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Today's Daf Yomi

July 25, 2014 | כ״ז 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 14

משל דאחשורוש והמן למה הדבר דומה לשני בני אדם לאחד היה לו תל בתוך שדהו ולאחד היה לו חריץ בתוך שדהו בעל חריץ אמר מי יתן לי תל זה בדמים בעל התל אמר מי יתן לי חריץ זה בדמים

The actions of Ahasuerus and Haman can be understood with a parable; to what may they be compared? To two individuals, one of whom had a mound in the middle of his field and the other of whom had a ditch in the middle of his field, each one suffering from his own predicament. The owner of the ditch, noticing the other’s mound of dirt, said to himself: Who will give me this mound of dirt suitable for filling in my ditch; I would even be willing to pay for it with money, and the owner of the mound, noticing the other’s ditch, said to himself: Who will give me this ditch for money, so that I may use it to remove the mound of earth from my property?

לימים נזדווגו זה אצל זה אמר לו בעל חריץ לבעל התל מכור לי תילך אמר לו טול אותה בחנם והלואי

At a later point, one day, they happened to have met one another. The owner of the ditch said to the owner of the mound: Sell me your mound so I can fill in my ditch. The mound’s owner, anxious to rid himself of the excess dirt on his property, said to him: Take it for free; if only you had done so sooner. Similarly, Ahasuerus himself wanted to destroy the Jews. As he was delighted that Haman had similar aspirations and was willing to do the job for him, he demanded no money from him.

ויסר המלך את טבעתו אמר רבי אבא בר כהנא גדולה הסרת טבעת יותר מארבעים ושמונה נביאים ושבע נביאות שנתנבאו להן לישראל שכולן לא החזירום למוטב ואילו הסרת טבעת החזירתן למוטב

§ The verse states: “And the king removed his ring from his hand” (Esther 3:10). Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: The removal of Ahasuerus’s ring for the sealing of Haman’s decree was more effective than the forty-eight prophets and the seven prophetesses who prophesied on behalf of the Jewish people. As, they were all unable to return the Jewish people to the right way, but the removal of Ahasuerus’s ring returned them to the right way, since it brought them to repentance.

תנו רבנן ארבעים ושמונה נביאים ושבע נביאות נתנבאו להם לישראל ולא פחתו ולא הותירו על מה שכתוב בתורה חוץ ממקרא מגילה

The Sages taught in a baraita: Forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses prophesied on behalf of the Jewish people, and they neither subtracted from nor added onto what is written in the Torah, introducing no changes or additions to the mitzvot except for the reading of the Megilla, which they added as an obligation for all future generations.

מאי דרוש אמר רבי חייא בר אבין אמר רבי יהושע בן קרחה ומה מעבדות לחירות אמרינן שירה ממיתה לחיים לא כל שכן

The Gemara asks: What exposition led them to determine that this was a proper mode of action? On what basis did they add this mitzva? Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Avin said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa said that they reasoned as follows: If, when recalling the exodus from Egypt, in which the Jews were delivered from slavery to freedom, we recite songs of praise, the Song of the Sea and the hymns of hallel, then, in order to properly recall the miracle of Purim and commemorate God’s delivering us from death to life, is it not all the more so the case that we must sing God’s praise by reading the story in the Megilla?

אי הכי הלל נמי נימא לפי שאין אומרים הלל על נס שבחוצה לארץ יציאת מצרים דנס שבחוצה לארץ היכי אמרינן שירה

The Gemara asks: If so, our obligation should be at least as great as when we recall the exodus from Egypt, and let us also recite hallel on Purim. The Gemara answers: Hallel is not said on Purim, because hallel is not recited on a miracle that occurred outside Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara asks: If so, with regard to the exodus from Egypt as well, which was a miracle that occurred outside Eretz Yisrael, how are we able to recite songs of praise?

כדתניא עד שלא נכנסו ישראל לארץ הוכשרו כל ארצות לומר שירה משנכנסו ישראל לארץ לא הוכשרו כל הארצות לומר שירה

The Gemara answers: As it is taught in a baraita: Prior to the time when the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael, all lands were deemed fit for songs of praise to be recited for miracles performed within their borders, as all lands were treated equally. But after the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael, that land became endowed with greater sanctity, and all the other lands were no longer deemed fit for songs of praise to be recited for miracles performed within them.

רב נחמן אמר קרייתא זו הלילא רבא אמר בשלמא התם הללו עבדי ה׳ ולא עבדי פרעה אלא הכא הללו עבדי ה׳ ולא עבדי אחשורוש אכתי עבדי אחשורוש אנן

Rav Naḥman said an alternative answer as to why hallel is not recited on Purim: The reading of the Megilla itself is an act of reciting hallel. Rava said a third reason why hallel is not recited on Purim: Granted that hallel is said there, when recalling the exodus from Egypt, as after the salvation there, they could recite the phrase in hallel: “Give praise, O servants of the Lord” (Psalms 113:1); after their servitude to Pharaoh ended with their salvation, they were truly servants of the Lord and not servants of Pharaoh. But can it be said here, after the limited salvation commemorated on Purim: “Give praise, O servants of the Lord,” which would indicate that after the salvation the Jewish people were only servants of the Lord and not servants of Ahasuerus? No, even after the miracle of Purim, we were still the servants of Ahasuerus, as the Jews remained in exile under Persian rule, and consequently the salvation, which was incomplete, did not merit an obligation to say hallel.

בין לרבא בין לרב נחמן קשיא והא תניא משנכנסו לארץ לא הוכשרו כל הארצות לומר שירה כיון שגלו חזרו להכשירן הראשון

The Gemara asks: Both according to the opinion of Rava and according to the opinion of Rav Naḥman, this is difficult. Isn’t it taught in the baraita cited earlier: After the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael, that land became endowed with greater sanctity, and all the other lands were no longer deemed fit for songs of praise to be recited for miracles performed within them. Therefore, there should be no hallel obligation on Purim for the miracle performed outside of the land of Israel, and Rav Naḥman’s and Rava’s alternative explanations are incorrect. The Gemara answers: They understood differently, as it can be argued that when the people were exiled from Eretz Yisrael, the other lands returned to their initial suitability, and were once again deemed fit for reciting hallel on miracles performed within them.

ותו ליכא והכתיב ויהי איש אחד מן הרמתים צופים אחד ממאתים צופים שנתנבאו להם לישראל

With regard to the statement that forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses prophesied on behalf of the Jewish people, the Gemara asks: Is there no one else? Isn’t it written with regard to Samuel’s father, Elkanah: “And there was a certain [eḥad] man from Ramathaim-zophim” (I Samuel 1:1), which is expounded as follows to indicate that Elkanah was a prophet: He was one [eḥad] of two hundred [mata’im] prophets [tzofim] who prophesied on behalf of the Jewish people. If so, why was it stated here that there were only forty-eight prophets?

מיהוה טובא הוו כדתניא הרבה נביאים עמדו להם לישראל כפלים כיוצאי מצרים אלא נבואה שהוצרכה לדורות נכתבה ושלא הוצרכה לא נכתבה

The Gemara answers: In fact, there were more prophets, as it is taught in a baraita: Many prophets arose for the Jewish people, numbering double the number of Israelites who left Egypt. However, only a portion of the prophecies were recorded, because only prophecy that was needed for future generations was written down in the Bible for posterity, but that which was not needed, as it was not pertinent to later generations, was not written. Therefore, the fifty-five prophets recorded in the Bible, although not the only prophets of the Jewish people, were the only ones recorded, due to their eternal messages.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר אדם הבא משתי רמות שצופות זו את זו רבי חנין אמר אדם הבא מבני אדם שעומדין ברומו של עולם ומאן נינהו בני קרח דכתיב ובני קרח לא מתו תנא משום רבינו מקום נתבצר להם בגיהנם ועמדו עליו

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said another explanation of the verse “And there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim”: A man who comes from two heights [ramot] that face [tzofot] one another. Rabbi Ḥanin said an additional interpretation: A man who descends from people who stood at the height of [rumo] the world. The Gemara asks: And who are these people? The Gemara answers: These are the sons of Korah, as it is written: “But the sons of Korah did not die” (Numbers 26:11), and with regard to them it is taught in the name of our teacher, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: A high place was set aside for them in Gehenna, as the sons of Korah repented in their hearts, and were consequently not propelled very far down in Gehenna when the earth opened to swallow Korah and his followers; and they stood on this high place and sung to the Lord. They alone stood at the height of the lower world.

שבע נביאות מאן נינהו שרה מרים דבורה חנה אביגיל חולדה ואסתר שרה דכתיב אבי מלכה ואבי יסכה ואמר רבי יצחק יסכה זו שרה ולמה נקרא שמה יסכה שסכתה ברוח הקדש שנאמר כל אשר תאמר אליך שרה שמע בקולה דבר אחר יסכה שהכל סוכין ביופיה

§ The Gemara asks with regard to the prophetesses recorded in the baraita: Who were the seven prophetesses? The Gemara answers: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah, and Esther. The Gemara offers textual support: Sarah, as it is written: “Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah” (Genesis 11:29). And Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Iscah is in fact Sarah. And why was she called Iscah? For she saw [sakhta] by means of divine inspiration, as it is stated: “In all that Sarah has said to you, hearken to her voice” (Genesis 21:12). Alternatively, Sarah was also called Iscah, for all gazed [sokhin] upon her beauty.

מרים דכתיב ותקח מרים הנביאה אחות אהרן ולא אחות משה אמר רב נחמן אמר רב שהיתה מתנבאה כשהיא אחות אהרן ואומרת עתידה אמי שתלד בן שיושיע את ישראל ובשעה שנולד נתמלא כל הבית כולו אורה עמד אביה ונשקה על ראשה אמר לה בתי נתקיימה נבואתיך

Miriam was a prophetess, as it is written explicitly: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand” (Exodus 15:20). The Gemara asks: Was she the sister only of Aaron, and not the sister of Moses? Why does the verse mention only one of her brothers? Rav Naḥman said that Rav said: For she prophesied when she was the sister of Aaron, i.e., she prophesied since her youth, even before Moses was born, and she would say: My mother is destined to bear a son who will deliver the Jewish people to salvation. And at the time when Moses was born the entire house was filled with light, and her father stood and kissed her on the head, and said to her: My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled.

וכיון שהשליכוהו ליאור עמד אביה וטפחה על ראשה ואמר לה בתי היכן נבואתיך היינו דכתיב ותתצב אחותו מרחוק לדעה לדעת מה יהא בסוף נבואתה

But once Moses was cast into the river, her father arose and rapped her on the head, saying to her: My daughter, where is your prophecy now, as it looked as though the young Moses would soon meet his end. This is the meaning of that which is written with regard to Miriam’s watching Moses in the river: “And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him” (Exodus 2:4), i.e., to know what would be with the end of her prophecy, as she had prophesied that her brother was destined to be the savior of the Jewish people.

דבורה דכתיב ודבורה אשה נביאה אשת לפידות מאי אשת לפידות שהיתה עושה פתילות למקדש

Deborah was a prophetess, as it is written explicitly: “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth” (Judges 4:4). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “the wife of Lappidoth”? The Gemara answers: For she used to make wicks for the Sanctuary, and due to the flames [lappidot] on these wicks she was called the wife of Lappidoth, literally, a woman of flames.

והיא יושבת תחת תומר מאי שנא תחת תומר אמר רבי שמעון בן אבשלום משום יחוד דבר אחר מה תמר זה אין לו אלא לב אחד אף ישראל שבאותו הדור לא היה להם אלא לב אחד לאביהן שבשמים

With regard to Deborah, it says: “And she sat under a palm tree” (Judges 4:5). The Gemara asks: What is different and unique with regard to her sitting “under a palm tree” that there is a need for it to be written? Rabbi Shimon ben Avshalom said: It is due to the prohibition against being alone together with a man. Since men would come before her for judgment, she established for herself a place out in the open and visible to all, in order to avoid a situation in which she would be secluded with a man behind closed doors. Alternatively, the verse means: Just as a palm tree has only one heart, as a palm tree does not send out separate branches, but rather has only one main trunk, so too, the Jewish people in that generation had only one heart, directed to their Father in Heaven.

חנה דכתיב ותתפלל חנה ותאמר עלץ לבי בה׳ רמה קרני בה׳ רמה קרני ולא רמה פכי דוד ושלמה שנמשחו בקרן נמשכה מלכותן שאול ויהוא שנמשחו בפך לא נמשכה מלכותן

Hannah was a prophetess, as it is written: “And Hannah prayed and said, My heart rejoices in the Lord, my horn is exalted in the Lord” (I Samuel 2:1), and her words were prophecy, in that she said: “My horn is exalted,” and not: My pitcher is exalted. As, with regard to David and Solomon, who were anointed with oil from a horn, their kingship continued, whereas with regard to Saul and Jehu, who were anointed with oil from a pitcher, their kingship did not continue. This demonstrates that Hannah was a prophetess, as she prophesied that only those anointed with oil from a horn will merit that their kingships continue.

אין קדוש כה׳ כי אין בלתך אמר רב יהודה בר מנשיא אל תקרי בלתך אלא לבלותך שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם מעשה ידיו מבלין אותו אבל הקדוש ברוך הוא מבלה מעשה ידיו

Apropos the song of Hannah, the Gemara further explains her words: “There is none sacred as the Lord; for there is none beside You [biltekha]” (I Samuel 2:2). Rav Yehuda bar Menashya said: Do not read it as biltekha, “beside You,” but rather read it as levalotekha, to outlast You. As the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is unlike the attribute of flesh and blood. It is an attribute of man that his handiwork outlasts him and continues to exist even after he dies, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, outlasts His handiwork, as He exists eternally.

ואין צור כאלהינו אין צייר כאלהינו אדם צר צורה על גבי הכותל ואינו יכול להטיל בה רוח ונשמה קרבים ובני מעים אבל הקדוש ברוך הוא צר צורה בתוך צורה ומטיל בה רוח ונשמה קרבים ובני מעים

Hannah further said: “Neither is there any rock [tzur] like our God” (I Samuel 2:1). This can be understood as saying that there is no artist [tzayyar] like our God. How is He better than all other artists? Man fashions a form upon a wall, but is unable to endow it with breath and a soul, or fill it with innards and intestines, whereas the Holy One, Blessed be He, fashions a form of a fetus inside the form of its mother, rather than on a flat surface, and endows it with breath and a soul and fills it with innards and intestines.

אביגיל דכתיב והיה היא רוכבת על החמור ויורדת בסתר ההר בסתר ההר מן ההר מיבעי ליה

Abigail was a prophetess, as it is written: “And it was so, as she rode on the donkey, and came down by the covert of the mountain” (I Samuel 25:20). The Gemara asks: Why does it say: “By the covert [beseter] of the mountain”? It should have said: From the mountain.

אמר רבה בר שמואל על עסקי דם הבא מן הסתרים נטלה דם והראתה לו אמר לה וכי מראין דם בלילה אמרה לו וכי דנין דיני נפשות בלילה אמר לה

The Gemara answers that in fact this must be understood as an allusion to something else. Rabba bar Shmuel said: Abigail, in her attempt to prevent David from killing her husband Nabal, came to David and questioned him on account of menstrual blood that comes from the hidden parts [setarim] of a body. How so? She took a blood-stained cloth and showed it to him, asking him to rule on her status, whether or not she was ritually impure as a menstruating woman. He said to her: Is blood shown at night? One does not examine blood-stained cloths at night, as it is difficult to distinguish between the different shades by candlelight. She said to him: If so, you should also remember another halakha: Are cases of capital law tried at night? Since one does not try capital cases at night, you cannot condemn Nabal to death at night. David said to her:

מורד במלכות הוא ולא צריך למידייניה אמרה לו עדיין שאול קיים ולא יצא טבעך בעולם אמר לה ברוך טעמך וברוכה את אשר כליתני [היום הזה] מבא בדמים

Nabal, your husband, is a rebel against the throne, as David had already been anointed as king by the prophet Samuel, and Nabal refused his orders. And therefore there is no need to try him, as a rebel is not accorded the ordinary prescriptions governing judicial proceedings. Abigail said to him: You lack the authority to act in this manner, as Saul is still alive. He is the king in actual practice, and your seal [tivakha] has not yet spread across the world, i.e., your kingship is not yet known to all. Therefore, you are not authorized to try someone for rebelling against the monarchy. David accepted her words and said to her: “And blessed be your discretion and blessed be you who have kept me this day from coming to bloodguiltiness [damim]” (I Samuel 25:33).

דמים תרתי משמע אלא מלמד שגילתה את שוקה והלך לאורה שלש פרסאות אמר לה השמיעי לי אמרה לו לא תהיה זאת לך לפוקה זאת מכלל דאיכא אחריתי ומאי ניהו מעשה דבת שבע ומסקנא הכי הואי

The Gemara asks: The plural term damim, literally, bloods, indicates two. Why did David not use the singular term dam? Rather, this teaches that Abigail revealed her thigh, and he lusted after her, and he went three parasangs by the fire of his desire for her, and said to her: Listen to me, i.e., listen to me and allow me to be intimate with you. Abigail then said to him: “Let this not be a stumbling block for you” (I Samuel 25:31). By inference, from the word “this,” it can be understood that there is someone else who will in fact be a stumbling block for him, and what is this referring to? The incident involving Bathsheba. And in the end this is what was, as indeed he stumbled with Bathsheba. This demonstrates that Abigail was a prophetess, as she knew that this would occur. This also explains why David blessed Abigail for keeping him from being responsible for two incidents involving blood that day: Abigail’s menstrual blood and the shedding of Nabal’s blood.

והיתה נפש אדוני צרורה בצרור החיים כי הוות מיפטרא מיניה אמרה ליה והטיב ה׳ לאדוני וזכרת את אמתך

Apropos Abigail, the Gemara explains additional details in the story. Abigail said to David: “Yet the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bond of life with the Lord your God” (I Samuel 25:29), and when she parted from him she said to him: “And when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, and you shall remember your handmaid” (I Samuel 25:31).

אמר רב נחמן היינו דאמרי אינשי איתתא בהדי שותא פילכא איכא דאמרי שפיל ואזיל בר אווזא ועינוהי מיטייפי

Rav Naḥman said that this explains the folk saying that people say: While a woman is engaged in conversation she also holds the spindle, i.e., while a woman is engaged in one activity she is already taking steps with regard to another. Abigail came to David in order to save her husband Nabal, but at the same time she indicates that if her husband dies, David should remember her and marry her. And indeed, after Nabal’s death David took Abigail for his wife. Some say that Rav Naḥman referred to a different saying: The goose stoops its head as it goes along, but its eyes look on from afar to find what it is looking for. So too, Abigail acted in similar fashion.

חולדה דכתיב וילך חלקיהו הכהן ואחיקם ועכבור וגו׳ ובמקום דקאי ירמיה היכי מתנביא איהי אמרי בי רב משמיה דרב חולדה קרובת ירמיה היתה ולא הוה מקפיד עליה

Huldah was a prophetess, as it is written: “So Hilkiah the priest and Ahikam and Achbor and Shaphan and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess” (II Kings 22:14) as emissaries of King Josiah. The Gemara asks: But if Jeremiah was found there, how could she prophesy? Out of respect for Jeremiah, who was her superior, it would have been fitting that she not prophesy in his presence. The Sages of the school of Rav say in the name of Rav: Huldah was a close relative of Jeremiah, and he did not object to her prophesying in his presence.

ויאשיה גופיה היכי שביק ירמיה ומשדר לגבה אמרי דבי רבי שילא מפני שהנשים רחמניות הן

The Gemara asks: But how could Josiah himself ignore Jeremiah and send emissaries to Huldah? The Sages of the school of Rabbi Sheila say: Because women are more compassionate, and he hoped that what she would tell them would not be overly harsh.

רבי יוחנן אמר ירמיה לא הוה התם שהלך להחזיר עשרת השבטים ומנלן דאהדור דכתיב כי המוכר אל הממכר לא ישוב אפשר יובל בטל ונביא מתנבא עליו שיבטל אלא מלמד שירמיה החזירן

Rabbi Yoḥanan said a different answer: Jeremiah was not there at the time, because he went to bring back the ten tribes from their exile. And from where do we derive that he brought them back? As it is written: “For the seller shall not return to that which he has sold” (Ezekiel 7:13), i.e., Ezekiel prophesied that in the future the Jubilee Year would no longer be in effect. Now is it possible that the Jubilee had already been annulled? The halakhot of the Jubilee Year apply only when all of the tribes of Israel are settled in their respective places, which could not have happened since the exile of the ten tribes more than a century earlier, but the prophet is prophesying that it will cease only in the future. Rather, this teaches that Jeremiah brought back the ten tribes from their exile.

ויאשיהו בן אמון מלך עליהן דכתיב ויאמר מה הציון הלז אשר אני רואה ויאמרו אליו אנשי העיר הקבר איש האלהים אשר בא מיהודה ויקרא את הדברים האלה אשר עשית על המזבח בבית אל וכי מה טיבו של יאשיהו על המזבח בבית אל אלא מלמד שיאשיהו מלך עליהן רב נחמן אמר מהכא גם יהודה שת קציר לך בשובי שבות עמי

And Josiah the son of Amon ruled over the ten tribes, as it is written: “Then he said: What monument is that which I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel” (II Kings 23:17). Now what connection did Josiah, king of Judea, have with the altar at Bethel, a city in the kingdom of Israel? Rather, this teaches that Josiah ruled over the ten tribes of Israel. Rav Naḥman said: Proof that the tribes returned may be adduced from the verse here: “Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you, when I would return the captivity of My people” (Hosea 6:11), which indicates that they returned to their places.

אסתר דכתיב ויהי ביום השלישי ותלבש אסתר מלכות בגדי מלכות מיבעי ליה אלא שלבשתה רוח הקדש כתיב הכא ותלבש וכתיב התם ורוח לבשה את עמשי וגו׳

Esther was also a prophetess, as it is written: “And it came to pass on the third day that Esther clothed herself in royalty” (Esther 5:1). It should have said: Esther clothed herself in royal garments. Rather, this alludes to the fact that she clothed herself with a divine spirit of inspiration. It is written here: “And she clothed herself,” and it is written elsewhere: “And the spirit clothed Amasai” (I Chronicles 12:19). Just as there the reference is to being enclothed by a spirit, so too Esther was enclothed by a spirit of divine inspiration.

אמר רב נחמן לא יאה יהירותא לנשי תרתי נשי יהירן הויין וסניין שמייהו חדא שמה זיבורתא וחדא שמה כרכושתא זיבורתא כתיב בה ותשלח ותקרא לברק ואילו איהי לא אזלה לגביה כרכושתא כתיב בה אמרו לאיש ולא אמרה אמרו למלך

An additional point is mentioned with regard to the prophetesses. Rav Naḥman said: Haughtiness is not befitting a woman. And a proof to this is that there were two haughty women, whose names were identical to the names of loathsome creatures. One, Deborah, was called a hornet, as her Hebrew name, Devorah, means hornet; and one, Huldah, was called a marten, as her name is the Hebrew term for that creature. From where is it known that they were haughty? With regard to Deborah, the hornet, it is written: “And she sent and called Barak” (Judges 4:6), but she herself did not go to him. And with regard to Huldah, the marten, it is written: “Say to the man that sent you to me” (II Kings 22:15), but she did not say: Say to the king.

אמר רב נחמן חולדה מבני בניו של יהושע היתה כתיב הכא בן חרחס וכתיב התם בתמנת חרס

Furthermore, Rav Naḥman said: Huldah was a descendant of Joshua. An allusion to this is written here: “Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum, the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas [ḥarḥas]” (II Kings 22:14), and it says elsewhere with regard to Joshua: “And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres [ḥeres]” (Judges 2:9), therefore intimating that there is a certain connection between them.

איתיביה רב עינא סבא לרב נחמן שמונה נביאים והם כהנים יצאו מרחב הזונה ואלו הן נריה ברוך ושריה מחסיה ירמיה חלקיה חנמאל ושלום רבי יהודה אומר אף חולדה הנביאה מבני בניה של רחב הזונה היתה כתיב הכא בן תקוה וכתיב התם את תקות חוט השני

Rav Eina the Elder raised an objection from a baraita to Rav Naḥman’s teaching. The baraita indicates that Huldah was in fact a descendant of Rahab, and seemingly not of Joshua: Eight prophets, who were also priests, descended from Rahab the prostitute, and they are: Neriah; his son Baruch; Seraiah; Mahseiah; Jeremiah; his father, Hilkiah; Jeremiah’s cousin Hanamel; and Hanamel’s father, Shallum. Rabbi Yehuda said: So too, Huldah the prophetess was a descendant of Rahab the prostitute, as it is written here with regard to Huldah: “The son of Tikvah,” and it is written elsewhere in reference to Rahab’s escape from the destruction of Jericho: “This cord of [tikvat] scarlet thread” (Joshua 2:18).

אמר ליה עינא סבא ואמרי לה פתיא אוכמא מיני ומינך תסתיים שמעתא דאיגיירא ונסבה יהושע ומי הוו ליה זרעא ליהושע והכתיב נון בנו יהושע בנו בני לא הוו ליה בנתן הוו ליה

Rav Naḥman responded to Eina the Elder and said to him: Eina the Elder, and some say that he said to him: Blackened pot, i.e., my colleague in Torah, who has toiled and blackened his face in Torah study, from me and from you the matter may be concluded, i.e., the explanation lies in a combination of our two statements. For Rahab converted and married Joshua, and therefore Huldah descended from both Joshua and Rahab. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But did Joshua have any descendants? But isn’t it written in the genealogical list of the tribe of Ephraim: “Nun his son, Joshua his son” (I Chronicles 7:27)? The listing does not continue any further, implying that Joshua had no sons. The Gemara answers: Indeed, he did not have sons, but he did have daughters.

  • 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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משל דאחשורוש והמן למה הדבר דומה לשני בני אדם לאחד היה לו תל בתוך שדהו ולאחד היה לו חריץ בתוך שדהו בעל חריץ אמר מי יתן לי תל זה בדמים בעל התל אמר מי יתן לי חריץ זה בדמים

The actions of Ahasuerus and Haman can be understood with a parable; to what may they be compared? To two individuals, one of whom had a mound in the middle of his field and the other of whom had a ditch in the middle of his field, each one suffering from his own predicament. The owner of the ditch, noticing the other’s mound of dirt, said to himself: Who will give me this mound of dirt suitable for filling in my ditch; I would even be willing to pay for it with money, and the owner of the mound, noticing the other’s ditch, said to himself: Who will give me this ditch for money, so that I may use it to remove the mound of earth from my property?

לימים נזדווגו זה אצל זה אמר לו בעל חריץ לבעל התל מכור לי תילך אמר לו טול אותה בחנם והלואי

At a later point, one day, they happened to have met one another. The owner of the ditch said to the owner of the mound: Sell me your mound so I can fill in my ditch. The mound’s owner, anxious to rid himself of the excess dirt on his property, said to him: Take it for free; if only you had done so sooner. Similarly, Ahasuerus himself wanted to destroy the Jews. As he was delighted that Haman had similar aspirations and was willing to do the job for him, he demanded no money from him.

ויסר המלך את טבעתו אמר רבי אבא בר כהנא גדולה הסרת טבעת יותר מארבעים ושמונה נביאים ושבע נביאות שנתנבאו להן לישראל שכולן לא החזירום למוטב ואילו הסרת טבעת החזירתן למוטב

§ The verse states: “And the king removed his ring from his hand” (Esther 3:10). Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: The removal of Ahasuerus’s ring for the sealing of Haman’s decree was more effective than the forty-eight prophets and the seven prophetesses who prophesied on behalf of the Jewish people. As, they were all unable to return the Jewish people to the right way, but the removal of Ahasuerus’s ring returned them to the right way, since it brought them to repentance.

תנו רבנן ארבעים ושמונה נביאים ושבע נביאות נתנבאו להם לישראל ולא פחתו ולא הותירו על מה שכתוב בתורה חוץ ממקרא מגילה

The Sages taught in a baraita: Forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses prophesied on behalf of the Jewish people, and they neither subtracted from nor added onto what is written in the Torah, introducing no changes or additions to the mitzvot except for the reading of the Megilla, which they added as an obligation for all future generations.

מאי דרוש אמר רבי חייא בר אבין אמר רבי יהושע בן קרחה ומה מעבדות לחירות אמרינן שירה ממיתה לחיים לא כל שכן

The Gemara asks: What exposition led them to determine that this was a proper mode of action? On what basis did they add this mitzva? Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Avin said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa said that they reasoned as follows: If, when recalling the exodus from Egypt, in which the Jews were delivered from slavery to freedom, we recite songs of praise, the Song of the Sea and the hymns of hallel, then, in order to properly recall the miracle of Purim and commemorate God’s delivering us from death to life, is it not all the more so the case that we must sing God’s praise by reading the story in the Megilla?

אי הכי הלל נמי נימא לפי שאין אומרים הלל על נס שבחוצה לארץ יציאת מצרים דנס שבחוצה לארץ היכי אמרינן שירה

The Gemara asks: If so, our obligation should be at least as great as when we recall the exodus from Egypt, and let us also recite hallel on Purim. The Gemara answers: Hallel is not said on Purim, because hallel is not recited on a miracle that occurred outside Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara asks: If so, with regard to the exodus from Egypt as well, which was a miracle that occurred outside Eretz Yisrael, how are we able to recite songs of praise?

כדתניא עד שלא נכנסו ישראל לארץ הוכשרו כל ארצות לומר שירה משנכנסו ישראל לארץ לא הוכשרו כל הארצות לומר שירה

The Gemara answers: As it is taught in a baraita: Prior to the time when the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael, all lands were deemed fit for songs of praise to be recited for miracles performed within their borders, as all lands were treated equally. But after the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael, that land became endowed with greater sanctity, and all the other lands were no longer deemed fit for songs of praise to be recited for miracles performed within them.

רב נחמן אמר קרייתא זו הלילא רבא אמר בשלמא התם הללו עבדי ה׳ ולא עבדי פרעה אלא הכא הללו עבדי ה׳ ולא עבדי אחשורוש אכתי עבדי אחשורוש אנן

Rav Naḥman said an alternative answer as to why hallel is not recited on Purim: The reading of the Megilla itself is an act of reciting hallel. Rava said a third reason why hallel is not recited on Purim: Granted that hallel is said there, when recalling the exodus from Egypt, as after the salvation there, they could recite the phrase in hallel: “Give praise, O servants of the Lord” (Psalms 113:1); after their servitude to Pharaoh ended with their salvation, they were truly servants of the Lord and not servants of Pharaoh. But can it be said here, after the limited salvation commemorated on Purim: “Give praise, O servants of the Lord,” which would indicate that after the salvation the Jewish people were only servants of the Lord and not servants of Ahasuerus? No, even after the miracle of Purim, we were still the servants of Ahasuerus, as the Jews remained in exile under Persian rule, and consequently the salvation, which was incomplete, did not merit an obligation to say hallel.

בין לרבא בין לרב נחמן קשיא והא תניא משנכנסו לארץ לא הוכשרו כל הארצות לומר שירה כיון שגלו חזרו להכשירן הראשון

The Gemara asks: Both according to the opinion of Rava and according to the opinion of Rav Naḥman, this is difficult. Isn’t it taught in the baraita cited earlier: After the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael, that land became endowed with greater sanctity, and all the other lands were no longer deemed fit for songs of praise to be recited for miracles performed within them. Therefore, there should be no hallel obligation on Purim for the miracle performed outside of the land of Israel, and Rav Naḥman’s and Rava’s alternative explanations are incorrect. The Gemara answers: They understood differently, as it can be argued that when the people were exiled from Eretz Yisrael, the other lands returned to their initial suitability, and were once again deemed fit for reciting hallel on miracles performed within them.

ותו ליכא והכתיב ויהי איש אחד מן הרמתים צופים אחד ממאתים צופים שנתנבאו להם לישראל

With regard to the statement that forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses prophesied on behalf of the Jewish people, the Gemara asks: Is there no one else? Isn’t it written with regard to Samuel’s father, Elkanah: “And there was a certain [eḥad] man from Ramathaim-zophim” (I Samuel 1:1), which is expounded as follows to indicate that Elkanah was a prophet: He was one [eḥad] of two hundred [mata’im] prophets [tzofim] who prophesied on behalf of the Jewish people. If so, why was it stated here that there were only forty-eight prophets?

מיהוה טובא הוו כדתניא הרבה נביאים עמדו להם לישראל כפלים כיוצאי מצרים אלא נבואה שהוצרכה לדורות נכתבה ושלא הוצרכה לא נכתבה

The Gemara answers: In fact, there were more prophets, as it is taught in a baraita: Many prophets arose for the Jewish people, numbering double the number of Israelites who left Egypt. However, only a portion of the prophecies were recorded, because only prophecy that was needed for future generations was written down in the Bible for posterity, but that which was not needed, as it was not pertinent to later generations, was not written. Therefore, the fifty-five prophets recorded in the Bible, although not the only prophets of the Jewish people, were the only ones recorded, due to their eternal messages.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר אדם הבא משתי רמות שצופות זו את זו רבי חנין אמר אדם הבא מבני אדם שעומדין ברומו של עולם ומאן נינהו בני קרח דכתיב ובני קרח לא מתו תנא משום רבינו מקום נתבצר להם בגיהנם ועמדו עליו

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said another explanation of the verse “And there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim”: A man who comes from two heights [ramot] that face [tzofot] one another. Rabbi Ḥanin said an additional interpretation: A man who descends from people who stood at the height of [rumo] the world. The Gemara asks: And who are these people? The Gemara answers: These are the sons of Korah, as it is written: “But the sons of Korah did not die” (Numbers 26:11), and with regard to them it is taught in the name of our teacher, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: A high place was set aside for them in Gehenna, as the sons of Korah repented in their hearts, and were consequently not propelled very far down in Gehenna when the earth opened to swallow Korah and his followers; and they stood on this high place and sung to the Lord. They alone stood at the height of the lower world.

שבע נביאות מאן נינהו שרה מרים דבורה חנה אביגיל חולדה ואסתר שרה דכתיב אבי מלכה ואבי יסכה ואמר רבי יצחק יסכה זו שרה ולמה נקרא שמה יסכה שסכתה ברוח הקדש שנאמר כל אשר תאמר אליך שרה שמע בקולה דבר אחר יסכה שהכל סוכין ביופיה

§ The Gemara asks with regard to the prophetesses recorded in the baraita: Who were the seven prophetesses? The Gemara answers: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah, and Esther. The Gemara offers textual support: Sarah, as it is written: “Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah” (Genesis 11:29). And Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Iscah is in fact Sarah. And why was she called Iscah? For she saw [sakhta] by means of divine inspiration, as it is stated: “In all that Sarah has said to you, hearken to her voice” (Genesis 21:12). Alternatively, Sarah was also called Iscah, for all gazed [sokhin] upon her beauty.

מרים דכתיב ותקח מרים הנביאה אחות אהרן ולא אחות משה אמר רב נחמן אמר רב שהיתה מתנבאה כשהיא אחות אהרן ואומרת עתידה אמי שתלד בן שיושיע את ישראל ובשעה שנולד נתמלא כל הבית כולו אורה עמד אביה ונשקה על ראשה אמר לה בתי נתקיימה נבואתיך

Miriam was a prophetess, as it is written explicitly: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand” (Exodus 15:20). The Gemara asks: Was she the sister only of Aaron, and not the sister of Moses? Why does the verse mention only one of her brothers? Rav Naḥman said that Rav said: For she prophesied when she was the sister of Aaron, i.e., she prophesied since her youth, even before Moses was born, and she would say: My mother is destined to bear a son who will deliver the Jewish people to salvation. And at the time when Moses was born the entire house was filled with light, and her father stood and kissed her on the head, and said to her: My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled.

וכיון שהשליכוהו ליאור עמד אביה וטפחה על ראשה ואמר לה בתי היכן נבואתיך היינו דכתיב ותתצב אחותו מרחוק לדעה לדעת מה יהא בסוף נבואתה

But once Moses was cast into the river, her father arose and rapped her on the head, saying to her: My daughter, where is your prophecy now, as it looked as though the young Moses would soon meet his end. This is the meaning of that which is written with regard to Miriam’s watching Moses in the river: “And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him” (Exodus 2:4), i.e., to know what would be with the end of her prophecy, as she had prophesied that her brother was destined to be the savior of the Jewish people.

דבורה דכתיב ודבורה אשה נביאה אשת לפידות מאי אשת לפידות שהיתה עושה פתילות למקדש

Deborah was a prophetess, as it is written explicitly: “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth” (Judges 4:4). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “the wife of Lappidoth”? The Gemara answers: For she used to make wicks for the Sanctuary, and due to the flames [lappidot] on these wicks she was called the wife of Lappidoth, literally, a woman of flames.

והיא יושבת תחת תומר מאי שנא תחת תומר אמר רבי שמעון בן אבשלום משום יחוד דבר אחר מה תמר זה אין לו אלא לב אחד אף ישראל שבאותו הדור לא היה להם אלא לב אחד לאביהן שבשמים

With regard to Deborah, it says: “And she sat under a palm tree” (Judges 4:5). The Gemara asks: What is different and unique with regard to her sitting “under a palm tree” that there is a need for it to be written? Rabbi Shimon ben Avshalom said: It is due to the prohibition against being alone together with a man. Since men would come before her for judgment, she established for herself a place out in the open and visible to all, in order to avoid a situation in which she would be secluded with a man behind closed doors. Alternatively, the verse means: Just as a palm tree has only one heart, as a palm tree does not send out separate branches, but rather has only one main trunk, so too, the Jewish people in that generation had only one heart, directed to their Father in Heaven.

חנה דכתיב ותתפלל חנה ותאמר עלץ לבי בה׳ רמה קרני בה׳ רמה קרני ולא רמה פכי דוד ושלמה שנמשחו בקרן נמשכה מלכותן שאול ויהוא שנמשחו בפך לא נמשכה מלכותן

Hannah was a prophetess, as it is written: “And Hannah prayed and said, My heart rejoices in the Lord, my horn is exalted in the Lord” (I Samuel 2:1), and her words were prophecy, in that she said: “My horn is exalted,” and not: My pitcher is exalted. As, with regard to David and Solomon, who were anointed with oil from a horn, their kingship continued, whereas with regard to Saul and Jehu, who were anointed with oil from a pitcher, their kingship did not continue. This demonstrates that Hannah was a prophetess, as she prophesied that only those anointed with oil from a horn will merit that their kingships continue.

אין קדוש כה׳ כי אין בלתך אמר רב יהודה בר מנשיא אל תקרי בלתך אלא לבלותך שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם מעשה ידיו מבלין אותו אבל הקדוש ברוך הוא מבלה מעשה ידיו

Apropos the song of Hannah, the Gemara further explains her words: “There is none sacred as the Lord; for there is none beside You [biltekha]” (I Samuel 2:2). Rav Yehuda bar Menashya said: Do not read it as biltekha, “beside You,” but rather read it as levalotekha, to outlast You. As the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is unlike the attribute of flesh and blood. It is an attribute of man that his handiwork outlasts him and continues to exist even after he dies, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, outlasts His handiwork, as He exists eternally.

ואין צור כאלהינו אין צייר כאלהינו אדם צר צורה על גבי הכותל ואינו יכול להטיל בה רוח ונשמה קרבים ובני מעים אבל הקדוש ברוך הוא צר צורה בתוך צורה ומטיל בה רוח ונשמה קרבים ובני מעים

Hannah further said: “Neither is there any rock [tzur] like our God” (I Samuel 2:1). This can be understood as saying that there is no artist [tzayyar] like our God. How is He better than all other artists? Man fashions a form upon a wall, but is unable to endow it with breath and a soul, or fill it with innards and intestines, whereas the Holy One, Blessed be He, fashions a form of a fetus inside the form of its mother, rather than on a flat surface, and endows it with breath and a soul and fills it with innards and intestines.

אביגיל דכתיב והיה היא רוכבת על החמור ויורדת בסתר ההר בסתר ההר מן ההר מיבעי ליה

Abigail was a prophetess, as it is written: “And it was so, as she rode on the donkey, and came down by the covert of the mountain” (I Samuel 25:20). The Gemara asks: Why does it say: “By the covert [beseter] of the mountain”? It should have said: From the mountain.

אמר רבה בר שמואל על עסקי דם הבא מן הסתרים נטלה דם והראתה לו אמר לה וכי מראין דם בלילה אמרה לו וכי דנין דיני נפשות בלילה אמר לה

The Gemara answers that in fact this must be understood as an allusion to something else. Rabba bar Shmuel said: Abigail, in her attempt to prevent David from killing her husband Nabal, came to David and questioned him on account of menstrual blood that comes from the hidden parts [setarim] of a body. How so? She took a blood-stained cloth and showed it to him, asking him to rule on her status, whether or not she was ritually impure as a menstruating woman. He said to her: Is blood shown at night? One does not examine blood-stained cloths at night, as it is difficult to distinguish between the different shades by candlelight. She said to him: If so, you should also remember another halakha: Are cases of capital law tried at night? Since one does not try capital cases at night, you cannot condemn Nabal to death at night. David said to her:

מורד במלכות הוא ולא צריך למידייניה אמרה לו עדיין שאול קיים ולא יצא טבעך בעולם אמר לה ברוך טעמך וברוכה את אשר כליתני [היום הזה] מבא בדמים

Nabal, your husband, is a rebel against the throne, as David had already been anointed as king by the prophet Samuel, and Nabal refused his orders. And therefore there is no need to try him, as a rebel is not accorded the ordinary prescriptions governing judicial proceedings. Abigail said to him: You lack the authority to act in this manner, as Saul is still alive. He is the king in actual practice, and your seal [tivakha] has not yet spread across the world, i.e., your kingship is not yet known to all. Therefore, you are not authorized to try someone for rebelling against the monarchy. David accepted her words and said to her: “And blessed be your discretion and blessed be you who have kept me this day from coming to bloodguiltiness [damim]” (I Samuel 25:33).

דמים תרתי משמע אלא מלמד שגילתה את שוקה והלך לאורה שלש פרסאות אמר לה השמיעי לי אמרה לו לא תהיה זאת לך לפוקה זאת מכלל דאיכא אחריתי ומאי ניהו מעשה דבת שבע ומסקנא הכי הואי

The Gemara asks: The plural term damim, literally, bloods, indicates two. Why did David not use the singular term dam? Rather, this teaches that Abigail revealed her thigh, and he lusted after her, and he went three parasangs by the fire of his desire for her, and said to her: Listen to me, i.e., listen to me and allow me to be intimate with you. Abigail then said to him: “Let this not be a stumbling block for you” (I Samuel 25:31). By inference, from the word “this,” it can be understood that there is someone else who will in fact be a stumbling block for him, and what is this referring to? The incident involving Bathsheba. And in the end this is what was, as indeed he stumbled with Bathsheba. This demonstrates that Abigail was a prophetess, as she knew that this would occur. This also explains why David blessed Abigail for keeping him from being responsible for two incidents involving blood that day: Abigail’s menstrual blood and the shedding of Nabal’s blood.

והיתה נפש אדוני צרורה בצרור החיים כי הוות מיפטרא מיניה אמרה ליה והטיב ה׳ לאדוני וזכרת את אמתך

Apropos Abigail, the Gemara explains additional details in the story. Abigail said to David: “Yet the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bond of life with the Lord your God” (I Samuel 25:29), and when she parted from him she said to him: “And when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, and you shall remember your handmaid” (I Samuel 25:31).

אמר רב נחמן היינו דאמרי אינשי איתתא בהדי שותא פילכא איכא דאמרי שפיל ואזיל בר אווזא ועינוהי מיטייפי

Rav Naḥman said that this explains the folk saying that people say: While a woman is engaged in conversation she also holds the spindle, i.e., while a woman is engaged in one activity she is already taking steps with regard to another. Abigail came to David in order to save her husband Nabal, but at the same time she indicates that if her husband dies, David should remember her and marry her. And indeed, after Nabal’s death David took Abigail for his wife. Some say that Rav Naḥman referred to a different saying: The goose stoops its head as it goes along, but its eyes look on from afar to find what it is looking for. So too, Abigail acted in similar fashion.

חולדה דכתיב וילך חלקיהו הכהן ואחיקם ועכבור וגו׳ ובמקום דקאי ירמיה היכי מתנביא איהי אמרי בי רב משמיה דרב חולדה קרובת ירמיה היתה ולא הוה מקפיד עליה

Huldah was a prophetess, as it is written: “So Hilkiah the priest and Ahikam and Achbor and Shaphan and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess” (II Kings 22:14) as emissaries of King Josiah. The Gemara asks: But if Jeremiah was found there, how could she prophesy? Out of respect for Jeremiah, who was her superior, it would have been fitting that she not prophesy in his presence. The Sages of the school of Rav say in the name of Rav: Huldah was a close relative of Jeremiah, and he did not object to her prophesying in his presence.

ויאשיה גופיה היכי שביק ירמיה ומשדר לגבה אמרי דבי רבי שילא מפני שהנשים רחמניות הן

The Gemara asks: But how could Josiah himself ignore Jeremiah and send emissaries to Huldah? The Sages of the school of Rabbi Sheila say: Because women are more compassionate, and he hoped that what she would tell them would not be overly harsh.

רבי יוחנן אמר ירמיה לא הוה התם שהלך להחזיר עשרת השבטים ומנלן דאהדור דכתיב כי המוכר אל הממכר לא ישוב אפשר יובל בטל ונביא מתנבא עליו שיבטל אלא מלמד שירמיה החזירן

Rabbi Yoḥanan said a different answer: Jeremiah was not there at the time, because he went to bring back the ten tribes from their exile. And from where do we derive that he brought them back? As it is written: “For the seller shall not return to that which he has sold” (Ezekiel 7:13), i.e., Ezekiel prophesied that in the future the Jubilee Year would no longer be in effect. Now is it possible that the Jubilee had already been annulled? The halakhot of the Jubilee Year apply only when all of the tribes of Israel are settled in their respective places, which could not have happened since the exile of the ten tribes more than a century earlier, but the prophet is prophesying that it will cease only in the future. Rather, this teaches that Jeremiah brought back the ten tribes from their exile.

ויאשיהו בן אמון מלך עליהן דכתיב ויאמר מה הציון הלז אשר אני רואה ויאמרו אליו אנשי העיר הקבר איש האלהים אשר בא מיהודה ויקרא את הדברים האלה אשר עשית על המזבח בבית אל וכי מה טיבו של יאשיהו על המזבח בבית אל אלא מלמד שיאשיהו מלך עליהן רב נחמן אמר מהכא גם יהודה שת קציר לך בשובי שבות עמי

And Josiah the son of Amon ruled over the ten tribes, as it is written: “Then he said: What monument is that which I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel” (II Kings 23:17). Now what connection did Josiah, king of Judea, have with the altar at Bethel, a city in the kingdom of Israel? Rather, this teaches that Josiah ruled over the ten tribes of Israel. Rav Naḥman said: Proof that the tribes returned may be adduced from the verse here: “Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you, when I would return the captivity of My people” (Hosea 6:11), which indicates that they returned to their places.

אסתר דכתיב ויהי ביום השלישי ותלבש אסתר מלכות בגדי מלכות מיבעי ליה אלא שלבשתה רוח הקדש כתיב הכא ותלבש וכתיב התם ורוח לבשה את עמשי וגו׳

Esther was also a prophetess, as it is written: “And it came to pass on the third day that Esther clothed herself in royalty” (Esther 5:1). It should have said: Esther clothed herself in royal garments. Rather, this alludes to the fact that she clothed herself with a divine spirit of inspiration. It is written here: “And she clothed herself,” and it is written elsewhere: “And the spirit clothed Amasai” (I Chronicles 12:19). Just as there the reference is to being enclothed by a spirit, so too Esther was enclothed by a spirit of divine inspiration.

אמר רב נחמן לא יאה יהירותא לנשי תרתי נשי יהירן הויין וסניין שמייהו חדא שמה זיבורתא וחדא שמה כרכושתא זיבורתא כתיב בה ותשלח ותקרא לברק ואילו איהי לא אזלה לגביה כרכושתא כתיב בה אמרו לאיש ולא אמרה אמרו למלך

An additional point is mentioned with regard to the prophetesses. Rav Naḥman said: Haughtiness is not befitting a woman. And a proof to this is that there were two haughty women, whose names were identical to the names of loathsome creatures. One, Deborah, was called a hornet, as her Hebrew name, Devorah, means hornet; and one, Huldah, was called a marten, as her name is the Hebrew term for that creature. From where is it known that they were haughty? With regard to Deborah, the hornet, it is written: “And she sent and called Barak” (Judges 4:6), but she herself did not go to him. And with regard to Huldah, the marten, it is written: “Say to the man that sent you to me” (II Kings 22:15), but she did not say: Say to the king.

אמר רב נחמן חולדה מבני בניו של יהושע היתה כתיב הכא בן חרחס וכתיב התם בתמנת חרס

Furthermore, Rav Naḥman said: Huldah was a descendant of Joshua. An allusion to this is written here: “Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum, the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas [ḥarḥas]” (II Kings 22:14), and it says elsewhere with regard to Joshua: “And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres [ḥeres]” (Judges 2:9), therefore intimating that there is a certain connection between them.

איתיביה רב עינא סבא לרב נחמן שמונה נביאים והם כהנים יצאו מרחב הזונה ואלו הן נריה ברוך ושריה מחסיה ירמיה חלקיה חנמאל ושלום רבי יהודה אומר אף חולדה הנביאה מבני בניה של רחב הזונה היתה כתיב הכא בן תקוה וכתיב התם את תקות חוט השני

Rav Eina the Elder raised an objection from a baraita to Rav Naḥman’s teaching. The baraita indicates that Huldah was in fact a descendant of Rahab, and seemingly not of Joshua: Eight prophets, who were also priests, descended from Rahab the prostitute, and they are: Neriah; his son Baruch; Seraiah; Mahseiah; Jeremiah; his father, Hilkiah; Jeremiah’s cousin Hanamel; and Hanamel’s father, Shallum. Rabbi Yehuda said: So too, Huldah the prophetess was a descendant of Rahab the prostitute, as it is written here with regard to Huldah: “The son of Tikvah,” and it is written elsewhere in reference to Rahab’s escape from the destruction of Jericho: “This cord of [tikvat] scarlet thread” (Joshua 2:18).

אמר ליה עינא סבא ואמרי לה פתיא אוכמא מיני ומינך תסתיים שמעתא דאיגיירא ונסבה יהושע ומי הוו ליה זרעא ליהושע והכתיב נון בנו יהושע בנו בני לא הוו ליה בנתן הוו ליה

Rav Naḥman responded to Eina the Elder and said to him: Eina the Elder, and some say that he said to him: Blackened pot, i.e., my colleague in Torah, who has toiled and blackened his face in Torah study, from me and from you the matter may be concluded, i.e., the explanation lies in a combination of our two statements. For Rahab converted and married Joshua, and therefore Huldah descended from both Joshua and Rahab. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But did Joshua have any descendants? But isn’t it written in the genealogical list of the tribe of Ephraim: “Nun his son, Joshua his son” (I Chronicles 7:27)? The listing does not continue any further, implying that Joshua had no sons. The Gemara answers: Indeed, he did not have sons, but he did have daughters.

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