Berakhot 61a:22ברכות ס״א א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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61aס״א א

הכל לטובה:

He does for the best.

ואמר רב הונא אמר רב משום רבי מאיר לעולם יהיו דבריו של אדם מועטין לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא שנאמר אל תבהל על פיך ולבך אל ימהר להוציא דבר לפני האלהים כי האלהים בשמים ואתה על הארץ על כן יהיו דבריך מעטים:

And Rav Huna said that Rav said in the name of Rabbi Meir: One’s words should always be few before the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “Be not rash with your mouth and let not your heart be hasty to utter a word before God; for God is in heaven, and you upon earth. Therefore, let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:1).

דרש רב נחמן בר רב חסדא מאי דכתיב וייצר ה׳ אלהים את האדם בשני יודין שני יצרים ברא הקדוש ברוך הוא אחד יצר טוב ואחד יצר רע

Rav Naḥman bar Rav Ḥisda interpreted homiletically: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Then the Lord God formed [vayyitzer] man” (Genesis 2:7), with a double yod? This double yod alludes to that fact that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created two inclinations; one a good inclination and one an evil inclination.

מתקיף לה רב נחמן בר יצחק אלא מעתה בהמה דלא כתיב בה וייצר לית לה יצרא והא קא חזינן דמזקא ונשכא ובעטא אלא כדרבי שמעון בן פזי דאמר רבי שמעון בן פזי אוי לי מיוצרי ואוי לי מיצרי

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak strongly objects to this: If that is so, does an animal, with regard to whom vayyitzer is not written with a double yod, not have an inclination? Don’t we see that it causes damage and bites and kicks? Rather, interpret the double yod homiletically, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi, as Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi said: This alludes to the difficulty of human life; woe unto me from my Creator [yotzri] and woe unto me from my inclination [yitzri]. If one opts to follow either his Creator or his inclination, woe unto him from the other.

אי נמי כדרבי ירמיה בן אלעזר דאמר רבי ירמיה בן אלעזר דו פרצופין ברא הקדוש ברוך הוא באדם הראשון שנאמר אחור וקדם צרתני:

Alternatively, this duplication in the language of creation can be explained in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar, as Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, created two faces [du partzufin] on Adam the first man; he was created both male and female in a single body, as it is stated: “You have formed me [tzartani] behind and before” (Psalms 139:5); tzartani is derived from the word tzura [face]. God formed two faces on a single creation, back and front.

ויבן ה׳ אלהים את הצלע

It is stated: “And the tzela which the Lord, God, had taken from the man, He made a woman, and brought her unto the man” (Genesis 2:22).

רב ושמואל חד אמר פרצוף וחד אמר זנב

Rav and Shmuel disagree over the meaning of the word tzela: One said: It means face. Eve was originally one face or side of Adam. And one said: It means tail, which he explains to mean that the tzela was an appendage, i.e., one of the ribs in Adam’s chest.

בשלמא למאן דאמר פרצוף היינו דכתיב אחור וקדם צרתני אלא למאן דאמר זנב מאי אחור וקדם צרתני כדרבי אמי דאמר רבי אמי אחור למעשה בראשית וקדם לפורענות

The Gemara analyzes this dispute: Granted, according to the one who said that tzela means face; that is why it is written: “You have formed me [tzartani] behind and before.” However, according to the one who said that tzela means tail, what is meant by the verse: “You have formed me [tzartani] behind and before”? The Gemara answers: It can be explained in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Ami, as Rabbi Ami said: Behind means Adam was created at the end of the act of creation; and before means that he was first for punishment.

בשלמא אחור למעשה בראשית דלא אברי עד מעלי שבתא אלא וקדם לפורענות פורענות דמאי אילימא פורענות דנחש והתניא רבי אומר בגדולה מתחילין מן הגדול ובקללה מתחילין מן הקטן

The Gemara asks: Granted, Adam was behind, or last, in the act of creation, meaning that he was not created until the sixth day, Shabbat eve; however, before, or first, for punishment, to what punishment does this refer? If you say that he was first for punishment in the wake of the episode with the snake, wasn’t it taught in a baraita that, with regard to punishment, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: In conferring honor, one begins with the greatest; in cursing, one begins with the least significant.

בגדולה מתחילין מן הגדול דכתיב וידבר משה אל אהרן ואל אלעזר ואל איתמר בניו הנותרים קחו וגו׳ בקללה מתחילין מן הקטן בתחלה נתקלל נחש ולבסוף נתקללה חוה ולבסוף נתקלל אדם

The Gemara explains: In conferring honor, one begins with the greatest, as it is written: “And Moses said unto Aaron, and Elazar and Itamar, his remaining sons: Take the meal-offering that remains” (Leviticus 10:12). Aaron, who was the greatest among those involved, is mentioned first. And in cursing, one begins with the least significant, as first the snake was cursed, then Eve was cursed, and ultimately Adam himself was cursed. The punishment did not begin with Adam.

אלא פורענות דמבול דכתיב וימח את כל היקום אשר על פני האדמה מאדם ועד בהמה ברישא אדם והדר בהמה

Rather, this refers to the punishment of the flood, as it is written: “And He blotted out every living substance which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle, creeping things and fowl of the heaven” (Genesis 7:23); the punishment began with man, then the animals, and ultimately all the other creatures.

בשלמא למאן דאמר פרצוף היינו דכתיב וייצר בשני יודין אלא למאן דאמר זנב מאי וייצר

Returning to interpretation of vayyitzer, the Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who said that Eve was originally a face or side of Adam; that is why it is written vayyitzer, with a double yod, which allude to the two formations. However, according to the one who said that she was a tail, or appendage, of Adam, what is conveyed by spelling vayyitzer with a double yod?

כדרבי שמעון בן פזי דאמר רבי שמעון בן פזי אוי לי מיוצרי אוי לי מיצרי

The Gemara responds: This is interpreted homiletically in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi, as Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi said: This comes to emphasize that which a person says to himself in every circumstance: Woe unto me from my Creator and woe unto me from my inclination.

בשלמא למאן דאמר פרצוף היינו דכתיב זכר ונקבה בראם אלא למאן דאמר זנב מאי זכר ונקבה בראם כדרבי אבהו דרבי אבהו רמי כתיב זכר ונקבה בראם וכתיב כי בצלם אלהים עשה את האדם הא כיצד בתחלה עלה במחשבה לבראת שנים ולבסוף לא נברא אלא אחד

Granted, according to the one who said that Eve was a face, that is why it is written: “Male and female, He created them” (Genesis 5:2). However, according to the one who said that Eve was a tail, what is the meaning of the verse: “Male and female, He created them”? The Gemara answers: It can be explained in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Abbahu. As Rabbi Abbahu raised a contradiction between the verses: On the one hand it is written: “Male and female, He created them,” and on the other hand it is written: “For in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6), indicating that man was created alone. How, then, does he resolve the contradiction? At first, the thought entered God’s mind to create two, and ultimately, only one was actually created.

בשלמא למאן דאמר פרצוף היינו דכתיב ויסגר בשר תחתנה אלא למאן דאמר זנב מאי ויסגר בשר תחתנה אמר רבי ירמיה ואיתימא רב זביד ואיתימא רב נחמן בר יצחק לא נצרכה אלא למקום חתך

The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who said that Eve was a face, that is why it is written: “And He took one of his sides and closed up the place with flesh in its place” (Genesis 2:21), as it was necessary to close the side that was open. However, according to the one who said that Eve was originally a tail, what is meant by the verse: “And closed up the place with flesh in its place”? Rabbi Yirmeya said, and some say Rav Zevid said, and some say Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It was necessary to say that only with regard to the place of the incision.

בשלמא למאן דאמר זנב היינו דכתיב ויבן אלא למאן דאמר פרצוף מאי ויבן

The Gemara challenges the other opinion: Granted, according to the one who said that Eve was a tail, that is why it is written: “And the Lord God built the tzela” (Genesis 2:22); it was a completely new building. However, according to the one who said that Eve was a complete face or side, what is the meaning of: “And He built”? What needed to be built?

לכדרבי שמעון בן מנסיא דדרש רבי שמעון בן מנסיא מאי דכתיב ויבן ה׳ את הצלע מלמד שקלעה הקדוש ברוך הוא לחוה והביאה לאדם הראשון שכן בכרכי הים קורין לקליעתא בנייתא

The Gemara responds: This must be interpreted homiletically, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya, as Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya interpreted homiletically: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the Lord God built the tzela”? This verse teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, braided Eve’s hair, and then brought her to Adam, as in the coastal towns, they call braiding hair, building.

דבר אחר ויבן אמר רב חסדא ואמרי לה במתניתא תנא מלמד שבנאה הקדוש ברוך הוא לחוה כבנין אוצר מה אוצר זה קצר מלמעלה ורחב מלמטה כדי לקבל את הפירות אף אשה קצרה מלמעלה ורחבה מלמטה כדי לקבל את הולד

Alternatively, the verse: And He built, could be understood as a description of her basic shape, as Rav Ḥisda said, and some say that it is taught in a baraita: This verse teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, built Eve like the structure of a storehouse. Just as a storehouse is built narrow on top and wide on the bottom, in order to hold produce without collapsing; so too a woman is created narrow on top and wide on the bottom, in order to hold the fetus.

ויביאה אל האדם אמר רבי ירמיה בן אלעזר מלמד שנעשה הקדוש ברוך הוא שושבין לאדם הראשון מכאן למדה תורה דרך ארץ שיחזור גדול עם קטן בשושבינות ואל ירע לו

With regard to the verse: “And brought her unto the man” (Genesis 2:22), Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar said: This verse teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, was Adam the first man’s best man. From here, the Torah taught that it is a desired mode of behavior for a greater individual to seek out a lesser individual to assist him and serve as his best man. The greater individual should help the lesser and should not feel badly about it, that it might be beneath his dignity.

ולמאן דאמר פרצוף הי מינייהו סגי ברישא אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק מסתברא דגברא סגי ברישא דתניא לא יהלך אדם אחורי אשה בדרך ואפילו אשתו נזדמנה לו על הגשר יסלקנה לצדדין וכל העובר אחורי אשה בנהר אין לו חלק לעולם הבא

The Gemara asks: And according to the one who said that Eve was a face or side of Adam, which one of them walked in front? Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It is reasonable to say that the man walked in front, as it was taught in a baraita: A man should not walk behind a woman on a path, as he will look at her constantly. And even if one’s wife happens upon him along a bridge, he should walk quickly in order to move her to his side so that she will not walk before him. And anyone who walks behind a woman in a river in order to see her exposed skin when she lifts her clothing as she passes through the water has no portion in the World-to-Come.

תנו רבנן המרצה מעות לאשה מידו לידה כדי להסתכל בה אפילו יש בידו תורה ומעשים טובים כמשה רבינו לא ינקה מדינה של גיהנם שנאמר יד ליד לא ינקה רע לא ינקה מדינה של גיהנם

The Sages taught: One who counts money for a woman from his hand to her hand in order to look upon her, even if he has accumulated Torah and good deeds like Moses our teacher, he will not be absolved from the punishment of Gehenna, as it is stated: “Hand to hand, the evil man shall not go unpunished” (Proverbs 11:21); one who hands money from his hand to her hand, even if he received the Torah from God’s hand to his own, like Moses, he will not be absolved from the punishment of Gehenna, which is called evil.

אמר רב נחמן מנוח עם הארץ היה דכתיב וילך מנוח אחרי אשתו

Rav Naḥman said: From the following verse we know that Samson’s father, Manoah, was an ignoramus, as it is written: “And Manoah…went after his wife” (Judges 13:11).

מתקיף לה רב נחמן בר יצחק אלא מעתה גבי אלקנה דכתיב וילך אלקנה אחרי אשתו וגבי אלישע דכתיב ויקם וילך אחריה הכי נמי אחריה ממש אלא אחרי דבריה ואחרי עצתה הכא נמי אחרי דבריה ואחרי עצתה

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak strongly objects to this: If that is so that you understand the verse literally, what do you say about the verse with regard to Elkana, the father of the prophet Samuel, as it is written: “And Elkana walked after his wife,” and what of the verse with regard to the prophet Elisha, as it is written: “And he arose and followed her” (II Kings 4:30)? Does this verse mean that he literally walked after her? Rather, certainly this verse means that he followed her words and advice. If so, then the verse concerning Manoah may be similarly interpreted; he followed his wife’s advice and guidance and did not literally walk behind her.

אמר רב אשי ולמאי דקאמר רב נחמן מנוח עם הארץ היה אפילו בי רב נמי לא קרא שנאמר ותקם רבקה ונערתיה ותרכבנה על הגמלים ותלכנה אחרי האיש ולא לפני האיש

Rav Ashi said: And according to what Rav Naḥman said, that Manoah was an ignoramus; he did not even learn to read the basic Torah stories that even children learn in school, as it is stated: “Rebecca arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man” (Genesis 24:61); they followed him and did not walk before the man.

אמר רבי יוחנן אחורי ארי ולא אחורי אשה אחורי אשה ולא אחורי עבודה זרה אחורי עבודה זרה ולא אחורי בית הכנסת בשעה שהצבור מתפללין

On this topic, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is preferable to walk behind a lion and not behind a woman, and preferable to walk behind a woman and not behind idolatry, for then it will appear as if he is accompanying the idolatry. It is preferable to walk behind idolatry and not behind a synagogue when the congregation is praying, as he appears to separate himself from the community in that he does not wish to join them in prayer.

ולא אמרן אלא דלא דרי מידי ואי דרי מידי לית לן בה ולא אמרן אלא דליכא פתחא אחרינא ואי איכא פתחא אחרינא לית לן בה ולא אמרן אלא דלא רכיב חמרא אבל רכיב חמרא לית לן בה ולא אמרן אלא דלא מנח תפילין אבל מנח תפילין לית לן בה:

This last halakha has numerous caveats: And we only said this in a case where he is not carrying something, and if he is carrying something, this does not apply, as everyone will understand why he did not enter the synagogue. And we only said this in a case where there is no other entrance to the synagogue, and if there is another entrance, this does not apply. And we only said this in a case where he is not riding a donkey, and if he is riding a donkey, this does not apply. And we only said this in a case where he is not donning phylacteries, but if he is donning phylacteries, this does not apply.

אמר רב יצר הרע דומה לזבוב ויושב בין שני מפתחי הלב שנאמר זבובי מות יבאיש יביע שמן רוקח ושמואל אמר כמין חטה הוא דומה שנאמר לפתח חטאת רובץ

Rav said: The evil inclination is like a fly and it sits between the two entrances of the heart, as it is stated: “Dead flies make the ointment of the perfumer fetid and putrid” (Ecclesiastes 10:1). And Shmuel said: The evil inclination is like a type of wheat, as it is stated: “Transgression [ḥatat] couches at the door” (Genesis 4:7); ḥatat is interpreted homiletically as related to ḥitta, wheat.

תנו רבנן שתי כליות יש בו באדם אחת יועצתו לטובה ואחת יועצתו לרעה ומסתברא דטובה לימינו ורעה לשמאלו דכתיב לב חכם לימינו ולב כסיל לשמאלו:

The Sages taught in a baraita: A person has two kidneys; one advises him to do good and one advises him to do evil. And it stands to reason that the one advising him to do good is to his right and the one that advises him to do evil is to his left, as it is written: “A wise man’s understanding is at his right hand, but a fool’s understanding is at his left” (Ecclesiastes 10:2).

תנו רבנן כליות יועצות לב מבין לשון מחתך פה גומר ושט מכניס ומוציא כל מיני מאכל קנה מוציא קול

Tangential to the subject of kidneys, the Gemara cites that which the Sages taught in a baraita with regard to the roles of various organs: The kidneys advise, the heart understands, the tongue shapes the sounds that emerges from the mouth, the mouth completes the shaping of the voice, the esophagus takes in and lets out all kinds of food, the trachea produces the voice,