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Today's Daf Yomi

February 1, 2017 | ה׳ בשבט תשע״ז

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Joanna Rom and Steven Goldberg in loving memory of Steve's mother Shirley "Nana" Goldberg (Sura Tema bat Chaim v'Hanka)

Bava Batra 10

The gemara continues to discuss the importance of the mitzah of giving tzedaka.  Rabbi Akiva and Turnusrufus debate God’s ways of the world and the question of why would God create an imperfect world.

ימצא חיים בעלי עושר דכתיב צדקה בעלי אגדה דכתיב וכבוד כתיב הכא וכבוד וכתיב התם כבוד חכמים ינחלו

“He who pursues charity and mercy, finds life” (Proverbs 21:21), and with regard to wisdom it is written: “He who finds Me, finds life” (Proverbs 8:35). Masters of wealth, as it is written: “He who pursues charity and mercy finds charity,” meaning he will be able to give charity. Masters of aggada, as it is written: “He who pursues charity and mercy, finds honor.” And how do we know that this refers to masters of aggada? It is written here “honor,” and it is written there: “The wise shall inherit honor” (Proverbs 3:35).

תניא היה רבי מאיר אומר יש לו לבעל הדין להשיבך ולומר לך אם אלהיכם אוהב עניים הוא מפני מה אינו מפרנסן אמור לו כדי שניצול אנו בהן מדינה של גיהנם וזו שאלה שאל טורנוסרופוס הרשע את רבי עקיבא אם אלהיכם אוהב עניים הוא מפני מה אינו מפרנסם אמר לו כדי שניצול אנו בהן מדינה של גיהנם

§ It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Meir would say: An opponent may bring an argument against you and say to you: If your God loves the poor, for what reason does He not support them Himself? In such a case, say to him: He commands us to act as His agents in sustaining the poor, so that through them we will be credited with the performance of mitzvot and therefore be saved from the judgment of Gehenna. And this is the question that Turnus Rufus the wicked asked Rabbi Akiva: If your God loves the poor, for what reason does He not support them Himself? Rabbi Akiva said to him: He commands us to sustain the poor, so that through them and the charity we give them we will be saved from the judgment of Gehenna.

אמר לו [אדרבה] זו שמחייבתן לגיהנם אמשול לך משל למה הדבר דומה למלך בשר ודם שכעס על עבדו וחבשו בבית האסורין וצוה עליו שלא להאכילו ושלא להשקותו והלך אדם אחד והאכילו והשקהו כששמע המלך לא כועס עליו ואתם קרוין עבדים שנאמר כי לי בני ישראל עבדים

Turnus Rufus said to Rabbi Akiva: On the contrary, it is this charity which condemns you, the Jewish people, to Gehenna because you give it. I will illustrate this to you with a parable. To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to a king of flesh and blood who was angry with his slave and put him in prison and ordered that he should not be fed or given to drink. And one person went ahead and fed him and gave him to drink. If the king heard about this, would he not be angry with that person? And you, after all, are called slaves, as it is stated: “For the children of Israel are slaves to Me” (Leviticus 25:55). If God decreed that a certain person should be impoverished, one who gives him charity defies the will of God.

אמר לו רבי עקיבא אמשול לך משל למה הדבר דומה למלך בשר ודם שכעס על בנו וחבשו בבית האסורין וצוה עליו שלא להאכילו ושלא להשקותו והלך אדם אחד והאכילו והשקהו כששמע המלך לא דורון משגר לו ואנן קרוין בנים דכתיב בנים אתם לה׳ אלהיכם

Rabbi Akiva said to Turnus Rufus: I will illustrate the opposite to you with a different parable. To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to a king of flesh and blood who was angry with his son and put him in prison and ordered that he should not be fed or given to drink. And one person went ahead and fed him and gave him to drink. If the king heard about this once his anger abated, would he not react by sending that person a gift? And we are called sons, as it is written: “You are sons of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1).

אמר לו אתם קרוים בנים וקרוין עבדים בזמן שאתם עושין רצונו של מקום אתם קרוין בנים ובזמן שאין אתם עושין רצונו של מקום אתם קרוין עבדים ועכשיו אין אתם עושים רצונו של מקום אמר לו הרי הוא אומר הלא פרס לרעב לחמך ועניים מרודים תביא בית אימתי עניים מרודים תביא בית האידנא וקאמר הלא פרס לרעב לחמך

Turnus Rufus said to him: You are called sons and you are called slaves. When you fulfill the will of the Omnipresent, you are called sons; when you do not fulfill the will of the Omnipresent, you are called slaves. And since now you do not fulfill the will of the Omnipresent, the parable that I offered is more apt. Rabbi Akiva said to him: The verse states: “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you shall bring the poor that are cast out to your house?” (Isaiah 58:7). When do we bring the poor that are cast out into our houses? Now, when we have to billet the Roman soldiers in our homes; and about that very time, the verse states: “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry?”

דרש רבי יהודה ברבי שלום כשם שמזונותיו של אדם קצובין לו מראש השנה כך חסרונותיו של אדם קצובין לו מראש השנה זכה הלא פרס לרעב לחמך לא זכה ועניים מרודים תביא בית

Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Shalom taught: Just as a person’s entire livelihood is allocated to him from Rosh HaShana, when God issues His judgments for the entire year, so too are a person’s monetary losses allocated to him from Rosh HaShana. If one merits, the following verse is applied to him: “You shall share your bread with the hungry,” i.e., he will spend the sum allocated to him on gifts of charity; and if he does not merit, the following verse is applied to him: “You shall bring the poor that are cast out to your house, i.e., he will be compelled by the government to billet soldiers in his house and feed them against his will.

כי הא דבני אחתיה דרבן יוחנן בן זכאי חזא להו בחילמא דבעו למיחסר שבע מאה דינרי עשינהו שקל מינייהו לצדקה פוש גבייהו שיבסר דינרי כי מטא מעלי יומא דכיפורי שדור דבי קיסר נקטינהו

It is like this incident involving the nephews of Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai, who once saw in a dream that his nephews were destined to lose seven hundred dinars over the course of the year. He encouraged them and took money from them for charity, and they were left with seventeen dinars out of the seven hundred. When Yom Kippur eve arrived, the government sent messengers who came and took the remaining seventeen dinars.

אמר להו רבן יוחנן בן זכאי לא תדחלון שיבסר דינרי גבייכו שקלינהו מינייכו אמרי ליה מנא ידעת אמר להו חלמא חזאי לכו אמרו ליה ואמאי לא אמרת לן [דניתבינהו] אמר להו אמינא כי היכי דתעבדו מצוה לשמה

Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to them: Do not fear that they will take even more from you; they took from you the seventeen dinars that were still with you. The nephews said to him: How did you know? Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to them: I saw a dream about you, and he related his dream to them. They said to him: And why did you not tell us about the dream? Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to them: I said, It is better that they perform a mitzva for its own sake. Had you known from the start that you were fated to lose that amount of money, the mitzva would not have been performed purely for its own sake.

רב פפא הוה סליק בדרגא אישתמיט כרעיה בעי למיפל אמר השתא כן איחייב מאן דסני לן כמחללי שבתות וכעובדי עבודה זרה אמר ליה חייא בר רב מדפתי לרב פפא שמא עני בא לידך ולא פרנסתו

The Gemara relates: Rav Pappa was once climbing up a ladder when his foot slipped and he almost fell. He said: Now, is the one who hates us, a euphemism for himself, liable like Shabbat desecrators and idol worshippers, who are subject to death by stoning, which is similar to death by falling, the punishment that Rav Pappa narrowly escaped? Ḥiyya bar Rav of Difti said to Rav Pappa: Perhaps a poor person once approached you and you did not sustain him, and therefore you were given a glimpse of the punishment that you actually deserve.

דתניא רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר כל המעלים עיניו מן הצדקה כאילו עובד עבודה זרה כתיב הכא השמר לך פן יהיה דבר עם לבבך בליעל וכתיב התם יצאו אנשים בני בליעל מה להלן עבודה זרה אף כאן עבודה זרה

As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa says: Anyone who turns his eyes away from one seeking charity is considered as if he worships idols. From where is this derived? It is written here: “Beware that there be not a base thought in your heart…and your eye be evil against your poor brother, and you give him nothing” (Deuteronomy 15:9). And it is written there: “Certain base men have gone out…and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods” (Deuteronomy 13:14). Just as there, the base men sin with idolatry, so too here, the base thought is treated like idolatry.

תניא אמר רבי אלעזר ברבי יוסי כל צדקה וחסד שישראל עושין בעולם הזה שלום גדול ופרקליטין גדולין בין ישראל לאביהן שבשמים שנאמר כה אמר ה׳ אל תבא בית מרזח ואל תלך לספוד ואל תנד להם כי אספתי את שלומי מאת העם הזה וגו׳ [את] החסד ואת הרחמים חסד זו גמילות חסדים רחמים זו צדקה

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, said: All acts of charity and kindness that Jews perform in this world make great peace and are great intercessors between the Jewish people and their Father in Heaven, as it is stated: “So said the Lord, enter not into a house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them, for I have taken away My peace from this people, says the Lord, both kindness and mercy” (Jeremiah 16:5). “Kindness”; this is referring to acts of kindness. “Mercy”; this is referring to acts of charity. This indicates that when there is kindness and mercy, God is at peace with His people.

תניא רבי יהודה אומר גדולה צדקה שמקרבת את הגאולה שנאמר כה אמר ה׳ שמרו משפט ועשו צדקה כי קרובה ישועתי לבא וצדקתי להגלות הוא היה אומר עשרה דברים קשים נבראו בעולם הר קשה ברזל מחתכו ברזל קשה אור מפעפעו אור קשה מים מכבין אותו מים קשים עבים סובלים אותן עבים קשים רוח מפזרתן רוח קשה גוף סובלו גוף קשה פחד שוברו פחד קשה יין מפיגו יין קשה שינה מפכחתו ומיתה קשה מכולם [וצדקה מצלת מן המיתה] דכתיב וצדקה תציל ממות

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: Great is charity in that it advances the redemption, as it is stated: “So said the Lord, uphold justice and do charity, for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed” (Isaiah 56:1). He would say: Ten strong entities were created in the world, one stronger than the other. A mountain is strong, but iron, which is stronger, cleaves it. Iron is strong, but fire melts it. Fire is strong, but water extinguishes it. Water is strong, but clouds bear it. Clouds are strong, but wind disperses them. Wind is strong, but the human body withstands it. The human body is strong, but fear breaks it. Fear is strong, but wine dispels it. Wine is strong, but sleep drives it off. And death is stronger than them all, but charity saves a person from death, as it is written: “And charity delivers from death” (Proverbs 10:2, 11:4).

דרש רבי דוסתאי ברבי ינאי בוא וראה שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם אדם מביא דורון גדול למלך ספק מקבלין אותו הימנו ספק אין מקבלין אותו הימנו [ואם תמצא לומר מקבלים אותו ממנו] ספק רואה פני המלך ספק אינו רואה פני המלך והקדוש ברוך הוא אינו כן אדם נותן פרוטה לעני זוכה ומקבל פני שכינה שנאמר אני בצדק אחזה פניך אשבעה בהקיץ תמונתך

Rabbi Dostai, son of Rabbi Yannai, taught: Come and see that the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not like the attribute of flesh and blood. An illustration of the attribute of flesh and blood is that when a person brings a great gift to the king, it is uncertain whether the king will accept it from him or will not accept it from him. And if you say that the king will accept it from him, it is uncertain whether the person who brought the gift will eventually see the face of the king, or will not see the face of the king. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not act in this way. Even when a person gives a mere peruta to a poor person, he merits to receive the Divine Presence, as it is stated: “As for me, I will behold Your face through charity; I will be satisfied, when I awake, with Your likeness” (Psalms 17:15).

רבי אלעזר יהיב פרוטה לעני והדר מצלי אמר דכתיב אני בצדק אחזה פניך מאי אשבעה בהקיץ תמונתך אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק אלו תלמידי חכמים שמנדדין שינה מעיניהם בעולם הזה והקדוש ברוך הוא משביען מזיו השכינה לעולם הבא

It is related that Rabbi Elazar would first give a peruta to a poor person and only then would he pray. He said: As it is written in the same verse: “I will behold Your face through charity.” The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of that which is written: “I will be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness”? Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: These are Torah scholars, who in pursuit of their studies banish sleep from their eyes in this world, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, satiates them with the radiance of the Divine Presence in the World-to-Come.

אמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב מלוה ה׳ חונן דל אלמלא מקרא כתוב אי אפשר לאומרו כביכול עבד לוה לאיש מלוה

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He that graciously gives to the poor makes a loan to the Lord, and that which he has given, He will pay him back” (Proverbs 19:17)? How can it be that one is considered to have granted a loan to God? Were it not explicitly written in the verse, it would be impossible to say this, that somebody who is gracious to a poor person is seen as lending to God. It would be impertinent, since “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7), as it were.

אמר רבי חייא בר אבא רבי יוחנן רמי כתיב לא יועיל הון ביום עברה וצדקה תציל ממות וכתיב לא יועילו אוצרות רשע וצדקה תציל ממות שתי צדקות הללו למה אחת שמצילתו ממיתה משונה ואחת שמצילתו מדינה של גיהנם ואי זו היא שמצילתו מדינה של גיהנם ההוא דכתיב ביה עברה דכתיב יום עברה היום ההוא ואי זו היא שמצילתו ממיתה משונה

Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says: Rabbi Yoḥanan raises a contradiction between two texts. In one place it is written: “Riches profit not on the day of wrath, but charity delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4), and elsewhere it is written: “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but charity delivers from death” (Proverbs 10:2). Why is it necessary to have these two verses about charity, that it delivers from death? Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba continues: One verse serves to teach that charity delivers from an unnatural death in this world, and one verse serves to teach that charity delivers from the judgment of Gehenna in the World-to-Come. And in which of the verses is that charity which delivers from the judgment of Gehenna mentioned? It is in that verse in which “wrath” is written, as with regard to the day of judgment it is written: “That day is a day of wrath” (Zephaniah 1:15). And which type of charity is that which delivers from an unnatural death?

נותנה ואינו יודע למי נותנה נוטלה ואינו יודע ממי נוטלה נותנה ואינו יודע למי נותנה לאפוקי מדמר עוקבא נוטלה ואינו יודע ממי נוטלה לאפוקי מדרבי אבא ואלא היכי ליעביד ליתיב לארנקי של צדקה

It is the type in which one gives the charity without knowing to whom he gave it, and the other one takes it without knowing from whom he took it. The Gemara explains: One gives it without knowing to whom he gave it, this serves to exclude the practice of Mar Ukva, who would personally give charity to poor people without their knowing he was the donor. The other one takes it without knowing from whom he took it; this serves to exclude the practice of Rabbi Abba, who would render his money ownerless, so that poor people would come and take it without his knowing whom he helped, although they would know from whom the money came. The Gemara asks: Rather, how then should one act to conceal his own identity and also remain ignorant of the identities of the recipients? The Gemara answers: The best method is to put the money into the charity purse.

מיתיבי מה יעשה אדם ויהיו לו בנים זכרים רבי אליעזר אומר יפזר מעותיו לעניים רבי יהושע אומר ישמח אשתו לדבר מצוה רבי אליעזר בן יעקב אומר לא יתן אדם פרוטה לארנקי של צדקה אלא אם כן ממונה עליה כרבי חנניא בן תרדיון כי קא אמרינן דממני עלה כרבי חנניא בן תרדיון

The Gemara raises an objection from what is taught in a baraita: What should a person do to have male offspring? Rabbi Eliezer says: He should distribute his money liberally among the poor. Rabbi Yehoshua says: He should gladden his wife before engaging in the mitzva of conjugal relations. Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov says: A person should not donate a peruta to the charity purse unless a great and trusted individual like Rabbi Ḥananya ben Teradyon is appointed as supervisor over it. This seems to indicate that putting money into the charity box is not always preferred. The Gemara answers: When we say that putting money into the charity box is the preferred way to give charity, this is referring to when a man like Rabbi Ḥananya ben Teradyon is appointed as supervisor over it.

אמר רבי אבהו אמר משה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם במה תרום קרן ישראל אמר לו בכי תשא

The Gemara discusses other matters concerning charity. Rabbi Abbahu says: Moses said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, with what shall the horn of Israel be exalted? God said to him: With the passage of “When you raise,” i.e., Israel will be exalted by way of the donations and charity that they will give, as it is stated: “When you raise the heads of the children of Israel…then shall they give” (Exodus 30:12).

ואמר רבי אבהו שאלו את שלמה בן דוד עד היכן כחה של צדקה אמר להן צאו וראו מה פירש דוד אבא פזר נתן לאביונים צדקתו עומדת לעד קרנו תרום בכבוד רבי אבא אמר מהכא הוא מרומים ישכן מצדות סלעים משגבו לחמו נתן מימיו נאמנים מה טעם מרומים ישכן מצדות סלעים משגבו משום דלחמו נתן ומימיו נאמנים

And Rabbi Abbahu says: They asked King Solomon, son of David: How far does the power of charity extend? King Solomon said to them: Go out and see what my father David explained: “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever, his horn shall be exalted with honor” (Psalms 112:9). Rabbi Abba said: It is derived from here how far the power of charity extends: “He shall dwell on high, his place of defense shall be the fortress of rocks; his bread shall be given, his water shall be sure” (Isaiah 33:16). What is the reason that “He shall dwell on high, his place of defense shall be the fortress of rocks”? Because “his bread shall be given” to the poor, and “his water shall be sure,” i.e., it shall be given faithfully and he can be trusted in the matter.

ואמר רבי אבהו שאלו את שלמה איזהו בן העולם הבא אמר להם כל שכנגד זקניו כבוד כי הא דיוסף בריה דרבי יהושע חלש אינגיד אמר ליה אבוה מאי חזית אמר ליה עולם הפוך ראיתי עליונים למטה ותחתונים למעלה אמר ליה עולם ברור ראית ואנן היכי חזיתינן [אמר ליה] כי היכי דחשבינן הכא חשבינן התם

And Rabbi Abbahu says: They asked King Solomon: Who is one who is destined for the World-to-Come? King Solomon said to them: All those about whom it is stated: “And before His Elders will be His glory” (Isaiah 24:23), referring to those who are honored in this world due to their wisdom. This is like the incident involving Yosef, son of Rabbi Yehoshua, who became ill and fainted. When he returned to good health, his father said to him: What did you see when you were not conscious? Yosef said to him: I saw an inverted world. Those above, i.e., those who are considered important in this world, were below, insignificant, while those below, i.e., those who are insignificant in this world, were above. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: You have seen a clear world. The world you have seen is the true world, one in which one’s spiritual and moral standing determines his true importance. Rabbi Yehoshua further asked him: And how did you see us, the Torah scholars, there? Yosef said to him: Just as we are important here, we are important there.

ושמעתי שהיו אומרים אשרי מי שבא לכאן ותלמודו בידו ושמעתי שהיו אומרים הרוגי מלכות אין כל בריה יכולה לעמוד במחיצתן מאן נינהו אילימא רבי עקיבא וחבריו משום הרוגי מלכות ותו לא פשיטא בלאו הכי נמי אלא הרוגי לוד

Yosef added: And I heard that they were saying in that world: Happy is the one who arrives with his studies in hand. And I also heard that they were saying: Those executed by the government enjoy such exalted status that no one can stand in their section. The Gemara asks: Who are these martyrs to whom Yosef was referring? If we say that he was referring to Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues, who were killed by the Romans, this cannot be: Is their elevated status due only to the fact that they were martyred by the Roman government and nothing more? These men were exceptional in their piety and sanctity during their lives as well. Therefore it is obvious that even without their martyrdom they would be greater than other people. Rather, it is referring to those like the martyrs of Lod, who died for the sanctification of God’s name but were not Torah scholars.

תניא אמר להן רבן יוחנן בן זכאי לתלמידיו בני מהו שאמר הכתוב צדקה תרומם גוי וחסד לאמים חטאת נענה רבי אליעזר ואמר צדקה תרומם גוי אלו ישראל דכתיב ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד בארץ וחסד לאמים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שאומות העולם עושין חטא הוא להן שאינם עושין אלא להתגדל בו כמו שנאמר די להון מהקרבין ניחוחין לאלה שמיא ומצלין לחיי מלכא ובנוהי

It is taught in a baraita: Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to his students: My sons, what is the meaning of that which the verse states: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but the kindness of the peoples is sin” (Proverbs 14:34)? Rabbi Eliezer answered and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth?” (I Chronicles 17:21). “But the kindness of the peoples is sin,” meaning that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only to elevate themselves in prestige, as it is stated: “That they may sacrifice offerings of pleasing aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons” (Ezra 6:10). Even though they donated offerings, they did so only for their own benefit.

ודעביד הכי לאו צדקה גמורה היא והתניא האומר סלע זה לצדקה בשביל שיחיו בני ובשביל שאזכה לעולם הבא הרי זה צדיק גמור לא קשיא כאן בישראל כאן בגוי

The Gemara asks: And if one acts this way, is it not full-fledged charity? But isn’t it taught in a baraita that one who says: I am contributing this sela to charity so that my sons will live, or if he says: I am performing the mitzva so that I will merit a share in the World-to-Come, this person is a full-fledged righteous person, as far as that mitzva is concerned, even though he has his own welfare in mind? The Gemara answers: This is not difficult. Here, the statement that he is considered absolutely righteous is with regard to a Jew; while there, the statement that such benefaction is not credited as charity is with regard to a gentile.

נענה רבי יהושע ואמר צדקה תרומם גוי אלו ישראל דכתיב ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד וחסד לאמים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שאומות העולם עושין חטא הוא להן שאין עושין אלא כדי שתמשך מלכותן שנאמר להן מלכא מלכי ישפר עלך וחטיך בצדקה פרק ועויתך במחן ענין הן תהוי ארכא לשלותך וגו׳

Rabbi Yehoshua answered Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai’s challenge to interpret the verse and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth.” “But the kindness of the peoples is sin” means that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only to perpetuate their dominion, as it is stated by Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar: “Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by charity, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; that there may be an extension of your serenity” (Daniel 4:24). Since this is the argument that persuaded Nebuchadnezzar, it would appear that his actual motive was his own benefit.

נענה רבן גמליאל ואמר צדקה תרומם גוי אלו ישראל דכתיב ומי כעמך ישראל [וגו׳] וחסד לאמים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שגויים עושין חטא הוא להן שאין עושין אלא להתיהר בו וכל המתיהר נופל בגיהנם שנאמר זד יהיר לץ שמו עושה בעברת זדון ואין עברה אלא גיהנם שנאמר יום עברה היום ההוא

Rabban Gamliel answered and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth.” “But the kindness of the peoples is sin” means that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only in order to act haughtily through them, and whoever acts haughtily falls into Gehenna, as it is stated: “The proud and haughty one, scorner is his name, acts in arrogant wrath” (Proverbs 21:24). And wrath means nothing other than Gehenna, as it is stated: “That day is a day of wrath” (Zephaniah 1:15).

אמר רבן גמליאל עדיין אנו צריכין למודעי רבי אליעזר המודעי אומר צדקה תרומם גוי אלו ישראל דכתיב ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד וחסד לאמים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שאומות העולם עושין חטא הוא להן שאין עושין אלא לחרף אותנו בו שנאמר ויבא ויעש ה׳ כאשר דבר כי חטאתם לה׳ ולא שמעתם בקולו והיה לכם הדבר הזה

Rabban Gamliel said: We still need to hear what the Moda’i has to say, as Rabbi Eliezer HaModa’i says: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth.” “But the kindness of the peoples is sin” means that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only to taunt us with them, as it is stated that the Babylonian officer Nebuzaradan said: “The Lord has brought it, and done according as He has said; because you have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed His voice, therefore this matter is come upon you” (Jeremiah 40:3).

נענה רבי נחוניא בן הקנה ואמר צדקה תרומם גוי וחסד לישראל ולאמים חטאת אמר להם רבן יוחנן בן זכאי לתלמידיו נראין דברי רבי נחוניא בן הקנה מדברי ומדבריכם לפי שהוא נותן צדקה וחסד לישראל ולאומים חטאת מכלל דהוא נמי אמר מאי היא דתניא אמר להם רבן יוחנן בן זכאי כשם שהחטאת מכפרת על ישראל כך צדקה מכפרת על אומות העולם

Rabbi Neḥunya ben HaKana answered and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation and kindness” is referring to Israel; and in addition, “of the peoples is sin.” Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to his students: The statement of Rabbi Neḥunya ben HaKana appears to be more precise than both my statement and your statements, because he assigns both righteousness and kindness to Israel, and sin to the peoples of the world. The Gemara asks: By inference, it appears that he, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai, also offered an interpretation of this verse. What is it? As it is taught in a baraita: Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to them that the verse should be understood as follows: Just as a sin-offering atones for Israel, so charity atones for the nations of the world.

איפרא הורמיז אימיה דשבור מלכא שדרה ארבע מאה דינרי לקמיה דרבי אמי ולא קבלינהו שדרינהו קמיה דרבא וקבלינהו משום שלום מלכות שמע רבי אמי איקפד אמר לית ליה ביבש קצירה תשברנה נשים באות מאירות אותה ורבא משום שלום מלכות

It is related that Ifera Hurmiz, the mother of King Shapur, king of Persia, sent four hundred dinars to Rabbi Ami, but he did not accept them. She then sent them to Rava, and he accepted them for the sake of peace with the kingdom. Rabbi Ami heard what Rava had done and was angry. He said: Does Rava not accept the lesson of the verse: “When the boughs are withered, they shall be broken off; the women shall come and set them on fire” (Isaiah 27:11), meaning that when righteousness has ceased from a particular nation, it is time for its citizens to be punished, and therefore we should not help them perform any meritorious deeds, which would delay their punishment? The Gemara asks: And why did Rava accept the money? The Gemara answers: He did so for the sake of peace with the kingdom.

ורבי אמי נמי משום שלום מלכות דאיבעי ליה למפלגינהו לעניי גויים ורבא נמי לעניי גויים יהבינהו ורבי אמי דאיקפד הוא

The Gemara asks: But did Rabbi Ami not also see the importance of accepting the money for the sake of peace with the kingdom? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Ami maintains that Rava should have distributed the money to the gentile poor rather than to the Jewish poor, as it is a disgrace to the Jews to require the kindness of the nations of the world in order to support their poor. The Gemara comments: In fact, Rava also gave the money to the gentile poor and not to the Jewish poor. And Rabbi Ami got angry because

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Bava Batra 10

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Bava Batra 10

ימצא חיים בעלי עושר דכתיב צדקה בעלי אגדה דכתיב וכבוד כתיב הכא וכבוד וכתיב התם כבוד חכמים ינחלו

“He who pursues charity and mercy, finds life” (Proverbs 21:21), and with regard to wisdom it is written: “He who finds Me, finds life” (Proverbs 8:35). Masters of wealth, as it is written: “He who pursues charity and mercy finds charity,” meaning he will be able to give charity. Masters of aggada, as it is written: “He who pursues charity and mercy, finds honor.” And how do we know that this refers to masters of aggada? It is written here “honor,” and it is written there: “The wise shall inherit honor” (Proverbs 3:35).

תניא היה רבי מאיר אומר יש לו לבעל הדין להשיבך ולומר לך אם אלהיכם אוהב עניים הוא מפני מה אינו מפרנסן אמור לו כדי שניצול אנו בהן מדינה של גיהנם וזו שאלה שאל טורנוסרופוס הרשע את רבי עקיבא אם אלהיכם אוהב עניים הוא מפני מה אינו מפרנסם אמר לו כדי שניצול אנו בהן מדינה של גיהנם

§ It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Meir would say: An opponent may bring an argument against you and say to you: If your God loves the poor, for what reason does He not support them Himself? In such a case, say to him: He commands us to act as His agents in sustaining the poor, so that through them we will be credited with the performance of mitzvot and therefore be saved from the judgment of Gehenna. And this is the question that Turnus Rufus the wicked asked Rabbi Akiva: If your God loves the poor, for what reason does He not support them Himself? Rabbi Akiva said to him: He commands us to sustain the poor, so that through them and the charity we give them we will be saved from the judgment of Gehenna.

אמר לו [אדרבה] זו שמחייבתן לגיהנם אמשול לך משל למה הדבר דומה למלך בשר ודם שכעס על עבדו וחבשו בבית האסורין וצוה עליו שלא להאכילו ושלא להשקותו והלך אדם אחד והאכילו והשקהו כששמע המלך לא כועס עליו ואתם קרוין עבדים שנאמר כי לי בני ישראל עבדים

Turnus Rufus said to Rabbi Akiva: On the contrary, it is this charity which condemns you, the Jewish people, to Gehenna because you give it. I will illustrate this to you with a parable. To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to a king of flesh and blood who was angry with his slave and put him in prison and ordered that he should not be fed or given to drink. And one person went ahead and fed him and gave him to drink. If the king heard about this, would he not be angry with that person? And you, after all, are called slaves, as it is stated: “For the children of Israel are slaves to Me” (Leviticus 25:55). If God decreed that a certain person should be impoverished, one who gives him charity defies the will of God.

אמר לו רבי עקיבא אמשול לך משל למה הדבר דומה למלך בשר ודם שכעס על בנו וחבשו בבית האסורין וצוה עליו שלא להאכילו ושלא להשקותו והלך אדם אחד והאכילו והשקהו כששמע המלך לא דורון משגר לו ואנן קרוין בנים דכתיב בנים אתם לה׳ אלהיכם

Rabbi Akiva said to Turnus Rufus: I will illustrate the opposite to you with a different parable. To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to a king of flesh and blood who was angry with his son and put him in prison and ordered that he should not be fed or given to drink. And one person went ahead and fed him and gave him to drink. If the king heard about this once his anger abated, would he not react by sending that person a gift? And we are called sons, as it is written: “You are sons of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1).

אמר לו אתם קרוים בנים וקרוין עבדים בזמן שאתם עושין רצונו של מקום אתם קרוין בנים ובזמן שאין אתם עושין רצונו של מקום אתם קרוין עבדים ועכשיו אין אתם עושים רצונו של מקום אמר לו הרי הוא אומר הלא פרס לרעב לחמך ועניים מרודים תביא בית אימתי עניים מרודים תביא בית האידנא וקאמר הלא פרס לרעב לחמך

Turnus Rufus said to him: You are called sons and you are called slaves. When you fulfill the will of the Omnipresent, you are called sons; when you do not fulfill the will of the Omnipresent, you are called slaves. And since now you do not fulfill the will of the Omnipresent, the parable that I offered is more apt. Rabbi Akiva said to him: The verse states: “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you shall bring the poor that are cast out to your house?” (Isaiah 58:7). When do we bring the poor that are cast out into our houses? Now, when we have to billet the Roman soldiers in our homes; and about that very time, the verse states: “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry?”

דרש רבי יהודה ברבי שלום כשם שמזונותיו של אדם קצובין לו מראש השנה כך חסרונותיו של אדם קצובין לו מראש השנה זכה הלא פרס לרעב לחמך לא זכה ועניים מרודים תביא בית

Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Shalom taught: Just as a person’s entire livelihood is allocated to him from Rosh HaShana, when God issues His judgments for the entire year, so too are a person’s monetary losses allocated to him from Rosh HaShana. If one merits, the following verse is applied to him: “You shall share your bread with the hungry,” i.e., he will spend the sum allocated to him on gifts of charity; and if he does not merit, the following verse is applied to him: “You shall bring the poor that are cast out to your house, i.e., he will be compelled by the government to billet soldiers in his house and feed them against his will.

כי הא דבני אחתיה דרבן יוחנן בן זכאי חזא להו בחילמא דבעו למיחסר שבע מאה דינרי עשינהו שקל מינייהו לצדקה פוש גבייהו שיבסר דינרי כי מטא מעלי יומא דכיפורי שדור דבי קיסר נקטינהו

It is like this incident involving the nephews of Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai, who once saw in a dream that his nephews were destined to lose seven hundred dinars over the course of the year. He encouraged them and took money from them for charity, and they were left with seventeen dinars out of the seven hundred. When Yom Kippur eve arrived, the government sent messengers who came and took the remaining seventeen dinars.

אמר להו רבן יוחנן בן זכאי לא תדחלון שיבסר דינרי גבייכו שקלינהו מינייכו אמרי ליה מנא ידעת אמר להו חלמא חזאי לכו אמרו ליה ואמאי לא אמרת לן [דניתבינהו] אמר להו אמינא כי היכי דתעבדו מצוה לשמה

Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to them: Do not fear that they will take even more from you; they took from you the seventeen dinars that were still with you. The nephews said to him: How did you know? Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to them: I saw a dream about you, and he related his dream to them. They said to him: And why did you not tell us about the dream? Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to them: I said, It is better that they perform a mitzva for its own sake. Had you known from the start that you were fated to lose that amount of money, the mitzva would not have been performed purely for its own sake.

רב פפא הוה סליק בדרגא אישתמיט כרעיה בעי למיפל אמר השתא כן איחייב מאן דסני לן כמחללי שבתות וכעובדי עבודה זרה אמר ליה חייא בר רב מדפתי לרב פפא שמא עני בא לידך ולא פרנסתו

The Gemara relates: Rav Pappa was once climbing up a ladder when his foot slipped and he almost fell. He said: Now, is the one who hates us, a euphemism for himself, liable like Shabbat desecrators and idol worshippers, who are subject to death by stoning, which is similar to death by falling, the punishment that Rav Pappa narrowly escaped? Ḥiyya bar Rav of Difti said to Rav Pappa: Perhaps a poor person once approached you and you did not sustain him, and therefore you were given a glimpse of the punishment that you actually deserve.

דתניא רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר כל המעלים עיניו מן הצדקה כאילו עובד עבודה זרה כתיב הכא השמר לך פן יהיה דבר עם לבבך בליעל וכתיב התם יצאו אנשים בני בליעל מה להלן עבודה זרה אף כאן עבודה זרה

As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa says: Anyone who turns his eyes away from one seeking charity is considered as if he worships idols. From where is this derived? It is written here: “Beware that there be not a base thought in your heart…and your eye be evil against your poor brother, and you give him nothing” (Deuteronomy 15:9). And it is written there: “Certain base men have gone out…and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods” (Deuteronomy 13:14). Just as there, the base men sin with idolatry, so too here, the base thought is treated like idolatry.

תניא אמר רבי אלעזר ברבי יוסי כל צדקה וחסד שישראל עושין בעולם הזה שלום גדול ופרקליטין גדולין בין ישראל לאביהן שבשמים שנאמר כה אמר ה׳ אל תבא בית מרזח ואל תלך לספוד ואל תנד להם כי אספתי את שלומי מאת העם הזה וגו׳ [את] החסד ואת הרחמים חסד זו גמילות חסדים רחמים זו צדקה

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, said: All acts of charity and kindness that Jews perform in this world make great peace and are great intercessors between the Jewish people and their Father in Heaven, as it is stated: “So said the Lord, enter not into a house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them, for I have taken away My peace from this people, says the Lord, both kindness and mercy” (Jeremiah 16:5). “Kindness”; this is referring to acts of kindness. “Mercy”; this is referring to acts of charity. This indicates that when there is kindness and mercy, God is at peace with His people.

תניא רבי יהודה אומר גדולה צדקה שמקרבת את הגאולה שנאמר כה אמר ה׳ שמרו משפט ועשו צדקה כי קרובה ישועתי לבא וצדקתי להגלות הוא היה אומר עשרה דברים קשים נבראו בעולם הר קשה ברזל מחתכו ברזל קשה אור מפעפעו אור קשה מים מכבין אותו מים קשים עבים סובלים אותן עבים קשים רוח מפזרתן רוח קשה גוף סובלו גוף קשה פחד שוברו פחד קשה יין מפיגו יין קשה שינה מפכחתו ומיתה קשה מכולם [וצדקה מצלת מן המיתה] דכתיב וצדקה תציל ממות

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: Great is charity in that it advances the redemption, as it is stated: “So said the Lord, uphold justice and do charity, for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed” (Isaiah 56:1). He would say: Ten strong entities were created in the world, one stronger than the other. A mountain is strong, but iron, which is stronger, cleaves it. Iron is strong, but fire melts it. Fire is strong, but water extinguishes it. Water is strong, but clouds bear it. Clouds are strong, but wind disperses them. Wind is strong, but the human body withstands it. The human body is strong, but fear breaks it. Fear is strong, but wine dispels it. Wine is strong, but sleep drives it off. And death is stronger than them all, but charity saves a person from death, as it is written: “And charity delivers from death” (Proverbs 10:2, 11:4).

דרש רבי דוסתאי ברבי ינאי בוא וראה שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם אדם מביא דורון גדול למלך ספק מקבלין אותו הימנו ספק אין מקבלין אותו הימנו [ואם תמצא לומר מקבלים אותו ממנו] ספק רואה פני המלך ספק אינו רואה פני המלך והקדוש ברוך הוא אינו כן אדם נותן פרוטה לעני זוכה ומקבל פני שכינה שנאמר אני בצדק אחזה פניך אשבעה בהקיץ תמונתך

Rabbi Dostai, son of Rabbi Yannai, taught: Come and see that the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not like the attribute of flesh and blood. An illustration of the attribute of flesh and blood is that when a person brings a great gift to the king, it is uncertain whether the king will accept it from him or will not accept it from him. And if you say that the king will accept it from him, it is uncertain whether the person who brought the gift will eventually see the face of the king, or will not see the face of the king. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not act in this way. Even when a person gives a mere peruta to a poor person, he merits to receive the Divine Presence, as it is stated: “As for me, I will behold Your face through charity; I will be satisfied, when I awake, with Your likeness” (Psalms 17:15).

רבי אלעזר יהיב פרוטה לעני והדר מצלי אמר דכתיב אני בצדק אחזה פניך מאי אשבעה בהקיץ תמונתך אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק אלו תלמידי חכמים שמנדדין שינה מעיניהם בעולם הזה והקדוש ברוך הוא משביען מזיו השכינה לעולם הבא

It is related that Rabbi Elazar would first give a peruta to a poor person and only then would he pray. He said: As it is written in the same verse: “I will behold Your face through charity.” The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of that which is written: “I will be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness”? Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: These are Torah scholars, who in pursuit of their studies banish sleep from their eyes in this world, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, satiates them with the radiance of the Divine Presence in the World-to-Come.

אמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב מלוה ה׳ חונן דל אלמלא מקרא כתוב אי אפשר לאומרו כביכול עבד לוה לאיש מלוה

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He that graciously gives to the poor makes a loan to the Lord, and that which he has given, He will pay him back” (Proverbs 19:17)? How can it be that one is considered to have granted a loan to God? Were it not explicitly written in the verse, it would be impossible to say this, that somebody who is gracious to a poor person is seen as lending to God. It would be impertinent, since “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7), as it were.

אמר רבי חייא בר אבא רבי יוחנן רמי כתיב לא יועיל הון ביום עברה וצדקה תציל ממות וכתיב לא יועילו אוצרות רשע וצדקה תציל ממות שתי צדקות הללו למה אחת שמצילתו ממיתה משונה ואחת שמצילתו מדינה של גיהנם ואי זו היא שמצילתו מדינה של גיהנם ההוא דכתיב ביה עברה דכתיב יום עברה היום ההוא ואי זו היא שמצילתו ממיתה משונה

Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says: Rabbi Yoḥanan raises a contradiction between two texts. In one place it is written: “Riches profit not on the day of wrath, but charity delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4), and elsewhere it is written: “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but charity delivers from death” (Proverbs 10:2). Why is it necessary to have these two verses about charity, that it delivers from death? Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba continues: One verse serves to teach that charity delivers from an unnatural death in this world, and one verse serves to teach that charity delivers from the judgment of Gehenna in the World-to-Come. And in which of the verses is that charity which delivers from the judgment of Gehenna mentioned? It is in that verse in which “wrath” is written, as with regard to the day of judgment it is written: “That day is a day of wrath” (Zephaniah 1:15). And which type of charity is that which delivers from an unnatural death?

נותנה ואינו יודע למי נותנה נוטלה ואינו יודע ממי נוטלה נותנה ואינו יודע למי נותנה לאפוקי מדמר עוקבא נוטלה ואינו יודע ממי נוטלה לאפוקי מדרבי אבא ואלא היכי ליעביד ליתיב לארנקי של צדקה

It is the type in which one gives the charity without knowing to whom he gave it, and the other one takes it without knowing from whom he took it. The Gemara explains: One gives it without knowing to whom he gave it, this serves to exclude the practice of Mar Ukva, who would personally give charity to poor people without their knowing he was the donor. The other one takes it without knowing from whom he took it; this serves to exclude the practice of Rabbi Abba, who would render his money ownerless, so that poor people would come and take it without his knowing whom he helped, although they would know from whom the money came. The Gemara asks: Rather, how then should one act to conceal his own identity and also remain ignorant of the identities of the recipients? The Gemara answers: The best method is to put the money into the charity purse.

מיתיבי מה יעשה אדם ויהיו לו בנים זכרים רבי אליעזר אומר יפזר מעותיו לעניים רבי יהושע אומר ישמח אשתו לדבר מצוה רבי אליעזר בן יעקב אומר לא יתן אדם פרוטה לארנקי של צדקה אלא אם כן ממונה עליה כרבי חנניא בן תרדיון כי קא אמרינן דממני עלה כרבי חנניא בן תרדיון

The Gemara raises an objection from what is taught in a baraita: What should a person do to have male offspring? Rabbi Eliezer says: He should distribute his money liberally among the poor. Rabbi Yehoshua says: He should gladden his wife before engaging in the mitzva of conjugal relations. Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov says: A person should not donate a peruta to the charity purse unless a great and trusted individual like Rabbi Ḥananya ben Teradyon is appointed as supervisor over it. This seems to indicate that putting money into the charity box is not always preferred. The Gemara answers: When we say that putting money into the charity box is the preferred way to give charity, this is referring to when a man like Rabbi Ḥananya ben Teradyon is appointed as supervisor over it.

אמר רבי אבהו אמר משה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם במה תרום קרן ישראל אמר לו בכי תשא

The Gemara discusses other matters concerning charity. Rabbi Abbahu says: Moses said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, with what shall the horn of Israel be exalted? God said to him: With the passage of “When you raise,” i.e., Israel will be exalted by way of the donations and charity that they will give, as it is stated: “When you raise the heads of the children of Israel…then shall they give” (Exodus 30:12).

ואמר רבי אבהו שאלו את שלמה בן דוד עד היכן כחה של צדקה אמר להן צאו וראו מה פירש דוד אבא פזר נתן לאביונים צדקתו עומדת לעד קרנו תרום בכבוד רבי אבא אמר מהכא הוא מרומים ישכן מצדות סלעים משגבו לחמו נתן מימיו נאמנים מה טעם מרומים ישכן מצדות סלעים משגבו משום דלחמו נתן ומימיו נאמנים

And Rabbi Abbahu says: They asked King Solomon, son of David: How far does the power of charity extend? King Solomon said to them: Go out and see what my father David explained: “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever, his horn shall be exalted with honor” (Psalms 112:9). Rabbi Abba said: It is derived from here how far the power of charity extends: “He shall dwell on high, his place of defense shall be the fortress of rocks; his bread shall be given, his water shall be sure” (Isaiah 33:16). What is the reason that “He shall dwell on high, his place of defense shall be the fortress of rocks”? Because “his bread shall be given” to the poor, and “his water shall be sure,” i.e., it shall be given faithfully and he can be trusted in the matter.

ואמר רבי אבהו שאלו את שלמה איזהו בן העולם הבא אמר להם כל שכנגד זקניו כבוד כי הא דיוסף בריה דרבי יהושע חלש אינגיד אמר ליה אבוה מאי חזית אמר ליה עולם הפוך ראיתי עליונים למטה ותחתונים למעלה אמר ליה עולם ברור ראית ואנן היכי חזיתינן [אמר ליה] כי היכי דחשבינן הכא חשבינן התם

And Rabbi Abbahu says: They asked King Solomon: Who is one who is destined for the World-to-Come? King Solomon said to them: All those about whom it is stated: “And before His Elders will be His glory” (Isaiah 24:23), referring to those who are honored in this world due to their wisdom. This is like the incident involving Yosef, son of Rabbi Yehoshua, who became ill and fainted. When he returned to good health, his father said to him: What did you see when you were not conscious? Yosef said to him: I saw an inverted world. Those above, i.e., those who are considered important in this world, were below, insignificant, while those below, i.e., those who are insignificant in this world, were above. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: You have seen a clear world. The world you have seen is the true world, one in which one’s spiritual and moral standing determines his true importance. Rabbi Yehoshua further asked him: And how did you see us, the Torah scholars, there? Yosef said to him: Just as we are important here, we are important there.

ושמעתי שהיו אומרים אשרי מי שבא לכאן ותלמודו בידו ושמעתי שהיו אומרים הרוגי מלכות אין כל בריה יכולה לעמוד במחיצתן מאן נינהו אילימא רבי עקיבא וחבריו משום הרוגי מלכות ותו לא פשיטא בלאו הכי נמי אלא הרוגי לוד

Yosef added: And I heard that they were saying in that world: Happy is the one who arrives with his studies in hand. And I also heard that they were saying: Those executed by the government enjoy such exalted status that no one can stand in their section. The Gemara asks: Who are these martyrs to whom Yosef was referring? If we say that he was referring to Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues, who were killed by the Romans, this cannot be: Is their elevated status due only to the fact that they were martyred by the Roman government and nothing more? These men were exceptional in their piety and sanctity during their lives as well. Therefore it is obvious that even without their martyrdom they would be greater than other people. Rather, it is referring to those like the martyrs of Lod, who died for the sanctification of God’s name but were not Torah scholars.

תניא אמר להן רבן יוחנן בן זכאי לתלמידיו בני מהו שאמר הכתוב צדקה תרומם גוי וחסד לאמים חטאת נענה רבי אליעזר ואמר צדקה תרומם גוי אלו ישראל דכתיב ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד בארץ וחסד לאמים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שאומות העולם עושין חטא הוא להן שאינם עושין אלא להתגדל בו כמו שנאמר די להון מהקרבין ניחוחין לאלה שמיא ומצלין לחיי מלכא ובנוהי

It is taught in a baraita: Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to his students: My sons, what is the meaning of that which the verse states: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but the kindness of the peoples is sin” (Proverbs 14:34)? Rabbi Eliezer answered and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth?” (I Chronicles 17:21). “But the kindness of the peoples is sin,” meaning that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only to elevate themselves in prestige, as it is stated: “That they may sacrifice offerings of pleasing aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons” (Ezra 6:10). Even though they donated offerings, they did so only for their own benefit.

ודעביד הכי לאו צדקה גמורה היא והתניא האומר סלע זה לצדקה בשביל שיחיו בני ובשביל שאזכה לעולם הבא הרי זה צדיק גמור לא קשיא כאן בישראל כאן בגוי

The Gemara asks: And if one acts this way, is it not full-fledged charity? But isn’t it taught in a baraita that one who says: I am contributing this sela to charity so that my sons will live, or if he says: I am performing the mitzva so that I will merit a share in the World-to-Come, this person is a full-fledged righteous person, as far as that mitzva is concerned, even though he has his own welfare in mind? The Gemara answers: This is not difficult. Here, the statement that he is considered absolutely righteous is with regard to a Jew; while there, the statement that such benefaction is not credited as charity is with regard to a gentile.

נענה רבי יהושע ואמר צדקה תרומם גוי אלו ישראל דכתיב ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד וחסד לאמים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שאומות העולם עושין חטא הוא להן שאין עושין אלא כדי שתמשך מלכותן שנאמר להן מלכא מלכי ישפר עלך וחטיך בצדקה פרק ועויתך במחן ענין הן תהוי ארכא לשלותך וגו׳

Rabbi Yehoshua answered Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai’s challenge to interpret the verse and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth.” “But the kindness of the peoples is sin” means that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only to perpetuate their dominion, as it is stated by Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar: “Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by charity, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; that there may be an extension of your serenity” (Daniel 4:24). Since this is the argument that persuaded Nebuchadnezzar, it would appear that his actual motive was his own benefit.

נענה רבן גמליאל ואמר צדקה תרומם גוי אלו ישראל דכתיב ומי כעמך ישראל [וגו׳] וחסד לאמים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שגויים עושין חטא הוא להן שאין עושין אלא להתיהר בו וכל המתיהר נופל בגיהנם שנאמר זד יהיר לץ שמו עושה בעברת זדון ואין עברה אלא גיהנם שנאמר יום עברה היום ההוא

Rabban Gamliel answered and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth.” “But the kindness of the peoples is sin” means that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only in order to act haughtily through them, and whoever acts haughtily falls into Gehenna, as it is stated: “The proud and haughty one, scorner is his name, acts in arrogant wrath” (Proverbs 21:24). And wrath means nothing other than Gehenna, as it is stated: “That day is a day of wrath” (Zephaniah 1:15).

אמר רבן גמליאל עדיין אנו צריכין למודעי רבי אליעזר המודעי אומר צדקה תרומם גוי אלו ישראל דכתיב ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד וחסד לאמים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שאומות העולם עושין חטא הוא להן שאין עושין אלא לחרף אותנו בו שנאמר ויבא ויעש ה׳ כאשר דבר כי חטאתם לה׳ ולא שמעתם בקולו והיה לכם הדבר הזה

Rabban Gamliel said: We still need to hear what the Moda’i has to say, as Rabbi Eliezer HaModa’i says: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth.” “But the kindness of the peoples is sin” means that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only to taunt us with them, as it is stated that the Babylonian officer Nebuzaradan said: “The Lord has brought it, and done according as He has said; because you have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed His voice, therefore this matter is come upon you” (Jeremiah 40:3).

נענה רבי נחוניא בן הקנה ואמר צדקה תרומם גוי וחסד לישראל ולאמים חטאת אמר להם רבן יוחנן בן זכאי לתלמידיו נראין דברי רבי נחוניא בן הקנה מדברי ומדבריכם לפי שהוא נותן צדקה וחסד לישראל ולאומים חטאת מכלל דהוא נמי אמר מאי היא דתניא אמר להם רבן יוחנן בן זכאי כשם שהחטאת מכפרת על ישראל כך צדקה מכפרת על אומות העולם

Rabbi Neḥunya ben HaKana answered and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation and kindness” is referring to Israel; and in addition, “of the peoples is sin.” Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to his students: The statement of Rabbi Neḥunya ben HaKana appears to be more precise than both my statement and your statements, because he assigns both righteousness and kindness to Israel, and sin to the peoples of the world. The Gemara asks: By inference, it appears that he, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai, also offered an interpretation of this verse. What is it? As it is taught in a baraita: Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to them that the verse should be understood as follows: Just as a sin-offering atones for Israel, so charity atones for the nations of the world.

איפרא הורמיז אימיה דשבור מלכא שדרה ארבע מאה דינרי לקמיה דרבי אמי ולא קבלינהו שדרינהו קמיה דרבא וקבלינהו משום שלום מלכות שמע רבי אמי איקפד אמר לית ליה ביבש קצירה תשברנה נשים באות מאירות אותה ורבא משום שלום מלכות

It is related that Ifera Hurmiz, the mother of King Shapur, king of Persia, sent four hundred dinars to Rabbi Ami, but he did not accept them. She then sent them to Rava, and he accepted them for the sake of peace with the kingdom. Rabbi Ami heard what Rava had done and was angry. He said: Does Rava not accept the lesson of the verse: “When the boughs are withered, they shall be broken off; the women shall come and set them on fire” (Isaiah 27:11), meaning that when righteousness has ceased from a particular nation, it is time for its citizens to be punished, and therefore we should not help them perform any meritorious deeds, which would delay their punishment? The Gemara asks: And why did Rava accept the money? The Gemara answers: He did so for the sake of peace with the kingdom.

ורבי אמי נמי משום שלום מלכות דאיבעי ליה למפלגינהו לעניי גויים ורבא נמי לעניי גויים יהבינהו ורבי אמי דאיקפד הוא

The Gemara asks: But did Rabbi Ami not also see the importance of accepting the money for the sake of peace with the kingdom? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Ami maintains that Rava should have distributed the money to the gentile poor rather than to the Jewish poor, as it is a disgrace to the Jews to require the kindness of the nations of the world in order to support their poor. The Gemara comments: In fact, Rava also gave the money to the gentile poor and not to the Jewish poor. And Rabbi Ami got angry because

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