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Today's Daf Yomi

November 8, 2015 | כ״ו במרחשוון תשע״ו

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Ron and Shira Krebs to commemorate the 73rd yahrzeit of Shira's grandfather (Yitzchak Leib Ben David Ber HaCohen v'Malka), the 1st yahrzeit of Shira's father (Gershon Pinya Ben Yitzchak Leib HaCohen v'Menucha Sara), and the bar mitzvah of their son Eytan who will be making a siyum on Mishna Shas this month.

  • This month's learning is sponsored for the refuah shleima of Naama bat Yael Esther.

Sotah 13


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ואומרת עתידה אמי שתלד בן שמושיע את ישראל וכיון שנולד משה נתמלא כל הבית כולה אור עמד אביה ונשקה על ראשה אמר לה בתי נתקיימה נבואתיך וכיון שהטילוהו ליאור עמד אביה וטפחה על ראשה אמר לה בתי היכן נבואתיך והיינו דכתיב ותתצב אחותו מרחוק לדעה מה יעשה לו לידע מה יהא בסוף נבואתה

And as a child Miriam would say: In the future, my mother will give birth to a son who will save the Jewish people. And once Moses was born, the entire house was filled with light. Her father arose and kissed her on her head. He said to her: My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled. And once they put him into the river, her father arose and hit her on her head. He said to her: My daughter, where is your prophecy? And this is as it is written: “And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him” (Exodus 2:4), i.e., to know what will be the ultimate resolution of her prophecy.

יוסף זכה וכו׳ מאי שנא מעיקרא דכתיב ויעל יוסף לקבור את אביו ויעלו אתו כל עבדי פרעה וגו׳ והדר וכל בית יוסף ואחיו ובית אביו ומאי שנא לבסוף דכתיב וישב יוסף מצרימה הוא ואחיו והדר וכל העולים אתו לקבור את אביו

§ The mishna teaches: Joseph merited to bury his father, resulting in a display of great honor to his father. The Gemara begins its discussion of the burial of Jacob by asking: What is different initially that it is written: “And Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt” (Genesis 50:7), and afterward it says in the following verse: “And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house; only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen” (Genesis 50:8), indicating that the brothers of Joseph were second in importance to the Egyptians? And what is different at the end that it is written: “And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren,” and afterward it states: “And all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father” (Genesis 50:14), placing the brothers before the Egyptians?

אמר רבי יוחנן בתחילה עד שלא ראו בכבודן של ישראל לא נהגו בהן כבוד ולבסוף שראו בכבודן נהגו בהן כבוד

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Initially, before the Egyptians saw the honor of the Jewish people, as the Gemara will soon explain, they did not treat them with honor, so the brothers were behind the servants of Pharaoh. And in the end, when they saw their honor, they treated the brothers with honor.

דכתיב ויבאו עד גורן האטד וכי גורן יש לו לאטד אמר רבי אבהו מלמד שהקיפוהו כתרים לארונו של יעקב כגורן זה שמקיפים לו אטד שבאו בני עשו ובני ישמעאל ובני קטורה

The Gemara explains what honor was accorded to the family of Jacob: As it is written: “And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and there they wailed with a very great and sore wailing; and he made a mourning for his father seven days” (Genesis 50:10). The word atad is the name of the boxthorn bush. And does a boxthorn bush have a threshing floor? Thorns are not collected and eaten. Rabbi Abbahu says: This teaches that they surrounded the casket of Jacob with crowns, like this threshing floor that is surrounded with boxthorns, because the children of Esau and the children of Ishmael and the children of Keturah all came to the burial of Jacob.

תנא כולם למלחמה באו כיון שראו כתרו של יוסף תלוי בארונו של יעקב נטלו כולן כתריהן ותלאום בארונו של יעקב תנא שלשים וששה כתרים נתלו בארונו של יעקב

A Sage taught: Initially, they all came to wage war with the family of Jacob, but once they saw the crown of Joseph, the viceroy of Egypt, hanging on the casket of Jacob, they all took their crowns and hung them on the casket of Jacob. A Sage taught: Thirty-six crowns were hung on the casket of Jacob. This was the great honor accorded to the family of Jacob.

ויספדו שם מספד גדול וכבד מאד תנא אפילו סוסים ואפילו חמורים

The Gemara continues its discussion of Jacob’s burial. The verse states: “And there they wailed with a very great and sore wailing” (Genesis 50:10). It is taught: Even horses and even donkeys participated in the mourning.

(מאילו מאילו) כיון שהגיעו למערת המכפלה אתא עשו קא מעכב אמר להן ממרא קרית הארבע היא חברון ואמר רבי יצחק קרית ארבע ארבע זוגות היו אדם וחוה אברהם ושרה יצחק ורבקה יעקב ולאה איהו קברה ללאה בדידיה והאי דפייש דידי הוא

Once they reached the Cave of Machpelah, Esau came and was preventing them from burying Jacob there. He said to them: It says: “And Jacob came unto Isaac his father to Mamre, to Kiryat Arba, the same is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned” (Genesis 35:27). And Rabbi Yitzḥak says: It is called Kiryat Arba because there were four couples buried there: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. Esau said: Jacob buried Leah in his spot, and the spot that is remaining is mine.

אמרו ליה זבינתה אמר להו נהי דזביני בכירותא פשיטותא מי זביני אמרו ליה אין דכתיב בקברי אשר כריתי לי ואמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יהוצדק אין כירה אלא לשון מכירה שכן בכרכי הים קורין למכירה כירה

The children of Jacob said to Esau: You sold your rights to Jacob. Esau said to them: Though I sold the birthright, did I also sell my rights to the burial site as an ordinary brother? The brothers said to him: Yes, you also sold to Jacob those rights, as it is written that Joseph stated: “My father made me swear, saying: Behold, I die; in my grave that I have dug [kariti] for me in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me” (Genesis 50:5). And Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: The word kira in the verse is nothing other than a term of a sale [mekhira] sharing a similar root, because in the cities overseas they call a sale kira.

אמר להו הבו לי איגרתא אמרו ליה איגרתא בארעא דמצרים היא ומאן ניזיל ניזיל נפתלי דקליל כי איילתא דכתיב נפתלי אילה שלוחה הנותן אמרי שפר אמר רבי אבהו אל תקרי אמרי שפר אלא אמרי ספר

Esau said to them: Bring the bill of sale to me, i.e., you can’t prove your claims. They said to him: The bill of sale is in the land of Egypt. They said: And who will go to bring it? Naphtali will go, for he is as fast as a doe, as it is written: “Naphtali is a doe let loose, he gives goodly words” (Genesis 49:21). Rabbi Abbahu says: Do not read it as “goodly words [imrei shafer]”; rather, read it as imrei sefer, i.e., the words of the book, as he returned to Egypt to retrieve the bill of sale.

חושים בריה דדן תמן הוה ויקירן ליה אודניה אמר להו מאי האי ואמרו ליה קא מעכב האי עד דאתי נפתלי מארעא דמצרים אמר להו ועד דאתי נפתלי מארעא דמצרים יהא אבי אבא מוטל בבזיון שקל קולפא מחייה ארישיה נתרן עיניה ונפלו אכרעא דיעקב פתחינהו יעקב לעיניה ואחיך והיינו דכתיב ישמח צדיק כי חזה נקם פעמיו ירחץ בדם הרשע

The Gemara relates: Hushim, the son of Dan, was there and his ears were heavy, i.e., he was hard of hearing. He said to them: What is this that is delaying the burial? And they said to him: This one, Esau, is preventing us from burying Jacob until Naphtali comes back from the land of Egypt with the bill of sale. He said to them: And until Naphtali comes back from the land of Egypt will our father’s father lie in degradation? He took a club [kulepa] and hit Esau on the head, and Esau’s eyes fell out and they fell on the legs of Jacob. Jacob opened his eyes and smiled. And this is that which is written: “The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked” (Psalms 58:11).

באותה שעה נתקיימה נבואתה של רבקה דכתיב למה אשכל גם שניכם יום אחד ואף על גב דמיתתן לא ביום אחד הואי קבורתן מיהא ביום אחד הואי

At that moment the prophecy of Rebecca was fulfilled, as it is written that Rebecca said of Jacob and Esau: “Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?” (Genesis 27:45), as Rebecca foresaw that the future bereavement for both her sons would be on the same day. The Gemara comments: And although their deaths were not on the same day, in any event their burials were on the same day, as Esau was killed and buried on the same day that Jacob was buried.

ואי לא עסק ביה יוסף אחיו לא הוו מעסקי ביה והכתיב וישאו אותו בניו ארצה כנען אמרו הניחו לו כבודו במלכים יותר מבהדיוטות

The Gemara returns to discuss the involvement of Joseph and his brothers in the burial of their father: And if Joseph would not have dealt with the burial of Jacob, would his brothers not have dealt with it? But isn’t it written: “For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah” (Genesis 50:13)? Since it is evident that the brothers were involved in the burial, why did they not deal with Jacob’s burial needs from the outset? The Gemara answers: They said: Allow Joseph to take care of it, because there is more honor for our father to be prepared for burial by royalty than by common people [hedyotot].

מי לנו גדול מיוסף כו׳ תנו רבנן בא וראה כמה חביבות מצות על משה רבינו שכל ישראל כולן נתעסקו בביזה והוא נתעסק במצות שנאמר חכם לב יקח מצות וגו׳

§ It states further in the mishna: Who, to us, had a greater burial than Joseph, as it was none other than Moses who involved himself in transporting his coffin. The Sages taught in the Tosefta (4:6–7): Come and see how beloved mitzvot are to Moses our teacher. As, at the time of the Exodus, all the Jewish people were involved in taking the plunder from Egypt, and he was involved in the performance of mitzvot, as it is stated: “The wise in heart will take mitzvot” (Proverbs 10:8).

ומנין היה יודע משה רבינו היכן יוסף קבור אמרו סרח בת אשר נשתיירה מאותו הדור הלך משה אצלה אמר לה כלום את יודעת היכן יוסף קבור אמרה לו ארון של מתכת עשו לו מצרים וקבעוהו בנילוס הנהר כדי שיתברכו מימיו הלך משה ועמד על שפת נילוס אמר לו יוסף יוסף הגיע העת שנשבע הקדוש ברוך הוא שאני גואל אתכם והגיעה השבועה שהשבעת את ישראל אם אתה מראה עצמך מוטב אם לאו הרי אנו מנוקין משבועתך מיד צף ארונו של יוסף

The Gemara asks: And from where did Moses our teacher know where Joseph was buried? The Sages said: Serah, the daughter of Asher, remained from that generation that initially descended to Egypt with Jacob. Moses went to her and said to her: Do you know anything about where Joseph is buried? She said to him: The Egyptians fashioned a metal casket for him and set it in the Nile [Nilus] River as an augury so that its water would be blessed. Moses went and stood on the bank of the Nile. He said to Joseph: Joseph, Joseph, the time has arrived about which the Holy One, Blessed be He, took an oath saying that I, i.e., God, will redeem you. And the time for fulfillment of the oath that you administered to the Jewish people that they will bury you in Eretz Yisrael has arrived. If you show yourself, it is good, but if not, we are clear from your oath. Immediately, the casket of Joseph floated to the top of the water.

ואל תתמה היאך ברזל צף שהרי כתיב ויהי האחד מפיל הקורה ואת הברזל נפל אל המים וגו׳ אהה אדוני והוא שאול ויאמר איש האלהים אנה נפל ויראהו את המקום ויקצב עץ וישלך שמה ויצף הברזל והלא דברים קל וחומר ומה אלישע תלמידו של אליהו ואליהו תלמידו של משה צף ברזל מפניו מפני משה רבינו על אחת כמה וכמה

And do not wonder how iron can float, as it is written in the verses describing how Elisha was able to cause iron to float: “But as one was felling a beam, the ax head fell into the water; and he cried, and said: Alas, my master! For it was borrowed. And the man of God said: Where did it fall? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in there, and the iron floated up” (II Kings 6:5–6). And are these matters not inferred a fortiori: And just as Elisha, who was a mere student of Elijah, and Elijah was a mere student of Moses, as Elijah studied the Torah of Moses, was able to cause the iron to float before him, all the more so would it float before Moses our teacher himself.

רבי נתן אומר בקברניט של מלכים היה קבור הלך משה ועמד על קברניט של מלכים אמר יוסף הגיע עת שנשבע הקדוש ברוך הוא שאני גואל אתכם והגיעה שבועה שהשבעת את ישראל אם אתה מראה עצמך מוטב ואם לאו הרי אנו מנוקין משבועתך באותה שעה נזדעזע ארונו של יוסף נטלו משה והביאו אצלו

The Gemara now presents a different version of where Joseph was buried. Rabbi Natan says: Joseph was buried in the crypt [kabbarnit] of kings. Moses went and stood by the crypt of kings and said: Joseph, the time has arrived about which the Holy One, Blessed be He, took an oath saying that: I will redeem you. And the time for fulfillment of the oath that you administered to the Jewish people that they will bury you in Eretz Yisrael has arrived. If you show yourself, it is good, but if not, we are clear from your oath. At that moment, the casket of Joseph shook among the caskets. Moses took it and brought it over to himself.

וכל אותן שנים שהיו ישראל במדבר היו שני ארונות הללו אחד של מת ואחד של שכינה מהלכין זה עם זה והיו עוברין ושבין אומרים מה טיבן של שני ארונות הללו אמרו אחד של מת ואחד של שכינה וכי מה דרכו של מת להלך עם שכינה אמרו

And all those years that the Jewish people were in the wilderness, these two arks, one a casket of a dead man, Joseph, and one the Ark of the Divine Presence, i.e., the Ark of the Covenant, were traveling together, and passersby would say: What is the nature of these two arks? They said to them: One is of a dead person and one is of the Divine Presence. The passersby would ask: And in what way is it the manner of a dead person to travel with the Divine Presence? They said in response:

קיים זה כל מה שכתוב בזה

This one, i.e., the deceased Joseph, fulfilled all that is written in this. Therefore, it is fitting that the two arks should lie side by side.

ואי לא עסיק ביה משה ישראל לא הוו מיעסקי ביה והכתיב ואת עצמות יוסף אשר העלו בני ישראל ממצרים קברו בשכם ותו אי לא איעסקו ביה ישראל בניו לא הוו מיעסקי ביה והכתיב ויהיו לבני יוסף לנחלה

The Gemara asks: And if Moses had not dealt with the burial of Joseph, would the Jewish people not have dealt with it? But isn’t it written that after Moses died: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, they buried in Shechem” (Joshua 24:32), which indicates that the Jewish people completed the burial of Joseph? And furthermore, if the Jewish people had not dealt with Joseph’s burial, would his children not have dealt with it? But isn’t it written in that same verse: “And they became the inheritance of the children of Joseph,” as Joseph was buried in Shechem, which was then given to his descendants? Therefore, the question arises: Why did Joseph’s descendants initially leave the task of his burial to the Jewish people and Moses?

אמרו הניחו לו כבודו במרובים יותר מבמועטין ותו אמרו הניחו לו כבודו בגדולים יותר מבקטנים

The Gemara answers: They said: Leave Joseph for others. It is more of an honor for Joseph to be buried by the many than by the few, and therefore it is better that the Jewish people be involved in the burial. And furthermore, they said: Leave Joseph for others. It is more of an honor for Joseph to be buried by one of the great men like Moses than by lesser ones like us.

קברו בשכם מאי שנא בשכם אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא משכם גנבוהו ולשכם נחזיר אבידתו

In the aforementioned verse it states: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, they buried in Shechem, in the parcel of ground that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money” (Joshua 24:32). The Gemara asks: What is different about Shechem that they specifically chose to bury Joseph there? Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says that the Jewish people said: His brothers kidnapped him from Shechem (see Genesis 37:12–28), and to Shechem we should return his lost body.

קשו קראי אהדדי כתיב ויקח משה את עצמות יוסף עמו וכתיב ואת עצמות יוסף אשר העלו בני ישראל וגו׳

The Gemara comments: The verses contradict each other, as it is written: “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him” (Exodus 13:19), and it is written elsewhere: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt” (Joshua 24:32). Who in fact took Joseph’s bones?

אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא כל העושה דבר ולא גמרו ובא אחר וגמרו מעלה עליו הכתוב על שגמרו כאילו עשאו

Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: Anyone who performs a matter but does not complete it, and then another comes and completes it, the verse ascribes credit to the one who completed it as if he had actually performed the entire act. Due to the fact that the children of Israel completed Joseph’s burial, the Torah ascribes them credit as if they had performed the entire act.

רבי אלעזר אומר אף מורידין אותו מגדולתו דכתיב ויהי בעת ההיא וירד יהודה

Rabbi Elazar says with regard to one who initiates performance of a mitzva but does not complete it when capable of doing so: He is also demoted [moridin] from his position of greatness, as it is written: “And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down [vayyered] from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah” (Genesis 38:1). Usage of the term “went down” indicates that the rest of Judah’s brothers had demoted him from his position of greatness because he began the process of saving Joseph, but he did not complete it.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר אף קובר אשתו ובניו דכתיב ותמת בת שוע אשת יהודה וגו׳ וכתיב וימת ער ואונן

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: The episode with regard to Judah also indicates that one who initiates performance of a mitzva but does not complete it will also bury his wife and children as Judah did, as it is written: “And in process of time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died” (Genesis 38:12), and it is written further: “And the sons of Judah: Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan” (Genesis 46:12).

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב מפני מה נקרא יוסף עצמות בחייו מפני שלא מיחה בכבוד אביו דקאמרי ליה עבדך אבינו ולא אמר להו ולא מידי

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: For what reason was Joseph called: Bones, even during his lifetime, as he had his brothers take an oath that “God will surely remember you, and you shall carry up my bones from here” (Genesis 50:25)? Because he did not protest for the honor of his father, as the brothers said to Joseph while unaware of his true identity: “Your servant our father” (Genesis 43:28, 44:31), and Joseph said nothing to them in protest that they referred to his father Jacob as Joseph’s servant.

ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב ואיתימא רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מפני מה מת יוסף קודם לאחיו מפני שהנהיג עצמו ברבנות

And Rav Yehuda says that Rav says, and some say that this was said by Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina: For what reason did Joseph predecease his brothers, as is indicated from his requesting of them to take care of his burial needs? Because Joseph acted authoritatively, and such behavior can reduce one’s life span.

ויוסף הורד מצרימה אמר רבי אלעזר אל תיקרי הורד אלא הוריד שהוריד איצטגניני פרעה מגדולתן

After describing that Judah “went down” from his greatness, the Gemara discusses a similar term employed with regard to Joseph, as the verse states: “And Joseph was brought down [hurad] to Egypt” (Genesis 39:1). Rabbi Elazar says: Do not read the word as “hurad,” meaning that he was passively brought down, but rather read it as horid, meaning: He, Joseph, brought down others, as Joseph brought down the astrologers [itztagninei] of Pharaoh from their position of eminence because he knew the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams when they did not.

ויקנהו פוטיפר סריס פרעה אמר רב שקנאו לעצמו בא גבריאל וסירסו בא גבריאל ופירעו מעיקרא כתיב פוטיפר ולבסוף פוטיפרע

The continuation of that verse states: “And Potiphar, an officer [seris] of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites, who had brought him down there” (Genesis 39:1). Rav says: He purchased the handsome Joseph for himself, for the intended purpose of homosexual intercourse, but was unable to fulfill his desires, as the angel Gabriel came and castrated Potiphar [seireso]. Then Gabriel came again and further mutilated him [ fero] in the same part of his body. This is alluded to in the verses that write Potiphar’s name differently: Initially, it is written “Potiphar” (Genesis 39:1) and in the end it is written “Poti-phera” (Genesis 41:45). The change in his name indicates that a part of himself was mutilated.

מי לנו גדול ממשה וכו׳ ויאמר ה׳ אלי רב לך אמר רבי לוי ברב בישר ברב בישרוהו ברב בישר רב לכם ברב בישרוהו רב לך

§ The mishna teaches: Who, to us, had a greater burial than Moses, as no one involved himself in his burial other than the Omnipresent Himself. The Gemara teaches: When Moses relates how God responded to him when denying his request to enter Eretz Yisrael, he states: “And the Lord said to me: Let it suffice for you [rav lakh]; speak no more to Me of this matter” (Deuteronomy 3:26). Rabbi Levi says: Moses proclaimed to the Jewish people when rebuking them with the term “rav,” and therefore it was proclaimed to him with the term “rav” that he would not enter Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara explains: He proclaimed with the term “rav” when speaking with the congregation of Korah: “You take too much upon you [rav lakhem], you sons of Levi” (Numbers 16:7), and it was proclaimed to him with the term “rav,” as God denied his request and said: “Let it suffice for you [rav lakh].”

דבר אחר רב לך רב יש לך ומנו יהושע

Alternatively: God’s telling Moses “rav lakh” was intended to mean: You now have a rav, a master, and who is it? It is Joshua, who has been chosen to lead the Jewish people.

דבר אחר רב לך שלא יאמרו הרב כמה קשה ותלמיד כמה סרבן וכל כך למה תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל לפום גמלא שיחנא

Alternatively: God’s telling Moses “rav lakh” was intended to mean: You have a rav, i.e., God, Who says that you may not enter Eretz Yisrael. You must not importune Me anymore, so that people should not say: How difficult is the Master and how obstinate is the student. The Gemara asks: And why was Moses punished so much in that he was not allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael, despite being so righteous? The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught that the reason is based on the common aphorism: Based on the camel is the burden. In other words, a person is judged in accordance with his stature, and therefore a righteous individual will be punished greatly due to any sins he committed.

ויאמר אליהם בן מאה ועשרים שנה אנכי היום שאין תלמוד לומר היום היום מלאו ימי ושנותי ללמדך שהקדוש ברוך הוא משלים שנותיהם של צדיקים מיום ליום ומחדש לחדש דכתיב את מספר ימיך אמלא

The verse relates what Moses said to the Jewish people at the end of his life: “And he said to them: I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no longer go out and come in; and the Lord has said to me: You shall not go over this Jordan” (Deuteronomy 31:2). The wording is problematic, as there is no need for the verse to state the term “this day.” Moses said it in order to indicate: On this day, my days and years have been completed to be precisely one hundred and twenty, in order to teach you that the Holy One, Blessed be He, completes the years of the righteous from day to day and from month to month, as it is written: “The number of your days I will fill” (Exodus 23:26), indicating that the righteous will live out their years fully.

לא אוכל עוד לצאת ולבוא מאי לצאת ולבוא אילימא לצאת ולבא ממש והכתיב ומשה בן מאה ועשרים שנה במותו לא נס לחה וכתיב ויעל משה מערבת מואב אל הר נבו ותניא שתים עשרה מעלות היו שם ופסען משה בפסיעה אחת

The verse continues: “I can no longer go out and come in” (Deuteronomy 31:2). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “go out and come in”? If we say it means literally that Moses was actually physically restricted from going out and coming in, but isn’t it written: “And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7), indicating that he was at full physical strength? And it is written further: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo” (Deuteronomy 34:1). And it is taught in a baraita: There were twelve steps there to ascend the mountain, and Moses stepped over them all in one step, also indicating that he was at full physical strength.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן לצאת ולבוא בדברי תורה מלמד שנסתתמו ממנו שערי חכמה

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: The verse means that he could no longer go out and come in with words of Torah. This teaches that the gates of wisdom were closed off to him.

וילך משה ויהושע ויתיצבו באהל מועד תנא אותה שבת של דיו זוגי היתה ניטלה רשות מזה וניתנה לזה

The verse discussing when Joshua was appointed to be the successor of Moses states: “And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the Tent of Meeting” (Deuteronomy 31:14). A Sage taught: That Sabbath when Moses died was a day of two pairs [deyo zugei], i.e., two wise men, Moses and Joshua, serving together in one place. Authority was taken from one and given to the other.

ותניא אמר רבי יהודה אילמלא מקרא כתוב אי אפשר לאומרו היכן משה מת בחלקו של ראובן דכתיב ויעל משה מערבת מואב אל הר נבו ונבו בחלקו של ראובן קיימא דכתיב ובני ראובן בנו וגו׳ ואת נבו וגו׳

And it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda said: If not for an explicitly written verse, one could not say what is written with regard to the death and burial of Moses. Where did Moses die? In the portion of Reuben, as it is written: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo” (Deuteronomy 34:1), and it is known from elsewhere that Nebo is situated in the portion of Reuben, as it is written: “And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kiriathaim, and Nebo” (Numbers 32:37–38).

נבו ששם מתו שלשה נביאים משה ואהרן ומרים

The name is also expounded: It is called “Nebo [Nevo],” for three prophets [nevi’im] died there: Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam.

והיכן משה קבור בחלקו של גד דכתיב וירא ראשית לו וגו׳ ומחלקו של ראובן עד חלקו של גד כמה הוי ארבעה מילין אותן ארבעה מילין מי הוליכו

Rabbi Yehuda continues: And where is Moses buried? In the portion of Gad, as it is written in the blessing of Moses to the tribe of Gad: “And he chose a first part for himself, for there a portion of a ruler was reserved” (Deuteronomy 33:21), indicating that Moses, the ruler, is buried in the portion of Gad. And how much is the distance from the portion of Reuben to the portion of Gad? Four mil. Rabbi Yehuda asks: For those four mil from Mount Nebo in the portion of Reuben to the burial place of Moses in the portion of Gad, who transported him?

מלמד שהיה משה מוטל בכנפי שכינה ומלאכי השרת אומרים צדקת ה׳ עשה ומשפטיו עם ישראל והקדוש ברוך הוא אומר מי יקום לי עם מרעים מי יתיצב לי עם פועלי און

He answers: The contradiction between the two verses teaches that Moses was lying in the wings of the Divine Presence, as Moses was carried out by God Himself, and the ministering angels were saying: “He executed the righteousness of the Lord, and His ordinances with Israel” (Deuteronomy 33:21). And the Holy One, Blessed be He, was saying: “Who will rise up for Me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for Me against the workers of iniquity?” (Psalms 94:16). In other words, God asked: Who will now defend the Jewish people against its accusers? The idea that God Himself transported Moses to his burial could not have been said if not for the proof from the resolution between the contradictory verses.

ושמואל אמר מי כהחכם ומי יודע פשר דבר ורבי יוחנן אמר החכמה מאין תמצא ורב נחמן אמר וימת שם משה וגו׳ סמליון אמר וימת שם משה ספרא רבה דישראל

And Shmuel says that God was saying the verse: “Who is as the wise man and who knows the interpretation [pesher] of a matter?” (Ecclesiastes 8:1), referring to the greatness of Moses, who was able to forge compromises, pesharim, between God and the Jewish people. And Rabbi Yoḥanan says that God was saying the verse: “Wisdom, where can it be found?” (Job 28:12). And Rav Naḥman says that God was saying the verse: “And Moses, the servant of God, died there” (Deuteronomy 34:5). Semalyon says that God was saying: And Moses, the great scribe of Israel, died there.

תניא רבי אליעזר הגדול אומר שנים עשר מיל על שנים עשר מיל כנגד מחנה ישראל בת קול משמיע ואומר וימת משה ספרא רבה דישראל ויש אומרים לא מת משה כתיב הכא וימת שם וכתיב התם ויהי שם עם ה׳ מה להלן עומד ומשמש אף כאן עומד ומשמש

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer the Great says: Over an area of twelve mil by twelve mil, equivalent to the size of the camp of Israel, a Divine Voice proclaimed and said: And Moses, the great scribe of Israel, died. And some say: Moses did not actually die, as it is written here: “And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there” (Deuteronomy 34:5), and it is written there: “And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 34:28). Just as there, where it says: “And he was there with the Lord,” it means that he was standing and serving before God; so too, here, when it says: “And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there,” it means that he was standing and serving before God.

ויקבר אותו בגי בארץ מואב מול בית פעור אמר רבי ברכיה סימן בתוך סימן ואפילו הכי ולא ידע איש את קברתו

The verse describing the burial of Moses states: “And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth Peor; and no man knows of his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6). Rabbi Berekhya says: This verse provides a sign within a sign, i.e., a very precise description of the location of his burial, and even with this the verse concludes: “And no man knows of his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6).

וכבר שלחה מלכות הרשעה אצל

The Gemara relates: And the evil monarchy of the Roman Empire already sent messengers to

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Ron and Shira Krebs to commemorate the 73rd yahrzeit of Shira's grandfather (Yitzchak Leib Ben David Ber HaCohen v'Malka), the 1st yahrzeit of Shira's father (Gershon Pinya Ben Yitzchak Leib HaCohen v'Menucha Sara), and the bar mitzvah of their son Eytan who will be making a siyum on Mishna Shas this month.

  • This month's learning is sponsored for the refuah shleima of Naama bat Yael Esther.

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Sotah 13

The William Davidson Talmud | Powered by Sefaria

Sotah 13

ואומרת עתידה אמי שתלד בן שמושיע את ישראל וכיון שנולד משה נתמלא כל הבית כולה אור עמד אביה ונשקה על ראשה אמר לה בתי נתקיימה נבואתיך וכיון שהטילוהו ליאור עמד אביה וטפחה על ראשה אמר לה בתי היכן נבואתיך והיינו דכתיב ותתצב אחותו מרחוק לדעה מה יעשה לו לידע מה יהא בסוף נבואתה

And as a child Miriam would say: In the future, my mother will give birth to a son who will save the Jewish people. And once Moses was born, the entire house was filled with light. Her father arose and kissed her on her head. He said to her: My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled. And once they put him into the river, her father arose and hit her on her head. He said to her: My daughter, where is your prophecy? And this is as it is written: “And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him” (Exodus 2:4), i.e., to know what will be the ultimate resolution of her prophecy.

יוסף זכה וכו׳ מאי שנא מעיקרא דכתיב ויעל יוסף לקבור את אביו ויעלו אתו כל עבדי פרעה וגו׳ והדר וכל בית יוסף ואחיו ובית אביו ומאי שנא לבסוף דכתיב וישב יוסף מצרימה הוא ואחיו והדר וכל העולים אתו לקבור את אביו

§ The mishna teaches: Joseph merited to bury his father, resulting in a display of great honor to his father. The Gemara begins its discussion of the burial of Jacob by asking: What is different initially that it is written: “And Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt” (Genesis 50:7), and afterward it says in the following verse: “And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house; only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen” (Genesis 50:8), indicating that the brothers of Joseph were second in importance to the Egyptians? And what is different at the end that it is written: “And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren,” and afterward it states: “And all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father” (Genesis 50:14), placing the brothers before the Egyptians?

אמר רבי יוחנן בתחילה עד שלא ראו בכבודן של ישראל לא נהגו בהן כבוד ולבסוף שראו בכבודן נהגו בהן כבוד

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Initially, before the Egyptians saw the honor of the Jewish people, as the Gemara will soon explain, they did not treat them with honor, so the brothers were behind the servants of Pharaoh. And in the end, when they saw their honor, they treated the brothers with honor.

דכתיב ויבאו עד גורן האטד וכי גורן יש לו לאטד אמר רבי אבהו מלמד שהקיפוהו כתרים לארונו של יעקב כגורן זה שמקיפים לו אטד שבאו בני עשו ובני ישמעאל ובני קטורה

The Gemara explains what honor was accorded to the family of Jacob: As it is written: “And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and there they wailed with a very great and sore wailing; and he made a mourning for his father seven days” (Genesis 50:10). The word atad is the name of the boxthorn bush. And does a boxthorn bush have a threshing floor? Thorns are not collected and eaten. Rabbi Abbahu says: This teaches that they surrounded the casket of Jacob with crowns, like this threshing floor that is surrounded with boxthorns, because the children of Esau and the children of Ishmael and the children of Keturah all came to the burial of Jacob.

תנא כולם למלחמה באו כיון שראו כתרו של יוסף תלוי בארונו של יעקב נטלו כולן כתריהן ותלאום בארונו של יעקב תנא שלשים וששה כתרים נתלו בארונו של יעקב

A Sage taught: Initially, they all came to wage war with the family of Jacob, but once they saw the crown of Joseph, the viceroy of Egypt, hanging on the casket of Jacob, they all took their crowns and hung them on the casket of Jacob. A Sage taught: Thirty-six crowns were hung on the casket of Jacob. This was the great honor accorded to the family of Jacob.

ויספדו שם מספד גדול וכבד מאד תנא אפילו סוסים ואפילו חמורים

The Gemara continues its discussion of Jacob’s burial. The verse states: “And there they wailed with a very great and sore wailing” (Genesis 50:10). It is taught: Even horses and even donkeys participated in the mourning.

(מאילו מאילו) כיון שהגיעו למערת המכפלה אתא עשו קא מעכב אמר להן ממרא קרית הארבע היא חברון ואמר רבי יצחק קרית ארבע ארבע זוגות היו אדם וחוה אברהם ושרה יצחק ורבקה יעקב ולאה איהו קברה ללאה בדידיה והאי דפייש דידי הוא

Once they reached the Cave of Machpelah, Esau came and was preventing them from burying Jacob there. He said to them: It says: “And Jacob came unto Isaac his father to Mamre, to Kiryat Arba, the same is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned” (Genesis 35:27). And Rabbi Yitzḥak says: It is called Kiryat Arba because there were four couples buried there: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. Esau said: Jacob buried Leah in his spot, and the spot that is remaining is mine.

אמרו ליה זבינתה אמר להו נהי דזביני בכירותא פשיטותא מי זביני אמרו ליה אין דכתיב בקברי אשר כריתי לי ואמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יהוצדק אין כירה אלא לשון מכירה שכן בכרכי הים קורין למכירה כירה

The children of Jacob said to Esau: You sold your rights to Jacob. Esau said to them: Though I sold the birthright, did I also sell my rights to the burial site as an ordinary brother? The brothers said to him: Yes, you also sold to Jacob those rights, as it is written that Joseph stated: “My father made me swear, saying: Behold, I die; in my grave that I have dug [kariti] for me in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me” (Genesis 50:5). And Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: The word kira in the verse is nothing other than a term of a sale [mekhira] sharing a similar root, because in the cities overseas they call a sale kira.

אמר להו הבו לי איגרתא אמרו ליה איגרתא בארעא דמצרים היא ומאן ניזיל ניזיל נפתלי דקליל כי איילתא דכתיב נפתלי אילה שלוחה הנותן אמרי שפר אמר רבי אבהו אל תקרי אמרי שפר אלא אמרי ספר

Esau said to them: Bring the bill of sale to me, i.e., you can’t prove your claims. They said to him: The bill of sale is in the land of Egypt. They said: And who will go to bring it? Naphtali will go, for he is as fast as a doe, as it is written: “Naphtali is a doe let loose, he gives goodly words” (Genesis 49:21). Rabbi Abbahu says: Do not read it as “goodly words [imrei shafer]”; rather, read it as imrei sefer, i.e., the words of the book, as he returned to Egypt to retrieve the bill of sale.

חושים בריה דדן תמן הוה ויקירן ליה אודניה אמר להו מאי האי ואמרו ליה קא מעכב האי עד דאתי נפתלי מארעא דמצרים אמר להו ועד דאתי נפתלי מארעא דמצרים יהא אבי אבא מוטל בבזיון שקל קולפא מחייה ארישיה נתרן עיניה ונפלו אכרעא דיעקב פתחינהו יעקב לעיניה ואחיך והיינו דכתיב ישמח צדיק כי חזה נקם פעמיו ירחץ בדם הרשע

The Gemara relates: Hushim, the son of Dan, was there and his ears were heavy, i.e., he was hard of hearing. He said to them: What is this that is delaying the burial? And they said to him: This one, Esau, is preventing us from burying Jacob until Naphtali comes back from the land of Egypt with the bill of sale. He said to them: And until Naphtali comes back from the land of Egypt will our father’s father lie in degradation? He took a club [kulepa] and hit Esau on the head, and Esau’s eyes fell out and they fell on the legs of Jacob. Jacob opened his eyes and smiled. And this is that which is written: “The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked” (Psalms 58:11).

באותה שעה נתקיימה נבואתה של רבקה דכתיב למה אשכל גם שניכם יום אחד ואף על גב דמיתתן לא ביום אחד הואי קבורתן מיהא ביום אחד הואי

At that moment the prophecy of Rebecca was fulfilled, as it is written that Rebecca said of Jacob and Esau: “Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?” (Genesis 27:45), as Rebecca foresaw that the future bereavement for both her sons would be on the same day. The Gemara comments: And although their deaths were not on the same day, in any event their burials were on the same day, as Esau was killed and buried on the same day that Jacob was buried.

ואי לא עסק ביה יוסף אחיו לא הוו מעסקי ביה והכתיב וישאו אותו בניו ארצה כנען אמרו הניחו לו כבודו במלכים יותר מבהדיוטות

The Gemara returns to discuss the involvement of Joseph and his brothers in the burial of their father: And if Joseph would not have dealt with the burial of Jacob, would his brothers not have dealt with it? But isn’t it written: “For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah” (Genesis 50:13)? Since it is evident that the brothers were involved in the burial, why did they not deal with Jacob’s burial needs from the outset? The Gemara answers: They said: Allow Joseph to take care of it, because there is more honor for our father to be prepared for burial by royalty than by common people [hedyotot].

מי לנו גדול מיוסף כו׳ תנו רבנן בא וראה כמה חביבות מצות על משה רבינו שכל ישראל כולן נתעסקו בביזה והוא נתעסק במצות שנאמר חכם לב יקח מצות וגו׳

§ It states further in the mishna: Who, to us, had a greater burial than Joseph, as it was none other than Moses who involved himself in transporting his coffin. The Sages taught in the Tosefta (4:6–7): Come and see how beloved mitzvot are to Moses our teacher. As, at the time of the Exodus, all the Jewish people were involved in taking the plunder from Egypt, and he was involved in the performance of mitzvot, as it is stated: “The wise in heart will take mitzvot” (Proverbs 10:8).

ומנין היה יודע משה רבינו היכן יוסף קבור אמרו סרח בת אשר נשתיירה מאותו הדור הלך משה אצלה אמר לה כלום את יודעת היכן יוסף קבור אמרה לו ארון של מתכת עשו לו מצרים וקבעוהו בנילוס הנהר כדי שיתברכו מימיו הלך משה ועמד על שפת נילוס אמר לו יוסף יוסף הגיע העת שנשבע הקדוש ברוך הוא שאני גואל אתכם והגיעה השבועה שהשבעת את ישראל אם אתה מראה עצמך מוטב אם לאו הרי אנו מנוקין משבועתך מיד צף ארונו של יוסף

The Gemara asks: And from where did Moses our teacher know where Joseph was buried? The Sages said: Serah, the daughter of Asher, remained from that generation that initially descended to Egypt with Jacob. Moses went to her and said to her: Do you know anything about where Joseph is buried? She said to him: The Egyptians fashioned a metal casket for him and set it in the Nile [Nilus] River as an augury so that its water would be blessed. Moses went and stood on the bank of the Nile. He said to Joseph: Joseph, Joseph, the time has arrived about which the Holy One, Blessed be He, took an oath saying that I, i.e., God, will redeem you. And the time for fulfillment of the oath that you administered to the Jewish people that they will bury you in Eretz Yisrael has arrived. If you show yourself, it is good, but if not, we are clear from your oath. Immediately, the casket of Joseph floated to the top of the water.

ואל תתמה היאך ברזל צף שהרי כתיב ויהי האחד מפיל הקורה ואת הברזל נפל אל המים וגו׳ אהה אדוני והוא שאול ויאמר איש האלהים אנה נפל ויראהו את המקום ויקצב עץ וישלך שמה ויצף הברזל והלא דברים קל וחומר ומה אלישע תלמידו של אליהו ואליהו תלמידו של משה צף ברזל מפניו מפני משה רבינו על אחת כמה וכמה

And do not wonder how iron can float, as it is written in the verses describing how Elisha was able to cause iron to float: “But as one was felling a beam, the ax head fell into the water; and he cried, and said: Alas, my master! For it was borrowed. And the man of God said: Where did it fall? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in there, and the iron floated up” (II Kings 6:5–6). And are these matters not inferred a fortiori: And just as Elisha, who was a mere student of Elijah, and Elijah was a mere student of Moses, as Elijah studied the Torah of Moses, was able to cause the iron to float before him, all the more so would it float before Moses our teacher himself.

רבי נתן אומר בקברניט של מלכים היה קבור הלך משה ועמד על קברניט של מלכים אמר יוסף הגיע עת שנשבע הקדוש ברוך הוא שאני גואל אתכם והגיעה שבועה שהשבעת את ישראל אם אתה מראה עצמך מוטב ואם לאו הרי אנו מנוקין משבועתך באותה שעה נזדעזע ארונו של יוסף נטלו משה והביאו אצלו

The Gemara now presents a different version of where Joseph was buried. Rabbi Natan says: Joseph was buried in the crypt [kabbarnit] of kings. Moses went and stood by the crypt of kings and said: Joseph, the time has arrived about which the Holy One, Blessed be He, took an oath saying that: I will redeem you. And the time for fulfillment of the oath that you administered to the Jewish people that they will bury you in Eretz Yisrael has arrived. If you show yourself, it is good, but if not, we are clear from your oath. At that moment, the casket of Joseph shook among the caskets. Moses took it and brought it over to himself.

וכל אותן שנים שהיו ישראל במדבר היו שני ארונות הללו אחד של מת ואחד של שכינה מהלכין זה עם זה והיו עוברין ושבין אומרים מה טיבן של שני ארונות הללו אמרו אחד של מת ואחד של שכינה וכי מה דרכו של מת להלך עם שכינה אמרו

And all those years that the Jewish people were in the wilderness, these two arks, one a casket of a dead man, Joseph, and one the Ark of the Divine Presence, i.e., the Ark of the Covenant, were traveling together, and passersby would say: What is the nature of these two arks? They said to them: One is of a dead person and one is of the Divine Presence. The passersby would ask: And in what way is it the manner of a dead person to travel with the Divine Presence? They said in response:

קיים זה כל מה שכתוב בזה

This one, i.e., the deceased Joseph, fulfilled all that is written in this. Therefore, it is fitting that the two arks should lie side by side.

ואי לא עסיק ביה משה ישראל לא הוו מיעסקי ביה והכתיב ואת עצמות יוסף אשר העלו בני ישראל ממצרים קברו בשכם ותו אי לא איעסקו ביה ישראל בניו לא הוו מיעסקי ביה והכתיב ויהיו לבני יוסף לנחלה

The Gemara asks: And if Moses had not dealt with the burial of Joseph, would the Jewish people not have dealt with it? But isn’t it written that after Moses died: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, they buried in Shechem” (Joshua 24:32), which indicates that the Jewish people completed the burial of Joseph? And furthermore, if the Jewish people had not dealt with Joseph’s burial, would his children not have dealt with it? But isn’t it written in that same verse: “And they became the inheritance of the children of Joseph,” as Joseph was buried in Shechem, which was then given to his descendants? Therefore, the question arises: Why did Joseph’s descendants initially leave the task of his burial to the Jewish people and Moses?

אמרו הניחו לו כבודו במרובים יותר מבמועטין ותו אמרו הניחו לו כבודו בגדולים יותר מבקטנים

The Gemara answers: They said: Leave Joseph for others. It is more of an honor for Joseph to be buried by the many than by the few, and therefore it is better that the Jewish people be involved in the burial. And furthermore, they said: Leave Joseph for others. It is more of an honor for Joseph to be buried by one of the great men like Moses than by lesser ones like us.

קברו בשכם מאי שנא בשכם אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא משכם גנבוהו ולשכם נחזיר אבידתו

In the aforementioned verse it states: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, they buried in Shechem, in the parcel of ground that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money” (Joshua 24:32). The Gemara asks: What is different about Shechem that they specifically chose to bury Joseph there? Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says that the Jewish people said: His brothers kidnapped him from Shechem (see Genesis 37:12–28), and to Shechem we should return his lost body.

קשו קראי אהדדי כתיב ויקח משה את עצמות יוסף עמו וכתיב ואת עצמות יוסף אשר העלו בני ישראל וגו׳

The Gemara comments: The verses contradict each other, as it is written: “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him” (Exodus 13:19), and it is written elsewhere: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt” (Joshua 24:32). Who in fact took Joseph’s bones?

אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא כל העושה דבר ולא גמרו ובא אחר וגמרו מעלה עליו הכתוב על שגמרו כאילו עשאו

Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: Anyone who performs a matter but does not complete it, and then another comes and completes it, the verse ascribes credit to the one who completed it as if he had actually performed the entire act. Due to the fact that the children of Israel completed Joseph’s burial, the Torah ascribes them credit as if they had performed the entire act.

רבי אלעזר אומר אף מורידין אותו מגדולתו דכתיב ויהי בעת ההיא וירד יהודה

Rabbi Elazar says with regard to one who initiates performance of a mitzva but does not complete it when capable of doing so: He is also demoted [moridin] from his position of greatness, as it is written: “And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down [vayyered] from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah” (Genesis 38:1). Usage of the term “went down” indicates that the rest of Judah’s brothers had demoted him from his position of greatness because he began the process of saving Joseph, but he did not complete it.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר אף קובר אשתו ובניו דכתיב ותמת בת שוע אשת יהודה וגו׳ וכתיב וימת ער ואונן

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: The episode with regard to Judah also indicates that one who initiates performance of a mitzva but does not complete it will also bury his wife and children as Judah did, as it is written: “And in process of time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died” (Genesis 38:12), and it is written further: “And the sons of Judah: Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan” (Genesis 46:12).

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב מפני מה נקרא יוסף עצמות בחייו מפני שלא מיחה בכבוד אביו דקאמרי ליה עבדך אבינו ולא אמר להו ולא מידי

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: For what reason was Joseph called: Bones, even during his lifetime, as he had his brothers take an oath that “God will surely remember you, and you shall carry up my bones from here” (Genesis 50:25)? Because he did not protest for the honor of his father, as the brothers said to Joseph while unaware of his true identity: “Your servant our father” (Genesis 43:28, 44:31), and Joseph said nothing to them in protest that they referred to his father Jacob as Joseph’s servant.

ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב ואיתימא רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מפני מה מת יוסף קודם לאחיו מפני שהנהיג עצמו ברבנות

And Rav Yehuda says that Rav says, and some say that this was said by Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina: For what reason did Joseph predecease his brothers, as is indicated from his requesting of them to take care of his burial needs? Because Joseph acted authoritatively, and such behavior can reduce one’s life span.

ויוסף הורד מצרימה אמר רבי אלעזר אל תיקרי הורד אלא הוריד שהוריד איצטגניני פרעה מגדולתן

After describing that Judah “went down” from his greatness, the Gemara discusses a similar term employed with regard to Joseph, as the verse states: “And Joseph was brought down [hurad] to Egypt” (Genesis 39:1). Rabbi Elazar says: Do not read the word as “hurad,” meaning that he was passively brought down, but rather read it as horid, meaning: He, Joseph, brought down others, as Joseph brought down the astrologers [itztagninei] of Pharaoh from their position of eminence because he knew the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams when they did not.

ויקנהו פוטיפר סריס פרעה אמר רב שקנאו לעצמו בא גבריאל וסירסו בא גבריאל ופירעו מעיקרא כתיב פוטיפר ולבסוף פוטיפרע

The continuation of that verse states: “And Potiphar, an officer [seris] of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites, who had brought him down there” (Genesis 39:1). Rav says: He purchased the handsome Joseph for himself, for the intended purpose of homosexual intercourse, but was unable to fulfill his desires, as the angel Gabriel came and castrated Potiphar [seireso]. Then Gabriel came again and further mutilated him [ fero] in the same part of his body. This is alluded to in the verses that write Potiphar’s name differently: Initially, it is written “Potiphar” (Genesis 39:1) and in the end it is written “Poti-phera” (Genesis 41:45). The change in his name indicates that a part of himself was mutilated.

מי לנו גדול ממשה וכו׳ ויאמר ה׳ אלי רב לך אמר רבי לוי ברב בישר ברב בישרוהו ברב בישר רב לכם ברב בישרוהו רב לך

§ The mishna teaches: Who, to us, had a greater burial than Moses, as no one involved himself in his burial other than the Omnipresent Himself. The Gemara teaches: When Moses relates how God responded to him when denying his request to enter Eretz Yisrael, he states: “And the Lord said to me: Let it suffice for you [rav lakh]; speak no more to Me of this matter” (Deuteronomy 3:26). Rabbi Levi says: Moses proclaimed to the Jewish people when rebuking them with the term “rav,” and therefore it was proclaimed to him with the term “rav” that he would not enter Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara explains: He proclaimed with the term “rav” when speaking with the congregation of Korah: “You take too much upon you [rav lakhem], you sons of Levi” (Numbers 16:7), and it was proclaimed to him with the term “rav,” as God denied his request and said: “Let it suffice for you [rav lakh].”

דבר אחר רב לך רב יש לך ומנו יהושע

Alternatively: God’s telling Moses “rav lakh” was intended to mean: You now have a rav, a master, and who is it? It is Joshua, who has been chosen to lead the Jewish people.

דבר אחר רב לך שלא יאמרו הרב כמה קשה ותלמיד כמה סרבן וכל כך למה תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל לפום גמלא שיחנא

Alternatively: God’s telling Moses “rav lakh” was intended to mean: You have a rav, i.e., God, Who says that you may not enter Eretz Yisrael. You must not importune Me anymore, so that people should not say: How difficult is the Master and how obstinate is the student. The Gemara asks: And why was Moses punished so much in that he was not allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael, despite being so righteous? The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught that the reason is based on the common aphorism: Based on the camel is the burden. In other words, a person is judged in accordance with his stature, and therefore a righteous individual will be punished greatly due to any sins he committed.

ויאמר אליהם בן מאה ועשרים שנה אנכי היום שאין תלמוד לומר היום היום מלאו ימי ושנותי ללמדך שהקדוש ברוך הוא משלים שנותיהם של צדיקים מיום ליום ומחדש לחדש דכתיב את מספר ימיך אמלא

The verse relates what Moses said to the Jewish people at the end of his life: “And he said to them: I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no longer go out and come in; and the Lord has said to me: You shall not go over this Jordan” (Deuteronomy 31:2). The wording is problematic, as there is no need for the verse to state the term “this day.” Moses said it in order to indicate: On this day, my days and years have been completed to be precisely one hundred and twenty, in order to teach you that the Holy One, Blessed be He, completes the years of the righteous from day to day and from month to month, as it is written: “The number of your days I will fill” (Exodus 23:26), indicating that the righteous will live out their years fully.

לא אוכל עוד לצאת ולבוא מאי לצאת ולבוא אילימא לצאת ולבא ממש והכתיב ומשה בן מאה ועשרים שנה במותו לא נס לחה וכתיב ויעל משה מערבת מואב אל הר נבו ותניא שתים עשרה מעלות היו שם ופסען משה בפסיעה אחת

The verse continues: “I can no longer go out and come in” (Deuteronomy 31:2). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “go out and come in”? If we say it means literally that Moses was actually physically restricted from going out and coming in, but isn’t it written: “And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7), indicating that he was at full physical strength? And it is written further: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo” (Deuteronomy 34:1). And it is taught in a baraita: There were twelve steps there to ascend the mountain, and Moses stepped over them all in one step, also indicating that he was at full physical strength.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן לצאת ולבוא בדברי תורה מלמד שנסתתמו ממנו שערי חכמה

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: The verse means that he could no longer go out and come in with words of Torah. This teaches that the gates of wisdom were closed off to him.

וילך משה ויהושע ויתיצבו באהל מועד תנא אותה שבת של דיו זוגי היתה ניטלה רשות מזה וניתנה לזה

The verse discussing when Joshua was appointed to be the successor of Moses states: “And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the Tent of Meeting” (Deuteronomy 31:14). A Sage taught: That Sabbath when Moses died was a day of two pairs [deyo zugei], i.e., two wise men, Moses and Joshua, serving together in one place. Authority was taken from one and given to the other.

ותניא אמר רבי יהודה אילמלא מקרא כתוב אי אפשר לאומרו היכן משה מת בחלקו של ראובן דכתיב ויעל משה מערבת מואב אל הר נבו ונבו בחלקו של ראובן קיימא דכתיב ובני ראובן בנו וגו׳ ואת נבו וגו׳

And it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda said: If not for an explicitly written verse, one could not say what is written with regard to the death and burial of Moses. Where did Moses die? In the portion of Reuben, as it is written: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo” (Deuteronomy 34:1), and it is known from elsewhere that Nebo is situated in the portion of Reuben, as it is written: “And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kiriathaim, and Nebo” (Numbers 32:37–38).

נבו ששם מתו שלשה נביאים משה ואהרן ומרים

The name is also expounded: It is called “Nebo [Nevo],” for three prophets [nevi’im] died there: Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam.

והיכן משה קבור בחלקו של גד דכתיב וירא ראשית לו וגו׳ ומחלקו של ראובן עד חלקו של גד כמה הוי ארבעה מילין אותן ארבעה מילין מי הוליכו

Rabbi Yehuda continues: And where is Moses buried? In the portion of Gad, as it is written in the blessing of Moses to the tribe of Gad: “And he chose a first part for himself, for there a portion of a ruler was reserved” (Deuteronomy 33:21), indicating that Moses, the ruler, is buried in the portion of Gad. And how much is the distance from the portion of Reuben to the portion of Gad? Four mil. Rabbi Yehuda asks: For those four mil from Mount Nebo in the portion of Reuben to the burial place of Moses in the portion of Gad, who transported him?

מלמד שהיה משה מוטל בכנפי שכינה ומלאכי השרת אומרים צדקת ה׳ עשה ומשפטיו עם ישראל והקדוש ברוך הוא אומר מי יקום לי עם מרעים מי יתיצב לי עם פועלי און

He answers: The contradiction between the two verses teaches that Moses was lying in the wings of the Divine Presence, as Moses was carried out by God Himself, and the ministering angels were saying: “He executed the righteousness of the Lord, and His ordinances with Israel” (Deuteronomy 33:21). And the Holy One, Blessed be He, was saying: “Who will rise up for Me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for Me against the workers of iniquity?” (Psalms 94:16). In other words, God asked: Who will now defend the Jewish people against its accusers? The idea that God Himself transported Moses to his burial could not have been said if not for the proof from the resolution between the contradictory verses.

ושמואל אמר מי כהחכם ומי יודע פשר דבר ורבי יוחנן אמר החכמה מאין תמצא ורב נחמן אמר וימת שם משה וגו׳ סמליון אמר וימת שם משה ספרא רבה דישראל

And Shmuel says that God was saying the verse: “Who is as the wise man and who knows the interpretation [pesher] of a matter?” (Ecclesiastes 8:1), referring to the greatness of Moses, who was able to forge compromises, pesharim, between God and the Jewish people. And Rabbi Yoḥanan says that God was saying the verse: “Wisdom, where can it be found?” (Job 28:12). And Rav Naḥman says that God was saying the verse: “And Moses, the servant of God, died there” (Deuteronomy 34:5). Semalyon says that God was saying: And Moses, the great scribe of Israel, died there.

תניא רבי אליעזר הגדול אומר שנים עשר מיל על שנים עשר מיל כנגד מחנה ישראל בת קול משמיע ואומר וימת משה ספרא רבה דישראל ויש אומרים לא מת משה כתיב הכא וימת שם וכתיב התם ויהי שם עם ה׳ מה להלן עומד ומשמש אף כאן עומד ומשמש

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer the Great says: Over an area of twelve mil by twelve mil, equivalent to the size of the camp of Israel, a Divine Voice proclaimed and said: And Moses, the great scribe of Israel, died. And some say: Moses did not actually die, as it is written here: “And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there” (Deuteronomy 34:5), and it is written there: “And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 34:28). Just as there, where it says: “And he was there with the Lord,” it means that he was standing and serving before God; so too, here, when it says: “And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there,” it means that he was standing and serving before God.

ויקבר אותו בגי בארץ מואב מול בית פעור אמר רבי ברכיה סימן בתוך סימן ואפילו הכי ולא ידע איש את קברתו

The verse describing the burial of Moses states: “And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth Peor; and no man knows of his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6). Rabbi Berekhya says: This verse provides a sign within a sign, i.e., a very precise description of the location of his burial, and even with this the verse concludes: “And no man knows of his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6).

וכבר שלחה מלכות הרשעה אצל

The Gemara relates: And the evil monarchy of the Roman Empire already sent messengers to

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