. But what is his name? The disciples of R. Shilah said: Shilah is his name, as it reads [Gen. xlix. 10]: "Until Shilah will come." The disciples of R. Janai said Jinun is his name, as it reads [Ps. lxxii. 17]: "In the presence of the sun, Jinun is his name." And the disciples of R. Hanina said: Hanina is his name, as [Jer. xvi. 13]: "So that I will not grant you Hanina." (Favor.) According to others, Menachem b. Hiskia is his name as in [Sam. i. 16]: "For from me in Menachem (comforter) that should refresh my soul." And the rabbis said: The sufferer of the house of Rabbi is his name, as [Is. liii. 4]: "But only our diseases did he bear himself, and our pains he carried: while we indeed esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted." Said R. Na'hman: If Messiah is among the living he is a man like myself, of whom it reads [Jer. xxx. 21]: "And their leader shall be of themselves, and their ruler shall proceed from the midst of them." Said Rabh: If he is among the living it is our holy rabbi, and if he was from the death it was Daniel. Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: In the future the Holy One, blessed be He, will create for them
another David, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 9]: "And David their king, whom I will raise up unto them." It does not read "I raised," but "I will raise." Said R. Papa to Abayi, Does it not read [Ezek. xxxvii. 25]: "David my servant shall be prince unto them forever"? As it is now a Cæsar and a half Cæsar.
R. Simlai lectured: It reads [Amos, v. 18]: "Woe unto you that long for the day of the Lord! for what do you wish the day of the Lord? It is (one of) darkness and not of light." It is similar to a cock and a bat who were waiting for light. The cock said to the bat, I look out for the light, because the light is mine (I see it), but for what purpose do you wait for it? And this is what a Min said to R. Abushu: When will your Messiah appear? When your people will be surrounded with darkness. Rejoined the Min: Do you caution me? And he answered: No, but [Isa. Ix. 2] reads: "For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and a gross darkness the people; but over thee will shine forth the Lord, and his glory will be seen over thee."
There is a Boraitha: R. Eliezar said: Forty years will be the days of the Messiah. As it reads [Ps. xcv. 10]: "Forty years long did I feel loathing on this generation." R. Elazar b. Azaryah said: Seventy years, as [Isa. xxiii. 15]: "Seventy years like the days of one king." By "one king" the Messiah is meant. Rabbi, however, said: It will continue three generations, as [Ps. lxxii. 5]: "They shall fear thee, as long as the sun shineth, and in the presence of the moon throughout all generations." R. Hillel, however, said: There is no more any Messiah for Israel, as they have consumed him already in the days of Hiskia. Said R. Joseph: May the Lord forgive R. Hillel! Hiskia was at the time of the first Temple, and Zacharyah prophesied at the time of the second Temple, and said [Zech. ix. 9]: "Be greatly glad, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, thy king will come unto thee, righteous and victorious is he lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of a she-ass.
There is another Boraitha: The days of the Messiah are forty years, as it reads [Deut. viii. 3]: "And he afflicted thee, and suffered thee to hunger," and [Ps. xc. 15]: "Cause us to rejoice as many days as those wherein thou hast afflicted us," Hence, as their journey in the desert was forty years, so long will be the days of the Messiah; so R. Eliezar. R. Dusa, however, said: Four hundred years, as in [Gen. xv. 13]: "And they will afflict them four hundred years." And as the above cited verse reads, "to rejoice as many days as thou afflicted us," hence it is four
hundred years. Rabbi said: Three hundred and sixty-five years, according to the days of the year when counted after the sun, as [Isa. xxiii. 4]: "For the days of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redeemer was come." What is meant, the day of vengeance is in my heart? Said R. Johanan: I revealed it to my heart, but not to any other member of my body. And R. Simeon b. Lakish said: I revealed it to my heart, but not to the angels. Abimi b. Abuhu taught: Seven thousand years will be the days of Messiah, as it reads [ibid. lxii. 5]: "And as a bridegroom is glad over the bride, so will be glad over thee thy God," which is seven days, and each day of the Lord is a thousand years.
R. Jehudah said in the name of Samuel: The days of the Messiah will be as from the day of creation till now, as it reads [Deut. xi. 2 1]: "As the days of heaven over the earth." R. Na'hman b. Itz'hak said: As from the day of Noah till now, as [Isa. liv. 9]: "For as the waters of Noah is this unto me; as I have sworn," etc.
R. Hyya b. Aba in the name of R. Johanan said: All the prophets have prophesied only for the days of the Messiah, but concerning the world to come it reads [ibid. lxiv. 3]: "No eye (also) had seen a god beside Thee." And he differs with Samuel, who says that there is no difference between this world and the days of the Messiah only concerning the dominion of foreigners over Israel. R. Hyya said again in the name of R. Johanan: The prophets prophesied only to those who have repented, but concerning the entirely upright, it reads: "No eye has seen," etc. And they differ with R. Abuhu, as he said that at the place where those who have repented will be placed, entirely upright cannot be placed, as it reads [Isa. lvii. 19]: "Peace, peace to him that is afar off, and to him that is near." Hence "afar off" is first, and then is "that is near." And what is meant, by "far off"? Who previously was far off and now is near. And what is meant by "near"? He who was first near, and is also now near. R. Johanan, however, explained "far off" means one who was always far off from sin, and "near" means one who was near to sin, but now is far off.
The same said again in the name of the same authority: The prophets prophesied only to him who marries his daughter to a scholar, to him who is in business for a scholar, and to him who benefited the scholars by his estate, but to the scholars themselves "an eye has not seen," etc. What is this? Said R. Jehoshua b. Levi: This is the wine which is preserved in
the grapes since the days of the creation. And Resh Lakish said: That is the Eden which no eye has seen. And lest one say that Adam the First was there? Adam dwelt only in the garden. And lest one say that both are one and the same. To this it reads [Gen. ii. 10] And a river went out of Eden to water the garden."
"And he who says that the Torah is not given by Heaven," etc. The Rabbis taught: It reads [Num. xv. 31]: "Because the word of the Lord hath he despised and his commandment hath he broken." It means him who says that the Torah is not given by Heaven. According to others it means an Epicurean. Still another explanation is that "the word of the Lord hath he despised," means him who explains the Torah against the true law. "His commandment hath he broken"--means circumcision, Hikorath--shall be cut off from this world. Tikorath--from the world to come. Said R. Elazar the Modoi: It is inferred from this that he who profanes the sanctuary, who despises the festivals, he who breaks the covenant of Abraham our father, he who explains the Torah in a wrong way, he who makes pale in public the face of his neighbor, although they possess wisdom and good deeds, have no share in the world to come. There is another Boraitha: "He hath despised the word of God," means him who says that the Torah was not given by Heaven, and even if he says that the Torah is given by Heaven, except such and such, which is not by the Holy One, but by Moses himself. And even if he says that the whole Torah is by Heaven except such and such an explanation, such an a fortiori conclusion, such an analogy of expression, they are considered as despising the word of the Lord.
There is another Boraitha. R. Mair said: The just cited verse means him who learned the Torah but does not teach it. R. Nathan said: It means him who does not care for the Mishna. R. Nehoraim said: It means him who is possible to study the law, but does not. R. Ismael, however, said: It means an idolater. How does he infer this from this passage? As in the following Boraitha: The disciples of R. Ismael taught: "He hath despised the word of the Lord," means him who has despised the words which were said to Moses at Sinai, "I am the Lord thy God, there shall not be any other god before thee."
R. Jehoshua b. Karcha said: He who learns the Torah and does not repeat it, is similar to him who sows but does not harvest.
R. Jehoshua said: He who learned the Torah and forgot it, is similar to a woman who bears children and buries them. Said R. Aqiba: One shall systematize his study as a song which is to be sung daily (and this will cause his singing in the world to come). Said R. Itz'hak b. Abudimi: Where is an allusion to be found to this in the Scriptures? [Prov. xvi. 26]: "The desire of the laborer laboreth for him; for his mouth imposeth it on him," Which means he is laboring here and the Torah labors for him in another place. R. Elazar said: Every man is created to labor, as it reads [Job, v. 7]: "But man is born unto labor." From this, however, we do not know if it means mental or manual labor. As the end of the above-cited verse [Prov. xvi. 26] ends "for his mouth imposeth it on him," hence mental labor is meant. But still I am not aware if it means wisdom or gossip. But as [Josh. i. 8] reads: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth," hence it means for the labor of the Torah. And this is what Rabha said: Every body is a δρνφατο. Well is to him who is a "druphanto" for the Torah. Resh Lakish said: He who occasionally studies the Torah lacks sense, as it reads [Prov, xxii. 18]: "For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thy bosom, if they be altogether firmly seated upon thy lips."
The rabbis taught: It reads [Num. xv. 30]: "But the person that doth aught with a high hand," means Menasseh b. Hiskia who was offending the legends of the Torah by saying: Has not Moses written something better than in [Gen. xxxvi. 22]: "And Lotan's sister was Thimna," or that she was a concubine of Eliphaz b. Esau, or that of [ibid. xiii. 14]. "And Reuben went in the days of the wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field." A heavenly voice was then heard [Ps. l. 20]: "Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother, against thy own mother's son thou utterest slander." And to him also applies [Isa. v. 18]: "Woe unto those that draw iniquity with the cords of falsehood, and as with a wagon-rope, sinfulness." What does a "wagon-rope" mean? (See Succah, p. 80, line 3.) But what means in reality the verse "Lotan's sister was Thimna"? Thimna was a princess, as it reads [Gen. xxxvi. 40]: "Duke Thimna," and a dukedom is a kingdom without a crown; and she desired to become a proselyte, but Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not accept her. And she went and became the concubine of Eliphaz b. Esau, saying it is better to be a servant in this nation than to be a princess of another.
[paragraph continues] And the offspring from her was Amalek, who troubled Israel as a punishment to their parents, who ought not to have driven her out.
"Reuben went in the days of harvest," etc. Said Rabha b. Itz'hak in the name of Rabh: Infer from this that the upright do not stretch their hands out to robbery. What are the dudaim which Reuben found? According to Rabh they were jabruchen, and according to Samuel mandrake flower. R. Alexandri said: Those who occupy themselves with the Torah for her own sake cause peace to reign in the heavenly household and in the household here below, as it reads [Isa. xxvii. 15]: "If he but take hold of my strength, make peace with me, make peace with me." And Rabh said: He is considered as if he had built both palaces of heaven and earth, as it reads [ibid. li. 16]: "And I have placed my words in thy mouth, and with the shadow of my hand have I covered thee: to plant the heavens and to lay the foundations of the earth." R. Johanan said: He is also considered as a protector of the world, as it reads "with the shadow of my hand have I covered thee." Levi said: He makes redemption sooner, as this verse ends "to say to Zion, Thou art my people." Resh Lakish said: He who teaches the Torah to his neighbor's son the verse considers him as if he had created him, as it reads [Gen. xii. 5]: "And the persons they had obtained in Charan." R. Elazar said: He is considered as if he has created the law, as it reads [Deut. xxix. 8]: "Keep ye therefore the words of the covenant, and do them." And Rabha said: He is considered as if he created himself from the same verse; do not read authom, but athem (ye yourselves). R. Abuhu said: He who hastens his neighbor to do a meritorious act, the verse considers him as if he himself has done it, as it reads [Ex. xvii. 5]: "And thy staff wherewith thou smotest the river take in thy hand and go." Did he, then, smite the river? Did not Aaron do this? Hence it was written to teach that the verse considers him as if he himself has done it.
"Epicurean," etc. Both Rabh and R. Hanina said: He who disgraces a scholar is meant. And both R. Johanan and R. Jehoshua b. Levi said: He who disgraces his neighbor in the presence of a scholar. It is correct according to them who said that an Epicurean is he who has done as in the latter case, as then he who disgraces a scholar himself is considered as explaining the Torah a wrong way. But according to them who
say that he who disgraces a scholar himself is considered only an Epicurean, who then is considered as explaining the Torah wrongly? E.g., Menassah b. Hiskia. There were those who taught the same concerning the latter part of the Mishna, "who explains the Torah not according to the true law." And to this Rabh and R. Hanina said: He who disgraces a scholar. And Johanan and Jehoshua b. Levi said: He who disgraces his neighbor in the presence of a scholar. And the question was, if he who disgraces his colleague in the presence of a scholar is considered as explaining the Torah wrongly, who then is considered an Epicurean? Said R. Joseph: E.g., those who say, What good do the rabbis do to us? They read and study the Torah for their own sake. Said Abayi to him: Such are also considered as explaining the Torah wrongly, as it reads [Jer. xxxiii. 25]: "Thus said the Lord, If my covenant be not day and night, I would not have appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth." 1 This is inferred also from [Gen. xviii. 26]: "Then will I spare all the places for their sake." So R. Na'hman b. Itz'hak. And an epicurean is considered--e.g., if one sits before his master and recollects a Halakha stated somewhere else and says, so and so we have learned there, but does not say: And the master said so. Rabha, however, said: An epicurean is considered--e.g., the disciples of Benjamin the physician, who used to say, What good have the rabbis done for us? They have never permitted us to eat a crow, and they have not prohibited us to eat a dove (hence all remains as it is in the Scriptures). It happened that a question of legal or illegal meat was brought before Rabha from the house of Benjamin the physician, and he saw a reason to permit the use of it, and he said then: See, I have permitted you a crow. The same happened again and he saw a reason to prohibit it, and also said: See, I have prohibited a dove to you. R. Papa said: Even he who speaks of the rabbis in the same language as when he speaks of common people. However, he himself forgot his statement in talking about the rabbis, and thereafter when he recollected it, he fasted. Levi b. Samuel and R. Huna b. Hyya used to prepare mantles for the holy scrolls in the college of R. Jehudah. When they came to the Book of Esther, they said: For this certainly no mantle is needed. Said R. Jehudah to them: Even such a language is as used by the followers of
[paragraph continues] Epicurus. R. Na'hman said: He who named his master by his name without adding "my master." As R. Johanan said: Why was Gechazi punished? Because he named his master by his name [II Kings, viii. 5]: "This is our son whom Elisha restored." R. Jeremiah was sitting in the presence of R. Zera and said: The Holy One, blessed be He, will create a river in the future, which will issue from the holy of holy chamber, and on its edges the best fruit will be grown, as it reads [Ezek. xlvii. 12]: "And by the stream upon its banks, on this side and on that side, shall grow up all kinds of trees for food, the leaves of which shall not fade, and the fruit of which shall not come to an end, every month shall they bring forth new ripe fruit; because its water is that which issueth out of the sanctuary; and their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for remedies."
And there was a certain old man who said: Thanks, so also said R. Johanan. Said R. Jeremiah to R. Zera: Is such a language also not used by the epicureans? And he answered: Nay, he is only supporting you, and if you have heard that such a language must not be used, it is what is said in Last Gate (pp. 210 and 211, from "it is written" to "Rabha"). What means "leaves for remedies"? R. Itz'hak b. Abudimi and R. Hisda. One said: To make the dumb speak. And the other: To open the womb when there is a difficulty in bearing the child. And so also was it taught by Hiskia, to open the mouth of the dumb and by Bar khapara, to open the womb. R. Johanan, however, said: It is to be explained literally remedies for everything. R. Samuel b. Na'hmani said: It means a remedy for the appearance of those who have studied with their mouth, as R. Jehudah b. Simon lectured: He who makes his face black by studying the Torah in this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, will make radiant his face in the world to come, as it reads [Sol. Song, v. 15]: "His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent like the cedars." R. Tanhun b. Hanilai said: He who starves because of the words of law in this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, will satiate him in the world to come, as it reads [Ps. xxxvi. 9]: "These will be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house: and of the stream of thy delight wilt thou give them to drink." When Abdimi came from Palestine, he said: The Holy One, blessed be He, will give in the future to every upright his handful of reward, as it reads [ibid. lxviii. 20]: "Blessed be the Lord; day by day he loadeth us (with benefits); our God is our salvation." Said Abayi to him:
How is it possible to say so? Is it not written [Isa. X1. 12]: "Who hath measured in the hollow of his hand the waters, and meted out the heavens with the span"? And he answered: Why are you not used to study Haggadah? It was said in the West in the name of Rabha b. Mari: The Holy One, blessed be He, will give in the future to every upright man, three hundred and ten worlds, as it reads [Prov. viii.]: "That I may cause those that love me יש" etc., and these two letters count 310. (And this is called a handful.)
There is a Boraitha: R. Mair said: The measure with which one measures will be measured out to him--i.e., as man deals, he will be dealt with, as it reads [Isa. xxvii. 8]: "In measure, by driving him forth, thou strivest with him." Said R. Jehoshua to him: How is it possible to say so? E.g., if one gives to a poor man a handful of charity, will then the Holy One, blessed be He, give the donator His handful? Does it not read "he meted out the heavens with a span"? Said he to him: And you do not say so? What measure is greater of good or of evil? You must say that the former is greater than the latter, as concerning good it reads [Ps. lxxviii. 23 and 24]: "Then he ordained the skies from above, and the doors of heaven he opened; and he let rain down upon them manna to eat, and the corn of heaven gave he unto them." And concerning evil it reads [Gen. vii. 11]: "The windows of heaven were opened." (It is said elsewhere that the size of a door is as the size of four windows.) Now, come and read what is written about chastisement. [Isa. lxvi. 24]: "And they shall go forth and look upon carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, nor shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence unto all flesh." And how is this to be understood? We know that in this world, if a man puts his finger in the fire, immediately he is burned. You must then say, that as the Holy One, blessed be He, gives strength to the wicked to receive their punishment. The same is the case with the upright; he gives them strength to be able to accept their reward.
"The books of the Hizumni." In a Boraitha it was taught: In the books of the atheists. R. Joseph said: One must not read even in the book of Ben Sirra. Said Abayi to him: Is it because it reads: Thou shalt not take off the skin of a fish, even that of the ear, as the skin will be damaged, but roast it in fire, and eat with it two loaves of bread? Is not similar to
this also written in the Scripture [Deut. xx. 19]: "Thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof," etc.? And if because it reads: "A daughter to a father is a false treasure, as because he is afraid of her, he does not sleep in the night. When she is a minor, perhaps she will be seduced. When she becomes of age, perhaps she will sin, when she becomes vigaros, perhaps she will not marry. If she is married, perhaps she will have no children. And when she becomes old, perhaps she will become a witch?" Similar to this, the rabbis also said: The world cannot be without males and females, however happy are those who have male children, etc. And if because there is written "Thou shalt not bring worry in thy heart," as such has killed strong men. This was also said by Solomon [Prov. xii. 25]: "If there be care in the heart of a man, let him suppress it." (See Yomah, p. 140, for explanation.) And if because it reads: "Prevent many people to enter thy house," as not all of them are fit to come into it; this was said also by Rabbi in a Boraitha elsewhere. Therefore we must say, because it reads there, "He who has a long and thin beard is shrewd." And he who has a thick one is a fool. He who blows off the foam, it is sign that he is not thirsty. And he who says with what he shall eat his bread, take the bread away from him. And he whose beard is parted in two, the whole world will not overrule him.
Said R. Joseph: However, the good teachings which are in this book may be proclaimed. It reads there: A good woman is a good gift, she may be given to one who fears God. A bad woman is leprosy to her husband, and there is no remedy for him till he divorces her, and be cured. A beautiful woman, happy is her husband, the numbers of his days are doubled. Turn away thy eyes from a beautiful woman, as thou canst be easily caught in her net. Abstain thyself from drinking beer and wine with her husband, as by the appearance of a beautiful woman many were destroyed. And numerous are those who were killed by such.
A great number of pedlars were wounded by the husbands who found them trading with their wives. As a spark kindles a coal, or like a coop full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit. Many may be who wish you peace, however thy secrets you may reveal only to one from thousand. Be careful with words even with her that lies on thy bosom. Don't worry of the morrow, as thou knowest not what the morrow may bring. For perhaps thou wilt not exist any more to-morrow,
and thou hast worried for a world which belongs not to thee. All the days of a poor are bad. Ben Sirra said: Also the nights, as his roof is lower than others, the rain from these falls on his. And his vineyard is usually on the top of the mountain, and the manure which he brings up for it is blown off to the other vineyards which are lower. (Here is repeated from Last Gate, p. 328, paragraph commencing with R. Zera in the name of Rabh said, till Mishna VI. See there also footnote.)
The rabbis taught: If one reads a verse of the Songs of Solomon in a different manner than it is written, and makes a song of it; or any other verse in the drinking-places not in its proper time, causes evil to the world, because the Torah, dressed in a sack, stands before the Holy One, blessed be He, and says: Lord of the Universe, thy children have made of me a fiddle on which frivolous persons play. And He said to her: My daughter, with what else, then, shall they occupy themselves while they are eating and drinking? And she said before Him: Lord of the Universe, if they are masters in the Scriptures, they may occupy themselves with the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Hagiographa; if they understand Mishnayoth, they may study Mishna, Halakha, and Haggadah, and if they are Talmudists they may study Halakhas in time of Passover on Pesach. Of Pentecost at that time. And the Halakhas of Feast of Tabernacle at that time. R. Simeon b. Elazar in the name of R. Simeon b. Hanania testified: If one reads a verse in its proper time, he benefits the world, as it reads [Prov. xv. 23]: "And a word spoken at the proper time, how good is it."
"He who mumbles over a wound," etc. Said R. Johanan: Provided he also spits, as the name of Heaven must not be mentioned by spitting. It was taught: Rabh said: Even a verse which does not contain the name of Heaven--e.g., a plague, if it will be on a man. And R. Hanina said: Even the words: And He has called to Moses.
The rabbis taught: One may ask the fortune tellers who tell fortunes by certain oils or eggs. But it is not advisable to do so, because they often lie. They usually mumble over the oil in a utensil, but not over that which is in the hand, and therefore one may use the oil from the hand, but not that in a utensil. R. Itz'hak b. Samuel b. Marta happened to be in a certain inn. They brought him oil in a utensil, and he anointed himself with it, and blisters came out on his face. When he went to the market a certain woman saw him, and said: I see
on your face a sickness caused by witchcraft. And she did something for him and he was cured.
Abba said to Rabba b. Mari: It reads [Ex. xv. 26]: "I will put none of those diseases upon thee . . . as I the Lord will heal thee." Now if he did not put any, why the cure? Said R. Johanan: This verse explains itself. "If thou wilt diligently hearken," etc., I will not put disease upon thee, but if thou wilt not hearken, I will. However, at any rate, I will heal thee.
Rabba b. b. Hana said: When R. Eliezar became sick his disciples came to make him a sick call, and he said to them, I have high fever, and they began to weep. R. Aqiba, however, smiled. And to the question: Why are you smiling? he returned the question: Why are you weeping? And they answered: Is it possible not to weep when we see the Holy Scrolls are in such a distress? Rejoined he: And therefore I smile, for so long as I have seen our master's wine does not become sour, his flocks undamaged, his oil unspoiled, and his honey unfermented, I was afraid that perhaps he received all his reward in this world, now as I see him in trouble, I rejoice. Said he to him: Aqiba, have I failed to perform or transgressed anything of that what is written in the whole Torah? And he answered: You, master, yourself taught us [Ecc. vii. 20]: "For no man is so righteous upon earth, that he should do always good and never sin."
The rabbis taught: When R. Eliezar became sick four elders entered to make him a sick call--R. Tarphun, R. Jehoshua, R. Elazar b. Asaryah, and R. Aqiba. Exclaimed R. Tarphun: You are better to Israel than drops of rain, as the latter are only in this world, While you are in both, in this and in the world to come. Exclaimed R. Jehoshua: You are better to Israel than the planet of the sun, which is only in this world, while you are in both. And R. Elazar b. Asaryah exclaimed: You are better to Israel than a father and mother, who are only in this world, etc. R. Aqiba, however, exclaimed: Pleased are chastisements. And R. Eliezar answered: Support me, and I will hear the statement of Aqiba, my disciple, who says: "Pleased are chastisements." And he said: Aqiba, whence is this known to you? And he answered: From the following: It reads [II Kings, xxi. 1 and 2]: "Twelve years old was Menasseh when he became king, and fifty and five years did he reign in Jerusalem . . . and he did what is evil in the eyes of the Lord." It reads also [Prov. xxv. 1]: "Also these
are the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, have collected." Could it be possible that Hiskia taught the law to the whole world, but not to his son Menasseh? It must then be said that of all the troubles which Hiskia has troubled himself to bring him, and from all his toil to correct him nothing was done, and only until chastisement had turned him over to the better side, as it reads [II Chron. xxxiii. 10-14]: "And the Lord spoke to Menasseh, and to his people; but they listened not. Wherefore the Lord brought over them captains of the army belonging to the king of Assyria; and they took Menasseh prisoner with chains, and bound him with fetters, and led him off to Babylon. And when he was in distress he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And he prayed unto Him, and He permitted Himself to be entreated by him, and heard his supplication and brought him back to Jerusalem unto his kingdom. Then did Menasseh feel conscious that the Lord is indeed the (true) God." Learn from this that chastisements are pleased.
The rabbis taught: Three men (biblical personages) came with indirectness (instead of praying in a straightforward manner), and they were Cain, Esau, and Menasseh. Cain who says [Gen. iv. 13]: "My sin is greater than I can bear." He said before Him: Lord of the Universe, is then my sin greater than that of the six hundred thousand Israelites who will sin before Thee in the future, and Thou wilt forgive them? Esau said [Ex. xxvii. 38]: "Hast thou then but one blessing, my father?" And Menasseh, who at the beginning called to many gods, and only finally called to the God of his parents.
"Abba Shaul," etc. There is a Boraitha: Provided he does so out of the sanctuary in a profane language.
"Three kings," etc. The rabbis taught: Jeroboam means who made Israel quarrel among themselves. According to others, who has made a controversy between them and their Heavenly Father. Ben Nebat means the son of him who had a vision, but did not see (interpret it properly). As the following Boraitha Nebat is identical with Michah and with Sheba ben Bichri Nebat because of the reason said above. And Michah, because he became poor while occupying himself with building. And his real name was Sheba ben Bichri.
The rabbis taught: There were three who had a vision, but have not seen it properly. Nebat Achitopel and the astrologers
of Pharaoh. Nebat saw that some light will come out from him. He thought he himself will become a king, and he erred, as this was his son Jeroboam. Achitopel saw also the same. He thought that he himself will become a king, but he erred, as it was his daughter, Bath Sheba, from whom Solomon came out. And the astrologers of Pharaoh, who saw that the redeemer of Israel will be beaten through water, and therefore advised Pharaoh to command. [Ex. i. 22]: "Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river." And they erred, as this was [Num. xx. 13]: "These are the waters of Meribah where the children of Israel quarreled." But whence do we know that Jeroboam has no share in the world to come? From [I Kings, xiii. 34]: "Blotted out, and destroyed from the face of the earth. Blotted out from this world and destroyed from the world to come. Said R. Johanan: What has Jeroboam done that he was rewarded to be king? Because he rebuked Solomon. And why was he punished? Because he rebuked him in public, as it reads [ibid. xi. 27]: "And this was the occasion that he lifteth up his hand against the king: Solomon built up the Milo and closed up the breach of the city of David his father." He said to 'him: David, thy father hath broken in holes in the surrounding wall of Jerusalem, for the purpose that it shall be easier for Israel to enter the city. And thou hast fenced it for the purpose to make an angaria to Pharaoh's daughter. What means "and he lifteth up his hands"? Said R. Na'hman: He took off his phylacterious in his presence. 1 R. Na'hman said again: The insolence of Jeroboam destroyed him from the world, as it reads [ibid. xii. 26-28]: "And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now may the kingdom return to the house of David. If this people go up to prepare sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then may the heart of this people turn again. unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam, the king of Judah, and they might kill me, and return to Rehoboam, the king of Judah." He said: We have a tradition that in the Temple there are no seats except for the kings of the house of David. Now if they see that Rehoboam, the king, is sitting and I am standing, then they will say that he is the king and I am his servant. And if I will sit, Rehoboam's people will say that I am a rebel, and they will kill me, and therefore (28): "Whereupon the king took counsel, and he made two calves
of gold, and saith unto the people, You have been long enough going up to Jerusalem; behold here are thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." What is meant by "the king took counsel"? Said R. Jehudah: He has conjoined an upright to a wicked, and said to them: Will you sign your name to all what I will command you? And they said: Yea. "Even to worship an idol"? The upright answered: God forbid. But the wicked saith to him: Do you think a man like Jeroboam will worship idols? He wants only to try us. And in this thing even Achiyah, the Shilonite, erred and signed his name. As Jehu, who was one of the greatest of upright about whom it reads [II Kings, x. 30]: "Forasmuch as thou hast acted well in doing what is right in my eyes, and hast done in accordance with all that was in my heart unto the house of Achab: children of the fourth generation after thee shall sit upon the throne of Israel." And thereafter it reads (31): "And Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord the God of Israel with all his heart: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, who induced Israel to sin." But what caused him to sin? Said Abayi: There is a covenant to one's lips. He said [ibid., ibid. 18]: "Achab hath served Baal a little: Jehu will serve him much." And Rabha said: He saw the signature of Achiyah the Shilonite and he erred, as reads [Hosea, v. 2]: "And for murdering they who had rebelled (against God) concealed themselves in deep places; but I will inflict correction on them all." Said R. Johanan: The Holy One, blessed be He, said: They laid deeper plans than that of mine: I said: He who does not ascend to Jerusalem for the festivals transgresses a positive commandment only, and they say that he who will ascend to Jerusalem shall be slain by the sword.
It reads [I Kings, xi. 29]: "And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Achiyah the Shilonite found him on the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and these two were alone by themselves in the field." It was taught in the name of R. Jose: "At that time" means the time which was designated for chastisement. [Jer. ii. 18]: "In the time of their punishment shall they vanish," was also taught in the name of the same authority, means at the time designated for chastisement. [Isa. xlix. 8]: "In the time of favor have I answered thee," according to the same authority: The time which is designated for doing good [Ex. xxxii. 8]: "But on the day when I visit I will visit their
sins upon them," according to the same, at the time which is designated for chastisement. And the same is with Gen. xxxviii. i: "And it came to pass at that time." It reads [I Kings, xii. i]: "And Rehoboam went to Shechem (. . .) to make him king." It was taught in the name of R. Jose. That place was designated for trouble. In Shechem, Dina was assaulted in the same place, Joseph was sold by his brothers, and in the same place the kingdom of David was divided. And (ibid. 29) "Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem." Said R. Hanina b. Papa: It means he went out of the destiny of Jerusalem (i.e., was to have no share in the welfare of Jerusalem). "And the prophet Achiyah . . . with a new garment," what does it mean? Said R. Na'hman: As a new garment has no spots so also the wisdom of Jeroboam was clean, without any error. According to others: They renewed things which no ear has ever heard of. And what is meant by "The two were alone in the field"? Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: All other scholars were like the plants of the field in comparison with them. According to others: All the reasons for the commandment of the Torah were revealed to them as a field.
It reads [Michah, l. 14]: "Therefore shalt thou have to give presents to Moreshe thgath: the houses of Achzib shall become a deception to the kings of Israel." Said R. Hanina b. Papa: A heavenly voice was heard saying: "To him who has killed Goliath the Philistine and inherited to you the city of Gath, should ye send away his descendants?" Therefore the house of Achzib shall be a deception to the kings of Israel. It reads [II Kings, xvii. 21]: "And Jeroboam misled Israel from following the Lord, and caused them to commit a great sin." Said R. Hanina: As one throws a stick by means of another stick--i.e., he makes Israel to sin against their will. Said R. Aushia: Until Jeroboam came, Israel had to bear the iniquity of one golden calf, and from that time farther on for two and three. Said R. Itz'hak: Every evil dispensation which came upon Israel contained in it a twenty-fourth part as punishment for the golden calf, as the above cited verse [Ex. xxxii.] states. Said R. Hanina: After twenty-four generations this verse was fulfilled, as it reads [Ezek, ix, i]: "The 'pkudas' of the city came already at an end." 1
It reads [I Kings, xiii. 33]: After this event Jeroboam returned not from his evil way. After what! Said R. Abba: After the Holy One, blessed be He, held Jeroboam by his garment, saying: Repent, and I and David Ben Yishai and thou will walk in the Garden of Eden. And to Jeroboam's questions: Who will have the preference? he said: Ben Yishai. And he rejoined: If so I don't want it.
R. Abuhu used to lecture about the three kings and became sick, and he made up his mind not to lecture about them, and he was cured. However, he lectured about them as before, and to the question of his disciples: Have you not made up your mind not to lecture any more about them? he answered: Did they then repent that I shall do so?
R. Ashi appointed a time for lecturing about the three kings, and said: On the morrow we will begin our lecture about our colleague Menasseh. He then appeared to him in a dream, and said to him: You call me a colleague and a colleague of your father? Answer me the question: Where must one begin to cut the bread by the benediction of thamotzi? And he said: I don't know. Rejoined Menasseh: If you are not aware to answer even that what I questioned you how can you call me a colleague? Rejoined R. Ashi: Teach this to me, and tomorrow I will proclaim it in your name in the college. And he said: From that part where it begins to bake when in the oven. Said R. Ashi again: If you are so wise, why did you worship idols? And Menasseh answered: If you would have been at that time you would have lifted up the edges of your dress, that they shall not impede you to run after me to worship the idols. On the morrow said R. Ashi to the rabbis: Let us lecture about the great men. Achab--means "Ach," a thorn to Heaven, and "ab," a father to idolatry, as it reads [I Kings, xvi. 31]: "And it came to pass as if it had been too light a thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam." Said R. Johanan: The lenient things which were done by Achab were more rigorous than the rigorous things done by Jeroboam. And why then does the Scripture make Achab dependent on Jeroboam, because Jeroboam was the beginner and all his followers were dependent upon him.
It reads [Hosea xii. 12]: "Their altars also are as stone
heaps." Said R. Johanan: There was not one heap in the land of Israel upon which Achab had not placed an idol and bowed himself to it. And whence do we know that he has no share in the world to come? From [I Kings, xxi. 21]: "Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and I will sweep out after thee and will cut off from Achab every male and the guarded and fortified in Israel." "Guarded" means in this world, and "fortified" in the world to come.
R. Johanan said: For which good deeds was Omri (Achab's father) rewarded that he obtained the kingdom? Because he added one great city to the land of Israel, as it reads [ibid. xvi. 24]: "And he bought the mount Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the mount, and called the name of the city which he had built, after the name of Shemer, the lord of the mount, Samaria."
R. Johanan said again: Why was Achab rewarded by the prolongation of his kingdom for twenty-two years? Because he respected the Torah which is written with the twenty-two letters of the alphabet, as it reads [ibid. xx. 2, 7, and 9]: "And he sent messengers to Achab, the king of Israel, into the city. And he said unto him: Thus hath said Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold are mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the best are mine. And the king of Israel answered and said, According to thy word, my lord, O king, thine am I, and all that I have. And the messenger returned and said: Thus hath said Ben-hadad, to say (to thee) I have indeed sent unto thee, saying, 'Thou shalt give unto me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children. Nevertheless, about this time to-morrow will I send my servants unto thee, and they will search through thy house, and the houses of thy servants, and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thy eyes, they shall place it in their hand, and take it away.' Then did the king of Israel call for all the elders of the land, and said, Mark, I pray you, and see that this man seeketh mischief, for he hath sent unto me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold, and I have not refused them to him. Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad: Say to my lord the king, all that thou didst send for to thy servants at the first will do; but this thing I am not able to do. And the messengers went away, and brought him word again." What is meant by "pleasant in thy eyes" if not the holy-scrolls? But perhaps it means an idol. This cannot be supposed, as it reads farther on
[paragraph continues] (8): "And all the elders, and all the people said unto him, Thou must not hearken nor consent." But perhaps it means the elders of the same kind as was Achab, as we find such in [II Sam. xvii. 4], that they are also named the elders of Israel. There it does not read "all the people," but here it does; and it is impossible that among them were no righteous, as it reads [I Kings xix. 18]: "And I will leave in Israel seven thousand, all the knees which have not bent unto Baal and every mouth which has not kissed him." Said R. Na'hman: Achab's sins and good deeds were just equal, as it reads [ibid. xxii. 20]: "Who will persuade Achab," hence it is difficult to punish him, as his sins did not overweigh his good deeds. R. Joseph opposed: He of whom it reads [ibid. xxi. 25]: "But indeed there was none like unto Achab," etc., etc. And you say that his sins and good deeds were equal? The reason, however, that it was necessary to persuade him, is because he was liberal with his money and assisted many scholars from his estate, and therefore half his sins were atoned. And there came out a spirit," etc. (see above). It reads [ibid. xvi. 33]: "And Achab made a grove; and Achab did yet more, so as to provoke the Lord the God of Israel to anger, than all the kings of Israel that had been before him." Said R. Johanan: He wrote on the gates of Shemer: Achab denies the God of Israel, and therefore he has no share in Him.
Menasseh means "he has forgotten the Lord." According to others it means that he made Israel to forget their Heavenly Father. And whence do we know that he has no share in the world to come? From [II Kings, xxi. 3]: "And he built up again the high places which Hezekiah hath destroyed and he reared up altars for Baal and made a grove as Achab the king of Israel hath done." As Achab has no share in the world to come the same is the case with Menasseh.
"R. Jehudah said Menasseh has a share," etc. Said R. Johanan: Both infer their theory from one and the same passage [Jer. xv. 4]: "And I will cause them to become a horror unto all the kingdoms of the earth on account of Menasseh the son of Hezekiah." According to one: Because Menasseh has repented and the other kings have not. And according to others: Because be himself had not repented. Said R. Johanan: He who said that Menasseh has no share in the world to come weakens the hands of those who are repenting. As a disciple taught before. R. Johanan: Menasseh repented thirty-three
years, as it reads [II Kings, xxi. 1-3]: "And fifty-five years did he reign in Jerusalem . . . and he made a grove as Achab did." How long did Achab rule? Twenty-two years; take off the twenty-two from the fifty-five years which Menasseh reigned, there remains thirty-three years.
R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Jo'hai: It reads [II Chron. 13]: "And he prayed unto Him, and He permitted himself v'ychtar 1 instead of voyethar. Infer from this that the Lord made for him an opening like a machteres (opening) in the Heaven to receive him; because of the opposition of the divine attribute.
The same said again in the name of the same authority: In [Jer. xxvi., xxvii. and xxviii., the first verses]: "In the beginning of the reign of Yehoyakim. . . . The beginning of the reign of Zedekiah." Were there not rulers before them? But this signifies that the Lord was about to return the world to tahu vebahu because of Yehoyakim. But when he looked upon his generation who were upright, he reconsidered it. And the reverse was the case with Zedekiah. He wanted to destroy the world because of his generation, but when he looked upon him he reconsidered it.
But does it not also read about Zedekiah [II Kings, xxiv. 18]: "And he did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord"? This was because he had to warn them, but did not do so.
The same said again in the name of the same authority: It reads [Prov. xxix. 9]: "If a wise man contend with a foolish man, whether he be angry or whether he laugh, he will have no rest." The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I became angry with Achaz and delivered him to the king of Damascus. What had he done? He sacrificed and smoked incense to their gods, as [II Chron. xxviii. 2]: "And he sacrificed unto the gods of the people of Damascus, who had smitten him; and he said, "Because the gods of the kings of Syria do help them (therefore) will I sacrifice unto them, that they may help me." But they only became to him a stumbling-block for him and for all Israel. I smiled on Amazia and had delivered the kings of Edom to his hand. And what has he done? He brought their gods and bowed himself to them, as it reads [II Chron. xxv. 14]: "After Amasyahu was come home from
smiting the Edomites he brought the gods of the children of Le'ir, and set them up unto himself as gods, and before them he used to prostrate himself and unto them he used to burn incense." Said R. Papa: This is what people say: You can do nothing with the ignoramus; weep before him, laugh with him, he does not care. Woe is to him who does not understand between good and evil. It reads [Jer. xxxix. 3]: "In the middle gate." Said R. Johanan in the name of R. Simeon b. Jo'hai: This was the place the Sanhedrin decided upon Halakhas. Said R. Papa: This is what people say: Should the hook which was used by the herd, etc. (see Middle Gate, p. 216, line 14 from the bottom). R. Hisda said in the name of R. Jeremiah b. Aba: It reads [Prov. xxiv. 30-31]: "By the field of a slothful man I once passed along, and by the vineyard of a man void of sense: And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, nettles had covered its surface, and its stone wall was broken down." "By the field of a slothful man," etc., means Achaz, "void of sense" means Menasseh, "with thorns" means Amon, "nettles had covered," etc., means Yehoyakim, "broken down"--Zedekiah, in whose days the temple was destroyed.
The same said again in the name of the same authority: Four sects will not receive the glory of the Shekhina; viz., the scorners, as it reads [Hosea, vii. 5]: "He groweth his land with scorners"; liars, as it reads [Ps. ci. 7]: "He that speaketh falsehood shall not succeed in my eyes"; hypocrites, as [Job, xiii. 16]: "For a hypocrite cannot come before Him," and slanderers, as [Ps. ii. 5]: "For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness. Evil cannot abide with thee," and thereafter it reads [7 and 10] "Thou wilt destroy those that speak lies . . . For there is not in their mouth any sincerity."
The rabbis taught: Menasseh used to learn fifty-five arguments (ways of interpretation) concerning the book of Leviticus, as many as the years of his reign. Achab, eighty-five, and Jeroboam, one hundred and three.
There is a Boraitha: R Mair used to say: Absalom has no share in the world to come, as it reads [II Sam. xviii. 15]: "Smote Absalom"--in this world, and "slew him"--in the world to come.
R. Simeon b. Elazar said in the name of R. Mair: Achaz, Achazyah and all the kings of Israel about whom it is written,
and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord," will not be restored at the time of resurrection, but are also not sentenced to Gehinem.
It reads [II Kings, xxi. 16]: "And also innocent blood, did Menasseh shed in very great abundance, till he had filled (therewith) Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he induced Judah to sin, to do what is evil in the eyes of the Lord." Here in this college it was explained because he had slain Isaiah. In the West it was explained that he made an image the weight of a thousand persons. And those who were engaged in carrying it from one place to another would die because of the great exertions.
According to whom is what Rabba b. b. Hana said? One soul of an upright is equalized to the whole world--i.e., if one kills an upright, he is considered as if he would slay the whole world. It is in accordance with him who says that Menasseh has killed Isaiah.
Achaz placed the images in the attics of the Temple, as it reads [II Kings, xxiii. 12]: "Altars that were on the upper chamber of Achaz." And Menasseh placed them in the Temple, as it reads [ibid. xxi. 7]: "And he placed a hewn image of the Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the Lord had said to David, and to Solomon, his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel will I put my name forever." And Amon placed them in the holy of holy chamber, as it reads [Isa. xxviii. 20]: "For the bed shall be," etc. (See Yomah, p. 10, line 14, for the explanation and continuation which are repeated here. By the way, we have to remark that there is a misprint, Jeremiah instead of Isaiah.)
Achaz abolished the worship and sealed the Torah, as it reads [ibid. viii. 16]: "Bind up the testimony, seal up the law among my disciples." Menasseh cut the divine names out (of the Scriptures) and destroyed the altar. Amon burned the Torah and caused spider-webs to be on the place where the altar stood, as it reads [II Chron. xxxiii. 23]: "For he, Amon, made his guiltiness great."
Questioned Rabba, Rabba b. Mari: Why did not the Mishna also count Yehoyakim, of whom it reads [ibid. xxxvi. 8]: "And the rest of the acts of Yehoyakim, and his abominable deeds which he did, and which was found upon him," which, according to one of the sages, means that he engraved the name
of the idol upon his body? And he answered: Concerning kings I have not heard, but I have heard concerning common men thus: Why did not the Mishna count Michah? Because his house was open to travellers (who used to eat and drink there without being charged).
It reads [Zech. x. 11]: "And he will pass through the sea (with) distress, and he will smite in the sea the waves." Said R. Johanan: This is the image which Michah had made in Egypt and which passed with him the Red Sea. There is a Boraitha: R. Nathan said: From the city of Grab to the city of Shilah (where the tabernacle was temporarily) is a distance of three miles, and the smoke from the altar in Shilah used to mix itself with the smoke from the altars which were made for the image of Michah. And the angels wanted to put Michah aside, but the Holy One, blessed be He, said to them: Leave him alone because his house is open to travellers. And for this were punished the men who took revenge in the case of the concubine of Gibah (Judges, xix. and xx.). And the Holy One said to them: Ye took revenge for the honor of a man, but did not act so for my honor-i.e., they did not care to destroy the image of Michah, etc.
R. Johanan said in the name of R. Jose b Kisma: Great are λυνμος entertainments, for a little refreshment plays an essential part, for its refusal estranged two tribes from Israel (Ammon and Moab), as it reads [Deut. xxiii. 5]: "For the reason that they met you not with bread and with water, on the way." And R. Johanan himself said: It estranges relatives and brings near strangers; shuts the eye not to look upon the wicked, makes the Shekhina rest on the prophets of Baal, and even an error in this affair is considered as if it would be done intentionally. (Now the illustrations.) It estranges relatives--e.g., Ammon and Moab (who were relatives to Israel). It brings near strangers--e.g., Jithro, as he said elsewhere that the reward for [Ex. ii. 20]: "Call him that he may eat bread" was that his descendants were rewarded to sit among the Sanhedrin in the chambers of the Temple, as it reads [I Chron. ii. 55]: "And the families of the scribes who dwelt at Jabez; the Thirathites, the Shimathites and the Suchathites. These are the Kenites that came from Chammoth, the father of the house of Rechab, and [Judges, i. 16]: "And the children of the Kenite, the father-in-law of Moses, went up out of the city of palm-trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of
[paragraph continues] Judah, which is south of Arad, and they went and dwelt with the people." Shuts the eye not to look upon the evil deeds of the wicked, e.g., Michah, as said above. Makes the Shekhina to rest upon the prophets of Baal, as [I Kings, xiii. 20]: "And it came to pass as they were sitting at the table, That the word of the Lord came unto the prophets, who had brought him back." And even an error is considered as if done intentionally, as R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh said: If Jonathan would have supplied David with some loaves of bread the priests of the city of Nob would not have been slain, Doeg, the Edomite would not have been lost, and Saul and his three sons would not have been killed.
Why does not the Mishna count Achaz among those who have no share in the world to come? Said R. Jeremiah b. Aba: Because he was placed between two uprights (Jotham, his father, and Hezekiah, his son).
And R. Joseph said: Because he was ashamed before the prophet Isaiah, as [Isa. vii. 3]: "And the Lord said unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Achaz, thou with Shear Yashub, thy son, to the end of the aqueduct of the upper pool, on the highway of the washers' field." Why is mentioned the washers' field"? Because Achaz was ashamed to look at Isaiah, and to put upon his face the αβλυο of the washers when he passed Isaiah in order not to be recognized.
And why was Amon not counted? Because of the honor of his son, Yeshiyahu. If so, let them not count Menasseh, because of the honor of Hezekiah? There is a tradition that a son can save his father, but not a father his son, as it reads [Deut. xxxii. 39]: "And no one can deliver out of my hands," which means Abraham cannot save Ishmael, and Isaac, Esau. Now, when we come to this theory it may be said that Achaz was not counted because of the honor of Hezekiah. However, the above question, why Yehoyakim was not counted is as yet unanswered. It is because of what was said by Hyya b. Abuiha that on the head of Yehoyakim was written "This and something else"--i.e., one revenge more will be taken from it. The grandfather of R. Praida found a skull in the gates of Jerusalem upon which was engraved: "This and something else." He buried it once and twice, but it came out again. He then said that it must be the skull of Yehoyakim, of whom it reads [Jer. xxii. 19]: "With the burial of an ass shall he be buried, dragged about and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem."
[paragraph continues] He then said: It is the skull of a king, and it must be nicely treated. He wrapped it in a silk garment and put it in a bag. When his wife saw this she thought it was the skull of his first wife, whom be does not want to forget. And she heated the oven and burned it. This was what was engraved upon it: "This and nothing else."
There is a Boraitha: R. Simeon b. Elazar said: Hiskia praised himself [II Kings, xx. 3]: "And have done what is good in thy eyes" caused what is said [ibid., ibid. 8]: "What sign," etc., and this caused that idolaters were invited to his table [ibid., ibid. 13]. And these altogether caused the exile of his descendants [ibid., ibid. 17]. This is a support to Hiskia, who said that he who invites an idolater to his house and serves on him, causes exile to his children, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 18]: "And of thy sons . . . they shall be court servants in the palace," etc.
Lamentation I. begins with aichoh (O'how). Said Rabha in the name of R. Johanan: Why was Israel beaten with aichoh? Because they transgressed thirty-six things to which Korath applies, and the word aicho counts 36. And he said again: Why is Lamentations written according to the alphabet? Because they have transgressed what is written in the Torah, which is written with the letters of the alphabet.
"Doth she sit solitary?" said Rabha in the name of R. Johanan: The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I said [Deut. xxxiii. 28]: "And then dwelt Israel in safety, alone, the fountain of Jacob; in a land of corn and wine; also, its heavens shall drop down dew." And now solitary is their sitting. "The city that was full of people." Said Rabha again in the name of the same authority. They used to marry a minor to an adult and vice versa, for the purpose that they shall have many children. "Is become like a widow." Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: Like a widow, but not a widow. Like a woman whose husband has departed to the cities of the countries of the sea, who intends to return. "She that was so great among the nations, the princess among the provinces." Said Rabba in the name of R. Johanan: Everywhere they came they became masters of their masters, as the rabbis taught: It happened with two men who were captured in the mountain of Carmel, and their capturer was walking behind them. Said one of the captured to his colleague: The camel which walks in front of us is blind in one eye and carries two bags, one of wine and the other of
oil. And the men who lead it, one of them is an Israelite, and the other is a heathen. Said the capturer to them: Hard-necked people, whence do you know this? And they answered: From the grass which is in front of the camel that is consumed only from one side, hence from the side on which he sees he consumes, and on the other side on which he is blind he leaves it. It carries two bags of wine and oil; because drops of wine sink, and drops of oil float. And the leaders, one of them is an Israelite and the other a heathen; because an Israelite when he needs to do his necessity, usually turns aside, and the heathen does it on the way. The capturer then ran after them and found that it was as they said. He then kissed them on their heads, brought them to his house, prepared for them a great meal, danced before them, saying: "Blessed be He who chose the descendants of Abraham and gave them of his wisdom, and everywhere they go they become masters of their masters." He freed them, and they went in peace to their home.
"Weeping, are they weeping?" 1 Why two weepings? Said Rabba in the name of R. Johanan: One for the first Temple, and the other for the second Temple.
"In the night," means because of what happened in a former night [Num. xiv. 1]: "And the people wept that night." And Rabba in the name of R. Johanan said: This day was the ninth of Ab, and the Holy One, blessed be He, said: "Ye have cried on this night in vain, and I shall ordain it that your generations shall lament on this day forever." (See Taanith, p. 88, line 9.) According to others: In the night, because he who weeps in the night, it looks like the stars and planets are weeping with him. And so also with human beings. He who hears one weeping in the night, weeps with him, as it happened with Rabban Gamaliel, whose female neighbor wept because her son died, and he wept with her until the eyelids dropped. On the morrow his disciples recognized it, and they made her move away from his neighborhood. "And her tears are on her checks." Said Rabba in the name of R. Johanan: As a woman weeps for the husband of her youth, as it reads [Joel, i. 8]: "Lament like a woman girded with sackcloth for the betrothed of her youth." "Her adversaries are become chiefs." Said Rabba in the name of R. Johanan: Every one who oppresses
Israel becomes a chief, as it reads [Isa. viii. 3]: "For no fatigue befalleth him that oppresseth them." And the same said again in the name of the same authority: That from the same verse is inferred that an oppressor of Israel never becomes tired.
"Not for you, ye travellers, behold and see," etc. Said Rabba in the name of R. Johanan: From this may be inferred that the Scripture is particular that if one tells his troubles to his neighbor, he should add, "May it not happen to you." "All that pass this way." Said R. Amram in the name of Rabh: They (the nations) have made of me the perpetrator of a crime to whom burning applies, as about Sodom it reads [Gen. xix. 24]: "And the Lord rained upon Sodom." And here it reads : "From on high hath he sent a fire into my bones."
It reads [ibid. iv. 6]: "For greater is the iniquity of the daughter of my people than the sin of Sodom." Said Rabba in the name of R. Johanan: Jerusalem was punished with such that even Sodom was not. As concerning Sodom, it reads [Ezek. xvi. 49]: "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: Pride, abundance of food . . . but the hand of the poor and needy did she not strengthen." And concerning Jerusalem, it reads [Sam. iv. 10]: "The hands of merciful women choked their own children." [Ibid. i. 15]: "The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me." As one says to his neighbor: This coin is already out of current.
[Ibid. ii. 16]: "All thy enemies open wide their mouth against thee." (The whole portion is in alphabetical order). Here, however, the peh is before the ayin, and why? Said Rabba in the name of R. Johanan: Because of the spies, who said with their mouths (peh) what they had not seen with their eyes (ayin).
It reads [Ps. xiv. 4]: "Who eat up my people, as they eat bread (while), they do not call on the Lord." Said Rabba in the name of R. Johanan: It is so the custom of Israel's enemies that he who robs Israel and consumes his bread feels a good taste, while he does not feel any taste if he has not done so. "They do not call on the Lord," means the judges. So Rabh. And Samuel said that it means the teachers of children who are doing their work falsely. (However, what was said in the Mishna) of having and not having a share in the world to come? Who were they who have decided so? Said R. Ashi: The men of the great assembly. Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh:
[paragraph continues] They wanted to count one king more, and the appearance of his father's face came and spread itself before them, but they did not care. And then a fire from heaven came and charred the benches on which they were sitting, but they did not care. Then a heavenly voice said to them [Prov. xxii. 29]: "Seest thou a man that is diligent in his work? Before kings may he place himself: let him not place himself before obscure men." He has built his house during thirteen years, and my house during seven years. But not this only, but he built first my house and then his house. Should he have such luck? And still they did not care. Then came another heavenly voice [Job, xxxiv. 33]: "Should He then according to thy view send a recompense, because thou hast rejected him? Because thou must choose and not I?"
However, the interpreters of notes said that all of them have a share in the world to come, as it reads [Ps. lx. 9 and 10]: "Mine is Gilead," which means Achab, who fell at Ramoth Gilead. "Menasseh"--literally, "Ephraim the stronghold of my head," means Jeroboam, who was an outcome of the tribe Ephraim. "Judah are my chiefs," means Achitopel, who was of the tribe of Judah. "Moab my washpot," means Gechazi, who was beaten because of the business of washing. "Upon Edom will I cast my shoe," means Doeg the Edomite. "Philistia, triumph thou but over me." The angels said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Lord of the Universe, if David, who has killed the Philistines, would come before Thee and would complain to that what Doeg and Achitopel shared in the world to come, what wilst Thou say to him? And He answered: It is for me to make them friends.
It reads [Jer. viii. 5]: "A perpetual backsliding." Said Rabh: A victorious answer has the assembly of Israel given to the prophets. The prophet said to Israel: Repent ye of your sins, as you may look upon your parents who have sinned, where are they? And they answered: And your prophets who have not sinned, where are they? As it reads [Zech. i. 5]: "Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, could they live forever?" He then said to them: But your parents have repented and confessed, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 6]: "But my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants, the prophets, behold, they did overtake your fathers: and (then) they returned and said, just as the Lord of hosts had purposed to do unto us, in accordance with our ways, and in accordance
with our doings, so hath he dealt with us." Samuel said: The victorious answer was thus: Ten men came to the prophet and sat down. And the prophet said to them: Repent of your sins. And they answered: A slave whom his master has sold, and a woman whom her husband has divorced, has then one something to do with the other? Said the Holy One to the prophet: Go and say to them [Isa 1. 1]: "Where is your mother's bill of divorcement, wherewith I have sent her away? or who of my creditors, is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities were ye sold, and for your transgressions was your mother sent away?" And this is what Resh Lakish said: This is what is written [Jer. xliii. 10]: "Nebuchadnezzar my slave." It was known before Him, who said a word and the world was created, that Israel will claim so in the future, and therefore He said in advance, "Nebuchadnezzar my slave." And to whom, then, belongs the property of a slave, if not to his master?
It reads [Ezek. xx. 32-34]: "And that which cometh up into your mind shall not at all come to pass (namely), that ye say, We will be like the nations, like the families of the other countries to serve wood and stone. As I live, saith the Lord Eternal, surely, with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm and with fury poured out, will I rule over you." Said R. Na'hman: With such an anger may the Merciful One be angry with us and redeem us.
[Isa. xxviii. 26]: "For his God had instructed him rightly, taught him (so to do)." Said Rabba b. b. Hanna: The prophet said to Israel: Repent. And they answered: We cannot, as we are under the dominion of the evil spirit. And he said to them: Overrule him. To which they answered: This can be done only by his God.
It reads concerning Bil'am [Num. xxii. 5]: "The son of Beor." And [Num. xxiv. 3]: "Bil'am, his son Beor." Said R. Johanan: His father was a son to him what concerns prophecy. The Mishna says that Bil'am has no share in the world to come, but other nations will have. Our Mishna is in accordance with R. Jehoshua of the following Boraitha: It reads [Ps. ix. 18]: "The wicked shall return into hell, all the nations that are forgetful of God." "The wicked" means the transgressors in Israel. "All the nations," means idolaters. So R. Eliezar. Said R. Jehoshua to him: Does it read, "And all the nations"? It reads "All the nations." This passage is
to be explained thus: The wicked shall return to hell, means all the nations that are forgetful of God. And even Bil'am gave a sign concerning himself with his saying [Num. xxiii. 10]: "May my soul die the death of the righteous, and may my last end be like his." If I will die a death of the righteous, then will be my end like his, and if not [ibid. xxiv. 14]: "I am going with my people."
It reads [Num. xxii. 7]: "And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed." There is a Boraitha: Midian and Moab were always enemies with each other. This is a parable to two watch-dogs who were jealous of each other. But it happened that a wolf came to fight one of them. Said the other: If I will not help him the wolf will kill him to-day, and to-morrow he will kill me. And they therefore conjoined together and killed the wolf. Said R. Papa: This is what people say: The χρεχος and the cat (who are always enemies with each other) made a wedding meal of the fat of Bichgada.
It reads [ibid., ibid. 8]: "And the princess of Moab abode with Bil'am." And what became of the princess of Midian? As soon as they heard that Bil'am told them to stay there over night, they thought: Does then exist a father who dislikes his son? (The Holy One is the father of Israel, and will certainly not advise him to curse Israel.)
Said R. Na'hman: Impudence affects even Heaven, as [ibid., ibid. 12] reads: "Thou shalt not go with him," and finally : "Go with them." Said R. Shesheth: Impudence is a kingdom without a crown, as [II Sam. iii. 39]: "And I am this day yet weak, and just anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruyah, are too strong for me."
R. Johanan said: Bil'am was lame on one foot and blind on one eye, as [Num. xxiv. 3]: "Whose one eye is open."
[Num. xxxiv. 16]: "Knoweth the knowledge of the Most High." Is it possible for him, who does not know the knowledge of his ass, to be aware of the knowledge of the Most High? It means he was aware of that moment when the Holy One, blessed be He, became angry. And this is what the prophet said to Israel [Michah, vi. 5]: "O my people, do but remember what Balak the king of Moab resolved, and what Bil'am the son of Beor answered him, from Shittim unto Gilgal, in order that ye may know the gracious benefits of the Lord." What do the last words mean? The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: Beware of the gracious benefits
[paragraph continues] I have done to ye, that I have not become angry on that day in the time of Bil'am, for if I would have done so, there would not remain one living soul from ye. And this is what Bil'am said to Balak: What is the use of my anger when God was not angry these days in spite of what he used to do every day, as it reads [Prov. vii. 12]: "God is indignant (with the wicked) every day." How long is the duration of the anger? One second, as it reads [Ps. xxx. 6]: "For his anger is momentary." And if you wish, it is from [Isa. xxvi. 20]: "Go, my people, enter thou into thy chamber, and shut thy door behind thee: hide thyself for a little moment, until the indignation be passed away." And at what time in the day does He become angry? In the first three hours when the comb of a cock becomes white. But is the comb not white at any other time of the day? At any other time there are red points in the white, and at that time it is white without any points.
There was a Min in the neighborhood of R. Jehoshua b. Levi who caused him great trouble. And on a certain day Jehoshua tied a cock on the posts of his beds, thinking that when the comb will become white I will caution him. However, when that time arrived he slumbered. He said then: I understand from this that such a thing must not be done, even to Minnim.
There is a Boraitha in the name of R. Mair: When the sun rises and the kings put their crowns on their head, and bow themselves down to the sun, the Lord immediately becomes angry.
It reads [Num. xxiv. 21]: "And Bil'am rose up in the morning and saddled his ass." There is a Boraitha in the name of R. Simeon b. Elazar: Love abandons the custom of great men, and the same animosity does. Love abandons their custom, as we have seen by Abraham, who himself saddled his ass (because of his love to the Creator), and the same we saw by Bil'am, who himself saddled his ass, because of his animosity to Israel.
R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: One shall always occupy himself with the Torah and divine commandments, even not for the sake of heaven, as finally he will come to do so for its sake. This can be inferred from Balak, who offered forty-two sacrifices, and was rewarded by that what Ruth was the outcome from him. As R. Jose b. Huna said: Ruth was the daughter of Eglon, the grandson of Balak, king of Moab.
Rabha said to Rabba b. Mari: It reads [I Kings, i. 47]: "May God make the name of Solomon more famous than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne." Is it the usual way of saying to a king thus? And he answered: It is not to be taken literally; they meant to say "similar to thy name," as if you would not say so, how is to be understood [Judges, V. 24]: "Dwelling in the tent may she be blessed"? Who is meant by "dwelling in the tent," if not Sarah, Rebekha, Rachel, and Leah? Does, then, this passage mean that Ja'el shall be more blessed than they? Hence it is not to be taken literally; and it means "similar to them"; and the same is the case here. However, Rabba b. Mari differs with R. Jose b. Huni, who said that usually one becomes jealous of every one but of his son and disciple. Of his son, as we see from the above-cited verse concerning Solomon. And of his disciple [II Kings, ii. 9]: "And Elisha said, Let there be, I pray thee, a double portion of thy spirit upon me," and if you wish, from [Num. xxvii. 23]: "And he laid his hands upon him," though he was commanded [ibid., ibid. 18]: "Thou shalt lay thy hand upon him."
It reads [ibid. xxviii. 16]: "And put a word in his mouth." Said R. Johanan: From all the blessings of that wicked you may learn what he intended to say, if he would not have been prevented. He wanted to say: Israel shall not possess any houses of assembly and of learning. And what was he compelled to say [ibid., ibid. 5]: "How beautiful are thy tents, O Jacob." He intended to say that the Shekhina shall not rest upon them, and said, "Thy dwellings, O Israel."
He intended to say that their kingdom shall not be prolonged, and said, "As streams are they spread forth." He intended to say that they shall not possess olives and vineyards, and said, "As gardens by the river's side." They shall have a bad odor, and said, "As aloe-trees which the Lord had planted." They shall not have kings of nice appearance, and said, "And cedar-trees beside the waters." Their kings shall not be descendants of kings, and said, "Water runneth out of His buckets." Their kingdom shall not rule over other nations, and said, "That his seed may be moistened by abundance of waters." Their kingdom shall not be strong enough, and said, "And exalted above Agag shall be his king." And their kingdom shall not be feared, and said, "And raised on high shall be his kingdom." Said R. Abba b. Kahana: All
[paragraph continues] Bil'am's blessings were overturned to cautions, except concerning houses of assembly and of learning, as [Deut. xxiii. 6]: "And the Lord thy God changed unto thee the curse into a blessing, because the Lord thy God loved thee." It reads "curse," singular, but not "curses," plural.
Samuel b. Na'hman in the name of R. Jonathan said: It reads [Prov. xxvii. 6]: "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but deceptive are the kisses of an enemy." The caution that Achiyah the Shilonite cautioned Israel is better for them than the blessings that Bil'am has blessed them. The former cautioned Israel with a reed, as it reads [I Kings, xiv. 15]: "As the reed is shaken in the water." As this reed stands in water-places, the branches of it change, but its roots are many, and even all the winds of the world when blowing upon it are not able to uproot it, but it bends in every direction of the wind. However, when the wind ceases it remains straight in its place. But Bil'am, the wicked, blessed them with a cedar, Which does not stand in water-places, does not change its branches, and its roots are few, and although no winds can affect it, however, as soon as a south wind comes it uproots it and turns it over on its face. Moreover, a pen for writing the Holy Scrolls, Prophets, and Hagiographa was made from a reed.
Farther on it reads [Num. xxiv. 21]: "And he looked on the Kenites. . . . Strong is thy dwelling-place," etc. Bil'am said to Jithro: Kenite, wast thou not with us at the time we consulted to destroy Israel? How, then, does it come that thou art placed now among the strongest of the world? And this is what R. Hyya b. Aba in the name of R. Simlai said: The following three--Bil'am, Job, and Jithro--were the advisers of Pharaoh, concerning his command of throwing in the river the children of Israel. Bil'am, who gave this advice, was killed; Job, who kept silent, was punished with chastisement; and Jithro, who ran away, was rewarded by having his descendants placed among the Sanhedrin, in the chamber of the Temple, as the above-cited verse [of I Chron. ii. 55, p. 327] reads.
"And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doth appoint this one?" [Num. xxiv. 23]. Said R. Johanan: Woe will be to that nation which will try to prevent the redemption of Israel, when the Holy One, blessed be He, will do it to his children. Who can prevent a lion to come together with his lioness at the time they are both free?
It reads [ibid., ibid. 14]: "And now, behold, I am going unto my people: come, I will advise thee against what this people will do to thy people in the end of days." This people to thy people! It ought to be the reverse: "I will advise thee against what thy people will do to this people." Said R. Abah b. Kahana: It is similar to one who intends to caution himself, and does it by cautioning his neighbor. (Rashi explains this that Bil'am said as it ought to be, but the verse changed its language.) Bil'am said to Balak: The God of this nation hates incest, and they, I am aware, are fond of linen dresses. Put up shops for them, and place therein prostitutes, an old woman outside, and a young one inside, and they shall sell them linen dresses. He put up shops from Har Shelek to the place of Beth Hayishimon, and placed therein prostitutes accordingly. And when Israel were eating, drinking, and rejoicing themselves and taking a walk, the old woman said to him: Do you want to buy a linen dress for a reasonable price? But the young woman from inside offers it to him thrice cheaper, and finally she says to him: You are at home, choose what you like. And there stood a pitcher full of Ammonite wine, which was not as yet prohibited. And she treats him with a goblet of wine. And after he drinks it, it kindles him as a fire, and he makes his proposition to her. She, however, takes out her idol from her bosom, saying: Worship it. And to his answer: I am a Jew, she said: What is it, it is required only of you to uncover yourself before it. While he was not aware that so was the custom of its worship, as it reads [Hosea, ix. 10]: "But they, too, went to Baal Peor, and devoted themselves unto that shameful idol, and became abominations as those they loved."
It reads [Num. xxv. 1]: "And Israel dwelt in Shittim." Said R. Johanan: Everywhere such an expression is to be found it brings infliction. Here the people began to commit incest. [Gen. xxxvii. 1]: "And Jacob dwelt in the land of his fathers sojourning," and (2) "Joseph brought evil reports of them to his father." [Ibid. xlvii. 27]: "And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen," and [ibid. 29]: "And the days of Israel drew near that he was to die." [I Kings, v. 5]: "And every man dwelt in safety," and [ibid. xi. 14]: "And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite."
It reads [Num. xxxi. 8]: "And the kings of Midian they
slew, besides the rest of their men that were slain . . . and Bil'am, the son of Beor, they slew with the sword." What hath Bil'am to do there? Said R. Johanan: He went to take the reward for the twenty-four thousand Israelites who were killed through his advice. Said Mar Zutra b. Tubia in the name of Rabh: This is what people say: A camel wanted to get horns, and therefore the ears he possessed were cut off.
[Josh. xiii. 22]: "And Bil'am, the son of Beor, the soothsayer." The soothsayer! Was he not a prophet? Said R. Johanan: At the beginning he was a prophet, but thereafter became a soothsayer.
A Sadducaer said to R. Hanina: Are you aware of Bil'am's age when he was slain? And he answered: There is nothing written about it, but from [Ps. iv. 24]: "Let not the men of blood and deceit live out half their days," I understand that he must have been thirty-two or thirty-three when he was killed. And the Sadducaer answered: Thou sayest well, as I saw the record of Bil'am, and it was written therein thirty-three years was Bil'am when he was killed by Pinehas, the murderer.
Said Mar b. Rabhina to his son: About all the commoners who are mentioned in the Mishna, you have not to be anxious to lecture of them to their disadvantage, except Bil'am, about whom you may lecture as much as you like.
About Doeg is found in the Scripture this word differently, in some places with an aleph and in others with double yods instead of an aleph. Said R. Johanan: At the beginning Heaven was worrying that perhaps this man will go out in a wrong way, and after it happened so, it was exclaimed that this man is lost by his bad habits.
R. Itz'hak said: It reads [Ps. lii. 3]: "What vauntest thou thyself of wickedness, O mighty man? the kindness of God endureth all the time." The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Doeg: Art thou, then, not mighty in the Torah? Why art thou fond of slandering?
And the same said again: It reads [Ps. 1. 16]: "But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to relate my statutes?" The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Doeg the wicked: What hast thou to relate my statutes when thou reachest the portion of murderers and the portion of slanderer (which thou hast done both)? How wouldst thou explain them?
"Why bearest thou my covenant upon thy mouth?
[paragraph continues] [ibid.]. Said R Ami: Infer from this that the study of Doeg was only with his mouth, but not with his heart.
R. Itz'hak said: It reads [Job, xx. 15]: "The wealth which he hath swallowed, will he have to vomit up again: God will drive it out of his belly." David said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Let Doeg die. And he was answered: Thou must wait until he will have forgotten the Torah, which he has swallowed. And he prayed again: Let God drive it out of his belly.
R. Itz'hak said again: It was said before David: Let Doeg have a share in the world to come. And he answered [Ps. lii. 7]: "Therefore God will also destroy thee forever." Let there at least a Halakha be mentioned in his name in the college. And he answered: "Pluck thee out of his tent." Let his descendants be rabbis. "And root thee out of the land of life."
The same said again: It reads [Isa. xxxiii. 18]: "Where is he who wrote down? where is he that weighed? where is he that counted the towers?" (All this passage is concerning Doeg.) Where is he who counted the letters of the Torah? Where is he who weighs the lenient and rigorous things mentioned therein? Where is he who counted three hundred decided Halakhas (about Levitical cleanness) concerning a turret flying in the air? Said R. Ami: Four hundred questions had Doeg and Achitophel asked concerning turrets flying in the air, and not one of them could be decided. Said Rabha: Is it also a great thing to ask questions?
In the years of R. Jehudah all their studies were confined to the Section of Damages, etc. (See Taanith, p. 71, from line 12 to the end of that chapter.) However, here the answer is: The Holy One, blessed be He, wants the heart of one, but not his mouth, as it reads [I Sam. xvi. 7]: "But the Lord looketh on the heart." Said R. Ami: Doeg was not dead before he had forgotten all his studies, as it reads [Prov. v. 23]: "He will indeed die for want of correction; and through the abundance of his folly will he sink into error." Said R. Johanan: Three angels of destruction attended to Doeg: one who had made him forget his study, and one who burned his soul, and the third who scattered his ashes in prayer and learning houses.
The same said again: Doeg and Achitophel did not see each other, as Doeg was in the days of Saul and Achitophel in the days of David.
And he said again: Both Doeg and Achitophel have not lived
half of their days. So also we have learned in the following Boraitha: All the years of Doeg were only thirty-four, and those of Achitophel thirty-three. R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: One shall not bring himself into temptation, as David i king of Israel, placed himself in the power of a trial and stumbled. He said before Him: Lord of the Universe, why is it said the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not the God of David? And he was answered: Because they were tried by Me, and thou wast not. And he said before Him: Lord of the Universe, try me, as it reads [Ps. xxvi. 2]: "Try me, O Lord, and prove me." And he was answered: You will be tried, and, furthermore, I will do with thee a thing which I have not done with the patriarchs, as them I have not informed that I will try, and thee I inform that thou wilt be tried with a case of adultery. And this is what it reads [II Sam. xi. 2]: "And it happened at evening tide that David arose," etc. Said R. Jehudah: He did in the daytime what is usually done at night. And he overlooked a Halakha: There is a small member in the body of a man which is always hungry if one is trying to satisfy it, and is always satisfied if one starves it. "And he walked upon the roof of the king's house; and he saw from the roof a woman bathing herself, and the woman was of a very beautiful appearance." Bath Sheba used to wash her head under a bee-hive. The Satan then appeared before David as a bird, and he shot an arrow at it, and the arrow fell on the bee-hive and broke it, so that Bath Sheba was visible to David. And immediately [ibid., ibid. 3 and 4]: "David sent and inquired after the woman; and some one said, Behold, this is the Bath Sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriyah the Hittite. And David sent messengers and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her, and she had just purified herself from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house." And this is what it reads [Ps. xvii. 3]: "Thou hast proved my heart; thou hast thought of me in the night; thou hast refined me--thou couldst find nothing; my zamuthi (purpose) doth not pass beyond (the words of) my mouth," which means it would be better for me that a zmama (a bit) should have been put in my mouth than to have prayed: Try me.
Rabha lectured [Ps. li. 6]: "To thee, thee only, have I sinned, and what is evil in thy eyes have I done; in order that thou mightest be righteous when thou speakest, be justified
when thou judgest." David said before the Holy One, blessed be He: It is known before Thee, that if I would want to overrule my impulse (concerning Bath Sheba) I would be able to do so. But I didn't, so people shall not say that the slave has conquered his master. He lectured again: It reads [Ps. xi. 1]: "In the Lord have I put my trust; how can ye say to my soul, Flee to your mountain as a bird?" David said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Lord of the Universe, forgive me this sin for the purpose that people shall not say that your mountain was lost through a bird (as said, above that the Satan appeared to David as a bird). He lectured again: It is written [ibid. xxxviii. 18]: "For I am prepared for (my) downfall, and my pain is continually before me." From the six days of creation Bath Sheba was destined for David; however, she came to him only by infliction. And so also taught the disciples of R. Ishmael: Bath Sheba, the daughter of Eliam, was destined to David, but he enjoyed her as an unripe fruit (did not wait until she was his legitimate wife). (Here is repeated from Middle Gate, p. 138, from "Rabha lectured" until Rabha said.")
R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: David was about to worship idols, as it reads [II Sam. xv. 32]: "When David was come to the head where he used to bow himself to God." By "head" is meant an idol, as it is to be found in Daniel that the head of the image was of gold. "Behold, Chushai, the Arkite, came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head." And he said to him: Is it proper that a king like thyself shall be an idolater? And he answered: Is it proper that a king like myself should be slain by his son? It is better for me to worship an idol privately than that the Holy Name should be profaned publicly. Said Chushai to him: Why, then, hast thou married a handsome woman? And to his answer: The Merciful One has allowed to marry such. Rejoined Cushai: Why have you not given your attention to the interpretation founded on the facts of local junction of texts, as after "A woman of handsome form is near" [Deut. xxi. 11], the 18th verse, which speaks of "A stubborn son "?
R. Dusthai, of the city of Biri, lectured: David's following prayer is similar to a peddler who wanted to sell out his stock little by little. He said before the Holy One, blessed be He [Ps. xix. 13-15]: "Lord of the Universe, who can guard against errors?" And he was answered: They will be forgiven to you.
[paragraph continues] "From secrets (faults) do thou cleanse me," and the same answer was given. "Also from presumptuous sins withhold thy servants," and he was also answered that it will be forgiven. "Let them not have dominion over me"--the rabbis shall not talk about me, and he was also promised that so it will be. "Then shall I be blameless"--my sins shall not be written. And he was answered: This is impossible as the Jod which I took away from the name of Sarai complained before me several years, until Joshua came and I added it to his name, as it reads [Deut. xiii. 16]: "And Moses called Hoshea, the son of Nun, Joshua." How then can I omit a whole portion of the Torah? "Clear from any great transgression"--He said before Him: Lord of the Universe, forgive me the whole sin. And he was answered: It is revealed before Me what Solomon, thy son, will say by his wisdom in the future [Prov. vi. 27-30]: "Can a man gather up fire in his lap, and shall his clothes not be burnt? Can a man walk along hot coals, and shall his feet not be burnt?" So it is with him that goeth in to his neighbor's wife: no one that toucheth her shall remain unpunished. He then exclaimed: If so, I am lost. And he was answered: Accept chastisements upon thyself. And he did so.
Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: Six months was David afflicted with leprosy; the Shekhina left him, and the Sanhedrin separated themselves from him. "Inflicted with leprosy" [Ps. li. 9]: "Cleanse me from sin with hyssop," etc. "The Shekhina left him" [ibid., ibid. 14]: "Restore unto me the gladness of thy salvation." "The Sanhedrin separated themselves" [ibid. cxix. 79]: "Let those that fear thee return unto me and those that know thy testimonies." And whence do we know that all this lasted full six months? From [I Kings, ii. 11]: "And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years; in Hebron he reigned seven years, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years. And in [II Sam. v. 5]: "In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah." Hence we see that the six months more which are counted in II Samuel are not counted in I Kings, and this was because the six months in which he was inflicted with leprosy were not counted. (Here is repeated from Minor Festivals, p. 13, line 6: Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh--to the end of the par. See there.) Now about Gechazi. It reads [II Kings, viii. 7]: "And Elisha came to Damascus." What did he do there?
[paragraph continues] Said R. Johanan: He went to make Gechazi repent of his sins. He tried to do so, but he did not want, saying: I have a tradition from thee, that he who sins and causes others to sin, Heaven gives no opportunity to him to repent. But what has he done to cause others to sin? According to some he put a magnet over the casts made by Jeroboam, and they were suspended in the air. And according to others, he engraved a holy name on its mouth, and it heralded: "I am the God," etc. And according to still others, he drove away disciples from Elisha's college, as it reads [ibid. vi. 1]: "Behold now the place where we dwell before thee is too narrow for us." (And this was after the departure of Gechazi, hence it was not narrow when he was there, because he drove away many disciples.)
The rabbis taught: Exclusion shall always be with the left hand, and inclusion with the right hand, i.e., if one is compelled to repudiate some one, he shall do it easy as with his left hand, and at the same time try to admit him again with his right hand. And not as Elisha has done with Gechazi, whom he rejected with both hands, as it reads [II Kings, V. 23, 27]: "And Naaman said, Give thy assent, take two talents. And he urged him. . . . Whence comest thou, Gechazi?" And he said, Thy servant went not hither or thither. And he said unto him, "My mind was not gone when the man turned around from his chariot to meet thee. Is it time to take money, and to take garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and maid-servants?" Hath then Gechazi taken all this? He took only silver and garments. Said R. Itz'hak: At that time Elisha was occupied with the study of the chapter of eight reptiles (the 14th chap. of Tract Sabbath). Naaman, the captain of the king of Syria, was inflicted with leprosy, and his servant girl, who was captured from Israel, told him that if he will go to Elisha he will be cured. And when he came and was told to dip himself in the Jordan, he said: They ridicule me. But the men with him induced him to do so. He followed their advice and he was cured. And he brought all what he had with him to Elisha, but he did not want to accept it from him. Gechazi, however, departed from Elisha, took what he took, and hid it, 1 and when he came before Elisha again he saw that the leprosy was flying over his head. Then he said
to him: Has then the time come that you should be rewarded for my studying of the chapter of eight reptiles, as you took from him the value of the eight things mentioned in this passage? And therefore he went out of his presence a leper (as white) as snow. It reads [ibid. vii. 3]: "And there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate." Said R. Johanan: These were Gechazi and his three sons. There is a Boraitha: The animal impulses of man, a child and a woman, should always be repulsed with the left hand, and at the same time embraced with the right hand. The rabbis taught: Thrice Elisha became sick, etc. (See Middle Gate, p. 229, which is repeated here with the change that the paragraph "until the time of Abraham there was no mark of age," in line 15, reads here after the paragraph, "The rabbis taught," in line 21. See there.)
MISHNA II.: The generation of the flood have no share in the world to come, and are also not judged, as it reads [Gen. vi. 3]: "Lau jodun ruchiy bheodom," literally "My spirit shall not judge in man"--no judgment and no spirit. The generation of dispersion (cf. to ibid., chap. 11) have also no share in the world to come, as it reads [ibid. 8]: "And the Lord scattered them abroad"; and it reads also (9): "From there the Lord scattered them"--"scattered them" in this world, and "from there the Lord scattered them"--in the world to come. The men of Sodom have also no share in the world to come, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 13]: "For the men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly"--"wicked" in this world, and "sinners" in the world to come. However, they are standing for judgment. R. Nehemiah said: Both of the following are not standing for judgment, as it reads [Ps. i. 5]: "Therefore shall the wicked not be able to stand in the judgment"--the generation of the flood. And "sinners in the congregation of the upright"--men of Sodom. But he was told by the sages: The latter do not stand up among the congregation of the upright, but they stand among the congregation of the wicked. The spies have no share in the world to come, as it reads [Num. xiv. 37]: "Died by the plague before the Lord." "Died"--in this world, "plague"--in the world to come. The generation of the desert has no share in the world to come, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 35]: "In this wilderness shall they be spent"--in this world, and therein shall they die"--in the world to come. So R. Aqiba. R. Eliezar, however, maintains: To
them is written [Ps. i. 5]: "Gather together unto me my pious servants, who make a covenant with me by sacrifice." The congregation of Korah will not be restored at the time of resurrection, as it reads [Num. xvi. 33]: "And the earth closed over them"--in this world, and "they disappeared from the midst of the congregation"--in the world to come. So R. Aqiba. R. Eliezar, however, maintains: To them it reads [I Sam. ii. 6]: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up."
GEMARA: The rabbis taught: The generation of the flood has no share in the world to come, as it reads [Gen. vii. 23]: "And it swept off every living substance"--in this world, "and they were swept from the earth"--in the world to come. So R. Aqiba. R. Jehudah b. Bathyra said: They will neither be restored nor judged, as it reads in the cited verse of the Mishna: "No judgment and no spirit." R. Menahem b. Jose said: Even at the time the Holy One, blessed be He, will return the souls to the corpses, the souls of the generation in question will still be judged hard in the Gehenim, as it reads [Isa. xxxiii. 11]: "Ye shall be pregnant with hay, (and) ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath is a fire, which shall devour you."
The rabbis taught: The generation of the flood were exalted only because of the overflowing goodness, the Holy One, blessed be He, overflooded them, as concerning them it reads [Job, xxi. 9-14]: "Their houses are at peace without any dread, and no rod of God (cometh) over them. The bull of each one gendereth and disappointeth not: the cow of each one calveth, and casteth not her young. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children skip about (with joy). They sing to the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the pipe. They wear out their days in happiness." The verse continues, and "in a moment they go down to the nether world." This was caused by what they said, "Depart from us and the knowledge of thy ways we desire not," etc. They said: We need the Almighty only for the drops of rain with which He supplies us; however, we possess springs and rivers, of which we can make use. Said the Lord: With the same good I have overflooded them they anger me, I will therefore punish them with the same, I will bring a flood of water, etc.
R. Jose said: The generation of the flood were exalted because the sclerotic coat of the eye which resembles water, as
it reads [ibid., ibid. 2]: "And they took themselves wives of all whom they chose," and therefore they were punished with water, which resembles the eye, as [ibid. vii. 11]: "On the same day, were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened."
R. Johanan said: The generation in question sinned with the word rabbha. [ibid. vi. 5]: "God saw that rabbha the wickedness of men, and they were punished with the same word [ibid. vii. 11]: "All--the fountains of the deep rabbha." And he said again: Three of the hot springs of that time remained forever, and they are, of Gedda, of Tiberius and the great springs of Biram.
It reads [ibid. vi. 12]: "For all flesh has corrupted his way upon the earth." Said R. Johanan: Infer from this that cattle, beast and men had intercourse with each other. Said R. Aba b. Kahana: All of them returned to their usual manner of propagation, except the bird Thushl'mi. 1
It reads [ibid., ibid. 13]: "The end of all the flesh is come before me." Said. R. Johanan: Come and see how severe is the force of robbery, as the generation of the flood had committed all kinds of crimes and their evil decree was not sealed until they stretched out their hand to robbery, as it reads (13) "for all the earth is filled with violence through them, and I will destroy them with the earth," and also [Ezek. vii. 11]: "The violence is grown up into the staff of wickedness: nothing is left of them, and nothing of their multitude and nothing of theirs; and there shall be no lamenting for them." Said R. Elazar: Infer from this passage that the violence itself has grown up as a cane and placed itself before the Lord, saying: Lord of the Universe; nothing shall be left of them, etc.
The disciples of R. Ismael taught: In that evil decree Noah was included, but found favor in the eyes of the Lord, as it reads [Gen. vi. 7 and 8]: "For it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."
It reads [ibid., ibid. 6]: "And it repenteth the Lord that he had made man on the earth." When R. Dime came from Palestine, he said: (The Lord said) I have not done well that I prepared for them graves in the earth. (As it might be that if I would leave them alive, they would repent.) And this is inferred from the analogy of the expression "and it repented,"
which is to be found here and in [Ex. xxxii. 14]: "And the Lord bethought himself."
It reads [Gen. vi.. 9]: "Noah was a just, perfect man in his generation;" according to R. Johanan in his generation, but not in others who were more righteous. And according to Resh Lakish: In his generation, which was wicked, so much the more in other generations. Said R. Hanina: As a parable to that of R. Johanan, may be, e.g., if one places a barrel of wine among barrels of vinegar. In that place, the good smell of wine is marked, which would not be the case if placed among other barrels of wine, And a parable to that of Resh Lakish, said R. Oshia, may be, e.g., a glass of perfume which was placed in a filthy place, and the smelling was marked, so much the more would it be marked if placed among spices.
It reads further on [Gen. Vii. 23]: "And it swept off," etc. If man sinned, what were the sins of the animals? It was taught in the name of R. Jehoshua b. Kar'ha: It is similar to one who made a canopy for his son, and prepared all kinds of delicacies for the wedding-meal, but his son dies before the wedding and he destroys all what he prepared, saying: All this was done only because of my son; now, as he is dead, to what purpose do I need the canopy and all what I prepared? So the Holy One, blessed be He, said: To what purpose have I created cattle and beast, only for the sake of man; now, when man has sinned and is to be destroyed, to what purpose do I need all other creatures? [Gen. vi. 22]: "All that were on dry land died," but not the fishes in the sea.
R. Jose of Tesarius lectured: It reads [Job, xxiv. 18]: "Swift are such men (to flee) on the face of the water; accursed is their field on the land." Infer from this that Noah, the upright, warned them, saying: Repent and pray to God, for if not He will bring the flood upon you and will make your corpses swim upon the water like bags filled with air; and not only this, but ye will be accursed to future generations (i.e., one will curse this enemy that his lot shall be like yours). And they answered: Let him do so, who prevents him? And he answered: There is one pigeon among ye which must be taken away from this evil (i.e., Methushelech, the upright, who must depart, not to see the evil). And they answered: If it is so, then we will continue on our way and will not hide ourselves in the vineyards.
Rabha lectured: It reads [Job, xii. 5]: "To the unfortunate
there is given contempt--according to the thoughts of him that is at ease--prepared (also) for those whose foot slippeth." Infer from this that Noah, the upright, warned them in hard words. But they scorned him, saying: Thou old man, why buildest thou the ark? And to his answer: The Lord will bring the flood, they said: A flood of what? If a flood of fire, then we have an animal by the name of Elita which extinguishes fire. And if of water, we have iron plates with which we can pave the ground (to prevent water coming up). And if of the sky, we have a thing named Akeb or Ikosh, which can prevent it. And Noah answered: He will bring you (the flood) from under your heels, as the just cited verse reads, "prepared for those whose foot slippeth."
Said R. Hisda: With their hot blood have they sinned, and they were punished with hot water, and it is inferred from ah analogy of the expression [Gen. viii. 3]: "And the water was appeased," and [Esther, vii. 10]: "And the fury of the king was appeased."
It reads [Gen. vii. 10]: "And it came to pass after the seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the earth." Seven days of what? Said Rabh: The seven days' mourning for Methushelech. From this you may learn that the lamentation of uprights delays the chastisement to come. Another explanation: The Lord appointed for them at first a long time for repenting, and thereafter a short time. And still another explanation: The seven days in which was given them a taste of the world to come, for the purpose that they shall know what good they are losing.
[Ibid., ibid. 2]: "Of every clean heart thou shalt take to thee seven pair of each, the male and his female." Have these animals wives? Said Samuel b. Na'hman in the name of R. Jonathan: It means from those with whom a crime was not committed. And whence did he know this? Said R. Hisda: He passed them by the ark, and those who were accepted by the ark he was certain that no crime was committed, and those who were not, he was certain that a crime was committed. R. Abubu said: It means from those animals which came by themselves.
[Ibid. vi. 14]: "An ark of gopherwood." What is meant by gopher? R. Adda, in the name of the school of Shila, said: It means an oak tree, and according to others, a cedar tree.
[Ibid., ibid. 16]: "A window shalt thou make." Said R.
[paragraph continues] Johanan: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Noah: Put there diamonds and pearls, that they shall give you light as the middle of the day.
"With lower second and third stories shalt thou make it." The lower for manure, the second for animals and the third for man.
[Ibid. viii. 7]: "He sent forth a raven." Said Resh Lakish: A victorious answer has the raven given Noah: Thy master hates me and thou doest the same. Thy master hates, as from the clean he took seven and from the unclean only two, and thou hatest me as thou sends a creature of which you have only two, while from others you have seven. If I would be killed by heat or by cold would not the world be lacking my creation?
[Ibid., ibid. 8] "He then sent forth a dove from him." Said R. Jeremiah: Infer from this that clean fowls may be kept in the residence of uprights.
[Ibid., ibid. 11]: "And the dove came in to him at the time of evening." Said R. Elazar: The dove said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Lord of the Universe, may my food be bitter like an olive, but I shall receive it from thy hand rather than that it should be sweet like honey, and I shall receive from beings of blood and flesh.
"Plucked off tereph." And whence do we know that tereph means food? From [Prov. xxx. 8]: Let me eat the bread," in which the same term tereph is used.
It reads farther on [Gen. viii. 19]: "After their families." Infer from this that each family was placed separate. R. Hana b. Bisna said: Eliezar, the servant of Abraham, questioned Shem the Great: As all the animals were placed separately, where was your family placed? And he answered: We had great trouble in the ark to feed all the animals. The creature whose habit it is to eat in the daytime we had to feed in the day, and those whose habit it is to eat in the night, we have to feed in the night. A chameleon, my father did not know what its food is. It happened one day that he cut a pomegranate and a worm fell out of it, and the above consumed it, and from that time prepared its food from the worms found in rotten apples. The lion was fed by his fever, as Rabh said: No less than six and no more than twelve months one can live in fever without taking any food. The Aurshina my father found that it slept in a corner of the ark; and to his question: Dost thou
need any food, it answered: I saw thou art very busy, and I thought I would not trouble thee. And he blessed her that it shall never die, and this is what it reads [Job, xxix. 18]: "As the chaul (aurshina) shall I have many days."
R. Hana b. Levai said: Shem the Great questioned Eliezar, the servant of Abraham: When the kings of the West and East came to fight you, what have you done? And he answered: The Holy One, blessed be He, took Abraham, sat him down to His right, and we, however, took earth, threw it, and they became swords. Straw and they became arrows, as it reads [Ps. cx. 1]: "Sit thou at my right hand, until I place thy enemies a stool for thy feet." And also [Isa. Xli. 2]: "Who waketh up from the east the man whom righteousness met in his steps? He giveth up nations before him, and maketh him rule over kings. That his sword may render them as the dust, as driven stubble his bow." (Here is repeated from Taanith, p. 56, the legend of Nahum of Gim-zu.)
"The generation of dispersion has no share," etc. What had they done? The school of R. Shila said: They wanted to build a tower to ascend to the sky and split it with hatchets, so that the contained water shall pour down. This legend was ridiculed in the West. If they intended to ascend to the sky they ought to have built the tower on a mountain, and not in a valley. Therefore, said R. Jeremiah b. Elazar: They were divided into three parties. The first party said: Let us go there to dwell; the second: Let us go there and worship their idols, and the third: Let us go there to fight. The party that said, Let us go there to dwell, were scattered all over the world, and the party that said, Let us go there and fight, became demons, devils, etc. And the party that said, Let us go there and worship their idols, were scattered to Babylon, to which it reads [Gen. xi. 9]: "Therefore is the name Babel, because the Lord did there confound the language."
Said R. Johanan: From the tower, a third of it was burned, the second was swallowed and a third is still in existence.
"Men of Sodom," etc. The rabbis taught: Men of Sodom have no share in the world to come, as the verse cited in the Mishna. And in addition to it, said R. Jehudah: They were wicked with their bodies and sinners with their money. With their bodies, as it reads [ibid. xxxix. 9]: "How then can I do this great evil and sin against God?" and sinners with their money, as it reads [Deut. xv. 9]: "It will be sin in thee." Before
the Lord means blasphemy. "Exceedingly"--all their sins were intentionally. In a Boraitha it was taught the reverse: wicked with their money, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 9] "And thy eye be thus evil against thy needy brother," and sinners with their bodies [Gen. xxxix. 9]: "And sin against God." "Before the Lord" means blasphemy, and "Exceedingly" means bloodshed, as it reads [II Kings, xxi. 16] "And also innocent blood did Menasseh shed exceedingly." The rabbis taught: The men of Sodom were exalted because of the overflowing goodness of the Lord. Concerning them it reads [Job, xxviii. 58]: "The earth out of which cometh forth bread, is under its surface turned up as it were with fire. Her stones are the place whence the sapphire cometh; and golden dust is also there. On the path which no bird of prey knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not surveyed," etc. And they said: As our land supplies us with sufficient bread, why shall we leave in travellers who come only to lessen our money? Let our land forget that there is a foot of stranger, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 4]. 1
He said again: It reads [Ps. lxii. 2]: "How long will ye devise mischief against a man? Will ye all assault him murderously, as though he were a falling wall, a tottering fence?" Infer from this that they used to place a wealthy man under a tottering wall and pushed the wall over him, and robbed him of his money.
He said again: It reads [Job, xxiv. 16]: "They break into houses in the dark, in the daytime they lock themselves in: they know not the light." Infer from this that when they saw a wealthy man they used to deposit with him balsam, which usually the depositories placed in their treasure box, and in the night they scent the balsam and rob him. 2
R. Jose lectured the same in Ciporias. And the night after that three hundred burglaries were committed through the smell of balsam, the town-men troubled him, saying: "You have shown a way to the thief." And he answered them: How could I know that all of you are thieves?
The following was enacted in Sodom. He who possessed one ox had to pasture all the cattle of the city one day, but he who possessed none at all had to pasture them two days. There
was an orphan, the son of a widow, to whom they gave their oxen to pasture, and he killed them, saying: Who has one ox shall take one skin, and he who has none at all shall take two skins. And to the question: What is this? he said to them: The final trial must be at the beginning of it. You enacted that he who has one ox shall pasture them one day, and he who has none at all shall pasture them two days. The same is the case with the skins.
He who passed the river on a boat had to pay one zuz. And he who passed the river on foot had to pay two. If one had a row of bricks, every one of them came and took one, saying: I am not causing you any damage by taking one. The same they used to do when one scattered garlic or onions to dry. There were four judges in Sodom. Every one of them had a name which meant false, lie, etc. If it happened that one struck a woman and she miscarried, they used to decide that the woman should be given to the striker, and he shall return her when she will be pregnant again. If it happened that one cut off the ear of his neighbor's ass, they used to decide that the ass should be delivered to the striker, till it shall be cured. If one wounds his neighbor, they decided that the striker shall be paid for bleeding him. He who passed the river on a bridge had to pay four zuz. And he who passed it with one foot had to pay eight zuz. It happened once that a washer came there and they required of him four zuz. And to his claim that he had passed the water on foot, they required eight. And because he didn't pay they wounded him, and when he came to the judge, he decided that he shall pay for bleeding and eight zuz for passing the water.
Eliezar, the servant of Abraham, happened to be there, and was wounded, and when he came to the judge to complain he said: "You must pay for bleeding." And he took a stone and wounded the judge, saying: The payment for bleeding which you owe to me pay them, and my money shall remain with me. They made a condition that he who invites one to a wedding shall be stripped of his garments. There was a wedding at the same time Eliezar happened to be in the city, and none of them wanted to sell him any bread for a meal. He then went to the wedding and took a place at the very end of the table. And when he was asked who had invited him, he said to him who was sitting near by, Thou hast invited me. And for fear that they will believe that he has invited him and that he will be
stripped of his garment, he hurried to take his mantle and run away. And so he did to the remainder, and they all ran away, and he ate the whole meal. They had a bed for strangers. If he was too long for this bed they made him shorter, and if too short they stretched him. When Eliezar was there they told him to sleep in the bed, to which he answered: Since my mother is dead I vowed not to sleep in a bed. When a poor man happened to be there every one used to give him a dinar, on which his name was engraved, but they did not sell him any bread until he died. And then each one took his dinar back. There was a girl who used to supply a poor man with bread, which she used to hide in a pitcher while going for water. And when this was found out they smeared her body with honey, put her on the roof of the surrounding wall, and bees came and killed her, and this is what it reads [Gen. xviii. 20]: "Because the sin against Sodom and Gomorrah is great," etc.
"Spies . . . and the congregation of Korah," etc. The rabbis taught: The congregation of Korah has no share in the world to come, as it reads: "And the earth covered them "in this world, and "they disappeared from the midst of the congregation"--in the world to come. So R. Aqiba. R. Jehudah b. Bathyra said: They are as a lost thing for which the loser inquires, as it reads [Ps. cxix. 176]: "I have gone erringly astray, like a lost sheep; seek thy servant, for thy commandments have I not forgotten." It reads [Num. xvi. 1]: "And Korah took (vayikah)." Said Resh Lakish: He purchased for himself a very bad undertaking. "Korah" means, he has made Israel bald-headed. "Ben Yizhar," he who made the world hot as in the middle of the day. "Ben Kehath," he who made blunt the teeth of his parents. "Ben Levi," he who became a companion to the Gehenna. But why is not also written "ben Jacob"? Said R. Samuel b. Itz'hak: Jacob prayed [Gen. xlix. 6]: Unto their secret shall my soul not come," means the spies. Unto their assembly my glory shall not be united," means the congregation of Korah. Rabh said: "The wife of On ben Peleth" saved him from being among the congregation of Korah. She said to him: What is the difference to you? If Moses will be master, you are only a disciple, and the same will be for you if Korah will be the master. And to his answer: What shall I do, I was with them in consultation, and swore to take part with them? she said: I know that the whole congregation is holy, as it reads [Num. xvi. 3]:
[paragraph continues] "For the whole of the congregation are all of them holy;" remain in your house and I will save you. She made him drink wine to intoxication, and she made him sleepy in the house, and she herself sat outside at the entrance of the house, uncovered her head and dishevelled her hair. And every one coming to his house, to call upon On, when he saw the uncovered head of the woman, he returned. She, however, continued to sit there, till the congregation was swallowed. On the other hand, the wife of Korah said to him: See what Moses did. He proclaimed himself as a king, his brother he made high-priest, the sons of his brother for adjuncts of the high-priests. Heave-offering he commanded to give to the priests, and even from tithes, which are for the Levites, he commands to give again one-tenth to the priest. And not only this, he made of you fools by commanding all the Levites to shave off all their hair. And to his answer: He himself also did so, she said: As all the glory belongs to him, he does not care, etc. And this is what it reads [Prov. xiv. 1]: "The wise among women buildeth her house"--the wife of On ben Peleth. But the foolish pulleth it down with her own hands--the wife of Korah.
It reads farther on [Num. xvi. 2]: "So that they rose up before Moses, with certain men of the children of Israel, in number two hundred and fifty"--the distinguished of the congregation. "Called to the assembly"--who were able through their wisdom to intercalate months and establish leap years. "Men of renown"--whose name was renowned through all the world. "And Moses heard it, and fell upon his face." What had he heard? Said Samuel b. Na'hman in the name of R. Jonathan: That they suspect him of adultery, as it reads [Ps. cvi. 16]: "Moreover, they envied Moses."
"And Moses went to Dathan and Abiram." Said Resh Lakish: Infer from this that one must do all that he can not to strengthen a quarrel (as he himself who was a king went to Dathan and Abiram [Num. xvi. 25]). As Rabh said: He who strengthens a quarrel transgresses a negative commandment. [Ibid. xvii. 5]: "That he become not as Korah and as his company." R. Ashi said: Such is worthy to be punished with leprosy, as here it reads "by the hand of Moses," and [Ex. iv. 6]: "And he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, white as snow."
R. Jose said: He who fights against the kingdom of David deserves to be bitten by a snake, as [I Kings, i. 9]: "By the
stone Zoheleth," and [Deut. xxxii. 24]: "With the poison of Zochle aphar (serpents)."
R. Hisda said: He who quarrels with his master is considered as if he would quarrel with the Shekhina, as it reads [Num. xxvi. 9]: "At the time they quarrelled against the Lord." R. Hama b. Hanina said: He who has a controversy with his master is considered as if he would do so against the Shekhina, as it reads [ibid. xx. 13]: "These are the waters of Meribah, where the children of Israel quarrelled with the Lord." And R. Hanina b. Papa said: He who murmurs against his master is considered as if he would do so against the Shekhina, as it reads [Ex. xvi. 8]: "Not against us are your murmurings, but against the Lord." And R. Abuhu said: Even one whose thoughts are against his master is considered as if his thoughts would be against the Shekhina, as it reads [Num. xxi. 5]: "And the people spoke against God and against Moses."
It reads [Eccl. v. 12]: "Riches reserved for their owner to his own hurt." Said Resh Lakish: This means the riches of Korah. It reads [Deut. xi. 6]: "And all . . . on their feet." 1 Said R. Elazar: It means the money which makes one stand on his feet. And R. Levi said: The keys of Korah's treasure were of such a weight that three hundred white mules had to carry them. R. Hama b. Hanina said: Three treasures were hidden by Joseph in Egypt, one was found by Korah, and the second by Antoninus ben Arsirus, and the third is still hidden for the upright in the future. R. Johanan said: Korah was not from those who were swallowed and not from those who were burned. Not those from who were swallowed, as [Num. xvi. 32]: "And all the men that appertained unto Korah," but not Korah himself. And not from the burned. [Ibid. xxvi. 10]: "The fire devoured the two hundred and fifty men, but not Korah." In a Boraitha, however, it is stated that Korah was both burned and swallowed. "Swallowed," as in the just-cited verse, "And swallowed them up together with Korah," and "burned," as [ibid. xvi. 35]: "And there came out a fire . . . and consumed two hundred and fifty," and Korah was among them.
Rabha said: It reads [Habakkuk, iii. 1]: "At the light of thy arrows they walked along." Infer from this that the sun and the moon ascended to Zebul (one of the seven heavens
mentioned elsewhere), and said: Lord of the Universe, if thou wilst take revenge for Ben Amram we will go out to our work, and if not, we will not. And they were standing until he shot arrows at them, saying, When my own glory is affected (by that People are worshipping ye) ye did not protest; and for the honor of a being of blood and flesh ye do.
Rabha lectured [Num. xvi. 30]: "But if the Lord do create a new thing, and the earth open her mouth." Moses said before the Holy One, blessed be He: If such is already created, well and good, but if not, the Lord shall create. Shall create! Does it not read [Eccl. i. 9]: "And there is nothing new under the sun"? to bring the opening of the Gehenna near to them.
It reads [Num. xxvi. 11]: "But the sons of Korah did not die." In the name of Rabbi it was taught: A place was prepared for them in Gehenna, in which they sat and sung a song. (Here is repeated Rabba b. b. Hana's legend from Last Gate, p. 206, concerning the children of Korah.)
"The generation of the desert has no share," etc. The rabbis taught (in addition to the verse cited in the Mishna) [Ps. xcv. 11]: "So that I swore in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest." So R. Aqiba. R. Eliezar, however, said they have a share, as it reads, "Gather unto me my pious servants." And the verse "I swore in my wrath" is therefore to be explained: I retract from it because it was sworn while I was in anger. R. Jehoshua b. Karha said: The verse cited by R. Eliezar was said only for the future generations. "Gather together unto me my pious servants," means the righteous which are to be found in every generation. "Who make a covenant," means Hanania, Meshael and Asaryah, who delivered themselves to the caldron. "By sacrifice," means R. Aqiba and his colleagues, who had delivered themselves to be slain because of the words of the Torah. R. Simeon b. Menasia said: They will have a share in the world to come, as it reads [Isa. xxxv. 10]: "And come to Zion with song!" Said Rabba b. b. Hana in the name of R. Johanan: R. Aqiba's saying is against his piety, as it reads [Jer. ii. 2]: "I remember unto thee the kindness of thy youth, the love of thy espousals, thy going after me in the wilderness, through a land that is not sown." Hence we see that from their reward even their descendants will be benefited, so much more they themselves.
MISHNA III.: The ten tribes who were exiled will not be returned, as it reads [Deut. xxix. 27]: "And he cast them into
another land, as this day." As that day will not return, so will they not return. So R. Aqiba. R. Eliezar said: As this day means as usually a day becomes clouded and thereafter lights up again, so the ten tribes, who are now in darkness, the future will lighten upon them.
GEMARA: The rabbis taught: The ten tribes have no share in the world to come, as it reads: "And the Lord plucked them out of their land of anger, and in wrath and in great indignation," means in this world, "and he cast them into another land," means in the world to come. So R. Aqiba. R. Simeon b. Jehudah, the head of the village of Aku, said in the name of R. Simeon: If their acts will be as on that day, they will not return, but if they will repent, they will. Rabbi, however, said: They will have a share in the world to come, and they will return, as it reads [Isa. xxvii. 13]: "And then shall come those who are lost in the land of Asshur," etc. Said Rabba b. b. Hana in the name of R. Johanan: R. Aqiba's saying is against his piety, as [Jer. iii. 12]: reads: "Go and proclaim these words towards the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; I will not cause my anger to fall upon you, for I am full of kindness, saith the Lord, I will not bear grudge forever." What is the kindness? As in the following Boraitha: The minors of the wicked of Israel will not have a share in the world to come, as it reads [Malachi, iii. 19]: "For behold, the day is coming which shall burn as an oven; and all the presumptuous, yea, and all who practice wickedness shall be stubble; and the day that is coming shall set them on fire, saith the Lord of hosts, who will not leave them root or bough." "Root," in this world, and "bough," in the world to come. So Rabban Gamaliel.
R. Aqiba, however, said: They will have a share in the world to come, as it reads [Ps. cvi. i]: "The Lord preserveth pethayim (fool)." And in the countries of the sea (Arabia), a child is called pathia. And also [Dan. iv. ii and 12]: "Hew down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit; let the beasts flee away from under it, and the fowls from among its branches. Nevertheless leave the body of its root in the earth." But what is meant in the former verse, and "he shall not leave them a root or bough"? It means that he shall not leave one commandment or a part of it which they will observe unrewarded, however they will be rewarded for it in this world, but will have no share in the world to come. Another
explanation, "root" means the soil, and "bough" the body. However, the minors, children of idolaters, all agree that they will not have a share in the world to come.
It was taught: From what age has a minor a share in the world to come? R. Hyya and R. Simeon b. Rabbi differ. According to one, immediately after birth, and according to the other, from the time he commences to speak. The former infers it from [Ps. xxii. 32]: "Will tell his righteousness to a people just born," and the latter infers it from the previous, "Sera (children) shall serve him; there shall be related of the Lord unto future generations."
It was taught: Rabhina said: From the time he is formed; and R. Na'hman b. Itz'hak said: From the time he was circumcised, as it reads [Ps. lxxxviii. 16]: "I am inflicted and perishing from my youth up." There is a Boraitha in the name of R. Mair: From the time he can answer "Amen," as it reads [Isa. xxvi. 2]: "Open ye the gates, that there may enter in the righteous nation which guardeth the truth (amunim). Do not read amunim, but amen. What is meant by "amen"? It is an abbreviation of El melech neman (literally, God, King of Truth).
It reads [Isa. v. 14]: "Therefore hath the deep enlarged her desire, and opened her mouth without measure (chok)." Said Resh Lakish: It means him who failed to perform even one (chok) law of the Torah. Said R. Johanan to him: Your saying is not satisfactory to their creator. Say the reverse, even he who has studied but one law does not belong to the Gehenna.
[Zech. xiii. 8]: "And it shall come to pass that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts (of those) therein shall perish, but the third part shall be left therein." Said Resh Lakish: It means a third of Shem's descendants. And R. Johanan said to him: Your saying is not satisfactory for their Lord. And even if you should say: A third of Noah's children will remain and two-thirds will be destroyed, it would also not satisfy Him, but it means one-third of the wicked will remain. 1
[Jer. iii. 14]: "I will take you one of a city and two of a family, and bring you to Zion." Said Resh Lakish: It means
literally. And R. Johanan said again to him: Their Lord is not pleased with such an interpretation, but it means one righteous in a city saves the whole city, and two from a family save the whole family. And the very same said Rabh to R. Kahana when he was sitting before him interpreting the just-cited verses literally.
Rabh saw R. Kahana washing his head and improving his complexion, and thereafter came to study in Rabh's college. And he read to him [Job, xxviii. 13]: "And she is not to be found in the land of the living." And to the questions of R. Kahana: Do you caution me? he replied: I only tell you the interpretation of this Passage. The Torah cannot be found with him who adorns himself before studying.
There is a Boraitha: R. Simai said: It reads [Ex. vi. 7]: "I will take you to me as a people," and (ibid. 8): "I will bring you in unto the land." The Scripture compares their exodus from Egypt to the coming in their land. As in entering the land only two from six hundred thousand who made their exodus from Egypt, viz., Joshua and Kaleb, had entered, but all others from the age of twenty to sixty died in the desert, so also from those who made their exodus from Egypt were only two from every six hundred thousand, notwithstanding that they numbered six hundred thousand.
Said Rabha: And so it will be in the time of the Messiah, as it reads [Hosea, ii. 17]: "She shall be inflicted there, as in the days of her youth and as on the day of her coming up out of the land of Egypt."
There is a Boraitha: R. Elazar b. Jose said: It happened once that I was in Alexandria of Egypt, and I found a certain old Gentile who said to me: Come, and I will show you what my great-grandfathers have done to yours. A part of them they threw in the sea, a part they slew with the sword and a part they have crushed in the buildings. Says the Gemara: And for this evil Moses, our master, was punished, as it reads [Ex. v. 23]: "He hath done more evil to this people." To which the Holy One, blessed be He, answered: Woe for those who are lost, as such are not to be found now. Several times I have revealed myself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name Almighty God, and they have never thought against my retribution, and did not question me for my proper name. I said to Abraham [Gen. xiii. 17]: "Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it, for unto thee will I give
it." And thereafter when he was searching for a grave for his wife Sarah, he could not get it until he bought one for four hundred silver shekels, and, nevertheless, his thoughts were not against my retribution. I said to Isaac [ibid. xxvi. 3]: "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee and bless thee," and thereafter when his bondmen wanted to drink water they could not get it without quarrel, as [ibid., ibid. 20]: "And the herdsmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, The water is ours," and he also had no thought against my retribution. I said to Jacob [ibid. xxviii. 13]: "The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it," and thereafter when he wanted to spread a tent for himself, he could not get it until he paid a hundred kessitah, and his thoughts were not against my retribution and he did not ask for my proper name. Thou, however, first hast asked for my proper name, and now thou sayest to me [Ex. v. 23]: "Thou hast in nowise saved thy people." And therefore [ibid. vi. 1]: "Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh," but thou wilst not live to see the war with the thirty-one kings in the time of Joshua.
It reads [ibid. xxxiv. 8]: "And Moses made haste, and bowed his head." What had he seen that he bowed himself? R. Hanina b. Gamla. said: He saw the words "long-suffering." And the rabbis say: He saw the word "truth." There is a Boraitha in accordance with him, who said he had seen long-suffering, viz., When Moses ascended to heaven, he found the Holy One, blessed be He, writing the words "long-suffering." And he said before Him: Lord of the Universe, does this mean long-suffering for the righteous ones? And he was answered: Even for the wicked. And to Moses' exclamation: May the wicked be lost! he answered: In the future thou wilst see that my previous words will be necessary for thee. Thereafter when Israel sinned, the Lord said to Moses: Didst thou not say long-suffering for the righteous? And Moses said before Him: Lord of the Universe, but hast Thou not said to me also to the wicked"? And to this it is written [Num. xiv. 17]: "And now, I beseech thee, let the greatness of the power of the Lord be made manifest as Thou hast spoken."
R. Hagga, ascending the steps of the school of Rabba b. Shila, heard a child saying [Ps. xciii. 5]: "Thy testimonies are exceedingly steadfast. In thy house abideth holiness, O Lord, to the utmost length of days." And immediately he began [ibid. xc. 1]: "A prayer of Moses." And he then
said: I infer from this that Moses has seen the words "long-suffering."
R. Elazar, in the name of R. Hanina, said, etc. (Here is repeated from Tract Megilla, p. 38, line 23 to p. 39, line 3: However, here is some change at the end of the paragraph which is unimportant.)
1It reads [Isa. viii. 12]: "Call ye not a conspiracy all that this people may call a conspiracy." What conspiracy does it mean? The conspiracy of Shebna, as his college had thirteen great men, and Hiskia's college had only eleven. When Sanherib came to attack Jerusalem, Shebna wrote a note that he and his society are willing to make peace, however Hiskia and his society are not. And this note he put in an arrow and shot it into the camp of Sanherib, as it reads [Ps. xi. 2]: "For lo, the wicked bend their bow, they arrange their arrow upon the string." And Hiskia was afraid, that perhaps the inclination of Heaven will be towards the majority, whose desire was to deliver themselves to the enemy. The prophet then came to him, saying: "Call ye not a conspiracy," etc., i.e., this conspiracy is wicked, and a conspiracy of the wicked is not counted. The same Shebna wanted also to hew out a cave for a grave for himself among the kings of David's house, and this is what the prophet said to him [ibid., ibid. 16 and 17]: "What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewn out for thyself here a sepulchre? . . . Behold, the Lord will thrust thee about with a mighty throw. Oh, man!" Said Rabh: From this is to be inferred that travelling is harder for a man than for a woman, as, from the expression of the last word of this verse, R. Jose b. Hanina infers that Shebna was punished with leprosy, as the same expression is to be found concerning leprosy [Lev. xiii. 45].
"He will roll thee up as a bundle, and (toss thee) like a ball into a country of ample space." There is a Boraitha: His (Shebna's) desire was to disgrace the house of his master, and therefore his own honor was turned over to disgrace, for when he came out to Sanherib with his society, Gabriel shut the door in the face of his society. And when Sanherib questioned him: Where is thy society? he answered: They have retracted. Exclaimed Sanherib: I see thou hast ridiculed us. And they bored holes in his heels, tied them to the tails of their horses, and dragged his body over thorns.
In the interpretation of [Ps. xi. 3]: "For (if) the foundations be torn down, what would the upright do?" R. Jehudah and R. Eina differ. According to one it means, if his kin and his association would be destroyed, how would the promise of the Lord be? And according to the other, should the Temple be destroyed by Sanherib, in accordance with the advice of Shebna, what would become of the wonderful miracles of the Lord? And according to Ula, this passage is to be explained negatively. If the thoughts of that wicked (Shebna) would not have been destroyed, what would have become of the upright, Hiskia? It is correct, the explanation of Ula, and of him who explains the word "foundation" to mean the Temple, as according to the former, it means the previous verse (2) which was the basis of his thoughts. And also concerning the Temple we found in Mishna, which states that a stone was placed in the Temple from the time of the first prophets, with the name shethiha (foundation). But he who explains the passage to mean Hiskia and his society, where is to be found that by the word foundation the upright are meant? [I Sam. ii. 8]: "For the Lord's are the pillars of the earth, on which he hath set the world." "Pillars" are the upright, "on which he hath set"--the foundation.
1The rabbis taught: Man was created on the eve of Sabbath. And why? The Minnim shall not say that he was a partner to the Lord, in the creation of the world. Another explanation is, if a man becomes haughty it may be said to him: At the time of creation even a fly was created before thou wert. Still another explanation is that his first act should be meritorious, in keeping the Sabbath, and also he shall partake of the Sabbath meal immediately. This is similar to a human king who built a palace, accomplished it, prepared a banquet and thereafter invited guests, as it reads [Prov. ix. 1-4]: "Wisdom hath built her house; she hath hewn out her seven pillars. She hath killed her cattle; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also set in order her table. She hath sent forth her maidens; she invited (her guests) upon the top of the highest places of the town." "Wisdom hath built her house"--it is one of the divine affairs of the Holy One, blessed be He, who has created the whole world with wisdom. "Seven pillars"--"the seven days of the creation." Killed her cattle," etc.--
means the seas, the rivers, and all what was necessary for the world. "She sent forth her maidens"--Adam and Eve upon the top of the highest places.
Rabba b. b. Hana propounded a contradiction from ibid. 3, which reads, "on the top of the height," to ibid. (14), on the chair in the high places. And he himself answered: First they were placed on the top, and thereafter on a chair. "Void of sense," the Holy One, blessed be He, said: Who made a fool of Adam the first? The woman who told him, etc., as it reads [ibid. vi. 32]: "Whoso committed adultery with a woman lacketh sense." There is a Boraitha: R. Mair used to say: From the whole world was gathered the earth, from which Adam the first was created, as it reads [Ps. cxxxix. 16]: "My undeveloped substance did thy eyes see." R. Oshia said in the name of Rabh: The body of Adam the first was taken from Babylon, his head from Palestine, and all other members, hands, feet, etc., from all other countries, and the earth for his rump, said R. Aha, was taken from Akra of Agma. R. Johanan b. Hanina said: A day consisted of twelve hours, the first hour the earth for his creation was gathered, the second hour it became an unformed body, and in the third his limbs were shaped; in the fourth the soul entered the body, in the fifth he arose on his feet, in the sixth he named all his beasts and animals, in the seventh Eve was brought to him, in the eighth they went to bed, two persons, and four persons came out of it; in the ninth he was commanded not to eat of the tree, in the tenth he sinned, in the eleventh he was tried, and in the twelfth he was driven out of the Garden of Eden, as it reads [Ps. xlix. 13]: "And Adam though in his splendor endureth not."
R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: At the time the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to create a man, He created a coetus of angels, and said to them: Would ye advise me to create a man? And they asked Him: What will be his deeds? And He related before them such and such. They explained before Him: Lord of the Universe, what is the mortal, that Thou rememberest him, and the son of men, that Thou thinkest of him? [Ps. vii. 5]. He then put His little finger among them and they were all burnt. And the same was with the second coetus. The third one, however, said before Him: O Creator of the world! the first angels who protested, did they effect? The whole world is Thine, and all what it is pleased before Thee Thou mayest do. Thereafter at the time of the generation
of the flood and the generation of dispersion whose deeds were criminal, the same angels said before Him: Creator of the Universe, were not the first angels right with their protest? And He answered: "And even unto old age I am the same, and even unto the time of hoary hairs will I hear" [Isa. xlvi. 4].
R. Jehudah said again in the name of the same authority: Adam the first was from one end of the world to the other, as it reads [Deut. iv. 32]: "Since the day that God created Adam upon the earth, and from the one end of the heavens unto the other end." After he had sinned, the Holy One, blessed be He, laid His hand upon him and reduced him [Ps. cxxxix. 5]. "Behind and before hast Thou hedged me in, and Thou placest upon me Thy hand." R. Elazar said: Adam the first was tall from the earth to the sky, as the above cited verse: "The day Adam was created upon the earth and to one end of the heaven." And when he sinned He laid His hand upon him, and diminished him, as the cited verse [Ps. cxxxix.] reads.
R. Jehudah said again in the name of Rabh: Adam the first spoke with the Aramaic language, as [ibid., ibid. 17]: "And how precious are unto me thy thoughts," and the terms in the original Psalm are Aramaic. And this is what Resh Lakish said: It reads [Gen. v. 1]: "This is the book of the generation of Adam." Infer from this that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed to Adam every generation with its scholars, every generation with its lecturers. And when Adam saw the generation of R. Aqiba, he was pleased with his wisdom, but was dejected seeing his death, and said: "How precious are unto me thy thoughts."
The same said again in the name of the same authority: The Minnim 1 of this generation say that Adam the first was also of their sect. And they infer it from [Gen. iii. 9]: "And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him: Where art thou?" i.e., to what is thy heart inclined?
Said R. Johanan: Every place where the Minnim gave their wrong interpretation, the answer of annulling it is to be found in the same place--e.g., they claim from [Gen. i. 26]: "Let us make man." Hence it is in plural. However, in [ibid. 271 it reads: "And God created man in his image" (singular). [Ibid. xi. 7]: "Let us go down" (plural); however,
[paragraph continues] [ibid., ibid. 5]: "And the Lord came down" (singular). [Ibid. xxxv. 7]: "And there God appeared" (the term in Hebrew is plural); however [ibid., ibid. 3]: "Unto the Lord who answered me" (singular). [Deut. iv. 7]: "For what great nation is there that hath gods so nigh unto it?" However, it reads farther on, "as is the Lord our God every time we call upon him." [II Lam. vii. 23]: "Which God went?" (the term in Hebrew is plural). However [Dan. vii. 9]: "I was looking down until chairs were set down, and the Ancient of days seated himself" (singular). But why are all the above-mentioned written in plural? This is in accordance with R. Johanan, who said elsewhere that the Holy One, blessed be He, does not do anything until he consults the heavenly household, as it reads [ibid. iv. 14]: "Through the resolve of the angels is this decree, and by the order of the holy ones is this decision." However, this answer is for all the plurals mentioned, except the last one, "the chairs." Why are they in plural? One for Him and one for David. So R. Aqiba in a Boraitha. Said R. Elazar b. Azaryah to him: Aqiba, how do you dare to make the Shekhina common? It means one chair for judgment and one for mercy. Did Aqiba accept this, or not? Come and hear the following Boraitha: One for judgment and one for mercy. So R. Aqiba. Said R. Elazar b. Azaryah to him: Aqiba, what hast thou to do with Haggada? Give thy attention to Negain and Ohaloth. It means one for a chair to sit upon and one for a footstool.
Said R. Na'hman. He who knows to give a right answer to the Minnim like R. Aidith may discuss with them, but he who is not able to do so, it is better for him that he discuss not with them at all. There was a Min who said to R. Aidith: It reads [Ex. xxiv. 1]: "Come up unto the Lord." It ought to be, "Come up to me." (And when God said to him: Come up to the Lord, there must be one lord more?) And he answered: That is the angel Mattatron (name of the chief of the angels) about whom ibid. xxiii. 20 speaks, as he bears the name of his master [ibid., ibid. 21]: "Because my name is in him." If so, rejoined the Min, let us worship him. It reads, ibid., ibid., ibid., al tamer be, and this term means also "exchange." Hence it means thou shalt not exchange him for Me.
Said the Min again: But does it not read "he will not pardon your transgression"? And Aidith answered: Believe me, that even as a guide we refused to accept him, as it reads
[paragraph continues] [ibid. xxxiii. 15]: "If thy presence go not (with us), carry us not up from here."
A Min asked Ismael b. R. Jose: It reads [Gen. xix. 24]: "And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire. From the Lord," etc. From the Lord! It ought to be from Him (hence there was one more lord). And a certain washer said to Rabban Gamaliel, Let me answer him. It reads [Gen. iv. 23]: "And Lemech said unto his wives, Adah and Zellah, Hear my voice, ye wives of Lemech," etc. Wives of Lemech! "My wives," it ought to be? You must then say that so is it customary in the language of the verse, the same is the case here. And to question of R. Ismael to the washer: Whence do we know this? he answered: From the lectures of R. Mair. As R. Johanan used to say, R. Mair's lectures consisted always of a third Halakha, a third Haggadah, and the last third parables. And he said also: From R. Mair's three hundred fox fables we have only three: (a) [Ezek. xviii. 2]: "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children have become blunt;" (b) [Lev. xix. 36]: "just balances, just weights," and (c) [Prov. xi. 8]: "The righteous is delivered out of distress, and the wicked cometh in his stead." 1
There was an atheist who said to Rabban Gamaliel: Your God is a thief, as it reads [Gen. ii. 21]: "Lord God caused a deep sleep . . . and he slept; and he took one of his ribs." Said R. Gamaliel's daughter to him: Let me answer him. And she said to him: Would you assist me to take revenge on a thief
who robbed me this night, by stealing a silver pitcher, however he left a golden one instead? And he said to her: I would like that such thief would come to me every day. Then she said: Was it not better for Adam that one bone was taken from him, and in its stead was given a woman to him, who shall serve him? Rejoined the atheist: I mean why stealing; could He not take it from Adam when he was awake? She then took a piece of meat, put it in glowing ashes, and when roasted took it out and gave it to him to eat. To which he said: It is repulsive to me. Rejoined she: Eve would also have been repulsive to Adam if he could have seen how she was formed.
The same atheist said to Rabban Gamaliel: I am aware of what your God is doing now. R. Gamaliel sighed deeply. And to the question: Why are you sighing? he said: I lost every information of my son who is now in the sea countries. Can you perhaps assist me by informing me where he is? And he rejoined: Where shall I know this from? Rejoined Rabban Gamaliel: You don't know what is in this world, and you claim to know what is in heaven?
At another time the same said to Rabban Gamaliel: It reads [Ps. cxlvii. 4]: "Who counted the number of the stars," etc. What prerogative is this? I also can do this. R. Gamaliel took some grain, put it in a sieve, and while straining told him to count the grain. And he rejoined: Let the sieve stand and I will count it. Rejoined R. Gamaliel: The stars are also always moving. According to others R. Gamaliel answered him: Can you tell me how many teeth are in your mouth? And he put his hand in his mouth and began to count them. Rejoined R. Gamaliel: You are not aware of the number of teeth in your mouth, and you claim to know how many stars there are in heaven?
A Min said to R. Gamaliel: He who created the mountains has not created the wind, as it reads [Amos, iv. 13]: "He that formed the mountains and created the wind." And he answered: If so, then concerning a man, of whom it reads [Gen. i. 27]: "And God created," and [ibid. ii. 7]: "And the Lord God formed," should also mean that he who has formed has not created, and vice versa. There is in the body of man one span square, in which two holes are to be found--one in the nose and one in the ear. It must be also that he who created one of them did not create the other, as it reads [Ps. xciv. 9]: "He that hath planted the ear, shall he not hear? Or he that
hath formed the eye, shall he not see?" And the Min said: Yea, I am of this opinion. Rejoined Gamaliel: How is it, then, when death comes? Are both creators reconciled, to kill their creation together?
A magician said to Rabban Gamaliel: The lower half of your body is created by ahermes (God), but the upper half by Hermes (Mercury). And he answered: If it is so, why does then ahernes leave the dirty water coming from the upper half to pass the lower half?
The Cæsar said to R. Tanhum: Let us unite and be a people of one and the same creed. And he answered: Very well; but we who are circumcised cannot be like your people. However, ye are able to be like us if ye will circumcise yourself. And the Cæsar answered: Your answer is right. However, it is a rule that he who conquers the king must be thrown in the vivarius to be devoured by the beasts. He was thrown in the vivarius and was not touched. And there was a Min who said to the king: They did not devour him, because they were not hungry. And they then threw him in the vivarius and he was devoured.
Another atheist said to R. Gamaliel: You say that upon every ten Israelites the Shekhina rests. How many Shekhina have you then? Gamaliel then called the servant of the atheist, struck him with a whip, saying: Why didst thou leave the sun enter the house of your master? His master, however, answered: Every one is pleased with the sun. Rejoined Gamaliel: The sun, which is only one of the hundredth millions servants of the Lord, is pleasant to every one, so much the more the Shekhina of the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself.
A Min said to R. Abuhu: Your God is a jester. He commands Ezekiel to lie on his left side and then on his right side [Ezek. iv. 4-6]: "At the same time a disciple came and questioned him: What is the reason of the Sabbatic year?" And Abuhu answered: I will now say something which will be an answer to both of you. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: Work up the earth for six years and release the seventh for the purpose that you shall be aware that the earth is mine. However, they did not do so, but sinned, and were exiled. It is custom of a human king if a country has rebelled against him to kill all of them if he is a tyrant, and to kill half of them if he is merciful. But if he is full of mercy he chastises
the leaders only; so was it with Ezekiel, the Holy One, blessed be He, chastised him for the sin of Israel.
There was a Min who said to R. Abuhu: Your God is a priest, as it reads [Ex. xxv. 2]: "Bring Me a therumah." Now when He buried Moses where did He dip Himself? (Took the legal bath prescribed for him who touches a corpse.) You cannot say that He did so in the water, as it reads [Isa. xl. 12]: "Who hath measured in the hollow of his hand the waters." And he answered (a joke to a joke): He dipped Himself in fire, as it reads [ibid. lxvi. 15]: "For behold, the Lord will come in fire." And to the question of the Min: Is it legal to dip in fire? he answered: On the contrary, the principal dipping is in fire, as it reads [Num. xxxi. 23]: "And whatsoever doth not come into the fire shall ye cause to go through water."
There was a Min who said to R. Abina: It reads [II Sam. vii. 23]: "And who is like thy people, like Israel, the only nation on the earth?" What is your proudness about? Are you not mingled among other nations, of whom it reads [Isa. xl. 17]: "All the nations are as naught before him"? And he answered: A prophet of nations themselves has testified concerning us [Num. xxiii. 9]: "And among the nations it shall not be reckoned."
R. Elazar propounded a contradiction from [Sam. iii. 25]: The Lord is good unto those that hope in him" to [Ps. cxlv. 9]: "The Lord is good to all"? This question may be answered with the following parable to one who possesses a fruit garden. When he waters it, he waters all of them. And when he hoes to cover tip the roots, he does so only to the best of them, i.e., when He feeds, He feeds the whole world with discriminating, but to save from trouble He helps only those who hope in Him.
It reads [I Kings, xxii. 36]: "And there went a rinah (song) throughout the camp." Said R. Aha b. Hanina: This is what is written [Prov. xi. 10]: "And when the wicked perish there is rinah," means when Achab, the son of Omri, perished, there was rinah. Is this so? Is it then pleasant for the Holy One, blessed be He, the ruin of the wicked? Is it not written [II Chron. xx. 21]: "As they went out before the armed array and said: Give thanks unto the Lord; for unto everlasting endureth His kindness"? And R. Johanan said: Why is it not written here: "He is good," as [Ps. cxviii. 1]: Because the Holy One, blessed be He, is not rejoicing over the ruin of the wicked, as
R. Samuel b. Na'hman said in the name of R. Jonathan: It reads [Ex. Xiv. 20]: "And the one came not near unto the other all the night." At that time the angels wanted to sing their song before the Holy One, blessed be He, but He said to them: "My creatures are sinking in the sea, and ye want to sing." 1
It reads [I Kings, xviii. 3]: "And Rehab called Obadiah, who was the superintendent of the house;--now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly." To what purpose does the passage relate that Obadiah feared the Lord? Said R. Itz'hak: Achab said to him, concerning Jacob, it reads [Gen. xxx. 27]: "The Lord hath blessed me for thy sake." And concerning Joseph it reads [ibid. xxxix. 5]: "The Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for the sake of Joseph." I, however, keep thee and my house is not blessed. Perhaps thou art not fearing God? To this a heavenly voice was heard, saying: Obadiah fears the Lord greatly, but the house of Achab is not fit for blessings. Said R. Abah: It is more conspicuous What is said of Obadiah than of Abraham, as about Abraham it reads, "he feared God," and about Obadiah it adds "greatly." Said R. Itz'hak: For what deeds was Obadiah rewarded with prophecy? Because he hid one hundred prophets in a cave, as it reads [I Kings, viii. 4]: "And it happened when Isabel cut off the prophets of the Lord that Obadiah took a hundred prophets, and hid them fifty in one cave, and provided them with bread and water." Why fifty? Said R. Elazar: He learned this from Jacob, who divided his camp into two parts, for the reason that if it should happen that one would be lost the other would be saved. And R. Abuhu said: Because the cave could not hold more than fifty.
It reads [Ob. i. 1]: "The vision of the Lord . . . concerning Edom." And why? The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Obadiah, who lived among two wicked (Achab and his wife) and did not learn from them, shall prophesy to Esau who lived among two upright (Isaac and Rebecca) and did not learn from them. And Ephraim of Kashaha, a disciple of R. Mair, said in the name of his master: Obadiah was an Edomite proselyte. And this is what people say that the handle of the hatchet to cut the forest is taken from the wood of the same forest. And this also applies to David, who was a descendant of Moab (according to R. Johanan, in the name of Simeon b. Jo'hai), who smote them [II Sam. viii. 2].
It reads [II Kings, iii. 27]: "Then took he his eldest son
that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt-offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel." Rabh and Samuel. According to one, he sacrificed him to Heaven, and according to the other, to an idol. But if to an idol, why was there great indignation against Israel? It is in accordance with R. Jehoshua b. Levi, who propounded a contradiction from [Ez. v. 7]: "According to the ordinances of the nations have ye not acted," to [ibid. xi. 12]: "But according to the ordinances of the nations ye have acted." And he himself answered: Ye have not acted according to their good deeds, but ye have acted according to their crimes.
It reads [I Kings, i. 4]: "The maiden was ad meod exceedingly." Said R. Hanina b. Papa: She did reach even half the beauty of Sarah, of whom it reads [Gen. xii. 14]: "Behold the woman that she was very fair (meod).
1It reads [Gen. xxii. 1]: "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham," After what? Said R. Johanan in the name of R. Jose b. Senira: After the words of the Satan to those of [ibid. xxi. 8]: "And the child grew, and was weaned," etc. The Satan said before the Holy One, blessed be He, thus: Lord of the Universe, Thou hast favored this old man with an offspring at his hundredth birthday, and from all the great meals which he prepared for the people he did not sacrifice for Thee even one dove or pigeon. And he was answered: Does he not prepare all this only for the sake of his son? If I would tell him to sacrifice his son to me, he will do it immediately. Hence God tempted Abraham.
And He said: "Take na thy son," etc. Said. R. Simeon b. Aba: The expression "na" means request. This is similar to the fable of a human king who had to fight many wars, and who had one hero who was victorious in all of them. Finally a war was declared to the same king by a king with a very strong army, and he said to his hero: I pray thee be victorious also in this war; people shall not say that the former wars were not worthy of consideration. So the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Abraham: I proved thee with many temptations, and thou withstood all of them. I request thee withstand also this temptation, in order people shall not say that the former were not worthy of consideration. "Thy son." But Abraham said: I have two sons. "Thy only one." But Abraham said: Both
of them are the only ones to their mothers, "whom thou lovest," but I love both of them, even Isaac. And why so many words? For the purpose that he shall not become insane from such a sudden command.
The Satan preceded him on the way, saying [Job, iv. 2-6]: "If we essay to address a few words to thee, wilt thou be wearied? . . . Behold, thou hast (ere this) corrected many, and weak hands thou was wont to strengthen. Him that stumbled thy words used to uphold, and to sinking knees thou gavest vigor. Yet now, when it cometh to thee, thou art wearied; it toucheth even thee, and thou art terrified." And Abraham answered him [Ps. xxvi. 11]: "But as for me, I will walk in my integrity." And the Satan said again: "Is not then thy fear of God a stupidity?" 1 And Abraham answered: Remember . . . whoever perished being innocent. When the Satan saw that Abraham did not listen to him, he said to him [ibid. 12]: "But to me a word came by stealth." I have heard from behind the paraganda (the heavenly curtains) that the ram will be for a burnt-offering, but not Isaac. Rejoined Abraham: This is the punishment of liars, that even when they tell the truth, nobody believes them.
R. Levi, however, said: The above cited verse "after these things" means after the exchange of words between Ismael and Isaac. Ismael said to Isaac: I am greater than thee in performing the commandments of the Lord, as I was circumcised when I was thirteen years of age, and thou when thou wert only eight days. To which Isaac answered: Thou art proud against me because of only one member of thy body; if the Holy One, blessed be He, should command me to sacrifice my whole body to Him I would do it immediately, hence, "and God has tempted Abraham."
MISHNA IV.: The men of a misled town have no share in the world to come, as it reads [Deut. xiii. 14]: "There have gone forth men, Belial, from the midst of thee, and have misled the inhabitants of their city." However, they are not killed, unless the misleaders are from the same city and from the same tribe And also not unless the majority are misled. And the misleaders also must be men; if, however, they were misled by women or minors, or a majority of the city were misled, or the misleaders were outsiders, they are to be considered as
individuals, and each of them must have two witnesses and be forewarned.
There is more rigorousness with individuals than with the majority in that respect, that individuals are to be stoned, therefore their property is saved for their heirs. And the majority are to be decapitated, therefore their property is also lost, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 16]: "Then shalt thou smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword." A caravan with asses or camels, who are travelling from one place to another, who took their rest in a city which was guilty of idolatry, and the caravan while being there was persuaded and worshipped idols, and counting them to those people of the city who were misled, it will be a majority they save the money of the innocent inhabitants of the city, for the guilty ones are still considered individuals, as the caravan is not counted to complete a majority, as it reads, "Devoting it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, to the edge of the sword" (but not of strangers passing by). From this it was also said that the properties which are found in the city belonging to the innocent individuals are also lost in case the majority were misled, but their properties which are placed outside of the city are saved, while by the property of guilty there is no difference wheresoever it is found it must be destroyed, as it reads : "And all its spoils shalt thou gather into the midst of its main street," etc.
If it happened that the city had no main street, such must be established. If there was one outside of the city, it must be taken in, as it reads, "Thou shalt burn with fire the city, and all its spoil entirely." "Its spoil," but not the spoil belonging to Heaven. From this it was said that if there were some goods belonging to the sanctuary, they are to be redeemed. If there was heave-offering, it must remain till it becomes rotten. Second tithe and books of the Holy Writ must be hidden. "Entirely unto the Lord thy God." Said R. Simeon: The Holy One, blessed be He, said: If ye will take judgment on a misled town, I will consider it as if ye would bring to me a burnt-offering. "A ruinous heap forever" means that from that place gardens and vineyards should not be made. So R. Jose the Galilean. R. Aqiba, however, maintains: It reads: "It shall not be built again," means it shall not be built as it was, but gardens and vineyards may be made from it. "There shall not cleave to thy hand aught of the devoted things," for
as long as the wicked exist the heavenly anger lasts. And when the wicked perish the heavenly anger ceases.
GEMARA: The rabbis taught: There have gone forth men, but not their messengers. "Men" (plural) no less than two. And according to others "men" and not "women," "men" and not "minors," "sons of Belial," sons who took off the yoke of Heaven from their necks. "From the midst of thee," but not if they were from the boundary. "The inhabitants of their city," but not of another one. "Saying"--infer from this that (if not a majority) witnesses and warning are needed for every one of them. It was taught: When the land was divided among Israel, it was allowed to divide one city for two tribes, according to R. Johanan. Resh Lakish, however, said: It was not. And R. Johanan objected to Resh Lakish from our Mishna: However, they are not guilty unless the misleaders are from the same city and from the same tribe. It is not to be assumed that even if the misleaders were from the same city they are guilty when they were men of their own tribe; hence we see that one city can be divided for two tribes? Nay, it may be said that his share in this city fell to him from an inheritance, or some one had made him a present of it. He objected to him again from [Joshua xxi. 16]: "Nine cities from those two tribes." Does it not mean four and a half for one tribe and four and a half for the other? Hence, one city was divided for two tribes. Nay, it means four from one and five from the other. But if so, let the Scripture say from which tribe five and from which tribe four. This difficulty remains.
The schoolmen propounded a question: How is it if they were misled by themselves without any seducer? Shall we say it reads "and they misled," but not if they were misled by themselves, or there is no difference? Come and hear. Our Mishna states: "If they were misled by women and minors," etc., they are to be judged as individuals. And why? If misled by themselves is the same as by leaders, let the misleading by women and minors be considered as if they were misled by themselves? Nay, these cannot be equalized, for when they were misled by themselves they acted according to their own deliberations, but if they were misled by women and minors, they acted according to the seducer's mind, which was not worthy of consideration.
"Unless the majority was misled." How is it to be done?
[paragraph continues] According to R. Jehudah, when they saw two, three, or more guilty of idolatry, they were tried, sentenced, and kept in prison. And so the others, until they formed a majority of the city, and then they are decapitated and their property destroyed. Said Ula to him: By such an act the prisoners are tortured. And therefore said he in such a case those who are sentenced are also stoned, but their property is not to be destroyed until they number a greater part of the city. And only then if more cases happen they are slain, and the property of all who were executed till now is destroyed.
It was taught: R. Johanan was of the same opinion as Ula. Resh Lakish, however, said that if such a case happened courts who investigate all cases must be increased, and all of them turn it over to the supreme council, who sentences them, and they are then slain.
"Then shalt thou smite the inhabitants of the city," etc. The rabbis taught: A caravan with asses or camels, etc. (Here is repeated from Last Gate, p. 19, second line to the seventeenth. See there.)
"Devoting it utterly," etc. The rabbis taught: Devoting it and that is therein excludes the property of the innocent which is found out of town, and includes the property of them which is inside of the city.
"All the spoils," etc. Includes the property of the guilty, which is outside of the town. Said R. Simeon: Why does the Torah say that the property of the innocent, which is inside of the city, is to be destroyed? Because the reason of their residence in this city was their property, and therefore it must be destroyed. The master said: To include the property of the guilty which is outside. Said R. Hisda: Provided they are near by, so that they can be gathered in on the same day. And he said again: The deposits of a misled town are to be saved. Let us see how was the case. If it was deposited by another city in this city, it is self-evident that they are to be saved, as such deposits do not belong to this city at all. And if the men of this city had deposited in another city, why are they to be saved if they are placed near by, so that they can be gathered together on the same day? And if he speaks of those which are far away and cannot be gathered, why then the repetition, he said it already once? It means deposits of another city which are found in this city, but the depositors took the responsibility for them. And lest one say that in such a case
it is considered as if it would be their own property, he comes to teach us that it is not so.
R. Hisda said again: If there was an animal, a half of which belongs to one city and the other half to one of another city, it is invalid. However, if there was dough, half of which belongs to one of another city, it is valid; because it can be divided it is considered as already divided, which is not the case with a living animal. He (R. Hisda), however, was doubtful if the slaughtering of a cattle from a misled town effects to put it out of the category of a carcass. Shall we assume that "with the edge of a sword" there is no difference; if it was killed or legally slaughtered it is considered as any carcass, or the legal slaughtering effects that it is not so considered, and if one touches it he does not become unclean, while he does by touching other carcasses? This question was not decided.
"In its main street," etc. The rabbis taught: If there was no main street, it does not become a misled town. So R. Ismael. R. Aqiba, however, said that if there was none, one must be established. And what is the point of difference? One holds that the Scriptures mean a main street which existed already when it became misled, and the other holds that there is no difference if one existed before or was established after.
"Belonging to the sanctuary," etc. The rabbis taught: If there were cattle sanctified to the altar, they must be put to death. Sanctified things for improving the Temple must be redeemed. Heave-offering must be left till it becomes rotten. Second tithe and books of the Holy Writ must be hidden. R. Simeon said: "The cattle thereof," but not cattle of a first-born, and the tenth of cattle (cf. to Lev. xxvii. 30 and 32). "And all that is therein" excludes sanctified money, and money with which tithe is to be redeemed. But why should cattle sanctified to the altar be put to death? Said R. Johanan: Because it reads [Prov. xxi. 27]: "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination." And Resh Lakish said: It speaks of when the owners where they were found responsible for it, and it is then considered as if they would be the property of the owners according to R. Simeon.
The text reads: R. Simeon said: "The cattle thereof," etc. Let us see how was the case. If they were without any blemish it is self-evident, as it belongs to the sanctuary, and if they had a blemish, why then should they be different? Said Rabhina:
[paragraph continues] It speaks of when they were blemished; but "cattle thereof" means those which are consumed in the usual manner of cattle, but not those which were the property of Heaven, and only because of their blemish become the property of men and may be consumed; hence they cannot be considered as property belonging to the city. And he differs with Samuel, who said. An animal which is to be sacrificed when it is without blemish, and redeemed when with a blemish, is excluded from "the cattle thereof." And if it is to be sacrificed while without a blemish, and is not to be redeemed when with a blemish--e.g., a first-born and the tenth of a cattle, it is included in "the cattle thereof."
"Heave-offering . . . till it become rotten," etc. Said R. Hisda: Provided the heave-offering was in the hand of the priest already, but if it was still in the hand of an Israelite, it may be given to a priest of another city.
"The books of Holy Writ," etc. Our Mishna is not in accordance with R. Elazar of the Boraitha mentioned above (p. 2 11), that even if there was one mezuza it cannot be called a misled town. (See there.)
"Garden and vineyards," etc. Shall we assume that the point of their difference is what was said by R. Abin in the name of R. Ilaa: Everywhere you find a general expression in a positive commandment, and the explicit specification to it in a negative commandment, it must not be judged, as in other cases, that there is nothing in the general expression but what is specified in the explicit specification. The one who does not allow to make gardens of it does not hold this theory. And he who allows it holds this theory? Nay, all hold the theory of R. Abin. And the difference of their opinion is the expression "again." According to one "again" means again as it was built, and according to the other "again" means it shall not build for whatsoever. The rabbis taught: If there were uprooted trees, they are invalid, and if they are still attached they are valid. From another city, however, they are invalid even if they were attached. What does "another city" mean? Said R. Hisda: It means Jericho, as it reads [Josh. vi. 26]: "And Joshua adjured (the people) at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord that will rise up and build this city of Jericho: with his first-born shall he lay its foundation, and with his youngest shall he set up its gates."
There is a Boraitha: Any other city must not be built
under the name of Jericho, and also Jericho shall not be rebuilt under another name, as it reads [I Kings, xvi. 34]: "In his days did Chiel the Bethelite build Jericho; with Abiram, his first-born, laid he the foundation thereof, and with Segub, his youngest son, set he up the gates thereof." There is a Boraitha: From Abiram, his first-born, this wicked has to learn. What does it mean? Thus: To what purpose is it written that Abiram was his first-born and Segub his youngest son? To learn that he buried all his children, beginning from Abiram, the oldest, to Segub, his youngest son. And this wicked should have learned not to continue the building after burying Abiram. Achab was his friend, and both he and Elijah came to condole Chiel. Said the latter to Elijah: Perhaps Joshua's caution was to those who will rebuild Jericho even under another name, or any other city under the name of Jericho? And Elijah answered: Yea. Said Achab: How can it be supposed that Chiel's troubles were because of Joshua's caution, when even the caution of Moses his master does not effect, as it reads [Deut. xi. 16]: "Take heed to yourselves," etc., " . . . and serve other gods, . . that there be no rain," etc. And I am worshipping idols on every flower bed, and nevertheless rain did not cease to fall. Is it possible that the caution of Moses should not stand good while that of Joshua should? To this it is written [I Kings, xvii. 1]: "Then said Elijah the Tishbite, who was one of the inhabitants of Gilad, unto Achab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I have stood, there shall not be in these years dew or rain, except according to my words." He prayed and the key of rain was transferred to him. It reads farther on (3) and (6): "Go away from here . . . and the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning." Where did they take it? Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: From the kitchen of Achab. "And it came to pass . . . that the brook dried up," etc. When he saw that the whole world is in trouble he went to Zarephath according to the Heavenly command, and it happened (17) "that the son . . . fell sick," etc. And Elijah prayed again that the key of resurrection shall be given to him. And he was answered: Thou knowest that there are three keys in heaven which are not entrusted to a messenger--the key of birth, of rain, and of resurrection. Now when the key of resurrection shall also be given to thee, thou wilst have two keys and heaven only one. Bring, therefore, the key of rain, and then thou wilt receive
the key of resurrection. And this is what it reads [ibid. xviii. I]: "Go, show thyself to Achab, and I will give rain." A certain Galilean lectured in the presence of R. Hisda: The parable of Elijah, to what is it similar? To one who shut his door and lost the key from it. (So Elijah has shut the door of rain and had to depend upon Heaven.)
R. Jose lectured in Ciporias: Father Elijah is sensitive (hot-tempered), dealing with Achab too severely. Elijah, however, who used to visit R. Jose every day, disappeared for three days. And thereafter when he appeared and was questioned by R. Jose: Why have I not seen the master three days? he answered: Because you called me sensitive. Rejoined R. Jose: Is this not true? Hast not thou, master, become angry because of my expression?
"As long as the wicked exist," etc. Whom does it mean? Said R. Joseph: The thieves (who steal from the things which are legally to be devoted). The rabbis taught: With the appearance of a wicked anger comes to the world, as it reads [Prov. xviii. 3]: "When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with dishonorable acts disgrace." And when the wicked perish good comes to the world, as it reads [Prov. xi. 10]: "And when the wicked perish there is joyful shouting." When an upright departs from this world evil comes to the world, as it reads [Isa. lvii. 1]: "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and pious men are taken away without one considering that before the evil the righteous is taken away." And when an upright comes to the world goodness comes with him, as it reads [Gen. v. 29]: "This one shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands."
END OF TRACT SANHEDRIN, PART II. (HAGGADA),
265:1 The explanation of this term, with a difference, is found in the Gemara farther on. It is prohibited to mention the name of Jehovah as it is written, and we read it with the expression "Adonay." see a footnote in Chapter VII. We have to add thereto, that none of the Jews--not even the reformers of that time--dared to mention this Holy Name as it is written, and wherever it was mentioned they read it "Adonay."
267:1 The translation of this verse by the translator of the Bible according to the sense does not correspond. The reason, however, of the Talmud's opinion is because it should read, "Sleep with thy father, and the people will go astray." Hence the word "arise" is superfluous. Furthermore, as it reads, "and arise," it is therefore enumerated among the five verses of which the explanation was doubtful to the most famous Tanaim of the Talmud. These verses are: Gen. iv. 7: The word "sheath," which has two meanings, "atone" and "carry" (the sin)--whether it belongs to its preceding words and the former is the meaning, or to its succeeding words and the latter is the meaning; Ex. xxv. 34: the word "almond-shaped"--whether it belongs to the candlestick or to its succeeding words; ibid. xvii. 9: whether the word "to-morrow," mentioned in this verse, belongs to preceding or succeeding words; Gen. xlix. 7: whether the word "cursed" ends verse 6 (at that time the verses were not as yet marked) or it is the beginning of verse 7 (explained elsewhere); and the verse in question cited, whether the word "ve-qom" belongs to the preceding or succeeding words. This was said by Issi b. Jehudah, the greatest authority among the ancient Tanaim, to whom even the word Rabban was not added, as to Hillel and Shammai. (See Passover, 236, explaining who Issi b. Jehudah was.) And after him no lesser authorities than Rabban Gamaliel and R. Jehoshua b. Chananjah interpreted this verse on the assumption that the word "ve-qom" belongs to its preceding words. Hence, in accordance with our method, we could not omit this strange supposition.
269:1 It is explained elsewhere that the color of its body is like to that of the sea, the body itself like that of a fish, and that it comes out once in seventy years, and also that with its blood the Tkheles were dyed. See also the description of it in S'hönhack's Dictionary.
272:1 Conception in Hebrew is termed "pqiddha," and the term in the verse cited is "up-qudos'ha." Hence the analogy.
272:2 In Leeser's translation of the Bible, which we follow in our edition, there is an error, as the first verse of Jer. xxxi. is misplaced and ought to be the twenty-fifth of xxx., with which it ends, and chap. xxx. begins with: "Thus hath said the Lord." Hence the verse cited is 7, and not 8, as in Leeser.
274:1 The Hebrew term for "people" is "Leum," and for "corn" "bor," and he infers from the analogy of expression that the latter means the Torah and the former means embryos.
275:1 Leeser's translation does not correspond. It seems also that in the Bible which was before the sages of the Talmud "yorah" had an h at the end, as so it is cited, while in our Bibles it ends with an "a," and has another meaning.
276:1 Transferred from 37b of this tract.
283:1 The Hebrew term for this is "nabun dabhar"--literally, "understanding things." Leeser, however, took it as "dibur," meaning "talk."
283:2 This passage is not to be found in the Scripture (see footnote in the original, 93b).
284:1 In the text this is inferred from the term "sarissim," which has two meanings--"servants" and "eunuchs"; and [Is. xxxix. 7] in the prophecy to Hiskia it is said that his descendants will be sarissim in the palace of the Babylonian king. Here (lvi. 4) this prophecy was said to the sarissim who would keep the Sabbath; and Daniel was a descendant of Hiskia, and among the sarissim who were taken to Nebuchadnezzar's palace.
290:1 This answer is inferred from the end of the cited passage with a strange interpretation. However, it was impossible for us to translate it, as the Hebrew term "gebin" was translated by Leeser with "locusts," and according to the Talmud it means water-pipes, the source of which is unknown to us. We therefore gave the answer without the reason.
301:1 The Hebrew term for flocks, "eder," and concerning truth, the expression is, "neaderes."
304:1 We do not understand the connection of this passage. And also Rashi, after quoting many commentaries, ignores them, and says that all these legends are not from a Mishna, nor from a Boraitha.
305:1 This of the parenthesis is from the Palestinian Talmud.
306:1 See Samuel Eidles (Mahrsho) about the strange analogy of these two passages. It is remarkable in that the text quotes the verse xxix. 21 after that of xxxii. 14.
308:1 The explanation of this may be found in Samuel Eidles (Marsho).
310:1 Rashi explains this thus: When Israel sins, the power is given to the nations. And therefore when Israel repents, and has to be redeemed, it is hard for Heaven to destroy the enemies because of Israel. (See also Marsho.)
316:1 Translated according to the Talmud.
323:1 An explanation to this you will find in our "Amulets," Charms and Talismans, p. 28.
325:1 Leeser translates Ex. xxxii. 8 pokdi and pokadi with "will visit," and here he translates the same term with "charge" (by the way, both translations are wrong). The Talmud, however, has its way of saying that the pokdi of that verse had ceased p. 327 at that time. It is important that it counts from Moses to Ezekiel twenty-four generations.
329:1 Such a word is not found. However, perhaps it was in the Bible of the author of this saying (see Marsho).
335:1 It is impossible to follow Leeser's translation of the Bible in the Chapter of Haggadah, as the Talmud translates literally.
349:1 See Samuel Eigdus Marsho, who tries to explain why all this is repeated here after it is narrated in the Bible. However, he did not succeed.
352:1 It is a kind of bird unknown to the commentators, as well as to us.
357:1 The translation does not correspond.
357:2 Here is also referred to some passages from the Scripture, but which have no direct bearing, and are therefore omitted.
361:1 Leeser's translation does not correspond.
364:1 Rashi tries to explain this at length, basing it on a Midrash of which we are not aware. And as it is very complicated, he also tries to give his own explanation, but it seems to us still more complicated, and therefore we have translated almost literally.
367:1 Transferred from 26a. See also footnote, p. 1.
368:1 Transferred from 38a. See footnote at the end of Chap. IV. (p. 1--jbh).
370:1 In accordance with the commentary of Hananel.
372:1 In the text nothing is mentioned of what the fables were. Rashi, however, explains it thus: The fox said to the wolf: If you would go in a Jewish yard on the eve of Sabbath to assist them in the preparation of meals for Sabbath, they would invite you for their best meal on Sabbath day. And when the wolf was severely beaten while doing so, he wanted to kill the fox. He, however, told him, this was because your father in assisting them to prepare their meal, consumed the best of it and ran away. And to his question: Should I be beaten because of my father? he answered: Yea, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, etc. However, if you will follow me I will show you a place where you can eat to satiation, and he led him to a well in which two pails were pulled up and down by means of a rope attached to a beam. And the fox entered in one pail, which dropped down to the bottom. And to the question of the wolf: For what purpose did you enter the pail? he answered: I see here meat and cheese which will be sufficient for both of us. And he showed him the reflection of the moon on the water, which he mistook for a round cheese, And asking the fox how he can get it, he was told to enter the other pail, which was on top. And as he was heavier than the fox, the pail with the wolf dropped down and that of the fox came on the top. And to the cry of the wolf: How can I come out? he answered: The righteous is delivered out of distress, etc.
376:1 The answer is united.
377:1 Transferred from 89b, footnote, p. 1.
378:1 According to the interpretation of the Talmud.
AND OF VOLUME XVI.