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Part 1 - Chapter 4 - Note 25


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


Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 63a

The rule [about spitting] for the Temple mount where the shoe is forbidden we may derive from the analogy of the shoe, but in the case of the synagogue where the shoe is permitted, instead of deriving the rule from the shoe and permitting it, let us rather derive it from the short cut and forbid it? — Rather, said Raba: [The synagogue is] on the same footing as a man's house. Just as a man objects to his house being made a short cut but does not object to the wearing of shoes or to spitting there, so in the case of the synagogue, the using it as a short cut is forbidden, but wearing the shoe and spitting in it is not forbidden.

    AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE BENEDICTIONS SAID IN THE TEMPLE [THEY USED TO SAY, FOR EVER etc.]. Why all this? — Because the Amen response is not given in the Sanctuary. And whence do we know that the Amen response was not made in the Sanctuary? — Because it says, Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting,1 and it goes on, And let them say,2 Blessed be Thy glorious name that is exalted above every3 blessing and praise. I might think that one praise would suffice for all the blessings.4 It therefore says, ‘Above every blessing and praise’, implying, for every blessing assign to Him praise.5

    IT WAS LAID DOWN THAT GREETING SHOULD BE GIVEN IN [GOD'S] NAME etc. Why the further citation? — You might think that Boaz spoke thus on his own accord;6 come and hear, therefore, [the other text] ‘THE LORD IS WITH THEE, THOU MIGHTY MAN OF VALOUR’. You might still say that it was an angel who spoke thus to Gideon;7 come and hear, therefore, the other text, ‘DESPISE NOT THY MOTHER WHEN SHE IS OLD’;8 and it says, ‘IT IS TIME TO WORK FOR THE LORD, THEY HAVE MADE VOID THY LAW.9 Raba said: The first clause of this verse can be taken as explaining the second, and the second can be taken as explaining the first. ‘The first clause may be taken as explaining the second’, thus: It is time to work for the Lord.10 Why? Because they have made void Thy law.’The second clause may be taken as explaining the first’, thus: They have made void Thy law.11 Why? Because it is time to work for the Lord.

    It was taught: Hillel the Elder said: When the scholars keep in [the teaching of] the Torah, do thou disseminate it,12 and when they disseminate it do thou keep it in.13 If thou seest a generation which is eager for the knowledge of the Torah, spread it abroad,14 as it says, There is that scattereth and yet increaseth.15 But if thou seest a generation which takes no interest in the Torah, keep it in to thyself, as it says, When it is time to work for the Lord,16 they make void Thy law. Bar Kappara expounded: When goods are cheap, collect17 [money] and buy. In a place where there is no man, there be a man. Abaye said: You may infer from this that in a place where there is a man [to teach the Torah], there you should not be a man. This is obvious? — It required to be stated for the case where the two are equal.18

    Bar Kappara expounded: What short text is there upon which all the essential principles of the Torah depend? In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.19 Raba remarked: Even for a matter of transgression.20 Bar Kappara [further] expounded: A man should always teach his son a clean and not laborious trade. What, for example? R. Hisda said: Needle-stitching.21

    It has been taught: Rabbi says, A man should not invite too many friends to his house, as it says, There are friends that one hath to his own hurt.22 It has been taught: Rabbi says, A man should not appoint a steward over his house, for had not Potiphar appointed Joseph as steward over his house, he would not have fallen into such trouble as he did. It has been taught: Rabbi says, Why does the section of the Nazirite23 follow immediately on that of the unfaithful wife?24 To teach you that anyone who sees an unfaithful wife in her evil ways should completely abstain from wine. Hezekiah the son of R. Parnak said in the name of R. Johanan: Why does the section of the unfaithful wife follow immediately on one dealing with terumoth25 and tithes?26 To teach you that if one has terumoth and tithes and does not give them to the priest, in the end he will require the priest's services to deal with his wife. For so it says, Every man's hallowed things shall be his,27 and immediately afterwards it says, If any man's wife go aside,28 and later is it written, And the man shall bring his wife, etc.29 Nay more, in the end he shall be in need of them,30 as it says, ‘Every man's hallowed things shall be his’.31 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: If he does give, he will eventually become rich, as it says, Whatever a man giveth the priest, he shall have32 — he shall have much wealth.

    R. Huna b. Berekiah said in the name of R. Eleazar ha-Kappar: Whoever associates the name of heaven with his suffering33 will have his sustenance doubled, as it says, And the Almighty shall be in thy distress, and thou shalt have double silver.34 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: His sustenance shall fly to him like a bird, as it says, And silver shall fly to thee.35

    R. Tabi said in the name of R. Josiah: Whoso is faint36 in the study of the Torah will have no strength to stand in the day of trouble, as it says, If thou art faint [in the study of the Torah] in the day of adversity thy strength will be small.37 R. Ammi b. Mattenah said in the name of Samuel: Even if only in the performance of a single precept, as it says, ‘If thou faint’, in any case.

    R. Safra said: R. Abbahu used to relate that when Hananiah the son of R. Joshua's brother went down to the Diaspora,38 he began to intercalate the years and fix new moons outside Palestine. So they [the Beth din] sent after him two scholars, R. Jose b. Kippar and the grandson of R. Zechariah b. Kebutal. When he saw them, he said to them: Why have you come? — They replied: We have come to learn Torah [from you]. He thereupon proclaimed: These men are among the most eminent of the generation. They and their ancestors have ministered in the Sanctuary (as we have learnt: Zechariah b. Kebutal said: Several times I read to him39 out of the book of Daniel). Soon they began to declare clean what he declared unclean and to permit what he forbade. Thereupon he proclaimed: These men are worthless, they are good for nothing. They said to him: You have already built and you cannot overthrow, you have made a fence and you cannot break it down.40 He said to them: Why do you declare clean when I declare unclean, why do you permit when I forbid? — They replied: Because you intercalate years and fix new moons outside of Palestine. He said to them: Did not Akiba son of Joseph intercalate years and fix new moons outside of Palestine?41 — They replied: Don't cite R. Akiba, who left not his equal in the Land of Israel. He said to them: I also left not my equal in the Land of Israel. They said to him: The kids which you left behind have become goats with horns, and they have sent us to you, bidding us, ‘Go and tell him in our name. If he listens, well and good; if not, he will be excommunicated.
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(1) Neh. IX, 5.
(2) Those who made the response.
(3) E.V. ‘all’.
(4) I.e., that one response should be made at the end of all the blessings (Rashi).
(5) V. Sot. (Sonc. ed.) p. 198, n. 2.
(6) And his action need not be taken as a precedent.
(7) Simply transmitting his message.
(8) I.e., despise not the example of Boaz.
(9) V. p. 329, n. 4.
(10) As much as to say, Boaz had good warrant for what he did. This rule apparently was cavilled at in certain quarters, and the Rabbis felt that some very strong justification was needed for it.
(11) Like Elijah in sacrificing on Mount Carmel.
(12) So that it should not be forgotten. Lit., ‘scatter’, like a sower scattering.
(13) So as not to compete with them.
(14) Lit., ‘scatter’. Cf. n. 7.
(15) Prov. XI, 24.
(16) I.e., when disseminating the Torah would bring it into contempt.
(17) The Aruch reads, ‘make haste’.
(18) For there is no question that a superior may displace an inferior.
(19) Prov. III, 6.
(20) Weigh the pros and cons of it. This must be linked with the foregoing principle which permits the violation of the law when the exigencies of the time demand it.
(21) Lit., ‘the stitching of furrows’.
(22) Prov. XVIII, 24.
(23) Num. VI.
(24) Ibid. V, 11-31.
(25) Plural of terumah, v. Glos.
(26) Ibid. V, 5-10.
(27) Ibid. 10.
(28) Ibid. 12. The juxtaposition implies: ‘If a man keeps his hallowed things to himself and does not give them to the priest, then this wife, etc.’.
(29) Ibid. 15.
(30) Since he will lose his money.
(31) In the form of poor man's tithe.
(32) Ibid. 10. E.V. ‘it shall be his’.
(33) By blessing God for the evil, or praying.
(34) Job XXII, 25. E.V. ‘And the Almighty shall be thy treasure, and thou shalt have precious silver. The word to'afoth (precious) is connected by the Rabbis with the Aramaic word ‘af, to double.
(35) Here the word to'afoth is connected with the Hebrew ‘uf, to fly.
(36) I.e., is negligent.
(37) Prov. XXIV, 10. E.V. ‘If thou art faint in the day of adversity, thy strength shall be small indeed’.
(38) Golah, Babylon. Here the reference is to Pumbeditha. This was during the Hadrianic persecution following the Bar Kochebah Wars. V. J.E. VI, p. 207.
(39) The High Priest. V. Yoma 18b.
(40) I.e., you cannot take away from us the name you have conferred on us.
(41) Yeb. 122a.


Mishna - Mas. Avoth Chapter 2

    MISHNAH 12. R. JOSE SAID: LET THE PROPERTY OF THY FELLOW BE AS PRECIOUS UNTO THEE AS THINE OWN;94 FIT THYSELF TO STUDY TORAH95 FOR IT IS NOT [A THING THAT COMES] UNTO THEE [AS] AN INHERITANCE;96 AND LET ALL THINE ACTIONS97 BE FOR [THE SAKE OF] THE NAME OF HEAVEN98 .
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(94) Cf. Mishnah 10, n. 6. R. Jonah understands, ‘when the other person's property is in your charge, deal with it in accordance with the owner's wish.’
(95) Put yourself in a proper frame of mind so that you approach the Torah with due reverence and Zest (v. MV and Ez Joseph). ARN, B., in view of the following clause, lay stress on ‘thyself’.
(96) ARN cites the case of the sons of Moses who did not follow in their father's footsteps. MV says this clause is not an authentic part of R. Jose's dictum and should be omitted.
(97) Even the most elementary bodily functions. II ARN, Ch. XXX, relates the anecdote of Hillel who looked upon the taking of a bath as a Mizwah (religious duty), inasmuch as by that one cleansed the body which God made in his own image.
(98) On ‘Heaven’, cf. supra I, 3, n. 6.


Antoninus attended on Rabbi: Artaban attended on Rab. When Antoninus died, Rabbi exclaimed: The bond is snapped! [So also] when Artaban died, Rab exclaimed:

Talmud - Mas. Avodah Zarah 11a

The bond is snapped!

    [When] Onkelos1 the son of Kalonymus became a proselyte, the Emperor sent a contingent of Roman [soldiers] after him,2 but he enticed them by [citing] scriptural verses and they became converted to Judaism. Thereupon, the Emperor sent another Roman cohort after him, bidding them not to say anything to him. As they were about to take him away with them, he said to them: ‘Let me tell you just an ordinary thing: [In a procession] the torchlighter carries the light in front of the torchbearer,3 the torchbearer in front of the leader, the leader in front of the governor, the governor in front of the chief officer; but does the chief officer carry the light in front of the people [that follow]?’ ‘No!’ they replied. Said he: ‘Yet the Holy One, blessed be He, does carry the light before Israel, for Scripture says. And the Lord went before them . . . in a pillar of fire to give them light.’4 Then they, too, became converted. Again he sent another cohort ordering them not to enter into any conversation whatever with him. So they took hold of him; and as they were walking on he saw the mezuzah5 which was fixed on the door-frame and he placed his hand on it saying to them: ‘Now what is this?’ and they replied: ‘You tell us then.’ Said he, ‘According to universal custom, the mortal king dwells within, and his servants keep guard on him without; but [in the case of] the Holy One, blessed be He, it is His servants who dwell within whilst He keeps guard on them from without; as it is said: The Lord shall guard thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth and for evermore.’6 Then they, too, were converted to Judaism. He sent for him no more.

    And the Lord said to her: Two nations [Goyim] are in thy womb.7 Said Rab Judah in the name of Rab: Read not Goyim8 [nations] but Ge'im [lords].9 This refers to Antoninus and Rabbi10 from whose table neither lettuce, nor radish nor cucumber was ever absent either in summer or winter; and, as a master has said: Radish helps the food to dissolve, lettuce helps the food to be digested, cucumber makes the intestines expand. But was it not taught in the school of R. Ishmael that cucumbers are called Kishshuin11 because they are as hard and as injurious to the body as swords? — There is no contradiction here: that was said of large ones, but our reference is to small ones.

    THE BIRTHDAY AND ANNIVERSARIES OF KINGS DEATHS. [THIS IS R. MEIR'S OPINION. THE SAGES SAY IDOLATRY ONLY OCCURS AT A DEATH AT WHICH BURNING OF ARTICLES TAKES PLACE.] This implies that R. Meir is of opinion that at every death, whether there is burning of articles or there is no burning, idol-worship takes place — consequently, the burning of articles is not an [idolatrous] cult. From which is to be inferred that the Rabbis12 hold that burning [of articles at a funeral] is an [idolatrous] cult; what then of the following which has been taught: The burning of articles at a king's [funeral] is permitted and there is nothing of Amorite usage about it?13 Now if it is a cult of idolatry how could such burning be allowed? Is it not written, and in their statutes ye shall not walk?14 — Hence, all agree15 that burning is not an idolatrous cult and is merely a mark of high esteem [for the deceased]; where they differ is this: R. Meir holds that at every death, whether burning of articles takes place or does not take place. there is idol-worship; but the Rabbis hold that a death at which burning takes place is regarded as important and is marked by idol-worship, but one at which no burning takes place is unimportant and is not marked by idol-worship.

    [To return to] the main text.16 ‘The burning of articles at a king's [funeral] is permitted and there is nothing of Amorite usage about it,’ as it is said, Thou shalt die in peace and with burnings of thy fathers, the former kings that were before thee, so shall they make a burning for thee.17 And just as it is permitted to burn at the [funerals] of kings so it is permitted to burn in the case of princes. What is it that may be burnt in the case of kings? — Their beds and articles that were in use by them. In the instance of the death of R. Gamaliel the elder, Onkelos the proselyte18 burnt after him seventy Tyrian manehs.19 But did you not say that only articles in use by them could be burnt?20 — What is meant is [articles] ‘to the value of seventy Tyrian manehs.’ May other things then not be burned? Yet it has been taught: It is permitted to mutilate [an animal] at royal funerals and there is nothing of Amorite usage about it!21 — Said R. Papa [that refers to] the horse on which he rode.22 Are clean animals then not to be included? Yet it has been taught, Mutilation which renders the animal trefa23 is forbidden, but such as does not render it trefa is permitted; what kind of mutilation does not render it trefa?
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(1) Git. 56b, where a fuller story of his conversion is given, has ‘Onkelos son of Kolonikos son of Titus's sister’. He is often confused with the other proselyte, Aquila, v. Kohut, op. cit., Vol. I, 158 and references given there. For discussion of the identity of Onk. see A. E. Silverstone ‘Aquila and Onkelos’.
(2) To arrest him.
(3)
truhphp...truhphb Lexicographers differ about the origin and exact meaning. They are obviously those of dignitaries arranged in ascendant order of rank. The above rendering is based chiefly on Kohut, op. cit. s. vv.
(4) Ex. XIII, 21.
(5) The mezuzah whereby the words of God are written on the door-post of every Jewish home (Deut. VI, 9) is meant to remind the occupants, on entering their home and on leaving it to go into the world without, of God's constant watchfulness and guardianship.
(6) Ps. CXXI, 8.
(7) Gen. XXV, 23, the words were spoken to Rebecca before the birth of her two sons, Jacob and Esau.
(8)
ohud
(9) Plural of
thd lofty, lord, ruler.
(10) The respective descendants of Jacob — Israel, and Esau — Rome.
(11)
ihtuahe from root vae hard.
(12) I.e., the Sages who oppose R. Meir in our Mishnah.
(13) Sanh. 52b, Tos. Shab. VIII.
(14) Lev. XVIII, 3.
(15) Both R. Meir and the Rabbis.
(16) Tosef. Shab. VIII, 9. Tos. Sanh. IV.
(17) Jer. XXXIV, 5. Spoken to King Zedekiah.
(18) V. supra.
(19) 1 maneh of Tyrian weight equals 25 sela's, v. Glos.
(20) Yet from the wording here used it would appear that the coins were burned.
(21) Tosef. Shab. ibid. Hence the articles mentioned above are not exclusive.
(22) Which comes under the category of articles in use by him.
(23) Unfit for use as food, v. supra. p. 23, n. 8.

Talmud - Mas. Avodah Zarah 11b

Trimming the tendons of its hoofs from the ankle downward! — This was explained by R. Papa to refer to a calf [employed for] drawing the royal coach.


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