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Part 1 - Chapter 3 - Note 14


The portions of the following texts that are the most relevant to the book appear in bold.


Talmud - Mas. Sotah 11a

as it is written: I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house.1 Similarly it is stated: So he sent him [Joseph] out of the vale of Hebron.2 R. Hanina b. Papa said: [The meaning is:] It was through the deep plan of that righteous man [Abraham] who had been buried in Hebron; as it is written: Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs.3

    For he said: I have no son.4 Had he, then, no sons? Behold it is written: And unto Absalom there were born three sons and one daughter!5 — R. Isaac b. Abdimi said: [His meaning was] that he had no son fit for the kingship. R. Hisda said: There is a tradition that whoever burns his neighbour's produce will not leave a son to succeed him; and he [Absalom] had burnt [the produce] of Joab, as it is written: Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.6

    IT IS THE SAME IN CONNECTION WITH THE GOOD. MIRIAM etc. Is this like [the other cases mentioned]? There she waited a short while [for Moses], here [the Israelites waited for her] seven days?7 — Abaye said: Read that in connection with the good [the principle of measure for measure] does not apply. Raba said to him, But the Mishnah teaches IT IS THE SAME IN CONNECTION WITH THE GOOD! But, said Raba, the Mishnah must be understood thus: It is the same in connection with the good that there is the same measure; nevertheless the measure in the case of the good is greater than the measure in the case of punishment.8

    And his sister stood afar off.9 R. Isaac said: The whole of this verse is spoken with reference to the Shechinah: ‘and stood’, as it is written: And the Lord came and stood etc.10 ‘His sister’, as it is written: Say unto wisdom, thou art my Sister.11 ‘Afar off, as it is written: The Lord appeared from afar unto me.12 ‘To know’, as it is written: For the Lord is a God of knowledge.13 ‘What’, as it is written: What doth the Lord require of thee?14 ‘Done’, as it is written: Surely the Lord God will do nothing.15 ‘To him’, as it is written: And called it Lord is peace.16

    Now there arose a new king etc.17 Rab and Samuel [differ in their interpretation]; one said that he was really new, while the other said that his decrees were made new. He who said that he was really new did so because it is written ‘new’; and he who said that his decrees were made new did so because it is not stated that [the former king] died and he reigned [in his stead]. Who knew not Joseph — he was like one who did not know [Joseph] at all.

    And he said unto his people, Behold the people of the children of Israel.18 A Tanna taught: He [Pharaoh] originated the plan first, and therefore was punished first. He originated the plan first, as it is written: And he said unto his people; therefore he was punished first, as it is written: Upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.19

    Come, let us deal wisely with him20 — it should have been with them! — R. Hama b. Hanina said: [Pharaoh meant,] Come and let us outwit the Saviour of Israel. With what shall we afflict them? If we afflict them with fire, it is written: For, behold the Lord will come with fire,21 and it continues, For by fire will the Lord plead etc.22 [If we afflict them] with the sword, it is written: And by His sword with all flesh.23 But come and let us afflict them with water, because the Holy One, blessed be He, has already sworn that he will not bring a flood upon the world; as it is said: For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me, etc.24 They were unaware, however, that He would not bring a flood upon the whole world but upon one people He would bring it; or alternatively, He would not bring [the flood] but they would go and fall into it. Thus it says: And the Egyptians fled towards it.25 This is what R. Eleazar said: What means that which is written: Yea, in the thing wherein they zadu [dealt proudly] against them?26 In the pot in which they cooked were they cooked. Whence is it learnt that ‘zadu’ means cooking? — Because it is written: And Jacob sod [wa-yazed] pottage.27

    R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Simai: There were three in that plan,28 viz. Balaam, Job29 and Jethro. Balaam who devised it was slain; Job who silently acquiesced was afflicted with sufferings; Jethro, who fled, merited that his descendants should sit in the Chamber of Hewn Stone,30 as it is said: And the families of scribes which dwelt at Jabez; the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, the Sucathites. These are the Kenites that came of Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab;31 and it is written: And the children of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law etc.32

    And fight against us and get them up out of the land33 — it should have read ‘and we will get us up!’34 — R. Abba b. Kahana said: It is like a man who curses himself and hangs the curse upon somebody else.

    Therefore they did set over him taskmasters35 — it should have read ‘over them’! — It was taught in the School of R. Eleazar b. Simeon, It indicates that they brought a brick-mould and hung it round Pharaoh's neck; and every Israelite who complained that he was weak was told, ‘Art thou weaker than Pharaoh?’

    Missim [‘taskmasters’ ] — i.e., something which forms [mesim].36 ‘To afflict him with their burdens’- it should have read ‘them’! — The [meaning is] to afflict Pharaoh with the burdens of Israel.37

    And they built for Pharaoh store cities [miskenoth]. Rab and Samuel [differ in their interpretation]; one said, [They were so called] because they endangered [mesakkenoth] their owners,38 while the other said because they impoverished [memaskenoth] their owners,39 for a master has declared that whoever occupies himself with building becomes impoverished.40

    Pithom and Raamses35 — Rab and Samuel differ [in their interpretation];41 one said: Its real name was Pithom, and why was it called Raamses? Because one building after another collapsed [mithroses]. The other said that its real name was Raamses, and why was it called Pithom? Because the mouth of the deep [pi tehom] swallowed up one building after another.

    But the more they afflicted him, the more he will multiply and the more he will spread abroad42 — it should have read ‘the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad’! — Resh Lakish said: The Holy Spirit announced to them. ‘The more he will multiply and the more he will spread abroad’.

    And they were grieved [wa-yakuzu] because of the children of Israel42 — this teaches that they were like thorns [kozim] in their eyes.

    And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve
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(1) Ibid. XII, 11.
(2) Gen. XXXVII, 14. Here ‘vale’ is also explained as deep plan.
(3) Ibid. XV, 13.
(4) II Sam. l.c.
(5) Ibid. XIV, 27.
(6) II Sam. 30.
(7) So how does the principle of measure for measure apply?
(8) The reward for a good deed exceeds the actual merit of an action and is not merely a quid pro quo as with a wrong deed.
(9) Ex. II, 4.
(10) I Sam. III, 10.
(11) Prov. VII, 4. Wisdom is an emanation from God.
(12) Jer. XXXI, 3.
(13) I Sam. II, 3.
(14) Deut. X, 12.
(15) Amos III, 7.
(16) Judg. VI, 24. The Hebrew word ‘it’ is the same as ‘to him’.
(17) Ex. I, 8.
(18) Ex. 9.
(19) Ibid. VII, 29.
(20) Ibid. I, 10. The Hebrew is literally with him.
(21) Isa. LXVI, 15.
(22) Ibid. 16.
(23) Ibid. Some edd. quote as the proof text: With his sword drawn in his hand (Num. XXII, 23).
(24) Isa. LIV, 9.
(25) Ex. XIV, 27. So the Hebrew literally.
(26) Ibid. XVIII, II. The verb ‘they dealt proudly’ resembles in form another with the meaning ‘they cooked’ usz.
(27) Gen. XXV, 29.
(28) To destroy Israel through the decree: Every son that is born ye shall cast in the river, Ex. I, 22.
(29) Various opinions are expressed in the Talmud regarding the age in which he lived. According to one view he was born in the year that Jacob settled in Egypt and died at the time of the Exodus, v. B.B. 15a-b.
(30) In the Temple where the Sanhedrin met.
(31) I Chron. II, 55. The various names are understood in the sense that they were eminent scholars.
(32) Judg. I, 16; v. Sanh. (Sonc. ed.) p. 722.
(33) Ex. I, 10.
(34) I.e., we will be driven out of the land.
(35) Ibid. 11, the text is literally him.
(36) Viz., bricks, referring to the brick-mould which Pharaoh had to wear.
(37) He had to carry the brick-mould as the pattern for the Israelites to work upon.
(38) Led to the destruction of the Egyptians.
(39) When they were spoiled by the Israelites before the Exodus.
(40) [According to this dictum the interpretation ‘memaskenoth’ is general in its application and has no particular reference to the Egyptians. Some edd. accordingly omit the last sentence.]
(41) They agreed that only one store city was built.
(42) Ex. 12. So the Hebrew literally.


Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 100b

Surely the measure of reward is greater than that of punishment, for with respect to the measure of goodness it is written, And he commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And rained down manna upon them to eat;1 whilst of the measure of punishment it is written, And the windows of heaven were opened.2 Yet, in respect of the measure even of punishment it is written, And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched: and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.3 But if one puts his fingers into the fire in this world, it is immediately burnt!4 — But just as the Holy One, blessed be He, gives the wicked the strength to receive punishment, so does he give the righteous the capacity to receive reward.5

    R. AKIBA SAID: ALSO HE WHO READS UNCANONICAL BOOKS etc. A Tanna taught: [This means], the books of the Sadducees.6 R. Joseph said: it is also forbidden to read the book of Ben Sira. Abaye said to him: Why so? Shall we say because there is written therein, ‘Do not strip the skin [of a fish] even from its ear, lest thou spoil it, but roast it [all, the fish with the skin] in the fire, and eat therewith two [twisted] loaves’?7 Now, if [you object to it in] its literal sense, the Torah too states, Thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof.8 Whilst in a metaphorical sense, this teaches good taste,9 that one should not cohabit unnaturally. But if you take exception to the passage:10 A daughter is a vain treasure to her father: through anxiety on her account, he cannot sleep at night. As a minor, lest she be seduced; in her majority, lest she play the harlot; as an adult, lest she be not married;11 if she marries, lest she bear no children; if she grows old, lest she engage in witchcraft!’ But the Rabbis have said the same: The world cannot exist without males and females; happy is he whose children are males, and woe to him whose children are females. Again if because of the following: ‘Let not anxiety enter thy heart, for it has slain many a person!’ But Solomon said likewise, Anxiety in the heart of man yashhenna [maketh it stoop].12 R. Ammi and R. Assi [differ in its interpretation]: one rendered it, ‘let him banish it from his mind,’ the other, ‘let him relate it to others.’13 And if because it contains, ‘Withhold the multitude from thy house, and bring not every one into thy house!’ But Rabbi said the same, for it has been taught, Rabbi said: One should never have a multitude of friends in his house, for it is written, A man that hath many friends bringeth evil upon himself.14 But because there is written therein, ‘A thin-bearded man is very wise: a thick-bearded one is a fool: he who blows away [the froth] from off his glass [of liquor] is not thirsty; he who says, with what shall I eat my bread? — take the bread away from him;15 he whose beard is parted will be defeated by none.’16

    R. Joseph said: [Yet] we may expound to them17 the good things it contains.18 E.g., ‘a good woman is a precious gift, who shall be given to the God-fearing man. An evil woman is a plague to her husband: how shall he mend matters? Let him banish [i.e., divorce] her from his house: so shall he be healed of his plague. Happy the man whose wife is beautiful; the number of his days is doubled. Avert thine eyes from a charming woman, lest thou be caught in her snare. Turn not in to her husband to drink19 wine with him, for many have been slain by the countenance of a beautiful woman, and numerous are those slain by her, and many are the blows sustained by itinerant peddlers.20 Those who seduce to adultery are as the spark that kindles the ember. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit.21 Restrain the multitude from entering into thine house, and bring not everyone thereinto. Let there be many to inquire after thy well-being, yet reveal thy secret to but one in a thousand. Guard the openings of thy mouth from her who lieth in thy bosom. Fret not over to-morrow's trouble, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth,22 and peradventure to-morrow he is no more: thus he shall be found grieving over a world that is not his.’23

    All the days of the poor24 are evil.25 Ben Sira said: His nights too. The lowest roof is his roof, and on the highest mountain is his vineyard. The rain of [other] roofs [drip] on to his, whilst the earth of his vineyard is [borne] on [to other] vineyards.26

    (Mnemonic: Zera, Raba, Mesharsheya, Hanina, Tobiah, Jannai, Easily suited, Johanan, Merahem, Joshua Mekazer.)27

    R. Zera said in Rab's name: What is meant by, All the days of the afflicted are evil? This refers to the students28 of the Talmud; But he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast: this refers to students of the Mishnah.29 Raba reversed the interpretation.30 And this is what R. Mesharsheya said in Raba's name: What is meant by, whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith?31 This refers to the students of the Mishnah; But he that cleaveth wood shall be warmed thereby,32 — this refers to students of the Talmud. R. Hanina said: All the days of the afflicted are evil alludes to one who has a bad wife; whilst but he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast, — to him who possesses a good wife. R. Jannai said: All the days of the afflicted are evil refers to one who is over-fastidious;33 but he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast, — to a person who is easily suited. R. Johanan said: All the days of the afflicted are evil refers to the compassionate; but he that is of a merry heart hath a continuous feast, to the cruel. R. Joshua b. Levi said: All the days of the afflicted are evil refers to him
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(1) Ps. LXXVIII, 23f.
(2) Gen. VII, 11; ‘doors’ implies a greater opening than ‘windows’: I.e., God metes out reward more fully than punishment.
(3) Isa. LXVI, 24.
(4) How then can the bodies of the dead go on burning for ever in the next?
(5) I.e., in both cases they are endowed with abnormal receptiveness.
(6) This probably refers to the works of the Judeo-Christians, i.e., the New Testament. There were no Sadducees after the destruction of the Temple, and so ‘Sadducees’ is probably a censor's emendation for sectarians or Gentiles (Herford, Christianity in the Talmud, p. 333.) [MS. M. reads, Minim.]
(7) I.e., fish is fit for consumption even if baked or roasted with its skin, and therefore it is wasteful to remove it.
(8) Deut. XX, 19, i.e., one must not wantonly destroy what is fit for use.
(9) Lit., ‘way of the earth.’
(10) Ben Sira XLIII, 9-10.
(11) V. p. 517 top. The reference is to the three stages:
,rduc, vrgb, vbye, minority, majority, and ripeness.
(12)
vbjah; Prov. XII, 25.
(13) One connects it with (
,gsv) jxhv, to discard from one's mind, the other with jha, to converse: but on either interpretation, the sentiment is the same as Ben Sira's.
(14) Prov. XVIII, 24.
(15) Because he is certainly not hungry — otherwise he would not waste time in considering with what to eat it.
(16) I.e., he is extremely cunning, the parting of his beard being due to incessant stroking whilst brooding over his schemes. — All this is nonsense, and hence R. Joseph's objection to reading it.
(17) I.e., to the masses, in the public lectures.
(18) [Yad Ramah records a reading confirmed by many MSS. ’
ufu uvk ihbhars huv trpx htvk ibcr vuzbds utk ht ‘Had not the Rabbis hidden this book, we should have expounded them etc.’, implying that Ben Sira was hitherto included in the canon; v. J.Q.R., 1891, 686 and 700.]
(19) Lit., ‘to dilute’.
(20) These, trading on a petty scale, generally transacted their business with the women-folk, which led to jealousy on the part of their husbands and assaults on the peddlers.
(21) A quotation from Jer. V, 27
(22) Prov. XXVII, 1.
(23) [Ben Sira XXX, 21; XXVI, 1-4; IX, 8-9; XI, 29-34; VI, 6.]
(24) E.V. ‘afflicted’.
(25) Prov. XV, 15.
(26) Being poor, he cannot afford a tall building. At the same time, when purchasing a vineyard, he must take one at the top of a mountain, where land is cheaper than in the valley; so that in a storm the earth of his field is carried away to enrich the low-lying lands — thus, whatever happens, he is the loser.
(27) V. p. 387, n. 8.
(28) Lit., ‘masters’.
(29) The Talmud, owing to its complexity and difficulty, due to its intricate discussions, is a source of distress to its students; whereas the Mishnah, which is plain and straightforward, brings pleasure to those who study it.
(30) A student of the Talmud may give a definite decision, but not a student of the Mishnah, which is regarded as incomplete without the Talmud. Hence the former sees the fruit of his labours, whereas the latter derives no practical benefit from his studies.
(31) Eccl. X, 9.
(32) Ibid. E.V. translates ‘shall be endangered’; for the present rendering of ifxh cf.
,bfux in 1 Kings I, 4.
(33) So that he is worried by the smallest thing which is not exactly to his liking.


Talmud - Mas. Yoma 76a

That is Joshua for whom manna [specially] fell down as it did to1 all Israel, [for] it is written: here, ‘man’,2 and also there it is written: Take thee Joshua, the son of Nun, a man in whom is spirit.3 But perhaps it is Moses, of whom it is said: Now the man Moses was very meek?4 — One may infer ish from ish, but not ish from we-ha-ish.5

    R. Simon b. Yohai was asked by his disciples: Why did not the manna come down unto Israel once annually? He replied: I shall give a parable: This thing may be compared to a king of flesh and blood who had one son, whom he provided with maintenance once a year, so that he would visit his father once a year only. Thereupon he provided for his maintenance every day, so that he called on him every day. The same with Israel. One who had four or five children would worry, saying: Perhaps no manna will come down to-morrow, and all will die of hunger. Thus they were found to turn their attention to their Father in Heaven. Another interpretation: They ate it whilst it was yet warm.6 Another interpretation: Because of the burden of the way.7

    And it long ago happened that R. Tarfon, R. Ishmael and the Elders were seated and occupied with the portion referring to the manna, and also R. Eleazar of Modiim was seated among them. R. Eleazar of Modim commenced [to expound] and said: The manna which came down unto Israel was sixty cubits high! R. Tarfon said to him: Modite! How long will you rake words together and bring them up against us?8 — He answered: My master! I am expounding a Scriptural verse.

    Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.9 Were there indeed fifteen cubits [high] in the valley, [fifteen cubits in the lowlands],10 fifteen cubits on the mountains?11 Were the waters standing like a series of walls? And, furthermore, how could the ark come to the top [of the mountains]? Rather, all the fountains of the great deep came up first until the water was even with the mountains, then the water rose fifteen more cubits. Now which measure is larger, that of reward or punishment? You must needs agree that the measure of goodness [reward] is larger. Now with the measure of punishment it is written: The windows of heaven were opened,12 with the measure of goodness, however, it is said: And he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven; and caused manna to rain upon them for food, and gave them of the corn of heaven.13 [And a Tanna taught]:14 Now how many windows has a door? Four; hence ‘doors’ [imply] eight.15 Thus it is found that the manna which fell upon Israel was sixty cubits. It was taught: Issi b. Judah says: The manna which fell down for Israel rose so high that all the kings of the east and the west could see it, as it is said: [Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. . .] my cup runneth over.16 (Abaye said: It is evident from this that the cup of King David in the future world will hold two hundred and twenty-one logs, as it is said: My cup is rewayah [overflowing], and this is the numerical value of rewayah).17 But there is no comparison: there it took forty days, here only one hour;18 or there for all the world, here for Israel alone;19 and it should have been higher still! — [Rather]: R. Eleazar of Modim infers it from the analogy of ‘opened’, ‘opened’.20

    [ON YOM KIPPUR] EATING IS FORBIDDEN. To what do the five afflictions correspond? — R. Hisda said: To the five afflictions mentioned in the Torah: And on the tenth day:21 howbeit on the tenth day;22 a sabbath of solemn rest;23 it is a sabbath of solemn rest,24 and it shall be unto you.25 But these are only five, whereas [in our Mishnah] we learned of six [afflictions]? — Drinking is included in eating. For Resh Lakish said: When do we know that drinking is included in eating? Because Scripture said: And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God . . . the tithe of thy corn, of thy [tirosh] wine, and of thine oil;26 ‘tirosh’ is wine and yet Scripture reads: ‘And thou shalt eat’. Whence this proof? Perhaps it means that he used it as all admixture to elaiogarum?27 For Rabbah b. Samuel said: Elaiogarum contains the juice of beets; oxygarum the sauce of all kinds of boiled vegetables? — Rather, said R. Aha b. Jacob, is that inferred from here: And thou shalt bestow thy money for whatever thy soul desireth, for oxen, for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink.28 [To] wine and strong drink [applies the term] drinking and yet the Divine Law reads: ‘And thou shalt eat’. How is that [conclusive]? — Perhaps here, too, the implication is that he uses it as an admixture to elaiogarum?- Scripture says ‘Strong drink’, i.e., something which intoxicates.29 But perhaps the reference here is to preserved figs from Keilah, for it was taught: If one [a priest] ate preserved figs from Keilah,30 and drank honey and milk, and thus entered the Sanctuary
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(1) Corresponding to.
(2) Num. XXVII, 18.
(3) Ex. XXIV, 13. Joshua went up with Moses to Mount Sinai, Moses did not eat, but Joshua did, hence the manna must have come to him there.
(4) Num. XII, 3.
(5) Analogy should be built upon exact similarity, almost identity, not on relative similarity of expression; according to this rigid rule no analogy from ‘ish’ to ‘ha-ish’ or vice versa could be argued.
(6) Its taste or flavour was preserved, but if gathered once for the whole year, it would become stale, cold, tasteless.
(7) It would greatly hamper them on their journeys.
(8) Try to impress us with unsubstantiated statements.
(9) Gen. VII, 20.
(10) [Var. lec. rightly omit as unnecessary repetition].
(11) The phrase fifteen cubits upward surely could not be taken to mean that the fifteen cubits were measured from different levels.
(12) Ibid. v. 11.
(13) Ps. LXXVIII, 23, 24.
(14) Supplied from MS.M. V. also Rashi.
(15) At least two are implied in ‘doors’ hence at least eight windows. But the measure of goodness surpasses the measure of punishment (as e.g., Ex. II, 6, 7). There were at least two ‘windows’ of heaven at the flood, as implied in ‘windows’ which poured forth fifteen cubits of rain; the eight windows (of the two doors of heaven) must have produced at least no less, i.e., sixty cubits of manna, since the measure of goodness is surely no smaller than that of punishment. So that ‘sixty’ here is to be taken as minimum.
(16) Ps. XXIII, 5, 6. This reckoning is stimulated by the preceding one.
(17) The psalm is taken as prophetic of restoration — either in this world (then ‘in the future’ at the time of the Messiah) or in the world to come (usual interpretation).
(18) Between the flood and manna.
(19) Here the argument is in favour of a higher measure for the manna. For since the space wherein it fell was limited, whilst the windows of heaven presumably were capable of pouring out the same quantity, the manna confined to a small area should have risen very much higher than the waters, which covered all the earth.
(20) Gen. VII, 11 and Ps. LXXVIII, 23; he does not employ the argument of a greater measure in store for reward than for punishment; but merely from the fact that in each case two windows produced a height of fifteen cubits — whether of manna or water.
(21) Num. XXIX, 7.
(22) Lev. XXIII, 27.
(23) Ibid. 32.
(24) Ibid. XVI, 31.
(25) Ibid. v. 29.
(26) Deut. XIV, 23.
(27) Greek; a sauce of oil and garum, to which wine is sometimes added.
(28) Deut. XIV, 26.
(29) And no intoxication results from eating.
(30) A town in the lowlands of Judea, cf. Josh. XV, 44; v. Sanh., Sonc. ed., p. 481, n. 6.


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