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Today's Daf Yomi

March 19, 2021 | ו׳ בניסן תשפ״א

Masechet Pesachim is sponsored by Sivya Twersky in honor of her daughter, Shoshana Baker, her grandson's upcoming Bar Mitzvah ,and in memory of her father, Harav Pesach Zachariah Halevi ben Reuven and Leah Z'late Z'L. He lived Torah and emunah by example to congregational and biological families. His yahrzeit falls within this masechet.

This month's shiurim are sponsored by Terri Krivosha in memory of her father Nahum Mayar ben Dovid Baer. Judge Norman Krivosha was a remarkable individual who, in the words of Mary Oliver, did far more than "simply visit this world". Yehi Zichro Baruch.

This month's shiurim are sponsored by Bill Futornick in memory of Rabbi David Teitelbaum Z"L, who led Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, CA for 38 years. He was an extraordinary leader, teacher, moral exemplar and family man who truly fought for equality and deeply embraced ahavat tzion.

  • This month's learning is sponsored by the Hadran Women of Silver Spring in memory of Nicki Toys, Nechama bat Shmuel Tzadok.

  • This month’s learning is sponsored by Shlomo and Amalia Klapper in honor of the birth of Chiyenna Yochana, named after her great-great-grandmother, Chiyenna Kossovsky.

Pesachim 118

Today’s Daf is sponsored by Ellen Golub in memory of her brother, Richard Dennis Golub, Pesach Nahum ben Aryey Leib v’Leah, “on his 62nd yahrzeit. Yehi zichrono l’vracha.” And by Rachel Leiser Levy “l’zecher nishmat Moshe b Betzalel v’Shprintza Pessel, my beloved father. Born in Berlin in 1931, Pesach, the holiday of liberation, was his favorite holiday and I know he’d be amazed at the work of Hadran and the learning being done by this wonderful community, especially in preparation for Pesach.”

What is birkhat hashir that we say after Hallel? Rabbi Tarfon mentions that we say Hallel HaGadol. What is that? Some say we thank God with a different chapter of Psalms for the food of the meal. The gemara compares the difficulty of finding food to childbirth, redemption and the splitting of the sea. The gemara brings several explanations for words in Hallel that were recited by specific people at a particular moment such as, when Chania, Mishael and Azaria were thrown in a fiery furnace by Nevuchadnezar. Or possibly when Abraham was thrown in a fiery furnace by Nimrod. Each explanation explains why the words “God is true to his word” are said. What promise did God make that was fulfilled? Another explanation is brought that it was said by the fish in the sea as explained by a story in the gemara connecting the splitting of the sea and the Egyptians drowning with the drowning of Sisra’s men in the book of Judges. The Romans are compared to the Egyptians and are seen in a much more negative light.

מאי ברכת השיר רב יהודה אמר יהללוך ה׳ אלהינו ורבי יוחנן אמר נשמת כל חי תנו רבנן רביעי גומר עליו את ההלל ואומר הלל הגדול דברי רבי טרפון ויש אומרים ה׳ רועי לא אחסר

The Gemara asks: What is the blessing of the song mentioned in the mishna? Rav Yehuda said: It is the blessing that begins with: They shall praise You, Lord, our God. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said that one also recites: The breath of all living, a prayer that follows the verses of praise [pesukei dezimra]. The Sages taught in a baraita: With regard to the fourth cup, one completes hallel over it and recites the great hallel; this is the statement of Rabbi Tarfon. And some say that one recites: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalms 23:1), in appreciation of the food he ate at the meal.

מהיכן הלל הגדול רבי יהודה אומר מהודו עד נהרות בבל ורבי יוחנן אומר משיר המעלות עד נהרות בבל רב אחא בר יעקב אמר מכי יעקב בחר לו יה עד נהרות בבל

The Gemara asks: From where does the great hallel begin and where does it end? Rabbi Yehuda says: From “Give thanks” (Psalms 136:1) until “The rivers of Babylon” (Psalms 137:1). And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: From “A song of ascents” (Psalms 134:1) until “The rivers of Babylon.” Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: From “For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself” (Psalms 135:4) until “The rivers of Babylon.”

ולמה נקרא שמו הלל הגדול אמר רבי יוחנן מפני שהקדוש ברוך הוא יושב ברומו של עולם ומחלק מזונות לכל בריה

The Gemara asks: And why is this section called the great hallel? Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Because this passage states that the Holy One, Blessed be He, sits in the heights of the universe and dispenses food to every creature. The whole world praises God for His kindness through the great hallel, which includes the verse: “Who gives food to all flesh” (Psalms 136:25).

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי הני עשרים וששה הודו כנגד מי כנגד עשרים וששה דורות שברא הקדוש ברוך הוא בעולמו ולא נתן להם תורה וזן אותם בחסדו

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: These twenty-six mentions of the word hodu, give praise, in this hallel (Psalms 136), to what do they correspond? He explains: They correspond to the twenty-six generations that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created in His world, and to whom He did not give the Torah. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, another ten from Noah to Abraham, and six generations from Abraham to Moses and the revelation at Sinai, i.e., Isaac, Jacob, Levi, Kehat, Amram, and Moses. And why did these generations survive, despite the fact that they did not learn Torah or perform mitzvot? They survived only because God sustained them through His mercy, even though they were undeserving.

אמר רב חסדא מאי דכתיב הודו לה׳ כי טוב הודו לה׳ שגובה חובתו של אדם בטובתו עשיר בשורו ואת עני בשיו יתום בביצתו אלמנה בתרנגולתה

Rav Ḥisda said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good” (Psalms 136:1)? It means give thanks to the Lord who exacts one’s debt, the punishment for a person’s sins and wickedness, in accordance with the goodness of each individual. God punishes each person based on his means. He punishes a wealthy person by taking his ox, and He punishes a poor person by means of his sheep. He punishes the orphan by taking away his egg, and He punishes the widow by means of her chicken. God punishes each person based on his ability to endure deprivation, and He does not punish people with more than they can handle.

אמר רבי יוחנן קשין מזונותיו של אדם כפליים כיולדה דאילו ביולדה כתיב בעצב ובמזונות כתיב בעצבון

With regard to the praise due to God for sustaining the world, the Gemara cites a statement that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The task of providing a person’s food is twice as difficult as the suffering endured by a woman in childbirth. While, with regard to a woman in childbirth, it is written: “In pain [be’etzev] you shall bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16), with regard to food, it is written: “In toil [be’itzavon] you shall eat of it, all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17). Itzavon is a superlative form of etzev, which indicates that it is more difficult to support oneself than to give birth.

ואמר רבי יוחנן קשין מזונותיו של אדם יותר מן הגאולה דאילו בגאולה כתיב המלאך הגואל אותי מכל רע מלאך בעלמא ואילו במזונות כתיב האלהים הרועה אתי

And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The task of providing a person’s food is more difficult than the redemption. While, with regard to the redemption, it is written: “The angel who has redeemed me from all evil” (Genesis 48:16), indicating that a mere angel is sufficient to protect a person from all evil; whereas, with regard to sustenance, it is written: “The God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day” (Genesis 48:15). This verse implies that only God can help one who is struggling to earn a living.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי בשעה שאמר הקדוש ברוך הוא לאדם וקוץ ודרדר תצמיח לך זלגו עיניו דמעות אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם אני וחמורי נאכל באבוס אחד כיון שאמר לו בזעת אפך תאכל לחם נתקררה דעתו

The Gemara cites a similar statement. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: When the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Adam: “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field” (Genesis 3:18), his eyes streamed with tears. Adam said before Him: Master of the Universe, will my donkey and I eat from one trough? After God said to him: “In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread” (Genesis 3:19), his mind was settled, assured that if he toils he will be able to eat bread, unlike the donkey.

אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש אשרינו אם עמדנו בראשונה ועדיין לא פלטינן מינה דקא אכלינן עיסבי דדברא

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: We would have been fortunate had we remained under the first decree and were still able to eat the herbs of the field. And we still have not entirely escaped from this decree, as we sometimes eat the grass of the field, in the form of vegetables and leaves.

אמר רב שיזבי משמיה דרבי אלעזר בן עזריה קשין מזונותיו של אדם כקריעת ים סוף דכתיב נותן לחם לכל בשר וסמיך ליה לגוזר ים סוף לגזרים

Rav Sheizvi said, citing Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya: The task of providing a person’s food is as difficult as the splitting of the Red Sea, as it is written: “He gives food to all flesh, for His mercy endures forever” (Psalms 136:25), and juxtaposed to it is the verse: “To Him who divided the Red Sea in sunder, for His mercy endures forever” (Psalms 136:13). The reiteration of the last part of the verse indicates that the two praises are to a certain extent equivalent.

אמר רבי אלעזר בן עזריה קשין נקביו של אדם כיום המיתה וכקריעת ים סוף שנאמר מהר צועה להפתח וכתיב בתריה רוגע הים ויהמו גליו

Likewise, Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said: A person’s orifices, when he cannot properly relieve himself, are as difficult for him as the day of death and the splitting of the Red Sea, as it is stated: “He who is bent down shall speedily be loosed; and he shall not go down dying into the pit, neither shall his bread fail” (Isaiah 51:14). The phrase “dying into the pit” indicates that the opening of the orifices is similar to a rescue from death. And afterward it is written: “Who stirs up the sea, that its waves roar” (Isaiah 51:15), which compares the previous matter to the splitting of the sea.

ואמר רב ששת משום רבי אלעזר בן עזריה כל המבזה את המועדות כאילו עובד עבודה זרה שנאמר אלהי מסכה לא תעשה לך וכתיב בתריה את חג המצות תשמור

After citing a statement of Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya that was transmitted by amora’im, the Gemara quotes additional expositions attributed to him. And Rav Sheshet said, citing Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya: Anyone who disparages the Festivals, it is considered as though he engages in idol worship. This, too, is derived from the juxtaposition of verses, as it is stated: “You shall make yourself no molten gods” (Exodus 34:17), and afterward it is written: “The Festival of matzot you shall keep” (Exodus 34:18), from which it can be inferred that anyone who does not observe the Festivals properly is likened to one who fashions idols.

ואמר רב ששת משום רבי אלעזר בן עזריה כל המספר לשון הרע וכל המקבל לשון הרע וכל המעיד עדות שקר בחבירו ראוי להשליכו לכלבים שנאמר לכלב תשליכון אותו וכתיב בתריה לא תשא שמע שוא וקרי ביה לא תשיא

And Rav Sheshet further said, citing Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya: Anyone who speaks slander, and anyone who accepts and believes the slander he hears, and anyone who testifies falsely about another, it is fitting to throw him to the dogs, as it is stated: “And you shall not eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field, you shall cast it to the dogs” (Exodus 22:30), and afterward it is written: “You shall not utter [tisa] a false report; put not your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (Exodus 23:1). Uttering rumors is here equated to delivering false testimony. Furthermore, read into the verse as though it stated: Do not cause a false report to be accepted [tasi], i.e., do not lead others to accept your false reports.

וכי מאחר דאיכא הלל הגדול אנן מאי טעמא אמרינן האי משום שיש בו חמשה דברים הללו יציאת מצרים קריעת ים סוף ומתן תורה ותחיית המתים וחבלו של משיח

The Gemara asks: And since there is the great hallel, which contains the special praise of “Who gives food to all flesh” (Psalms 136:25), as explained above, what is the reason that one also recites this hallel of Psalms 113–118, the section recited on every joyous occasion? The Gemara answers: The reason is because the regular hallel contains these five matters: The remembrance of the exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Torah, the resurrection of the dead, and the pangs of the Messiah. Since it mentions these key concepts, this hallel is also considered important.

יציאת מצרים דכתיב בצאת ישראל ממצרים וקריעת ים סוף דכתיב הים ראה וינוס מתן תורה דכתיב ההרים רקדו כאילים תחיית המתים דכתיב אתהלך לפני ה׳

The Gemara elaborates: The exodus from Egypt, as it is written: “When Israel came forth out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language” (Psalms 114:1). And the splitting of the Red Sea, as it is written: “The sea saw it and fled; the Jordan turned backward” (Psalms 114:3). The giving of the Torah, as it is written: “The mountains skipped like rams” (Psalms 114:4), which is similar to the description of the giving of the Torah found elsewhere in the books of the Prophets. The resurrection of the dead, as it is written: “I will walk before the Lord in the lands of the living” (Psalms 116:9), which follows the verse: “For you have delivered my soul from death.” After mentioning death, the psalm describes the resurrection in the lands of the living.

חבלו של משיח דכתיב לא לנו ה׳ לא לנו ואמר רבי יוחנן לא לנו ה׳ לא לנו זו שעבוד מלכיות איכא דאמרי אמר רבי יוחנן לא לנו ה׳ לא לנו זו מלחמת גוג ומגוג

The pangs of the Messiah, as it is written: “Not to us, God, not to us, but to Your name give glory” (Psalms 115:1). And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The verse “Not to us, God, not to us” and the entire psalm, including the verse “Why should the nations say, where now is their God?” (Psalms 115:2), is referring to the era of the enslavement of the kingdoms and the redemption of the Jewish people from their dominion. Some say that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The verse “Not to us, God, not to us” is referring to the war of Gog and Magog, the catastrophes and wars that will befall the Jewish people in the end of days from which they will be delivered.

רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר מפני שיש בו מילוט נפשות של צדיקים מגיהנם שנאמר אנה ה׳ מלטה נפשי חזקיה אמר מפני שיש בו ירידתן של צדיקים לכבשן האש ועלייתן ממנו

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: Another reason why one recites hallel of Psalms 113–118 is because it contains a reference to the deliverance of the souls of the righteous from Gehenna, as it is stated: “I beseech you, Lord, deliver my soul” (Psalms 116:4). Ḥizkiya said: Another reason is because it contains the story of the descent of the righteous Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into the fiery furnace and their miraculous ascent from it.

ירידתן דכתיב לא לנו ה׳ לא לנו אמר חנניה כי לשמך תן כבוד אמר מישאל על חסדך ועל אמתך אמר עזריה למה יאמרו הגוים אמרו כולן

Ḥizkiya clarifies his previous statement: Their descent is mentioned in this hallel, as it is written: “Not to us, God, not to us,” a verse that Hananiah recited. Mishael recited: “But to Your name give glory.” Azariah recited: “For Your mercy and for Your truth’s sake.” They all recited together: “Why should the nations say: Where now is their God?”

עלייתן מכבשן האש דכתיב הללו את ה׳ כל גוים אמר חנניה שבחוהו כל האומים אמר מישאל כי גבר עלינו חסדו אמר עזריה ואמת ה׳ לעולם הללויה אמרו כולן

This hallel also alludes to the ascent of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the fiery furnace, as it is written: “Praise the Lord, all you nations, laud Him all you peoples. For His mercy is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever, halleluya” (Psalms 117). Hananiah recited: “Praise the Lord, all you nations,” for the overt miracle performed for them before the nations. Mishael recited: “Laud Him all you peoples.” Azariah recited: “For His mercy is great toward us.” They all recited together: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever, halleluya.”

ויש אומרים ואמת ה׳ לעולם גבריאל אמרו בשעה שהפיל נמרוד הרשע את אברהם אבינו לתוך כבשן האש אמר גבריאל לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם ארד ואצנן ואציל את הצדיק מכבשן האש אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא אני יחיד בעולמי והוא יחיד בעולמו נאה ליחיד להציל את היחיד ולפי שהקדוש ברוך הוא אינו מקפח שכר כל בריה אמר תזכה ותציל שלשה מבני בניו

And some say that the angel Gabriel recited: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever.” This Gemara elaborates: When the evil Nimrod threw our father, Abraham, into the fiery furnace, Gabriel said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I will descend and cool the furnace, and I will thereby save the righteous Abraham from the fiery furnace. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: I am unique in my world and Abraham is still unique in his world. It is fitting for the unique to save the unique. Therefore, God Himself went down and saved him. And as the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not withhold reward from any creature who sought to perform a good deed, He said to Gabriel: You will merit the rescue of three of his descendants under similar circumstances.

דרש רבי שמעון השלוני בשעה שהפיל נבוכדנצר הרשע חנניה מישאל ועזריה לתוך כבשן האש עמד יורקמו שר הברד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם ארד ואצנן את הכבשן ואציל לצדיקים הללו מכבשן האש אמר לו גבריאל אין גבורתו של הקדוש ברוך הוא בכך שאתה שר ברד והכל יודעין שהמים מכבין את האש אלא אני שר של אש ארד ואקרר מבפנים

Rabbi Shimon HaShiloni taught: When the evil Nebuchadnezzar threw Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into the fiery furnace, Yurkamo, the ministering angel of hail, stood before the Holy One, Blessed be He, and said before Him: Master of the Universe, I will go down and cool the fiery furnace, and I will save these righteous ones from the fiery furnace. Gabriel said to him: The strength of the Holy One, Blessed be He, will not be evident in this manner, as you are the minister of hail, and everyone knows that water extinguishes fire. Your action would not be regarded as a great miracle. Rather, I, the ministering angel of fire, will descend, and I will cool the furnace from within,

ואקדיח מבחוץ ואעשה נס בתוך נס אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא רד באותה שעה פתח גבריאל ואמר ואמת ה׳ לעולם

and I will burn it from the outside, to consume those who threw the three righteous men into the furnace; and I will thereby perform a miracle within a miracle. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Descend. At that time Gabriel began praising God and recited: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever” (Psalms 117:2), as God fulfilled His promise to him from more than a thousand years earlier.

רבי נתן אומר ואמת ה׳ לעולם דגים שבים אמרוהו כדרב הונא דאמר רב הונא ישראל שבאותו הדור מקטני אמנה היו וכדדרש רבה בר מרי מאי דכתיב וימרו על ים בים סוף מלמד שהמרו ישראל באותה שעה ואמרו כשם שאנו עולין מצד אחד כך מצריים עולים מצד אחר

Rabbi Natan says: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever” was actually recited by the fish in the sea, in accordance with a statement of Rav Huna. As Rav Huna said: The Jewish people of that generation, during the Exodus, were of little faith. And this statement is as Rabba bar Mari taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “But they were rebellious at the sea, even at the Red Sea” (Psalms 106:7)? This teaches that the Jews rebelled against Moses at that time, and said: Perhaps, just as we are ascending from one side, so too the Egyptians are ascending from the other side, and we will not be saved.

אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא לשר של ים פלוט אותן ליבשה אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם כלום יש עבד שנותן לו רבו מתנה וחוזר ונוטל ממנו אמר לו אתן לך אחד ומחצה שבהן

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to the ministering angel of the sea: Spew out the dead Egyptians onto dry land. The sea said before Him: Master of the Universe, is there a servant whose master gives him a gift and then takes it from him? Since the dead Egyptians were given to me for my fish to eat, how can God retract His gift? He said to him: I will give you one and a half times their number. Although I am taking them back now, later I will give you one and a half times as many people.

אמר לו רבונו של עולם יש עבד שתובע את רבו אמר לו נחל קישון יהא לי ערב מיד פלט אותן ליבשה ובאו ישראל וראו אותן שנאמר וירא ישראל את מצרים מת על שפת הים

He said to him: Master of the Universe, can a servant issue a claim against his master for a gift promised to him? Who will be my guarantor? He said to him: The Kishon River will be a guarantor for Me. Immediately, the sea spewed them out onto the land, and the Jewish people came and saw that they were dead. As it is stated: “And Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore” (Exodus 14:30).

מאי אחד ומחצה שבהן דאילו בפרעה כתיב שש מאות רכב בחור ואילו בסיסרא כתיב תשע מאות רכב ברזל

The Gemara asks: What is this one and a half times their number? How was God’s promise fulfilled? The Gemara answers: While, with regard to Pharaoh, it is written: “Six hundred chosen chariots” (Exodus 14:7), whereas, with regard to Sisera, it is written: “Nine hundred iron chariots” (Judges 4:13).

כי אתא סיסרא [אתא עלייהו בדקרי דפרזלא הוציא הקדוש ברוך הוא עליהם כוכבים ממסילותם דכתיב] מן שמים נלחמו הכוכבים כיון דנחיתו כוכבי שמים עלייהו אקדירו הני דקרי דפרזלא נחיתו לאקרורי למיסחי נפשייהו בנחל קישון

The Gemara relates: When Sisera came to fight Israel, he came upon them with iron spears, whereupon the Holy One, Blessed be He, removed the stars from their orbits to fight against Sisera’s army, as it is written: “They fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera” (Judges 5:20). Since the stars fell on them, these iron spears heated up and they went to cool them and wash themselves in the Kishon River.

אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא לנחל קישון לך והשלם ערבונך מיד גרפם נחל קישון והשליכן לים שנאמר נחל קישון גרפם נחל קדומים מאי נחל קדומים נחל שנעשה ערב מקדם באותה שעה פתחו דגים של ים ואמרו ואמת ה׳ לעולם

At this point, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to the Kishon River: Go and pay your guarantee that you issued to the ministering angel of the sea. Immediately, the Kishon River swept them away and cast them into the sea, as it is stated: “The Kishon River swept them away, that ancient river” (Judges 5:21). What is the meaning of the expression: “ancient river”? The Gemara explains: This is referring to the river that was appointed a guarantor from ancient times. At that time, the fish of the sea began praising God and recited: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever,” in reference to God’s fulfillment of the promise He issued centuries earlier.

אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש מאי דכתיב מושיבי עקרת הבית אמרה כנסת ישראל לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם שמוני בניך כחולדה זו הדרה בעיקרי בתים:

The Gemara cites more midrashim on the verses of hallel. Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Who makes the barren woman dwell in her house as a joyful mother of children, halleluya” (Psalms 113:9)? The Congregation of Israel, i.e., the leaders of the Jewish people, said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, due to their sins, Your children treat me like this rat that dwells in the vaults of houses, barely able to find a place in the house.

דרש רבא מאי דכתיב אהבתי כי ישמע ה׳ אמרה כנסת ישראל רבונו של עולם אימת אני אהובה לפניך בזמן שתשמע קול תחנוני דלותי ולי יהושיע אמרה כנסת ישראל לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם אף על פי שדלה אני במצות לך אני ולי נאה להושיע

Rava taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “I love that the Lord should hear my voice and my supplications” (Psalms 116:1)? The Congregation of Israel said: Master of the Universe, when am I beloved by You, and I know that I am loved? When You hear the voice of my supplications. “I was brought low, and He saved me” (Psalms 116:6). The Congregation of Israel said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, although I am lowly in mitzvot, as I do not always fulfill them properly, I am Yours, and therefore it is fitting that I should be saved.

אמר רב כהנא כשחלה רבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי שלח לו רבי אמור לנו שנים ושלשה דברים שאמרת לנו משום אביך

Rav Kahana said: When Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, fell ill, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi sent a message to him: Tell us two or three matters that you said to us, citing your father.

שלח לו כך אמר אבא מאי דכתיב הללו את ה׳ כל גוים אומות העולם מאי עבידתייהו הכי קאמר הללו את ה׳ כל גוים אגבורות ונפלאות דעביד בהדייהו כל שכן אנו דגבר עלינו חסדו

He sent back to him: My father said as follows: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Praise the Lord, all you nations, laud Him all you peoples. For His mercy is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever, halleluya” (Psalms 117)? What are the nations of the world doing by praising God for His great mercies toward Israel? Rabbi Yosei explained: Rather, this is what the verse is saying: “Praise the Lord, all you nations” for the mighty acts and the wonders that God performed before their eyes. All the more so we, the recipients of these acts, should praise and thank Him, as His mercy is great toward us.

ועוד עתידה מצרים שתביא דורון למשיח כסבור אינו מקבל מהם אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשיח קבל מהם אכסניא עשו לבניי במצרים מיד יאתיו חשמנים מני מצרים

And furthermore, Rabbi Yishmael sent another of his father’s teachings to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: In the future, Egypt will bring a gift to the Messiah when all of the nations gather before him, as the verse says: “Out of Your temple at Jerusalem, where kings shall bring presents to you” (Psalms 68:30). The Messiah will think it appropriate not to accept gifts from them, as the Egyptians abused Israel. The Holy One, Blessed be He, will say to the Messiah: Accept their gifts from them, as they granted lodging to My children in Egypt. They lived there for many years before being enslaved. Immediately, “Nobles shall come out of Egypt” (Psalms 68:32).

נשאה כוש קל וחומר בעצמה ומה הללו שנשתעבדו בהן כך אני שלא נשתעבדתי בהן לא כל שכן אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא קבל מהם מיד כוש תריץ ידיו לאלהים

Upon seeing that Egypt’s gift has been accepted, Kush will want to bring a gift too. Kush will draw an a fortiori inference with regard to itself: Just as the gifts of these Egyptians were accepted despite the fact that they enslaved the Jewish people, all the more so is it not clear that a gift from me, who did not enslave them, should be accepted? The Holy One, Blessed be He, will say to the Messiah: Accept it from them. Immediately, “Kush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God” (Psalms 68:32).

נשאה מלכות [רומי] הרשעה קל וחומר בעצמה ומה הללו שאין אחיהן כך אנו שאנו אחיהן לא כל שכן אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא לגבריאל גער חית קנה געור חיה וקנה לך עדה

After that, the wicked kingdom of Rome will draw an a fortiori inference with regard to itself: Just as the gifts of these, who are not their brothers, were accepted in this manner, we, the descendants of Edom, who are their brothers, all the more so is it not clear that our gifts will be accepted? The Holy One, Blessed be He, will say to Gabriel: “Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds [kaneh], the multitude of [adat] the bulls” (Psalms 68:31). Rebuke the beast and acquire [keneh] the congregation [eda] of Israel. The nation of Rome, which enslaved Israel in its current exile, is less worthy than the other two nations.

דבר אחר געור חית קנה שדרה בין הקנים דכתיב יכרסמנה חזיר מיער וזיז שדי ירענה

Alternatively, the verse “Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds,” means rebuke the beast that dwells between the reeds, as it is written: “The pig out of the wood ravages it, and that which moves in the field feeds on it” (Psalms 80:14). This verse is referring to Edom, whose behavior is compared elsewhere to that of a pig.

אמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן געור בחיה שכל מעשיה נכתבין בקולמוס אחד עדת אבירים בעגלי עמים ששחטו אבירים כעגלים שאין להם בעלים

Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said that the verse means: Rebuke the beast, all of whose actions are written with a single quill. Kaneh can mean a reed, or a quill. In other words, rebuke a nation that speaks of others in only one manner, for the worse. The verse continues: “The multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the peoples, everyone submitting himself with pieces of silver. He has scattered the peoples who delight in war” (Psalms 68:31). “The multitude of the bulls [abirim], with the calves of the peoples”; this is referring to Rome, who slaughtered mighty people [abirim] like ownerless calves.

מתרפס ברצי כסף שפושטין יד לקבל ממון ואין עושין רצון בעלים פיזר עמים קרבות יחפצון מי גרם להם לישראל שיתפזרו לבין אומות העולם קריבות שהיו חפצין בהן

“Everyone submitting himself with pieces of silver,” means that the officials of Rome open their hands to receive money as bribes or taxes, but actually they do not perform the will of their masters, as they cannot be trusted even in this regard. “He has scattered the peoples who delight in war”; what caused the Jewish people to be scattered among the nations of the world? The intimacies that they desired with them. Their exile among the nations was caused by their attraction to the customs and behavior of gentiles.

ועוד שלח לו שלש מאות וששים וחמשה שווקים בכרך גדול של רומי וכל אחד ואחד היו בו שלש מאות וששים וחמשה בירניות וכל בירנית ובירנית היו בו שלש מאות וששים וחמשה מעלות וכל מעלה ומעלה היו בו כדי לזון את כל העולם כולו

And Rabbi Yishmael further sent to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: There were 365 markets in the great city of Rome, and each and every one of them contained 365 towers, and each and every tower contained 365 floors, and each and every floor contained enough food to sustain the entire world.

אמר רבי (ישמעאל) לרבי ואמרי לה (לרבי ישמעאל בר יוסי) הני למן לך ולחברך ולחברותך שנאמר סחרה ואתננה קודש לה׳ לא יאצר ולא יחסן כי ליושבים לפני ה׳ יהיה וגו׳

Rabbi Yishmael also said to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, and some say that he said it to Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei: For whom did they store all this food? He replied: For you and your colleagues and the colleagues of your colleagues, i.e., for the Jewish people and their Sages, as it is stated: “Her grain and her hire shall be consecrated to the Lord; it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her gain shall be for those who dwell before the Lord, to eat their fill, and for stately clothing” (Isaiah 23:18).

מאי לא יאצר תני רב יוסף לא יאצר זה בית אוצר ולא יחסן זה בית גניזה מאי כי ליושבים לפני ה׳ אמר רבי אלעזר

The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase: “It shall not be treasured”? Rav Yosef teaches: “It shall not be treasured,” this is referring to items brought into a storehouse; “nor laid up,” this means a treasury, where valuable items were stored behind guarded walls. What is the meaning of the phrase: “Who dwell before the Lord?” Rabbi Elazar said:

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Pesachim 118

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Pesachim 118

מאי ברכת השיר רב יהודה אמר יהללוך ה׳ אלהינו ורבי יוחנן אמר נשמת כל חי תנו רבנן רביעי גומר עליו את ההלל ואומר הלל הגדול דברי רבי טרפון ויש אומרים ה׳ רועי לא אחסר

The Gemara asks: What is the blessing of the song mentioned in the mishna? Rav Yehuda said: It is the blessing that begins with: They shall praise You, Lord, our God. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said that one also recites: The breath of all living, a prayer that follows the verses of praise [pesukei dezimra]. The Sages taught in a baraita: With regard to the fourth cup, one completes hallel over it and recites the great hallel; this is the statement of Rabbi Tarfon. And some say that one recites: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalms 23:1), in appreciation of the food he ate at the meal.

מהיכן הלל הגדול רבי יהודה אומר מהודו עד נהרות בבל ורבי יוחנן אומר משיר המעלות עד נהרות בבל רב אחא בר יעקב אמר מכי יעקב בחר לו יה עד נהרות בבל

The Gemara asks: From where does the great hallel begin and where does it end? Rabbi Yehuda says: From “Give thanks” (Psalms 136:1) until “The rivers of Babylon” (Psalms 137:1). And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: From “A song of ascents” (Psalms 134:1) until “The rivers of Babylon.” Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: From “For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself” (Psalms 135:4) until “The rivers of Babylon.”

ולמה נקרא שמו הלל הגדול אמר רבי יוחנן מפני שהקדוש ברוך הוא יושב ברומו של עולם ומחלק מזונות לכל בריה

The Gemara asks: And why is this section called the great hallel? Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Because this passage states that the Holy One, Blessed be He, sits in the heights of the universe and dispenses food to every creature. The whole world praises God for His kindness through the great hallel, which includes the verse: “Who gives food to all flesh” (Psalms 136:25).

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי הני עשרים וששה הודו כנגד מי כנגד עשרים וששה דורות שברא הקדוש ברוך הוא בעולמו ולא נתן להם תורה וזן אותם בחסדו

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: These twenty-six mentions of the word hodu, give praise, in this hallel (Psalms 136), to what do they correspond? He explains: They correspond to the twenty-six generations that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created in His world, and to whom He did not give the Torah. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, another ten from Noah to Abraham, and six generations from Abraham to Moses and the revelation at Sinai, i.e., Isaac, Jacob, Levi, Kehat, Amram, and Moses. And why did these generations survive, despite the fact that they did not learn Torah or perform mitzvot? They survived only because God sustained them through His mercy, even though they were undeserving.

אמר רב חסדא מאי דכתיב הודו לה׳ כי טוב הודו לה׳ שגובה חובתו של אדם בטובתו עשיר בשורו ואת עני בשיו יתום בביצתו אלמנה בתרנגולתה

Rav Ḥisda said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good” (Psalms 136:1)? It means give thanks to the Lord who exacts one’s debt, the punishment for a person’s sins and wickedness, in accordance with the goodness of each individual. God punishes each person based on his means. He punishes a wealthy person by taking his ox, and He punishes a poor person by means of his sheep. He punishes the orphan by taking away his egg, and He punishes the widow by means of her chicken. God punishes each person based on his ability to endure deprivation, and He does not punish people with more than they can handle.

אמר רבי יוחנן קשין מזונותיו של אדם כפליים כיולדה דאילו ביולדה כתיב בעצב ובמזונות כתיב בעצבון

With regard to the praise due to God for sustaining the world, the Gemara cites a statement that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The task of providing a person’s food is twice as difficult as the suffering endured by a woman in childbirth. While, with regard to a woman in childbirth, it is written: “In pain [be’etzev] you shall bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16), with regard to food, it is written: “In toil [be’itzavon] you shall eat of it, all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17). Itzavon is a superlative form of etzev, which indicates that it is more difficult to support oneself than to give birth.

ואמר רבי יוחנן קשין מזונותיו של אדם יותר מן הגאולה דאילו בגאולה כתיב המלאך הגואל אותי מכל רע מלאך בעלמא ואילו במזונות כתיב האלהים הרועה אתי

And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The task of providing a person’s food is more difficult than the redemption. While, with regard to the redemption, it is written: “The angel who has redeemed me from all evil” (Genesis 48:16), indicating that a mere angel is sufficient to protect a person from all evil; whereas, with regard to sustenance, it is written: “The God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day” (Genesis 48:15). This verse implies that only God can help one who is struggling to earn a living.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי בשעה שאמר הקדוש ברוך הוא לאדם וקוץ ודרדר תצמיח לך זלגו עיניו דמעות אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם אני וחמורי נאכל באבוס אחד כיון שאמר לו בזעת אפך תאכל לחם נתקררה דעתו

The Gemara cites a similar statement. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: When the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Adam: “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field” (Genesis 3:18), his eyes streamed with tears. Adam said before Him: Master of the Universe, will my donkey and I eat from one trough? After God said to him: “In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread” (Genesis 3:19), his mind was settled, assured that if he toils he will be able to eat bread, unlike the donkey.

אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש אשרינו אם עמדנו בראשונה ועדיין לא פלטינן מינה דקא אכלינן עיסבי דדברא

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: We would have been fortunate had we remained under the first decree and were still able to eat the herbs of the field. And we still have not entirely escaped from this decree, as we sometimes eat the grass of the field, in the form of vegetables and leaves.

אמר רב שיזבי משמיה דרבי אלעזר בן עזריה קשין מזונותיו של אדם כקריעת ים סוף דכתיב נותן לחם לכל בשר וסמיך ליה לגוזר ים סוף לגזרים

Rav Sheizvi said, citing Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya: The task of providing a person’s food is as difficult as the splitting of the Red Sea, as it is written: “He gives food to all flesh, for His mercy endures forever” (Psalms 136:25), and juxtaposed to it is the verse: “To Him who divided the Red Sea in sunder, for His mercy endures forever” (Psalms 136:13). The reiteration of the last part of the verse indicates that the two praises are to a certain extent equivalent.

אמר רבי אלעזר בן עזריה קשין נקביו של אדם כיום המיתה וכקריעת ים סוף שנאמר מהר צועה להפתח וכתיב בתריה רוגע הים ויהמו גליו

Likewise, Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said: A person’s orifices, when he cannot properly relieve himself, are as difficult for him as the day of death and the splitting of the Red Sea, as it is stated: “He who is bent down shall speedily be loosed; and he shall not go down dying into the pit, neither shall his bread fail” (Isaiah 51:14). The phrase “dying into the pit” indicates that the opening of the orifices is similar to a rescue from death. And afterward it is written: “Who stirs up the sea, that its waves roar” (Isaiah 51:15), which compares the previous matter to the splitting of the sea.

ואמר רב ששת משום רבי אלעזר בן עזריה כל המבזה את המועדות כאילו עובד עבודה זרה שנאמר אלהי מסכה לא תעשה לך וכתיב בתריה את חג המצות תשמור

After citing a statement of Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya that was transmitted by amora’im, the Gemara quotes additional expositions attributed to him. And Rav Sheshet said, citing Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya: Anyone who disparages the Festivals, it is considered as though he engages in idol worship. This, too, is derived from the juxtaposition of verses, as it is stated: “You shall make yourself no molten gods” (Exodus 34:17), and afterward it is written: “The Festival of matzot you shall keep” (Exodus 34:18), from which it can be inferred that anyone who does not observe the Festivals properly is likened to one who fashions idols.

ואמר רב ששת משום רבי אלעזר בן עזריה כל המספר לשון הרע וכל המקבל לשון הרע וכל המעיד עדות שקר בחבירו ראוי להשליכו לכלבים שנאמר לכלב תשליכון אותו וכתיב בתריה לא תשא שמע שוא וקרי ביה לא תשיא

And Rav Sheshet further said, citing Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya: Anyone who speaks slander, and anyone who accepts and believes the slander he hears, and anyone who testifies falsely about another, it is fitting to throw him to the dogs, as it is stated: “And you shall not eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field, you shall cast it to the dogs” (Exodus 22:30), and afterward it is written: “You shall not utter [tisa] a false report; put not your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (Exodus 23:1). Uttering rumors is here equated to delivering false testimony. Furthermore, read into the verse as though it stated: Do not cause a false report to be accepted [tasi], i.e., do not lead others to accept your false reports.

וכי מאחר דאיכא הלל הגדול אנן מאי טעמא אמרינן האי משום שיש בו חמשה דברים הללו יציאת מצרים קריעת ים סוף ומתן תורה ותחיית המתים וחבלו של משיח

The Gemara asks: And since there is the great hallel, which contains the special praise of “Who gives food to all flesh” (Psalms 136:25), as explained above, what is the reason that one also recites this hallel of Psalms 113–118, the section recited on every joyous occasion? The Gemara answers: The reason is because the regular hallel contains these five matters: The remembrance of the exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Torah, the resurrection of the dead, and the pangs of the Messiah. Since it mentions these key concepts, this hallel is also considered important.

יציאת מצרים דכתיב בצאת ישראל ממצרים וקריעת ים סוף דכתיב הים ראה וינוס מתן תורה דכתיב ההרים רקדו כאילים תחיית המתים דכתיב אתהלך לפני ה׳

The Gemara elaborates: The exodus from Egypt, as it is written: “When Israel came forth out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language” (Psalms 114:1). And the splitting of the Red Sea, as it is written: “The sea saw it and fled; the Jordan turned backward” (Psalms 114:3). The giving of the Torah, as it is written: “The mountains skipped like rams” (Psalms 114:4), which is similar to the description of the giving of the Torah found elsewhere in the books of the Prophets. The resurrection of the dead, as it is written: “I will walk before the Lord in the lands of the living” (Psalms 116:9), which follows the verse: “For you have delivered my soul from death.” After mentioning death, the psalm describes the resurrection in the lands of the living.

חבלו של משיח דכתיב לא לנו ה׳ לא לנו ואמר רבי יוחנן לא לנו ה׳ לא לנו זו שעבוד מלכיות איכא דאמרי אמר רבי יוחנן לא לנו ה׳ לא לנו זו מלחמת גוג ומגוג

The pangs of the Messiah, as it is written: “Not to us, God, not to us, but to Your name give glory” (Psalms 115:1). And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The verse “Not to us, God, not to us” and the entire psalm, including the verse “Why should the nations say, where now is their God?” (Psalms 115:2), is referring to the era of the enslavement of the kingdoms and the redemption of the Jewish people from their dominion. Some say that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The verse “Not to us, God, not to us” is referring to the war of Gog and Magog, the catastrophes and wars that will befall the Jewish people in the end of days from which they will be delivered.

רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר מפני שיש בו מילוט נפשות של צדיקים מגיהנם שנאמר אנה ה׳ מלטה נפשי חזקיה אמר מפני שיש בו ירידתן של צדיקים לכבשן האש ועלייתן ממנו

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: Another reason why one recites hallel of Psalms 113–118 is because it contains a reference to the deliverance of the souls of the righteous from Gehenna, as it is stated: “I beseech you, Lord, deliver my soul” (Psalms 116:4). Ḥizkiya said: Another reason is because it contains the story of the descent of the righteous Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into the fiery furnace and their miraculous ascent from it.

ירידתן דכתיב לא לנו ה׳ לא לנו אמר חנניה כי לשמך תן כבוד אמר מישאל על חסדך ועל אמתך אמר עזריה למה יאמרו הגוים אמרו כולן

Ḥizkiya clarifies his previous statement: Their descent is mentioned in this hallel, as it is written: “Not to us, God, not to us,” a verse that Hananiah recited. Mishael recited: “But to Your name give glory.” Azariah recited: “For Your mercy and for Your truth’s sake.” They all recited together: “Why should the nations say: Where now is their God?”

עלייתן מכבשן האש דכתיב הללו את ה׳ כל גוים אמר חנניה שבחוהו כל האומים אמר מישאל כי גבר עלינו חסדו אמר עזריה ואמת ה׳ לעולם הללויה אמרו כולן

This hallel also alludes to the ascent of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the fiery furnace, as it is written: “Praise the Lord, all you nations, laud Him all you peoples. For His mercy is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever, halleluya” (Psalms 117). Hananiah recited: “Praise the Lord, all you nations,” for the overt miracle performed for them before the nations. Mishael recited: “Laud Him all you peoples.” Azariah recited: “For His mercy is great toward us.” They all recited together: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever, halleluya.”

ויש אומרים ואמת ה׳ לעולם גבריאל אמרו בשעה שהפיל נמרוד הרשע את אברהם אבינו לתוך כבשן האש אמר גבריאל לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם ארד ואצנן ואציל את הצדיק מכבשן האש אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא אני יחיד בעולמי והוא יחיד בעולמו נאה ליחיד להציל את היחיד ולפי שהקדוש ברוך הוא אינו מקפח שכר כל בריה אמר תזכה ותציל שלשה מבני בניו

And some say that the angel Gabriel recited: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever.” This Gemara elaborates: When the evil Nimrod threw our father, Abraham, into the fiery furnace, Gabriel said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I will descend and cool the furnace, and I will thereby save the righteous Abraham from the fiery furnace. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: I am unique in my world and Abraham is still unique in his world. It is fitting for the unique to save the unique. Therefore, God Himself went down and saved him. And as the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not withhold reward from any creature who sought to perform a good deed, He said to Gabriel: You will merit the rescue of three of his descendants under similar circumstances.

דרש רבי שמעון השלוני בשעה שהפיל נבוכדנצר הרשע חנניה מישאל ועזריה לתוך כבשן האש עמד יורקמו שר הברד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם ארד ואצנן את הכבשן ואציל לצדיקים הללו מכבשן האש אמר לו גבריאל אין גבורתו של הקדוש ברוך הוא בכך שאתה שר ברד והכל יודעין שהמים מכבין את האש אלא אני שר של אש ארד ואקרר מבפנים

Rabbi Shimon HaShiloni taught: When the evil Nebuchadnezzar threw Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into the fiery furnace, Yurkamo, the ministering angel of hail, stood before the Holy One, Blessed be He, and said before Him: Master of the Universe, I will go down and cool the fiery furnace, and I will save these righteous ones from the fiery furnace. Gabriel said to him: The strength of the Holy One, Blessed be He, will not be evident in this manner, as you are the minister of hail, and everyone knows that water extinguishes fire. Your action would not be regarded as a great miracle. Rather, I, the ministering angel of fire, will descend, and I will cool the furnace from within,

ואקדיח מבחוץ ואעשה נס בתוך נס אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא רד באותה שעה פתח גבריאל ואמר ואמת ה׳ לעולם

and I will burn it from the outside, to consume those who threw the three righteous men into the furnace; and I will thereby perform a miracle within a miracle. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Descend. At that time Gabriel began praising God and recited: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever” (Psalms 117:2), as God fulfilled His promise to him from more than a thousand years earlier.

רבי נתן אומר ואמת ה׳ לעולם דגים שבים אמרוהו כדרב הונא דאמר רב הונא ישראל שבאותו הדור מקטני אמנה היו וכדדרש רבה בר מרי מאי דכתיב וימרו על ים בים סוף מלמד שהמרו ישראל באותה שעה ואמרו כשם שאנו עולין מצד אחד כך מצריים עולים מצד אחר

Rabbi Natan says: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever” was actually recited by the fish in the sea, in accordance with a statement of Rav Huna. As Rav Huna said: The Jewish people of that generation, during the Exodus, were of little faith. And this statement is as Rabba bar Mari taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “But they were rebellious at the sea, even at the Red Sea” (Psalms 106:7)? This teaches that the Jews rebelled against Moses at that time, and said: Perhaps, just as we are ascending from one side, so too the Egyptians are ascending from the other side, and we will not be saved.

אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא לשר של ים פלוט אותן ליבשה אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם כלום יש עבד שנותן לו רבו מתנה וחוזר ונוטל ממנו אמר לו אתן לך אחד ומחצה שבהן

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to the ministering angel of the sea: Spew out the dead Egyptians onto dry land. The sea said before Him: Master of the Universe, is there a servant whose master gives him a gift and then takes it from him? Since the dead Egyptians were given to me for my fish to eat, how can God retract His gift? He said to him: I will give you one and a half times their number. Although I am taking them back now, later I will give you one and a half times as many people.

אמר לו רבונו של עולם יש עבד שתובע את רבו אמר לו נחל קישון יהא לי ערב מיד פלט אותן ליבשה ובאו ישראל וראו אותן שנאמר וירא ישראל את מצרים מת על שפת הים

He said to him: Master of the Universe, can a servant issue a claim against his master for a gift promised to him? Who will be my guarantor? He said to him: The Kishon River will be a guarantor for Me. Immediately, the sea spewed them out onto the land, and the Jewish people came and saw that they were dead. As it is stated: “And Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore” (Exodus 14:30).

מאי אחד ומחצה שבהן דאילו בפרעה כתיב שש מאות רכב בחור ואילו בסיסרא כתיב תשע מאות רכב ברזל

The Gemara asks: What is this one and a half times their number? How was God’s promise fulfilled? The Gemara answers: While, with regard to Pharaoh, it is written: “Six hundred chosen chariots” (Exodus 14:7), whereas, with regard to Sisera, it is written: “Nine hundred iron chariots” (Judges 4:13).

כי אתא סיסרא [אתא עלייהו בדקרי דפרזלא הוציא הקדוש ברוך הוא עליהם כוכבים ממסילותם דכתיב] מן שמים נלחמו הכוכבים כיון דנחיתו כוכבי שמים עלייהו אקדירו הני דקרי דפרזלא נחיתו לאקרורי למיסחי נפשייהו בנחל קישון

The Gemara relates: When Sisera came to fight Israel, he came upon them with iron spears, whereupon the Holy One, Blessed be He, removed the stars from their orbits to fight against Sisera’s army, as it is written: “They fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera” (Judges 5:20). Since the stars fell on them, these iron spears heated up and they went to cool them and wash themselves in the Kishon River.

אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא לנחל קישון לך והשלם ערבונך מיד גרפם נחל קישון והשליכן לים שנאמר נחל קישון גרפם נחל קדומים מאי נחל קדומים נחל שנעשה ערב מקדם באותה שעה פתחו דגים של ים ואמרו ואמת ה׳ לעולם

At this point, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to the Kishon River: Go and pay your guarantee that you issued to the ministering angel of the sea. Immediately, the Kishon River swept them away and cast them into the sea, as it is stated: “The Kishon River swept them away, that ancient river” (Judges 5:21). What is the meaning of the expression: “ancient river”? The Gemara explains: This is referring to the river that was appointed a guarantor from ancient times. At that time, the fish of the sea began praising God and recited: “And the truth of the Lord endures forever,” in reference to God’s fulfillment of the promise He issued centuries earlier.

אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש מאי דכתיב מושיבי עקרת הבית אמרה כנסת ישראל לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם שמוני בניך כחולדה זו הדרה בעיקרי בתים:

The Gemara cites more midrashim on the verses of hallel. Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Who makes the barren woman dwell in her house as a joyful mother of children, halleluya” (Psalms 113:9)? The Congregation of Israel, i.e., the leaders of the Jewish people, said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, due to their sins, Your children treat me like this rat that dwells in the vaults of houses, barely able to find a place in the house.

דרש רבא מאי דכתיב אהבתי כי ישמע ה׳ אמרה כנסת ישראל רבונו של עולם אימת אני אהובה לפניך בזמן שתשמע קול תחנוני דלותי ולי יהושיע אמרה כנסת ישראל לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם אף על פי שדלה אני במצות לך אני ולי נאה להושיע

Rava taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “I love that the Lord should hear my voice and my supplications” (Psalms 116:1)? The Congregation of Israel said: Master of the Universe, when am I beloved by You, and I know that I am loved? When You hear the voice of my supplications. “I was brought low, and He saved me” (Psalms 116:6). The Congregation of Israel said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, although I am lowly in mitzvot, as I do not always fulfill them properly, I am Yours, and therefore it is fitting that I should be saved.

אמר רב כהנא כשחלה רבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי שלח לו רבי אמור לנו שנים ושלשה דברים שאמרת לנו משום אביך

Rav Kahana said: When Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, fell ill, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi sent a message to him: Tell us two or three matters that you said to us, citing your father.

שלח לו כך אמר אבא מאי דכתיב הללו את ה׳ כל גוים אומות העולם מאי עבידתייהו הכי קאמר הללו את ה׳ כל גוים אגבורות ונפלאות דעביד בהדייהו כל שכן אנו דגבר עלינו חסדו

He sent back to him: My father said as follows: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Praise the Lord, all you nations, laud Him all you peoples. For His mercy is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever, halleluya” (Psalms 117)? What are the nations of the world doing by praising God for His great mercies toward Israel? Rabbi Yosei explained: Rather, this is what the verse is saying: “Praise the Lord, all you nations” for the mighty acts and the wonders that God performed before their eyes. All the more so we, the recipients of these acts, should praise and thank Him, as His mercy is great toward us.

ועוד עתידה מצרים שתביא דורון למשיח כסבור אינו מקבל מהם אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשיח קבל מהם אכסניא עשו לבניי במצרים מיד יאתיו חשמנים מני מצרים

And furthermore, Rabbi Yishmael sent another of his father’s teachings to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: In the future, Egypt will bring a gift to the Messiah when all of the nations gather before him, as the verse says: “Out of Your temple at Jerusalem, where kings shall bring presents to you” (Psalms 68:30). The Messiah will think it appropriate not to accept gifts from them, as the Egyptians abused Israel. The Holy One, Blessed be He, will say to the Messiah: Accept their gifts from them, as they granted lodging to My children in Egypt. They lived there for many years before being enslaved. Immediately, “Nobles shall come out of Egypt” (Psalms 68:32).

נשאה כוש קל וחומר בעצמה ומה הללו שנשתעבדו בהן כך אני שלא נשתעבדתי בהן לא כל שכן אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא קבל מהם מיד כוש תריץ ידיו לאלהים

Upon seeing that Egypt’s gift has been accepted, Kush will want to bring a gift too. Kush will draw an a fortiori inference with regard to itself: Just as the gifts of these Egyptians were accepted despite the fact that they enslaved the Jewish people, all the more so is it not clear that a gift from me, who did not enslave them, should be accepted? The Holy One, Blessed be He, will say to the Messiah: Accept it from them. Immediately, “Kush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God” (Psalms 68:32).

נשאה מלכות [רומי] הרשעה קל וחומר בעצמה ומה הללו שאין אחיהן כך אנו שאנו אחיהן לא כל שכן אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא לגבריאל גער חית קנה געור חיה וקנה לך עדה

After that, the wicked kingdom of Rome will draw an a fortiori inference with regard to itself: Just as the gifts of these, who are not their brothers, were accepted in this manner, we, the descendants of Edom, who are their brothers, all the more so is it not clear that our gifts will be accepted? The Holy One, Blessed be He, will say to Gabriel: “Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds [kaneh], the multitude of [adat] the bulls” (Psalms 68:31). Rebuke the beast and acquire [keneh] the congregation [eda] of Israel. The nation of Rome, which enslaved Israel in its current exile, is less worthy than the other two nations.

דבר אחר געור חית קנה שדרה בין הקנים דכתיב יכרסמנה חזיר מיער וזיז שדי ירענה

Alternatively, the verse “Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds,” means rebuke the beast that dwells between the reeds, as it is written: “The pig out of the wood ravages it, and that which moves in the field feeds on it” (Psalms 80:14). This verse is referring to Edom, whose behavior is compared elsewhere to that of a pig.

אמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן געור בחיה שכל מעשיה נכתבין בקולמוס אחד עדת אבירים בעגלי עמים ששחטו אבירים כעגלים שאין להם בעלים

Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said that the verse means: Rebuke the beast, all of whose actions are written with a single quill. Kaneh can mean a reed, or a quill. In other words, rebuke a nation that speaks of others in only one manner, for the worse. The verse continues: “The multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the peoples, everyone submitting himself with pieces of silver. He has scattered the peoples who delight in war” (Psalms 68:31). “The multitude of the bulls [abirim], with the calves of the peoples”; this is referring to Rome, who slaughtered mighty people [abirim] like ownerless calves.

מתרפס ברצי כסף שפושטין יד לקבל ממון ואין עושין רצון בעלים פיזר עמים קרבות יחפצון מי גרם להם לישראל שיתפזרו לבין אומות העולם קריבות שהיו חפצין בהן

“Everyone submitting himself with pieces of silver,” means that the officials of Rome open their hands to receive money as bribes or taxes, but actually they do not perform the will of their masters, as they cannot be trusted even in this regard. “He has scattered the peoples who delight in war”; what caused the Jewish people to be scattered among the nations of the world? The intimacies that they desired with them. Their exile among the nations was caused by their attraction to the customs and behavior of gentiles.

ועוד שלח לו שלש מאות וששים וחמשה שווקים בכרך גדול של רומי וכל אחד ואחד היו בו שלש מאות וששים וחמשה בירניות וכל בירנית ובירנית היו בו שלש מאות וששים וחמשה מעלות וכל מעלה ומעלה היו בו כדי לזון את כל העולם כולו

And Rabbi Yishmael further sent to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: There were 365 markets in the great city of Rome, and each and every one of them contained 365 towers, and each and every tower contained 365 floors, and each and every floor contained enough food to sustain the entire world.

אמר רבי (ישמעאל) לרבי ואמרי לה (לרבי ישמעאל בר יוסי) הני למן לך ולחברך ולחברותך שנאמר סחרה ואתננה קודש לה׳ לא יאצר ולא יחסן כי ליושבים לפני ה׳ יהיה וגו׳

Rabbi Yishmael also said to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, and some say that he said it to Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei: For whom did they store all this food? He replied: For you and your colleagues and the colleagues of your colleagues, i.e., for the Jewish people and their Sages, as it is stated: “Her grain and her hire shall be consecrated to the Lord; it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her gain shall be for those who dwell before the Lord, to eat their fill, and for stately clothing” (Isaiah 23:18).

מאי לא יאצר תני רב יוסף לא יאצר זה בית אוצר ולא יחסן זה בית גניזה מאי כי ליושבים לפני ה׳ אמר רבי אלעזר

The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase: “It shall not be treasured”? Rav Yosef teaches: “It shall not be treasured,” this is referring to items brought into a storehouse; “nor laid up,” this means a treasury, where valuable items were stored behind guarded walls. What is the meaning of the phrase: “Who dwell before the Lord?” Rabbi Elazar said:

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