Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 81a
speak not thus to your father;1 for it has been taught: If one was [unwittingly] transgressing a precept of the Torah, his son must not say 'Father, you transgress a Biblical precept', but say, 'The Torah writes thus.'2 But after all, does it not amount to the same thing? - But he must say this, 'Father, the following verse is written in the Torah.'3
MISHNAH. HE WHO INCURS TWO DEATH PENALTIES IMPOSED BY BETH DIN IS EXECUTED BY THE SEVERER. IF HE COMMITTED ONE SIN FOR WHICH A TWOFOLD DEATH PENALTY IS INCURRED, HE IS EXECUTED BY THE SEVERER. R. JOSE SAID: HE IS JUDGED ACCORDING TO THE FIRST INTERDICT WHICH LAY UPON HIM.4
GEMARA. Is it not obvious [that he is executed by the severer]: shall he then profit [by his additional crime]? Raba answered: The circumstances are these: First he committed the lighter offence, for which he was sentenced; then the more serious one. I might think, since he was already under sentence for the lighter offence, he is as a dead man and cannot be further sentenced] - We are therefore taught otherwise.
The father5 of R. Joseph b. Hama inquired of Rabbah b. Nathan: Whence do we know this law stated by the Rabbis viz., ONE WHO INCURS TWO DEATH PENALTIES PASSED BY BETH DIN IS EXECUTED BY THE SEVERER? - [He answered:] From the verse, If he [sc. the righteous man] beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, . . . [who] hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife.6 Now, 'If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, - this [murder] is punished by decapitation; 'and defiled his neighbour's wife', - this is adultery, punished by strangulation; 'and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols',7 refers to idolatry, for which stoning is incurred. And it is written, He shall surely die, his blood shall be upon him,8 which indicates stoning.9 R. Nahman b. Isaac objected: May it not refer to a series of offences all punishable by stoning? Thus: 'If he beget a sort a robber, a shedder of blood', refers to a wayward and rebellious son,10 who is stoned; 'and defiled his neighbour's wife', to a betrothed maiden, whose ravisher too is stoned; 'and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols', to idolatry, for which stoning is likewise incurred? - If so, what does Ezekiel teach us?11 But perhaps he was merely revising the Torah?12 - Then he should have revised it [all] just as Moses had revised it.13
R. Aha b. Hanina gave the following exposition: What is meant by, [But if a man be just and do that which is lawful and right, etc.] and hath not eaten upon the mountains?14 I.e., he did not eat through his forbears' merit;15 neither hath he lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, that he did not walk with haughty mien; neither hath defiled his neighbor's wife, indicating that he did not [competitively] enter his neighbour's profession; neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, meaning that he did not benefit from the charity fund.16 And it is written, He is just, he shall surely live.17 When R. Gamaliel read this verse he wept, saying, 'Only he who does all these things shall live, but not merely one of them!' Thereupon R. Akiba said to him, 'If so, Defile not yourselves in all these things.18 is the prohibition against all [combined] only, but not against one?' [Surely not!] But it means, in one of these things; so here too, for doing one of these things [shall he live].
IF HE COMMITTED ONE SIN FOR WHICH A TWOFOLD DEATH PENALTY IS INCURRED, etc.
It has been taught: When did R. Jose rule, HE IS JUDGED ACCORDING TO THE FIRST INTERDICT WHICH LAY UPON HIM? E.g., if a woman was first interdicted as a mother-in-law19 and then became a married women, he is judged [for incest with her] as for his mother-in-law only. If she was first forbidden to him as a married woman and then became his mother-in-law, he is punished for a married woman.20 R. Adda b. Ahaba said to Raba: 'If she was first his mother-in-law and then became a married woman, he is judged as for his mother-in-law only'; but should he also not be punished for the interdict attaching to her as a married woman? For R. Abbahu said: R. Jose agrees in regard to a more extensive prohibition [that it becomes operative where a prohibition already exists].21
(1) I.e., explicitly telling him that he was wrong.
(2) I.e., he states the Biblical law.
(3) But not directly state the law, leaving it for his father to draw the inference. This does not shame him.
(4) This is explained below.
(5) Var. lec., 'brother'.
(6) Ezek. XVIII, 10f.
(7) Ibid 12.
(8) Ibid. 13.
(9) 'His blood shall be upon him' always means stoning, v. p. 357 n.7. Thus we see that the severest penalty is imposed; and it must be under the circumstances posited by Raba, for otherwise the verse is unnecessary.
(10) So called, because he ultimately becomes a murderer, v. supra 72a.
(11) For then it is obvious.
(12) His coreligionists having forgotten it; but not intending to teach any new law.
(13) [In Deuteronomy.]
(14) Ibid. 6.
(15) His own merit being sufficient that God should sustain him. 'Mountains' is interpreted as metaphorically referring to one's ancestors; cf. Micah VI, 2, which may be so translated.
(16) It being wrong to do so unless one is absolutely compelled.
(17) Ibid. 9.
(18) Lev. XVIII, 24.
(19) I.e.,if one marries a widow's daughter, so that the widow is forbidden to him only as a mother-in-law.
(20) Because R. Jose maintains that a second prohibition cannot become operative where one is already in existence. Adultery with a married woman is punished by strangling; incest with one's mother-in-law by burning.
(21) As his mother-in-law she was forbidden to him only; on remarriage, the prohibition was extended to all men. Since the second prohibition is thus wider in scope than the first, it is operative even where the first already exists.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 81b
- He replied: 'Adda, my son, will you execute him twice!"1
MISHNAH. HE WHO WAS TWICE FLAGELLATED [FOR TWO TRANSGRESSIONS, AND THEN SINNED AGAIN,] IS PLACED BY BETH DIN IN A CELL AND FED WITH BARLEY BREAD, UNTIL HIS STOMACH BURSTS.
GEMARA. Because he has been twice flagellated Beth din places him in a cell?2 - R. Jeremiah answered in the name of Resh Lakish: The reference is to flagellation for an offence punishable by extinction,3 so that he is already liable to death [at the hand of God], but the time of his death has not yet come: since, however, he abandoned himself [to sin, by transgressing a third time], we hasten his death. R. Jacob said to R. Jeremiah b. Tahlifa: 'Come, I will interpret it to you. This treats of flagellation for one sin involving extinction [which was twice repeated]: but [if he committed]two or three different sins each involving extinction, It may merely be his desire to experience sin, and not a complete abandonment thereto.'4
ONE WHO WAS TWICE FLAGELLATED.
Twice, though not thrice; shall we say that the Mishnah does not agree with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel? For if it did, does he not maintain, There is no presumption until a thing has happened three times?5 - Rabina said: It may agree even with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel: The Mishnah is of the opinion that transgressions afford a basis for presumption.6
An objection was raised: If one committed an offence involving flagellation, the first and second time he is flagellated; on the third occasion he is placed in a cell. Abba Saul said: Even on the third occasion he is flagellated; but on the fourth, he is placed in a cell.7 Now presumably, both agree that flagellation affords a basis for presumption, and they differ on the lines of Rabbi and R. Simeon b. Gamaliel?8 - No. Both agree with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, but they differ on this question: One Master9 holds that transgression affords a basis for presumption, the other Master,10 that only flagellation affords it. But what of the following that has been taught, viz:, If he [the transgressor] was warned [of his liability to flagellation], but remained silent, or warned and nodded his head, - the first and second time he is to be warned, but on the third occasion he is placed in a cell. Abba Saul said: The third time too he is warned, but on the fourth, he is placed in a cell.11 Now there he is not flagellated:12 wherein then do they differ? - Rabina said: They differ as to whether one must be warned of the cell.13
And what was the form of the cell? - Rab Judah said: A chamber of his [the transgressor's] full height. And where is it alluded to?14 - Resh Lakish quoted: Evil shall slay the wicked.15 Resh Lakish also said: What is meant by, For man also knoweth not his time, as the fishes that are taken in an evil trap;16 what is 'an evil trap'? - Resh Lakish said: A hook.17
MISHNAH. ONE WHO COMMITS MURDER WITHOUT WITNESSES IS PLACED IN A CELL AND [FORCIBLY] FED WITH BREAD OF ADVERSITY AND WATER OF AFFLICTION'.18
GEMARA. How do we know [that he committed murder]? - Rab said: On a 'disjoined' evidence.19 Samuel said: Without a warning.20 R. Hisda said in Abimi's name: Through witnesses who were disproved as to the minor circumstances [of the crime], but not on the vital points.21 As we learned: It once happened that Ben Zakkai examined [the witnesses] as to the stalks of the figs.22
AND FED 'BREAD OF ADVERSITY AND WATER OF AFFLICTION'. Why does this Mishnah teach, AND FED WITH BREAD OF ADVERSITY AND WATER OF AFFLICTION', whilst the former teaches, HE IS PLACED BY BETH DIN IN A CELL AND FED WITH BARLEY BREAD UNTIL HIS STOMACH BURSTS? - R. Shesheth answered: In both cases he is fed with 'bread of adversity and water of affliction' for his intestines to shrink [thus blocking the passage], and then he is fed with barley bread until his stomach bursts.
MISHNAH. IF ONE STEALS THE KISWAH,23 OR CURSES BY ENCHANTMENT, OR COHABITS WITH A HEATHEN [LIT. SYRIAN] WOMAN, HE IS PUNISHED BY ZEALOTS.24 IF A PRIEST PERFORMED THE TEMPLE SERVICE WHILST UNCLEAN, HIS BROTHER PRIESTS DO NOT CHARGE HIM THEREWITH AT BETH DIN, BUT THE YOUNG PRIESTS TAKE HIM OUT OF THE TEMPLE COURT AND SPLIT HIS SKULL WITH CLUBS. A LAYMAN WHO PERFORMED THE SERVICE IN THE TEMPLE, R. AKIBA SAID: HE IS STRANGLED; THE SAGES SAY: [HIS DEATH IS] AT THE HANDS OF HEAVEN.
GEMARA. What is kiswah? - Rab Judah answered: The service vessels [of the Temple]; and thus it is said, And the vessels [Kesoth]25 of libation.26 And where is this alluded to?27 That they come not to see how the holy things are stolen,28 lest they [the purloiners] die.29
OR CURSES BY ENCHANTMENT. R. Joseph learned, [He curses thus:] May the charm [the idol] slay its enchanter.30 The Rabbis, others say, Rabbah b. Mari, say: [He curses:] May the charm slay him [his enemy], his Master and his Provider, etc.31
OR COHABITS WITH A HEATHEN WOMAN.
R. Kahana propounded a problem to Rab:
(1) Obviously not! Therefore under no circumstances can one prohibition take legal hold where another exists, if death is the penalty. R. Jose's admission refers only to unwitting transgression, and is in connection with sacrifices.
(2) Surely that is inequitable!
(3) But the witnesses had warned him that he would be flagellated, - a lesser penalty.
(4) So that there is hope for his reformation; consequently we do not hasten his death.
(5) This is in connection with widowhood: only if a woman has been thrice widowed is there a presumption that it is her destiny to cause her husbands' death, and hence she may not remarry. Rabbi maintains that this presumption may be made even if she has only been twice widowed.
(6) Not flagellation. Therefore, if he transgressed thrice, though only twice flagellated, there is a presumption that he is incorrigible.
(7) Tosef. Sanh. XII.
(8) The first Tanna agreeing with Rabbi that twice affords presumption, Abba Saul with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. But since the first Tanna is identical with the Tanna of our Mishnah, it follows that it cannot agree with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. This refutes Rabina.
(9) The first Tanna.
(10) Abba Saul.
(11) Tosef. XII. When a warning is given, the offender must explicitly accept it, (cf. supra pp. 494-5), otherwise he cannot be punished. Nevertheless, since he was warned, and shewed by his silence or his nodding that he accepted the warning, there is a presumption that he is a confirmed sinner, and hence the law of Mishnah applies to him.
(12) So that there is no flagellation to afford a basis for presumption.
(13) Both agree that he becomes a confirmed sinner when he has thrice transgressed. The first Tanna maintains that once we regard him as such, he is placed in a cell without further ado; but Abba Saul is of the opinion that this too must be preceded by a formal warning. Hence, after sinning three times, it is necessary that he shall sin a fourth time, that he may be warned of the consequences.
(14) It is assumed that the law is traditional, going back to Moses; nevertheless, an allusion is sought in the Bible.
(15) Ps. XXXIV, 22.
(16) Ecc. IX, 12.
(17) This, though small, captures even large fish; thus it is more subtile and dangerous than a net. Presumably also it is more painful.
(18) Isa. XXX, 20.
(19) I.e., the murder was witnessed by two persons who were not standing together. In that case, he cannot be executed; hence he is imprisoned. cf. Mak. 6b.
(20) I.e.,there were two witnesses, but invalid to impose the usual death sentence, because they did not warn him.
(21) By 'vital points' (hakiroth הקירות) time and place of the crime are meant; by 'minor circumstances' (bedikoth בדיקות) the weapon, clothes worn by the victim or the murderer, etc. Since the vital evidence has not been disproved, the accused is adjudged a murderer; as, however, the witnesses were disproved on minor details, he cannot be executed, and is therefore placed in a cell.
(22) The witnesses having deposed that the murder took place under a fig tree. Ben Zakkai examined them on the nature of the stalks, Whether thick or thin, etc. v. supra 40a ff.
(23) V. Gemara.
(24) I.e., pious men, jealous for the honour of Judaism, may punish him if they apprehend him in the act; but if they did not, they cannot subsequently charge him therewith at Beth din (Rashi).
(26) Num. IV, 7.
(27) That a zealot who sees the theft must punish, i.e., slay him.
(28) כבלע lit., 'swallowed up'.
(29) Ibid. 20. Nevertheless, this not being the true meaning of the verse, q.v., it is regarded merely as a hint, the actual law being traditional. [The allusion is probably to the vessel employed for water libation, a rite opposed by the Sadducees. The purloiner would accordingly be a member of that sect, v. Krauss, Sanh.-Mak. p. 260.]
(30) Referring to God. The meaning of the passage is uncertain. H. Danby, Tractate Sanhedrin, a.l., suggests that קסם may be an abbreviation of some transliterated unorthodox divine name, e.g., **********, or a disguised form of the Tetragrammaton. The offence then will consist in blaspheming the Divine Name under a pseudonym (Sanh. VII, 5). Levy, s.v. קסם translates: May the charmer (= idol) slay its charmer (= God). But the Munich MS. reads את קוסו = what is like him (cf. יכה יוסי את יוסי supra 56a). Jastrow renders: 'May the carver (i.e., God, invoked as 'carver' instead of creator ex nihilo) strike his carving!'
(31) The last two refer to God. This is translated by Levy (loc. cit.): The charmer smite him, his possessor, and Him who gives him possession. The J. a. l. reads: כגון אילין נפתאי דמקללין לקנײך קײנך קנװך e.g., as the Nabateans curse, viz., Cursed be thou, thy possessor, and Him who gives thee possession.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 82a
What if zealots did not punish him? Now Rab had completely forgotten [what he had learnt about this];1 So R. Kahana was made to read in his dream, Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath been intimate with the daughter of a strange god.2 He then went and related to Rab,'This was I made to read'. Thereupon he reminded Rab of it all: Judah hath dealt treacherously, - this refers to idolatry, even as it is said, [Surely as a wife departeth treacherously from her husband], so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord;3 and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, refers to pederasty, and thus it is written, Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination;4 for Judah hath profaned the holiness [kodesh]5 of the Lord, - this refers to harlotry, and thus it is said, There shall be no consecrated harlot [kedeshah]6 of the daughters of Israel;7 and hath been intimate with the daughter of a strange god, - this refers to intimacy with a heathen woman. Now, this verse is followed by, The Lord will cut off the men that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of Hosts.8 This means: If he is a scholar, he shall have none awakening [i.e., teaching] among the sages and none responding among the disciples; if a priest, he shall have no son to offer an offering unto the Lord of hosts.9
R. Hiyya b. Abuiah said: He who is intimate with a heathen woman is as though he had entered into marriage relationship with an idol, for it is written, and hath been intimate with the daughter of a strange god:10 hath then a strange god a daughter - But it refers to one who cohabits with a heathen woman.
R. Hiyya b. Abuiah also said: 'This and yet another' is written upon Jehoiakim's skull.11 R. Perida's grandfather found a skull thrown down at the gates of Jerusalem, upon which 'this and yet another' was written. So he buried it, but it re-emerged; again he buried it, and again it re-emerged. Thereupon he said, This must be Jehoiakim's skull, of whom it is written, He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.12 Yet, he reflected, he was a king, and it is not mannerly to disgrace him. So he took it, wrapped it up in silk, and placed it in a chest. When his wife came home and saw it, she went and told her neighbours about it. 'It must be the skull of his first wife', said they to her, 'whom he cannot forget'. So she fired the oven and burnt it. When he came, he said to her, 'That was meant by its inscription, "This and yet another"'.13
When R. Dimi came,14 he said: The Beth din of the Hasmoneans15 decreed that one who cohabits with a heathen woman is liable. to punishment on account of Nashga.16 When Rabin came,17 he said: On account of Nashgaz, i.e., niddah, shifhah, goyyah and zonah;18 but not on account of a married woman, because they themselves [sc. the heathens] do not recognize the marriage bond.19 But the other?20 - They certainly gave no license to their wives.21
R. Hisda said: If the zealot comes to take counsel [whether to punish the transgressors enumerated in the Mishnah], we do not instruct him to do so. It has been stated likewise: Rabbah b. Bar Hana said in R. Johanan's name: If he comes to take counsel, we do not instruct him to do so. What is more, had Zimri forsaken his mistress and Phinehas slain him, Phinehas would have been executed on his account;22 and had Zimri turned upon Phinehas and slain him, he would not have been executed, since Phinehas was a pursuer [seeking to take his life].
And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one of his men that were joined unto Baal Peor.23 Thereupon the tribe of Simeon went unto Zimri ben Salu and said unto him, 'Behold, capital punishment is being meted out, yet you sit silent [i.e., inactive].' What did he do? He arose and assembled twenty-four thousand Israelites and went unto Cozbi, and said unto her, 'Surrender thyself unto me.' She replied, 'I am a king's daughter, and thus hath my father instructed me, "Thou shalt yield only to their greatest man". 'I too,' he replied, 'am the prince of a tribe; moreover, my tribe is greater than his [Moses], for mine is second in birth, whilst his is third.'24 He then seized her by her coiffure and brought her before Moses. 'Son of Amram,' exclaimed he, 'is this woman forbidden or permitted? And should you say. "She is forbidden", who permitted thee Jethro's daughter'? At that moment Moses forgot the halachah [concerning intimacy with a heathen woman], and all the people burst into tears; hence it is written, and they were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.25 And it is also written, And Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it.26 Now, what did he see? - Rab said: He saw what was happening and remembered the halachah, and said to him, 'O great-uncle! did you not teach us this on thy descent from Mount Sinai: He who cohabits with a heathen woman is punished by zealots?' He replied. 'He who reads the letter, let him be the agent [to carry out its instructions]'. Samuel said: He saw that 'There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord':27 whenever the Divine Name is being profaned, honour must not be paid to one's teacher.28 R. Isaac said in R. Eleazar's name: He saw the angel wreaking destruction amongst the people. And he rose up out of the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand;29 hence one may not enter the house of learning with weapons.30 He removed its point and placed it in his undergarment, and went along
(1) He did not know what to reply.
(2) Mal. II, 11.
(3) Jer. III, 20. The simile shews that the reference is to idolatry.
(4) Lev. XVIII, 22.
(7) Deut. XXIII, 18.
(8) Mal. II, 12.
(9) This is his punishment and the answer to R. Kahana's question.
(10) Ibid. 11.
(11) The meaning of this is given in the following story.
(12) Jer. XXII, 19.
(13) I.e., it would be exposed to this disgrace, of being cast away in the streets, and yet another, viz., burning.
(14) From Palestine; v. p. 390, n. 1.
(15) J. Derenbourg, Essai p. 84 places this Beth din during the rule of Simeon the Hasmonean (143-135 B.C.E.), or the first years of his son John. The troublous times of the Maccabees would seem to have led to licentiousness and a lowering of moral standards, and consequent liaisons with heathens. When the country became more settled, the religious authorities naturally attempted to stem this, and hence the decree. (V. 'A.Z. (Sonc. ed.) p. 177, n. 7.)
(16) This is a mnemonic: N = niddah, a menstruous woman; SH = Shifhah, a non-Jewish maidservant; G = goyyah, a heathen woman; and A = esheth, ish, a married woman. He is regarded as having transgressed in respect of all four, and as such will be punished by heaven.
(17) V. p. 544, n. 7.
(18) Zonah = harlot; for the first three v. preceding note.
(19) They are very lax, and their women, even married, indulge in promiscuity; v. Weiss, Dor. Vol.II, pp. 19 ff,
(20) R. Dimi, who includes this.
(21) I.e., they expect their wives to observe the marriage bond.
(22) For the zealot may slay only when he is engaged in the commission of the offence.
(23) Num. XXV, 5.
(24) Simeon was Jacob's second son; Levi, to which Moses belonged, the third.
(25) Ibid 6.
(26) Ibid 7.
(27) Prov. XXI, 30.
(28) I.e., seeing the profanation of the Divine Name, he did not wait for Moses' ruling.
(29) Num. XXV, 7.
(30) Since he rose up out of the congregation, i.e., the Sanhedrin, implying that he went out.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 82b
leaning upon the stock [of the spear, into which the pointed blade is inserted], and as soon as he reached the tribe of Simeon, he exclaimed, 'Where do we find that the tribe of Levi is greater1 than that of Simeon? [i.e., I too wish to indulge]. Thereupon they said, 'Let him pass too. He enters to satisfy his lust. These abstainers have now declared the matter permissible.' R. Johanan said: Six miracles were wrought for Phinehas: - [i] Zimri should have withdrawn [from the woman] but did not;2 [ii] he should have cried out [for help], but did not; [iii] he [Phinheas] succeeded [in driving his spear] exactly through the sexual organs of the man and woman;3 [iv] they did not slip off the spear; [v] an angel came and lifted up the lintel;4 [vi] an angel came and wrought destruction amongst the people.5 Then he [Phinehas] came and struck them down before the Almighty, saying. 'Sovereign of the Universe! shall twenty-four thousand perish because of these.' even as it is written, And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.6 Hence it is written, then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgement [wa-yefallel]7 R. Eleazar said: [wa-yispallel] [he prayed] is not written, but wa-yefallel,8 as though he argued with his maker [on the justice of punishing so many]. Thereupon the ministering angels wished to repulse him, but He said to them, 'Let him be, for he is a zealot and the descendant of a zealot; a turner away of wrath and the son of a turner away of wrath.'9 The tribes now began abusing him: 'See ye this son of Puti [= Putiel] whose maternal grandfather fattened [pittem] cattle for idols,10 and who has now slain the prince of a tribe of Israel!' Therefore Scripture detailed his ancestry: Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the Priest.11 [Moreover,] the Holy One, blessed be He said to Moses, 'Be the first to extend a greeting of peace to him', as it is written, Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace;12 and this atonement, [that Phinehas has made] is worthy of being an everlasting atonement.13 R. Nahman said in Rab's name: What is meant by, A greyhound [zarzir mathnaim, lit, 'energetic of loins']: an he goat also [tayish]; and a king, against whom there is no rising up?14 - That wicked man, [sc. Zimri] cïhabited four hundred and twenty-four times14 , that day, and Phinehas waited for his strength to weaken,15 not knowing that [God is] a King, against whom there is no rising up.16 In the Baraitha we learnt: Sixty [time], until he became like an addled egg, whilst she became like a furrow filled with water. R. Kahana said: And her seat was a beth s'eah.17 R. Joseph learned: Her womb opening was a cubit.
R. Sheshet said: Her name was not Cozbi, but Shewilanai the daughter of Zur. Why then was she called Cozbi? Because she falsified18 her father's teachings.19 Another interpretation is: She said to her father, 'Devour me [kosbi]20 this people,' And thus it is a po9ular proverb, 'What business hath Shewilanai21 by the reeds of the lake? What hath Shewilanai to do amongst the peeling rushes?22 She prostitutes her mother.'23
R. Johanan said: [Zimri] had five names: Zimri, the son of Salu, Saul, the son of the Canaanitish woman, and Shelumiel, the son of Zurishaddai. Zimri, because he became like an addled egg [beza hamuzereth]; the son of Salu, because he outweighed [hisli]24 the sins of his family;25 Saul, because he lent himself [hish'il fr. sha'al] to sin; the son of the Canaanitish woman, because he acted in a Canaanitish fashion, [i.e., depravedly]; whilst his real name was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. IF A PRIEST PERFORMED THE TEMPLE SERVICE WHILST UNCLEAN
R. Abba b. Huna propounded a problem to R. Shesheth: Does a priest who performed the Temple service whilst unclean merit death at the hands of Heaven or not? — He replied: We learnt it: IF A PRIEST PERFORMED THE TEMPLE SERVICE WHILST UNCLEAN, HIS BROTHER PRIESTS DO NOT CHARGE HIM AT BETH DIN, BUT THE YOUNG PRIESTS TAKE HIM OUT OF THE TEMPLE COURT AND BREAK HIS SKULL WITH CLUBS. But should you thing that he merits death at the hands of Heaven, should he not be left to be slain by Him? Will you say then that he is not so liable? Is there anything for which the Merciful One did not impose a penalty, for which we may kill? — And is there not? But we learnt, ONE WHO WAS TWICE FLAGELLATED IS PLACED BY BETH DIN IN A CELL: thus, the Merciful One exempted him, yet we slay him! — [That is no difficulty;] for did not R. Jeremiah say in the name of Resh Lakish: The reference is to flagellation for an offence punishable by extinction?26 hence he is liable to death. But what of one who steals a Kiswah? — [That too causes no difficulty], for did not Rab Judah say: This refers to service vessels, [death for the theft of which] being alluded to in the verse, That they come not to see how the holy things are stolen, lest they [the purloiners] die.27 But what of one who CURSES BY ENCHANTMENT?28 — [There too,] did not R. Joseph learn, [He curses thus:] May the charm slay the enchanter? So that it is somewhat analagous to blasphemy.29 But what of ONE WHO COHABITS WITH A HEATHEN WOMAN? — There too, R. Kahana was made to read [a verse] in his dream, which [on being told to Rab], entirely reminded him of the law.30 He objected: He who pours [the oil on the meal-offering], mingles [it with the flour], breaks up [the meal-offering cakes], salts [the meal-offering], waves it, presents it [opposite the south west corner of the altar], sets the table [with the shew bread], trims the lamps, takes off the handful [of flour from the meal-offering] or receives the blood. — [if he did any of these] outside [the Temple Court], he is not liable [to extinction]. Nor is punishment incurred for any of these acts
(1) I.e., more sanctimonious.
(2) Had he withdrawn, Phinehas could not have punished him.
(3) Thus showing that he was punishing immorality, and not satisfying a private hate.
(4) So that it should not interfere with the spear as he was carrying them out aloft.
(5) Thereby distracting their attention: otherwise Zimri's partisans would have slain him.
(6) Ibid. 9.
(7) Ps. CVI, 30.
(8) Fr. פלל, to argue.
(9) Levi, the first ancestor of his tribe, had shewn zeal for his sister's honour (Gen. XXXIV, 25f.); Aaron, Phinehas' grandfather, had turned away God's wrath on the occasion of Korah's revolt. Num. XVII, 13.
(10) V. Ex. VI. 25: And Eleazar, Aaron's son, took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife. According to the legend, Putiel was Jethro, so called because as a priest of Midian he had fattened (פיטם pittem, with which Putiel is here connected) cattle for idolatrous sacrifices.
(11) Num. XXV, 11.
(12) Ibid. 12.
(13) Cf. ibid. 13.
(14) Prov. XXX, 31. (12) The numerical value of zarzir זרזיר, whilst cohabitation is understood from 'loins'.
(15) Heb. תשש (weakened) is connected here with תיש.
(16) I.e. he need not have waited, for Zimri was already doomed.
(17) I.e., she became very bloated. Beth se'ah is a field requiring one se'ah of seed.
(18) From כזב falsehood.
(19) V. 82a; he had instructed her to surrender only to the greatest man in Israel.
(21) A common name for a dissolute woman. [The word is connected with the Arabic denoting 'womb opening', v. MGWJ. LXXIII, p. 398].
(22) I.e., surely she goes to these secluded spots only for immoral purposes.
(23) I.e., she transfers her own harlotry to her mother - an unchaste woman being generally called a harlot, the daughter of a harlot (Rashi). Jast. renders, 'Did she embrace her mother?'
(24) From שאל.
(25) From סלא. Others: he caused the sins of the family to rise, i.e., became notorious. (Jast.); Rashi (one version) caused his sins to be searched out, probed.
(26) V. supra 81b.
(27) Num. IV, 20.
(28) The reading here in our printed texts differs slightly from that of the Mishnah on 81b; the latter has been followed; cp. DS. a.l.
(29) V. supra 56a. May Jose Smite Jose: blasphemy was punished by death.
(30) That verse hints at death.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 83a
on account of zaruth,1 uncleanliness, lack of [priestly] garments2 or the [non-] washing of hands and feet.3 [This implies,] but if he burned incense,4 he is liable, and presumably [his liability is] to death5 - [No;] merely in respect of a prohibition.6 But if so, the Zaruth mentioned is likewise merely in respect of a prohibition: surely, it is written, And the stranger [zar] that cometh nigh shall be put to death7 - Each has its own ruling.8 Now it follows that not even a negative precept is transgressed for pouring and mingling [under the conditions enumerated]; but it has been taught: Whence do we derive a negative precept for the pouring and mingling [of the oil by an unclean priest]? - From the verse, They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane [the name of their God]?9 - The prohibition is Rabbinical only, the verse being a mere support. An objection was raised: The following are liable to death [at the hands of Heaven ...an unclean [priest] who performed the [Temple] service, (etc.).] This definitely refutes his [R. Shesheth's] ruling.
To turn to the main [Baraitha]: The following are liable to death [at the hands of Heaven]: One who ate tebel,10 an unclean priest who ate undefiled terumah, a zar or an unclean [priest] who performed [the Temple service], or one who performed it on the day of his ritual bath,11 or lacking the proper [priestly] garments, or lacking the [sacrificial] atonement,12 one who did not wash his hands and feet, or drank wine, or a priest with over-grown locks.13 But the performance of the service by an uncircumcised [priest], an onen.14 or by one who officiated whilst sitting is not liable to death, but merely prohibited. If a priest with a blemish [officiated], Rabbi said: He is liable to death; the Sages maintain: He is merely prohibited. If he deliberately transgressed in respect of a trespass offering,15 Rabbi said: He is liable to death. and the Sages say: He transgressed a mere prohibition.
Now, whence do we know it of one who eats tebel? - As Samuel said on the authority of R. Eliezer: Whence do we know that one who eats tebel is liable to death? From the verse, And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they shall offer to the Lord.16 Now, the verse refers to that which is yet to be offered;17 and then identity of law is learnt from the use of 'profanation' here and in the case of terumah:18 just as there the penalty is death, so here too. But let us rather learn [the penalty] from the use of profanation here and in the case of nothar:19 just as there, the penalty is extinction. so here too? - It is logical to make the deduction from terumah, because they are equal in the following points: - [i] terumah, [ii] extra-territoriality, [iii] annulment, [iv] plural form, [v] land produce. [vi] piggul, and [vii] nothar.20 On the contrary, should not the deduction rather be made from nothar, since they are alike in the following points: [i] unfitness of food and [ii] no annulment of prohibition by a mikweh?21 - Even so, those [tebel and terumah] have more points in common. Rabina answered: The use of the plural form is certainly a stronger link.22 And whence do we know that an unclean priest who ate undefiled terumah [is liable to death]? - As Samuel said: Whence do we know that an unclean priest who ate undefiled terumah is punished by death at the hands of Heaven? From the verse, Therefore they shall keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it.23 This [however] applies only to undefiled, but not to polluted terumah: for Samuel said in R. Eliezer's name: Whence do we know that an unclean priest who ate unclean is not liable to death? - From the verse, and die therefore, if they profane it:
(1) I.e., the prohibition of a zar (a non-priest) to officiate in the Temple: a zar who performs any of these services is not punished, as none of these functions form the concluding part of a service.
(2) The priest had to officiate in the special garments prescribed in Ex. XXVIII; if he did not wear them all whilst engaged in any of these, he incurs no liability.
(3) (Zeb. 112b), V. Ex. XXI, 17f.
(4) A function completing a service.
(5) But since uncleanliness is mentioned, it follows that a ritually unclean priest who offered incense is liable to death. This contradicts R. Shesheth's ruling.
(6) He is merely regarded as having transgressed an ordinary prohibition.
(7) Num. XVIII, 7.
(8) I.e., for uncleanliness there is a mere prohibition: for zaruth, death.
(9) Lev. XXI, 6. This is referred to the performance of one of these services whilst unclean.
(10) V. Glos.
(11) Tebbul Yom. Lit., 'one who immersed during the day'. An unclean priest purified himself by taking a ritual bath: yet even then he could not officiate until after sunset.
(12) A priest who became unclean through the dead was sprinkled with the ashes of the red heifer mixed with water; then he took a ritual bath; and on the eighth day of his uncleanliness, he offered a sacrifice, which made atonement for him. Before this, he is regarded as one 'lacking atonement', and may not officiate.
(13) I.e., who has not trimmed his hair for thirty days or more.
(14) A mourner before the burial of a near relative, e.g.. father.
(15) I.e., be benefited from a holy thing. for the secular (unwitting) use of which one is bound to bring a trespass offering; cf. Lev. V, 14ff.
(16) Lev. XXII, 15.
(17) The verb ירימו is imperfect ('which they shall offer') and hence refers to 'holy things' - i.e., terumah - which is yet to be separated from the produce, so that it is all tebel.
(18) Ibid. 9: They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it. This refers to the eating of terumah by an unclean priest.
(19) That which is left over of the sacrifice after the time appointed for eating. Ibid. XIX, 6, 8: And if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in fire . . . Therefore every one that catch it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the Lord: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
(20) Both deal with terumah, as tebel too is forbidden on account of the unseparated terumah which it contains. Neither terumah nor tebel operated outside Palestine, but nothar was forbidden in the wilderness too. Further, both of these prohibitions can be annulled: that of the unclean priest by a ritual bath; tebel, by separating its terumah: but under no circumstances can the prohibition of nothar be annulled. Profanation in both cases is stated in plural form: tebel: And they shall not profane etc. terumah:...if they profane it; but nothar has its use in the singular...because he hath profaned. Tebel and terumah apply to land produce (cereals and fruits); nothar to animals. Finally, the law of piggul (v. Glos) and nothar is inapplicable to tebel and terumah.
(21) In the case of tebel and nothar the substance itself is forbidden; but the terumah is not forbidden, only that the priest is unclean. Also the prohibition of tebel and nothar cannot be annulled through a mikweh (ritual bath); but that of terumah ceases when the priest takes a ritual bath.
(22) I.e., the fourth point which tebel and terumah have in common is itself sufficient to justify the preference for terumah, as the basis for deduction, rather than nothar.
(23) Lev. XXII, 9.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 83b
excluding this [unclean terumah], which already stands profaned.
A zar who ate terumah: Rab said: A zar who ate terumah is flagellated. R. Kahana and R. Assi said to him: Why does not the master say - is liable to death, since it is written, there shall no stranger eat of the holy thing?1 - I the Lord do sanctify them breaks across the subject.2 An objection is raised: The following are liable to death: ...a zar who ate terumah? - Do you oppose a Baraitha to Rab's ruling? Rab is a Tanna, and may dispute [the ruling of Baraitha.3
'A zar who performed the [Temple] service': for it is written, And the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.4
'Or an unclean [priest] who performed the [Temple] service:' even as R. Hiyya b. Abin inquired of R. Joseph: Whence do we know that an unclean priest who performed the [Temple] service is punished by death? Because it is written, Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name.5 And identity of law is derived from the use of 'profanation' here and in the case of terumah; just as there the penalty is death, so here too. But should not the deduction rather be made from nothar: just as there the penalty is extinction, so here too? - It is reasonable to make the deduction from terumah, because they have the following in common: - [i] bodily [unfitness], [ii] uncleanliness, [iii] mikweh, [iv] plural form.6 On the contrary, should not the deduction rather be made from nothar, since they share the following in common: [i] sanctity, [ii] within [the Temple court], [iii] piggul and [iv] nothar?7 - Even so, the fact that in both cases [viz. terumah and the sacrificial service] profanation is spoken of as an act of many [unlike nothar], outweighs [the points which sacrificial service and nothar have in common].
'Or one who performed it on the day of his ritual bath'. Whence do we know this? - Even as has been taught: R. Simai said: Where is the allusion that one who officiated in the Temple on the day of his ritual bath has committed an act of profanation? From the verse, They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane [the name of their God].8 Since this cannot refer to the ministration of an unclean priest, [the prohibition of which] is derived from that they separate themselves,9 apply it to a priest's officiating on the day of his ritual bath. Then an analogy is drawn from the use of 'profanation' both here and in the case of terumah: just as there, the penalty is death, so here too.
'Or lacking the proper priestly garments'. Whence do we know it? - R. Abbahu said in R. Johanan's name, and [the teaching] is ultimately derived from R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon: [The Writ saith, And thou shalt...put coats upon them...] and thou shalt gird them with girdles. [Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them': and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual state]:10 when wearing the appointed garments, they are invested in their priesthood; when not, they lack their priesthood and are considered zarim,11 and a Master hath said, A zar who performs the [Temple] service is liable to death.
'Or one lacking the sacrificial atonement - Whence do we know this? - R. Huna said: The Writ saith, And the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.12 'And she shall be clean' implies that hitherto she was unclean: and a Master hath said, An unclean priest who officiated is liable to death.
'One who did not wash his hands or feet.' Whence do we know this? - From the verse, When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not.13
'Or drank wine'. Because it is written, Do not drink wine or strong drink, [thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die].14
'Or a priest with overgrown locks'. As it is written, Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to remain unshorn;15 and this is followed by, Neither shall they drink wine:16 hence the former is likened to the latter: just as the latter is liable to death, so the former too.
'But the performance of the service by an uncircumcised [priest], an onen, or [by one who officiated whilst sitting is not liable to death, but merely prohibited.' Whence do we know it of the uncircumcised? - R. Hisda said: We did not learn this from the Torah of Moses our Teacher, until Ezekiel the son of Buzi came and taught it to us: No stranger, uncircumcised in heart,
(1) Ibid. 10. This immediately follows the verse stating...and die therefore, if they profane it.
(2) Vv. 9 and 10 read: ...and die therefore, if they profane it: I the Lord do sanctify them. There shall be no stranger eat of the holy thing. 'I the Lord do sanctify them' clearly marks a break: consequently the penalty of death stated in v. 9. does not apply to the prohibition of v. 10.
(3) Whilst it is axiomatic that an Amora cannot disagree with a Tanna, unless he finds a support in another Tanna, Rab, as a younger contemporary of Rabbi, stood midway between the last generation of the Tannaim and the first of Amoraim; and although generally assigned to the latter, he is occasionally, as here, conceded to be a Tanna, owing to his personal greatness and vast erudition.
(4) Num. XVIII, 7.
(5) Lev. XXII, 2: the reference is to abstention from sacrificial service during their uncleanliness, as is stated in v. 3.
(6) Both the eating of terumah and the sacrificial service are prohibited to the priest through his bodily unfitness. Also, this bodily unfitness in both cases is uncleanliness (this is counted as a second point, since bodily unfitness may be for some other cause, viz., a blemish). Further, in both cases, the unfitness can be remedied by a ritual bath. And finally, profanation in both cases is ascribed to many (v. p. 551, n. 8). Nothar differs on all these points.
(7) Both the eating of nothar and the sacrificial service by an unclean priest are offences in respect of the extreme sanctity of sacrifices. Terumah, however, is of a lower degree of sanctity. Also, they are done within the Temple precincts. Again, piggul is possible in both cases, for the unclean priest too whilst engaged in sacrificing might have intended eating the flesh beyond its appointed time, as nothar in fact has so been left. And finally, he might actually have eaten it thus. (The last two are counted as two distinct points, since the mere expressed intention of eating the flesh beyond its appointed time is an offence, even if not done subsequently. The actual eating again, is another and separate offence.) None of these, however, is applicable to the eating of terumah by an unclean priest.
(8) Lev. XXI, 6.
(9) Lev. XXII. 2ff.
(10) Ex. XXIX. 9.
(11) Zarim, pl. of Zar.
(12) Lev. XII, 8. This refers to a woman after confinement, but its implications extend to all forms of uncleanliness which must be followed by a sacrifice.
(13) Ex. XXX, 20. The preceding verse states that they are to wash their hands and feet.
(14) Lev. X, 9.
(15) Ezek. XLIV, 20.
(16) Ibid. 21.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 84a
nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary.1 Whence do we know it of an onen? - Because it is written, Neither shall he [sc. the onen High Priest] go out of the sanctuary, yet shall he not profane the sanctuary of his God:2 hence, if any other [priest] does not go out, he profanes [the sanctuary]. R. Adda said to Raba: Then let us derive [identity of law] from the use of 'profanation' here and in the case of terumah: just as there the punishment is death, so here too? - Is then the [prohibition] of an onen explicitly stated in that verse? It is only inferred [from the High Priest]. Hence it is a law derived from a general proposition, and such cannot be further subjected to deduction by a gezerah shawah.
Whence do we know it of one who officiates whilst sitting? - Raba said in R. Nahman's name: The Writ saith, For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister:3 implying, I have chosen him for standing, but not for sitting.
If a priest with a blemish [officiated], Rabbi said: He is liable to death [at the hands of Heaven]; the Sages maintain: He is merely prohibited. What is Rabbi's reason? - Because it is written, Only he shall not go in unto the vail, [nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish]; that he profane not my sanctuaries.4 Then the law is derived from the use of 'profanation' here and in the case of terumah; just as there the penalty is death, so here too. But let it rather be derived from nothar; just as there the penalty is extinction, so here too? - It is more reasonable to make the deduction from terumah, for thus bodily unfitness is derived from bodily unfitness.5 On the contrary, is it not preferable to base the analogy on nothar, since they share the following in common: [i] sanctity, [ii] within the Temple precincts, [iii] piggul and [iv] nothar?'6 - But the analogy is drawn from an unclean priest who officiated; thus bodily unfitness is derived from bodily unfitness, and a case distinguished by sanctity, the inner precincts of the Temple, piggul and nothar derived from another so distinguished. But the Rabbis?7 - The Writ saith, and die therefore:8 implying but not for the sin of being blemished.9
'If he deliberately transgressed in respect of a trespass offering, Rabbi said: He is liable to death; and the Sages maintain: He is merely prohibited.' What is Rabbi's reason? - R. Abbahu said: He derives identity of law from the fact that 'sin' is used here and in the case of terumah:10 just as there, the penalty is death, so here too. But the Rabbis?11 They maintain, the Writ saith, and die therefore:12 implying, but not for trespass.
A ZAR WHO OFFICIATED IN THE TEMPLE. It has been taught: R. Ishmael said: It is here written, And the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death;13 whilst it is elsewhere said, Whosoever cometh anything near unto the tabernacle of the Lord shall die:14 just as there death was at the hands of Heaven, so here too. R. Akiba said: It is here written, And the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death; whilst it is elsewhere said, And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death:15 just as there, it is by stoning, so here too. R. Johanan b. Nuri said: Just as there, it is by strangling, so here too. Wherein do R. Ishmael and R. Akiba differ? - R. Akiba maintains, 'shall be put to death' must be compared with 'shall be put to death' but not with 'shall die'.16 Whilst R. Ishmael maintains, a layman must be compared to a layman, but not to a prophet. But R. Akiba avers, Since he seduced, no man is more of a layman than he.17 Wherein, do R. Akiba and R. Johanan b. Nuri differ? - In the dispute of R. Simeon and the Rabbis. For it has been taught: If a prophet seduced, he is stoned; R. Simeon said: he is strangled. But we learnt, R. AKIBA SAID, HE [THE ZAR] IS STRANGLED?18 - Two Tannaim differ as to R. Akiba's ruling: our Mishnah is taught on R. Simeon's view19 as to R. Akiba's ruling; whilst the Baraitha [stating that the zar is stoned, and that this is derived from the false prophet] gives the Rabbis' view as to R. Akiba's ruling.20 [
(1) Ibid. 9; v. 7 shews that the reference is to entering for the purpose of ministration.
(2) Lev. XXI, 12. By 'not going out' continuance of the service is meant.
(3) Deut. XVIII, 5.
(4) Lev. XXI, 23.
(5) V. p. 552, n. 1.
(6) V. p. 553, n. 4. The same applies to a blemished priest.
(7) In view of this deduction, why do they maintain that he is merely prohibited?
(8) ב ו (because of it) Ibid. XXII, 9. This refers to an unclean priest eating terumah.
(9) I.e., there is no death penalty for transgressing the prohibition particularly applying to a blemished priest, viz., performing the Temple service.
(10) Trespass: If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord. (Lev. V, 15); Terumah: Lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore (Ibid. XXII, 9).
(11) Do they not admit this deduction?
(13) Num. XVIII, 7.
(14) Ibid. XVII, 28. This refers to the plague which followed Korah's rebellion.
(15) Deut. XIII, 6.
(16) V. verses quoted.
(17) I.e., he has lost all claims to the prophetic title.
(18) Which contradicts the passage quoted where R. Akiba says that he is stoned.
(19) That the false prophet is strangled, and from this he derives the law of a zar.
(20) Both the Rabbis here mentioned and R. Simeon being R. Akiba's disciples.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 84b
MISHNAH. THE FOLLOWING ARE STRANGLED:. HE WHO STRIKES HIS FATHER OR MOTHER; OR KIDNAPS A JEW [TO SELL AS A SLAVE]; AN ELDER REBELLING AGAINST THE RULING OF BETH DIN; A FALSE PROPHET; ONE WHO PROPHESIES IN THE NAME OF AN IDOL; ONE WHO COMMITS ADULTERY; WITNESSES WHO TESTIFIED FALSELY [TO THE ADULTERY OF] A PRIEST'S DAUGHTER, AND HER PARAMOUR.1
GEMARA. Whence do we know it of him who strikes his father or mother? - From the verse, And he that smiteth his father or mother shall surely be put to death:2 and by every unspecified death sentence decreed in the Torah strangulation is meant. But say! perhaps it is only if he kills [not merely strikes] them? - You surely cannot think so: for killing any other person he is decapitated, whilst for his father's murder he is [only] strangled! Now, this [answer] is correct on the view that strangulation is more lenient: but on the view that the sword is more lenient, what canst thou say? - But since it is written, He that smiteth a man, so that he dies, shall surely be put to death:3 and also, or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die,4 it follows that whenever an unqualified smiting is mentioned, it does not mean slaying.
Now, it is necessary that both 'He that smiteth a man' and 'whoso killeth any soul etc.'5 be written. For had the Divine Law written only, 'He that smiteth a man, that he die', I should have thought that it applies to the slaying of an adult [ish]6 only, since such is himself bound by law, but not [to the slaying of] a minor; therefore the Divine Law writes, 'Whoso killeth any soul.' Whilst had the Divine Law written only. 'Who killeth any soul,' I should have thought that it applies even to a nefel7 or an 'eight months' child:8 therefore the former verse is necessary too [to exclude these].
[Now, reverting to the main question:] Let us say that even if he [smote his father] without wounding him [he is executed]: Why have we learnt, He who strikes his father or his mother is liable only if he wounds them? - The Writ saith, And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it; and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death:9 just as for smiting an animal [there is no liability] unless it is wounded, since nefesh ['soul'] is written in connection therewith;10 so also, no liability is incurred for smiting a man [i.e., one's parent] unless there is a wound. R. Jeremiah objected: If so, if one [permanently] impaired its [sc. the animal's] strength by [loading] stones upon it, [yet not wounding it], is he then not liable [for its loss in value]? - But [say thus]: Since nefesh, written in connection with an animal, is irrelevant there, for even if one impaired its strength by loading stones upon it he is liable, transfer Its teachings to man.11 Then what need is there of the analogy?12 For that which was taught in the school of Hezekiah.13 Now, this is well according to the view which accepts this teaching: but on the view that rejects it, why is the analogy required? [To teach:] just as one who smites an animal to heal it is not liable for any damage, so if one wounds a man [sc. his parent] to heal him he is not liable [for any damage that may ensue]. For the scholars propounded: May a son let blood for his father?14 - R. Mathna ruled: But thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.15 R. Dimi b. Hinena said: [The Writ saith,] And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death:16 just as one who strikes an animal to heal it is not liable for damage, so if one wounds a man [sc. his parent] to heal him he is not liable. Rab would not permit his son to extract a thorn [from his flesh, since in drawing it out he would make a slight wound]. Mar, the son of Rabina, would not permit his son to lance a fester for him, lest he wound him, thereby unintentionally transgressing a prohibition. If so, even a stranger should be forbidden?17 - In the case of a stranger, the unintentional transgression is in respect of a mere negative precept: but hi' son's involves strangulation. But what of that which we learnt: A small needle [lit. 'hand-needle'] may be moved [on the Sabbath] for the purpose of extracting a thorn?18 But should we then not fear that a wound might be made [in extracting it], and thus a prohibition involving stoning be unintentionally transgressed? - There by so doing he effects damage.19 Now, this agrees with the view that one who does damage on the Sabbath is not liable [to punishment]: but on the view that he is, what can you say? - Whom have you heard maintaining that one who inflicts damage by means of a wound is liable [for the desecration of the Sabbath]? R. Simeon;
(1) If she was nesu'ah, cf. supra 51b.
(2) Ex. XXI, 15.
(3) Ibid. 12.
(4) Num. XXXV, 21.
(5) Ibid. 30.
(6) איש a man, an adult.
(7) Lit., 'born of miscarriage', a term applied to all non-viable births.
(8) I.e., one born after eight months of pregnancy. The Talmud regards such as nonviable, though a seven months' child is.
(9) Lev. XXIV, 21.
(10) And he that smiteth the nefesh of a beast shall make it good. Ibid. 18. Nefesh is elsewhere associated with the blood (e.g. Gen. IX, 4) and therefore denotes here that the blood of the animal is affected by the wounding stroke.
(11) Nefesh, which indicates tha the blow must wound, is irrelevant in respect of an animal: therefore its teaching must be transferred to the smiting of man, sc. one's parent. On this method of interpretation, v. p. 368 n. 7.
(12) In view of this latter suggested interpretation.
(13) Supra 79b.
(14) Since he thereby inflicts a wound on him.
(15) Lev. XIX, 18; i.e., since he would desire it to be done to himself, if necessary, he may do it to another, even his father.
(16) Lev. XXIV, 21.
(17) Since no man may wound another.
(18) Some utensils may not be handled at all on the Sabbath, notably, those whose purpose is a manner of work forbidden on the Sabbath: others may be handled. This Mishnah enumerates various articles which may be handled, and for what purpose.
(19) There is no punishment for committing an act of damage on the Sabbath, even deliberately.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 85a
but R. Simeon also maintains that any mode of work not required for itself is not punishable.1
A problem was propounded to R. Shesheth. May one be appointed an agent [by Beth din] to flagellate and curse his father?2 - He replied, Who then permitted even a stranger to do this, but that the Divine honour overrides [other prohibitions]: so here too, the Divine honour overrides [the prohibition against smiting and cursing one's parents].3 An objection was raised: If one, whom it is a positive command to smite, may nevertheless not be smitten; how much more so, may one, whom it is not a positive command to smite, not be smitten. Now, do not both clauses relate to smiting as a precept, but that one treats of a son, the other of a stranger?4 - No. In both clauses no distinction is drawn between a son and a stranger, yet there is no difficulty. The one treats of smiting as a precept, the other when not. And it is thus to be interpreted: If when a precept is involved, i.e., when it is a positive command to smite [sc. a person under sentence of flagellation], it is nevertheless a command not to smite [unnecessarily, i.e., with more than the prescribed number of lashes, viz., forty]; then when no positive command is involved, viz., when one is not to be flagellated, one is surely commanded not to smite unnecessarily.5 Come and hear: If one was going forth to execution, and his son came and smote him and cursed him, he is liable; if a stranger did this, he is exempt. Now we pondered thereon, What is the difference between a son and a stranger? And R. Hisda answered: This refers to one who is being impelled forth, but holds back?6 - R. Shesheth maintains that it refers to one who is not urged to go forth. If so, a stranger too [should be punished for beating him]? - As far as a stranger is concerned, he is already a dead man.7 But did not R. Shesheth say: If one insulted a sleeping person, and he died [in his sleep], he is nevertheless liable [to punishment for same]?8 - The reference here is to a blow which inflicted an injury less than a perutah in value. But did not R. Ammi say in R. Johanan's name: [Even] if one smote his neighbour with a blow inflicting less than a perutah's worth of damage, he is punished with lashes? - By 'exempt', non-liability to monetary compensation is meant. It follows then that a son is liable to monetary compensation!9 But it must therefore mean, [he is liable] according to the law pertaining to him.10 If so [a stranger too is exempt from] the law pertaining to him [for smiting his neighbour, viz., lashes].11 But this is the reason why a stranger is exempt, because the Writ saith, Thou shalt not curse a prince among thy people:12 meaning, [only] when he acts as is fitting for thy people.13 This is well as far as cursing is concerned: but whence do we know the same of smiting? - Because we compare smiting with cursing. If so, should not the same apply to his son? - Even as R. Phineas said [elsewhere]: This refers to one who had repented. If so, even a stranger [should be liable]? - R. Mari answered, 'among thy people' implies 'abiding among thy people'.14 If so, should not the same apply to his son?
(1) E.g., the carrying out of a dead body on its bier from a private to a public domain. Now, this is not done because the dead body is wanted there, but because it is not wanted in the private domain. So here too, when a thorn is extracted and a wound made, even intentionally, no punishment is involved, because the purpose of the work is extraction, not wounding.
(2) I.e., if his father had to be thus punished or banned, when a curse was pronounced (for the latter).
(3) It is an offence to curse or smite any Jew; nevertheless, it is permitted in God's honour, i.e., as a punishment for transgressing the Divine law: hence it is likewise permitted to a son.
(4) The meaning then will be as follows: If one, whom it is a positive command to smite - i.e., who is under sentence of flagellation - may nevertheless not be smitten by his son as the agent appointed to execute the sentence, how much more so may one, whom it is not a positive command to smite - i.e., who is not under sentence of flagellation - not be smitten by his son. Thus, by an ad majus reasoning, a formal prohibition is deduced against a son's striking his father. For Ex. XXI, 15 merely prescribes the punishment; but it is either stated or deduced from elsewhere. On this interpretation, of course, R. Shesheth's ruling is contradicted.
(5) Hence this teaches a prohibition against smiting anyone unless sentenced by Beth din.
(6) Hence this teaches that his son, as an agent of Beth din, may not smite him to drive him forward, and is punished for so doing, which is in contradiction to R. Shesheth.
(7) But this reasoning obviously cannot apply to his son, who is bound to honour him even after death, the verse excluding a transgressor from this filial duty being at this stage of the discussion unknown.
(8) Though he was not even aware of it. Surely then smiting a condemned man comes under the same category.
(9) But that is impossible, since the injury is less than a perutah's worth.
(10) I.e., the law pertaining to the smiting of a father by his son, viz., death.
(11) Thus the question remains, what is the difference between his son and a stranger?
(12) Ex. XXII, 27.
(13) But to transgress is not 'fitting for thy people': hence the prohibition does not apply to such a case.
(14) But when one is sentenced to death, he is no longer so.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 85b
- It is the same as after death.1 What is our final decision? - Rabbah son of R. Huna said, and a Tanna of the school R. Ishmael [taught] likewise; For no offence may a son be appointed an agent to smite or curse his father, excepting if he be a mesith, since it is written, neither shalt thou spare nor conceal him.2
MISHNAH. HE WHO STRIKES HIS FATHER OR HIS MOTHER IS LIABLE ONLY IF HE WOUNDS THEM. IN THIS RESPECT, CURSING IS MORE STRINGENT THAN SMITING, FOR, HE WHO CURSES [HIS PARENTS] AFTER DEATH IS LIABLE, WHILST HE WHO SMITES THEM AFTER DEATH IS NOT.
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: His father or his mother he hath cursed:3 [his blood shall be upon him]. This means, even after death.4 For I would think, since he is liable for smiting and for cursing; so also for cursing. Moreover, an ad majus reasoning [would seem to prove the contrary]: If for smiting, where [a parent] 'not of thy people' is assimilated to one 'of thy people',5 there is nevertheless no punishment for doing so after his death; then cursing, where one 'not of thy people' is assimilated to 'of thy people', is surely not punishable if done after death! Therefore the Writ saith, He hath cursed his father or his mother. Now this accords with R. Jonathan, to whom the verse, His father or his mother, he hath cursed, is superfluous; but on R. Joshiah's view, what can be said? For it has been taught: For [ish ish] any man6 [that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death].7 Now, Scripture could have said, A man [ish]; what is taught by 'any man' ['ish ish']? The inclusion of a daughter, a tumtum, and a hermaphrodite [as being subject to this law]. 'That curseth his father and his mother': from this I know only [that he is punished for cursing] his father and his mother: whence do I know [the same] if he cursed his father without his mother or his mother without his father? - From the passage, His father and his mother he hath cursed, implying, a man that cursed his father, a man that cursed his mother. This is R. Joshiah's opinion. R. Jonathan said: The [beginning of the] verse alone implies either the two together or each separately, unless the verse had explicitly stated 'together'.8 Whence then does he [R. Joshiah] learn [the law under discussion]?9 - He derives it from the verse, And he that curseth his father or his mother shall surely put to death.10 And the other?11 - He utilises it to include a daughter, a tumtum, and a hermaphrodite. But why not derive this from 'any man' [ish ish]? - The Torah employed human speech.12 [Now, reverting to the Mishnah:] Should it not [also] teach: smiting is a graver offence than cursing, since with respect to the smiting 'not of thy people' is as 'of thy people', which is not the case with respect to cursing?13 - The [Tanna of the Mishnah] maintains that smiting is assimilated to cursing.14
Shall we say that these Tannaim15 differ on the same lines as the following? Viz., One Baraitha was taught: As for a Cuthean, you are enjoined against smiting him, but not against cursing him. But another [Baraitha] taught: You are enjoined neither against smiting nor cursing him. Now, the hypothesis is that all agree that the Cutheans were true proselytes:16 hence presumably the grounds of their dispute are these. One Master holds that smiting is likened to cursing, and the other Master that it is not!17 - No! All agree that smiting is not likened to cursing, but this is the cause of their dispute: - The one Master maintains, Cutheans are true proselytes;18 the other Master holds that they are [sham] proselytes [driven to conversion through fear of] lions.19 If so, how can the [Baraitha] further state, But his ox is as one belonging to an Israelite?20 Hence this proves that the dispute is in respect of the analogy.21 This proves it.
MISHNAH. 'HE WHO KIDNAPS A JEW'22 INCURS NO LIABILITY UNLESS HE BRINGS HIM INTO HIS OWN DOMAIN. R. JUDAH SAID: UNLESS HE BRINGS HIM INTO HIS OWN DOMAIN AND PUTS HIM TO SERVICE. FOR IT IS WRITTEN, [IF A MAN BE FOUND STEALING ANY OF HIS BRETHREN OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL,] AND PUT HIM TO SERVICE, AND SELL HIM.23 IF HE ABDUCTS HIS OWN SON. - R. ISHMAEL THE SON OF R. JOHANAN B. BEROKA DECLARED HIM LIABLE, BUT THE SAGES EXEMPTED HIM. IF HE KIDNAPPED A SEMI-SLAVE AND SEMI-FREEMAN,24 - R. JUDAH DECLARES HIM LIABLE, BUT THE SAGES ACQUIT [HIM].
GEMARA. But does not the first Tanna require putting to service [as a condition of punishment]?25 - R. Abba the son of Raba said: They differ in respect of service worth less than a perutah.26 R. Jeremiah propounded: What if one kidnapped and sold a person asleep? What if one sold a [pregnant] woman for the expected child?27 Is this a sort of service or not? But, [surely,] can this not be solved from the fact that there is no service at all? - It is necessary [to propound this] only if he [the kidnapper] leaned upon the sleeper, or, in the case of a [pregnant] woman, if she was placed in front of a wind:28 now, does this constitute service or not? This problem remains unsolved.
Our Rabbis taught: If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel. From this I know [the law] only if a man abducted: whence do I know it of a woman? From the verse And one that stealeth a man.29 From [these verses] I know [the law] only if a man kidnapped a man or a woman,30 and of a woman who abducted a man.31 Whence do I know it if a woman abducted a woman? From the verse, Then that thief shall die:32 implying, in all cases [of theft].33
Another [Baraitha] taught: If a man be found stealing any of his brethren: whether a man, woman, proselyte, manumitted slave or minor be abducted, he is liable. If he stole him, but did not sell him, or if he sold him, but he is still in his [sc. the victim's] own house, he is exempt. If he sold him to his [sc. the victim's] father, brother, or to one of his relations, he is liable. He who steals slaves is exempt.
(1) For if one curses his father even after death he is liable. So here too (v. Rashi).
(2) Deut. XIII, 9.
(3) Lev. XX, 9.
(4) It is so interpreted because it is superfluous, since the beginning of the verse states, For everyone that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
(5) V. supra. Because in Ex. XXI, 15, dealing with this, no mention is made that the parents must be 'of thy people'.
(6) איש איש Lit., 'A man, a man',
(7) Lev. XX, 9.
(8) V. supra 66a for notes.
(9) Since on his view it is not superfluous.
(10) Ex. XXI, 17, which is superfluous in view of Lev. XX, 9.
(11) R. Jonathan: how does he interpret this verse?
(12) In which this repetition is common. Hence it has no special significance.
(13) The difficulty is this: since the Mishnah teaches an aspect of the greater severity of cursing, it should also state the reverse.
(14) So that they are alike in this respect.
(15) Viz., those of the Mishnah and of the Baraitha.
(16) Originally, though in the course of time they had deteriorated.
(17) Hence, on the former view, one is not forbidden to smite him, since he is not 'of thy people' as taught in the second Baraitha, but on the latter, no distinction is drawn between him and an Israelite - as taught in the first Baraitha.
(18) Therefore they are as Jews.
(19) V. II Kings XVII, 24-29. Therefore they are not Jews at all.
(20) I.e., if his ox gored or was gored, the same law applies to it as to one of Jewish ownership, whereas an ox of non-Jewish ownership is differently treated, v. B.K. 38a. This proves that the Cuthean is regarded as a real Jew.
(21) Whether 'smiting' is assimilated to 'cursing'.
(22) Lit., 'a soul of Israel'.
(23) Deut. XXIV, 7.
(24) E.g., if he had belonged to two masters, one of whom had manumitted him.
(25) Surely he must, since Scripture explicitly states it.
(26) The first Tanna maintains that even the smallest service renders the kidnapper liable, and therefore does not mention it, whilst R. Judah holds that the service most be worth at least a perutah.
(27) I.e., only the child, when born, but not the woman.
(28) To act as a shield; since the stouter she is, the more effectively is this done, the fetus is actually put to use.
(29) Ex. XXI, 16. The subject being unspecified, it applies to both sexes, although the verb is masculine.
(30) Since the object of 'steal' in Deut. XXIV, 7, where the kidnapper is a man, is nefesh, a soul, applicable to both man and woman.
(31) For Ex. XXI, 16 speaks of 'one' stealing a man.
(32) Deut. Ibid.
(33) Since thief is superfluous, being understood from the context.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 86a
Now, a tanna recited [this Baraitha] before R. Shesheth. whereupon he observed: I learned. 'R. Simeon said, [if a man be found stealing a person] from his brethren, [implies that he is not liable unless he] withdraws him from the control of his brethren, [i.e., relations].' yet you say that he is liable!1 Read [instead], 'He is exempt.' But what difficulty is this: perhaps the latter is R. Simeon's view [only]. and the former the Rabbis'? - You cannot think so, for R. Johanan said: [The author of] an anonymous Mishnah is R. Meir; of an anonymous Tosefta, N. Nehemiah; of an anonymous [dictum in the] Sifra, R. Judah; in the Sifre, R. Simeon;2 and all are taught according to the views of R. Akiba.3
IF HE ABDUCTS HIS OWN SON, etc. What is the reason of the Rabbis? - Abaye answered, The Writ saith, If a man be found [stealing any of his brethren etc.] thus excluding one [sc. the victim] who is [ever] to be found [with him].4 R. Papa said to Abaye: If so, [when Scripture saith,] If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband,5 will you also interpret, 'If [a man] be found, as excluding [a woman] who is immediately accessible [i.e., 'found with him']: e.g., in the house of so and so,6 where [the women] are within easy reach,7 are they [their lovers] exempt? - He replied: I deduce it from [And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him,] and he be found in his hand.8 Raba said: Therefore, the instructors of children and teachers of students are [regarded] as having their charges ready to hand, and hence are not punished [for abducting them].
IF HE KIDNAPPED A SEMI-SLAVE AND SEMI-FREEMAN, etc. We learnt elsewhere: R. Judah said: Slaves have no claim for shame.9 What is R. Judah's reason? - The Writ saith, When men strive together, a man with his brother,10 teaching that this applies only to] one who has fraternal relationship, thus excluding a slave, who has no fraternal relationship.11 But the Rabbis maintain: He [the slave] is his brother in [obligation to fulfil] the [Divine] precepts. Now, in this case [abduction], how is the verse interpreted? - R. Judah maintains, [If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel:] of his brethren excludes slaves; the children of Israel excludes a semi-slave, and a semi-freeman; of the children of Israel12 likewise excludes one who is a semi-slave and semi-freeman.13 Thus, one limitation follows another, which always indicates extension.14 But the Rabbis do not agree that of his brethren excludes slaves, since they are his brethren [in obligation to fulfil] the [Divine] precepts; [whilst as for the double limitation implied in] 'the children of Israel, and of the children of Israel, one excludes a slave, and the other excludes a semi-slave and semi-freeman.15
Whence do we learn a formal prohibition16 against abduction?17
R. Josiah said: From Thou shalt not steal.18 R. Johanan said: From They shall not be sold as bondsmen.19 Now, there is no dispute: one Master states the prohibition for stealing [i.e., abduction], the other Master for selling [the kidnapped person].
Our Rabbis taught: Thou shalt not steal. -20 Scripture refers to the stealing of human beings. You say, Scripture refers to the stealing of human beings; but perhaps it is not so, the theft of property [lit., 'money'] being meant? - I will tell you: Go forth and learn from the thirteen principles whereby the Torah is interpreted. [one of which is that] a law is interpreted by its general context: of what does the text speak? of [crimes involving] capital punishment: hence this too refers [to a crime involving] capital punishment.21
Another [Baraitha] taught: Ye shall not steal:22 The Writ refers to theft of property. You say thus, but perhaps it is not so, Scripture referring to the theft of human beings? - I will tell you: Go forth and learn from the thirteen principles whereby the Torah is interpreted,[one of which is that] a law is interpreted by its general context. Of what does the text speak? of money matters;23 therefore this too refuse to a money [theft].
It has been stated: If the witnesses of the abduction or those of the sale of human being were proved zomemim,24 - Hezekiah said: They are not executed; R. Johanan maintained that they are. Now Hezekiah's ruling agrees with the view of R. Akiba, viz., [At the the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall] the matter [be established]:25 the whole matter, but not half of the matter;26 whilst R. Johanan's view agrees with that of the Rabbis, viz., the matter implies even half the matter.27 Yet Hezekiah admits in the case of a 'stubborn and rebellious' son, that if the last witnesses were contradicted, they are executed, since the first could say,
(1) For selling him to his father, etc.
(2) Rabbi (R. Judah ha-Nassi), in compiling the Mishnah, drew upon earlier collections, of which each Tanna possessed one. An anonymous Mishnah is based upon R. Meir's collection, though not necessarily reflecting R. Meir's views. For this interpretation. v. Weiss, Dor. Vol. II, pp. 51f; Strack, Introduction to Talmud and Midrash, p. 21, The Tosefta, as its name implies ('addition') is a further elaboration and development of Tannaitic teaching, closely allied to the Mishnah. The relation of the Mishnah to the Tosefta is a problem which has so far remained unsolved; v. Strack, op. cit., pp. 74ff. The Sifra (also called תורת כהנים) is the traditional interpretation of Leviticus, to which is prefaced an exposition of the Thirteen Principles of Hermeneutics of the School of R. Ishmael. Though ascribed here to R. Judah b. Ila'i, our version contains many additions by later teachers, and its final compilation is generally assigned to R. Hiyya. It is also occasionally referred to as the Sifra debe Rab (of the College of Rab). Whether this is to indicate Rab's authorship is one of the literary problems, among others, which the Sifra presents. (V. Weiss, op. cit pp. 193 seqq.) The Sifre contains the commentary on Num. V to the end of Deut. This too contains additions later than R. Simeon, to whom it is here ascribed, and is a composite work shaped by the School of Rab (v. Weiss, op. cit.), but in any case the Sifre now extant is not identical with the Talmudic Sifre.
(3) Hence, since both are anonymous passages in the Sifre, R. Simeon is the author of both.
(4) '(Shall) be found' ימצא implies that the abducter goes out of his way and is thus 'found' where he should not be; but he does not go out of his way in abducting his child, who is always to be found with him.
(5) Ibid. XXII, 22.
(6) R. Papa alluded to a definite house, but suppressed the name.
(7) Lit., 'to be found with them.' A number of families lived there together, so that it would have been comparatively easy for a man to seduce his neighbour's wife.
(8) ונמצא Ex. XXI, 16. This is redundant and therefore shows that the law applies only to a person who 'is found' in his (captor's) hand as a result of abduction, and not to one who was 'to be found' in his hand before too.
(9) B.K. 87a. If one shamed a slave, there is no monetary liability.
(10) Deut. XXV, 11. This treats of indecent assault in the course of a quarrel, and the compensation that must be made (v. 12 q.v.) is interpreted as meaning monetary damages for the humiliation sustained.
(11) Rashi in B.K. 88a, explains: he has no fraternal relationship with a Jew, viz., he cannot marry into the Jewish fold. A marginal explanation given there is: he has no forbidden fraternal relationship, i.e., he may marry his fraternal sister and his brother's wife. Rashi's interpretation here is different, but Tosaf. refutes it.
(12) 'Of' (Heb מ) being partitive, implies limitation.
(13) There being nothing else which it can exclude.
(14) Just as in English a double negative denotes a positive, so it is one of the principles of Talmudic exegesis that the double exclusion of the same thing intimates that it is to be included.
(15) Therefore, the double limitation applies to two different persons, not to one and the same person, and hence remains a limitation.
(16) v. p. 364. n. 2, cf. also supra p. 382.
(17) Since Deut. XXII,7 and Ex. XXI, 16 merely state the punishment.
(18) Ex. XX, 15. The object of the theft being unspecified, it applies to a human being too. So in general.But in the next passage it is shown that it refers particularly to abduction.
(19) Lev. XXV, 42.
(20) Ex. XX, 15.
(21) The Decalogue, of which this is part, deals in general with capital offences, e.g., idolatry, the desecration of the Sabbath, murder. Hence this too must be similar, and abduction is the only theft so punished.
(22) Lev. XIX, 11.
(23) Cf. ibid, 10-15.
(24) V. Glos.
(25) Deut. XIX, 15.
(26) I.e, the two witnesses must testify to the entire matter. If two, however, testify to one part, and two
(27) I.e., if two witnesses attested a portion of an act or an offence, and another two witnesses the rest, their evidence is combined and the accused punished. Consequently, if they are proved zomemim, they receive themselves the punishment they sought to impose.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 86b
'We came [merely] to have him flogged', and therefore these last witnesses attest the whole offence [involving execution].1 R. Papa objected: If so, the witnesses of the sale [of the abducted person] should likewise be executed, since those of abduction can say, 'We came [merely] to have him flogged':2 nor could you answer3 that Hezekiah is of the opinion that [the abductor] is not flogged,2 - since it has been stated: If the witnesses of abduction were proved zomemim - R. Johanan, and Hezekiah [differ]: one maintains that they are flagellated, the other that they are not. Whereon we observed, It may be shewn that it was Hezekiah who ruled that they are flagellated, since he said that they are not executed.4 For were it R. Johanan, since however he maintains that they are executed, their injunction5 is one for which a warning of death at the hands of Beth din may be given,6 and for such there is no flagellation.7 But if he [the accused] is not
to another, their testimony is invalid. Here also, the abduction is only half an offence, likewise the sale in itself proves nothing, as the vendor might have sold his own slave. Therefore their testimony cannot convict the accused, and consequently they themselves, if proved zomemim, are not executed. flagellated, how can they [the false witnesses] be?8 But R. Papa said thus: All agree that the witnesses of the sale [who were proved zomemim] are slain; they differ only with respect to the witnesses of abduction: Hezekiah maintains that they are not executed, abduction being one offence, and selling another;9 whilst R. Johanan holds that they are executed, abduction being the first step towards selling.10 But R. Johanan admits that if the first witnesses of a 'stubborn and rebellious' son are proved zomemim, they are not executed, since they can say, 'We came to have him flogged'. Abaye said: All agree in [one matter relating to] a 'stubborn and rebellious son'; and all agree in [a second relating to] a 'stubborn and rebellious son'; and there is a dispute [in the case of] a 'stubborn and rebellious' son. [Thus:] 'All agree in [one matter relating to] a "stubborn and rebellious son, viz., with respect to the first witnesses [proved zomemim], that they are not slain, since they can plead, 'We came to have him flagellated.' 'And all agree in a second matter relating to a "stubborn and rebellious" son,' viz., with respect to the last witnesses, that they are executed, for since the first witnesses could plead. 'We came to have him flogged,' these attest the entire offence [involving death]. And there is a dispute in [the case of] a 'stubborn and rebellious son,' viz., when two testify that he stole, and two that he ate.11
R. Assi said: If the witnesses of the sale of an [abducted] person are proved zomemim, they are not executed, since the [vendor] could plead, 'l sold my slave.'12 R. Joseph said: With whom does this dictum of R. Assi agree? - With R. Akiba, who ruled 'the whole matter, but not half the matter.' Abaye said to him, For on the view of the Rabbis they would be executed? But he gives his reason, 'since etc.'13 Hence it may agree even with the Rabbis, providing there were no witnesses of abduction. If so, why state it?14 - It is necessary [to state this] only if witnesses [of abduction] subsequently appeared.15 But even so, why state it? - This is necessary only when they made signs [to each other:]16 I might think that signalling is of consequence; therefore he [R. Assi] informs us that it is of no consequence.
MISHNAH. 'AN ELDER REBELLING AGAINST THE RULING OF BETH DIN' [IS STRANGLED],17 FOR IT IS WRITTEN IF THERE ARISE A MATTER TOO HARD FOR THEE FOR JUDGEMENT [etc.].18 THREE COURTS OF LAW WERE THERE,19 ONE SITUATE AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT,20 ANOTHER AT THE DOOR OF THE [TEMPLE] COURT,21 AND THE THIRD IN THE HALL OF HEWN STONES.22 THEY23 [FIRST] WENT TO THE BETH DIN WHICH IS AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT, AND HE [THE REBELLIOUS ELDER] STATED, THUS HAVE I EXPOUNDED AND THUS HAVE MY COLLEAGUES EXPOUNDED; THUS HAVE I TAUGHT, AND THUS HAVE MY COLLEAGUES TAUGHT. IF [THIS FIRST BETH DIN] HAD HEARD [A RULING ON THE MATTER], THEY STATE IT. IF NOT, THEY GO TO THE [SECOND BETH DIN] WHICH IS AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE TEMPLE COURT, AND HE DECLARES, THUS HAVE I EXPOUNDED AND THUS HAVE MY COLLEAGUES EXPOUNDED; THUS HAVE I TAUGHT AND THUS HAVE MY COLLEAGUES TAUGHT. IF [THIS SECOND BETH DIN] HAD HEARD [A RULING ON THE MATTER]. THEY STATE IT; IF NOT, THEY ALL PROCEED TO THE GREAT BETH DIN OF THE HALL OF HEWN STONES WHENCE INSTRUCTION ISSUED TO ALL ISRAEL, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, [WHICH THEY] OF THAT PLACE WHICH THE LORD SHALL CHOOSE [SHALL SHEW THEE].24 IF HE RETURNED TO HIS TOWN AND TAUGHT AGAIN AS HERETOFORE, HE IS NOT LIABLE. BUT IF HE GAVE A PRACTICAL DECISION, HE IS GUILTY, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, AND THE MAN THAT WILL DO PRESUMPTUOUSLY,25 [SHEWING] THAT HE IS LIABle ONLY FOR A PRACTICAL RULING. BUT IF A DISCIPLE26 GAVE A PRACTICAL DECISION [OPPOSED TO THE BETH DIN], HE IS EXEMPT:27 THUS THE VERY STRINGENCY OF HIS [ORDINATION] IS [A SOURCE OF] LENIENCY FOR HIM.28
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: If a thing be outstandingly difficult [yippale] for thee29
(1) V. supra 71a. It is there stated that he was first warned in the presence of three, and then flogged (on the testimony of two witnesses), and only if he offended again is he executed. The second offence too, of course, must be attested by two witnesses. Now, if these last two were proved zomemim, Hezekiah admits that they are executed, for their testimony is complete in itself, in so far as it imposes an additional punishment, as explained here.
(2) For the mere 'stealing'.
(3) Lit., 'and shouldst thou answer'.
(4) I.e., if another two witnesses testified to the sale, and then the first two were proved false, they are not executed. The argument is concluded in the next passage.
(5) Viz., Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, Ex. XX, 16.
(6) I.e., they could formally be warned against falsely testifying on the grounds that should they be proved Zomemim after another two witnesses had attested the sale, they would be executed.
(7) Even if the death sentence is not imposed.
(8) This concludes the proof that Hezekiah must hold that abduction alone is punished by lashes. For since it has been shown that in his opinion witnesses who testify falsely thereto are flogged, it follows that abduction itself is so punished, as it is a general role, stated in Deut. XIX, 19, that the witnesses receive only the punishment they sought to impose.
(9) And only the two together incur capital punishment: therefore the witnesses of abduction have not testified to a capital offence.
(10) For, as above, abduction itself is not punished by flagellation; therefore it is part of a capital offence.
(11) V. supra 71a. Thus each attested half an offence. Hence according to Hezekiah, who agrees with R. Akiba's dictum, 'the whole matter, but not half the matter', they are exempt; but in R. Johanan's view, based on that of the Rabbis, 'the matter, and even half the matter,' they are liable.
(12) Hence he was not liable to death on their evidence, and therefore they in turn are also exempt.
(13) I.e., that the purchaser can plead not guilty altogether, so that their testimony is not even 'half the matter'.
(14) For it is obvious.
(15) And on the combined testimonies the accused was convicted. Yet, if the first witnesses of the sale were falsified, they are not punished, since they can plead: 'we did not know that others would testify to the kidnapping.'
(16) Either the intending witnesses of abduction to those of the sale that they were going to give evidence, or the witnesses of the sale to two others in court, urging them to testify to the abduction.
(17) I.e., in a matter not explicitly stated in the Torah but for which Beth din must give a ruling, either by Biblical interpretation or their own reasoning. This interpretation is borne out by the general context of the Mishnah. Cf. also R. Judah and R. Simeon's views on same (87a), and the while of the discussion in the Talmud as to the type of rulings in virtue of which one is adjudged a rebellious elder. Krauss, Sanhedrin-Makkot a.l. however points out that the verb מרה is constructed with את or ב of the accusative of person, not על פי. Consequently he translates: The elder (who is declared) rebellious on account of a ruling of the (upper) Beth din. Cp. Rashi, on Mishnah, 84b.
(18) Deut. XVII, 8. This proves that the reference is to a question not explicitly dealt with in the Torah, since it is 'too hard' for judgement.
(19) In Jerusalem; cf. Then thou shalt arise, and get thee up into the place which the Lord thy God shall choose (ibid.).
(20) (In the east gate of the Women's Court (Rashi).
(21) Is the Court of the Israelites.
(22) This was partly within and partly without the Temple (Yoma 25a).
(23) The elder and the other members of the local Beth din, with whom he was in dispute.
(26) I.e., one who is not ordained, and hence has no authority to give a ruling at all.
(27) Because his ruling is not likely to be accepted.
(28) It was exceedingly difficult to obtain ordination, none under the age of forty receiving it. This very difficulty protected him, since without being ordained he was not liable to the penalty of a rebellious elder.
(29) יפלא Ibid. 8.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 87a
- the Writ refers to an 'outstanding' member, [mufla] of Beth din;1 'thee' refers to [a matter needing] a counsellor,2 and thus it is said, There is one come out from thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord, a wicked counsellor;3 a thing refers to a [traditional] halachah,' 'in judgement,' this means [a law deduced by] a din;4 between blood and blood, the blood of a niddah, childbirth, and gonorrhoea; 'between ruling and ruling,' whether capital or civil cases, or cases involving flagellation; 'between [leprous] plague spots, and plague spots' - embracing leprosy in man, houses and garments; 'matters' refers to haramim,5 valuations,6 and sanctifications;7 'contentions' refers to the water ordeal of a sotah,8 the beheading of the heifer9 and the purification of a leper;10 'within thy gates' - this refers to the gleanings, forgotten [sheaves] and the corner [of the field;] 'then thou shalt arise', [that is,] from the sitting of Beth din,11 'and ascend' - this teaches that the Temple was higher than [the rest of] Palestine, and Palestine is [geographically] higher than all other countries' 'into the place', - this teaches that the place is the cause.12
Now, it is correct to say that the Temple was higher than [the rest of] Palestine, since it is written, and thou shalt ascend;13 but whence does he14 learn that Palestine is more elevated than all other countries?15 - From the passage, Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' But the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all the countries whither I have driven them;13 and they shall dwell in their own land.16
Our Rabbis taught: A rebellious elder is liable only for a matter the deliberate transgression of which is punished by extinction, whilst the unwitting offence involves a sin offering:17 this is R. Meir's view. R. Judah said: For a matter of which the fundamental principle is Biblical, whilst its interpretation is by the Scribes.18 R. Simeon said: Even for a single detail arising out of the subtle interpretations of the Rabbis.19
What is R. Meir's reason? - He draws an analogy from the use of dabar [matter] in two places: Here it is written, If there arise a dabar [matter] too hard for thee in judgement; and elsewhere it is written, [And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance,] the matter [dabar] being hidden from the eyes of the assembly:20 just as there [the reference is to] a provision which if deliberately transgressed is punished by extinction, whilst if unwittingly, involves a sin offering, so here too. And R. Judah?21 - [Scripture states:] According to the Torah which they shall teach thee,22 intimating that both the Torah [i.e., the basic law] and their [sc. the Scribes,] teaching [i.e., the interpretation thereof] must be involved. Whilst R. Simeon's reason is: [And thou shalt do according to the sentence,] which they of that place shall shew thee,23 indicating even the smallest nicety.
R. Huna b. Hinena said to Raba, Explain me the above Baraitha24 according to R. Meir.25 Thereupon Raba said to R. Papa. Go forth and explain it to him. [Thus:] If a matter be outstandingly difficult [yippale]: the Writ refers to an outstanding member, [mufla] of Beth din; 'thee', to a [question needing a] counsellor, who knows how to determine the intercalation of years and fixation of months.26 [Now, the rebelliousness of the elder may be in respect of] what we learnt: They testified27 that a leap year may be proclaimed during the whole month of Adar. [This testimony was necessary,] because they [i.e., the other Sages] maintained: Only until Purim. [Hence, if the elder flouted the ruling of the great Beth din] in either direction, he permitted leaven to be eaten on the Passover.28
'"A thing" refers to a [traditional] halachah.' By this is meant the [traditional] halachahs29 of the eleventh [day].30 For it has been stated: As for the tenth day. R. Johanan maintained that it is as the ninth, whilst R. Simeon b. Lakish ruled that it is as the eleventh. R. Johanan maintained that it is as the ninth: Just as [a blood discharge on] the ninth necessitates observation,31 so for an issue on the tenth too observation is required.32 But Resh Lakish ruled that the tenth day is as the eleventh: just as [a blood discharge on] the eleventh does not necessitate observation,33 so on the tenth too no observation is required.34 '"In judgment", - this means [a law deduced by] a din.'
(1) מופלא Mufla generally means the instructing judge, 'a special expert assessor to whom questions of law are referred. (Jast.). Tosaf. supra 16b s.v. אחד states that the mufla was supernumary to the actual Beth din. In this case, however, mufla means 'ordained' (mumhe), in contradiction to talmid, an unordained disciple (Rashi and Tosaf. 16b, ibid.) Cf. Mishnah 86b.
(2) This is explained below.
(3) Nah. I, 11.
(4) Argument based on verbal similarity, and thus the equivalent of gezerah shawah. Rashi points out that din cannot bear its usual meaning here, viz., 'a legal ruling', since that is expressly stated in the verse.
(5) Herem, pl. haramim, anything devoted to the Lord (Lev. XXVII, 28).
(6) V. Lev. XXVII, 2 et seqq.
(7) Of animals, all these are the result of vows expressed by words and hence included in 'words' etc.
(8) A woman suspected of infidelity (Num. V, 12ff.).
(9) In expiation of a murder committed by a person unknown (Deut. XXI, 1-9).
(10) These three are deduced from 'contentions', being the result of such. Sotah and murder obviously so, whilst leprosy, according to the Rabbis, is a punishment for slander, which generally gives rise to strife. - 'Ar. 15b. (11) All of which belonged to the poor, of whom it is written, If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates (Deut. XV, 7; cf. also ibid. XIV, 29; XVI, 12). Thus the Baraitha teaches that the dispute between the rebellious elder and the Beth din was in respect of any of these laws enumerated. These are discussed below in detail. In nearly all cases cited these matters were disputed by the Rabbis themselves, but of course the minority had to submit to the majority. The crime of the rebellious elder, for which he was executed, consisted of his giving a practical decision opposed in the final ruling of one of the Botte din (plural of Beth din) in Jerusalem. (On the general question of the minority submitting to the majority. v. Halevy., Doroth ha-Rishonim I, 5 205 seq.)
(11) Thou shalt arise implies that there was first a formal sitting, where these difficulties arose, viz., at the local Beth din.
(12) Of the supreme authority of the Great Sanhedrin. The fact that it was situated in the Temple, the religious hub of the nation, imparted to its decisions and powers a weightiness which it would otherwise have lacked.
(13) Implying that wherever one was in Palestine, he had to ascend, in order to reach the Temple.
(14) The Tanna.
(15) Since the passage refers to Palestine only.
(16) Jer. XXIII, 7f. Thus the journey from all countries to Palestine is termed an ascent.
(17) I.e., if he gave a practical ruling on a matter in which these are involved.
(18) V. p. 572. n. 5.
(19) Lit., 'Scribes'.
(20) Lev. IV, 13.
(21) What is his reason?
(22) Deut. Ibid. 11.
(23) Ibid. 10.
(24) Which enumerates all the matters of dispute between the rebellious elder and his Beth din, and includes such things as valuations and haramim.
(25) I.e., how do all these matters involve extinction and sin offerings?
(26) V. supra 2a.
(27) R. Joshua and R. Pappias. ('Ed. VII, 7.) Owing to the development of the Mishnah, of which each Tannah had his own version, a great uncertainty arose as to the exact law. R. Gamaliel in consequence undertook a sifting of the various traditions with the purpose of declaring them authentic or otherwise. The scholars assembled at Jabneh, and attested their various teachings. The collection of these testimonies forms the tractate 'Eduyyoth (J.E. VII, 611).
(28) Thus: If the Beth din ruled after Purim that the year was to he prolonged by a month (called the second Adar), Passover would commence six weeks after the end of the first Adar. If he disregarded this and gave a practical decision that such intercalation was invalid, Passover would commence four weeks earlier and end three weeks before it even began according to the ruling of the Beth din. Hence those who followed his views would be eating leaven during the Passover fixed by the latter. The same would result if they ruled that a month was not to be intercalated, and he ruled that it was. The deliberate eating of leaven on Passover is punished by extinction, as are all the offences enumerated in the following passage.
(29) V. note 6 for the explanation of the plural here.
(30) According to Biblical law, a niddah can cleanse herself when seven days have passed from the beginning of her menstrual flow, provided it ceased on the seventh day before sunset (בין השמשות) During the following eleven days, which are called the beginning days between the menses, she cannot become a niddah again, it being axiomatic that a discharge of blood in that period is not a sign of niddah, but may be symptomatic of gonorrhoea. A discharge on one or two day's within the eleven days renders her unclean, and she is forbidden cohabitation until the evening of the following day (the full details of her position vis a vis her husband, and her uncleanliness in general, are discussed in Nid. 71b ff.), and must wait for the third to see whether another discharge will follow, rendering her a zabah, or not. Should another discharge follow the third day, she becomes unclean as a zabah, and cannot become clean until seven days have passed without any issue at all. Should she, however, discharge on the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth days she is not a zabah, for the twelfth day commences a new period wherein the issue of blood may make her a niddah. (The foregoing is, as mentioned, on the basis of the ancient law, but already in the period of the Talmud itself the law was adopted whereby a single blood issue at any time imposes all the restrictions necessitating for cleanness a period of seven clean days.)
(31) On the tenth and eleventh days. Since discharges on those days following that of the ninth renders her a zabah.
(32) Though unable to become a zabah, she is subject to the law of a woman under observation.
(33) Both R. Johanan said Resh Lakish agree to this, on the basis of Beth Hillel's ruling in the Mishnah Nid. 72a.
(34) Thus, in R. Johanan's opinion, there is only one traditional halachah with respect to the eleventh day, viz., that a blood discharge thereon does not necessitate observation, and this is the only thing in which it differs from the preceding ten days. But if there was a discharge on the tenth, observation is necessary on the eleventh just as on the other days. But according to Resh Lakish it differs in two respects: (i) that a discharge thereon necessitate further observation, and (ii) that it does not become an observation day on account of the tenth day's discharge. Hence there were two halachoth for that day. This explains the use of the plural in this passage. Now to revert to the main subject, in the opinion of R. Johanan, if a woman had a discharge on the tenth, cohabitation on the eleventh is Biblically forbidden on pain of extinction, whilst according to Resh Lakish it is prohibited only by a Rabbinical ordinance, not by Biblical law; thus this too conforms to R. Meir's requirements.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 87b
Viz., [incest with] one's daughter by an outraged woman. For Raba said, R. Isaac b. Abudimi said unto me: We learn identity of law from the fact that hennah ['they'] occurs in two related passages, and likewise zimmah ['wickedness'].1
"'Between blood and blood" - the blood of a niddah, childbirth, and gonorrhoea'. 'The blood of a niddah', - this enters into the dispute of Akabia b. Mahalalel and the Rabbis. For we learnt: A greenish [discharge of] blood: Akabia b. Mahalalel declares it unclean, and the Sages declare it clean.2
'The blood of childbirth,' - this depends on the dispute between Rab and Levi. For it has been stated: Rab said, It [all] issues from one and the same source,3 the Torah declaring it unclean [during the first fourteen days], and clean [the following sixty six days]. Levi said, It proceeds from two different sources: [at the end of fourteen days] the unclean [source] is closed and the clean one opened: [at the end of eighty days] the source of clean [blood] is closed and that of unclean [blood] opened.4
'And the blood of gonorrhoea [zibah]'. - This enters into the dispute of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua. For we learnt: If a woman was in labour for three days within the eleven,5 then ceased for twenty four hours [lit., 'from time to time' - from an hour on one day to the same on the next]. and then gave birth, she is regarded as a woman bearing with a gonorrhoeic discharge: this is R. Eliezer's opinion. R. Joshua said, [The cessation must be] a night and a day, as the night and day of the Sabbath. The cessation referred to is cessation from labour, not from blood[-discharge].6
'"Between ruling and ruling" - whether they be capital or civil cases, or cases involving flagellation.' Civil cases depend on the dispute between Samuel and R. Abbahu. For Samuel said, If two [judges] gave a [civil] ruling, their action is valid, but that they are dubbed 'an impudent court', whilst R. Abbahu maintained: All agree that their decision is invalid.7
'Capital cases' - in this the dispute of Rabbi and the Rabbis is involved. For it has been taught: Rabbi said, Then thou shalt give life for life8 - this refers to monetary compensation. You say, monetary compensation: but perhaps this is not so, life being literally meant? - 'Giving' is stated below:9 It is also stated above:10 just as the latter refers to money, so the former too.11
'Cases involving flagellation. - This is dependent on the dispute of R. Ishmael and the Rabbis. For we learnt: Flagellation [is imposed by [a court of] three. On the authority of R. Ishmael it was said, by twenty-three.12
'"Between [leprous] plague spots and plague spots", including leprosy in man, houses, and garments. Leprosy in man depends on the dispute of R. Joshua and the Rabbis. For we learnt: If the bright spot preceded the white hair, he is unclean, If the reverse, he is clean.13 [If the order is] in doubt, he is unclean; R. Joshua said, It is as though darkened.14 What does this mean? - Raba15 said, [When the spot is] darkened, he is clean.16
'Leprosy in houses.' - This enters into the dispute of R. Eleazar, son of R. Simeon and the Rabbis. For we learnt: R. Eleazar, son of R. Simeon said: A house never becomes unclean unless a plague spot appears the size of two beans on two stones in two walls, and at the angle of the walls; it must be two beans in length and one in breadth.17 Why so? Because the Bible refers to the 'walls' [of the house]18 and also to the 'wall':19 where is one wall as two? At its angle.20
'Leprosy in garments.' - This depends on the dispute of R. Nathan b. Abtolemos and the Rabbis. For it has been taught: R. Nathan b. Abtolemos said: Whence do we know
(1) V. supra 51b. From that gezerah shawah we learn that such incest is punishable by extinction, where capital punishment cannot be imposed. Since there is no dispute in this at all, it must be assumed that the rebellious elder denies the validity of this particular gezerah shawah (Tosaf.).
(2) Nid. 19a. Now, if the rebellious elder rules as the former, he involves her in an offence of niddah, which is punished by extinction. E.g., if after two days of this greenish discharge there was a one-day normal red-blooded flow. Now a niddah had to wait a minimum of seven days from the beginning of her menstruous flow of blood (v. p. 577, n. 2). On the view of Akabiah b. Mahalalel, but not of the Rabbis, the greenish discharge is regarded as blood and the two days of greenish discharge are counted as part of the seven. Hence by following the former she becomes clean, and cohabits two days earlier than warranted by the latter, according to which she is still a niddah.
(3) I.e., the blood discharge within eighty days after childbirth. V. Lev. XII, 1-5.
(4) In Nid. 35b it is explained that they differ practically if there is a continuous issue from the end of the fourteenth into the beginning of the fifteenth, or from the eightieth into the eighty-first day. According to Rab, notwithstanding this, the blood of the fifteenth is clean, and that of the eighty first unclean. Since Levi however maintains that normally there are two different sources, there should be a definite break between the two, in the absence of which the blood of the fifteenth is unclean, whilst that of the eighty first is clean. Thus a rebellious elder, by flouting the ruling of the Beth din either way causes the injunction of niddah to be violated.
(5) V. p. 577, n. 2.
(6) Nid. 36b. As was stated on p. 577 n. 2, if a woman has blood discharges on three days within the eleven between the menses, she becomes a zabah. If however, this is caused by labour pangs, she is not a zabah, providing however, that her travail continues until giving birth. But if three days of labour and discharge are succeeded by one day free from pain, and then she gives birth, the interruption proves that the issue of the first three days was not the result of labour, but of gonorrhoea, and hence she is a zabah, and subject to the laws thereof, which supersede those of childbirth, the issue during the sixty-six days (v. p. 578) being considered unclean. Now, R. Eliezer and R. Joshua differ as to the meaning, of 'one day'. R. Eliezer maintains that it means a day of 24 hours; but R. Joshua holds that it is a calendar day. i.e., a night and a day. E.g., if she was free from pain from 12 noon on one day to 12 noon on the next, according to R. Eliezer she is a zabah. But on the view of R. Joshua, since she had suffered on the same day. viz., until 12 noon it is not a complete day of cessation, and hence she is not a zabah. As a zabah, cohabitation may be forbidden her on pain of extinction when for mere confinement it would be permitted.
(7) Extinction may be involved therein in the following way: - If as a result of their decision money was withdrawn from A to B, on Samuel's view, it rightfully belongs to B: on R. Abbahu's, it does not. Now if B married a woman with this money as kiddushin, according to Samuel the marriag" is valid, and cohabitation with another man is punishable by death or extinction in the absence of witnesses; but according to R. Abbahu, the kiddushin is invalid, for if one marries a woman with money or goods not belonging to him, his act is null. Hence, if the Beth din accepted Samuel's view, whilst the rebellious elder accepted R. Abbah)'s, he declares a married woman free to others. Now further, if another man C also married the same woman, in Samuel's opinion the second marriage is invalid, and if B subsequently died, she is a free woman. But on R. Abbahu's view, this second marriage is valid, since the first was null. Hence, if the Beth din ruled as R. Abbahu, and the rebellious elder as Samuel, he declares her free from C, when in reality she is married to him.
(8) Ex. XXI, 23.
(9) Viz., in the verse under discussion.
(10) Viz., If . . . no mischief follow . . . he shall pay (lit., 'give') as the judges determine, Ibid, 22.
(11) V. supra 79a. If one intended killing one person but killed another instead, Rabbi maintains that he must make monetary compensation to the heirs, whilst the Rabbis rule that he is financially exempt. Hence, if the heirs seized the money, according to Rabbi, it belongs to them, according to the Sages it does not. - Extinction is then involved as explained p. 579. n. 3.
(12) V. supra 2a. Hence, in his view, if a court of three had him flagellated, they acted ultra vires, and must compensate him. If he seized this compensation money, on R. Ishmael's view, it belongs to him, on the Rabbis', it does not. Extinction is then involved as in p. 579, n. 3.
(13) V. Lev. XIII, 2ff.
(14) Neg. IV, 11.
(15) Var. lec. Rabbah.
(16) Thus R. Joshua maintains that if the order is doubtful, he is clean, and consequently permitted to enter the Sanctuary, whilst on the view of the Rabbis, he is forbidden on pain of extinction.
(17) Neg. XII, 3.
(18) Lev. XIV, 37, 39.
(19) Ibid. 37.
(20) But according to the Rabbis it is unclean even if the leprous outbreak is not at the angle, and renders anyone who enters unclean too. V. supra note 3.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 88a
that a spreading outbreak [of leprosy] in garments [covering the whole] is clean? Baldness [of the back of the head - karahath] and baldness [of the front - gabahath] are mentioned in connection with human leprosy; and also in connection with leprosy of garments:1 just as in the former, if [the plague] spread over the whole [skin], he is clean, so here too, if it spread over the whole [garment] it is clean.2
'"Matters", - this refers to valuations, haramim and sanctifications'. 'Valuations' is dependent on the dispute of R. Meir and the Rabbis. For we learnt: If one dedicates the value of [an infant] less than a month old, R. Meir rules, he must render its value;3 The Sages maintain, his declaration is null.4
'Haramim' is involved in the dispute of R. Judah b. Bathyra and the Rabbis. For we learnt: R. Judah b. Bathyra said, Unspecified haramim are for the Temple use, as it is written, Every herem ['devoted thing'] is most holy unto the Lord.5 But the Sages say, Unspecified haramim belong to the priests, as it is written, [but the field, when it goeth out in Jubilee, shall be holy unto the Lord] as a field of herem, the possession thereof shall be the priests.6 If so, what is taught by, Every herem is most holy unto the Lord? That it [sc. the vow of herem] is legally binding in respect of objects of the highest or of ordinary sanctity.7
'Sanctifications' - this depends on the dispute of R. Eliezer b. Jacob and the Rabbis. For it has been taught: R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: Even a hook8 of hekdesh requires ten men for its redemption.9
'Contentions," refers to the water ordeal of a sotah, the beheading of the heifer, and the 'purification of a leper'. 'The water ordeal of a sotah, is involved in the dispute of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua. For we learnt: He who warns his wife [against infidelity] - R. Eliezer said: He must warn her in the presence of two witnesses,10 and can subject her to the water ordeal on the testimony of one witness, or on his own.11 R. Joshua said: He must warn her in the presence of two, and cause her to drink on the testimony of two.12
'The beheading of the heifer' - this is dependent on the dispute of R. Eliezer and R. Akiba. For we learnt: Whence was the measurement taken?13 R. Eliezer said: From his [sc. the victim's] navel. R. Akiba said: From his nose. R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: From the place where he becomes a murdered corpse. Viz., the neck.14
'And the purification of a leper' - this depends on the dispute of R. Simeon and the Rabbis. For we learnt: If he [the leper] lacks the thumb of the right hand, the big toe of his right foot, and the right ear, he can never become clean.15 R. Eliezer said: It [sc. the blood and oil] is put upon the place thereof,16 and he thus fulfils the requirements of purification. R. Simeon said: It is placed upon his [corresponding] left [limbs] and he is acquitted [of his obligations].17
"'Within thy gates" - this refers to the gleanings, forgotten [sheaves] and the corner of the field'. 'The gleanings,' even as we learnt: Two ears [that fell down] are gleanings [to be left for the poor], three are not. As to forgotten sheaves - two [forgotten] sheaves are [treated as] 'forgotten' [i.e., must be left for the poor]; three are not. And concerning all these Beth Shammai ruled: Three belong to the poor, four to the landowner.18
'The corner of the field' - this is dependent on the dispute of R. Ishmael and the Rabbis. For it has been taught: The precept of pe'ah ['the corner'] applies [in the first instance] to the standing corn.19 If this was not done, a portion of the [harvested] sheaves should be given; if this was omitted, a part of the stack should be separated, providing it has not yet been evened. But once evened, it must [first] be tithed, and then [the poor man's portion] given to him.20 On the authority of R. Ishmael it was said: It must be separated even from the dough.21
THREE COURTS OF LAW etc. R. Kahana said: If he says, '[I base my ruling] on tradition,' and they say likewise, he is not executed; if he says. 'Thus it appears to use,' and they say, 'Thus it appears to us,' he is not executed; how much more so, if he says, '[I base it] on tradition,' and they say, 'Thus it appears to us'!
He is executed only when he says, 'Thus it appears to me,' whilst they say, 'We base [our ruling] on tradition', the proof being that Akabia b. Mahalalel was not executed.22 R. Eleazar said: Even if he says. '[I base my ruling] on tradition', and they say, 'Thus it appears to us,' he is executed, that strife may not spread in Israel; and if thou arguest, Why was Akabia b. Mahalalel not executed? Because he did not give a rule for practical guidance.
We learnt : HE STATED, THUS HAVE I EXPOUNDED, AND THUS HAVE MY COLLEAGUES EXPOUNDED, THUS HAVE I TAUGHT, AND THUS HAVE MY COLLEAGUES TAUGHT. Does it not [mean that] he said, '[I base it] on tradition', and they said, 'Thus it appears to us'? - No! He said, 'Thus it appears to me,' and they said, '[We base it] on tradition.'
Come and hear! R. Josiah said: Three things did Ze'ira, an inhabitant of Jerusalem, tell me: [i] If the husband renounced his warnings, they are null;23
(1) Leprosy in man: Lev. XIII, 42f; in garments: Ibid 55. In connection with garments, karahath denotes leprosy on the inside (right) of the cloth; gabahath on the front or outside (reverse) thereof.
(2) The Rabbis dispute this. Hence one who touches such a garment is clean according to R. Nathan R. Abtolemos, but unclean according to the Rabbis, v. note 3.
(3) Based on its selling price as a slave. This is not provided for in Lev. XXVII, a month being the lowest age dealt with there. R. Meir maintains that he knew that his dedication was invalid as such, and therefore meant it as an ordinary vow.
(4) Ar. 5a. Since there is no law of dedication for such an age. Now, extinction may result in the following two ways: - (i) If the Temple overseer took a pledge for the infant's value, in R. Meir's opinion this becomes hekdesh (consecrated), in the Rabbis', it does not. Hence according to the latter, if this pledge was used as kiddushin, it is valid; according to R. Meir, it is valid only if so used with the full knowledge that it was hekdesh, but not otherwise, as stated in Kid. 22b - v. p. 579 n .3 (ii) Since according to R. Meir it is hekdesh, if unwittingly used, a trespass offering must be brought, which if eaten by an unclean person, involves the offender in extinction. But in the view of the Rabbis it is not hekdesh, and the use thereof does not necessitate an offering, and if one erroneously, believing himself to have incurred a liability thereto, brings a trespass offering, the sacrifice is invalid, and consequently the eating thereof by an unclean person does not entail extinction.
(5) Lev. XXVII, 28.
(6) Ibid. 21; Consequently the secular use thereof entails no offering; v. p. 581, n. 11 (ii)
(7) I.e., if one declared an animal herem, which was already dedicated as a sacrifice, whether of the highest degree of sanctity, e.g., a burnt offering, or of the lighter degree of sanctity, e.g.. a peace offering, the declaration is valid, and the value thereof must be given for the Temple.
(8) Used for weaving gold (Rashi); v, supra 14b.
(9) Nine Israelites and one priest must assess it for redemption. If less, the redemption is invalid and it remains hekdesh. The Rabbis hold that only three are necessary for the assessment, and after redemption it loses its sacred character; v. p. 551. n. 11 (ii).
(10) Sotah 2a. The form of the warning was 'Thou shalt not closet thyself with so and so'. If she disregarded the warning, she became forbidden to her husband, unless tried by the water ordeal. But if the warning was not given in the presence of two witnesses, and was disregarded, she remained permitted to him, and he could not compel her to be tried by the 'bitter waters'.
(11) I.e., if one witness or the husband himself testified that she had flouted the warning duly administered in the presence of two witnesses, she had to be tried by the water ordeal.
(12) Now, instead of submitting to the water ordeal, she could demand a divorce, but without the kethubah (marriage settlement). Hence, if there are no witnesses or only one witness and she demands her divorce, in the opinion of R. Eliezer, she is not entitled to the kethubah, whilst in that of R. Joshua she is. Consequently, if she sold the rights in her kethubah to another man, and the latter seizes the amount involved from the husband, it does not belong to the purchaser, according to R. Eliezer, but does according to R. Joshua; v. p. 579, n. 3.
(13) In fulfilment of Deut. XXI, 2.
(14) Sotah 45b. The easiest form of murder is by slitting the throat. Now, if one gives this heifer as kiddushin, it is invalid. Consequently, if of two towns one is nearest the victim's navel, and the other to his nose, and each assigned a heifer (one of which of course is invalid), one is fit for kiddushin, and the other is not; v. p. 579. n. 3.
(15) Since the Torah directs that these shall be anointed Lev. XIV, 14.
(16) I.e., where these limbs would be.
(17) In Neg. IV, 9 the reading is: If it is placed upon his left limbs etc. Hence what renders him clean according to one leaves him unclean according to another Tanna: v. p. 581, n. 3.
(18) Hence, if three fell down, and embroiled the rebellious elder and the Beth Din in a dispute, the question of ownership involves the validity of kiddushin, as explained on p. 579, n. 3.
(19) 3 I.e., a corner of the field should be left unreaped.
(20) But if not given even then, and the wheat was milled, the poor lose their rights.
(21) V. Mak. 16b. Therefore the question of ownership is involved here too, which has a further bearing on kiddushin.
(22) Akabia maintained his view, which he based on the traditions of his teachers, against the Rabbis in the chamber of Hewn Stones ('Ed. V.6).
(23) V. p. 583. n. 1. If after giving his wife a formal warning he withdrew it, it is null, and hence if she did closet herself with her suspected lover, she is not forbidden to her husband.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 88b
[ii] if the father and mother wished to pardon a 'stubborn and rebellious son',1 they may do so, and [iii] the [local] Beth din may pardon a rebellious elder, if they desire it. But when I went to my colleagues of the South,2 they agreed to the [first] two but not to the rebellious elder, that contention might not increase in Israel.3 This is all [unanswerable] refutation.
It has been taught; R. Jose said; Originally there were not many disputes in Israel, but one Beth din of seventy-one members sat in the Hall of Hewn Stones, and two courts of twenty-three sat, one at the entrance of the Temple Mount and one at the door of the [Temple] Court, and other courts of twenty-three sat in all Jewish cities. If a matter of inquiry arose, the local Beth din was consulted. If they had a tradition [thereon] they stated it; if not, they went to the nearest Beth din. If they had a tradition thereon, they stated it, if not, they went to the Beth din situated at the entrance to the Temple Mount; if they had a tradition, they stated it; if not, they went to the one situated at the entrance of the Court, and he [who differed from his colleagues] declared, 'Thus have I expounded, and thus have my colleagues expounded; thus have I taught, and thus have they taught.' If they had a tradition thereon, they stated it, and if not, they all proceeded to the Hall of Hewn Stones, where they [i.e., the Great Sanhedrin] sat from the morning tamid4 until the evening talmid; on Sabbaths and festivals they sat within the hel.5 The question was then put before them: if they had a tradition thereon, they stated it; if not, they took a vote: if the majority voted 'unclean' they declared it so; if 'clean' they ruled even so. But when the disciples of Shammai and Hillel, who [sc. the disciples] had insufficiently studied, increased [in number], disputes multiplied in Israel, and the Torah became as two Toroth.6 From there [the Hall of Hewn Stones] documents were written and sent to all Israel, appointing men of wisdom and humility7 and who were esteemed by their fellowmen as local judges. From there [sc. the local Beth din] they were promoted to [the Beth din of] the Temple Mount,8 thence to the Court, and thence to the Hall of Hewn Stones.
They sent word from there,9 Who is destined for the world to come? He who is meek, humble, stooping on entering and on going out, and a constant student of the Torah without claiming merit therefor. [Thereupon] the Rabbis cast their eyes upon R. 'Ulla b. Abba [as endowed with all these qualities].
IF HE RETURNED TO HIS TOWN AND TAUGHT AGAIN etc. Our Rabbis taught: He is not liable unless he [himself] acts upon his ruling, or states his ruling to others, who act thereon. Now, as for stating his ruling to others, who act upon it, it is well: before [receiving the decision of the Great Beth din] he was not liable to death, [since he personally committed no wrong] whilst now he is [for flouting its authority]. But [as for the proviso that] he himself must act upon his ruling - even before [the decision was rendered in the Hall of Hewn Stones] he was liable to death! Now, there is no difficulty if his ruling referred to forbidden fat and blood, since before he was not liable to whilst now he is. But if he ruled on a matter involving the death penalty at the hands of Beth din, he would have been liable to death even before! - Before, he needed a formal warning;10 now he does not.11 But what of a mesith, for whom no warning is required?12 - Before, had he stated a reason [excusing or justifying his action], it might have been accepted; but now, even if he stated a reason, it would not be accepted.
MISHNAH. THERE IS GREATER STRINGENCY IN RESPECT TO THE TEACHINGS OF THE SCRIBES THAN IN RESPECT TO THE TORAH. [THUS,] IF ONE [A REBELLIOUS ELDER] SAYS, THERE IS NO PRECEPT OF TEFILLIN, SO THAT A BIBLICAL LAW MAY BE TRANSGRESSED, HE IS EXEMPT.13 [BUT IF HE RULES THAT THE TEFILLIN MUST CONTAIN] FIVE COMPARTMENTS, THUS ADDING TO THE WORDS OF THE SCRIBES,14 HE IS LIABle.
GEMARA. R. Eleazar said in R. Oshaia's name: He is liable only for a matter of which the fundamental law is Biblical, whilst its interpretation is of the Scribes, and in which there is room for addition, which addition, however, is the equivalent of subtraction. Now, the only precept [fulfilling these conditions] is that of tefillin.15 Now, this statement was made according to R. Judah.16 But is there not the lulab,17 the fundamental law of which is Biblical.18 the interpretation Rabbinical,19 there being room for addition,20 which addition amounts to subtraction?21 - Now, what is our opinion? If we hold that the lulab need not be bound [with the other two species],22 each stands apart.23 Whilst if we maintain that the lulab needs binding, it is defective from the very outset.24 But is there not the law of fringes, the basic precept of which is Biblical,25 the interpretation Rabbinical, there is room for addition,26 whilst such addition amounts to subtraction?27 - What is our opinion? If we maintain that the upper knot is not required by Biblical law, they are separate from each other;28 whilst if we hold
(1) Even after all the necessary warnings had been given.
(2) [I.e., R. Meir, R. Judah and R. Jose among others, v. Halevy, op. cit., II, p. 180].
(3) Since this is the reason, it proves that he is executed even if he based his ruling on tradition and they on reason.
(4) The daily continual burnt offering.
(5) A place within the fortification of the Temple (Jast.). They changed their locale, lest they should appear to be giving judgments, which is forbidden on these days.
(6) Pl. of Torah. There being many conflicting rulings.
(7) Lit., 'of lowly knee.'
(8) When a vacancy occurred through death.
(9) Palestine. This expression always refers to R. Eleazar b. Pedath (supra 17b). (7) An offence in connection with these does not involve capital punishment.
(10) Cf. supra pp. 494-5.
(11) Since he is punished not for actually committing the offence, but for flouting Beth din.
(12) If he acted as an inciter to idolatry, but maintained that his words did not purport thus, and the Great Beth din ruled that they did, it is shewn that he was liable to death even before and without a warning, which is unnecessary for a mesith.
(13) Since all know that the Bible commands the wearing of tefillin, the words of the elder will be ineffective.
(14) Who required only four in the head-tefillin.
(15) The fundamental law of wearing tefillin is Biblical. By Rabbinic interpretation, the head-tefillin must contain four compartments, with inscriptions in each. Hence it is possible to rule that it should consist of a greater number. But if this is done, the tefillin is unfit, so that the addition amounts to subtraction of its fitness.
(16) V. supra 87a. where R. Meir, R. Judah, and R. Simeon are in dispute.
(17) The palm branch, which was to be taken with other species of plant life on the Festival of Tabernacles.
(18) Lev. XXIII, 40.
(19) I.e., that it must be taken together with three other species, viz., the citron, myrtle, and willow.
(20) I.e., more than three species can be added.
(21) For if there are more than three species in all, the combination is invalid for the fulfilment of the precept.
(22) The citron, though taken together with the other species, is not bound with them.
(23) So that the combination is quite valid.
(24) I.e., as soon as more than the three species are bound together, the combination is invalid. But in the case of phylacteries, when four compartments are made, the head-tefillin is valid; when a fifth is added, it becomes invalid.
(25) Num. XV, 38f.
(26) By placing more than the requisite number of threads.
(27) Since the fringes become invalid thereby.
(28) The fringes are inserted through a hole and knotted near the edge of the garment. It is disputed whether this is really necessary by Biblical law. If not, then even when made the fringes are regarded as hanging apart and distinct. Consequently, if five instead of four were inserted and knotted, four fulfil the precept, whilst the fifth may be disregarded entirely, without rendering the rest invalid.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 89a
it necessary, it is defective from the very outset. If so, in the case of tefillin too, if one [first] made four compartments [for the four inscriptions], and then a fifth was placed at their side, each stands separately. Whilst if one made five compartments.1 it is defective from the very outset, for R. Zera said: If one compartment is open to the next, it is unfit.2 - This must be taught only in the case of one who made a frontlet of four compartments, and then added a fifth thereto and joined it. [By this addition the original is impaired.] Even as Raba said: If the outer compartment does not look upon space, it is invalid.3
MISHNAH. HE [THE REBELLIOUS ELDER] WAS EXECUTED NEITHER BY HIS LOCAL BETH DIN NOR BY THE BETH DIN AT JABNEH,4 BUT WAS TAKEN TO THE GREAT BETH DIN IN JERUSALEM AND KEPT THERE UNTIL THE [NEXT] FESTIVAL5 AND EXECUTED THEREON, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, 'AND ALL THE PEOPLE SHALL HEAR AND FEAR, AND DO NO MORE PRESUMPTUOUSLY:'6 THIS IS R. AKIBA'S OPINION. R. JUDAH SAID: HIS JUDGMENT MUST NOT BE DELAYED, BUT HE IS EXECUTED IMMEDIATELY, WHILST PROCLAMATIONS ARE INDITED AND SENT BY MESSENGERS TO ALL PLACE, 'SO AND SO HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH AT BETH DIN.
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: He was executed neither by his local Beth din nor by the Beth din at Jabneh, but taken to the great Beth din in Jerusalem and kept there until the [next] Festival and executed thereon, for it is written, And all the people shall hear and fear: this is R. Akiba's opinion. But R. Judah said to him: Is it then stated, 'shall see and fear'? Only 'shall hear and fear' is stated, why then delay his sentence? But he is executed immediately, and a proclamation is written and sent to all places: 'So and so has been sentenced to death at Beth din.'
Our Rabbis taught: Public announcements must be made for four [malefactors]: a mesith, a 'stubborn and rebellious' son, a rebellious elder, and witnesses who were proved zomemim.7 In the case of all [others]8 it is written, And all the people, or, and all Israel; but in the case of witnesses proved zomemim it is written, And those which remain [shall hear and fear],9 since not all are eligible to be witnesses.10
MISHNAH. 'A FALSE PROPHET'; HE WHO PROPHESIES WHAT HE HAS NOT HEARD, OR WHAT WAS NOT TOLD TO HIM,11 IS EXECUTED BY MAN. BUT HE WHO SUPPRESSES HIS PROPHECY, OR DISREGARDS THE WORDS OF A PROPHET, OR A PROPHET WHO TRANSGRESSES HIS OWN WORD11 , - HIS DEATH IS AT THE HANDS OF HEAVEN. FOR IT IS WRITTEN, [AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT WHOSOEVER WILL NOT HEARKEN UNTO MY WORDS WHICH THE PROPHET SHALL SPEAK IN MY NAME.] I WILL REQUIRE IT OF HIM.12 HE WHO PROPHESIES IN THE NAME OF AN IDOL, SAYING, 'THUS HATH THE IDOL DECLARED. EVEN IF HE CHANCED UPON THE RIGHT HALACHAH, DECLARING THE UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN, OR THE CLEAN, CLEAN; OR HE WHO WAS INTIMATE WITH A MARRIED WOMAN AFTER HER ENTRY INTO HER HUSBAND'S HOME FOR NESU'IN,13 THOUGH THE MARRIAGE WAS NOT CONSUMMATED - HE IS STRANGLED; LIKEWISE [WITNESSES PROVED ZOMEMIM [IN A CHARGE OF ADULTERY AGAINST] A PRIEST'S DAUGHTER, AND HER PARAMOUR [ARE STRANGLED]. FOR ALL ZOMEMIM ARE LED FORTH TO MEET THE SELF-SAME DEATH [WHICH THEY SOUGHT TO IMPOSE,] SAVE ZOMEMIM IN A CHARGE AGAINST A PRIEST'S DAUGHTER - AND HER PARAMOUR.14
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught; Three are slain by man, and three by heaven; He who prophesies what he has not heard or what has not been told him, and he who prophesies in the name of an idol are slain by man. But he who suppresses his prophecy, or disregards the words of a prophet, and a prophet who transgresses his own words are slain by Heaven.
Whence do we know all this? - Rab Judah said in Rab's name: From the verse, But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name:15 this applies to one who prophesies what he has not heard;16 which I have not commanded him to speak,17 implying but which I did command his neighbour, hence means one who prophesies what was not told to him personally; or that shall speak in the name of other gods,18 this connotes prophesying in the name of idols. And then it is written, Even that prophet shall die,' and by every unspecified death sentence decreed in the Torah strangulation is meant. But he who suppresses his prophecy, or disregards the words of a prophet, or a prophet who transgresses his own words is slain by Heaven, for it is written, All it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken [yishma']:19 now this may be understood20 [as implying] to proclaim'21 and 'hearkening himself'22 unto my words;23 and the verse concludes, I will require it of him, i.e., [he shall be slain] by Heaven.
HE WHO PROPHESIES WHAT HE HAS NOT HEARD. E.g., Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah, as it is written, And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron.24 But what [else] could he have done, seeing that the spirit of Naboth had deceived him, it is written, And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? . . . And there came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him . . .And he [the Lord] said, Thou shalt persuade him and prevail also; go forth and do so?25 Rab Judah said: What is meant by 'Go forth'? 'Go forth' from My precincts.26 What 'spirit' is meant? - R. Johanan said: The spirit of Naboth the Jezreelite)?27 - He should have scrutinised [the forecasts of the assembled prophets]. even as R. Isaac said; viz.: The same communication28 is revealed to many prophets, yet no two prophets prophecy in the identical phraseology. [Thus,] Obadiah said, The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee;29 whilst Jeremiah said, Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart.30 But since all these prophets31 employed [exactly] the same expression,32 it proved that they had nothing [really divinely inspired]. But perhaps he did not know of this [criterion laid down by] R. Isaac? - Jehoshopat was there and warned them thereof, as it is written , And Jehoshopat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we may enquire of him?33 Thereupon he [Ahab] exclaimed, 'But behold all these!' 'I have a tradition from my grandfather's house that the same communication is revealed to many prophets, but no two prophesy in the identical phraseology,' replied Jehosophat.
HE WHO PROPHESIES WHAT WAS NOT TOLD HIM. E.g., Hananiah the son of Azur. Now Jeremiah stood in the upper market place, and said, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Behold, I will break the bow of Elam.34 Thereupon, Hananiah the son of Azur drew an a minori conclusion; If Elam, which only came to assist Babylon, yet the Holy one, blessed be He, said, Behold, I will break the law of Elam; then how much more so the Chaldeans [i.e., Babylonians] themselves! So he went to the lower market place and proclaimed, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel saying, I have broken the yoke of the kingdom of Babylon.35 R. Papa asked Abaye; But this was not told even to his colleagues [viz., Jeremiah]? He answered: Since the a minori reasoning has been given for [Biblical] exegesis, it is as though it had been told to him [Jeremiah]; hence only to Hananiah was it not revealed.36
HE WHO PROPHESIES IN THE NAME OF AN IDOL. E.g., the prophets of Baal.
HE WHO SUPPRESSES HIS PROPHECY. E.g., Jonah the son of Amittai.37
OR WHO DISREGARDS THE WORDS OF A PROPHET. E.g., the colleague of Micah
(1) One of which opened out to the other.
(2) I.e., not having been made according to rule, which requires that each compartment shall be entirely shut off from the next, it is not a case of tefillin having been rendered unfit, but of something that was never tefillin.
(3) [Hence the tefillin were fit in the first place, and rendered unfit through addition, but for a reason which cannot apply to the lulab or zizith. This rendering follows the reading in the MS. M.v.D.S a.l., which is that of R. Hananel and the Aruch.
(4) The great Sanhedrin was removed from the Hall of Hewn Stones and set up at Jabneh. If this took place between the sentence and the time fixed for the execution, the sentence was remitted (Rashi). Weiss, Dor. ii p. 37, assumes that the Great Sanhedrin at Jabneh was instituted by R. Johanan b. Zakkai shortly after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., although he made it into a seat of learning even before. Derenbourg, Essai, p. 288, however, quotes the present passage to prove that it existed, for some time at least, side by side with the Great Sanhedrin at Jerusalem.
(5) רגל regel, denotes one of the three pilgrimage festivals, Passover, Weeks, or Tabernacles.
(6) Deut. XVII, 13. Hence they had to wait till then, when all Israel assembled in Jerusalem, that the publicity of his death should serve as a deterrent.
(7) V. Glos.
(8) I.e., the first three.
(9) Deut. XIX, 20.
(10) Thieves, usurers, etc. being ineligible; hence the warning is not to all Israel.
(11) Even though it had been revealed to another.
(12) Deut. XVIII, 19.
(13) V. Glos.
(14) I.e., he also affords an exception. Whereas all men who commit incest (including adultery) are executed with the same death as the women, the paramour of a priest's daughter is strangled, whilst she is burnt (Rashi). [Now, if the accusation was against both the priest's daughter and her paramour, and they were proved false, they are strangled, in accordance with the death they sought to impose upon the paramour. But if they brought an accusation merely against the priest's daughter, but not against her paramour, e.g., declaring that they did not know who he was, and subsequently proved zomemim, they are burnt, since that was the death they sought to impose. That is the meaning of the Mishnah save witnesses proved zomemim, in a charge against both a priest's daughter and her paramour, that is, both having been accused (so Tosaf. Yom Tob a.l.). Others take the words and her paramour as a mere incidental repetition of the phrase as it occurs earlier.]
(15) Deut. XVI, 20.
(16) That is the connotation of 'presume'.
(19) Ibid. 19.
(20) Lit., 'read'.
(21) Yashmia, ישמיע.
(22) Yishamea' ישמע the Nif'al, as reflexive.
(23) Hence all three are included in the verse, [which, in addition to the usual translation, will accordingly be rendered thus: and the man (i.e., the prophet) who will nor hearken unto my words which he has to speak in my name (namely he refuses to proclaim it.) For he (himself) will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name (v. Meklenburg, a.l.).]
(24) I Kings XXII, 11; II Chron. XVIII, 10.
(25) I Kings XXII, 20ff.
(26) V. Shabb. 149b. Two possible reasons are suggested there for the spirit's expulsion from the sacred precincts, viz., either because one who is the means whereby another is punished must not come into the immediate neighbourhood of God, or because God cannot abide falsehood. Though in this case God himself sought to lure Ahab to his doom, He desired that this should nevertheless be done by arguments drawn from true facts (Maharsha).
(27) This is deduced from the use of the def. art. in the Heb. 'And the spirit came forth', implying a particular one, viz., that of Naboth the Jezreelite, whom Ahab had turned from a living human being into a spirit - by judicial murder; v. ibid. ch. XXI. Now, returning to the main point: what else could Zedekiah have done: how was he to know that a false spirit was leading all those prophets astray?
(28) Lit., 'watchword', 'signal'.
(29) Obad. I, 3.
(30) Jer. XLIX, 16. Thus, though the thought is the same in both (both referred to Edom), the wording differs.
(31) The four hundred prophets of Ahab, v. I Kings XXII, 6.
(32) V. ibid. 12
(33) I Kings XXII, 7.
(34) Jer. XLIX, 35.
(35) Ibid. XXVIII, 2.
(36) To the logical implications of the prophecy as deduced by the a minori reasoning, and which was true, viz., that the power of Babylon should be broken, Hananiah added on his own authority that this would take place within two years (ibid. 3). This was entirely false (Maharsha). In any case, only Jeremiah was permitted to draw an a minori conclusion from the prophecy revealed to him alone.
(37) Jonah I, 1-3.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 89b
[i.e., Micaiah, the son of Imlah] as it is written, And a certain man of the son of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the Lord, Smite me I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.1 . And it is further written, And he said unto him, Because thou has not obeyed [the voice of the Lord, behold as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee etc.]2
OR A PROPHET WHO TRANSGRESSES HIS OWN WORDS. E.g., Iddo the prophet, as instanced by the following verses, [i] For so it was charged me by the word of the Lord [saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest].3 [ii] And he [the self-styled prophet] said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art [and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house that he may eat bread, and drink water].'4 [iii] So he went back with him; [iv] And when he was gone, a lion met him [by the way, and slew him].5
A tanna recited before R. Hisda; He who suppresses his prophecy is flogged. To which he retorted, 'One who eats dates out of a sieve is flogged!'6 Who then warned him?7 Abaye answered; His fellow prophets, Whence do they know? - Said Abaye; For it is written, Surely the Lord will do nothing but that he revealeth his secret [unto his servants the prophets].8 But perhaps they [sc. the Heavenly Court] repented thereof?9 - Had they repented, all prophets would have been informed. But in the case of Jonah they did repent, yet Jonah himself was not informed! - Jonah was originally told that Nineveh would be turned, but did not know whether for good or for evil.10
HE WHO DISREGARDS THE WORDS OF A PROPHET. But how does he know [that he is a true prophet], that he should be punished? - If he gives him a sign. But Micah did not give a sign, yet he [i.e., his colleague] was punished!11 - If he was well established [as a prophet], it is different. For should you not admit this, how could Isaac listen to Abraham at Mount Moriah,12 or the people hearken to Elijah at Mount Carmel and sacrifice without [the Temple]?13 Hence the case, where the prophet is well established is different.
And it came to pass after these words, that God did tempt Abraham.14 What is meant by 'after'? - R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Jose b. Zimra: After 'the words of Satan, as it is written, And the child grew, and was weaned: [and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned].15 Thereupon Satan said to the Almighty; 'Sovereign of the Universe! To this old man Thou didst graciously vouchsafe the fruit of the womb at the age of a hundred, yet of all that banquet which he prepared, he did not have one turtle-dove or pigeon to sacrifice before thee! Hath he done aught but in honour of his son!' Replied He, 'Yet were I to say to him, "Sacrifice thy son before Me", he would do so without hesitation.' Straightway, God did tempt Abraham . . . And he said, Take, I pray thee [na]16 thy son.17 R. Simeon b. Abba said; 'na' can only denote entreaty. This may be compared to a king of flesh and blood who was confronted by many wars, which he won by the aid of a great warrior. Subsequently he was faced with a severe battle. Thereupon he said to him, 'I pray thee, assist me in battle, that people may not say, there was no reality in the earlier ones.' So also did the Holy One, blessed be He, say unto Abraham, 'I have tested thee with many trials and thou didst withstand all. Now, be firm, for My sake in this trial, that men may not say, there was no reality in the earlier ones.
[But] I have two sons!
Thine only one.
Each is the only one of his mother!
Whom thou lovest.
I love them both!
And why all this [circumlocution]?18 - That his mind should not reel [under the sudden shock]. on the way Satan came towards him and said to him. 'If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? . . . Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest.'19 He replied, 'I will walk in mine integrity.'20 'But', said [Satan] to him, 'should not thy fear be thy confidence?21 'Remember', he retorted, 'I pray thee, whoever perished, being innocent?'22 Seeing that he would not listen to him, he said to him , 'Now' a thing was secretly brought to me:23 thus have I heard from behind the Curtain.24 "the lamb, for a burnt-offering25 but not Isaac for a burnt-offering."25 He replied, 'It is the penalty of a liar, that should he even tell the truth, he is not listened to.'
R. Levi said [in explanation of 'after these words']; After Ishmael's words to Isaac. Ishmael said to Isaac: 'I am more virtuous26 than thee in good deeds, for thou wast circumcised at eight days, [and so couldst not prevent it], but I at thirteen years'. 'On account of one limb wouldst thou incense me!' he replied: 'Were the Holy One, blessed be He, to say unto me, Sacrifice thyself before Me, I would obey', Straightway, God did tempt Abraham.
Our Rabbis taught; A prophet who seduced [people to idolatry] is stoned; R. Simeon said; He is strangled. The seducers of a seduced city are stoned; R. Simeon said: They are strangled. 'A prophet who seduced is stoned'. What is the reason of the Rabbis? - Similarity of law is learnt from the employment of 'seduction' here and in the case of a mesith:27 just as there execution is by stoning, so here too. But R. Simeon maintained: [Simple] death is provided for in this case,28 and by every unspecified death sentence in the Torah strangulation is meant.
'The seducers of a seduced city are executed by stoning'. What is the reason of the Rabbis? - Similarity of law is learnt from the employment of 'seduction' here and in the case of either a mesith or a prophet who seduced.29 But R. Simeon maintained: similarity of law is learned from the employment of 'seduction' here and in the case of a prophet who seduced.30 But let us rather deduce it from mesith?31 - An analogy is drawn between two who incite a multitude, and not between one who incites a multitude and another who seduces an individual.32 On the contrary, should not an analogy be drawn between two laymen, rather than between a layman and a prophet? - R Simeon maintains, since he seduced, no man is more of a layman than he.33
R. Hisda said;
(1) I Kings XX, 35.
(2) Ibid. 36. According to the Rabbis, the prophet here referred to was Micaiah the son of Imlah (v. ibid. XXII, 9 et seq.).
(3) Ibid. XIII, 9.
(4) Ibid. 18.
(5) Ibid. 24. It is nowhere stated that this was Iddo; possibly the Talmud had a tradition to that effect (Maharsha). Kimhi (Ibid. 1) however observes that Iddo was a contemporary of Jeroboam and prophesied against him, as is mentioned in II Chron. IX, 29.
(6) I.e., just as that would be absurd, so is the statement.
(7) For how can anyone know that he suppressed a prophecy?
(8) Amos III, 7.
(9) When a prophecy of doom was revealed to a prophet, as in the case of Jonah, it might subsequently have been withdrawn and therefore the prophecy was suppressed. How then can that prophet be flogged?
(10) I.e., whether 'turned' meant 'overturned', or 'turned to repentance'.
(11) V. p. 593.
(12) To permit himself to be sacrificed.
(13) This being normally forbidden.
(14) Gen. XXII, 1. The sacrifice of Isaac having been mentioned, the Talmud proceeds to discuss it.
(15) Ibid. XXI, 8.
(17) Ibid. 2.
(18) Why not say, 'Take Isaac'?
(19) Job. IV, 2-5; he taunted him upon being unable to withstand his great trail, or perhaps suggested it to him. Rashi explains and translates: Should One (sc. God) have so assayed to speak to thee (putting thee to such severe trial) that thou shouldst faint, i.e., lose thy seed.
(20) Ps XXVI, 2.
(21) Job. IV, 6, i.e., through fearing God, you should be entirely safe, instead of which you are about to sacrifice your son! So Tosaf. in B.M. 58b, s.v. הלא.
(22) Ibid. 6. Thus he reasserted his faith in God.
(23) Ibid. 12.
(24) I.e., from the most intimate secrets of God.
(25) Cp. ibid. 7.
(26) Lit., 'greater'.
(27) Prophet: Because he hath spoken . . .to seduce thee from the way which thy Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in (Deut. XIII, 6); mesith: because he hath sought to seduce thee from the Lord thy God (Ibid. 11).
(28) Ibid. 6: And that prophet . . . shall be put to death.
(29) Here: and have seduced the inhabitants of their city. Ibid. 13, the other two: ibid. 6 and 11. V. p. 596. n. 9 for quotations.
(30) And as the latter is strangled, in his opinion so are the former too.
(31) Where stoning is distinctly stated (ibid. 11).
(32) The maddiah and the false prophet seduce a community, the mesith an individual (or individuals).
(33) V. p. 557, n. 5.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 90a
They1 differ only in respect of one who uproots the fundamental [prohibition] of idolatry,2 or who partially confirms and partially annuls [the prohibition] of idolatry,3 since the Divine Law said, [. . . to seduce thee] from [min] the way [which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in],4 implying even part of the way.5 But if one [a false prophet] fundamentally uproots any other precept,6 all agree that he is strangled;7 whilst if he partially annuls and partially confirms any other precept, all agree that he is exempt. R. Hamnuna objected; [It has been taught] [Because he hath spoken ...to seduce thee from the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee] to walk; this refers to positive commands;8 therein [bah]: to negative commands.9 But should you say that this refers to idolatry, - how is a positive command conceivable in respect of idolatry? - R. Hisda explained it [as referring to], And ye shall overthrow their altars.10
R. Hamnuna said; They11 differ in respect of one who uproots the fundamental injunction, whether of idolatry or other precepts, or who partially annuls and partially confirms [the prohibition of] idolatry, since the Torah said, from the way, implying even part of the way;12 but if he partly confirms and partly annuls any other precept, all agree that he is exempt.
Our Rabbis taught: If one prophesies so as to eradicate a law of the Torah, he is liable [to death]; partially to confirm and partially to annul it. - R. Simeon exempts him. But as for idolatry, even if he said, 'Serve it to-day and destroy it to-morrow,'13 all declare him liable. Now, Abaye agrees with R. Hisda,14 and reconciles this with him; Raba holds with R. Hamnuna, and explains it according to his views. 'Abaye, agrees with R. Hisda, and reconciles it with him.' [Thus:] If one prophesies so as to uproot a law of the Torah, all agree that he is strangled; partially to confirm and partially to annul it, - R. Simeon exempts him, and the Rabbis likewise.15 But as for idolatry, even if he said, 'Serve it to-day and destroy it to-morrow', he is liable - each according to his views.16 'Raba holds with R. Hamnuna, and explains it according to his opinion'; If one prophesies to uproot an injunction of the Torah, whether idolatry or any other precept, he is liable, - each according to his views. Partially to confirm and partially to annul it. R. Simeon declares him exempt, and also the Rabbis.17 But as for idolatry, even if he said, 'Serve it to-day and destroy it to-morrow,' he is liable - each according to his views.
R. Abbahu said in R. Johanan's name; In every matter, if a prophet tells you to transgress the commands of the Torah, obey him,18 with the exception of idolatry; should he even cause the sun to stand still in the middle of the heavens for you [as proof of Divine inspiration], do not hearken to him.
It has been taught; R. Jose the Galilean said: The Torah understood the extreme depths [of depravity inherent in] idolatry,19 therefore the Torah gave him [the false prophet] power therein, that should he even cause the sun to stand still in the middle of the heavens, thou must not hearken to him.20 R. Akiba said; God forbid that the Almighty should cause the sun to stand still at the behest of those who transgressed His will, but [the Torah refers to one] as Hananiah the son of Azur, who was originally a true prophet and [only] subsequently became a false prophet.21
LIKEWISE [WITNESSES, PROVED] ZOMEMIM, [IN AN ACCUSATION OF ADULTERY AGAINST] A PRIEST'S DAUGHTER, - AND HER PARAMOUR. Whence do we know this? - R. Abba the son of R. Ika said; For it has been taught: R. Jose said; Why does Scripture state, THen shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother?22 For all falsified witnesses23 [spoken of] in the Torah, - the zomemim and the paramours are assimilated to them;24 but in the case of a priest's daughter. 'She [profaneth]' teaches, 'She' is executed by burning, but not her paramour. Hence, I do not know whether the zomemim are likened to him or to her:25 but when the Writ saith . . . 'to have done unto his brother', it teaches, to his 'brother,' but not to his sister.26
CHAPTER 11 27
MISHNAH. ALL ISRAEL28 HAVE A PORTION IN THE WORLD TO COME,29 FOR IT IS WRITTEN, THY PEOPLE ARE ALL RIGHTEOUS; THEY SHALL INHERIT THE LAND FOR EVER, THE BRANCH OF MY PLANTING, THE WORK OF MY HANDS, THAT I MAY BE GLORIFIED.'30 BUT THE FOLLOWING HAVE NO PORTION THEREIN: HE WHO MAINTAINS THAT RESURRECTION IS NOT A BIBLICAL DOCTRINE,31 THE TORAH WAS NOT DIVINELY REVEALED, AND AN EPIKOROS.32 R. AKIBA ADDED: ONE WHO READS UNCANONICAL BOOKS.33 ALSO ONE WHO WHISPERS [A CHARM] OVER A WOUND AND SAYS, I WILL BRING NONE OF THESE DISEASES UPON THEE WHICH I BROUGHT UPON THE EGYPTIANS: FOR I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE.'34 ABBA SAUL SAYS: ALSO ONE WHO PRONOUNCES THE DIVINE NAME AS IT IS SPELT.35
THREE KINGS AND FOUR COMMONERS HAVE NO PORTION IN THE WORLD TO COME: THE THREE KINGS ARE JEROBOAM, AHAB, AND MANASSEH.36 R. JUDAH SAID: MANASSEH HATH A PORTION THEREIN, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, 'AND HE PRAYED UNTO HIM, AND WAS INTREATED OF HIM, AND HE HEARKENED TO HIS SUPPLICATION AND THEY RESTORED HIM TO JERUSALEM, TO HIS KINGDOM.37 THEY [THE SAGES] ANSWERED HIM: THEY RESTORED HIM TO HIS KINGDOM, BUT NOT TO [HIS PORTION IN] THE WORLD TO COME. FOUR COMMONERS, VIZ., BALAAM, DOEG, AHITOPHEL, AND GEHAZI.38
GEMARA. And why such [severity]? - A Tanna taught: Since he denied the resurrection of the dead, therefore he shall not share in that resurrection, for in all the measures [of punishment or reward] taken by the Holy One, blessed be He, the Divine act befits the [human] deed.39 As it is written, Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, To-morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gates of Samaria.40 And it is written, Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the Lord made windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.41
(1) R. Simeon and the Rabbis, whether the seducing prophet is stoned or strangled.
(2) Stating in the name of God that idolatry is permissible, or even meritorious, as it is written . . . saying, let us go after other gods. Deut. XIII, 3.
(3) V. infra.
(4) Ibid. 6.
(5) Since min (מן), is partitive and denotes limitation. The verses adduced by the Rabbis and R. Simeon refer to these cases.
(6) E.g., stating as a Divine communication that the Sabbath was no longer to be kept holy.
(7) Because this is prohibited in Deut. XVIII, 20: But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak . . . shall die. Unspecified death means strangulation.
(8) 'To walk' implies to do, not to abstain from doing.
(9) This is deduced in the Sifre by gezerah shawah.
(10) Ibid. XII, 3.
(11) V. p. 597, n. 7.
(12) He regards the deduction of 'to walk', which refers to positive commands, as applying to all precepts.
(13) That is partial annulment.
(14) Missing footnote.
(15) R. Simeon is mentioned for this reason; According to him, the death from which he is exempt is obviously strangulation. Consequently the first clause, teaching that he is liable, must mean to strangulation, and R. Simeon not being mentioned there, that is the general opinion. Had the second clause simply stated that he is exempt, it would imply from stoning or strangulation, according to either the Rabbis or R. Simeon, and hence the liability of the first clause would be the same.
(16) I.e., In the opinion of the Rabbis, to stoning; of R. Simeon, to strangulation.
(17) In R. Hamnuna's view, R. Simeon is particularly mentioned to shew that he is exempt even from strangulation, a more lenient death than stoning; hence certainly from stoning.
(18) E.g., as in the case of Elijah, who ordered sacrifices to be offered on Mount Carmel.
(19) Or, the wiles by which idolatry attracts.
(20) Since Scripture says, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, it follows that the false prophet must have been endowed with such powers.
(21) The 'sign' being given during his first phase, and he supported himself thereon in his second.
(22) Deut. XIX, 19: 'unto his brother' is redundant.
(23) [In cases of incest including adultery Lec. var. who are sentenced to death.]
(24) [I.e., the zomemim, to the death they sought to impose on the women, and the paramours, to that of the women the had dishonoured.]
(25) V. p. 347. n. 2.
(26) I.e., he is executed by her paramour's death, not her own.
(27) In the Jerusalem Talmud this is the tenth chapter, whilst 'These are strangled', which in the Babylonian version is the tenth, is there the eleventh. H. Danby, Sanhedrin, Introduction VIII, 2, defends the order of the Bab. Tal. as correct. Rashi likewise states: 'Having first dealt with those who are executed by Beth din by one of the four modes of execution, the Mishnah proceeds to enumerate those who have no portion in the world to come.' Maimonides in his commentary places this as the tenth chapter (v. also his Introduction to Seder Zera'im), and Asheri does likewise. This order is adopted in the printed editions of the Mishnah and in the Jerusalem Talmud (cp. also Mak. 2a).
(28) This is not a dogmatic assertion that only Israel has a portion in the world to come, but is closely connected with the preceding chapters, and asserts that even those who were executed by Beth din are not shut out from the future world, as is stated in VI, 2.
(29) The conception of what is to be understood by the future world is rather vague in the Talmud. In general, it is the opposite of עולם הזה, this world. In Ber. I, 5, 'this world' is opposed to the days of the Messiah. Whether the Messianic era is thus identical with the future world, and these again with the period of resurrection, is a moot point (v. infra, 91b). The following quotation from G. Moore, 'Judaism' (Vol. 2, p. 389) is apposite: 'Any attempt to systematize the Jewish notions of the hereafter imposes upon them an order and consistency which does not exist in them.'
(30) Isa. LX, 22.
(31) Lit., 'that resurrection is not intimated in the Torah.' The doctrine of resurrection was denied by the Sadducees and the Samaritans. It was to oppose these that the doctrine was emphatically asserted in the second of the Eighteen Benedictions (v. W.O. Oesterley. The Jewish Background of Christian Liturgy, Oxford, 1925, 60ff.). According to the present text, however, the reference is not to one who denies the fact of resurrection, but that it is intimated in the Torah. (On the importance of conceding the Biblical origin of this tenet, v. p. 604, n. 12.) But D.S. omits the phrase as interpolated, and he is supported by the Tosef. XIII, 5.
(32) In the first place, the word denotes an adherent of the Epicurean philosophy, and then, one who lives a licentious and dissolute life. The word has also been derived from פקר (cf. הפקר) to be unbridled, and it is frequently used as a synonym of min (q.v. p. 604, n. 12), heretic. The Gemara defines it as one who speaks disparagingly of the Bible and its disciples.
(33) Lit., 'the external books'. Graetz, Gesch. IV, p. 99, regards this as referring to un-Jewish, particularly Gnostic literature. Weiss takes a similar view. The pernicious influence of Gnosticism, particularly as it impaired the pure monotheism of Judaism, made the Rabbis very anxious to stem its spread, and hence R. Akiba's dictum. (Weiss maintains that Elisha b. Abuia's revolt against the Rabbis was in some measure occasioned by the influence of Gnosticism.) On this view, ordinary reading is referred to. There are indications, however, that something more is meant. The J. Tal. a.l. adds: 'E.g.. the books of Ben Sira and Ben La'anah. But the reading of Homer and all subsequent books is as the reading of a letter.' In spite of the fact that the Bab. Tal. forbids the books of Ben Sira, it is evident from the discussion that all its contents were well-known, and Sira's wisdom is frequently quoted by the Talmudists. It is also difficult to see why greater exception should be taken to Sira than to Homer. To obviate these difficulties the theory has been put forward that the prohibition is against reading these uncanonical works publicly, treating them as the Scripture and expounding them to the community. Private reading, however, would on this theory not come within the ban. (V. Krochmal More Nebuche ha-Zeman, XI, 5.)
(34) Ex. XV, 26.
(35) Lit., 'according to its letters'.
(36) Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who is frequently stigmatised in the Bible as having 'sinned and caused Israel to sin'. Ahab, the son of Omri, a later King; v. I Kings. XXI, 21. Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, King of Judah; v. II Kings. XXI.
(37) II Chron. XXXIII, 13.
(38) Balaam: v. Num. XXXI. 8, 16; Doeg the Edomite: v. I Sam. XXI, 22; Ahitophel: v. II Sam. XV; Gehazi: v. II Kings V, 20.
(39) Lit., 'Measure for measure'.
(40) II Kings VII, 1.
(41) Ibid. 2.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 90b
And it is [further] written, And so it fell unto him: for the people trod upon him in the gate, and he died.1 But perhaps this was the result of Elisha's curse, for Rab Judah said in Rab's name: The curse of a Sage, even if unmerited, is fulfilled? - If so, Scripture should have written, they trod upon him and he died. Why, trod upon him in the gate? - [To show that it was] on account of matters pertaining to the gate.2
How is resurrection derived from the Torah? - As it is written, And ye shall give thereof the Lord's heave offering to Aaron the priest.3 But would Aaron live for ever; he did not even enter Palestine, that terumah4 should be given him?5 But it teaches that he would be resurrected, and Israel give him terumah. Thus resurrection is derived from the Torah. The school of R. Ishmael taught: To Aaron [means to one] like Aaron: just as Aaron was a haber,6 so his sons must be haberim.7 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Jonathan's name: Whence do we know that terumah must not be given to a priest and 'am ha-arez?8 From the verse, Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the Levites, that they might hold fast to the law of the Lord:9 [thus,] whoever holds fast to the law of the Lord, has a portion; whoever does not, has no portion. R. Aha b. Adda said in Rab Judah's name: One who gives terumah to an ignorant priest is as though he had placed it before a lion: just as a lion may possibly tear his prey and eat it and possibly not,10 so is an ignorant priest - he may possibly eat it undefiled and possibly defiled. R. Johanan said: He even causes his [sc. the ignorant priest's] death, for it is written, and die therefore, if they profane it.11 The School of R. Eliezer b. Jacob taught: He also embroils him in a sin of general trespass,12 for it is written, Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass when they eat their holy things.13
It has been taught: R. Simai said: Whence do we learn resurrection from the Torah? - From the verse, And I also have established my covenant with them, [sc. the Patriarchs] to give them the land of Canaan:14 '[to give] you' is not said, but 'to give them' [personally]; thus resurrection is proved from the Torah.15
(Mnemonic: Zedek, Gam, Geshem, Kam.)16 Sectarians [minim]17 asked Rabban Gamaliel: Whence do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, will resurrect the dead? He answered them from the Torah, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, yet they did not accept it [as conclusive proof]. 'From the Torah': for it is written, And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers and rise up [again].18 'But perhaps,' said they to him, '[the verse reads], and the people will rise up?' 'From the prophets': as it is written, Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out its dead.19 But perhaps this refers to the dead whom Ezekiel resurrected?20 'From the Hagiographa': as it is written, And the roof of thy mouth, like the best wine of my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.21 But perhaps it means merely that their lips will move, even as R. Johanan said: If a halachah is said in any person's name in this world, his lips speak in the grave, as it is written, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak? [Thus he did not satisfy them] until he quoted this verse, which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give to them;22 not to you, but to them is said; hence resurrection is derived from the Torah. Others say that he proved it from this verse, But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day;23 just as you are all alive to-day, so shall you all live again in the world to come.24
The Romans asked R. Joshua b. Hananiah: Whence do we know that the the Holy One, blessed he He, will resurrect the dead and knows the future? - He replied: Both are deduced from this verse, And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, and rise up again; and this people shall go a whoring etc.25 But perhaps 'will rise up, and go a whoring'? - He replied: Then at least you have the answer to half, viz., that He knows the future. It has been stated likewise: R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai: Whence do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, will resurrect the dead and knoweth the future? From, Behold, Thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, and . . . rise again etc.
It has been taught: R. Eliezer, son of R. Jose, said: In this matter I refuted the books of the sectarians,26 who maintained that resurrection is not deducible from the Torah. I said to them: You have falsified your Torah,27 yet it has availed you nothing. For ye maintain that resurrection is not a Biblical doctrine, but it is written, [Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment], that soul shall utterly be cut off28 [Heb. hikkareth tikkareth]; his iniquity shall be upon him.29 Now, [seeing that] he shall utterly be cut off in this world, when shall his iniquity be upon him? surely in the next world.30 R. Papa said to Abaye: Could he not have deduced both [this world, and the next] from he shall be utterly cut off?31 - They would have replied: The Torah employed human phraseology.
This is disputed by Tannaim: That soul shall utterly be cut off [hikkareth] he shall be cut off in this world and [tikkareth] in the next: this is R. Akiba's view. R. Ishmael said: But the verse has previously stated, he reproacheth the Lord, and that soul shall be cut off are there then three worlds? But [interpret thus]: and [that soul] shall be cut off - in this world: hikkareth, he is to be cut off - in the next; whilst as for [the repetition] tikkareth, that is because the Torah employs human phraseology.32 How do both R. Ishmael and R. Akiba utilize his iniquity shall be upon him? - For that which has been taught: I might think that [this is so] even if he repented: therefore Scripture saith, his iniquity is upon him: I decreed [that he shall be cut off] only if his iniquity is still in him. Queen Cleopatra33 asked R. Meir, 'I know that the dead will revive, for it is written, And they [sc. the righteous] shall [in the distant future] blossom forth out of the city [Jerusalem] like the grass of the earth.34 But when they arise, shall they arise nude or in their garments?' - He replied, 'Thou mayest deduce by an a fortiori argument [the answer] from a wheat grain: if a grain of wheat, which is buried naked, sprouteth forth in many robes, how much more so the righteous, who are buried in their raiment!'
An emperor said to Rabban Gamaliel: 'Ye maintain that the dead will revive; but they turn to dust, and can dust come to life?'
(1) Ibid. 20.
(2) I.e., Elisha had prophesied that wheat and barley would be sold cheaply at the gate of Samaria, and he denied it.
(3) Num. XVIII, 28.
(4) V. Glos.
(5) The priestly dues were rendered only in Palestine.
(6) V. Glos.
(7) Hence this verse is to teach that the priestly dues are not to be rendered to an ignoramus, and affords no basis for resurrection.
(8) Lit., 'people of the earth,' peasants, and then denoting the ignorant and irreligious in general.
(9) II Chron. XXXI, 4.
(10) I.e., when a lion steals an animal and mauls it, we do not know whether it was to appease his hunger, or merely to satisfy his blood lust.
(11) Lev. XXII, 9.
(12) I.e., a sin which leads to guilt in a number of ways.
(13) Ibid. 16.
(14) Ex. VI, 4.
(15) The promise could be literally fulfilled only by the Patriarchs' resurrection.
(16) An apt mnemonic, meaning lit., 'As to the Righteous, also the Body Riseth.'
(17) Term used generally as a designation for Judeo-Christians. Herford, Christianity in the Talmud, pp. 232-4, conjectures that this discussion took place in Rome, whither R. Gamaliel journeyed in 95 C.E., since this is followed by 'The Romans asked R. Joshua.' He maintains that both sides accepted the fact of resurrection of the dead, the dispute being whether it is intimated in the Torah. The importance of the debate lay in the fact that the Christians maintained that the resurrection of the dead was consequent upon the resurrection of Christ this doctrine of course would be weakened if it could be shewn that resurrection was already taught in the Torah.
(18) Deut. XXXI, 16.
(19) Isa. XXVI, 19.
(20) V. Ezek. XXVII.
(21) Cant. VII, 9. As the entire Song is interpreted by the Rabbis as a dialogue between God and Israel, the last phrase is understood to refer to the dead, whom God will cause to speak again.
(22) Deut. XI, 21.
(23) Ibid. IV, 4.
(24) This is deduced from 'this day', which is superfluous.
(25) Deut. XXXI, 16.
(26) Herford, op. cit. states that מינים is an error for כותים Cutheans, Samaritans, as is proved by parallel passages in the Sif.; cf. 87a, and D.S.
(27) [The words 'to them', from which R. Gamaliel (p. 605) deduced the resurrection are left out in the Samaritan text.]
(28) הכרת תכרת.
(29) Num. XV, 31.
(30) I.e., at the resurrection.
(31) V. next passage in text.
(32) V. supra 64b.
(33) [Not of 'Anthony and Cleopatra' fame. Bacher, Agada der Tanaiten, I, 68, n. 2, regards קליאופטרא מלכתא (Cleopatra, the Queen) as a corruption of פטרוקי דכותאי the Patriarch of the Samaritans (v. Gen. Rab. XCIV, 6). Cp. Koh. Rab. V, 12, where the disputant of the belief of the resurrection of the dead with R. Meir is a Samaritan, כותי.]
(34) Ps. LXXII, 16: the bracketed addition gives the sense according to Rabbinic interpretation; v. Keth. 111a.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 91a
Thereupon his [the emperor's] daughter said to him [the Rabbi]: 'Let me answer him: In our town there are two potters; one fashions [his products] from water, and the other from clay: who is the more praiseworthy?' 'He who fashions them from water, he replied.1 'If he can fashion [man] from water,2 surely he can do so from clay!'3
The School of R. Ishmael taught: It can be deduced from glassware: if glassware, which, though made by the breath of human beings,4 can yet be repaired when broken;5 then how much more so man, created by the breath of the Holy One, blessed be He.
A sectarian [min]6 said to R. Ammi: 'Ye maintain that the dead will revive; but they turn to dust, and can dust come to life?' - He replied: I will tell thee a parable. This may be compared to a human king who commanded his servants to build him a great palace in a place where there was no water or earth [for making bricks]. So they went and built it. But after some time it collapsed, so he commanded them to rebuild it in a place where water and earth was to be found; but they replied, 'We cannot'. Thereupon he became angry with them and said, 'If ye could build in a place containing no water or earth, surely ye can where there is!'7 'Yet,' [continued R. Ammi], 'If thou dost not believe, go forth in to the field and see a mouse, which to-day is but part flesh and part dust,8 and yet by to-morrow has developed and become all flesh. And shouldst thou say, 'That takes a long time,'9 go up to the mountains, where thou wilt see but one snail, whilst by to-morrow the rain has descended and it is covered with snails.'10
A sectarian [min] said to Gebiha b. Pesisa, 'Woe to you, ye wicked, who maintain that the dead will revive; if even the living die, shall the dead live!' He replied, 'Woe to you, ye wicked, who maintain that the dead will not revive: if what was not,[now] lives, - surely what has lived, will live again!' 'Thou hast called me wicked,' said he, 'If I stood up I could kick thee and strip thee of thy hump!11 'If thou couldst do that,' he retorted, 'thou wouldst be called a great doctor, and command large fees.'
Our Rabbis taught: On the twenty-fourth of Nisan12 the revenue farmers13 were removed from Judah and Jerusalem. For when the Africans14 came to plead against the Jews before Alexander of Macedon, they said, 'Canaan belongs to us, as it is written, The land of Canaan with the coasts thereof;15 and Canaan was the ancestor of these people [i.e., ourselves].' Thereupon Gebiha b. Pesisa16 said to the Sages, 'Authorise me to go and plead against them before Alexander of Macedon: should they defeat me, then say, "ye have defeated but an ignorant man of us;" whilst if I defeat them, then say to them thus: "The Law of Moses has defeated you." 'So they authorised him, and he went and pleaded against them. 'Whence do ye adduce your proof?' asked he. 'From the Torah,' they replied. 'I too,' said he, 'will bring you proof only from the Torah, for it is written, And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.17 Now if a slave acquires property, to whom does he belong, and whose is the property?18 Moreover, it is now many years that ye have not served us.'19 Then Alexander said to them, 'Answer him!' 'Give us three days' time,' they pleaded. So he gave them a respite; they sought but found no answer. Immediately thereon they fled, leaving behind their sown fields and their planted vineyards. And that year was a Sabbatical year.
On another occasion the Egyptians came in a lawsuit against the Jews before Alexander of Macedon. They pleaded thus: 'Is it not written, And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, and they lent them [gold and precious stones, etc.]20 Then return us the gold and silver which ye took!' Thereupon Gebiha b. Pesisa said to the Sages, 'Give me permission to go and plead against them before Alexander of Macedon: should they defeat me, then say, "Ye have merely defeated an ignorant man amongst us;" whilst if I defeat them then say, "The Law of Moses has defeated you."' So they gave him permission, and he went and pleaded against them. 'Whence do ye adduce your proof?' asked he, 'From the Torah,' they replied. 'Then I too,' said he, 'will bring you proof only from the Torah, for it is written, Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.21 Pay us for the toil of six hundred thousand men whom ye enslaved for four hundred thirty years.' Then King Alexander said to them, 'Answer him!' 'Give us three days' time,' they begged. So he gave them a respite; they sought but found no answer. Straightway they fled, leaving behind their sown fields and planted vineyards. And that year was a Sabbatical year.22
On another occasion the Ishmaelites and the Ketureans23 came for a lawsuit against the Jews before Alexander of Macedon. They pleaded thus: 'Canaan belongs jointly to all of us, for it is written,, Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son;24 and it is [further] written, And these are the generations of Isaac,' Abraham's son.'25 Thereupon Gebiha b. Pesisa said to the Sages: 'Give me permission to go and plead against them before Alexander of Macedon. Should they defeat me then say, "Ye have defeated one of our ignorant men; whilst if I defeat them, say, "The Law of Moses has defeated you."' So they gave him permission, and he went and pleaded against them. 'Whence do ye adduce your proof?' asked he. 'From the Torah,' they replied. 'Then I too,' said he, 'will bring you proof only from the Torah, for it is written, And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts:26 if a father made a bequest to his children in his lifetime and sent them away from each other, has one any claim upon the other? [Obviously not.]'
What gifts [did he give them]? - R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: This teaches that he imparted to them [the secrets of] the unhallowed arts.27
Antoninus28 said to Rabbi: 'The body and the soul can both free themselves from judgment. Thus, the body can plead: The soul has sinned, [the proof being] that from the day it left me I lie like a dumb stone in the grave [powerless to do aught]. Whilst the soul can say: The body has sinned, [the proof being] that from the day I departed from it I fly about in the air like a bird [and commit no sin].' He replied, 'I will tell thee a parable. To what may this be compared? To a human king who owned a beautiful orchard which contained
(1) This being far more difficult.
(2) Vis:., the sperm.
(3) I.e., the dust into which the dead are turned.
(4) A reference to the blowing of glass.
(5) By being melted down again.
(6) V. Herford, op. cit. p. 281. In R. Ammi's time (end of the third and beginning of the fourth centuries) there was no class of heretic which denied resurrection. The Sadducees no longer existed, whilst the Gnostics did not deny it. Herford therefore suggests that R. Ammi's opponent was really a heathen.
(7) Thus if God can make man without these, surely He will be able to resuscitate their dust.
(8) l.e., only partly formed, it being believed that there is a species of mice developing from the earth. Maim. on Hullin IX, 6 states that many people have claimed to have seen a mouse, part earth and part clay.
(9) Whereas resurrection must happen in a moment.
(10) Thus proving that God can create life with great speed.
(11) He was hunchbacked.
(12) The first month of the Jewish calendar.
(13) [דימוסנאי ** = publican; Graetz, Geschichte, III, 2, pp. 573-4. connects this celebration with the defeat and retreat of Florus from Jerusalem, when the people ceased to pay tribute to Caesar (v. Josephus, Wars, II, 16, 5). For other views, v. HUCA, VII-VIII, 302ff.]
(14) The Phoenicians, the descendants of Ham through Canaan (v. Gen. X, 15) and who ruled over a large part of N. Africa (Carthage).
(15) Num. XXXIV, 2.
(16) [A legendary character traditionally contemporary with Alexander the Great.]
(17) Gen. IX, 25.
(18) Obviously to his owner. Therefore, even if the land was given to the Canaanites, it belongs to their masters, the Jews, descendants of Shem.
(19) So that you owe us your toil too for all that time.
(20) Ex. XII, 36.
(21) Ibid. 40.
(22) [On the dispute between the Egyptians and Jews, v. Levi, REJ. LXIII, 211ff.l
(23) V. Gen. XXV, 1-4.
(24) Ibid. 12.
(25) Ibid. 19. Hence, both being sons of Abraham, they had equal claims upon the land. For the same reason the Ketureans too made a claim.
(26) Ibid. 5f.
(27) I.e., the knowledge of sorcery, demons, etc.
(28) Antoninus has been variously identified: with Marcus Aurelius (Rapport); Severus (Graetz, who, however, assumes that it was the second R. Judah the Prince who was the friend of Antoninus); Caracalla (Jast. and N. Krochmal), and others; v. 'A. Z. 10a, and J. E. I, 656.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 91b
splendid figs. Now, he appointed two watchmen therein, one lame and the other blind. [One day] the lame man said to the blind, "I see beautiful figs in the orchard. Come and take me upon thy shoulder, that we may procure and eat them." So the lame bestrode the blind, procured and ate them. Some time after, the owner of the orchard came and inquired of them, "Where are those beautiful figs?" The lame man replied, "Have I then feet to walk with?" The blind man replied, "Have I then eyes to see with?" What did he do? He placed the lame upon the blind and judged them together. So will the Holy One, blessed be He, bring the soul, [re]place it in the body, and judge them together, as it is written, He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people:1 He shall call to the heavens from above-this refers to the soul; and to the earth, that he may judge his people-to the body.'
Antoninus said to Rabbi, 'Why does the sun rise in the east and set in the west?' He replied, 'Were it reversed, thou wouldst ask the same question.' 'This is my question,' said he, 'why set in the west?'2 He answered, 'In order to salute its Maker, as it is written, And the host of the heavens make obeisance to thee.'3 'Then,' said he to him, 'it should go only as far as mid-heaven, pay homage, and then re-ascend?'4 - 'On account of the workers and wayfarers.'5
Antoninus also said to Rabbi, 'When is the soul placed in man; as soon as it is decreed [that the sperm shall be male or female, etc.], or when [the embryo] is actually formed?' He replied, 'From the moment of formation.' He objected: 'Can a piece of meat be unsalted for three days without becoming putrid?6 But it must be from the moment that [God] decrees [its destiny].' Rabbi said: This thing Antoninus taught me, and Scripture supports him, for it is written, And thy decree hath preserved my spirit [i.e., my soul].7
Antoninus also enquired of Rabbi, 'From what time does the Evil Tempter hold sway over man; from the formation [of the embryo], or from [its] issuing forth [into the light of the world]?! - 'From the formation,' he replied. 'If so,' he objected, 'it would rebel in its mother's womb and go forth. But it is from when it issues.' Rabbi said: This thing Antoninus taught me, and Scripture supports him, for it is said, At the door [i.e.,where the babe emerges] sin lieth in wait.8
Resh Lakish opposed [two verses to each other]. It is written, [I will gather them . . .] with the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together;9 whilst it is also written, Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing, for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.10 How so?11 - They shall rise with their defects and then be healed.
'Ulla opposed [two verses]. It is written, He will destroy death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;12 whilst elsewhere it is written, For the child shall die an hundred years old . . . there shall be no more thence an infant of days!13 - It is no difficulty: the one refers to Jews, the other to heathens. But what business have heathens there?14 - [The reference is to] those of whom it is written, and strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.15
R. Hisda opposed [two verses]. It is written, Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign;16 whilst [elsewhere] it is written, Moreover 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 seven days.17 - It is no difficulty: the latter refers to the Messianic era, the former to the world to come.18 And according to Samuel, who maintained, This world differs from the Messianic era only in respect of the servitude of the Diaspora, it is still no difficulty: the latter refers to the camp of the righteous, the former to the camp of the Divine Presence.19
Raba opposed [two verses]: It is written, I kill, and I make alive;20 whilst it is also written, I wound, and I heal!21 - The Holy One, blessed be He, said, What I slay, I resurrect [i.e.,in the same state], and then, what I wound, I heal [after their revival].
Our Rabbis taught: I kill, and I make alive. I might interpret, I kill one person and give life to another, as the world goes on:22 therefore the Writ states, I wound, and I heal. Just as the wounding and healing [obviously] refer to the same person, so putting to death and bringing to life refer to the same person. This refutes those who maintain that resurrection Is not intimated in the Torah.
It has been taught: R. Meir said, Whence do we know resurrection from the Torah? From the verse, Then shall Moses and the children of Israel sing this song unto the Lord:23 not sang but shall sing24 is written: thus resurrection is taught in the Torah.25 Likewise thou readest, Then shall Joshua build an altar unto the Lord God of Israel:26 not 'built', but shall build is written: thus resurrection is intimated in the Torah. If so, Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab:27 does that too mean that he shall build?28 But [there] the Writ regards him as though he had built.29
R. Joshua b. Levi said: Whence is resurrection derived from the Torah? From the verse, Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they shall ever praise thee. Selah.30 Not 'praised thee,' but they shall praise thee is stated: thus resurrection is taught in the Torah.
R. Joshua b. Levi also said: Whoever uttereth song [of praise to God] in this world shall be privileged to do so in the next world too, as it is written, Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they shall ever praise thee. Selah.
R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: Whence do we learn resurrection from the Torah? - From the verse, Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing.31 Not 'sang,' but shall sing is written: thus resurrection is derived from the Torah.
Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Whoever witholdeth a halachah from his disciple is as though he had robbed him of his ancestral heritage, as it is written, Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob:32 it is an inheritance destined for all Israel from the six days of Creation. R. Hanah b. Bizna said in the name of R. Simeon the Pious: Whoever withholds a halachah from a disciple, even the embryo in its mother's womb curses him, as it is written, He that withholdeth bar [corn] yikkebuhu le'om
(1) Ps. L, 4.
(2) I.e., rising in any quarter, it should return to the same for setting-a question possible, of course, since the earth was assumed to be flat.
(3) Neh. IX. 6. Thus, the sun having reached the west, where the Divine Presence is, sinks down in homage, and therefore does not return to the east to set.
(4) Because it is not etiquette to go right up to one in saluting him.
(5) Were the sun to set suddenly in mid-heaven, i.e., at midday, they would have no sign when to cease work or halt.
(6) Likewise, if the sperm-cell is not immediately endowed with a soul, it would become putrid, and then could not fertilize the ovum.
(7) Job X, 12.
(8) Gen. IV, 7.
(9) Jer. XXXI, 8; implying that they shall retain their defects at the resurrection.
(10) Isa. XXXV, 6.
(11) I.e., how reconcile these verses?
(12) Ibid. XXV, 9.
(13) Isa. LXV, 20. The order of the phrases has been reversed here.
(14) I.e., in the re-established state after the resurrection.
(15) Ibid. LXI, 5.
(16) Ibid. XXIV, 23.
(17) Ibid. XXX, 26.
(18) Then the sun and the moon shall be ashamed, i.e., fade into insignificance - because of the light radiating from the righteous (Rashi).
(19) Both verses referring to the world to come.
(20) Deut. XXXII, 39. This implies, I resurrect him just as he was at death: if one died with a blemish, he is resurrected with it too.
(21) Ibid. This implies that at the resurrection all wounds, i.e., blemishes, are healed.
(22) People dying and others being born.
(23) Ex. XV, I.
(24) Lit. rendering of ישיר yashir.
(25) For the verse implies that they shall sing in the future. As they did not sing a second time in this life, it must mean after their resurrection.
(26) Josh. VIII, 30.
(27) I Kings XI, 7.
(28) In the three quotations the imperfect tense is used, which generally, though not always, connotes the future in Heb.
(29) The imperfect there denotes that he merely wished to build, but so heinous is even the mere intention, that he is stigmatised as having actually done so. But in the first two verses the imperfect cannot bear that meaning, since Moses did sing, and Joshua did build. Therefore the future meaning must be complementary to the past, and the imperfect implies that as they sang once, so will they again.
(30) Ps. LXXXIV, 5.
(31) Isa. LII, 8.
(32) Deut. XXXIII, 4.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 92a
:1 'le'om' can only mean 'embryo,' as it is written, And one le'om shall be stronger than the other people;2 and 'yikkebuhu' can only denote cursing, as it is written, how shall I curse [ekkob]3 whom God hath not cursed?4 and 'bar' can refer to nothing but the Torah, as it is written, Nourish yourselves bar5 [on the Torah] lest he be angry.6 'Ulla b. Ishmael said: He is riddled with holes like a sieve:7 here is written, 'the people yikkebuhu;' whilst elsewhere is written, wa-yikkob [and he bored] a hole in the lid of it.'8 Abaye said: Like a fuller's trough.9 But if he teaches him, what is his reward? - Raba said in the name of R. Shesheth: He will receive blessings like Joseph's, as it is written, but blessing shall be upon the head of mashbir [him who selleth it]:10 'mashbir' can only refer to Joseph, as it is said, And Joseph was the Governor over the land, and it was he ha-mashbir [that sold] to all the people of the land.11
R. Shesheth said: Whoever teaches the Torah in this world will be privileged to teach it in the next, as it is written, And he that watereth shall water again too.12
Raba said: Whence is resurrection derived from the Torah? From the verse, Let Reuben live, and not die:13 meaning, let Reuben live, in this world, and not die, in the next.14 Rabina said, [it is derived] from this verse, And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.15 R. Ashi said: From this verse, But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.16
R. Eleazar said: Every leader who leads the community with mildness will be privileged to lead them in the next world [too], as it is written, for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them; even by the springs of water shall he guide them.17
R. Eleazar also said: Great is knowledge,18 since it was placed between two Letters,19 as it is written, For a God of knowledge is the Lord.20 R. Eleazar also said: Great is the Sanctuary, since it was placed between two Letters, as it is written, Thou hast made for thee, O Lord, a Sanctuary: O Lord, thy hands have established it.21 R. Adda Karhina demurred: If so, then great is vengeance, since it was placed between two Letters, as it is written, O God of vengeance, O Lord: O God of vengeance, manifest thyself!22 - He replied: For its purposes it is so indeed. Even as 'Ulla said: Why these two manifestations?23 One as a measure of reward [for the righteous] and the other as a measure of punishment [for the wicked].
R. Eleazar also said: Whenever one has knowledge, it is as though the Temple was built in his days, since each [sc. knowledge and the Temple] was placed between two letters.
R. Eleazar also said: Whoever has knowledge will eventually be wealthy, as it is written, And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.24 R. Eleazar also said: Whosoever lacks knowledge, one may have no mercy upon him, as it is written, For it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy upon them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.25
R. Eleazar also said: Whoever gives of his bread to one who lacks knowledge will be assailed by suffering, as it is written, They that eat thy bread have laid mazor [a wound]26 under thee: there is no understanding in him;27 'mazor' can refer only to suffering, as it is written, When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his mezoro [suffering].28
R. Eleazar also said: Whoever lacks knowledge will ultimately be exiled, for it is written, Therefore my people are gone into exile, because they have no knowledge.29
R. Eleazar also said: The house in which the words of the Torah are not heard at night shall be consumed by fire, as it is written, All darkness is hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; he grudgeth [sarid]30 him that is left in his tabernacle:31 now, 'sarid' can refer only to the scholar, as it is written, And in those left [u-base-ridim]32 whom the Lord shall call.33
R. Eleazar also said: Whoever does not benefit a scholar with his goods will never see a sign of blessing, as it is written, There be none ['sarid'] that remaineth to eat it; therefore shall he not hope for prosperity.34 now 'sarid' refers to none but the scholar, as it is written, And in those left whom the Lord shall call.35
R. Eleazar also said: He who leaves no bread on the table [at the end of his meal] will never see a sign of blessing, as it is written, There be none of his meat left; therefore shall he not hope for his prosperity.36 But did not R. Eleazar say: He who leaves crumbs on his table is as though he engaged in idol worship, for it is written, That prepare a table for Gad, and that furnish the drink offering unto Meni?37 - It is no difficulty: in the latter case a whole loaf is left therewith [i.e., with the pieces],38 but in the former there is no whole loaf left therewith.39
R. Eleazar also said: Whoever dissembles in his speech is as though he had engaged in idolatry: here it is written, And I shall seem to him as a deceiver,40 and elsewhere it is said, They are vanity, and the work of deceivers.41
R. Eleazar also said: Whoever gazes upon one's shame,42 his virility shall be emptied,43 for it is written, Shame shall empty thy bow [i.e., strength].44
R. Eleazar also said: Be always humble:45 so shalt thou endure. R. Zera said: We have learned likewise. The windows of a dark house may not be opened to examine its leprosy.46 This proves it.
R. Tabi said in R. Josia's name: What is meant by, The grave; and the barren womb; and the earth that is not filled by water:47 now, what connection has the grave with the womb? But it is to teach thee: just as the womb receives and brings forth,48 so does the grave too receive and bring forth.49 Now, does this not furnish us with an a fortiori argument? If the womb, which receives in silence, yet brings forth amid great cries [of jubilation]; then the grave, which receives the dead amid cries [of grief], will much more so bring them forth amid great cries [of joy]! This refutes those who maintain that resurrection is not intimated in the Torah. [The] Tanna debe Eliyyahu [states]: The righteous, whom the Holy One, blessed be He, will resurrect, will not revert to dust,50 for it is said, And it shall come to pass. that he that is left in Zion and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:51 just as the Holy One endures for ever, so shall they endure for ever.
(1) יקבהו לאום translated in the versions, the people shall curse him. Prov. XI, 26.
(2) Gen. XXV, 23: as Jacob and Esau were not yet born, it must refer to them in their embryonic state.
(4) Num. XXIII, 8.
(5) נשקו nashku, translated,'do homage'(A.J.V.) or 'kiss'(A.V.)is here connected with ישק and by thy command shall my people be provided for (Gen. XLI, 40).
(6) Ps. II, 12.
(7) I.e., with ridicule and curses. According to Maharsha it denotes that all his knowledge will escape him as corn through a sieve, or water through a fuller's trough.
(8) II Kings XII, 10.
(9) Upon which the washing is placed for the water to drain off; hence it is perforated.
(10) משביר Prov. Xl, 26.
(11) Gen. XLII, 6.
(12) Prov. XI, 25. Having watered i.e., taught, in this world, he will do so in the next too.
(13) Deut. XXXIII, 6.
(14) But rise at the resurrection: it is so interpreted on account of its redundancy.
(15) Dan. XII, 2.
(16) Ibid. 13.
(17) Isa. XLIX, 10.
(18) Knowledge in the sense of moral discernment.
(19) I.e., two Divine Names.
(20) 1 Sam. II, 3.
(21) Ex. XV, 17.
(22) Ps. XCIV, 1.
(23) The verse being divided into two stichs, 'manifest thyself' is applied to each separately.
(24) Prov. XXIV, 4.
(25) Isa. XXVII, 11
(27) Obad. I,7.
(28) מזורו Hos.V,I3.
(29) Isa.V, 13.
(31) Job XX, 26.
(33) Joel III, 5: the first part of the verse, all darkness is hid etc., is interpreted as, 'his secret places are not illumined by the study of the law;' the last part, he grudgeth etc., as 'he looks with disfavour upon any student who enters his house for a meal.'
(34) Job XX, 21.
(35) Joel III, 5.
(36) Job XX, 21.
(37) Isa. LXV, 11. Gad and Meni are the names of two idols; v. p. 432, n. 4.
(38) Then it appears to have been set specially for these deities.
(39) So that the pieces appear to have been left for the poor.
(40) Gen. XXVII, 12.
(41) Jer. X, 15. The reference is to idols.
(42) Either the pudenda, or metaphorically, whoever lusts after a married woman.
(43) I.e., he will lose the power to beget children.
(44) Hab. III, 9.
(45) Lit., 'obscure'.
(46) If leprosy breaks out in the walls of a house and the priest, coming to examine it, (v. Lev. XIV, 36) finds the house too dark for a proper survey, the windows must not be opened to allow the light to enter, as it must be examined by its usual light. Thus its darkness protects it, since in the absence of a proper examination it cannot be pronounced unclean. Similarly, the darkness in which a man wraps himself, i.e., obscurity and humility, protects his life.
(47) Prov. XXX, 16.
(48) The child.
(49) The dead are laid there, and will be taken out at the resurrection.
(50) In the interval between the Messianic era and the time of the world to come; but their flesh will remain intact upon them until they live again in the future.
(51) Isa. IV, 3.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 92b
And should you ask, in those years during which the Almighty will renew his world, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,1 what will the righteous do?2 - The Lord will make them wings like eagles', and they will fly above the water, as it is written, Therefore we will not fear when the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.3 And should you imagine that they will suffer pain - therefore Scripture saith, But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.4 But should we not deduce [the reverse] from the dead whom Ezekiel resurrected?5 - He accepts the view that in the truth [the story of the resurrection of the dry bones] was [but] a parable.6 For it was taught: R. Eliezer said: The dead whom Ezekiel resurrected stood up, uttered song, and [immediately] died. What song did they utter? - The Lord slayeth in righteousness and reviveth in mercy.7 R. Joshua said: They sang thus, The Lord killeth and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.8 R. Judah said: It was truth; it was a parable. R. Nehemiah said to him: If truth, why a parable; and if a parable, why truth? - But [say thus]: In the truth there was but a parable.9
R. Eliezer the son of R. Jose the Galilean said: The dead whom Ezekiel revived went up to Palestine, married wives and begat sons and daughters. R. Judah b. Bathyra rose up and said: I am one of their descendants, and these are the tefillin10 which my grandfather left me [as an heirloom] from them.
Now, who were they whom Ezekiel revived? - Rab said: They were the Ephraimites, who counted [the years] to the end [of the Egyptian bondage], but erred therein,11 as it is written, And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bared his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son. And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezzer, and Elead, whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew.12 And it is written, And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.13
Samuel said: They were those who denied resurrection, as it is written, Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.14
R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: They were the men who lacked the [vitalizing] sap of good deeds, as it is written, O ye dry bones, head the word of the Lord.15
R. Isaac Nappaha said: They were the men who covered the whole Temple with abominations and creeping things, as it is written, So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about:16 whilst there [in the case of the dry bones] it is written, And caused me to pass by them round about.17
R. Johanan said: They were the dead of the plain of Dura.18 R. Johanan also said: The plain of Dura extends from the river Eshel to Rabbath. Amongst the Israelites whom Nebuchadnezzar drove into exile there were young men who shamed the sun by their beauty. The Chaldean women, looking upon them, were inflamed with passion. Their husbands, being informed thereof, reported it to the king, who ordered the execution of these exiles; yet they still burned with desire:19 so by royal command they were trampled [out of recognition].
Our Rabbis taught: When the wicked Nebuchadnezzar threw Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah into the fiery furnace, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Ezekiel: 'Go and resurrect the dead in the plain of Dura.' This being done, the bones came and smote the wicked man upon his face. 'What kind of bones are these!' he exclaimed. They [his courtiers] answered him, 'Their companion20 is resurrecting the dead in the plain of Dura.' Thereupon he broke into utterance, How great are His signs, and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation!21 R. Isaac said: May molten gold be poured into the mouth of that wicked man [sc. Nebuchadnezzar]! Had not an angel come and struck him upon his mouth he would have eclipsed22 all the songs and praises uttered by David in the Book of Psalms.23
Our Rabbis taught: Six miracles were wrought on that day, viz.: [i] The furnace floated upward;24 [ii] its walls [partly] fell in;25 [iii] its foundations crumbled [with the heat];25 [iv] the image [which Nebuchadnezzar had set up to be worshipped] was overthrown upon its face; [v] four royal suites were burned;26 [vi] Ezekiel resurrected the dead in the valley of Dura. All these are [known by] tradition, but [that pertaining to] the four royal suites is Scriptural, for it is written, Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, [to come to the dedication of the image etc.];27 and it is further written, There are certain Jews [. . . serve not thy god etc.];28 also, And the princes, governors and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whom the fire had no power.29
The School of R. Eliezer b. Jacob taught: Even in times of danger one should not lay aside his insignia of office, for it is written, Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments etc.30
R. Johanan said:
(1) Isa. II, 11, i.e., during this era of change the universe will be totally destroyed.
(2) [Where will they be in this period of complete desolation?]
(3) Ps. XLIV, 3.
(4) Isa. XL, 31. [For parallel passages in the book as we have it, v. Friedmann's edition, Introduction, p. 46.]
(5) Just as they died again, so will the righteous whom God will resurrect also return to dust.
(6) I.e., a symbol of the revival of the Jewish State.
(7) Cp. I Sam. II, 6.
(9) I.e., their resurrection did in fact take place, and that was a foreshadowing of the renaissance of the Jewish people.
(10) Phylacteries, v. Glos.
(11) They counted the four hundred years foretold by God to Abraham (Gen. XV, 13) as commencing there and then, whereas in reality they dated from Isaac's birth, which according to tradition took place thirty years later. As a result, they left Egypt thirty years before the rest of Israel.
(12) I Chron. VII, 20f.
(13) Ibid. 22.
(14) Ezek. XXXVII, 11. Though they personally were not entitled to resurrection, since they denied it (v. supra 90a), yet the miracle was wrought for them that the belief might become established for Israel.
(15) Ibid. 4. Though lacking good deeds to their credit, they were resurrected to shew that the wicked, provided they deny not resurrection, after undergoing their punishment, will participate therein (Maharsha).
(16) lbid. VIII, 10. The identification is based on the use of 'round about' in both narratives. In his view even those who in their despair surrender themselves to abominable worship are not excluded from the bliss of resurrection. (Adapted from Maharsha.)
(17) Ibid. XXXVII, 2.
(18) [Dan. III, 1. The plain of Dura has not yet been identified. Obermeyer, op. cit. 310, suggests a locality near Nahr Dura, a small river which flows into the Euphrates, some six miles south of Babylon.]
(19) Lit., 'discharged issue'.
(20) Lit., 'The companion of these', (viz., of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah).
(21) Dan. III, 23.
(22) Lit., 'shamed'.
(23) On seeing the great miracle performed for Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. This being praiseworthy, R. Isaac expressed his curse euphemistically.
(24) It was originally built in the earth, but floated upwards, that all might see the miracle.
(25) For the same reason.
(26) Other versions, based on different readings: his (Nebuchadnezzar's) pride crumbled, (he confessed his wrong); the lime in it melted and burned those who cast them in (v. Rashi).
(27) Ie., four kings and their retinues, who had assisted Nebuchadnezzar in casting them into the furnace.
(28) Ibid. 2.
(29) Ibid. 27. Those who are omitted in this verse from the enumeration of v. 2 were burned.
(30) Ibid. 21. These were garments specially worn by men in their exalted position, and they did not doff them, though cast into the furnace.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 93a
The righteous are greater than the ministering angels, for it is said, He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the son of God.1
R. Tanhum b. Hanilai said: When Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah emerged unscathed from the fiery furnace, all the nations of the world came and smote the enemies of Israel2 upon their faces, saying to them, 'Ye have such a God, yet ye worship an image!' Immediately they [the apostate Jews] opened their mouths and confessed, O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us shamefacedness, as at this day.3
R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Jonathan's name: What is meant by, I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof?4 'I said, I will go up to the palm tree, [etc.]' this refers to Israel;5 but now I grasped but the one bough of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
R. Johanan said: What is meant by, I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom, etc.?6 What means, 'I saw by night'? - The Holy One, blessed be He, wished to turn the whole world into night,7 'but behold, A man riding'. 'Man' can refer to none but the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written, The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name;8 'upon a red horse' - the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to turn the whole world to blood;9 but as soon as he looked upon Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah his anger was appeased, for it is written, and he stood among [hadasim]10 the myrtle trees that were in the deep. Now 'hadasim' refers but to the righteous, as it is written, And he brought up Hadassah;11 and 'deep' refers to Babylon, as it is said, that sayeth to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers.12 Straightway He who was filled with wrath was partially calmed, and then completely pacified.13 R. Papa said: This shows that a white horse is a favourable omen in a dream.14 Whither did the Rabbis go?15 - Rab said: They died through an evil eye;16 Samuel said: They drowned in the spittle;17 R. Johanan said: They went up to Palestine, married and begat sons and daughters. [This is] as [the dispute] of Tannaim. R. Eliezer said: They died through an evil eye. R. Joshua said: They drowned in the spittle. The Sages said: They went up to Palestine, married and begat sons and daughters, as it is written, Hear now, O Joshua the High Priest and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at.18 Now for which men was a wonder wrought? - Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
Whither had Daniel gone?19 - Rab said: To dig a great spring at Tiberias;20 Samuel said: To procure animal fodder; R. Johanan said: To obtain pigs from Alexandria of Egypt.21 But that is not so. For we learnt that Theodos the doctor said: No cow or pig leaves Alexandria of Egypt without its uterus being cut out, to prevent reproduction.22 - She procured small ones, to which they paid no attention.23
Our Rabbis taught: Three were involved in that conspiracy [to keep Daniel out of the furnace]: The Holy One, blessed be He, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: 'Let Daniel depart hence, lest it be said that they were delivered through his merit.'24 Daniel said: 'Let me go from here, that I be not a fulfilment of, the graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire.'25 Whilst Nebuchadnezzar said: 'Let Daniel depart, lest people say he has burnt his god in fire.' And whence do we know that he worshipped him? - From the verse, Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel etc.26
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophecy a lie unto you in my name etc.27 And it is written, And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Judah which are in Babylon, saying, the Lord make thee like Zedekiah, and like Ahab, whom the King of Babylon roasted in the fire.28 Not 'whom he burnt', but 'whom he roasted,' is written. R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai: This teaches that he made them like parched sheaves of corn.29
Because they have committed villainy in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives etc.30 What did they do? They went to Nebuchadnezzar's daughter: Ahab said to her, 'Thus saith God, "Give thyself unto Zedekiah;"' whilst Zedekiah said to her, 'Thus saith God, "Surrender to Ahab."' So she went and told her father, who said to her, 'The God of these hates unchastity: when they [again] approach thee, send them to me.' So when they came to her, she referred them to him. 'Who told this to you?' asked he of them. 'The Holy One, blessed be He,' replied they. But I have enquired of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who informed me that it is forbidden.' They answered, 'We too are prophets, just as he: to him He did not say it, but to us.' 'Then I desire that ye be tested, just as Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were,' he retorted. 'But they are three, whilst we are only two,' they protested.31 'Then choose whom ye wish to accompany you,' said he. 'Joshua the High Priest,' they answered, thinking, 'Let Joshua be brought, for his merit is great, that he may protect us.' So he was brought, and they were all thrown [into the furnace]. They were burned, but as to Joshua the High Priest, only his garments were singed, for it is said, And he shewed me Joshua the High Priest standing before the angel of the Lord;32 and it is written, And the Lord said unto Satan, the Lord rebuke thee, O Satan etc.33 [Thus] said he to him, 'I know that thou art righteous, but why should the fire have affected thee even slightly; Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were not affected at all.' 'They were three,' said he, 'but I am only one.'34 'But,' he remonstrated, 'Abraham [too] was only one.' 'No wicked were with him, so the fire was not empowered [to do any harm]; but here, I had wicked men with me, so the fire was enabled [to do its work],' he rejoined. Thus people say, 'If there are two dry billets and one wet one, the former burn the latter.' Now why was he [thus] punished? - R. Papa said: Because his sons married wives unfit for the priesthood; and he did not protest, as it is said, Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments.35 Now, surely it was not his wont to wear filthy garments! But this intimates that his sons married women unfit for the priesthood and he did not forbid them.
R. Tanhum said: Bar Kappara expounded in Sepphoris:36 What is meant by, These six of barley gave he to me?37 What are 'six of barley'? Shall we say it is meant literally?38 But was it Boaz's practice to give [only] six barley grains?
(1) Ibid. 25. Thus the angel is mentioned last, as being least esteemed.
(2) A euphemism for the Jews who had worshipped the image set up by the king.
(3) Ibid. IX, 7.
(4) Cant. VII, 9.
(5) Who should have been as full of righteousness as a palm tree of dates.
(6) Zech. l, 8.
(7) Because the people had bowed down to the image set up by Nebuchadnezzar.
(8) Ex. XV, 3.
(9) This may be based upon either the similarity in Hebrew of blood (dam, דם) and red (adom, אדום) or the natural association of blood with redness.
(11) הדסה Esth. II, 7; the reference is to Esther.
(12) Isa. XLIV, 27, i.e., to Babylon, situated in a hollow.
(13) I.e., metaphorically, the redness of his anger gave way to more subdued tints, denoting partial calm, and then became white, a sign of complete appeasement.
(14) Since the white horse signifies complete appeasement.
(15) I.e., Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; after emerging from the furnace, they are never mentioned again.
(16) The belief that the eye has power to effect harm, whether through excessive admiration or astonishment, as here, or by actual malignant intent, was and is widespread among many peoples. Rab's statement here is in accordance with his dictum in B.M. 107b that ninety-nine people out of a hundred die through an evil eye.
(17) V. supra; when the nations expressed their scorn of the apostates, they spat at them, and so much spittle collected, that the three heroes were drowned in it. It is hard to believe that this is meant to be taken seriously; it is more probably said in a humorous vein; v. Lazarus, Ethics of Judaism, ¤ 48a, p. 62, and Appendix 9, pp. 256ff on 'Humour in the Talmud.' Maharsha explains that this is metaphorical. The heroes, having by their action caused Israel to be spat upon, died to save them from further disgrace.
(18) Zech. III, 8.
(19) Not being mentioned in connection with this story.
(20) Another meaning (based probably on a different reading), 'laboriously to dig a canal in the mountain side.'
(21) Which were of a distinguished breed. Perhaps this is a tilt at certain Alexandrians.
(22) The Alexandrians being anxious for the monopoly of that breed (Bek. 28b; v. supra, 33a). How then could Daniel have obtained them?
(23) Not thinking that these would be required for breeding purposes.
(24) Whereas they were delivered through their own.
(25) Deut. VII, 25. Nebuchadnezzar had exalted him to a deity.
(26) Dan. II, 46.
(27) Jer. XXIX, 21.
(28) Ibid. 22.
(29) I.e., he burnt them to a cinder.
(30) Ibid. 23.
(31) The combined merit of three may be sufficient for a miracle, but not of two.
(32) Zech. III, 1.
(33) Ibid. 2.
(34) V. p. 624, n. 8.
(35) Ibid. 3.
(36) Sepphoris, Heb. צפורי, derived its name from the fact that it was perched, bird-like, on a mountain. It is identified with the modern Saffusiah, a village north-west of Nazareth.
(37) Literal rendering of Ruth III, 17.
(38) I.e., six grains of barley.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 93b
But [if it means] six se'ahs,1 can a woman take six se'ahs?2 - But he symbolically intimated to her [by giving her six barley grains] that six sons were destined to come forth from her, who should each be blessed with six blessings. Viz, David, Messiah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. David, for it is written, Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse, the Bethlemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and understanding in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.3 And Rab Judah said in Rab's name: This whole verse was said by Doeg with nothing but evil intent.4 Thus: 'that is cunning in playing' - skillful in asking questions [of law]; 'a mighty valiant man' - an adept in answering them; 'a man of war' - well versed in the battle of the Torah;5 'understanding in matters' - understanding [how to deduce] one thing from another; 'and a comely person' - who sustains his ruling by weighty reasons;6 'and the Lord is with him' - everywhere the halachah is determined in accordance with his views.7 With respect to all he replied, My son Jonathan is equally so. But when he said, 'And the Lord is with him' - a privilege which even he himself did not enjoy,8 - he felt humiliated and envied him. For in the case of Saul it is written, And whithersoever he turned about, he vexed them,9 whereas of David it is said,' And whithersoever he turned about, he prospered.10
Whence do we know that this was Doeg? - Here is written, Then answered one of the servants, implying one distinguished from the other young men; whilst elsewhere it is written, Now a man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.11
The Messiah-as it is written, And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge of the fear of the Lord. And shall make him of quick understanding [wa-hariho] in the fear of the Lord.12 R. Alexandri said: This teaches that he loaded him with good deeds and suffering as a mill[is laden].13 Raba said: He smells [a man] and judges,14 as it is written, and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears, yet with righteousness shall he judge the poor.15
(Bar Koziba16 reigned two and a half years, and then said to the Rabbis, 'I am the Messiah.' They answered, 'Of Messiah it is written that he smells and judges: let us see whether he [Bar Koziba] can do so.' When they saw that he was unable to judge by the scent, they slew him.)
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, as it is written of them, In whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.17 What is meant by in whom there was no blemish? - R. Hama b. Hanina said: They did not even bear the scar made by bleeding. What is the meaning of and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace? - R. Hama b. Hanina said: This teaches that they restrained themselves from levity, conversation, and sleep, and suppressed the call of Nature out of royal respect.
Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.18 - R. Eleazar said: They were all of the children of Judah; but R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: Daniel was of the tribe of Judah, whilst Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were of the other tribes.19
And of thy sons which shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away: and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon.20 What is meant by 'eunuchs'? - Rab said: Literally eunuchs. R. Hanina said: In their days the idols were sterilized.21 Now, according to the opinion that the idols were sterilized in their days, it is well to state, And there is no hurt in them.22 But on the view that 'eunuchs' is literally meant, what is meant by, And there is no hurt in them?23 - No hurt of fire. But is it not written, nor the smell of fire had passed on them?24 They were neither hurt [by the fire] nor even smelled thereof. Now according to the opinion that the idols were sterilized in their days, it is well to write, For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths.25 But on the view that 'eunuchs' is literally meant, would Scripture recount the shame of the righteous? - There were both among them.26
Now, the literal rendering is in conformity with the verse, [Even unto them will I give] in mine house, and within my walls a place, and a name better than of sons and of daughters.27 But on the view that the idols were sterilized in their days, why state 'better than of sons and of daughters'?28 - R. Nahman b. Isaac answered: [Better] than the children whom they had formerly possessed, but had died.
What is meant by, I shall give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off?29 - R. Tanhum said: Bar Kappara expounded in Sepphoris: This alludes to the Book of Daniel, which was named after him.
Now let us consider. The whole subject matter of [the book of] Ezra was narrated by Nehemiah the son of Hachalia; why then was the book not called by his name?30 - R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: Because he claimed merit for himself, as it is written, Think upon me, my God, for good.31 But did not David say likewise, Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people; O visit me with thy salvation?32 - David [merely] supplicated in prayer.33 R. Joseph said:34 Because he spoke disparagingly of his predecessors, as it is written, But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread, and wine, beside forty shekels of silver etc.35 Moreover, he spoke thus even of Daniel, who was greater than he. And whence do we know that Daniel was greater than he? From the verse, And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.36 'For the men that were with me saw not the vision:' now who were these men? - R. Jeremiah - others say R. Hiyya b. Abba-said: Haggai, Zecharia and Malachi.37
(1) For if it refers to a measure, se'ah must be understood, it being the measure generally used on the field and in the threshing floor. (Rashi).
(2) She cannot carry such a heavy weight.
(3) I Sam. XVI, 18. The six epithets viz., cunning in playing, a mighty, valiant man, etc., are regarded as blessings applicable to each of the six persons mentioned.
(4) That these praises should excite Saul's jealousy.
(5) I.e., in Biblical dialectics.
(6) Lit., 'shows a face in halachah'.
(7) To the Rabbis there were no higher virtues than those pertaining to study, thus they homiletically interpreted a series of military and other virtues as referring to the Torah.
(8) That his ruling should be accepted as the halachah.
(9) Ibid. XIV, 47.
(10) There is no such verse in the Bible. Possibly it is a misquotation or a copyist's error of and David behaved himself wisely in all his ways (ibid. XVIII, 14). Thus David was 'wise, i.e., his view always became halachah, whereas Saul merely 'vexed them,' i.e., he was a redoubtable opponent in halachah, yet was not successful in having his views adopted.
(11) Ibid. XXI, 8. Thus 'a man,' i.e., 'one distinguished,' is the epithet applied to Doeg.
(12) Isa. XI, 2f.
(13) This is a play of words on והריחו (wa-hariho) and ריחײם (rehayyim).
(14) Thereby definitely knowing whether he is guilty or innocent. והריחו is thus derived from ריח reah, smell.
(15) Ibid. 3f. Since he uses neither his eyes nor his ears, he must judge through his sense of smell.
(16) Bar Koziba was the leader of the third war against Rome in the reign of Hadrian, which terminated disastrously at Bethar (132-135 C.E.). Many scholars believe that this name was derived from Chezib (Gen. XXXVIII, 5) or Chozeba (I Chron. IV, 22). Others believe that it means 'Son of Lies,' bestowed upon him after the tremendous defeat which he sustained, and on account of his alleged claims to be the Messiah. Probably, however, Kozeba was an actual patronym, which was thus disparagingly applied to him (Lam. R. II, 2). He is also referred to as Bar Cochba, but this was certainly merely because R. Akiba applied to him the verse, There shall come a star (kokab) out of Jacob (Num. XXIV, 17). The revolt met with initial success, and Bar Koziba maintained his independence for some time. [Our sources do not agree as to the length of his reign, varying between two and a half years as in our text, and three and a half (so Seder 'Olam according to reading of Dei Rossi). Derenbourg, Essai (v. pp. 413 and 431) gives preference to the period given in the Talmud. Graetz, Geschichte iv, 418, accepts three and a half years as the total duration of the war, but gives only one year to the actual siege of Bethar. It is nevertheless possible that the last year, marking the disastrous siege of Bethar, was omitted in the Talmudic statement on the length of his 'reign.']
(17) Dan. I, 4.
(18) Ibid 6.
(19) In Heb. the verb ויהי (rendered 'they were') is singular. Thus be does not accept the homiletical interpretation of 'six barley grains' as stated above.
(20) II Kings XX, 18; Isa, XLIX, 7.
(21) I.e., their impotency was demonstrated.
(22) Dan. III, 25; v. next note.
(23) Since castration itself, which eunuchs underwent, is a hurt.
(24) Ibid. 27, which renders the former verse on this interpretation superfluous.
(25) Isa. LVI, 4.
(26) Among those who were exiled to Babylon, some were actually castrated for eunuchs, and others lived to see the 'sterilization of the idols', and Isa. LVI, 4 refers to the latter.
(27) Ibid. 5.
(28) Seeing that they had children. Here it cannot be answered that there were both among them, as above, for in that case there is no conflict at all between Rab and R. Hanina (Rashi).
(30) The reference is to the Book of Nehemiah, as it is, in fact, called in our canon. It is evident from this query that according to the Talmudic canon it was called Ezra. In some canons it bears the title Esdras II or Esdras III.
(31) Nehem. V, 19.
(32) Ps. CVI, 4.
(33) Whereas Nehemiah was boasting.
(34) Reverting to the question why the Book does not bear his name.
(35) Nehem. V, 15.
(36) Dan. X, 7.
(37) Since he was vouchsafed the vision, whilst they were not, he was greater than they, though they were prophets; hence he was certainly greater than Nehemiah, who was not a prophet.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 94a
They were greater than he [in one respect], and he was superior to them [in another]. [Thus:] They were greater than he, since they were prophets, whilst he was not. He [on the other hand] was superior to them, since he saw [the vision] which they did not. But since they did not see it, why were they terrified? - Though they themselves saw nothing, their guardian angel did see it.1 Rabina said: This proves that when one is terrified [and knows not why], though he has not seen anything, his guardian angel has.2 What shall he do [to dissipate his fears]? - Let him leap four cubits from his place; alternatively, let him read the shema'.3 But if he is standing in an unclean place [where the shema' may not be recited], let him say thus: 'the butcher's goat is fatter than I.'4
Of the increase5 of his government and peace there shall be no end.6 R. Tanhum said: Bar Kappara expounded in Sepphoris, Why is every mem in the middle of a word open, whilst this is closed?7 - The Holy One, blessed be He, wished to appoint Hezekiah as the Messiah, and Sennacherib as Gog and Magog;8 whereupon the Attribute of Justice9 said before the Holy One, blessed be He: 'Sovereign of the Universe! If Thou didst not make David the Messiah, who uttered so many hymns and psalms before Thee, wilt Thou appoint Hezekiah as such, who did not hymn Thee in spite of all these miracles which Thou wroughtest for him?' Therefore it [sc. the mem] was closed.10 Straightway the earth exclaimed: 'Sovereign of the Universe! Let me utter song before Thee instead of this righteous man [Hezekiah], and make him the Messiah.' So it broke into song before Him, as it is written, From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous.11 Then the Prince of the Universe12 said to Him: 'Sovereign of the Universe! It [the earth] hath fulfilled Thy desire [for songs of praise] on behalf of this righteous man.'13 But a heavenly Voice cried out, 'It is my secret, it is my secret.'14 To which the prophet rejoined, 'Woe is me, woe is me:15 how long [must we wait]?' The heavenly Voice [again] cried out, 'The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously:16 which Raba - others say, R. Isaac - interpreted: until there come spoilers, and spoilers of the spoilers.17
The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?18 R. Johanan said: The angel in charge of the souls is named Dumah. All the souls assembled before Dumah and said to him, What [sayeth] the Watchman [sc. God] of the night, What [sayeth] the Watchman of the night?19 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.20 A Tanna reported in the name of R. Pappias: It was a reproach to Hezekiah and his company21 that they uttered no song [to God] until the earth broke into song, as it is written, From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. Similarly we read, And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord who hath delivered you;22 whereon a Tanna taught in the name of R. Pappias: It was a reproach to Moses and the six hundred thousand [Israelites] that they did not bless [the Lord] until Jethro came and did so.
And Jethro rejoiced [wa-yihad].23 Rab and Samuel [dispute its meaning]. Rab said: He caused a sharp knife to pass over his flesh;24 Samuel said: His flesh crept [with horror at the destruction of the Egyptians].25 Rab26 observed: Thus people say, Before a proselyte, even unto the tenth generation, insult not an Aramean.27
Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness.28 What is meant by, among his fat ones [bemishmanav]29 leanness? - The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Let Hezekiah, who hath eight [shemoneh] names, come and mete out punishment to Sennacherib, who hath [likewise] eight.30 Hezekiah, as it is written, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called [i] Wonderful, [ii] Counsellor, [iii] Mighty, [iv] Judge,31 [v] Everlasting, [vi] Father, [vii] Prince, and [viii] Peace.32 But is there not Hezekiah too?33 - That means, 'whom God hath strengthened;' alternatively, Hezekiah denotes 'Who strengthened' Israel [in their devotion] to their father in Heaven.34 Sennacherib, of whom it is written, [i] Tiglath-pileser,35 [ii] [Tilgath-] pilneser,36 [iii] Shalmaneser,37 [iv] Pul,38 [V] Sargon,39 [vi] Asnapper,40 [vii] Rabba,41 and [viii] Yakkira.42 But is there not Sennacherib too? - [That means,] that his very conversation was strife; alternatively, that he prated with inflammatory speech against the Most High.43
R. Johanan said: Why did that evil man merit the titles of the great and noble Asnapper? - Because he did not speak slightingly of the Land of Israel, as it is written, Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land.44 Rab and Samuel [dispute the matter]: one maintained that he was a wise king; the other that he was foolish. The view that he was a wise king is because had he said, 'a land that is better than your own,' they would have replied, 'Thou liest;' whilst the opinion that he was foolish is because if so [i.e., that the land of exile would be no better than their own], what inducement [did he offer]?
Whither did he deport them? - Mar Zutra said: To Africa;45 R. Hanina maintained: To the mountains of Salug.46
But Israel spoke with contempt about Palestine, for when they came to Shush,47 they said: This is as good as our land;48 to 'Almin,49 they said: This is like the House of Eternities [i.e., Jerusalem, or the Temple];50 on arriving at Shush Tere,51 they said: This is twice as good [as our land].52
And beneath his glory shall he kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.53 R. Johanan said: That which was beneath his glory [would be burnt], but 'glory' is not literal;54 even as R. Johanan called his garments 'my honourers.' R. Eleazar said: 'Beneath his glory' is literal, as the burning of the sons of Aaron: just as there the burning of the soul [is meant], the body remaining intact, so here too.55
A Tanna taught in the name of R. Joshua b. Karha: Pharaoh, who personally blasphemed, was punished by the Holy One, blessed be He, in Person; Sennacherib, who blasphemed
(1) According to the Talmud, every man has a special guardian angel, who accompanies him: Hag. 16a; cf. Targ. Jer. on Gen. XXXIII, 10: I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of thy angel. In the present passage, the word מזל Mazzal is used, which really implies the angel or spirit of one's destiny; as far as individuals are concerned, it is not clear whether the guardian angel is identical with the angel of destiny or not. In the German mysticism of the thirteenth century the two were most probably identified, the term מלאך מזל 'angel of destiny' being used in the 'Book of Angels' by Eliezer of Worms, a disciple of R. Judah Hasid; v. J.E. I. p. 588.
(2) May there be a connection between this 'guardian spirit' and the modern idea of the 'subconscious mind'?
(3) V. Glos.
(4) Go to them for a victim.
(6) Isa. IX, 6.
(7) There are two forms of mem: medial, which is open (מ) and final, which is closed (ם). In this sentence, however, the closed form occurs in the middle of a word (לסרבה).
(8) Gog and Magog are, in Jewish eschatology, the tribes who shall lead all nations in a tremendous attack upon Israel; their final defeat ushers in the halcyon days of the Messiah, (Ezek. XXXVIII, XXXIX). It is not clear whom the prophet had in mind, the whole passage having the mystic form of apocalyptic prediction. The present passage is remarkable in that it shews that in the opinion of its author no particular nation was intended, but any great heathen power whose destruction, by the will of God, is to precede the millenium.
(9) [The attributes of Justice and Mercy are often hypostasized and represented as interceding with the Almighty.]
(10) Shewing that God's original intention was 'closed', i.e., revoked. Other interpretations: God wished to 'close' i.e., end the troubles of Israel by making Hezekiah the Messiah; or Hezekiah's mouth was closed, i.e., he sang no psalms to the Almighty.'
(11) Ibid. XXIV, 16.
(12) This is a special angel set over the world, distinct from the guardian angels of the separate nations. He has been identified with Metatron; Tosaf. Yeb. 16b however rejects this identification.
(13) So translated by Maharsha. The passage might also mean: Fulfil the desire of this righteous man, i.e., appoint him the Messiah.
(14) Ibid., i.e., the delay of Messiah's advent is God's secret.
(17) I.e., until Israel's enemies and their enemies' enemies are destroyed.
(18) Ibid. XXI, 11.
(19) The verse is thus interpreted: The burden of the angel Dumah. One (i.e., the souls) calleth out to me concerning Seir, which, as a synonym of Edom, is symbolic of Rome, the power responsible for Israel's exile.
(20) Ibid. 12. Rashi gives a number of versions: (i) The watchman said, 'Has then the morning come? Surely not!' i.e., it is not yet time for redemption; (ii) 'The morning cometh,' i.e., redemption will surely come, 'but also the night' - a long exile will precede it; (iii) 'The morning cometh,' i.e., the Babylonian exile will end and a second Temple be built, but 'also the night' - only to be succeeded by another exile; (iv) 'The morning cometh,' i.e., redemption cometh for the righteous, 'but also the night,' i.e., punishment for the wicked, a rendering which is borne out by the Targum.
(21) A band of scholars who assisted him in his literary labours, v. B.B. 15a.
(22) Ex. XVIII, 10.
(23) ויחד, Ibid. 9.
(24) I.e., he circumcised himself, ויחד thus being derived from had חד, sharp.
(25) Lit., 'his flesh became full of sharp edges,' 'Prickles,' deriving it likewise from had, the goosiness of the flesh caused by fear or horror.
(26) Yalk.: R. Papa.
(27) General term for a non-Jew. Jethro, though according to tradition a proselyte, was nevertheless horror-stricken at the fate of the Egyptians.
(28) Isa. X, 16.
(30) במשמניו is here derived from שמונה.
(31) For this meaning of el, cf. Ex. XXI, 6; XXII, 8.
(32) Isa. IX, 5. It is assumed that the verse refers to Hezekiah.
(33) A ninth name.
(34) According to both these answers, Hezekiah, as a combination of חזק (hazak) and יה (Jah) - to be strong and God-is not a proper name, but an epithet.
(35) II Kings XV, 29.
(36) I Chron. V, 26.
(37) II Kings XVII, 3.
(38) Ibid. XV, 29.
(39) Isa. XX, 1.
(40) Ezra IV, 20.
(42) Ibid. The E.V. of the last three is 'the great and noble Asnapper,' but here the phrase is regarded as consisting of three proper nouns (Rashi). But the Wilna Gaon gives a different reading, which renders this unnecessary.
(43) Sennacherib is treated as a combination of a verb or verbs סיה and נחר with a noun, rib, 'strife;' cp. n. 1.
(44) II Kings XVIII, 32.
(45) [Obermeyer, Die Landschaft Babylonien, 11ff., identifies it with Abrik, 150 Km. N. W. of Diarbekir.]
(46) [Identified by Obermeyer, ibid., with the mountains of Salak in the district of Adiabene.]
(47) The modern Susa. Shushan.
(48) ['Shush' in Persian meaning' beautiful,' 'good,' op. cit. 212.]
(49) Elymais (Elam).
(50) Heb. עלמין, which may denote also 'Almin.
(51) [Sushtar, 18 parasangs East of Susa (op. cit. 213).]
(52) [Lit., 'double shush' (good), here used as a proper noun.]
(53) Isa. X, 16.
(54) For the literal meaning of 'glory' in reference to a man is his body, the outer flesh which gives him his beauty; hence 'beneath his glory' would have to mean his soul, which R. Johanan regards as unsuited to the context. Therefore 'glory' cannot be literal, but refers to the garments, which lend dignity to a person; whilst 'beneath his glory' denotes the body.
(55) V. supra 52a; cp. Shab. 113b.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 94b
through an agent,1 was punished by the Holy One, blessed be He, through an agent.2 [Thus:] Pharaoh, of whom it is written, [And Pharaoh said,] Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?3 was punished by the Holy One, blessed be He, in Person, as it is written, And4 the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea;5 and it is also written, Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses.6 But Sennacherib, of whom it is written, By thy messengers hast thou reproached the Lord,7 was punished by the Holy One, blessed be He, through an angel, as it is said, And the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand.8
R. Hanina b. Papa opposed [two verses]: It is written, [I will enter the height of his border;9 but elsewhere it is written, [I will enter into] the lodgings of his borders!3 - That wicked man said: First will I destroy [His] nether abode [sc. the Temple on earth], and then the upper.10
R. Joshua b. Levi said: What is meant by Am I now come up without the Lord against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.11 How so?12 He had heard the prophet declare, Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Ramaliah's son.13 R. Joseph said: But for the Targum14 of this verse, I would not know its meaning: Because this people have wearied of the Davidic dynasty, which rules them with gentleness like the waters of Shiloah which flow tranquilly, and have set their desire upon Rezin and the son of Ramaliah.
R. Johanan said: What is meant by, The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just?15 'The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked' refers to Pekah the son of Ramaliah, who ate forty se'ahs of young birds as a [mere] dessert;16 'but he blesseth the habitation of the just' applies to Hezekiah, king of Judah, who ate [but] a litra of vegetables for his [entire] meal.)17
Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria: and all his glory.18 And it is further written, And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck.19 Then if so, why was he [Sennacherib] punished? - The prophet prophesied with respect to the Ten Tribes, whereas he set his face against the whole of Jerusalem. [Thereupon] the prophet came and said to him, For the wearied is not for the oppressor.20 R. Eleazar b. Berechiah said: [This means], the people that is tired out by [intensive study of] the Torah will not be delivered into the hands of her oppressor.
What is meant by, When aforetime the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali did lighten [its burden], but in later times it was made heavy by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilea of the nations?21 - It is not as the early generations,22 who rejected23 the yoke of the Torah; but as for the latter generations24 who strengthened25 the yoke of the Torah upon themselves and are therefore worthy of having a miracle wrought for them, like those who passed over the [Red] Sea and the Jordan - should he [Sennacherib] repent [of his attack upon Jerusalem], 'tis well; but if not, I will render him the butt of the nations' scorn.26
After these things, and the truth thereof, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.27 Is such a reward meet for such a gift?28 But what is meant by, 'After these things and the truth thereof'? - Rabina said: After the Holy One, blessed be He, had anticipated [events] by an oath.29 For he reasoned thus: If I say to Hezekiah, 'I will bring Sennacherib and deliver him into thy hands', he will reply, 'I require neither [the ultimate victory over] him nor the [preceding] terror'; therefore the Holy One, blessed be He, forestalled him by swearing that he would bring him, as it is written, the Lord of Hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart front off their shoulders.30 R. Johanan said: The Holy one, blessed be he, said thus: 'Let Sennacherib and his army31 come and be a crib for Hezekiah and his army.'32
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulders, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the oil.33 R. Isaac, the Smith, said: [This means,] the yoke of Sennacherib shall be destroyed on account of the oil of Hezekiah, which burnt in the synagogues and schools. What did he do? - He planted a sword by the door of the schoolhouse and proclaimed, 'He who will not study the Torah will be pierced with the sword.' Search was made from Dan unto Beer Sheba, and no ignoramus was found; from Gabbath34 unto Antipris,35 and no boy or girl, man or woman was found who was not thoroughly versed in the laws of cleanliness and uncleanliness.36 And concerning that generation it is said, And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;37 and it is further said, And it shall come to pass on that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns:38 though a thousand vines be worth a thousand silverlings, yet shall it be for briers and thorns.39
And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of a caterpillar.40 The prophet said unto Israel: 'Gather your spoil.' Thereupon they questioned him, 'To take it as our own booty, or to divide it?'41 'Like the gathering of a caterpillar', replied he: just as caterpillars gather, each one for itself, so take your spoil, each one for himself. 'But', objected they, 'the wealth of the Ten tribes is mixed up therein.' He answered, 'As the watering of pools doth he water it:'42 just as pools purify the unclean,43 so are the possessions of Israel, which having fallen into the hands of heathens,44 become clean [i.e., legitimate].45
R. Huna said: That wicked man46 made ten marches on that day, as it is written, [i] He is come to Aiath; [ii] he is passed at Migron; [iii] at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages; [iv] they are gone over the passage; [v] they have taken up their lodgings at Geba; [vi] Ramah is afraid; [vii] Gibeah of Saul is fled. [viii] Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim, [ix] cause it to be heard unto Laish, [x] O poor Anathoth. [xi] Madmenah is removed; [xii] the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.47 But these are more [than ten]! Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim was said by the prophet to the people of Israel: Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim, thou daughter of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who performed good deeds as the waves48 of the sea [in multitude]. Cause it to be heard unto Laish: Fear not this man, but be in dread of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar, who is likened to a lion, as it is written, The Lion [sc. Nebuchadnezzar] is come up from his thicket.49 What is meant by
(1) Which is a greater insult.
(2) Which is a more humiliating punishment.
(3) Ex. V, 2.
(4) Ibid. XIV, 27.
(5) Hab. III, 15.
(6) II Kings XIX, 23.
(7) Ibid. 35.
(8) Isa. XXXVII, 24.
(9) II Kings XIX, 23. Both refer to the same. 'The height of his border' would seem to apply to the Temple, cf. Jer. XVII,12: a glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. 'The lodging' etc. on the other hand is applicable to God's heavenly dwelling.
(10) The Heavenly Temple.
(11) II Kings XVIII, 25.
(12) I.e., how could Sennacherib claim that he had God's orders to destroy Jerusalem?
(13) Isa. VIII, 6. this concludes: Now therefore, behold the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks. This was understood by Sennacherib as an order to possess Jerusalem.
(14) The Aramaic version of the Prophets was written, according to a Tannaitic tradition, by Jonathan b. Uzziel, 'from the mouths of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi' (Meg. 3a). The present passage shews clearly that by R. Joseph's time (beginning of the fourth century) it was recognized as authoritative, hence ancient.
(15) Prov. III, 33.
(16) Lit., 'wiping away the meal', i.e., he could never satisfy his hunger.
(17) And was nevertheless satisfied therewith.
(18) Isa. VIII, 7. This resumes the thread of the previous discussion, viz., 'How could Sennacherib claim to have been ordered by God to destroy Jerusalem?' which was interrupted by the digression on Pekah and Hezekiah.
(19) Ibid. 8.
(20) Ibid. 23, this makes מוצק, though in reality a passive, into an active.
(22) I.e., the Ten Tribes, who, having been destroyed in 722 B. C. E. could be thus referred to by Isaiah.
(23) Lit., 'lightened from themselves'.
(24) Hezekiah and his contemporaries.
(25) Lit., 'who made heavy'.
(26) Lit., 'I will make him wallow in the scorn of the nations'; another version: 'I will make him as dung (gelalim) among the nations.' These are renderings of גליל הגוים (Gelil ha-goyim), 'the Galilee of the Nations', גליל (gelil) being connected with גלל (galal), to roll.
(27) II Chron. XXXII, 1.
(28) The previous verse relates that Hezekiah turned earnestly to the service of God. Was then this - Sennacherib's invasion-his just reward?
(29) This oath is referred to as 'the truth', (E.V. establishment) since 'God's seal is truth' (Rashi).
(30) Isa. XIV, 24f.
(31) Lit., 'retinue'.
(32) R. Johanan connects אבוסנו (E.V. 'tread him under foot') with אבוס, the trough or crib from which an animal feeds (cf. Isa. I, 3). Hezekiah's cattle would forage for food among the dead bones of Sennacherib's army as in a crib.
(33) Ibid. X, 27.
(34) Later name for Biblical Gibbethon, in the territory of Dan (Josh. XIX, 44); this was later given to the Levites (ibid. XXI, 23). In the reign of Nadab it belonged to the Philistines (I Kings XV, 27).
(35) Also called Antipatris, a town northwest of Jerusalem, founded by Herod the Great and named after his father. (Jast.). The mention here of the locality by this name is an anachronism.
(36) These are probably mentioned on account of their difficulty. The reference to girls and women is interesting as shewing that in the ideal Jewish state they too must be educated.
(37) lsa. VII, 21; i.e., one shall possess a minimum of cattle, so that very little time be required for its tending.
(38) Ibid. 23.
(39) I.e., in spite of the high price, people shall neglect the cultivation of the vines for the study of the law.
(40) Ibid. XXXIII, 4.
(41) Shall the booty belong to us, or must we divide it amongst other peoples, since it contains the spoil taken from the ten tribes, which is forbidden to us as theft? (Rashi.)
(43) Lit., 'raise man from uncleanness to cleanness'.
(44) [I.e., Sennacherib and his armies plundered Israel of their possessions.]
(45) When the latter abandoned all hope of the return thereof; hence other Jews may take it. Here follows in the text a bracketed passage, which is rightly deleted as having no bearing upon the subject.
(47) Isa. X, 28-31.
(48) Heb. galle, constr. of gallim.
(49) Jer. IV, 7: laish (layyish) too is a 'lion'. 'Cause it to be heard unto laish' therefore means, 'thy cries should be on account of Nebuchadnezzar, the lion, not Sennacherib'.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 95a
O poor Anathoth? - Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, from Anathoth, is destined to prophesy thereon, [sc. concerning Jerusalem],1 as it is written, The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin.2 But what comparison is it? there3 [Nebuchadnezzar is called] 'ari,' whilst here 'laish' [is written]? - R. Johanan answered: The lion has six names, viz. ari,4 kefir,5 labi,6 laish,7 shahal,8 and shahaz.9 But if so, there were less [than ten]? - [i] They are gone over, [ii] the passage, implies two.
What is meant by, As yet shall he halt at Nob that day?10 - R. Huna said: [Only] that day was left for [the punishment of] the crime [committed] in Nob.11 So his soothsayers said to him, 'If thou proceedest now [to attack], thou wilt conquer it; if not, thou wilt not conquer it.' Therefore the journey that should have taken ten days to make he completed in one day.12 When Jerusalem was reached, mattresses were piled up for him until, by ascending and sitting on the uppermost, he saw the whole of Jerusalem. On beholding it, it appeared small in his eyes. 'Is this the city of Jerusalem,' he exclaimed, 'for which I set all my troops in motion, and conquered the whole country? Why, it is smaller and weaker than all the cities of the nations which I have subdued by my might!'13 Then he arose and shook his head and waved his hand to and fro contemptuously toward the Temple in Zion, against the [Temple] Court in Jerusalem.14 They [the astrologers] urged, 'Let us attack immediately.'15 'Ye are too worn out,' he replied, 'but to-morrow let each of you bring me a stone, and we shall stone it.'16 Straightway, And it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.17 R. Papa said: Thus men say: If the verdict is postponed overnight, it comes to nought.18
And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.19 What is meant by 'And Ishbi-be-nob'? - Rab Judah said in Rab's name: A man who came on account of Nob.20 [For] the Holy One, blessed be He had said to David, 'How long will this crime be hidden in thy hand. [i.e.. unpunished]. Through thee Nob, the city of Priests, was massacred; through thee Doeg the Edomite was banished; and through thee Saul and his three sons were slain:21 wouldst thou rather thy line to end, or be delivered unto the enemy's hand? He replied: 'Sovereign of the Universe! I would rather be delivered into the enemy's hand than that my line should end.'22 One day, when he [David] ventured forth to Sekhor Bizzae,23 Satan appeared before him in the guise of a deer. He shot arrows at him, but did not reach him, and was thus led on until inveigled into the land of the Philistines. When Ishbi-benob espied him, he exclaimed, 'It is he who slew my brother Goliath.' So he bound him, doubled him up and cast him under an olive press; but a miracle was wrought, and the ground softened under him. Hence it is written, Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.24 Now that day was Sabbath Eve, and Abishai the son of Zeruiah,25 washing his head in four gribahs26 of water, remarked some blood-stains [therein]. Others say a dove came and beat [its wings] before him. Thereupon he reasoned: Israel27 is likened to a dove, as it is written, ye are as the wings of a dove covered with silver;28 this must be an intimation that David is in trouble. So he went to his house, but did not find him. Now, said he, we learnt, One may not ride upon his [sc. a king's] horse, nor sit upon his seat, nor use his sceptre:29 but how is it in a time of danger? So he went and propounded the question in the schoolhouse, and was answered, 'In time of danger, it is permitted.' He then mounted his [sc. David's] mule and rode off,30 and the earth contracted under him.31 Whilst riding, he saw Orpah his [sc. Ishbi-benob's] mother spinning. On descrying him, she broke off [the thread of] the spindle and threw it [the spindle] at him, intending to kill him. Then she said, 'Young man, bring me the spindle.'32 but he threw it on the top of her head instead, and killed her. When Ishbi-benob beheld him, he said [to himself], Now that there are two they will slay me. So he threw David up [in the air] and stuck his spear [into the earth], Saying. 'Let him fall upon it, and perish;' but Abishai pronounced the Divine Name, by means of which David was held suspended between heaven and earth. (Why did not David pronounce it himself? - Because 'a prisoner cannot free himself from prison.') [Abishai] then enquired of him, 'What dost thou here?' - 'Thus did God speak unto me,33 and thus did I answer Him,' replied he. 'Reverse thy prayer.' said he: 'let thy grandson sell wax rather than that thou shouldst suffer.'34 'If so,' said he, 'do thou aid me [to reverse it].' Hence it is written, But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him,35 upon which Rab Judah commented in Rab's name: He succoured him in prayer. Abishai then [again] pronounced the Divine Name and brought him down36 [from midair, where he was still suspended]. Now Ishbi-benob was pursuing them. When they reached Kubi37 they said to [each other], 'Let us stand [and fight] against him.' [But they were still afraid, and proceeded further.] When they reached Bethre38 they said, 'Can two whelps kill a lion?'39 So they taunted him, 'Go and find thy mother Orpah in the grave.' On their mentioning his mother's name to him40 his strength failed, and they slew him. Hence it is written, Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt no more go out with us unto battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.41
Our Rabbis taught: For three did the earth shrink: Eliezer, Abraham's servant, our father Jacob, and Abishai the son of Zeruiah. Abishai the son of Zeruiah, as has just been narrated. Eliezer, Abraham's servant, as it is written, And I came this day unto the well,42 implying that he had set out on that day.43 Our father Jacob,
(1) 'O poor' עניה, is thus derived from ענה, to answer, and thence to prophesy.
(2) Jer. I, 1. Thus viii, ix, and x must be deducted. The Talmud objects further that in that case there are less than ten, but it first questions the identification of laish with Nebuchadnezzar.
(3) In Jer. IV, 7.
(4) Gen. XLIX, 9.
(5) Judges XIV, 5.
(6) Gen. ibid.
(7) Isa. XXX, 6.
(8) Ps. XCI, 13.
(9) Job XXVIII, 8.
(10) Isa. X, 32.
(11) When the priests of Nob were massacred (I Sam. XXII, 17-19). God set a term for punishment, of which that day was the last. The verse is thus interpreted: 'That day yet remained (of the fixed term) on which(Sennacherib) might stand (against Jerusalem) on account of Nob.'
(12) These are the ten marches referred to above.
(13) Lit., 'the might of my hand.'
(14) Zion was one of the hills-which is a matter of dispute-upon which Jerusalem was built. By a synecdoche, it is often, though not here, used for Jerusalem itself.
(15) Lit., 'stretch forth a hand against it.'
(16) So Jast., whose reading differs slightly from our text. Rashi: Bring you each a portion of the wall, i.e., any weak stone you may find which can easily be dislodged. [Another rendering: Bring me as much mortar as is necessary to seal a letter (v. Levy, s. v. גולמהרג)].
(17) II Kings XIX, 35.
(18) I.e., what is not done immediately may never be done.
(19) II Sam. XXI, 16.
(20) As an avenger, Ish = a man.
(21) When David, on his flight from Saul, received succour in Nob, (I Sam. XXI.) he was seen there by Doeg the Edomite. On the latter's reporting this to Saul, he slew all the priests of Nob for treason (Ibid. XXII, 17-19), Doeg being his instrument. For this Doeg was banished from his portion in the future world (the phrase may also mean lost his life - נטרד מן העולם; v. II Sam. I, 2; Pesik. ed. Buber III, 28b) and the defeat and death of Saul and his three sons at Mount Gilboa (I Sam. XXX, 1, 6) was a punishment for the same. Thus all this was indirectly caused by David.
(22) Lit., 'thy seed to cease'.
(23) The name of a place (Rashi). Other interpretations: 'to fill up breaches'; ['to limit', the word being a composite: 'net and falcon' (Levy)].
(24) Ps. XVIII, 37.
(25) David's sister's son, and brother of Joab, and one of the captains of David's army.
(26) A gribah = one se'ah.
(27) Lit., 'The Assembly of Israel.'
(28) Ibid. LXVIII, 14; v. Ber. 53b.
(29) V. supra 22a.
(30) Hoping that the animal's instinct would lead it to its master.
(31) That he might cover the distance quickly.
(32) Pretending that it had merely fallen out of her hand.
(33) The alternative mentioned above.
(34) [Juvenal, Saturnalia, 6,542. alludes to the Jews selling wax-candles in Rome. V. Ginzberg, Legends. VI, 264, n. 87.]
(35) II Sam. XXI, 17.
(36) At some distance from where Ishbi stood (Rashi).
(37) A town near the border. [Horowitz, Palestine, p. 158 identifies it with El-Kabbu S.W. of Bethar.]
(38) Bethar, where the last stand in the Bar Cochba revolt was made (Neubauer, op. cit. 103).
(39) Surely not; i.e., 'we are too weak, even combined, to slay him.' The remark was suggested by the place name Bethre, which means 'by two', as previously 'let us arise' - קום בי - was suggested by קובי.
(40) I.e., that she was dead.
(42) Gen. XXIV, 42.
(43) Since the journey could not be normally done in a day, the earth must have shrunk for him.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 95b
as it is written, And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went to Haran;1 which is followed by and he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set.2 For when he reached Haran, he said [to himself], 'Shall I have passed through a place in which my fathers prayed, without doing so likewise!' He wished therefore to return, but no sooner had he thought of this than the earth contracted, and immediately he lighted upon a place [the objective of his journey]. An alternative exegesis is this: Pegi'ah3 can only mean prayer, as it is written, Therefore pray thou not for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession4 to me.5
And tarried there all night, because the sun was set. Having prayed, he wished to proceed: thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, said: This righteous man has come to my habitation:6 shall he depart without a night's rest? Immediately the sun set [before its time].7 Hence it is written, [And as he passed over Penuel,] the sun rose for him.8 Now, had the sun risen for him alone: surely it had risen for the whole world! But, said R. Isaac, the sun which had [prematurely] set on his account, now rose [prematurely] on his account too.
Now, whence do we know that David's seed ceased?9 - From the verse, And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.10 But was not Joash left? - There too Abiathar was left, as it is written, And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped.11 Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Had not Abiathar been left of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, not the slightest remnant12 would have remained of David's seed.
Rab Judah said in Rab's name: The wicked Sennacherib advanced against them13 with a force consisting of forty-five thousand princes, each enthroned in a golden chariot and accompanied by his ladies and harlots, eighty thousand warriors in coat-of-mail, and sixty thousand swordsmen of the front line, the rest cavalrymen. A similar host attacked Abraham ,14 and a like force will accompany Gog and Magog.15 In the Baraitha it was taught: The length of his army was four hundred parasangs, the horses standing neck to neck formed a line forty parasangs long, and the grand total of his army two million, six hundred thousand less one. Abaye inquired: Less one ribbo [ten thousand], one thousand, one hundred, or one? The question stands over.
A Tanna taught: The first company swam across, as it is written, he shall overflow and go over;16 the second walked across,17 as it is written, he shall reach even to the neck; the third cast up the dust [of the river bed] with their feet and found no water in the river to drink, until it was brought from elsewhere and they drank, as it is written, I have digged, and drunk water.18
But is it not written, Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the mornings behold, they were all dead corpses?19 - R. Abbahu replied: These were the army captains. R. Ashi said: This may be deduced too, for it is written, [Therefore shall the Lord . . . send] among his fat ones leanness,20 meaning, amongst the cream [i.e., the leaders] of them. Rabina said: This may be also deduced, for it is written, And the Lord sent an angel, which cut off all the men of valour, and the leaders and the princes in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shamefacedness to his own land. And when he entered into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.21 This proves it.
Wherewith did he [the angel] smite them? - R. Eliezer said: He smote them with his hand, as it is written, And Israel saw the great hand,22 implying the hand that was destined to exact vengeance of Sennacherib.23 R. Joshua said: He smote them with his finger, as it is written, Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God,24 implying this is the finger destined to punish Sennacherib. R. Eliezer, the son of R. Jose, said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Gabriel, 'Is thy sickle sharpened [to mow down the Assyrians]?' He replied: 'Sovereign of the Universe! It has been sharpened since the Six days of Creation', as it is written, For they fled from the swords, from the sharpened sword etc.25 R. Simeon b. Yohai said: It was the time for the ripening of fruits, so the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Gabriel, 'When thou goest forth to ripen the fruits,26 attack them, as it is written, As he passeth27 he shall take you:' for morning by morning shall he pass by, by day and by night, and it shall be a sheer terror to understand the report.'28 R. Papa said: Thus people say, 'In passing, reveal thyself to thine enemy.'29
Others say: He [Gabriel] breathed into their nostrils, and they died, as it is written, and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither.30 R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: He smote his hands at them, and they died, as it is written, I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest.31 R. Isaac the Smith said: He unsealed their ears for them, so that they heard the Hayyoth32 sing [praises to God] and they died, as it is written, at thine exaltation the people were scattered.33
Now how many were left of them. [sc. the Assyrians host]? - Rab said: Ten, as it is written, And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them:34 What figure can a child write? - Ten.35 Samuel said: Nine [were left], as it is written, yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two and three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four and five in the utmost fruitful branches thereof.36 R. Joshua b. Levi said: Fourteen, as it is written, two, three . . . four five.37 R. Johanan said: Five, viz., Sennacherib and his two sons, Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuzaradan. [That] Nebuzaradan [survived] is a tradition. Nebuchadnezzar, as it is written, And the form of the fourth is like an angel of God:38 Had he not seen [an angel], how did he know [his appearance]?39 Sennacherib and his two sons, as it is written, And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword.40
R. Abbahu said: Were not the [following] verse written, it would have been impossible to conceive of it: viz., In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by the riverside, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall consume the beard.41 The Holy one, blessed be He, went and appeared before him [Sennacherib] as an old man, and said to him, 'When thou goest to the kings of the east and the west, whose sons thou didst lead [to battle]42 and cause their death, what wilt thou say to them?' He replied, 'I43 too entertain that fear. What then shall I do?' asked he. 'Go,' He replied,
(1) Ibid. XXVIII, 10.
(2) Ibid. 11. The first verse implies that he had reached Haran, the second that he had not. The Talmud therefore proceeds to reconcile the discrepancy.
(3) פגיעה, the root idea of ויפגע 'he lighted upon'.
(5) Jer. VII, 16. Rashi, in his teacher's name, and the Wilna Gaon both delete the passage 'an alternative . . . me' as being out of place here.
(6) According to tradition, he was on the future site of the Temple.
(7) This exegesis is based on the use of the plus perfect בא, instead of the continuous imperfect ויבא, which is interpreted as implying that its setting was premature.
(8) Ibid. XXXII, 32.
(9) Since David reversed his prayer; v. supra 95a.
(10) II Kings XI, 1.
(11) I Sam. XXII, 20. Since the cessation of David's seed was in expiation of the crime against the city of Nob, it was but just that as one had escaped on that occasion, so should one now too be saved.
(12) Lit., 'one that escaped or remained.'
(13) The Israelites in the days of Hezekiah.
(14) On the occasion of his pursuit of the four kings. (Gen. XIV).
(15) V. p. 630, n. 6.
(16) Isa. VIII, 8.
(17) Lit., 'passed over in an upright position.'
(18) Ibid. XXXVII, 25. The passage of the first company, effected by swimming, so diminished the water of the river that the second had to walk across, while the second thoroughly emptied it, leaving it quite dry.
(19) Ibid. 36, proving that this was the size of the army.
(20) Ibid. X, 16.
(21) II Chron. XXXII, 21. This is another proof that the reference is only to the leaders.
(22) Ex. XIV, 31.
(23) This is deduced from the def. art.
(24) Ibid. VIII, 14.
(25) Isa. XXI, 15.
(26) Gabriel being the angel in charge of this.
(27) On his mission of ripening the fruits.
(28) Ibid. XXVIII, 19.
(29) Lit., 'on the way make thyself heard by the enemy,' i.e., take revenge when the opportunity is afforded.
(30) Ibid. XL, 24.
(31) Ezek. XXI, 22.
(32) [The celestial 'living creatures' mentioned in Ezekiel's mystic vision; v. Ezek. I and X.]
(33) Isa. XXXIII, 3. The first half of the verse reads, At the noise of the tumult the people fled. 'Tumult' is taken to refer to the song of the Hayyoth in their 'exaltation' of the Lord.
(34) Ibid. X, 19.
(35) [A yod(h), being formed by a mere stroke of the pen, is the easiest letter for a child to write.]
(36) Ibid. XVII, 6. This is rendered: 'just as after the shaking of an olive tree there may remain two olives here and three there, so shall there be left of the army four here and five there-nine in all.'
(37) Interpreting, 'two here, three there, four here, five there- fourteen in all.'
(38) Dan. III, 25.
(39) Hence he must have been present when Gabriel destroyed the army. - The speaker is Nebuchadnezzar.
(40) II Kings XIX, 37. It is assumed that they all must have been in the army before Jerusalem.
(41) Isa. VII, 20.
(42) V. supra.
(43) Lit., 'that man', frequently employed euphemistically for I'.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 96a
'and disguise thyself'. 'How shall I disguise myself?' 'Bring me a razor, and I myself will shave thee'. He answered. 'Whence shall I procure it?' 'Enter that house and take it', He rejoined. So he went and found it there. But the Ministering angels appeared to him in the shape of men grinding palm kernels. 'Give me the razor,' said he. 'Grind a griwah1 of palm kernels,' they replied, 'and we will give it thee'. So he ground a griwah of palm kernels, and they gave him the razor. By the time he returned, it had become dark. 'Go and bring some fire', He ordered. So he went and brought fire. Whilst he was blowing it [into a blaze], it caught hold of his beard, whereupon He shaved off the hair of his head together with his beard.2 They [sc.' the scholars] said: That is what is meant by the phrase, and it shall also consume the beard.3 R. Papa said: Thus men say, If thou art singeing [the hair of] an Aramean, and he is pleased therewith, set light to his beard; so wilt thou not suffer his mockery.4 He then went away and found a plank of Noah's ark. 'This', said he, 'must be the great God who saved Noah from the flood. If I5 go [to battle] and am successful, I will sacrifice my two sons to thee', he vowed. But his sons heard this, so they killed him, as it is written, And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword etc.6
And he fought against them, he and his servants, by night [lailah]7 and smote them.8 R. Johanan said: The angel who was appointed to [aid] Abraham was named lailah [Night]. as it is written, [Let the day perish wherein I was born], and the Lailah which said, There is a man child conceived.9 R. Isaac, the smith, said: He [the angel] set into motion the activities of the night [viz.. the stars] on his behalf, as it is written, They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.10 Resh Lakish said: The smith's interpretation is better than the son of the smith's.11 And he pursued them unto Dan.12 R. Johanan said: As soon as that righteous man came unto Dan, his strength failed him, for he [prophetically] saw his descendants who would practise idolatry in Dan, as it is written, And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan.13 That wicked man [Nebuchadnezzar] too did not prevail until he reached Dan, as it is written, The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan.14
R. Zera said: Though R. Judah b. Bathyra15 sent a message from Nisibis,16 [saying]. Observe [the respect due to] a scholar17 who has forgotten his learning through a misfortune [e.g., illness]; and be careful [to cut] the jugular veins, in accordance with R. Judah's ruling;18 and be heedful of the honour due to the children of the ignorant, for from them proceedeth the Torah:19 yet such a thing as this is made known to them.20 [Viz..] Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee: Yet let me talk to thee of thy judgments: wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit.21 What was he answered? - If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with the horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of the Jordan?22 This may be compared to a man who boasted, 'I can run three parasangs in front of horses on marshy land.' But happening to meet a pedestrian, he ran three mils23 before him on dry land, and was exhausted. Thereupon he said to him: 'If thou art thus before a pedestrian, how much more so before horses: and if three mils have so [tired thee], how much more so three parasangs; and if on dry land it is thus, how much more so on marshy swamps!' It is even so with thee: if thou art thus astonished at the reward wherewith18 requited that wicked man for the four steps which he ran in my honour,24 how much more when I give their due reward to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who ran before me like horses [i.e., eagerly and swiftly]! Hence it is written, My heart within me is broken because of the prophets;25 all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome; because of the Lord, and because of the words of his holiness.26
To what does the 'four steps' refer? - As it is written, At that time, Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: [for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered].27 But just because Hezekiah had fallen sick and was recovered, he sent him letters and a present!28 Indeed 'to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land.'29 For R. Johanan said: The day on which Ahaz died consisted of but two hours;30 and when Hezekiah sickened and recovered, the Holy One, blessed be He, restored those ten hours, as it is written, Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.31 Thereupon he [Merodach-baladan] inquired of them [his courtiers], 'What is this?' They replied, 'Hezekiah has sickened and recovered.' 'There is such a [great] man,' exclaimed he, 'and shall I not send him a greeting! Write thus to him: "Peace to King Hezekiah, peace to the city of Jerusalem, and peace to the great God!"' Now Nebuchadnezzar was Baladan's scribe, but just then he was not present. When he came, he asked them, 'How did ye write?' And they told him, 'We wrote thus and thus.' 'Ye called him the great God,' said he, 'yet ye mentioned him last! Thus,' said he, 'should ye have written: "peace to the great God, peace to the city of Jerusalem, and peace to King Hezekiah."' 'Let the reader of the letter,' said they to him, 'become the messenger.'32 So he ran after him;33 but when he had taken four steps, Gabriel came and made him halt. R. Johanan observed: Had not Gabriel come and stopped him, nothing could have saved34 the enemies of Israel.35
Why was he called [Merodach-]Baladan the son of Baladan?36 It is told: Baladan was a king whose face turned into that of a dog,37 so that his son sat upon his throne instead. In his documents he wrote his own name, and the name of his father, King Baladan, [i.e., Merodach-baladan]. This is the meaning of the verse, A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master.38
Now, 'a son honoureth his father' refers to what has just been said. 'And a servant his master' - as it is written, Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, and stood before the king of Babylon in Jerusalem, And burned the house of the Lord, and the king's house.39
(1) A dry measure: the quantity put in one time into a handmill.
(2) Thus he was shaved with a razor hired by his own work, a work which is done 'by the riverside', viz., grinding, the water providing power for the mill.
(3) 'Consume' not being applicable to the action of a razor, something else must be intended, viz., the fire.
(4) I.e., even when he is pleased with a Jew, he is still a potential source of danger.
(5) V. p. 646, n. 6.
(6) II Kings XIX, 37.
(8) Gen. XIV, 15.
(9) Job III, 3 the verse is translated: And Lailah fought on their behalf;he(Abraham) and his etc.
(10) Judges V, 20; thus, just as there, so here too.
(11) So Rashi, assuming that R. Johanan was the son of a smith. But Bar Nappaha may simply mean a smith (Jast.); R. Johanan was so occasionally dubbed; e.g., B.M. 85b. Rashi also suggests that the name may allude to his beauty. In that case נפה may be understood, the sense being, inflaming one's desires.
(12) Gen. XIV, 14.
(13) I Kings XII, 29. The reference is to the golden calves set up by Jeroboam.
(14) Jer. VIII, 16.
(15) Var. lec., R. Joshua b. Levi; but v. next note.
(16) Nisibis was on the frontier of Armenia, not far from Mesopotamia. There R. Judah b. Bathyra had his school. (V. supra, 32b - this fact supports the reading of our text.)
(17) Lit., 'elder,' but generally used of a mature scholar.
(18) When a fowl is slaughtered, the jugular vein, which contains much blood, must be cut too; otherwise the fowl may not be roasted whole. This is R. Judah's opinion.
(19) Though the fathers may be unlearned, the children, if scholars, must be duly respected, for they may be the forebears of great scholars, as is evidenced by Shemaiah and Abtalion who were the descendants of Sennacherib (Rashi); v. infra 96b.
(20) The reference is not quite clear. Rashi gives two alternatives: (i) They are honoured on account of the slight merit which their father possessed; or (ii) they are honoured solely on account of their learning, not their ancestry, lest they forget their ignoble origin.
(21) Jer. XII, 1f. The question refers to Nebuchadnezar's military successes, particularly in Palestine.
(22) Ibid, 5.
(23) Mil=1/4 parasang.
(24) The allusion is explained further on.
(25) I.e., Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: I am filled with wonderment at the magnitude of their reward. Maharsha explains this more naturally: My heart is broken because of the false prophets, who assure Israel that Nebuchadnezzar will not meet with success in Palestine, being a greater sinner than the Jews. But that is a false hope: he shall be rewarded with victory on account of the four steps which he ran in God's honour.
(26) Ibid. XXIII, 9.
(27) Isa. XXXIX, 1.
(28) Surely not!
(29) II Chron. XXXII, 31.
(30) I.e., it set ten hours too soon, to allow of no time for the funeral obsequies and eulogies. This was in order to make atonement for his sins, for the disgrace of being deprived of the usual funeral honours expiates ones misdeeds, as stated supra 46b and 47a.
(31) Isa. XXXVIII, 8. The return of the ten degrees is assumed to mean a prolongation of the day by ten hours, light having healing powers.
(32) I.e., let him who gave the advice carry it out.
(33) I.e., the messenger, who was already on his way, to recall him and rewrite it.
(34) Lit., 'there would have been no remedy for . . .
(35) A euphemism for the Jews themselves. Had he run further and actually carried out his desire, his title to reward would have been so great as to enable him to wipe out Israel. The scholarly children of the ignorant - a synonym here for the wicked - should thus be informed that the honour paid to them is due to the slight merit of their fathers, as in this case.
(36) It being unusual for father and son to bear the same name.
(37) [In Assyrian-Babylonian Monuments there are to be seen dogs in the company of Merodach, and this is very likely an explanation of this conception of Baladan's dog-face; v. Ginzberg, Legends, VI, 368, 82.]
(38) Mal. I, 6.
(39) Jer. LII, 12f.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 96b
But had Nebuchadnezzar gone up to Jerusalem? Surely it is written, They carried him up unto the King of Babylon to Riblah,'1 and R. Abbahu said that this was Antioch? - R. Hisda and R. Isaac b. Abudimi [replied as follows] - One answered: His [Nebuchadnezzar's] portrait was engraved on his [Nebuzaradan's] chariot; and the other explained: He stood in such awe before him that it is as though he were in his presence.2
Raba said: Nebuchadnezzar sent Nebuzaradan three hundred mules laden with iron axes that could break iron,3 but they were all shattered4 on a single gate of Jerusalem, for it is written, And now they attack its gate [lit., 'door'] together: with axes and hammers they smite.5 He desired to return, but said, 'I am afraid lest I meet the same fate which befell Sennacherib.'6 Thereupon a voice cried out, 'Thou leaper, son of a leaper, leap, Nebuzaradan, for the time has come for the Sanctuary to be destroyed and the Temple burnt.' He had but one axe left, so he went and smote [the gate] with the head thereof, and it opened, as it is written, A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.7 He hewed down [the Jews] as he proceeded, until he reached the Temple. Upon his setting fire thereto, it sought to rise up, but was trodden down8 from Heaven, as it is written, The Lord hath trodden down the virgin daughter of Judah [the Temple] as in a winepress.9 His mind was now elated [with his triumph], when a voice came forth from Heaven saying to him, 'Thou hast slain a dead people, thou hast burned a Temple already burned, thou hast ground flour already ground, as it is written, Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers:'10 not 'wheat' but meal is said.11
[After that] he saw the blood of Zechariah12 seething. 'What is this?' cried he. 'It is the blood of sacrifices, which has been spilled,' they answered. 'Then,' said he, 'bring [some animal blood] and I will compare them, to see whether they are alike.' So he slaughtered animals and compared them, but they were dissimilar. 'Disclose [the secret] to me, or if not, I will tear your flesh with iron combs,' he threatened. They replied: 'This is [the blood of] a priest and a prophet, who foretold the destruction of Jerusalem to the Israelites, and they killed him.' 'I,' said he, 'will appease him.' So he brought the scholars and slew them over him,13 yet it did not cease [to boil]. He brought schoolchildren and slew them over him, still it did not rest; he brought the young priests and slew them over him, and still it did not rest, until he had slain ninety four thousand, and still it did not rest. Whereupon he approached him and cried out, 'Zechariah, Zechariah, I have destroyed the flower of them: dost thou desire me to massacre them all?' Straightway it rested. Thoughts of repentance came into his mind: if they, who killed one person only, have been so [severely punished], what will be my fate? So he fled, sent his testament to his house, and became a proselyte.
Our Rabbis taught: Naaman was a resident alien,14 Nebuzaradan was a righteous proselyte,15 the descendants of Sisera studied Torah in Jerusalem; the descendants of Sennacherib taught Torah to the multitude: Who were these? - Shemaiah and Abtalion.16 The descendants of Haman studied Torah in Benai Berak. The Holy One, blessed be He, purposed to lead the descendants of that wicked man17 too under the Wings of the Shechinah,18 but the ministering Angels protested before Him, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Shalt Thou bring him under the wings of the Shechinah who laid Thy House in ruins, and burnt Thy Temple?' That is meant by the verse, We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed.19 'Ulla said: This refers to Nebuchadnezzar;20 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: By this are meant the rivers of Babylon21 which run along the palm-trees of Babylonia.22 'Ulla said: Ammon and Moab were evil neighbours of Jerusalem. As soon as they heard the prophets predicting the destruction of Jerusalem, they sent to Nebuchadnezzar, 'Leave [thy country] and come hither.' He replied, 'I am afraid lest I be treated as my predecessors. Thereupon they sent word, 'For the man is not at home;23 and 'man' refers only to the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written, The Lord is a man of war.24 He sent answer, 'But he may be near, to which they returned, 'He hath gone a long journey.'25 He again sent word: 'They have among them righteous men who may pray to Him and bring Him back.' They answered, 'He hath taken a bag of money with him;'26 and 'money' refers to none but the righteous, as it is written, So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley.27 He sent back: 'The wicked may repent, pray for mercy, and bring Him back.' They answered, 'He hath already fixed a time for them,'28 as it is written, And will come home at the day appointed [ha-kese]29 and 'kese' can only refer to time, as it is written, in the time appointed [ba-kese] on our solemn feast day.30 He then sent word, 'It is winter, and I cannot come on account of the approaching snows and rains.' They replied, 'Come by way of the mountains, [which will protect you];'31 as it is written, Send ye a messenger to the ruler of the earth [i.e., Nebuchadnezzar] [that he may come] by way of the rocks [i.e., mountains] to the wilderness, [unto the mount of the daughter of Zion].32 He sent back, 'If I come, I have no place for encamping.'33 They replied, 'Their graveyards are better than thy palaces'; as it is written, At that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones of the King of Judah, and the bones of his 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 before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked.34
R. Nahman said to R. Isaac: 'Have you heard when Bar Nafle35 will come?' 'Who is Bar Nafle?' he asked. 'Messiah,' he answered, 'Do you call Messiah Bar Nafle?' - 'Even so,' he rejoined, 'as it is written, in that day I will raise up
(1) Ibid. 9.
(2) According to both answers the verse shews the singular honour which he paid him.
(3) Lit., 'that has power over iron;' to hew down the gate of Jerusalem.
(4) Lit., 'swallowed up.'
(5) Ps. LXXIV, 6.
(6) Who was assassinated on his return from Jerusalem, II Kings XIX, 37.
(7) Ps. LXXIV, 5.
(8) I.e., forced down.
(9) Lam. I, 15.
(10) Isa. XLVII, 2.
(11) I.e., he had no cause for pride, for the destruction of Israel having been decreed, they were already as destroyed.
(12) Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, was a priest who flourished during the reign of Joash, king of Judah. On account of his stern denunciation of idolaters a conspiracy was formed against him, and he was stoned in the Temple Court at the king's command - II Chron. XXIV, 20-22. In his dying words he called for vengeance. [V. however, Baeck, MGWJ, pp. 313ff.]
(13) I.e., his blood.
(14) One who renounces idolatry for the sake of certain rights of citizenship in Palestine.
(15) One who accepts all the laws of Judaism with no ulterior motive.
(16) The teachers of Hillel.
(18) I.e., make them proselytes.
(19) Jer. 21, 9.
(20) That God desired his descendants to become proselytes.
(21) Which are unfit for drinking purposes (v. Obermeyer, op. cit. 195). [The reference is to Ps. CXXXVII, 1; v. Strashun, a.l.]
(22) [Which stand by the river's edge and bear no fruit. Thus Rashi on the basis of a slightly different reading. According to Obermeyer, op. cit. 295, following our text, it may be rendered thus: 'By this are meant the rivers of Babylonia which, as is explained, run along the palm trees of Babylon.' The water, that is to say, is rendered unfit for drinking purposes by reason of the salt it absorbs from the soil, as palm trees need salty ground for their cultivation.]
(23) Prov. VII, 19.
(24) Ex. XV, 3.
(25) Prov. Ibid.
(26) Ibid. 20.
(27) Hos. III, 2: This is figuratively interpreted: I redeemed the Israelites from Egypt on the fifteenth of Nisan, in the merit of the forty five righteous men (a homer and a half is forty five se'ahs) by whose virtue the world exists (Hul. 92a). Thus 'silver', the price of redemption, is an allegorical reference to the righteous.
(28) That He will not return to them until seventy years of exile have passed.
(29) הכסא Prov. Ibid.
(30) Ps. LXXXI, 1, 3.
(31) So Rashi. Jast. renders: 'Come, even if it be necessary to march over the cliffs and mountains.'
(32) Isa. XVI, 1.
(33) 'There is no sheltered place outside Jerusalem where I may encamp with my whole army.'
(34) Jer. VIII, 1f. I.e., the great burial vaults will be cleaned to give shelter to Nebuchadnezzar's army.
(35) [Lit., 'son of the fallen.' Bar Nafle is generally assumed to represent the Greek **, the 'son of the clouds;' cf. Dan. VII, 13, there came with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man, which R. Nahman gave a Hebrew connotation.]
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 97a
the tabernacle of David ha-nofeleth [that is fallen].'1 He replied, 'Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e., Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.'
Our Rabbis taught: in the seven year cycle at the end of which the son of David will come-in the first year, this verse will be fulfilled: And I will cause it to rain upon one city and cause it not to rain upon another city;2 in the second, the arrows of hunger will be sent forth;3 in the third, a great famine, in the course of which men, women, and children, pious men and saints4 will die, and the Torah will be forgotten by its students; in the fourth, partial plenty;5 in the fifth, great plenty, when men will eat, drink and rejoice, and the Torah will return to its disciples; in the sixth, [Heavenly] sounds;6 in the seventh, wars; and at the conclusion of the septennate the son of David will come. R. Joseph demurred: But so many septennates have passed, yet has he not come! - Abaye retorted: Were there then [Heavenly] sounds in the sixth and wars in the seventh! Moreover, have they [sc. the troubles] been in this order7 !
[Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O Lord,' wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.]8 it has been taught, R. Judah said: in the generation when the son of David comes, the house of assembly9 will be for harlots, Galilee in ruins, Gablan lie desolate,10 the border inhabitants11 wander about from city to city, receiving no hospitality, the wisdom of scribes in disfavour, God-fearing men despised, people12 be dog-faced,13 and truth entirely lacking, as it is written, Yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.14 What is meant by 'yea, truth faileth [ne'edereth15 ]'? - The Scholars of the School of Rab16 said: This teaches that it will split up into separate groups17 and depart.18 What is the meaning of 'and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey [mishtollel19 ]'? - The School of R. Shila said: He who departs from evil will be dubbed a fool by his fellow-men.20
Raba said: I used to think at first that there is no truth in the world.21 Whereupon one of the Rabbis, by name of R. Tabuth - others say, by name of R. Tabyomi - who, even if he were given all the treasures of the world, would not lie, told me that he once came to a place called Kushta,22 in which no one ever told lies, and where no man ever died before his time. Now, he married one of their women, by whom he had two sons. One day his wife was sitting and washing her hair, when a neighbour came and knocked at the door. Thinking to himself that it would not be etiquette [to tell her that his wife was washing herself], he called out, 'She is not here.' [As a punishment for this] his two sons died. Then people of that town came to him and questioned him, 'What is the cause of this?' So he related to them what had happened. 'We pray thee,' they answered, 'quit this town, and do not incite Death against us.'23
It has been taught: R. Nehorai said: in the generation when Messiah comes, young men will insult the old, and old men will stand before the young [to give them honour]; daughters will rise up against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. The people shall be dog-faced, and a son will not be abashed in his father's presence.
It has been taught, R. Nehemiah said: in the generation of Messiah's coming impudence will increase, esteem be perverted,24 the vine yield its fruit, yet shall wine be dear,25 and the Kingdom will be converted to heresy26 with none to rebuke them. This supports R. Isaac, who said: The son of David will not come until the whole world is converted to the belief of the heretics. Raba said: What verse [proves this]? it is all turned white: he is clean.27
Our Rabbis taught: For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself of his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left:28 the son of David will not come until denunciators are in abundance.29 Another interpretation [of their power is gone]: until scholars are few. Another interpretation: until the [last] perutah has gone from the purse. Yet another interpretation: until the redemption is despaired of, for it is written, there is none shut up or left, as - were it possible [to say so] - Israel had neither Supporter nor Helper. Even as R. Zera, who, whenever he chanced upon scholars engaged thereon [I.e., in calculating the time of the Messiah's coming], would say to them: I beg of you, do not postpone it, for it has been taught: Three come unawares:30 Messiah, a found article and a scorpion.31
R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.32 Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.33
It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,' and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day,34 meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath -35 and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.36
The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation;37 two thousand years the Torah flourished;38 and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era,39
(1) Amos, IX, 11.
(2) ibid. IV, 7.
(3) I.e., not actual famine, but the first signs thereof, no one being completely satisfied.
(4) Lit., 'men on whose behalf miracles occur.' - Jast.
(5) Lit., 'plenty and no plenty'.
(6) Either Heavenly voices announcing the advent of Messiah, or the blasts of the great Shofar; cf. Isa. XXVII, 13.
(7) Though troubles and evil decrees have come in abundance, they were not in the order prescribed.
(8) Ps. LXXXIX, 52.
(9) Where scholars assemble.
(10) [Gaulan, E. of the Sea of Galilee and the upper Jordan].
(11) The Jews living by the borders of Palestine. אנשי גזית the men of (the Hall of) Hewn Stones, I.e., the Sanhedrin.
(12) Lit., 'the face of the generation.'
(13) I.e., brazen, without shame of each other.
(14) Isa. LIX, 15.
(16) V. p. 387, n. 7.
(17) עדרים עדרים 'Adarim, 'adarim. נעדרת is connected with עדר, meaning 'drove,' 'group.'
(18) Probably meaning that there will be so many conflicting opinions as to what is the truth as to render it, for all practical purposes, inaccessible.
(20) Cf. Job XII, 17: He leadeth counsellors away spoiled (שולל) and maketh the judges fools. Sholal being parallel to 'fools', it bears the same connotation.
(21) I.e., no person always speaks the truth.
(22) Lit., 'truth'.
(23) Lit., 'against these men.'
(24) I.e., none shall esteem another. Another opinion: even the most esteemed shall be perverted and deceitful.
(25) Everyone will be drunk, so that in spite of the abundant yield, there will be a scarcity.
(26) [Heb. Minuth. By 'the Kingdom' is meant the Roman Empire, and the statement is a remarkable forecast by R. Nehemia (150 C.E.) of the conversion of Rome to Christianity under Constantine the Great in 313; v. however, Herford, Christianity in the Talmud, 207ff.]
(27) Lev. XIII, 13. This refers to leprosy: a white swelling is a symptom of uncleanliness; nevertheless, if the whole skin is so affected, it is declared clean. So here too; when all are heretics, it is a sign that the world is about to be purified by the advent of Messiah.
(28) Deut. XXXII, 36.
(29) 'When he seeth that their power is gone' is interpreted as meaning that they will be at the mercy of informers; then God will judge his people - redeem them through the Messiah.
(30) Lit., 'when the mind is diverted.'
(31) Hence by thinking of him they were postponing his coming.
(32) Isa. II, 11.
(33) Hosea VI, 2: the 'two days' meaning two thousand years. Cf. Ps. XC, 4. quoted below.
(34) Ps. XCII, 1.
(35) I.e., the period of complete desolation.
(36) Ps. XC, 4; thus 'day' in the preceding verses means a thousand years.
(37) I.e., no Torah. It is a tradition that Abraham was fifty-two years old when he began to convert men to the worship of the true God; from Adam until then, two thousand years elapsed.
(38) I.e., from Abraham's fifty-second year until one hundred and seventy-two years after the destruction of the second Temple. This does not mean that the Torah should cease thereafter, but is mentioned merely to distinguish it from the next era.
(39) I.e., Messiah will come within that period.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 97b
but through our many iniquities all these years have been lost.1
Elijah said to Rab Judah, the brother of R. Salia the pious: 'The world shall exist not less than eighty five jubilees,2 and in the last jubilee the son of David will come.'3 He asked him, 'At the beginning or at the end?'4 - He replied, 'I do not know.' 'Shall [this period] be completed or not?'5 - 'I do not know,' he answered. R. Ashi said: He spoke thus to him, 'Before that, do not expect him; afterwards thou mayest await him.'6
R. Hanan b. Tahlifa sent [word] to R. Joseph: I once met a man who possessed a scroll written in Hebrew in Assyrian characters.7 I said to him: 'Whence has this come to thee?' He replied, 'I hired myself as a mercenary in the Roman army, and found it amongst the Roman archives. In it is stated that four thousand, two hundred and thirty8 -one years after the creation the world will be orphaned.9 [As to the years following,] some of them will be spent in the war of the great sea monsters,10 and some in the war of Gog and Magog, and the remaining [period] will be the Messianic era, whilst the Holy One, blessed be He, will renew his world only after seven thousand years.' R. Abba the son of Raba said: The statement was after five thousand years.
It has been taught; R. Nathan said: This verse pierces and descends to the very abyss:11 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though he tarry, wait for him; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.12 Not as our Masters, who interpreted the verse, until a time and times and the dividing of time;13 nor as R. Simlai who expounded, Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink a third time;14 nor as R. Akiba who expounded, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth:15 but the first dynasty [sc. the Hasmonean] shall last seventy years, the second [the Herodian], fifty two, and the reign of Bar Koziba16 two and a half years.17
What is meant by 'but at the end it shall speak [we-yafeah] and not lie?' - R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: Blasted be18 the bones of those who calculate the end.19 For they would say, since the predetermined time has arrived, and yet he has not come, he will never come. But [even so], wait for him, as it is written, Though he tarry, wait for him. Should you say, We look forward [to his coming] but He does not: therefore Scripture saith, And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you.20 But since we look forward to it, and He does likewise, what delays [his coming]? - The Attribute of Justice delays it.21 But since the Attribute of Justice delays it, why do we await it? - To be rewarded [for hoping], as it is written, blessed are all they that wait for him.22
Abaye said: The world must contain not less than thirty-six righteous men in each generation who are vouchsafed [the sight of] the Shechinah's countenance, for it is written, Blessed are all they that wait lo23 [for him]; the numerical value of 'lo' is thirty-six. But that is not so, for did not Raba say: The row [of righteous men immediately] before the Holy One, blessed be He, consists of eighteen thousand,24 for it is written, it shall be eighteen thousand round about?24 - That is no difficulty: the former number [thirty-six] refers to those who see Him through a bright speculum, the latter to those who contemplate him through a dim one.25 But are there as many? Did not Hezekiah say in the name of R. Jeremiah on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai: I have seen the sons of heaven,26 and they are but few; if there are a thousand, I and my son are included; if a hundred, I and my son are included; and if only two, they are myself and my son? - There is no difficulty: the former number [thirty-six] refers to those who enter [within the barrier to contemplate the Shechinah] with permission; the latter [uncertain number] to those who may enter without permission.
Rab said: All the predestined dates [for redemption] have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds. But Samuel maintained: it is sufficient for a mourner to keep his [period of] mourning.27 This matter is disputed by Tannaim: R. Eliezer said: if Israel repent, they will be redeemed; if not, they will not be redeemed. R. Joshua said to him, if they do not repent, will they not be redeemed! But the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a king over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman's, whereby Israel shall engage in repentance, and he will thus bring them back to the right path.28 Another [Baraitha] taught: R. Eliezer said: if Israel repent, they will be redeemed, as it is written, Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.29 R. Joshua said to him, But is it not written, ye have sold yourselves for naught; and ye shall be redeemed without money?30 Ye have sold yourselves for naught, for idolatry; and ye shall be redeemed without money - without repentance and good deeds. R. Eliezer retorted to R. Joshua, But is it not written, Return unto me, and I will return unto you?31 R. Joshua rejoined - But is it not written, For I am master over you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion?32 R. Eliezer replied, But it is written, in returning and rest shall ye be saved.33 R. Joshua replied, But is it not written, Thus saith the Lord, The Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nations abhorreth, to a servant of rulers,
(1) He should have come at the beginning of the last two thousand years; the delay is due to our sins.
(2) Of fifty years.
(3) [Messiah. The belief in his Davidic descent is already mentioned in the Psalms of Solomon XVII, 21.]
(4) Of the last fifty years.
(5) I.e., if at the end of the jubilee, shall it be at the beginning of the fiftieth year or at the end thereof?
(6) He will certainly not come before then, but may delay a long time afterwards.
(7) The square character of Hebrew letters is so called on account of the great resemblance it bears to Aramaic writing, the name Assyria being here used in the widest sense to include the countries on the Mediterranean inhabited by the Arameans; v. supra, 22b and 22a and notes.
(8) So the Wilna Gaon; v. A.Z. 9b; our editions have ninety.
(9) In great distress, as an orphan who has none to take care of him.
(10) Maharsha explains this as a figurative reference to the great nations.
(11) Just as the bottom of an abyss cannot be reached, so is it impossible to grasp the full purport of this verse (Rashi).
(12) Hab. II, 3.
(13) Dan. VII, 25.
(14) Ps. LXXX, 6.
(15) Hag. II, 6.
(16) V. p. 627, n. 4.
(17) The verses cited from Daniel, the Psalms, and Haggai were interpreted so as to give a definite date for the advent of the Messiah. R. Nathan however, on the authority of Hab. II, 3, asserts that all such calculations are false. The three verses refer to the Hasmonean, Herodian, and Bar Koziba's reign, but the advent of Messiah is unknowable, Rashi.
(18) ויפח The verse is rendered, 'he will blast him who calculated the end.'
(19) I.e., Messiah's advent.
(20) Isa. XXX, 18.
(21) I.e., because we are not yet worthy of it.
(24) Maharsha deletes פרסא, parasang. (12) Ezek. XLVIII, 35.
(25) Only thirty-six see Him with absolute clarity. The others receive a clouded vision of Him.
(26) I.e., those who enjoy the sight of the Shechinah in the hereafter.
(27) Israel's sufferings in the Galuth in themselves sufficiently warrant their redemption, regardless of repentance.
(28) [in the Jerushalmi, the last sentence, 'But the Holy . . . right path' is given as R. Eliezer's reply to R. Joshua.]
(29) Jer. III, 22.
(30) Isa. LII, 3.
(31) Mal. III, 7.
(32) Jer. III, 14: 'master over you' implies even against your wishes - i.e., without repentance of the whole nation (Rashi).
(33) Isa. XXX, 15.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 98a
Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship?1 R. Eliezer countered, But is it not written, if thou wilt return,2 O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto me?3 R. Joshua answered, But it is elsewhere written, And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times and a half' and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.4 At this R. Eliezer remained silent.
R. Abba also said: There can be no more manifest [sign of] redemption than this: viz., what is said, But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel, for they are at hand to come.5 R. Eleazar said: Than this too, as it is written, For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction.6 What is meant by, 'neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction?' - Rab said: Even for scholars, who are promised peace,7 as it is written, Great peace have they which love thy law,8 'There [shall] be no peace on account of the affliction.' Samuel said, 'Until all prices are equal.'9
R. Hanina said: The Son of David will not come until a fish is sought for an invalid and cannot be procured, as it is written, Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil;10 whilst it is written,11 in that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth.12
R. Hama b. Hanina said: The son of David will not come until even the pettiest kingdom ceases [to have power] over Israel,13 as it is written, He shall both cut off the sprigs14 with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches;15 and this is followed by, in that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people that is scattered and peeled.16
Ze'iri said in R. Hanina's name: The son of David will not come until there are no conceited men in Israel, as it is written, For then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride:17 which is followed by, I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall take refuge in the name of the Lord.18
R. Simlai said in the name of R. Eleazar, son of R. Simeon: The son of David will not come until all judges and officers are gone from Israel, as it is written, And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross and take away all thy tin: And I will restore thy judges as at first.19
'Ulla said: Jerusalem shall be redeemed only by righteousness,20 as it is written, Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.21
R. Papa said: When the haughty cease to exist [in Israel] the magi22 shall cease [among the Persians]; when the judges cease to exist [in Israel], the chiliarchi23 shall cease likewise. Now, 'when the haughty cease to exist, the magi shall also cease,' as it is written, And I will purely purge away thy haughty ones24 and take away all thy tin.25 'When the judges cease to exist, the chiliarchi shall cease likewise, as it is written, The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy.26
R. Johanan said: When you see a generation ever dwindling, hope for him [the Messiah], as it is written, And the afflicted people thou wilt save.27 R. Johanan said: When thou seest a generation overwhelmed by many troubles as by a river, await him, as it is written, when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him;28 which is followed by, And the Redeemer shall come to Zion.29
R. Johanan also said: The son of David will come only in a generation that is either altogether righteous or altogether wicked. 'in a generation that is altogether righteous,' - as it is written, Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever.30 'Or altogether wicked,' - as it is written, And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor;31 and it is [elsewhere] written, For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it.32
R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction. it is written, in its time [will the Messiah come], whilst it is also written, I [the Lord] will hasten it!33 - if they are worthy, I will hasten it: if not, [he will come] at the due time. R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven34 whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold, thy king cometh unto thee . . . ] lowly, and riding upon an ass!35 - if they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven;36 if not, lowly and riding upon an ass. King Shapur [I] said to Samuel, 'Ye maintain that the Messiah will come upon an ass: I will rather send him a white horse of mine.'37 He replied, 'Have you a hundred-hued steed?'38
R. Joshua b. Levi met Elijah standing by the entrance of R. Simeon b. Yohai's tomb. He asked him: 'Have I a portion in the world to come?' He replied, 'if this Master desires it.'39 R. Joshua b. Levi said, 'I saw two, but heard the voice of a third.'40 He then asked him, 'When will the Messiah come?' - 'Go and ask him himself,' was his reply. 'Where is he sitting?' - 'At the entrance.'41 And by what sign may I recognise him?' - 'He is sitting among the poor lepers: all of them untie [them]42 all at once, and rebandage them together,43 whereas he unties and rebandages each separately, [before treating the next], thinking, should I be wanted, [it being time for my appearance as the Messiah] I must not be delayed [through having to bandage a number of sores].' So he went to him and greeted him, saying, 'peace upon thee, Master and Teacher.' 'peace upon thee, O son of Levi,' he replied. 'When wilt thou come Master?' asked he, 'To-day', was his answer. On his returning to Elijah, the latter enquired, 'What did he say to thee?' - 'peace Upon thee, O son of Levi,' he answered. Thereupon he [Elijah] observed, 'He thereby assured thee and thy father of [a portion in] the world to come.' 'He spoke falsely to me,' he rejoined, 'stating that he would come to-day, but has not.' He [Elijah] answered him, 'This is what he said to thee, To-day, if ye will hear his voice.'44
The disciples of R. Jose b. Kisma asked him, 'When will the Messiah come?' - He answered, 'I fear lest ye demand a sign of me [that my answer is correct].' They assured him, 'We will demand no sign of you.' So he answered them, 'When this gate45 falls down, is rebuilt, falls again, and is again rebuilt, and then falls a third time, before it can be rebuilt the son of David will come.' They said to him, 'Master, give us a sign.' He protested, 'Did ye not assure me that ye would not demand a sign?' They replied, 'Even so, [we desire one].' He said to them. 'if so, let the waters of the grotto of Paneas turn into blood;' and they turned into blood. When he lay dying he said to them, 'place my coffin deep [in the earth],
(1) ibid. XLIX, 7: 'to him whom man despiseth etc.' implies that he is still an unrepentant sinner (Rashi), or that their prostration in itself will bring about the redemption (Yad Ramah).
(2) I.e., to thy land.
(3) Jer. IV, 1.
(4) Dan. XII, 7, thus proving that Messiah's coming is dependant only upon the utter prostration of Israel, not his repentance.
(5) Ezek. XXXVI, 8. When Palestine becomes so very fertile, Messiah's advent is near, and there can be no clearer sign than this (Rashi).
(6) Zech. VIII, 10; I.e., when there is no money left, and troubles abound everywhere. Cf. supra 'until the perutah ceases from the purse.'
(7) Lit., 'concerning whom peace is written.'
(8) Ps. CXIX, 165.
(9) This is a difficult passage. Rashi explains it as meaning either that the prices of all commodities, e.g., wheat, wine, oil etc. shall be alike, or that all commodities shall be equally dear. But it is difficult to see how this explains' neither was there any peace etc. Maharsha therefore connects this verse 'to him that went out or came in' with Ezek. XLVI, 9: But when the people of the land shall come before the Lord in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate . . . Accordingly he interprets: until all gates are alike, i.e., all people, whether entering or leaving the Temple-an idiom denoting 'without exception' - will suffer.
(10) Ezek. XXXII, 14. When an oily film covers the water, fish cannot be caught-an anticipation of the havoc to sea life wrought in modern times by oil-burning vessels?
(11) [in the same connection, dealing with the destruction of Egypt (Maharsha).]
(12) Ibid. XXIX, 21.
(13) [So Maharsha. Rashi renders: 'until even the pettiest rule ceases among Israel' - i.e., Israel will be deprived of all semblance of power.]
(14) Metaphorical for 'petty kingdoms.'
(15) Isa. XVIII, 5.
(16) Ibid. 7.
(17) Zeph. III, 11.
(18) Ibid. 12: i.e., for them shall the redeemer come.
(19) Isa. I, 25f: this proves that they must first have been removed.
(20) I.e., through the exercise of charity.
(21) Ibid. 27.
(22) [The Guebres who were responsible for much of the suffering of the Jews under the Sassanians, v. supra p. 504, n. 6.]
(23) גזירפטי [Pers. Wezirpat, a ruler, Funk, Schwarz Festschrift, p. 432;] the name of a class of oppressive Persian officers.
(24) סיגיך from סגי, 'great', 'haughty'.
(25) Metaphorically applied to the magi, as being 'a cheap metal.'
(26) Zeph. III, 15.
(27) II Sam. XXII, 28.
(28) Isa. LIX, 19.
(29) Ibid. 20.
(30) Ibid. LX, 21.
(31) Ibid. LIX, 16.
(32) Ibid. XLVIII, 11.
(33) Ibid. LX, 22: The verse reads, I the Lord will hasten it in its time. The two phrases are contradictory, since 'hasten it' implies before its proper time.
(34) Dan. VII, 13.
(35) Zech. IX, 7.
(36) 'Swiftly' (Rashi).
(37) This is more fitting.
(38) [This jest is explained by Krochmal, (Hechalutz, I, p. 83) as an overt invitation to the Jews to help Shapur in his struggle with the Romans.]
(39) He referred to the Shechinah, which was with them (Rashi). Maharsha renders: when thou art worthy thereof.
(40) I.e., he saw only himself and Elijah there, but heard a third voice - that of the Shechinah.
(41) Cur. edd. read ' . . . of the town:' The Wilna Gaon deletes this and substitutes 'of Rome.'
(42) The bandages of their sores for dressing.
(43) I.e., if they have many leprous sores, they first take off all the bandages, and treat each sore, then replace them together.
(44) Ps. XCV, 7, thus he made his coming conditional-the condition was unfulfilled.
(45) [The gate of Caesarea Philippi, the home of R. Jose. Its fall would be a symbol of the destruction of the Roman power by the Parthians. Bacher, AT, I, p. 402.]
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 98b
for there is not one palm-tree in Babylon to which a Persian horse will not be tethered, nor one coffin in Palestine out of which a Median horse will not eat straw.'1
Rab said: The son of David will not come until the [Roman] power enfolds Israel2 for nine months, as it is written, Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.3
'Ulla said; Let him [The Messiah] come, but let me not see him.4 Rabbah said likewise: Let him come, but let me not see him. R. Joseph said: Let him come, and may I be worthy of sitting in the shadow of his ass's saddle.5 Abaye enquired of Rabbah: 'What is your reason [for not wishing to see him]? Shall we say, because of the birth pangs [preceding the advent] of the Messiah?6 But it has been taught, R. Eleazar's disciples asked him: 'What must a man do to be spared the pangs of the Messiah?' [He answered,] 'Let him engage in study and benevolence; and you Master do both.' He replied: '[I fear] lest sin cause it,7 in accordance with [the teaching of] R. Jacob b. Idi, who opposed [two verses] [viz.,] it is written, And, Behold, I am with thee, and 'will guard thee in all places whither thou goest:8 but it is written, Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed'9 - He was afraid that sin might cause [the nullification of God's promise]. Even as it was taught, Till thy people pass over, O Lord.'10 this refers to the first entry [into Palestine]; till thy people pass over, which thou hast purchased:11 this refers to their second entry. Hence you may reason: The Israelites were as worthy of a miracle being wrought for them at the second entry as at the first, but that sin caused it [not to happen].
R. Johanan said likewise: Let him come, and let me not see him. Resh Lakish said to him: Why so? Shall we say, because it is written, As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him,' or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him?12 But come, and I will shew you its like even in this world. When one goes out into the field and meets a bailiff,13 it is as though he had met a lion. When he enters the town, and is accosted by a tax-collector, it is as though he had met a bear. On entering his house and finding his sons and daughters in the throes of hunger, it is as though he were bitten by a serpent!14 - But [his unwillingness to see the Messiah] is because it is written, Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man [geber]15 with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?16 What is meant by 'wherefore do I see every geber?' - Raba b. Isaac said in Rab's name: it refers to Him to whom all geburah17 [strength] belongs.18 And what is the meaning of 'and all faces are turned into paleness?' - R. Johanan said: [This refers to God's] heavenly family [I.e., the angels] and his earthly family [I.e., Israel,] when God says, These [the Gentiles] are my handiwork, and so are these [the Jews]; how shall I destroy the former on account of the latter?19 R. Papa said: Thus men say, 'When the ox runs and falls, the horse is put into his stall.'20
R. Giddal said in Rab's name: The Jews are destined to eat [their fill] in the days of the Messiah.21 R. Joseph demurred: is this not obvious; who else then should eat - Hilek and Bilek?22 - This was said in opposition to R. Hillel, who maintained that there will be no Messiah for Israel, since they have already enjoyed him during the reign of Hezekiah.23
Rab said: The world was created only on David's account .24 Samuel said: On Moses account;25 R. Johanan said: For the sake of the Messiah. What is his [the Messiah's] name? - The School of R. Shila said: His name is Shiloh, for it is written, until Shiloh come.26 The School of R. Yannai said: His name is Yinnon, for it is written, His name shall endure for ever:27 e'er the sun was, his name is Yinnon.28 The School of R. Haninah maintained: His name is Haninah, as it is written, Where I will not give you Haninah.29 Others say: His name is Menahem the son of Hezekiah,for it is written, Because Menahem ['the comforter' ], that would relieve my soul, is far.30 The Rabbis said: His name is 'the leper scholar,' as it is written, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted.31
R. Nahman said: if he [the Messiah] is of those living [to day], it might be one like myself, as it is written, And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governors shall proceed from the midst of them.32 Rab said: if he is of the living, it would be our holy Master;33 if of the dead, it would have been Daniel the most desirable man.34 Rab Judah said in Rab's name: The Holy One, blessed be He, will raise up another David for us,35 as it is written, But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them:36 not 'I raised up', but 'I will raise up' is said. R. Papa said to Abaye: But it is written, And my servant David shall be their prince [nasi] for ever?37 - E.g., an emperor and a viceroy.38
R. Simlai expounded: What is meant by, Woe unto you, that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.?39 This may be compared to a cock and a bat who were hopefully waiting for the light [i.e., dawn]. The cock said to the bat, 'I look forward to the light, because I have sight; but of what use is the light to thee?'40
(1) This was a forecast of the future. Babylon and Palestine would be overrun with Persians, Medes and Parthians and their horses would dig up the dead, whose coffins would serve as cribs.
(2) I.e., the whole world in which Israel is scattered.
(3) Micah V, 2: 'therefore will he give them up' is interpreted as meaning to a foreign - viz., the Roman - power, and the duration of their servitude is fixed by 'until the time etc.' i.e., nine months, the period of pregnancy.
(4) V. n. 7.
(5) [Following the reading in Yalkut (v. Levy,) בשולא. Our texts read: דכופיתא, 'dung'.]
(6) These troubles are generally referred to as birth pangs, being the travail which precedes the birth of a new era.
(7) That sin may neutralise the other two, and so I will suffer after all.
(8) Gen. XXVIII, 15; spoken by God to Jacob.
(9) Ibid. XXXII, 8: in view of God's promise, why did he fear?
(10) Ex. XV, 16.
(12) Amos V, 19.
(13) Who contests his title to the field-(Jast.). Rashi translates: an official surveyor, who fixes the boundary lines of the different owners, and thus may increase or: limit one's property.
(14) I.e., we experience the same successive troubles even now, without the Messiah coming: why then should you be afraid of it?
(16) Jer. XXX, 6.
(18) I.e., the Almighty himself bewails Israel in the power of the Gentile.
(19) To avenge the wrongs suffered by the Jews. Because the suffering would be so great that even the Almighty would lament it, R. Johanan desired to be spared the Messiah's coming.
(20) The horse is made to replace it, but when the ox recovers, it is difficult to remove the horse. So the Israelites, having fallen, were replaced in power by the Gentiles: but on their recovery, it will be difficult to remove the Gentiles from their position without inflicting much suffering.
(21) I.e., the years of plenty which the Messiah will usher in will be enjoyed by the Israelites.'
(22) Two fictitious names - 'any Tom, Dick and Harry' - shall these years be enjoyed indiscriminately by anyone?
(23) Therefore R. Giddal puts it in the future.
(24) That he might sing hymns and psalms to God.
(25) That he might receive the Torah.
(26) Gen. XLIX, 10.
(27) E.V. 'shall be continued'.
(28) Ps. LXXII, 17.
(29) Jer. XVI, 13. Thus each School evinced intense admiration of its teacher in naming the Messiah after him by a play on words.
(30) Lam. I, 16.
(31) Isa. LIII, 4.
(32) Jer. XXX, 21: this description fitted R. Nahman, who, as the son-in-law of the Resh Galutha, enjoyed great power and prestige.
(33) I.e., R. Judah the Nasi, generally called Rabbi par excellence.
(34) [Preferably, if of the living, our holy Master (would be the type) of the Messiah; if of the dead, Daniel.]
(35) Lit., 'for them'.
(36) Ibid. XXX, 9.
(37) Ezek. XXXVII, 25: prince (nasi) is a lower title than king.
(38) The second David shall be the king, and the former David shall be his viceroy.
(39) Amos V, 18.
(40) Thus Israel should hope for the redemption, because it will be a day of light to them: but why should the Gentiles, seeing that for them it will be a day of darkness?
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 99a
And thus a Min1 said to R. Abbahu: 'When will the Messiah come?' He replied, 'When darkness covers those people.'2 'You curse me, he exclaimed. He retorted, 'it is but a verse: For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall shine upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.'3
It has been taught: R. Eliezer said: The days of the Messiah will last forty years, as it is written, Forty years long shall I take hold of the generation.4 R. Eleazar b. Azariah said: Seventy years, as it is written, And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king.5 Now, who is the one [uniquely distinguished] king? The Messiah, of course. Rabbi said: Three generations; for it is written, They shall fear thee with the sun, and before the moon [they shall fear thee], a generation and generations.6
R. Hillel7 said: There shall be no Messiah for Israel,8 because they have already enjoyed him in the days of Hezekiah. R. Joseph said: May God forgive him [for saying so]. Now, when did Hezekiah flourish? During the first Temple. Yet Zechariah, prophesying in the days of the second, proclaimed, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold, thy king cometh unto thee! he is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.9
Another [Baraitha] taught: R. Eliezer said: The days of the Messiah will be forty years. Here it is written, And he afflicted thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna;10 whilst elsewhere it is written, Make us glad, according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us.11 R. Dosa said: Four hundred years. It is here written, And they shall serve them,' and they shall afflict them four hundred years;12 whilst elsewhere it is written, Make us glad, according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us. Rabbi said: Three hundred and sixtyfive years, even as the days of the solar year, as it is written, For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redemption is come.13 What is meant by 'the day of vengeance is in mine heart'? - R. Johanan said: I have [so to speak] revealed it to my heart, but not to my [outer] limbs.14 Abimi the son of R. Abbahu learned: The days of Israel's Messiah shall be seven thousand years, as it is written, And as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.15 Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: The days of the Messiah shall endure as long as from the Creation until now, as it is written, [That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give to them,] as the days of heaven upon the earth.16 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: As long as from Noah's days until our own, as it is written, For this is as the waters of Noah, which are mine, so I have sworn etc.17
R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: All the prophets prophesied [all the good things] only in respect of the Messianic era; but as for the world to come 'the eye hath not seen, O Lord, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.'18 Now, he disagrees with Samuel, who said: This world differs from [that of] the days of the Messiah only in respect of servitude to [foreign] powers.
R. Hiyya b. Abba also said in R. Johanan's name: All the prophets prophesied only for repentant sinners; but as for the perfectly righteous [who had never sinned at all], 'the eye hath not seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.' Now he differs from R. Abbahu, who said: The place occupied by repentant sinners cannot be attained even by the completely righteous, for it is written, Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near:19 thus, first he that is 'far off', then he that is 'near'. Now what is meant by 'far off'? - originally far off;20 and what is meant by 'near'? - originally near [and still so].21 But R. Johanan interprets: 'him that is far off' - that is [and has been] far from sin; 'him that is near' - that was near to sin, but is now far off.
R. Hiyya b. Abba also said in R. Johanan's name: All the prophets prophesied only in respect of him who marries his daughter to a scholar, or engages in business on behalf of a scholar,22 or benefits a scholar with his possessions; but as for scholars themselves, - 'the eye hath not seen, O God, beside thee etc.' What does 'the eye hath not seen' refer to? - R. Joshua b. Levi said: To the wine that has been kept [maturing] with its grapes since the six days of Creation. Resh Lakish said: To Eden, which no eye has ever seen; and should you demur, Where then did Adam live? in the Garden. And should you object, The Garden and Eden are one: therefore Scripture teaches, And a river issued from Eden to water the garden.23
AND HE WHO MAINTAINS THAT THE TORAH WAS NOT DIVINELY REVEALED. Our Rabbis taught: Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off:24 this refers to him who maintains that the Torah is not from Heaven. Another rendering: Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, refers to an epikoros. Another rendering: Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, refers to one who gives an interpretation of the Torah25 [not according to the halachah]. And hath broken his commandment: this means one who abolishes the covenant of flesh.26 That soul shall utterly be cut off [hikkareth tikkareth]: 'hikkareth' [to be cut off] implies in this world; 'tikkareth' [it shall be cut off], in the next.27 Hence R. Eliezer of Modi'im taught: He who defiles the sacred food, despises the festivals,28 abolishes the covenant of our father Abraham,29 gives an interpretation of the Torah not according to the halachah, and publicly shames his neighbour, even if he hath learning and good deeds to his credit, hath no portion in the future world.30
Another [Baraitha] taught: Because he hath despised the word of the Lord - this refers to him who maintains that the Torah is not from Heaven. And even if he asserts that the whole Torah is from Heaven, excepting a particular verse, which [he maintains] was not uttered by God but by Moses himself, he is included in 'because he hath despised the word of the Lord.' And even if he admits that the whole Torah is from Heaven, excepting a single point, a particular ad majus deduction or a certain gezerah shawah, - he is still included in 'because he hath despised the word of the Lord'.
It has been taught: R. Meir used to say: He who studies the Torah but does not teach it is alluded to in 'he hath despised the word of the Lord'. R. Nathan said: [it refers to] whoever pays no heed to the Mishnah.31 R. Nehorai said: Whosoever can engage in the study of the Torah but fails to do so. R. Ishmael said: This refers to heathens. How is this implied? - Even as the school of Ishmael taught: Because he hath despised the word of the Lord - this applies to one who despises the words spoken to Moses at Sinai, viz., I am the Lord thy God . . . Thou shalt have no other gods before me.32
R. Joshua b. Karha said: Whosoever studies the Torah and does not revise it is likened unto one who sows without reaping. R. Joshua said: He who studies the Torah and then forgets it is like a woman who bears [a child] and buries [it.] R. Akiba said:
(1) V. p. 604, n. 12.
(2) Alluding to the questioner and his companions.
(3) Isa. LX, 2.
(4) Ps. XCV, 10: I.e., rule over them through the Messiah (rendered, 'I wearied') is connected with root 'to hold'.
(5) Isa. XXIII, 15.
(6) Ps. LXXII, 5. The verse is thus interpreted: They shall fear thee when Messiah comes, who is referred to as a sun (cf. 17), and they shall fear thee on account of the reign of the house of David, which is likened to the moon (cf. LXXXIX, 39: He shall be established for ever as the moon) for a generation (one) and generations (two).
(7) [A brother of Judah II.]
(8) But the Almighty will himself redeem israel and reign over them (Rashi). ['He may have been prompted to this declaration by Origen's professed discovery in the Old Testament of Messianic passages referring to the founder of Christianity' (J.E. VI, 401).]
(9) Zech. IX, 9.
(10) Deut. VIII, 3.
(11) Ps. XC, 15: hence, just as they were afflicted forty years in the wilderness, so shall they rejoice forty years under the kingship of the Messiah.
(12) Gen. XV, 13.
(13) Isa. LXIII, 4. This is interpreted: For it is in mine heart (I.e., intention) that the year (365 days) of redemption shall come, of which each day shall be as long as the day of my vengeance. God's day of vengeance is a year, as in the case of the Spies, on account of whom the Israelites were condemned to wander forty years in the wilderness, - a year for each day of their mission. Cf. Num. XIV, 34 (Rashi). Maharsha explains it in a simpler fashion: For each day of the year that they afflicted Israel, I will take vengeance a full year; as there was a year of days, so will my vengeance last 365 years.
(14) I.e., I have kept my intentions sealed in my heart, not giving expression to them with my tongue, that all my limbs should know thereof.
(15) Isa. LXII, 5. The bridegroom's rejoicing is seven days, and God's day is a thousand years. Cf. Ps. XC, 4: For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.
(16) Deut. XI, 21: I.e., as long as the world has already existed. Since they were not settled so long in their land, it will be completed in the Messianic era.
(17) Isa. LIV, 9. The time that had elapsed since the days of Noah until the moment when this promise was made is regarded as God's, and he swears that for an equal period he will not be wroth with Israel, I.e., when Messiah reigns over them.
(18) Ibid. LXIV, 3.
(19) Ibid. LVII, 19.
(20) I.e., a sinner who is far from God.
(21) One who has never sinned. Thus he assigns a higher rank to the repentant sinner than to the completely righteous.
(22) [I.e., assigns him a share in his business as sleeping partner.]
(23) Gen. II, 10.
(24) Num. XV, 31.
(25) [Or, 'who acts insolently against the Torah', the phrase מגלה פנים being similar to the English 'bare-faced'. This, and epikoros, are discussed further on.]
(26) I.e., who neglects the precept of circumcision. Weiss, Dor. II. p. 8 states that the Rabbinic teachings in praise of circumcision and their emphasis on the penalty of its neglect were directed against the Christians, who substituted baptism for it; v. also n. 5 for another interpretation.
(27) V. supra 90b.
(28) The reference is to the intermediate days of Passover and Tabernacles, called חולו של מועד, the week-days of the festival.
(29) Graetz. Gesch., IV, p. 73, n. 1. suggests that this refers to epiplasm, I.e., drawing a skin over the circumcision so as to hide it. This was resorted to by the Judeo-Christians in order to evade the Fiscus Judaicus, I.e., the Temple Tax which Vespasian converted into a per capita tax for the upkeep of Jupiter's Temple. The galling nature of such conversion, added to the fact that it singled out the Jews as definitely not being full citizens of the Roman Empire with all the privileges and exemptions appertaining thereto, and the severity with which Domitian, a later emperor, applied it, combined to induce a number of these semi-Jews to deny their Judaism altogether and to hide the marks of their circumcision.
(30) V. Aboth III, 15.
(31) Rabbi's compilation was held in such high esteem that to disregard it was considered a sin.
(32) Ex. XX, 2f.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 99b
'Chant it every day, chant it every day.'1 Said R. Isaac b. Abudimi: What verse [supports this]? - He that laboureth laboureth for himself for his mouth craveth it of him:2 he toils in one place, the Torah toils for him in another.3
R. Eleazar said: Every man is born for toil, as it is written, Yet man is born for toil.4 Now, I do not know whether for toil by mouth or by hand, but when it is said, for his mouth craveth it of him, I may deduce that toil by mouth is meant.5 Yet I still do not know whether for toil in the Torah or in [secular] conversation, but when it is said, This book of the Torah shall not depart out of thy mouth,6 I conclude that one was created to labour in the Torah. And this coincides with Raba's dictum, viz., All human bodies are carriers; happy are they who are worthy of being receptacles of the Torah.
Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding.7 Resh Lakish said: This alludes to one who studies the Torah at [irregular] intervals,8 as it is written, For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.9
Our Rabbis taught: But the soul that doeth aught presumptuously:10 this refers to Manasseh the Son of Hezekiah, who examined [Biblical] narratives to prove them worthless. Thus, he jeered, had Moses nothing to write but, And Lotan's sister was Timna,11 And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz,12 And Reuben went in the days of the wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field.13 Thereupon a Heavenly Voice cried out: Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence, thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself' but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.14 And of him it is explicitly stated in the post-Mosaic Scriptures,15 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope.16 What is meant by 'and sin as it were with a cart rope'? - R. Assi said: Temptation at first is like a spider's thread, but eventually like a cart rope.
A propos, what is the purpose of [writing], And Lotan's sister was Timna? - Timna was a royal princess, as it is written, alluf [duke] Lotan,17 alluf [duke] Timna;18 and by 'alluf' an uncrowned ruler is meant. Desiring to become a proselyte, she went to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they did not accept her. So she went and became a concubine to Eliphaz the son of Esau, saying, 'I had rather be a servant to this people than a mistress of another nation.' From her Amalek was descended who afflicted Israel. Why so? - Because they should not have repulsed her.
And Reuben went in the days of the wheat harvest [and found mandrakes in the field]. Raba b. Isaac said in Rab's name: This shews that righteous men do not take what is not theirs.19 And found dudaim20 [mandrakes] in the field. What are dudaim? - Rab said: mandrakes;21 Levi said: violets; R. Jonathan said: mandrake flowers.
R. Alexandri said: He who studies the Torah for its own sake22 makes peace in the Upper Family23 and the Lower Family [men], as it is written, Or let him take hold of my strength [i.e., the Torah], that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.24 Rab said: it is as though he built the heavenly and the earthly Temples, as it is written, And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.25 R. Johanan said: He also shields the whole world [from the consequences of its sins], for it is written, and I have covered [i.e.,protected] thee in the shadow of mine hand. Levi said: He also hastens26 the redemption, as it is written, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
Resh Lakish said: He who teaches Torah to his neighbour's son is regarded by Scripture as though he had fashioned him, as it is written, and the souls which they had made in Haran.27 R. Eleazar said: As though he himself had created the words of the Torah, as it is written, Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and make them.28 Raba said: As though he had made himself, for it is written, 'and make them': render not them but yourselves.29
R. Abbahu said: He who causes his neighbour to fulfil a precept is regarded by Scripture as though he had done it himself, for it is written, [The Lord said unto Moses . . . take . . . ] thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river:30 did Moses then smite it? Aaron smote it! But, he who causes his neighbour to fulfil a precept, is regarded by Scripture as though he had done it himself.
AN EPIKOROS. Rab and R. Hanina both taught that this means one who insults a scholar. R. Johanan and R. Joshua b. Levi maintained that it is one who insults his neighbour in the presence of a scholar. Now on the view that he who insults his neighbour in the presence of a scholar is an epikoros, it is well; for then he who insults a scholar himself will be included in the expression, 'he who acts impudently against the Torah.'31 But on the view that he who insults a scholar himself is an epikoros, who is meant by 'she who acts impudently against the Torah'? - E.g., Manasseh b. Hezekiah.32 Others taught this [dispute] with reference to the second clause: 'he who acts impudently against the Torah.' Rab and R. Hanina both maintained that this means one who insults a scholar himself, whilst R. Johanan and R. Joshua b. Levi held that it is one who insults his neighbour in the presence of a scholar. Now, on the view that he who insults a scholar himself is denoted by the expression 'he who acts impudently against the Torah,' it is well, for then he who insults his neighbour in a scholar's presence is dubbed an epikoros; but on the view that he who insults his neighbour in the presence of a scholar 'is considered to have acted impudently against the Torah, who then is meant by epikoros? - R. Joseph said: E.g., Those who give, 'Of what use are the Rabbis to us? For their own benefit they read [the Scripture], and for their own benefit they study [post-Scriptural learning, particularly the Mishnah]'. Abaye said to him: But this too denotes acting impudently against the Torah, as it is written, Thus saith the Lord, But for my covenant [studied] day and night, I had not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth.33 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: it is also deduced from the verse, Then I will spare all the place for their sakes.34 But it means one, e.g., who was sitting before his teacher, when the discussion turned to some other subject, and the disciple remarked, 'We said so and so on that matter,' instead of 'Thou Master hast said.'35 Raba said: E.g., The family of Benjamin the doctor who say, 'Of what use are the Rabbis to us? They have never
(1) Revise thy learning with a chant. To aid the memory, a system of chanting was in use for study and revision.
(2) Prov. XVI, 26.
(3) I.e., as a reward for repeated revision, the Torah ensures him a complete remembrance and understanding thereof.
(4) Job. V, 7.
(5) I.e., study.
(6) Josh. I, 8.
(7) Prov. VI, 32.
(8) As adultery is naturally committed.
(9) Ibid. XXII, 18-one can keep the Torah only if its words are fitted - always - on his lips, not at rare intervals only.
(10) Num. XV, 30.
(11) Gen. XXXVI, 22.
(12) Ibid. 12.
(13) Ibid. XXX, 14.
(14) Ps. L, 20 f.
(15) קבלה kabbalah is used in contradistinction to Torah, the Pentateuch.
(16) Isa. V, 18.
(17) אלוף Gen. XXXVI, 28.
(18) Ibid. 40.
(19) Lit., stretch forth their hands to theft.' Since Reuben went when the fields had already been reaped, after which it is permissible for all to enter (Rashi). Maharsha explains: The wheat had not yet been harvested, but Reuben was careful to take only mandrakes, to which the owner of the field would not object.
(21) יברוחי 'the chaser', perhaps on account of its use to expel demons ; v. Ginzberg, Legends, V, 298, n. 189.]
(22) For the love of learning, without ulterior motives.
(23) I.e., the angels.
(24) Isa. XXVII, 5; the repetition shews that peace amongst two groups is meant.
(25) Ibid. LI, 16. The eschatology of the apocalyptic writers and many Rabbis looked forward to the creation of a Heavenly Temple in the Messianic era-Enoch XC, 29 et seq.; cf. Hag. 12b.
(26) Lit., 'brings nearer'.
(27) Gen. XII, 5. Since no human being can make (create) life, this is interpreted as meaning whom Abraham taught; v. supra 19b.
(28) Deut. XXIX, 9.
(29) Not אותם but אתם [instruction, like the quality of mercy, 'blesseth him that gives and him that takes'; cf. Mak. 10a; 'Much have I learned from my Masters, more from my fellow-students, but from my disciples most of all.']
(30) Ex. XVII, 5.
(31) So Rashi; v. supra p. 672, n. 1.
(32) V. supra.
(33) Jer. XXXIII, 25, i.e., the world endures only because the Torah ('my covenant') is studied. To deny the utility of scholars therefore is 'to act bare-faced', I.e., express disbelief of what is asserted in the Torah.
(34) Gen. XVIII, 26. To the Rabbis of the Talmud, scholarship and righteousness are synonymous.
(35) I.e., taking partial credit for the dictum, when in reality it belonged entirely to the teacher.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 100a
permitted us the raven, nor forbidden us the dove.'1 Whenever a [suspected] trefa2 of the family Benjamin was brought before Raba, if he saw a reason for permitting it, he would remark to them, 'See, I permit you the raven:' if there were grounds for forbidding it, he would observe, 'See, I forbid you the dove'.3 R. Papa forgot himself and exclaimed, 'O these Rabbis.'4 Thereupon he kept a fast.
Levi b. Samuel and R. Huna b. Hiyya were repairing the mantles of the Scrolls of R. Judah's college. On coming to the Scroll of Esther, they remarked, 'O, this Scroll of Esther does not require a mantle.'5 Thereupon he reproved them, 'This too savours of irreverence.'6 R. Nahman said: [An epikoros is] one who calls his teacher by name,7 for R. Johanan said: Why was Gehazi punished? Because he called his master by name, as it is written, And Gehazi said, My lord, O King, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.8
R. Jeremiah sat before R. Zera and declared: The Holy One, blessed be He, will bring forth a stream from the Holy of Holies, at the side of which shall be all kinds of delicious fruits, as it is written, And by the river upon that bank thereof on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit, according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.9 Whereupon a certain10 old man said to him, 'Well spoken! and R. Johanan taught likewise.' R. Jeremiah said to R. Zera: Such an attitude savours of irreverence.11 He replied: But he merely supported you! But if you have heard of something [which may be dubbed irreverent] it is this: R. Johanan was sitting and teaching: The Holy One, blessed be He, will bring jewels and precious stones, each thirty cubits long, and thirty cubits high, and make an engraving in them, ten by twenty cubits, and set them up as the gates of Jerusalem, for it is written, And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles.12 A certain disciple derided him saying, 'We do not find a jewel even as large as a dove's egg, yet such huge ones are to exist!' Some time later he took a sea journey and saw the ministering angels cutting precious stones and pearls. He said unto them: 'For what are these?' They replied: 'The Holy One, blessed be He, will set them up as the gates of Jerusalem.' On his return, he found R. Johanan sitting and teaching. He said to him: 'Expound, O Master, and it is indeed fitting for you to expound, for even as you did say, so did I myself see.' 'Wretch!' he exclaimed, 'had you not seen, you would not have believed! You deride the words of the Sages!' He set his eyes upon him, and he turned in to a heap of bones.13
An objection was raised: And I will make you go Komamiyuth [upright].14 R. Meir said: it means [with a height of] two hundred cubits, twice the height of Adam.15 R. Judah said: A hundred cubits, corresponding to the [length of the Temple] and its walls, as it is written, That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, fashioned after the similitude of the Temple!16 - R. Johanan referred only to the ventilation windows.17
What is meant by and the leaf thereof li-terufah18 [for medicine]?19 R. Isaac b. Abudimi and R. Hisda differ therein: One maintained, to unlock the upper mouth;20 the other, to unseal the lower mouth.21 it has been said likewise.22 Hezekiah said: To free the mouth of the dumb; Bar Kappara said: To open the mouth23 of barren women. R. Johanan said: Literally for a medicine. What does this mean? - R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: To give a comely countenance to scholars.24
R. Judah, son of R. Simeon, expounded: He who emaciates25 his face for the sake of the study of the Torah in this world,26 the Holy One, blessed be He, will make his lustre shine in the next, as it is written,: His countenance shall be as the Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.27 R. Tanhum b. R. Hanilai said: He who starves himself for the sake of the study of the Torah in this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, will fully satisfy him in the next, as it is written, They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.28 When R. Dimi came,29 he said: The Holy One, blessed be He, will give every righteous man His full Hand30 [of reward], for it is written, Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.31 Abaye demurred: But is it possible to say thus: is it not written, Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span?32 - He replied, Why are you not found familiar with the aggadah?33 For it was said in the West, [i.e., Palestine] in the name of Raba b. Mari: The Holy One, blessed be He, will give to every righteous man three hundred ten worlds, as it is written, That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance [yesh]34 and I will fill their treasures:35 now the numerical value of yesh is three hundred ten.36
It has been taught, R. Meir said: in the measure which one measures, so will there be [measured out] to him, as it is written, in measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt contend with it.37 R. Judah said: But can we say thus: if one gives a handful [of charity] to a poor man in this world, shall the Holy One, blessed be He, give him His hand full in the next? Surely it is written, and meted out heaven with the span? - [He replied:] Do you not admit this? [Now consider:] Which measure is greater? That of goodness [i.e., reward] or of punishment?
(1) in spite of all their discussions, they cannot go beyond what is written in the Torah.
(2) V. Glos.
(3) To shew them that in practice the Rabbis did decide whether a thing was permitted or not.
(5) Being of the opinion that its sanctity was of a lower grade, so that it would not defile one's hands through contact with it. The defilement of the hands by Holy Scriptures was one of the Eighteen Decrees adopted in the year 65. V. Shab. 14a.
(6) Rashi explains, because they took it upon themselves, without consulting him. Maharsha says because they spoke slightingly of its sanctity.
(7) Which was regarded as irreverent.
(8) II Kings VIII, 5.
(9) Ezek. XLVII, 12.
(10) [Wherever the Talmud speaks of 'a certain old man', Elijah is thought by some to be meant. V. Tosaf. Hul. 6a.]
(11) Perhaps he thought it an insinuation of plagiarism. Rashi renders it as a question: 'Would such an attitude savour of irreverence?'
(12) Isa. LIV, 12.
(13) V. B. B. 75a.
(14) Lev. XXVI, 13.
(15) Deriving קוממיות from קומה, one's stature. That is, the people will gain in stature to twice the height of Adam. According to tradition, Adam's height was one hundred cubits (Hag. 12a).
(16) Psalms CXLIV, 12. The complete length of the Temple, including the porch, the chamber behind the main Hall, and the thickness of the intervening walls, was 100 cubits (Rashi); cf. B.B. (Sonc. ed.) p. 301. How then could such tall people pass through an aperture only 20 cubits high?
(17) These would be ten by twenty: but the gates themselves would be much taller.
(19) V. supra.
(20) I.e., to make the dumb speak, a play on the word להתיר פה לתרופה
(21) I.e., to make the barren womb bear child; cf. n. 3.
(22) 'Likewise' is absent from the version in Men. 98a, where this is repeated. The context justifies its retention.
(23) A euphemism for 'womb'.
(24) Lit., 'to the possessors of mouths', those who toil with their mouths; v. supra 99b.
(25) Lit., 'blackens'.
(26) I.e., who undergoes privation and want.
(27) Cant. V, 15.
(28) Ps. XXXVI, 9.
(29) V. p. 390, n. 1.
(30) Lit., 'pack, 'load'
(31) Ps. LXVIII, 20.
(32) Isa. XL, 12. How then can man receive such a great reward?
(33) V. Glos.
(35) Prov. VIII, 21.
(36) Thus man's receptive capacity will be enormously increased - that too is the probable meaning of this statement.
(37) Isa. XXVII, 8, I.e., in the same measure that sin spreads, so it is punished, and conversely, the same holds good of righteousness - the conception of 'measure for measure'.
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 100b
Surely the measure of reward is greater than that of punishment, for with respect to the measure of goodness it is written, And he commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And rained down manna upon them to eat;1 whilst of the measure of punishment it is written, And the windows of heaven were opened.2 Yet, in respect of the measure even of punishment it is written, And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched: and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.3 But if one puts his fingers into the fire in this world, it is immediately burnt!4 - But just as the Holy One, blessed be He, gives the wicked the strength to receive punishment, so does he give the righteous the capacity to receive reward.5
R. AKIBA SAID: ALSO HE WHO READS UNCANONICAL BOOKS etc. A Tanna taught: [This means], the books of the Sadducees.6 R. Joseph said: it is also forbidden to read the book of Ben Sira. Abaye said to him: Why so? Shall we say because there is written therein, 'Do not strip the skin [of a fish] even from its ear, lest thou spoil it, but roast it [all, the fish with the skin] in the fire, and eat therewith two [twisted] loaves'?7 Now, if [you object to it in] its literal sense, the Torah too states, Thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof.8 Whilst in a metaphorical sense, this teaches good taste,9 that one should not cohabit unnaturally. But if you take exception to the passage:10 A daughter is a vain treasure to her father: through anxiety on her account, he cannot sleep at night. As a minor, lest she be seduced; in her majority, lest she play the harlot; as an adult, lest she be not married;11 if she marries, lest she bear no children; if she grows old, lest she engage in witchcraft!' But the Rabbis have said the same: The world cannot exist without males and females; happy is he whose children are males, and woe to him whose children are females. Again if because of the following: 'Let not anxiety enter thy heart, for it has slain many a person!' But Solomon said likewise, Anxiety in the heart of man yashhenna [maketh it stoop].12 R. Ammi and R. Assi [differ in its interpretation]: one rendered it, 'let him banish it from his mind,' the other, 'let him relate it to others.'13 And if because it contains, 'Withhold the multitude from thy house, and bring not every one into thy house!' But Rabbi said the same, for it has been taught, Rabbi said: One should never have a multitude of friends in his house, for it is written, A man that hath many friends bringeth evil upon himself.14 But because there is written therein, 'A thin-bearded man is very wise: a thick-bearded one is a fool: he who blows away [the froth] from off his glass [of liquor] is not thirsty; he who says, with what shall I eat my bread? - take the bread away from him;15 he whose beard is parted will be defeated by none.'16
R. Joseph said: [Yet] we may expound to them17 the good things it contains.18 E.g., 'a good woman is a precious gift, who shall be given to the God-fearing man. An evil woman is a plague to her husband: how shall he mend matters? Let him banish [i.e., divorce] her from his house: so shall he be healed of his plague. Happy the man whose wife is beautiful; the number of his days is doubled. Avert thine eyes from a charming woman, lest thou be caught in her snare. Turn not in to her husband to drink19 wine with him, for many have been slain by the countenance of a beautiful woman, and numerous are those slain by her, and many are the blows sustained by itinerant peddlers.20 Those who seduce to adultery are as the spark that kindles the ember. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit.21 Restrain the multitude from entering into thine house, and bring not everyone thereinto. Let there be many to inquire after thy well-being, yet reveal thy secret to but one in a thousand. Guard the openings of thy mouth from her who lieth in thy bosom. Fret not over to-morrow's trouble, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth,22 and peradventure to-morrow he is no more: thus he shall be found grieving over a world that is not his.'23
All the days of the poor24 are evil.25 Ben Sira said: His nights too. The lowest roof is his roof, and on the highest mountain is his vineyard. The rain of [other] roofs [drip] on to his, whilst the earth of his vineyard is [borne] on [to other] vineyards.26
(Mnemonic: Zera, Raba, Mesharsheya, Hanina, Tobiah, Jannai, Easily suited, Johanan, Merahem, Joshua Mekazer.)27
R. Zera said in Rab's name: What is meant by, All the days of the afflicted are evil? This refers to the students28 of the Talmud; But he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast: this refers to students of the Mishnah.29 Raba reversed the interpretation.30 And this is what R. Mesharsheya said in Raba's name: What is meant by, whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith?31 This refers to the students of the Mishnah; But he that cleaveth wood shall be warmed thereby,32 - this refers to students of the Talmud. R. Hanina said: All the days of the afflicted are evil alludes to one who has a bad wife; whilst but he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast, - to him who possesses a good wife. R. Jannai said: All the days of the afflicted are evil refers to one who is over-fastidious;33 but he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast, - to a person who is easily suited. R. Johanan said: All the days of the afflicted are evil refers to the compassionate; but he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast, to the cruel. R. Joshua b. Levi said: All the days of the afflicted are evil refers to him
(1) Ps. LXXVIII, 23f.
(2) Gen. VII, 11; 'doors' implies a greater opening than 'windows': I.e., God metes out reward more fully than punishment.
(3) Isa. LXVI, 24.
(4) How then can the bodies of the dead go on burning for ever in the next?
(5) I.e., in both cases they are endowed with abnormal receptiveness.
(6) This probably refers to the works of the Judeo-Christians, i.e., the New Testament. There were no Sadducees after the destruction of the Temple, and so 'Sadducees' is probably a censor's emendation for sectarians or Gentiles (Herford, Christianity in the Talmud, p. 333.) [MS. M. reads, Minim.]
(7) I.e., fish is fit for consumption even if baked or roasted with its skin, and therefore it is wasteful to remove it.
(8) Deut. XX, 19, i.e., one must not wantonly destroy what is fit for use.
(9) Lit., 'way of the earth.'
(10) Ben Sira XLIII, 9-10.
(11) V. p. 517 top. The reference is to the three stages: קטנה תנערה תבוגרת, minority, majority, and ripeness.
(12) ישחנה; Prov. XII, 25.
(13) One connects it with (היסח (הדעת, to discard from one's mind, the other with שיח, to converse: but on either interpretation, the sentiment is the same as Ben Sira's.
(14) Prov. XVIII, 24.
(15) Because he is certainly not hungry - otherwise he would not waste time in considering with what to eat it.
(16) I.e., he is extremely cunning, the parting of his beard being due to incessant stroking whilst brooding over his schemes. - All this is nonsense, and hence R. Joseph's objection to reading it.
(17) I.e., to the masses, in the public lectures.
(18) [Yad Ramah records a reading confirmed by many MSS. אי לאו דגנזוה רבנן להאי ספרא הוי דרשינין להו וכו 'Had not the Rabbis hidden this book, we should have expounded them etc.', implying that Ben Sira was hitherto included in the canon; v. J.Q.R., 1891, 686 and 700.]
(19) Lit., 'to dilute'.
(20) These, trading on a petty scale, generally transacted their business with the women-folk, which led to jealousy on the part of their husbands and assaults on the peddlers.
(21) A quotation from Jer. V, 27
(22) Prov. XXVII, 1.
(23) [Ben Sira XXX, 21; XXVI, 1-4; IX, 8-9; XI, 29-34; VI, 6.]
(24) E.V. 'afflicted'.
(25) Prov. XV, 15.
(26) Being poor, he cannot afford a tall building. At the same time, when purchasing a vineyard, he must take one at the top of a mountain, where land is cheaper than in the valley; so that in a storm the earth of his field is carried away to enrich the low-lying lands - thus, whatever happens, he is the loser.
(27) V. p. 387, n. 8.
(28) Lit., 'masters'.
(29) The Talmud, owing to its complexity and difficulty, due to its intricate discussions, is a source of distress to its students; whereas the Mishnah, which is plain and straightforward, brings pleasure to those who study it.
(30) A student of the Talmud may give a definite decision, but not a student of the Mishnah, which is regarded as incomplete without the Talmud. Hence the former sees the fruit of his labours, whereas the latter derives no practical benefit from his studies.
(31) Eccl. X, 9.
(32) Ibid. E.V. translates 'shall be endangered'; for the present rendering of יסכן cf. סוכנת in 1 Kings I, 4.
(33) So that he is worried by the smallest thing which is not exactly to his liking.