Skip to content

Today's Daf Yomi

April 30, 2020 | ו׳ באייר 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.

Iyar is sponsored by Aviva and Benny Adler in memory of Yosef ben Zvi HaKohen, Dr. Joseph Kahane z"l and Yehuda Aryeh Leib ben Yisachar Dov Barash, Ari Adler z"l.

Shabbat 55

The gemara explains the importance of trying to prevent others from sinning, even if you know they won’t listen to you. We have a communal responsibility to others – both leaders and individuals are responsible for others. Rav Ami says that people only die or are punished for their own sins, not the sins of others. The gemara brings several braitot that seem to contradict. Rav Shmuel bar Nachmani says in the name of Rabbi Yonatan that Reuven did not actually sleep with Bilhah – if so, why does it say he did? The sons of Ely didn’t really sleep with other women – if so, why does it say they did?

זקנים מה חטאו אלא אימא על זקנים שלא מיחו בשרים

what did the Elders, i.e., the Sages of that generation, do that was considered a sin? Rather, say: God will enter into judgment with the Elders because they did not protest the sinful conduct of the princes.

רב יהודה הוה יתיב קמיה דשמואל אתאי ההיא איתתא קא צווחה קמיה ולא הוה משגח בה אמר ליה לא סבר ליה מר אוטם אזנו מזעקת דל גם הוא יקרא ולא יענה אמר ליה שיננא רישך בקרירי רישא דרישיך בחמימי הא יתיב מר עוקבא אב בית דין

The Gemara relates: Rav Yehuda was sitting before Shmuel when this woman came and cried before Shmuel about an injustice that had been committed against her, and Shmuel paid no attention to her. Rav Yehuda said to Shmuel: Doesn’t the Master hold in accordance with the verse: “Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13)? He said to him: Big-toothed one, your superior, i.e., I, your teacher, will be punished in cold water. The superior of your superior will be punished in hot water. Mar Ukva, who sits as president of the court, is responsible for those matters.

דכתיב בית דוד כה אמר ה׳ דינו לבקר משפט והצילו גזול מיד עושק פן תצא כאש חמתי ובערה ואין מכבה מפני רוע מעלליהם וגו׳

And from where is it derived that this responsibility is incumbent upon the house of the Exilarch? As it is written: “House of David, so says the Lord: Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor, lest My fury go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it because of the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 21:12). The Exilarch is a direct descendant of the house of David.

אמר ליה רבי זירא לרבי סימון לוכחינהו מר להני דבי ריש גלותא אמר ליה לא מקבלי מינאי אמר ליה אף על גב דלא מקבלי לוכחינהו מר

With regard to the issue of reprimand, it was related that Rabbi Zeira said to Rabbi Simon: Let the Master reprimand the members of the house of the Exilarch, as Rabbi Simon had some influence over them. Rabbi Simon said to him: They will not accept reprimand from me. Rabbi Zeira said to him: Let my master reprimand them even if they do not accept it.

דאמר רבי אחא ברבי חנינא מעולם לא יצתה מדה טובה מפי הקדוש ברוך הוא וחזר בה לרעה חוץ מדבר זה דכתיב ויאמר ה׳ אליו עבור בתוך העיר בתוך ירושלים והתוית תו על מצחות האנשים הנאנחים והנאנקים על כל התועבות הנעשות בתוכה וגו׳

As Rabbi Aḥa, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: Never did a promise manifesting a good attribute emerge from the mouth of the Holy One, Blessed be He, and He later retracted it and rendered it evil, except with regard to this matter, as it is written: “And the Lord said to him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark [tav] upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry on account of all the abominations that are done in her midst” (Ezekiel 9:4).

אמר ליה הקדוש ברוך הוא לגבריאל לך ורשום על מצחן של צדיקים תיו של דיו שלא ישלטו בהם מלאכי חבלה ועל מצחם של רשעים תיו של דם כדי שישלטו בהן מלאכי חבלה

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to the angel Gabriel: Go and inscribe a tav of ink on the foreheads of the righteous as a sign so that the angels of destruction will not have dominion over them. And inscribe a tav of blood on the foreheads of the wicked as a sign so that the angels of destruction will have dominion over them.

אמרה מדת הדין לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מה נשתנו אלו מאלו אמר לה הללו צדיקים גמורים והללו רשעים גמורים אמרה לפניו רבונו של עולם היה בידם למחות ולא מיחו

The attribute of justice said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, how are these different from those? He said to that attribute: These are full-fledged righteous people and those are full-fledged wicked people. The attribute of justice said to Him: Master of the Universe, it was in the hands of the righteous to protest the conduct of the wicked, and they did not protest.

אמר לה גלוי וידוע לפני שאם מיחו בהם לא יקבלו מהם (אמר) לפניו רבונו של עולם אם לפניך גלוי להם מי גלוי

He said to that attribute: It is revealed and known before Me that even had they protested the conduct of the wicked, they would not have accepted the reprimand from them. They would have continued in their wicked ways. The attribute of justice said before Him: Master of the Universe, if it is revealed before You that their reprimand would have been ineffective, is it revealed to them? The Holy One, Blessed be He, retracted His promise to protect the righteous and decided that those who failed to protest would also be punished.

והיינו דכתיב זקן בחור ובתולה טף ונשים תהרגו למשחית ועל כל איש אשר עליו התו אל תגשו וממקדשי תחלו וכתיב ויחלו באנשים הזקנים אשר לפני הבית תני רב יוסף אל תקרי מקדשי אלא מקודשי אלו בני אדם שקימו את התורה כלה מאלף ועד תיו ומיד והנה ששה אנשים באים מדרך שער העליון אשר מפנה צפונה ואיש כלי מפצו בידו ואיש אחד בתוכם לבש הבדים וקסת הסופר במתניו ויבאו ויעמדו אצל מזבח הנחושת

And that is the meaning of that which is written: “Slay utterly old and young, both maid, and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My Sanctuary” (Ezekiel 9:6). And it is written in that same verse: “Then they began with the elderly men who were before the house.” Rav Yosef taught: Read not: My Sanctuary [mikdashi], rather: Those sanctified to Me [mekudashai]. These are people who observed the whole Torah in its entirety from alef through tav. And immediately: “And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lies toward the north, and every man with his weapon of destruction in his hand; and one man among them was clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkwell by his side; and they went in and stood beside the bronze altar” (Ezekiel 9:2).

מזבח הנחושת מי הוה אמר להו הקדוש ברוך הוא התחילו ממקום שאומרים שירה לפני ומאן נינהו ששה אנשים אמר רב חסדא קצף אף וחימה ומשחית ומשבר ומכלה

The Gemara asks: Was there a bronze altar in the Temple in the time of Ezekiel? Already in the days of Solomon there was only a stone altar. Rather, this should be understood as a figure of speech. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them: Begin from the place where they recite songs of praise before Me. This is a reference to the Levites in the Temple whose musical instruments are made of bronze. And who are the six men mentioned here? Rav Ḥisda said: Fury, Wrath, and Rage, and Destroyer, and Breaker, and Annihilator, six angels of destruction.

ומאי שנא תיו אמר רב תיו תחיה תיו תמות ושמואל אמר תמה זכות אבות ורבי יוחנן אמר תחון זכות אבות

The Gemara asks further: And what is different about the letter tav, that it was inscribed on the foreheads of the righteous? Rav said: Tav is the first letter of the word tiḥye, you shall live, indicating that the righteous shall live. Tav is also the first letter of the word tamut, you shall die, indicating that the wicked shall die. And Shmuel said: The letter tav is the first letter of the word tama, ceased, indicating that the merit of the Patriarchs has ceased and will not help the wicked. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The letter tav is the first letter of the word taḥon, will have mercy, indicating that due to the merit of the Patriarchs God will have mercy on the righteous.

וריש לקיש אמר תיו סוף חותמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא דאמר רבי חנינא חותמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא אמת (אמר) רבי שמואל בר נחמני אלו בני אדם שקימו את התורה כלה מאלף ועד תיו

And Reish Lakish said: The letter tav is the last letter of the seal of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as Rabbi Ḥanina said: The seal of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is truth [emet], which ends with the letter tav. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: The letter tav teaches that these are people who observed the entire Torah from alef through tav.

מאימתי תמה זכות אבות אמר רב מימות הושע בן בארי שנאמר אגלה את נבלתה לעיני מאהביה ואיש לא יצילנה מידי

With regard to the statement that the merit of the Patriarchs has ceased, the Gemara asks: From when did the merit of the Patriarchs cease? Rav said: From the days of the prophet Hosea, son of Beeri, as it is stated: “And now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of My hand” (Hosea 2:12). Israel will no longer be saved by the merit of the Patriarchs.

ושמואל אמר מימי חזאל שנאמר וחזאל מלך ארם לחץ את ישראל כל ימי יהואחז וכתיב ויחן ה׳ אותם וירחמם ויפן אליהם למען בריתו את אברהם יצחק ויעקב ולא אבה השחיתם ולא השליכם מעל פניו עד עתה

And Shmuel said: The merit of the Patriarchs ceased since the days of Hazael, as it is stated: “And Hazael, king of Aram, oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz” (II Kings 13:22). And it is written there: “And the Lord was gracious to them, and had compassion on them, and turned toward them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and would not destroy them; neither has He till now cast them away from His presence” (II Kings 13:23). That was the last time that the merit of the Patriarchs was mentioned.

רבי יהושע בן לוי אמר מימי אליהו שנאמר ויהי בעלות המנחה ויגש אליהו הנביא ויאמר ה׳ אלהי אברהם יצחק וישראל היום יודע כי אתה אלהים בישראל ואני עבדך ובדברך עשיתי [את] כל הדברים האלה וגו׳

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: The merit of the Patriarchs ceased since the days of Elijah the Prophet, as it is stated: “And it came to pass at the time of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the Prophet came near and said, Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word” (I Kings 18:36). By inference: Let it be known this day and not afterward because the merit of the Patriarchs will cease today.

ורבי יוחנן אמר מימי חזקיהו שנאמר למרבה המשרה ולשלום אין קץ על כסא דוד ועל ממלכתו להכין אותה ולסעדה במשפט ובצדקה מעתה ועד עולם קנאת ה׳ צבאות תעשה זאת וגו׳:

And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The merit of the Patriarchs ceased since the days of Hezekiah, as it is stated: “For the increase of the realm and for peace without end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice; from now and forever the zeal of the Lord of hosts performs this” (Isaiah 9:6). That is to say, from this point on, the merit of the Patriarchs will not protect Israel, leaving only the zeal of the Lord.

אמר רב אמי אין מיתה בלא חטא ואין יסורין בלא עון

The Gemara continues its discussion of punishment in general and the relationship between a person’s actions and the punishments meted out against him in particular: Rav Ami said: There is no death without sin; were a person not to sin, he would not die. And there is no suffering without iniquity.

אין מיתה בלא חטא דכתיב הנפש החוטאת היא תמות בן לא ישא בעון האב ואב לא ישא בעון הבן צדקת הצדיק עליו תהיה ורשעת הרשע עליו תהיה וגו׳ אין יסורין בלא עון דכתיב ופקדתי בשבט פשעם ובנגעים עונם

The Gemara adduces proof to these assertions: There is no death without sin, as it is written: “The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). A person dies only because of his own sins and not because of some preexistent sin. And there is no suffering without iniquity, as it is written: “Then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with strokes” (Psalms 89:33).

מיתיבי אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מפני מה קנסת מיתה על אדם הראשון אמר להם מצוה קלה צויתיו ועבר עליה אמר ליה והלא משה ואהרן שקימו כל התורה כלה ומתו אמר ליה מקרה אחד לצדיק ולרשע לטוב וגו׳

The Gemara raises an objection from the following baraita: The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, why did You penalize Adam, the first man, with the death penalty? He said to them: I gave him a simple mitzva, and he violated it. They said to Him: Didn’t Moses and Aaron, who observed the whole Torah in its entirety, nevertheless die? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them, citing the verse: “All things come alike to all; there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him who sacrifices, and to him who does not sacrifice; as is the good, so is the sinner; and he who swears, as he who fears an oath” (Ecclesiastes 9:2). Apparently, death is not dependent upon one’s actions. Everyone dies.

הוא דאמר כי האי תנא דתניא רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר אף משה ואהרן בחטאם מתו שנאמר יען לא האמנתם בי הא האמנתם בי עדין לא הגיע זמנכם ליפטר מן העולם

The Gemara answers: Rav Ami stated his position in accordance with this tanna, as it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar said: Even Moses and Aaron died due to their sin, as it is stated: “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation in to the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:12). Had you believed in Me and spoken to the rock as commanded, your time would not yet have come to leave the world. Apparently, even Moses and Aaron died due to their sins.

מיתיבי ארבעה מתו בעטיו של נחש ואלו הן בנימין בן יעקב ועמרם אבי משה וישי אבי דוד וכלאב בן דוד וכולהו גמרא לבר מישי אבי דוד דמפרש בה קרא דכתיב ואת עמשא שם אבשלום תחת יואב (שר) הצבא ועמשא בן איש ושמו יתרא הישראלי אשר בא אל אביגיל בת נחש אחות צרויה אם יואב

The Gemara raises an objection from what was taught in the following baraita: Four people died due to Adam’s sin with the serpent, in the wake of which death was decreed upon all of mankind, although they themselves were free of sin. And they are: Benjamin, son of Jacob; Amram, father of Moses; Yishai, father of David; and Kilab, son of David. And all of them were learned through tradition, except for Yishai, father of David, with regard to whom there is an explicit verse interpreted homiletically, as it is written: “And Absalom placed Amasa in charge of the army in place of Joab, and Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Israelite, who had taken to himself Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab” (II Samuel 17:25).

וכי בת נחש הואי והלא בת ישי הואי דכתיב ואחיותיהן צרויה ואביגיל אלא בת מי שמת בעטיו של נחש

The Gemara asks: And was Abigal the daughter of Nahash? Wasn’t she the daughter of Yishai, as it is written: “And Yishai begot his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh: and their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. And the sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, and Joab, and Asahel, three. And Abigail bore Amasa; and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite” (I Chronicles 2:13–17)? Apparently, Abigail was the daughter of Yishai. Rather, the verse states that Abigail was the daughter of Nahash in order to teach us that she was the daughter of one who died on account of Adam’s sin with the serpent [naḥash], though he himself was free of sin.

מני אילימא תנא דמלאכי השרת והא איכא משה ואהרן אלא לאו רבי שמעון בן אלעזר היא ושמע מינה יש מיתה בלא חטא ויש יסורין בלא עון ותיובתא דרב אמי תיובתא:

The Gemara now clarifies the matter: Who is the tanna of the baraita that states that four people did not die due to their own sins? If you say that it is the tanna who taught the conversation between the ministering angels and God, it is difficult, as weren’t there also Moses and Aaron who did not die due to their own sins? Rather, it must be Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar, who holds that even Moses and Aaron died because of their own sins. Learn from it then that, in principle, he agrees that there is death without sin and there is suffering without iniquity, and this is a conclusive refutation of the opinion of Rav Ami. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, it is a conclusive refutation.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל האומר ראובן חטא אינו אלא טועה שנאמר ויהיו בני יעקב שנים עשר מלמד שכולן שקולים כאחת אלא מה אני מקיים וישכב את בלהה פילגש אביו מלמד שבלבל מצעו של אביו ומעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו שכב עמה

Having mentioned the sins of some of the significant ancestors of the Jewish people, the Gemara now addresses several additional ancestors. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says that Reuben sinned with Bilhah is nothing other than mistaken, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve” (Genesis 35:22). The fact that the Torah stated the number of Jacob’s sons at that point in the narrative teaches that, even after the incident involving Bilhah, all of the brothers were equal in righteousness. Apparently, Reuben did not sin. How then do I establish the meaning of the verse: “And he lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine”? The plain understanding of the verse indicates sin. This verse teaches that Reuben rearranged his father’s bed in protest of Jacob’s placement of his bed in the tent of Bilhah and not in the tent of his mother Leah after the death of Rachel. And the verse ascribes to him liability for his action as if he had actually lain with Bilhah.

תניא רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר מוצל אותו צדיק מאותו עון ולא בא מעשה זה לידו אפשר עתיד זרעו לעמוד על הר עיבל ולומר ארור שכב עם אשת אביו ויבא חטא זה לידו אלא מה אני מקיים וישכב את בלהה פילגש אביו עלבון אמו תבע אמר אם אחות אמי היתה צרה לאמי שפחת אחות אמי תהא צרה לאמי עמד ובלבל את מצעה

It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: This righteous person, Reuben, was saved from that sin of adultery, and that action did not come to be performed by him? Is it possible that his descendants are destined to stand on Mount Eival and say: “Cursed be he that lies with his father’s wife; because he uncovers his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, amen” (Deuteronomy 27:20), and this sin will come to be performed by him? Is it conceivable that the members of a tribe would curse their ancestor? How then do I establish the meaning of the verse: “And he lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine”? It is understood as follows: He protested the affront to his mother. He said: If my mother’s sister Rachel was a rival to my mother, will my mother’s sister’s concubine be a rival to my mother? He immediately stood and rearranged her bed so that Jacob would enter Leah’s tent.

אחרים אומרים שתי מצעות בלבל אחת של שכינה ואחת של אביו והיינו דכתיב אז חללת יצועי עלה (אל תקרי יצועי אלא יצועיי)

Aḥerim say: He rearranged two beds, one of the Divine Presence and one of his father. And that is the meaning of that which is written: “Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father’s bed; then you did defile it; he went up to my bed [yetzui]” (Genesis 49:4). Do not read it as yetzu’i, in the singular; rather, read it as yetzuai, my beds, in the plural, referring to both the bed of his father and to the bed of the Divine Presence, which rests in the tents of the righteous.

כתנאי פחז כמים אל תותר רבי אליעזר אומר פזתה חבתה זלתה רבי יהושע אומר פסעתה על דת חטאת זנית רבן גמליאל אומר פיללתה חלתה זרחה תפלתך

The Gemara notes that the matter of Reuben’s innocence is parallel to a dispute between tanna’im. As it was taught in a baraita: The verse states: “Unstable [paḥaz] as water, you shall not excel.” The Sages understood paḥaz as an acronym. Rabbi Eliezer says that it means: You were impulsive [pazta], you were liable [ḥavta], and you acted contemptuously [zalta]. Rabbi Yehoshua says that it means: You trampled the law [pasata al dat], you sinned [ḥatata], and you were promiscuous [zanita]. Rabban Gamliel says: The acronym does not refer to Reuben’s sin. It refers to his repentance: You prayed [pilalta], you trembled in fear [ḥalta], and your prayer shone forth [zarḥa].

אמר רבן גמליאל עדין צריכין אנו למודעי רבי אלעזר המודעי אומר הפוך את התיבה ודורשה זעזעתה הרתעתה פרחה חטא ממך רבא אמר ואמרי לה רבי ירמיה בר אבא זכרת עונשו של דבר חלית עצמך חולי גדול פירשת מלחטוא:

Rabban Gamliel said: We still need the explanation of the Modaite, as Rabbi Elazar HaModa’i said: Reverse the order of the letters in the word paḥaz and then interpret it homiletically: You shook [zizata], you recoiled [hirtata]; the ḥet in paḥaz is interchanged with the letter heh, so that you would not sin, and the sin flew [parḥa] from you. Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Elazar HaModa’i are of the opinion that Reuben did not sin. Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua held that he did. Rava said, and some say that Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba said: Reverse the letters in paḥaz and interpret: You remembered [zakharta] the punishment for that offense, you made yourself gravely ill [ḥalita] in order to refrain from sinning, and you successfully withdrew [peirashta] from sinning.

ראובן בני עלי בני שמואל דוד ושלמה ויואש סימן:

The Gemara prefaces the following statements of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani with a mnemonic: Reuben, the sons of Eli, the sons of Samuel, David, Solomon, and Josiah.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל האומר בני עלי חטאו אינו אלא טועה שנאמר ושם שני בני עלי (עם ארון ברית האלהים) חפני ופנחס כהנים לה׳

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says that the sons of Eli sinned is nothing other than mistaken, as it is written: “And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Pinehas, were there priests of the Lord” (I Samuel 1:3).

סבר לה כרב דאמר רב פנחס לא חטא מקיש חפני לפנחס מה פנחס לא חטא אף חפני לא חטא אלא מה אני מקיים אשר ישכבן את הנשים מתוך ששהו את קיניהן שלא הלכו אצל בעליהן מעלה עליהן הכתוב כאילו שכבום

The Gemara explains: Rabbi Yonatan holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav, as Rav said: Pinehas did not sin. And the verse juxtaposes Hophni to Pinehas; just as Pinehas did not sin, so too Hophni did not sin. The Gemara asks: How, then, do I establish the meaning of the verse: “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did to all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the Tent of Meeting” (I Samuel 2:22), which indicates otherwise? The Gemara answers: Since the sons of Eli delayed sacrificing the bird-offerings of women who had given birth, a pair of doves brought as part of the purification process, and this delay caused the women not to go to their husbands in timely fashion, the verse ascribes to Hophni and Pinehas liability as if they had lain with them. They were guilty of nothing more than negligence and carelessness.

גופא אמר רב פנחס לא חטא שנאמר ואחיה בן אחטוב אחי אי כבוד בן פנחס בן עלי כהן ה׳ וגו׳ אפשר חטא בא לידו והכתוב מייחסו

The Gemara now examines the matter itself of Rav’s statement cited in the course of the previous discussion. Rav said: Pinehas did not sin, as it is stated: “And Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Pinehas, the son of Eli, was the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod” (I Samuel 14:3). Is it possible that sin came to Pinehas’ hand and, nevertheless, the verse traces the lineage of his grandson, Ahijah, back to him?

והלא כבר נאמר יכרת ה׳ לאיש אשר יעשנה ער וענה מאהלי יעקב ומגיש מנחה לה׳ צבאות אם ישראל הוא לא יהיה לו ער בחכמים ולא עונה בתלמידים ואם כהן הוא לא יהיה לו בן מגיש מנחה אלא לאו שמע מינה פנחס לא חטא

Wasn’t it was already stated with regard to those who engage in promiscuous relations: “The Lord will cut off from the man that does this, him that is awake and him that answers from the tents of Jacob, or any to present an offering to the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:12). The Sages interpreted the verse homiletically: If the sinner is an Israelite, he will not have among his descendants one who is sharp and awake among the Sages, or even one among their disciples who can answer questions. And if he is a priest, he will not have a son who will present a meal-offering. If Pinehas had sons and grandsons serving as priests, conclude from it that Pinehas did not sin.

אלא הא כתיב אשר ישכבן ישכבן כתיב

The Gemara asks: However, isn’t it written: “And how they lay [yishkevun] with the women.” The verb yishkevun is in the plural, indicating that both sons were guilty. The Gemara answers: It is written without a vav so that it can be read as yishkeven in the singular, i.e., how he lay, indicating that only one of them sinned.

והכתיב אל בני כי לא טובה השמעה אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק בני כתיב

The Gemara asks further: Isn’t it written that Eli said: “No, my sons [banai]; for it is not a good report that I hear; you make the Lord’s people to transgress” (I Samuel 2:24). The fact that Eli referred to his sons in the plural indicates that they both sinned. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It is written in a manner that can be read as my son [beni] in the singular.

והכתיב מעברים אמר רב הונא בריה דרב יהושע מעבירם כתיב

The Gemara raises another question: Isn’t it written: “You make the Lord’s people to transgress [ma’avirim] in the plural, indicating that both sons were guilty. Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, said: Here too, the word is written without a yod so that it can be read as: You cause the Lord’s people to transgress [ma’aviram] in the singular, indicating that only one of them sinned.

והכתיב בני בליעל מתוך שהיה לו לפנחס למחות לחפני ולא מיחה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאלו חטא

The Gemara raises one last challenge: Isn’t it written: “Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they knew not the Lord” (I Samuel 2:12), indicating that they were both sinners. The Gemara answers: Since Pinehas should have protested Hophni’s conduct, but he did not protest, the verse ascribes to him liability as if he too had sinned.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל האומר

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says

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.

Iyar is sponsored by Aviva and Benny Adler in memory of Yosef ben Zvi HaKohen, Dr. Joseph Kahane z"l and Yehuda Aryeh Leib ben Yisachar Dov Barash, Ari Adler z"l.

Want to explore more about the Daf?

See insights from our partners, contributors and community of women learners

daf yomi One week at a time (1)

Shabbat 55-60 – Daf Yomi: One Week at a Time

We will review Daf 55-60 this week. After finishing the 5th chapter, we will start the 6th chapter and discuss...
talking talmud_square

Shabbat 55: The Scarlet Tav

Selecting good people to be protected from the angels of destruction and wicked people to be identified for them. But...
Weaving Wisdom

Rabbis, Archaeologist and Linguists

In the Daf Yomi, we see many interesting discussions about ancient vessels and other types of furnishings and tools.  An...

Shabbat 55

The William Davidson Talmud | Powered by Sefaria

Shabbat 55

זקנים מה חטאו אלא אימא על זקנים שלא מיחו בשרים

what did the Elders, i.e., the Sages of that generation, do that was considered a sin? Rather, say: God will enter into judgment with the Elders because they did not protest the sinful conduct of the princes.

רב יהודה הוה יתיב קמיה דשמואל אתאי ההיא איתתא קא צווחה קמיה ולא הוה משגח בה אמר ליה לא סבר ליה מר אוטם אזנו מזעקת דל גם הוא יקרא ולא יענה אמר ליה שיננא רישך בקרירי רישא דרישיך בחמימי הא יתיב מר עוקבא אב בית דין

The Gemara relates: Rav Yehuda was sitting before Shmuel when this woman came and cried before Shmuel about an injustice that had been committed against her, and Shmuel paid no attention to her. Rav Yehuda said to Shmuel: Doesn’t the Master hold in accordance with the verse: “Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13)? He said to him: Big-toothed one, your superior, i.e., I, your teacher, will be punished in cold water. The superior of your superior will be punished in hot water. Mar Ukva, who sits as president of the court, is responsible for those matters.

דכתיב בית דוד כה אמר ה׳ דינו לבקר משפט והצילו גזול מיד עושק פן תצא כאש חמתי ובערה ואין מכבה מפני רוע מעלליהם וגו׳

And from where is it derived that this responsibility is incumbent upon the house of the Exilarch? As it is written: “House of David, so says the Lord: Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor, lest My fury go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it because of the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 21:12). The Exilarch is a direct descendant of the house of David.

אמר ליה רבי זירא לרבי סימון לוכחינהו מר להני דבי ריש גלותא אמר ליה לא מקבלי מינאי אמר ליה אף על גב דלא מקבלי לוכחינהו מר

With regard to the issue of reprimand, it was related that Rabbi Zeira said to Rabbi Simon: Let the Master reprimand the members of the house of the Exilarch, as Rabbi Simon had some influence over them. Rabbi Simon said to him: They will not accept reprimand from me. Rabbi Zeira said to him: Let my master reprimand them even if they do not accept it.

דאמר רבי אחא ברבי חנינא מעולם לא יצתה מדה טובה מפי הקדוש ברוך הוא וחזר בה לרעה חוץ מדבר זה דכתיב ויאמר ה׳ אליו עבור בתוך העיר בתוך ירושלים והתוית תו על מצחות האנשים הנאנחים והנאנקים על כל התועבות הנעשות בתוכה וגו׳

As Rabbi Aḥa, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: Never did a promise manifesting a good attribute emerge from the mouth of the Holy One, Blessed be He, and He later retracted it and rendered it evil, except with regard to this matter, as it is written: “And the Lord said to him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark [tav] upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry on account of all the abominations that are done in her midst” (Ezekiel 9:4).

אמר ליה הקדוש ברוך הוא לגבריאל לך ורשום על מצחן של צדיקים תיו של דיו שלא ישלטו בהם מלאכי חבלה ועל מצחם של רשעים תיו של דם כדי שישלטו בהן מלאכי חבלה

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to the angel Gabriel: Go and inscribe a tav of ink on the foreheads of the righteous as a sign so that the angels of destruction will not have dominion over them. And inscribe a tav of blood on the foreheads of the wicked as a sign so that the angels of destruction will have dominion over them.

אמרה מדת הדין לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מה נשתנו אלו מאלו אמר לה הללו צדיקים גמורים והללו רשעים גמורים אמרה לפניו רבונו של עולם היה בידם למחות ולא מיחו

The attribute of justice said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, how are these different from those? He said to that attribute: These are full-fledged righteous people and those are full-fledged wicked people. The attribute of justice said to Him: Master of the Universe, it was in the hands of the righteous to protest the conduct of the wicked, and they did not protest.

אמר לה גלוי וידוע לפני שאם מיחו בהם לא יקבלו מהם (אמר) לפניו רבונו של עולם אם לפניך גלוי להם מי גלוי

He said to that attribute: It is revealed and known before Me that even had they protested the conduct of the wicked, they would not have accepted the reprimand from them. They would have continued in their wicked ways. The attribute of justice said before Him: Master of the Universe, if it is revealed before You that their reprimand would have been ineffective, is it revealed to them? The Holy One, Blessed be He, retracted His promise to protect the righteous and decided that those who failed to protest would also be punished.

והיינו דכתיב זקן בחור ובתולה טף ונשים תהרגו למשחית ועל כל איש אשר עליו התו אל תגשו וממקדשי תחלו וכתיב ויחלו באנשים הזקנים אשר לפני הבית תני רב יוסף אל תקרי מקדשי אלא מקודשי אלו בני אדם שקימו את התורה כלה מאלף ועד תיו ומיד והנה ששה אנשים באים מדרך שער העליון אשר מפנה צפונה ואיש כלי מפצו בידו ואיש אחד בתוכם לבש הבדים וקסת הסופר במתניו ויבאו ויעמדו אצל מזבח הנחושת

And that is the meaning of that which is written: “Slay utterly old and young, both maid, and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My Sanctuary” (Ezekiel 9:6). And it is written in that same verse: “Then they began with the elderly men who were before the house.” Rav Yosef taught: Read not: My Sanctuary [mikdashi], rather: Those sanctified to Me [mekudashai]. These are people who observed the whole Torah in its entirety from alef through tav. And immediately: “And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lies toward the north, and every man with his weapon of destruction in his hand; and one man among them was clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkwell by his side; and they went in and stood beside the bronze altar” (Ezekiel 9:2).

מזבח הנחושת מי הוה אמר להו הקדוש ברוך הוא התחילו ממקום שאומרים שירה לפני ומאן נינהו ששה אנשים אמר רב חסדא קצף אף וחימה ומשחית ומשבר ומכלה

The Gemara asks: Was there a bronze altar in the Temple in the time of Ezekiel? Already in the days of Solomon there was only a stone altar. Rather, this should be understood as a figure of speech. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them: Begin from the place where they recite songs of praise before Me. This is a reference to the Levites in the Temple whose musical instruments are made of bronze. And who are the six men mentioned here? Rav Ḥisda said: Fury, Wrath, and Rage, and Destroyer, and Breaker, and Annihilator, six angels of destruction.

ומאי שנא תיו אמר רב תיו תחיה תיו תמות ושמואל אמר תמה זכות אבות ורבי יוחנן אמר תחון זכות אבות

The Gemara asks further: And what is different about the letter tav, that it was inscribed on the foreheads of the righteous? Rav said: Tav is the first letter of the word tiḥye, you shall live, indicating that the righteous shall live. Tav is also the first letter of the word tamut, you shall die, indicating that the wicked shall die. And Shmuel said: The letter tav is the first letter of the word tama, ceased, indicating that the merit of the Patriarchs has ceased and will not help the wicked. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The letter tav is the first letter of the word taḥon, will have mercy, indicating that due to the merit of the Patriarchs God will have mercy on the righteous.

וריש לקיש אמר תיו סוף חותמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא דאמר רבי חנינא חותמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא אמת (אמר) רבי שמואל בר נחמני אלו בני אדם שקימו את התורה כלה מאלף ועד תיו

And Reish Lakish said: The letter tav is the last letter of the seal of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as Rabbi Ḥanina said: The seal of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is truth [emet], which ends with the letter tav. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: The letter tav teaches that these are people who observed the entire Torah from alef through tav.

מאימתי תמה זכות אבות אמר רב מימות הושע בן בארי שנאמר אגלה את נבלתה לעיני מאהביה ואיש לא יצילנה מידי

With regard to the statement that the merit of the Patriarchs has ceased, the Gemara asks: From when did the merit of the Patriarchs cease? Rav said: From the days of the prophet Hosea, son of Beeri, as it is stated: “And now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of My hand” (Hosea 2:12). Israel will no longer be saved by the merit of the Patriarchs.

ושמואל אמר מימי חזאל שנאמר וחזאל מלך ארם לחץ את ישראל כל ימי יהואחז וכתיב ויחן ה׳ אותם וירחמם ויפן אליהם למען בריתו את אברהם יצחק ויעקב ולא אבה השחיתם ולא השליכם מעל פניו עד עתה

And Shmuel said: The merit of the Patriarchs ceased since the days of Hazael, as it is stated: “And Hazael, king of Aram, oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz” (II Kings 13:22). And it is written there: “And the Lord was gracious to them, and had compassion on them, and turned toward them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and would not destroy them; neither has He till now cast them away from His presence” (II Kings 13:23). That was the last time that the merit of the Patriarchs was mentioned.

רבי יהושע בן לוי אמר מימי אליהו שנאמר ויהי בעלות המנחה ויגש אליהו הנביא ויאמר ה׳ אלהי אברהם יצחק וישראל היום יודע כי אתה אלהים בישראל ואני עבדך ובדברך עשיתי [את] כל הדברים האלה וגו׳

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: The merit of the Patriarchs ceased since the days of Elijah the Prophet, as it is stated: “And it came to pass at the time of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the Prophet came near and said, Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word” (I Kings 18:36). By inference: Let it be known this day and not afterward because the merit of the Patriarchs will cease today.

ורבי יוחנן אמר מימי חזקיהו שנאמר למרבה המשרה ולשלום אין קץ על כסא דוד ועל ממלכתו להכין אותה ולסעדה במשפט ובצדקה מעתה ועד עולם קנאת ה׳ צבאות תעשה זאת וגו׳:

And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The merit of the Patriarchs ceased since the days of Hezekiah, as it is stated: “For the increase of the realm and for peace without end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice; from now and forever the zeal of the Lord of hosts performs this” (Isaiah 9:6). That is to say, from this point on, the merit of the Patriarchs will not protect Israel, leaving only the zeal of the Lord.

אמר רב אמי אין מיתה בלא חטא ואין יסורין בלא עון

The Gemara continues its discussion of punishment in general and the relationship between a person’s actions and the punishments meted out against him in particular: Rav Ami said: There is no death without sin; were a person not to sin, he would not die. And there is no suffering without iniquity.

אין מיתה בלא חטא דכתיב הנפש החוטאת היא תמות בן לא ישא בעון האב ואב לא ישא בעון הבן צדקת הצדיק עליו תהיה ורשעת הרשע עליו תהיה וגו׳ אין יסורין בלא עון דכתיב ופקדתי בשבט פשעם ובנגעים עונם

The Gemara adduces proof to these assertions: There is no death without sin, as it is written: “The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). A person dies only because of his own sins and not because of some preexistent sin. And there is no suffering without iniquity, as it is written: “Then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with strokes” (Psalms 89:33).

מיתיבי אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מפני מה קנסת מיתה על אדם הראשון אמר להם מצוה קלה צויתיו ועבר עליה אמר ליה והלא משה ואהרן שקימו כל התורה כלה ומתו אמר ליה מקרה אחד לצדיק ולרשע לטוב וגו׳

The Gemara raises an objection from the following baraita: The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, why did You penalize Adam, the first man, with the death penalty? He said to them: I gave him a simple mitzva, and he violated it. They said to Him: Didn’t Moses and Aaron, who observed the whole Torah in its entirety, nevertheless die? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them, citing the verse: “All things come alike to all; there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him who sacrifices, and to him who does not sacrifice; as is the good, so is the sinner; and he who swears, as he who fears an oath” (Ecclesiastes 9:2). Apparently, death is not dependent upon one’s actions. Everyone dies.

הוא דאמר כי האי תנא דתניא רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר אף משה ואהרן בחטאם מתו שנאמר יען לא האמנתם בי הא האמנתם בי עדין לא הגיע זמנכם ליפטר מן העולם

The Gemara answers: Rav Ami stated his position in accordance with this tanna, as it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar said: Even Moses and Aaron died due to their sin, as it is stated: “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation in to the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:12). Had you believed in Me and spoken to the rock as commanded, your time would not yet have come to leave the world. Apparently, even Moses and Aaron died due to their sins.

מיתיבי ארבעה מתו בעטיו של נחש ואלו הן בנימין בן יעקב ועמרם אבי משה וישי אבי דוד וכלאב בן דוד וכולהו גמרא לבר מישי אבי דוד דמפרש בה קרא דכתיב ואת עמשא שם אבשלום תחת יואב (שר) הצבא ועמשא בן איש ושמו יתרא הישראלי אשר בא אל אביגיל בת נחש אחות צרויה אם יואב

The Gemara raises an objection from what was taught in the following baraita: Four people died due to Adam’s sin with the serpent, in the wake of which death was decreed upon all of mankind, although they themselves were free of sin. And they are: Benjamin, son of Jacob; Amram, father of Moses; Yishai, father of David; and Kilab, son of David. And all of them were learned through tradition, except for Yishai, father of David, with regard to whom there is an explicit verse interpreted homiletically, as it is written: “And Absalom placed Amasa in charge of the army in place of Joab, and Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Israelite, who had taken to himself Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab” (II Samuel 17:25).

וכי בת נחש הואי והלא בת ישי הואי דכתיב ואחיותיהן צרויה ואביגיל אלא בת מי שמת בעטיו של נחש

The Gemara asks: And was Abigal the daughter of Nahash? Wasn’t she the daughter of Yishai, as it is written: “And Yishai begot his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh: and their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. And the sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, and Joab, and Asahel, three. And Abigail bore Amasa; and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite” (I Chronicles 2:13–17)? Apparently, Abigail was the daughter of Yishai. Rather, the verse states that Abigail was the daughter of Nahash in order to teach us that she was the daughter of one who died on account of Adam’s sin with the serpent [naḥash], though he himself was free of sin.

מני אילימא תנא דמלאכי השרת והא איכא משה ואהרן אלא לאו רבי שמעון בן אלעזר היא ושמע מינה יש מיתה בלא חטא ויש יסורין בלא עון ותיובתא דרב אמי תיובתא:

The Gemara now clarifies the matter: Who is the tanna of the baraita that states that four people did not die due to their own sins? If you say that it is the tanna who taught the conversation between the ministering angels and God, it is difficult, as weren’t there also Moses and Aaron who did not die due to their own sins? Rather, it must be Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar, who holds that even Moses and Aaron died because of their own sins. Learn from it then that, in principle, he agrees that there is death without sin and there is suffering without iniquity, and this is a conclusive refutation of the opinion of Rav Ami. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, it is a conclusive refutation.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל האומר ראובן חטא אינו אלא טועה שנאמר ויהיו בני יעקב שנים עשר מלמד שכולן שקולים כאחת אלא מה אני מקיים וישכב את בלהה פילגש אביו מלמד שבלבל מצעו של אביו ומעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו שכב עמה

Having mentioned the sins of some of the significant ancestors of the Jewish people, the Gemara now addresses several additional ancestors. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says that Reuben sinned with Bilhah is nothing other than mistaken, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve” (Genesis 35:22). The fact that the Torah stated the number of Jacob’s sons at that point in the narrative teaches that, even after the incident involving Bilhah, all of the brothers were equal in righteousness. Apparently, Reuben did not sin. How then do I establish the meaning of the verse: “And he lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine”? The plain understanding of the verse indicates sin. This verse teaches that Reuben rearranged his father’s bed in protest of Jacob’s placement of his bed in the tent of Bilhah and not in the tent of his mother Leah after the death of Rachel. And the verse ascribes to him liability for his action as if he had actually lain with Bilhah.

תניא רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר מוצל אותו צדיק מאותו עון ולא בא מעשה זה לידו אפשר עתיד זרעו לעמוד על הר עיבל ולומר ארור שכב עם אשת אביו ויבא חטא זה לידו אלא מה אני מקיים וישכב את בלהה פילגש אביו עלבון אמו תבע אמר אם אחות אמי היתה צרה לאמי שפחת אחות אמי תהא צרה לאמי עמד ובלבל את מצעה

It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: This righteous person, Reuben, was saved from that sin of adultery, and that action did not come to be performed by him? Is it possible that his descendants are destined to stand on Mount Eival and say: “Cursed be he that lies with his father’s wife; because he uncovers his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, amen” (Deuteronomy 27:20), and this sin will come to be performed by him? Is it conceivable that the members of a tribe would curse their ancestor? How then do I establish the meaning of the verse: “And he lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine”? It is understood as follows: He protested the affront to his mother. He said: If my mother’s sister Rachel was a rival to my mother, will my mother’s sister’s concubine be a rival to my mother? He immediately stood and rearranged her bed so that Jacob would enter Leah’s tent.

אחרים אומרים שתי מצעות בלבל אחת של שכינה ואחת של אביו והיינו דכתיב אז חללת יצועי עלה (אל תקרי יצועי אלא יצועיי)

Aḥerim say: He rearranged two beds, one of the Divine Presence and one of his father. And that is the meaning of that which is written: “Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father’s bed; then you did defile it; he went up to my bed [yetzui]” (Genesis 49:4). Do not read it as yetzu’i, in the singular; rather, read it as yetzuai, my beds, in the plural, referring to both the bed of his father and to the bed of the Divine Presence, which rests in the tents of the righteous.

כתנאי פחז כמים אל תותר רבי אליעזר אומר פזתה חבתה זלתה רבי יהושע אומר פסעתה על דת חטאת זנית רבן גמליאל אומר פיללתה חלתה זרחה תפלתך

The Gemara notes that the matter of Reuben’s innocence is parallel to a dispute between tanna’im. As it was taught in a baraita: The verse states: “Unstable [paḥaz] as water, you shall not excel.” The Sages understood paḥaz as an acronym. Rabbi Eliezer says that it means: You were impulsive [pazta], you were liable [ḥavta], and you acted contemptuously [zalta]. Rabbi Yehoshua says that it means: You trampled the law [pasata al dat], you sinned [ḥatata], and you were promiscuous [zanita]. Rabban Gamliel says: The acronym does not refer to Reuben’s sin. It refers to his repentance: You prayed [pilalta], you trembled in fear [ḥalta], and your prayer shone forth [zarḥa].

אמר רבן גמליאל עדין צריכין אנו למודעי רבי אלעזר המודעי אומר הפוך את התיבה ודורשה זעזעתה הרתעתה פרחה חטא ממך רבא אמר ואמרי לה רבי ירמיה בר אבא זכרת עונשו של דבר חלית עצמך חולי גדול פירשת מלחטוא:

Rabban Gamliel said: We still need the explanation of the Modaite, as Rabbi Elazar HaModa’i said: Reverse the order of the letters in the word paḥaz and then interpret it homiletically: You shook [zizata], you recoiled [hirtata]; the ḥet in paḥaz is interchanged with the letter heh, so that you would not sin, and the sin flew [parḥa] from you. Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Elazar HaModa’i are of the opinion that Reuben did not sin. Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua held that he did. Rava said, and some say that Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba said: Reverse the letters in paḥaz and interpret: You remembered [zakharta] the punishment for that offense, you made yourself gravely ill [ḥalita] in order to refrain from sinning, and you successfully withdrew [peirashta] from sinning.

ראובן בני עלי בני שמואל דוד ושלמה ויואש סימן:

The Gemara prefaces the following statements of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani with a mnemonic: Reuben, the sons of Eli, the sons of Samuel, David, Solomon, and Josiah.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל האומר בני עלי חטאו אינו אלא טועה שנאמר ושם שני בני עלי (עם ארון ברית האלהים) חפני ופנחס כהנים לה׳

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says that the sons of Eli sinned is nothing other than mistaken, as it is written: “And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Pinehas, were there priests of the Lord” (I Samuel 1:3).

סבר לה כרב דאמר רב פנחס לא חטא מקיש חפני לפנחס מה פנחס לא חטא אף חפני לא חטא אלא מה אני מקיים אשר ישכבן את הנשים מתוך ששהו את קיניהן שלא הלכו אצל בעליהן מעלה עליהן הכתוב כאילו שכבום

The Gemara explains: Rabbi Yonatan holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav, as Rav said: Pinehas did not sin. And the verse juxtaposes Hophni to Pinehas; just as Pinehas did not sin, so too Hophni did not sin. The Gemara asks: How, then, do I establish the meaning of the verse: “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did to all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the Tent of Meeting” (I Samuel 2:22), which indicates otherwise? The Gemara answers: Since the sons of Eli delayed sacrificing the bird-offerings of women who had given birth, a pair of doves brought as part of the purification process, and this delay caused the women not to go to their husbands in timely fashion, the verse ascribes to Hophni and Pinehas liability as if they had lain with them. They were guilty of nothing more than negligence and carelessness.

גופא אמר רב פנחס לא חטא שנאמר ואחיה בן אחטוב אחי אי כבוד בן פנחס בן עלי כהן ה׳ וגו׳ אפשר חטא בא לידו והכתוב מייחסו

The Gemara now examines the matter itself of Rav’s statement cited in the course of the previous discussion. Rav said: Pinehas did not sin, as it is stated: “And Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Pinehas, the son of Eli, was the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod” (I Samuel 14:3). Is it possible that sin came to Pinehas’ hand and, nevertheless, the verse traces the lineage of his grandson, Ahijah, back to him?

והלא כבר נאמר יכרת ה׳ לאיש אשר יעשנה ער וענה מאהלי יעקב ומגיש מנחה לה׳ צבאות אם ישראל הוא לא יהיה לו ער בחכמים ולא עונה בתלמידים ואם כהן הוא לא יהיה לו בן מגיש מנחה אלא לאו שמע מינה פנחס לא חטא

Wasn’t it was already stated with regard to those who engage in promiscuous relations: “The Lord will cut off from the man that does this, him that is awake and him that answers from the tents of Jacob, or any to present an offering to the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:12). The Sages interpreted the verse homiletically: If the sinner is an Israelite, he will not have among his descendants one who is sharp and awake among the Sages, or even one among their disciples who can answer questions. And if he is a priest, he will not have a son who will present a meal-offering. If Pinehas had sons and grandsons serving as priests, conclude from it that Pinehas did not sin.

אלא הא כתיב אשר ישכבן ישכבן כתיב

The Gemara asks: However, isn’t it written: “And how they lay [yishkevun] with the women.” The verb yishkevun is in the plural, indicating that both sons were guilty. The Gemara answers: It is written without a vav so that it can be read as yishkeven in the singular, i.e., how he lay, indicating that only one of them sinned.

והכתיב אל בני כי לא טובה השמעה אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק בני כתיב

The Gemara asks further: Isn’t it written that Eli said: “No, my sons [banai]; for it is not a good report that I hear; you make the Lord’s people to transgress” (I Samuel 2:24). The fact that Eli referred to his sons in the plural indicates that they both sinned. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It is written in a manner that can be read as my son [beni] in the singular.

והכתיב מעברים אמר רב הונא בריה דרב יהושע מעבירם כתיב

The Gemara raises another question: Isn’t it written: “You make the Lord’s people to transgress [ma’avirim] in the plural, indicating that both sons were guilty. Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, said: Here too, the word is written without a yod so that it can be read as: You cause the Lord’s people to transgress [ma’aviram] in the singular, indicating that only one of them sinned.

והכתיב בני בליעל מתוך שהיה לו לפנחס למחות לחפני ולא מיחה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאלו חטא

The Gemara raises one last challenge: Isn’t it written: “Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they knew not the Lord” (I Samuel 2:12), indicating that they were both sinners. The Gemara answers: Since Pinehas should have protested Hophni’s conduct, but he did not protest, the verse ascribes to him liability as if he too had sinned.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל האומר

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says

More Ways to Learn with Hadran

Join Hadran Communities! Connect with women learning in your area.

Scroll To Top