The Babylonian Talmud



Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 101a

who is of a petty nature; but he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast, to a contented mind.

R. Joshua b. Levi also said: All the days of the poor are evil: but are there not the Sabbaths and festivals? - it is as Samuel said, viz., Change of diet is the first step to indigestion.1

Our Rabbis taught: He who recites a verse of the Song of Songs and treats it as a [secular] air,2 and one who recites a verse at the banqueting table3 unseasonably,4 brings evil upon the world. Because the Torah girds itself in sackcloth, and stands before the Holy One, blessed be He, and laments before Him, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Thy children have made me as a harp upon which they frivolously play.' He replies, 'My daughter, when they are eating and drinking, wherewith shall they occupy themselves?' To which she rejoins, 'Sovereign of the Universe! if they possess Scriptural knowledge, let them occupy themselves with the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings; if they are students of the Mishnah, with Mishnah, halachoth, and haggadoth;5 if students of the Talmud, let them engage in the laws of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles on the respective Festivals. R. Simeon b. Eleazar testified on the authority of R. Simeon b. Hanina: He who reads a verse in season [as just defined] brings good to the world, as it is written, and a word spoken in season, how good is it.6

ALSO ONE WHO WHISPERS OVER A WOUND etc. R. Johanan said: But only if he expectorates in doing so because the Divine Name may not be expressed in conjunction with expectoration.7

It has been said, Rab declared: Even [the verse], When the plague of leprosy [etc.];8 R. Hanina said: Even, And he called unto Moses.9

Our Rabbis taught: One may oil and massage the bowels [of an invalid] on the Sabbath,10 and snakes and serpents may be charmed [to render them tame and harmless] on the Sabbath, and an article may be placed over the eye on the Sabbath [to protect it]. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: This applies only to articles which may be handled;11 but those which may not be handled12 are forbidden; nor may demons be consulted on the Sabbath. R. Jose said: This is forbidden even on week-days. R. Huna said: The halachah is not13 as R. Jose, and even he said it only on account of its danger, as in the case of R. Isaac b. Joseph, who was swallowed up in a cedar tree, but a miracle was wrought for him, the cedar splitting and casting him forth.14

Our Rabbis taught: The bowels may be oiled and massaged on the Sabbath, providing this is not done as on week-days.15 How then shall it be done? - R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: They must first be oiled, and then massaged.16 R. Johanan said: The oiling and massaging must be done simultaneously.

Our Rabbis taught: it is permitted to consult by a charm the spirits of oil or eggs,17 but that they give false answers. Incantations are made over oil contained in a vessel, but not in the hand;18 therefore one may anoint with the latter, but not with the former.19

R. Isaac b. Samuel b. Martha chanced upon a certain inn. Some oil was brought to him in a vessel, with which he rubbed himself, whereupon blisters broke out on his face. He then went out to the market place, and was seen by a woman who observed: 'I see here the blast of Hamath.'20

R. Abba said to Rabbah b. Mari: it is written, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord that healeth thee.21 But since He hath brought no [disease], what need is there of a cure?-He replied: Thus hath R. Johanan said: This verse is self-explanatory, because the whole reads, And he said, if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God: thus, if thou wilt hearken, I will not bring [disease upon thee], but if thou wilt not, I will; yet even so, I am the Lord that healeth thee.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana said: When R. Eliezer fell sick, his disciples entered [his house] to visit him. He said to them, 'There is a fierce wrath in the world.'22 They broke into tears, but R. Akiba laughed. 'Why dost thou laugh?' they enquired of him 'Why do ye weep?' he retorted. They answered, 'Shall the Scroll of the Torah23 lie in pain, and we not weep?' - He replied, 'For that very reason I rejoice. As long as I saw that my master's wine did not turn sour, nor was his flax smitten, nor his oil putrefied, nor his honey become rancid,24 I thought, God forbid, that he may have received all his reward in this world [leaving nothing for the next]; but now that I see him lying in pain, I rejoice [knowing that his reward has been treasured up for him in the next].' He [R. Eliezer] said to him, 'Akiba, have I neglected anything of the whole Torah?'25 - He replied, 'Thou, O Master, hast taught us, For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.'26

Our Rabbis taught: When R. Eliezer fell sick, four elders went to visit him, viz., R. Tarfon, R. Joshua, R. Eleazar b. Azariah, and R. Akiba. R. Tarfon observed, 'Thou art more valuable to Israel than rain; for rain is [precious] in this world, whereas thou art [so] for this world and the next.'27 R. Joshua observed, 'Thou art more valuable to Israel than the sun's disc: the sun's disc is but for this world, whilst my master is for this world and the next.' R. Eleazar b. Azariah observed, 'Thou art better to Israel than a father and a mother: these are for this world, whereas my master is for this world and the next. But R. Akiba observed, 'Suffering is precious.' Thereupon he [the sick man] said to them, 'Support me, that I may hear the words of Akiba, my disciple, who said, "Suffering is precious.'28 Akiba,' queried he, 'whence dost thou know this?' - He replied, 'I interpret a verse: Mannasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem etc. and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.29 Now it is [elsewhere] written,

(1) Lit., 'disease of the bowels'. So that the poor man does not enjoy even the lordly fare of these days.
(2) I.e., not with its traditional cantillation (Rashi).
(3) Lit., 'in the house of banquet.'
(4) Making it the subject of a jest or secular amusement.
(5) V. Glos.
(6) Prov. XV, 23.
(7) In uttering a charm one generally expectorated, the charm itself being usually a Biblical verse containing the Name of God. Thus the actual enchantment was done by means of the Biblical verse; a similar kind of enchantment was practised by the Essenes. In the opinion of some scholars, expectoration was the essential part of the charm, and L. Blau maintains that ורוקק (expectorates) belongs to the original text of the Mishnah (Krauss, Sanh.-Mak. p. 220).
(8) Lev: XIII, 9: though not containing the Divine Name its use as a magical formula is forbidden.
(9) Lev. I, 1. Though this contains no mention of illness or disease, and is whispered only that one may be saved from illness through the merit of reading the Torah, it is still forbidden.
(10) Though a medicine is forbidden on that day.
(11) E.g., a key, food-knife, and a ring.
(12) E.g., every tool used in work which is forbidden on the Sabbath.
(13) The Wilna Gaon deletes 'not'.
(14) He consulted a demon, which turned itself into a tree and swallowed him; it was only through a miracle that he escaped.
(15) To maintain a distinction between the Sabbath and the rest of the week.
(16) On week-days massage preceded oiling (Rashi).
(17) Every plant in the vegetable kingdom was believed to have its own presiding genius, which could be provoked by incantations; v. Gen. Rab. X, 6. Both eggs and oil were used for purposes of magic and in folk-medicine; cf. A. Marmorstein in MGWJLXXII, p. 395. It is noteworthy from the present passage that the Talmud had no faith in these charms.
(18) This states the practice, not a ruling.
(19) Since it may have been used as a charm.
(20) The name of a demon.
(21) Ex. XV, 26.
(22) He referred to himself-God must be very angry with him so to have afflicted him. So Rashi. Graetz Geschichte IV. p. 47 conjectures that his death took place shortly before Trajan's attack upon the Jews of many countries (c. 116-117 C.E.), to which he was alluding in this remark, as the storm was already brewing.
(23) I.e., R. Eliezer.
(24) He was prosperous in everything.
(25) That thou sayest that I now suffer for my sins, so that I may have nothing but reward in the world to come.
(26) Ecc. VII, 20.
(27) For as a result of his teaching Israel would enjoy a reward in the next world too.
(28) Because they make atonement for the sufferer.
(29) II Kings XXI, 1f.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 101b

These are also the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.1 Now, would Hezekiah king of Judah have taught the Torah to the whole world, yet not to his own son Manasseh? But all the pains he spent upon him, and all the labours he lavished upon him did not bring him back to the right path, save suffering alone, as it is written, And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people: but they would not hearken unto him. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.2 And it is further written, And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And prayed unto him, and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem unto his kingdom, and Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.3 Thus thou learnest how precious is suffering.'

Our Rabbis taught: Three came with a circuitous plea.4 viz., Cain, Esau and Manasseh. Cain - for it is written, [And Cain said unto the Lord.] is my sin too great to be forgiven?5 He pleaded thus before Him: 'Sovereign of the Universe! Is my sin greater than that of the six hundred thousand [Israelites] who are destined to sin before Thee, yet wilt Thou pardon them!' Esau - for it is written, [And Esau said unto his father,] Hast thou but one blessing, my father?6 Manasseh - he first called upon many deities, and [only] eventually called upon the God of his fathers.7

ABBA SAUL SAID: ALSO HE WHO PRONOUNCES THE DIVINE NAME AS IT IS SPELT etc. It has been taught: [This holds good] only in the country,8 and in the sense of [the Samaritan] aga [blaspheming].9

THREE KINGS AND FOUR COMMONERS etc. Our Rabbis taught: [The name] Jeroboam [denotes] that 'he debased the nation.'10 Another meaning is that 'he fomented strife amongst the nation.'11 Another explanation, that 'he caused strife between Israel and their Father in Heaven.'12 The son of Nebat denotes that 'he beheld, but did not see.'13

A Tanna taught: Nebat, Micah, and Sheba the son of Bichri are one and the same.14 [He was called] Nebat, because 'he beheld but did not see'; Micah, because 'he was crushed15 in the building';16 and what was his real name? - Sheba the son of Bichri.

Our Rabbis taught: Three beheld but did not see, viz., Nebat, Ahitophel, and Pharaoh's astrologers. Nebat - he saw fire issuing from him. He interpreted it [as signifying] that he would reign,17 yet that was not so, but that Jeroboam would issue from him. Ahitophel, - he beheld leprosy breaking out in him. He thought that it meant that he would reign,18 but it was not so, but referred to Bath Sheba, his daughter,19 from whom issued Solomon. Pharaoh's astrologers, - even as R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: What is meant by This is the water of Meribah?20 'This is' what Pharaoh's astrologers saw, but erred [in its interpretation]. They saw that Israel's Saviour would be smitten through water: therefore he [Pharaoh] ordered, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river;21 but they did not know that he was to be smitten [i.e., punished] on account of the water of Meribah.

Now whence do we know that he [Jeroboam] will not enter the future world? - Because it is written, And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam even to cut it off and to destroy it from off the face of the earth:22 'to cut it off' [implies] in this world; 'and to destroy it,' in the next.

R. Johanan said: Why did Jeroboam merit sovereignty? Because he reproved Solomon. And why was he punished? Because he reproved him publicly. As it is written, And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.23 He said thus to him: Thy father David made breaches in the wall, that Israel might come up [to Jerusalem] on the Festivals; whilst thou hast closed them, in order to exact toll for the benefit of Pharaoh's daughter.24 What is meant by And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king?25 - R. Nahman said: He took off his phylacteries in front of him.26

R. Nahman said: The conceit which possessed Jeroboam drove him out of the world,27 as it is written, Now Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn unto their Lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.28 He reasoned thus: it is a tradition that none but the kings of the house of Judah may sit in the Temple Court.29 Now, when they [the people] see Rehoboam sitting and me standing, they will say, The former is the king and the latter his subject; whilst if I sit too, I am guilty of treason,30 and they will slay me, and follow him. Straightway, Wherefore the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.31 How did he 'take counsel'? - R Judah said: He set a wicked man by the side of the righteous [in the council chamber] and said to him, 'Will ye sign [your approval] of all that I may do?' They replied, 'Yes.' 'I wish to be king,' he went on; and they again said, 'Yes.' 'Will ye execute all my commands?' he asked. Again they replied 'Yes.' 'Even for the worship of idols?' Whereupon the righteous man rejoined, 'God forbid!' 'But,' urged the wicked upon the righteous, 'dost thou really think that a man like Jeroboam would serve idols? He only wishes to test us, to see whether we will give full acceptance to his orders?'32

(1) Prov. XXV, 1. This implies than they copied it out for general instruction. Cf. also supra 94a, that Hezekiah had the whole nation taught.
(2) II Chron. XXXIII, 10f.
(3) Ibid. 12f.
(4) Preferring their request as a right, not a favour.
(5) Gen. IV, 13.
(6) Ibid. XXVII, 38: thus he justified his demand for a blessing.
(7) This is deduced from, And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God-implying that he had prayed to other deities before. 'If thou wilt not hearken to my prayer, he pleaded, 'of what profit was my turning to thee?'
(8) As opposed to the Temple.
(9) [So Levy, who quotes J. Sanh. X, 28b כגון אילין כותאי דמשתבעין in a way as those Samaritans swear: ויקב 'he blasphemed', Lev. XXIV, 11, is rendered by the Samaritan Targum ואגא. S. Krauss, Sanh-Mak. p. 271, translates: 'in a corrupt, barbarous language,' debasing thereby the Holy Name; cf. Rashi.]
(10) ריבע מעם
(11) By his introduction of calf worship.
(12) The latter two connect Jeroboam with ריב rib, strife.
(13) He beheld a vision, but did not understand (see) its true significance. The vision is stated below. - Nebat is here connected with root נבט, nabat, to see.
(14) Micah was a resident of Mount Ephraim who established a private idolatrous shrine and engaged a Levite to minister therein. - Judges XVII, 1-5. This image was subsequently stolen and set up in Dan; Ibid. XVIII. Sheba the son of Bichri was an Ephraimite who revolted against David immediately after the collapse of Absalom's insurrection; II Sam. XX, 1 et seqq.
(15) נתמכמך with which מיכה is connected.
(16) According to legend, when the Israelites in Egypt did not complete their tale of bricks, their children were built into the walls instead. On Moses' complaining thereof to God, He answered him that he was thus weeding out the destined wicked. As proof, he was empowered to save Micah, who had already been built in, but only to become an idolater on his reaching manhood. Rashi also gives an alternative rendering: he became impoverished (Cf. Lev. XXV, 25; XXVII, 8) through building - presumably his idolatrous shrine.
(17) And hence he raised the standard of revolt.
(18) According to legend (infra 107a), David was smitten with leprosy for six months on account of his sin with Bath Sheba. Ahitophel therefore interpreted the outbreak on his own person as shewing that David's leprosy would bring him to the throne.
(19) I.e., his granddaughter. Her father Eliam (II Sam. XI, 3) being identified with the son of Ahitophel (II Sam. XXIII, 34).
(20) Num. XX, 13.
(21) Ex. I, 22.
(22) I Kings. XIII, 34.
(23) Ibid. XI, 27.
(24) Very few openings were left, so that visitors to Jerusalem could be checked and taxed for the privilege.
(25) I.e., what did he actually do?
(26) This was regarded as a mark of disrespect. Another version: he removed his phylacteries, so as to be unconstrained in his abuse of Solomon, which he would not wish to do with these religious symbols upon him.
(27) I.e., led him into destruction.
(28) I Kings XII, 26f.
(29) This was a special prerogative of Davidic kings. V. Kid. 78a, and cf. Josephus Ant. VIII, 4, 2.
(30) Lit., 'a rebel against royal authority.'
(31) Ibid. 28.
(32) Thus he received the signature of the righteous under false pretences, and it could not be subsequently withdrawn.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 102a

And even Ahijah the Shilonite erred and signed. For Jehu was a very righteous man, as it is written, And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit upon the throne of Israel.1 Yet it is written, But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart; for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam which made Israel to sin.2 Now what caused this? - Abaye said: A covenant is made for the lips,3 as it is written, [And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them,] Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much.4 Raba said: He saw the signature of Ahijah the Shilonite, and was thus led into error.

It is written, And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuke of them all.5 R. Johanan explained this: The Holy One, blessed be He, said, 'They have gone deeper [i.e., are more stringent] than I. I said, "Whoever does not go up [to Jerusalem] for the Festival violates a positive injunction" whereas they proclaimed, "Whoever does go up for the Festival will be pierced with the sword."'6

And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way, and he had clad himself with a new garment:7 a Tanna taught in the name of R. Jose: [That time was] a time predestined for punishment.8 In the time of their visitation they shall perish:9 a Tanna taught in the name of R. Jose: [In] a time predestined for punishment. In an acceptable time have I heard thee:10 a Tanna taught in R. Jose's name: [In] a time predestined for good. Nevertheless in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them:11 a Tanna taught in R. Jose's name: [In] a time Predestined for punishment.12 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren:13 a Tanna taught in R. Jose's name: [In] a time predestined for punishment.14 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king:15 a Tanna taught in R. Jose's name: [It was] a place predestined for evil; in Shechem Dinah was ravished;16 in Shechem his brethren sold Joseph;17 and in Shechem the kingdom of the House of David was divided.

[Now it came to pass at that time] that Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem:18 R. Hanina b. Papa said: He went out of the destiny of Jerusalem.19 And the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way, and he clad himself with a new garment, and they two were alone in the field.20 What is meant by 'with a new garment'? - R. Nahman said: As a new garment: just as a new garment has no defect, so was Jeroboam's scholarship without defect. Another explanation: A new garment intimates that they expounded new teachings, such as no ear had ever heard before. What is taught by, 'and they two were alone in the field'? - Rab Judah said in Rab's name: All other scholars were as the herbs of the field before them.21 Others say that all the reasons of the Torah were as manifest to them as a field.22

Therefore shalt thou give parting gifts to Moresheth-gath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.23 R. Hanina b. Papa said: A heavenly voice cried out and said, 'He who slew the Philistine and thereby gave you possession of Gath,24 shall ye give parting gifts to his sons!'25 [Therefore] the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.26

R. Hanina b. Papa said: He who enjoys aught of this world without uttering a blessing is as though he robbed the Holy One, blessed be He, and the Kenesseth Yisrael,27 for it is written, Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression the same is the companion of a destroyer.28 Now 'his father' can refer only to the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written. Is not he [sc. God] thy father that hath bought thee?29 whilst 'his mother' can mean nothing but Kenesseth Yisrael, as it is written, My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.30 What is meant by 'the same is the companion of a destroyer'? - He is the companion of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who destroyed [the allegiance of] Israel to their Father in Heaven.

And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin.31 R. Johanan said: As two sticks which cause each other to rebound.32

[These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel. . . in the wilderness, . .] and Di Zahab.33 The School of R. Jannai expounded: Moses said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Sovereign of the Universe! It was because of the silver and gold [zahab] which Thou didst lavish upon them, until they said, Enough! [dai] that they were led to make a god of gold. A parable: The lion does not tear and roar out of a basket of straw, but out of a basket of meat.34

R. Oshaia said: Until Jeroboam, Israel imbibed [a sinful disposition] from one calf; but from him onwards, from two or three calves.35 R. Isaac said: No retribution whatsoever comes upon the world which does not contain a slight fraction36 of the first calf [i.e.. the molten calf in the wilderness], as it is written, nevertheless in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.37 R. Hanina said: After twenty-four generations [the doom foretold in] this verse was exacted,38 as it is written, He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, cause the visitations of the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.39

After this thing Jeroboam turned not from his evil way.40 What is meant by, after this thing? - R. Abba said: After the Holy One, blessed be He, had seized Jeroboam by his garment and urged him, 'Repent, then I, thou, and the son of Jesse [i.e.. David] will walk in the Garden of Eden.' 'And who shall be at the head?' inquired he. 'The son of Jesse shall be at the head.' 'If so,' [he replied] 'I do not desire [it].'

R. Abbahu used to make a practice of lecturing on the Three Kings.41 Falling sick, he undertook not to lecture [thereon any more];42 yet no sooner

(1) II Kings X, 30.
(2) Ibid. 31.
(3) I.e., the spoken word, even if unintentional, becomes fulfilled.
(4) Ibid. 18. These words, though spoken guilefully, had to be fulfilled.
(5) Hosea V, 2.
(6) Thus they forbade more severely than I had commanded it.
(7) I Kings XI, 29.
(8) On that occasion Ahijah prophesied the division of the kingdom as a punishment for Solomon's backsliding.
(9) Jer. LI, 18.
(10) Isa. XLIX, 8.
(11) Ex. XXXII, 34.
(12) The "day' referred to is the ninth of Ab. The spies returned from their ill-fated mission on that day; God's fiat that the whole of that generation should perish in the wilderness was promulgated on that day; and the destruction of the Temple took place likewise on the ninth of Ab.
(13) Gen. XXXVIII, 1.
(14) For as a result of that expedition it was fated that Judah should beget two sons, who should die, and his daughter-in-law Tamar be condemned to death.
(15) I Kings XII, 1.
(16) V. Gen. XXXIV.
(17) Dothan, where Joseph was sold (Gen. XXXVII, 17), being in the vicinity of Shechem.
(18) I Kings XI, 29.
(19) I.e., he would have no share in the welfare of Jerusalem.
(20) Ibid.
(21) I.e., were of no account at all in comparison with them.
(22) Even of laws of which the reason is generally unknown.
(23) Micah I, 14.
(24) Sc. David, who slew Goliath and thereby gained Possession of Gath for Israel, Moresheth gath means the possession of Gath.
(25) I.e., shall ye revolt against and forsake them!
(26) This is thus interpreted: since ye deal treacherously (i.e., lyingly. the root-idea of achzib) with the house of David, preferring the rule of the kings of Israel, therefore ye shall be delivered into the hands of the heathens. whose religion is 'a lie' - I.e., It is false.
(27) Lit., 'Community of Israel.'
(28) Prov. XXVIII, 24.
(29) Deut. XXXII, 6.
(30) Prov. I, 8.
(31) II Kings XVII, 21.
(32) When two pieces of wood are struck together, each rebounds from the other. So Jeroboam forced the Israelites to forsake God.
(33) Deut. I, 1.
(34) I.e., when a lion is fully satisfied he shews his high spirits by killing and roaring; when hungry, he is too dejected to do so. Thus in the case of Israel too, it was not poverty but the self-indulgence of wealth which ensnared them into idolatry.
(35) Until Jeroboam, only the one calf which Israel had made in the wilderness was responsible for their sinning. But he added the calves of Beth-El and Dan, thus furnishing more incentives to sin.
(36) Lit., 'a twenty-fourth part of the overweight of a litra.' By the overweight of a litra (v. Glos.) is meant the slight addition which is made to tip the scales in the direction of the weights. The general idea is that some small portion of all punishment is due to the sin of the golden calf.
(37) Ex. XXXII, 34.
(38) [Yad Ramah reads פתיק זה 'this decree'.]
(39) Ezek. IX, 1, The use of 'visitations' suggests that this was the fulfilment of the doom threatened in Ex. XXXII, 34. There were twenty-four generations from that of the wilderness, when the Calf was made, to that of Zedekiah, in whose reign the State was overthrown and Judah deported to Babylon.
(40) I Kings XIII, 33.
(41) Mentioned in our Mishnah as having no 'portion in the future world.
(42) He viewed his illness as a punishment for dwelling upon the sins of others.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 102b

had he recovered, than he lectured [upon this] again. They [his disciples] remonstrated with him, 'Did you not undertake not to lecture on them?' - He replied, 'Did they abandon [their evil course], that I should abandon [my habit of lecturing upon them]?'

In the college of R. Ashi the lecture [one day] terminated at 'Three Kings.'1 'To-morrow, said he, 'we will commence with our colleagues.'2 [That night] Manasseh came and appeared to him in a dream. 'Thou hast called us thy colleagues and the colleagues of thy father; now, from what part [of the bread] is [the piece for reciting] the ha-mozi3 to be taken?' 'I do not know,' he answered. 'Thou hast not learned this,' he jibed, 'yet thou callest us thy colleagues!'4 'Teach it me,' he begged, 'and to-morrow I will teach it in thy name at the session.' He answered, 'From the part that is baked into a crust.'5 He then questioned him, 'Since thou art so wise, why didst thou worship idols?' He replied, 'Wert thou there, thou wouldst have caught up the skirt of thy garment and sped after me.' The next day he observed to the students: We will commence with our teachers [so referring to the Three Kings]. Ahab denotes that he was an ah [a brother]6 to Heaven, and an ab [a father] to idolatry. An ah to Heaven, as it is written, a brother [ah] is born for trouble,'7 and ab [father] to idolatry, as it is written, As a father loveth his children.8

And it came to pass, that it were a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.9 R. Johanan said: The light [minor] transgressions which Ahab committed were equal to the gravest committed by Jeroboam. Why then does Scripture make Jeroboam the exemplar10 of sin? Because he was the first to corrupt.

Yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.11 R. Johanan said: [This teaches that] there is no furrow in Palestine upon which Ahab did not plant an idol and worship it.

Whence do we know that he will not enter the future world? - From the verse, And I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, him that is shut up and forsaken in Israel,'12 shut up [implies] in this world; forsaken, in the next.

R. Johanan said: Why did Omri merit sovereignty? Because he added a region to Palestine, as it is written, And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill Samaria,13 R. Johanan said: Why did Ahab merit royalty for twenty-two years? - Because he honoured the Torah, which was given in twenty-two letters,14 as it is written, And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine . . . Yet will I send my servants unto thee tomorrow at this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put in their hand, and take it away . . . Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad, Tell my lord the king, all that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do; but this thing I may not do.15 Now what is meant by 'whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes'? Surely the Scroll of the Torah!16 But perhaps [this refers to] an idol? - You cannot think so, because it is written, And all the leaders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent.17 But perhaps they were evil elders?18 Is it not written. And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel?19 Whereon R. Joseph commented: They were evil elders? - There 'and all the people' is not stated, whilst here it is written,' and all the people', and it is impossible that there were no righteous among them, for it is written, Yet I have left one seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.20

R. Nahman said: Ahab was equally balanced,21 since it is written, And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at the Ramoth-gilead? And one said in this manner, and one said in that manner.22 R. Joseph objected: He of whom it is written, But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up:23 whereon it was taught: Every day she used to weigh out gold shekels for idols - yet thou sayest that he was equally balanced! But Ahab was generous with his money, and because he used to benefit scholars with his wealth, half [his sins] were forgiven.

And there came forth the spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.24 Which spirit [is meant]? - R. Johanan said: The spirit of Naboth the Jezreelite. What is meant by 'go forth'? - Rabina said: Go forth from within my barrier, as it is written, He that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.25 R. Papa observed, Thus men say, 'He who takes his vengeance destroys his own house.'26

And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.27 R. Johanan said: [This means] that he wrote upon the gates of Samaria, 'Ahab denies the God of Israel.' Therefore he has no portion in the God of Israel.

And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, for he was hid in Samaria.28 R. Levi said: He was engaged in erasing the Divine Names [from the Torah] and substituting [the names of] idols in their stead.29

Manasseh [denotes] that he forgot God.30 Another explanation: Manasseh [denotes] that he caused Israel to forget their Father in Heaven. And how do we know that he will not enter the future world? - Because it is written, Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem . . . and he made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel.31 Just as Ahab has no portion in the world to come, so has Manasseh neither.

R. JUDAH SAID: MANASSEH HATH A PORTION THEREIN, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, AND HE PRAYED UNTO HIM AND WAS INTREATED OF HIM etc. R. Johanan said: Both of them [in support of their views] expounded the same verse. For it is written, And I will cause to be removed unto all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah.32 One Master33 maintains, 'Because of Manasseh' who repented, whilst they did not;34 whilst the other Master35 maintains,

(1) I.e., the lecture on a particular day ended when 'Three Kings' of supra XI,1, was reached.
(2) This was a playful reference to the three kings, who were scholars.
(3) The blessing for bread, on account of its ending 'who bringest forth (ha-mozi) bread from the earth.'
(4) He was jeering at R. Ashi as not worthy of being called his colleague.
(5) I.e., a piece of the outer surface must be taken for the purpose, not the inner dough.
(6) In an evil sense, as the Talmud proceeds to quote.
(7) Prov. XVII, 17.
(8) Ps. CIII, 13; so translated here (Rashi). Cf. ibid. XVIII, 2: ארחמך ה חזקי I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
(9) I Kings XVI, 31. The reference is to Ahab,
(10) Lit., 'fasten on to Jeroboam.'
(11) Hosea XII, 12.
(12) I Kings XXI, 21.
(13) Ibid. XVI, 24.
(14) I.e., the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
(15) Ibid. XX, 3, 6, 9.
(16) Thus shewing that he honoured it and it was in respect of this that he defied him (Rashi).
(17) Ibid, 8. 'Elders', by which is meant scholars, would not have counselled him to hold fast to his idols.
(18) Lit., 'elders of shame'.
(19) II Sam. XVII, 4.
(20) I Kings XIX, 18.
(21) Between sin and merit, having performed as many good deeds as evil ones.
(22) Ibid. XXII, 20: this shews that it was a difficult matter to lure him to his fate, and that must have been because his righteousness equalled his guilt.
(23) Ibid. XXI, 25.
(24) Ibid. XXII, 21f.
(25) Ps. CI. 7: v. supra, p. 592, nn. 3 and 4 for commentary.
(26) [Some MSS. read 'nest', a play on קנאיה (his vengeance) and קיניה (his nest).] Naboth, through avenging himself on Ahab, was expelled from God's presence.
(27) I Kings XVI, 33.
(28) II Chron. XXII, 9.
(29) [This was the sacrilege which he carried on in his hiding place.]
(30) [Manasseh is connected with the root nashah נשה 'to forget'.]
(31) II Kings XXI, 2,3.
(32) Jer. XV, 4.
(33) The author of the anonymous opinion.
(34) This aggravated their sin.
(35) R. Judah.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 103a

'because of Manasseh' - who did not repent.

R. Johanan said: He who asserts that Manasseh has no portion in the world to come weakens the hands of penitent sinners. For a tanna recited before R. Johanan: Manasseh was penitent for thirty-three years, as it is written, Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem, and he made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel. How long did Ahab reign? Twenty-two years. How long did Manasseh reign? Fifty-five years. Subtract therefrom twenty-two, which leaves thirty-three.1 R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai: What is meant by, And he prayed unto him, and an opening was made for him.2 Should not 'and was entreated of him' rather have been written?3 - This teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, made him a kind of opening in the Heavens, in order to accept him with his repentance, on account of the Attribute of Justice.4

R. Johanan also said on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai: Why is it written, In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah;5 and in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah:6 were there then no kings until then? But [it teaches that] the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to hurl the world back into chaos7 on account of Jehoiakim, but that He gazed at [the rest of] his generation, and His mind was appeased.8 The Holy One, blessed be He, [also] desired to hurl the world back into chaos because of Zedekiah's generation, but that He gazed at Zedekiah [himself] and his mind was appeased. But in the case of Zedekiah too it is written, And he did that which was evil in the sight of God?9 - [That denotes] that he could have stemmed [the evil of others], and did not.

R. Johanan also said on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai: What is meant by, If a wise man contend with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest?10 - The Holy One, blessed be He, said, 'I was wrath with Ahaz, and delivered him into the hands of the kings of Damascus, whereupon he sacrificed burnt incense to their gods, as it is written, For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.11 I smiled upon Amaziah and delivered the kings of Edom into his hand, so he brought their gods, and prostrated himself before them, as it is written, Now it came to pass, that after Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.12 R. Papa commented: Thus men say, 'Weep for him who knows not his fortune, laugh for him who knows not his fortune. Woe to him who knows not the difference between good and bad.'

And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate.13 R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai: It was the place where halachot are decided upon.14 R. Papa observed: Thus men say, 'Where the master hangs up his weapons, there the mean shepherd hangs up his pitcher.'15

[Mnemonic: By the field, houses, nought shall befall.]

R. Hisda said in the name of R. Jeremiah's b. Abba: What is meant by the verse, I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding,' And lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down?16 - I went by the field of the slothful - this refers to Ahaz;17 and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding - this denotes Manasseh;18 And lo, it was all grown over with thorns, - to Amon;19 and nettles had covered the face thereof - to Jehoiakim;20 and the stone wall thereof was broken down, - this alludes to Zedekiah, in whose days the Temple was destroyed.

R. Hisda also said in the name of R. Jeremiah b. Abba: Four classes will not appear21 before the presence of the Shechinah, - the class of scoffers, the class of liars, the class of hypocrites, and the class of slanderers. 'The class of scoffers' - as it is written, He withdrew His hand from the scoffers.22 'The class of liars' - as it is written, He that telleth lies, shall not tarry in my sight.23 'The class of hypocrites' - as it is written, For an hypocrite shall not come before him.24 'The class of slanderers - as it is written, For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee,'25 [which means] Thou art righteous, and hence there will not be evil26 in thy abode.

R. Hisda also said in the name of R. Jeremiah b. Abba: What is meant by the verse, There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling?27 'There shall no evil befall thee,' the Evil Impulse28 shall have no power over thee; 'neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling' - thou wilt not find thy wife a doubtful niddah29 when thou returnest from a journey. Another interpretation: 'There shall no evil befall thee' - thou wilt not be affrighted by nightmares and dread thoughts; 'neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling' - thou wilt not have a son or a disciple who publicly burns his food.30 Thus far his father blessed him: beyond this, his mother blessed him:31 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee in their hands etc. . . .Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder.32 Thus far his mother blessed him, beyond this, Heaven blessed him:

(1) It is assumed that the verse implies that their sinning and their punishment was equal.
(2) II Chron. XXXIII, 13, reading ויחתר לו.
(3) ויעתר לו wa-ye'tar. In our text this is indeed the reading, and was so cited supra, 90a and 101b; perhaps R. Simeon b. Yohai's text differed; v. Tosaf. Shab. 55b. s.v. מעבירם who draws attention to the fact that the Talmudic text of the Bible does not always correspond to ours. [Yad Ramah preserves a variant: What is the meaning of ויעתר seeing that it is written, and he heard his supplication? This teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, made him a kind of opening: thus taking ויעתר as equivalent to ויחתר the ע and ח being interchanging letters.]
(4) The Attribute of Justice urged that his repentance should not be accepted.
(5) Jer. XXVI, 1.
(6) Ibid. XXVIII, 1: his difficulty is, why is the word בראשית bereshith used here to denote the beginning instead of simply 'In the first year'.
(7) Lit., 'formlessness and emptiness'.
(8) Hence the use of בראשית which, being the same word with which the Creation story is introduced - 'in the beginning (בראשית) God created' - intimates that He wished to plunge the world into chaos, as it was at the beginning. - Though Jehoiakim was wicked, the rest of his generation was righteous.
(9) II Kings XXIV, 19.
(10) Prov. XXIX, 9.
(11) II Chron. XXVIII, 23.
(12) Ibid. XXV, 14.
(13) שער התוך Sha'ar hatok. Jer. XXXIX, 3.
(14) מחתכין ('cut', 'decide') with which, by a play upon words, חתוך is connected.
(15) I.e., where the Jews decided upon their laws, there Nebuchadnezzar issued his decrees.
(16) Prov. XXIV, 30f.
(17) [Who forbade the study of the Law, v. infra.]
(18) [Who destroyed the altar, v. infra.]
(19) [Who allowed the altar to he covered with spiderwebs. v. infra.]
(20) [Who declared that he could dispense with the light of God, v. infra.]
(21) Lit., 'receive the presence of.'
(22) Hosea VII, 5.
(23) Ps. CI, 7.
(24) Job XIII, 15.
(25) Ps. V, 5.
(26) I.e., slander, as defined by the context, cf. verses 7, 10.
(27) Ps. XCI, 10.
(28) Heb. Yezer Hara'. יצר הרע
(29) V. Glos. If a woman observed a reddish stain upon her garments and does not know whether it is blood or not, she is a doubtful niddah, and is forbidden cohabitation.
(30) [By the addition of too much salt; A metaphor for the open acceptance of heretical teachings. v. Hereford, op. cit., pp. 60f.]
(31) These blessings, 'there shall no evil befall thee etc.' were David's blessings to Solomon. Those that follow 'For he shall give his angels etc.' are a mother's blessings.
(32) Ibid. 10f.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 103b

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.1

R. Simeon b. Lakish said: What is meant by the verse And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken:2 now why is the 'ayin of resha'im [wicked] suspended?3 Once a man becomes poor [in friends] below [on earth], he becomes poor above [in heaven]" Then let the 'ayin not be written at all? - R. Johanan and R. Eleazar [differ in their answer]: One said, because of David's honour; the other said, because of the honour of Nehemiah, the son of Hachaliah.4

Our Rabbis taught: Manasseh interpreted Leviticus5 in fifty-five different ways, corresponding to the years of his reign. Ahab [in] eighty-five, and Jeroboam [in] one hundred and three [ways]. It has been taught: R. Meir said: Absalom has no portion in the world to come, for it is written, And they smote Absalom, and slew him:6 'they smote him' - in this world, 'and slew him' - in the next. It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar said on the authority of R. Meir: Ahaz, Ahaziah, and all the kings of Israel of whom it is written, And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord will neither live [in the future world] nor be judged [there].7

Moreover, Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.8 Here, [in Babylon] it is interpreted as meaning that he slew Isaiah; in the West [Palestine] they said: [It means] that he made an image as heavy as a thousand men, and every day it slew all of them.9 With whom does this dictum of Rabbah b. Bar Hana agree? Viz., The soul of one righteous man is equal to the whole world: with whom does it agree? With the author of the view that he killed Isaiah.10 [Scripture writes, And he set] the graven image,'11 but it is also stated, [And the groves and the] graven images, [which he had set up].12 R. Johanan said: At first he made it with one face, but subsequently he made it with four faces,13 that the Shechinah might see it, and be wroth. Ahaz set it14 in an upper chamber, as it is written, And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz etc.15 Manasseh placed it in the Temple, as it is written, And he set up a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel will I put my name for ever.16 Amon introduced it into the Holy of Holies, as it is said, For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.17 Now, what is meant by 'For the bed is shorter than that one can stretch himself on it'? - R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: For this bed is too short that two neighbours may rule therein together.18 What is the meaning of 'and the covering narrower etc.'? - R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: When R. Jonathan reached this verse, he wept. He of whom it is written, He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap19 - should a molten image be made a rival to it!20

Ahaz caused the [sacrificial] service to cease, and sealed the Torah, as it is written, Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.21 Manasseh cut out the Divine Name [from the Torah], and broke down the altar. Amon burnt the Torah, and allowed spider webs to cover the altar [through complete disuse]. Ahaz permitted consanguineous relations; Manasseh violated his sister; Amon, his mother, as it is written, For he Amon sinned very much.22 R. Johanan and R. Eleazar [dispute therein]: One maintained, He burnt the Torah; the other, he dishonoured his mother. His mother remonstrated with him: 'Hast thou then any pleasure in the place whence thou didst issue?' He replied: 'Do I do this for any other purpose than to provoke my Creator!' When Jehoiakim came, he said, 'My predecessors knew not how to anger him: do we need [Him] for aught but his light?23 But we have Parvaim24 gold, which we use [for light]; let him take His light!' Said they [his courtiers] to him, 'But silver and gold are His too, as it is written, The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts.'25 'He has long since given them to us,' he replied, 'as it is written, The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.'26

Raba said to Rabbah b. Mari: Why did they not count Jehoiakim27 [amongst those who have no portion in the world to come], seeing that it is written of him, And the remaining words of Jehoiakim, and the abomination which he wrought, and that which was found upon him etc.?28 (What is meant by that which was found upon him? - R. Johanan and R. Eliezer differ: one maintained that he engraved the name of an idol upon his person, and the other held that he engraved the name of Heaven thereon [as a gesture of contempt])? - He answered: I have heard no explanation concerning the kings [why Jehoiakim was not included]: but I have heard one concerning the commoners. [Thus:] Why did they not include Micah?29 - Because his bread was available to travellers, as it is written, Every traveller [turned] to the Levites.30

And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea.31 R. Johanan observed: This refers to Micah's graven image.

It has been taught: R. Nathan said: From Gareb32 to Shiloah is a distance of three mils, and the smoke of the altar33 and that of Micah's image intermingled. The ministering angels wished to thrust Micah away, but the Holy One, blessed be He, said to them, 'Let him alone, because his bread is available for wayfarers.' And it was on this account34 that the people involved in the matter of the concubine at Gibeah35 were punished.36 For the Holy One, blessed be He, said to them, 'Ye did not protest for My honour, yet ye protest for the honour of a woman.'37

R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Jose b. Kisma: Of great [importance] is the mouthful [of food given to wayfarers], since it alienated two families from Israel, as it is written, [An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord] . . . Because they met you not with bread and water in the way, when ye come forth out of Egypt.38 R. Johanan, stating his own views, said: It alienates those who are near, and draws near those who are distant; it causes [God's] eyes to be averted from the wicked, and made the Shechinah to rest even on the prophets of Baal; and an unwitting offence in connection therewith is accounted as deliberate. 'It alienates those who are near,

(1) Ibid. 14ff.
(2) Job XXXVIII, 15.
(3) In the text it is written רשעים, the ע being written above the level of the line, making it read רשים plur. of רש 'poor'. (11) I.e., where one earns the disapproval of man, it is proof that he has earned the disapproval of God too. Cf. Aboth. III 13.
(4) Both had many enemies, yet were truly righteous men.
(5) Lit., 'the Priestly Law'.
(6) II Sam. XVIII, 15.
(7) I.e., they lead in the Hereafter an indifferent existence.
(8) II Kings XXI, 16.
(9) I.e., its enormous weight crushed such a number every day (Rashi); [or, he (Manasseh) slew them every day (at the end of the day's work); V. Ginzberg, Legends, IV, 278.]
(10) Since, in his opinion, that is meant by the statement that Manasseh filled Jerusalem with innocent blood from end to end.
(11) II Chron. XXXIII, 7.
(12) Ibid. 19. The Talmud discusses the discrepancy in number.
(13) [Copying the pattern of the four figures on the throne of God; v. Ezek. 1.]
(14) An idol - not the one just mentioned.
(15) II Kings XXIII, 13.
(16) Ibid.XXI, 7.
(17) Isa. XXVIII, 20.
(18) A play on the word מהשתרע I.e., the Holy of Holies is too small that God and the idol should rule together.
(19) Ps. XXXIII, 7.
(20) The verse is accordingly translated: 'And the molten image is a rival to him who gathered (the waters) as an heap.'
(21) Isa. VIII, 16.
(22) II Chron. XXXIII, 23.
(23) I.e., the sun.
(24) A place famed for its gold, [cf. II Chron. III, 6.]
(25) Hag. II, 8.
(26) Ps. CXV, 16.
(27) V. infra p. 706.,
(28) II Chron. XXXVI, 8. [V. Yad Ramah, whose interpretation is here adopted.]
(29) Amongst the commoners who are excluded in the Mishnah from the future world: Micah was an Ephraimite, who had a private idolatrous shrine; Judges XVII.
(30) For refreshment. This verse is not found in our Bible, v. p. 698, n. 8. 'The Levite' stands for Micah, since he had a Levite ministering at his shrine. [This gloss is however suspect, as it does not occur in many MSS. v. D.S.]
(31) Zech. X, 11. It is not clear how this applies to Micah. Rashi gives two explanations: (i) When Moses cast the Divine Name into the sea in order to bring up Joseph's coffin, Micah stole and hid it; subsequently, he crossed the Red Sea together with the Israelites, bearing this Divine Name with him, by means of which he was able magically to make the Golden Calf (v. p. 446, nn. 9, 10); the verse is accordingly translated: And he passed over the sea with that which was to be a source of distress; (ii) Micah made his graven image (which he subsequently set up in his private sanctuary) whilst yet in Egypt, and took it with him when Israel crossed the Red Sea. The translation will be similar to the first.
(32) A town supposed to be the seat of Micah's image in Shiloh. [Gareb has been identified with Kirbat Gharaba, Horowitz, op. cit. p. 144.]
(33) Lit., 'wood pile (on the altar).'
(34) Sc. Micah's image, which his neighbours permitted.
(35) V. Judges XIX.
(36) Forty thousand of those who went to war against Benjamin being slain.
(37) Lit. 'flesh and blood'.
(38) Deut. XXIII, 4f.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 104a

- [this is deduced] from Ammon and Moab. 'And brings near those who are distant,' from Jethro. For R. Johanan said: As a reward for [Jethro's saying] Call him, that he may eat bread,1 his descendants were privileged to sit in the Hall of Hewn Stones2 [as scribes], as it is written, And the family of the scribes which dwell at Jabez; the Tirahites, the Shimeathites, and Suchathites. These are the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab;3 whilst elsewhere it is written, And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.4 'It causes [God's] eyes to be averted from the wicked' - [this is learnt] from Micah.5 'And made the Shechinah to rest upon the prophets of Baal', - from the companion of Iddo the prophet. For it is written, And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back.6 'And an unwitting offence in connection therewith is accounted as deliberate' - for Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Had but Jonathan given David two loaves of bread for his travels, Nob, the city of priests would not have been massacred, Doeg the Edomite would not have been destroyed,7 and Saul and his three sons would not have been slain.8

Now, why did they not include Ahaz?9 - R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: Because he was placed between two righteous men, Jotham and Hezekiah. R. Joseph said: Because he was abashed before Isaiah, as it is written, Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou and Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the field of the kobes.10 What is the meaning of kobes? - Some say, he hid his face [in shame] and fled.11 Others say, he dragged a fuller's trough12 upon his head [reversed, to hide his face in shame] and fled.

And why was Amon not included? - Because of Josiah's honour.13 Then Manasseh [Hezekiah's son] too should not be included, because of Hezekiah's honour? - A son confers privileges on his father, but a father confers no privilege on a son. For it is written, Neither is there any one that can deliver out of my hand:14 Abraham cannot deliver Ishmael, [and] Isaac cannot deliver Esau. Now, having arrived at this answer, Ahaz too was omitted because of Hezekiah's honour. And why was Jehoiakim omitted? - On account of what R. Hiyya, son of R. Abuiah said. For R. Hiyya, son of R. Abuiah, said: Upon Jehoiakim's skull was written, 'This and yet another.' Now, R. Perida's grandfather found a skull lying about at the gates of Jerusalem, and upon it was written, 'This and yet another.' So he buried it, but it refused to be buried [i.e., it re-emerged]; again he buried it, and again it would not remain buried. 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.'15 'Yet,' reflected he, 'he was a king, and it is not meet to disgrace him'. So he wrapped it up in silk and placed it in a chest. On his wife's seeing it, she thought that it must be the skull of his first wife, whom he could not forget. So she fired the oven and burnt it. This is the meaning of the inscription: 'This and yet another.'16

It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: On account of [Hezekiah's boasting] And I have done that which was good in thy sight,17 [he was led to inquire] What shall be the sign [that the Lord will heal me]?18 On account of 'What shall be the sign', heathens ate at his table;19 and on account of heathens eating at his table, he caused his children to go into exile.20 This supports Hezekiah's dictum: He who invites a heathen into his house and attends to him, causes his children to go into exile, as it is written, And of thy sons that 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.21

And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment etc.22 Rab said: What is meant by 'the house of his precious things'? - His wife, who mixed the drinks for them.23 Samuel said: He shewed them his treasury. R. Johanan said: He shewed them weapons which could destroy other weapons. How [ekah] doth the city sit solitary!24 Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: Why was Israel smitten with 'ekah'?25 Because they transgressed the thirty-six injunctions26 of the Torah which are punished by extinction.27 R. Johanan said: Why were they smitten with an alphabetical dirge?28 Because they violated the Torah, which was given by means of the alphabet.29

'Sit [badad]30 Solitary': Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: The Holy One, blessed be He, exclaimed, 'I said, "Israel then shall dwell in safety alone [badad].' the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew,"31 but now they shall sit solitary.'32

The city that was full of people. Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: They used to marry off a young girl to an adult, and a minor to a full-grown woman, that they might bear many children.33

She is become as a widow. Rab Judah said in Rab's name: As a widow, yet not a widow in fact: as a woman whose husband had gone overseas, but intends returning to her.

She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces: Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: Wherever they went, they became princes of their masters.34

Our Rabbis taught: It once happened that two men [Jews] were taken captive on Mount Carmel, and their captor was walking behind them.

(1) Ex. II, 20.
(2) V. supra, p. 573, n. 1.
(3) I Chron. II, 55.
(4) Judges I, 16. This shews that the Kenites were descended from Jethro, and they sat in the Hall of Hewn Stones as scribes and Sanhedrin.
(5) V. supra 103b.
(6) I Kings XIII, 20: he was a prophet of Baal, yet God's word came to him, as a reward for his hospitality.
(7) V. p. 640, n. 5.
(8) For had he provided him with food, he would not have taken any from Ahimelech. Thus, all this happened, though Jonathan's initial offence was due to an oversight.
(9) V. supra, 103b.
(10) כובס Isa. VII, 3.
(11) Connecting it with כבש 'to suppress', 'to bend down'.
(12) Giving kobes its usual meaning.
(13) Josiah was his son, and a righteous man. To safeguard his honour and spare him from disgrace, Amon is permitted to enjoy the world to come.
(14) Deut. XXXII, 39.
(15) Jer. XXII, 19.
(16) This story is also related on 82a, with some slight variations. - These indignities made sufficient atonement for him that he should share in the future world.
(17) II Kings XX, 3.
(18) Ibid. 9: 'Sin draws sin in its train'. The sin of boastfulness led him to that of disbelief, requiring a visible sign. The whole dictum is in this spirit
(19) Those whom Merodach-baladan had sent to congratulate him on his recovery. - Ibid. 22.
(20) Cf. Ibid. 17f.
(21) Ibid. 18.
(22) Isa. XXXIX, 2; cf. II Kings XX, 13.
(23) He permitted his wife ('his treasure') openly to wait upon them, disregarding the modesty which should have kept her within her own quarters (Maharsha).
(24) Lam. I, 1. Having mentioned exile, the Talmud proceeds to discuss Lamentations.
(25) I.e., brought to such a dirge.
(26) V. Ker. I, 1.
(27) The numerical value of איכה is 36.
(28) Lamentations is written in the form of an alphabetical acrostic.
(29) I.e., its words are formed from the alphabet. Possibly this alludes to the belief that the letters themselves are endowed with certain powers; v. p. 446, n. 9.
(30) בדד.
(31) Deut. XXXIII, 28. Thus 'solitariness' was promised as a blessing, viz., freedom from outside entanglements which might threaten their safety.
(32) I.e., desolate.
(33) This is meant to exclude marriage where both are minors.
(34) Even in the Diaspora they forged to the front ranks.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 104b

One of them said to the other, 'The camel walking in front of us is blind in one eye, and is laden with two barrels, one of wine, and the other of oil, and of the two men leading it, one is a Jew, and the other a heathen.' Their captor said to them, 'Ye stiff-necked people, whence do ye know this?' They replied, 'Because the camel is eating of the herbs before it only on the side where it can see, but not on the other, where it cannot see.1 It is laden with two barrels, one of wine and the other of oil: because wine drips and is absorbed [into the earth], whilst oil drips and rests2 [on the surface].3 And of the two men leading it, one is a Jew, and the other a heathen: because a heathen obeys the call of Nature in the roadway, whilst a Jew turns aside.' He hastened after them, and found that it was as they had said.4 So he went and kissed them on the head,5 brought them into his house, and prepared a great feast for them. He danced [with joy] before them and exclaimed 'Blessed be He who made choice of Abraham's seed and imparted to them of His wisdom, and wherever they go they become princes to their masters!' Then he liberated them, and they went home in peace.

She weepeth, yea, She weepeth, in the night.6 Why this double weeping? - Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: Once for the first Temple, and once for the second. 'In the night' - on account of what happened at night. For it is written, And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried, and the people wept that night.7 Rabbah observed in R. Johanan's name: It was the night of the ninth of Ab, and the Almighty said to Israel, 'Ye have wept without cause: therefore will I appoint a weeping to you for future generations. Another interpretation of 'in the night': whoever weeps at night, his voice is heard.8 Another meaning: whoever weeps at night, the stars and constellations weep with him. Another meaning: whoever weeps at night, he who hears him, weeps [in sympathy]. It happened that the child of a neighbour of R. Gamaliel died, and she was weeping for him at night. R. Gamaliel, on hearing her, wept in sympathy with her, until his eyelashes fell out. On the morrow, his disciples discerned this, and removed her from his neighbourhood.

And her tears are on her cheeks.9 Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: As a woman who weeps for the husband of her youth, as it is written, Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.10

Her adversaries are the chief.11 Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: Whoever distresses Israel becomes a chief, as it is written,12 Nevertheless, there shall be no weariness for her that oppressed her.13 In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time hath he made it glorious, by way of the sea, beyond Jordan, the circuit of the nations.14 Whereupon Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: Whoever oppresses Israel does not weary.

Not to you, all ye that pass by.15 Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: This gives Biblical support to the custom of saying 'not to you'.16 'All ye that pass by.' R. Amram said in Rab's name: They have made me as those who transgress the law;17 for in the case of Sodom it is written, And the Lord rained upon Sodom [and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire],18 whilst in the case of Jerusalem it is written, From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them.19

For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom:20 is there then favouritism in the matter?21 - Rabbah answered in R. Johanan's name: There was an extra measure [of punishment] in Jerusalem, which Sodom was spared. For in the case of Sodom, it is written, Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy.22 Whereas in the case of Jerusalem it is written, The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their children.23

The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me:24 as one says to his neighbour, This coin has lost its currency.25

All thine enemies have opened their mouths against thee.26 Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: Why did he place the pe before the 'ayin?27 Because of the Spies who spoke with their mouths what they had not seen with their eyes.28

They eat my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.29 Rabbah said in R. Johanan's name: Whoever eats the bread of Israel enjoys the taste of bread; whoever does not eat the bread of Israel does not enjoy the taste of bread.30

They call not upon the Lord. Rab said: This refers to the judges;31 Samuel said: To teachers of children.32

Now, who enumerated them?33 - R. Ashi said: The men of the Great Assembly34 enumerated them.

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: They wished to include another [sc. Solomon], but an apparition of his father's likeness came and prostrated itself [in supplication] before them, which, however, they disregarded. A heavenly fire descended and its flames licked their seats, yet they still disregarded it. Whereupon a Heavenly Voice cried out to them, 'Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.35 He who gave precedence to My house over his, and, moreover, built My house in seven years, but his own in thirteen, he shall stand before kings;36 he shall not stand before mean men.'37 Yet they paid no attention even to this. Whereupon the Heavenly Voice cried out, 'Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, 'or whether thou choose; and not I etc.'38

The Doreshe Reshumoth39 maintained: All of them will enter the world to come, as it is written, Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;40 Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver,' Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.41 [Thus:] 'Gilead is mine' this refers to Ahab, who fell at Ramoth-gilead; 'Manasseh' is literally meant;42 'Ephraim also is the strength of mine head' - this alludes to Jeroboam, a descendant of Ephraim; 'Judah is my lawgiver' - this refers to Ahitophel,

(1) An animal eats from the herbs on both sides of it. This camel however, was eating of one side only, proving that it was blind in one eye.
(2) Lit., 'floats'.
(3) And they had observed two lines of such drops - one absorbed into the earth, and the other remaining on the surface.
(4) In our editions this story is considerably abbreviated. The Munich edition (referred to and partly quoted in the Aruch) proceeds from here: 'It appears to us,' said they, 'that our master is the son of the king's dancer' (So translated in the REJ. XI, 15, on the basis of the general context. Jast: the king's fool, which is probably the same. Aruch: the son of the king's executioner (quaestionarius), but that is quite unsuited to the context). Then he brought them into his house, prepared a great feast, and danced before them. Seeing this, the Jews exclaimed, 'Did we not say that our master is the son of the king's dancer?' On hearing these words, the man sped to his mother and threatened her, 'If thou dost not confess the truth to me, I will kill thee.' Thereupon she disclosed to him that on her wedding day, her husband having quitted the nuptial chamber, the king's dancer entered and ravished her. He then returned to his captives and served them with some meat. Having smelt it, they cried out, 'This meat smells of dog!' Again he threatened his mother with death if she would not tell him the truth. She answered: 'This is the meat of a ewe suckled by a bitch, its own mother having died'. He then offered them wine. 'It smells of the dead', said they. A third time he challenged his mother to reveal the truth, on pain of death. She told him that the wine had been manufactured from a vine whose branches had trailed over his father's tomb. He returned, kissed them, and exclaimed, 'Blessed be the God who made choice of Abraham's posterity.' Then he dismissed them in peace to their homes. Cf. REJ. loc. cit. et seqq., where the parallel story is quoted from the Yalkut on Ekah (1000), and the probable date, place, and purpose of its composition discussed.
(5) Kissing, in ancient days as well as in our own, was often a mark of respect and admiration, not necessarily of affection.
(6) Literal rendering of Lam. I, 2.
(7) Num. XIV, 1 - this was after the discouraging report of the Spies.
(8) Israel's weeping did not arouse any pity.
(9) Lam. I, 2.
(10) Joel I, 8.
(11) Lam. I, 5.
(12) Wilna Gaon deletes this.
(13) V. supra p. 636.
(14) Isa. VIII, 23.
(15) Lam. I, 12.
(16) קובלנא (kublana) is a formula for warding off danger from one's neighbour when reciting woes to him by saying, 'May this not befall you'. Another meaning: 'crying out'; I.e., a man in trouble should cry out to his neighbours and obtain their sympathy (Jast). On this rendering the E.V. can be retained: 'Is it nothing to you?'
(17) Translating עוברי דרך 'Transgressors of the way of the Lord'.
(18) Gen. XIX, 24.
(19) Lam. I, 13: thus Jerusalem was treated as Sodom and Gomorrah.
(20) Ibid. IV, 6. In the editions this is preceded by 'And it is written', thus making it a continuation of the previous passage. But the Wilna Gaon deletes it.
(21) Since Sodom was completely destroyed, whilst Jerusalem in spite of its greater iniquity was left standing.
(22) Ezek. XVI, 49.
(23) Lam. IV, 10, thus Jerusalem suffered extreme hunger, which Sodom never did, and this fact counterbalanced her being spared total destruction (Rashi).
(24) Ibid. I, 15.
(25) Lit., 'disqualified', 'rejected'; and so may be trodden under foot. So did God treat Israel's heroes as being of no value (Rashi).
(26) Ibid. II, 16.
(27) As remarked before, Lamentations is written in the form of an alphabetical acrostic. But in this chapter, and also in Chs. III and IV, the verse beginning with פ precedes that of the ע; pe פ means mouth and 'ayin ע means eye.
(28) Thus putting the one before the other.
(29) Ps. XIV, 4.
(30) The Heathens enjoy their bread only if it is stolen from the Jews.
(31) Who do not mete out fair justice.
(32) Who do not carry out their task honestly.
(33) Who originally enumerated these kings and commoners as having no portion in the coming world, seeing that ordinary persons cannot know such things?
(34) The men of the Great Synagogue or Great Assembly are regarded as the connecting link in the chain of tradition from Moses down to the Rabbis, and many institutions are traced to them; v. Aboth I, 1.
(35) Prov. XXII, 29.
(36) In Paradise (Rashi).
(37) I.e., he must not be included among those who have no portion in the future world.
(38) Job XXXIV, 33. It would appear from this passage that the men of the Great Synagogue were regarded as the actual arbiters of the matter, save in the case of Solomon.
(39) [דורש רשומות lit., 'interpreters of signs,' i.e., those who interpret the law symbolically, for the sake of edification and instruction, a school of exegetes belonging to a period anterior to that of Hillel and Shammai and of Palestinian origin. For a full discussion of the term, v. Lauterbach, J.Q.R. (N.S.) I, pp. 291ff. and 503ff.]
(40) I.e., it is for me to bear their iniquities, that they may enter into the coming world.
(41) Ps. LX, 9f.
(42) Viz., the son of Hezekiah.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 105a

who is descended from Judah; 'Moab is my washpot,' to Gehazi, who was smitten on account of matters connected with bathing; 'over Edom will I cast out my shoe'1 - to Doeg the Edomite;2 'Philistia, triumph thou because of me,' The ministering Angels exclaimed before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! If David comes, who slew the Philistine and gave possession of Gath to thy children. [and complains at Thy giving a share in the world to come to Doeg and Ahitophel], what wilt thou do with him?' He replied, 'It is My duty to make them friends with each other.'3

Why is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding?4 Rab said: The Kenesseth Yisrael5 gave the prophet a victorious answer.6 [For] the prophet said to Israel. 'Return and repent: your fathers who sinned - where are they?' They replied, 'And your prophets who did not sin - where are they? As it is written. Your fathers, where are they? - and the prophets, do they live for ever!'7 He answered them, 'Yet [your fathers] repented and admitted [the justice of their punishment],8 as it is written, But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the Lord of Hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.'9

Samuel said: Ten men came and sat down before him [sc. the prophet]. Said he to them, 'Return and repent.' They answered, 'If a master sells his slave, or a husband divorces his wife, - has one a claim upon the other?'10 Thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, said to the prophet, 'Go and say to them, Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.'11 This agrees with Resh Lakish, who said: Why does Scripture write, David my servant, Nebuchadnezzar my servant?12 Because it was revealed and known to Him who spoke, and the world was created13 that Israel would argue thus: therefore the Holy One, blessed be He, forestalled [them] by calling him His servant, and when a servant acquires property - to whom does the servant belong, and to whom the property?14

And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone. As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you.15 R. Nahman said: Even with such fury let the Merciful rage against us, but that He redeem us.

For he doth chastise him to discretion, and his God doth teach him.16 Rabbah b. Bar Hana said: The prophet urged Israel, 'Return and repent.' They replied, 'We cannot: the Tempter17 rules over us. He said to them, 'Curb your [evil] desires.' They replied, 'Let His God teach us.'18

FOUR COMMONERS, VIZ., BALAAM, DOEG, AHITOPHEL, AND GEHAZI. Belo'-am [denotes without the people].19 Another explanation: Balaam denotes that he corrupted a people.20 The son of Beor [denotes] that he committed bestiality.21 A Tanna taught: Beor, Cushan-rishathaim and Laban the Syrian are identical; Beor denotes that he committed bestiality; Cushan-rishathaim, that he perpetrated two evils upon Israel: one in the days of Jacob,22 and the other in the days of the Judges.23 But what was his real name? Laban the Syrian.

Scripture writes, the son of Beor;24 [but also] his son [was] Beor.25 R. Johanan said: His father [Beor] was as his son in the matter of prophecy.26

Now only Balaam will not enter [the future world], but other [heathens] will enter.27 On whose authority is the Mishnah [taught]? - On R. Joshua's. For it has been taught: R. Eliezer said, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God:28 The wicked shall be turned into hell - this refers to transgressors among Israel; and all the nations that forget God - to transgressors among the heathen.29 This is R. Eliezer's view. But R. Joshua said to him: Is it stated, and [those] among all the nations?30 Surely all the nations that forget God is written! But [interpret thus:] The wicked shall be turned into hell, and who are they? - all the nations that forget God.31 Now, that wicked man [Balaam] too gave a sign for himself [that he would not enter the future world by saying, Let me die the death of the righteous32 - meaning, If I die the death of the righteous [i.e., a natural death], my last end will be like his;33 but if not [i.e., if I die a violent death], then behold I go unto my people.34

And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed.35 A Tanna taught: There was never peace between Midian and Moab. The matter may be compared to two dogs in one kernel which were always enraged at each other. Then a wolf attacked one, whereupon the other said, If I do not help him, he will kill him to-day, and attack me to-morrow; so they both went and killed the wolf. R. Papa observed: Thus people say, 'The weasel and cat [when at peace with each other] had a feast on the fat of the luckless.' And the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.36 But whither had the princes of Midian gone? - As soon as he said to them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, [as the Lord shall speak unto me],37 they reasoned, Does any father hate his son!38 R. Nahman said: Impudence, even against Heaven, is of avail: at first it is written, Thou shalt not go with them,'39 yet subsequently it is said, Rise up and go with them.40 R. Shesheth said: Impudence is sovereignty without a crown,41 for it is written, And I am this day weak, though anointed king, and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me.42

R. Johanan said: Balaam limped on one foot, as it is written, And he walked haltingly.43 Samson was lame in both feet, as it is written, [Dan shall be a serpent by the way,] an adder in the path that biteth the horse's heels.44 Balaam was blind in one eye, as it is said, [and the man] whose eye is open . . .45 He practised enchantment by means of his membrum. For here it is written, falling, but having his eyes open; whilst elsewhere is written, And Haman was fallen on the bed whereon Esther was.46

It was stated, Mar Zutra said: He practised enchantment by means of his membrum. Mar the son of Rabina said: He committed bestiality with his ass. The view that he practised enchantment by means of his membrum is as was stated. The view that he committed bestiality with his ass [is because] here it is written, He bowed,47 he lay down as a lion and as a great lion;48 whilst elsewhere it is written, At her feet

(1) נעלי (E.V. 'my shoe') is connected with root meaning 'to lock' and the phrase is taken to denote, 'I will lock him up in Paradise.'
(2) V. p., 640. n. 5.
(3) התרועעי hithro'a'i (E.V. 'triumph thou') is thus derived from רע, and translated 'make thyself a friend'. It may be observed that it is not taught here that they actually have a portion in the world to come as a right, but that they will nevertheless enter therein, God bearing their iniquities to make this possible (v. n. 1). This is in accordance with the general attitude of Judaism that punishment is not everlasting. Cf. M. Joseph. Judaism as Creed and Life, pp. 146-147.
(4) Heb. meshubah nizzahath, משובה נצחת Jer. VIII, 5.
(5) The Community of Israel.
(6) תשובה נצחת teshubah nizzahath, with which משובה נצחת is connected.
(7) Zech. I, 5. The verse is treated as a dialogue between the prophets and the people.
(8) [The passage is difficult. It is best to adopt the reading of several editions of MSS. deleting 'He answered them,' viz., 'Yet they (i.e., the people) repented and admitted.' The people, that is to say, despite their victorious rejoinder, did not press this advantage home but moved by the words of Jeremiah, why is this people etc., repented and confessed their guilt.]
(9) Ibid. 6.
(10) 'God having sold us to Nebuchadnezzar, He has no further claim upon us, and we have no cause to repent.' This, in Samuel's view, was the victorious answer.
(11) Isa. L, 1. This vitiated the premises of their argument.
(12) The latter in Jer. XLIII, 20: why was Nebuchadnezzar honoured with such an exalted title, whereby he was made equal to David?
(13) This phrase has become liturgical; v. p. 519.
(14) I.e., even if God had sold them to Nebuchadnezzar, they were still God's.
(15) Ezek. XX, 32f.
(16) Isa. XXVIII, 26. (E.V. For his God doth instruct him to discretion and doth teach him.)
(17) The Evil inclination, the yezer hara'.
(18) I.e., 'Let God, who is master even over the Tempter, teach us to curb our desires.' This was in Rabbah b. Bar Hana's view' the 'victorious answer' (Rashi).
(19) בלא עם Belo'am, i,e., he has no portion in the future world together with other people.
(20) בלה עם balah'am, [or בלע עם bala'-'am, 'he devoured the people,' Aruch]. Both meanings are a play of words on his name. The reference is to Israel, as explained further on.
(21) Lit., 'had connection with an animal'. Heb. be'ir בעיר.
(22) When he pursued him, wishing to destroy him (Gen. XXVI, 23 et seqq.).
(23) Judges III, 8; Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushon-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. Rish'athaim is taken as dual of Rish'ah, רשעה 'evil'.
(24) Num. XXII, 5.
(25) Ibid. XXIV, 3: so בנו בעור may be translated.
(26) I.e., he was a greater prophet than his father.
(27) This follows as a corollary to the Mishnah.
(28) Ps. IX, 17.
(29) [Heathens, however, who do nor forget God will share the bliss of eternal life.]
(30) Which would denote only some of them.
(31) [Yad Ramah preserves a more preferable reading: 'this refers to the heathen. This is R. Eliezer's view. But R. Joshua said to him: Is it stated, and all nations, surely all nations etc. i.e., without a waw copulative, and hence in apposition to the first clause.]
(32) Num. XXIII, 20.
(33) I.e., 'I will enter the world to come.'
(34) Ibid. XXIV, 14; i.e., into the Gehenna.
(35) Ibid. XXII, 7.
(36) Ibid. 8.
(37) Ibid.
(38) They knew that it was useless to wait.
(39) Ibid. 12.
(40) Ibid. 20. [His insistence wrested from God His consent for him to go.]
(41) I.e., it wields great power, and lacks nothing but a crown.
(42) II Sam. III, 39. Thus their boldness and impudence outweighed sovereignty.
(43) Num. XXIII, 3.
(44) Gen. XLIX, 17. According to tradition, this was a prophecy of Samson; 'An adder in the path' is taken to mean that he would have to slither along like an adder, being lame in both feet.
(45) Num. XXIV, 3. Since 'eye' is in the singular, it follows that only one eye was open, the other being sightless.
(46) Est. VII, 8.
(47) E.V. 'he couched'.
(48) Num. XXIV, 9.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 105b

he bowed, he fell.1

And knoweth the mind2 of the most High.3 Now, seeing that he did not even know the mind of his ass, could he know the mind of the most High! What [is this about] the mind of his ass? - For they [the elders] said to him, 'Why didst thou not ride upon thy horse?' He replied. 'I have put it [to graze] in the dewy pastures. But the ass said to him, 'Am I not thine ass?'4 - 'Merely for carrying loads', [he replied]. 'Upon which thou hast ridden.' - 'That was only by chance.' 'Ever since I was thine until this day,' [she added]. 'Moreover, I serve thee as a companion by night.' Here is written, Was I ever wont to do so unto thee;5 whilst elsewhere it is written, And let her be his companion.6 What then is meant by knowing the mind of the most High? - He knew how to gauge the exact moment when the Holy One, blessed be He, is angry; and that was what the prophet said to Israel: O thy people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal, that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord.7 What is meant by that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord? - The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: Know now how many acts of charity I performed for you in that I did not become angry all that time, in the days of Balaam the Wicked; for had I waxed angry during that time none would have remained or been spared of Israel's enemies.8 And thus Balaam said to Balak, How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I rage, when the Lord hath not raged?9 This teaches that for the whole of that time the Lord had not been wroth.10 [But normally] God is angry every day.11 And how long does His anger last? - A moment, as it is written, For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life etc.12 Or, if you like, deduce it from this verse, Come, my people, enter into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.13 Now, when is He angry? - In the first three hours [of the day], when the comb of the cock is white. But at all times it is white! - At all other times it has red streaks, but at that moment [of God's anger] there are no red streaks in it.

A sectarian14 lived in the neighbourhood of R. Joshua b. Levi, who used to vex him. One day he took a fowl, tied it to the foot [of his bed]15 and sat down, saying, When that moment comes,16 I will curse him. But when that moment came, he dozed off. This proves, said he, that it is not fitting [to do this], for it is written, Also to punish, is not meet ['good'] for the righteous:17 even of a sectarian, one should not speak thus.18

A Tanna taught in the name of R. Meir: When the sun shines and kings place their crowns upon their heads and adore the sun, immediately [the Almighty] becomes wroth.

And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass.19 A Tanna taught on the authority of R. Simeon b. Eleazar: Love disregards the rule of dignified conduct. [This is deduced] from Abraham, for it is written, And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass.20 Hate likewise disregards the rule of dignified conduct: [this is deduced] from Balaam, for it is written, And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass.

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: One should always occupy himself with Torah and good deeds, though it be not for their own sake,21 for out of good work misapplied in purpose there comes [the desire to do it] for its own sake. For as a reward for the forty-two sacrifices offered up by Balak, he was privileged that Ruth should be his descendant;22 [as]23 R. Jose b. Huna said: Ruth was the daughter of Eglon, the grandson of Balak, king of Moab.

Raba said to Rabbah b. Mari: It is written, [And moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying] God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne:24 is it mannerly to speak thus to a king? - He replied: They meant, according to the nature of [thy throne etc.].25 For should you not say thus, [consider:] Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.26 Now who are the 'women in the tent'? - Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. Is it then meet to say thus? - But it means according to the nature of [their blessedness].27 So here too,it bears the same meaning. Now, this conflicts with R. Jose b. Honi. For R. Jose b. Honi said: Of everyone a man is jealous, except his son and disciple. 'His son' - this is deduced from Solomon.28 'His disciple - [is deduced] if you like, say, from Let a double quantity of thy spirit be upon me;29 or if you like, say, from And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge.30

And the Lord put a thing in the mouth of Balaam.31 R. Eleazar said, An angel;32 R. Jonathan said: a hook.

R. Johanan said: From the blessings of that wicked man you may learn his intentions:33 Thus he wished to curse them that they [the Israelites] should possess no synagogues or school - houses - [this is deduced from] How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob;34 that the Shechinah should not rest upon them - and thy tabernacles, O Israel;35 that their kingdom should not endure - As the valleys are they spread forth;36 that they might have no olive trees and vineyards - as gardens by the river's side; that their odour might not be fragrant - as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted; that their kings might not be tall - and as cedar trees beside the waters; that they might not have a king the son of a king -37 He shall pour the water out of his buckets;38 that their kingdom might not rule over other nations - and his seed shall be in many waters; that their kingdom might not be strong - and his king shall be higher than Agag; that their kingdom might not be awe-inspiring - and his kingdom shall be exalted. R. Abba b. Kahana said: All of them reverted to a curse,39 excepting the synagogues and schoolhouses, for it is written, But the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing for thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee;40 the curse, but not the curses.41

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Jonathan's name: What is meant by the verse, Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful?42 Better is the curse wherewith Ahijah the Shilonite cursed Israel than the blessing wherewith the wicked Balaam blessed them. Ahijah the Shilonite cursed Israel by a reed, as it is said, For the Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water:43 just as a reed grows in well watered soil and its stem

(1) Judges V, 27. This is taken to refer to sexual intercourse, and hence the first verse quoted is interpreted as referring to this likewise. That is the explanation according to our reading. But the verse he couched, he lay down as a lion, etc. refers not to Balaam but to Israel; this, of course, destroys the whole argument. In consequence the Wilna Gaon deletes this verse. The passage then reads: The view that he had sexual intercourse is deduced from, At her feet he bowed, he fell: just as 'falling' in this verse denotes cohabitation, so also in 'falling, but having his eyes open'. V.D.S. a.l.
(2) E.V. 'knowledge'.
(3) Num. XXIV, 16.
(4) Ibid. XXII, 30; thus affirming that it was his usual wont to ride upon her, not upon a horse.
(5) Ibid. XXII, 30.
(6) I Kings I, 2. In both cases a word from root סכן is used. Thus we see that he did not even know his beast's mind, not being able to anticipate her answers. How then could he claim to know the mind of God?
(7) Micah VI, 5.
(8) A euphemism for Israel; v. p. 622, n. 1, For Balaam's curse pronounced at the very moment of My anger, would have been effective.
(9) Num. XXIII, 8.
(10) I.e., He was never angry during that period.
(11) Ps. VII, 12.
(12) Ibid. XXX, 5.
(13) Isa. XXVI, 20.
(14) Heb. Min, v. Glos.
(15) 'Of his bed' is supplied from Ber. 7a. where this story is repeated. Magical properties were ascribed to the feet of a bed. V. A. Marmorstein in MGWJ. 1927, p. 44 and 1928. p. 391. et seqq., where a number of instances are given both from Talmudic and non-Talmudic literature of the feet of a bed being used in magic. For variants in the whole passage. cf. A.Z. 4a.
(16) When its comb is entirely white.
(17) Prov. XVII, 26.
(18) I.e., one must not curse even a sectarian.
(19) Num. XXII, 21.
(20) Gen. XXII, 3. Though the saddling of an ass is not work becoming for a great man, yet in his love to God and eagerness to carry out his commands, Abraham did it.
(21) V. next note.
(22) Though Balak offered up these sacrifices for a most unworthy purpose - viz. that Balaam might thereby be enabled to curse Israel - he was nevertheless rewarded for it, shewing that it has some merit.
(23) V. Hor. 10b.
(24) I Kings I, 47.
(25) I.e.. God make the name of Solomon illustrions (lit., 'good') even as the nature of thine own, and make his throne great, according to the character of thy throne. [The מ in משמך is taken as partitive.]
(26) Judges V, 24.
(27) I.e., 'Blessed shall she be, with the blessedness of women in the tent.' [The מ in מנשים is likewise treated as partitive.]
(28) I.e., from the passage under discussion; David's servants were not afraid to wish Solomon a greater name than his own, knowing that he would not be jealous of his own son. He thus translates the verse literally.
(29) II Kings II, 9. Elisha asked this of his master Elijah.
(30) Num. XXVII, 23. This alludes to Moses' giving of his spirit to Joshua.
(31) Ibid. XXIII, 5.
(32) I.e., put an angel at his mouth, to curb his speech.
(33) Every blessing is the reverse of the curse he wished to utter.
(34) Ibid. XXIV, 5.'Tents' is interpreted 'synagogues'. etc.
(35) Ibid. The tabernacle symbolising the Divine Presence.
(36) Ibid. 6; the spreading forth of the valleys symbolising length of time.
(37) I.e., that no king should found a dynasty - a sign of unrest and civil war.
(38) I.e., one king shall be descended from another.
(39) His intention in every case was eventually fulfilled.
(40) Deut. XXIII, 6.
(41) I.e., only one intentioned curse was permanently turned into a blessing, viz.. that concerning synagogues etc:, as these were destined never to disappear from Israel.
(42) Prov. XXVII, 6.
(43) I Kings XIV, 15.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 106a

is renewed1 and its roots are numerous, and even if all the winds of the world come and blow upon it they cannot dislodge it from its place, but it sways in unison with them, and as soon as the winds subside, the reed still stands in its place, [so may Israel be]. But the wicked Balaam blessed them by the cedar:2 just as the cedar does not stand in a watery place, and its roots are few and its stock is not renewed, and even if all the winds of the world come and blow upon it they cannot stir it from its place, but immediately the South wind blows upon it it uproots and overturns it on its face, [so may Israel be]. Nay, more, it was the reed's privilege that a quill thereof should be taken for the writing of the Scroll of the Torah, Prophets and Hagiographa. And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his parable.3 Balaam said to Jethro, 'Thou Kenite, wast thou not with us in that scheme?4 Who then placed thee among the strong ones of the world!'5 And that is what R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Simai's name: Three were involved in that scheme,6 viz., Balaam, Job, and Jethro. Balaam, who advised it, was slain; Job, who was silent,7 was punished through suffering; and Jethro, who fled - his descendants were privileged to sit in the Hall of Hewn Stones, as it is written, And the families of the scribes which dwell at Jabez, the Tirathites, the Shemeathites, and Suchathites. These are the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab;8 whilst elsewhere it is written, And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees.9

And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!10 R. Simeon b. Lakish said: Woe unto him who maketh himself alive by the name of God,11 R. Johanan said: Woe to the nation that may be found [attempting to hinder], when the Holy One, blessed be He, accomplishes the redemption of his children: who would throw his garment between a lion and a lioness when these are copulating!12

And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim.13 Rab said: This refers to the White Legion.14 And shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber:15 Until Asshur, they shall slay; after that, they shall throw into subjection.16

And now, behold I go unto my people; come, therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.17 But he should have said, What thy people shall do to this people?18 - R. Abba b. Kahana said: It is as one who, cursing himself, refers his malediction to others.19 He [Balaam] said thus to him [Balak]. 'The God of these hates lewdness, and they are very partial to linen.20 Come, and I will advise thee. Erect for them tents enclosed by hangings, in which place harlots, old women without, young women within, to sell them linen garments.' So he erected curtained tents from the snowy mountain [Hermon] as far as Beth ha-Yeshimoth [i.e., right from north to south], and placed harlots in them - old women without, young women within. And when an Israelite ate, drank, and was merry, and issued forth for a stroll in the market place, the old woman would say to him, 'Dost thou not desire linen garments?' The old woman offered it at its current value, but the young one for less. This happened two or three times. After that she would say to him, 'Thou art now like one of the family; sit down and choose for thyself.' Gourds of Ammonite wine lay near her, and at that time Ammonite21 and heathen wine had not yet been forbidden. Said she to him, 'Wouldst thou like to drink a glass of wine?' Having drunk, [his passion] was inflamed, and he exclaimed to her, 'Yield to me!' Thereupon she brought forth an idol from her bosom and said to him, 'Worship this'! 'But I am a Jew', he protested. 'What does that concern thee?' she rejoined, 'nothing is required but that thou should uncover thyself' - whilst he did not know that such was its worship. 'Nay', [said she,] 'I will not leave thee ere thou hast denied the Torah of Moses thy teacher,' as it is written, They went into Baal-peor, and separated themselves unto that shame, and their abominations were according as they loved.22

And Israel abode in Shittim.23 R. Eliezer said: Its name was Shittim. R. Joshua said: They engaged in ways of folly [shetuth],24 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods:25 R. Eliezer said: They met them naked;26 R. Joshua said: They were all excited to pollution.27

What is the meaning of Rephidim?28 - R. Eliezer said: Rephidim was its name. R. Joshua said: [It was so called] because there they slackened in [their loyalty to] the Torah, as it is written, The fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands.29

R. Johanan said: Wherever [Scripture] writes 'And he abode [or dwelt]', it denotes trouble, Thus: And Israel abode in Shittim - and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab;30 And Jacob dwelt in the laid where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan -31 and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report;32 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen -33 And the time drew near that Israel must die;34 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree -35 And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was the king's seed in Edom.36

And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain . . . Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.37 What business had Balaam there? - R. Jonathan said: He went to receive his reward for the twenty-four thousand Israelites whose destruction he had encompassed.38 Mar Zutra b. Tobiah remarked in Rab's name: This is what men say, 'When the camel went to demand horns, they cut off the ears he had.'39

Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, [did the children of Israel slay with the sword].40 A soothsayer? But he was a prophet! - R. Johanan said: At first he was a prophet, but subsequently a soothsayer.41 R. Papa observed: This is what men say, 'She who was the descendant of princes and governors, played the harlot with carpenters.'42

(1) It grows again after it is cut down,
(2) Deut. XXIV, 6, quoted above.
(3) Num. XXIV, 21.
(4) To destroy Israel through Pharoah's decree: Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river - Ex. I, 22 - Of course thou wast!
(5) A metaphor for the Sanhedrin situated in the Hall of Hewn Stones, which counted amongst its members Jethro's descendants. That is the meaning of Strong is thy dwelling place.
(6) V. n. 2.
(7) Not voicing his disapproval.
(8) I Chron. II, 55.
(9) Judges I, 16.
(10) Num, XXIV, 23.
(11) משמו אל is read משמו אל [Herford, op. cit. 74ff. sees in this a covert allusion to Jesus.]
(12) So also, woe to the nation that would come between God and Israel when He is redeeming them to bring them to Himself
(13) Ibid. 24.
(14) [ליכון אספיר. So Levy, adopting the reading ליכון (**) אספר (**). Funk, Schwarz Festschrift, p. 248, takes אספר as the Persian aswar, 'knight', and renders 'a legion of knights', (cf. Lat. ferreus equitatus). The verse is accordingly interpreted: 'Legions will come from the Coast of Chittim, etc.' the Chittim being taken to denote Rome, (cf. Targ. Yerushalmi a.l.]. Jastrow regards the whole passage as an interpolation of the eighth or ninth century, and as referring to Leo the Isaurian, the Byzantine Emperor, leader of the iconoclastic movement which caused a long war between the East and the West of the Empire.
(15) Ibid.
(16) The nations which shall conquer each other - referred to in the words 'and ships' shall, up to Asshur, completely destroy the defeated. But after that a victorious nation shall merely enthral its victim, but not destroy it.
(17) Ibid. 14.
(18) According to Rabbinic tradition, he advised the Moabites to ensnare Israel through unchastity. Thus, he was referring to an action by the former to the latter, whilst Scripture suggests the reverse.
(19) I.e., makes others the object thereof, though meaning himself, so Scripture, alluding to Israel's disgrace, makes it appear that the allusion is really to Moab.
(20) Linen garments were worn by the wealthy and noble; cf. Gen. XLI, 42; Ex. XXVIII, 39.
(21) This is omitted in the Yalkut and Tanhuma.
(22) Hosea IX, 10; i.e., they separated themselves from Moses' teaching.
(23) Num. XXV, 1.
(24) שטות.
(25) Ibid. 2.
(26) They called - i.e., they attracted them by their naked bodies.
(27) Deriving ותקראן from קרי the usual euphemism for semen.
(28) Having discussed the meaning of one place name, the Talmud proceeds to discuss another: Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim - Ex. XVII, 8.
(29) Jer. XLVII, 3. This is quoted to shew that רפה which he assumes to be the root of Rephidim, connotes weakness.
(30) Ibid.
(31) Gen. XXXVII, 1.
(32) Ibid. 3.
(33) Ibid. XLVII, 27.
(34) Ibid. 29.
(35) I Kings V, 5.
(36) Ibid. XI, 14.
(37) Num, XXXI, 8.
(38) V. ibid, XXV, 1-9: since Israel was thus seduced and punished through his advice, as stated above, he demanded payment.
(39) So Balaam, demanding a reward, lost his life.
(40) Joshua XIII, 22.
(41) As a punishment for wishing to curse Israel he was degraded from a prophet to a soothsayer.
(42) 'Shipdraggers,' (v. Rashi). Herford, Christianity in the Talmud, p. 48, suggests that Balaam is frequently used in the Talmud as a type for Jesus (v. also pp. 64-70). Though no name is mentioned to shew which woman is meant, the mother of Jesus may be alluded to, which theory is strengthened by the statement that she mated with a carpenter. (The Munich MS. has גבר in the margin instead of גברי, i.e., singular instead of plural.)

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 106b

Did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.1 Rab said: They subjected him to four deaths, stoning, burning, decapitation and strangulation.2

A certain min3 said to R. Hanina: Hast thou heard how old Balaam was? - He replied: It is not actually stated, but since it is written, Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days,4 [it follows that] he was thirty-three or thirty-four years old.5 He rejoined: Thou hast said correctly; I personally have seen Balaam's Chronicle, in which it is stated, 'Balaam the lame was thirty years old when Phinehas the Robber killed him.'6 Mar, the son of Rabina, said to his sons: In the case of all [those mentioned as having no portion in the future world] you should not take [the Biblical passages dealing with them] to expound them [to their discredit], excepting in the case of the wicked Balaam: whatever you find [written] about him, lecture upon it [to his disadvantage].

Scripture writes Doeg7 and Doeeg:8 R. Johanan said: At first the Holy One, blessed be He, sits and is anxious lest one go out on an evil course. But when he has done so, He exclaims, 'Woe, that he has entered [on an evil path]!'

(Mnemonic: The Mighty, Wicked, Righteous, Riches, Scribe.)

R. Isaac said: What is meant by the verse, Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually?9 - The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Doeg,10 'Art thou not a mighty man in Torah? Why then boastest thou thyself in mischief?11 Is not the love of God continually spread over thee?' R. Isaac also said: What is meant by the verse; But unto the wicked God sayeth, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes?12 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to the wicked Doeg, 'What hast thou to do to declare [i.e., study] my statutes: when thou comest to the sections dealing with murderers and slanderers, how dost thou expound them?'13 Or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth?14 R. Ammi said: Doeg's learning was only from the lips without.15 R. Isaac also said: What is meant by the verse, The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him?16 - At first they shall fear [the wicked person], but subsequently laugh at him. R. Isaac also said: What is meant by the verse, He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly?17 David pleaded before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Let Doeg die!' He replied, 'He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again.'18 He rejoined, 'Let God cast them out of his belly!'19

R. Isaac also said: What is meant by God shall likewise destroy thee for ever?20 - The Holy One, blessed be He, said to David, 'Let us bring Doeg to the future world.' He replied to Him, 'God shall likewise destroy thee for ever.' What is meant by the verse, He shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of the tent, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah!?21 The Holy One, blessed be He, urged, 'Let a law be stated in his name in the schoolhouse,' but he [David] replied to Him, 'He shall take thee away and pluck thee out of the tent. 'Then let his children be Rabbis!' - 'And thy root [shall be torn out] of the land of the living. Selah!' R. Isaac also said: What is meant by the verse, Where is the enumerator, where is the weigher! Where is he that counted the towers!22 - Where is he who enumerated all the letters of the Torah?23 Where is he who weighed all the light [comparatively unimportant] and heavy [important] [precepts] of the Torah?24 Where is he that counted the towers - who counted three hundred fixed laws on a 'tower flying in the air.'25

R. Ammi said: Doeg and Ahitophel propounded four hundred problems with respect to a tower flying in the air, and not one was solved. Raba observed: Is there any greatness in propounding problems? In the years of Rab Judah the whole study was confined to Nezikin,26 whilst we study a great deal even of 'Ukzin;27 and when Rab Judah came to the law, 'If a woman preserves vegetables in a pot' - or as others say, 'olives which were preserved with their leaves are clean,'28 - he observed, 'I see here the discussion of Rab and Samuel;'29 whilst we, on the other hand, have studied Ukzin at thirteen sessions, yet Rab Judah merely took off his shoes, and the rain came down,30 whilst we cry out [in supplication] but there is none to heed us. But it is because the Holy One, blessed be He, requires the heart, as it is written, But the Lord looketh on the heart.31 R. Mesharsheya said: Doeg and Ahitophel did not comprehend legal discussions. Mar Zutra objected: Those of whom it is written, Where is the enumerator, where is the weigher? Where is he that counted the towers?32 yet you say that they did not comprehend legal discussions! - But their views were not in accordance with the halachah [final ruling], as it is written, The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him.33

R. Ammi said: Doeg did not die until he forgot his learning,34 as it is written, He shall die without instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.35 R. Ashi said: He was smitten with leprosy, for it is said, Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee;36 whilst elsewhere it is written, [And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house . . . shall be established] la-zemithuth37 [to him that hath bought it],38 which we translate la-halutin39 [i.e., 'absolutely and definitely the purchasers']. And we learnt: The only difference between him who is a mezora' muhlat [definitely a leper] and one who is locked up [for observation] is in respect of letting the hair grow wild and tearing the garments.40

(Mnemonic: Three, Saw, and Half; and Called.)

R. Johanan said: Three destroying angels appeared before Doeg: one caused him to forget his learning, one burnt his soul, and the third scattered his ashes in the synagogues and schoolhouses. R. Johanan also said: Doeg and Ahitophel did not see each other [i.e., were not contemporaries], Doeg living in Saul's reign, Ahitophel in David's. R. Johanan also said: Doeg and Ahitophel did not live out half their days. It has been taught likewise: Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days:41 Doeg's entire lifetime amounted only to thirty four years, and Ahitophel's to thirty three.

R. Johanan also said: At first David called Ahitophel his teacher, then his companion [colleague], and finally his disciple. At first he called him his teacher, as it is written, But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.42 Then his companions [as it is written] We took sweet counsel together, and walked into the house of God in company.43 Finally his disciple - Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted,

(1) Ibid.
(2) This is suggested by the use of the plural 'among them that were slain by them,' intimating that the various deaths inflicted upon others were all suffered by Balaam. Thus he was hung (strangulation), a fire was lit under him (burning), his head was struck off (decapitation), and then he was allowed to fall to earth (stoning); v. supra 45a.
(3) Heretic, v. Glos.
(4) Ps. LV, 24.
(5) cf. p.471. n. 1.
(6) [According to the view that all the Balaam passages are anti-Christian in tendency, Balaam being used as an alias for Jesus, Phinehas the Robber is thus taken to represent Pontius Pilatus, and the Chronicle of Balaam probably to denote a Gospel (v. Herford op. cit. 72ff.). This view is however disputed by Bacher and others: cf. Ginzberg, Journal of Biblical Literature, XLI, 121.]
(7) I Sam, XXI, 8. דואג denoting 'anxious'.
(8) Ibid. XXII, 18. דוײג with letters 'woe' being inserted,
(9) Ps. LII, 3.
(10) The psalm deals with Doeg; v. superscription in v. 2.
(11) I.e., to slander David and Abimelech for succouring him.
(12) Ibid. L, 16.
(13) Seeing that thou art both.
(14) Ibid.
(15) I.e., it did not penetrate into his heart and mould his character.
(16) Ibid, LII, 8.
(17) Job XX, 15.
(18) He has studied the Torah; wait till he forgets it.
(19) Do not wait for him to forget it naturally, but speed his forgetfulness.
(20) Ps. LII, 7.
(21) Ibid.
(22) Isa. XXXIII, 18.
(23) V. J.E. s.v. Masorah VIII, 366. It is there suggested that the Numerical Masorah, which counted and grouped the various elements of the Biblical text, developed on account of the copyists, who were paid according to the amount. The Talmud regards this as a work of piety and devotion, undertaken with the object of guarding the Bible from the introduction of spurious matter.
(24) I.e., who can draw conclusions by means of ad majus arguments.
(25) Rashi offers a number of interpretations: (i) who deduced three hundred laws from the upper stroke of the ל; (ii) who stated three hundred laws in respect of the defilement of one who enters the land of heathens in a tower-shaped conveyance; (iii) three hundred laws relating to the suspension of a tower in the air by means of enchantment. Another reading is, 'on a tower standing in the air,' i.e., not immediately situated upon the grounds but supported by pillars. The laws will refer to the cleanliness or otherwise of its contents (v. Ohal. IV, 1).
(26) 'Damages', the fourth Order (סדר) of the Talmud. When Rab Judah was head of the academy of Pumbeditha, only the fourth Order was studied, but not the other Orders. This would appear to be the meaning of the passage. But Weiss, Dor III, 196ff, having regard to the abundance of contributions in Rab's name by Rab Judah on the other orders, explains the passage to mean; 'only as far as Nezikin.' i.e,, the first four Orders. These being of practical utility, were intensively studied, and new laws stated. But as for the last two Orders dealing with sacrifices and ritual purity, though taught in the academy, no effort was made to formulate new laws, since the subjects were of no practical interest to Babylon, and Rab Judah contented himself with teaching only what had been transmitted to him.
(27) Name of a treatise of the Mishnah and the Tosefta, belonging to the sixth Order; lec. var. 'we study intensively the six Orders.'
(28) I.e., if their stalks came into contact with anything unclean, the vegetables or the olives themselves are unaffected.
(29) Rashi interprets: He did not know why they should be clean - i.e., he regarded these subjects as extremely difficult. Weiss a.l. explains: It is sufficient to deal with these matters on the basis of the discussions of Rab and Samuel, without endeavouring to formulate new reasons or laws in connection with them.
(30) When special intercessory prayers for rain had to be offered, at which the shoes were removed, Rab Judah merely had to make resort to this self-humiliation in preparation for prayer, and they were immediately answered.
(31) I Sam. XVI, 7.
(32) V. p. 727.
(33) Ps. XXV, 14.
(34) V. supra.
(35) Prov. V, 23.
(36) Ps. LXXIII, 27.
(37) צמיתות.
(38) Lev. XXV, 30.
(39) [לחלוטין, v. Targum Onkelos and Jonathan.]
(40) Which shows that the term חלוט is employed to denote a leper. Hence, the first verse is to be rendered, Thou hast smitten with definite (leprosy) all them that go a whoring from thee.
(41) Ps. LV, 24.
(42) Ibid. 14.
(43) Ibid. 15.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 107a

which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.1

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: One should never [intentionally] bring himself to the test, since David king of Israel did so, and fell. He said unto Him, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Why do we say [in prayer] "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," but not the God of David?' He replied, 'They were tried by me, but thou wast not.' Then, replied he, 'Sovereign of the Universe, examine and try me' - as it is written, Examine me, O Lord, and try me.2 He answered 'I will test thee, and yet grant thee a special privilege;3 for I did not inform them [of the nature of their trial beforehand], yet, I inform thee that I will try thee in a matter of adultery.' Straightway, And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed etc.4 R. Johanan said: He changed his night couch to a day couch,5 but he forgot the halachah: there is a small organ in man which satisfies him in his hunger but makes him hunger when satisfied.6 And he walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.7 Now Bath Sheba was cleansing her hair behind a screen,8 when Satan came to him, appearing in the shape of a bird. He shot an arrow at him, which broke the screen, thus she stood revealed, and he saw her. Immediately, And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath Sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her, and she came unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanliness: and she returned unto her house.9 Thus it is written, Thou host proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou host tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.10 He said thus: 'Would that a bridle had fallen into the mouth of mine enemy [i.e., himself], that I had not spoken thus.'11

Raba expounded: What is meant by the verse, To the Chief Musician, A Psalm of David. In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?12 David pleaded before the Holy One, blessed be He: 'Sovereign of the Universe! Forgive me that sin, that men may not say, "Your mountain [sc. the king] has been put to flight by a bird."'13

Raba expounded: What is meant by the verse, Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest?14 David pleaded before the Holy One, blessed be He: 'Thou knowest full well that had I wished to suppress my lust, I could have done so, but, thought I, let them [the people] not say, "The servant triumphed against his Master."'15

Raba expounded: What is meant by the verse, For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me?16 Bath Sheba, the daughter of Eliam, was predestined for David from the six days of Creation, but that she came to him with sorrow.17 And the school of R. Ishmael taught likewise: She was worthy [i.e., predestined] for David from the six days of Creation, but that he enjoyed her before she was ripe.18

Raba expounded: What is meant by the verse, But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and 'gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not?19 David exclaimed before the Holy One, blessed 'be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Thou knowest full well, that had they torn my flesh, my blood would not have flown.20 Moreover, when they are engaged in studying the four deaths inflicted by Beth din they interrupt their studies and taunt me [saying], "David, what is the death penalty of him who seduces a married woman?" I reply to them, "He who commits adultery with a married woman is executed by strangulation, yet has he a portion in the world to come. But he who publicly puts his neighbour to shame has no portion in the world to come."'

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Even during David's illness he fulfilled the conjugal rights21 [of his eighteen wives], as it is written, I am weary with my groaning: all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.22 Rab Judah also said in Rab's name: David wished to worship idols, as it is written, And it came to pass, that when David was come to the head, where he worshipped God.23 Now rosh ['head'] can only refer to idols, as it is written, This image's head was of fine gold.24 [But] Behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head.25 He demonstrated with David, 'Shall people say, A king like thee has worshipped idols!' He replied, 'And shall a king like myself be slain by his son! Let me worship idols rather than that the Divine Name be publicly profaned!'26 He retorted, 'Why then didst thou marry a beautiful woman [captured in battle]?'27 He replied, 'The Merciful One permitted a beautiful woman. He rejoined, 'Dost thou not interpret the proximity of verses? For in proximity thereto28 is written, If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son,29 [this teaches:] Whoever marries a beautiful woman [taken in battle] will have a stubborn and rebellious son.'

R. Dosetai of Beri30 expounded: Unto whom may David be likened? Unto a heathen merchant.31 David said before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! [Who can understand his errors?'32 He replied, 'They are forgiven thee.' 'Cleanse thou me from secret faults,' [he pursued]. 'I grant it thee.' 'Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins!' - 'Tis granted.' 'Let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright: so that scholars may not discuss me.'33 'Granted.' 'And I shall be innocent from the great transgression: so my sins may not be recorded.' He replied, 'That is impossible. If the [single] yod which I removed from Sarai34 continuously cried out [in protest] for many years until Joshua came and I added it to his name, as it is written, And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua:35 how much more so a complete section!'

And I shall be innocent from great transgression. He pleaded before Him, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Pardon me that sin completely [as though it had never been committed].' He replied, 'It is already ordained that thy son Solomon should say in his wisdom, Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.'36 He lamented, 'Must I37 suffer so much!' He replied, 'Accept thy chastisement,' and he accepted it.

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Six months was David smitten with leprosy, the Shechinah deserted him, and the Sanhedrin held aloof from him. 'He was smitten with leprosy' - as it is written, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.38 'The Shechinah deserted him' - as it is written, Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation,' and uphold me with thy free spirit.39 'And the Sanhedrin kept aloof from him' - as it is written, Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.40 How do we know that it was for six months? - Because it is written, And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years:

(1) Ibid. XLI, 10. This is understood to refer to Ahitophel, and 'which did eat my bread', as a metaphor for 'who learnt of my teaching'.
(2) Ibid. XXVI, 1.
(3) Lit., 'I will do something for thee.'
(4) II Sam. XI, 2.
(5) I.e., he cohabited by day instead of night, that he might be free from desire by day.
(6) With regard to human passion, 'the appetite grows by what it feeds on'.
(7) Ibid.
(8) Or 'beehive' (Rashi).
(9) Ibid, 2f.
(10) Ps. XVII, 3.
(11) I.e., 'would that I had not asked God to try me'. By a play on words, 'on (E.V. 'I am purposed') is connected with זממא 'a bridle', and the second half of the verse is explanatory of the first: 'Would that my mouth had been bridled, so that I would not have to admit now, "Thou hast proved etc."'
(12) Ibid. XI, 1.
(13) V. supra.
(14) Ibid. LI, 6.
(15) V. supra. Had David not yielded, his plea for the inclusion of 'the God of David' would have been justified.
(16) Ibid. XXXVIII, 18.
(17) Translating לצלע (E.V. 'to halt'), 'a rib': 'For I am ready for my rib,' i.e., Bath Sheba, David's rib.
(18) I.e., before she was his legitimate wife.
(19) Ibid. XXXV, 15.
(20) [By reason of the shame to which he had been put. Cf. B.M. 58b: The red color of the face departs, and the white takes its place.]
(21) Lit., 'eighteen marital duties.'
(22) Ibid. VI, 7.
(23) II Sam. XV, 32.
(24) Dan. II, 32.
(25) II Sam. Ibid.
(26) For then it would be said that Absalom had slain him because of his idolatry, which would justify him and his supporters.
(27) Absalom's mother, Maachah the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, was, according to tradition, a war captive.
(28) I.e., the section permitting a beautiful woman captured in battle.
(29) Deut. XXI, 18.
(30) [Near Safed, v. Horowitz, I.S., Palestine and the Adjacent Countries. s.v. בירי]
(31) Who begins by offering small wares; emboldened by his success, he presses more and more upon the purchaser. So David made a small request of God: it being granted, he proceeded to ask for more and more.
(32) Ps. XIX, 13; i.e., he asked pardon for sins committed in error.
(33) Holding me up as an example and warning - ימשלו 'have dominion' is connected with משל.
(34) שרי, when her name was changed to Sarah, שרה.
(35) Num. XIII, 16; thus turning הושע into יהושע.
(36) Prov. VI, 27ff.
(37) Lit., 'that man.
(38) Ps. LI, 9. Hyssop was required for the purification of a leper; v. Lev. IV, 4.
(39) Ibid. 14.
(40) Ps. CXIX, 79.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 107b

Seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem;1 whilst [elsewhere] it is written, In Hebron reigned he over Judah seven years, and six months.2 Thus, these six months are not counted [in the first passage quoted], proving that he was smitten with leprosy.3 He prayed to Him, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Forgive me that sin!' 'It is forgiven thee.' '[Then] shew me a token for good,' that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed; because thou, Lord, hast helped me, and comforted me.'4 He replied, 'In thy lifetime I will not make it known [that I have forgiven thee] but in the lifetime of thy son Solomon.' [Thus:] When Solomon built the Temple, he wished to take the ark into the Holy of Holies, but the gates [thereof] cleaved to each other [and would not open]. He uttered twenty-four psalms,5 but was not answered. He then further supplicated, Lift up your head, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. And it is further said, Lift up your heads, O ye gates, even lift them up, ye everlasting doors.6 Still he was not answered. But on praying, O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant,7 he was immediately answered. In that hour the faces of David's enemies turned [black] as the bottom of a pot [in their discomfiture], and all Israel knew that the Holy One, blessed be He, had forgiven him that sin.

GEHAZI,8 as it is written, And Elisha came to Damascus:9 whither did he go? - R. Johanan said: He went to bring Gehazi back to repentance, but he would not repent. 'Repent thee,' he urged. He replied, 'I have thus learnt from thee: He who sins and causes the multitude to sin is not afforded the means of repentance.' What had he done? - Some say: He hung a loadstone above Jeroboam's sin [i.e., the Golden Calf], and thus suspended it between heaven and earth [by its magnetism]. Others maintain: He engraved the Divine Name in its [sc. the calf's] mouth, whereupon it [continually] proclaimed, 'I [am the Lord thy God],' and 'Thou shalt have no [other] gods before me.'10 Others say: He drove the Rabbis away from him [sc. Elisha], as it is written. And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us;11 proving that till then it was not too narrow.12

Our Rabbis taught: Let the left hand repulse but the right hand always invite back: not as Elisha, who thrust Gehazi away with both hands,13 as it is written, And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound [two talents of silver in two bags. . .] And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. And he said unto him, Went not my heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and menservants and maidservants?14 But had he taken so much? He had only taken silver and garments! - R. Isaac said: Just then Elisha was sitting and lecturing on the eight [unclean] reptiles.15 Now Naaman, the chief captain of the king of Syria, was a leper. A maiden, who had been captured from the land of Israel, said to him, 'If thou wilt go to Elisha, he will heal thee.' When he came there he said to him, 'Go and dip thyself in the Jordan.' 'Thou dost but ridicule me!' he exclaimed. But his companions urged him, 'What does it matter to thee? Go and test it.' So he went, dipped himself in the Jordan and was healed. He returned and offered him all he had, but he [Elisha] refused to accept it. Thereupon Gehazi left Elisha's presence, went and took whatever he did, and put it away. When he returned, Elisha saw a leprous eruption on his head. 'Thou wicked man,' he cried, 'the time has come for thee to receive thy reward [for studying the laws] of the eight reptiles!'16 [So] 'The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever.' And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.17

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate.18 R. Johanan said: They were Gehazi and his three sons. It was taught, R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: Human nature,19 a child and a woman - the left hand should repulse them, but the right hand bring them back.20

Our Rabbis taught: Elisha was ill on three occasions: once when he incited the bears against the children, once when he repulsed Gehazi with both hands, and the third [was the illness] of which he died; as it is written, Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness where of he died.21 Until Abraham there was no old age:22 whoever saw Abraham said, 'This is Isaac;' and whoever saw Isaac said, 'This is Abraham.' Therefore Abraham prayed that there should be old age, as it is written, And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age.23 Until Jacob there was no illness,24 so he prayed and illness came into existence, as it is written, And one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick.25 Until Elisha no sick man ever recovered, but Elisha came and prayed, and he recovered, as it is written, Now Elisha was fallen sick of sickness whereof he died.26


(1) I Kings II, 11.
(2) II Sam, V, 5.
(3) A leper being accounted as dead.
(4) Ps. LXXXVI, 17.
(5) In II Chron. VI, words for prayer, supplication and hymn, occur twenty-four times (Rashi and Maharsha).
(6) Ibid. XXIV, 7ff.
(7) II Chron. VI, 42.
(8) The Talmud now proceeds to show that he has no portion in the coming world,
(9) II Kings VIII, 7. The text of the Talmud reads, 'And Elisha went to Damascus,' Actually there is no such verse, and so the one quoted must be substituted. And the Talmud asks 'whither did he go?' since the text 'And Elisha came to Damascus' implies that his objective was not Damascus, but, happening to come there (on his way to a certain destination, unspecified), he was consulted about Ben-hadad's illness as related in the chapter. Therefore the Talmud asks, what then was the original purpose of his journey? (Maharsha).
(10) Magical powers were ascribed to the Divine Name; v. p. 446, n. 9.
(11) II Kings VI, 1.
(12) Because they were not given access to him at all. This was said after Gehazi left Elisha; v. 27.
(13) In the uncensored editions there follows here, 'and not like R. Joshua b. Perahjah, who repulsed Jesus (the Nazarene) with both hands. Gehazi, as it etc.'
(14) II Kings V, 23-26.
(15) [Name of the Chapter in Mishnah Shabbath XIV, 1. Cf. Lev. XI, 29.]
(16) That is the meaning of 'Is it a time to receive money, and ... garments, and oliveyards etc.' - Eight objects are enumerated, corresponding to the eight reptiles, the former being referred to by Elisha as a fit reward for studying the latter.
(17) II Kings V, 27. The uncensored edition continues: What of R. Joshua b. Perahjah? - When King Jannai slew our Rabbis, R. Joshua b. Perahjah (and Jesus) fled to Alexandria of Egypt. On the resumption of peace, Simeon b. Shetach sent to him: 'From me, (Jerusalem) the holy city, to thee, Alexandria of Egypt (my sister). My husband dwelleth within thee and I am desolate.' He arose, went, and found himself in a certain inn, where great honour was shewn him. 'How beautiful is this Acsania!' (The word denotes both inn and innkeeper. R. Joshua used it in the first sense; the answer assumes the second to be meant.) Thereupon (Jesus) observed, 'Rabbi, her eyes are narrow.' 'Wretch,' he rebuked him, 'dost thou thus engage thyself.' He sounded four hundred trumpets and excommunicated him. He (Jesus) came before him many times pleading, 'Receive me!' But he would pay no heed to him. One day he (R. Joshua) was reciting the Shema', when Jesus came before him. He intended to receive him and made a sign to him. He (Jesus) thinking that it was to repel him, went, put up a brick, and worshipped it. 'Repent,' said he (R. Joshua) to him. He replied, 'I have thus learned from thee: He who sins and causes others to sin is not afforded the means of repentance.' And a Master has said, 'Jesus the Nazarene practised magic and led Israel astray.' For a full discussion of this passage and attempted explanation of this anachronism making Jesus a contemporary of King Jannai (104-78 B.C.E.). v. Herford, op. cit. 51ff. [The tradition of an early Jesus was also known to Epiphanius. Whether he derived this tradition from the Talmud or from an independent source is a moot point hotly contested by Klausner and Guttmann; v. MGWJ. 1931, 250ff. and 1933, 38. In any case there does not appear to be sufficient data available to account for this tradition.]
(18) Ibid. VII, 3.
(19) [Heb. yezer, יצר, v. Lazarus, Ethics, II, 106ff.]
(20) One must not attempt to subdue his desires altogether, which is unnatural, but to regulate them. In chiding a child and a woman, one must not be too severe, lest they be so disheartened as to be driven away far from repentance altogether.
(21) II Kings XIII, 14. 'Was fallen sick' denotes one illness; 'of his sickness' another, and 'whereof he died' a third (Rashi).
(22) I.e., old age did not mark a person.
(23) Gen. XXIV, 1. He is the first of whom this is said.
(24) One lived his allotted years in full health and then died suddenly.
(25) Ibid. XLVIII, 1. V. preceding note.
(26) This shews that he had been sick on previous occasions too' but recovered.
(27) Gen. VI, 3.
(28) I.e., they will neither be judged, nor be granted of my spirit to enable them to share in the world to come.
(29) Ibid. XI, 8.
(30) Ibid. 9.
(31) Ibid. XIII, 13.
(32) I.e., their claim to a portion therein will not be admitted.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 108a


GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: The generation of the flood have no portion in the world to come, as it is written, And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground9 and every living substance was destroyed refers to this world; which was upon the face of the ground - to the next: this is R. Akiba's view. R. Judah b. Bathyra maintained: They will neither revive nor be judged, as it is written, My spirit will not always enter into judgment with man:10 teaching, neither judgment nor spirit.11 Another meaning of 'My Spirit will not enter etc.': their soul shall not return to its sheath.12 R. Menahem son of R. Jose said: Even when the Holy One, blessed be He, restores the souls to the dead bodies,13 their soul shall grieve them in the Gehenna, as it is written, Ye shall conceive chaff ye shall bring forth stubble: your soul, as fire, shall devour you.14

Our Rabbis taught: The generation of the flood waxed haughty only because of the good which the Holy One, blessed be He, lavished upon them. Behold, what is written of them? Their houses are safe from fear, 'neither is the rod of God upon them,15 it is also written, Their bull gendereth, and faileth not,' their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf;16 further, They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance;17 further, They take the timbrel and the harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ;18 and it is also written, They spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures;19 and it is also written, and in a moment go down to the grave.20 And 'tis that which caused them to say to God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?21 They said thus: Do we need Him for aught but the drop of rain? We have rivers and wells to supply our wants. Thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, said: By that very good which I lavished upon them they provoke Me, and by that I will punish22 them, as it is written, And behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth.23

R. Jose said: They waxed haughty only on account of the covetousness of the eye-ball, which is like water, as it is written, And they took them wives from all which they chose.24 Therefore He punished them by water, which is like the eye-ball,25 as it is written, All the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.26

R. Johanan said: The corruption of the generation of the Flood is characterised as great, and their punishment is characterised as great. Their corruption is characterised as great, as it is written, And God saw that the wickedness of man, was great in the earth;27 and their punishment is characterised as great, as it is written, All the fountains of the great deep. R. Johanan said: Three of those [hot fountains] were left,28 the gulf of Gaddor, the hot-springs of Tiberias, and the great well of Biram.29

For all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.30 R. Johanan said: This teaches that they caused beasts and animals, animals and beasts, to copulate; and all of these were brought in connection with man, and man with them all. R. Abba b. Kahana said, All of them returned [to their own kind], excepting the tushlami.31

And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before me.32 R. Johanan said: Come and see how great is the power of robbery. for lo, though the generation of the flood transgressed all laws, their decree of punishment was sealed only because they stretched out their hands to rob, as it is written, for the earth is filled with violence through them, and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.33 And it is 'also written, Violence [i.e., robbery] is risen up into a rod of wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor any of theirs: neither shall there be wailing for them.34 R. Eleazar said: This teaches that it [violence personified] erected itself like a staff, stood before the Holy One, blessed be He, and said: 'Sovereign of the Universe! [There is no good in aught] of them, or aught of their multitude, or of theirs; neither shall there be wailing for them.' The School of R. Ishmael taught: The doom [of destruction] was decreed against Noah too, but that he found favour in the eyes of God, as it is written, It repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.35

And the Lord was comforted that he had made man in the earth.36 When R. Dimi came37 he said: The Holy One, blessed be He, exclaimed, 'I did well in preparing graves for them in the earth.'38 How is this signified [by the verse]? - Here is written, And the Lord was comforted;39 whilst elsewhere it is stated, And he comforted them, and spake kindly to them.40 Others say, [He exclaimed,] 'I did not do well in establishing graves for them in the earth;'41 here it is written, And it repented the Lord; whilst elsewhere it is written, And the Lord repented of the evil which he had thought to do unto his people.42

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations.43 R. Johanan said: In his generations, but not in other generations. Resh Lakish maintained: [Even] in his generations - how much more so in other generations. R. Hanina said: As an illustration of R. Johanan's view, to what may this be compared? To a barrel of wine lying in a vault of acid: in its place, its odour is fragrant [by comparison with the acid]; elsewhere, its odour will not be fragrant.44 R. Oshaia said: As an illustration of Resh Lakish's view, to what may this be compared? To a phial of spikenard oil lying amidst refuse: [if] it is fragrant where it is, how much more so amidst spices!45

And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, [both man and cattle].46 If man sinned, how did the beasts sin? - A Tanna taught on the authority of R. Joshua b. Karha: This may be compared to a man who set up a bridal canopy for his son, and prepared a banquet with every variety [of food]. Subsequently his son died, whereupon he arose and broke up the feast,47 saying, 'Have I prepared all this for any but my son? Now that he is dead, what need have I of the banquet?' Thus the Holy One, blessed be He, said too, 'Did I create the animals and beasts for aught but man: now that man has sinned, what need have I of the animals and beasts?'

All that was in the dry land died;48 but not the fish in the sea.

R. Jose of Caesarea taught: What is meant by the verse, He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: [he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards]?49 This teaches that the righteous Noah rebuked them, urging, 'Repent; for if not, the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring a deluge upon you.and cause your bodies to float upon the water like gourds, as it is written, He is light [i.e., floats] upon the waters. Moreover, ye shall be taken as a curse for all future generations,50 as it is written, their portion is cursed' in the earth. He beholdeth not the way of the vineyards:' this teaches that they looked by the way of the vineyards.51 They said to him, 'Who then prevents him?'52 - He replied.53 'I have one dear one54 to draw out from you.'55

(1) Ps. I, 5.
(2) I.e., they shall stand at the last judgment like all other evildoers.
(3) Num. XIV, 37.
(4) This passage 'the spies . . . next' is omitted in the Yerushalmi.
(5) Ibid. 35.
(6) Ps. L, 5.
(7) Num. XVI, 33.
(8) I Sam. II, 6.
(9) Gen. VII, 23.
(10) Gen. VI, 3.
(11) V. supra.
(12) I.e., their bodies; connecting Yadon, ידון with nadan נדן 'sheath', 'case'.
(13) This phrase has become liturgical.
(14) Isa. XXXIII, 11.
(15) Job XXI, 9.
(16) Ibid. 10.
(17) Ibid. 11.
(18) Ibid. 12.
(19) Ibid. XXXVI, 11.
(20) Ibid. XXI, 13 - they do not suffer before death.
(21) Ibid. 14.
(22) Lit., 'judge'.
(23) Gen. VI, 17.
(24) Ibid. VI, 2.
(25) Just as tears gush forth from the eye-ball, which is a small place, so water streams forth from a well.
(26) Ibid. VII, 11.
(27) Ibid. VI, 5.
(28) It is stated further on that hot water gushed forth from these fountains. Only three such fountains remained after the flood.
(29) גדר (Gadara) was famous for its thermal springs; Eusebius, Jerome, and other authors of antiquity speak of its thermal waters, and it is identified with Gum Kreis - Neubauer, Geographie, p. 35. Biram, identified with Baaras near the thermal spring of Callirhoe, east of the Dead Sea. V. Neubauer, op. cit. 36.
(30) Ibid. VI, 12.
(31) The name of a bird (Tartarian lark, v. Jast.), which, according to R. Abba b. Kahana, copulates indiscriminately.
(32) Ibid. 13.
(33) Ibid.
(34) Ezek. VII, 11.
(35) Gen. VI, 7f. The first verse indicates that God's regret in the first instance extended to all, Noah included, but that a special exception was made in his favour.
(36) Ibid. VI, 6. V. below for this translation:
(37) V. p. 390, n. 1.
(38) Since the wicked are thereby destroyed.
(39) E.V. 'repented'.
(40) Ibid. L, 21. By comparing וינחם in both places, he translates it 'comforted' in the first as in the second, the comfort being that since man was evil, it was fortunate that God had instituted graves, i.e., death.
(41) [Since having regard to their evil they do not deserve an honourable grave but to perish ignominiously by the flood (Yad Ramah).]
(42) Ex. XXXII, 14.
(43) Gen. VI, 9.
(44) So Noah: by comparison with the rest of his generation, who were exceptionally wicked, he stood out as a righteous man; in other generations he would not have been superior to the average person.
(45) Thus, if Noah was righteous even when his entire surroundings were evil, how much more so had he lived amongst righteous men!
(46) Ibid. VII, 23.
(47) Lit., 'broke up the canopy.
(48) Gen. VII, 22.
(49) Job XXIV, 18.
(50) Lit., 'all that come into the world.'
(51) V. p. 743, n. 5. The passage is out of place here and the Wilna Gaon deletes it.
(52) If He has such power, what prevents him from using it?
(53) The speaker now is God.
(54) Lit., 'pigeon'. [A better reading: 'He (God) has one dear one, (the speaker being Noah).]
(55) One righteous man who must first die, so that he may not suffer your punishment, viz., Methuselah.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 108b

'If so, [they retorted,] we will not turn aside from the way of the vineyards.'1

Raba taught: What is meant by the verse, He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a stone despised in the thought of him that is at ease?2 - This teaches that when Noah rebuked them and spoke words to them that were as hard as fiery flints, they derided him. Said they to him, 'Old man, what is this ark for?' - He replied, 'The Holy One, blessed be He, will bring a flood upon you.' 'A flood of what,' they jeered? 'If a flood of fire, we have a substance called 'alitha;3 whilst should He bring a flood of water: if He brings it up from the earth, we have iron plates with which we can cover the earth [to prevent the water from coming up]; if from heaven, we have a substance called 'akob (others say, 'akosh)4 [which can ward it off].' - He replied. 'He will bring it from between the heels of your feet, as it is written, He is ready for the steps of your feet.'5 It has been taught: The waters of the flood were as severe as semen,6 as it is written, It is ready for the steps of the feet.7

R. Hisda said: With hot passion they sinned, and by hot water they were punished. [For] here it is written, And the water cooled;8 whilst elsewhere it is said, Then the king's wrath cooled down.9

And it came to pass, after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.10 What was the nature of these seven days?11 - Rab said: These were the days of mourning for Methuselah, thus teaching that the lamenting for the righteous postpones retribution. Another meaning is: After the seven days during which the Holy One, blessed be He, reversed the order of nature,12 the sun rising in the west and setting in the east.13 Another meaning: the Holy One, blessed be He, [first] appointed a long time for them, and then a short time.14 Another meaning: After the seven days during which He gave a foretaste of the future world, that they might know what good they had withheld from themselves.

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, man and wife.15 Have then beasts marital relationship? - R. Samuel b. Nahman said in R. Jonathan's name: It means of those with which no sin had been committed.16 Whence did he [Noah] know? - R. Hisda said: He led them past the ark; those which the ark accepted had certainly not been the object of sin; whilst those which it rejected had certainly been the object of sin. R. Abbahu said: [He took only] those which came of their own accord.17

Make thee an ark of gopher wood:18 what is 'gopher'? - R. Adda said: The scholars of R. Shila said, It is mabliga;19 others maintain, golamish.20

A window21 shalt thou make to the ark.22 R. Johanan said: The Holy One, blessed be He, instructed Noah, 'Set therein precious stones and jewels, so that they may give thee light, bright as the noon.'23 And in a cubit shalt thou finish it above:24 for thus would it stand firm.25 With lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.26 A Tanna taught: The bottom storey was for the dung; the middle for the animals; and the top for man.

And he sent forth a raven.27 Resh Lakish said: The raven gave Noah a triumphant retort. It said to him, 'Thy Master hateth me, and thou hatest me. Thy Master hateth me - [since He commanded] seven [pairs to be taken] of the clean [creatures], but only two of the unclean.28 Thou hatest me - seeing that thou leavest the species of which there are seven, and sendest one of which there are only two. Should the angel of heat or of cold smite me, would not the world be short of one kind? Or perhaps thou desirest my mate!' - 'Thou evil one!' he exclaimed; 'even that which is [usually] permitted me29 has [now] been forbidden: how much more so that which is [always] forbidden me!' And whence do we know that they30 were forbidden? - From the verse, And thou shalt enter into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and the wives of thy sons with thee;31 whilst further on it is written, Go forth from the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.32 Whereon R. Johanan observed: From this we deduce that cohabitation had been forbidden.33

Our Rabbis taught: Three copulated in the ark, and they were all punished - the dog, the raven, and Ham. The dog was doomed to be tied, the raven expectorates [his seed into his mate's mouth]. and Ham was smitten in his skin.34

Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated.35 R. Jeremiah said: This proves that the clean fowl dwelt with the righteous.36 And lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf taraf [as food].37 R. Eleazar said: The dove prayed to the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Let my sustenance be as bitter as the olive, but in Thy charge, rather than sweet as honey and in the charge of flesh and blood.' Whence do we know that taraf connotes food? - From the verse, Feed me38 with food convenient for me.39

After their kinds they went forth from the ark.40 R. Johanan said: After their kinds, but not they [alone].41 R. Hana b. Bizna said: Eliezer [Abraham's servant] remarked to Shem [Noah's] eldest son,42 'It is written, After their kinds they went forth from the ark. Now, how were you situated?'43 - He replied. '[In truth], we had much trouble in the ark. The animals which are usually fed by day we fed by day; and those normally fed by night we fed by night. But my father did not know what was the food of the chameleon. One day he was sitting and cutting up a pomegranate, when a worm dropped out of it, which it [the chameleon] consumed. From then onward he mashed up bran for it, and when it became wormy, it devoured it. The lion was nourished by a fever, for Rab said, "Fever sustains for not less than six (days) nor more than thirteen."44 As for the phoenix,45 my father discovered it lying 'in the hold of the ark. "Dost thou require no food?" he asked it. "I saw that thou wast busy," it replied, "so I said to myself, I will give thee no trouble." "May it be (God's) will that thou shouldst not perish," he exclaimed; as it is written, Then I said, I shall die in the nest, but I shall multiply my days as the phoenix.'46

R. Hana b. Liwai said: Shem, [Noah's] eldest son,47 said to Eliezer [Abraham's servant]. 'When the kings of the east and the west attacked you, what did you do?' - He replied. 'The Holy One, blessed be He, took Abraham and placed him at His right hand, and they [God and Abraham] threw dust which turned to swords, and chaff which turned to arrows, as it is written, A Psalm of David. The Lord said unto my master, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool48 and it is also written, Who raised up the righteous man [Sc. Abraham] from the east, called him to his foot; gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he made his sword as the dust, and his bow as driven stubble.49

Nahum of Gimso50 was accustomed, whatever befell him, to say, 'This too is for good.' It once happened that the Jews wished to send a gift to the Emperor. Said they. 'By

(1) The meaning is somewhat obscure. Rashi interprets: we will insist in going through the crooked paths which cross the vineyards, instead of going on the straight high-way - a metaphor for pervasion. Maharsha explains: the vineyards are symbols of wine and licentiousness. The metaphor then is quite obvious.
(2) Job XII, 5.
(3) [A fire-extinguishing demon, the Pyralis. V, Lewysohn, Zoologie, 351.]
(4) [A legendary fungus which when donned on the head protects against rain. Lewysohn, op, cit., p. 343. identifies in with the Alcyonium cydonium.]
(5) Ibid. The idea seems to be that He would bring it in such a way as to render all protectives useless, just as though the deluge were to well up from between their very feet; v. also next passage in text.
(6) I.e., thick and hot.
(7) Here understood as a euphemism for sperm.
(8) (E.V. 'abated'.) Gen. VIII, 1.
(9) Est. VII, 10. In both cases the root שכך is used, giving them the same meaning, and proving that the water was hot when it descended.
(10) Gen. VII, 10.
(11) That God should have postponed the flood on their account.
(12) Lit., 'beginning'.
(13) That the wicked might be arrested by the phenomenon and led to repentance.
(14) He first gave them 120 years in which to repent (this being the homiletical interpretation of Gen. VI, 3); this ended, he gave them a further seven days' grace.
(15) Ibid. VII, 2. This is the literal translation.
(16) V. supra 108a; i.e., those which had mated only with their kind.
(17) Only such coming as fulfilled the above condition.
(18) Ibid. VI, 14.
(19) A resinous tree, a species of cedar. (Jast.)
(20) Also a species of cedar, and very hard and stone-like. (Jast.)
(21) Heb. zohar, צהר.
(22) Ibid. 16.
(23) Heb. zoharayim, צהרים.
(24) Ibid.
(25) The sides being sloping, the rain would fall off it.
(26) Ibid. [Some MSS, have the following addition: and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof (ibid.) in order to enable the nozila (a huge animal of the antelope species that could not be accommodated in the ark on account of its size) to put its head therein (it having been tied to the ark behind which it ran); v. Gen. R. XXXI, 13.]
(27) Ibid. VIII, 7.
(28) The raven is unclean(Lev. XI, 15).
(29) I.e., his own wife.
(30) The wives.
(31) Gen. VI. 18.
(32) Ibid. VIII, 26.
(33) Since it is obvious that Noah's wife etc., were to leave the ark with him, the verse must be explained as granting permission for the resumption of marital ties. Hence these were interdicted in the ark.
(34) I.e., from him descended Cush (the negro) who is black-skinned.
(35) Ibid. VIII, 8.
(36) This is deduced from 'from him', which is not mentioned in connection with the raven.
(37) טרף (E.V. 'plucked off'.) Ibid. 11.
(38) הטריפני haterifeni, derived from טרף.
(39) Prov. XXX, 8.
(40) Gen. VIII, 19.
(41) The meaning is obscure. Maharsha explains it thus: - As stated above, whilst in the ark, copulation was forbidden. On their exit, it was permitted. That is the significance of 'after their kind', which denotes that mating was resumed, and they ceased to be a group of single entities.
(42) [Or 'great son', i.e, the most important of his sons, v. supra 69b. (Yad. Ramah.)]
(43) 'After their kind' implies that they kept to the habits of their kind throughout the flood. 'How then were you able to take care of them, and give them individual attention, since animals' habits are so divergent?'
(44) Those that suffer from fever can do without food.
(45) [Heb. אורישנה reading doubtful, 'urishna' or 'urshana'. V. Lewysohn Zoologie, 353, and Gudemann, M., Religionsgeschichtliche Studien, 55].
(46) Job XXIX, 18: v. A.J.V., a legendary immortal bird.
(47) V. p. 746, n. 7.
(48) Ps. CX, 1: supposed to be said by Eliezer, 'my master' referring to Abraham.
(49) Isa. XLI, 2.
(50) A town in Judea. [V. II Chron. XXVIII, 18.] It is always written in two words: גם זו which, taken by themselves, mean 'this too', and this connotation was attached thereto on account of his habit of saying, 'This too is for good.'

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 109a

whom shall we send it? We will send it by Nahum of Gimso, who is well versed in miracles.' On arriving at a certain inn, he wished to lodge there. 'What hast thou with thee,' they asked him? He replied. 'I am bearing tribute to the Emperor.' So they arose at night, untied his box, removed all its contents, and refilled it with earth. When he arrived there1 it was found to be earth. 'The Jews mock me!' he exclaimed. So they led him out to execution. 'This too is for good.' said he. Then Elijah came, disguised as one of theirs [the Romans], and suggested to them, 'Perhaps this is the earth of Abraham, the patriarch, who threw earth which turned to swords, and chaff which became arrows!' So they examined it, and found it to be even so: and a district which they had been unable to conquer, they threw this earth at it and conquered it. Thereupon they led him to the treasury and said to him, 'Take what thou pleasest!' So he filled his box with gold. On his return, the inmates [of the inn where he had previously been robbed] asked him, 'What didst thou take to the king?' 'What I took away from here I carried there,' was his reply. So they took [the same] and brought it there, [as a result of which] these folk were executed.

THE GENERATION OF THE DISPERSION HAVE NO PORTION IN THE WORLD TO COME etc. What did they do? - The scholars of R. Shila taught: They said, 'Let us build a tower, ascend to heaven, and cleave it with axes, that its waters might gush forth.' In the West [sc. Palestine academies]2 they laughed at this: If so, they should have built it on a mountain!3

R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar said: They split up into three parties. One said, 'Let us ascend and dwell there;' the second, 'Let us ascend and serve idols;' and the third said, 'Let us ascend and wage war [with God].' The party which proposed, 'Let us ascend, and dwell there' - the Lord scattered them: the one that said, 'Let us ascend and wage war' were turned to apes, spirits, devils, and night-demons; whilst as for the party which said, 'Let us ascend and serve idols' - 'for there the Lord did confound the language of all the earth.'4

It has been taught. R. Nathan said: They were all bent on idolatry. [For] here it is written, let us make us a name;5 whilst elsewhere it is written, and make no mention of the name of other gods:6 just as there idolatry is meant, so here too. R. Jonathan said: A third of the tower was burnt, a third sunk [into the earth], and a third is still standing.7 Rab said: The atmosphere of the tower causes forgetfulness. R. Joseph said: Babylon and Borsif8 are evil omens for the Torah.9 What is the meaning of Borsif? - R. Assi said: An empty [shafi] pit [bor].10 THE MEN OF SODOM HAVE NO PORTION IN THE WORLD TO COME etc. Our Rabbis taught: The men of Sodom have no portion in the future world, as it is written, But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly:11 wicked - in this world, and sinners - in respect of the world to come.12 Rab Judah said: [They were] wicked - with their bodies [i.e., immoral] and sinners - with their money [i.e.. uncharitable]. 'Wicked - with their bodies,' as it is written, How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?13 'And sinners - with their money,' as it is written, and it be sin unto thee.14 'Before the Lord' refers to blasphemy; 'exceedingly' - that they intentionally sinned. A Tanna taught: Wicked - with their money; and sinners - with their bodies 'Wicked - with their. money,' as it is written, And thine eye be wicked against thy poor brother;15 'and sinners - with their bodies,' as it is written, and I will sin against God.16 Before the Lord - this refers to blasphemy. Exceedingly - this refers to bloodshed, as it is written, Moreover, Manasseh shed innocent blood exceedingly.17

Our Rabbis taught: The men of Sodom waxed haughty only on account of the good which the Holy One, blessed be He, had lavished upon them. What is written concerning them? - As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it it is burned up as it were with fire. The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lions passed by it.18 They said: Since there cometh forth bread out of [our] earth, and it hath the dust of gold, why should we suffer wayfarers, who come to us only to deplete our wealth. Come, let us abolish19 the practice of travelling20 in our land, as it is written, The flood breaketh out from the inhabitants,' they are forgotten of the foot; they are dried up, they are gone away from men.21

Raba gave the following exposition: What is meant by the verse, How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: ye are all as a bowing wall, and as a tottering fence?22 This teaches that they used to cast [envious] eyes at wealthy men, place them by a leaning wall, thrust it upon them, then go and take their wealth. Raba expounded: What is meant by the verse, In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light?23 This teaches that they used to cast [envious] eyes at wealthy men, and entrust balsamum into their keeping, which they placed in their storerooms. In the evening they would come and smell it out like dogs, as it is written, They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.24 Then they would go, burrow in, and steal the money, [and as for their victim - ] They cause him to go naked without clothing,25 that they have no covering in the cold.26 They lead away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge.27 They remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed them.28 And he [the victim] shall be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.29 R. Jose taught this in Sepphoris. That night [after his lecture] three hundred [houses] were broken into in Sepphoris. So they came and harassed him. Said they to him, 'Thou hast shown30 a way to thieves!' He replied, 'Could I have known that thieves would come?'31 When R. Jose died, the gutters of Sepphoris ran with blood.32

[Reverting to the misdeeds of the Sodomites] they ruled: He who has [only] one ox must tend [all the oxen of the town] for one day; but he who has none must tend [them] two days.33 Now a certain orphan, the son of a widow, was given oxen to tend. He went and killed then' and [then] said to them [the Sodomites],

(1) In the Emperor's presence.
(2) V, supra 17b.
(3) And not in a valley.
(4) Gen. XI, 9.
(5) Ibid. 4.
(6) Ex. XXIII, 13.
(7) [Identified by Obermeyer. op. cit. 314, as the Borsippa Tower, near Babylon. V. next note]
(8) ** A city frequently identified with Babel. Neubauer, op. cit., pp. 327, 346, observes that Borsif was not far from Borsippon. A sect of Chaldean astrologers had their locale there, for which reason the Talmud says that the place is unfavourable for study.
(9) Because one's learning is soon forgotten there.
(10) I.e., a pit emptied of its waters - a place where all knowledge is forgotten.
(11) Gen. XIII, 13.
(12) I.e., they are excluded therefrom on account of sin.
(13) Ibid. XXXIX, 9 - the reference is to adultery.
(14) Deut. XV, 9 - the reference is to the withholding of financial assistance from the poor.
(15) Ibid. V. previous note.
(16) V, supra n. 3.
(17) II Kings XXI, 16.
(18) Job XXVIII, 5-8.
(19) Lit., 'cause to be forgotten.'
(20) Lit., 'the law of the foot.'
(21) Ibid. 4.
(22) Ps. LXII, 4.
(23) Job XXIV, 16.
(24) Ps. LIX, 7.
(25) Job XXIV, 10.
(26) Ibid. 7.
(27) Ibid. 3.
(28) Ibid. 2.
(29) Ibid. XXI, 32.
(30) Lit., 'given'.
(31) Or, 'Did I then know that ye are thieves' - i.e, that there are so many thieves amongst you (Rashi)
(32) An expression denoting the great loss that was felt. - This is really irrelevant here, but that R. Jose has just been mentioned (Rashi).
(33) This was a measure of oppression against the poor.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 109b

'He who has an ox, let him take one hide; he who has none, let him take two hides.' 'What is the meaning of this?' they exclaimed. Said he, 'The final usage [i.e., the disposal of the ox when dead] must be as the initial one; just as the initial usage is that he who possesses one ox must tend for one day, and he who has none must tend two days; so should be the final usage: he who has one ox should take one hide, and he who has none should take two.' [Likewise, they ruled,] He who crosses with the ferry must pay one zuz [for the privilege], but he who does not, [entering by another way] must give two. If one had rows of bricks every person came and took one, saying, 'I have taken only one.' If one spread out garlic or onions [to dry them], every person came and took one, saying, 'I have taken only one.'

There were four judges in Sodom, [named] Shakrai, Shakurai, Zayyafi, and Mazle Dina.1 Now, if a man assaulted his neighbour's wife and bruised her, they would say [to the husband], 'Give her to him, that she may become pregnant for thee.' If one cut off the ear of his neighbour's ass, they would order, 'Give it to him until it grows again.' If one wounded his neighbour they would say to him [the victim], 'Give him a fee for bleeding thee.' He who crossed over with the ferry had to pay four zuzim, whilst he who crossed through the water had to pay eight. On one occasion, a certain fuller happened to come there. Said they to him, 'Give us four zuzim [for the use of the ferry].' But, protested he, 'I crossed through the water!' 'If so,' said they, 'thou must give eight zuzim for passing through the water.' He refused to give it, so they assaulted him. He went before the judge, who ordered, 'Give them a fee for bleeding and eight zuzim for crossing through the water. Now Eliezer, Abraham's servant, happened to be there, and was attacked. When he went before the judge, he said, 'Give them a fee for bleeding thee.' Thereupon he took a stone and smote the judge. 'What is this!' he exclaimed. He replied, 'The fee that thou owest me give to this man [who attacked me], whilst my money will remain in statu quo.' Now, they had beds upon which travellers slept. If he [the guest] was too long, they shortened him [by lopping off his feet]; if too short, they stretched him out. Eliezer, Abraham's servant, happened to go there. Said they to him, 'Arise and sleep on this bed!' He replied, 'I have vowed since the day of my mother's death not to sleep in a bed.' If a poor man happened to come there, every resident gave him a denar, upon which he wrote his name, but no bread was given him. When he died, each came and took back his. They made this agreement amongst themselves: whoever invites a man [a stranger] to a feast shall be stripped of his garment. Now, a banquet was in progress, when Eliezer chanced there, but they gave him no bread. Wishing to dine, he went and sat down at the end of them all. Said they to him, 'Who invited thee here?' He replied to the one sitting near him, 'Thou didst invite me.' The latter said to himself, 'Peradventure they will hear that I invited him, and strip me of my garments!' So he took up his raiment and fled without. Thus he [Eliezer] did to all, until they had all gone; whereupon he consumed the entire repast. A certain maiden gave some bread to a poor man, [hiding it] in a pitcher. On the matter becoming known, they daubed her with honey and placed her on the parapet of the wall, and the bees came and consumed her. Thus it is written, And the Lord said, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah, because it is great:2 whereon Rab Judah commented in Rab's name: On account of the maiden [ribah].3


Our Rabbis taught: THE ASSEMBLY OF KORAH HAVE NO PORTION IN THE WORLD TO COME, for it is said, And the earth closed upon them; and they perished from among the congregation: this is R. Akiba's view. R. Judah b. Bathyra said: They are as a lost article, which is sought, for it is said, I have gone astray like a lost sheep: seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.7

Now Korah took . . .8 Resh Lakish said: He took a bad bargain for himself, being plucked out9 of Israel. The son of Izhar: a son who incensed10 the whole world with himself as the [heat of] noon.11 The son of Kohath,12 a son who set the teeth of his progenitors on edge.13 The son of Levi: a son who became an inmate14 of Gehenna. Then why not state too 'the son of Jacob', [implying] a son who marched15 himself into Gehenna? - R. Samuel b. R. Isaac answered: Jacob supplicated for himself [not to be enumerated amongst Korah's ancestors], as it is written, O my son, come not into their secret: unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united:16 'O my soul, come not unto their secret' - this refers to the spies;17 'unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united' - to the Assembly of Korah.

Dathan18 [denotes] that he violated God's law;19 Abiram20 - that he stoutly refused to repent;21 On22 - that he sat in lamentations;23 Peleth24 - that wonders were wrought for him;25 the son of Reuben - a son who saw and understood.26

Rab said: On, the son of Peleth, was saved by his wife. Said she to him, 'What matters it to thee? Whether the one [Moses] remains master or the other [Korah] becomes master, thou art but a disciple.' He replied, 'But what can I do? I have taken part in their counsel, and they have sworn me [to be] with them.' She said, 'I know that they are all a holy community, as it is written, seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them.27 [So,]' she proceeded, 'Sit here, and I will save thee.' She gave him wine to drink, intoxicated him and laid him down within [the tent]. Then she sat down at the entrance thereto

(1) These are fictitious names meaning, Liar, Awful Liar, Forger, and Perverter of Justice.
(2) Heb, rabbah, רבה, Gen. XVIII, 20.
(3) ריבה, a play on רבה.
(4) Num. XIV, 37.
(5) Wilna Gaon deletes this whole passage, from 'THE SPIES... THE NEXT,' v. p. 738, n. 6.
(6) I Sam. II, 6. The Wilna Gaon deletes this whole passage.
(7) Ps. CXIX, 176: though gone astray, they will be found and restored to their share in the future world.
(8) Num. XVI, 1.
(9) A play on קרה and קרחה 'baldness'.
(10) Lit., 'heated'.
(11) יצהר is connected with צהרים noon.
(12) הקהה with which קהת is related.
(13) I.e., who disgraced his parents.
(14) Lit., 'company', 'escort', לויה a play of words on לוי.
(15) Connecting יעקב with עקב 'to trace', 'follow'.
(16) Gen. XLIX, 6.
(17) In no case is the genealogy of the spies traced to Jacob (Rashi).
(18) Korah's confederate. Num. XVI, 1.
(19) דת, a play on דתן.
(20) V, note 12.
(21) איבר, a play on אבירם.
(22) V. n. 12. On means also 'lamentation'.
(23) I.e., he repented for having joined them.
(24) On's father.
(25) Connecting the name with the root פלא, 'wonder'. He abandoned the conspiracy, and was miraculously saved from its fate.
(26) ראו-בן 'He saw and perceived' that the conspiracy was unjust, and therefore kept aloof from it.
(27) Ibid. 3.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 110a

and loosened her hair. Whoever came [to summon him] saw her and retreated.1 Meanwhile, Korah's wife joined them [the rebels] and said to him [Korah], 'See what Moses has done. He himself has become king; his brother he appointed High Priest; his brother's sons he hath made the vice High Priests. If terumah is brought, he decrees, Let it be for the priest; if the tithe is brought, which belongs to you [i.e., to the Levite], he orders, Give a tenth part thereof to the priest. Moreover, he has had your hair cut off,2 and makes sport of you as though ye were dirt; for he was jealous3 of your hair.' Said he to her, 'But he has done likewise!' She replied, 'Since all the greatness was his, he said also, Let me die with the Philistines.4 Moreover, he has commanded you, Set [fringes] of blue wool [in the corners of your garments];5 but if there is virtue in blue wool, then bring forth blue wool, and clothe thine entire academy therewith.'6 Thus it is written, Every wise woman buildeth her house7 - this refers to the wife of On, the son of Peleth; but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands - to Korah's wife.

And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty:8 they were the most distinguished men of the community; chosen for the appointed times:9 meaning, they were skilled in intercalating the year10 and fixing new moons; men of renown, famous throughout the whole world.

And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.11 What news did he hear? - R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Jonathan's name: That he was suspected of [adultery with] a married women, as it is written, They were jealous of Moses in the camp,12 which teaches that every person warned his wife13 on Moses' account, as it is written, And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp.14

And Moses rose up and went in to Dathan and Abiram.15 Resh Lakish said: This teaches that one must not be obdurate in a quarrel;16 for Rab said: He who is unyielding in a dispute violates a negative command, as it is written, And let him not be as Korah, and as his company.17 R. Ashi said: He deserves to be smitten with leprosy: here it is written, [as the Lord said] to him by the hand of Moses,'18 whilst elsewhere, it is said, And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. [. . . and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow].19

R. Joseph said: Whoever contends against the sovereignty of the House of David deserves to be bitten by a snake. Here it is written, And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth;20 whilst elsewhere it is written, with the poison of serpents [zohale]21 of the dust.22 R. Hisda said: Whoever contends against [the ruling of] his teacher is as though he contended against the Shechinah, as it says, when they strove against the Lord.23 R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: Whoever quarrels24 with his teacher is as though he quarrelled with the Shechinah, as it is said, This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the Lord.25 R. Hanina b. Papa said: Whoever expresses resentment against his teacher, is as though he expressed it against the Shechinah, as it is said, Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.26 R. Abbahu said: He who imputes [evil] to his teacher is as though he imputed [it] to the Shechinah, as it says, And the people spake against God, and against Moses.27

Riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt:28 Resh Lakish said: This refers to Korah's wealth. And all the substance that was at their feet:29 R. Eleazar said: This refers to a man's wealth, which puts him on his feet. R. Levi said: The keys of Korah's treasure house were a load for three hundred white mules,30 though all the keys and locks were of leather.31

R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: Three treasures did Joseph hide in Egypt: one was revealed to Korah; one to Antoninus the son of Severus,32 and the third is stored up for the righteous for the future time.

R. Johanan also said: Korah was neither of those who were swallowed up nor of those who were burnt. 'Neither of those who were swallowed up' - as it is written, [And the earth . . . swallowed them up. . .] and all the men that appertained unto Korah,33 [implying], but not Korah himself. 'Nor of those who were burnt' - for it is written, What time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men,34 - but not Korah.35 A Tanna taught in a Baraitha: Korah was one of those who were swallowed up and burnt.36 'Of those who were swallowed up' - as it is written, . . . and swallowed them up together with Korah.37 'Of those who were burnt' - since it is written, And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men [that offered incense],38 which includes Korah.39

Raba said: What is meant by the verse, The sun and the moon stood still in their zebul, at the light of thine arrows they went?40 - This teaches that the sun and the moon ascended from the rakia' to the zebul, and exclaimed before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! If thou wilt execute justice for Amram's son [by punishing Korah and his assembly], we will go forth [to give light]; if not, we will not go forth.' Thereupon he shot arrows at them, saying, 'For My honour ye did not protest, yet ye protest for the honour of flesh and blood!'41 So now they do not go forth until they are driven to it.42

Raba gave the following exposition: What is meant by the verse, But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth?43 - Moses said to the Holy One, blessed be He, 'If the Gehenna has already been created, 'tis well; if not, let the Lord create it.' Now, in respect of what? If actually to create it, but there is no new thing under the sun!44 But [he prayed] that its mouth might be brought up [to the spot where they were standing].

Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.45 A Tanna taught: It has been said on the authority of Moses our Master: A place was set apart for them in the Gehenna, where they sat and sang praises [to God].

Rabbah b. Bar Hana said: I was proceeding on my travels, when an Arab said to me, 'Come, and I will shew thee where the men of Korah were swallowed up.' I went and saw two cracks whence issued smoke. Thereupon he took a piece of clipped wool, soaked it in water, attached it to the point of his spear, and passed it over there, and it was singed. Said I to him, 'Listen to what you are about to hear.' And I heard them saying thus: 'Moses and his Torah are true, but they [Korah's company] are liars.'

(1) It being immodest to look upon a married woman's loosened hair.
(2) In accordance with the purification rites of the Levites; and let them share all their flesh (Num. VIII, 7).
(3) Lit., 'cast his eyes' - with envy.
(4) Judges XVI, 30. This was used proverbially to denote readiness to suffer, so that others might suffer too. - Moses, retaining all the greatness himself, did not mind shaving his own hair off, seeing that he had caused all the rest to do so, thus depriving them of their beauty.
(5) Num. XV, 38.
(6) Why limit it to a thread in the corner of the garment? Every scholar ought to be completely garbed therewith.
(7) Prov. XIV, 1.
(8) Num. XVI, 2.
(9) So translated here. E.V. 'famous in the congregation'.
(10) V, supra 2a.
(11) Ibid. 4.
(12) Ps. CVI, 16.
(13) V. p. 583, n. 1.
(14) Ex. XXXIII, 7 - to avoid all ground of suspicion.
(15) Num. XVI, 25.
(16) Moses disregarded his own dignity, going forth to the rebels in an attempt to end the quarrel.
(17) Ibid. XVII, 5.
(18) Ibid.
(19) Ex. IV, 6; to which 'the hand of Moses' is taken to allude.
(20) I Kings I, 9.
(21) זוחלי.
(22) Deut. XXXII, 24.
(23) Num. XXVI, 9. The reference is to Korah's rebellion; though against Moses only, it is stigmatised as being against God.
(24) I.e., in general.
(25) Ibid. XX, 13. V. n. 14.
(26) Ex. XVI, 8.
(27) Num. XXI, 5.
(28) Eccl. V, 12.
(29) Deut. XI, 6.
(30) This of course is not to be taken literally.
(31) Instead of metal, so as to be light in weight, yet they amounted to such a load.
(32) V. p. 610, n. 7.
(33) Num. XVI, 32.
(34) Ibid. XXVI, 10.
(35) Since there were two hundred and fifty besides Korah; v. XVI, 17, where Korah is mentioned apart from the two hundred and fifty.
(36) First his soul was burnt, the body remaining intact, and this in turn was swallowed up (Rashi).
(37) Ibid. 10.
(38) Ibid. XVI, 35.
(39) He includes Korah among the two hundred and fifty men who offered incense, as stated in v. 17.
(40) Hab. III, 11; according to tradition, there are seven heavens, of which zebul is one. What were they doing in zebul, seeing that they are set in the rakia' - a lower heaven, translated in Gen. I, 4, 'firmament'?
(41) Men worship you, whereby they dishonour Me, yet ye do not protest.
(42) [As they do not wish to give light to sinful man.]
(43) Num. XVI, 30.
(44) Eccl. I, 9.
(45) Num. XXVI, 11.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 110b

The Arabian then said to me, 'Every thirty days Gehenna causes them to turn back [here] like meat in a pot, and they say thus: "Moses and his Torah are true, but they are liars."'1 THE GENERATION OF THE WILDERNESS HATH NO PORTION IN THE WORLD TO COME etc. Our Rabbis taught: The generation of the wilderness hath no portion in the world to come, as it is written, in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.'2 'they shall be consumed', refers to this world; 'and there they shall die' - to the world to come. And it is also said, Forty years long was I grieved with his generation [sc. of the wilderness - . . .] Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest:3 this is R. Akiba's view. R. Eliezer maintained: They will enter into the future world, for it is written, Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.4 How then do I interpret5 Unto whom I sware in my wrath etc? - [Only] in my wrath I sware, but repented thereof. R. Joshua b. Karha said: This verse was spoken only in reference to future generations. [Thus:] Gather my saints together unto me - this refers to the righteous of every generation; that have made a covenant with me - to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who submitted to the fiery furnace; by sacrifice - to R. Akiba and his companions, who gave themselves up to immolation for the sake of the Torah.6 R. Simeon b. Manasya said: They will enter the future world, as it is said, And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs.7 Rabbah b. Bar Hana said in R. Johanan's name: [Here] R. Akiba abandoned his love.8 For it is written, Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord: I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown;9 if others will enter [the future world] in their merit, surely they themselves most certainly will!


GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: The ten tribes have no portion in the world to come,12 as it says, And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation:13 And the Lord rooted them out of their land, refers to this world; and cast them into another land - to the world to come:14 this is R. Akiba's view. R. Simeon b. Judah, of the Kefar of Acco,15 said on R. Simeon's authority: If their deeds are as this day's,16 they will not return; otherwise they shall. Rabbi said: They will enter the future world, as it is said, [And it shall come to pass] in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, [and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount of Jerusalem].17

Rabbah b. Bar Hana said in R. Johanan's name: [Here] R. Akiba abandoned his love,18 for it is written, Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep mine anger for ever.19

Now, to what does 'his love' refer? - Even as it has been taught: The children of the wicked of Israel, [who died] in their minority, will not enter the future world, as it is written, For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root or branch:20 'root', refers to this world; 'branch' - to the world to come:21 This is Rabban Gamaliel's view. R. Akiba said: They will enter the world to come, as it is written, The Lord preserveth petha'im,22 and in the island cities, a child is called pattia;23 and it is said also, Hew the tree down, and destroy it: yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth.24 How then do I interpret25 'that it shall leave them neither root nor branch'? - That He shall not leave them [unpunished the violation of] a single precept or the remnant thereof [i.e., even the most insignificant precept]. Another interpretation: 'root' refers to the soul, and 'branch' to the body.26 But as for young children of the wicked heathens, all agree that they will not enter the future world. And R. Gamaliel27 deduces it from And thou hast made all their memory perish.28

It has been said: An infant - from when may he enter the future world? - R. Hiyya and R. Simeon b. Rabbi [disagree]: one maintained, from birth; the other, from when it spoke. The one who says that it is from birth derives it from the verse, They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.29 The one who holds, from when it spoke, [deduces it] from the verse, A seed shall serve him; it shall be related of the Lord for a generation.30

It has been stated: Rabina maintained: From conception,31 as it is written, A seed shall serve him. R. Nahman b. Isaac said: From its circumcision, for it is written, I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up; while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.32

It was taught on R. Meir's authority: From when he said Amen, as it is written, Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in:33 render not which keepeth the truth34 but which sayeth Amen.35

(1) [V. B.B. 74a, with slight variations.]
(2) Num. XIV, 35.
(3) Ps. XCV, 10f.
(4) Ibid. L, 5. This description fits the generation of the wilderness. Cf. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord . . . And Moses took the blood (thereof), and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. (Ex. XXIV, 5, 8).
(5) Lit., 'fulfil.'
(6) R. Akiba disobeyed the Roman edict forbidding the practice and teaching of religion, and was martyred in consequence. - Ber. 61b. He was executed after several years of imprisonment (supra 12a) about the year 132 C.E.
(7) Isa. XXXV, 10: he regards 'the ransomed of the Lord' as alluding to those who left Egypt, whom the Lord 'ransomed'.
(8) In his love for Israel he generally sought the happiest destinies for them. Here, however, he taught that the generation of the wilderness had no portion in the world to come, though, as the speaker proceeds to demonstrate, he could so have interpreted a verse as to grant them a share therein.
(9) Jer. II, 2: thus the merit of this act of faith on the part of the generation of the wilderness stood their descendants in good stead and conferred the privilege upon them of a share in the future world.
(10) Deut. XXIX, 27.
(11) Becoming dark in the evening and light in the morning.
(12) [I.e., not in the hereafter but in the Messianic days.]
(13) Ibid.
(14) I.e., into a place other than the future world.
(15) V. p. 484, n. 7.
(16) I.e., if they do not repent, 'this day' referring to the time of their being exiled.
(17) Isa. XXVII, 13: 'the holy mount of Jerusalem' is understood here to mean the future world.
(18) V, p.758, n. 7.
(19) Jer. III, 12.
(20) Mal. III, 19.
(21) And both are assumed to refer to the young children of the wicked.
(22) פתאים. (E.V. 'the simple'.)
(23) פתיא.
(24) Dan. IV, 20; i.e.,the family stock remains, the children of the wicked entering the future world.
(25) Lit., 'fulfil'.
(26) But of the wicked themselves, not their children. Thus we see R. Akiba, in his love for Israel, interpreting the verse as leniently as possible.
(27) The name is deleted by the Wilna Gaon and this appears so too from Rashi.
(28) Isa. XXVI, 14.
(29) Ps. XXII, 32.
(30) Ibid. 31. It shall be related shews that when God's glory can be related by a person, i.e., when he can speak, he earns his right to a portion of the world to come.
(31) Lit., 'its being sown'.
(32) Ibid. LXXXVIII, 16, translated: I am poor and ready to die (like the wicked, i.e., without entering the future world) from my being cast forth (from the womb); but once I have borne thy dread i.e., circumcision, which one always bears on his body, I am whirled round - in the whirl of life (the future world).
(33) Isa. XXVI, 2.
(34) שומר אמונים.
(35) שאומר אמן.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 111a

What is the meaning of Amen?1 - R. Hanina said: God, faithful, King.2

Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure:3 Resh Lakish said: [It means] for him who leaves undone even a single statute.4 R. Johanan said to him: It is not pleasing to their Master5 that you say thus to them. But [say], who has not studied even a single statute.6

And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die,' but the third shall be left therein.7 Resh Lakish said: [This means] a third of the descendants of Shem.8 Said R. Johanan to him: Their Master is not pleased that you say so of them. But [say thus:] a third even of all the descendants of Noah.

For I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family.9 Resh Lakish said: This is meant literally.10 Said R. Johanan unto him: Their Master is not pleased that you say so of them.11 But [say thus:] 'one of a city' [means that his virtues] shall benefit an entire city;12 and 'two of a family' will benefit the entire family.13 R. Kahana sat before Rab and stated: This is meant literally. Rab said to him: Their Master is not pleased that you say so of them. But [say thus:] 'one of a city' - shall benefit an entire city, and 'two of a family' - will benefit the entire family. He [Rab] then observed him dress his hair [instead of paying attention to his studies] and come and sit before Rab. Said he to him, And it shall not be found in the land of the living.14 He exclaimed, 'You curse me!'15 He replied, 'I but cite a verse, [which teaches,] The Torah shall not be found in one who attends to his own wants whilst studying it.'16 It has been taught: R. Simai said: It says, And I will take you to me for a people,'17 and it is also said, And I will bring you in [unto the land etc.].18 Their exodus from Egypt is thus likened to their entry into the [promised] land: just as at their entry into the [promised] land there were but two out of six hundred thousand,19 so at their exodus from Egypt there were but two out of six hundred thousand.20 Raba said: It shall be even so in the days of the Messiah, for it is said, And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the days when she came up out of the land of Egypt.21

It has been taught: R. Eleazar son of R. Jose said: I once visited Alexandria of Egypt and found an old man there, who said to me, 'Come, and I will shew thee what my ancestors did to thine: some of them they drowned in the sea, some they slew by the sword, and some they crushed in the buildings.'22 And for this Moses was punished,23 as it is said, For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people,' neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.24 Thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, 'Alas for those who are gone and no more to be found! For how many times did I reveal Myself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name of El Shaddai,25 and they did not question my character,26 nor say to Me, What is Thy name? I said to Abraham, Arise, walk through the land in the length of it, and in the breadth of it,' for I will give it unto thee:27 yet when he sought a place to bury Sarah, he did not find one, but had to purchase it for four hundred silver shekels; and still he did not question My character. I said to Isaac, Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee:28 yet his servants sought water to drink, and did not find it without its being disputed, as it is said, And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen saying, The water is our's;29 still he did not question My character. I said to Jacob, The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed:30 yet he sought a place to pitch his tent and did not find one until he purchased it for an hundred kesitah;31 nevertheless he did not question My character; nor did they say to me, What is Thy name?32 And now thou sayest to Me, Neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. [Therefore] Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh:33 thou shalt behold the war against Pharaoh, but not the war against the thirty one kings.'34 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.35 What did Moses see?36 - R. Hanina b. Gamala37 said: He saw long-suffering [as one of His attributes].38 The Rabbis say: He saw [His attribute of] truth.38 It has been taught in agreement with the one who holds that 'he saw long-suffering,' viz.,39 When Moses ascended on high, he found the Holy One, blessed be He, sitting and writing 'long-suffering'. Said he to Him, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Long-suffering to the righteous?' He replied, 'Even' to the wicked.' He urged, 'Let the wicked perish!' 'See now what thou desirest,' was His answer.40 'When Israel sinned,' He said to him, 'didst thou not urge Me, [Let Thy] long-suffering be for the righteous [only]?'

(1) When one responds 'Amen' after a benediction, how does it suggest ascent thereto and the acceptance of God's yoke?
(2) אמן is an abbreviation of אל מלך נאמן.
(3) Isa. V, 15.
(4) Giving חק, translated 'measure', its usual meaning. Maharsha softens the severity of this statement by referring it to one whose evil deeds would be exactly counterbalanced by good deeds - in which case he would be saved from Gehenna - had he but fulfilled one more precept. But R. Johanan observed that even this is too harsh.
(5) Israel's.
(6) But the study of a single statute saves one from Gehenna.
(7) Zech. XIII, 8.
(8) Mankind is descended from Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. By a 'third' Resh Lakish understands the original number divided and again divided by three. Therefore a third of the first three gives Shem (since he was the ancestor of Israel, and it is assumed that Israel must be included amongst those saved) and then a further third of Shem.
(9) Jer. III, 14.
(10) Lit., 'the words are as they are written.'
(11) For that is too pessimistic.
(12) For the sake of a single righteous man in a city I will bring the whole to Zion.
(13) V. preceding note.
(14) Job XXVIII, 13.
(15) For the Hebrew לא תמצא may also mean, 'thou shalt not', and he understood it in this sense.
(16) Lit., 'over it'.
(17) Ex. VI, 7.
(18) Ibid.
(19) Only Caleb and Joshua, out of the 600,000 who left Egypt, entered Palestine.
(20) The rest perished in Egypt (as stated anon), yet that small fraction amounted to 600,000.
(21) Hos. II, 17.
(22) V. p. 688, n, 11.
(23) I.e., for losing faith in God through this.
(24) Ex. V, 23.
(25) God Almighty.
(26) Lit., 'my attributes', 'my dealings' with man. Whether my promises were reliable.
(27) Gen. XIII, 17.
(28) Ibid. XXVI, 3.
(29) Ibid. 20.
(30) Ibid. XXVIII, 13.
(31) Ibid. XXXIII, 19. R.V.; 'piece of money'.
(32) The emphasis laid here upon the name of God, the virtue ascribed to the Patriarchs for refraining to ask it, and the reproach that Moses had wished to know it, are due to the fact that God's name was regarded as more than a mere title of distinction. It represented His character, His Attributes, and the relationship in which He stood to His people. Consequently, to refrain from asking after God's name was the equivalent of displaying complete confidence in Him, without examining his character closely to see whether His promises were reliable; whilst to ask it was to betray a lack of confidence.
(33) Ibid. VI, 1.
(34) I.e., the conquest of Palestine. V. Josh. XII, 24.
(35) Ex. XXXIV, 8.
(36) This verse follows the enumeration of God's thirteen Attributes. Which of these did he see, that he hastened to bow and worship?
(37) Var. lec. 'Gamaliel.'
(38) Ibid. 7.
(39) Lit., 'For it has been taught.'
(40) It is an ill-advised request, which thou wilt revoke at a future occasion, viz., at the sin of the Golden Calf.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 111b

'Sovereign of the Universe!' said he, 'but didst Thou not assure me, Even to the wicked!' Hence it is written, And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying.1

R. Hagga was walking up the steps of Rabbah b. Shila's college, when he heard a child recite, Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thy house; O Lord, [thou art] for the length of days.2 And in proximity thereto is stated, A prayer of Moses etc.3 This proves,said he, that he saw [that God is] long-suffering.4

R. Eleazar said in R. Hanina's name: The Lord shall be a crown upon the head of every righteous man, as it is written, In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory [zebi], and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people etc.5 What is meant by for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty? - To those who obey His will and hope for His salvation.6 I might think, this applies to all; therefore Scripture states, unto the residue of his people, [meaning] unto those who make themselves as a remnant.7 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.8 'And for a spirit of judgment' - this means, to him who rules over his inclinations;9 'and to him that sitteth in judgment': i.e., to him that renders an honest judgment according to the truth thereof;10 'and for strength' - viz., to him that prevails against his evil inclinations;11 'that turn the battle' - to those who engage in the battle of the Torah;12 'to the gate' - to those who repair morning and evening to the synagogue and house of study. But the Attribute of Judgment protested before the Holy One, blessed be He:13 'Sovereign of the Universe! Wherein do these differ from those?'14 - He replied, 'But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way . . . paku peliliyah they stumble in judgement.'15 Now pukah [the root idea of paku] can only mean the Gehenna, as it is said, That this shall be no grief unto thee;16 and peliliyah can only refer to the judges, as it is said, and he shall pay as the judges determine.17




GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: [If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities ... saying,] they have gone out: [this implies,] they, but not their agents.33 Men: the plural cannot mean less than two.34 Another explanation: men, [implies] but not women; men, but not minors. The children of Belial denotes children who have thrown off the Yoke of Heaven from their necks.35 From among you, but not from a border town.36 The inhabitants of their city - but not the inhabitants of a different city. Saying, [teaches that] witnesses and a formal warning are necessary for each offender.

It has been stated: R. Johanan maintained: One city might be divided among two tribes.37 Resh Lakish said: One city might not be divided among two tribes.38 R. Johanan asked Resh Lakish: UNLESS THE SEDUCERS ARE OF THAT CITY AND OF THAT TRIBE - surely it means, though the seducers be of that city, yet only if they belong to that tribe too does the law apply, but not otherwise; which proves that a city might be divided among two tribes? - No: such a case is possible if it [a portion of the town] came to them [the seducers] through inheritance,39 or was gifted to them. He [further] objected: nine cities, out of these two tribes.40 Surely it means four and a half from each, thus proving that a city might be divided among two tribes. - No: four from one and five from the other. If so, these should be specified.41

(1) Num. XIV, 17; thus the Baraitha shews that what called forth Moses' worship of God when Israel sinned through the Golden Calf was his vision of the Almighty as long-suffering.
(2) Ps. XCIII, 5; i.e., 'thou art long-suffering.'
(3) Ibid. XC, 1.
(4) Regarding the former verse as part of Moses' prayer.
(5) Isa. XXVIII, 5.
(6) Thus translating צבי (zebi, E.V. glory",) 'will,' 'desire' - a common meaning in the Talmud and Targumim, and deriving צפירה zefirah (E.V. 'beauty') from צפה 'to look forward', 'to hope'. The whole reads: In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of desire and for a diadem of hope etc.
(7) I.e., of no value; hence, to the humble.
(8) Ibid. 6.
(9) Translating: and to a spirit, i.e., evil inclination, that is judged, i.e., subdued.
(10) V, supra 7a.
(11) Reversing them to noble desires - this is higher than ruling over them, which is merely a non-surrender to them.
(12) In discussions and disputes thereon.
(13) V, p. 630, n. 7.
(14) Those who have these qualities, how are they differentiated from those who lack them?
(15) פקו פלילה Ibid. 7.
(16) לפוקה I Sam. XXV, 31.
(17) בפלילים Ex. XXI, 22. I.e., judges that go astray and render unfair judgments are consigned to the Gehenna.
(18) Deut. XIII, 14. The deduction is from, are gone out from among you, implying that they have lost their share in the future world (Rashi and the Yad Ramah). Bertinoro deduces it from the word Belial בליעל, which he reads בלי יעל 'without ascending', i.e., who will never ascend from the grave to the future world.
(19) The inhabitants.
(20) Ibid. 26.
(21) If a travelling caravan made a thirty days' halt in the town, its members are regarded as inhabitants. Consequently, if they resist seduction, and their abstention turns the remainder who abstain from idolatry too, and would otherwise be in a minority, into a majority, the town is saved from the fate of a condemned city. - This is followed in the text by 'as it is said etc.' But as the deduction is from 'inhabitants', not from the verse next quoted, the Wilna Gaon deletes 'as it is said'. [Yad Ramah preserves another reading: 'they are saved', that is, if the caravan passing through the city becomes involved in the seduction, they do not share the fate of the inhabitants, but are treated as individual idolators, provided they did not halt for thirty days.]
(22) This is deduced from all. This too is followed by 'as it is said', which is also deleted by the Wilna Gaon (and in both cases Rashi's version seems to lack it too), and for the same reason.
(23) Ibid. 17.
(24) [By building a city wall outside it.]
(25) Ibid. Hence everything, including the market place, must be within the city.
(26) I.e., such objects which, though consecrated, (e.g., for general Temple use as distinct from sacrifices) should be redeemed.
(27) V. Glos.
(28) This is discussed in the Gemara.
(29) I.e., buried, which is the meaning of גנז when used in connection with sacred objects no longer fit for use; v. Meg. 26b on the hiding of a Scroll of the Torah which has mouldered away. It is insufficient merely to put away these objects, viz., the sacred writings and the second tithe, and let them rot (as in the case of terumah), because being available to all, they would probably, in a moment of forgetfulness, be put to some use; whereas terumah was eaten only by the priests, who were very observant. (Tosefoth Yomtob a.l.) S. Krauss in Sanh.-Mak. a.l. remarks that גנז is a general term for withdrawing a Scroll from its public use in the synagogue, and presumably he understands it in the same light here. This meaning, however, is quite unsuited to the context (which deals with the method of destruction to be applied to holy things, which, though not to be burnt, are nevertheless to be disposed of, as is seen in the case of terumah and holy objects), particularly as the word is here applied to both the sacred Writings and the second tithe, and in the case of the latter this interpretation is obviously impossible.
(30) Ibid. [כליל (E.V. 'in its entirety') denotes also whole-offering.]
(31) Ibid.
(32) Ibid.
(33) I.e., only if the seducers of the same city personally enticed the majority of the city to idolatry. But if a number were enticed by their agents, the law of a condemned city does not apply, the enticed ones being punished as individuals.
(34) If only one person seduced a city, it is not treated as such.
(35) [בליעל is explained בלי-עול 'without a yoke'.]
(36) Only a town that is among you can become a condemned city. But a border town, in close proximity to Gentile cities, is not treated as such (v, supra 16b).
(37) I.e., when Canaan was parcelled out among the tribes, and the boundary line of a tribal portion cut across a town, that town would legally belong to the two tribes.
(38) The whole legally belonging to the tribe the greater part of which fell within its borders. Jerusalem, which belonged partly to Benjamin and partly to Judah, was an exception on this view (Early Tosafoth, Yoma 12a).
(39) Rashi explains: if the seducers, though not of the tribe to which the city belonged, inherited part thereof through a daughter who became heiress of an estate after having married out of her tribe.
(40) Judah and Simeon. Josh. XXI, 16.
(41) Which tribe gave four and which five?

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 112a

This is a difficulty.1 The scholars propounded: What if they were self-seduced? Since Scripture writes [Certain men . . .] have seduced the inhabitants etc. It implies, but not if they were self-seduced; or perhaps, [the law holds good] even if they were self-seduced?2 - Come and hear: IF WOMEN OR MINORS SEDUCED IT [... THEY ARE TREATED AS INDIVIDUALS]: but why so? Should it not be [at least] as though they were self-seduced?3 - [No.] The latter are enticed through their own desires, whilst the former are influenced by women and minors.4 UNLESS THE MAJORITY THEREOF ARE SEDUCED. How is this encompassed?5 R. Judah said: We judge and imprison, judge and imprison.6 Said 'Ulla to him: Then thou delayest the judgment of these.7 But 'Ulla said thus: We judge and stone them, and judge and stone.8 It has been stated: R. Johanan maintained: We judge and stone them, judge and stone them. Resh Lakish ruled: Many courts of law are set up.9 But that is not so, For did not R. Hama, son of R. Jose, say in R. Oshaia's name: Then thou shalt bring forth that man or that woman ... unto thy gates:10 [this teaches,] a man or a woman thou mayest bring forth to thy gates, but not a whole city?11 - But many lawcourts are set up and the indictments examined [but no verdicts pronounced]; then the accused are taken to the great Beth din, their trials completed, and they are executed.

THOU SHALT SURELY SMITE THE INHABITANTS OF THAT CITY etc. Our Rabbis taught: If a company of ass-drivers or camel-drivers passing from place to place lodges therein and were seduced together with it: if they had stayed there thirty days, they are decapitated and their possessions destroyed;12 if less, they are stoned, but their possessions unharmed.13

An objection was raised: 'How long must [a stranger] stay in a town, that he may be as its citizen?14 Twelve months'? - Raba answered: There is no difficulty. The latter [period is necessary] for one to be a full citizen; the former, to be regarded a town resident.15 And it has been taught likewise: He who forswears benefit from the citizens of a town is forbidden to benefit from any one who has tarried twelve months therein, but if less he is permitted. [If he forswears benefit from] the residents of a town, he may not benefit from any one who has tarried there thirty days, but if less, he is permitted.

DESTROYING IT UTTERLY, AND ALL THAT IS THEREIN etc.16 Our Rabbis taught: Destroying it utterly, and all that is therein:17 this excludes the property of righteous men without the city. 'And all that is therein:' this includes the property of righteous men within it. 'The spoil of it' [teaches], but not the spoil of Heaven.18 'And all the spoil of it', teaches that the property of the wicked without the city is included.

R. Simeon said: Why did the Torah ordain that the property of the righteous within the city shall be destroyed? What caused them to dwell therein? Their wealth.19 Therefore their wealth is destroyed.

The Master said: And all the spoil of it thou shalt gather includes the property of the wicked without it. R. Hisda observed: But only if it can be gathered thereinto.20

R. Hisda said: Entrusted objects of the inhabitants of a doomed city are permitted. How so? Shall we say, Those belonging to another city and now within it?21 Is it then not obvious that they are permitted, not being 'the spoil thereof'? If, again, the reference is to their own objects placed in another city: in this case, if they can be gathered thereinto,22 why are they permitted? Whilst if they cannot be gathered, then surely he has already stated this once! - No. After all, it refers to objects of another city placed in this one. But the circumstances are that [the person to whom they were entrusted] accepted responsibility for them.23 I might think, since he accepted responsibility, they are as his;24 therefore, he teaches [otherwise].

R. Hisda said: An animal, the property partly of a condemned city and partly of another, is forbidden [entirely]; dough, belonging partly to a condemned city and partly to another, is permitted. Why so? Because an animal is as undivided,25 whilst dough is as though [already] divided.

R. Hisda propounded: An animal of a condemned city - does shechita26 avail to purify it from [the uncleanliness of] nebelah:27 the Divine Law said, [Thou shalt surely smite . . . the cattle thereof] with the edge of the sword: hence it is all alike, whether slaughtered [ritually] or killed;28 or perhaps, having been ritually slaughtered, the shechita is efficacious [to permit it]. What is the law? [This problem is] to stand over.

R. Joseph29 propounded: What of the hair of the righteous. women [within the condemned city]?30 Raba asked: This implies that the hair of the wicked women is forbidden!31 [Surely] Scripture writes, Thou shalt gather . . . and thou shalt burn, denoting, that which only lacks gathering and burning [is forbidden for general use, yet must be thus destroyed;] excluding this, which needs cutting off, gathering and burning?32 - But, said Raba, the problem refers to a wig. How so? If it is fastened to herself it is as herself?33 - It is necessary [to propound this] only if it is hanging on a nail [i.e., not being worn]: is it as other property of the righteous within the town, and destroyed; or perhaps, since it is donned and doffed, it is as her garments? [The problem is] to stand over.

AND THOU SHALT GATHER ALL THE SPOIL OF IT INTO THE MIDST OF THE PUBLIC SQUARE THEREOF etc. Our Rabbis taught: If it has no public square, it cannot become a condemned city: this is R. Ishmael's view. R. Akiba said: If it has no public square, a public square is made for it. Wherein do they differ? - The one maintains that 'the public square thereof' implies, that which was originally [before sentence] so; whilst the other holds that 'the public square thereof' implies even if it has [only] now become one. [

(1) Though not actually refuting Resh Lakish, the Biblical expression 'nine out of the two' is difficult.
(2) The Bible merely stating a general truth, that people are usually enticed to idolatry by others, but not making this an integral condition of the law.
(3) Thus proving that self-seduction is insufficient.
(4) When they are drawn to idolatry by their own wish, their desire for it must be very strong; consequently, the place is treated as a seduced city. But if enticed by women or minors, their adherence thereto is weaker, and hence the law does not apply. - This distinction is merely stated as a possibility, not a certainty.
(5) Since each individual's offence must be attested by two witnesses and preceded by a formal warning, how is it possible for a whole town to be treated so simultaneously?
(6) If a few are observed practising idolatry, they are tried and sentenced; but instead of being executed, they are imprisoned. Then others are similarly treated, and the process is repeated until a majority have thus been sentenced. Then they are all tried together, and the place declared a condemned city.
(7) Which is forbidden.
(8) I.e., every few caught practising idolatry are stoned, as idolaters. But when half of a town have thus been executed, and there are still more, the place is declared a condemned city, and the rest are decapitated.
(9) That all may be judged simultaneously, and the provisions of a condemned city applied.
(10) Deut. XVII, 5.
(11) I.e., only individuals are tried by the local Beth din, but a community can be tried only by the great Sanhedrin of 71; how then can many courts of law be set up?
(12) As the inhabitants of the condemned city, wherein they are included after a stay of thirty days.
(13) As is the case of individuals.
(14) To share in their general liabilities in respect of town maintenance; v. B.B. 7b.
(15) And since in the case of a seduced city the condemnation extends to 'the inhabitants', a period of thirty days suffices.
(16) Ibid.
(17) The Wilna Gaon deletes 'and all that is therein'.
(18) V. Mishnah on 111b.
(19) Only for the sake of wealth would the righteous live in such a wicked town.
(20) Only if it is so near that it can be brought into the doomed city on the same day that everything else is carried into the public square, but not if it is more than a day's journey distant (Rashi).
(21) I.e., the doomed city, the articles having been entrusted to its inhabitants.
(22) V. n. 3.
(23) For damage etc.
(24) Cf. p. 773, n. 5.
(25) For to obtain even the smallest part of it, the whole must be slaughtered.
(26) Ritual slaughtering according to the Jewish law.
(27) V. Glos: the problem is, if slaughtered ritually, is it 'purified.' i.e., permitted?
(28) l.e., however it comes to its death the animal is forbidden, being regarded as though slain by the edge of the sword!
(29) This passage is cited in 'Ar. 7b with the reading R. Jose son of R. Hanina.
(30) Is it permitted or forbidden for use?
(31) If cut off before execution.
(32) I.e., it is not ready for immediate burning, but must first be cut off. Such is not forbidden.
(33) And regarded as personal wear, which are not destroyed in the case of the righteous.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 112b

THE HOLY OBJECTS THEREIN MUST BE REDEEMED etc. Our Rabbis taught: If there were holy objects therein, that which is dedicated to the altar [i.e.,for sacrifices] must die; to the Temple repair, must be redeemed; terumoth must be allowed to rot, and the second tithe and sacred Writings hidden. R. Simeon said: 'The cattle thereof,' - but not firstlings or tithes.1 'The spoil thereof,' excludes sacred money and tithe money.2

The Master said: 'If there were holy objects therein, that which is dedicated to the altar must die.' But why should they die? Let them graze until unfit [for sacrifice], then be sold,3 and the money utilised for a free-will offering! - R. Johanan answered, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination.4 Resh Lakish said: It is the property of its owner, the reference here being to dedicated animals for which the owner is responsible [if lost or injured], and [the ruling] according to R. Simeon, who maintained that such is the owner's property.5 But since the second clause is R. Simeon's, it follows that the first is not? - [Say, then,] the reference is to sacrifices of lower sanctity, and it agrees with R. Jose the Galilean, who maintained that such are the property of their owners. But what of sacrifices of the highest sanctity? Are they to be redeemed! [If so,] the second clause, instead of teaching that that which is dedicated to the Temple repair must be redeemed, should have drawn and taught a distinction in that very matter [viz., animals dedicated to the altar]. [Thus:] This law [that the animals must die] holds good only of sacrifices of lower sanctity, but sacrifices of the highest sanctity are to be redeemed? - Since there is the sin-offering [among the latter], which, if its owner die, must perish, this cannot be stated as a general rule.6

Now it is intelligible that R. Johanan did not answer as Resh Lakish, since it is written, 'The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination'7 but why did Resh Lakish not answer as R. Johanan? - He can reply to you: When do we say, 'The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination'? When they are in their original state; but these, since their state is changed [if the animal is redeemed], are changed.8

'R. Simeon said: The cattle thereof implies, but not the firstlings or tithes.' To what does this refer? Shall we say, to unblemished animals? Then they are the 'spoil of Heaven'!9 But if blemished, they are 'the spoil of it'?10 - Rabina answered: In truth, the reference is to blemished animals. But [only] that which is eaten as 'the cattle thereof' [is destroyed], excluding these, which are eaten not as 'the cattle thereof' but as firstlings and tithes,11 and are thus considered 'spoil of Heaven'.12

Now this [Rabina's answer] conflicts with Samuel's. For Samuel said [in explanation of the same difficulty]: Everything can be sacrificed, and everything can be redeemed. Now, what does this mean? - It means this: That which is sacrificed if unblemished, and redeemed when blemished,13 is excluded by 'the spoil of it';14 but that which is offered up if unblemished, but not redeemed when blemished, e.g., the firstling and the tithe, is excluded by 'and the cattle thereof'.15

THE TERUMOTH MUST BE ALLOWED TO ROT. R. Hisda said: This applies only to terumah in the hands of an Israelite;16 but if in the hands of the priest, being his property, it must be burnt. R. Joseph objected: THE SECOND TITHE AND THE SACRED WRITINGS MUST BE HIDDEN. Now, the second tithe in the hands of an Israelite is as terumah in the hand of the priest,17 yet it teaches, THEY MUST BE HIDDEN, [but not burnt]. But if it [R. Hisda's dictum] was stated, it was thus stated: R. Hisda said: This applies only to terumah in the hand of the priest;18 but terumah in the hand of an Israelite must be given to a priest of another city.

We learnt19 elsewhere: 'Dough of the second tithe is exempt from hallah:20 this is R. Meir's view. But the Sages hold it liable.' R. Hisda said: This refers only to the second tithe in Jerusalem, R. Meir maintaining that the second tithe is sacred property,21 whilst the Rabbis regard the second tithe as secular property. But in the provinces,22 all agree that it is exempt.23

R. Joseph objected: THE SECOND TITHE AND SACRED WRITINGS MUST BE HIDDEN. To what does this refer? Shall we say to Jerusalem?24 But can it become a condemned city? Has it not been taught, 'Ten things were said concerning Jerusalem, and this is one of them, [viz.,] it cannot become a condemned city.'25 But if it [the second tithe] was of another city, and was brought up thither [to Jerusalem],26 surely its barriers have received it.27 Hence it must surely refer to the provinces, yet it is stated, THEY MUST BE HIDDEN?28 - No. In truth, it is of another city and brought thither [to Jerusalem]; but we deal with a case where it became defiled.29 Then should it not be redeemed? For R. Eleazar said: Whence do we know that if the second tithe became defiled it can be redeemed even in Jerusalem? From the verse, When thou art not able to bear it [then thou shalt turn it into money].30 Now se'eth31 can only refer to eating, as . . . And he took and sent mase'oth32 [messes] unto them from before him?33 - We deal with purchased [commodities].34

(1) Which were of a sacred character, the flesh being eaten by the owners, and the blood and fat offered on the altar.
(2) I.e., the money for which sacred objects and tithes were redeemed.
(3) Because an animal dedicated to the altar may not be redeemed as long as it is fit to be sacrificed.
(4) Prov. XXI, 27; and even the money received for its redemption is abhorrent for sacrifice.
(5) When a person vows, dedicating a particular animal for a sacrifice, which is subsequently lost or destroyed, he is not bound to replace it, it being regarded from the moment of the dedication as sacred property, not his own, and he has no further obligation in respect of it. But if he vows to bring a sacrifice, and then dedicates an animal for the purpose, he is bound to replace it if subsequently lost or destroyed, since his vow did not specify that particular animal. R. Simeon maintains that since he must bear the responsibility for it, it is regarded as his own property. Consequently, if in a condemned city, it must be destroyed, like all other secular possessions therein.
(6) If the owner of any sacrifice of the highest sanctity, excepting the sin-offering, dies, the animal is put to pasture until it receives a blemish, when it is redeemed. But if a sin-offering, it is slain (not as a sacrifice). In the case under discussion, the owners are executed: consequently, it cannot be stated as a general rule that sacrifices of the highest sanctity must be redeemed, and therefore the second clause speaks of animals dedicated to the Temple repair instead.
(7) Which is quite a sufficient answer.
(8) And the verse is inapplicable; hence another answer must be sought.
(9) Since the blood and fat must be offered on the altar; hence their exclusion is deduced from 'and the spoil of it', as stated above.
(10) Being blemished, their blood and fat are not offered upon the altar. Consequently they belong entirely to their owners, and should be destroyed, being included in 'the spoil of it'.
(11) Notwithstanding that their blood and fat are not offered upon the altar, when their owners eat them they do not regard them as ordinary animals, such as could be denominated 'the cattle thereof', but as firstlings and tithes.
(12) [MSS, delete 'and . . . Heaven'.]
(13) Viz., all sacrifices of lower sanctity, excepting firstlings and tithes.
(14) Thus in his opinion, he disagrees with the view of the first Tanna, who maintains that such sacrifices are destroyed, as they are their owners 'property.
(15) [Even if unblemished, they are not considered as 'spoil of Heaven', which is not in agreement with Rabina.]
(16) I.e., before it was given to the priest. Since it does not belong to the Israelite, and he might have given it to the priest of some other town, it is regarded as property merely entrusted to an inhabitant of this town, and therefore not destroyed. On the other hand, since he may have intended to give it to a priest of the same town, it may not be eaten. Hence it is left to rot.
(17) Since both belong to their possessor.
(18) Which, being his own property must be destroyed, though not burnt, on account of its sanctity.
(19) This is the formula introducing a Mishnah. But the passage cited is a Baraitha, and תנן 'we learnt', is probably an error for תניא, 'it has been taught'.
(20) חלה, the first portion of the dough. V. Num. XV, 20.
(21) Whereas only secular food is liable to hallah. Cf. Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough for an heave offering. (Num. XV, 20), thus excluding sacred dough, which belongs to Heaven.
(22) A technical term for the whole of Palestine as opposed to Jerusalem.
(23) Since the owner may not eat it there, it is certainly sacred property.
(24) Which became a condemned city.
(25) V. B.M. 82b.
(26) [Before the city was seduced.]
(27) I.e., once within Jerusalem, the law of that town applies to it, and therefore, since it cannot become a condemned city, it should be permitted even for food.
(28) Thus proving that the second tithe in the provinces is treated as secular property.
(29) In which case it may not be eaten; consequently it must be hidden.
(30) Deut. XIV, 25.
(31) שאת (E.V. 'to bear').
(32) משאת.
(33) Gen. XLIII, 34. Thus he translates the first verse: If thou art not able to eat it - being defiled - then thou shalt turn it into money - i.e., redeem it.
(34) The original second tithe having been redeemed, the money was expended upon commodities, which in turn became defiled. At this stage it assumed that only the original second tithe can be redeemed if defiled, but not that purchased with the redemption money.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 113a

But let them be redeemed, for we learnt: If that which was purchased with the [redemption-] money of the second tithe became defiled, it is redeemed.1 - This agrees with R. Judah, who ruled: It must be buried. If so, why particularly [the second tithe] of a condemned city; the same applies to any place in general?2 - But in reality, it refers to undefiled [second tithe], the circumstances being that the barriers of Jerusalem had fallen. And this is in accordance with Raba's dictum. For Raba said: The law of the walls [of Jerusalem], in that it [the second tithe] must be eaten within them, is Biblical; but that they have retaining power,3 is merely Rabbinical. Now, when did the Rabbis decree this? Only as long as the walls exist; but if the walls are gone [having fallen], the decree does not hold good.4

SACRED WRITINGS MUST BE HIDDEN. Our Mishnah does not agree with R. Eliezer. For it was taught, R. Eliezer said: No city containing even a single mezuzah5 can be condemned.6 Why so? Because it says [in reference thereto], and thou shalt burn with fire the city and all the spoil thereof every whit.7 But if it contains a single mezuzah, this is impossible, because it is written, Ye shall not so do unto the Lord your God.8

R. SIMEON SAID: THE HOLY ONE BLESSED BE HE, DECLARED etc. Shall we say that they9 disagree in respect of the dictum of R. Abin in R. Elai's name: For R. Abin said in the name of R. Elai: Wherever you find a general proposition in the form of a positive command and a particular specification in the form of a negative injunction, they are not interpreted as a general proposition followed by a particular specification:10 one Master11 agreeing with Abin's dictum,12 while the other Master13 rejects R. Abin's dictum.14 - No! All accept R. Abin's rule. But here the ground of their dispute is this: the one Master11 maintains that [it shall not be built] 'od [again] implies 'not at all';15 whilst the latter13 holds that 'od implies 'as it was formerly'.16

IT MAY NOT BE REBUILT, BUT MAY BE CONVERTED INTO GARDENS AND ORCHARDS. Our Rabbis taught: If it contained trees already cut down [before the city was condemned], they are forbidden; but if still growing [in the soil], they are permitted.17 But the trees of a different city, whether cut down or growing in the soil, are forbidden. What is alluded to by 'a different city'? - R. Hisda said: Jericho; for it is written, And the city shall be accursed [...] to the Lord.18

And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying: Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.19 It has been taught: Neither Jericho with the name of a different town, nor a different town under the name of Jericho. It is written, in his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundations thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.20 It has been taught: In Abiram his firstborn: he was wicked, and so he could not have learnt from his death; but in his youngest son Segub he should have taken a lesson. What then did Abiram and Segub do?21 - This is its meaning: From Abiram his firstborn that wicked man [Hiel] should have learnt [that its doors would be set up only with the death of] Segub his youngest son. Now, since it is written, in Abiram his firstborn, I know that Segub was his youngest:22 why then state Segub his youngest son? - This teaches that he buried [his children] in succession from Abiram to Segub.23 Now Ahab was his close friend.24 He and Elijah went to enquire after his welfare in the house of mourning.25 He [Ahab] sat and remarked, 'Perhaps when Joshua pronounced his curse, it was thus: Neither Jericho under a different name, nor a different city by the name of Jericho?' Elijah replied, 'That is so.' Said he, 'If Moses' curse was not fulfilled, for it is written, And ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them,' which is followed by, and he shut up the heaven that there be no rain, etc.:26 yet though that man set up idols upon every single furrow, the rain did not permit him to go and worship them;27 shall the curse of Joshua, his disciple, have been fulfilled?' Straightway, And Elisha the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years, but according to my word.28 He prayed, and the key of rain was given him, upon which he arose and departed. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan . . . And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning etc.29 Whence [did they bring it]? - Rab Judah said in Rab's name: From Ahab's slaughterers.

And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.30 Now, when [God] saw that the world was distressed [because of the drought], it is written, And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath.31 And it is further written, And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick.32 Elijah prayed that the keys of resurrection might be given him, but was answered, Three keys have not been entrusted to an agent:33 of birth,34 rain, and resurrection. Shall it be said, Two are in the hands of the disciple35 and [only] one in the hand of the Master? Bring [Me] the other and take this one, as it is written, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.36

A certain Galilean expounded before R. Hisda: If one should make an analogy in respect of Elijah, what does this matter resemble? A man who locked his gate and lost the key.37 R. Jose taught in Sepphoris: Father Elijah38

(1) Ma'as. Sh. III, 10.
(2) This difficulty really arose when it was first answered that the reference is to the defiled second tithe, but it was postponed whilst other objections were put forward.
(3) I.e., that once within the precincts of Jerusalem, the second tithe is retained by the walls and cannot be redeemed and taken out.
(4) Hence, in this case, since it actually belongs to the condemned city, and Jerusalem cannot assimilate it to itself, because its walls had fallen, it must be destroyed; but being sacred, it is hidden instead of burnt.
(5) V. Glos.
(6) V. supra 71a.
(7) Deut. XIII, 17.
(8) Ibid. XII, 4, referring back to the preceding verse, And ye shall destroy the name of them, i.e., the idols; hence in his view the whole law of a condemned city does not apply if it contains sacred writings.
(9) R. Jose the Galilean and R. Akiba.
(10) The rule in such a case is: the general proposition includes only what is enumerated in the particular specification. But when one is thrown into the form of a positive command and the other stated as a negative injunction this does not apply. Now, in the passage under discussion, And it shall be an heap forever is a general proposition, implying that it may not be turned even into parks or orchards; whilst it shall not be built again is a particular specification, denoting a prohibition against the erection of houses, etc., which require building, but not against parks, etc. Now had they both been expressed in the form of a positive or negative command, the rule of exegesis would be as stated, the particularized expression defining the general proposition. Thus: It shall be an heap for ever, and that only in respect of rebuilding, but not in respect of parks, etc. Since, however, they are not both expressed in the same form, this method of exegesis is not followed, but the two clauses are regarded as distinct, a different exegetical rule being followed; viz., 'That which was included in the general proposition and was then separately stated is intended to illumine the former' (for it shall not be built again, which refers to houses, etc., was really included in the general proposition). Thus: And it shall be an heap for ever implies a prohibition of parks and orchards. Now, how is this implication understood? Because Scripture continues, it shall not be built again, from which we deduce, just as a building is anything erected in a human settlement, so it shall be an heap for ever prohibits everything that finds a place in civilization, and therefore includes gardens, etc.
(11) R. Jose, the Galilean.
(12) Consequently he forbids the laying out of parks.
(13) R. Akiba.
(14) Hence forbids only building.
(15) Hence gardens are forbidden.
(16) Consequently ענד limits the meaning of the former passage, as it would be understood by R. Abin's rule.
(17) Thou shalt gather . . . and thou shalt burn excludes that which cannot immediately be gathered into the public square, but must first be cut down.
(18) Josh. VI, 17; hence there everything was forbidden.
(19) Ibid. 26.
(20) I Kings XVI, 34; he did not actually build Jericho but a different town which he called Jericho, and was punished in accordance with Joshua's oath, proving that this too was forbidden. Rashi, however, points out that there is nothing to shew that a different town is referred to.
(21) It is now assumed that the meaning is: Hiel could not have deduced from Abiram's death that Joshua's curse was being fulfilled, because Abiram was wicked, to which fact Hiel might have attributed his death. But Segub was not evil, and therefore he should have known that his death was the result of his curse. Therefore the Talmud asks: what did Abiram and Segub do, i.e., how do we know that one was wicked and the other not (Maharsha).
(22) For, as the verse informs us that Joshua's curse was fulfilled, it follows that Segub must have been his youngest.
(23) Rashi regards this passage 'now, since it . . . to Segub' as distinct from the preceding. Maharsha treats it as a continuation thereof. Hiel's wickedness was evinced by the fact that the death of his children one after the other failed to make him desist from his impious work.
(24) Heb. שושבין shushbin, particularly denotes the bridegroom's best man (v, supra 27b).
(25) I.e., when he was in mourning for the death of his children.
(26) Deut. XI, 16f.
(27) In spite of his idolatry, there were such heavy rains as to render the roads impassable.
(28) I Kings XVII, 1. This verse immediately follows the one treating of Hiel's building of Jericho.
(29) Ibid. 2f, 6.
(30) Ibid. 7.
(31) Ibid. 8f.
(32) Ibid. 17.
(33) God entrusted the keys of His treasures to various angels, God's agents. But three had never been entrusted to them.
(34) Lit., 'a woman in confinement.
(35) Since the key of rain was already in Elijah's possession, and now he was asking for the key of resurrection too.
(36) Ibid. XVIII, 1; I but not thou. The whole passage is adduced to shew how God, having given the key of rain to Elijah, obtained its return, and that the illness of the widow's son was for that purpose.
(37) So Elijah, having obtained the key of rain, locked it up, but could not unlock it when necessary.
(38) A term of reverence and endearment.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 113b

was a hot tempered man. Now, he [Elijah] used to visit him, but [after this] he absented himself three days and did not come. When he came on the fourth day, he [R. Jose] said to him, Why didst thou not come before?' He replied, '[Because] thou didst call me hot tempered.' He retorted, 'But before us [thou] Master hast displayed [thy] temper!'1 AND THERE SHALL CLEAVE NOUGHT OF THE CURSED THING TO THINE HAND: FOR AS LONG AS THE WICKED EXIST IN THE WORLD, THERE IS FIERCE ANGER IN THE WORLD, etc. Who are the wicked? - R. Joseph said: Thieves.2

Our Rabbis taught: When the wicked enter the world, wrath enters therein, for it is written, When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy, reproach.3 When the wicked perish from the world, good comes to the world, as it is written, And when the wicked perish, there is exultation.4 When the righteous departeth from the world, evil entereth therein, as it is written, The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.5 When the righteous cometh into the world, good cometh into the world as it is written, This same shall comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands.6

(1) By staying away for three days for such a trivial reason.
(2) [With particular reference to those who appropriate property of a condemned city. Cf. Sem. II, 9, where such an offence is made equivalent to the most cardinal sins (v. Yad Ramah and Glosses of Zebi Chajes).]
(3) Prov. XVIII, 3.
(4) Ibid. XI, 10.
(5) Isa. LVII, 1.
(6) Gen. V, 29.


2009 JCR