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Today's Daf Yomi

July 21, 2014 | כ״ג בתמוז תשע״ד

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Terri Krivosha for the Refuah Shlemah of her husband Harav Hayim Yehuda Ben Faiga Rivah. 

  • 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.

Megillah 10

Study Guide Megillah 10


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יש אחריה היתר וקדושת ירושלים אין אחריה היתר

after the Tabernacle was destroyed, there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars. But with regard to the sanctity of Jerusalem, after the Temple was destroyed, there is no permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars, as the prohibition remains intact.

גמ׳ אמר רבי יצחק שמעתי שמקריבין בבית חוניו בזמן הזה קסבר בית חוניו לאו בית עבודה זרה היא וקא סבר קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבוא

GEMARA: Rabbi Yitzḥak said: I heard that one sacrifices offerings in the temple of Onias in Egypt at the present time. The Gemara cites the basis for the statement of Rabbi Yitzḥak. He maintains that the temple of Onias is not a house of idol worship but rather a temple devoted to the service of God, and he maintains that the initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time and did not sanctify Jerusalem forever. Therefore, after the destruction of the Temple, the sanctity of Jerusalem lapsed and the sacrifice of offerings elsewhere was no longer prohibited. For these reasons it was permitted to sacrifice offerings in the temple of Onias after the Temple was destroyed.

דכתיב כי לא באתם עד עתה אל המנוחה ואל הנחלה מנוחה זו שילה נחלה זו ירושלים מקיש נחלה למנוחה מה מנוחה יש אחריה היתר אף נחלה יש אחריה היתר

The Gemara cites the source of this halakha. It is as it is written: “For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance” (Deuteronomy 12:9), which is interpreted: “Rest,” this is Shiloh; “inheritance,” this is Jerusalem. The verse juxtaposes and likens inheritance to rest: Just as in the place of rest, Shiloh, after its destruction there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars, so too in the place of inheritance, Jerusalem, after its destruction there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars.

אמרו ליה אמרת אמר להו לא אמר רבא האלהים אמרה וגמירנא לה מיניה

The Gemara reports that the other Sages said to Rabbi Yitzḥak: Did you say this halakha with regard to the temple of Onias? He said to them: No, I did not say that. Rava said, reinforcing his assertion with an oath: By God! Rabbi Yitzḥak did in fact say this, and I myself learned it from him, but he later retracted this ruling.

ומאי טעמא קא הדר ביה משום קשיא דרב מרי דמותיב רב מרי קדושת שילה יש אחריה היתר קדושת ירושלים אין אחריה היתר ועוד תנן משבאו לירושלים נאסרו הבמות ולא היה להם עוד היתר והיא היתה לנחלה

The Gemara asks: And what is the reason he retracted his ruling? The Gemara explains: It is due to the difficulty raised by Rav Mari, as Rav Mari raised an objection from the mishna: With regard to the sanctity of Shiloh, after the Tabernacle was destroyed there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars. But with regard to the sanctity of Jerusalem, after the Temple was destroyed there is no permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars. And furthermore, we learned in a mishna (Zevaḥim 112b): Once they came to Jerusalem, improvised altars were prohibited, and they did not again have permission to do so, and Jerusalem became the everlasting inheritance.

תנאי היא (דתניא) אמר רבי אליעזר שמעתי כשהיו בונין בהיכל עושין קלעים להיכל וקלעים לעזרה אלא שבהיכל בונין מבחוץ ובעזרה בונין מבפנים

The Gemara comments: This matter is subject to a dispute between tanna’im, as it is taught in a mishna (Eduyyot 8:6): Rabbi Eliezer said: I heard that when they were building the Sanctuary in the Second Temple, they fashioned temporary hangings for the Sanctuary and temporary hangings for the courtyard to serve as partitions until construction of the stone walls was completed. The difference was only that in building the Sanctuary, the workers built the walls outside the hangings, without entering, and in the courtyard, the workers built the walls inside the hangings.

ואמר רבי יהושע שמעתי שמקריבין אף על פי שאין בית אוכלין קדשי קדשים אף על פי שאין קלעים קדשים קלים ומעשר שני אף על פי שאין חומה מפני שקדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבוא מכלל דרבי אליעזר סבר לא קידשה לעתיד לבוא

And Rabbi Yehoshua said: I heard that one sacrifices offerings on the altar even though there is no Temple, one eats offerings of the most sacred order in the Temple courtyard even if there are no hangings, and one eats offerings of lesser sanctity and second tithe produce in Jerusalem even if there is no wall surrounding the city, due to the fact that the initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time and also sanctified Jerusalem forever. Even if the walls do not exist, the sanctity remains intact. The Gemara concludes: From the fact that Rabbi Yehoshua based his opinion on the principle that the initial sanctification sanctified Jerusalem forever, by inference one can conclude that Rabbi Eliezer holds: It did not sanctify Jerusalem forever. Apparently, this issue is subject to a dispute between tanna’im.

אמר ליה רבינא לרב אשי ממאי דלמא דכולי עלמא קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבוא ומר מאי דשמיע ליה קאמר ומר מאי דשמיע ליה קאמר וכי תימא קלעים לרבי אליעזר למה לי לצניעותא בעלמא

Ravina said to Rav Ashi: From where do you draw this inference? Perhaps everyone maintains that the initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time and also sanctified Jerusalem forever. And one Sage, Rabbi Eliezer, stated that tradition, which he heard from his teachers, and one Sage, Rabbi Yehoshua, stated that tradition, which he heard from his teachers, and there is no dispute between them. And if you would say: Why then do I need hangings at all according to Rabbi Eliezer? The original sanctity remained when Jerusalem was not surrounded by walls, and the presence or absence of hangings is irrelevant as well. The Gemara answers: The hangings were established merely for seclusion, as it would have been unbecoming for the activity in this most sacred venue to be visible to all.

אלא כי הני תנאי דתניא אמר רבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי למה מנו חכמים את אלו שכשעלו בני הגולה מצאו את אלו וקידשום אבל הראשונות בטלו משבטלה הארץ אלמא קסבר קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבוא

Rather, this matter is subject to the dispute between these tanna’im, as it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, said: Why did the Sages enumerate these nine cities in tractate Arakhin as cities walled since the days of Joshua, son of Nun? Weren’t there many more? As, when the exiles ascended to Eretz Yisrael from Babylonia, they discovered these cities and consecrated them as walled cities; but the sanctity of the first walled cities enumerated in the book of Joshua was negated when settlement in the land was negated and the Jewish people were exiled. Apparently, Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, maintains: The initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time only and did not sanctify Jerusalem forever.

ורמינהו אמר רבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי וכי אלו בלבד היו והלא כבר נאמר ששים עיר כל חבל ארגוב וכתיב כל אלה ערים בצורות חומה גבוהה אלא למה מנו חכמים את אלו שכשעלו בני הגולה מצאו אלו וקידשום

The Gemara raises a contradiction from a different baraita. Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, said: Were these cities that were enumerated in tractate Arakhin the only walled cities? Wasn’t it already stated: “Sixty cities, all the region of Argov” (Deuteronomy 3:4), and concerning these cities it is written: “All these cities were fortified with high walls, gates and bars” (Deuteronomy 3:5), indicating that there were a great number of walled cities? Rather, why then did the Sages enumerate these specific cities? It is due to the fact that when the exiles ascended from Babylonia they discovered these and consecrated them as walled cities.

קידשום

The Gemara asks: Consecrated them? If their sanctity remained, why was it necessary to consecrate them?

השתא [הא] אמרי לא צריכא לקדושי אלא מצאו את אלו ומנאום

Now, didn’t they say later in the same baraita that it is not necessary to consecrate them? Rather, this is what the baraita means to say: It is due to the fact that when the exiles ascended from Babylonia they discovered these and enumerated them.

ולא אלו בלבד אלא כל שתעלה לך מסורת בידך מאבותיך שמוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נון כל המצות הללו נוהגין בה מפני שקדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבא קשיא דרבי ישמעאל אדרבי ישמעאל

The baraita continues. And not only these, but in any city with regard to which you receive a tradition from your ancestors that it was surrounded by a wall from the days of Joshua, son of Nun, all these mitzvot are observed in it, due to the fact that the initial consecration sanctified Eretz Yisrael for its time and sanctified Eretz Yisrael forever. This is difficult, as there is a contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Yishmael and another statement of Rabbi Yishmael.

תרי תנאי אליבא דרבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי ואיבעית אימא הא רבי אלעזר בר יוסי אמרה דתניא רבי אלעזר ברבי יוסי אמר אשר לוא חומה אף על פי שאין לו עכשיו והיה לו קודם לכן

The Gemara answers: This is a dispute between two later tanna’im, who hold according to the opinion of Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei. Each transmitted Rabbi Yishmael’s opinion in a different manner. And if you wish, say instead that one of the traditions is mistaken, as with regard to this statement, Rabbi Elazar bar Yosei said it, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, said that the verse states: “Which has [lo] a wall” (Leviticus 25:30). The word lo is written with an alef, meaning no, that it does not have a wall, but its vocalization is in the sense of its homonym, lo with a vav, meaning that it has a wall. This indicates that even though it does not presently have a wall, as it was destroyed, but it had a wall previously, it retains its status as a walled city. It is Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, who maintains that the first consecration sanctified Jerusalem forever.

ויהי בימי אחשורוש אמר רבי לוי ואיתימא רבי יונתן דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאנשי כנסת הגדולה כל מקום שנאמר ויהי אינו אלא לשון צער

§ The Gemara returns to the primary topic of this chapter, the book of Esther. The Gemara cites various aggadic interpretations of the verses of the Megilla. The opening verse of the Megilla states: “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days of Ahasuerus” (Esther 1:1). Rabbi Levi said, and some say that it was Rabbi Yonatan who said: This matter is a tradition that we received from the members of the Great Assembly. Anywhere that the word vayhi is stated, it is an ominous term indicating nothing other than impending grief, as if the word were a contraction of the words vai and hi, meaning woe and mourning.

ויהי בימי אחשורוש הוה המן ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים הוה רעב ויהי כי החל האדם לרוב וירא ה׳ כי רבה רעת האדם

The Gemara cites several proofs corroborating this interpretation. “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days of Ahasuerus” led to grief, as there was Haman. “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1) introduces a period when there was famine. “And it came to pass [vayhi], when men began to multiply” (Genesis 6:1) is immediately followed by the verse: “And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5).

ויהי בנסעם מקדם הבה נבנה לנו עיר ויהי בימי אמרפל עשו מלחמה ויהי בהיות יהושע ביריחו וחרבו שלופה בידו ויהי ה׳ את יהושע וימעלו בני ישראל ויהי איש אחד מן הרמתים כי את חנה אהב וה׳ סגר רחמה

“And it came to pass [vayhi] as they journeyed from the east” (Genesis 11:2) is followed by: “Come, let us build us a city” (Genesis 11:4), which led to the sin of the Tower of Babel. The Gemara cites further examples: “And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel” (Genesis 14:1), about whom it is stated: “These made war” (Genesis 14:2). Another verse states: “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho” (Joshua 5:13), it was there that he saw an angel “with his sword drawn in his hand” as a warning. It is written: “And the Lord was [vayhi] with Joshua” (Joshua 6:27), and immediately afterward: “But the children of Israel committed a trespass” (Joshua 7:1). It states: “And it came to pass that there was a certain man of Ramathaim” (I Samuel 1:1), and it mentions shortly afterward Hannah’s inability to conceive: “For he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed up her womb” (I Samuel 1:5).

ויהי (כי) זקן שמואל ולא הלכו בניו בדרכיו ויהי דוד לכל דרכיו משכיל [וה׳ עמו] ויהי שאול עוין את דוד ויהי כי ישב המלך בביתו רק אתה לא תבנה הבית

Similarly, the verse states: “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old” (I Samuel 8:1), and then it is written: “And his sons did not walk in his ways” (I Samuel 8:3). Also, it states: “And it came to pass that David was successful in all his ways, and the Lord was with him” (I Samuel 18:14), and only a few verses prior it is written: “And Saul viewed David with suspicion” (I Samuel 18:9). In another instance, the verse states: “And it came to pass, when the king dwelt in his house” (II Samuel 7:1). Here King David mentioned his desire to build a temple for God, but it is written elsewhere that he was told: “Yet you shall not build the house” (II Chronicles 6:9).

והכתיב ויהי ביום השמיני ותניא אותו היום היתה שמחה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא כיום שנבראו בו שמים וארץ כתיב הכא ויהי ביום השמיני וכתיב התם ויהי (בקר) יום אחד

After citing several verses where vayhi portends grief, the Gemara mentions a number of verses that seem to indicate otherwise. But isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] on the eighth day” (Leviticus 9:1), which was the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle? And it is taught in a baraita with regard to that day: On that day there was joy before the Holy One, Blessed be He, similar to the joy that existed on the day on which the heavens and earth were created. The Gemara cites a verbal analogy in support of this statement. It is written here, with regard to the dedication of the Tabernacle: “And it came to pass [vayhi] on the eighth day,” and it is written there, in the Creation story: “And it was [vayhi] evening, and it was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5). This indicates that there was joy on the eighth day, when the Tabernacle was dedicated, similar to the joy that existed on the day the world was created. Apparently, the term vayhi is not necessarily a portent of grief.

הא שכיב נדב ואביהוא

The Gemara answers: This verse does not contradict the principle. On the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle, a calamity also befell the people, as Nadav and Avihu died.

והכתיב ויהי בשמונים שנה וארבע מאות שנה והכתיב ויהי כאשר ראה יעקב את רחל והכתיב ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחד והאיכא שני והאיכא שלישי והאיכא טובא

The Gemara cites additional verses where vayhi is not indicative of impending grief: But isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the four hundred and eightieth year” (I Kings 6:1), which discusses the joyous occasion of the building of the Temple? And furthermore, isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] when Jacob saw Rachel” (Genesis 29:10), which was a momentous occasion? And isn’t it written: “And it was [vayhi] evening, and it was [vayhi] morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5)? And isn’t there the second day of Creation, and isn’t there the third day, where the term vayhi is used? And aren’t there many verses in the Bible in which the term vayhi appears and no grief ensues? Apparently, the proposed principle is incorrect.

אמר רב אשי כל ויהי איכא הכי ואיכא הכי ויהי בימי אינו אלא לשון צער

Rather, Rav Ashi said: With regard to every instance of vayhi alone, there are some that mean this, grief, and there are some that mean that, joy. However, wherever the phrase “and it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei]” is used in the Bible, it is nothing other than a term of impending grief.

חמשה ויהי בימי הוו ויהי בימי אחשורוש ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים ויהי בימי אמרפל ויהי בימי אחז ויהי בימי יהויקים

The Gemara states that there are five instances of vayhi bimei in the Bible. “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Ahasuerus”; “And it came to pass in the days [vayhi bimei] when the judges ruled”; “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Amraphel”; “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Ahaz” (Isaiah 7:1); “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Jehoiakim” (Jeremiah 1:3). In all those incidents, grief ensued.

(אמר רבי) לוי דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו אמוץ ואמציה אחים הוו מאי קא משמע לן

§ Apropos the tradition cited by Rabbi Levi above, the Gemara cites additional traditions that he transmitted. Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors: Amoz, father of Isaiah, and Amaziah, king of Judea, were brothers. The Gemara questions: What novel element is this statement teaching us?

כי הא דאמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל כלה שהיא צנועה בבית חמיה זוכה ויוצאין ממנה מלכים ונביאים מנלן מתמר דכתיב ויראה יהודה ויחשבה לזונה כי כסתה פניה משום דכסתה פניה ויחשבה לזונה

The Gemara responds: It is in accordance with that which Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Any bride who is modest in the house of her father-in-law merits that kings and prophets will emerge from her. From where do we derive this? From Tamar, as it is written: “When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a prostitute; for she had covered her face” (Genesis 38:15). Can it be that because Tamar covered her face he thought her to be a prostitute? On the contrary, a harlot tends to uncover her face.

אלא משום דכסתה פניה בבית חמיה ולא הוה ידע לה זכתה ויצאו ממנה מלכים ונביאים מלכים מדוד נביאים דאמר רבי לוי מסורת בידינו מאבותינו אמוץ ואמציה אחים היו וכתיב חזון ישעיהו בן אמוץ

Rather, because she covered her face in the house of her father-in-law and he was not familiar with her appearance, Judah didn’t recognize Tamar, thought she was a harlot, and sought to have sexual relations with her. Ultimately, she merited that kings and prophets emerged from her. Kings emerged from her through David, who was a descendant of Tamar’s son, Peretz. However, there is no explicit mention that she was the forebear of prophets. This is derived from that which Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors. Amoz, father of Isaiah, and Amaziah, king of Judea, were brothers, and it is written: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz” (Isaiah 1:1). Amoz was a member of the Davidic dynasty, and his son, the prophet Isaiah, was also a descendant of Tamar.

ואמר רבי לוי דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו מקום ארון אינו מן המדה

And Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors: The place of the Ark of the Covenant is not included in the measurement of the Holy of Holies in which it rested.

תניא נמי הכי ארון שעשה משה יש לו עשר אמות לכל רוח וכתיב ולפני הדביר עשרים אמה אורך וכתיב כנף הכרוב האחד עשר אמות וכנף הכרוב האחד עשר אמות ארון גופיה היכא הוה קאי אלא לאו שמע מינה בנס היה עומד

The Gemara comments: This is also taught in a baraita: The Ark crafted by Moses had ten cubits of empty space on each side. And it is written in the description of Solomon’s Temple: “And before the Sanctuary, which was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth” (I Kings 6:20). The place “before the Sanctuary” is referring to the Holy of Holies. It was twenty by twenty cubits. If there were ten cubits of empty space on either side of the Ark, apparently the Ark itself occupied no space. And it is written: And the wing of one of the cherubs was ten cubits and the wing of the other cherub was ten cubits; the wings of the cherubs occupied the entire area. If so, where was the Ark itself standing? Rather, must one not conclude from it that the Ark stood by means of a miracle and occupied no space?

רבי יונתן פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא וקמתי עליהם וגו׳ והכרתי לבבל שם ושאר ונין ונכד נאם ה׳ שם זה הכתב שאר זה לשון נין זה מלכות ונכד זו ושתי

§ The Gemara cites prologues utilized by various Sages to introduce study of the Megilla: Rabbi Yonatan introduced this passage, the book of Esther, with an introduction from here: “For I will rise up against them, says the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylonia name, and remnant, and offspring [nin], and posterity, says the Lord” (Isaiah 14:22). This verse may be interpreted homiletically: “Name,” this is the writing of ancient Babylonia that will disappear from the world. “Remnant,” this is the language of ancient Babylonia. “Offspring,” this is their kingdom. And “posterity,” this is Vashti, who according to tradition was Nebuchadnezzar’s granddaughter, and the book of Esther relates how she too was removed from the throne.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא תחת הנעצוץ יעלה ברוש ותחת הסרפד יעלה הדס

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “Instead of the thorn shall the cypress come up, and instead of the nettle shall the myrtle come up; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 55:13). Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani interpreted the verse homiletically as referring to the righteous individuals who superseded the wicked ones in the book of Esther.

תחת הנעצוץ תחת המן הרשע שעשה עצמו עבודה זרה דכתיב ובכל הנעצוצים ובכל הנהלולים

“Instead of the thorn”; this means instead of the wicked Haman. He is referred to as a thorn because he turned himself into an object of idol worship, as he decreed that all must prostrate themselves before him. The Gemara cites proof that the term thorn is used in connection with idol worship, as it is written: “And upon all thorns, and upon all brambles” (Isaiah 7:19), which is understood to be a reference to idol worship.

יעלה ברוש זה מרדכי שנקרא ראש לכל הבשמים שנאמר ואתה קח לך בשמים ראש מר דרור ומתרגמינן מרי דכי

The next section of the verse discusses what will replace the thorns, i.e., Haman: “Shall the cypress [berosh] come up”; this is Mordecai. Why is he called a cypress [berosh]? Because he was called the chief [rosh] of all the spices, as it is stated: “Take you also to yourself the chief spices, of pure myrrh [mar deror]” (Exodus 30:23), and we translate “pure myrrh,” into Aramaic as mari dakhei. Mordecai was like mari dakhi, the chief [rosh] of spices, and therefore he is called berosh.

תחת הסרפד תחת ושתי הרשעה בת בנו של נבוכדנצר הרשע ששרף רפידת בית ה׳ דכתיב רפידתו זהב

The verse continues: “And instead of the nettle [sirpad],” this means instead of the wicked Vashti. Why is she called a nettle [sirpad]? Because she was the daughter of the son of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar, who burned the ceiling [saraf refidat] of the House of God, as it is written: “Its top [refidato] of gold” (Song of Songs 3:10).

יעלה הדס זו אסתר הצדקת שנקראת הדסה שנאמר ויהי אומן את הדסה והיה לה׳ לשם זו מקרא מגילה לאות עולם לא יכרת אלו ימי פורים

The next section of the verse states: “Shall the myrtle [hadas] come up”; this is the righteous Esther, who was called Hadassah in the Megilla, as it is stated: “And he had brought up Hadassah; that is, Esther” (Esther 2:7). The concluding section of the verse states: “And it shall be to the Lord for a name”; this is the reading of the Megilla. “For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off”; these are the days of Purim.

רבי יהושע בן לוי פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא והיה כאשר שש ה עליכם להיטיב אתכם כן ישיש להרע אתכם

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you” (Deuteronomy 28:63). The verse indicates that just as the Lord rejoiced in the good he did on behalf of Israel, so too, the Lord will rejoice to cause you harm.

ומי חדי הקדוש ברוך הוא במפלתן של רשעים והא כתיב בצאת לפני החלוץ ואומרים הודו לה׳ כי לעולם חסדו ואמר רבי יוחנן מפני מה לא נאמר כי טוב בהודאה זו לפי שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא שמח במפלתן של רשעים

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asked: Does the Holy One, Blessed be He, in fact rejoice over the downfall of the wicked? But it is written: “As they went out before the army, and say: Give thanks to the Lord, for His kindness endures forever” (II Chronicles 20:21), and Rabbi Yoḥanan said: For what reason were the words: “for He is good” not stated in this statement of thanksgiving, as the classic formulation is: “Give thanks to the Lord; for He is good; for His kindness endures forever” (I Chronicles 16:34)? Because the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked. Since this song was sung in the aftermath of a military victory, which involved the downfall of the wicked, the name of God was not mentioned for the good.

ואמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה בקשו מלאכי השרת לומר שירה אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא מעשה ידי טובעין בים ואתם אומרים שירה

And similarly, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the one came not near the other all the night” (Exodus 14:20)? The ministering angels wanted to sing their song, for the angels would sing songs to each other, as it states: “And they called out to each other and said” (Isaiah 6:3), but the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: The work of My hands, the Egyptians, are drowning at sea, and you wish to say songs? This indicates that God does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked.

אמר רבי אלעזר הוא אינו שש אבל אחרים משיש ודיקא נמי דכתיב כן ישיש ולא כתיב ישוש שמע מינה

Rabbi Elazar said that this is how the matter is to be understood: Indeed, God Himself does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked, but He causes others to rejoice. The Gemara comments: One can learn from the language of the verse as well, as it is written: “So the Lord will rejoice [ken yasis]” (Deuteronomy 28:63). And it is not written yasus, the grammatical form of the verb meaning: He will rejoice. Rather, it is written yasis. The grammatical form of this verb indicates that one causes another to rejoice. Consequently, these words are understood to mean that God will cause others to rejoice. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, learn from it that this is the case.

רבי אבא בר כהנא פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא לאדם שטוב לפניו נתן חכמה ודעת ושמחה זה מרדכי הצדיק ולחוטא נתן ענין לאסוף ולכנוס זה המן לתת לטוב לפני האלהים זה מרדכי ואסתר דכתיב ותשם אסתר את מרדכי על בית המן

Rabbi Abba bar Kahana introduced this passage with an introduction from here. The verse states with regard to God’s reward to the righteous: “He gives to a man that is good in His sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). The Gemara explains that this verse is referring to the righteous Mordecai. With regard to the next part of the verse: “But to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and heaping up,” this is referring to Haman. The conclusion of the verse states: “That he may give it to one who is good before God” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). This is Mordecai and Esther, as it is written: “And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman” (Esther 8:2).

רבה בר עופרן פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא ושמתי כסאי בעילם והאבדתי משם מלך ושרים מלך זו ושתי ושרים זה המן ועשרת בניו

Rabba bar Oferan introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “And I will set my throne in Elam, and destroy from there the king and the princes, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 49:38). “The king” who was destroyed; this is referring to Vashti. “And the princes”; this is referring to Haman and his ten sons.

רב דימי בר יצחק פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא

Rav Dimi bar Yitzḥak introduced this passage with an introduction from here:

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Terri Krivosha for the Refuah Shlemah of her husband Harav Hayim Yehuda Ben Faiga Rivah. 

  • 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.

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Megillah 10

יש אחריה היתר וקדושת ירושלים אין אחריה היתר

after the Tabernacle was destroyed, there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars. But with regard to the sanctity of Jerusalem, after the Temple was destroyed, there is no permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars, as the prohibition remains intact.

גמ׳ אמר רבי יצחק שמעתי שמקריבין בבית חוניו בזמן הזה קסבר בית חוניו לאו בית עבודה זרה היא וקא סבר קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבוא

GEMARA: Rabbi Yitzḥak said: I heard that one sacrifices offerings in the temple of Onias in Egypt at the present time. The Gemara cites the basis for the statement of Rabbi Yitzḥak. He maintains that the temple of Onias is not a house of idol worship but rather a temple devoted to the service of God, and he maintains that the initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time and did not sanctify Jerusalem forever. Therefore, after the destruction of the Temple, the sanctity of Jerusalem lapsed and the sacrifice of offerings elsewhere was no longer prohibited. For these reasons it was permitted to sacrifice offerings in the temple of Onias after the Temple was destroyed.

דכתיב כי לא באתם עד עתה אל המנוחה ואל הנחלה מנוחה זו שילה נחלה זו ירושלים מקיש נחלה למנוחה מה מנוחה יש אחריה היתר אף נחלה יש אחריה היתר

The Gemara cites the source of this halakha. It is as it is written: “For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance” (Deuteronomy 12:9), which is interpreted: “Rest,” this is Shiloh; “inheritance,” this is Jerusalem. The verse juxtaposes and likens inheritance to rest: Just as in the place of rest, Shiloh, after its destruction there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars, so too in the place of inheritance, Jerusalem, after its destruction there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars.

אמרו ליה אמרת אמר להו לא אמר רבא האלהים אמרה וגמירנא לה מיניה

The Gemara reports that the other Sages said to Rabbi Yitzḥak: Did you say this halakha with regard to the temple of Onias? He said to them: No, I did not say that. Rava said, reinforcing his assertion with an oath: By God! Rabbi Yitzḥak did in fact say this, and I myself learned it from him, but he later retracted this ruling.

ומאי טעמא קא הדר ביה משום קשיא דרב מרי דמותיב רב מרי קדושת שילה יש אחריה היתר קדושת ירושלים אין אחריה היתר ועוד תנן משבאו לירושלים נאסרו הבמות ולא היה להם עוד היתר והיא היתה לנחלה

The Gemara asks: And what is the reason he retracted his ruling? The Gemara explains: It is due to the difficulty raised by Rav Mari, as Rav Mari raised an objection from the mishna: With regard to the sanctity of Shiloh, after the Tabernacle was destroyed there is permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars. But with regard to the sanctity of Jerusalem, after the Temple was destroyed there is no permission to sacrifice offerings on improvised altars. And furthermore, we learned in a mishna (Zevaḥim 112b): Once they came to Jerusalem, improvised altars were prohibited, and they did not again have permission to do so, and Jerusalem became the everlasting inheritance.

תנאי היא (דתניא) אמר רבי אליעזר שמעתי כשהיו בונין בהיכל עושין קלעים להיכל וקלעים לעזרה אלא שבהיכל בונין מבחוץ ובעזרה בונין מבפנים

The Gemara comments: This matter is subject to a dispute between tanna’im, as it is taught in a mishna (Eduyyot 8:6): Rabbi Eliezer said: I heard that when they were building the Sanctuary in the Second Temple, they fashioned temporary hangings for the Sanctuary and temporary hangings for the courtyard to serve as partitions until construction of the stone walls was completed. The difference was only that in building the Sanctuary, the workers built the walls outside the hangings, without entering, and in the courtyard, the workers built the walls inside the hangings.

ואמר רבי יהושע שמעתי שמקריבין אף על פי שאין בית אוכלין קדשי קדשים אף על פי שאין קלעים קדשים קלים ומעשר שני אף על פי שאין חומה מפני שקדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבוא מכלל דרבי אליעזר סבר לא קידשה לעתיד לבוא

And Rabbi Yehoshua said: I heard that one sacrifices offerings on the altar even though there is no Temple, one eats offerings of the most sacred order in the Temple courtyard even if there are no hangings, and one eats offerings of lesser sanctity and second tithe produce in Jerusalem even if there is no wall surrounding the city, due to the fact that the initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time and also sanctified Jerusalem forever. Even if the walls do not exist, the sanctity remains intact. The Gemara concludes: From the fact that Rabbi Yehoshua based his opinion on the principle that the initial sanctification sanctified Jerusalem forever, by inference one can conclude that Rabbi Eliezer holds: It did not sanctify Jerusalem forever. Apparently, this issue is subject to a dispute between tanna’im.

אמר ליה רבינא לרב אשי ממאי דלמא דכולי עלמא קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבוא ומר מאי דשמיע ליה קאמר ומר מאי דשמיע ליה קאמר וכי תימא קלעים לרבי אליעזר למה לי לצניעותא בעלמא

Ravina said to Rav Ashi: From where do you draw this inference? Perhaps everyone maintains that the initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time and also sanctified Jerusalem forever. And one Sage, Rabbi Eliezer, stated that tradition, which he heard from his teachers, and one Sage, Rabbi Yehoshua, stated that tradition, which he heard from his teachers, and there is no dispute between them. And if you would say: Why then do I need hangings at all according to Rabbi Eliezer? The original sanctity remained when Jerusalem was not surrounded by walls, and the presence or absence of hangings is irrelevant as well. The Gemara answers: The hangings were established merely for seclusion, as it would have been unbecoming for the activity in this most sacred venue to be visible to all.

אלא כי הני תנאי דתניא אמר רבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי למה מנו חכמים את אלו שכשעלו בני הגולה מצאו את אלו וקידשום אבל הראשונות בטלו משבטלה הארץ אלמא קסבר קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבוא

Rather, this matter is subject to the dispute between these tanna’im, as it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, said: Why did the Sages enumerate these nine cities in tractate Arakhin as cities walled since the days of Joshua, son of Nun? Weren’t there many more? As, when the exiles ascended to Eretz Yisrael from Babylonia, they discovered these cities and consecrated them as walled cities; but the sanctity of the first walled cities enumerated in the book of Joshua was negated when settlement in the land was negated and the Jewish people were exiled. Apparently, Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, maintains: The initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time only and did not sanctify Jerusalem forever.

ורמינהו אמר רבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי וכי אלו בלבד היו והלא כבר נאמר ששים עיר כל חבל ארגוב וכתיב כל אלה ערים בצורות חומה גבוהה אלא למה מנו חכמים את אלו שכשעלו בני הגולה מצאו אלו וקידשום

The Gemara raises a contradiction from a different baraita. Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, said: Were these cities that were enumerated in tractate Arakhin the only walled cities? Wasn’t it already stated: “Sixty cities, all the region of Argov” (Deuteronomy 3:4), and concerning these cities it is written: “All these cities were fortified with high walls, gates and bars” (Deuteronomy 3:5), indicating that there were a great number of walled cities? Rather, why then did the Sages enumerate these specific cities? It is due to the fact that when the exiles ascended from Babylonia they discovered these and consecrated them as walled cities.

קידשום

The Gemara asks: Consecrated them? If their sanctity remained, why was it necessary to consecrate them?

השתא [הא] אמרי לא צריכא לקדושי אלא מצאו את אלו ומנאום

Now, didn’t they say later in the same baraita that it is not necessary to consecrate them? Rather, this is what the baraita means to say: It is due to the fact that when the exiles ascended from Babylonia they discovered these and enumerated them.

ולא אלו בלבד אלא כל שתעלה לך מסורת בידך מאבותיך שמוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נון כל המצות הללו נוהגין בה מפני שקדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבא קשיא דרבי ישמעאל אדרבי ישמעאל

The baraita continues. And not only these, but in any city with regard to which you receive a tradition from your ancestors that it was surrounded by a wall from the days of Joshua, son of Nun, all these mitzvot are observed in it, due to the fact that the initial consecration sanctified Eretz Yisrael for its time and sanctified Eretz Yisrael forever. This is difficult, as there is a contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Yishmael and another statement of Rabbi Yishmael.

תרי תנאי אליבא דרבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי ואיבעית אימא הא רבי אלעזר בר יוסי אמרה דתניא רבי אלעזר ברבי יוסי אמר אשר לוא חומה אף על פי שאין לו עכשיו והיה לו קודם לכן

The Gemara answers: This is a dispute between two later tanna’im, who hold according to the opinion of Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei. Each transmitted Rabbi Yishmael’s opinion in a different manner. And if you wish, say instead that one of the traditions is mistaken, as with regard to this statement, Rabbi Elazar bar Yosei said it, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, said that the verse states: “Which has [lo] a wall” (Leviticus 25:30). The word lo is written with an alef, meaning no, that it does not have a wall, but its vocalization is in the sense of its homonym, lo with a vav, meaning that it has a wall. This indicates that even though it does not presently have a wall, as it was destroyed, but it had a wall previously, it retains its status as a walled city. It is Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, who maintains that the first consecration sanctified Jerusalem forever.

ויהי בימי אחשורוש אמר רבי לוי ואיתימא רבי יונתן דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאנשי כנסת הגדולה כל מקום שנאמר ויהי אינו אלא לשון צער

§ The Gemara returns to the primary topic of this chapter, the book of Esther. The Gemara cites various aggadic interpretations of the verses of the Megilla. The opening verse of the Megilla states: “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days of Ahasuerus” (Esther 1:1). Rabbi Levi said, and some say that it was Rabbi Yonatan who said: This matter is a tradition that we received from the members of the Great Assembly. Anywhere that the word vayhi is stated, it is an ominous term indicating nothing other than impending grief, as if the word were a contraction of the words vai and hi, meaning woe and mourning.

ויהי בימי אחשורוש הוה המן ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים הוה רעב ויהי כי החל האדם לרוב וירא ה׳ כי רבה רעת האדם

The Gemara cites several proofs corroborating this interpretation. “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days of Ahasuerus” led to grief, as there was Haman. “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1) introduces a period when there was famine. “And it came to pass [vayhi], when men began to multiply” (Genesis 6:1) is immediately followed by the verse: “And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5).

ויהי בנסעם מקדם הבה נבנה לנו עיר ויהי בימי אמרפל עשו מלחמה ויהי בהיות יהושע ביריחו וחרבו שלופה בידו ויהי ה׳ את יהושע וימעלו בני ישראל ויהי איש אחד מן הרמתים כי את חנה אהב וה׳ סגר רחמה

“And it came to pass [vayhi] as they journeyed from the east” (Genesis 11:2) is followed by: “Come, let us build us a city” (Genesis 11:4), which led to the sin of the Tower of Babel. The Gemara cites further examples: “And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel” (Genesis 14:1), about whom it is stated: “These made war” (Genesis 14:2). Another verse states: “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho” (Joshua 5:13), it was there that he saw an angel “with his sword drawn in his hand” as a warning. It is written: “And the Lord was [vayhi] with Joshua” (Joshua 6:27), and immediately afterward: “But the children of Israel committed a trespass” (Joshua 7:1). It states: “And it came to pass that there was a certain man of Ramathaim” (I Samuel 1:1), and it mentions shortly afterward Hannah’s inability to conceive: “For he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed up her womb” (I Samuel 1:5).

ויהי (כי) זקן שמואל ולא הלכו בניו בדרכיו ויהי דוד לכל דרכיו משכיל [וה׳ עמו] ויהי שאול עוין את דוד ויהי כי ישב המלך בביתו רק אתה לא תבנה הבית

Similarly, the verse states: “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old” (I Samuel 8:1), and then it is written: “And his sons did not walk in his ways” (I Samuel 8:3). Also, it states: “And it came to pass that David was successful in all his ways, and the Lord was with him” (I Samuel 18:14), and only a few verses prior it is written: “And Saul viewed David with suspicion” (I Samuel 18:9). In another instance, the verse states: “And it came to pass, when the king dwelt in his house” (II Samuel 7:1). Here King David mentioned his desire to build a temple for God, but it is written elsewhere that he was told: “Yet you shall not build the house” (II Chronicles 6:9).

והכתיב ויהי ביום השמיני ותניא אותו היום היתה שמחה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא כיום שנבראו בו שמים וארץ כתיב הכא ויהי ביום השמיני וכתיב התם ויהי (בקר) יום אחד

After citing several verses where vayhi portends grief, the Gemara mentions a number of verses that seem to indicate otherwise. But isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] on the eighth day” (Leviticus 9:1), which was the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle? And it is taught in a baraita with regard to that day: On that day there was joy before the Holy One, Blessed be He, similar to the joy that existed on the day on which the heavens and earth were created. The Gemara cites a verbal analogy in support of this statement. It is written here, with regard to the dedication of the Tabernacle: “And it came to pass [vayhi] on the eighth day,” and it is written there, in the Creation story: “And it was [vayhi] evening, and it was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5). This indicates that there was joy on the eighth day, when the Tabernacle was dedicated, similar to the joy that existed on the day the world was created. Apparently, the term vayhi is not necessarily a portent of grief.

הא שכיב נדב ואביהוא

The Gemara answers: This verse does not contradict the principle. On the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle, a calamity also befell the people, as Nadav and Avihu died.

והכתיב ויהי בשמונים שנה וארבע מאות שנה והכתיב ויהי כאשר ראה יעקב את רחל והכתיב ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחד והאיכא שני והאיכא שלישי והאיכא טובא

The Gemara cites additional verses where vayhi is not indicative of impending grief: But isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the four hundred and eightieth year” (I Kings 6:1), which discusses the joyous occasion of the building of the Temple? And furthermore, isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] when Jacob saw Rachel” (Genesis 29:10), which was a momentous occasion? And isn’t it written: “And it was [vayhi] evening, and it was [vayhi] morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5)? And isn’t there the second day of Creation, and isn’t there the third day, where the term vayhi is used? And aren’t there many verses in the Bible in which the term vayhi appears and no grief ensues? Apparently, the proposed principle is incorrect.

אמר רב אשי כל ויהי איכא הכי ואיכא הכי ויהי בימי אינו אלא לשון צער

Rather, Rav Ashi said: With regard to every instance of vayhi alone, there are some that mean this, grief, and there are some that mean that, joy. However, wherever the phrase “and it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei]” is used in the Bible, it is nothing other than a term of impending grief.

חמשה ויהי בימי הוו ויהי בימי אחשורוש ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים ויהי בימי אמרפל ויהי בימי אחז ויהי בימי יהויקים

The Gemara states that there are five instances of vayhi bimei in the Bible. “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Ahasuerus”; “And it came to pass in the days [vayhi bimei] when the judges ruled”; “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Amraphel”; “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Ahaz” (Isaiah 7:1); “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Jehoiakim” (Jeremiah 1:3). In all those incidents, grief ensued.

(אמר רבי) לוי דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו אמוץ ואמציה אחים הוו מאי קא משמע לן

§ Apropos the tradition cited by Rabbi Levi above, the Gemara cites additional traditions that he transmitted. Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors: Amoz, father of Isaiah, and Amaziah, king of Judea, were brothers. The Gemara questions: What novel element is this statement teaching us?

כי הא דאמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל כלה שהיא צנועה בבית חמיה זוכה ויוצאין ממנה מלכים ונביאים מנלן מתמר דכתיב ויראה יהודה ויחשבה לזונה כי כסתה פניה משום דכסתה פניה ויחשבה לזונה

The Gemara responds: It is in accordance with that which Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Any bride who is modest in the house of her father-in-law merits that kings and prophets will emerge from her. From where do we derive this? From Tamar, as it is written: “When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a prostitute; for she had covered her face” (Genesis 38:15). Can it be that because Tamar covered her face he thought her to be a prostitute? On the contrary, a harlot tends to uncover her face.

אלא משום דכסתה פניה בבית חמיה ולא הוה ידע לה זכתה ויצאו ממנה מלכים ונביאים מלכים מדוד נביאים דאמר רבי לוי מסורת בידינו מאבותינו אמוץ ואמציה אחים היו וכתיב חזון ישעיהו בן אמוץ

Rather, because she covered her face in the house of her father-in-law and he was not familiar with her appearance, Judah didn’t recognize Tamar, thought she was a harlot, and sought to have sexual relations with her. Ultimately, she merited that kings and prophets emerged from her. Kings emerged from her through David, who was a descendant of Tamar’s son, Peretz. However, there is no explicit mention that she was the forebear of prophets. This is derived from that which Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors. Amoz, father of Isaiah, and Amaziah, king of Judea, were brothers, and it is written: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz” (Isaiah 1:1). Amoz was a member of the Davidic dynasty, and his son, the prophet Isaiah, was also a descendant of Tamar.

ואמר רבי לוי דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו מקום ארון אינו מן המדה

And Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors: The place of the Ark of the Covenant is not included in the measurement of the Holy of Holies in which it rested.

תניא נמי הכי ארון שעשה משה יש לו עשר אמות לכל רוח וכתיב ולפני הדביר עשרים אמה אורך וכתיב כנף הכרוב האחד עשר אמות וכנף הכרוב האחד עשר אמות ארון גופיה היכא הוה קאי אלא לאו שמע מינה בנס היה עומד

The Gemara comments: This is also taught in a baraita: The Ark crafted by Moses had ten cubits of empty space on each side. And it is written in the description of Solomon’s Temple: “And before the Sanctuary, which was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth” (I Kings 6:20). The place “before the Sanctuary” is referring to the Holy of Holies. It was twenty by twenty cubits. If there were ten cubits of empty space on either side of the Ark, apparently the Ark itself occupied no space. And it is written: And the wing of one of the cherubs was ten cubits and the wing of the other cherub was ten cubits; the wings of the cherubs occupied the entire area. If so, where was the Ark itself standing? Rather, must one not conclude from it that the Ark stood by means of a miracle and occupied no space?

רבי יונתן פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא וקמתי עליהם וגו׳ והכרתי לבבל שם ושאר ונין ונכד נאם ה׳ שם זה הכתב שאר זה לשון נין זה מלכות ונכד זו ושתי

§ The Gemara cites prologues utilized by various Sages to introduce study of the Megilla: Rabbi Yonatan introduced this passage, the book of Esther, with an introduction from here: “For I will rise up against them, says the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylonia name, and remnant, and offspring [nin], and posterity, says the Lord” (Isaiah 14:22). This verse may be interpreted homiletically: “Name,” this is the writing of ancient Babylonia that will disappear from the world. “Remnant,” this is the language of ancient Babylonia. “Offspring,” this is their kingdom. And “posterity,” this is Vashti, who according to tradition was Nebuchadnezzar’s granddaughter, and the book of Esther relates how she too was removed from the throne.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא תחת הנעצוץ יעלה ברוש ותחת הסרפד יעלה הדס

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “Instead of the thorn shall the cypress come up, and instead of the nettle shall the myrtle come up; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 55:13). Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani interpreted the verse homiletically as referring to the righteous individuals who superseded the wicked ones in the book of Esther.

תחת הנעצוץ תחת המן הרשע שעשה עצמו עבודה זרה דכתיב ובכל הנעצוצים ובכל הנהלולים

“Instead of the thorn”; this means instead of the wicked Haman. He is referred to as a thorn because he turned himself into an object of idol worship, as he decreed that all must prostrate themselves before him. The Gemara cites proof that the term thorn is used in connection with idol worship, as it is written: “And upon all thorns, and upon all brambles” (Isaiah 7:19), which is understood to be a reference to idol worship.

יעלה ברוש זה מרדכי שנקרא ראש לכל הבשמים שנאמר ואתה קח לך בשמים ראש מר דרור ומתרגמינן מרי דכי

The next section of the verse discusses what will replace the thorns, i.e., Haman: “Shall the cypress [berosh] come up”; this is Mordecai. Why is he called a cypress [berosh]? Because he was called the chief [rosh] of all the spices, as it is stated: “Take you also to yourself the chief spices, of pure myrrh [mar deror]” (Exodus 30:23), and we translate “pure myrrh,” into Aramaic as mari dakhei. Mordecai was like mari dakhi, the chief [rosh] of spices, and therefore he is called berosh.

תחת הסרפד תחת ושתי הרשעה בת בנו של נבוכדנצר הרשע ששרף רפידת בית ה׳ דכתיב רפידתו זהב

The verse continues: “And instead of the nettle [sirpad],” this means instead of the wicked Vashti. Why is she called a nettle [sirpad]? Because she was the daughter of the son of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar, who burned the ceiling [saraf refidat] of the House of God, as it is written: “Its top [refidato] of gold” (Song of Songs 3:10).

יעלה הדס זו אסתר הצדקת שנקראת הדסה שנאמר ויהי אומן את הדסה והיה לה׳ לשם זו מקרא מגילה לאות עולם לא יכרת אלו ימי פורים

The next section of the verse states: “Shall the myrtle [hadas] come up”; this is the righteous Esther, who was called Hadassah in the Megilla, as it is stated: “And he had brought up Hadassah; that is, Esther” (Esther 2:7). The concluding section of the verse states: “And it shall be to the Lord for a name”; this is the reading of the Megilla. “For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off”; these are the days of Purim.

רבי יהושע בן לוי פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא והיה כאשר שש ה עליכם להיטיב אתכם כן ישיש להרע אתכם

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you” (Deuteronomy 28:63). The verse indicates that just as the Lord rejoiced in the good he did on behalf of Israel, so too, the Lord will rejoice to cause you harm.

ומי חדי הקדוש ברוך הוא במפלתן של רשעים והא כתיב בצאת לפני החלוץ ואומרים הודו לה׳ כי לעולם חסדו ואמר רבי יוחנן מפני מה לא נאמר כי טוב בהודאה זו לפי שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא שמח במפלתן של רשעים

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asked: Does the Holy One, Blessed be He, in fact rejoice over the downfall of the wicked? But it is written: “As they went out before the army, and say: Give thanks to the Lord, for His kindness endures forever” (II Chronicles 20:21), and Rabbi Yoḥanan said: For what reason were the words: “for He is good” not stated in this statement of thanksgiving, as the classic formulation is: “Give thanks to the Lord; for He is good; for His kindness endures forever” (I Chronicles 16:34)? Because the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked. Since this song was sung in the aftermath of a military victory, which involved the downfall of the wicked, the name of God was not mentioned for the good.

ואמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה בקשו מלאכי השרת לומר שירה אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא מעשה ידי טובעין בים ואתם אומרים שירה

And similarly, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the one came not near the other all the night” (Exodus 14:20)? The ministering angels wanted to sing their song, for the angels would sing songs to each other, as it states: “And they called out to each other and said” (Isaiah 6:3), but the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: The work of My hands, the Egyptians, are drowning at sea, and you wish to say songs? This indicates that God does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked.

אמר רבי אלעזר הוא אינו שש אבל אחרים משיש ודיקא נמי דכתיב כן ישיש ולא כתיב ישוש שמע מינה

Rabbi Elazar said that this is how the matter is to be understood: Indeed, God Himself does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked, but He causes others to rejoice. The Gemara comments: One can learn from the language of the verse as well, as it is written: “So the Lord will rejoice [ken yasis]” (Deuteronomy 28:63). And it is not written yasus, the grammatical form of the verb meaning: He will rejoice. Rather, it is written yasis. The grammatical form of this verb indicates that one causes another to rejoice. Consequently, these words are understood to mean that God will cause others to rejoice. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, learn from it that this is the case.

רבי אבא בר כהנא פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא לאדם שטוב לפניו נתן חכמה ודעת ושמחה זה מרדכי הצדיק ולחוטא נתן ענין לאסוף ולכנוס זה המן לתת לטוב לפני האלהים זה מרדכי ואסתר דכתיב ותשם אסתר את מרדכי על בית המן

Rabbi Abba bar Kahana introduced this passage with an introduction from here. The verse states with regard to God’s reward to the righteous: “He gives to a man that is good in His sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). The Gemara explains that this verse is referring to the righteous Mordecai. With regard to the next part of the verse: “But to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and heaping up,” this is referring to Haman. The conclusion of the verse states: “That he may give it to one who is good before God” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). This is Mordecai and Esther, as it is written: “And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman” (Esther 8:2).

רבה בר עופרן פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא ושמתי כסאי בעילם והאבדתי משם מלך ושרים מלך זו ושתי ושרים זה המן ועשרת בניו

Rabba bar Oferan introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “And I will set my throne in Elam, and destroy from there the king and the princes, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 49:38). “The king” who was destroyed; this is referring to Vashti. “And the princes”; this is referring to Haman and his ten sons.

רב דימי בר יצחק פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא

Rav Dimi bar Yitzḥak introduced this passage with an introduction from here:

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