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Today's Daf Yomi

April 5, 2020 | י״א בניסן תש״פ

Masechet Shabbat is sponsored in memory of Elliot Freilich, Eliyahu Daniel ben Bar Tzion David Halevi z"l by a group of women from Kehilath Jeshurun, Manhattan.

Shabbat 30

Are there certain circumstances in which we allow one to extinguish a candle on Shabbat? In what circumstances

and why? The gemara brings a long drasha that begins with contradictions between statements of Shlomo’s in Kohelet and statements of David in Tehillim regarding the importance of dead people as compared to live people. This was brought as an intro to answer the question of whether one can extinguish a candle for a sick person on Shabbat. The gemara brings other contradicitions in Kohelet and Mishlei on account of which they wanted to suppress those books, however the gemara found ways to resolve the contradictions.

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תוכן זה תורגם גם ל: עברית

גמ׳ מדקתני סיפא חייב שמע מינה רבי יהודה היא רישא במאי עסיקנא אי בחולה שיש בו סכנה מותר מיבעי ליה ואי בחולה שאין בו סכנה חייב חטאת מיבעי ליה

GEMARA: From the fact that it was taught in the latter clause of the mishna that one who extinguishes a flame on Shabbat is liable, conclude from it that this mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who holds that one who performs a prohibited labor on Shabbat is liable to bring a sin-offering even if it is a labor that is not necessary for its own sake [melakha sheeina tzerikha legufa]. In the mishna, one does not extinguish the flame to achieve the product produced by extinguishing it. He does so to prevent the light from shining. If so, with what is the first clause of the mishna dealing? If it is referring to one who extinguished the flame due to a critically ill person, the term exempt is imprecise. It should have said permitted, as it is permitted even ab initio to perform a prohibited labor on Shabbat in a case of danger. And if it is speaking about a non-critically ill person, why is one who extinguished the flame exempt? It should have said that one is liable to bring a sin-offering.

לעולם בחולה שיש בו סכנה ובדין הוא דליתני מותר ואיידי דבעי למתני סיפא חייב תנא נמי רישא פטור והדתני רבי אושעיא אם בשביל החולה שיישן לא יכבה ואם כבה פטור אבל אסור ההיא בחולה שאין בו סכנה ורבי שמעון היא:

The Gemara replies: Actually, the first clause was referring to a critically ill person, and it should have taught that it is permitted. And since the latter clause of the mishna had to teach that one is liable, in the first clause too, it taught employing the opposite term, exempt, so that the mishna would maintain stylistic uniformity. The halakha is, indeed, that not only is one exempt if he extinguished a light for a critically ill person, it is even permitted to do so ab initio. The Gemara asks: What of that which Rabbi Oshaya taught: If one wants to extinguish a flame on Shabbat for a sick person so he can sleep, he may not extinguish it, and if he extinguished it, he is not liable after the fact, but ab initio he is prohibited to do so? The Gemara answers: This is not similar, as that baraita is referring to a non-critically ill person and it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon, who said that one who performs a prohibited labor not necessary for its own sake is exempt. Our mishna is referring to a critically ill person.

שאול שאילה זו לעילא מרבי תנחום דמן נוי מהו לכבות בוצינא דנורא מקמי באישא בשבתא פתח ואמר אנת שלמה אן חכמתך אן סוכלתנותך לא דייך שדבריך סותרין דברי דוד אביך אלא שדבריך סותרין זה את זה דוד אביך אמר לא המתים יהללו יה ואת אמרת ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו וחזרת ואמרת כי לכלב חי הוא טוב מן האריה המת

The Gemara relates: This question was asked before Rabbi Tanḥum from the village of Nevi: What is the ruling with regard to extinguishing a burning lamp before a sick person on Shabbat? The Gemara relates that Rabbi Tanḥum delivered an entire homily touching upon both aggadic and halakhic materials surrounding this question. He began and said: You, King Solomon, where is your wisdom, where is your understanding? Not only do your statements contradict the statements of your father David, but your statements even contradict each other. Your father David said: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence” (Psalms 115:17); and you said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive” (Ecclesiastes 4:2). And then again you said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4). These are different assessments of life and death.

לא קשיא הא דקאמר דוד לא המתים יהללו יה הכי קאמר לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ובמצות קודם שימות שכיון שמת בטל מן התורה ומן המצות ואין להקדוש ברוך הוא שבח בו והיינו דאמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב במתים חפשי כיון שמת אדם נעשה חפשי מן התורה ומן המצות

He resolved the contradictions in the following manner: This is not difficult. That which David said: “The dead praise not the Lord,” this is what he is saying: A person should always engage in Torah and mitzvot before he dies, as once he is dead he is idle from Torah and mitzvot and there is no praise for the Holy One, Blessed be He, from him. And that is what Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Set free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom You remember no more” (Psalms 88:6)? When a person dies he then becomes free of Torah and mitzvot.

ודקאמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו שכשחטאו ישראל במדבר עמד משה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא ואמר כמה תפלות ותחנונים לפניו ולא נענה וכשאמר זכור לאברהם ליצחק ולישראל עבדיך מיד נענה ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו דבר אחר מנהגו של עולם שר בשר ודם גוזר גזרה ספק מקיימין אותה ספק אין מקיימין אותה ואם תמצי לומר מקיימין אותה בחייו מקיימין אותה במותו אין מקיימין אותה ואילו משה רבינו גזר כמה גזירות ותיקן כמה תקנות וקיימות הם לעולם ולעולמי עולמים ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים וגו׳

And that which Solomon said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead”; he was not speaking of all dead people, but rather in praise of certain dead people. As when Israel sinned in the desert, Moses stood before the Holy One, Blessed be He, and he said several prayers and supplications before Him, and his prayers were not answered. And when he said: “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants” (Exodus 32:13), his prayers were answered immediately. Consequently, did Solomon not speak appropriately when he said: “Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead”? Certainly the merit of the deceased forefathers is greater than that of the righteous people who are alive. Alternatively, the way of the world is such that when a flesh-and-blood prince issues a decree on the public it is uncertain whether they fulfill it and uncertain whether they do not fulfill it. And even if you want to say that they fulfill it, it is only during his lifetime that they fulfill it; after he dies they do not fulfill it. But Moses our teacher issued several decrees and instituted several ordinances, and they are in effect forever and ever. And, if so, is it not appropriate that which Solomon said: “Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead”?

דבר אחר ושבח אני וגו׳ כדרב יהודה אמר רב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב מאי דכתיב עשה עמי אות לטובה ויראו שונאי ויבושו אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מחול לי על אותו עון אמר לו מחול לך אמר לו עשה עמי אות בחיי אמר לו בחייך איני מודיע בחיי שלמה בנך אני מודיע

Alternatively, another explanation is given for the verse: “And I praised the dead that are already dead,” is in accordance with that which Rav Yehuda said that Rav said. As Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: What is the meaning of the verse that was written: “Work on my behalf a sign for good; that they that hate me may see it, and be put to shame” (Psalms 86:17)? David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, forgive me for that sin in the matter of Bathsheba. He said to him: It is forgiven you. David said to Him: Show me a sign in my lifetime so that all will know that You have forgiven me. God said to him: In your lifetime I will not make it known that you were forgiven; however, in the lifetime of your son Solomon I will make it known.

כשבנה שלמה את בית המקדש ביקש להכניס ארון לבית קדשי הקדשים דבקו שערים זה בזה אמר שלמה עשרים וארבעה רננות ולא נענה פתח ואמר שאו שערים ראשיכם והנשאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד רהטו בתריה למיבלעיה אמרו מי הוא זה מלך הכבוד אמר להו ה׳ עזוז וגבור חזר ואמר שאו שערים ראשיכם ושאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד מי הוא זה מלך הכבוד ה׳ צבאות הוא מלך הכבוד סלה ולא נענה כיון שאמר ה׳ אלהים אל תשב פני משיחך זכרה לחסדי דוד עבדך מיד נענה באותה שעה נהפכו פני כל שונאי דוד כשולי קדירה וידעו כל העם וכל ישראל שמחל לו הקדוש ברוך הוא על אותו עון ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו

When Solomon built the Temple and sought to bring the Ark into the Holy of Holies, the gates clung together and could not be opened. Solomon uttered twenty-four songs of praise, as in his prayer there are twenty-four expressions of prayer, song, etc. (I Kings 8), and his prayer was not answered. He began and said: “Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be you lifted up, you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in” (Psalms 24:7). Immediately, the gates ran after him to swallow him, as they thought that in the words: “King of glory” he was referring to himself, and they said to him: “Who is the King of glory?” (Psalms 24:8). He said to them: “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalms 24:8). And he said again: “Lift up your heads, O you gates, yea, lift them up, you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in. Who then is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts; He is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalms 24:9–10), and he was not answered. When he said: “O Lord God, turn not away the face of Your anointed; remember the good deeds of David Your servant” (II Chronicles 6:42), he was immediately answered, and a fire descended from Heaven (II Chronicles 7:1). At that moment, the faces of all of David’s enemies turned dark like the charred bottom of a pot. And all of Israel knew that the Holy One, Blessed be He, forgave him for that sin. And if so, is it not appropriate what Solomon said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead,” David, more than the living, Solomon, to whose request to open the gates of the Temple God did not respond?

והיינו דכתיב ביום השמיני שלח את העם ויברכו את המלך וילכו לאהליהם שמחים וטובי לב על כל הטובה אשר עשה ה׳ לדוד עבדו ולישראל עמו וילכו לאהליהם שמצאו נשותיהן בטהרה שמחים שנהנו מזיו השכינה וטובי לב שנתעברו נשותיהן של כל אחד ואחד וילדה זכר על כל הטובה אשר עשה ה׳ לדוד עבדו (ולישראל עמו לדוד עבדו) שמחל לו על אותו עון ולישראל עמו דאחיל להו עון דיום הכפורים

And that is what is written: “On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David His servant and to Israel His people” (I Kings 8:66). The Gemara explains: And went unto their tents, in accordance with the common expression: One’s house is his wife. It is explained that when they returned home they found their wives ritually pure from the ritual impurity of menstruation. Joyful means that they enjoyed the aura of the Divine Presence at the dedication of the Temple. And glad of heart means that the wife of each and every one of them was impregnated and gave birth to a male. The verse continues: For all the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David His servant and to Israel His people. Unto David His servant means that at that opportunity they all saw that God forgave him for that sin. And to Israel His people means that He forgave them for the sin of Yom Kippur, as they did not fast that year (see I Kings 8:65).

ודקאמר שלמה כי לכלב חי הוא טוב מן האריה המת כדרב יהודה אמר רב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב מאי דכתיב הודיעני ה׳ קצי ומדת ימי מה היא אדעה מה חדל אני אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם הודיעני ה׳ קצי אמר לו גזרה היא מלפני שאין מודיעין קצו של בשר ודם ומדת ימי מה היא גזרה היא מלפני שאין מודיעין מדת ימיו של אדם ואדעה מה חדל אני אמר לו בשבת תמות אמות באחד בשבת אמר לו כבר הגיע מלכות שלמה בנך ואין מלכות נוגעת בחברתה אפילו כמלא נימא אמות בערב שבת אמר לו כי טוב יום בחצריך מאלף טוב לי יום אחד שאתה יושב ועוסק בתורה מאלף עולות שעתיד שלמה בנך להקריב לפני על גבי המזבח

The Gemara continues: And that which Solomon said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4), is in accordance with that which Rav Yehuda said that Rav said. As Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: What is the meaning of that verse which David said: “Lord, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; let me know how short-lived I am” (Psalms 39:5)? It means that David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, Lord, make me to know my end; in how long will I die? God said to him: It is decreed before Me that I do not reveal the end of the life of flesh and blood. He asked further: And the measure of my days; on what day of the year will I die? He said to him: It is decreed before Me not to reveal the measure of a person’s days. Again he requested: Let me know how short-lived I am; on what day of the week will I die? He said to him: You will die on Shabbat. David requested of God: Let me die on the first day of the week so that the honor of Shabbat will not be tarnished by the pain of death. He said to him: On that day the time of the kingdom of your son Solomon has already arrived, and one kingdom does not overlap with another and subtract from the time allotted to another even a hairbreadth. He said to him: I will cede a day of my life and die on Shabbat eve. God said to him: “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand” (Psalms 84:11); a single day in which you sit and engage in Torah is preferable to Me than the thousand burnt-offerings that your son Solomon will offer before Me on the altar (see I Kings 3:4).

כל יומא דשבתא הוה יתיב וגריס כולי יומא ההוא יומא דבעי למינח נפשיה קם מלאך המות קמיה ולא יכיל ליה דלא הוה פסק פומיה מגירסא אמר מאי אעביד ליה הוה ליה בוסתנא אחורי ביתיה אתא מלאך המות סליק ובחיש באילני נפק למיחזי הוה סליק בדרגא איפחית דרגא מתותיה אישתיק ונח נפשיה

What did David do? Every Shabbat he would sit and learn all day long to protect himself from the Angel of Death. On that day on which the Angel of Death was supposed to put his soul to rest, the day on which David was supposed to die, the Angel of Death stood before him and was unable to overcome him because his mouth did not pause from study. The Angel of Death said: What shall I do to him? David had a garden [bustana] behind his house; the Angel of Death came, climbed, and shook the trees. David went out to see. As he climbed the stair, the stair broke beneath him. He was startled and was silent, interrupted his studies for a moment, and died.

שלח שלמה לבי מדרשא אבא מת ומוטל בחמה וכלבים של בית אבא רעבים מה אעשה שלחו ליה חתוך נבלה והנח לפני הכלבים ואביך הנח עליו ככר או תינוק וטלטלו ולא יפה אמר שלמה כי לכלב חי הוא טוב מן האריה המת ולענין שאילה דשאילנא קדמיכון נר קרויה נר ונשמתו של אדם קרויה נר מוטב תכבה נר של בשר ודם מפני נרו של הקדוש ברוך הוא:

Since David died in the garden, Solomon sent the following question to the study hall: Father died and is lying in the sun, and the dogs of father’s house are hungry. There is room for concern lest the dogs come and harm his body. What shall I do? They sent an answer to him: Cut up an animal carcass and place it before the dogs. Since the dogs are hungry, handling the animal carcass to feed them is permitted. And with regard to your father, it is prohibited to move his body directly. Place a loaf of bread or an infant on top of him, and you can move him into the shade due to the bread or the infant. And is it not appropriate what Solomon said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion.” The ultimate conclusion of this discussion is that life is preferable to death. And now, with regard to the question that I asked before you; Rav Tanḥum spoke modestly, as, actually, they had asked him the question. A lamp is called ner and a person’s soul is also called ner, as it is written: “The spirit of man is the lamp [ner] of the Lord” (Proverbs 20:27). It is preferable that the lamp of a being of flesh and blood, an actual lamp, will be extinguished in favor of the lamp of the Holy One, Blessed be He, a person’s soul. Therefore, one is permitted to extinguish a flame for the sake of a sick person.

אמר רב יהודה בריה דרב שמואל בר שילת משמיה דרב בקשו חכמים לגנוז ספר קהלת מפני שדבריו סותרין זה את זה ומפני מה לא גנזוהו מפני שתחילתו דברי תורה וסופו דברי תורה תחילתו דברי תורה דכתיב מה יתרון לאדם בכל עמלו שיעמול תחת השמש ואמרי דבי רבי ינאי תחת השמש הוא דאין לו קודם שמש יש לו סופו דברי תורה דכתיב סוף דבר הכל נשמע את האלהים ירא ואת מצותיו שמור כי זה כל האדם מאי כי זה כל האדם אמר רבי (אליעזר) כל העולם כולו לא נברא אלא בשביל זה רבי אבא בר כהנא אמר שקול זה כנגד כל העולם כולו שמעון בן עזאי אומר ואמרי לה שמעון בן זומא אומר לא נברא כל העולם כולו אלא לצוות לזה

Since contradictions in Ecclesiastes were mentioned, the Gemara cites additional relevant sources. Rav Yehuda, son of Rav Shmuel bar Sheilat, said in the name of Rav: The Sages sought to suppress the book of Ecclesiastes and declare it apocryphal because its statements contradict each other and it is liable to confuse its readers. And why did they not suppress it? Because its beginning consists of matters of Torah and its end consists of matters of Torah. The ostensibly contradictory details are secondary to the essence of the book, which is Torah. The Gemara elaborates: Its beginning consists of matters of Torah, as it is written: “What profit has man of all his labor which he labors under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:3), and the Sages of the school of Rabbi Yannai said: By inference: Under the sun is where man has no profit from his labor; however, before the sun, i.e., when engaged in the study of Torah, which preceded the sun, he does have profit. Its ending consists of matters of Torah, as it is written: “The end of the matter, all having been heard: Fear God, and keep His mitzvot; for this is the whole man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). With regard to this verse, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase: For this is the whole man? Rabbi Eliezer said: The entire world was only created for this person. Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: This person is equivalent to the entire world. Shimon ben Azzai says and some say that Shimon ben Zoma says: The entire world was only created as companion to this man, so that he will not be alone.

ומאי דבריו סותרין זה את זה כתיב טוב כעס משחוק וכתיב לשחוק אמרתי מהלל כתיב ושבחתי אני את השמחה וכתיב ולשמחה מה זה עושה לא קשיא טוב כעס משחוק טוב כעס שכועס הקדוש ברוך הוא על הצדיקים בעולם הזה משחוק שמשחק הקדוש ברוך הוא על הרשעים בעולם הזה ולשחוק אמרתי מהלל זה שחוק שמשחק הקדוש ברוך הוא עם הצדיקים בעולם הבא

And to the essence of the matter, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of: Its statements that contradict each other? It is written: “Vexation is better than laughter” (Ecclesiastes 7:3), and it is written: “I said of laughter: It is praiseworthy” (Ecclesiastes 2:2), which is understood to mean that laughter is commendable. Likewise in one verse it is written: “So I commended mirth” (Ecclesiastes 8:15), and in another verse it is written: “And of mirth: What does it accomplish?” (Ecclesiastes 2:2). The Gemara answers: This is not difficult, as the contradiction can be resolved. Vexation is better than laughter means: The vexation of the Holy One, Blessed be He, toward the righteous in this world is preferable to the laughter which the Holy One, Blessed be He, laughs with the wicked in this world by showering them with goodness. I said of laughter: It is praiseworthy, that is the laughter which the Holy One, Blessed be He, laughs with the righteous in the World-to-Come.

ושבחתי אני את השמחה שמחה של מצוה ולשמחה מה זה עושה זו שמחה שאינה של מצוה ללמדך שאין שכינה שורה לא מתוך עצבות ולא מתוך עצלות ולא מתוך שחוק ולא מתוך קלות ראש ולא מתוך שיחה ולא מתוך דברים בטלים אלא מתוך דבר שמחה של מצוה שנאמר ועתה קחו לי מנגן והיה כנגן המנגן ותהי עליו יד ה׳ אמר רב יהודה וכן לדבר הלכה אמר רבא וכן לחלום טוב

Similarly, “So I commended mirth,” that is the joy of a mitzva. “And of mirth: What does it accomplish?” that is joy that is not the joy of a mitzva. The praise of joy mentioned here is to teach you that the Divine Presence rests upon an individual neither from an atmosphere of sadness, nor from an atmosphere of laziness, nor from an atmosphere of laughter, nor from an atmosphere of frivolity, nor from an atmosphere of idle conversation, nor from an atmosphere of idle chatter, but rather from an atmosphere imbued with the joy of a mitzva. As it was stated with regard to Elisha that after he became angry at the king of Israel, his prophetic spirit left him until he requested: “But now bring me a minstrel; and it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him” (II Kings 3:15). Rav Yehuda said: And, so too, one should be joyful before stating a matter of halakha. Rava said: And, so too, one should be joyful before going to sleep in order to have a good dream.

איני והאמר רב גידל אמר רב כל תלמיד חכם שיושב לפני רבו ואין שפתותיו נוטפות מר תכוינה שנאמר שפתותיו שושנים נוטפות מור עובר אל תקרי מור עובר אלא מר עובר אל תקרי שושנים אלא ששונים לא קשיא הא ברבה והא בתלמיד ואיבעית אימא הא והא ברבה ולא קשיא הא מקמי דלפתח הא לבתר דפתח כי הא דרבה מקמי דפתח להו לרבנן אמר מילתא דבדיחותא ובדחי רבנן לסוף יתיב באימתא ופתח בשמעתא

The Gemara asks: Is that so, that one should introduce matters of halakha joyfully? Didn’t Rav Giddel say that Rav said: Any Torah scholar who sits before his teacher and his lips are not dripping with myrrh due to fear of his teacher, those lips shall be burnt, as it is stated: “His lips are as lilies, dripping with flowing myrrh [shoshanim notefot mor over]” (Song of Songs 5:13)? He interpreted homiletically: Do not read mor over, flowing myrrh; rather, read mar over, flowing bitterness. Likewise, do not read shoshanim, lilies; rather, read sheshonim, that are studying, meaning that lips that are studying Torah must be full of bitterness. The Gemara explains: This is not difficult, there is no contradiction here, as this, where it was taught that one should introduce matters of halakha joyfully, is referring to a rabbi, and that, where it was taught that one must be filled with bitterness, is referring to a student, who must listen to his teacher with trepidation. And if you wish, say instead that this and that are referring to a rabbi, and it is not difficult. This, where it was taught that he must be joyful, is before he begins teaching, whereas that, where it was taught that he must be filled with bitterness and trepidation, is after he already began teaching halakha. That explanation is like that which Rabba did. Before he began teaching halakha to the Sages, he would say something humorous and the Sages would be cheered. Ultimately, he sat in trepidation and began teaching the halakha.

ואף ספר משלי בקשו לגנוז שהיו דבריו סותרין זה את זה ומפני מה לא גנזוהו אמרי ספר קהלת לאו עיינינן ואשכחינן טעמא הכא נמי ליעיינן ומאי דבריו סותרים זה את זה כתיב אל תען כסיל כאולתו וכתיב ענה כסיל כאולתו לא קשיא הא בדברי תורה הא במילי דעלמא

And, the Gemara continues, the Sages sought to suppress the book of Proverbs as well because its statements contradict each other. And why did they not suppress it? They said: In the case of the book of Ecclesiastes, didn’t we analyze it and find an explanation that its statements were not contradictory? Here too, let us analyze it. And what is the meaning of: Its statements contradict each other? On the one hand, it is written: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him” (Proverbs 26:4), and on the other hand, it is written: “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (Proverbs 26:5). The Gemara resolves this apparent contradiction: This is not difficult, as this, where one should answer a fool, is referring to a case where the fool is making claims about Torah matters; whereas that, where one should not answer him, is referring to a case where the fool is making claims about mundane matters.

כי הא דההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבי אמר ליה אשתך אשתי ובניך בני אמר ליה רצונך שתשתה כוס של יין שתה ופקע ההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבי חייא אמר ליה אמך אשתי ואתה בני אמר ליה רצונך שתשתה כוס של יין שתה ופקע אמר רבי חייא אהניא ליה צלותיה לרבי דלא לשווייה בני ממזירי דרבי כי הוה מצלי אמר יהי רצון מלפניך ה׳ אלהינו שתצילני היום מעזי פנים ומעזות פנים

The Gemara relates how Sages conducted themselves in both of those circumstances. As in the case of that man who came before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and said to him: Your wife is my wife and your children are my children, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to him: Would you like to drink a cup of wine? He drank and burst and died. Similarly, the Gemara relates: There was that man who came before Rabbi Ḥiyya and said to him: Your mother is my wife, and you are my son. He said to him: Would you like to drink a cup of wine? He drank and burst and died. Rabbi Ḥiyya said with regard to the incident involving Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s prayer that his children will not be rendered mamzerim, children of illicit relations, was effective for him. As when Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would pray, he said after his prayer: May it be Your will, O Lord, my God, that You will deliver me today from impudent people and from insolence. Insolence, in this case, refers to mamzerut. It was due to his prayer that that man burst and was unsuccessful in disparaging Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s children.

בדברי תורה מאי היא כי הא דיתיב רבן גמליאל וקא דריש עתידה אשה שתלד בכל יום שנאמר הרה ויולדת יחדיו ליגלג עליו אותו תלמיד אמר אין כל חדש תחת השמש אמר ליה בא ואראך דוגמתן בעולם הזה נפק אחוי ליה תרנגולת

In matters of Torah, what is the case with regard to which the verse said that one should respond to a fool’s folly? As in the case where Rabban Gamliel was sitting and he interpreted a verse homiletically: In the future, in the World-to-Come, a woman will give birth every day, as it says: “The woman with child and her that gives birth together” (Jeremiah 31:7), explaining that birth will occur on the same day as conception. A certain student scoffed at him and said: That cannot be, as it has already been stated: “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Rabban Gamliel said to him: Come and I will show you an example of this in this world. He took him outside and showed him a chicken that lays eggs every day.

ותו יתיב רבן גמליאל וקא דריש עתידים אילנות שמוציאין פירות בכל יום שנאמר ונשא ענף ועשה פרי מה ענף בכל יום אף פרי בכל יום ליגלג עליו אותו תלמיד אמר והכתיב אין כל חדש תחת השמש אמר ליה בא ואראך דוגמתם בעולם הזה נפק אחוי ליה צלף

And furthermore: Rabban Gamliel sat and interpreted a verse homiletically: In the future, in the World-to-Come, trees will produce fruits every day, as it is stated: “And it shall bring forth branches and bear fruit” (Ezekiel 17:23); just as a branch grows every day, so too, fruit will be produced every day. A certain student scoffed at him and said: Isn’t it written: There is nothing new under the sun? He said to him: Come and I will show you an example of this in this world. He went outside and showed him a caper bush, part of which is edible during each season of the year.

ותו יתיב רבן גמליאל וקא דריש עתידה ארץ ישראל שתוציא גלוסקאות וכלי מילת שנאמר יהי פסת בר בארץ ליגלג עליו אותו תלמיד ואמר אין כל חדש תחת השמש אמר ליה בא ואראך דוגמתן בעולם הזה נפק אחוי ליה כמיהין ופטריות ואכלי מילת נברא בר קורא:

And furthermore: Rabban Gamliel sat and interpreted a verse homiletically: In the future, the World-to-Come, Eretz Yisrael will produce cakes and fine wool garments that will grow in the ground, as it is stated: “Let abundant grain be in the land.” A certain student scoffed at him and said: There is nothing new under the sun. He said to him: Come and I will show you an example in this world. He went outside and showed him truffles and mushrooms, which emerge from the earth over the course of a single night and are shaped like a loaf of bread. And with regard to wool garments, he showed him the covering of a heart of palm, a young palm branch, which is wrapped in a thin net-like covering.

תנו רבנן לעולם יהא אדם ענוותן כהלל ואל יהא קפדן כשמאי מעשה בשני בני אדם

Since the Gemara discussed the forbearance of Sages, who remain silent in the face of nonsensical comments, it cites additional relevant examples. The Sages taught in a baraita: A person should always be patient like Hillel and not impatient like Shammai. The Gemara related: There was an incident involving two people

Masechet Shabbat is sponsored in memory of Elliot Freilich, Eliyahu Daniel ben Bar Tzion David Halevi z"l by a group of women from Kehilath Jeshurun, Manhattan.

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Shabbat 30

גמ׳ מדקתני סיפא חייב שמע מינה רבי יהודה היא רישא במאי עסיקנא אי בחולה שיש בו סכנה מותר מיבעי ליה ואי בחולה שאין בו סכנה חייב חטאת מיבעי ליה

GEMARA: From the fact that it was taught in the latter clause of the mishna that one who extinguishes a flame on Shabbat is liable, conclude from it that this mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who holds that one who performs a prohibited labor on Shabbat is liable to bring a sin-offering even if it is a labor that is not necessary for its own sake [melakha sheeina tzerikha legufa]. In the mishna, one does not extinguish the flame to achieve the product produced by extinguishing it. He does so to prevent the light from shining. If so, with what is the first clause of the mishna dealing? If it is referring to one who extinguished the flame due to a critically ill person, the term exempt is imprecise. It should have said permitted, as it is permitted even ab initio to perform a prohibited labor on Shabbat in a case of danger. And if it is speaking about a non-critically ill person, why is one who extinguished the flame exempt? It should have said that one is liable to bring a sin-offering.

לעולם בחולה שיש בו סכנה ובדין הוא דליתני מותר ואיידי דבעי למתני סיפא חייב תנא נמי רישא פטור והדתני רבי אושעיא אם בשביל החולה שיישן לא יכבה ואם כבה פטור אבל אסור ההיא בחולה שאין בו סכנה ורבי שמעון היא:

The Gemara replies: Actually, the first clause was referring to a critically ill person, and it should have taught that it is permitted. And since the latter clause of the mishna had to teach that one is liable, in the first clause too, it taught employing the opposite term, exempt, so that the mishna would maintain stylistic uniformity. The halakha is, indeed, that not only is one exempt if he extinguished a light for a critically ill person, it is even permitted to do so ab initio. The Gemara asks: What of that which Rabbi Oshaya taught: If one wants to extinguish a flame on Shabbat for a sick person so he can sleep, he may not extinguish it, and if he extinguished it, he is not liable after the fact, but ab initio he is prohibited to do so? The Gemara answers: This is not similar, as that baraita is referring to a non-critically ill person and it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon, who said that one who performs a prohibited labor not necessary for its own sake is exempt. Our mishna is referring to a critically ill person.

שאול שאילה זו לעילא מרבי תנחום דמן נוי מהו לכבות בוצינא דנורא מקמי באישא בשבתא פתח ואמר אנת שלמה אן חכמתך אן סוכלתנותך לא דייך שדבריך סותרין דברי דוד אביך אלא שדבריך סותרין זה את זה דוד אביך אמר לא המתים יהללו יה ואת אמרת ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו וחזרת ואמרת כי לכלב חי הוא טוב מן האריה המת

The Gemara relates: This question was asked before Rabbi Tanḥum from the village of Nevi: What is the ruling with regard to extinguishing a burning lamp before a sick person on Shabbat? The Gemara relates that Rabbi Tanḥum delivered an entire homily touching upon both aggadic and halakhic materials surrounding this question. He began and said: You, King Solomon, where is your wisdom, where is your understanding? Not only do your statements contradict the statements of your father David, but your statements even contradict each other. Your father David said: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence” (Psalms 115:17); and you said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive” (Ecclesiastes 4:2). And then again you said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4). These are different assessments of life and death.

לא קשיא הא דקאמר דוד לא המתים יהללו יה הכי קאמר לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ובמצות קודם שימות שכיון שמת בטל מן התורה ומן המצות ואין להקדוש ברוך הוא שבח בו והיינו דאמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב במתים חפשי כיון שמת אדם נעשה חפשי מן התורה ומן המצות

He resolved the contradictions in the following manner: This is not difficult. That which David said: “The dead praise not the Lord,” this is what he is saying: A person should always engage in Torah and mitzvot before he dies, as once he is dead he is idle from Torah and mitzvot and there is no praise for the Holy One, Blessed be He, from him. And that is what Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Set free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom You remember no more” (Psalms 88:6)? When a person dies he then becomes free of Torah and mitzvot.

ודקאמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו שכשחטאו ישראל במדבר עמד משה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא ואמר כמה תפלות ותחנונים לפניו ולא נענה וכשאמר זכור לאברהם ליצחק ולישראל עבדיך מיד נענה ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו דבר אחר מנהגו של עולם שר בשר ודם גוזר גזרה ספק מקיימין אותה ספק אין מקיימין אותה ואם תמצי לומר מקיימין אותה בחייו מקיימין אותה במותו אין מקיימין אותה ואילו משה רבינו גזר כמה גזירות ותיקן כמה תקנות וקיימות הם לעולם ולעולמי עולמים ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים וגו׳

And that which Solomon said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead”; he was not speaking of all dead people, but rather in praise of certain dead people. As when Israel sinned in the desert, Moses stood before the Holy One, Blessed be He, and he said several prayers and supplications before Him, and his prayers were not answered. And when he said: “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants” (Exodus 32:13), his prayers were answered immediately. Consequently, did Solomon not speak appropriately when he said: “Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead”? Certainly the merit of the deceased forefathers is greater than that of the righteous people who are alive. Alternatively, the way of the world is such that when a flesh-and-blood prince issues a decree on the public it is uncertain whether they fulfill it and uncertain whether they do not fulfill it. And even if you want to say that they fulfill it, it is only during his lifetime that they fulfill it; after he dies they do not fulfill it. But Moses our teacher issued several decrees and instituted several ordinances, and they are in effect forever and ever. And, if so, is it not appropriate that which Solomon said: “Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead”?

דבר אחר ושבח אני וגו׳ כדרב יהודה אמר רב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב מאי דכתיב עשה עמי אות לטובה ויראו שונאי ויבושו אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מחול לי על אותו עון אמר לו מחול לך אמר לו עשה עמי אות בחיי אמר לו בחייך איני מודיע בחיי שלמה בנך אני מודיע

Alternatively, another explanation is given for the verse: “And I praised the dead that are already dead,” is in accordance with that which Rav Yehuda said that Rav said. As Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: What is the meaning of the verse that was written: “Work on my behalf a sign for good; that they that hate me may see it, and be put to shame” (Psalms 86:17)? David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, forgive me for that sin in the matter of Bathsheba. He said to him: It is forgiven you. David said to Him: Show me a sign in my lifetime so that all will know that You have forgiven me. God said to him: In your lifetime I will not make it known that you were forgiven; however, in the lifetime of your son Solomon I will make it known.

כשבנה שלמה את בית המקדש ביקש להכניס ארון לבית קדשי הקדשים דבקו שערים זה בזה אמר שלמה עשרים וארבעה רננות ולא נענה פתח ואמר שאו שערים ראשיכם והנשאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד רהטו בתריה למיבלעיה אמרו מי הוא זה מלך הכבוד אמר להו ה׳ עזוז וגבור חזר ואמר שאו שערים ראשיכם ושאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד מי הוא זה מלך הכבוד ה׳ צבאות הוא מלך הכבוד סלה ולא נענה כיון שאמר ה׳ אלהים אל תשב פני משיחך זכרה לחסדי דוד עבדך מיד נענה באותה שעה נהפכו פני כל שונאי דוד כשולי קדירה וידעו כל העם וכל ישראל שמחל לו הקדוש ברוך הוא על אותו עון ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו

When Solomon built the Temple and sought to bring the Ark into the Holy of Holies, the gates clung together and could not be opened. Solomon uttered twenty-four songs of praise, as in his prayer there are twenty-four expressions of prayer, song, etc. (I Kings 8), and his prayer was not answered. He began and said: “Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be you lifted up, you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in” (Psalms 24:7). Immediately, the gates ran after him to swallow him, as they thought that in the words: “King of glory” he was referring to himself, and they said to him: “Who is the King of glory?” (Psalms 24:8). He said to them: “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalms 24:8). And he said again: “Lift up your heads, O you gates, yea, lift them up, you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in. Who then is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts; He is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalms 24:9–10), and he was not answered. When he said: “O Lord God, turn not away the face of Your anointed; remember the good deeds of David Your servant” (II Chronicles 6:42), he was immediately answered, and a fire descended from Heaven (II Chronicles 7:1). At that moment, the faces of all of David’s enemies turned dark like the charred bottom of a pot. And all of Israel knew that the Holy One, Blessed be He, forgave him for that sin. And if so, is it not appropriate what Solomon said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead,” David, more than the living, Solomon, to whose request to open the gates of the Temple God did not respond?

והיינו דכתיב ביום השמיני שלח את העם ויברכו את המלך וילכו לאהליהם שמחים וטובי לב על כל הטובה אשר עשה ה׳ לדוד עבדו ולישראל עמו וילכו לאהליהם שמצאו נשותיהן בטהרה שמחים שנהנו מזיו השכינה וטובי לב שנתעברו נשותיהן של כל אחד ואחד וילדה זכר על כל הטובה אשר עשה ה׳ לדוד עבדו (ולישראל עמו לדוד עבדו) שמחל לו על אותו עון ולישראל עמו דאחיל להו עון דיום הכפורים

And that is what is written: “On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David His servant and to Israel His people” (I Kings 8:66). The Gemara explains: And went unto their tents, in accordance with the common expression: One’s house is his wife. It is explained that when they returned home they found their wives ritually pure from the ritual impurity of menstruation. Joyful means that they enjoyed the aura of the Divine Presence at the dedication of the Temple. And glad of heart means that the wife of each and every one of them was impregnated and gave birth to a male. The verse continues: For all the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David His servant and to Israel His people. Unto David His servant means that at that opportunity they all saw that God forgave him for that sin. And to Israel His people means that He forgave them for the sin of Yom Kippur, as they did not fast that year (see I Kings 8:65).

ודקאמר שלמה כי לכלב חי הוא טוב מן האריה המת כדרב יהודה אמר רב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב מאי דכתיב הודיעני ה׳ קצי ומדת ימי מה היא אדעה מה חדל אני אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם הודיעני ה׳ קצי אמר לו גזרה היא מלפני שאין מודיעין קצו של בשר ודם ומדת ימי מה היא גזרה היא מלפני שאין מודיעין מדת ימיו של אדם ואדעה מה חדל אני אמר לו בשבת תמות אמות באחד בשבת אמר לו כבר הגיע מלכות שלמה בנך ואין מלכות נוגעת בחברתה אפילו כמלא נימא אמות בערב שבת אמר לו כי טוב יום בחצריך מאלף טוב לי יום אחד שאתה יושב ועוסק בתורה מאלף עולות שעתיד שלמה בנך להקריב לפני על גבי המזבח

The Gemara continues: And that which Solomon said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4), is in accordance with that which Rav Yehuda said that Rav said. As Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: What is the meaning of that verse which David said: “Lord, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; let me know how short-lived I am” (Psalms 39:5)? It means that David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, Lord, make me to know my end; in how long will I die? God said to him: It is decreed before Me that I do not reveal the end of the life of flesh and blood. He asked further: And the measure of my days; on what day of the year will I die? He said to him: It is decreed before Me not to reveal the measure of a person’s days. Again he requested: Let me know how short-lived I am; on what day of the week will I die? He said to him: You will die on Shabbat. David requested of God: Let me die on the first day of the week so that the honor of Shabbat will not be tarnished by the pain of death. He said to him: On that day the time of the kingdom of your son Solomon has already arrived, and one kingdom does not overlap with another and subtract from the time allotted to another even a hairbreadth. He said to him: I will cede a day of my life and die on Shabbat eve. God said to him: “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand” (Psalms 84:11); a single day in which you sit and engage in Torah is preferable to Me than the thousand burnt-offerings that your son Solomon will offer before Me on the altar (see I Kings 3:4).

כל יומא דשבתא הוה יתיב וגריס כולי יומא ההוא יומא דבעי למינח נפשיה קם מלאך המות קמיה ולא יכיל ליה דלא הוה פסק פומיה מגירסא אמר מאי אעביד ליה הוה ליה בוסתנא אחורי ביתיה אתא מלאך המות סליק ובחיש באילני נפק למיחזי הוה סליק בדרגא איפחית דרגא מתותיה אישתיק ונח נפשיה

What did David do? Every Shabbat he would sit and learn all day long to protect himself from the Angel of Death. On that day on which the Angel of Death was supposed to put his soul to rest, the day on which David was supposed to die, the Angel of Death stood before him and was unable to overcome him because his mouth did not pause from study. The Angel of Death said: What shall I do to him? David had a garden [bustana] behind his house; the Angel of Death came, climbed, and shook the trees. David went out to see. As he climbed the stair, the stair broke beneath him. He was startled and was silent, interrupted his studies for a moment, and died.

שלח שלמה לבי מדרשא אבא מת ומוטל בחמה וכלבים של בית אבא רעבים מה אעשה שלחו ליה חתוך נבלה והנח לפני הכלבים ואביך הנח עליו ככר או תינוק וטלטלו ולא יפה אמר שלמה כי לכלב חי הוא טוב מן האריה המת ולענין שאילה דשאילנא קדמיכון נר קרויה נר ונשמתו של אדם קרויה נר מוטב תכבה נר של בשר ודם מפני נרו של הקדוש ברוך הוא:

Since David died in the garden, Solomon sent the following question to the study hall: Father died and is lying in the sun, and the dogs of father’s house are hungry. There is room for concern lest the dogs come and harm his body. What shall I do? They sent an answer to him: Cut up an animal carcass and place it before the dogs. Since the dogs are hungry, handling the animal carcass to feed them is permitted. And with regard to your father, it is prohibited to move his body directly. Place a loaf of bread or an infant on top of him, and you can move him into the shade due to the bread or the infant. And is it not appropriate what Solomon said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion.” The ultimate conclusion of this discussion is that life is preferable to death. And now, with regard to the question that I asked before you; Rav Tanḥum spoke modestly, as, actually, they had asked him the question. A lamp is called ner and a person’s soul is also called ner, as it is written: “The spirit of man is the lamp [ner] of the Lord” (Proverbs 20:27). It is preferable that the lamp of a being of flesh and blood, an actual lamp, will be extinguished in favor of the lamp of the Holy One, Blessed be He, a person’s soul. Therefore, one is permitted to extinguish a flame for the sake of a sick person.

אמר רב יהודה בריה דרב שמואל בר שילת משמיה דרב בקשו חכמים לגנוז ספר קהלת מפני שדבריו סותרין זה את זה ומפני מה לא גנזוהו מפני שתחילתו דברי תורה וסופו דברי תורה תחילתו דברי תורה דכתיב מה יתרון לאדם בכל עמלו שיעמול תחת השמש ואמרי דבי רבי ינאי תחת השמש הוא דאין לו קודם שמש יש לו סופו דברי תורה דכתיב סוף דבר הכל נשמע את האלהים ירא ואת מצותיו שמור כי זה כל האדם מאי כי זה כל האדם אמר רבי (אליעזר) כל העולם כולו לא נברא אלא בשביל זה רבי אבא בר כהנא אמר שקול זה כנגד כל העולם כולו שמעון בן עזאי אומר ואמרי לה שמעון בן זומא אומר לא נברא כל העולם כולו אלא לצוות לזה

Since contradictions in Ecclesiastes were mentioned, the Gemara cites additional relevant sources. Rav Yehuda, son of Rav Shmuel bar Sheilat, said in the name of Rav: The Sages sought to suppress the book of Ecclesiastes and declare it apocryphal because its statements contradict each other and it is liable to confuse its readers. And why did they not suppress it? Because its beginning consists of matters of Torah and its end consists of matters of Torah. The ostensibly contradictory details are secondary to the essence of the book, which is Torah. The Gemara elaborates: Its beginning consists of matters of Torah, as it is written: “What profit has man of all his labor which he labors under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:3), and the Sages of the school of Rabbi Yannai said: By inference: Under the sun is where man has no profit from his labor; however, before the sun, i.e., when engaged in the study of Torah, which preceded the sun, he does have profit. Its ending consists of matters of Torah, as it is written: “The end of the matter, all having been heard: Fear God, and keep His mitzvot; for this is the whole man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). With regard to this verse, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase: For this is the whole man? Rabbi Eliezer said: The entire world was only created for this person. Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: This person is equivalent to the entire world. Shimon ben Azzai says and some say that Shimon ben Zoma says: The entire world was only created as companion to this man, so that he will not be alone.

ומאי דבריו סותרין זה את זה כתיב טוב כעס משחוק וכתיב לשחוק אמרתי מהלל כתיב ושבחתי אני את השמחה וכתיב ולשמחה מה זה עושה לא קשיא טוב כעס משחוק טוב כעס שכועס הקדוש ברוך הוא על הצדיקים בעולם הזה משחוק שמשחק הקדוש ברוך הוא על הרשעים בעולם הזה ולשחוק אמרתי מהלל זה שחוק שמשחק הקדוש ברוך הוא עם הצדיקים בעולם הבא

And to the essence of the matter, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of: Its statements that contradict each other? It is written: “Vexation is better than laughter” (Ecclesiastes 7:3), and it is written: “I said of laughter: It is praiseworthy” (Ecclesiastes 2:2), which is understood to mean that laughter is commendable. Likewise in one verse it is written: “So I commended mirth” (Ecclesiastes 8:15), and in another verse it is written: “And of mirth: What does it accomplish?” (Ecclesiastes 2:2). The Gemara answers: This is not difficult, as the contradiction can be resolved. Vexation is better than laughter means: The vexation of the Holy One, Blessed be He, toward the righteous in this world is preferable to the laughter which the Holy One, Blessed be He, laughs with the wicked in this world by showering them with goodness. I said of laughter: It is praiseworthy, that is the laughter which the Holy One, Blessed be He, laughs with the righteous in the World-to-Come.

ושבחתי אני את השמחה שמחה של מצוה ולשמחה מה זה עושה זו שמחה שאינה של מצוה ללמדך שאין שכינה שורה לא מתוך עצבות ולא מתוך עצלות ולא מתוך שחוק ולא מתוך קלות ראש ולא מתוך שיחה ולא מתוך דברים בטלים אלא מתוך דבר שמחה של מצוה שנאמר ועתה קחו לי מנגן והיה כנגן המנגן ותהי עליו יד ה׳ אמר רב יהודה וכן לדבר הלכה אמר רבא וכן לחלום טוב

Similarly, “So I commended mirth,” that is the joy of a mitzva. “And of mirth: What does it accomplish?” that is joy that is not the joy of a mitzva. The praise of joy mentioned here is to teach you that the Divine Presence rests upon an individual neither from an atmosphere of sadness, nor from an atmosphere of laziness, nor from an atmosphere of laughter, nor from an atmosphere of frivolity, nor from an atmosphere of idle conversation, nor from an atmosphere of idle chatter, but rather from an atmosphere imbued with the joy of a mitzva. As it was stated with regard to Elisha that after he became angry at the king of Israel, his prophetic spirit left him until he requested: “But now bring me a minstrel; and it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him” (II Kings 3:15). Rav Yehuda said: And, so too, one should be joyful before stating a matter of halakha. Rava said: And, so too, one should be joyful before going to sleep in order to have a good dream.

איני והאמר רב גידל אמר רב כל תלמיד חכם שיושב לפני רבו ואין שפתותיו נוטפות מר תכוינה שנאמר שפתותיו שושנים נוטפות מור עובר אל תקרי מור עובר אלא מר עובר אל תקרי שושנים אלא ששונים לא קשיא הא ברבה והא בתלמיד ואיבעית אימא הא והא ברבה ולא קשיא הא מקמי דלפתח הא לבתר דפתח כי הא דרבה מקמי דפתח להו לרבנן אמר מילתא דבדיחותא ובדחי רבנן לסוף יתיב באימתא ופתח בשמעתא

The Gemara asks: Is that so, that one should introduce matters of halakha joyfully? Didn’t Rav Giddel say that Rav said: Any Torah scholar who sits before his teacher and his lips are not dripping with myrrh due to fear of his teacher, those lips shall be burnt, as it is stated: “His lips are as lilies, dripping with flowing myrrh [shoshanim notefot mor over]” (Song of Songs 5:13)? He interpreted homiletically: Do not read mor over, flowing myrrh; rather, read mar over, flowing bitterness. Likewise, do not read shoshanim, lilies; rather, read sheshonim, that are studying, meaning that lips that are studying Torah must be full of bitterness. The Gemara explains: This is not difficult, there is no contradiction here, as this, where it was taught that one should introduce matters of halakha joyfully, is referring to a rabbi, and that, where it was taught that one must be filled with bitterness, is referring to a student, who must listen to his teacher with trepidation. And if you wish, say instead that this and that are referring to a rabbi, and it is not difficult. This, where it was taught that he must be joyful, is before he begins teaching, whereas that, where it was taught that he must be filled with bitterness and trepidation, is after he already began teaching halakha. That explanation is like that which Rabba did. Before he began teaching halakha to the Sages, he would say something humorous and the Sages would be cheered. Ultimately, he sat in trepidation and began teaching the halakha.

ואף ספר משלי בקשו לגנוז שהיו דבריו סותרין זה את זה ומפני מה לא גנזוהו אמרי ספר קהלת לאו עיינינן ואשכחינן טעמא הכא נמי ליעיינן ומאי דבריו סותרים זה את זה כתיב אל תען כסיל כאולתו וכתיב ענה כסיל כאולתו לא קשיא הא בדברי תורה הא במילי דעלמא

And, the Gemara continues, the Sages sought to suppress the book of Proverbs as well because its statements contradict each other. And why did they not suppress it? They said: In the case of the book of Ecclesiastes, didn’t we analyze it and find an explanation that its statements were not contradictory? Here too, let us analyze it. And what is the meaning of: Its statements contradict each other? On the one hand, it is written: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him” (Proverbs 26:4), and on the other hand, it is written: “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (Proverbs 26:5). The Gemara resolves this apparent contradiction: This is not difficult, as this, where one should answer a fool, is referring to a case where the fool is making claims about Torah matters; whereas that, where one should not answer him, is referring to a case where the fool is making claims about mundane matters.

כי הא דההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבי אמר ליה אשתך אשתי ובניך בני אמר ליה רצונך שתשתה כוס של יין שתה ופקע ההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבי חייא אמר ליה אמך אשתי ואתה בני אמר ליה רצונך שתשתה כוס של יין שתה ופקע אמר רבי חייא אהניא ליה צלותיה לרבי דלא לשווייה בני ממזירי דרבי כי הוה מצלי אמר יהי רצון מלפניך ה׳ אלהינו שתצילני היום מעזי פנים ומעזות פנים

The Gemara relates how Sages conducted themselves in both of those circumstances. As in the case of that man who came before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and said to him: Your wife is my wife and your children are my children, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to him: Would you like to drink a cup of wine? He drank and burst and died. Similarly, the Gemara relates: There was that man who came before Rabbi Ḥiyya and said to him: Your mother is my wife, and you are my son. He said to him: Would you like to drink a cup of wine? He drank and burst and died. Rabbi Ḥiyya said with regard to the incident involving Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s prayer that his children will not be rendered mamzerim, children of illicit relations, was effective for him. As when Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would pray, he said after his prayer: May it be Your will, O Lord, my God, that You will deliver me today from impudent people and from insolence. Insolence, in this case, refers to mamzerut. It was due to his prayer that that man burst and was unsuccessful in disparaging Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s children.

בדברי תורה מאי היא כי הא דיתיב רבן גמליאל וקא דריש עתידה אשה שתלד בכל יום שנאמר הרה ויולדת יחדיו ליגלג עליו אותו תלמיד אמר אין כל חדש תחת השמש אמר ליה בא ואראך דוגמתן בעולם הזה נפק אחוי ליה תרנגולת

In matters of Torah, what is the case with regard to which the verse said that one should respond to a fool’s folly? As in the case where Rabban Gamliel was sitting and he interpreted a verse homiletically: In the future, in the World-to-Come, a woman will give birth every day, as it says: “The woman with child and her that gives birth together” (Jeremiah 31:7), explaining that birth will occur on the same day as conception. A certain student scoffed at him and said: That cannot be, as it has already been stated: “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Rabban Gamliel said to him: Come and I will show you an example of this in this world. He took him outside and showed him a chicken that lays eggs every day.

ותו יתיב רבן גמליאל וקא דריש עתידים אילנות שמוציאין פירות בכל יום שנאמר ונשא ענף ועשה פרי מה ענף בכל יום אף פרי בכל יום ליגלג עליו אותו תלמיד אמר והכתיב אין כל חדש תחת השמש אמר ליה בא ואראך דוגמתם בעולם הזה נפק אחוי ליה צלף

And furthermore: Rabban Gamliel sat and interpreted a verse homiletically: In the future, in the World-to-Come, trees will produce fruits every day, as it is stated: “And it shall bring forth branches and bear fruit” (Ezekiel 17:23); just as a branch grows every day, so too, fruit will be produced every day. A certain student scoffed at him and said: Isn’t it written: There is nothing new under the sun? He said to him: Come and I will show you an example of this in this world. He went outside and showed him a caper bush, part of which is edible during each season of the year.

ותו יתיב רבן גמליאל וקא דריש עתידה ארץ ישראל שתוציא גלוסקאות וכלי מילת שנאמר יהי פסת בר בארץ ליגלג עליו אותו תלמיד ואמר אין כל חדש תחת השמש אמר ליה בא ואראך דוגמתן בעולם הזה נפק אחוי ליה כמיהין ופטריות ואכלי מילת נברא בר קורא:

And furthermore: Rabban Gamliel sat and interpreted a verse homiletically: In the future, the World-to-Come, Eretz Yisrael will produce cakes and fine wool garments that will grow in the ground, as it is stated: “Let abundant grain be in the land.” A certain student scoffed at him and said: There is nothing new under the sun. He said to him: Come and I will show you an example in this world. He went outside and showed him truffles and mushrooms, which emerge from the earth over the course of a single night and are shaped like a loaf of bread. And with regard to wool garments, he showed him the covering of a heart of palm, a young palm branch, which is wrapped in a thin net-like covering.

תנו רבנן לעולם יהא אדם ענוותן כהלל ואל יהא קפדן כשמאי מעשה בשני בני אדם

Since the Gemara discussed the forbearance of Sages, who remain silent in the face of nonsensical comments, it cites additional relevant examples. The Sages taught in a baraita: A person should always be patient like Hillel and not impatient like Shammai. The Gemara related: There was an incident involving two people

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