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עם סיום מסכת עירובין






 

Steinsaltz

I wish to see Him. Rabbi Yehoshua went and stood the emperor facing the sun in the season of Tammuz, i.e., summer. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: Look at it. The emperor said to him: I cannot. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: Now, if with regard to the sun, which is only one of the servants that stand before the Holy One, Blessed be He, you say: I cannot look at it, is it not all the more so with regard to the Divine Presence?

§ The Gemara recounts: The Roman emperor said to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya: I desire to arrange bread, i.e., a meal, for your God. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: You cannot. The emperor asked him: Why? Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: His hosts are too great. The emperor said to him: Truly, I wish to do it. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: Go out and arrange a meal on the shore of the great sea [dirvita], where there is a wide open space. The emperor worked all the six months of summer to accomplish this. A wind came and swept it all into the sea.

The emperor worked to arrange another meal all the six months of winter. Rain came and sank it all in the sea. The emperor said to Rabbi Yehoshua: What is this? Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: These are only the sweepers and floor washers that wait on Him, and they alone have eaten everything. The emperor said to him: If so, I cannot arrange a meal before Him.

§ The Gemara recounts: The daughter of the Roman emperor said to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya: Your God is a carpenter, as it is written: “Who lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters” (Psalms 104:3). Tell Him to make for me a distaff, a simple tool used in spinning. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said: Very well. He prayed for mercy for her and she was stricken with leprosy. She sat in the Roman market, and they gave her a distaff, since it was their custom to give a distaff to anyone stricken with leprosy in Rome, and the leper would sit in the market and untangle bunches of wool, so that people would see and pray for mercy on him.

One day Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya was passing there, and he saw that she was sitting and untangling bunches of wool in the Roman market. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her: Is the distaff my God gave you pleasing? She said to him: Tell your God to take back what He has given me. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her: Our God gives, but does not take.

§ Rav Yehuda says: A bull has a large paunch and large hooves. Its head is large, and its tail is large. And the opposite is true for a donkey. The Gemara explains: What is the practical difference that results from such a statement? It is relevant for purposes of buying and selling. One who agrees to sell a bull must provide the buyer with one that fits this description, and the opposite for a donkey.

And Rav Yehuda says: The bull that Adam, the first man, sacrificed as a thanks offering for his life being spared had a single horn on its forehead, as it is stated: “And it shall please the Lord better than a bullock that has horns [makrin] and hoofs” (Psalms 69:32). The Gemara comments: On the contrary, the word makrin indicates two horns. Rav Naḥman said: Although it is vocalized in the plural, makran is written in the verse, without the letter yod, to indicate that it had only a single horn.

And Rav Yehuda says: With regard to the bull that Adam, the first man, sacrificed, its horns preceded its hooves. It was not born of a cow, but rose fully formed out of the earth such that its head emerged first, as it is stated: “And it shall please the Lord better than a bullock that has horns and hoofs.” The phrase “has horns” comes first, and only afterward the word “hoofs.”

And this supports the statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: All items created during the acts of Creation were created with their full stature, immediately fit to bear fruit; they were created with their full mental capacities; they were created with their full form. As it is stated: “And the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Genesis 2:1). Do not read it as: “The host of them [tzeva’am]”; rather, read it as: Their form [tzivyonam].

§ Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa taught: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; let the Lord rejoice in His works” (Psalms 104:31). This verse was stated by the minister of the world, i.e., the angel charged with overseeing the world. When the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: “Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit tree bearing fruit after its kind” (Genesis 1:11), the grasses drew an a fortiori inference with regard to themselves.

They reasoned: If the Holy One, Blessed be He, wishes the mixing of species, why did he say: After its kind, with regard to the trees? And furthermore, let us draw an a fortiori inference: If with regard to trees, which do not naturally grow mixed, as they are large and distinct from one another, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: “After its kind,” all the more so with regard to us, since grass naturally grows mixed.

Immediately, every kind of grass emerged after its kind, as it is stated: “And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind” (Genesis 1:12). The minister of the world began to speak and said: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; let the Lord rejoice in His works,” who do His will even when not explicitly instructed.

With regard to the above description, Ravina raises a dilemma: If one grafted two species of grass onto one another, as is done with trees,

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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