סקר
בעקבות מסכת שקלים - האם תרצה ללמוד עוד מסכת מהתלמוד הירושלמי?





 

Steinsaltz

we will recite them both: God of thanksgivings, and: Abundant thanksgivings.

§ The Gemara cites statements in praise of rainfall. Rabbi Abbahu said: The day of rain is greater than the resurrection of the dead. The reason is that while the resurrection of the dead benefits only the righteous, rain benefits both the righteous and the wicked. The Gemara comments: And this statement disagrees with the opinion of Rav Yosef, as Rav Yosef said: Since rainfall is equivalent to the resurrection of the dead, the Sages established its recitation in the second blessing of the Amida, the blessing of the resurrection of the dead. According to Rav Yosef, rainfall is the equivalent to, but not superior to, the resurrection of the dead.

Similarly, Rav Yehuda said: The day of the rains is as great as the day on which the Torah was given, as it is stated: “My doctrine [likḥi] shall drop as the rain” (Deuteronomy 32:2), and lekaḥ means nothing other than Torah, as it is stated: “For I give you good doctrine [lekaḥ]; do not forsake My Torah” (Proverbs 4:2). Rava said: Rainfall is even greater than the day on which the Torah was given, as it is stated: “My doctrine shall drop as the rain,” and when one makes a comparison, which object is made dependent upon which? You must say that the lesser object is dependent upon the greater one. If Torah is compared to rain, it follows that rain is greater than Torah.

The Gemara cites another interpretation of the verse from Deuteronomy. Rava raised a contradiction: At the beginning of the verse it is written: “My doctrine shall drop [ya’arof] as the rain,” in a harsh manner, and yet later in the verse, it is written: “My speech shall distill as the dew,” in a gentle tone. He resolves this apparent contradiction as follows: If he is a worthy Torah scholar, the Torah flows through him like the dew, but if he is not worthy, it snaps his neck [orfehu] like the powerful rain.

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Bena’a would say: Anyone who engages in Torah for its own sake, his Torah study will be an elixir of life for him, as it is stated: “It is a tree of life to them who lay hold upon it” (Proverbs 3:18), and it says: “It shall be health to your navel” (Proverbs 3:8), and it says: “For whoever finds Me finds life” (Proverbs 8:35). And anyone who engages in Torah not for its own sake, e.g., for self-aggrandizement, his Torah will be an elixir of death for him, as it is stated: “My doctrine shall drop [ya’arof ] as the rain,” and arifa means nothing other than killing, as it is stated: “And they shall break the heifer’s neck [arefu] there in the valley” (Deuteronomy 21:4).

Rabbi Yirmeya once said to Rabbi Zeira: Let the Master come and teach a halakhic discourse. Rabbi Zeira said to him: My heart is weak and I cannot strain myself over a halakhic discourse. Rabbi Yirmeya replied to him: In that case, let the Master tell us a matter of aggada, which does not require as much effort. Rabbi Zeira said to him that Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19)? And is man actually a tree of the field?

Rather, it is because it is written earlier in the same verse: “You may eat of them but you may not cut them down,” and it is written in the next verse: “Them you may destroy and cut down” (Deuteronomy 20:20). This indicates that there are certain trees which may be cut down, while others may not be destroyed. How so? If a Torah scholar is worthy: “You may eat of them but you may not cut them down,” but if he is not worthy: “He you may destroy and cut down.”

The Gemara cites other expositions that deal with Torah study. Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17)? This verse comes to tell you that just as with these iron implements, one sharpens the other when they are rubbed against each other, so too, when Torah scholars study together, they sharpen one another in halakha.

Rabba bar bar Ḥana said: Why are matters of Torah compared to fire, as it is stated: “Is not My word like fire, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:29)? To tell you: Just as fire does not ignite in a lone stick of wood but in a pile of kindling, so too, matters of Torah are not retained and understood properly by a lone scholar who studies by himself, but by a group of Sages.

And this is what Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the boasters [habaddim], and they shall become fools [noalu]” (Jeremiah 50:36)? This verse can be interpreted homiletically: There is a sword upon the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for Torah scholars themselves, who sit alone [bad bevad] and study Torah. And not only that, but those who study by themselves grow foolish from their solitary Torah study, as it is stated: “And they shall become fools.”

And not only that, but they sin, as it is written here: “And they shall become fools,” and it is written there: “For that we have done foolishly [noalnu] and for that we have sinned” (Numbers 12:11). And if you wish, say instead that it is derived from here: “The princes of Zoan have become fools [noalu]…they have caused Egypt to go astray” (Isaiah 19:13).

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: Why are Torah matters likened to a tree, as it is stated: “It is a tree of life to them who lay hold upon it” (Proverbs 3:18)? This verse comes to tell you that just as a small piece of wood can ignite a large piece, so too, minor Torah scholars can sharpen great Torah scholars and enable them to advance in their studies. And this is what Rabbi Ḥanina said: I have learned much from my teachers and even more from my friends, but from my students I have learned more than from all of them.

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa raised a contradiction. In one verse it is written: “To him who is thirsty bring water” (Isaiah 21:14), which indicates that the one who has water must bring it to the thirsty person, and it is written elsewhere: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1), from which it may be inferred that the thirsty person must seek out water himself. Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa resolves this apparent contradiction by explaining that if he is a worthy student the teacher must seek him out, as in “to him who is thirsty bring water,” but if the student is not worthy, then “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water,” i.e., this student must seek out a teacher himself.

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Ḥama raised another contradiction. In one verse it is written: “Let your springs be dispersed abroad” (Proverbs 5:16), whereas in the next verse it is written: “Let them be your own” (Proverbs 5:17). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Ḥama explains: If the student sitting before you is worthy, then “Let your springs be dispersed abroad,” as you should teach him, but if he is not worthy, then “Let them be your own.”

And Rabbi Ḥanina bar Idi said: Why are matters of Torah likened to water, as it is written: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1)? This verse comes to tell you: Just as water leaves a high place and flows to a low place, so too, Torah matters are retained only by one whose spirit is lowly, i.e., a humble person.

And Rabbi Oshaya said: Why are matters of Torah likened to these three liquids: To water, wine and milk? As it is written with regard to water: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water,” and it is written in the same verse: “Come, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” This verse comes to tell you: Just as these three liquids can be retained only in the least of vessels, e.g., clay pots, but not vessels of silver and gold, as they will spoil, so too, matters of Torah are retained only by one whose spirit is lowly.

The Gemara cites a related incident: This is as the daughter of the Roman emperor said to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya, who was an ugly man: Woe to glorious wisdom such as yours, which is contained in an ugly vessel. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her, in a seemingly unrelated response: Does your father keep his wine in simple clay vessels? The emperor’s daughter said to him: Rather, in what, then, should he keep it? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her: You, who are so important, should put it in vessels of gold and silver.

The emperor’s daughter went and said this to her father. He put the wine in vessels of gold and silver and it turned sour. When his advisors came and told the emperor that the wine had turned sour, he said to his daughter: Who told you to do this? His daughter responded: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya. The emperor summoned him and said to him: Why did you say this to her? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to him: Just as she said to me, so I said say to her, to demonstrate to her that fine material is best preserved in the least of vessels. The emperor said to him: But there are handsome people who are learned.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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