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Today's Daf Yomi

November 30, 2015 | י״ח בכסלו 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 Shlemah of Naama bat Yael Esther.

Sotah 35

More details about the spies’ tactics and what they said.  How did Caleb get the people to listen to him after the spies told their bad report?  Details of the ark’s miraculous nature leads into a discussion of Uza who gets killed for disrespecting the ark.  How many sets of stones were there?  When they wrote the Torah on the stones after crossing the Jordan, was the limestone put on first and then they wrote the Torah or was is the reverse?


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וילכו ויבאו אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי מקיש הליכה לביאה מה ביאה בעצה רעה אף הליכה בעצה רעה

And they went and they came” (Numbers 13:25–26). Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: This verse likens their going to their coming. Just as their coming back was with wicked counsel, so too, their going to Eretz Yisrael was with wicked counsel.

ויספרו לו ויאמרו באנו וגו׳ וכתיב אפס כי עז העם אמר רבי יוחנן (סימן אמת לבדו לויה) משום רבי מאיר כל לשון הרע שאין בו דבר אמת בתחילתו אין מתקיים בסופו

The Torah states: “And they told him, and said: We came to the land to which you sent us, and it also flows with milk and honey” (Numbers 13:27), and then it is written: “However the people that dwell in the land are fierce” (Numbers 13:28). Why did the spies praise the land and then slander it? Rabbi Yoḥanan says three statements in the name of Rabbi Meir, represented by the mnemonic device: Truth, alone, borrowing. The first statement answers this question: Any slander that does not begin with a truthful statement ultimately does not stand, i.e., it is not accepted by others.

ויהס כלב את העם אל משה אמר רבה שהסיתן בדברים

The verse states: “And Caleb stilled [vayyahas] the people toward Moses” (Numbers 13:30). Rabba says: This means that he persuaded them [hesitan] with his words. Vayyahas and hesitan share the same root in Hebrew.

פתח יהושע דקא משתעי אמרי ליה דין ראש קטיעה ימלל

How did he do so? Joshua began to address the people, and as he was speaking they said to him: Should this person, who has a severed head, as he has no children, speak to the people about entering Eretz Yisrael?

אמר אי משתעינא אמרי בי מילתא וחסמין לי אמר להן וכי זו בלבד עשה לנו בן עמרם סברי בגנותיה קא משתעי אישתיקו

Caleb said to himself: If I speak they will also say something about me and stop me from speaking. He began to speak and said to them: And is this the only thing that the son of Amram, Moses, has done to us? They thought that he wanted to relate something to the discredit of Moses, and they were silent.

אמר להו הוציאנו ממצרים וקרע לנו את הים והאכילנו את המן אם יאמר עשו סולמות ועלו לרקיע לא נשמע לו עלה נעלה וירשנו אתה וגו׳

He then said to them: He took us out of Egypt, and split the sea for us, and fed us the manna. If he says to us: Build ladders and climb to the heavens, should we not listen to him? “We should go up at once,” even to the heavens, “and possess it” (Numbers 13:30).

והאנשים אשר עלו עמו אמרו לא נוכל וגו׳ אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא דבר גדול דברו מרגלים באותה שעה כי חזק הוא ממנו אל תקרי ממנו אלא ממנו כביכול אפילו בעל הבית אינו יכול להוציא כליו משם

The verses continue: “But the men that went up with him said: We are not able to go up against the people; as they are stronger than us” (Numbers 13:31). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: The spies said a serious statement at that moment. When they said: “They are stronger,” do not read the phrase as: Stronger than us [mimmennu], but rather read it as: Stronger than Him [mimmennu], meaning that even the Homeowner, God, is unable to remove His belongings from there, as it were. The spies were speaking heresy and claiming that the Canaanites were stronger than God Himself.

ארץ אכלת יושביה היא דרש רבא אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא אני חשבתיה לטובה והם חשבו לרעה אני חשבתיה לטובה דכל היכא דמטו מת חשיבא דידהו כי היכי דניטרדו ולא לשאלו אבתרייהו ואיכא דאמרי איוב נח נפשיה ואטרידו כולי עלמא בהספידא הם חשבו לרעה ארץ אכלת יושביה היא

The spies said: “It is a land that consumes its inhabitants” (Numbers 13:32). Rava taught: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: I intended the land to appear to consume its inhabitants for their own good, but they considered this proof that the land was bad. I intended it for their good by causing many people to die there so that anywhere that the spies arrived, the most important of them died, so that the Canaanites would be preoccupied with mourning and would not inquire about them. And there are those who say that God caused Job to die at that time, and everyone in Canaan was preoccupied with his eulogy, and did not pay attention to the spies. However, the spies considered this proof that the land was bad and said: “It is a land that consumes its inhabitants.”

ונהי בעינינו כחגבים וכן היינו וגו׳ אמר רב משרשיא מרגלים שקרי הוו בשלמא ונהי בעינינו כחגבים לחיי אלא וכן היינו בעיניהם מנא הוו ידעי

The spies said: “And we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so were we in their eyes” (Numbers 13:33). Rav Mesharshiyya says: The spies were liars. Granted, to say: “We were like grasshoppers in our own eyes,” is well, but to say: “And so were we in their eyes,” from where could they have known this?

ולא היא כי הוו מברי אבילי תותי ארזי הוו מברי וכי חזינהו סלקו יתבי באילני שמעי דקאמרי קחזינן אינשי דדמו לקמצי באילני

The Gemara responds: But that is not so, as when the Canaanites were having the mourners’ meal, they had the meal beneath cedar trees, and when the spies saw them they climbed up the trees and sat in them. From there they heard the Canaanites saying: We see people who look like grasshoppers in the trees.

ותשא כל העדה ויתנו את קולם ויבכו אמר רבה אמר רבי יוחנן אותו היום ערב תשעה באב היה אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא הן בכו בכיה של חנם ואני אקבע להם בכיה לדורות

The verse states: “And all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried” (Numbers 14:1). Rabba says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: That day was the eve of the Ninth of Av, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: On that day they wept a gratuitous weeping, so I will establish that day for them as a day of weeping for the future generations.

ויאמרו כל העדה לרגום אתם באבנים וכתיב וכבוד ה׳ נראה באהל מועד אמר רבי חייא בר אבא מלמד שנטלו אבנים וזרקום כלפי מעלה

The verse states: “But all the congregation bade stone them with stones” (Numbers 14:10), and it is written immediately afterward: “When the glory of the Lord appeared in the Tent of Meeting” (Numbers 14:10). Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says: This teaches that they took stones and threw them upward as if to throw them at God.

וימתו האנשים מוצאי דבת הארץ רעה במגפה אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש שמתו מיתה משונה אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא דרש רבי שילא איש כפר תמרתא מלמד שנשתרבב לשונם ונפל על טיבורם והיו תולעים יוצאות מלשונם ונכנסות בטיבורם ומטיבורם ונכנסות בלשונם ורב נחמן בר יצחק אמר באסכרה מתו

The verse states: “And those men who brought out an evil report of the land, died by the plague before the Lord” (Numbers 14:37). Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish says: This means that they died an unusual death. Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says that Rabbi Sheila Ish Kefar Temarta taught: This teaches that their tongues were stretched out from their mouths and fell upon their navels, and worms were crawling out of their tongues and entering their navels, and worms were likewise coming out of their navels and entering their tongues. This is the painful death that they suffered. And Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: They died of diphtheria, which causes one to choke to death.

וכיון שעלה האחרון שבישראל מן הירדן חזרו מים למקומן שנאמר ויהי בעלות הכהנים נשאי ארון ברית ה׳ מתוך הירדן נתקו כפות רגלי הכהנים אל החרבה וישבו מי הירדן למקומם וילכו כתמול שלשום על כל גדותיו

§ The Gemara returns to discuss the entry of the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael. And once the last one of the Jewish people ascended out of the Jordan, the water returned to its place, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, as the priests that bore the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord came up out of the midst of the Jordan, as soon as the soles of the priests’ feet were drawn up unto the dry ground, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks, as it had before” (Joshua 4:18). The Gemara understands that the priests who carried the Ark stood in the water until all of the Jewish people passed through the Jordan. Once all the Jewish people had reached the other side of the Jordan, the priests stepped back from the water and the Jordan returned to its natural state.

נמצא ארון ונושאיו וכהנים מצד אחד וישראל מצד אחד נשא ארון את נושאיו ועבר שנאמר ויהי כאשר תם כל העם לעבר ויעבר ארון ה׳ והכהנים לפני העם

It follows that the Ark and its bearers and the priests were on one side of the Jordan, the east side, and the rest of the Jewish people were on the other side, the west side. Subsequently, the Ark carried its bearers in the air and crossed the Jordan, as it is stated: “When all the people were completely passed over, the Ark of the Lord passed on, and the priests, before the people” (Joshua 4:11).

ועל דבר זה נענש עוזא שנאמר ויבאו עד גרן כידן וישלח עזא את ידו לאחז את הארון אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא עוזא נושאיו נשא עצמו לא כל שכן

And over this matter Uzzah was punished for not taking proper care of the Ark, as it is stated: “And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put forth his hand to hold the Ark; for the oxen stumbled” (I Chronicles 13:9). The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Uzzah, the Ark carried its bearers when it crossed the Jordan; all the more so is it not clear that it can carry itself?

ויחר אף ה׳ בעזה ויכהו שם על השל וגו׳ רבי יוחנן ורבי אלעזר חד אמר על עסקי שלו וחד אמר שעשה צרכיו בפניו

§ The verse states: “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error [hashal]” (II Samuel 6:7). Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Elazar disagreed over the interpretation of this verse. One says: God smote him for his forgetfulness [shalo], because he did not remember that the Ark can carry itself. And one says: God smote him because he lifted the edges [shulayyim] of his garment in front of the Ark and relieved himself in its presence.

וימת שם עם ארון האלהים אמר רבי יוחנן עוזא בא לעולם הבא שנאמר עם ארון האלהים מה ארון לעולם קיים אף עוזא בא לעולם הבא

The verse states: “And he died there with the Ark of God” (II Samuel 6:7). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Uzzah entered the World-to-Come, as it is stated: “With the Ark of God.” Just as the Ark exists forever, so too, Uzzah entered the World-to-Come.

ויחר לדוד על אשר פרץ ה׳ פרץ בעזה אמר רבי אלעזר שנשתנו פניו כחררה

The verse states: “And David was displeased [vayyiḥar] because the Lord had broken forth upon Uzzah” (II Samuel 6:8). Rabbi Elazar says: Vayyiḥar means that his face changed colors and darkened like baked bread [ḥarara] from displeasure.

אלא מעתה כל היכא דכתיב ויחר הכי נמי התם כתיב אף הכא לא כתיב אף

The Gemara questions this statement: If that is so, anywhere that the word vayyiḥar is written, including when it is referring to God, should it be interpreted this way as well? The Gemara answers: There, it is written: “And the anger of the Lord was kindled [vayyiḥar af ]” (II Samuel 6:7), whereas here, the anger [af ] is not written, but only vayyiḥar. Therefore it is interpreted differently.

דרש רבא מפני מה נענש דוד מפני שקרא לדברי תורה זמירות שנאמר זמרות היו לי חקיך בבית מגורי

Rava taught: For what reason was David punished with Uzzah’s death? He was punished because he called matters of Torah: Songs, as it is stated: “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage” (Psalms 119:54).

אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא דברי תורה שכתוב בהן התעיף עיניך בו ואיננו אתה קורא אותן זמירות הריני מכשילך בדבר שאפילו תינוקות של בית רבן יודעין אותו דכתיב ולבני קהת לא נתן כי עבדת הקדש וגו׳ ואיהו אתייה בעגלתא

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Matters of Torah are so difficult and demanding that it is written: “Will you set your eyes upon it? It is gone” (Proverbs 23:5), i.e., one whose eyes stray from the Torah even for a moment will forget it, and you call them songs? For this reason I will cause you to stumble in a matter that even schoolchildren know, as it is written with regard to the wagons brought to the Tabernacle: “And to the descendants of Kohath he did not give, because the service of the holy things belongs to them; they carry them upon their shoulders” (Numbers 7:9). And although the Ark clearly must be carried on people’s shoulders, David erred and brought it in a wagon.

ויך באנשי בית שמש כי ראו בארון משום דראו ויך אלהים רבי אבהו ורבי אלעזר חד אמר קוצרין ומשתחוים היו וחד אמר מילי נמי אמור

§ When the Philistines returned the Ark during the period of Samuel, it is stated: “And He smote of the men of Beit Shemesh because they had gazed upon the Ark of the Lord” (I Samuel 6:19). The Gemara asks: Because they gazed upon it, God smote them? Why did their action warrant this punishment? Rabbi Abbahu and Rabbi Elazar disagreed with regard to the interpretation of the verse. One says that they were punished because they were reaping their crops and prostrating themselves at the same time; they did not stop working in reverence for the Ark. And one says that they also spoke denigrating words:

מאן אמריך (להא) דאימריית ומאן אתא עלך דאיפייסת

Who angered you, i.e., the Ark, so much that you became so angry that you gave yourself into captivity? And who came to you to appease you?

ויך בעם שבעים איש חמשים אלף איש רבי אבהו ורבי אלעזר חד אמר שבעים איש היו וכל אחד ואחד שקול כחמשים אלף וחד אמר חמשים אלף היו וכל אחד ואחד שקול כשבעים סנהדרין

The verse states: “And He smote of the people seventy men, fifty thousand men” (I Samuel 6:19). Rabbi Abbahu and Rabbi Elazar disagree over the interpretation of the verse. One says that there were seventy men, and each and every one of them was equivalent to fifty thousand men. And one says that there were fifty thousand men, and each and every one was equivalent to the seventy men in the Sanhedrin.

ויהי כי צעדו נשאי ארון ה׳ ששה צעדים ויזבח שור ומריא וכתיב שבעה פרים ושבעה אילים אמר רב פפא בר שמואל על כל פסיעה ופסיעה שור ומריא על כל שש ושש פסיעות שבעה פרים ושבעה אילים

With regard to David’s journey with the Ark to Jerusalem, the verse states: “And when they who carried the Ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling” (II Samuel 6:13). And it is written elsewhere that he sacrificed “seven oxen and seven rams” (I Chronicles 15:26). Rav Pappa bar Shmuel says: For each and every step David took, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling, and for every six steps that he took, he sacrificed seven oxen and seven rams.

אמר ליה רב חסדא אם כן מילאת את כל ארץ ישראל במות אלא אמר רב חסדא על כל שש ושש פסיעות שור ומריא על כל ששה סדרים של שש פסיעות שבעה פרים ושבעה אילים

Rav Ḥisda said to him: If that is so, and he sacrificed an offering for every step that he took, you have filled all of Eretz Yisrael with altars, as they had to build a new altar for each offering. Rather, Rav Ḥisda said: For every six steps he sacrificed an ox and a fatling, and for every six sets of six steps he sacrificed seven oxen and seven rams.

כתיב כידן וכתיב נכון אמר רבי יוחנן בתחלה כידון ולבסוף נכון

It is written that Uzzah died “when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon” (I Chronicles 13:9), and elsewhere it is written that it was “the threshing floor of Nacon” (II Samuel 6:6). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: At first the Ark was similar to a javelin [kidon], as it caused Uzzah’s death. But ultimately, after the people asked for forgiveness, it was established [nakhon], i.e., placed, in the house of Obed Edom, where it was a source of blessing.

נמצאת אתה אומר שלשה מיני אבנים היו אחד שהקים משה בארץ מואב שנאמר בעבר הירדן בארץ מואב הואיל משה באר וגו׳ ולהלן הוא אומר וכתבת עליהן את כל דברי התורה הזאת וגו׳ ואתיא באר באר

§ The Gemara returns to the discussion of how the Ark was brought into Eretz Yisrael. You are found saying that there were three sets of stones. One is a set that Moses erected in the land of Moab, as it is stated: “Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses took upon himself to expound [be’er] this law, saying” (Deuteronomy 1:5). And it states there with regard to the mitzva to erect the stones on Mount Ebal: “And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law clearly elucidated [ba’er]” (Deuteronomy 27:8). It is derived through a verbal analogy between the word “be’er” that appears with regard to Moses, and the word “ba’er” that appears with regard to the mitzva to write the Torah on the stones on Mount Ebal that Moses also wrote down the Torah on stones.

ואחד שהקים יהושע בתוך הירדן שנאמר ושתים עשרה אבנים הקים יהושע בתוך הירדן ואחד שהקים בגלגל שנאמר ואת שתים עשרה האבנים האלה אשר לקחו וגו׳

And there is one set that Joshua erected in the Jordan, as it is stated: “Joshua also set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests that bore the Ark of the Covenant stood, and they are there to this day” (Joshua 4:9). And there is one set that Joshua erected in Gilgal, as it is stated: “And these twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal” (Joshua 4:20).

תנו רבנן כיצד כתבו ישראל את התורה רבי יהודה אומר על גבי אבנים כתבוה שנאמר וכתבת על האבנים את כל דברי התורה הזאת וגו׳ ואחר כך סדו אותן בסיד

The Sages taught: How did the Jewish people write the Torah? Rabbi Yehuda says: They wrote it on stones, as it is stated: “And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 27:8). And afterward they plastered them over with plaster.

אמר לו רבי שמעון לדבריך היאך למדו אומות העולם תורה אמר לו בינה יתירה נתן בהם הקדוש ברוך הוא ושיגרו נוטירין שלהן וקילפו את הסיד והשיאוה ועל דבר זה נתחתם גזר דינם לבאר שחת שהיה להן ללמד ולא למדו

Rabbi Shimon said to him: According to your statement that they plastered over the writing, how did the nations of the world study Torah? He said to him: The Holy One, Blessed be He, granted them an extra degree of understanding, and they sent their scribes [noteirin], and they peeled off the plaster and copied it down. And on account of this matter their decree to be sent to the pit of destruction was sealed, as once the Torah was in their possession they should have studied it, and they did not study.

רבי שמעון אומר על גבי סיד כתבוה וכתבו להן למטה ילמדו אתכם לעשות ככל וגו׳ הא למדת שאם היו חוזרין בתשובה היו מקבלין אותן

Rabbi Shimon says: That is not what happened. Rather, the Jewish people wrote the text of the Torah on top of the plaster, and they wrote below for the gentiles to read that the verse commands the Jewish people to destroy the gentile inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael: “Lest they teach you to do like all their abominations” (Deuteronomy 20:18). You derive from the fact that they wrote this verse that if the gentiles who lived in Eretz Israel would have repented, the Jews would have accepted them, i.e., allowed them to live in Eretz Yisrael.

אמר רבא בר שילא מאי טעמא דרבי שמעון דכתיב והיו עמים משרפות סיד על עסקי סיד

Rava bar Sheila said: What is the reason for the opinion of Rabbi Shimon? As it is written: “And the peoples shall be as the burnings of plaster” (Isaiah 33:12). This is homiletically interpreted to mean that the nations were punished on account of matters of plaster, i.e., they did not study the Torah that was written on plaster.

ורבי יהודה כי סיד מה סיד אין לו תקנה אלא שריפה אף אוּמּוּת העוֹלם אין להם תקנה אלא שריפה

The Gemara asks: And how does Rabbi Yehuda, who holds that the Torah was not written on plaster, interpret this verse? The Gemara answers: He explains that the gentiles are like plaster; just as plaster has no remedy but burning, i.e., it is created by burning stone, so too, the nations of the world have no remedy other than burning in Gehenna.

כמאן אזלא הא דתניא ושבית שביו לרבות כנענים שבחוצה לארץ שאם חוזרין בתשובה מקבלין אותן

In accordance with whose opinion is that which is taught in a baraita: The verse states: “When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands, and you take them captive” (Deuteronomy 21:10), implying that there is no obligation to destroy them, to include not only gentiles who are not Canaanites, but even Canaanites that are living outside of Eretz Yisrael, as, if they repent, they are accepted and allowed to live in Eretz Yisrael.

  • 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 Shlemah of Naama bat Yael Esther.

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Sotah 35

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Sotah 35

וילכו ויבאו אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי מקיש הליכה לביאה מה ביאה בעצה רעה אף הליכה בעצה רעה

And they went and they came” (Numbers 13:25–26). Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: This verse likens their going to their coming. Just as their coming back was with wicked counsel, so too, their going to Eretz Yisrael was with wicked counsel.

ויספרו לו ויאמרו באנו וגו׳ וכתיב אפס כי עז העם אמר רבי יוחנן (סימן אמת לבדו לויה) משום רבי מאיר כל לשון הרע שאין בו דבר אמת בתחילתו אין מתקיים בסופו

The Torah states: “And they told him, and said: We came to the land to which you sent us, and it also flows with milk and honey” (Numbers 13:27), and then it is written: “However the people that dwell in the land are fierce” (Numbers 13:28). Why did the spies praise the land and then slander it? Rabbi Yoḥanan says three statements in the name of Rabbi Meir, represented by the mnemonic device: Truth, alone, borrowing. The first statement answers this question: Any slander that does not begin with a truthful statement ultimately does not stand, i.e., it is not accepted by others.

ויהס כלב את העם אל משה אמר רבה שהסיתן בדברים

The verse states: “And Caleb stilled [vayyahas] the people toward Moses” (Numbers 13:30). Rabba says: This means that he persuaded them [hesitan] with his words. Vayyahas and hesitan share the same root in Hebrew.

פתח יהושע דקא משתעי אמרי ליה דין ראש קטיעה ימלל

How did he do so? Joshua began to address the people, and as he was speaking they said to him: Should this person, who has a severed head, as he has no children, speak to the people about entering Eretz Yisrael?

אמר אי משתעינא אמרי בי מילתא וחסמין לי אמר להן וכי זו בלבד עשה לנו בן עמרם סברי בגנותיה קא משתעי אישתיקו

Caleb said to himself: If I speak they will also say something about me and stop me from speaking. He began to speak and said to them: And is this the only thing that the son of Amram, Moses, has done to us? They thought that he wanted to relate something to the discredit of Moses, and they were silent.

אמר להו הוציאנו ממצרים וקרע לנו את הים והאכילנו את המן אם יאמר עשו סולמות ועלו לרקיע לא נשמע לו עלה נעלה וירשנו אתה וגו׳

He then said to them: He took us out of Egypt, and split the sea for us, and fed us the manna. If he says to us: Build ladders and climb to the heavens, should we not listen to him? “We should go up at once,” even to the heavens, “and possess it” (Numbers 13:30).

והאנשים אשר עלו עמו אמרו לא נוכל וגו׳ אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא דבר גדול דברו מרגלים באותה שעה כי חזק הוא ממנו אל תקרי ממנו אלא ממנו כביכול אפילו בעל הבית אינו יכול להוציא כליו משם

The verses continue: “But the men that went up with him said: We are not able to go up against the people; as they are stronger than us” (Numbers 13:31). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: The spies said a serious statement at that moment. When they said: “They are stronger,” do not read the phrase as: Stronger than us [mimmennu], but rather read it as: Stronger than Him [mimmennu], meaning that even the Homeowner, God, is unable to remove His belongings from there, as it were. The spies were speaking heresy and claiming that the Canaanites were stronger than God Himself.

ארץ אכלת יושביה היא דרש רבא אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא אני חשבתיה לטובה והם חשבו לרעה אני חשבתיה לטובה דכל היכא דמטו מת חשיבא דידהו כי היכי דניטרדו ולא לשאלו אבתרייהו ואיכא דאמרי איוב נח נפשיה ואטרידו כולי עלמא בהספידא הם חשבו לרעה ארץ אכלת יושביה היא

The spies said: “It is a land that consumes its inhabitants” (Numbers 13:32). Rava taught: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: I intended the land to appear to consume its inhabitants for their own good, but they considered this proof that the land was bad. I intended it for their good by causing many people to die there so that anywhere that the spies arrived, the most important of them died, so that the Canaanites would be preoccupied with mourning and would not inquire about them. And there are those who say that God caused Job to die at that time, and everyone in Canaan was preoccupied with his eulogy, and did not pay attention to the spies. However, the spies considered this proof that the land was bad and said: “It is a land that consumes its inhabitants.”

ונהי בעינינו כחגבים וכן היינו וגו׳ אמר רב משרשיא מרגלים שקרי הוו בשלמא ונהי בעינינו כחגבים לחיי אלא וכן היינו בעיניהם מנא הוו ידעי

The spies said: “And we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so were we in their eyes” (Numbers 13:33). Rav Mesharshiyya says: The spies were liars. Granted, to say: “We were like grasshoppers in our own eyes,” is well, but to say: “And so were we in their eyes,” from where could they have known this?

ולא היא כי הוו מברי אבילי תותי ארזי הוו מברי וכי חזינהו סלקו יתבי באילני שמעי דקאמרי קחזינן אינשי דדמו לקמצי באילני

The Gemara responds: But that is not so, as when the Canaanites were having the mourners’ meal, they had the meal beneath cedar trees, and when the spies saw them they climbed up the trees and sat in them. From there they heard the Canaanites saying: We see people who look like grasshoppers in the trees.

ותשא כל העדה ויתנו את קולם ויבכו אמר רבה אמר רבי יוחנן אותו היום ערב תשעה באב היה אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא הן בכו בכיה של חנם ואני אקבע להם בכיה לדורות

The verse states: “And all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried” (Numbers 14:1). Rabba says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: That day was the eve of the Ninth of Av, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: On that day they wept a gratuitous weeping, so I will establish that day for them as a day of weeping for the future generations.

ויאמרו כל העדה לרגום אתם באבנים וכתיב וכבוד ה׳ נראה באהל מועד אמר רבי חייא בר אבא מלמד שנטלו אבנים וזרקום כלפי מעלה

The verse states: “But all the congregation bade stone them with stones” (Numbers 14:10), and it is written immediately afterward: “When the glory of the Lord appeared in the Tent of Meeting” (Numbers 14:10). Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says: This teaches that they took stones and threw them upward as if to throw them at God.

וימתו האנשים מוצאי דבת הארץ רעה במגפה אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש שמתו מיתה משונה אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא דרש רבי שילא איש כפר תמרתא מלמד שנשתרבב לשונם ונפל על טיבורם והיו תולעים יוצאות מלשונם ונכנסות בטיבורם ומטיבורם ונכנסות בלשונם ורב נחמן בר יצחק אמר באסכרה מתו

The verse states: “And those men who brought out an evil report of the land, died by the plague before the Lord” (Numbers 14:37). Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish says: This means that they died an unusual death. Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says that Rabbi Sheila Ish Kefar Temarta taught: This teaches that their tongues were stretched out from their mouths and fell upon their navels, and worms were crawling out of their tongues and entering their navels, and worms were likewise coming out of their navels and entering their tongues. This is the painful death that they suffered. And Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: They died of diphtheria, which causes one to choke to death.

וכיון שעלה האחרון שבישראל מן הירדן חזרו מים למקומן שנאמר ויהי בעלות הכהנים נשאי ארון ברית ה׳ מתוך הירדן נתקו כפות רגלי הכהנים אל החרבה וישבו מי הירדן למקומם וילכו כתמול שלשום על כל גדותיו

§ The Gemara returns to discuss the entry of the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael. And once the last one of the Jewish people ascended out of the Jordan, the water returned to its place, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, as the priests that bore the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord came up out of the midst of the Jordan, as soon as the soles of the priests’ feet were drawn up unto the dry ground, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks, as it had before” (Joshua 4:18). The Gemara understands that the priests who carried the Ark stood in the water until all of the Jewish people passed through the Jordan. Once all the Jewish people had reached the other side of the Jordan, the priests stepped back from the water and the Jordan returned to its natural state.

נמצא ארון ונושאיו וכהנים מצד אחד וישראל מצד אחד נשא ארון את נושאיו ועבר שנאמר ויהי כאשר תם כל העם לעבר ויעבר ארון ה׳ והכהנים לפני העם

It follows that the Ark and its bearers and the priests were on one side of the Jordan, the east side, and the rest of the Jewish people were on the other side, the west side. Subsequently, the Ark carried its bearers in the air and crossed the Jordan, as it is stated: “When all the people were completely passed over, the Ark of the Lord passed on, and the priests, before the people” (Joshua 4:11).

ועל דבר זה נענש עוזא שנאמר ויבאו עד גרן כידן וישלח עזא את ידו לאחז את הארון אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא עוזא נושאיו נשא עצמו לא כל שכן

And over this matter Uzzah was punished for not taking proper care of the Ark, as it is stated: “And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put forth his hand to hold the Ark; for the oxen stumbled” (I Chronicles 13:9). The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Uzzah, the Ark carried its bearers when it crossed the Jordan; all the more so is it not clear that it can carry itself?

ויחר אף ה׳ בעזה ויכהו שם על השל וגו׳ רבי יוחנן ורבי אלעזר חד אמר על עסקי שלו וחד אמר שעשה צרכיו בפניו

§ The verse states: “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error [hashal]” (II Samuel 6:7). Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Elazar disagreed over the interpretation of this verse. One says: God smote him for his forgetfulness [shalo], because he did not remember that the Ark can carry itself. And one says: God smote him because he lifted the edges [shulayyim] of his garment in front of the Ark and relieved himself in its presence.

וימת שם עם ארון האלהים אמר רבי יוחנן עוזא בא לעולם הבא שנאמר עם ארון האלהים מה ארון לעולם קיים אף עוזא בא לעולם הבא

The verse states: “And he died there with the Ark of God” (II Samuel 6:7). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Uzzah entered the World-to-Come, as it is stated: “With the Ark of God.” Just as the Ark exists forever, so too, Uzzah entered the World-to-Come.

ויחר לדוד על אשר פרץ ה׳ פרץ בעזה אמר רבי אלעזר שנשתנו פניו כחררה

The verse states: “And David was displeased [vayyiḥar] because the Lord had broken forth upon Uzzah” (II Samuel 6:8). Rabbi Elazar says: Vayyiḥar means that his face changed colors and darkened like baked bread [ḥarara] from displeasure.

אלא מעתה כל היכא דכתיב ויחר הכי נמי התם כתיב אף הכא לא כתיב אף

The Gemara questions this statement: If that is so, anywhere that the word vayyiḥar is written, including when it is referring to God, should it be interpreted this way as well? The Gemara answers: There, it is written: “And the anger of the Lord was kindled [vayyiḥar af ]” (II Samuel 6:7), whereas here, the anger [af ] is not written, but only vayyiḥar. Therefore it is interpreted differently.

דרש רבא מפני מה נענש דוד מפני שקרא לדברי תורה זמירות שנאמר זמרות היו לי חקיך בבית מגורי

Rava taught: For what reason was David punished with Uzzah’s death? He was punished because he called matters of Torah: Songs, as it is stated: “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage” (Psalms 119:54).

אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא דברי תורה שכתוב בהן התעיף עיניך בו ואיננו אתה קורא אותן זמירות הריני מכשילך בדבר שאפילו תינוקות של בית רבן יודעין אותו דכתיב ולבני קהת לא נתן כי עבדת הקדש וגו׳ ואיהו אתייה בעגלתא

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Matters of Torah are so difficult and demanding that it is written: “Will you set your eyes upon it? It is gone” (Proverbs 23:5), i.e., one whose eyes stray from the Torah even for a moment will forget it, and you call them songs? For this reason I will cause you to stumble in a matter that even schoolchildren know, as it is written with regard to the wagons brought to the Tabernacle: “And to the descendants of Kohath he did not give, because the service of the holy things belongs to them; they carry them upon their shoulders” (Numbers 7:9). And although the Ark clearly must be carried on people’s shoulders, David erred and brought it in a wagon.

ויך באנשי בית שמש כי ראו בארון משום דראו ויך אלהים רבי אבהו ורבי אלעזר חד אמר קוצרין ומשתחוים היו וחד אמר מילי נמי אמור

§ When the Philistines returned the Ark during the period of Samuel, it is stated: “And He smote of the men of Beit Shemesh because they had gazed upon the Ark of the Lord” (I Samuel 6:19). The Gemara asks: Because they gazed upon it, God smote them? Why did their action warrant this punishment? Rabbi Abbahu and Rabbi Elazar disagreed with regard to the interpretation of the verse. One says that they were punished because they were reaping their crops and prostrating themselves at the same time; they did not stop working in reverence for the Ark. And one says that they also spoke denigrating words:

מאן אמריך (להא) דאימריית ומאן אתא עלך דאיפייסת

Who angered you, i.e., the Ark, so much that you became so angry that you gave yourself into captivity? And who came to you to appease you?

ויך בעם שבעים איש חמשים אלף איש רבי אבהו ורבי אלעזר חד אמר שבעים איש היו וכל אחד ואחד שקול כחמשים אלף וחד אמר חמשים אלף היו וכל אחד ואחד שקול כשבעים סנהדרין

The verse states: “And He smote of the people seventy men, fifty thousand men” (I Samuel 6:19). Rabbi Abbahu and Rabbi Elazar disagree over the interpretation of the verse. One says that there were seventy men, and each and every one of them was equivalent to fifty thousand men. And one says that there were fifty thousand men, and each and every one was equivalent to the seventy men in the Sanhedrin.

ויהי כי צעדו נשאי ארון ה׳ ששה צעדים ויזבח שור ומריא וכתיב שבעה פרים ושבעה אילים אמר רב פפא בר שמואל על כל פסיעה ופסיעה שור ומריא על כל שש ושש פסיעות שבעה פרים ושבעה אילים

With regard to David’s journey with the Ark to Jerusalem, the verse states: “And when they who carried the Ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling” (II Samuel 6:13). And it is written elsewhere that he sacrificed “seven oxen and seven rams” (I Chronicles 15:26). Rav Pappa bar Shmuel says: For each and every step David took, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling, and for every six steps that he took, he sacrificed seven oxen and seven rams.

אמר ליה רב חסדא אם כן מילאת את כל ארץ ישראל במות אלא אמר רב חסדא על כל שש ושש פסיעות שור ומריא על כל ששה סדרים של שש פסיעות שבעה פרים ושבעה אילים

Rav Ḥisda said to him: If that is so, and he sacrificed an offering for every step that he took, you have filled all of Eretz Yisrael with altars, as they had to build a new altar for each offering. Rather, Rav Ḥisda said: For every six steps he sacrificed an ox and a fatling, and for every six sets of six steps he sacrificed seven oxen and seven rams.

כתיב כידן וכתיב נכון אמר רבי יוחנן בתחלה כידון ולבסוף נכון

It is written that Uzzah died “when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon” (I Chronicles 13:9), and elsewhere it is written that it was “the threshing floor of Nacon” (II Samuel 6:6). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: At first the Ark was similar to a javelin [kidon], as it caused Uzzah’s death. But ultimately, after the people asked for forgiveness, it was established [nakhon], i.e., placed, in the house of Obed Edom, where it was a source of blessing.

נמצאת אתה אומר שלשה מיני אבנים היו אחד שהקים משה בארץ מואב שנאמר בעבר הירדן בארץ מואב הואיל משה באר וגו׳ ולהלן הוא אומר וכתבת עליהן את כל דברי התורה הזאת וגו׳ ואתיא באר באר

§ The Gemara returns to the discussion of how the Ark was brought into Eretz Yisrael. You are found saying that there were three sets of stones. One is a set that Moses erected in the land of Moab, as it is stated: “Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses took upon himself to expound [be’er] this law, saying” (Deuteronomy 1:5). And it states there with regard to the mitzva to erect the stones on Mount Ebal: “And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law clearly elucidated [ba’er]” (Deuteronomy 27:8). It is derived through a verbal analogy between the word “be’er” that appears with regard to Moses, and the word “ba’er” that appears with regard to the mitzva to write the Torah on the stones on Mount Ebal that Moses also wrote down the Torah on stones.

ואחד שהקים יהושע בתוך הירדן שנאמר ושתים עשרה אבנים הקים יהושע בתוך הירדן ואחד שהקים בגלגל שנאמר ואת שתים עשרה האבנים האלה אשר לקחו וגו׳

And there is one set that Joshua erected in the Jordan, as it is stated: “Joshua also set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests that bore the Ark of the Covenant stood, and they are there to this day” (Joshua 4:9). And there is one set that Joshua erected in Gilgal, as it is stated: “And these twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal” (Joshua 4:20).

תנו רבנן כיצד כתבו ישראל את התורה רבי יהודה אומר על גבי אבנים כתבוה שנאמר וכתבת על האבנים את כל דברי התורה הזאת וגו׳ ואחר כך סדו אותן בסיד

The Sages taught: How did the Jewish people write the Torah? Rabbi Yehuda says: They wrote it on stones, as it is stated: “And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 27:8). And afterward they plastered them over with plaster.

אמר לו רבי שמעון לדבריך היאך למדו אומות העולם תורה אמר לו בינה יתירה נתן בהם הקדוש ברוך הוא ושיגרו נוטירין שלהן וקילפו את הסיד והשיאוה ועל דבר זה נתחתם גזר דינם לבאר שחת שהיה להן ללמד ולא למדו

Rabbi Shimon said to him: According to your statement that they plastered over the writing, how did the nations of the world study Torah? He said to him: The Holy One, Blessed be He, granted them an extra degree of understanding, and they sent their scribes [noteirin], and they peeled off the plaster and copied it down. And on account of this matter their decree to be sent to the pit of destruction was sealed, as once the Torah was in their possession they should have studied it, and they did not study.

רבי שמעון אומר על גבי סיד כתבוה וכתבו להן למטה ילמדו אתכם לעשות ככל וגו׳ הא למדת שאם היו חוזרין בתשובה היו מקבלין אותן

Rabbi Shimon says: That is not what happened. Rather, the Jewish people wrote the text of the Torah on top of the plaster, and they wrote below for the gentiles to read that the verse commands the Jewish people to destroy the gentile inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael: “Lest they teach you to do like all their abominations” (Deuteronomy 20:18). You derive from the fact that they wrote this verse that if the gentiles who lived in Eretz Israel would have repented, the Jews would have accepted them, i.e., allowed them to live in Eretz Yisrael.

אמר רבא בר שילא מאי טעמא דרבי שמעון דכתיב והיו עמים משרפות סיד על עסקי סיד

Rava bar Sheila said: What is the reason for the opinion of Rabbi Shimon? As it is written: “And the peoples shall be as the burnings of plaster” (Isaiah 33:12). This is homiletically interpreted to mean that the nations were punished on account of matters of plaster, i.e., they did not study the Torah that was written on plaster.

ורבי יהודה כי סיד מה סיד אין לו תקנה אלא שריפה אף אוּמּוּת העוֹלם אין להם תקנה אלא שריפה

The Gemara asks: And how does Rabbi Yehuda, who holds that the Torah was not written on plaster, interpret this verse? The Gemara answers: He explains that the gentiles are like plaster; just as plaster has no remedy but burning, i.e., it is created by burning stone, so too, the nations of the world have no remedy other than burning in Gehenna.

כמאן אזלא הא דתניא ושבית שביו לרבות כנענים שבחוצה לארץ שאם חוזרין בתשובה מקבלין אותן

In accordance with whose opinion is that which is taught in a baraita: The verse states: “When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands, and you take them captive” (Deuteronomy 21:10), implying that there is no obligation to destroy them, to include not only gentiles who are not Canaanites, but even Canaanites that are living outside of Eretz Yisrael, as, if they repent, they are accepted and allowed to live in Eretz Yisrael.

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