Part 1 - Chapter 3 - Note 22
The portions of the following texts that are the most relevant to the book appear in bold.
What was the blessing with which God blessed him [Obed-Edom]? R. Judah b. Zebida
says: This refers to Hamoth and her eight daughters-in-law who each bore six children at a
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 64a
as it says, Peullethai the eighth son1
for God blessed him,2 and it is
written, All these were of the sons of Obed-Edom, they and their sons and their brethren,
able men in the strength for the service, threescore and two of Obed-Edom.3
R. Abin the Levite said: Whoever tries to force his [good] fortune will
be dogged by [ill] fortune,4 and
whoever forgoes his [good] fortune will postpone his [ill] fortune.5 This we can illustrate from the case of Rabbah
and R. Joseph. For R. Joseph was Sinai6
and Rabbah was an uprooter of mountains.7
The time came when they were required [to be head of the Academy].8 They [the collegiates] sent there [to
Palestine] to ask, As between Sinai and an uprooter of mountains,
which should have the preference? They sent answer: Sinai, because all require the owner
of wheat.9 Nevertheless, R. Joseph
would not accept the post, because the astrologers had told him that he would be head for
only two years. Rabbah thereupon remained head for twenty-two years, and R. Joseph after
him for two years and a half.10
During all the time that Rabbah was head, R. Joseph did not so much as summon a cupper to
come to his house.11
R. Abin the Levite further said: What is the point of the verse, The
Lord answer thee in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob set thee up on high?12 The God of Jacob and not the God of Abraham
and Isaac? This teaches that the owner of the beam should go in with the thickest part of
R. Abin the Levite also said: If one partakes of a meal at which a
scholar is present, it is as if he feasted on the effulgence of the Divine Presence, since
it says, And Aaron came and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses
father-in-law before God.14 Was it
before God that they ate? Did not they eat before Moses? This tells you, however, that if
one partakes of a meal at which a scholar is present,it is as if he feasted on the
effulgence of the Divine Presence.
R. Abin the Levite also said: When a man takes leave of his fellow, he
should not say to him, Go in peace. but Go to peace. For Moses, to
whom Jethro said, Go to peace,15
went up and prospered, whereas Absalom to whom David said, Go in peace,16 went away and was hung.
R. Abin the Levite also said: One who takes leave of the dead17 should not say to him Go to
peace, but Go in peace, as it says, But thou shalt go to thy fathers in
R. Levi b. Hiyya said: One who on leaving the synagogue goes
into the House of Study and studies the Torah is deemed worthy to welcome the Divine
Presence, as it says, They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth
before God in Zion.19
R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in the name of Rab: The disciples of the
wise have no rest either in this world or in the world to come,20 as it says, They go from strength to
strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.
R. Eleazar said in the name of R. Hanina: The disciples of the wise
increase peace in the world, as it says, And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of thy children.21
Read not banayik [thy children] but bonayik [thy builders].22
Great peace have they that love Thy law, and there is no stumbling for them.23 Peace be within thy walls and prosperity
within thy palaces.24 For my
brethren and companions sake I will now say, Peace be within thee.25 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God
I will seek thy good.26 The Lord
will give strength unto His people, the Lord will bless His people with peace.27
(1) Omitting with Bah: and it is written inserted in cur. edd.
(2) I Chron. XXVI, 5. This shows that he had eight sons.
(3) Ibid. 8. The sixty-two are made up of the eight sons mentioned, six more to his wife
at one birth, and six to each of his eight daughters-in-law.
(4) Lit., whoever pushes his hour will be pushed by his hour.
(5) Lit., if one is pushed away from before his hour, his hour is pushed away from
(6) I.e., possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the traditions.
(7) I.e., exceptionally skillful in dialectic.
(8) Sc. of Pumbeditha.
(9) I.e., to know the authentic traditions.
(10) Rabbah was head 309-330. R. Joseph who succeeded him died in 333.
(11) But went instead to him, like any ordinary individual. On the whole passage v. Hor.
(Sonc. ed.) p. 105 notes.
(12) Ps. XX, 2.
(13) He should put the thicker end in the ground so as to give better support. So the name
of Jacob would be more efficacious in prayer because he was the more immediate ancestor of
the Jewish people.
(14) Ex. XVIII, 12.
(15) Ibid. IV, 18.
(16) II Sam. XV, 9.
(17) On leaving the funeral procession.
(18) Gen. XV, 15.
(19) Ps. LXXXIV, 8.
(20) Because they are always progressing in their spiritual strivings.
(21) Isa. LIV, 13.
(22) I.e., learned men.
(23) Ps. CXIX, 165.
(24) Ibid. CXXII, 7.
(25) Ibid. 8.
(26) Ibid. 9.
(27) Ibid. XXIX, 11.
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