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מיתיבי אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקב"ה רבונו של עולם מפני מה קנסת מיתה על אדם הראשון אמר להם מצוה קלה צויתיו ועבר עליה א"ל והלא משה ואהרן שקיימו כל התורה כולה ומתו א"ל (קהלת ט, ב) מקרה אחד לצדיק ולרשע לטוב וגו' The Gemara raises an objection from the following baraita: The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, why did You penalize Adam, the first man, with the death penalty?He said to them: I gave him a simple mitzva, and he violated it. They said to Him: Didn’t Moses and Aaron, who observed the whole Torah in its entirety, nevertheless die? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them, citing the verse: “All things come alike to all; there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him who sacrifices, and to him who does not sacrifice; as is the good, so is the sinner; and he who swears, as he who fears an oath” (Ecclesiastes 9:2). Apparently, death is not dependent upon one’s actions. Everyone dies.
הוא דאמר כי האי תנא דתניא ר"ש בן אלעזר אומר אף משה ואהרן בחטאם מתו שנא' (במדבר כ, יב) יען לא האמנתם בי הא האמנתם בי עדיין לא הגיע זמנכם ליפטר מן העולם The Gemara answers: Rav Ami stated his position in accordance with this tanna, as it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar said: Even Moses and Aaron died due to their sin, as it is stated: “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation in to the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:12). Had you believed in Me and spoken to the rock as commanded, your time would not yet have come to leave the world. Apparently, even Moses and Aaron died due to their sins.
מיתיבי ארבעה מתו בעטיו של נחש ואלו הן בנימין בן יעקב ועמרם אבי משה וישי אבי דוד וכלאב בן דוד וכולהו גמרא לבר מישי אבי דוד דמפרש ביה קרא דכתיב (שמואל ב יז, כה) ואת עמשא שם אבשלום תחת יואב (שר) הצבא ועמשא בן איש ושמו יתרא הישראלי אשר בא אל אביגיל בת נחש אחות צרויה אם יואב The Gemara raises an objection from what was taught in the following baraita: Four people died due to Adam’s sin with the serpent, in the wake of which death was decreed upon all of mankind, although they themselves were free of sin. And they are: Benjamin, son of Jacob; Amram, father of Moses; Yishai, father of David; and Kilab, son of David. And all of them were learned through tradition, except for Yishai, father of David, with regard to whom there is an explicit verse interpreted homiletically, as it is written: “And Absalom placed Amasa in charge of the army in place of Joab, and Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Israelite, who had taken to himself Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab” (II Samuel 17:25).
וכי בת נחש הואי והלא בת ישי הואי דכתיב (דברי הימים א ב, טז) ואחיותיהן צרויה ואביגיל אלא בת מי שמת בעטיו של נחש The Gemara asks: And was Abigal the daughter of Nahash? Wasn’t she the daughter of Yishai, as it is written: “And Yishai begot his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh: and their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. And the sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, and Joab, and Asahel, three. And Abigail bore Amasa; and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite” (I Chronicles 2:13–17)? Apparently, Abigail was the daughter of Yishai. Rather, the verse states that Abigail was the daughter of Nahash in order to teach us that she was the daughter of one who died on account of Adam’s sin with the serpent [naḥash], though he himself was free of sin.
מני אילימא תנא דמלאכי השרת והא איכא משה ואהרן אלא לאו ר"ש בן אלעזר היא וש"מ יש מיתה בלא חטא ויש יסורין בלא עון ותיובתא דרב אמי תיובתא: The Gemara now clarifies the matter: Who is the tanna of the baraita that states that four people did not die due to their own sins? If you say that it is the tanna who taught the conversation between the ministering angels and God, it is difficult, as weren’t there also Moses and Aaron who did not die due to their own sins? Rather, it must be Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar, who holds that even Moses and Aaron died because of their own sins. Learn from it then that, in principle, he agrees that there is death without sin and there is suffering without iniquity, and this is a conclusive refutation of the opinion of Rav Ami. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, it is a conclusive refutation.
א"ר שמואל בר נחמני א"ר יונתן כל האומר ראובן חטא אינו אלא טועה שנאמר (בראשית לה, כב) ויהיו בני יעקב שנים עשר מלמד שכולן שקולים כאחת אלא מה אני מקיים (בראשית לה, כב) וישכב את בלהה פילגש אביו מלמד שבלבל מצעו של אביו ומעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו שכב עמה Having mentioned the sins of some of the significant ancestors of the Jewish people, the Gemara now addresses several additional ancestors. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says that Reuben sinned with Bilhah is nothing other than mistaken, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve” (Genesis 35:22). The fact that the Torah stated the number of Jacob’s sons at that point in the narrative teaches that, even after the incident involving Bilhah, all of the brothers were equal in righteousness. Apparently, Reuben did not sin. How then do I establish the meaning of the verse: “And he lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine”? The plain understanding of the verse indicates sin. This verse teaches that Reuben rearranged his father’s bed in protest of Jacob’s placement of his bed in the tent of Bilhah and not in the tent of his mother Leah after the death of Rachel. And the verse ascribes to him liability for his action as if he had actually lain with Bilhah.
תניא ר"ש בן אלעזר אומר מוצל אותו צדיק מאותו עון ולא בא מעשה זה לידו אפשר עתיד זרעו לעמוד על הר עיבל ולומר (דברים כז, כ) ארור שוכב עם אשת אביו ויבא חטא זה לידו אלא מה אני מקיים וישכב את בלהה פילגש אביו עלבון אמו תבע אמר אם אחות אמי היתה צרה לאמי שפחת אחות אמי תהא צרה לאמי עמד ובלבל את מצעה It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: This righteous person, Reuben, was saved from that sin of adultery, and that action did not come to be performed by him? Is it possible that his descendants are destined to stand on Mount Eival and say: “Cursed be he that lies with his father’s wife; because he uncovers his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, amen” (Deuteronomy 27:20), and this sin will come to be performed by him? Is it conceivable that the members of a tribe would curse their ancestor? How then do I establish the meaning of the verse: “And he lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine”? It is understood as follows: He protested the affront to his mother. He said: If my mother’s sister Rachel was a rival to my mother, will my mother’s sister’s concubine be a rival to my mother? He immediately stood and rearranged her bed so that Jacob would enter Leah’s tent.
אחרים אומרים שתי מצעות בלבל אחת של שכינה ואחת של אביו והיינו דכתיב (בראשית מט, ד) אז חללת יצועי עלה (אל תקרי יצועי אלא יצועיי) Aḥerim say: He rearranged two beds, one of the Divine Presence and one of his father. And that is the meaning of that which is written: “Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father’s bed; then you did defile it; he went up to my bed [yetzui]” (Genesis 49:4). Do not read it as yetzu’i, in the singular; rather, read it as yetzuai, my beds, in the plural, referring to both the bed of his father and to the bed of the Divine Presence, which rests in the tents of the righteous.
כתנאי פחז כמים אל תותר ר' אליעזר אומר פזתה חבתה זלתה ר' יהושע אומר פסעתה על דת חטאת זנית ר"ג אומר פיללתה חלתה זרחה תפלתך The Gemara notes that the matter of Reuben’s innocence is parallel to a dispute between tanna’im. As it was taught in a baraita: The verse states: “Unstable [paḥaz] as water, you shall not excel.” The Sages understood paḥaz as an acronym. Rabbi Eliezer says that it means: You were impulsive [pazta], you were liable [ḥavta], and you acted contemptuously [zalta]. Rabbi Yehoshua says that it means: You trampled the law [pasata al dat], you sinned [ḥatata], and you were promiscuous [zanita]. Rabban Gamliel says: The acronym does not refer to Reuben’s sin. It refers to his repentance: You prayed [pilalta], you trembled in fear [ḥalta], and your prayer shone forth [zarḥa].
אמר ר"ג עדיין צריכין אנו למודעי ר' אלעזר המודעי אומר הפוך את התיבה ודורשה זעזעתה הרתעתה פרחה חטא ממך רבא אמר ואמרי לה ר' ירמיה בר אבא זכרת עונשו של דבר חלית עצמך חולי גדול פירשת מלחטוא: Rabban Gamliel said: We still need the explanation of the Modaite, as Rabbi Elazar HaModa’i said: Reverse the order of the letters in the word paḥaz and then interpret it homiletically: You shook [zizata], you recoiled [hirtata]; the ḥet in paḥaz is interchanged with the letter heh, so that you would not sin, and the sin flew [parḥa] from you. Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Elazar HaModa’i are of the opinion that Reuben did not sin. Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua held that he did. Rava said, and some say that Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba said: Reverse the letters in paḥaz and interpret: You remembered [zakharta] the punishment for that offense, you made yourself gravely ill [ḥalita] in order to refrain from sinning, and you successfully withdrew [peirashta] from sinning.
ראובן בני עלי בני שמואל דוד ושלמה ויואש סימן: The Gemara prefaces the following statements of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani with a mnemonic: Reuben, the sons of Eli, the sons of Samuel, David, Solomon, and Josiah.
אמר ר' שמואל בר נחמני א"ר יונתן כל האומר בני עלי חטאו אינו אלא טועה שנאמר (שמואל א א, ג) ושם שני בני עלי (עם ארון ברית האלהים) חפני ופנחס כהנים לה' Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says that the sons of Eli sinned is nothing other than mistaken, as it is written: “And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Pinehas, were there priests of the Lord” (I Samuel 1:3).
סבר לה כרב דאמר רב פנחס לא חטא מקיש חפני לפנחס מה פנחס לא חטא אף חפני לא חטא אלא מה אני מקיים אשר ישכבון את הנשים מתוך ששהו את קיניהן שלא הלכו אצל בעליהן מעלה עליהן הכתוב כאילו שכבום The Gemara explains: Rabbi Yonatan holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav, as Rav said: Pinehas did not sin. And the verse juxtaposes Hophni to Pinehas; just as Pinehas did not sin, so too Hophni did not sin. The Gemara asks: How, then, do I establish the meaning of the verse: “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did to all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the Tent of Meeting” (I Samuel 2:22), which indicates otherwise? The Gemara answers: Since the sons of Eli delayed sacrificing the bird-offerings of women who had given birth, a pair of doves brought as part of the purification process, and this delay caused the women not to go to their husbands in timely fashion, the verse ascribes to Hophni and Pinehas liability as if they had lain with them. They were guilty of nothing more than negligence and carelessness.
גופא אמר רב פנחס לא חטא שנאמר (שמואל א יד, ג) ואחיה בן אחיטוב אחי אי כבוד בן פנחס בן עלי כהן ה' וגו' אפשר חטא בא לידו והכתוב מייחסו The Gemara now examines the matter itself of Rav’s statement cited in the course of the previous discussion. Rav said: Pinehas did not sin, as it is stated: “And Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Pinehas, the son of Eli, was the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod” (I Samuel 14:3). Is it possible that sin came to Pinehas’ hand and, nevertheless, the verse traces the lineage of his grandson, Ahijah, back to him?
והלא כבר נאמר (מלאכי ב, יב) יכרת ה' לאיש אשר יעשנה ער ועונה מאהלי יעקב ומגיש מנחה לה' צבאות אם ישראל הוא לא יהיה לו ער בחכמים ולא עונה בתלמידים ואם כהן הוא לא יהיה לו בן מגיש מנחה אלא לאו שמע מינה פנחס לא חטא Wasn’t it was already stated with regard to those who engage in promiscuous relations: “The Lord will cut off from the man that does this, him that is awake and him that answers from the tents of Jacob, or any to present an offering to the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:12). The Sages interpreted the verse homiletically: If the sinner is an Israelite, he will not have among his descendants one who is sharp and awake among the Sages, or even one among their disciples who can answer questions. And if he is a priest, he will not have a son who will present a meal-offering. If Pinehas had sons and grandsons serving as priests, conclude from it that Pinehas did not sin.
אלא הא כתיב (שמואל א ב, כב) אשר ישכבון ישכבן כתיב The Gemara asks: However, isn’t it written: “And how they lay [yishkevun] with the women.” The verb yishkevun is in the plural, indicating that both sons were guilty. The Gemara answers: It is written without a vav so that it can be read as yishkeven in the singular, i.e., how he lay, indicating that only one of them sinned.
והכתיב (שמואל א ב, כד) אל בני כי לא טובה השמועה א"ר נחמן בר יצחק בני כתיב The Gemara asks further: Isn’t it written that Eli said: “No, my sons [banai]; for it is not a good report that I hear; you make the Lord’s people to transgress” (I Samuel 2:24). The fact that Eli referred to his sons in the plural indicates that they both sinned. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It is written in a manner that can be read as my son [beni] in the singular.
והכתיב מעבירים א"ר הונא בריה דרב יהושע מעבירם כתיב The Gemara raises another question: Isn’t it written: “You make the Lord’s people to transgress [ma’avirim] in the plural, indicating that both sons were guilty. Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, said: Here too, the word is written without a yod so that it can be read as: You cause the Lord’s people to transgress [ma’aviram] in the singular, indicating that only one of them sinned.
והכתיב בני בליעל מתוך שהיה לו לפנחס למחות לחפני ולא מיחה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו חטא The Gemara raises one last challenge: Isn’t it written: “Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they knew not the Lord” (I Samuel 2:12), indicating that they were both sinners. The Gemara answers: Since Pinehas should have protested Hophni’s conduct, but he did not protest, the verse ascribes to him liability as if he too had sinned.
א"ר שמואל בר נחמני א"ר יונתן כל האומר Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says