Godssecret's Weblog


2 Spiritual masters with very different ways
March 26, 2010, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Sages

This is about Rabbi Judah bar Ilai and Rabbi Simon b.Yocha.

God gave both the power to work miracles.

They lived at the same time but were very different.

I have looked into this as I was at Rabbi Yuhuda’s grave a while ago and we all were aware of the Tremendous power of his soul that dwells there.

what this all means I do not know

there is something deep going on here !

It was taught: It was a tree which spread over all living things [footnote: i.e., over the whole world]. R. Judah b. R. Ilai said: The tree of life covered a five hundred years’ journey, and all the primeval waters branched out in streams under it. R. Judan said in the name of R. Judah b. R. Ila’i: Not only its boughs but even its trunk was a five hundred years’ journey. (Midrash Rabbah – Genesis XV:6)

After Akiba’s death, however, R. Judah b. Baba ordained Eleazar, together with Meïr, Jose b. Ḥalafta, Judah b. Ila’i, and Simon b.Yochai, at a secluded spot between Usha and Shefar’am. The ordainer was detected in the act and brutally slain; but the ordained escaped, and eventually became the custodians and disseminators of Jewish tradition (Sanh. 13b; ‘Ab. Zarah 8b).

Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan, reporting R. Judah b. Ila’i: See what a difference there is between the earlier and the later generations. The earlier generations made the study of the Torah their main concern and their ordinary work subsidiary to it, and both prospered in their hands. The later generations made their ordinary work their main concern and their study of the Torah subsidiary, and neither prospered in their hands.

Rabbah b. Bar Hanah further said in the name of R. Johanan reporting R. Judah b. Ila’i: Observe the difference between the earlier and the later generations. The earlier generations used to bring in their produce by way of the kitchen-garden14 purposely in order to make it liable to tithe, whereas the later generations bring in their produce by way of roofs or courtyards or enclosures in order to make it exempt from tithe. For R. Jannai has said: Untithed produce is not subject to tithing15 until it has come within sight of the house, since it says. I have put away the hallowed things out of my house.16 R. Johanan, however, says that even [sight of] a courtyard imposes the obligation, as it says, That they may eat within thy gates and be satisfied.17

There is no contradiction: one statement refers to one who stays long and strains himself, the other to one who stays long without straining himself. This may be illustrated by what a certain matron said to R. Judah b. R. Ila’i: Your face is [red] like that of pig-breeders and usurers,6 to which he replied: On my faith, both [occupations] are forbidden me, but there are twenty-four privies between my lodging and the Beth ha-Midrash, and when I go there I test myself in all of them.7

Rab Judah also said:8 Three things shorten a man’s days and years: To be given a scroll of the Law to read from and to refuse, to be given a cup of benediction to say grace over and to refuse, and to assume airs of authority. ‘To be given a scroll of the Law to read from and to refuse’, as it is written: For that is thy life and the length of thy days.9 ‘To be given a cup of benediction to say grace over and to refuse’, as it is written: I will bless them that bless thee.10 ‘To assume airs of authority’, as R. Hama b. Hanina said: Why did Joseph die before his brethren?11 Because he assumed airs of authority.

Rab Judah also said in the name of Rab: There are three things for which one should supplicate: a good king, a good year, and a good dream.12 ‘A good king’, as it is written: A king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord as the water-courses.13 ‘A good year’, as it is written: The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.14 ‘A good dream’, as it is written; Wherefore cause Thou me to dream15 and make me to live.16

Our Rabbis taught: Croup comes to the world on account of [neglect of] tithes.1 R. Eleazar b. R. Jose said: On account of slander. Said Raba-others maintain, R. Joshua b. Levi-what verse [teaches this]? But the king shall rejoice in God: Everyone that sweareth by him shall glory; For the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped [yissaker].2 The scholars propounded: Does R. Eleazar son of R. Jose say, [Only] on account of slander, or perhaps on account of slander too? — Come and hear: For when our Rabbis entered the ‘vineyard’ in Yabneh,3 R. Judah, R. Eleazar son of R. Jose and R. Simeon were present, and this question was raised before them: why does this affliction commence in the bowels and end in the throat? Thereupon R. Judah son of R. Ila’i, the first speaker on all occasions4 answered and said: Though the kidneys counsel, the heart gives understanding,5 and the tongue gives form,6 yet the mouth completes it. R. Eleazar son of R. Jose answered: Because they eat unclean food therewith. ‘Unclean food!’ can you think so?7 Rather [say] because they eat unfit food.8 R. Simeon answered and said, As a punishment for the neglect of study.9 Said they to him. Let women prove it!10 -That is because they restrain their husbands [from study]. Let Gentiles prove it!11 -That is because they restrain Israel. Let children prove it! — That is because they make their fathers to neglect [study].12 Then let school-children prove it!-There it is as R. Gorion. For R. Gorion-others state, R. Joseph son of R. Shemaiah-said: When there are righteous men in the generation, the righteous are seized [by death] for the [sins of the] generation; when there are no righteous in a generation, school-children are seized for the generation.13 R. Isaac b. Ze’iri others state, R. Simeon b. Neizra-said: Which verse [teaches this]? If thou know not, O thou, fairest among women, Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, etc.,14 and we interpret this as [referring to] the goats which are taken in pledge for the [debts of the] shepherds. Thus this proves that he said on account of slander too. This proves it.

Now, why is he [R. Judah son of R. Ila'i] called the first speaker on all occasions?-For R. Judah, R. Jose, and R. Simeon were sitting, and Judah, a son of proselytes, was sitting near them. R. Judah commenced [the discussion] by observing, ‘How fine are the works of this people!15 They have made streets, they have built bridges, they have erected baths.’ R. Jose was silent. R. Simeon b. Yohai answered and said, ‘All that they made they made for themselves; they built market-places, to set harlots in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them.’ Now, Judah the son of proselytes went and related their talk,16 which reached17 the government. They decreed: Judah, who exalted [us], shall be exalted,18 Jose, who was silent, shall be exiled to Sepphoris;19 Simeon, who censured, let him be executed. So they went and hid in a cave. A miracle occurred.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan, on the authority of R. Judah b. Ila’i, said: Rome is designed to fall into the hands of Persia, that may be concluded by inference a minori ad majus: If in the case of the first Sanctuary, which the sons of Shem [Solomon] built and the Chaldeans destroyed, the Chaldeans fell into the hands of the Persians,37 then how much more should this be so with the second Sanctuary, which the Persians built and the Romans destroyed, that the Romans should fall into the hands of the Persians.38 Rab said: Persia will fall into the hands of Rome. Thereupon R. Kahana and R. Assi asked of Rab: [Shall] the builders fall into the hands of the destroyers? — He said to them: Yes, it is the decree of the King.39 Others say: He replied to them: They too are guilty for they destroyed the synagogues. It has also been taught in accord with the above, Persia will fall into the hands of Rome, first because they destroyed the synagogues, and then because it is the King’s decree that the builders fall into the hands of the destroyers. Rab also said: The son of David will not come until the wicked kingdom of Rome will have spread [its sway] over the whole world for nine months, as it is said: Therefore will He give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth; then the residue of his brethren shall return with the children of Israel.40

R. Judah b. Ila’i expounded, If [the roof of] a house is breached, and he placed a Sukkah-covering over it, it25 is valid.26 R. Ishmael son of R. Jose said to him, Master, explain [thy words]. Thus my father27 explained it: If there are four cubits28 it25 is invalid,26 if less than four cubits, it is valid.

R. Judah b. Ila’i expounded, Abruma29 is permitted. R. Ishmael son of R. Jose said to him, Master, explain [thy words]. Thus said my father, Those from such and such a place are forbidden,30 and from such and such a place are permitted.31 This is analogous to that which Abaye said; the zahantha32 of Bab Nahara33 are permitted. What is the reason? If you will say that it is because there is a swift current there, and an unclean fish, since it has no spinal cord, cannot exist therein, [it could be retorted that] we see that they do exist [in rivers with rapid currents]. Will you then say that it is because it has salt water, and ‘an unclean fish, since it has no scales, cannot exist [in salt water, it could be retorted that] we see that they do exist? — The reason in fact is that the muddy nature of this river does not allow unclean fish to breed in it. Rabina said, But at the present time that the River Ethan34 and the River Gamda flow therein, they35 are forbidden.36

If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews. They said to him: If he comes from the other tribes, you can prevail over him, but if he is from the tribe of Judah or of Benjamin, Ephraim or Manasseh, you will not prevail over him. ‘Judah’, as it is written, Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies.19 The others, because it is written of them, Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy might.20

But falling thou shalt fall.21 R. Judah b. Ila’i drew a lesson from this verse, Saying: Why are two fallings mentioned here? Haman’s friends said to him: This people is likened to the dust and it is likened to the stars. When they go down, they go down to the dust, and when they rise they rise to the stars. Came the king’s chamberlains and hastened [wa-yabhilu] to bring Haman.22 The use of this word [wa-yabhilu]23 tells us that they brought him all in confusion [behalah].

For we are sold, I and my people etc . . . For the adversary cares24 not that the king is endamaged.25 She said to him: This adversary cares not for the damage of the king. He was angry with Vashti and killed her,26 and he is angry with me and wants to kill me.

It has been taught: R. Simon b. Yohai said: Come and see how beloved are Israel in the sight of God, in that to every place to which they were exiled the Shechinah went with them. They were exiled to Egypt and the Shechinah was with them, as it says, Did I reveal myself unto the house of thy father when they were in Egypt.4 They were exiled to Babylon, and the Shechinah was with them, as it says, for your sake I was sent to Babylon.5 And when they will be redeemed in the future, the Shechinah will be with them, as it says, Then the Lord thy God will return [with] thy captivity.6 It does not say here we-heshib [and he shall bring back] but we-shab [and he shall return]. This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be He, will return with them from the places of exile.

Beth Shammai said to Beth Hillel: If she was lame or blind, does one say of her: ‘Beautiful and graceful bride’? Whereas the Torah3 said, ‘Keep thee far from a false matter.’4 Said Beth Hillel to Beth Shammai: According to your words,5 if one has made a bad purchase in the market, should one praise it6 in his eyes or depreciate it?7 Surely,8 one should praise it in his eyes. Therefore,9 the Sages said: Always should the disposition of man be pleasant with people. — When R. Dimi came,10 he said: Thus they sing before the bride in the West:11 no powder12 and no paint13 and no waving14 [of the hair], and still a graceful gazelle. When the Rabbis ordained R. Zera they sang before him thus: No powder and no paint and no waving [of the hair], and still a graceful gazelle. When the Rabbis ordained R. Ammi and R. Assi they sang before them thus: Such as these, such as these ordain unto us, [but] do not ordain unto us of the perverters15 or babblers,16 and some say: of the half-scholars17 or one-third-scholars.18 When R. Abbahu came from the Academy to the court of the Emperor,19 hand-maids20 from the Imperial house went out towards him and sang before him thus, ‘Prince of his people, leader of his nation, shining light,21 blessed be thy coming in peace!’ They tell of R. Judah b. Ila’i that he used to take a myrtle twig and dance before the bride and say: ‘Beautiful and graceful bride.’ R. Samuel the son of R. Isaac danced with three [twigs].22 R. Zera said: The old man is putting us to shame.23 When he24 died,25 a pillar of fire came between him and the whole [of the rest of the] world. And there is a tradition that a pillar of fire has made such a separation26 only either for one in a generation or for two in a generation only.27 R. Zera said: His twig28 [benefited] the old man, and some say: His habit29 [benefited] the old man, and some say: his folly30 [benefited] the old man. — R. Aha took31 her32 on his shoulder and danced [with her]. The Rabbis said to him: May we [also] do it? He said to them: If they33 are on you34 like a beam,35 [then it is] all right. and if not, [you may] not. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said [that] R. Jonathan said: it is allowed to look intently at the face of the bride all the seven [days]36 in order to make her beloved to her husband.37 But the law is not according to him. Our Rabbis taught: One causes a funeral procession38 to make way39 for a bridal procession,40 and both of them41 for the King of Israel. One tells of King Agrippa that he made way for a bride, and the Sages praised him. — They praised him — from this it would seem that he did well. Did not R. Ashi say: Even according to him, who says [that] if a king forgoes his honour, his honour is forgone, if a king forgoes his honour, his honour is not forgone. for a Master said:42 ‘Thou shalt set a king over thee,’43 [this means] that his awe shall be over thee?44 — It was [at] a cross-road.45 Our Rabbis taught: One interrupts46 the study of the Torah for the sake of a funeral procession47 and the leading48 of the bride [under the bridal canopy]. They tell of R. Judah b. Ila’i that he interrupted the study of the Torah for the sake of a funeral procession49 and the leading50 of the bride [under the bridal canopy]. This applies only51 when there are not sufficient people at the funeral procession,52 but if there are sufficient people one does not interrupt [the study of the Torah].53

. It was recorded of R. Judah b. Ila’i that he used to suspend the study of the Torah for escorting a dead body to the burying place and a bride to the canopy. When does this rule [regarding the dead] apply? When there are not present sufficient numbers [to pay him due honour]; but if sufficient numbers are available, [the study of the Torah] is not suspended. What numbers are sufficient?-R. Samuel b. Inia said in the name of Rab: Twelve thousand and [in addition] six thousand trumpets, or, as according to another version, twelve thousand men of whom six thousand have trumpets. Ulla said: Enough to make a procession extending from the burying ground to the town gate. R. Shesheth said: The withdrawal of the Torah1 should correspond to its delivery:2 as its delivery was in the presence of sixty myriads, so its withdrawal should be accompanied by sixty myriads. This applies to one who knew by heart Scripture and Mishnah; but for one who [also] taught the Mishnah there is no limit.3

They tell of R. Judah b. Ila’i that he used to take a myrtle twig and dance before the bride and say: ‘Beautiful and graceful bride.’ R. Samuel the son of R. Isaac danced with three [twigs].22 R. Zera said: The old man is putting us to shame.23 When he24 died,25 a pillar of fire came between him and the whole [of the rest of the] world. And there is a tradition that a pillar of fire has made such a separation26 only either for one in a generation or for two in a generation only.27 R. Zera said: His twig28 [benefited] the old man, and some say: His habit29 [benefited] the old man, and some say: his folly30 [benefited] the old man. — R. Aha took31 her32 on his shoulder and danced [with her]. The Rabbis said to him: May we [also] do it? He said to them: If they33 are on you34 like a beam,35 [then it is] all right. and if not, [you may] not. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said [that] R. Jonathan said: it is allowed to look intently at the face of the bride all the seven [days]36 in order to make her beloved to her husband.37 But the law is not according to him. Our Rabbis taught: One causes a funeral procession38 to make way39 for a bridal procession,40 and both of them41 for the King of Israel. One tells of King Agrippa that he made way for a bride, and the Sages praised him. — They praised him — from this it would seem that he did well. Did not R. Ashi say: Even according to him, who says [that] if a king forgoes his honour, his honour is forgone, if a king forgoes his honour, his honour is not forgone. for a Master said:42 ‘Thou shalt set a king over thee,’43

Rabbah b. Bar Hanah reported R. Johanan as saying in the name of Rabbi Judah b. Ila’i: What a difference we can observe between the earlier generations and the later! (By the earlier generations he means Beth Shammai, and by the later R. Dosa). For it has been taught : ‘A woman who has been carried away captive may still eat terumah,9 according to the ruling of R. Dosa. Said R. Dosa: What after all has this Arab done to her? Because he squeezed her breasts, has he disqualified her for marrying a priest?’10 Rabbah b. Bar Hanah further quoted R. Johanan as saying in the name of Rabbi Judah b. Ila’i: What a difference we can observe between the earlier generations and the later! The earlier generations used to bring in their produce by way of the kitchen garden11 so as to make it liable to tithe, whereas the later generations bring in their produce over roofs and through enclosures so as not to make it liable for tithe, R. Jannai laid down that tebel12 is not liable for tithe13 until it has come in front of the house, since it says, I have put away the hallowed things out of mine house.14 R. Johanan, however, says that even a courtyard15 imposes the liability, as it says, That they may eat within thy gates and be filled.16

It has been stated: R. Isaac b. Joseph said in R. Johanan’s name: The halachah is as R. Judah. R. Aha son of R. Huna said in R. Shesheth’s name: The halachah is as R. Jose.28 Now, did R. Johanan really say this? But R. Johanan said, The halachah rests with an anonymous Mishnah, and we have learnt, HIS TEACHER, WHO INSTRUCTED HIM IN WISDOM!29 — What is meant by WISDOM? The greater part of one’s knowledge.

Our Rabbis taught: They who occupy themselves with the Bible [alone] are but of indifferent merit;30 with Mishnah, are indeed meritorious, and are rewarded for it; with Gemara31 — there can be nothing more meritorious; yet run always to the Mishnah more than to the Gemara. Now, this is self-contradictory. You say, ‘with Gemara — there can be nothing more meritorious;’ and then you say, ‘Yet run always to the Mishnah more than to the Gemara!’ — Said R. Johanan:

This teaching1 was taught in the days of Rabbi; thereupon everyone forsook the Mishnah and went to the Gemara; hence he subsequently taught them, ‘Yet run always to the Mishnah more than to the Gemara.’2 How was that inferred?3 — Even as R. Judah son of R. Ila’i expounded: What is the meaning of, Shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins?4 ‘Shew my people their transgression’ refers to scholars, whose unwitting errors5 are accounted as intentional faults;6 ‘and the house of Israel their sins’ — to the ignorant, whose intentional sins are accounted to them as unwitting errors. And that is the meaning of what we learnt: R. Judah said: Be heedful of the [Talmud],7 for an error in Talmud is accounted as intentional.

R. Judah son of R. Ila’i taught: What is meant by the verse, Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word?8 — This refers to scholars; Your brethren said, to students of Scripture; that hate you — to students of the Mishnah;9 that cast you out — to the ignorant.10 [Yet] lest you say, their hope [of future joy] is destroyed, and their prospects frustrated, Scripture states , And we shall see your joy.11 Lest you think, Israel shall be ashamed, — therefore it is stated, and they shall be ashamed: the idolaters shall be ashamed, whilst Israel shall rejoice.

Wherever an incident is related of a ‘pious man’, either Judah b. Baba or Judah b. Ila’i is meant. (Tem. 16b).]

R.Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Jonathan’s name: What is meant by the verse, Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised?4 — ‘Grace is deceitful’ refers to [the trial of] Joseph; ‘and beauty is vain’, to Boaz; while ‘and a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised’, to the case of Palti son of Layish. Another interpretation is: ‘Grace is deceitful’, refers to the generation of Moses;5 ‘and beauty is vain’ to that of Joshua; ‘and she that feareth the Lord shall be praised’, to that of Hezekiah.6 Others Say: ‘Grace is deceitful’, refers to the generations of Moses and Joshua; ‘and beauty is vain’, to the generation of Hezekiah; while ‘she that feareth the Lord shall be praised’. refers to the generation of R. Judah son of R. Ila’i, of whose time it was said that [though the poverty was so great that] six of his disciples had to cover themselves with one garment between them, yet they studied the Torah.7 MISHNAH. IF A DEATH OCCURS IN HIS [THE KING'S] FAMILY, HE MUST NOT GO OUT OF THE DOOR OF HIS PALACE. R. JUDAH SAID: IF HE WISHES TO FOLLOW THE BIER, HE MAY, EVEN AS WE FIND IN THE CASE OF DAVID, WHO FOLLOWED THE BIER OF ABNER, AS IT IS WRITTEN, AND KING DAVID FOLLOWED THE BIER.8 BUT THEY [THE RABBIS] ANSWERED: [THIS IS NO PROOF, FOR] THAT WAS BUT TO PACIFY THE PEOPLE.9 AND WHEN THE MOURNERS’ MEAL10 [AFTER THE FUNERAL] IS GIVEN TO HIM, ALL THE PEOPLE RECLINE ON THE GROUND, AND HE SITS ON THE DARGESH.11

MISHNAH. OATHS ARE OF TWO KINDS, SUBDIVIDED INTO FOUR;1 THE LAWS CONCERNING THE DISCOVERY OF HAVING [UNCONSCIOUSLY] SINNED THROUGH UNCLEANNESS ARE OF TWO KINDS, SUBDIVIDED INTO FOUR;2 THE LAWS CONCERNING CARRYING ON THE SABBATH ARE OF TWO KINDS, SUBDIVIDED INTO FOUR;3 THE SHADES OF LEPROUS AFFECTIONS ARE OF TWO KINDS, SUBDIVIDED INTO FOUR.4

WHERE5 THERE IS KNOWLEDGE AT THE BEGINNING AND AT THE END BUT FORGETFULNESS BETWEEN,6 A ‘SLIDING SCALES’ SACRIFICE IS BROUGHT.7 WHERE THERE IS KNOWLEDGE AT THE BEGINNING BUT NOT AT THE END, THE GOAT THE BLOOD OF WHICH IS SPRINKLED WITHIN THE VEIL ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT8 TOGETHER WITH THE DAY OF ATONEMENT ITSELF HOLD THE SIN IN SUSPENSE9 UNTIL IT BECOME KNOWN TO THE SINNER, AND HE BRINGS THE ‘SLIDING SCALE’ SACRIFICE. WHERE THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE AT THE BEGINNING BUT THERE IS KNOWLEDGE AT THE END, THE GOAT SACRIFICED ON THE OUTER ALTAR TOGETHER WITH THE DAY OF ATONEMENT ITSELF BRING HIM FORGIVENESS;10 FOR IT IS SAID: ‘[ONE HE-GOAT FOR A SIN-OFFERING] BESIDE THE SIN-OFFERING OF ATONEMENT’:11 [THEY ARE LIKENED TO ONE ANOTHER SO THAT WE MAY DEDUCE THAT] BOTH ATONE FOR SIMILAR KINDS OF SIN: JUST AS THE ‘INNER’ GOAT12 ATONES ONLY FOR AN UNCONSCIOUS SIN — WHERE THERE WAS KNOWLEDGE [AT THE BEGINNING], SO THE ‘OUTER’13 GOAT ATONES ONLY FOR AN UNCONSCIOUS SIN — WHERE THERE WAS KNOWLEDGE [AT THE END]. WHERE THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE EITHER AT THE BEGINNING OR AT THE END, THE GOATS OFFERED AS SIN-OFFERINGS ON FESTIVALS AND NEW MOONS BRING ATONEMENT. THIS IS THE OPINION OF R. JUDAH [B. ILA'I]. R. SIMEON [B. YOHAI] HOLDS THAT THE FESTIVAL GOATS ALONE AND NOT THE NEW MOON GOATS ATONE FOR THIS CLASS OF UNCONSCIOUS OFFENCE.14 AND FOR WHAT DO THE NEW MOON GOATS BRING ATONEMENT? —

Rabbi (R. Judah ha-Nassi), in compiling the Mishnah, drew upon earlier collections, of which each Tanna possessed one. An anonymous Mishnah is based upon R. Meir’s collection, though not necessarily reflecting R. Meir’s views. For this interpretation. v. Weiss, Dor. Vol. II, pp. 51f; Strack, Introduction to Talmud and Midrash, p. 21, The Tosefta, as its name implies (‘addition’) is a further elaboration and development of Tannaitic teaching, closely allied to the Mishnah. The relation of the Mishnah to the Tosefta is a problem which has so far remained unsolved; v. Strack, op. cit., pp. 74ff. The Sifra (also called ohbvf ,ru,) is the traditional interpretation of Leviticus, to which is prefaced an exposition of the Thirteen Principles of Hermeneutics of the School of R. Ishmael. Though ascribed here to R. Judah b. Ila’i, our version contains many additions by later teachers, and its final compilation is generally assigned to R. Hiyya. It is also occasionally referred to as the Sifra debe Rab (of the College of Rab). Whether this is to indicate Rab’s authorship is one of the literary problems, among others, which the Sifra presents. (V. Weiss, op. cit pp. 193 seqq.) The Sifre contains the commentary on Num. V to the end of Deut. This too contains additions later than R. Simeon, to whom it is here ascribed, and is a composite work shaped by the School of Rab (v. Weiss, op. cit.), but in any case the Sifre now extant is not identical with the Talmudic Sifre.

(3) Hence, since both are anonymous passages in the Sifre, R. Simeon is the author of both.

view of R. Jacob, who holds that the violation of a negative precept involving no action is not punishable by lashes? Perhaps it is reflecting the view of R. Judah [b. Ila'i], who holds that this transgression is not punishable by lashes, because Scripture has come to appoint a positive precept to follow the negative precept,10 but otherwise it would be punishable by lashes. For it is taught: Ye shall let nothing remain until the morning; but that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire:11 Scripture has come to appoint the positive precept to follow the negative precept to teach us that this negative precept is not punishable by lashes, — this is the opinion of R. Judah. R. Jacob says, this is not the reason;12 but rather because it is a negative precept not involving action, and the disregard of a negative precept not involving action is not punishable by lashes.13

R. Ashi said, I have observed that scribes who are most particular add a vertical stroke to the roof of the letter heth,11 and suspend the [inner] leg of the letter he. They add a vertical stroke to the roof of the letter heth, signifying thereby that He lives in the heights of the word.12 And they suspend the [inner] leg of the letter he for the reason given in the following discussion. For R. Judah the patriarch asked R. Ammi, What is the meaning of the verse, Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in Yah the Lord is an everlasting rock?13 He replied, It implies that if one puts his trust in the Holy One, blessed be He, behold He is unto him as a refuge in this world and in the world to come. This, retorted the other, was my difficulty: why does the verse say in Yah and not Yah? The reason is as was expounded by R. Judah b. R. Ila’i. [Yah, he said,] refers to the two worlds which the Holy One, blessed be He, created, one with the letter he and the other with the letter yod. Yet I do not know whether the future world was created with the yod and this world with the he or this world with the yod and the future world with the he; but since it is written, These are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were created:14 read not be-hibare’am,15 when they were created, but be-he bera’am,16 He created them with the he; hence I may say that this world was created with the he and the future world with the yod. And wherefore was this world created with the he? — Because it is like an exedra17 and whosoever wishes to go astray18 may do so. And wherefore is the [left] leg [of the he] suspended? — To indicate that whosoever repents is permitted to re-enter.19 And why should he not re-enter by the same [way as he went out]? — Such an opportunity would not arise;20 and this is consistent with Resh Lakish’s view. For Resh Lakish said, What is the meaning of the verse, If it concerneth the scorners, He scorneth them, but unto the humble He giveth grace?21 If a man comes to purify himself, they assist him; but if he comes to defile himself, they open the door for him. And wherefore has [the letter he] a coronet? — Because the Holy One, blessed be He, says, If a man repents I will set a crown upon him. And why was the future world created with the letter yod? — Because the righteous men therein are but few.22 And why is its head bent low? — Because the righteous men therein hang their heads low, for the good deeds of one are not like [the good deeds of] the other.23

GEMARA. R. Tarfon was sitting and asked this question: What [is the reason for the difference in law] between [what is offered] before the ‘Omer and [what is offered] before the Two Loaves?12 Said Judah b. Nehemiah before him, No; you can say [that what is offered] before the ‘Omer [is invalid]. for the prohibition [of the new corn] does not admit of any exception to the private individual,13 but can you say so [of what is offered] before the Two Loaves, seeing that the prohibition does admit of an exception to the private individual?14 R. Tarfon remained silent, and at once the face of Judah b. Nehemiah brightened with joy. Thereupon R. Akiba said to him, ‘Judah. your face has brightened with joy because you have refuted the Sage; I wonder whether you will live long’ — Said R. Judah b. Ila’i, ‘This happened a fortnight before the Passover,15 and when I came up for the ‘Azereth16 festival I enquired after Judah b. Nehemiah and was told that he had passed away’.

GEMARA. This question was asked before12 R. Judah b. Ila’i: How do we know that if a man said, ‘I take upon myself to offer Sixty-one tenths’, he must bring sixty in one vessel and the one in another vessel? R. Judah b. Ila’i, the chief speaker on all occasions,13 opened the discussion and said, Since we find that the congregation bring on the first day of the Feast [of Tabernacles] when it falls on a Sabbath sixty-one tenths, it is enough for an individual that [his meal-offering] be less by one tenth than that of the congregation. R. Simeon said to him, But some of these [sixty-one tenths] are for the bullocks and the rams and some for the lambs, with some the mixture is thick and with some it is thin,14 some are mingled in the morning and some in the evening,15 and they may not be mixed one with the other! Thereupon [R. Judah] said to him, You explain it. He replied, It is written, And every meal-offering mingled with oil or dry:16 thus the Torah says, Bring a meal-offering that can be mingled [in one vessel]. To this he objected saying, Can sixty be mingled [in one vessel] and not sixty-one? He replied, So it is with all the measures prescribed by the Sages: a man may immerse himself in forty se’ahs [of water], but he may not immerse himself in forty se’ahs less one kortob; an egg’s bulk of food can convey food-uncleanness, but an egg’s bulk of food less one sesame seed cannot convey food-uncleanness; [a cloth that is] three handbreadths square is susceptible to midras-uncleanness,17

. Rabbi, in whose house the above incident about the mule occurred. Chronologically it is very difficult to accept that R. Judah b. Ila’i held a position in the household of R. Judah the prince (or Rabbi). V. however Tosaf. s.v. tbhhrun.

It has been taught: All the ‘grape-clusters’ who arose in Israel from the days of Moses until the death of Joseph b. Jo’ezer of Zereda were free from all dofi [taint].33 From that time onward some matter of taint was found in them.34 But has it not been taught: There is the story of a certain hasid35 who groaned [from a pain] in his heart, and when the doctors were consulted they said that there was no remedy for him unless he sucked hot milk from [a goat36 every morning]. They brought a goat and bound it to the feet of his bed and he used to suck milk from it. Next day his friends came to visit him. When they saw the goat they exclaimed: ‘A robber in arms is in the house37 and shall we go in to visit him?’ [They38 left him immediately. When he died] they sat down and made investigation and found no other sin in him except that of [the keeping of] the goat. He [the hasid] too at his death said: ‘I myself know that I have not sinned except in the keeping of this goat, having thus transgressed the teaching of my colleagues’. For the Sages taught: One must not rear small cattle in the Land of Israel. And it is also an established fact with us that wherever the Talmud speaks of a certain hasid it refers either to R. Judah b. Baba or R. Judah b. Ila’i. Now [these] Rabbis39 lived many generations after Joseph b. Jo’ezer of Zereda.40

Said R. Joseph: [The word dofi here means] dispute, [e.g., the dispute] relating to ‘laying on of hands’.1 But does not Joseph b. Jo’ezer himself differ with reference to the law of laying on of hands?2 — When he differed it was in his latter years, when his me

, R. Judah b. Ila’i and R. Judah b. Baba, and it says here that no sin was found in them.

Midrash Raba

. THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH. Beth Shammai maintain: The heaven was first created; while Beth Hillel hold: The earth was first created. In the view of Beth Shammai this is parallel to the case of a king who first made his throne and then his footstool, for it is written, The heaven is My Throne, and the earth is My footstool (Isa. LXVI, 1). On the view of Beth Hillel this is to be compared to a king who builds a palace; after building the nether portion he builds the upper, for it is written, In the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven (Gen. II, 4). R. Judah b. R. Ilai said: This supports Beth Hillel, viz. Of old Thou didst lay the foundations of the earth, which is followed by, And the heavens are the work of Thy hands (Ps. CII, 26). R. Hanin said: From the very text which [apparently] supports Beth Shammai,7 Beth Hillelrefute them, viz. And the earth was (Gen. I, 2), meaning

____________________

(1) Eth is the sign of the acc.

(2) A town in Judea. By a play on words this name is frequently connected with gam zu, ‘ this too,’ because whatever happened Nahum would say, ‘this too shall be for good ‘ (v. Ta’an. 21a).

(3) Which extend and add to the verse.

(4) I.e. without the sign of the accusative they might be regarded as nominatives and additional subjects of’ created’, or (‘E.J.) as in apposition to ‘ God ‘.

(5) The n of ofn may be causative: if you find it empty, it is through your own fault (Mah.).

(6) V. Hag. 12a where this is repeated with some variations.

(7) Viz. our text, in which heaven comes first.

Gen. 13

that it had already existed [before heaven].1 R. Johanan, reporting the Sages, said: As regards creation, heaven was first; as regards completion, earth was first. Said R. Tanhuma: I will state the grounds [of this opinion]: as regards creation heaven was first, as it is written, IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN; whereas in respect of completion earth took precedence, for it is written, In the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. R. Simeon observed: I am amazed that the fathers of the world2 engage in controversy over this matter, for surely both were created [simultaneously] like a pot and its lid, [as it is written], When I call unto them [sc. heaven and earth], they stand up together (Isa. XLVIII, 13). R. Eleazar b. R. Simeon observed: If my father’s view is right, why is the earth sometimes given precedence over the heaven, and sometimes heaven over earth? In fact it teaches that they are equal to each other.3

Everywhere Abraham is mentioned before Isaac, and Isaac before Jacob; yet in one place it says, Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham (Lev. XXVI, 42): this teaches that the three are on a par.

R. Judah b. R. Ilai said: There will be neither a day nor a Gehenna, but fire shall come forth from the body of the wicked himself and burn him up. What is the proof? Ye conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble, your breath is a fire that shalI devour you

If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place  (Eccl. X, 4). This refers to Noah. Noah argued: Just as I entered the Ark only when I was permitted, so may I not go out save with permission. R. Judah b. R. Ilai said: Had I been there I would have broken it and gone out! Noah, however, said: I entered with permission and I will leave with permission. Thus: Come thou into the ark- And Noah went in; Go forth from the Ark-And Noah went forth.

R. Judah, R. Nehemiah, and the Rabbis comment. R. Judah says: It refers to the children who are buried early in life through the sins of their fathers in this world. In the Hereafter they will range themselves with the band of the righteous, while their fathers will be ranged with the band of the wicked. They will speak before Him: ‘Lord of the universe, did we not die early only because of the sins of our fathers? Let our fathers come over to us through our merits.’1 He replies to them, ‘ Your fathers sinned also after your death, and their wrongdoings accuse them.’ R. Judah b. R. Ilai said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: At that time Elijah (may he be remembered for good) will be there to suggest a defence. He will say to the children: ‘Speak before Him, “Lord of the universe, which Attribute of Thine predominates, that of Grace or Punishment? Surely the Attribute of Grace is great and that of Punishment small, yet we died through the sins of our fathers. If then the Attribute of Grace exceeds the other, how much more should our fathers come over to us!”’ Therefore he says to them, ‘Well have you pleaded; let them come over to you’; as it is written, And they shall live with their children, and shall return (Zech. X, 9), which means that they returned from the descent to Gehinnom and were rescued through the merit of their children. Therefore every man is under the obligation to teach his son Torah that he may rescue

him from Gehinnom.

R. Samuel b. Nahman interpreted the verse in connection with David. When Solomon built the Temple, he wanted fire to descend from heaven [to consume the offerings], but it did not descend. He offered a thousand sacrifices, but it did not descend. He offered twenty-four prayers, but it did not descend. Finally he said, Remember the good deeds of David Thy servant (II Chron. VI, 42), and immediately fire descended, as it is stated, Now when

____________________

(1) By that question he evinced lack of faith.

(2) E.V. ‘ In Thine anger’.

(3) E.V. ‘He’.

(4) The dead patriarchs were able to secure mercy for Israel whereas Moses had been unsuccessful.

Eccl. 113

Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven (ib. VII, 1). R. Judah b. R. Ilai and the Rabbis differ in their explanation. R. Judah b. R. Ilai said: David came to life at that time; the Rabbis said: Solomon brought his coffin. They are, however, not really at variance1; because he who said that David came to life at that time is supported by what David declared with his own mouth, viz. O Lord, Thou broughtest up my soul from the netherworld (Ps. XXX, 4),2 and another verse declares, O Lord God, turn not away the face of Thine anointed (II Chron. VI, 42), i.e. who liveth before Thee.3 The other opinion, that Solomon brought David’s coffin, is supported by the text, ‘Remember the good deeds of David Thy servant.’ 4 Concerning that occasion it is said, WHEREFORE PRAISED THE DEAD THAT ARE ALREADY DEAD MORE THAN THE LIVING THAT ARE YET ALIVE, as, e.g., myself [Solomon] and my contemporaries.5

An idolater saw R. Judah b. R. Ilai, and, noticing that his face shone, exclaimed, ‘ This man is one of three things: he is either intoxicated, or a usurer, or a breeder of pigs.’ R. Judah b. R. Ilai heard the remark and said, ‘A curse upon you! I am none of these three things. I am not a usurer, for it is written, Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother (Deut. XXIII, 20); nor am I a breeder of pigs because this is forbidden to a son of Israel, as we have learnt in the Mishnah: It is not right to breed pigs in any place whatever.2 Nor am I intoxicated, for even the four cups of wine which I drink on the night of Passover3 give me a headache from Passover to Pentecost.’4 ‘Why, then, is your face so bright?’ he asked; and the Rabbi answered, ‘My study of Torah brightens my face, as it is written, A MAN’S WISDOM MAKETH HIS FACE TO SHINE.’

R. Judah said in the name of R. Ilai: If I had been there I would have wound a rope of wool around [Solomon's] neck, and when he said, ‘ Fetch me a sword,’ had she [the child's mother] not been filled with compassion for the babe, he would already have been strangled; and concerning that time it states, WOE TO THEE, O LAND, WHEN THY KING IS A BOY.2 Then [Solomon] in his wisdom began a concluding argument3 and said, ‘Was it for nothing that the Holy One, blessed be He, created for man two eyes, two ears, two legs, and two hands? The Holy One, blessed be He, foresaw that this case was to happen.’4 So he did not tarry,5 but [immediately] said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it (ib. 27). Concerning that time it states, HAPPY ART THOU O LAND, WHEN THY KING IS A FREE MAN, AND THY PRINCES EAT IN DUE SEASON (X, 17)6: viz. [they have their enjoyment] in the time of the World to Come, AND NOT IN DRUNKENNESS: in his strength, and not in his weakness. 7 Then the king answered and said: ‘Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it’; and the

Our Rabbis taught: It is related that once when a certain pious man was praying by the roadside, an officer came by and greeted him and he did not return his greeting. So he waited for him till he had finished his prayer. When he had finished his prayer he said to him: Fool!31 is it not written in your Law, Only take heed to thyself and keep thy soul diligently,32 and it is also written, Take ye therefore good heed unto your souls?33 When I greeted you why did you not return my greeting? If I had cut off your head with my sword, who would have demanded satisfaction for your blood from me? He replied to him: Be patient and I will explain to you. If, [he went on], you had been standing before an earthly king and your friend had come and given you greeting, would you

have returned it? No, he replied. And if you had returned his greeting, what would they have done to you? They would have cut off my head with the sword, he replied. He then said to him: Have we not here then an a fortiori argument: If [you would have behaved] in this way when standing before an earthly king who is here today and tomorrow in the grave, how much more so I when standing before the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, who endures for all eternity? Forthwith the officer accepted his explanation, and the pious man returned to his home in peace.

And R. Isaac said [commenting on this]: The worm is as painful to the dead as a needle in the flesh of the living? [He replied]: It is explained that they know their own pain, they do not know the pain of others. Is that so? Has it not been taught: It is related that a certain pious man gave a denar to a poor man on the eve of New Year in a year of drought, and his wife scolded him, and he went and passed the night in the cemetery, and he heard two spirits conversing with one another. Said one to her companion: My dear, come and let us wander about the world and let us hear from behind the curtain10 what suffering is coming on the world.11 Said her companion to her: I am not able, because I am buried in a matting of reeds.12 But do you go, and whatever you hear tell me. So the other went and wandered about and returned. Said her companion to her: My dear, what have you heard from behind the curtain? She replied: I heard that whoever sows after the first rainfall13 will have his crop smitten by hail. So the man went and did not sow till after the second rainfall,14 with the result that everyone else’s crop was smitten and his was not smitten.15 The next year he again went and passed the night in the cemetery, and heard the two spirits conversing with one another. Said one to her companion: Come and let us wander about the world and hear from behind the curtain what punishment is coming upon the world. Said the other to her: My dear, did I not tell you that I am not able because I am buried in a matting of reeds? But do you go, and whatever you hear, come and tell me. So the other one went and wandered about the world and returned. She said to her: My dear, what have you heard from behind the curtain? She replied: I heard that whoever sows after the later rain will have his crop smitten with blight. So the man went and sowed after the first rain with the result that everyone else’s crop was blighted and his was not blighted.16 Said his wife to him: How is it that last year everyone else’s crop was smitten and yours was not smitten, and this year everyone else’s crop is blighted and yours is not blighted? So he related to her all his experiences. The story goes that shortly afterwards a quarrel broke out between the wife of that pious man and the mother of the child,17 and the former said to the latter, Come and I will show you your daughter buried in a matting of reeds. The next year the man again went and spent the night in the cemetery and heard those conversing together. One said: My dear, come and let us wander about the world and hear from behind the curtain what suffering is coming upon the world. Said the other: My dear, leave me alone; our conversation has already been heard among the living. This would prove that they know? — Perhaps some other man after his decease went and told them.

Our Rabbis taught: It happened that a certain pious man4 ransomed an Israelite maiden [from captivity]; at the inn he made her lie at his feet. On the morrow he went down, had a ritual bath, and learnt with his disciples. Said he to them, ‘When I made her lie at my feet, of what did you suspect me?’ ‘We thought, perhaps there is a disciple amongst us who[se character] is not clearly known5 to our Master.’6 ‘When I descended and had a ritual bath, of what did you suspect me?’ ‘We thought, perhaps through the fatigue of the journey the Master was visited by nocturnal pollution.’ ‘By the [Temple] Service!’ exclaimed he to them, ‘it was even so. And just as you judged me favourably, so may the Omnipresent judge you favourably.’

Our Rabbis taught:2 There was once a certain pious person3 who suffered with his heart, and the doctors on being consulted said that there was no remedy for him unless he sucked warm milk every morning. A goat was therefore brought to him and fastened to the legs of the bed, and he sucked from it every morning. After some days his colleagues came to visit him, but as soon as they noticed the goat fastened to the legs of the bed they turned back and said: ‘An armed robber4 is in the house of this man, how can we come in to [see] him?’ They thereupon sat down and inquired into his conduct, but they did not find any fault in him except this sin about the goat. He also at the time of his death proclaimed: ‘I know that no sin can be imputed to me save that of the goat, when I transgressed against the words of my colleagues.’

Raba further objected [from the following]: It once happened that a certain pious man bought an article from two persons without knowing from whom he had bought it, and when he consulted R. Tarfon, the latter said to him: ‘Leave the purchase money among them and depart’, but when he came to R. Akiba he said to him: ‘There is no remedy for you unless you pay each of them.’ Now, if you assume that a [false] oath was taken here, would a pious man swear falsely?12 Nor can you say that he first took an oath and subsequently became a pious man, since wherever we say that ‘it once happened with a certain pious man,’ he was either R. Judah b. Baba or R. Judah b. Il’ai,13 and, as is well known, R. Judah b. Baba and R. Judah b. Il’ai were pious men from the very beginning!14 — [The ruling of the Mishnah] must therefore be in accordance with R. Tarfon, for R. Tarfon would agree where a false oath was taken,15 the reason being that Scripture stated, And give it unto him to whom it appertaineth in the day of his trespass offering.16 but R. Akiba maintained that even where no oath was taken, a fine has to be imposed.

Raba further objected [from the following]: It once happened that a certain pious man bought an article from two persons without knowing from whom he had bought it, and when he consulted R. Tarfon, the latter said to him: ‘Leave the purchase money among them and depart’, but when he came to R. Akiba he said to him: ‘There is no remedy for you unless you pay each of them.’ Now, if you assume that a [false] oath was taken here, would a pious man swear falsely?12 Nor can you say that he first took an oath and subsequently became a pious man, since wherever we say that ‘it once happened with a certain pious man,’ he was either R. Judah b. Baba or R. Judah b. Il’ai,13 and, as is well known, R. Judah b. Baba and R. Judah b. Il’ai were pious men from the very beginning!14 — [The ruling of the Mishnah] must therefore be in accordance with R. Tarfon, for R. Tarfon would agree where a false oath was taken,15 the reason being that Scripture stated, And give it unto him to whom it appertaineth in the day of his trespass offering.16 but R. Akiba maintained that even where no oath was taken, a fine has to be imposed.

GEMARA. [TO THE BUILDING OF A PORTER'S LODGE.] This would seem to show that a porter’s lodge is an improvement: yet how can this be, seeing that there was a certain pious man11 with whom Elijah used to converse until he made a porter’s lodge, after which he did not converse with him any more?12 — There is no contradiction; in the one case we suppose the lodge to be inside [the courtyard], in the other outside.13 Or if you like I can say that in both cases we suppose the lodge to be outside, and still there is no difficulty, because in the one case there is a door and in the other there is no door.14 Or again we may suppose that in both cases there is a door, and still there is no difficulty, because in the one case there is a latch15 and the other there is no latch. Or again I may say that in both cases there is a latch and still there is no difficulty, because in the one case the latch is inside and in the other outside.16 HE MAY BE COMPELLED TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE COST OF A PORTER’S LODGE AND A DOOR. It has been taught: Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel Says: Not all courtyards require a porter’s lodge; a courtyard which abuts on the public thoroughfare requires a lodge, but one which does not abut on the public thoroughfare17 does not require such a lodge. The Rabbis, however, hold that [it does, because] sometimes in a crowd people force their way in.

An objection was raised [from the following]: There was a certain pious man among the heathen named Job, but he [thought that he had] come into this world only to receive [here] his reward, and when the Holy One, blessed be He, brought chastisements upon him, he began to curse and blaspheme, so the Holy One, blessed be He, doubled his reward in this world so as to expel him from the world to come. There is a difference on this point between Tannaim, as it has been taught: R. Eliezer says that Job was in the days ‘of the judging of the judges,’7 as it says [in the book of Job], Behold all of you together have seen it; why then are ye become altogether vain?8 What generation is it that is altogether vain? You must say, the generation where there is a ‘judging of the judges’.9 R. Joshua b. Korhah says: Job was in the time of Ahasuerus, for it says, And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job.10 What was the generation in which fair women were sought out? You must say that this was the generation of Ahasuerus. But perhaps he was in the time of David [in connection with whom] it is written, So they sought for a fair damsel?11 — In the case of David [the search was only] in all the border of Israel, in the case of Ahasuerus, in all the land. R. Nathan says that Job was in the time of the kingdom of Sheba, since it says , The Sabaeans fell on them and took them away.12 The Sages say that he was in the time of the Chaldeans, as it says, The Chaldeans made three bands.13 Some say that Job lived in the time of Jacob and married Dinah the daughter of Jacob. [The proof is that] it is written here [in the book of Job], Thou speakest as one of the impious women [nebaloth] speaketh,14 and it is written in another place [in connection with Dinah], Because he had wrought folly [nebelah] it, Israel.15 All these Tannaim agree that Job was from Israel, except those who say [that he lived in the days of Jacob]. [This must be so,] for if you suppose that [they regarded him as] a heathen, [the question would arise,] after the death of Moses how could the Divine Presence rest upon a heathen,16 seeing that a Master has said, Moses prayed that the Divine Presence should not rest on gentiles, and God granted his request as it says, That we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth..17

ONE MUST NOT GO TO THE TEHUM TO AWAIT NIGHTFALL. Our Rabbis taught: It once happened that a breach was made in the field of a pious man and he decided to fence it about, when he recalled that it was the Sabbath, so he refrained and did not repair it; thereupon a miracle was performed for him, a caper bush grew up there, whence he and his household derived their livelihood.

About these ads
Comments Off





Comments are closed.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 110 other followers

%d bloggers like this: