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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin

Folio 92a

'le'om'1  can only mean 'embryo,' as it is written, And one le'om shall be stronger than the other people;2  and 'yikkebuhu' can only denote cursing, as it is written, how shall I curse [ekkob]3  whom God hath not cursed?4  and 'bar' can refer to nothing but the Torah, as it is written, Nourish yourselves bar5  [on the Torah] lest he be angry.6  'Ulla b. Ishmael said: He is riddled with holes like a sieve:7  here is written, 'the people yikkebuhu;' whilst elsewhere is written, wa-yikkob [and he bored] a hole in the lid of it.'8  Abaye said: Like a fuller's trough.9  But if he teaches him, what is his reward? — Raba said in the name of R. Shesheth: He will receive blessings like Joseph's, as it is written, but blessing shall be upon the head of mashbir [him who selleth it]:10  'mashbir' can only refer to Joseph, as it is said, And Joseph was the Governor over the land, and it was he ha-mashbir [that sold] to all the people of the land.11

R. Shesheth said: Whoever teaches the Torah in this world will be privileged to teach it in the next, as it is written, And he that watereth shall water again too.12

Raba said: Whence is resurrection derived from the Torah? From the verse, Let Reuben live, and not die:13  meaning, let Reuben live, in this world, and not die, in the next.14  Rabina said, [it is derived] from this verse, And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.15  R. Ashi said: From this verse, But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.16

R. Eleazar said: Every leader who leads the community with mildness will be privileged to lead them in the next world [too], as it is written, for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them; even by the springs of water shall he guide them.17

R. Eleazar also said: Great is knowledge,18  since it was placed between two Letters,19  as it is written, For a God of knowledge is the Lord.20  R. Eleazar also said: Great is the Sanctuary, since it was placed between two Letters, as it is written, Thou hast made for thee, O Lord, a Sanctuary: O Lord, thy hands have established it.21  R. Adda Karhina demurred: If so, then great is vengeance, since it was placed between two Letters, as it is written, O God of vengeance, O Lord: O God of vengeance, manifest thyself!22  — He replied: For its purposes it is so indeed. Even as 'Ulla said: Why these two manifestations?23  One as a measure of reward [for the righteous] and the other as a measure of punishment [for the wicked].

R. Eleazar also said: Whenever one has knowledge, it is as though the Temple was built in his days, since each [sc. knowledge and the Temple] was placed between two letters.

R. Eleazar also said: Whoever has knowledge will eventually be wealthy, as it is written, And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.24  R. Eleazar also said: Whosoever lacks knowledge, one may have no mercy upon him, as it is written, For it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy upon them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.25

R. Eleazar also said: Whoever gives of his bread to one who lacks knowledge will be assailed by suffering, as it is written, They that eat thy bread have laid mazor [a wound]26  under thee: there is no understanding in him;27  'mazor' can refer only to suffering, as it is written, When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his mezoro [suffering].28

R. Eleazar also said: Whoever lacks knowledge will ultimately be exiled, for it is written, Therefore my people are gone into exile, because they have no knowledge.29

R. Eleazar also said: The house in which the words of the Torah are not heard at night shall be consumed by fire, as it is written, All darkness is hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; he grudgeth [sarid]30  him that is left in his tabernacle:31  now, 'sarid' can refer only to the scholar, as it is written, And in those left [u-base-ridim]32  whom the Lord shall call.33

R. Eleazar also said: Whoever does not benefit a scholar with his goods will never see a sign of blessing, as it is written, There be none ['sarid'] that remaineth to eat it; therefore shall he not hope for prosperity.34  now 'sarid' refers to none but the scholar, as it is written, And in those left whom the Lord shall call.35

R. Eleazar also said: He who leaves no bread on the table [at the end of his meal] will never see a sign of blessing, as it is written, There be none of his meat left; therefore shall he not hope for his prosperity.36  But did not R. Eleazar say: He who leaves crumbs on his table is as though he engaged in idol worship, for it is written, That prepare a table for Gad, and that furnish the drink offering unto Meni?37  — It is no difficulty: in the latter case a whole loaf is left therewith [i.e., with the pieces],38  but in the former there is no whole loaf left therewith.39

R. Eleazar also said: Whoever dissembles in his speech is as though he had engaged in idolatry: here it is written, And I shall seem to him as a deceiver,40  and elsewhere it is said, They are vanity, and the work of deceivers.41

R. Eleazar also said: Whoever gazes upon one's shame,42  his virility shall be emptied,43  for it is written, Shame shall empty thy bow [i.e., strength].44

R. Eleazar also said: Be always humble:45  so shalt thou endure. R. Zera said: We have learned likewise. The windows of a dark house may not be opened to examine its leprosy.46  This proves it.

R. Tabi said in R. Josia's name: What is meant by, The grave; and the barren womb; and the earth that is not filled by water:47  now, what connection has the grave with the womb? But it is to teach thee: just as the womb receives and brings forth,48  so does the grave too receive and bring forth.49  Now, does this not furnish us with an a fortiori argument? If the womb, which receives in silence, yet brings forth amid great cries [of jubilation]; then the grave, which receives the dead amid cries [of grief], will much more so bring them forth amid great cries [of joy]! This refutes those who maintain that resurrection is not intimated in the Torah. [The] Tanna debe Eliyyahu [states]: The righteous, whom the Holy One, blessed be He, will resurrect, will not revert to dust,50  for it is said, And it shall come to pass. that he that is left in Zion and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:51  just as the Holy One endures for ever, so shall they endure for ever.

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. [H] translated in the versions, the people shall curse him. Prov. XI, 26.
  2. Gen. XXV, 23: as Jacob and Esau were not yet born, it must refer to them in their embryonic state.
  3. [H].
  4. Num. XXIII, 8.
  5. [H] nashku, translated,'do homage'(A.J.V.) or 'kiss' (A.V.) is here connected with [H] and by thy command shall my people be provided for (Gen. XLI, 40).
  6. Ps. II, 12.
  7. I.e., with ridicule and curses. According to Maharsha it denotes that all his knowledge will escape him as corn through a sieve, or water through a fuller's trough.
  8. II Kings XII, 10.
  9. Upon which the washing is placed for the water to drain off; hence it is perforated.
  10. [H] Prov. Xl, 26.
  11. Gen. XLII, 6.
  12. Prov. XI, 25. Having watered i.e., taught, in this world, he will do so in the next too.
  13. Deut. XXXIII, 6.
  14. But rise at the resurrection: it is so interpreted on account of its redundancy.
  15. Dan. XII, 2.
  16. Ibid. 13.
  17. Isa. XLIX, 10.
  18. Knowledge in the sense of moral discernment.
  19. I.e., two Divine Names.
  20. 1 Sam. II, 3.
  21. Ex. XV, 17.
  22. Ps. XCIV, 1.
  23. The verse being divided into two stichs, 'manifest thyself' is applied to each separately.
  24. Prov. XXIV, 4.
  25. Isa. XXVII, 11
  26. [H]
  27. Obad. I, 7.
  28. [H] Hos. V, 13.
  29. Isa.V, 13.
  30. [H]
  31. Job XX, 26.
  32. [H]
  33. Joel III, 5: the first part of the verse, all darkness is hid etc., is interpreted as, 'his secret places are not illumined by the study of the law;' the last part, he grudgeth etc., as 'he looks with disfavour upon any student who enters his house for a meal.'
  34. Job XX, 21.
  35. Joel III, 5.
  36. Job XX, 21.
  37. Isa. LXV, 11. Gad and Meni are the names of two idols; v. p. 432, n. 4.
  38. Then it appears to have been set specially for these deities.
  39. So that the pieces appear to have been left for the poor.
  40. Gen. XXVII, 12.
  41. Jer. X, 15. The reference is to idols.
  42. Either the pudenda, or metaphorically, whoever lusts after a married woman.
  43. I.e., he will lose the power to beget children.
  44. Hab. III, 9.
  45. Lit., 'obscure'.
  46. If leprosy breaks out in the walls of a house and the priest, coming to examine it, (v. Lev. XIV, 36) finds the house too dark for a proper survey, the windows must not be opened to allow the light to enter, as it must be examined by its usual light. Thus its darkness protects it, since in the absence of a proper examination it cannot be pronounced unclean. Similarly, the darkness in which a man wraps himself, i.e., obscurity and humility, protects his life.
  47. Prov. XXX, 16.
  48. The child.
  49. The dead are laid there, and will be taken out at the resurrection.
  50. In the interval between the Messianic era and the time of the world to come; but their flesh will remain intact upon them until they live again in the future.
  51. Isa. IV, 3.
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Sanhedrin 92b

And should you ask, in those years during which the Almighty will renew his world, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,1  what will the righteous do?2  — The Lord will make them wings like eagles', and they will fly above the water, as it is written, Therefore we will not fear when the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.3  And should you imagine that they will suffer pain — therefore Scripture saith, But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.4  But should we not deduce [the reverse] from the dead whom Ezekiel resurrected?5  — He accepts the view that in the truth [the story of the resurrection of the dry bones] was [but] a parable.6  For it was taught: R. Eliezer said: The dead whom Ezekiel resurrected stood up, uttered song, and [immediately] died. What song did they utter? — The Lord slayeth in righteousness and reviveth in mercy.7  R. Joshua said: They sang thus, The Lord killeth and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.8  R. Judah said: It was truth; it was a parable. R. Nehemiah said to him: If truth, why a parable; and if a parable, why truth? — But [say thus]: In the truth there was but a parable.9

R. Eliezer the son of R. Jose the Galilean said: The dead whom Ezekiel revived went up to Palestine, married wives and begat sons and daughters. R. Judah b. Bathyra rose up and said: I am one of their descendants, and these are the tefillin10  which my grandfather left me [as an heirloom] from them.

Now, who were they whom Ezekiel revived? — Rab said: They were the Ephraimites, who counted [the years] to the end [of the Egyptian bondage], but erred therein,11  as it is written, And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bared his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son. And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezzer, and Elead, whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew.12  And it is written, And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.13

Samuel said: They were those who denied resurrection, as it is written, Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.14

R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: They were the men who lacked the [vitalizing] sap of good deeds, as it is written, O ye dry bones, head the word of the Lord.15

R. Isaac Nappaha said: They were the men who covered the whole Temple with abominations and creeping things, as it is written, So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about:16  whilst there [in the case of the dry bones] it is written, And caused me to pass by them round about.17

R. Johanan said: They were the dead of the plain of Dura.18  R. Johanan also said: The plain of Dura extends from the river Eshel to Rabbath. Amongst the Israelites whom Nebuchadnezzar drove into exile there were young men who shamed the sun by their beauty. The Chaldean women, looking upon them, were inflamed with passion. Their husbands, being informed thereof, reported it to the king, who ordered the execution of these exiles; yet they still burned with desire:19  so by royal command they were trampled [out of recognition].

Our Rabbis taught: When the wicked Nebuchadnezzar threw Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah into the fiery furnace, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Ezekiel: 'Go and resurrect the dead in the plain of Dura.' This being done, the bones came and smote the wicked man upon his face. 'What kind of bones are these!' he exclaimed. They [his courtiers] answered him, 'Their companion20  is resurrecting the dead in the plain of Dura.' Thereupon he broke into utterance, How great are His signs, and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation!21  R. Isaac said: May molten gold be poured into the mouth of that wicked man [sc. Nebuchadnezzar]! Had not an angel come and struck him upon his mouth he would have eclipsed22  all the songs and praises uttered by David in the Book of Psalms.23

Our Rabbis taught: Six miracles were wrought on that day, viz.: [i] The furnace floated upward;24  [ii] its walls [partly] fell in;25  [iii] its foundations crumbled [with the heat];25  [iv] the image [which Nebuchadnezzar had set up to be worshipped] was overthrown upon its face; [v] four royal suites were burned;26  [vi] Ezekiel resurrected the dead in the valley of Dura. All these are [known by] tradition, but [that pertaining to] the four royal suites is Scriptural, for it is written, Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, [to come to the dedication of the image etc.];27  and it is further written, There are certain Jews […serve not thy god etc.];28  also, And the princes, governors and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whom the fire had no power.29

The School of R. Eliezer b. Jacob taught: Even in times of danger one should not lay aside his insignia of office, for it is written, Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments etc.30

R. Johanan said:

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Isa. II, 11, i.e., during this era of change the universe will be totally destroyed.
  2. [Where will they be in this period of complete desolation?]
  3. Ps. XLIV, 3.
  4. Isa. XL, 31. [For parallel passages in the book as we have it, v. Friedmann's edition, Introduction, p. 46.]
  5. Just as they died again, so will the righteous whom God will resurrect also return to dust.
  6. I.e., a symbol of the revival of the Jewish State.
  7. Cp. I Sam. II, 6.
  8. Ibid.
  9. I.e., their resurrection did in fact take place, and that was a foreshadowing of the renaissance of the Jewish people.
  10. Phylacteries, v. Glos.
  11. They counted the four hundred years foretold by God to Abraham (Gen. XV, 13) as commencing there and then, whereas in reality they dated from Isaac's birth, which according to tradition took place thirty years later. As a result, they left Egypt thirty years before the rest of Israel.
  12. I Chron. VII, 20f.
  13. Ibid. 22.
  14. Ezek. XXXVII, 11. Though they personally were not entitled to resurrection, since they denied it (v. supra 90a), yet the miracle was wrought for them that the belief might become established for Israel.
  15. Ibid. 4. Though lacking good deeds to their credit, they were resurrected to shew that the wicked, provided they deny not resurrection, after undergoing their punishment, will participate therein (Maharsha).
  16. lbid. VIII, 10. The identification is based on the use of 'round about' in both narratives. In his view even those who in their despair surrender themselves to abominable worship are not excluded from the bliss of resurrection. (Adapted from Maharsha.)
  17. Ibid. XXXVII, 2.
  18. [Dan. III, 1. The plain of Dura has not yet been identified. Obermeyer, op. cit. 310, suggests a locality near Nahr Dura, a small river which flows into the Euphrates, some six miles south of Babylon.]
  19. Lit., 'discharged issue'.
  20. Lit., 'The companion of these', (viz., of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah).
  21. Dan. III, 23.
  22. Lit., 'shamed'.
  23. On seeing the great miracle performed for Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. This being praiseworthy, R. Isaac expressed his curse euphemistically.
  24. It was originally built in the earth, but floated upwards, that all might see the miracle.
  25. For the same reason.
  26. Other versions, based on different readings: his (Nebuchadnezzar's) pride crumbled, (he confessed his wrong); the lime in it melted and burned those who cast them in (v. Rashi).
  27. Ie., four kings and their retinues, who had assisted Nebuchadnezzar in casting them into the furnace.
  28. Ibid. 2.
  29. Ibid. 27. Those who are omitted in this verse from the enumeration of v. 2 were burned.
  30. Ibid. 21. These were garments specially worn by men in their exalted position, and they did not doff them, though cast into the furnace.
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