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Today's Daf Yomi

December 21, 2016 | כ״א בכסלו תשע״ז

  • This month's learning is dedicated by Debbie and Yossi Gevir to Rabbanit Michelle and the Hadran Zoom group for their kindness, support, and care during a medically challenging year.

Bava Metzia 86

More stories are told about the greatness of some of the Rabbis.  Raba bar Nachmani’s tragic death is recounted and how it related to the need for him in the heavens to resolve a debate between God and the “Rabbis” in the yeshiva in the heavens.  The gemara then gets back to the mishna and issues of minhag hamokom and the story in the mishna about the Rabbi’s son who promised the workers food and from there diverges into a long discussion about the story of Avraham and the angels.


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חכים יתקרי ורבי לא יתקרי ואסו דרבי על ידו תהא רבי ורבי נתן סוף משנה רב אשי ורבינא סוף הוראה

shall be called a wise [ḥakim] physician, but he shall not be called rabbi, and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s convalescence shall be through him. I also saw written there: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and Rabbi Natan are the end of the Mishna, i.e., the last of the tanna’im, the redactors of the Mishna. Rav Ashi and Ravina are the end of instruction, i.e., the end of the period of the amora’im, the redacting of the Talmud, which occurred after the period of the tanna’im.

וסימנך עד אבוא אל מקדשי אל אבינה לאחריתם

And your mnemonic to remember that Rav Ashi and Ravina redacted the Talmud is the verse: “Until I entered into the sanctuary [mikdashei] of God, and considered [avina] their end” (Psalms 73:17). The sanctuary, mikdashei, alludes to Rav Ashi, while the term avina alludes to Ravina, which is a contraction of Rav Avina. The phrase: Their end, is interpreted as a reference to the redacting of the Talmud.

אמר רב כהנא אישתעי לי רב חמא בר ברתיה דחסא רבה בר נחמני אגב שמדא נח נפשיה אכלו ביה קורצא בי מלכא אמרו איכא חד גברא ביהודאי דקא מבטל תריסר אלפי גברי מישראל ירחא בקייטא וירחא בסתוא מכרגא דמלכא

§ The Gemara relates another story discussing the greatness of the Sages. Rav Kahana said: Rav Ḥama, son of the daughter of Ḥasa, told me that Rabba bar Naḥmani died due to the fear of a decree of religious persecution. The Gemara explains: His enemies accused him [akhalu beih kurtza] of disloyalty in the king’s palace, as they said: There is one man from among the Jews who exempts twelve thousand Jewish men from the king’s head tax two months a year, one month in the summer and one month in the winter. Since many people would study in Rabba’s study hall during the months of Adar and Elul, he was being blamed for preventing those people from working during those months.

שדרו פריסתקא דמלכא בתריה ולא אשכחיה ערק ואזל מפומבדיתא לאקרא מאקרא לאגמא ומאגמא לשחין ומשחין לצריפא ומצריפא לעינא דמים ומעינא דמים לפומבדיתא בפומבדיתא אשכחיה איקלע פריסתקא דמלכא לההוא אושפיזא דרבה קריבו תכא קמיה ואשקוהו תרי כסי ודליוה לתכא מקמיה הדר פרצופיה לאחוריה

They sent a messenger [peristaka] of the king after him, but he was not able to find him. Rabba bar Naḥmani fled and went from Pumbedita to Akra, from Akra to Agma, from Agma to Shiḥin, from Shiḥin to Tzerifa, from Tzerifa to Eina Demayim, and from Eina Demayim back to Pumbedita. Ultimately, he was found in Pumbedita, as the king’s messenger arrived by chance at that same inn where Rabba bar Naḥmani was hiding. The inn attendants placed a tray before the messenger and gave him two cups to drink. They then removed the tray from before him and his face was miraculously turned backward.

אמרו ליה מאי נעביד ליה גברא דמלכא הוא אמר להו קריבו תכא לקמיה ואשקוהו חד כסא ודליוהו לתכא מקמיה ולתסי עבדו ליה הכי ואתסי אמר מידע ידענא דגברא דקא בעינא הכא הוא בחיש אבתריה ואשכחיה אמר אזלינא מהא אי מקטל קטלו לההוא גברא לא מגלינא ואי נגידי מנגדין ליה מגלינא

The attendants said to Rabba bar Naḥmani: What should we do with him? He is the king’s man, and we cannot leave him like this. Rabba bar Naḥmani said to them: Place a tray before him and give him one cup to drink, and then remove the tray from before him and he will be healed. They did this, and he was healed. The messenger said: I am certain that the man I seek is here, as this unnatural event must have befallen me on his account. He searched for Rabba bar Naḥmani and found out where he was. The messenger said that they should tell Rabba bar Naḥmani: I will leave this inn and will not disclose your location. Even if they will kill that man, i.e., me, I will not disclose your location. But if they will beat him, me, I will disclose your whereabouts, as I cannot bear being tortured.

אתיוהו לקמיה עייליה לאדרונא וטרקיה לבבא באנפיה בעא רחמי פרק אשיתא ערק ואזיל לאגמא הוה יתיב אגירדא דדקולא וקא גריס קא מיפלגי במתיבתא דרקיעא אם בהרת קודמת לשער לבן טמא ואם שער לבן קודם לבהרת טהור

With that guarantee, they brought Rabba bar Naḥmani before the messenger. They took him into a small vestibule [le’idrona] and closed the door before him. Rabba bar Naḥmani prayed for mercy, and the wall crumbled. He fled and went to hide in a swamp. He was sitting on the stump of a palm tree and studying Torah alone. At that moment, the Sages in the heavenly academy were disagreeing with regard to a halakha of leprosy. In general, a leprous spot includes two signs of impurity, a bright white spot and a white hair. The basic halakha is that if the snow-white leprous sore [baheret] preceded the white hair then the afflicted person is ritually impure, but if the white hair preceded the baheret, he is pure.

ספק הקדוש ברוך הוא אומר טהור וכולהו מתיבתא דרקיעא אמרי טמא ואמרי מאן נוכח נוכח רבה בר נחמני דאמר רבה בר נחמני אני יחיד בנגעים אני יחיד באהלות

The heavenly debate concerned a case of uncertainty as to which came first, the spot or the hair. The Holy One, Blessed be He, says: The individual is pure, but every other member of the heavenly academy says: He is impure. And they said: Who can arbitrate in this dispute? They agreed that Rabba bar Naḥmani should arbitrate, as Rabba bar Naḥmani once said: I am preeminent in the halakhot of leprosy and I am preeminent in the halakhot of ritual impurity imparted by tents.

שדרו שליחא בתריה לא הוה מצי מלאך המות למקרב ליה מדלא הוה קא פסיק פומיה מגרסיה אדהכי נשב זיקא ואויש ביני קני סבר גונדא דפרשי הוא אמר תינח נפשיה דההוא גברא ולא ימסר בידא דמלכותא

They sent a messenger from heaven after him to take his soul up to the heavenly academy, but the Angel of Death was unable to approach Rabba bar Naḥmani, as his mouth did not cease from his Torah study. In the meantime, a wind blew and howled between the branches. Rabba bar Naḥmani thought that the noise was due to an infantry battalion [gunda] about to capture him. He said: Let that man, i.e., me, die and not be given over to the hands of the government. The Angel of Death was therefore able to take his soul.

כי הוה קא ניחא נפשיה אמר טהור טהור יצאת בת קול ואמרה אשריך רבה בר נחמני שגופך טהור ויצאתה נשמתך בטהור נפל פתקא מרקיעא בפומבדיתא רבה בר נחמני נתבקש בישיבה של מעלה נפקו אביי ורבא וכולהו רבנן לאיעסוקי ביה לא הוו ידעי דוכתיה אזלו לאגמא חזו צפרי דמטללי וקיימי אמרי שמע מינה התם הוא

As he was dying, he said in response to the dispute in heaven: It is pure; it is pure. A Divine Voice emerged from heaven and said: Happy are you, Rabba bar Naḥmani, as your body is pure and your soul left you with the word: Pure. A note [pitka] fell from heaven and landed in the academy of Pumbedita. The note read: Rabba bar Naḥmani was summoned to the heavenly academy, i.e., he has died. Abaye and Rava and all of the other Rabbis went out to tend to his burial; however, they did not know the location of his body. They went to the swamp and saw birds forming a shade and hovering over a certain spot. The Rabbis said: We can conclude from this that he is there.

ספדוהו תלתא יומי ותלתא לילותא נפל פתקא כל הפורש יהא בנידוי ספדוהו שבעה יומי נפל פתקא לכו לביתכם לשלום

The Rabbis lamented him for three days and three nights. A note fell from heaven, upon which was written: Anyone who removes himself from the lamentations shall be ostracized. Accordingly, they lamented him for seven days. Another note fell from heaven, stating: Go to your homes in peace.

ההוא יומא דנח נפשיה דלייה זעפא ודרי לההוא טייעא כי רכיב גמלא מהאי גיסא דנהר פפא ושדייה בהך גיסא אמר מאי האי אמרי ליה נח נפשיה דרבה בר נחמני אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם כולי עלמא דידך הוא ורבה בר נחמני דידך את דרבה ורבה דידך אמאי קא מחרבת ליה לעלמא נח זעפא

On that day when Rabba bar Naḥmani died, a hurricane lifted a certain Arab [taya’a] merchant while he was riding his camel. The hurricane carried him from one side of the Pappa River and threw him onto the other side. He said: What is this? Those present said to him: Rabba bar Naḥmani has died. He said before God: Master of the Universe! The entire world is Yours and Rabba bar Naḥmani is also Yours. You are to Rabba and Rabba is to You, i.e., you are beloved to each other. If so, why are You destroying the world on his account? The storm subsided.

רבי שמעון בן חלפתא בעל בשר הוה יומא חד הוה חמימא ליה הוה סליק ויתיב אשינא דטורא אמר לה לברתיה בתי הניפי עלי במניפא ואני אתן ליך ככרין דנרד אדהכי נשבא זיקא אמר כמה ככרין דנרד למרי דיכי

The Gemara concludes its earlier discussion of obese Sages (84a). Rabbi Shimon ben Ḥalafta was obese. One day he was particularly hot and went and sat on a mountain boulder to cool himself off. He said to his daughter: My daughter, fan me with a fan, and as a gift I will give you packages of spikenard. In the meantime, a strong wind blew. He said: How many packages of spikenard do I owe to the overseers of this wind?

הכל כמנהג המדינה וכו׳ הכל לאתויי מאי לאתויי באתרא דנהיגי מכרך ריפתא ומשתה אנפקא דאי אמר להו קדימו ואייתי לכו אמרו לו לא כל כמינך

§ The Gemara returns to its discussion of the mishna (83a), which teaches that an employer must provide his laborers with sustenance, all in accordance with the regional custom. The Gemara asks: What is added by the inclusive term: All? The Gemara answers: This serves to include a place where it is customary for the laborers to eat bread and drink a quarter-log [anpaka] of wine. As, if in such a case the employer were to say to them: Arise early in the morning and I will bring you this sustenance, so as not to waste work time, they may say to him: It is not in your power to compel us to do so.

מעשה ברבן יוחנן בן מתיא שאמר לבנו צא ושכור וכו׳ מעשה לסתור חסורי מחסרא והכי קתני ואם

§ The mishna teaches that there was an incident involving Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya, who said to his son: Go out and hire laborers for us. His son hired the laborers and stipulated that he would provide sustenance for them. The Gemara asks: After the mishna has stated that all practices are in accordance with the regional custom, how can it cite this incident, which seems to contradict the previous ruling, as Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya and his son did not follow the regional custom? The Gemara answers: The mishna is incomplete and this is what it is teaching: All practices are in accordance with the regional custom, but if the employer pledged to provide sustenance for them,

ריבה להן ומעשה נמי ברבי יוחנן בן מתיא שאמר לבנו צא שכור לנו פועלים הלך ופסק להן מזונות וכשבא אצל אביו אמר לו בני אפילו אתה עושה להן כסעודת שלמה בשעתו לא יצאת ידי חובתך עמהן שהן בני אברהם יצחק ויעקב

he has increased his obligation to them, since if he had meant to give them no more than the accepted amount, he would not have made any stipulation at all. The mishna then continues: And there is also a supporting incident involving Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya, who said to his son: Go out and hire laborers for us. His son went, hired them, and pledged to provide sustenance for them as a term of their employment, without specifying the details. And when he came back to his father and reported what he had done, Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya said to him: My son, even if you were to prepare a feast for them like that of King Solomon in his time, you would not have fulfilled your obligation to them, as they are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

למימרא דסעודתא דאברהם אבינו עדיפא מדשלמה והכתיב ויהי לחם שלמה ליום אחד שלשים כר סלת וששים כר קמח עשרה בקר בראים ועשרה בקר רעי ומאה צאן לבד מאיל וצבי ויחמור וברברים אבוסים ואמר גוריון בן אסטיון משמיה דרב הללו לעמילן של טבחים ורבי יצחק אמר הללו לציקי קדירה

The Gemara asks: Is this to say that the feast of Abraham, our forefather, was superior to that of King Solomon? But isn’t it written: “And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and sixty measures of meal; ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, beside harts, and gazelles, and roebucks, and fatted fowl” (I Kings 5:2–3). And Guryon ben Asteyon says in the name of Rav: These measures of flour mentioned in the verse were used merely for the bakers’ well-worked dough [la’amilan] that was placed in the pot to absorb the steam. And Rabbi Yitzḥak says: These measures of flour were used for meat pudding, a mixture of wine, flour, and leftover meat, in a pot.

ואמר רבי יצחק אלף נשים היו לשלמה כל אחת ואחת עשתה לו בביתה כך מאי טעמא זו סבורה שמא אצלי סועד היום וזו סבורה שמא אצלי סועד היום ואילו גבי אברהם כתיב ואל הבקר רץ אברהם ויקח בן בקר רך וטוב ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב בן בקר אחד רך שנים וטוב שלשה

And Rabbi Yitzḥak further says: King Solomon had one thousand wives, each one of whom would prepare for him at her home a feast of such proportions. What is the reason that they did this? This wife reasoned: Perhaps he will feast with me today, and that wife reasoned: Perhaps he will feast with me today. But with regard to Abraham, it is written: “And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good” (Genesis 18:7), and Rav Yehuda says that Rav says, in explanation of the verse: “A calf” indicates one; the word “tender” means an additional one, i.e., two; “and good” indicates yet another one. This makes a total of three calves, a considerably smaller feast than that of Solomon.

התם תלתא תורי לתלתא גברי הכא לכל ישראל ויהודה שנאמר יהודה וישראל רבים כחול אשר על הים

The Gemara answers: There, with regard to Abraham, he prepared three oxen for three people, whereas here, in the case of Solomon, his wives would prepare a feast for the entire realms of Israel and Judah, as it is stated: “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and making merry” (I Kings 4:20). Abraham’s feast was proportionately greater than that of Solomon.

מאי ברבורים אבוסים אמר רב שאובסים אותן בעל כרחן ושמואל אמר שאבוסים ועומדים מאליהם ורבי יוחנן אמר מביאין תור ממרעיתו בדלא אניס ותרנגולת מאשפתה בדלא אניסא

With regard to the verse cited in relation to King Solomon, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the term “fatted fowl [avusim]”? Rav says: It means that they are fed [ovsim] by force. Shmuel says: It means that they were fattened [avusim] and maintained on their own accord, i.e., they were naturally fat. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Solomon’s feasts were of fine quality because they would bring from his herd an ox that had never been forced to work, and they would also bring a hen from its coop that had never been forced to lay eggs, and use those for the cuisine.

אמר רבי יוחנן מובחר שבבהמות שור מובחר שבעופות תרנגולת אמר אמימר זגתא אוכמתא בי בטניתא דמשתכחא ביני עצרי דלא מציא פסיא קניא

The Gemara cites a related statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The choicest of cattle is the ox. The choicest of fowl is the hen. With regard to the type of hen to which this is referring, Ameimar says: It is a fattened, black hen [zagta] that is found among the wine vats, which consumes so many grape seeds that it cannot take a step the length of a reed, due to its corpulence.

ואל הבקר רץ אברהם אמר רב יהודה אמר רב בן בקר אחד רך שנים וטוב שלשה ואימא חד כדאמרי אינשי רכיך וטב

The Gemara returns to discuss the verse in Genesis: “And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good” (Genesis 18:7). Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: “A calf” is one; “tender” indicates an additional one, i.e., two; “and good” indicates another one, for a total of three calves. The Gemara asks: But why not say that the verse is referring to only one calf, as people say when describing a single item that it is tender and good?

אם כן לכתוב רך טוב מאי וטוב שמע מינה לדרשה אימא תרי מדטוב לדרשה רך נמי לדרשה

The Gemara answers: If so, let the verse write: Tender, good. What is the significance of the term “and good,” which indicates an addition? Conclude from this that the verse is stated for the purpose of an exposition and is referring to more than one calf. The Gemara challenges: But one can still say there were only two calves. The Gemara answers: From the fact that the word “good” is written for an exposition, to include an additional calf, it may be inferred that the term “tender” is also written for an exposition and indicates yet another calf.

מתיב רבה בר עולא ואיתימא רב הושעיא ואיתימא רב נתן ברבי הושעיא ויתן אל הנער וימהר לעשות אתו כל חד וחד יהביה לנער חד ויקח חמאה וחלב ובן הבקר אשר עשה ויתן לפניהם דקמא קמא דמטיא אייתי לקמייהו

Rabba bar Ulla raises an objection, and some say it is Rav Hoshaya, and some say it is Rav Natan, son of Rabbi Hoshaya, who raises the objection: The verse states: “And he gave it to the servant; and he hastened to prepare it” (Genesis 18:7). The singular term “it” indicates that there was only one calf. The Gemara answers: Abraham gave each and every calf to one servant, i.e., he gave the three calves to three different servants. The Gemara raises a question from the verse: “And he took curd, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them” (Genesis 18:8), which again indicates that there was only one calf. The Gemara responds: The verse means that as each calf arrived prepared, he brought it before them, and he did not serve all three calves at once.

ולמה לי תלתא תסגי בחד אמר רב חנן בר רבא כדי להאכילן שלש לשונות בחרדל אמר רבי תנחום בר חנילאי לעולם אל ישנה אדם מן המנהג שהרי משה עלה למרום ולא אכל לחם מלאכי השרת ירדו למטה ואכלו לחם ואכלו סלקא דעתך אלא אימא נראו כמי שאכלו ושתו

The Gemara asks: And why do I need three calves? One calf should be sufficient for three guests. Rav Ḥanan bar Rava said: Abraham prepared three calves in order to feed the guests three tongues with mustard, a particular delicacy. With regard to this incident, Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai says: A person should never deviate from the local custom, as Moses ascended to heaven on high and did not eat bread while he was there, whereas the ministering angels descended down to this world, as guests visiting Abraham, and they ate bread. You say: And they ate bread? Can it enter your mind that they actually ate food? Rather, say that they merely appeared as though they ate and drank.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כל מה שעשה אברהם למלאכי השרת בעצמו עשה הקדוש ברוך הוא לבניו בעצמו וכל מה שעשה אברהם על ידי שליח עשה הקדוש ברוך הוא לבניו על ידי שליח

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: Every action that Abraham performed himself for the ministering angels, the Holy One, Blessed be He, performed Himself for Abraham’s descendants. And every action that Abraham performed through a messenger, the Holy One, Blessed be He, likewise performed for his descendants through a messenger.

ואל הבקר רץ אברהם ורוח נסע מאת ה׳ ויקח חמאה וחלב הנני ממטיר לכם לחם מן השמים

The Gemara elaborates: With regard to Abraham, the verse states: “And Abraham ran to the herd” (Genesis 18:7), bringing the meat himself, and in reference to God’s actions for Abraham’s descendants the verse states: “And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought across quails from the sea” (Numbers 11:31), that God brought meat to them. In reference to Abraham, the verse states: “And he took curd and milk” (Genesis 18:8), and God says to the Jewish people: “Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4), which shows that God gave food to the Jewish people.

והוא עמד עליהם תחת העץ הנני עמד לפניך שם על הצור [וגו׳] ואברהם הלך עמם לשלחם וה׳ הלך לפניהם יומם

With regard to Abraham, the verse states: “And he stood by them under the tree, and they ate” (Genesis 18:8), and in reference to God, the verse states: “Behold, I will stand before you there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it” (Exodus 17:6). In the case of Abraham it is written: “And Abraham went with them to bring them on the way” (Genesis 18:16), and the verse states: “And the Lord went before them by day” (Exodus 13:21).

יקח נא מעט מים והכית בצור ויצאו ממנו מים ושתה העם

By contrast, Abraham performed certain actions through an agent. He said: “Let now a little water be fetched” (Genesis 18:4), and correspondingly the verse states in reference to Moses, God’s messenger: “And you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink” (Exodus 17:6).

ופליגא דרבי חמא ברבי חנינא דאמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא וכן תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל בשכר שלשה זכו לשלשה בשכר חמאה וחלב זכו למן בשכר והוא עמד עליהם זכו לעמוד הענן בשכר יקח נא מעט מים זכו לבארה של מרים

The Gemara notes: And in stating this, Rav disagrees with that statement of Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina. As Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says, and likewise the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: In reward for three acts of hospitality that Abraham performed for the angels, his descendants merited three rewards. The Gemara elaborates: In reward for providing them with curd and milk, the Jewish people merited the manna; in reward for: “And he stood [omed] by them,” the Jews merited the pillar [amud] of cloud; in reward for Abraham saying: “Let now a little water be fetched,” they merited the well of Miriam. This statement does not distinguish between actions performed by Abraham himself and those performed by means of a messenger.

יקח נא מעט מים ורחצו רגליכם אמר רבי ינאי ברבי ישמעאל אמרו לו וכי בערביים חשדתנו שהם משתחוים לאבק רגליהם כבר יצא ממנו ישמעאל

The Gemara continues its analysis of the verse: “Let now a little water be fetched and wash your feet” (Genesis 18:4). Rabbi Yannai, son of Rabbi Yishmael, said that the guests said to Abraham: Are you suspicious that we are Arabs who bow to the dust of their feet? Yishmael has already issued from him, i.e., your own son acts in this manner.

וירא אליו ה׳ באלני ממרא והוא ישב פתח האהל כחם היום מאי כחום היום אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא אותו היום יום שלישי של מילה של אברהם היה ובא הקדוש ברוך הוא לשאול באברהם הוציא הקדוש ברוך הוא חמה מנרתיקה כדי שלא יטריח אותו צדיק באורחים

§ The Gemara expounds another verse involving Abraham: “And the Lord appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day” (Genesis 18:1). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “the heat of the day”? Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: That day was the third day after Abraham’s circumcision, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, came to inquire about the well-being of Abraham. The Holy One, Blessed be He, removed the sun from its sheath in order not to bother that righteous one with guests, i.e., God made it extremely hot that day to allow Abraham to recover from his circumcision, as he would not be troubled by passing travelers whom he would invite into his tent.

שדריה לאליעזר למיפק לברא נפק ולא אשכח אמר לא מהימנא לך היינו דאמרי תמן לית הימנותא בעבדי נפק איהו חזייה להקדוש ברוך הוא דקאי אבבא היינו דכתיב אל נא תעבר מעל עבדך

Despite the intense heat, Abraham wanted to invite guests. He sent Eliezer his slave to go outside to see if there were any passersby. Eliezer went out but did not find anyone. Abraham said to him: I do not believe you. The Gemara comments: This demonstrates the popular adage that people there, i.e., in Eretz Yisrael, say: Slaves do not have any credibility. The Gemara continues: Abraham himself went out and saw the Holy One, Blessed be He, standing at the entrance to his tent. This is as it is written: “My Lord, if now I have found favor in your eyes, do not leave Your servant” (Genesis 18:3), i.e., God’s presence was there, and Abraham asked Him for permission to attend to the travelers.

כיון דחזא דקא אסר ושרי אמר לאו אורח ארעא למיקם הכא היינו דכתיב וישא עיניו וירא והנה שלשה אנשים נצבים עליו וירא וירץ לקראתם מעיקרא אתו קמו עליה כי חזיוהו דהוה ליה צערא אמרו לאו אורח ארעא למיקם הכא

Once God saw Abraham tying and untying the bandage on his circumcision, God said: It is not proper conduct to stand here, i.e., it is not respectful to Abraham even for God to stand there. This is as it is written: “And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men stood over him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them” (Genesis 18:2). The verse first states that they stood over him, and then it says that he ran to meet them. The Gemara reconciles this apparent contradiction: Initially, they came and stood over him. Upon seeing that he was in pain, they said: It is not proper conduct to stand here.

מאן נינהו שלשה אנשים מיכאל וגבריאל ורפאל מיכאל שבא לבשר את שרה רפאל שבא לרפא את אברהם גבריאל אזל למהפכיה לסדום והא כתיב ויבאו שני המלאכים סדמה בערב דאזל מיכאל בהדיה לשזביה ללוט דיקא נמי דכתיב ויהפך את הערים האל ולא כתיב ויהפכו שמע מינה

The Gemara continues: Who are these three men? They are the angels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael: Michael, who came to announce to Sarah that she was to give birth to a son; Raphael, who came to heal Abraham after his circumcision; and Gabriel, who went to overturn Sodom. The Gemara asks: But it is written: “And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening” (Genesis 19:1). The Gemara answers that Michael went along with Gabriel to Sodom to save Lot. The Gemara notes: The language is also precise, as it is written: “And he overturned those cities” (Genesis 19:25), and it is not written: They overturned those cities. Conclude from it that only one angel overturned Sodom.

מאי שנא לגבי אברהם דכתיב כן תעשה כאשר דברת ומאי שנא לגבי לוט דכתיב

The Gemara asks: What is different with regard to the incident involving Abraham, where the angels acquiesced immediately to his request to remain with him, as it is written: “So do, as you have said” (Genesis 18:5), and what is different with regard to Lot, where they first displayed reluctance, as it is written:

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Bava Metzia 86

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Bava Metzia 86

חכים יתקרי ורבי לא יתקרי ואסו דרבי על ידו תהא רבי ורבי נתן סוף משנה רב אשי ורבינא סוף הוראה

shall be called a wise [ḥakim] physician, but he shall not be called rabbi, and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s convalescence shall be through him. I also saw written there: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and Rabbi Natan are the end of the Mishna, i.e., the last of the tanna’im, the redactors of the Mishna. Rav Ashi and Ravina are the end of instruction, i.e., the end of the period of the amora’im, the redacting of the Talmud, which occurred after the period of the tanna’im.

וסימנך עד אבוא אל מקדשי אל אבינה לאחריתם

And your mnemonic to remember that Rav Ashi and Ravina redacted the Talmud is the verse: “Until I entered into the sanctuary [mikdashei] of God, and considered [avina] their end” (Psalms 73:17). The sanctuary, mikdashei, alludes to Rav Ashi, while the term avina alludes to Ravina, which is a contraction of Rav Avina. The phrase: Their end, is interpreted as a reference to the redacting of the Talmud.

אמר רב כהנא אישתעי לי רב חמא בר ברתיה דחסא רבה בר נחמני אגב שמדא נח נפשיה אכלו ביה קורצא בי מלכא אמרו איכא חד גברא ביהודאי דקא מבטל תריסר אלפי גברי מישראל ירחא בקייטא וירחא בסתוא מכרגא דמלכא

§ The Gemara relates another story discussing the greatness of the Sages. Rav Kahana said: Rav Ḥama, son of the daughter of Ḥasa, told me that Rabba bar Naḥmani died due to the fear of a decree of religious persecution. The Gemara explains: His enemies accused him [akhalu beih kurtza] of disloyalty in the king’s palace, as they said: There is one man from among the Jews who exempts twelve thousand Jewish men from the king’s head tax two months a year, one month in the summer and one month in the winter. Since many people would study in Rabba’s study hall during the months of Adar and Elul, he was being blamed for preventing those people from working during those months.

שדרו פריסתקא דמלכא בתריה ולא אשכחיה ערק ואזל מפומבדיתא לאקרא מאקרא לאגמא ומאגמא לשחין ומשחין לצריפא ומצריפא לעינא דמים ומעינא דמים לפומבדיתא בפומבדיתא אשכחיה איקלע פריסתקא דמלכא לההוא אושפיזא דרבה קריבו תכא קמיה ואשקוהו תרי כסי ודליוה לתכא מקמיה הדר פרצופיה לאחוריה

They sent a messenger [peristaka] of the king after him, but he was not able to find him. Rabba bar Naḥmani fled and went from Pumbedita to Akra, from Akra to Agma, from Agma to Shiḥin, from Shiḥin to Tzerifa, from Tzerifa to Eina Demayim, and from Eina Demayim back to Pumbedita. Ultimately, he was found in Pumbedita, as the king’s messenger arrived by chance at that same inn where Rabba bar Naḥmani was hiding. The inn attendants placed a tray before the messenger and gave him two cups to drink. They then removed the tray from before him and his face was miraculously turned backward.

אמרו ליה מאי נעביד ליה גברא דמלכא הוא אמר להו קריבו תכא לקמיה ואשקוהו חד כסא ודליוהו לתכא מקמיה ולתסי עבדו ליה הכי ואתסי אמר מידע ידענא דגברא דקא בעינא הכא הוא בחיש אבתריה ואשכחיה אמר אזלינא מהא אי מקטל קטלו לההוא גברא לא מגלינא ואי נגידי מנגדין ליה מגלינא

The attendants said to Rabba bar Naḥmani: What should we do with him? He is the king’s man, and we cannot leave him like this. Rabba bar Naḥmani said to them: Place a tray before him and give him one cup to drink, and then remove the tray from before him and he will be healed. They did this, and he was healed. The messenger said: I am certain that the man I seek is here, as this unnatural event must have befallen me on his account. He searched for Rabba bar Naḥmani and found out where he was. The messenger said that they should tell Rabba bar Naḥmani: I will leave this inn and will not disclose your location. Even if they will kill that man, i.e., me, I will not disclose your location. But if they will beat him, me, I will disclose your whereabouts, as I cannot bear being tortured.

אתיוהו לקמיה עייליה לאדרונא וטרקיה לבבא באנפיה בעא רחמי פרק אשיתא ערק ואזיל לאגמא הוה יתיב אגירדא דדקולא וקא גריס קא מיפלגי במתיבתא דרקיעא אם בהרת קודמת לשער לבן טמא ואם שער לבן קודם לבהרת טהור

With that guarantee, they brought Rabba bar Naḥmani before the messenger. They took him into a small vestibule [le’idrona] and closed the door before him. Rabba bar Naḥmani prayed for mercy, and the wall crumbled. He fled and went to hide in a swamp. He was sitting on the stump of a palm tree and studying Torah alone. At that moment, the Sages in the heavenly academy were disagreeing with regard to a halakha of leprosy. In general, a leprous spot includes two signs of impurity, a bright white spot and a white hair. The basic halakha is that if the snow-white leprous sore [baheret] preceded the white hair then the afflicted person is ritually impure, but if the white hair preceded the baheret, he is pure.

ספק הקדוש ברוך הוא אומר טהור וכולהו מתיבתא דרקיעא אמרי טמא ואמרי מאן נוכח נוכח רבה בר נחמני דאמר רבה בר נחמני אני יחיד בנגעים אני יחיד באהלות

The heavenly debate concerned a case of uncertainty as to which came first, the spot or the hair. The Holy One, Blessed be He, says: The individual is pure, but every other member of the heavenly academy says: He is impure. And they said: Who can arbitrate in this dispute? They agreed that Rabba bar Naḥmani should arbitrate, as Rabba bar Naḥmani once said: I am preeminent in the halakhot of leprosy and I am preeminent in the halakhot of ritual impurity imparted by tents.

שדרו שליחא בתריה לא הוה מצי מלאך המות למקרב ליה מדלא הוה קא פסיק פומיה מגרסיה אדהכי נשב זיקא ואויש ביני קני סבר גונדא דפרשי הוא אמר תינח נפשיה דההוא גברא ולא ימסר בידא דמלכותא

They sent a messenger from heaven after him to take his soul up to the heavenly academy, but the Angel of Death was unable to approach Rabba bar Naḥmani, as his mouth did not cease from his Torah study. In the meantime, a wind blew and howled between the branches. Rabba bar Naḥmani thought that the noise was due to an infantry battalion [gunda] about to capture him. He said: Let that man, i.e., me, die and not be given over to the hands of the government. The Angel of Death was therefore able to take his soul.

כי הוה קא ניחא נפשיה אמר טהור טהור יצאת בת קול ואמרה אשריך רבה בר נחמני שגופך טהור ויצאתה נשמתך בטהור נפל פתקא מרקיעא בפומבדיתא רבה בר נחמני נתבקש בישיבה של מעלה נפקו אביי ורבא וכולהו רבנן לאיעסוקי ביה לא הוו ידעי דוכתיה אזלו לאגמא חזו צפרי דמטללי וקיימי אמרי שמע מינה התם הוא

As he was dying, he said in response to the dispute in heaven: It is pure; it is pure. A Divine Voice emerged from heaven and said: Happy are you, Rabba bar Naḥmani, as your body is pure and your soul left you with the word: Pure. A note [pitka] fell from heaven and landed in the academy of Pumbedita. The note read: Rabba bar Naḥmani was summoned to the heavenly academy, i.e., he has died. Abaye and Rava and all of the other Rabbis went out to tend to his burial; however, they did not know the location of his body. They went to the swamp and saw birds forming a shade and hovering over a certain spot. The Rabbis said: We can conclude from this that he is there.

ספדוהו תלתא יומי ותלתא לילותא נפל פתקא כל הפורש יהא בנידוי ספדוהו שבעה יומי נפל פתקא לכו לביתכם לשלום

The Rabbis lamented him for three days and three nights. A note fell from heaven, upon which was written: Anyone who removes himself from the lamentations shall be ostracized. Accordingly, they lamented him for seven days. Another note fell from heaven, stating: Go to your homes in peace.

ההוא יומא דנח נפשיה דלייה זעפא ודרי לההוא טייעא כי רכיב גמלא מהאי גיסא דנהר פפא ושדייה בהך גיסא אמר מאי האי אמרי ליה נח נפשיה דרבה בר נחמני אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם כולי עלמא דידך הוא ורבה בר נחמני דידך את דרבה ורבה דידך אמאי קא מחרבת ליה לעלמא נח זעפא

On that day when Rabba bar Naḥmani died, a hurricane lifted a certain Arab [taya’a] merchant while he was riding his camel. The hurricane carried him from one side of the Pappa River and threw him onto the other side. He said: What is this? Those present said to him: Rabba bar Naḥmani has died. He said before God: Master of the Universe! The entire world is Yours and Rabba bar Naḥmani is also Yours. You are to Rabba and Rabba is to You, i.e., you are beloved to each other. If so, why are You destroying the world on his account? The storm subsided.

רבי שמעון בן חלפתא בעל בשר הוה יומא חד הוה חמימא ליה הוה סליק ויתיב אשינא דטורא אמר לה לברתיה בתי הניפי עלי במניפא ואני אתן ליך ככרין דנרד אדהכי נשבא זיקא אמר כמה ככרין דנרד למרי דיכי

The Gemara concludes its earlier discussion of obese Sages (84a). Rabbi Shimon ben Ḥalafta was obese. One day he was particularly hot and went and sat on a mountain boulder to cool himself off. He said to his daughter: My daughter, fan me with a fan, and as a gift I will give you packages of spikenard. In the meantime, a strong wind blew. He said: How many packages of spikenard do I owe to the overseers of this wind?

הכל כמנהג המדינה וכו׳ הכל לאתויי מאי לאתויי באתרא דנהיגי מכרך ריפתא ומשתה אנפקא דאי אמר להו קדימו ואייתי לכו אמרו לו לא כל כמינך

§ The Gemara returns to its discussion of the mishna (83a), which teaches that an employer must provide his laborers with sustenance, all in accordance with the regional custom. The Gemara asks: What is added by the inclusive term: All? The Gemara answers: This serves to include a place where it is customary for the laborers to eat bread and drink a quarter-log [anpaka] of wine. As, if in such a case the employer were to say to them: Arise early in the morning and I will bring you this sustenance, so as not to waste work time, they may say to him: It is not in your power to compel us to do so.

מעשה ברבן יוחנן בן מתיא שאמר לבנו צא ושכור וכו׳ מעשה לסתור חסורי מחסרא והכי קתני ואם

§ The mishna teaches that there was an incident involving Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya, who said to his son: Go out and hire laborers for us. His son hired the laborers and stipulated that he would provide sustenance for them. The Gemara asks: After the mishna has stated that all practices are in accordance with the regional custom, how can it cite this incident, which seems to contradict the previous ruling, as Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya and his son did not follow the regional custom? The Gemara answers: The mishna is incomplete and this is what it is teaching: All practices are in accordance with the regional custom, but if the employer pledged to provide sustenance for them,

ריבה להן ומעשה נמי ברבי יוחנן בן מתיא שאמר לבנו צא שכור לנו פועלים הלך ופסק להן מזונות וכשבא אצל אביו אמר לו בני אפילו אתה עושה להן כסעודת שלמה בשעתו לא יצאת ידי חובתך עמהן שהן בני אברהם יצחק ויעקב

he has increased his obligation to them, since if he had meant to give them no more than the accepted amount, he would not have made any stipulation at all. The mishna then continues: And there is also a supporting incident involving Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya, who said to his son: Go out and hire laborers for us. His son went, hired them, and pledged to provide sustenance for them as a term of their employment, without specifying the details. And when he came back to his father and reported what he had done, Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya said to him: My son, even if you were to prepare a feast for them like that of King Solomon in his time, you would not have fulfilled your obligation to them, as they are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

למימרא דסעודתא דאברהם אבינו עדיפא מדשלמה והכתיב ויהי לחם שלמה ליום אחד שלשים כר סלת וששים כר קמח עשרה בקר בראים ועשרה בקר רעי ומאה צאן לבד מאיל וצבי ויחמור וברברים אבוסים ואמר גוריון בן אסטיון משמיה דרב הללו לעמילן של טבחים ורבי יצחק אמר הללו לציקי קדירה

The Gemara asks: Is this to say that the feast of Abraham, our forefather, was superior to that of King Solomon? But isn’t it written: “And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and sixty measures of meal; ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, beside harts, and gazelles, and roebucks, and fatted fowl” (I Kings 5:2–3). And Guryon ben Asteyon says in the name of Rav: These measures of flour mentioned in the verse were used merely for the bakers’ well-worked dough [la’amilan] that was placed in the pot to absorb the steam. And Rabbi Yitzḥak says: These measures of flour were used for meat pudding, a mixture of wine, flour, and leftover meat, in a pot.

ואמר רבי יצחק אלף נשים היו לשלמה כל אחת ואחת עשתה לו בביתה כך מאי טעמא זו סבורה שמא אצלי סועד היום וזו סבורה שמא אצלי סועד היום ואילו גבי אברהם כתיב ואל הבקר רץ אברהם ויקח בן בקר רך וטוב ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב בן בקר אחד רך שנים וטוב שלשה

And Rabbi Yitzḥak further says: King Solomon had one thousand wives, each one of whom would prepare for him at her home a feast of such proportions. What is the reason that they did this? This wife reasoned: Perhaps he will feast with me today, and that wife reasoned: Perhaps he will feast with me today. But with regard to Abraham, it is written: “And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good” (Genesis 18:7), and Rav Yehuda says that Rav says, in explanation of the verse: “A calf” indicates one; the word “tender” means an additional one, i.e., two; “and good” indicates yet another one. This makes a total of three calves, a considerably smaller feast than that of Solomon.

התם תלתא תורי לתלתא גברי הכא לכל ישראל ויהודה שנאמר יהודה וישראל רבים כחול אשר על הים

The Gemara answers: There, with regard to Abraham, he prepared three oxen for three people, whereas here, in the case of Solomon, his wives would prepare a feast for the entire realms of Israel and Judah, as it is stated: “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and making merry” (I Kings 4:20). Abraham’s feast was proportionately greater than that of Solomon.

מאי ברבורים אבוסים אמר רב שאובסים אותן בעל כרחן ושמואל אמר שאבוסים ועומדים מאליהם ורבי יוחנן אמר מביאין תור ממרעיתו בדלא אניס ותרנגולת מאשפתה בדלא אניסא

With regard to the verse cited in relation to King Solomon, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the term “fatted fowl [avusim]”? Rav says: It means that they are fed [ovsim] by force. Shmuel says: It means that they were fattened [avusim] and maintained on their own accord, i.e., they were naturally fat. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Solomon’s feasts were of fine quality because they would bring from his herd an ox that had never been forced to work, and they would also bring a hen from its coop that had never been forced to lay eggs, and use those for the cuisine.

אמר רבי יוחנן מובחר שבבהמות שור מובחר שבעופות תרנגולת אמר אמימר זגתא אוכמתא בי בטניתא דמשתכחא ביני עצרי דלא מציא פסיא קניא

The Gemara cites a related statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The choicest of cattle is the ox. The choicest of fowl is the hen. With regard to the type of hen to which this is referring, Ameimar says: It is a fattened, black hen [zagta] that is found among the wine vats, which consumes so many grape seeds that it cannot take a step the length of a reed, due to its corpulence.

ואל הבקר רץ אברהם אמר רב יהודה אמר רב בן בקר אחד רך שנים וטוב שלשה ואימא חד כדאמרי אינשי רכיך וטב

The Gemara returns to discuss the verse in Genesis: “And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good” (Genesis 18:7). Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: “A calf” is one; “tender” indicates an additional one, i.e., two; “and good” indicates another one, for a total of three calves. The Gemara asks: But why not say that the verse is referring to only one calf, as people say when describing a single item that it is tender and good?

אם כן לכתוב רך טוב מאי וטוב שמע מינה לדרשה אימא תרי מדטוב לדרשה רך נמי לדרשה

The Gemara answers: If so, let the verse write: Tender, good. What is the significance of the term “and good,” which indicates an addition? Conclude from this that the verse is stated for the purpose of an exposition and is referring to more than one calf. The Gemara challenges: But one can still say there were only two calves. The Gemara answers: From the fact that the word “good” is written for an exposition, to include an additional calf, it may be inferred that the term “tender” is also written for an exposition and indicates yet another calf.

מתיב רבה בר עולא ואיתימא רב הושעיא ואיתימא רב נתן ברבי הושעיא ויתן אל הנער וימהר לעשות אתו כל חד וחד יהביה לנער חד ויקח חמאה וחלב ובן הבקר אשר עשה ויתן לפניהם דקמא קמא דמטיא אייתי לקמייהו

Rabba bar Ulla raises an objection, and some say it is Rav Hoshaya, and some say it is Rav Natan, son of Rabbi Hoshaya, who raises the objection: The verse states: “And he gave it to the servant; and he hastened to prepare it” (Genesis 18:7). The singular term “it” indicates that there was only one calf. The Gemara answers: Abraham gave each and every calf to one servant, i.e., he gave the three calves to three different servants. The Gemara raises a question from the verse: “And he took curd, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them” (Genesis 18:8), which again indicates that there was only one calf. The Gemara responds: The verse means that as each calf arrived prepared, he brought it before them, and he did not serve all three calves at once.

ולמה לי תלתא תסגי בחד אמר רב חנן בר רבא כדי להאכילן שלש לשונות בחרדל אמר רבי תנחום בר חנילאי לעולם אל ישנה אדם מן המנהג שהרי משה עלה למרום ולא אכל לחם מלאכי השרת ירדו למטה ואכלו לחם ואכלו סלקא דעתך אלא אימא נראו כמי שאכלו ושתו

The Gemara asks: And why do I need three calves? One calf should be sufficient for three guests. Rav Ḥanan bar Rava said: Abraham prepared three calves in order to feed the guests three tongues with mustard, a particular delicacy. With regard to this incident, Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai says: A person should never deviate from the local custom, as Moses ascended to heaven on high and did not eat bread while he was there, whereas the ministering angels descended down to this world, as guests visiting Abraham, and they ate bread. You say: And they ate bread? Can it enter your mind that they actually ate food? Rather, say that they merely appeared as though they ate and drank.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כל מה שעשה אברהם למלאכי השרת בעצמו עשה הקדוש ברוך הוא לבניו בעצמו וכל מה שעשה אברהם על ידי שליח עשה הקדוש ברוך הוא לבניו על ידי שליח

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: Every action that Abraham performed himself for the ministering angels, the Holy One, Blessed be He, performed Himself for Abraham’s descendants. And every action that Abraham performed through a messenger, the Holy One, Blessed be He, likewise performed for his descendants through a messenger.

ואל הבקר רץ אברהם ורוח נסע מאת ה׳ ויקח חמאה וחלב הנני ממטיר לכם לחם מן השמים

The Gemara elaborates: With regard to Abraham, the verse states: “And Abraham ran to the herd” (Genesis 18:7), bringing the meat himself, and in reference to God’s actions for Abraham’s descendants the verse states: “And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought across quails from the sea” (Numbers 11:31), that God brought meat to them. In reference to Abraham, the verse states: “And he took curd and milk” (Genesis 18:8), and God says to the Jewish people: “Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4), which shows that God gave food to the Jewish people.

והוא עמד עליהם תחת העץ הנני עמד לפניך שם על הצור [וגו׳] ואברהם הלך עמם לשלחם וה׳ הלך לפניהם יומם

With regard to Abraham, the verse states: “And he stood by them under the tree, and they ate” (Genesis 18:8), and in reference to God, the verse states: “Behold, I will stand before you there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it” (Exodus 17:6). In the case of Abraham it is written: “And Abraham went with them to bring them on the way” (Genesis 18:16), and the verse states: “And the Lord went before them by day” (Exodus 13:21).

יקח נא מעט מים והכית בצור ויצאו ממנו מים ושתה העם

By contrast, Abraham performed certain actions through an agent. He said: “Let now a little water be fetched” (Genesis 18:4), and correspondingly the verse states in reference to Moses, God’s messenger: “And you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink” (Exodus 17:6).

ופליגא דרבי חמא ברבי חנינא דאמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא וכן תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל בשכר שלשה זכו לשלשה בשכר חמאה וחלב זכו למן בשכר והוא עמד עליהם זכו לעמוד הענן בשכר יקח נא מעט מים זכו לבארה של מרים

The Gemara notes: And in stating this, Rav disagrees with that statement of Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina. As Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says, and likewise the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: In reward for three acts of hospitality that Abraham performed for the angels, his descendants merited three rewards. The Gemara elaborates: In reward for providing them with curd and milk, the Jewish people merited the manna; in reward for: “And he stood [omed] by them,” the Jews merited the pillar [amud] of cloud; in reward for Abraham saying: “Let now a little water be fetched,” they merited the well of Miriam. This statement does not distinguish between actions performed by Abraham himself and those performed by means of a messenger.

יקח נא מעט מים ורחצו רגליכם אמר רבי ינאי ברבי ישמעאל אמרו לו וכי בערביים חשדתנו שהם משתחוים לאבק רגליהם כבר יצא ממנו ישמעאל

The Gemara continues its analysis of the verse: “Let now a little water be fetched and wash your feet” (Genesis 18:4). Rabbi Yannai, son of Rabbi Yishmael, said that the guests said to Abraham: Are you suspicious that we are Arabs who bow to the dust of their feet? Yishmael has already issued from him, i.e., your own son acts in this manner.

וירא אליו ה׳ באלני ממרא והוא ישב פתח האהל כחם היום מאי כחום היום אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא אותו היום יום שלישי של מילה של אברהם היה ובא הקדוש ברוך הוא לשאול באברהם הוציא הקדוש ברוך הוא חמה מנרתיקה כדי שלא יטריח אותו צדיק באורחים

§ The Gemara expounds another verse involving Abraham: “And the Lord appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day” (Genesis 18:1). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “the heat of the day”? Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: That day was the third day after Abraham’s circumcision, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, came to inquire about the well-being of Abraham. The Holy One, Blessed be He, removed the sun from its sheath in order not to bother that righteous one with guests, i.e., God made it extremely hot that day to allow Abraham to recover from his circumcision, as he would not be troubled by passing travelers whom he would invite into his tent.

שדריה לאליעזר למיפק לברא נפק ולא אשכח אמר לא מהימנא לך היינו דאמרי תמן לית הימנותא בעבדי נפק איהו חזייה להקדוש ברוך הוא דקאי אבבא היינו דכתיב אל נא תעבר מעל עבדך

Despite the intense heat, Abraham wanted to invite guests. He sent Eliezer his slave to go outside to see if there were any passersby. Eliezer went out but did not find anyone. Abraham said to him: I do not believe you. The Gemara comments: This demonstrates the popular adage that people there, i.e., in Eretz Yisrael, say: Slaves do not have any credibility. The Gemara continues: Abraham himself went out and saw the Holy One, Blessed be He, standing at the entrance to his tent. This is as it is written: “My Lord, if now I have found favor in your eyes, do not leave Your servant” (Genesis 18:3), i.e., God’s presence was there, and Abraham asked Him for permission to attend to the travelers.

כיון דחזא דקא אסר ושרי אמר לאו אורח ארעא למיקם הכא היינו דכתיב וישא עיניו וירא והנה שלשה אנשים נצבים עליו וירא וירץ לקראתם מעיקרא אתו קמו עליה כי חזיוהו דהוה ליה צערא אמרו לאו אורח ארעא למיקם הכא

Once God saw Abraham tying and untying the bandage on his circumcision, God said: It is not proper conduct to stand here, i.e., it is not respectful to Abraham even for God to stand there. This is as it is written: “And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men stood over him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them” (Genesis 18:2). The verse first states that they stood over him, and then it says that he ran to meet them. The Gemara reconciles this apparent contradiction: Initially, they came and stood over him. Upon seeing that he was in pain, they said: It is not proper conduct to stand here.

מאן נינהו שלשה אנשים מיכאל וגבריאל ורפאל מיכאל שבא לבשר את שרה רפאל שבא לרפא את אברהם גבריאל אזל למהפכיה לסדום והא כתיב ויבאו שני המלאכים סדמה בערב דאזל מיכאל בהדיה לשזביה ללוט דיקא נמי דכתיב ויהפך את הערים האל ולא כתיב ויהפכו שמע מינה

The Gemara continues: Who are these three men? They are the angels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael: Michael, who came to announce to Sarah that she was to give birth to a son; Raphael, who came to heal Abraham after his circumcision; and Gabriel, who went to overturn Sodom. The Gemara asks: But it is written: “And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening” (Genesis 19:1). The Gemara answers that Michael went along with Gabriel to Sodom to save Lot. The Gemara notes: The language is also precise, as it is written: “And he overturned those cities” (Genesis 19:25), and it is not written: They overturned those cities. Conclude from it that only one angel overturned Sodom.

מאי שנא לגבי אברהם דכתיב כן תעשה כאשר דברת ומאי שנא לגבי לוט דכתיב

The Gemara asks: What is different with regard to the incident involving Abraham, where the angels acquiesced immediately to his request to remain with him, as it is written: “So do, as you have said” (Genesis 18:5), and what is different with regard to Lot, where they first displayed reluctance, as it is written:

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