Avodah Zarah 9aעבודה זרה ט׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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9aט׳ א

מלכות פרס בפני הבית שלשים וארבע שנה מלכות יון בפני הבית מאה ושמונים שנה מלכות חשמונאי בפני הבית מאה ושלש מלכות בית הורדוס מאה ושלש מכאן ואילך צא וחשוב כמה שנים אחר חורבן הבית

The Persian Empire, which ruled the world before the construction of the Temple, continued to do so for 34 years in the presence of the Temple, i.e., after the Temple was built; the Greek Empire ruled for 180 years in the presence of the Temple; the Hasmonean dynasty ruled for 103 years in the presence of the Temple; and the Herodian dynasty likewise ruled for 103 years. From this point forward, you can go and calculate the date on which an event occurred by how many years it happened after the destruction of the Temple.

אלמא מאתן ושית הוו ואת אמרת מאה ושמונים הוו אלא עשרין ושית שנין קמו בהימנותייהו בהדי ישראל ולא אישתעבדו בהו ואמטו להכי לא קא חשיב להו כשפשטה מלכות הרשעה על ישראל

According to this statement of Rabbi Yosei, evidently when the Greek rule over the Jewish people ended and the Roman rule began it was 206 years before the Second Temple was destroyed, i.e., the two sets of one hundred and three years of the Hasmonean dynasty and the Herodian dynasty. But you said that when the Roman Empire stretched forth over Israel and ruled over them it was 180 years before the Temple was destroyed. This is not a contradiction, but rather, it proves that for 26 years the Romans stood faithfully with the Jewish people, honoring their agreement, and did not subjugate them. And therefore, Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, does not count these 26 years among the total years in which the evil Roman Empire stretched forth over Israel and ruled over them.

אמר רב פפא אי טעי האי תנא ולא ידע פרטי כמה הוה לישייליה לספרא כמה כתיב וניטפי עלייהו עשרין שנין ומשכח ליה לחומריה וסימניך (בראשית לא, מא) זה לי עשרים שנה אנכי בביתך

§ Apropos the above baraita, the Gemara relates that Rav Pappa said: If this tanna, i.e., one who dates years in reference to the destruction of the Temple, forgot and did not know the details of the date with regard to exactly how much time had passed since the destruction of the Temple, e.g., he remembered the century but could not recall the exact decade and year, let him ask a scribe who writes official documents how many years he writes when he dates the documents. The dating system of scribes uses as its starting point the beginning of the Greek rule, 380 years before the destruction of the Temple. And let him add 20 years to the number, and in this manner he will find his number [leḥumreih]. And your mnemonic to remember this is the verse: “These twenty years have I been in your house” (Genesis 31:41).

אי טעי ספרא נשייליה לתנא כמה חשיב ונבצר מינייהו עשרין שנין ומשכח ליה לחומריה וסימניך ספרא בצירא תנא תוספאה

Similarly, if a scribe forgot the exact year, let him ask the tanna how much time he calculates has passed since the Temple’s destruction, and he should deduct from the number twenty years, and in this manner he will find his number. And your mnemonic to remember that the tanna adds twenty to the date of the scribe, whereas the scribe deducts twenty from the number of the tanna, is as follows: A scribe deducts, while a tanna adds on [tosfa’a]. This is a play on the phrase tanna tosfa’a, which also means to teach the Tosefta, the practice of a tanna.

תנא דבי אליהו ששת אלפים שנה הוי העולם שני אלפים תוהו שני אלפים תורה שני אלפים ימות המשיח בעונותינו שרבו יצאו מהן מה שיצאו מהן

In relation to the discussion on the calculation of years, the Gemara states that one of the Sages of the school of Eliyahu taught: The world is destined to exist for six thousand years. For two thousand years the world was waste, as the Torah had not yet been given. The next set of two thousand years are the time period of the Torah. The last set of two thousand years are the period designated for the days of the Messiah, but due to our many sins there are those years that have been taken from them, i.e., such and such years have already passed and have been taken from the two thousand years that are designated for the Messiah, and the Messiah has not yet arrived. Whenever a tanna taught this baraita, he would insert the number of years that was correct for his time.

שני אלפים תורה מאימת אי נימא ממתן תורה עד השתא ליכא כולי האי דכי מעיינת בהו תרי אלפי פרטי דהאי אלפא הוא דהואי

The Gemara asks: With regard to the two thousand years of the time period of the Torah, from when are they counted? If we say that they started from the giving of the Torah until now, then there is not enough time for all of these years. As, when you examine the calculations, it is evident that from the creation of the world until the giving of the Torah there were two thousand years plus a part of this third thousand, as the Torah was given 2,448 years after the creation of the world. This would mean that the time period of the Torah encroaches upon the days of the Messiah.

אלא (בראשית יב, ה) מואת הנפש אשר עשו בחרן וגמירי דאברהם בההיא שעתא בר חמשין ותרתי הוה

Rather, the two-thousand-year time period of the Torah is counted from the time when it is stated about Abraham and Sarah: “And the souls that they had gotten in Haran” (Genesis 12:5), which is interpreted by the Sages as referring to the men and women who were brought closer to the Torah by Abraham and Sarah. Therefore, it was at this point that the Torah began to spread throughout the world. And it is learned as a tradition that at that time Abraham was fifty-two years old.

כמה בצרן מדתני תנא ארבע מאה וארבעים ותמניא שנין הויין כי מעיינת ביה מהנפש אשר עשו בחרן עד מתן תורה ארבע מאה וארבעים ותמניא שנין הויין

How many years are missing from the two thousand year period of the Messiah, if the period of the Torah that is taught by the tanna is counted from the giving of the Torah? There are 448 missing years. When you examine the calculation from the time when it is stated about Abraham and Sarah: “The souls that they had gotten in Haran,” until the time of the giving of the Torah, there are 448 years.

אמר רב פפא אי טעי תנא ולא ידע פרטיה כמה הוי לישייליה לספרא כמה כתיב וניטפי עלייהו ארבעין ותמני ומשכח ליה לחומריה וסימניך

With regard to this baraita as well, Rav Pappa said: If a tanna meant to state that at his time such and such years were already lost from the two thousand years that are designated for the days of the Messiah, but he forgot and did not know the details of exactly how much time had passed, let him ask a scribe how many years he writes when he dates documents. And let him add forty-eight to the number, correcting for the century, and in this manner he will find his number. And your mnemonic for this is the verse: