The bundle is separated.
§ The Gemara mentions other Romans who converted to Judaism. It relates: Onkelos bar Kelonimos converted to Judaism. The Roman emperor sent a troop [gunda] of Roman soldiers after him to seize Onkelos and bring him to the emperor. Onkelos drew them toward him with verses that he cited and learned with them, and they converted. The emperor then sent another troop of Roman soldiers after him, and said to them: Do not say anything to him, so that he cannot convince you with his arguments. The troops followed this instruction, and took Onkelos with them.
When they were walking, Onkelos said to the troop of soldiers: I will say a mere statement to you: A minor official [nifyora] holds a torch before a high official [apifyora], the high official holds a torch for a duke [dukasa], a duke for the governor, and the governor for the ruler [koma]. Does the ruler hold a torch before the common people? The soldiers said to Onkelos: No. Onkelos said to them: Yet the Holy One, Blessed be He, holds a torch before the Jewish people, as it is written: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light” (Exodus 13:21). They all converted.
The emperor then sent another troop of soldiers after him, to bring Onkelos, and said to them: Do not converse with him at all. The troops followed this instruction, and took Onkelos with them. While they grabbed him and were walking, Onkelos saw a mezuza that was placed on the doorway. He placed his hand upon it and said to the soldiers: What is this? They said to him: You tell us.
Onkelos said to them: The standard practice throughout the world is that a king of flesh and blood sits inside his palace, and his servants stand guard, protecting him outside; but with regard to the Holy One, Blessed be He, His servants, the Jewish people, sit inside their homes and He guards over them outside. As it is stated: “The Lord shall guard your going out and your coming in, from now and forever” (Psalms 121:8). Upon hearing this, those soldiers also converted to Judaism. After that, the emperor sent no more soldiers after him.
§ The Gemara returns to its discussion of Antoninus: When the matriarch Rebecca was pregnant with Jacob and Esau, “the Lord said to her: Two nations [goyim] are in your womb” (Genesis 25:23). Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: Do not read it as goyim, meaning nations; rather read it as geyim, meaning proud ones. This verse was fulfilled in two prominent individuals who descended from Rebecca, Antoninus and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, whose tables, due to their wealth, never lacked for lettuce, nor cucumbers, nor radish, neither in the summer nor in the rainy season, despite the fact that these foods do not grow year round. The reason they ensured that these items were always present at their tables is that the Master said: A radish breaks up food, lettuce stirs up food, and cucumbers expand the intestines.
The Gemara asks: But isn’t it taught in the school of Rabbi Yishmael: Why are they called cucumbers [kishuin]? It is because they are as harmful [kashim] to a person’s body as swords. The Gemara answers: This is not difficult. This statement, that they are harmful to the body, is referring to large cucumbers, whereas that statement, explaining why they were always present on the tables of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and Antoninus, is referring to small ones.
§ The mishna teaches that according to Rabbi Meir the birthday of the king and the day of the death of the king are considered gentile festivals, whereas the Rabbis hold that only a death that includes public burning is considered a festival that includes idol worship. The Gemara comments: By inference, this means that Rabbi Meir holds that there is no difference whether it is a death that includes public burning, and there is no difference whether it is a death that does not include public burning; in either case, they engage in idol worship on that occasion. Evidently, Rabbi Meir holds that the burning performed at the death of the king is not an idolatrous custom, as it is not the cause of the prohibition. The Gemara continues: From here, one can conclude by inference that the Rabbis hold that the burning upon the death of the king is an idolatrous custom.
The Gemara raises a difficulty: But isn’t it taught in a baraita: We burn items upon the death of kings as an expression of grief, and this is not of the ways of the Amorites, but rather a Jewish custom? And if this is an idolatrous custom, how could we perform this public burning? But isn’t it written: “And you shall not walk in their statutes” (Leviticus 18:3)?
Rather, everyone agrees that the public burning itself is not an idolatrous custom. Rather, it is performed due to the great importance of the king who passed away. And here, in the mishna, they disagree about this: Rabbi Meir holds that there is no difference whether it is a death that includes public burning and there is no difference whether it is a death that does not include public burning; in either case, in practice they engage in idol worship on that occasion. And the Rabbis hold that a death that includes public burning is important to the gentiles, and therefore they engage in idol worship on that occasion, but a death that does not include public burning is not important to them, and they do not engage in idol worship on that occasion.
Having mentioned this baraita, the Gemara returns to discuss the matter itself. The baraita teaches: One burns items due to the death of kings as an expression of grief, and this is not subject to the prohibition of imitating the ways of the Amorites, since it is a Jewish custom. As it is stated that Jeremiah prophesied to Zedekiah king of Judah: “You shall die in peace; and with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings that were before you, so shall they make a burning for you” (Jeremiah 34:5). And just as one burns items upon the death of the kings, so too one burns items upon the death of the heads of the Sanhedrin.
And what items do they burn upon the death of kings? They burn the kings’ beds and their utensils, so that no one else can make use of them. And there was an incident in which Rabban Gamliel the Elder died, and upon his death Onkelos the convert burned seven thousand dinars in valuable Tyrian coinage. The Gemara asks: But didn’t you state in response to the question: What do they burn upon the death of kings, that they burn their beds and their utensils? Why, then, did Onkelos burn money? The Gemara answers: Say that Onkelos burned items that were valued at seven thousand dinars in Tyrian coinage.
The Gemara asks: And are other items not destroyed in order to accord honor to the deceased king, apart from his utensils? But isn’t it taught in a baraita that we detach the hooves of livestock upon the death of kings, and this is not subject to the prohibition of the ways of the Amorites? Rav Pappa says: That baraita is referring to the horse upon which the king rode. Since that animal was designated as the king’s personal item, it is therefore rendered unusable for anyone else, like his personal utensils.
The Gemara asks: And did they not detach the hooves of the king’s kosher animals, which are not used by the king for riding? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: If removing the hooves of an animal would entail that it becomes an animal with a wound that will cause it to die within twelve months [tereifa], it is prohibited to do so. And when doing so would not entail rendering it a tereifa, it is permitted. And what is a way of removing hooves that does not entail rendering the animal a tereifa?