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Today's Daf Yomi

August 24, 2017 | ב׳ באלול תשע״ז

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

Sanhedrin 39

Various questions are asked by heretics to particular rabbis and the rabbi’s responses are brought.

אבות יאכלו בסר ושני בנים תקהינה מאזני צדק אבני צדק צדיק מצרה נחלץ ויבא רשע תחתיו

And they are the parables concerning the following verses: “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezekiel 18:2); “Just balances, just weights…shall you have” (Leviticus 19:36); and “The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead” (Proverbs 11:8).

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל אלהיכם גנב הוא דכתיב ׳ויפל ה׳ אלהים תרדמה על האדם ויישן׳ אמרה ליה ברתיה שבקיה דאנא מהדרנא ליה אמרה ליה תנו לי דוכוס אחד אמר לה למה ליך ליסטין באו עלינו הלילה ונטלו ממנו קיתון של כסף והניחו לנו קיתון של זהב אמר לה ולוואי שיבא עלינו בכל יום ולא יפה היה לו לאדם הראשון שנטלו ממנו צלע אחת ונתנו לו שפחה לשמשו

§ The Roman emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: Your God is a thief, as it is written: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and he slept; and He took one of his sides, and closed up the place with flesh instead” (Genesis 2:21). The daughter of the emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: Leave him, as I will respond to him. She said to her father: Provide one commander [dukhus] for me to avenge someone’s wrongdoing. The emperor said to her: Why do you need him? She said to him: Armed bandits came to us this past night, and took a silver jug [kiton] from us, and left a golden jug for us. The emperor said to her: If so, would it be that armed bandits such as these would come to us every day. She said to him: And was it not similarly good for Adam the first man that God took a side from him and gave him a maidservant to serve him?

אמר לה הכי קאמינא אלא לשקליה בהדיא אמרה ליה אייתו לי אומצא דבישרא אייתו לה אותבה תותי בחשא אפיקתה אמרה ליה אכול מהאי אמר לה מאיסא לי אמרה ליה ואדם הראשון נמי אי הות שקילה בהדיא הוה מאיסא ליה

The emperor said to her: This is what I was saying: But if it is good for Adam, let God take his side from him in the open, not during the time of his deep sleep, like a thief. She said to him: Bring me a slice of raw meat. They brought it to her. She placed it under the embers, and removed it after it was roasted. She said to him: Eat from this meat. The emperor said to her: It is repulsive to me. Although he knew that this is how meat is prepared, seeing the raw meat made it repulsive to him. She said to him: With regard to Adam the first man as well, had God taken her from him in the open, she would have been repulsive to him. Therefore God acted while Adam was asleep.

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל ידענא אלהייכו מאי קא עביד והיכן יתיב איתנגד ואיתנח אמר ליה מאי האי אמר ליה בן אחד יש לי בכרכי הים ויש לי גיעגועים עליו בעינא דמחוית ליה ניהלי אמר מי ידענא היכא ניהו אמר ליה דאיכא בארעא לא ידעת דאיכא בשמיא ידעת

The emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: I know your God, what He does and where He sits. Meanwhile, the emperor was moaning and groaning. Rabban Gamliel said to him: What is this? Why are you in distress? The emperor said to him: I have one son in the cities overseas and I miss him. Rabban Gamliel said to him: I want you to show him to me. The emperor said: Do I know where he is? Rabban Gamliel said to him: If you do not know that which is on earth, is it possible that you do know that which is in the heavens?

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל כתיב ׳מונה מספר לכוכבים׳ מאי רבותיה אנא מצינא למימנא כוכבי אייתי חבושי שדינהו בארבילא וקא מהדר להו אמר ליה מנינהו אמר ליה אוקמינהו אמר ליה רקיע נמי הכי הדרא

The emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: It is written in praise of the Lord: “He counts the number of the stars; He gives them all their names” (Psalms 147:4). What is His greatness? I can also count the stars. Rabban Gamliel brought quinces, put them in a sieve, and spun them. He said to the emperor: Count them. The emperor said to him: Stand them still so that I can count them. Rabban Gamliel said to him: The firmament also revolves like this, therefore you cannot count the stars in it.

איכא דאמרי הכי אמר ליה מני לי כוכבי אמר ליה אימא לי ככיך ושיניך כמה הוה שדא ידיה לפומיה וקא מני להו אמר ליה דאיכא בפומיך לא ידעת דאיכא ברקיעא ידעת

Some say that this is what the emperor said to him: I have counted the stars. Rabban Gamliel said to him: Tell me how many teeth and incisors you have. The emperor put his hand in his mouth and was counting them. Rabban Gamliel said to him: You do not know what is in your mouth, but you do know what is in the firmament?

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל מי שברא הרים לא ברא רוח שנאמר ׳כי הנה יוצר הרים וברא רוח׳ אלא מעתה גבי אדם דכתיב ׳ויברא׳ ׳וייצר׳ הכי נמי מי שברא זה לא ברא זה

The emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: He Who created mountains did not create wind, rather two separate gods created them, as it is stated: “For, lo, He forms mountains and creates wind” (Amos 4:13); one is described with the verb “forms,” and the other with the verb “creates.” Rabban Gamliel said to him: If that is so, then with regard to Adam, as it is written concerning him: “And God created” (Genesis 1:27), and also: “And the Lord God formed” (Genesis 2:7), so too should one say that He who created this did not create that?

טפח על טפח יש בו באדם ושני נקבים יש בו מי שברא זה לא ברא זה שנאמר ׳הנטע אזן הלא ישמע ואם יצר עין הלא יביט׳ אמר ליה אין אמר ליה ובשעת מיתה כולן נתפייסו

If you will claim that different gods created different parts of Adam, that will not suffice. A person has one handbreadth by one handbreadth of facial countenance, with two types of orifices in it, eyes and ears. Should one say that He who created this did not create that; as it is stated: “He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see?” (Psalms 94:9)? The verse employs two verbs for the eyes and ears alone. The emperor said to him: Yes, different gods created different parts of the face. Rabban Gamliel said to him: And at the moment of death, are they all appeased? Do all these gods agree as one that the time arrived for the person to die?

אמר ליה ההוא אמגושא לאמימר מפלגך לעילאי דהורמיז מפלגך לתתאי דאהורמיז אמר ליה אם כן היכי שביק ליה אהורמיז להורמיז לעבורי מיא בארעיה

The Gemara relates: A certain magus said to Ameimar: From your midpoint and up is in the domain of Hurmiz, the god of good, who created the significant and important parts of the body, and from your midpoint and down is in the domain of Ahurmiz, the god of bad. Ameimar said to him: If so, how does Ahurmiz allow Hurmiz to urinate in his territory? A person drinks with his mouth, which is in his upper half, and urinates from below.

אמר ליה קיסר לרבי תנחום תא ליהוו כולן לעמא חד אמר לחיי אנן דמהלינן לא מצינן מיהוי כוותייכו אתון מהליתו והוו כוותן אמר ליה מימר שפיר קאמרת מיהו כל דזכי למלכא לשדיוה לביבר שדיוה לביבר ולא אכלוה אמר ליה ההוא מינא האי דלא אכלוה משום דלא כפין הוא שדיוה ליה לדידיה ואכלוה

The Gemara relates: The emperor said to Rabbi Tanḥum: Come, let us all be one people. Rabbi Tanḥum said: Very well. But we, who are circumcised, cannot become uncircumcised as you are; you all circumcise yourselves and become like us. The emperor said to Rabbi Tanḥum: In terms of the logic of your statement, you are saying well, but anyone who bests the king in a debate is thrown to the enclosure [labeivar] of wild animals. They threw him to the enclosure but the animals did not eat him, as God protected him. A certain heretic said to the emperor: This incident, that they did not eat him, happened because they are not hungry. They then threw the heretic into the enclosure and the animals ate him.

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל אמריתו כל בי עשרה שכינתא שריא כמה שכינתא איכא קרייה לשמעיה מחא ביה באפתקא אמר ליה אמאי על שמשא בביתיה דקיסר אמר ליה שמשא אכולי עלמא ניחא ומה שמשא דחד מן אלף אלפי רבוא שמשי דקמי קודשא בריך הוא ניחא לכולי עלמא שכינתא דקודשא בריך הוא על אחת כמה וכמה

The emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: You say that the Divine Presence dwells in any place where there are ten adult male Jews. He asked, sarcastically: How many Divine Presences are there? Rabban Gamliel summoned the servant of the emperor and hit him on his neck [be’appatka]. Rabban Gamliel said to him: Why did you allow the sun to enter the house of the emperor? The emperor said to him: The sun rests upon all the world; no one can prevent it from shining. Rabban Gamliel said to him: And if the sun, which is one of ten thousand attendants that are before the Holy One, Blessed be He, rests upon all the world, the Divine Presence of the Holy One, Blessed be He, all the more so rests upon the world.

אמר ליה ההוא מינא לרבי אבהו אלהיכם גחכן הוא דקאמר ליה ליחזקאל ׳שכב על צדך השמאלי׳ וכתיב ׳ושכבת על צדך הימני׳ אתא ההוא תלמידא אמר ליה מאי טעמא דשביעתא אמר להו השתא אמינא לכו מילתא דשויא לתרוייהו

A certain heretic said to Rabbi Abbahu: Your God is a jester, as He said to Ezekiel the prophet: “Lie on your left side” (Ezekiel 4:4), and it is also written: “Lie on your right side” (Ezekiel 4:6); God had Ezekiel turn from side to side, apparently for comic effect. In the meantime, a certain student came before Rabbi Abbahu and said to him: What is the reason for the mitzva of the Sabbatical Year? Rabbi Abbahu said to them: Now I will tell you something that is fit for the two of you.

אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל ׳זרעו שש והשמיטו שבע כדי שתדעו שהארץ שלי היא׳ והן לא עשו כן אלא חטאו וגלו מנהגו של עולם מלך בשר ודם שסרחה עליו מדינה אם אכזרי הוא הורג את כולן אם רחמן הוא הורג חצים אם רחמן מלא רחמים הוא מייסר הגדולים שבהן ביסורין אף כך הקדוש ברוך הוא מייסר את יחזקאל כדי למרק עונותיהם של ישראל

Rabbi Abbahu continued: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to the Jewish people: Sow for six years, and withhold sowing during the seventh year, so that that you will know that the land is Mine. But the Jewish people did not do so; rather, they sinned and were consequently exiled. The manner of the world is that in the case of a flesh-and-blood king whose province sinned against him, if he is cruel, he kills them all; if he is compassionate, he kills only half of them; and if he is compassionate and is full of compassion, he afflicts the leaders among them with suffering. Rabbi Abbahu continues: So too in this case, the Holy One, Blessed be He, afflicts Ezekiel in order to cleanse the sins of the Jewish people. God instructed him to lie down and suffer the same number of days as the number of years that the Jewish people did not observe the halakhot of the Sabbatical Year.

אמר ליה ההוא מינא לרבי אבהו אלהיכם כהן הוא דכתיב ׳ויקחו לי תרומה׳ כי קבריה למשה במאי טביל וכי תימא במיא והכתיב ׳מי מדד בשעלו מים׳

A certain heretic said to Rabbi Abbahu: Your God is a priest, as it is written: “That they take for Me an offering [teruma]” (Exodus 25:2), and teruma is given to the priests. He asked, sarcastically: When He buried Moses, in what ritual bath did He immerse? A priest who contracts impurity from a corpse must immerse in order to be able to partake of teruma. And if you would say that He immersed in water, but isn’t it written: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand” (Isaiah 40:12), that all waters of the world fit in the palm of God, so He could not immerse in them.

אמר ליה בנורא טביל דכתיב ׳כי הנה ה׳ באש יבוא׳ ומי סלקא טבילותא בנורא אמר ליה אדרבה עיקר טבילותא בנורא הוא דכתיב ׳וכל אשר לא יבא באש תעבירו במים׳

Rabbi Abbahu said to him: He immersed in fire, as it is written: “For, behold, the Lord will come in fire” (Isaiah 66:15). The heretic said to him: But is immersion in fire effective? Rabbi Abbahu said to him: On the contrary, the main form of immersion is in fire, as it is written with regard to the removal of non-kosher substances absorbed in a vessel: “And all that abides not the fire you shall make to go through the water” (Numbers 31:23), indicating that fire purifies more than water does.

אמר ליה ההוא מינא לרבי אבינא כתיב ׳ומי כעמך כישראל גוי אחד בארץ׳ מאי רבותייהו אתון נמי ערביתו בהדן דכתיב ׳כל הגוים כאין נגדו׳ אמר ליה מדידכו אסהידו עלן דכתיב

A certain heretic said to Rabbi Avina: It is written: “And who is like Your people, Israel, one nation in the earth” (II Samuel 7:23). The heretic asked: What is your greatness? You are also mixed together with us, as it is written: “All nations before Him are as nothing; they are counted by Him less than nothing and vanity” (Isaiah 40:17). Rabbi Avina said to him: One of yours, the gentile prophet Balaam, has already testified for us, as it is written:

׳ובגוים לא יתחשב׳

“It is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9), teaching that where the verse mentions “the nations,” the Jewish people are not included.

רבי אלעזר רמי כתיב טוב ה׳ לכל וכתיב טוב ה׳ לקוו משל לאדם שיש לו פרדס כשהוא משקה משקה את כולו כשהוא עודר אינו עודר אלא טובים שבהם

The Gemara cites a related statement: Rabbi Elazar raises a contradiction: It is written in one verse: “The Lord is good to all and His compassion is over all His works” (Psalms 145:9), and it is written in a different verse: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him” (Lamentations 3:25). He explains: This can be compared to a person who has an orchard. When he waters it, he waters all of it. Perforce, the water reaches all parts of the orchard, and he cannot discriminate between trees. This is the meaning of the verse: “The Lord is good to all.” By contrast, when he hoes around the trees, he hoes only around the good trees among them. Similarly, when God bestows goodness to the world, all receive it. When He protects people from harm, not all are protected.

לפיכך כל אחד ואחד כו׳ ויעבר הרנה במחנה אמר רבי אחא בר חנינא באבד רשעים רנה באבוד אחאב בן עמרי רנה

§ The mishna teaches: Therefore, since all humanity descends from one person, each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me. The mishna then teaches that the court says to the witnesses: And perhaps you will say: Why would we want to be responsible for the blood of this person? But be aware, as is it not already stated: “When the wicked perish, there is song” (Proverbs 11:10)? The Gemara teaches: A separate verse relates that after the evil king Ahab was killed: “And the song went throughout the camp” (I Kings 22:36). Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina says: The fact that the verse states “the song,” and not a song, indicates that it is referring to a song mentioned elsewhere. Accordingly, the verse: “When the wicked perish, there is song,” alludes to this episode: When Ahab ben Omri perished, there was song.

ומי חדי קודשא בריך הוא במפלתן של רשעים הכתיב בצאת לפני החלוץ ואמרים הודו לה׳ כי לעולם חסדו ואמר רבי יונתן מפני מה לא נאמר בהודאה זו כי טוב לפי שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא שמח במפלתן של רשעים

The Gemara asks: But is the Holy One, Blessed be He, gladdened by the downfall of the wicked? Isn’t it written in the verse describing the victory of the Jewish people in battle: “He appointed them that should sing unto the Lord, and praise in the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and say: Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (II Chronicles 20:21). And Rabbi Yonatan says: For what reason is it not stated in this praise: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” as is stated elsewhere, e.g., Psalms 118:1? This is because the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not gladdened by the downfall of the wicked.

דאמר רבי שמואל בר נחמן אמר רבי יונתן מאי דכתיב ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה באותה שעה בקשו מלאכי השרת לומר שירה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא אמר להן הקדוש ברוך הוא מעשה ידי טובעין בים ואתם אומרים שירה לפני

The Gemara comments: As Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥman says that Rabbi Yonatan says: What is the meaning of that which is written in the passage describing the splitting of the Red Sea: “And the one came not near the other all the night” (Exodus 14:20)? At that time the ministering angels desired to recite a song before the Holy One, Blessed be He. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them: My handiwork, i.e., the Egyptians, are drowning in the sea, and you are reciting a song before Me? Apparently, God is not gladdened by the downfall of the wicked.

אמר רבי יוסי בר חנינא הוא אינו שש אבל אחרים משיש דיקא נמי דכתיב ישיש ולא כתיב ישוש שמע מינה

Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina says: He, i.e., God, does not rejoice in their downfall, but He does cause others to feel joy. The Gemara comments: Accordingly, the language of the verse is also precise, as it is written: “And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will cause rejoicing [yasis] over you to cause you to perish” (Deuteronomy 28:63), and it is not written: Will have joy [yasus]. The term “yasis” connotes causing joy to others, not that God will experience joy Himself. The Gemara affirms: Conclude from this inference that it is so.

והזנות רחצו וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר למרק שתי חזיונות אחת של מיכיהו ואחת של אליהו במיכיהו כתיב אם שוב תשוב בשלום לא דבר ה׳ בי באליהו כתיב במקום אשר לקקו הכלבים את דם נבות

Apropos the death of Ahab, the Gemara cites another verse from that passage. The verse states: “And they washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood; and the harlots also washed themselves there, according to the word of the Lord that He spoke” (I Kings 22:38). Rabbi Elazar says: “The harlots [hazzonot]” can be read as visions [ḥezyonot], and the verse means: To cleanse, i.e., to fulfill, two visions, one of Micaiah and one of Elijah. This fulfills a vision of Micaiah, as it is written: “If you return at all in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me” (I Kings 22:28). Once Ahab died, Micaiah’s vision was fulfilled. This also fulfills a vision of Elijah, as it is written: “In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall the dogs lick your blood, even yours” (I Kings 21:19).

רבא אמר זונות ממש אחאב איש מצונן היה ועשתה לו איזבל שתי צורי זונות במרכבתו כדי שיראה אותן ויתחמם

Rava says: The verse is speaking of actual harlots. Ahab was a frigid man, who did not lust for women. And Jezebel, his wife, fashioned two forms of harlots for him in his chariot, in order that he see them while traveling and become aroused. Accordingly, one would understand the verse as stating that the harlots were washed, not that they washed themselves.

ואיש משך בקשת לתמו ויכה רבי אלעזר אמר לפי תומו רבא אמר לתמם שתי חזיונות אחת של מיכיהו ואחת של אליהו

The verse describing the death of Ahab states: “And a certain man drew a bow offhandedly [letummo] and smote the king of Israel” (I Kings 22:34). Rabbi Elazar says: “Letummo” should be understood as offhandedly [lefi tummo], without aiming for Ahab. Rava says: This alludes to the fact that the killing of Ahab served to make whole [letammem] two visions, one of Micaiah and one of Elijah.

סימן קרא וזכה באדום כתיב ויקרא אחאב אל עבדיהו אשר על הבית ועבדיהו היה ירא [את] ה׳ מאד מאי קאמר קרא

§ Before continuing its discussion of Ahab, the Gemara records a mnemonic for the forthcoming statements: Called; and merited; of Edom. It is written: “And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household; now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly” (I Kings 18:3). The Gemara asks: What is the verse saying? What is the connection between Obadiah’s fear of the Lord and the call of Ahab?

אמר רבי יצחק אמר ליה ביעקב כתיב ׳נחשתי ויברכני ה׳ בגללך׳ ביוסף כתיב ׳ויברך ה׳ את בית המצרי בגלל יוסף׳ ביתא דההוא גברא לא הוה מיבריך שמא לא ירא אלהים אתה יצתה בת קול ואמרה ועבדיהו היה ירא את ה׳ מאד אבל ביתו של אחאב אינו מזומן לברכה

Rabbi Yitzḥak says that Ahab said to Obadiah: It is written with regard to Jacob: “And Laban said to him: If now I have found favor in your eyes, I have observed the signs, and the Lord has blessed me for your sake” (Genesis 30:27). It is written with regard to Joseph: “The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake” (Genesis 39:5). The house of that man, i.e., my house, was not blessed. Perhaps you do not fear God? Immediately, a Divine Voice emerged and said: “Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly,” but the house of Ahab is not fit for blessing like the houses of those masters.

אמר רבי אבא גדול שנאמר בעובדיהו יותר ממה שנאמר באברהם דאילו באברהם לא כתיב מאד ובעובדיהו כתיב מאד

Rabbi Abba says: The praise that is stated with regard to Obadiah is greater than that which is stated with regard to Abraham. As with regard to Abraham the verse states: “For now I know that you fear God” (Genesis 22:12), and the term “greatly” is not written, and about Obadiah the term “greatly” is written.

אמר רבי יצחק מפני מה זכה עובדיהו לנביאות מפני שהחביא מאה נביאים במערה שנאמר ויהי בהכרית איזבל את נביאי ה׳ ויקח עבדיהו מאה נביאים ויחביאם חמשים איש במערה וגו׳ מאי שנא חמשים איש אמר רבי אלעזר מיעקב למד שנאמר והיה המחנה הנשאר לפליטה רבי אבהו אמר לפי שאין מערה מחזקת יותר מחמשים

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: For what reason did Obadiah merit prophecy? It is because he concealed one hundred prophets in a cave, as it is stated: “It was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took one hundred prophets, and hid them, fifty men in a cave, and fed them with bread and water” (I Kings 18:4). The Gemara asks: What is different, i.e., why did he decide, to conceal fifty men in each of two caves and not conceal them all together in one cave? Rabbi Elazar says: He learned from the behavior of Jacob to do so, as it is stated: “And he said: If Esau comes to the one camp and smites it, then the camp that is left shall escape” (Genesis 32:9). Obadiah learned from this to divide the prophets and thereby lessen the danger. Rabbi Abbahu says: It is because there is no cave big enough to contain more than fifty people.

חזון עבדיהו כה אמר ה׳ אלהים לאדום וגו׳ מאי שנא עובדיה לאדום

The verse states: “The vision of Obadiah. So says the Lord God concerning Edom: We have heard a message from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the nations: Arise, and let us rise up against her in battle” (Obadiah 1:1). The Gemara asks: What is different, i.e., what is the reason, that specifically Obadiah prophesied concerning Edom?

אמר רבי יצחק אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא יבא עובדיהו הדר בין שני רשעים ולא למד ממעשיהם וינבא על עשו הרשע שדר בין שני צדיקים ולא למד ממעשיהם אמר אפרים מקשאה תלמידו של רבי מאיר משום רבי מאיר עובדיה גר אדומי היה והיינו דאמרי אינשי מניה וביה אבא ניזיל ביה נרגא

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Let Obadiah come, who dwells among two wicked ones, Ahab and Jezebel, but did not learn from their actions; and he will prophesy concerning Esau the wicked, the progenitor of Edom, who dwelled among two righteous ones, Isaac and Rebekkah, but did not learn from their actions. Efrayim Miksha’a, a student of Rabbi Meir, said in the name of Rabbi Meir: Obadiah was an Edomite convert. Consequently, he prophesied with regard to Edom. And this is as people say: From and within the forest comes the ax to it, as the handle for the ax that chops the tree is from the forest itself.

ויך את מואב וימדדם בחבל השכב אותם ארצה אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי היינו דאמרי אינשי מיניה וביה אבא ליזיל ביה נרגא כי אתא רב דימי אמר ירך מתוכה מסרחת

The verse states concerning King David: “And he smote Moab and measured them with the line, making them lie down on the ground and he measured two lines to put to death” (II Samuel 8:2). Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: This is as people say: From and within the forest comes the ax to it, as King David was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite. When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael he stated something similar to this: A thigh rots from within, i.e., when a piece of meat rots, the rotting begins from the inner part of it. Here too, the punishment is administered by one descended from that very nation.

ויקח את בנו הבכור אשר ימלך תחתיו ויעלהו עלה על החמה רב ושמואל חד אמר לשם שמים וחד אמר לשם עבודה זרה

§ The Gemara cites a verse concerning the king of Moab: “Then he took his eldest son, who should have reigned in his stead, and sacrificed him for a burnt offering upon the wall; and there was great indignation against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land” (II Kings 3:27). Rav and Shmuel engage in a dispute concerning this. One says: The king sacrificed his son for the sake of Heaven, and one says: The king sacrificed his son for the sake of idol worship.

בשלמא למאן דאמר לשם שמים היינו דכתיב ויהי קצף גדול על ישראל אלא למאן דאמר לשם עבודה זרה אמאי ויהי קצף

The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who says that he sacrificed him for the sake of Heaven, this is as it is written: “And there was great indignation against Israel,” as the gentile attempted to honor God according to his understanding, while the Jewish people were straying from worshipping God, leading to God’s anger against them. But according to the one who says that he sacrificed him for the sake of idol worship, why would the verse state: “And there was…indignation”?

כדרבי יהושע בן לוי דרבי יהושע בן לוי רמי כתיב וכמשפטי הגוים אשר סביבותיכם לא עשיתם וכתיב וכמשפטי הגוים אשר סביבותיכם עשיתם כמתוקנין שבהם לא עשיתם כמקולקלין שבהם עשיתם

The Gemara answers: This can be understood in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi. As Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi raises a contradiction: It is written concerning the Jewish people: “You have not walked in My statutes, neither have you kept My ordinances; nor have you done according to the statutes of the nations that are round about you” (Ezekiel 5:7), and it is also written: “You have done according to the statutes of the nations that are round about you” (Ezekiel 11:12). Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi explains: You did not act like the proper ones among the nations, but you did act like the flawed ones among them. Here as well, the Jewish people learned from the king of Moab to engage in human sacrifice.

ויסעו מעליו וישובו לארץ אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא באותה שעה ירדו שונאיהן של ישראל למדריגה התחתונה

The Gemara discusses the end of that verse: “And they departed from him and returned to their own land [la’aretz]” (II Kings 3:27). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: At that time the enemies of the Jewish people, a euphemism for the Jewish people themselves, descended to the lowest level. He interprets “la’aretz” to mean: To the earth, teaching that the Jewish people were as low as the dust of the earth.

והנערה יפה עד מאד אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא עדיין לא הגיעה לחצי יופי של שרה דכתיב עד מאד ולא מאד בכלל

The chapter closes with the explication of a verse stated with regard to Abishag, who attended King David before his death: “And the damsel was very fair [yafa ad me’od ]” (I Kings 1:4). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: She still did not reach half the beauty of Sarah, as it is written: “Ad me’od,” which can be translated as “up to very fair,” but not including the praise of “very fair.” By contrast, it is written concerning Sarah: “She was very fair” (Genesis 12:14).

הדרן עלך אחד דיני ממונות

 

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Sanhedrin 39

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Sanhedrin 39

אבות יאכלו בסר ושני בנים תקהינה מאזני צדק אבני צדק צדיק מצרה נחלץ ויבא רשע תחתיו

And they are the parables concerning the following verses: “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezekiel 18:2); “Just balances, just weights…shall you have” (Leviticus 19:36); and “The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead” (Proverbs 11:8).

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל אלהיכם גנב הוא דכתיב ׳ויפל ה׳ אלהים תרדמה על האדם ויישן׳ אמרה ליה ברתיה שבקיה דאנא מהדרנא ליה אמרה ליה תנו לי דוכוס אחד אמר לה למה ליך ליסטין באו עלינו הלילה ונטלו ממנו קיתון של כסף והניחו לנו קיתון של זהב אמר לה ולוואי שיבא עלינו בכל יום ולא יפה היה לו לאדם הראשון שנטלו ממנו צלע אחת ונתנו לו שפחה לשמשו

§ The Roman emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: Your God is a thief, as it is written: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and he slept; and He took one of his sides, and closed up the place with flesh instead” (Genesis 2:21). The daughter of the emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: Leave him, as I will respond to him. She said to her father: Provide one commander [dukhus] for me to avenge someone’s wrongdoing. The emperor said to her: Why do you need him? She said to him: Armed bandits came to us this past night, and took a silver jug [kiton] from us, and left a golden jug for us. The emperor said to her: If so, would it be that armed bandits such as these would come to us every day. She said to him: And was it not similarly good for Adam the first man that God took a side from him and gave him a maidservant to serve him?

אמר לה הכי קאמינא אלא לשקליה בהדיא אמרה ליה אייתו לי אומצא דבישרא אייתו לה אותבה תותי בחשא אפיקתה אמרה ליה אכול מהאי אמר לה מאיסא לי אמרה ליה ואדם הראשון נמי אי הות שקילה בהדיא הוה מאיסא ליה

The emperor said to her: This is what I was saying: But if it is good for Adam, let God take his side from him in the open, not during the time of his deep sleep, like a thief. She said to him: Bring me a slice of raw meat. They brought it to her. She placed it under the embers, and removed it after it was roasted. She said to him: Eat from this meat. The emperor said to her: It is repulsive to me. Although he knew that this is how meat is prepared, seeing the raw meat made it repulsive to him. She said to him: With regard to Adam the first man as well, had God taken her from him in the open, she would have been repulsive to him. Therefore God acted while Adam was asleep.

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל ידענא אלהייכו מאי קא עביד והיכן יתיב איתנגד ואיתנח אמר ליה מאי האי אמר ליה בן אחד יש לי בכרכי הים ויש לי גיעגועים עליו בעינא דמחוית ליה ניהלי אמר מי ידענא היכא ניהו אמר ליה דאיכא בארעא לא ידעת דאיכא בשמיא ידעת

The emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: I know your God, what He does and where He sits. Meanwhile, the emperor was moaning and groaning. Rabban Gamliel said to him: What is this? Why are you in distress? The emperor said to him: I have one son in the cities overseas and I miss him. Rabban Gamliel said to him: I want you to show him to me. The emperor said: Do I know where he is? Rabban Gamliel said to him: If you do not know that which is on earth, is it possible that you do know that which is in the heavens?

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל כתיב ׳מונה מספר לכוכבים׳ מאי רבותיה אנא מצינא למימנא כוכבי אייתי חבושי שדינהו בארבילא וקא מהדר להו אמר ליה מנינהו אמר ליה אוקמינהו אמר ליה רקיע נמי הכי הדרא

The emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: It is written in praise of the Lord: “He counts the number of the stars; He gives them all their names” (Psalms 147:4). What is His greatness? I can also count the stars. Rabban Gamliel brought quinces, put them in a sieve, and spun them. He said to the emperor: Count them. The emperor said to him: Stand them still so that I can count them. Rabban Gamliel said to him: The firmament also revolves like this, therefore you cannot count the stars in it.

איכא דאמרי הכי אמר ליה מני לי כוכבי אמר ליה אימא לי ככיך ושיניך כמה הוה שדא ידיה לפומיה וקא מני להו אמר ליה דאיכא בפומיך לא ידעת דאיכא ברקיעא ידעת

Some say that this is what the emperor said to him: I have counted the stars. Rabban Gamliel said to him: Tell me how many teeth and incisors you have. The emperor put his hand in his mouth and was counting them. Rabban Gamliel said to him: You do not know what is in your mouth, but you do know what is in the firmament?

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל מי שברא הרים לא ברא רוח שנאמר ׳כי הנה יוצר הרים וברא רוח׳ אלא מעתה גבי אדם דכתיב ׳ויברא׳ ׳וייצר׳ הכי נמי מי שברא זה לא ברא זה

The emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: He Who created mountains did not create wind, rather two separate gods created them, as it is stated: “For, lo, He forms mountains and creates wind” (Amos 4:13); one is described with the verb “forms,” and the other with the verb “creates.” Rabban Gamliel said to him: If that is so, then with regard to Adam, as it is written concerning him: “And God created” (Genesis 1:27), and also: “And the Lord God formed” (Genesis 2:7), so too should one say that He who created this did not create that?

טפח על טפח יש בו באדם ושני נקבים יש בו מי שברא זה לא ברא זה שנאמר ׳הנטע אזן הלא ישמע ואם יצר עין הלא יביט׳ אמר ליה אין אמר ליה ובשעת מיתה כולן נתפייסו

If you will claim that different gods created different parts of Adam, that will not suffice. A person has one handbreadth by one handbreadth of facial countenance, with two types of orifices in it, eyes and ears. Should one say that He who created this did not create that; as it is stated: “He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see?” (Psalms 94:9)? The verse employs two verbs for the eyes and ears alone. The emperor said to him: Yes, different gods created different parts of the face. Rabban Gamliel said to him: And at the moment of death, are they all appeased? Do all these gods agree as one that the time arrived for the person to die?

אמר ליה ההוא אמגושא לאמימר מפלגך לעילאי דהורמיז מפלגך לתתאי דאהורמיז אמר ליה אם כן היכי שביק ליה אהורמיז להורמיז לעבורי מיא בארעיה

The Gemara relates: A certain magus said to Ameimar: From your midpoint and up is in the domain of Hurmiz, the god of good, who created the significant and important parts of the body, and from your midpoint and down is in the domain of Ahurmiz, the god of bad. Ameimar said to him: If so, how does Ahurmiz allow Hurmiz to urinate in his territory? A person drinks with his mouth, which is in his upper half, and urinates from below.

אמר ליה קיסר לרבי תנחום תא ליהוו כולן לעמא חד אמר לחיי אנן דמהלינן לא מצינן מיהוי כוותייכו אתון מהליתו והוו כוותן אמר ליה מימר שפיר קאמרת מיהו כל דזכי למלכא לשדיוה לביבר שדיוה לביבר ולא אכלוה אמר ליה ההוא מינא האי דלא אכלוה משום דלא כפין הוא שדיוה ליה לדידיה ואכלוה

The Gemara relates: The emperor said to Rabbi Tanḥum: Come, let us all be one people. Rabbi Tanḥum said: Very well. But we, who are circumcised, cannot become uncircumcised as you are; you all circumcise yourselves and become like us. The emperor said to Rabbi Tanḥum: In terms of the logic of your statement, you are saying well, but anyone who bests the king in a debate is thrown to the enclosure [labeivar] of wild animals. They threw him to the enclosure but the animals did not eat him, as God protected him. A certain heretic said to the emperor: This incident, that they did not eat him, happened because they are not hungry. They then threw the heretic into the enclosure and the animals ate him.

אמר ליה קיסר לרבן גמליאל אמריתו כל בי עשרה שכינתא שריא כמה שכינתא איכא קרייה לשמעיה מחא ביה באפתקא אמר ליה אמאי על שמשא בביתיה דקיסר אמר ליה שמשא אכולי עלמא ניחא ומה שמשא דחד מן אלף אלפי רבוא שמשי דקמי קודשא בריך הוא ניחא לכולי עלמא שכינתא דקודשא בריך הוא על אחת כמה וכמה

The emperor said to Rabban Gamliel: You say that the Divine Presence dwells in any place where there are ten adult male Jews. He asked, sarcastically: How many Divine Presences are there? Rabban Gamliel summoned the servant of the emperor and hit him on his neck [be’appatka]. Rabban Gamliel said to him: Why did you allow the sun to enter the house of the emperor? The emperor said to him: The sun rests upon all the world; no one can prevent it from shining. Rabban Gamliel said to him: And if the sun, which is one of ten thousand attendants that are before the Holy One, Blessed be He, rests upon all the world, the Divine Presence of the Holy One, Blessed be He, all the more so rests upon the world.

אמר ליה ההוא מינא לרבי אבהו אלהיכם גחכן הוא דקאמר ליה ליחזקאל ׳שכב על צדך השמאלי׳ וכתיב ׳ושכבת על צדך הימני׳ אתא ההוא תלמידא אמר ליה מאי טעמא דשביעתא אמר להו השתא אמינא לכו מילתא דשויא לתרוייהו

A certain heretic said to Rabbi Abbahu: Your God is a jester, as He said to Ezekiel the prophet: “Lie on your left side” (Ezekiel 4:4), and it is also written: “Lie on your right side” (Ezekiel 4:6); God had Ezekiel turn from side to side, apparently for comic effect. In the meantime, a certain student came before Rabbi Abbahu and said to him: What is the reason for the mitzva of the Sabbatical Year? Rabbi Abbahu said to them: Now I will tell you something that is fit for the two of you.

אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל ׳זרעו שש והשמיטו שבע כדי שתדעו שהארץ שלי היא׳ והן לא עשו כן אלא חטאו וגלו מנהגו של עולם מלך בשר ודם שסרחה עליו מדינה אם אכזרי הוא הורג את כולן אם רחמן הוא הורג חצים אם רחמן מלא רחמים הוא מייסר הגדולים שבהן ביסורין אף כך הקדוש ברוך הוא מייסר את יחזקאל כדי למרק עונותיהם של ישראל

Rabbi Abbahu continued: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to the Jewish people: Sow for six years, and withhold sowing during the seventh year, so that that you will know that the land is Mine. But the Jewish people did not do so; rather, they sinned and were consequently exiled. The manner of the world is that in the case of a flesh-and-blood king whose province sinned against him, if he is cruel, he kills them all; if he is compassionate, he kills only half of them; and if he is compassionate and is full of compassion, he afflicts the leaders among them with suffering. Rabbi Abbahu continues: So too in this case, the Holy One, Blessed be He, afflicts Ezekiel in order to cleanse the sins of the Jewish people. God instructed him to lie down and suffer the same number of days as the number of years that the Jewish people did not observe the halakhot of the Sabbatical Year.

אמר ליה ההוא מינא לרבי אבהו אלהיכם כהן הוא דכתיב ׳ויקחו לי תרומה׳ כי קבריה למשה במאי טביל וכי תימא במיא והכתיב ׳מי מדד בשעלו מים׳

A certain heretic said to Rabbi Abbahu: Your God is a priest, as it is written: “That they take for Me an offering [teruma]” (Exodus 25:2), and teruma is given to the priests. He asked, sarcastically: When He buried Moses, in what ritual bath did He immerse? A priest who contracts impurity from a corpse must immerse in order to be able to partake of teruma. And if you would say that He immersed in water, but isn’t it written: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand” (Isaiah 40:12), that all waters of the world fit in the palm of God, so He could not immerse in them.

אמר ליה בנורא טביל דכתיב ׳כי הנה ה׳ באש יבוא׳ ומי סלקא טבילותא בנורא אמר ליה אדרבה עיקר טבילותא בנורא הוא דכתיב ׳וכל אשר לא יבא באש תעבירו במים׳

Rabbi Abbahu said to him: He immersed in fire, as it is written: “For, behold, the Lord will come in fire” (Isaiah 66:15). The heretic said to him: But is immersion in fire effective? Rabbi Abbahu said to him: On the contrary, the main form of immersion is in fire, as it is written with regard to the removal of non-kosher substances absorbed in a vessel: “And all that abides not the fire you shall make to go through the water” (Numbers 31:23), indicating that fire purifies more than water does.

אמר ליה ההוא מינא לרבי אבינא כתיב ׳ומי כעמך כישראל גוי אחד בארץ׳ מאי רבותייהו אתון נמי ערביתו בהדן דכתיב ׳כל הגוים כאין נגדו׳ אמר ליה מדידכו אסהידו עלן דכתיב

A certain heretic said to Rabbi Avina: It is written: “And who is like Your people, Israel, one nation in the earth” (II Samuel 7:23). The heretic asked: What is your greatness? You are also mixed together with us, as it is written: “All nations before Him are as nothing; they are counted by Him less than nothing and vanity” (Isaiah 40:17). Rabbi Avina said to him: One of yours, the gentile prophet Balaam, has already testified for us, as it is written:

׳ובגוים לא יתחשב׳

“It is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9), teaching that where the verse mentions “the nations,” the Jewish people are not included.

רבי אלעזר רמי כתיב טוב ה׳ לכל וכתיב טוב ה׳ לקוו משל לאדם שיש לו פרדס כשהוא משקה משקה את כולו כשהוא עודר אינו עודר אלא טובים שבהם

The Gemara cites a related statement: Rabbi Elazar raises a contradiction: It is written in one verse: “The Lord is good to all and His compassion is over all His works” (Psalms 145:9), and it is written in a different verse: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him” (Lamentations 3:25). He explains: This can be compared to a person who has an orchard. When he waters it, he waters all of it. Perforce, the water reaches all parts of the orchard, and he cannot discriminate between trees. This is the meaning of the verse: “The Lord is good to all.” By contrast, when he hoes around the trees, he hoes only around the good trees among them. Similarly, when God bestows goodness to the world, all receive it. When He protects people from harm, not all are protected.

לפיכך כל אחד ואחד כו׳ ויעבר הרנה במחנה אמר רבי אחא בר חנינא באבד רשעים רנה באבוד אחאב בן עמרי רנה

§ The mishna teaches: Therefore, since all humanity descends from one person, each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me. The mishna then teaches that the court says to the witnesses: And perhaps you will say: Why would we want to be responsible for the blood of this person? But be aware, as is it not already stated: “When the wicked perish, there is song” (Proverbs 11:10)? The Gemara teaches: A separate verse relates that after the evil king Ahab was killed: “And the song went throughout the camp” (I Kings 22:36). Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina says: The fact that the verse states “the song,” and not a song, indicates that it is referring to a song mentioned elsewhere. Accordingly, the verse: “When the wicked perish, there is song,” alludes to this episode: When Ahab ben Omri perished, there was song.

ומי חדי קודשא בריך הוא במפלתן של רשעים הכתיב בצאת לפני החלוץ ואמרים הודו לה׳ כי לעולם חסדו ואמר רבי יונתן מפני מה לא נאמר בהודאה זו כי טוב לפי שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא שמח במפלתן של רשעים

The Gemara asks: But is the Holy One, Blessed be He, gladdened by the downfall of the wicked? Isn’t it written in the verse describing the victory of the Jewish people in battle: “He appointed them that should sing unto the Lord, and praise in the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and say: Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (II Chronicles 20:21). And Rabbi Yonatan says: For what reason is it not stated in this praise: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” as is stated elsewhere, e.g., Psalms 118:1? This is because the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not gladdened by the downfall of the wicked.

דאמר רבי שמואל בר נחמן אמר רבי יונתן מאי דכתיב ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה באותה שעה בקשו מלאכי השרת לומר שירה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא אמר להן הקדוש ברוך הוא מעשה ידי טובעין בים ואתם אומרים שירה לפני

The Gemara comments: As Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥman says that Rabbi Yonatan says: What is the meaning of that which is written in the passage describing the splitting of the Red Sea: “And the one came not near the other all the night” (Exodus 14:20)? At that time the ministering angels desired to recite a song before the Holy One, Blessed be He. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them: My handiwork, i.e., the Egyptians, are drowning in the sea, and you are reciting a song before Me? Apparently, God is not gladdened by the downfall of the wicked.

אמר רבי יוסי בר חנינא הוא אינו שש אבל אחרים משיש דיקא נמי דכתיב ישיש ולא כתיב ישוש שמע מינה

Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina says: He, i.e., God, does not rejoice in their downfall, but He does cause others to feel joy. The Gemara comments: Accordingly, the language of the verse is also precise, as it is written: “And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will cause rejoicing [yasis] over you to cause you to perish” (Deuteronomy 28:63), and it is not written: Will have joy [yasus]. The term “yasis” connotes causing joy to others, not that God will experience joy Himself. The Gemara affirms: Conclude from this inference that it is so.

והזנות רחצו וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר למרק שתי חזיונות אחת של מיכיהו ואחת של אליהו במיכיהו כתיב אם שוב תשוב בשלום לא דבר ה׳ בי באליהו כתיב במקום אשר לקקו הכלבים את דם נבות

Apropos the death of Ahab, the Gemara cites another verse from that passage. The verse states: “And they washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood; and the harlots also washed themselves there, according to the word of the Lord that He spoke” (I Kings 22:38). Rabbi Elazar says: “The harlots [hazzonot]” can be read as visions [ḥezyonot], and the verse means: To cleanse, i.e., to fulfill, two visions, one of Micaiah and one of Elijah. This fulfills a vision of Micaiah, as it is written: “If you return at all in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me” (I Kings 22:28). Once Ahab died, Micaiah’s vision was fulfilled. This also fulfills a vision of Elijah, as it is written: “In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall the dogs lick your blood, even yours” (I Kings 21:19).

רבא אמר זונות ממש אחאב איש מצונן היה ועשתה לו איזבל שתי צורי זונות במרכבתו כדי שיראה אותן ויתחמם

Rava says: The verse is speaking of actual harlots. Ahab was a frigid man, who did not lust for women. And Jezebel, his wife, fashioned two forms of harlots for him in his chariot, in order that he see them while traveling and become aroused. Accordingly, one would understand the verse as stating that the harlots were washed, not that they washed themselves.

ואיש משך בקשת לתמו ויכה רבי אלעזר אמר לפי תומו רבא אמר לתמם שתי חזיונות אחת של מיכיהו ואחת של אליהו

The verse describing the death of Ahab states: “And a certain man drew a bow offhandedly [letummo] and smote the king of Israel” (I Kings 22:34). Rabbi Elazar says: “Letummo” should be understood as offhandedly [lefi tummo], without aiming for Ahab. Rava says: This alludes to the fact that the killing of Ahab served to make whole [letammem] two visions, one of Micaiah and one of Elijah.

סימן קרא וזכה באדום כתיב ויקרא אחאב אל עבדיהו אשר על הבית ועבדיהו היה ירא [את] ה׳ מאד מאי קאמר קרא

§ Before continuing its discussion of Ahab, the Gemara records a mnemonic for the forthcoming statements: Called; and merited; of Edom. It is written: “And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household; now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly” (I Kings 18:3). The Gemara asks: What is the verse saying? What is the connection between Obadiah’s fear of the Lord and the call of Ahab?

אמר רבי יצחק אמר ליה ביעקב כתיב ׳נחשתי ויברכני ה׳ בגללך׳ ביוסף כתיב ׳ויברך ה׳ את בית המצרי בגלל יוסף׳ ביתא דההוא גברא לא הוה מיבריך שמא לא ירא אלהים אתה יצתה בת קול ואמרה ועבדיהו היה ירא את ה׳ מאד אבל ביתו של אחאב אינו מזומן לברכה

Rabbi Yitzḥak says that Ahab said to Obadiah: It is written with regard to Jacob: “And Laban said to him: If now I have found favor in your eyes, I have observed the signs, and the Lord has blessed me for your sake” (Genesis 30:27). It is written with regard to Joseph: “The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake” (Genesis 39:5). The house of that man, i.e., my house, was not blessed. Perhaps you do not fear God? Immediately, a Divine Voice emerged and said: “Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly,” but the house of Ahab is not fit for blessing like the houses of those masters.

אמר רבי אבא גדול שנאמר בעובדיהו יותר ממה שנאמר באברהם דאילו באברהם לא כתיב מאד ובעובדיהו כתיב מאד

Rabbi Abba says: The praise that is stated with regard to Obadiah is greater than that which is stated with regard to Abraham. As with regard to Abraham the verse states: “For now I know that you fear God” (Genesis 22:12), and the term “greatly” is not written, and about Obadiah the term “greatly” is written.

אמר רבי יצחק מפני מה זכה עובדיהו לנביאות מפני שהחביא מאה נביאים במערה שנאמר ויהי בהכרית איזבל את נביאי ה׳ ויקח עבדיהו מאה נביאים ויחביאם חמשים איש במערה וגו׳ מאי שנא חמשים איש אמר רבי אלעזר מיעקב למד שנאמר והיה המחנה הנשאר לפליטה רבי אבהו אמר לפי שאין מערה מחזקת יותר מחמשים

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: For what reason did Obadiah merit prophecy? It is because he concealed one hundred prophets in a cave, as it is stated: “It was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took one hundred prophets, and hid them, fifty men in a cave, and fed them with bread and water” (I Kings 18:4). The Gemara asks: What is different, i.e., why did he decide, to conceal fifty men in each of two caves and not conceal them all together in one cave? Rabbi Elazar says: He learned from the behavior of Jacob to do so, as it is stated: “And he said: If Esau comes to the one camp and smites it, then the camp that is left shall escape” (Genesis 32:9). Obadiah learned from this to divide the prophets and thereby lessen the danger. Rabbi Abbahu says: It is because there is no cave big enough to contain more than fifty people.

חזון עבדיהו כה אמר ה׳ אלהים לאדום וגו׳ מאי שנא עובדיה לאדום

The verse states: “The vision of Obadiah. So says the Lord God concerning Edom: We have heard a message from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the nations: Arise, and let us rise up against her in battle” (Obadiah 1:1). The Gemara asks: What is different, i.e., what is the reason, that specifically Obadiah prophesied concerning Edom?

אמר רבי יצחק אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא יבא עובדיהו הדר בין שני רשעים ולא למד ממעשיהם וינבא על עשו הרשע שדר בין שני צדיקים ולא למד ממעשיהם אמר אפרים מקשאה תלמידו של רבי מאיר משום רבי מאיר עובדיה גר אדומי היה והיינו דאמרי אינשי מניה וביה אבא ניזיל ביה נרגא

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Let Obadiah come, who dwells among two wicked ones, Ahab and Jezebel, but did not learn from their actions; and he will prophesy concerning Esau the wicked, the progenitor of Edom, who dwelled among two righteous ones, Isaac and Rebekkah, but did not learn from their actions. Efrayim Miksha’a, a student of Rabbi Meir, said in the name of Rabbi Meir: Obadiah was an Edomite convert. Consequently, he prophesied with regard to Edom. And this is as people say: From and within the forest comes the ax to it, as the handle for the ax that chops the tree is from the forest itself.

ויך את מואב וימדדם בחבל השכב אותם ארצה אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי היינו דאמרי אינשי מיניה וביה אבא ליזיל ביה נרגא כי אתא רב דימי אמר ירך מתוכה מסרחת

The verse states concerning King David: “And he smote Moab and measured them with the line, making them lie down on the ground and he measured two lines to put to death” (II Samuel 8:2). Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: This is as people say: From and within the forest comes the ax to it, as King David was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite. When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael he stated something similar to this: A thigh rots from within, i.e., when a piece of meat rots, the rotting begins from the inner part of it. Here too, the punishment is administered by one descended from that very nation.

ויקח את בנו הבכור אשר ימלך תחתיו ויעלהו עלה על החמה רב ושמואל חד אמר לשם שמים וחד אמר לשם עבודה זרה

§ The Gemara cites a verse concerning the king of Moab: “Then he took his eldest son, who should have reigned in his stead, and sacrificed him for a burnt offering upon the wall; and there was great indignation against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land” (II Kings 3:27). Rav and Shmuel engage in a dispute concerning this. One says: The king sacrificed his son for the sake of Heaven, and one says: The king sacrificed his son for the sake of idol worship.

בשלמא למאן דאמר לשם שמים היינו דכתיב ויהי קצף גדול על ישראל אלא למאן דאמר לשם עבודה זרה אמאי ויהי קצף

The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who says that he sacrificed him for the sake of Heaven, this is as it is written: “And there was great indignation against Israel,” as the gentile attempted to honor God according to his understanding, while the Jewish people were straying from worshipping God, leading to God’s anger against them. But according to the one who says that he sacrificed him for the sake of idol worship, why would the verse state: “And there was…indignation”?

כדרבי יהושע בן לוי דרבי יהושע בן לוי רמי כתיב וכמשפטי הגוים אשר סביבותיכם לא עשיתם וכתיב וכמשפטי הגוים אשר סביבותיכם עשיתם כמתוקנין שבהם לא עשיתם כמקולקלין שבהם עשיתם

The Gemara answers: This can be understood in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi. As Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi raises a contradiction: It is written concerning the Jewish people: “You have not walked in My statutes, neither have you kept My ordinances; nor have you done according to the statutes of the nations that are round about you” (Ezekiel 5:7), and it is also written: “You have done according to the statutes of the nations that are round about you” (Ezekiel 11:12). Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi explains: You did not act like the proper ones among the nations, but you did act like the flawed ones among them. Here as well, the Jewish people learned from the king of Moab to engage in human sacrifice.

ויסעו מעליו וישובו לארץ אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא באותה שעה ירדו שונאיהן של ישראל למדריגה התחתונה

The Gemara discusses the end of that verse: “And they departed from him and returned to their own land [la’aretz]” (II Kings 3:27). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: At that time the enemies of the Jewish people, a euphemism for the Jewish people themselves, descended to the lowest level. He interprets “la’aretz” to mean: To the earth, teaching that the Jewish people were as low as the dust of the earth.

והנערה יפה עד מאד אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא עדיין לא הגיעה לחצי יופי של שרה דכתיב עד מאד ולא מאד בכלל

The chapter closes with the explication of a verse stated with regard to Abishag, who attended King David before his death: “And the damsel was very fair [yafa ad me’od ]” (I Kings 1:4). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: She still did not reach half the beauty of Sarah, as it is written: “Ad me’od,” which can be translated as “up to very fair,” but not including the praise of “very fair.” By contrast, it is written concerning Sarah: “She was very fair” (Genesis 12:14).

הדרן עלך אחד דיני ממונות

 

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