Bava Metzia 86b:21בבא מציעא פ״ו ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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86bפ״ו ב

ריבה להן ומעשה נמי בר' יוחנן בן מתיא שאמר לבנו צא שכור לנו פועלים הלך ופסק להן מזונות וכשבא אצל אביו אמר לו בני אפילו אתה עושה להן כסעודת שלמה בשעתו לא יצאת ידי חובתך עמהן שהן בני אברהם יצחק ויעקב

he has increased his obligation to them, since if he had meant to give them no more than the accepted amount, he would not have made any stipulation at all. The mishna then continues: And there is also a supporting incident involving Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya, who said to his son: Go out and hire laborers for us. His son went, hired them, and pledged to provide sustenance for them as a term of their employment, without specifying the details. And when he came back to his father and reported what he had done, Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Matya said to him: My son, even if you were to prepare a feast for them like that of King Solomon in his time, you would not have fulfilled your obligation to them, as they are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

למימרא דסעודתא דאברהם אבינו עדיפא מדשלמה והכתיב (מלכים א ה, ב) ויהי לחם שלמה ליום אחד שלשים כור סולת וששים כור קמח עשרה בקר בריאים ועשרה בקר רעי ומאה צאן לבד מאיל וצבי ויחמור וברבורים אבוסים ואמר גוריון בן אסטיון משמיה דרב הללו לעמילן של טבחים ור' יצחק אמר הללו לציקי קדירה

The Gemara asks: Is this to say that the feast of Abraham, our forefather, was superior to that of King Solomon? But isn’t it written: “And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and sixty measures of meal; ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, beside harts, and gazelles, and roebucks, and fatted fowl” (I Kings 5:2–3). And Guryon ben Asteyon says in the name of Rav: These measures of flour mentioned in the verse were used merely for the bakers’ well-worked dough [la’amilan] that was placed in the pot to absorb the steam. And Rabbi Yitzḥak says: These measures of flour were used for meat pudding, a mixture of wine, flour, and leftover meat, in a pot.

ואמר ר' יצחק אלף נשים היו לשלמה כל אחת ואחת עשתה לו בביתה כך מאי טעמא זו סבורה שמא אצלי סועד היום וזו סבורה [שמא] אצלי סועד היום ואילו גבי אברהם כתיב (בראשית יח, ז) ואל הבקר רץ אברהם ויקח בן בקר רך וטוב ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב בן בקר אחד רך שנים וטוב שלשה

And Rabbi Yitzḥak further says: King Solomon had one thousand wives, each one of whom would prepare for him at her home a feast of such proportions. What is the reason that they did this? This wife reasoned: Perhaps he will feast with me today, and that wife reasoned: Perhaps he will feast with me today. But with regard to Abraham, it is written: “And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good” (Genesis 18:7), and Rav Yehuda says that Rav says, in explanation of the verse: “A calf” indicates one; the word “tender” means an additional one, i.e., two; “and good” indicates yet another one. This makes a total of three calves, a considerably smaller feast than that of Solomon.

התם תלתא תורי לתלתא גברי הכא לכל ישראל ויהודה שנאמר (מלכים א ד, כ) יהודה וישראל רבים כחול אשר על (שפת) הים

The Gemara answers: There, with regard to Abraham, he prepared three oxen for three people, whereas here, in the case of Solomon, his wives would prepare a feast for the entire realms of Israel and Judah, as it is stated: “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and making merry” (I Kings 4:20). Abraham’s feast was proportionately greater than that of Solomon.

מאי ברבורים אבוסים אמר רב שאובסים אותן בעל כרחן ושמואל אמר שאבוסים ועומדים מאליהם ורבי יוחנן אמר מביאין תור ממרעיתו בדלא אניס ותרנגולת מאשפתה בדלא אניסא

With regard to the verse cited in relation to King Solomon, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the term “fatted fowl [avusim]”? Rav says: It means that they are fed [ovsim] by force. Shmuel says: It means that they were fattened [avusim] and maintained on their own accord, i.e., they were naturally fat. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Solomon’s feasts were of fine quality because they would bring from his herd an ox that had never been forced to work, and they would also bring a hen from its coop that had never been forced to lay eggs, and use those for the cuisine.

אמר רבי יוחנן מובחר שבבהמות שור מובחר שבעופות תרנגולת אמר אמימר זגתא אוכמתא בי בטניתא דמשתכחא ביני עצרי דלא מציא פסיא קניא

The Gemara cites a related statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The choicest of cattle is the ox. The choicest of fowl is the hen. With regard to the type of hen to which this is referring, Ameimar says: It is a fattened, black hen [zagta] that is found among the wine vats, which consumes so many grape seeds that it cannot take a step the length of a reed, due to its corpulence.

(בראשית יח, ז) ואל הבקר רץ אברהם אמר רב יהודה אמר רב בן בקר אחד רך שנים וטוב שלשה ואימא חד כדאמרי אינשי רכיך וטב

The Gemara returns to discuss the verse in Genesis: “And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good” (Genesis 18:7). Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: “A calf” is one; “tender” indicates an additional one, i.e., two; “and good” indicates another one, for a total of three calves. The Gemara asks: But why not say that the verse is referring to only one calf, as people say when describing a single item that it is tender and good?

א"כ לכתוב רך טוב מאי וטוב ש"מ לדרשה אימא תרי מדטוב לדרשה רך נמי לדרשה

The Gemara answers: If so, let the verse write: Tender, good. What is the significance of the term “and good,” which indicates an addition? Conclude from this that the verse is stated for the purpose of an exposition and is referring to more than one calf. The Gemara challenges: But one can still say there were only two calves. The Gemara answers: From the fact that the word “good” is written for an exposition, to include an additional calf, it may be inferred that the term “tender” is also written for an exposition and indicates yet another calf.

מתיב רבה בר עולא ואיתימא רב הושעיא ואיתימא רב נתן ברבי הושעיא (בראשית יח, ז) ויתן אל הנער וימהר לעשות אותו כל חד וחד יהביה לנער חד (בראשית יח, ח) ויקח חמאה וחלב ובן הבקר אשר עשה ויתן לפניהם דקמא קמא דמטיא אייתי לקמייהו

Rabba bar Ulla raises an objection, and some say it is Rav Hoshaya, and some say it is Rav Natan, son of Rabbi Hoshaya, who raises the objection: The verse states: “And he gave it to the servant; and he hastened to prepare it” (Genesis 18:7). The singular term “it” indicates that there was only one calf. The Gemara answers: Abraham gave each and every calf to one servant, i.e., he gave the three calves to three different servants. The Gemara raises a question from the verse: “And he took curd, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them” (Genesis 18:8), which again indicates that there was only one calf. The Gemara responds: The verse means that as each calf arrived prepared, he brought it before them, and he did not serve all three calves at once.

ולמה לי תלתא תסגי בחד אמר רב חנן בר רבא כדי להאכילן שלש לשונות בחרדל אמר רבי תנחום בר חנילאי לעולם אל ישנה אדם מן המנהג שהרי משה עלה למרום ולא אכל לחם מלאכי השרת ירדו למטה ואכלו לחם ואכלו סלקא דעתך אלא אימא נראו כמי שאכלו ושתו

The Gemara asks: And why do I need three calves? One calf should be sufficient for three guests. Rav Ḥanan bar Rava said: Abraham prepared three calves in order to feed the guests three tongues with mustard, a particular delicacy. With regard to this incident, Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai says: A person should never deviate from the local custom, as Moses ascended to heaven on high and did not eat bread while he was there, whereas the ministering angels descended down to this world, as guests visiting Abraham, and they ate bread. You say: And they ate bread? Can it enter your mind that they actually ate food? Rather, say that they merely appeared as though they ate and drank.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כל מה שעשה אברהם למלאכי השרת בעצמו עשה הקב"ה לבניו בעצמו וכל [מה] שעשה אברהם ע"י שליח עשה הקב"ה לבניו ע"י שליח

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: Every action that Abraham performed himself for the ministering angels, the Holy One, Blessed be He, performed Himself for Abraham’s descendants. And every action that Abraham performed through a messenger, the Holy One, Blessed be He, likewise performed for his descendants through a messenger.

(בראשית יח, ז) ואל הבקר רץ אברהם (במדבר יא, לא) ורוח נסע מאת ה' ויקח חמאה וחלב (שמות טז, ד) הנני ממטיר לכם לחם מן השמים

The Gemara elaborates: With regard to Abraham, the verse states: “And Abraham ran to the herd” (Genesis 18:7), bringing the meat himself, and in reference to God’s actions for Abraham’s descendants the verse states: “And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought across quails from the sea” (Numbers 11:31), that God brought meat to them. In reference to Abraham, the verse states: “And he took curd and milk” (Genesis 18:8), and God says to the Jewish people: “Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4), which shows that God gave food to the Jewish people.

(בראשית יח, ח) והוא עומד עליהם תחת העץ (שמות יז, ו) הנני עומד לפניך שם על הצור [וגו'] (בראשית יח, טז) ואברהם הולך עמם לשלחם (שמות יג, כא) וה' הולך לפניהם יומם

With regard to Abraham, the verse states: “And he stood by them under the tree, and they ate” (Genesis 18:8), and in reference to God, the verse states: “Behold, I will stand before you there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it” (Exodus 17:6). In the case of Abraham it is written: “And Abraham went with them to bring them on the way” (Genesis 18:16), and the verse states: “And the Lord went before them by day” (Exodus 13:21).

(בראשית יח, ד) יוקח נא מעט מים (שמות יז, ו) והכית בצור ויצאו ממנו מים ושתה העם

By contrast, Abraham performed certain actions through an agent. He said: “Let now a little water be fetched” (Genesis 18:4), and correspondingly the verse states in reference to Moses, God’s messenger: “And you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink” (Exodus 17:6).

ופליגא דר' חמא בר' חנינא דאמר ר' חמא בר' חנינא וכן תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל בשכר שלשה זכו לשלשה בשכר חמאה וחלב זכו למן בשכר והוא עומד עליהם זכו לעמוד הענן בשכר יוקח נא מעט מים זכו לבארה של מרים

The Gemara notes: And in stating this, Rav disagrees with that statement of Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina. As Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says, and likewise the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: In reward for three acts of hospitality that Abraham performed for the angels, his descendants merited three rewards. The Gemara elaborates: In reward for providing them with curd and milk, the Jewish people merited the manna; in reward for: “And he stood [omed] by them,” the Jews merited the pillar [amud] of cloud; in reward for Abraham saying: “Let now a little water be fetched,” they merited the well of Miriam. This statement does not distinguish between actions performed by Abraham himself and those performed by means of a messenger.

יוקח נא מעט מים ורחצו רגליכם אמר רבי ינאי ברבי ישמעאל אמרו לו וכי בערביים חשדתנו שהם משתחוים לאבק רגליהם כבר יצא ממנו ישמעאל

The Gemara continues its analysis of the verse: “Let now a little water be fetched and wash your feet” (Genesis 18:4). Rabbi Yannai, son of Rabbi Yishmael, said that the guests said to Abraham: Are you suspicious that we are Arabs who bow to the dust of their feet? Yishmael has already issued from him, i.e., your own son acts in this manner.

(בראשית יח, א) וירא אליו ה' באלוני ממרא והוא יושב פתח האוהל כחום היום מאי כחום היום אמר רבי חמא בר' חנינא אותו היום יום שלישי של מילה של אברהם היה ובא הקב"ה לשאול באברהם הוציא הקב"ה חמה מנרתיקה כדי שלא יטריח אותו צדיק באורחים

§ The Gemara expounds another verse involving Abraham: “And the Lord appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day” (Genesis 18:1). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “the heat of the day”? Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: That day was the third day after Abraham’s circumcision, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, came to inquire about the well-being of Abraham. The Holy One, Blessed be He, removed the sun from its sheath in order not to bother that righteous one with guests, i.e., God made it extremely hot that day to allow Abraham to recover from his circumcision, as he would not be troubled by passing travelers whom he would invite into his tent.

שדריה לאליעזר למיפק לברא נפק ולא אשכח אמר לא מהימנא לך היינו דאמרי תמן לית הימנותא בעבדי נפק איהו חזייה להקדוש ברוך הוא דקאי אבבא היינו דכתיב (בראשית יח, ג) אל נא תעבור מעל עבדך

Despite the intense heat, Abraham wanted to invite guests. He sent Eliezer his slave to go outside to see if there were any passersby. Eliezer went out but did not find anyone. Abraham said to him: I do not believe you. The Gemara comments: This demonstrates the popular adage that people there, i.e., in Eretz Yisrael, say: Slaves do not have any credibility. The Gemara continues: Abraham himself went out and saw the Holy One, Blessed be He, standing at the entrance to his tent. This is as it is written: “My Lord, if now I have found favor in your eyes, do not leave Your servant” (Genesis 18:3), i.e., God’s presence was there, and Abraham asked Him for permission to attend to the travelers.

כיון דחזא דקא אסר ושרי אמר לאו אורח ארעא למיקם הכא היינו דכתיב (בראשית יח, ב) וישא עיניו וירא והנה שלשה אנשים נצבים עליו וירא וירץ לקראתם מעיקרא אתו קמו עליה כי חזיוהו דהוה ליה צערא אמרו לאו אורח ארעא למיקם הכא

Once God saw Abraham tying and untying the bandage on his circumcision, God said: It is not proper conduct to stand here, i.e., it is not respectful to Abraham even for God to stand there. This is as it is written: “And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men stood over him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them” (Genesis 18:2). The verse first states that they stood over him, and then it says that he ran to meet them. The Gemara reconciles this apparent contradiction: Initially, they came and stood over him. Upon seeing that he was in pain, they said: It is not proper conduct to stand here.

מאן נינהו שלשה אנשים מיכאל וגבריאל ורפאל מיכאל שבא לבשר את שרה רפאל שבא לרפא את אברהם גבריאל אזל למהפכיה לסדום והא כתיב (בראשית יט, א) ויבאו שני המלאכים סדומה בערב דאזל מיכאל בהדיה לשזביה ללוט דיקא נמי [דכתיב] (בראשית יט, כה) ויהפוך את הערים האל ולא כתיב ויהפכו שמע מינה

The Gemara continues: Who are these three men? They are the angels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael: Michael, who came to announce to Sarah that she was to give birth to a son; Raphael, who came to heal Abraham after his circumcision; and Gabriel, who went to overturn Sodom. The Gemara asks: But it is written: “And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening” (Genesis 19:1). The Gemara answers that Michael went along with Gabriel to Sodom to save Lot. The Gemara notes: The language is also precise, as it is written: “And he overturned those cities” (Genesis 19:25), and it is not written: They overturned those cities. Conclude from it that only one angel overturned Sodom.

מאי שנא לגבי אברהם דכתיב (בראשית יח, ה) כן תעשה כאשר דברת ומאי שנא לגבי לוט דכתיב

The Gemara asks: What is different with regard to the incident involving Abraham, where the angels acquiesced immediately to his request to remain with him, as it is written: “So do, as you have said” (Genesis 18:5), and what is different with regard to Lot, where they first displayed reluctance, as it is written: