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Today's Daf Yomi

November 5, 2015 | כ״ג במרחשון תשע״ו

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

Sotah 10

הוחל שבועתו של אבימלך דכתיב אם תשקר לי ולניני ולנכדי

Samson’s parents were being told that the oath of Abimelech, king of the Philistines, was negated, as it is written that Abimelech said to our forefather Abraham: “Now therefore swear unto me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son; but according to the kindness that I have done unto you, you shall do to me, and to the land wherein you have sojourned” (Genesis 21:23). The oath of the descendants of Abraham was no longer binding since the Philistines broke their oath by subjugating the Jewish people.

ויגדל הנער ויברכהו ה׳ במה ברכו אמר רב יהודה אמר רב שברכו באמתו אמתו כבני אדם וזרעו כנחל שוטף

The verse states: “And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24). The Gemara asks: With what did He bless him? Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: It means that He blessed him with regard to his penis, that despite his youth his penis should function like that of physically mature men, and that his seed should be like an overflowing river.

ויקרא שמשון אל ה׳ ויאמר ה׳ אלהים זכרני נא וחזקני נא אך הפעם הזה ואנקמה נקם אחת משתי עיני מפלשתים אמר רב אמר שמשון לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם זכור לי עשרים ושתים שנה ששפטתי את ישראל ולא אמרתי לאחד מהם העבר לי מקל ממקום למקום

Prior to Samson’s death, the verse states: “And Samson called unto the Lord, and said: Lord God, remember me, I pray to You, and strengthen me, I pray to You, only this once, O God, that I may be this once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” (Judges 16:28). Rav said that Samson said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, remember on my behalf the twenty-two years that I judged the Jewish people without receiving any reward, and I did not even say to any one of them: Move a stick for me from one place to another place.

וילך שמשון וילכד שלש מאות שועלים מאי שנא שועלים אמר רבי איבו בר נגדי אמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר שמשון יבא מי שחוזר לאחוריו ויפרע מפלשתים שחזרו בשבועתן

The verse states earlier: “And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch in the midst between every two tails” (Judges 15:4). The Gemara asks: What is different about foxes than any other animal, that he chose them for this purpose? Rabbi Aivu bar Nagdi says that Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says: Samson said: Let the animal that goes in reverse when it tries to escape, i.e., the fox, come and exact punishment from the Philistines, who reneged on their oath that Abimelech swore to Abraham.

תניא אמר רבי שמעון החסיד בין כתיפיו של שמשון ששים אמה היה שנאמר וישכב שמשון עד חצי הלילה ויקם בחצי הלילה ויאחז בדלתות שער העיר ובשתי המזזות ויסעם עם הבריח וישם על כתיפיו וגמירי דאין דלתות עזה פחותות מששים אמה

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon the Pious said: The width between the shoulders of Samson was sixty cubits, as it is stated: “And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and grabbed hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron” (Judges 16:3). The verse indicates that the width of the gate of the city of Gaza was equal to the width of Samson’s shoulders, and it is learned as a tradition that doors of the gate of Gaza were no less than sixty cubits wide.

ויהי טוחן בבית האסורים אמר רבי יוחנן אין טחינה אלא לשון עבירה וכן הוא אומר תטחן לאחר אשתי מלמד שכל אחד ואחד הביא לו את אשתו לבית האסורים כדי שתתעבר הימנו אמר רב פפא היינו דאמרי אינשי קמי דשתי חמרא חמרא קמי רפוקא גרידיא דובלא

With regard to Samson’s capture, the verse states: “And the Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison-house” (Judges 16:21). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Grinding is nothing other than a language of a transgression of sexual intercourse, and so the verse says: “Then let my wife grind unto another man” (Job 31:10). This teaches that each and every Philistine man brought his wife to the prison in order that she should be impregnated by Samson. Rav Pappa said: This is an example of the folk saying that people say: Before a wine drinker, bring wine; before one who digs in the ground, bring figs. So too, Samson, who married Philistine women, was brought more Philistine women while in prison.

ואמר רבי יוחנן כל המזנה אשתו מזננת עליו שנאמר אם נפתה לבי על אשה ועל פתח רעי ארבתי וכתיב תטחן לאחר אשתי ועליה יכרעון אחרין והיינו דאמרי אינשי איהו בי קארי ואיתתיה בי בוציני

And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: With regard to anyone who commits adultery, his wife commits adultery against him, as it is stated: “If my heart has been enticed unto a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door” (Job 31:9), and it is written: “Then let my wife grind unto another man and may strangers kneel over her” (Job 31:10). And this explains the folk saying that people say: He is found among the pumpkins [karei] and his wife among the zucchinis [butzinei], which are similar types of vegetables. In other words, she acts the same way that he does.

ואמר רבי יוחנן שמשון דן את ישראל כאביהם שבשמים שנאמר דן ידין עמו כאחד וגו׳ ואמר רבי יוחנן שמשון על שמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא נקרא שנאמר כי שמש ומגן ה׳ אלהים וגו׳ אלא מעתה לא ימחה אלא מעין שמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא מה הקדוש ברוך הוא מגין על כל העולם כולו אף שמשון מגין בדורו על ישראל

And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Samson judged the Jewish people as their Father in Heaven does, with complete justice, as it is stated: “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel” (Genesis 49:16), which is interpreted to mean that Samson, from the tribe of Dan, judges his people just as God, Who is “One.” And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Samson [Shimshon] is called by the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “For the Lord God is a sun [shemesh] and a shield” (Psalms 84:12). The Gemara comments: If that is so, then his name should not be erased just like other sanctified names are not erased. Rather, he is not called by the name of God but his name is akin to the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, protects the entire world, so too Samson, in his generation, protected all the Jewish people.

ואמר רבי יוחנן בלעם חיגר ברגלו אחת היה שנאמר וילך שפי שמשון חיגר בשתי רגליו היה שנאמר שפיפן עלי ארח

And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Balaam was lame in one of his legs, as it is stated with regard to him: “And he went, limping [shefi]” (Numbers 23:3). Samson was lame in both of his two legs, as it is stated that when Jacob mentioned the tribe of Dan in the prophecy that pertained to Samson, he referred to him as: “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake [shefifon] in the path” (Genesis 49:17), which is double shefi, i.e., doubly lame.

תנו רבנן חמשה נבראו מעין דוגמא של מעלה וכולן לקו בהן שמשון בכחו שאול בצוארו אבשלום בשערו צדקיה בעיניו אסא ברגליו

§ The Sages taught in a baraita: Five individuals were created with a characteristic that is akin to a representation of the One on High, and they were all stricken by that characteristic. Samson was glorified in his strength, Saul in his neck (see I Samuel 9:2), Absalom in his hair, Zedekiah in his eyes, and Asa in his feet.

שמשון בכחו דכתיב ויסר כחו מעליו

The Gemara clarifies: Samson was stricken by his strength, which led to his demise, as it is written: “And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man and had the seven locks of his head shaved off; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him” (Judges 16:19).

שאול בצוארו דכתיב ויקח שאול את החרב ויפל עליה

Saul was smitten in his neck, as it is written: “Then said Saul to his armor-bearer: Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and make a mock of me. But his armor-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore, Saul took his sword and fell upon it” (I Samuel 31:4); he fell with his neck upon the sword.

אבשלום בשערו כדבעינן למימר קמן צדקיה בעיניו דכתיב ואת עיני צדקיהו עור

Absalom was stricken in his hair, as we will state later. Zedekiah was stricken in his eyes, as it is written: “And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters, and carried him to Babylon” (II Kings 25:7).

אסא ברגליו דכתיב רק לעת זקנתו חלה את רגליו ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב שאחזתו פדגרא אמר ליה מר זוטרא בריה דרב נחמן לרב נחמן היכי דמי פדגרא אמר ליה כמחט בבשר החי מנא ידע איכא דאמרי מיחש הוה חש ביה ואיכא דאמרי מרביה שמע ליה ואיכא דאמרי סוד ה׳ ליראיו ובריתו להודיעם

Asa was stricken in his feet, as it is written: “Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet” (I Kings 15:23). And Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: This indicates that gout [padagra] grabbed hold of him. Mar Zutra, son of Rav Naḥman, said to Rav Naḥman: What are the circumstances of gout? What pain does it involve? He said to him: It feels like a needle inserted into living flesh. The Gemara asks: From where did he know this? The Gemara answers: Some say that he himself suffered from this condition, and some say that he heard it from his teacher, and some say that he knew it through divine inspiration, as it stated: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and His covenant, to make them know it” (Psalms 25:14).

דרש רבא מפני מה נענש אסא מפני שעשה אנגריא בתלמידי חכמים שנאמר והמלך אסא השמיע את כל יהודה אין נקי מאי אין נקי אמר רב יהודה אמר רב אפילו חתן מחדרו וכלה מחופתה

Rava taught: For what reason was Asa punished in his feet? Because he made Torah scholars perform forced labor [angarya], as it is stated: “Then King Asa made a proclamation unto all Judah; none was exempted; and they carried away the stones of Ramah and the timber thereof, with which Baasa had built, and King Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah” (I Kings 15:22). The superfluous expression “unto all” indicates that the proclamation was issued to everyone, including Torah scholars. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the next phrase in the verse: “None was exempted [ein naki]”? Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: This includes even a bridegroom from his chamber and a bride from her canopy, as the verse states with regard to a bridegroom: “He shall be free [naki] for his house one year” (Deuteronomy 24:5).

כתיב וירד שמשון תמנתה וכתיב הנה חמיך עלה תמנתה אמר רבי אלעזר שמשון שנתגנה בה כתיב ביה ירידה יהודה שנתעלה בה כתיב ביה עליה

§ It is written with regard to Samson: “And Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines” (Judges 14:1), and it is written in the Torah passage concerning the incident of Judah and Tamar: “And it was told to Tamar, saying: Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to sheer his sheep” (Genesis 38:13). The verses contain an apparent contradiction as to whether Timnah was a place to which one must descend or a place to which one must ascend. Rabbi Elazar says: These terms do not refer to the manner of traveling to Timnah but are used figuratively. Concerning Samson, who was disgraced there in Timnah, the term indicating descent is written with regard to his journey. Concerning Judah, who was elevated there, the term indicating ascent is written with regard to his journey.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר שתי תמנאות היו חדא בירידה וחדא בעליה

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says differently: There were two cities named Timnah, one was reached by descent into a valley, and one was reached by ascent.

רב פפא אמר חדא תמנה הואי דאתי מהאי גיסא ירידה ודאתי מהאי גיסא עליה כגון ורדוניא ובי בארי ושוקא דנרש

Rav Pappa said differently: There was one Timnah, and it was located on the slope of a mountain. One who came from this side reached it by descent, and one who came from that side reached it by ascent. The Gemara presents examples of such cities: For example: Vardonia, and Bei Varei, and the market of Neresh.

ותשב בפתח עינים אמר רבי אלכסנדרי מלמד שהלכה וישבה לה בפתחו של אברהם אבינו מקום שכל עינים צופות לראותו רבי חנין אמר רב מקום הוא ששמו עינים וכן הוא אומר תפוח והעינם

The verse states with regard to Tamar: “And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the entrance of Enaim [befetaḥ einayim], which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife” (Genesis 38:14). The amora’im dispute the meaning of the word einayim. Rabbi Alexandri says: This teaches that she went and she sat at the entrance of the home of Abraham our forefather, a place that all eyes hope to see it, as she was certain that Judah would pass there. Rabbi Ḥanin says that Rav says: It is a place called Enaim, and similarly the verse states in the list of cities in Eretz Yisrael in the portion of Judah: “Tappuah and Enam” (Joshua 15:34).

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר שנתנה עינים לדבריה כשתבעה אמר לה שמא נכרית את אמרה ליה גיורת אני שמא אשת איש את אמרה ליה פנויה אני שמא קיבל בך אביך קידושין אמרה ליה יתומה אני שמא טמאה את אמרה ליה טהורה אני

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: She provided eyes [einayim] for her statements, i.e., with her words she provided an opening [petaḥ] for Judah to solicit her. When Judah solicited her to engage in sexual intercourse with him, he first attempted to verify her status and said to her: Are you perhaps are a gentile? She said to him: I am a convert. He asked: Perhaps you are a married woman? She said to him: I am an unmarried woman. He asked: Perhaps your father accepted betrothal for you and you are unaware of it? She said to him: I am an orphan. He asked: Maybe you are impure? She said to him: I am pure.

ויטע אשל בבאר שבע אמר ריש לקיש מלמד שעשה פרדס ונטע בו כל מיני מגדים

The Gemara discusses Abraham’s house: It is written: “And he planted an eshel in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). Reish Lakish says: This teaches that Abraham made an orchard and planted in it all kinds of sweet things.

רבי יהודה ורבי נחמיה חד אמר פרדס וחד אמר פונדק בשלמא למאן דאמר פרדס היינו דכתיב ויטע אלא למאן דאמר פונדק מאי ויטע כדכתיב ויטע אהלי אפדנו וגו׳

The tanna’im Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Neḥemya disagree as to the meaning of the word “eshel.” One said that it means an orchard [pardes], and one said that it means an inn [pundak]. The Gemara continues: Granted, according to the one who said that it means an orchard, this is what is written: “And he planted,” and this is suitable language for an orchard. But according to the one who said that he opened an inn, what is the meaning of the phrase “and he planted”? The Gemara answers: As it is written: “And he shall plant [vayitta] the tents of his palace between the seas and the beauteous holy mountain; and he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:45), indicating that the word vayitta, and he planted, is also used to indicate pitching tents.

ויקרא שם בשם ה׳ אל עולם אמר ריש לקיש אל תיקרי ויקרא

The verse there states: “And he planted an eshel in Beersheba, and called there [vayyikra] on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). Reish Lakish said: Do not read this word literally as “vayyikra,” and he called,

אלא ויקריא מלמד שהקריא אברהם אבינו לשמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא בפה כל עובר ושב כיצד לאחר שאכלו ושתו עמדו לברכו אמר להם וכי משלי אכלתם משל אלהי עולם אכלתם הודו ושבחו וברכו למי שאמר והיה העולם

but rather as vayyakri, and he caused others to call. This teaches that Abraham our forefather caused the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, to be called out in the mouth of all passersby. How so? After the guests of Abraham ate and drank, they arose to bless him. He said to them: But did you eat from what is mine? Rather, you ate from the food of the God of the world. Therefore, you should thank and praise and bless the One Who spoke and the world was created. In this way, Abraham caused everyone to call out to God.

ויראה יהודה ויחשבה לזונה כי כסתה פניה משום דכסתה פניה חשבה לזונה

The Gemara continues its discussion of the incident of Judah and Tamar. It is written: “When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a prostitute, for she had covered her face” (Genesis 38:15). The Gemara asks: Because she had covered her face he thought her to be a prostitute? Prostitutes usually uncover their faces in order to attract men.

אמר רבי אלעזר שכסתה פניה בבית חמיה דאמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל כלה שהיא צנועה בבית חמיה זוכה ויוצאין ממנה מלכים ונביאים מנלן מתמר נביאים דכתיב חזון ישעיהו בן אמוץ מלכים מדוד ואמר רבי לוי דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו אמוץ ואמציה אחים הוו

Rabbi Elazar says: The verse means that Tamar covered her face in the home of her father-in-law, Judah. Therefore, he did not recognize her when her face was uncovered. As Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: Any daughter-in-law who is modest in the house of her father-in-law merits that kings and prophets emerge from her. From where do we derive this? From Tamar. Prophets emerged from her, as it is written: “The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz” (Isaiah 1:1). Kings emerged from her, as seen from David. And Rabbi Levi says: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors: Amoz, father of Isaiah, and Amaziah, king of Judea, were brothers. This indi-cates that Isaiah was also from the house of David and therefore a descendant of Tamar.

היא מוצאת היא מיתוצאת מיבעי ליה אמר רבי אלעזר לאחר שנמצאו סימניה בא סמאל וריחקן בא גבריאל וקירבן

The verse describes Tamar’s court hearing: “When she was brought forth [mutzet], she sent to her father-in-law, saying: By the man whose these are, am I with child” (Genesis 38:25). The Gemara comments: It should have stated: When she was mitutzet. The word mutzet also carries the implication of being found. What then, is taught by the use of that term? Rabbi Elazar says: After her signs, which she was using to prove that she was impregnated by Judah, were brought out, the evil angel Samael came and distanced them from each other in an attempt to prevent Judah’s admission and Tamar’s survival, which would enable the birth of King David. The angel Gabriel then came and moved the signs closer again. Therefore, the word mutzet is used, as it alludes to the signs being found again.

היינו דכתיב למנצח על יונת אלם רחוקים לדוד מכתם אמר רבי יוחנן משעה שנתרחקו סימניה נעשית כיונה אילמת לדוד מכתם שיצא ממנה דוד שהיה מך ותם לכל דבר אחר מכתם שהיתה מכתו תמה שנולד כשהוא מהול דבר אחר מכתם כשם שבקטנותו הקטין עצמו אצל מי שגדול ממנו ללמוד תורה כך בגדולתו

The Gemara comments: This is as it is written: “For the leader, upon yonat eilem reḥokim, a psalm [mikhtam] of David” (Psalms 56:1). Rabbi Yoḥanan says the verse means: From the moment that her signs were distanced [reḥokim], she became like a mute dove [yona illemet]. And the phrase “a psalm [mikhtam] of David” means: The one from whom David emerged, as he was modest [makh] and flawless [tam] with everyone. Alternatively, mikhtam indicates that makkato, the place on his body that would have required wounding [makka], was complete [tama], i.e., that David was born circumcised. Alternatively, mikhtam indicates that just as in his youth David made himself small in front of one who was greater than him in order to learn Torah from that person, so too, when he became great and was crowned king, he still behaved in this manner, so that his modesty, makh, was complete, tam, all of his life.

והיא שלחה אל חמיה לאמר לאיש אשר אלה לו אנכי הרה ותימא ליה מימר אמר רב זוטרא בר טוביה אמר רב ואמרי לה אמר רב חנא בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא ואמרי לה אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי נוח לו לאדם שיפיל עצמו לתוך כבשן האש ואל ילבין פני חבירו ברבים מנלן מתמר

The verse concerning Tamar then states: “She sent to her father-in-law, saying: By the man whose these are, am I with child” (Genesis 38:25). The Gemara comments: And let her say to him explicitly that she was impregnated by him. Rav Zutra bar Tuviyya says that Rav says, and some say Rav Ḥana bar Bizna says that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida says, and some say that Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: It is more amenable for a person to throw himself into a fiery furnace if faced with the choice of publicly embarrassing another or remaining silent even if it leads to being burned, and not humiliate another in public. From where do we derive this? From Tamar, as she was prepared to be burned if Judah did not confess, rather than humiliate him in public.

הכר נא אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא בהכר בישר לאביו בהכר בישרוהו בהכר בישר הכר נא הכתנת בנך היא בהכר בישרוהו הכר נא למי

The verse continues: “And she said: Discern, please, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff” (Genesis 38:25). Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: With use of the word discern Judah informed his father that Joseph was lost, and also with use of the word discern they informed Judah about the signs. The Gemara explains: With the word discern he informed Jacob his father when he brought him the coat of Joseph and said to his father: “And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father; and said: This have we found. Discern now whether it is your son’s coat or not” (Genesis 37:32). With the word discern they informed him: “And she said: Discern, please, whose are these.”

נא אין נא אלא לשון בקשה אמרה ליה בבקשה ממך הכר פני בוראך ואל תעלים עיניך ממני

It states: “Discern, please [na].” The word na is nothing other than a language of request. The Gemara explains: She said to him: I request of you: Discern the image of your Creator in every person, and do not avert your eyes from me.

ויכר יהודה ויאמר צדקה ממני היינו דאמר רב חנין בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא יוסף שקדש שם שמים בסתר זכה והוסיפו לו אות אחת משמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא דכתיב עדות ביהוסף שמו

The verse states: “And Judah acknowledged them, and said: She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son” (Genesis 38:26). This is the same as Rav Ḥanin bar Bizna says that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida says: Joseph, who sanctified the name of Heaven in private by not committing adultery with the wife of Potiphar, merited that one letter from the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, was added to his name, as it is written: “He appointed it in Joseph [bihosef ] for a testimony in his name, when He went forth against the land of Egypt” (Psalms 81:6). In this verse the name Joseph is written with an additional letter heh, found in the ineffable name of God.

יהודה שקדש שם שמים בפרהסיא זכה ונקרא כולו על שמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא כיון שהודה ואמר צדקה ממני יצתה בת קול ואמרה אתה הצלת תמר ושני בניה מן האור חייך שאני מציל בזכותך שלשה מבניך מן האור מאן נינהו חנניה מישאל ועזריה

He continues: Judah, who sanctified the name of Heaven in public, merited that his entire name is called by the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for all the letters of the ineffable name of God are included within the name of Judah, with the addition of the letter dalet. When he confessed and said: “She is more righteous than I,” a Divine Voice went forth and said: You saved Tamar and her two children in her womb from being burned by the fire. By your life, i.e., in your merit, I will save three of your children from the fire. And who are they? Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (see Daniel, chapter 3).

צדקה ממני מנא ידע יצתה בת קול ואמרה ממני יצאו כבושים

Judah said: “She is more righteous than I [mimmenni].” The word “mimmenni” can also be understood as “from me,” with Judah thereby admitting that he is the father. The Gemara asks: From where did he know that it was in fact from him that Tamar was pregnant? The Gemara answers: A Divine Voice went forth and said: From Me these hidden matters emerged, and this woman will be the mother of royalty, which requires that Judah be the father.

ולא יסף עוד לדעתה אמר שמואל סבא חמוה דרב שמואל בר אמי משמיה דרב שמואל בר אמי כיון שידעה שוב לא פסק ממנה כתיב הכא ולא יסף עוד לדעתה וכתיב התם קול גדול ולא יסף

The same verse continues: “And he knew her [leda’atah] again no more [velo yasaf ],” seemingly indicating that Judah did not engage in sexual intercourse with Tamar again. Shmuel the Elder, father-in-law of Rav Shmuel bar Ami, says in the name of Rav Shmuel bar Ami: The verse actually means that once he knew of her that her intentions were for the sake of Heaven, he did not desist from engaging in sexual intercourse with her again, as it is written here: “Velo yasaf od leda’atah,” and it is written there at the giving of the Torah: “These words the Lord spoke unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice and it went on no more [velo yasaf ]” (Deuteronomy 5:18), which is interpreted to mean: A great voice that did not cease.

אבשלום נתגאה בשערו וכו׳ תנו רבנן אבשלום בשערו מרד שנאמר וכאבשלום לא היה איש יפה וגו׳ ובגלחו את ראשו והיה מקץ ימים לימים אשר יגלח כי כבד עליו וגלחו ושקל את שער ראשו מאתים שקלים באבן המלך תנא אבן שאנשי טבריא ואנשי ציפורי שוקלים בה

§ The mishna teaches: Absalom was excessively proud of his hair, and therefore he was hung by his hair. The Sages taught (Tosefta 3:16): Absalom rebelled and sinned due to his hair, as it is stated: “Now in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty; from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he shaved his head, as it was at every year’s end that he shaved it; because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he shaved it, and he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, by the king’s stone” (II Samuel 14:25–26). What is the king’s stone? The Sages taught: A stone with which the people of Tiberias and the people of Tzippori weigh items.

לפיכך נתלה בשערו שנאמר ויקרא אבשלום לפני עבדי דוד ואבשלום רכב על הפרד ויבא הפרד תחת שובך האלה הגדולה ויחזק ראשו באלה ויתן בין השמים ובין הארץ והפרד אשר תחתיו עבר שקל ספסירא בעא למיפסקיה תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל באותה שעה נבקע שאול מתחתיו

The baraita continues: And since he was proud of his hair, therefore, he was hung by his hair, as it is stated in the verse describing the battle between the forces of David and Absalom: “And Absalom chanced to meet the servants of David. And Absalom was riding upon his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth, and his head caught hold of the terebinth, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went on” (II Samuel 18:9). After he was spotted by the opposing troops, Absalom took a sword [safseira] and wanted to cut his hair to save himself. The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: At that moment, the gates of the netherworld opened beneath him and he was afraid to fall into it, so he did not cut his hair, and he was killed by the opposing troops.

וירגז המלך ויעל על עליית השער ויבך וכה אמר בלכתו בני אבשלום בני בני אבשלום מי יתן מותי אני תחתיך אבשלום בני בני והמלך לאט את פניו ויזעק המלך קול גדול בני אבשלום אבשלום בני בני הני תמניא בני למה שבעה דאסקיה משבעה מדורי גיהנם ואידך איכא דאמרי דקריב רישיה לגבי גופיה ואיכא דאמרי דאייתיה לעלמא דאתי

It is written with regard to David’s reaction after he learns of the death of Absalom: “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went about he said: O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died in your place, O Absalom, my son, my son” (II Samuel 19:1), and a few verses later it adds: “And the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice: O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son” (II Samuel 19:5). The Gemara asks: Why are there these eight mentions of “my son” by David, i.e., to what do they correspond? The Gemara answers: Seven times he said “my son,” by which he raised him up from the seven chambers of Gehenna. And as for the other, eighth, time, some say that David brought the head of Absalom close to Absalom’s body, and some say that with this eighth mention David brought Absalom to the World-to-Come.

ואבשלום לקח ויצב לו בחייו מאי לקח אמר ריש לקיש שלקח מקח רע לעצמו את מצבת אשר בעמק המלך וגו׳ אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא בעצה עמוקה של מלכו של עולם

It is written there: “Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself the pillar, which is in the king’s valley; for he said: I have no son to keep my name in remembrance” (II Samuel 18:18). The Gemara asks: What did Absalom take? Reish Lakish says: He engaged in a bad transaction for himself by accepting bad advice for which he was punished. The verse continues: “The pillar, which is in the king’s valley [be’emek hammelekh].” Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: This alludes to the pillar that is in the deep [amukka] counsel of the King [melekh] of the universe, as God had already decreed in the aftermath of the incident with Bathsheba that this would occur.

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Sotah 10

The William Davidson Talmud | Powered by Sefaria

Sotah 10

הוחל שבועתו של אבימלך דכתיב אם תשקר לי ולניני ולנכדי

Samson’s parents were being told that the oath of Abimelech, king of the Philistines, was negated, as it is written that Abimelech said to our forefather Abraham: “Now therefore swear unto me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son; but according to the kindness that I have done unto you, you shall do to me, and to the land wherein you have sojourned” (Genesis 21:23). The oath of the descendants of Abraham was no longer binding since the Philistines broke their oath by subjugating the Jewish people.

ויגדל הנער ויברכהו ה׳ במה ברכו אמר רב יהודה אמר רב שברכו באמתו אמתו כבני אדם וזרעו כנחל שוטף

The verse states: “And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24). The Gemara asks: With what did He bless him? Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: It means that He blessed him with regard to his penis, that despite his youth his penis should function like that of physically mature men, and that his seed should be like an overflowing river.

ויקרא שמשון אל ה׳ ויאמר ה׳ אלהים זכרני נא וחזקני נא אך הפעם הזה ואנקמה נקם אחת משתי עיני מפלשתים אמר רב אמר שמשון לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם זכור לי עשרים ושתים שנה ששפטתי את ישראל ולא אמרתי לאחד מהם העבר לי מקל ממקום למקום

Prior to Samson’s death, the verse states: “And Samson called unto the Lord, and said: Lord God, remember me, I pray to You, and strengthen me, I pray to You, only this once, O God, that I may be this once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” (Judges 16:28). Rav said that Samson said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, remember on my behalf the twenty-two years that I judged the Jewish people without receiving any reward, and I did not even say to any one of them: Move a stick for me from one place to another place.

וילך שמשון וילכד שלש מאות שועלים מאי שנא שועלים אמר רבי איבו בר נגדי אמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר שמשון יבא מי שחוזר לאחוריו ויפרע מפלשתים שחזרו בשבועתן

The verse states earlier: “And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch in the midst between every two tails” (Judges 15:4). The Gemara asks: What is different about foxes than any other animal, that he chose them for this purpose? Rabbi Aivu bar Nagdi says that Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says: Samson said: Let the animal that goes in reverse when it tries to escape, i.e., the fox, come and exact punishment from the Philistines, who reneged on their oath that Abimelech swore to Abraham.

תניא אמר רבי שמעון החסיד בין כתיפיו של שמשון ששים אמה היה שנאמר וישכב שמשון עד חצי הלילה ויקם בחצי הלילה ויאחז בדלתות שער העיר ובשתי המזזות ויסעם עם הבריח וישם על כתיפיו וגמירי דאין דלתות עזה פחותות מששים אמה

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon the Pious said: The width between the shoulders of Samson was sixty cubits, as it is stated: “And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and grabbed hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron” (Judges 16:3). The verse indicates that the width of the gate of the city of Gaza was equal to the width of Samson’s shoulders, and it is learned as a tradition that doors of the gate of Gaza were no less than sixty cubits wide.

ויהי טוחן בבית האסורים אמר רבי יוחנן אין טחינה אלא לשון עבירה וכן הוא אומר תטחן לאחר אשתי מלמד שכל אחד ואחד הביא לו את אשתו לבית האסורים כדי שתתעבר הימנו אמר רב פפא היינו דאמרי אינשי קמי דשתי חמרא חמרא קמי רפוקא גרידיא דובלא

With regard to Samson’s capture, the verse states: “And the Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison-house” (Judges 16:21). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Grinding is nothing other than a language of a transgression of sexual intercourse, and so the verse says: “Then let my wife grind unto another man” (Job 31:10). This teaches that each and every Philistine man brought his wife to the prison in order that she should be impregnated by Samson. Rav Pappa said: This is an example of the folk saying that people say: Before a wine drinker, bring wine; before one who digs in the ground, bring figs. So too, Samson, who married Philistine women, was brought more Philistine women while in prison.

ואמר רבי יוחנן כל המזנה אשתו מזננת עליו שנאמר אם נפתה לבי על אשה ועל פתח רעי ארבתי וכתיב תטחן לאחר אשתי ועליה יכרעון אחרין והיינו דאמרי אינשי איהו בי קארי ואיתתיה בי בוציני

And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: With regard to anyone who commits adultery, his wife commits adultery against him, as it is stated: “If my heart has been enticed unto a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door” (Job 31:9), and it is written: “Then let my wife grind unto another man and may strangers kneel over her” (Job 31:10). And this explains the folk saying that people say: He is found among the pumpkins [karei] and his wife among the zucchinis [butzinei], which are similar types of vegetables. In other words, she acts the same way that he does.

ואמר רבי יוחנן שמשון דן את ישראל כאביהם שבשמים שנאמר דן ידין עמו כאחד וגו׳ ואמר רבי יוחנן שמשון על שמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא נקרא שנאמר כי שמש ומגן ה׳ אלהים וגו׳ אלא מעתה לא ימחה אלא מעין שמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא מה הקדוש ברוך הוא מגין על כל העולם כולו אף שמשון מגין בדורו על ישראל

And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Samson judged the Jewish people as their Father in Heaven does, with complete justice, as it is stated: “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel” (Genesis 49:16), which is interpreted to mean that Samson, from the tribe of Dan, judges his people just as God, Who is “One.” And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Samson [Shimshon] is called by the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “For the Lord God is a sun [shemesh] and a shield” (Psalms 84:12). The Gemara comments: If that is so, then his name should not be erased just like other sanctified names are not erased. Rather, he is not called by the name of God but his name is akin to the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, protects the entire world, so too Samson, in his generation, protected all the Jewish people.

ואמר רבי יוחנן בלעם חיגר ברגלו אחת היה שנאמר וילך שפי שמשון חיגר בשתי רגליו היה שנאמר שפיפן עלי ארח

And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Balaam was lame in one of his legs, as it is stated with regard to him: “And he went, limping [shefi]” (Numbers 23:3). Samson was lame in both of his two legs, as it is stated that when Jacob mentioned the tribe of Dan in the prophecy that pertained to Samson, he referred to him as: “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake [shefifon] in the path” (Genesis 49:17), which is double shefi, i.e., doubly lame.

תנו רבנן חמשה נבראו מעין דוגמא של מעלה וכולן לקו בהן שמשון בכחו שאול בצוארו אבשלום בשערו צדקיה בעיניו אסא ברגליו

§ The Sages taught in a baraita: Five individuals were created with a characteristic that is akin to a representation of the One on High, and they were all stricken by that characteristic. Samson was glorified in his strength, Saul in his neck (see I Samuel 9:2), Absalom in his hair, Zedekiah in his eyes, and Asa in his feet.

שמשון בכחו דכתיב ויסר כחו מעליו

The Gemara clarifies: Samson was stricken by his strength, which led to his demise, as it is written: “And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man and had the seven locks of his head shaved off; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him” (Judges 16:19).

שאול בצוארו דכתיב ויקח שאול את החרב ויפל עליה

Saul was smitten in his neck, as it is written: “Then said Saul to his armor-bearer: Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and make a mock of me. But his armor-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore, Saul took his sword and fell upon it” (I Samuel 31:4); he fell with his neck upon the sword.

אבשלום בשערו כדבעינן למימר קמן צדקיה בעיניו דכתיב ואת עיני צדקיהו עור

Absalom was stricken in his hair, as we will state later. Zedekiah was stricken in his eyes, as it is written: “And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters, and carried him to Babylon” (II Kings 25:7).

אסא ברגליו דכתיב רק לעת זקנתו חלה את רגליו ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב שאחזתו פדגרא אמר ליה מר זוטרא בריה דרב נחמן לרב נחמן היכי דמי פדגרא אמר ליה כמחט בבשר החי מנא ידע איכא דאמרי מיחש הוה חש ביה ואיכא דאמרי מרביה שמע ליה ואיכא דאמרי סוד ה׳ ליראיו ובריתו להודיעם

Asa was stricken in his feet, as it is written: “Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet” (I Kings 15:23). And Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: This indicates that gout [padagra] grabbed hold of him. Mar Zutra, son of Rav Naḥman, said to Rav Naḥman: What are the circumstances of gout? What pain does it involve? He said to him: It feels like a needle inserted into living flesh. The Gemara asks: From where did he know this? The Gemara answers: Some say that he himself suffered from this condition, and some say that he heard it from his teacher, and some say that he knew it through divine inspiration, as it stated: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and His covenant, to make them know it” (Psalms 25:14).

דרש רבא מפני מה נענש אסא מפני שעשה אנגריא בתלמידי חכמים שנאמר והמלך אסא השמיע את כל יהודה אין נקי מאי אין נקי אמר רב יהודה אמר רב אפילו חתן מחדרו וכלה מחופתה

Rava taught: For what reason was Asa punished in his feet? Because he made Torah scholars perform forced labor [angarya], as it is stated: “Then King Asa made a proclamation unto all Judah; none was exempted; and they carried away the stones of Ramah and the timber thereof, with which Baasa had built, and King Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah” (I Kings 15:22). The superfluous expression “unto all” indicates that the proclamation was issued to everyone, including Torah scholars. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the next phrase in the verse: “None was exempted [ein naki]”? Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: This includes even a bridegroom from his chamber and a bride from her canopy, as the verse states with regard to a bridegroom: “He shall be free [naki] for his house one year” (Deuteronomy 24:5).

כתיב וירד שמשון תמנתה וכתיב הנה חמיך עלה תמנתה אמר רבי אלעזר שמשון שנתגנה בה כתיב ביה ירידה יהודה שנתעלה בה כתיב ביה עליה

§ It is written with regard to Samson: “And Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines” (Judges 14:1), and it is written in the Torah passage concerning the incident of Judah and Tamar: “And it was told to Tamar, saying: Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to sheer his sheep” (Genesis 38:13). The verses contain an apparent contradiction as to whether Timnah was a place to which one must descend or a place to which one must ascend. Rabbi Elazar says: These terms do not refer to the manner of traveling to Timnah but are used figuratively. Concerning Samson, who was disgraced there in Timnah, the term indicating descent is written with regard to his journey. Concerning Judah, who was elevated there, the term indicating ascent is written with regard to his journey.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר שתי תמנאות היו חדא בירידה וחדא בעליה

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says differently: There were two cities named Timnah, one was reached by descent into a valley, and one was reached by ascent.

רב פפא אמר חדא תמנה הואי דאתי מהאי גיסא ירידה ודאתי מהאי גיסא עליה כגון ורדוניא ובי בארי ושוקא דנרש

Rav Pappa said differently: There was one Timnah, and it was located on the slope of a mountain. One who came from this side reached it by descent, and one who came from that side reached it by ascent. The Gemara presents examples of such cities: For example: Vardonia, and Bei Varei, and the market of Neresh.

ותשב בפתח עינים אמר רבי אלכסנדרי מלמד שהלכה וישבה לה בפתחו של אברהם אבינו מקום שכל עינים צופות לראותו רבי חנין אמר רב מקום הוא ששמו עינים וכן הוא אומר תפוח והעינם

The verse states with regard to Tamar: “And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the entrance of Enaim [befetaḥ einayim], which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife” (Genesis 38:14). The amora’im dispute the meaning of the word einayim. Rabbi Alexandri says: This teaches that she went and she sat at the entrance of the home of Abraham our forefather, a place that all eyes hope to see it, as she was certain that Judah would pass there. Rabbi Ḥanin says that Rav says: It is a place called Enaim, and similarly the verse states in the list of cities in Eretz Yisrael in the portion of Judah: “Tappuah and Enam” (Joshua 15:34).

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר שנתנה עינים לדבריה כשתבעה אמר לה שמא נכרית את אמרה ליה גיורת אני שמא אשת איש את אמרה ליה פנויה אני שמא קיבל בך אביך קידושין אמרה ליה יתומה אני שמא טמאה את אמרה ליה טהורה אני

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: She provided eyes [einayim] for her statements, i.e., with her words she provided an opening [petaḥ] for Judah to solicit her. When Judah solicited her to engage in sexual intercourse with him, he first attempted to verify her status and said to her: Are you perhaps are a gentile? She said to him: I am a convert. He asked: Perhaps you are a married woman? She said to him: I am an unmarried woman. He asked: Perhaps your father accepted betrothal for you and you are unaware of it? She said to him: I am an orphan. He asked: Maybe you are impure? She said to him: I am pure.

ויטע אשל בבאר שבע אמר ריש לקיש מלמד שעשה פרדס ונטע בו כל מיני מגדים

The Gemara discusses Abraham’s house: It is written: “And he planted an eshel in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). Reish Lakish says: This teaches that Abraham made an orchard and planted in it all kinds of sweet things.

רבי יהודה ורבי נחמיה חד אמר פרדס וחד אמר פונדק בשלמא למאן דאמר פרדס היינו דכתיב ויטע אלא למאן דאמר פונדק מאי ויטע כדכתיב ויטע אהלי אפדנו וגו׳

The tanna’im Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Neḥemya disagree as to the meaning of the word “eshel.” One said that it means an orchard [pardes], and one said that it means an inn [pundak]. The Gemara continues: Granted, according to the one who said that it means an orchard, this is what is written: “And he planted,” and this is suitable language for an orchard. But according to the one who said that he opened an inn, what is the meaning of the phrase “and he planted”? The Gemara answers: As it is written: “And he shall plant [vayitta] the tents of his palace between the seas and the beauteous holy mountain; and he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:45), indicating that the word vayitta, and he planted, is also used to indicate pitching tents.

ויקרא שם בשם ה׳ אל עולם אמר ריש לקיש אל תיקרי ויקרא

The verse there states: “And he planted an eshel in Beersheba, and called there [vayyikra] on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). Reish Lakish said: Do not read this word literally as “vayyikra,” and he called,

אלא ויקריא מלמד שהקריא אברהם אבינו לשמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא בפה כל עובר ושב כיצד לאחר שאכלו ושתו עמדו לברכו אמר להם וכי משלי אכלתם משל אלהי עולם אכלתם הודו ושבחו וברכו למי שאמר והיה העולם

but rather as vayyakri, and he caused others to call. This teaches that Abraham our forefather caused the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, to be called out in the mouth of all passersby. How so? After the guests of Abraham ate and drank, they arose to bless him. He said to them: But did you eat from what is mine? Rather, you ate from the food of the God of the world. Therefore, you should thank and praise and bless the One Who spoke and the world was created. In this way, Abraham caused everyone to call out to God.

ויראה יהודה ויחשבה לזונה כי כסתה פניה משום דכסתה פניה חשבה לזונה

The Gemara continues its discussion of the incident of Judah and Tamar. It is written: “When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a prostitute, for she had covered her face” (Genesis 38:15). The Gemara asks: Because she had covered her face he thought her to be a prostitute? Prostitutes usually uncover their faces in order to attract men.

אמר רבי אלעזר שכסתה פניה בבית חמיה דאמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל כלה שהיא צנועה בבית חמיה זוכה ויוצאין ממנה מלכים ונביאים מנלן מתמר נביאים דכתיב חזון ישעיהו בן אמוץ מלכים מדוד ואמר רבי לוי דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו אמוץ ואמציה אחים הוו

Rabbi Elazar says: The verse means that Tamar covered her face in the home of her father-in-law, Judah. Therefore, he did not recognize her when her face was uncovered. As Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: Any daughter-in-law who is modest in the house of her father-in-law merits that kings and prophets emerge from her. From where do we derive this? From Tamar. Prophets emerged from her, as it is written: “The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz” (Isaiah 1:1). Kings emerged from her, as seen from David. And Rabbi Levi says: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors: Amoz, father of Isaiah, and Amaziah, king of Judea, were brothers. This indi-cates that Isaiah was also from the house of David and therefore a descendant of Tamar.

היא מוצאת היא מיתוצאת מיבעי ליה אמר רבי אלעזר לאחר שנמצאו סימניה בא סמאל וריחקן בא גבריאל וקירבן

The verse describes Tamar’s court hearing: “When she was brought forth [mutzet], she sent to her father-in-law, saying: By the man whose these are, am I with child” (Genesis 38:25). The Gemara comments: It should have stated: When she was mitutzet. The word mutzet also carries the implication of being found. What then, is taught by the use of that term? Rabbi Elazar says: After her signs, which she was using to prove that she was impregnated by Judah, were brought out, the evil angel Samael came and distanced them from each other in an attempt to prevent Judah’s admission and Tamar’s survival, which would enable the birth of King David. The angel Gabriel then came and moved the signs closer again. Therefore, the word mutzet is used, as it alludes to the signs being found again.

היינו דכתיב למנצח על יונת אלם רחוקים לדוד מכתם אמר רבי יוחנן משעה שנתרחקו סימניה נעשית כיונה אילמת לדוד מכתם שיצא ממנה דוד שהיה מך ותם לכל דבר אחר מכתם שהיתה מכתו תמה שנולד כשהוא מהול דבר אחר מכתם כשם שבקטנותו הקטין עצמו אצל מי שגדול ממנו ללמוד תורה כך בגדולתו

The Gemara comments: This is as it is written: “For the leader, upon yonat eilem reḥokim, a psalm [mikhtam] of David” (Psalms 56:1). Rabbi Yoḥanan says the verse means: From the moment that her signs were distanced [reḥokim], she became like a mute dove [yona illemet]. And the phrase “a psalm [mikhtam] of David” means: The one from whom David emerged, as he was modest [makh] and flawless [tam] with everyone. Alternatively, mikhtam indicates that makkato, the place on his body that would have required wounding [makka], was complete [tama], i.e., that David was born circumcised. Alternatively, mikhtam indicates that just as in his youth David made himself small in front of one who was greater than him in order to learn Torah from that person, so too, when he became great and was crowned king, he still behaved in this manner, so that his modesty, makh, was complete, tam, all of his life.

והיא שלחה אל חמיה לאמר לאיש אשר אלה לו אנכי הרה ותימא ליה מימר אמר רב זוטרא בר טוביה אמר רב ואמרי לה אמר רב חנא בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא ואמרי לה אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי נוח לו לאדם שיפיל עצמו לתוך כבשן האש ואל ילבין פני חבירו ברבים מנלן מתמר

The verse concerning Tamar then states: “She sent to her father-in-law, saying: By the man whose these are, am I with child” (Genesis 38:25). The Gemara comments: And let her say to him explicitly that she was impregnated by him. Rav Zutra bar Tuviyya says that Rav says, and some say Rav Ḥana bar Bizna says that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida says, and some say that Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: It is more amenable for a person to throw himself into a fiery furnace if faced with the choice of publicly embarrassing another or remaining silent even if it leads to being burned, and not humiliate another in public. From where do we derive this? From Tamar, as she was prepared to be burned if Judah did not confess, rather than humiliate him in public.

הכר נא אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא בהכר בישר לאביו בהכר בישרוהו בהכר בישר הכר נא הכתנת בנך היא בהכר בישרוהו הכר נא למי

The verse continues: “And she said: Discern, please, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff” (Genesis 38:25). Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: With use of the word discern Judah informed his father that Joseph was lost, and also with use of the word discern they informed Judah about the signs. The Gemara explains: With the word discern he informed Jacob his father when he brought him the coat of Joseph and said to his father: “And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father; and said: This have we found. Discern now whether it is your son’s coat or not” (Genesis 37:32). With the word discern they informed him: “And she said: Discern, please, whose are these.”

נא אין נא אלא לשון בקשה אמרה ליה בבקשה ממך הכר פני בוראך ואל תעלים עיניך ממני

It states: “Discern, please [na].” The word na is nothing other than a language of request. The Gemara explains: She said to him: I request of you: Discern the image of your Creator in every person, and do not avert your eyes from me.

ויכר יהודה ויאמר צדקה ממני היינו דאמר רב חנין בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא יוסף שקדש שם שמים בסתר זכה והוסיפו לו אות אחת משמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא דכתיב עדות ביהוסף שמו

The verse states: “And Judah acknowledged them, and said: She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son” (Genesis 38:26). This is the same as Rav Ḥanin bar Bizna says that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida says: Joseph, who sanctified the name of Heaven in private by not committing adultery with the wife of Potiphar, merited that one letter from the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, was added to his name, as it is written: “He appointed it in Joseph [bihosef ] for a testimony in his name, when He went forth against the land of Egypt” (Psalms 81:6). In this verse the name Joseph is written with an additional letter heh, found in the ineffable name of God.

יהודה שקדש שם שמים בפרהסיא זכה ונקרא כולו על שמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא כיון שהודה ואמר צדקה ממני יצתה בת קול ואמרה אתה הצלת תמר ושני בניה מן האור חייך שאני מציל בזכותך שלשה מבניך מן האור מאן נינהו חנניה מישאל ועזריה

He continues: Judah, who sanctified the name of Heaven in public, merited that his entire name is called by the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for all the letters of the ineffable name of God are included within the name of Judah, with the addition of the letter dalet. When he confessed and said: “She is more righteous than I,” a Divine Voice went forth and said: You saved Tamar and her two children in her womb from being burned by the fire. By your life, i.e., in your merit, I will save three of your children from the fire. And who are they? Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (see Daniel, chapter 3).

צדקה ממני מנא ידע יצתה בת קול ואמרה ממני יצאו כבושים

Judah said: “She is more righteous than I [mimmenni].” The word “mimmenni” can also be understood as “from me,” with Judah thereby admitting that he is the father. The Gemara asks: From where did he know that it was in fact from him that Tamar was pregnant? The Gemara answers: A Divine Voice went forth and said: From Me these hidden matters emerged, and this woman will be the mother of royalty, which requires that Judah be the father.

ולא יסף עוד לדעתה אמר שמואל סבא חמוה דרב שמואל בר אמי משמיה דרב שמואל בר אמי כיון שידעה שוב לא פסק ממנה כתיב הכא ולא יסף עוד לדעתה וכתיב התם קול גדול ולא יסף

The same verse continues: “And he knew her [leda’atah] again no more [velo yasaf ],” seemingly indicating that Judah did not engage in sexual intercourse with Tamar again. Shmuel the Elder, father-in-law of Rav Shmuel bar Ami, says in the name of Rav Shmuel bar Ami: The verse actually means that once he knew of her that her intentions were for the sake of Heaven, he did not desist from engaging in sexual intercourse with her again, as it is written here: “Velo yasaf od leda’atah,” and it is written there at the giving of the Torah: “These words the Lord spoke unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice and it went on no more [velo yasaf ]” (Deuteronomy 5:18), which is interpreted to mean: A great voice that did not cease.

אבשלום נתגאה בשערו וכו׳ תנו רבנן אבשלום בשערו מרד שנאמר וכאבשלום לא היה איש יפה וגו׳ ובגלחו את ראשו והיה מקץ ימים לימים אשר יגלח כי כבד עליו וגלחו ושקל את שער ראשו מאתים שקלים באבן המלך תנא אבן שאנשי טבריא ואנשי ציפורי שוקלים בה

§ The mishna teaches: Absalom was excessively proud of his hair, and therefore he was hung by his hair. The Sages taught (Tosefta 3:16): Absalom rebelled and sinned due to his hair, as it is stated: “Now in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty; from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he shaved his head, as it was at every year’s end that he shaved it; because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he shaved it, and he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, by the king’s stone” (II Samuel 14:25–26). What is the king’s stone? The Sages taught: A stone with which the people of Tiberias and the people of Tzippori weigh items.

לפיכך נתלה בשערו שנאמר ויקרא אבשלום לפני עבדי דוד ואבשלום רכב על הפרד ויבא הפרד תחת שובך האלה הגדולה ויחזק ראשו באלה ויתן בין השמים ובין הארץ והפרד אשר תחתיו עבר שקל ספסירא בעא למיפסקיה תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל באותה שעה נבקע שאול מתחתיו

The baraita continues: And since he was proud of his hair, therefore, he was hung by his hair, as it is stated in the verse describing the battle between the forces of David and Absalom: “And Absalom chanced to meet the servants of David. And Absalom was riding upon his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth, and his head caught hold of the terebinth, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went on” (II Samuel 18:9). After he was spotted by the opposing troops, Absalom took a sword [safseira] and wanted to cut his hair to save himself. The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: At that moment, the gates of the netherworld opened beneath him and he was afraid to fall into it, so he did not cut his hair, and he was killed by the opposing troops.

וירגז המלך ויעל על עליית השער ויבך וכה אמר בלכתו בני אבשלום בני בני אבשלום מי יתן מותי אני תחתיך אבשלום בני בני והמלך לאט את פניו ויזעק המלך קול גדול בני אבשלום אבשלום בני בני הני תמניא בני למה שבעה דאסקיה משבעה מדורי גיהנם ואידך איכא דאמרי דקריב רישיה לגבי גופיה ואיכא דאמרי דאייתיה לעלמא דאתי

It is written with regard to David’s reaction after he learns of the death of Absalom: “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went about he said: O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died in your place, O Absalom, my son, my son” (II Samuel 19:1), and a few verses later it adds: “And the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice: O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son” (II Samuel 19:5). The Gemara asks: Why are there these eight mentions of “my son” by David, i.e., to what do they correspond? The Gemara answers: Seven times he said “my son,” by which he raised him up from the seven chambers of Gehenna. And as for the other, eighth, time, some say that David brought the head of Absalom close to Absalom’s body, and some say that with this eighth mention David brought Absalom to the World-to-Come.

ואבשלום לקח ויצב לו בחייו מאי לקח אמר ריש לקיש שלקח מקח רע לעצמו את מצבת אשר בעמק המלך וגו׳ אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא בעצה עמוקה של מלכו של עולם

It is written there: “Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself the pillar, which is in the king’s valley; for he said: I have no son to keep my name in remembrance” (II Samuel 18:18). The Gemara asks: What did Absalom take? Reish Lakish says: He engaged in a bad transaction for himself by accepting bad advice for which he was punished. The verse continues: “The pillar, which is in the king’s valley [be’emek hammelekh].” Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: This alludes to the pillar that is in the deep [amukka] counsel of the King [melekh] of the universe, as God had already decreed in the aftermath of the incident with Bathsheba that this would occur.

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