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Steinsaltz

in the context of the mitzva to honor one’s parents, the word good is stated there: “In order that it shall be good for you” (Deuteronomy 5:16)? Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said to him: Before you ask me why the word good is stated, ask me if the word good is actually stated there or not, since I am not sufficiently proficient in my knowledge of the biblical verses to remember the precise wording, and I do not know if the word good is stated there or not. Go to Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai, who was commonly found at the academy of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, who was an expert in aggada. Perhaps he heard something from him on this matter and can answer your question.

Rabbi Ḥanina ben Agil went to him and asked him. Rabbi Tanḥum said to him: I did not hear anything on this matter from Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi himself. But this is what Shmuel bar Naḥum, the brother of the mother of Rav Aḥa, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said to me, and some say it was the father of the mother of Rav Aḥai, son of Rabbi Ḥanina: It does not mention the word good in the first tablets, since they were ultimately destined to be broken after the Jews made the Golden Calf.

The Gemara asks: And even if it had mentioned the term good, and they were ultimately destined to break, what of it? Rav Ashi said: If this term had been mentioned in the first tablets, all good would have, God forbid, ceased from Israel once they were broken. Therefore, only the second version, which was written after the breaking of the tablets, contains the word good, so that there would always be good for the Jewish people.

Rabbi Yehoshua says: If one sees the letter tet in his dream, it is a good sign for him. The Gemara asks: What is the reason? If we say that it is because the word good [tov] is written in the Torah and begins with the letter tet, then one could say instead that it is an allusion to the verse: “And I will sweep it with the broom [vetetetiha bemate’ateh] of destruction” (Isaiah 14:23), which also contains the letter tet several times but is referring to punishment. The Gemara answers: We mean that when someone sees one tet in his dream, it is a good sign, but this latter verse contains several.

The Gemara asks: This latter statement is problematic, as even according to this explanation, one can say that a single letter tet alludes to the verse: “Her filthiness [tumatah] is in her skirts” (Lamentations 1:9), which begins with the letter tet. The Gemara answers: We mean that when one sees the letter tet together with the letter bet in his dream, it is a good sign for him, as the word tov is written with both. The Gemara asks further: According to this, say that it alludes to the verse: “Her gates are sunk [tave’u] into the ground” (Lamentations 2:9), which begins with the letter tet followed by the letter bet.

Rather, it is not merely because it is the first letter of the word good [tov] that it is considered a good omen. Since the Torah initially introduces the letter tet in a context of good, with the word good [tov] itself, it is a good omen. As from the word bereshit, the first word in the Torah, until the verse: “And God saw that the light was good [tov]” (Genesis 1:4), the letter tet is not written anywhere.

And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: If one sees a eulogy [hesped] in his dream, it is an allusion that in Heaven they had pity [ḥasu] on him and saved him [peda’uhu] from actually being eulogized. The Gemara notes: This statement applies specifically when he actually saw the word: Eulogy [hesped], in writing.

§ The mishna teaches: And similarly, undomesticated animals and birds are subject to the same halakhot as domesticated animals. Reish Lakish says: Here Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi taught a ruling from the Tosefta that illustrates the statement that birds and undomesticated animals are also subject to the prohibition of diverse kinds: A cock, a peacock [tavvas], and a pheasant [ufasyonei] are diverse kinds with respect to each other, since this halakha applies to birds as well.

The Gemara asks: Isn’t this obvious; what novelty is stated here? Rav Ḥaviva said: The novelty here is because they are reared together. Lest you say: Since they are reared together, they are essentially one species, and not considered diverse kinds. Therefore, it teaches us that they are actually separate species, and the halakhot of diverse kinds do apply to them.

Following the discussion of the prohibition of diverse kinds as it relates to birds, Shmuel says: The domestic goose and the wild goose are diverse kinds with respect to each other and are not one species. Rava bar Rav Ḥanan objects to this: What is the reason? If we say it is because the beak of this one is long and the beak of that one is short, if that is so, then with regard to a Persian camel and an Arabian camel, where the neck of this one is thick and the neck of that one is thin, they should indeed be considered diverse kinds with respect to one another. Clearly, though, the camels are in fact two variants of a single species.

Rather, Abaye says: That is not the reason, but rather another difference exists between the domestic goose and the wild goose, concerning the male: With regard to this type, i.e., the wild goose, its testicles are visible from the outside, and with regard to that one, i.e., the domestic goose, its testicles are inside. Rav Pappa said that another difference exists between them, concerning the female: This one, i.e., the wild goose, releases only one egg in its ovary and later releases another, and that one, i.e., the domestic goose, releases several eggs at once in its ovary. Consequently, they are not considered to be the same species.

In connection with the prohibition of diverse kinds, Rabbi Yirmeya says that Reish Lakish says: One who crossbreeds two species of creatures that live in the sea is flogged for transgressing the prohibition of crossbreeding diverse kinds. The Gemara asks: What is the reason, i.e., where is there an allusion to this in the Torah? Rav Adda bar Ahava said in the name of Ulla: It is derived from a verbal analogy between the term: “According to its species [leminehu]” (Genesis 1:21), referring to animals living on dry land, and the same term: “According to its species [leminehu]” (Genesis 1:25), referring to sea creatures. In the same way that the former may not be crossbred, similarly, the latter may not be crossbred.

The Sage Raḥava raises a dilemma: With regard to one who drives a wagon on the seashore with a goat and a shibbuta, a certain species of fish, together, pulled by the goat on land and the fish at sea, what is the halakha? Has he violated the prohibition against performing labor with diverse kinds, in the same way that one does when plowing with an ox and a donkey together, or not? The two sides of the question are as follows: Do we say that since the goat does not descend into the sea and the shibbuta does not ascend onto the land, they are not working together at all, and so he has not done anything forbidden? Or perhaps, since in any event, he is now driving the wagon with both of them, he thereby transgresses the prohibition?

Ravina objects to this: But if that is so that one is liable, then if a person joined wheat and barley together in his hand and sowed the wheat in Eretz Yisrael and the barley outside of Eretz Yisrael, where the prohibition of diverse kinds does not apply to seeds, so too he should be liable. Clearly, however, they are two distinct regions, and the seeds are not considered to be mixed together.

The Sages said in response to this objection: How can these cases be compared? There, in the case of planting diverse kinds of seeds, it is specifically Eretz Yisrael that is the location subject to this obligation, whereas outside of Eretz Yisrael is not a location subject to this obligation. Here, by contrast, in the case of the person driving a wagon, both this location, i.e., the land, and that location, i.e., the sea, are locations subject to this obligation. Consequently, if one works together two different species either on the land or in the sea, he is liable. Therefore, the question is a valid one.

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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