Talmud ‑ Mas. Yevamoth 62a
from the impossible.1 Let Beth Hillel, then, make the inference from Moses! — They can answer you: Moses did it with His consent.2 For it was taught: Moses did three things on his own initiative and his opinion coincided with that of the Omnipresent. He separated himself from his wife,3 broke the Tables of Testimony4 and added one day.5
‘He separated himself from his wife’; what exposition did he make?6 — He said, ‘If to the Israelites, with whom the Shechinah spoke only for a while and for whom a definite time was fixed, the Torah nevertheless said, Come not near a woman,7 how much more so to me, who am liable to be spoken to at any moment and for whom no definite time has been fixed’. And his view coincided with that of the Omnipresent; for it is said, Go say to them: Return ye to your tents; but as for thee, stand thou here by Me.8
‘He broke the Tables of Testimony’; what exposition did he make?6 — He said, ‘If of the Paschal lamb, which is only one of the six hundred and thirteen commandments, the Torah said, There shall no alien eat thereof,9 how much more should this apply to the entire Torah when all Israel are apostates’. And his view coincided with that of the Omnipresent; for it is written, Which thou didst break10 and Resh Lakish explained: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, ‘I thank you for breaking them’.11
‘He added one day’ on his own initiative. What exposition did he make?12 — ‘As it is written, And sanctify them to‑day and to‑morrow13 [It implies that] to‑day shall be the same as to‑morrow; as to‑morrow includes the previous night14 so to‑day must include the previous night. As, however, to‑day's previous night has already passed away,15 it must be inferred that two days exclusive of to‑day must be observed’. And his view coincided with that of the Omnipresent, for the Revelation did not take place16 before the Sabbath.17
It was taught: R. Nathan stated: Beth Shammai ruled: Two males and two females;18 and Beth Hillel ruled: A male and a female.18 Said R. Huna: What is the reason which R. Nathan assigns for the opinion of Beth Shammai? Because it is written, And again she bore his brother Abel19 [which20 implies:] Abel and his sister; Cain and his sister.21 And it is also written, For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel;22 for Cain slew him.23 And the Rabbis? She was merely expressing her gratitude.24
Elsewhere it was taught: R. Nathan stated that Beth Shammai ruled: A male and a female;25 and Beth Hillel ruled: Either a male or a female.25
Said Raba: What is the reason which R. Nathan assigns for the view of Beth Hillel? — Because it is said, He created it not a waste, He formed it to be inhabited,26 and he27 has obviously helped it to be inhabited.
It was stated: If a man had children while he was an idolater and then he became a proselyte, he has fulfilled, R. Johanan said, the duty of propagation of the race; and Resh Lakish said: He has not fulfilled the duty of propagation of the race. ‘R. Johanan said: He has fulfilled the duty of propagation’, since he had children. ‘And Resh Lakish said: He has not fulfilled the duty of propagation’ because one who became a proselyte is like a child newly born.
And they28 follow their views.29 For it was stated: If a man had children while he was an idolater and then he became a proselyte, he has, R. Johanan said, no firstborn in respect of inheritance,30 since he already had31 the first‑fruits of his strength.32 Resh Lakish, however, said: He has a firstborn son in respect of inheritance, for a man who became a proselyte is like a child newly born.
And [both statements33 were] necessary. For if the first only had been stated [it might have been assumed that] only in that state‑ ment did R. Johanan maintain his view, since formerly he34 was also subject to the obligation of propagation,35 but in respect of inherit‑ ance, since [the proselyte's former children] are not entitled to heirship, it might have been presumed that he agrees with Resh Lakish. And were only the second stated [it might have been assumed that] only in that did Resh Lakish maintain his view but that in the former he agrees with R. Johanan. [Hence both were] necessary.
R. Johanan raised an objection against Resh Lakish. At that time Berodach‑baladan the son of Baladan, King of Babylon etc.!36 — The other replied: While they are idolaters they have legally recognized ancestry, but when they become proselytes they have no longer any legally recognized ancestry.
Rab37 said: All agree that a slave has no legally recognized relatives, since it is written, Abide ye here with38 the ass,39 people who are like the ass.40
An objection was raised: Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants!41 — R. Aba b. Jacob replied: Like a young bullock.42 If so, [the same reply could be given] there also!43 — There it is different, since Scripture mentioned his44 own name as well as his father's45 name, while here46 [the son's names] were not specified. If you prefer I might say: They47 were elsewhere ascribed to their father and their father's father; as it is written, And King Asa sent them to Ben‑hadad, the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the King of Aram, that dwelt at Damascus, saying.48
It was stated: If a man had children and they died, he has fulfilled, said R. Huna, the duty of propagation. R. Johanan said: He has not fulfilled it. ‘R. Huna said: He fulfilled’ because [he follows the tradition] of R. Assi. For R. Assi49 stated: The Son of David50 will not come before all the souls in Guf51 will have been disposed of, since it is said, For the spirit that unwrappeth itself is from Me etc.52 And ‘R. Johanan said: He has not fulfilled the duty of propagation’ because we require [the fulfilment of the text] He formed it to be inhabited,53 which is not the case here.54 An objection was raised:
(1) It would have been impossible for the human race to propagate had not one of each sex been created. For the preservation of the race, however, it is not necessary for every man to have children of both sexes.
(2) God approved of Moses’ action. No inference for other people may be drawn from an exceptional case.
(3) Though no daughter had been born from their union.
(4) When, on descending from the mountain, he found the people worshipping the golden calf (v. Ex. XXXII, 19).
(5) To the prescribed period of sanctification that preceded the revelation on Sinai (v. Ex. XIX, 10 and 15).
(6) In support of his action.
(7) Ex. XIX, 15.
(8) Deut. V, 27f.
(9) Ex. XII, 43.
(10) Ibid. XXXIV, 1, ,rca rat .
(11) ljf rahh , lit., ‘may thy strength be firm’. rahh and rat are regarded as coming from the same rt. rat .
(12) In support of his action.
(13) Ex. XIX, 10.
(14) The day always beginning after the sunset of the previous day.
(15) At the time Moses received his instructions.
(16) Lit., ‘the Shechinah did not dwell’.
(17) The sanctification began on Wednesday. They observed all Thursday and Friday; and the Shechinah descended on the Sabbath which was the third of the two complete days (V. Shab. 86a), thus, as Moses expected, disregarding the first day which was incomplete.
(18) Are the minimum required to fulfil the duty of the propagation of the race. V. Tosef. Yeb. VIII.
(19) Gen. IV, 2.
(20) ,t , (the sign of the defined accusative) which could be omitted (as in many other instances), appearing both before brother and before Abel.
(21) Two males and two females.
(22) Obviously to make up the minimum.
(23) Gen. IV, 25.
(24) The duty of propagation, however, would have been fulfilled without the additional birth.
(25) V. supra note 8.
(26) Isa. XLV, 18. It is the duty of man to assist in making the world inhabited.
(27) The man who has even only one son or one daughter.
(28) R. Johanan and Resh Lakish.
(29) Expressed elsewhere.
(30) The first son born after his conversion is not entitled to the double portion of the firstborn.
(31) Before his conversion.
(32) V. Deut. XXI, 17.
(33) That relating to the duty of propa‑ gation and that in respect of the firstborn.
(34) Lit., ‘they’, sc. idolaters.
(35) It being one of the seven Noahide commandments. V. Gen. IX, 7.
(36) II Kings, XX, 12; which shews that an offspring of an idolater is also described as a son!
(37) Others, ‘R. Abba’, v. Alfasi and atr.
(38) og , the same consonants as og ‘a people’.
(39) Gen. XXII, 5.
(40) With reference to Abraham's slaves v. Gen. ibid. The slave, like the ass, is considered the chattel of the master.
(41) II Sam. IX, 10. Ziba was a slave (v. ibid. 9) and yet he is described as having sons.
(42) rec ic rp , lit., ‘a bullock the son of a herd’. The expression of son in the case of the slave Ziba had no greater significance than the expression of ‘son’ in the case of cattle.
(43) In the description of Berodach in II Kings XX, 12.
(44) Cf. supra p. 414, n. 9.
(45) Which may indeed be taken as proof that idolaters’ children are legal descendants and may be described as ‘sons’.
(46) Ziba's descendants.
(48) I Kings XV, 18. Cf. supra n. 9.
(49) Others, ‘Jose’. V. ‘A.Z. 5a, Nid. 13b.
(50) The Messiah.
(51) Lit., ‘body’, the region inhabited by the souls of the unborn.
(52) Isa. LVII, 16. This being the reason for the duty of propagation, the duty is fulfilled as soon as a child is born, i.e., as soon as his soul has left the region of Guf irrespective of whether he survives or not.
(53) Isa. XLV, 18.
(54) The children being dead.
Talmud ‑ Mas. Nedarim 41a
[And thou shalt serve thine enemies . . . ] in want of all things.2 R. Ammi said in Rab's name: This means without a lamp or table. R. Hisda said: Without a wife; R. Shesheth said: Without an attendant; R. Nahman said: Without knowledge. A Tanna taught: Without salt or fat. Abaye said: We have it on tradition that no one is poor save he who lacks knowledge. In the West [palestine] there is a proverb: He who has this, has everything; he who lacks this, what has he? Has one acquired this, what does he lack? Has he not acquired this, what does he possess?
R. Alexandri said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Abba: A sick man does not recover from his sickness until all his sins are forgiven him, as it is written, Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.3 R. Hamnuna said: He [then] returns to the days of his youth, for it is written, His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth.4
Thou host turned his bed in his sickness.’5 R. Joseph said: This means that he forgets his learning. R. Joseph fell ill and forgot his learning; but Abaye restored it to him. Hence it is frequently stated that R. Joseph said, ‘I have not heard this law,’ and Abaye reminded him, ‘You yourself did teach it to us and did deduce it from this particular Baraitha.’
When Rabbi had studied his teaching in thirteen different interpretations, he taught R. Hiyya only seven of them. Eventually Rabbi fell sick [and forgot his learning]. Thereupon R. Hiyya restored to him the seven versions which he had taught him, but the other six were lost. Now, there was a certain fuller who had overheard Rabbi when he was studying them himself; so R. Hiyya went and learned them from the fuller, and then repeated these before Rabbi. When Rabbi met him, he said to him, ‘Thou hast taught6 both R. Hiyya and myself’. Others say that he spoke thus to him: ‘Thou hast taught R. Hiyya, and he has taught me.
R. Alexandri also said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Abba: Greater is the miracle wrought for the sick than for Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. [For] that of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah [concerned] a fire kindled by man, which all can extinguish; whilst that of a sick person is [in connection with] a heavenly fire,7 and who can extinguish that?
R. Alexandri also said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Abba, — others state, R. Joshua b. Levi said: When a man's end has come, all have dominion over him, for it is written, And it will be that whosoever findeth me will slay me.8 Rab deduced it from this verse: They stand forth this day to receive thy judgments: for all are thy servants.9
Rabbah b. Shila was told that a tall man had died. [Now it happened thus:] This man was riding on a little mule and when he came to a bridge, the mule shied and threw the man, and he was killed. Thereupon Rabbah applied to him the verse, They stand forth this day to receive thy judgments etc.
Samuel saw a scorpion borne by a frog across a river, and then stung a man, so that he died. Thereupon Samuel quoted, They stand forth this day to receive thy judgments etc.10
Samuel said: Only a sick person who is feverish11 may be visited. What does this exclude? It excludes those concerning whom it has been taught by R. Jose b. Parta in R. Eliezer's name, viz., One must not visit those suffering with bowel [trouble], or with eye disease, or from headaches. Now the first is well, the reason being through embarrassment;12 but what is the reason of the other two? — On account of Rab Judah's dictum, viz., Speech is injurious to the eyes and to [people suffering from] headaches.13
Raba said: Feverishness, were it not a forerunner of the angel of death,14 it would be as salutary
(1) These are the minimum requisites of a wanderer.
(2) Deut. XXVIII, 48.
(3) Ps. CIII, 3.
(4) Job XXXIII, 25.
(5) Ps. XLI, 4.
(6) Lit., ‘made’.
(7) I.e., his temperature rises.
(8) Gen. IV, 14; thus Cain, thinking that his end had arrived, recognised that everything would have power to slay him.
(9) Ps. CXIX, 91. I.e., all become servants to carry out God's judgment of doom.
(10) Though a scorpion cannot swim, he was carried across by the frog, in order to fulfil God's judgment.
(11) Lit., ‘when he is wrapped in heat’.
(12) He has his bowels frequently moved.
(13) This is the reading of Asheri; cur. edd. add, ‘and is good for fever’ and Wilna Gaon amends likewise.
(14) Both in the Bible and in the Talmud death is regarded as coming to man through an angel. Thus we find mention of the ‘angel of the Lord’ destroying 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp (II Kings XIX, 35); the destroying angel (II Sam. XXIV, 15); ‘the angel of the Lord’ whom David saw standing ‘between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem’ (I Chron. XXI, 15). In the Talmud this angel is frequently referred to, and he was conceived as causing death by dropping gall into the mouth of the victim; ‘A.Z. 20b; v. J.E. IV, 480ff.
Talmud ‑ Mas. Sotah 9b
We thus find it with the primeval serpent [in the Garden of Eden] which set its eyes on that which was not proper for it; what it sought was not granted to it and what it possessed was taken from it. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I declared: Let it be king over every animal and beast; but now, Cursed art thou above all cattle and above every beast of the field.1 I declared, let it walk with an erect posture; but now it shall go upon its belly. I declared: Let its food be the same as that of man; but now it shall eat dust. It said: I will kill Adam and marry Eve; but now, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.2 Similarly do we find it with Cain, Korah, Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel, Gehazi, Absalom, Adonijah, Uzziah and Haman, who set their eyes upon that which was not proper for them; what they sought was not granted to them and what they possessed was taken from them.
SHE BEGAN THE TRANSGRESSION WITH THE THIGH etc. Whence is this? Shall I say because it is written: When the Lord doth make thy thigh to fall away and thy belly to swell?3 But it is likewise written: Her belly shall swell and her thigh shall fall away!4 — Abaye said: When [the priest] utters the curse, he first curses the thigh and then curses the belly; but when the water produces its effect it does so in its normal order, viz., the belly first and then the thigh. But also in connection with the curse, it is written: Make thy belly to swell and thy thigh to fall away!5 — That is what the priest informs her, viz., that it affects her belly first and then the thigh so as not to discredit the water of bitterness.6
MISHNAH. SAMSON WENT AFTER [THE DESIRE OF] HIS EYES; THEREFORE THE PHILISTINES PUT OUT HIS EYES, AS IT IS SAID, AND THE PHILISTINES LAID HOLD ON HIM, AND PUT OUT HIS EYES.7 ABSALOM GLORIED IN HIS HAIR; THEREFORE HE WAS HANGED BY HIS HAIR. AND BECAUSE HE COHABITED WITH THE TEN CONCUBINES OF HIS FATHER, THEREFORE HE WAS STABBED WITH TEN LANCES, AS IT IS SAID, AND TEN YOUNG MEN THAT BARE JOAB'S ARMOUR COMPASSED ABOUT.8 AND BECAUSE HE STOLE THREE HEARTS, THE HEART OF HIS FATHER, THE HEART OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE, AND THE HEART OF ISRAEL, AS IT IS SAID, SO ABSALOM STOLE THE HEARTS OF THE MEN OF ISRAEL,9 THEREFORE THREE DARTS WERE THRUST THROUGH HIM, AS IT IS SAID, AND HE TOOK THREE DARTS IN HIS HAND, AND THRUST THEM THROUGH THE HEART OF ABSALOM.10 — IT11 IS THE SAME IN CONNECTION WITH THE GOOD. MIRIAM WAITED A SHORT WHILE FOR MOSES, AS IT IS SAID, AND HIS SISTER STOOD AFAR OFF;12 THEREFORE ISRAEL WAS DELAYED FOR HER SEVEN DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS, AS IT IS SAID, AND THE PEOPLE JOURNEYED NOT TILL MIRIAM WAS BROUGHT IN AGAIN.13 JOSEPH EARNED MERIT BY BURYING HIS FATHER AND THERE WAS NONE AMONG HIS BROTHERS GREATER THAN HE; AS IT IS SAID, AND JOSEPH WENT UP TO BURY HIS FATHER, ETC.,14 AND THERE WENT UP WITH HIM BOTH CHARIOTS AND HORSEMEN.15 WHOM HAVE WE GREATER THAN JOSEPH SINCE NONE OTHER THAN MOSES OCCUPIED HIMSELF WITH HIS BURIAL? MOSES EARNED MERIT THROUGH THE BONES OF JOSEPH AND THERE WAS NONE IN ISRAEL GREATER THAN HE, AS IT IS SAID, AND MOSES TOOK THE BONES OF JOSEPH WITH HIM.16 WHOM HAVE WE GREATER THAN MOSES SINCE NONE OTHER THAN THE OMNIPRESENT OCCUPIED HIMSELF [WITH HIS BURIAL], AS IT IS SAID, AND HE BURIED HIM IN THE VALLEY?17 NOT ONLY CONCERNING MOSES DID THEY SAY THIS, BUT CONCERNING ALL THE RIGHTEOUS, AS IT IS SAID, AND THY RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL GO BEFORE THEE, THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL BE THY REARWARD.18
GEMARA. Our Rabbis have taught: Samson rebelled [against God] through his eyes, as it is said: And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me, because she is pleasing in my eyes;19 therefore the Philistines put out his eyes, as it is said: And the Philistines laid hold on him and put out his eyes.20 But it is not so; for behold it is written: But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord!21 — When he went [to choose a wife] he nevertheless followed his own inclinations.22 It has been taught: Rabbi says: The beginning of his [Samson's] degeneration occurred in Gaza; therefore he received his punishment in Gaza. ‘The beginning of his [Samson's] degeneration was in Gaza’, as it is written: And Samson went to Gaza, and saw there an harlot etc.;23 ‘therefore he received his punishment in Gaza,’ as it is written: And they brought him down to Gaza.24 But behold it is written: And Samson went down to Timnah!25 — Nevertheless the beginning of his degeneration occurred in Gaza.26
And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.27 It has been taught: Rabbi says: If her name had not been called Delilah, she was fit that it should be so called. She weakened28 his strength, she weakened his heart, she weakened his actions. ‘She weakened his strength’, as it is written: And his strength went from him.29 ‘She weakened his heart’, as it is written: And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart.30 ‘She weakened his actions’ since the Shechinah departed from him, as it is written: But he wist not that the Lord had departed from him.31
‘And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart’. How did she know this?32 R. Hanin said in the name of Rab: Words of truth are recognisable. Abaye said: She knew that this righteous man would not utter the Divine Name in vain; when he exclaimed: I have been a Nazirite unto God,33 she said: Now he has certainly spoken the truth.
And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him.34 What means ‘and urged him’? R. Isaac of the School of R. Ammi said: At the time of the consummation, she detached herself from him.
Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.35 What means ‘any unclean thing’? Furthermore, had she [Samson's mother] up to then eaten unclean things? R. Isaac of the School of R. Ammi said: [She had hitherto eaten] things forbidden to a Nazirite.
But God clave the hollow place that is in Lehi.36 R. Isaac of the School of R. Ammi said: He [Samson] lusted for what was unclean;37 therefore his life was made dependent upon an unclean thing.38
And the spirit of the Lord began, etc.39 R. Hama b. Hanina said: Jacob's prophecy became fulfilled, as it is written: Dan shall be a serpent in the way.40
To move him in Mahaneh‑Dan.41 R. Isaac of the School of R. Ammi said: This teaches that the Shechinah kept ringing in front of him like a bell;42 it is written here to move him [lefa'amo] in Mahaneh‑Dan, and it is written elsewhere A golden bell [pa'amon] and a pomegranate.43 Between Zorah and Eshtaol44 — R. Assi said: Zorah and Eshtaol are two great mountains, and Samson uprooted them and ground one against the other.
And he shall begin to save Israel.45 R. Hama b. Hanina said:
(1) Gen. III, 14.
(2) Ibid. 15.
(3) Num. V, 21. ‘Thigh’ is mentioned first.
(4) Ibid. 27. Here ‘thigh’ is mentioned second.
(5) Ibid. 22.
(6) If the effects were produced in the reverse order.
(7) Judg. XVI, 21.
(8) And slew Absalom, II Sam. XVIII, 15.
(9) Ibid. XV, 6.
(10) Ibid. XVIII, 14.
(11) The principle of measure for measure.
(12) Ex. II, 4.
(13) Num. XII, 15.
(14) Gen. L, 7.
(15) Ibid. 9.
(16) Ex. XIII, 19.
(17) Deut. XXXIV, 6.
(18) Isa. LVIII, 8. The verb translated ‘shall be thy rearward’ seems to be taken here in its literal sense, shall gather thee sc. to thy fathers.
(19) Judg. XIV, 3.
(20) Ibid. XVI, 21.
(21) Ibid. XIV, 4.
(22) And not the will of God.
(23) Judg. XVI, I.
(24) Ibid. 21.
(25) Ibid. XIV, 1.
(26) He lawfully married the woman in Timnah but not the woman in Gaza.
(27) Ibid. XVI, 4.
(28) Dildelah, a play on her name.
(29) Ibid. 19.
(30) Ibid. 18.
(31) Ibid. 20.
(32) He had previously told her several falsehoods; so how did she know that he had now spoken the truth?
(33) Ibid. 17.
(34) Ibid. 16.
(35) Ibid. XIII, 4.
(36) Judg. XV, 19.
(37) Philistine women.
(38) The ass's jawbone (lehi) out of which he drank in his thirst.
(39) Ibid. XIII, 25.
(40) Gen. XLIX, 17. This prophecy alluded to Samson who was of the tribe of Dan.
(41) The word in Judg. XIII, 25 for ‘move’ is commonly used of striking a bell.
(42) To direct him where he was to go.
(43) Ex. XXVIII, 34.
(44) Judg. XIII, 25.
(45) Ibid. 5. The word ‘begin’ ( kjh ) is connected with a similar root ( kkj ) meaning become void.
Talmud ‑ Mas. Sanhedrin 37a
AND THREE ROWS OF SCHOLARS SAT1 IN FRONT OF THEM; EACH KNOWING HIS OWN PLACE.2 IN CASE IT WAS NECESSARY TO ORDAIN [ANOTHER JUDGE],3 HE WAS APPOINTED FROM THE FIRST [ROW] IN WHICH CASE ONE OF THE SECOND [ROW] MOVED UP TO THE FIRST, ONE OF THE THIRD TO THE SECOND, AND A MEMBER OF THE ASSEMBLED [AUDIENCE]4 WAS SELECTED AND SEATED IN THE THIRD [ROW]. HE5 DID NOT SIT IN THE PLACE VACATED BY THE FIRST6 BUT IN THE PLACE SUITABLE FOR HIM.7
GEMARA. Whence is this derived? — R. Aha Haninah said: Scripture states, Thy navel is like a round goblet [‘aggan ha‑Sahar] wherein no mingled wine is wanting.8 ‘Thy navel’ — that is the Sanhedrin. Why was it called ‘navel’? — Because it sat at the navel‑point9 of the world. [Why] ‘aggan?10 — Because it protects [meggin] the whole world. [Why] ha‑Sahar? — Because it was moon‑shaped.11 [Why] in which no mingled wine is wanting? — I.e., if one of them had to leave, it had to be ascertained if twenty‑three, corresponding to the number of the minor Sanhedrin, were left,12 in which case he might go out; if not, he might not depart.
Thy belly is like a heap of wheat:13 Just as all benefit from a heap of wheat, so do all benefit from the deliberations of the Sanhedrin.
Set about with lilies:14 Even through a hedge of lilies they would make no breach.15 In this connexion there is the story of a Min16 who said to R. Kahana: Ye maintain that a menstruant woman is permitted yihud [privacy] with her husband: can fire be near tow without singeing it? He retorted: The Torah testifies this of us: Set about with lilies — even through a hedge of lilies they make no breach. Resh Lakish deduced [the same answer] from the following verse, Thy temples [rakkathek] are like a pomegranate split open!17 Even the emptiest [rekanin]18 among you are as full of meritorious deeds as a pomegranate [of seeds].19 R. Zera deduced it from the following verse, And he smelt the smell of his raiment;20 read not begadaw [his raiment] but bogedaw [his traitors].21
In the neighbourhood of R. Zera there lived some lawless men. He nevertheless showed them friendship in order to lead them to repent; but the Rabbis were annoyed [at his action]. When R. Zera's soul went to rest,22 they said: Until now we had the burnt man with the dwarfed legs23 to implore Divine mercy for us; who will do so now? Thereupon they felt remorse in their hearts and repented.
THREE ROWS Abaye said: We may infer from this24 that when one moves they all move.25 But can he26 not object to them: Until now I used to sit at the head,27 whilst now ye place me at the tail!28 Said Abaye: They can answer him thus: Better a tail to lions than a head to foxes.29
MISHNAH. HOW WERE THE WITNESSES INSPIRED WITH AWE? WITNESSES IN CAPITAL CHARGES30 WERE BROUGHT IN AND INTIMIDATED [THUS]: PERHAPS WHAT YE SAY IS BASED ONLY ON CONJECTURE,31 OR HEARSAY,32 OR IS EVIDENCE FROM THE MOUTH OF ANOTHER WITNESS,33 OR EVEN FROM THE MOUTH OF A TRUSTWORTHY PERSON:34 PERHAPS YE ARE UNAWARE THAT ULTIMATELY WE SHALL SCRUTINIZE YOUR EVIDENCE BY CROSS EXAMINATION AND INQUIRY? KNOW THEN THAT CAPITAL CASES ARE NOT LIKE MONETARY CASES. IN CIVIL SUITS, ONE CAN MAKE MONETARY RESTITUTION35 AND THEREBY EFFECT HIS ATONEMENT; BUT IN CAPITAL CASES HE IS HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS BLOOD [sc. THE ACCUSED'S] AND THE BLOOD OF HIS [POTENTIAL] DESCENDANTS UNTIL THE END OF TIME,36 FOR THUS WE FIND IN THE CASE OF CAIN, WHO KILLED HIS BROTHER, THAT IT IS WRITTEN: THE BLOODS OF THY BROTHER CRY UNTO ME:37 NOT THE BLOOD OF THY BROTHER, BUT THE BLOODS OF THY BROTHER, IS SAID — i.e., HIS BLOOD AND THE BLOOD OF HIS [POTENTIAL] DESCENDANTS. (ALTERNATIVELY, THE BLOODS OF THY BROTHER, TEACHES THAT HIS BLOOD WAS SPLASHED OVER TREES AND STONES.)38 FOR THIS REASON WAS MAN CREATED ALONE, TO TEACH THEE THAT WHOSOEVER DESTROYS A SINGLE SOUL OF ISRAEL,39 SCRIPTURE IMPUTES [GUILT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD DESTROYED A COMPLETE WORLD; AND WHOSOEVER PRESERVES A SINGLE SOUL OF ISRAEL, SCRIPTURE ASCRIBES [MERIT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD PRESERVED A COMPLETE WORLD.40 FURTHERMORE, [HE WAS CREATED ALONE] FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE AMONG MEN, THAT ONE MIGHT NOT SAY TO HIS FELLOW, ‘MY FATHER WAS GREATER THAN THINE, AND THAT THE MINIM41 MIGHT NOT SAY, THERE ARE MANY RULING POWERS IN HEAVEN; AGAIN, TO PROCLAIM THE GREATNESS OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE: FOR IF A MAN STRIKES MANY COINS FROM ONE MOULD, THEY ALL RESEMBLE ONE ANOTHER, BUT THE SUPREME KING OF KINGS,42 THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, FASHIONED EVERY MAN IN THE STAMP OP THE FIRST MAN, AND YET NOT ONE OF THEM RESEMBLES HIS FELLOW. THEREFORE EVERY SINGLE PERSON IS OBLIGED TO SAY: THE WORLD WAS CREATED FOR MY SAKE.43
PERHAPS YE WILL SAY:
(1) Also in semi‑circular form, but on the floor. Each row numbered twenty‑three, making a total of sixty‑nine. They were there for completion purposes in case there might be a majority of only one for condemnation. Although forty‑eight would have sufficed for that purpose, since the completion goes on till the number of seventy‑one is reached, some difficulty would have been experienced in arranging that number into rows. It would not have been proper to make two rows of twenty‑four, since these would have been larger than that of the Sanhedrin, nor three rows of sixteen, which would have seemed too small, nor two rows of twenty‑three and a third one only of two. Hence the sixty‑nine (Rashi).
(2) The disciples were seated according to rank.
(3) If a member died, or for completion purposes.
(4) [Behind the rows of the members of the Courts there stood a large audience of scholars, v. Krauss op. cit.]
(5) Who was chosen from the assembly.
(6) Of the row.
(7) When the one at the head of the row was promoted, all moved one place up, leaving the last seat for the new member.
(8) Cant. VII, 3.
(9) I.e., the centre. According to Midrashic legend the Temple was situated in the centre of the world. Cf. Tanhuma, Wayikra. XVIII,23.
(10) idt akin to idn — ‘to enclose’. Hence,shield, protect.
(11) rvx=moon.I.e., they were seated in circular form like a moon.
(12) The actual number required for capital cases is twenty‑three, roughly a third of seventy‑one, the remaining two‑thirds being for completion purposes. The Aggadists therefore compare the court to mingled wine, a mixture of one‑third of wine and two‑thirds of water. Cf. B M. 60a; Tanhuma. Bamidbar IV.
(13) Cant. VII ,3.
(15) Metaphorically: the lightest barrier sufficed to keep them from sin.
(16) ihn, a sectarian. v. Glos.
(17) Cant. VI, 7.
(18) ihbehr from ehr (empty, void: a play on l,er). Even those who by comparison are emptiest of good deeds.
(19) So there is no fear of their infringing the prohibition.
(20) Gen. XXVII, 27.
(21) The consonants of both words are the same — uhsdc I.e., even those who are traitors to the teachings of Judaism diffuse the fragrance of good deeds. Maharsha: Isaac was able to trace in Jacob his original character even though he appeared before him in disguise, so even in his apparently unworthy descendants their good qualities are discernible.
(22) I.e., when he died.
(23) V. B M. 85a for the reason for this nick‑name.
(24) The statement in the Mishnah that the member chosen from the assembled audience does not occupy the seat just vacated.
(25) V. p. 231, n. 7.
(26) The promoted member of the rows of scholars.
(27) E.g., of the second row.
(28) Of the first row.
(29) Aboth IV, 15.
(30) [Ms. M: How are witnesses in capital charges intimidated? They were brought in, etc.]
(31) I e.. from circumstantial evidence.
(32) [A general rumour (Yad Ramah).]
(33) [Each one of you has heard it from a separate witness (Yad Ramah).]
(34) [You both heard it from the same trustworthy person.]
(35) If he causes financial loss through giving false testimony.
(36) Lit., ‘the world’, i.e., not only for the death of the accused himself, but of his potential descendants for all time.
(37) Gen.IV,10;hns is plural.
(38) This is obviously not part of the caution, but interpolated. V. Krauss, Sanhedrin‑Makkot a.l.
(39) ‘OF ISRAEL’ is absent in some texts.
(40) Since all mankind originated from one man.
(41) V. p. 211, n. 8, and p. 239, n. 9; here, however, it is more probable that the allusion is to the Gnostics and their doctrine of the Demiurgus; v. Krauss, op. cit. a.l.
(42) Lit., ‘the King of the Kings of the Kings.’
(43) How grave the responsibility therefore of corrupting myself by giving false evidence, and thus bringing the moral guilt of murder upon a whole world.
Talmud ‑ Mas. Sanhedrin 38b
his head from Erez Yisrael,1 his limbs from other lands, and his private parts, according to R. Aha, from Akra di Agma.2
R. Johanan3 b. Hanina said: The day consisted of twelve hours. In the first hour, his [Adam's] dust was gathered; in the second, it was kneaded into a shapeless mass. In the third, his limbs were shaped;4 in the fourth, a soul was infused into him; in the fifth, he arose and stood on his feet; in the sixth, he gave [the animals] their names; in the seventh, Eve became his mate; in the eighth, they ascended to bed as two and descended as four;5 in the ninth, he was commanded not to eat of the tree, in the tenth, he sinned; in the eleventh, he was tried, and in the twelfth he was expelled [from Eden] and departed, for it is written, Man abideth6 not in honour.7
Rami b. Hama said: A wild beast has no dominion over man unless he appears to it as a brute,8 for it is written. Men are overruled9 when they appear as beasts.10
(Mnemonic: When;11 The End; Aramaic.)
Rab Judah said in Rab's name: When the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to create man, He [first] created a company of ministering angels and said to them: Is it your desire that we make a man in our image? They answered: Sovereign of the Universe, what will be his deeds? Such and such will be his deeds, He replied. Thereupon they exclaimed: Sovereign of the Universe, What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou thinkest of him?12 Thereupon He stretched out His little finger among them and consumed them with fire. The same thing happened with a second company. The third company said to Him: Sovereign of the Universe, what did it avail the former [angels] that they spoke to Thee [as they did]? the whole world is Thine, and whatsoever that Thou wishest to do therein, do it. When He came to the men of the Age of the flood and of the division [of tongues] whose deeds were corrupt, they said to Him: Lord of the Universe, did not the first [company of angels] speak aright? Even to old age I am the same, and even to hoar hairs will I carry,13 He retorted.
Rab Judah said in Rab's name: The first man reached from one end of the world to the other, as it is written, Since the day that God created man upon the eath, even from the one end of Heaven unto the other.14 But when he sinned, the Holy One, blessed be He, laid His hand upon him and diminished him, as it is written, Thou hast hemmed me in behind and before, and laid Thy hands upon me.15 R. Eleazar said: The first man reached from earth to heaven, as it is written, Since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from one end of the Heaven [to the other].16 But when he sinned, the Holy One, blessed be He, laid His hand upon him and diminished him, for it is written, Thou hast hemmed me in behind and before etc.15 But these verses contradict each other! — Both measurements are identical.17
Rab Judah also said in Rab's name: The first man spoke Aramaic,18 for it is written, How weighty are thy thoughts unto me, God.19 And that is what Resh Lakish meant when he said: What is the meaning of the verse, ‘This is the book of the generations of Adam?20 It is to intimate that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed him [Adam] every generation and its thinkers,21 every generation and its sages. When he came to the generation of Rabbi Akiba, he [Adam] rejoiced at his learning but was grieved at his death,22 and said: How weighty23 are Thy friends24 to me, O God.19
Rab Judah also said in Rab's name: Adam was a Min,25 for it is written, And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou?26 i.e., whither has thine heart turned? R. Isaac said: He practised episplasm:27 For here it is written, But like man, [Adam] they have transgressed the covenant;28 whilst elsewhere it is said, He hath broken my covenant,29 R. Nahman said: He denied God.30 Here it is written, THey have transgressed the covenant;28 whilst elsewhere it is stated, [He hath broken my covenant,31 and again,] Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord their God.32
We learnt elsewhere:33 R. Eliezer said: Be diligent to learn the Torah and know how to answer an Epikoros.34 R. Johanan commented: They taught this only with respect to a Gentile Epikoros; with a Jewish Epikoros, it would only make his heresy more pronounced.35
R. Johanan sad: In all the passages which the Minim have taken [as grounds] for their heresy,36 their refutation is found near at hand. Thus: Let us make man in our image,37 — And God created [sing.] man in His own image;38 Come, let us go down and there confound their language,39 — And the Lord came down [sing.] to see the city and the tower;40 Because there were revealed [plur.] to him God,41 — Unto God who answereth [sing.] me in the day of my distress;42 For what great nation is there that hath God so nigh [plur.] unto it, as the Lord our God is [unto us] whensoever we call upon Him [sing.];43 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, [like] Israel, whom God went [plur.] to redeem for a people unto himself [sing.],44 Till thrones were placed and one that was ancient did sit.45
Why were these46 necessary? To teach R. Johanan's dictum; viz.: The Holy One, blessed be He, does nothing without consulting His Heavenly Court,47 for it is written, The matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the Holy Ones.48 Now, that is satisfactory for all [the other verses], but how explain Till thrones were placed? — One [throne] was for Himself and one for David.49 Even as it has been taught: One was for Himself and one for David: this is R. Akiba's view. R. Jose protested to him: Akiba, how long will thou profane the Shechinah?50 Rather, one [throne] for justice, and the other for mercy. Did he accept [this answer] from him or not? Come and hear! For it has been taught: One is for justice and the other for charity; this is R. Akiba's view. Said R. Eleazar b. Azariah to him: Akiba, what hast thou to do with Aggada? Confine thyself to [the study of] Nega'im and Ohaloth.51 But one was a throne, the other a footstool: a throne for a seat and a footstool in support of His feet.
R. Nahman said: He who is as skilled in refuting the Minim as is R. Idith,52 let him do so; but not otherwise. Once a Min said to R. Idith: It is written, And unto Moses He said, Come up to the Lord.53 But surely it should have stated, Come up unto me! — It was Metatron54 [who said that], he replied, whose name is similar to that of his Master,55 for it is written, For my name is in him.56 But if so, [he retorted,] we should worship him! The same passage, however, — replied R. Idith says: Be not rebellious57 against him, i.e., exchange Me not for him. But if so,58 why is it stated: He will not pardon your transgression?59 He answered: By our troth60 we would not accept him even as a messenger,61 for it is written, And he said unto him, If Thy [personal] presence go not etc.62
A Min once said to R. Ishmael b. Jose: It is written, Then the Lord caused to rain upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord:63 but from him should have been written! A certain fuller64 said, Leave him to me, I will answer him. [He then proceeded,’ It is written, And Lamech said to his wives, Ada and Zillah, Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech;65 but he should have said, my wives! But such is the Scriptural idiom — so here too, it is the Scriptural idiom.
Whence do you know that? asked he [R. Ishmael]. — I heard it in a public discourse66 of R. Meir, [he answered]. Even as R. Johanan said: When R. Meir used to deliver his public discourses, a third was Halacha, a third Haggadah, and a third consisted of parables. R Johanan also said: R. Meir had three hundred parables of foxes, and we have only three left,67
(1) His head, the most exalted part of his body, comes from Eretz Yisrael the most exalted of all lands.
(2) [A town near Pumbeditha (Obermeyer, op. cit. 237, n. 3), notorious on account of the loose morals of its inhabitants, v. Ginzberg, Legends V, 15.]
(3) V. l.: R. Ahai.
(4) Lit., ‘Extended’.
(5) I.e., Cain and his twin sister were born. V. Yeb. 62a. Abel and his other twin sister were born after they sinned. V. Tosaf. a.l.
(6) ihkh, lit., ‘tarrieth not over night’.
(7) Ps. XLIX, 13.
(8) Man's majesty keeps the wild beasts in check only as long as he does not descent to their level.
(9) kanb, He is like the beasts that perish.
(10) Ps. XLIX, 13.
(11) Lit., ‘hour’.
(12) Ps. VIII, 5.
(13) Isa. XLVI, 4. I.e., I shall suffer mankind under all conditions.
(14) Deut. IV, 32.
(15) Ps. CXXXIX, 5.
(16) Rashal rightly deletes the bracketed passage, because on this dictum the verse must be read: He created man upon the earth and reaching up to the end of Heaven, i.e., he reached from earth to Heaven.
(17) [The gigantic stature of Adam plays an important part in the system of many Gnostic sects, v. Ginzberg, op. cit. V, 79.]
(18) [This may have been said in justification of the abandonment by the Babylonian Jews of the Hebrew language in favour of Aramaic.]
(19) Ps. CXXXIX, 17. This Psalm deals with the creation of man. reh ‘weighty’, and lhgr ‘thoughts’ are Aramaisms.
(20) Gen. V, 1.
(21) Lit., ‘exponents’.
(22) R. Akiba was executed by Tineius Rufus after being most cruelly tortured. Cf. Ber. 61b.
(23) Perhaps to be understood here with a twofold meaning: weighty = honoured; and weighty = a source of heaviness and grief.
(24) lhgr is probably here taken in its usual Hebrew meaning, "Thy friends’,
(25) V. Glos. V. p. 234, n. 4; it is to be observed that Min is contrasted (in the next passage) with unbeliever.
(26) Gen. III, 9.
(27) I.e., he removed the mark of circumcision.
(28) Hos. VI, 7.
(29) Gen. XVII, 14. with reference to circumcision.
(30) Lit. ‘the fundamental (principle)’.
(31) Gen. XVII, 14. Ms. M. omits the bracketed passage; rightly so, for it is irrelevant.
(32) Jer. XXII, 9, referring to belief in God.
(33) Aboth II, 14.
(34) Who endeavours to draw support from the Torah for his beliefs. [xuruehpt is derived from the personal name, Epicurus, and is adopted by the Talmud for the sake of the play upon the word rep ‘to be free from restraint’. To denote one who denies God and his commandments, v. Herford, Christianity in Talmud p. 120.]
(35) Lit., ‘He is more lawless.’ With him, therefore, discussion is not advised since he is deliberate in his negation and not therefore easily dissuaded (Rashi).
(36) E.g., where God is spoken of in the plural.
(37) Gen. I, 26.
(38) Ibid. 27.
(39) Gen. XI, 7.
(40) Ibid. 5.
(41) Ibid. XXXV, 7.
(42) Ibid. 3.
(43) Deut. IV, 7.
(44) II Sam. VII, 23.
(45) Dan. VII, 9.
(46) Plural forms.
(47) thknp, ‘family'v. p. 675.
(48) Dan. IV, 14.
(49) The Messiah.
(50) By asserting that a human being sit beside Him.
(51) Names of Treatises in the Seder Tohoroth, the most difficult in the whole of the Talmud. V. infra 67b. R. Akiba was a great authority on these laws, whereas his Haggadic interpretations were not always acceptable. [This interpretation involved the same danger as that of R. Akiba's first interpretation in that it tended to obscure the true monotheistic concept of God.]
(52) [Ms. M.: R. Idi.]
(53) Ex. XXIV, 1.
(54) Name of an Angel, probably derived from metator, guide. In Talmud and Midrash he is regarded notably as the defender of the rights of Israel (cf. Hag. 16a).
(55) Cf. Rashi on Ex. XXIII, 21. The numerical value of Metatron (iuryyn) is equal to that of hsa (the Almighty) viz. 314.
(56) Ex. XXIII, 21.
(57) rn, is here taken, in the sense of ‘exchange’, from run.
(58) That he is not to be worshipped, but God alone.
(59) Ibid. Surely, he has no authority to do so.
(60) Lit., ‘we hold the belief.’
(61) Lit., ‘Postman’ — of forgiveness.
(62) Ex. XXXIII, 15. [The Min was a believer in the doctrine of two rulers and he sought support for this belief from Ex. XXIV, 1. R. Idith met his argument by showing that even Metatron was accepted by Jews only as guide, and in no sense a second god. For a full discussion of the passage, v. Herford, op. cit. p. 285ff.]
(63) Gen. XIX, 24
(64) A figure frequently mentioned in the Talmud as of a specific type. V. e.g., Ber. 28a, Ned. 41a. [In Roman literature, he is an object of ridicule; in rabbinic lore, he plays a more dignified role.]
(65) Gen. IV, 23.
(66) terhp v. supra p. 178 n. 3.
(67) Probably of those collected by R. Meir, since many other fox fables are found scattered throughout the Talmud and Midrash. Cf. Ber. 61b; Eccl. Rab. V. 14.
Talmud ‑ Mas. Sanhedrin 58b
that only by referring to collateral relations1 can his father and his mother bear similar interpretations.2 But R. Akiba prefers to interpret his father as his father's wife, who is designated as the nakedness of his father, rather than his father's sister, who, is designated as his father's kin, not his father's nakedness.3
Come and hear: And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife.4 Does it not [presumably] mean his father's sister on her mother's side [too]?5 — No. It means his father's paternal sister.6
Come and hear: And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not of my mother.7 Does not this prove that his mother's daughter is forbidden?8 — Now, is this logical: was she then his sister? She was his brother's daughter, and therefore, whether by his father or mother,9 permitted to him. But Abram declared to him [i.e., Abimelech] thus: I am fraternally related to her, [i.e.,she is my brother's daughter] on my father's side [i.e., my brother by my father] but not on my mother's side.10
Come and hear! Why did not Adam marry his daughter?11 So that Cain should marry his sister, as it is written, For I said, the world shall be built up by grace.12 But otherwise, she would have been forbidden [to Cain]?13 — Once however that it was permitted, it remained so.
R. Huna said: A heathen may marry his daughter. But should you ask, If so, why did not Adam marry his daughter? — In order that Cain might marry his sister, that the world might be built up by grace. Others give this version: R. Huna said: A heathen may not marry his daughter; the proof being that Adam did not marry his daughter. But that proof is fallacious: The reason was that Cain should marry his sister, so that the world should be built up by [Adam's] grace.
R. Hisda said: A heathen slave [owned by a Jew] may marry his daughter and his mother, for he has lost the status of a heathen, but has not yet attained that of a Jew.14 When R. Dimi came,15 he said in the name of R. Eleazar in the name of R. Hanina: A heathen who allotted a bondwoman to his slave [for concubinage] and then took her for himself is executed on her account. From when [is she regarded as the particular concubine of that slave]? — R. Nahman said: When she is referred to as so and so's mistress.16 When is she free again [to others]? — R. Huna said: From the time that she goes bareheaded in the streets.17
R. Eleazar said in R. Hanina's name: If a heathen had an unnatural connection with his wife, he incurs guilt; for it is written, and he shall cleave, which excludes unnatural intercourse.18 Raba objected: is there anything for which a Jew is not punishable and a heathen is?19 But Raba said thus: A heathen who violates his neighbour's wife unnaturally is free from punishment — Why so? — [Scripture saith:] To his wife, but not to his neighbour's; And he shall cleave, which excludes unnatural intercourse.20
R. Hanina said: If a heathen smites a Jew, he is worthy of death21 for it is written, And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian.22 R. Hanina also said: He who smites an Israelite on the jaw, is as though he had thus assaulted the Divine Presence; for it is written, one who smiteth23 man [i.e. an Israelite] attacketh24 the Holy One.25
(Mnemonic: lifts, his servant, Sabbath.)26 Resh Lakish said: He who lifts his hand against his neighbour, even if he did not smite him, is called a wicked man as it is written, And he said unto the wicked man, Wherefore wouldst thou smite thy fellow?27 ‘Wherefore hast thou smiteth is not said, but wherefore wouldst thou smite, shewing that though he had not smitten him yet, he was termed a wicked man. Ze'iri said in R. Hanina's name: He is called a sinner, for it is written, But if not, I will take it by force;28 and it is further written, Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord.29 R. Huna said: His hand should be cut off, as it is written, Let the uplifted arm be broken.30 R. Huna had the hand cut off [of one who was accustomed to strike other people].31 R. Eleazar said: The only thing to be done with him is to bury him, as it is written, And a man of [uplifted] arm, for him is the earth.32 R. Eleazar also said: The earth was given only to the strong.33 as it is said, But as for the mighty man, for him is the earth.34 Resh Lakish said also: What is the meaning of the verse, He that serveth his land shall be satisfied with bread?35 If one enslaves himself to his land [continually toiling thereon] he shall be satisfied with bread: if not, he shall not be satisfied with bread. Resh Lakish also said: A heathen who keeps a day of rest, deserves death, for it is written, And a day and a night they shall not rest,36 and a master has said: Their prohibition is their death sentence.37 Rabina said: Even if he rested on a Monday. Now why is this not included in the seven Noachian laws? — Only negative injunctions are enumerated, not positive ones.38
(1) I.e., to the father's sister or mother's sister.
(2) For they cannot both be literal, since his father is prohibited by ‘and he shall cleave’; nor can they both refer to relationship by marriage, since his mother is a blood relation.
(3) Lev. XVIII, 8: The nakedness of thy father's wife thou shalt not uncover it is thy father's nakedness; Lev. XVIII, 12: Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of my father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman. Since his father's wife is designated his father's nakedness she forms part and parcel of himself, as it were, in contradistinction to his father's sister, who by being described as his father's kin, is recognised as a separate entity. Consequently, in the interests of literalness ‘his father's wife’ is a more preferable interpretation.
(4) Ex. VI, 20.
(5) This refutes R. Eliezer's ruling. [Belonging to the pre‑Sinaitic era, the Patriarchs were accounted Noachians.]
(6) Only this relation was permitted in the pre‑Sinaitic era. But his father's maternal sister would have been forbidden.
(7) Gen. XX, 12. Spoken by Abraham about Sarah.
(8) This contradicts R. Akiba's ruling. For since he interprets the verse as referring us his father's wife and his mother, who are forbidden on pain of death, he evidently regards those who are forbidden under penalty of extinction as permissible, and his mother's daughter is only thus forbidden, but not on pain of death.
(9) This refers to his brother.
(10) Not that she would have been forbidden in that case, but this was stated merely for the sake of exactness.
(11) [Or why could not Adam have married his daughter? Eve's offence should have been followed by her death, and as to Adam, he could have found a help‑meet in his daughter (Tosaf.) ]
(12) Ps. LXXXIX, 2. It was an act of grace on Adam's part to deny himself his sister; or, as Rashi states, God commanded Adam to deal graciously with Cain, so that Cain, by marrying her, should build up the world.
(13) This proves that one's paternal sister was forbidden to the sons of Noah.
(14) Heathen slaves owned by Jews occupied an intermediate position in respect to Judaism. The males were circumcised, and permitted to eat of the Passover sacrifice. Like women, they were bound to observe all negative commandments and all positive ones not limited to certain times. We see here that this applied to marriage too. Their status was neither that of a heathen nor of an Israelite proper. As they were no longer heathens, they stood in no relationship to their former relations. But as they were not Jews either, there was no need to forbid them their former maternal relations through fear that it would be said that they had left a higher sanctity for a lower one.
(15) V. supra p. 390, n. 1.
(16) Lit., ‘girl’.
(17) Even non‑Jewish married women did not walk bareheaded in the streets, and this bondwoman, though not legally married, would do likewise. If she appeared bareheaded, it was a sign that her connection with the slave to whom she had been allotted was now broken.
(18) His wife derives no pleasure from this, and hence there is no cleaving.
(19) A variant reading of this passage is: Is there anything permitted to a Jew which is forbidden to a heathen. Unnatural connection is permitted to a Jew.
(20) By taking the two in conjunction, the latter as illustrating the former, we learn that the guilt of violating the injunction ‘to his wife but not to his neighbour's wife’ is incurred only for natural, but not unnatural intercourse.
(21) [By the Hand of God, V. Yad, Melakim. I, 6].
(22) Ex. II, 12. Thus Moses slew the Egyptian for striking an Israelite, proving that he had merited it.
(23) Deriving mokesh from, nakosh.
(24) Yala’ gkh is here derived from loa’ guk the jaw: lit., ‘smiteth the jaw.
(25) Prov. XX, 25.
(26) V. 387 n. 8.
(27) Ex. II, 13.
(28) I Sam,. II, 16. This refers to the sons of Eli, who demanded their portion of the sacrifices before it was due, threatening physical violence if their demands were not satisfied.
(29) Ibid. 16.
(30) Job XXXVIII, 15. The editions give the reference as Job XXXI, but this is an error caused by a slightly similar passage in XXXI, 22.
(31) This is not actually permitted in the Torah. Weiss (Dor, II. 14) holds that R. Huna was influenced by Persian practice in this.
(32) I.e., he is to be buried, homiletical rendering of Job XXII, 8.
(33) I.e only a strong man should wish to possess land, as there are always quarrels in connection therewith.
(35) Prov. XII, 11
(36) Gen. VIII, 22. ‘They’ is here made to apply to men, and ‘shall not’ is taken to mean ‘may not’.
(37) Eisenstein, J. E., V. p. 623. suggests that this may have been directed against the Christian Jews, who disregarded the Mosaic law yet observed the Sabbath, and quotes Maimonides who advances the following reason: ‘The principle is, one is not permitted to make innovations in religion or to create new commandments. He has the privilege to become a true proselyte by accepting the whole law.’ (Yad. Melakim, X, 9.) He also points out that ‘Deserves death’ expresses strong indignation, and is not to be taken literally; [cf. the recurring phrase. ‘He who transgresses the words of the Sages deserves death.’ Ber. 6b.]
(38) The seven Noachian laws deal with things which a heathen must abstain from doing. But when we say that a heathen must not observe a day of rest, we bid him to do a positive action, viz., work.
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 ihgc,ans ht,uf ihkht iudf in a way as those Samaritans swear: cehu ‘he blasphemed’, Lev. XXIV, 11, is rendered by the Samaritan Targum tdtu. S. Krauss, Sanh‑Mak. p. 271, translates: ‘in a corrupt, barbarous language,’ debasing thereby the Holy Name; cf. Rashi.]
(10) ogn gchr
(11) By his introduction of calf worship.
(12) The latter two connect Jeroboam with chr 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 ycb, 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) lnfn,b with which vfhn 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.