וְאִמְרוּ לְאַחֵינוּ שֶׁבַּגּוֹלָה: אִם שׁוֹמְעִין — מוּטָב, וְאִם לָאו, יַעֲלוּ לְהַר, אֲחִיָּה יִבְנֶה מִזְבֵּחַ, חֲנַנְיָה יְנַגֵּן בְּכִנּוֹר, וְיִכְפְּרוּ כּוּלָּם, וְיֹאמְרוּ אֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק בֵּאלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. And in order to underscore this, tell our brethren in exile: If they obey the Sages of Eretz Yisrael to excommunicate Ḥanina, fine; and if they do not obey us, it is as if they are seceding from the Jewish people. They should climb a mountain; Aḥiya, one of the leaders of the Babylonian Jewish community, will build an altar, Ḥananya, son of Rabbi Yehoshua’s brother, who was a Levite, will play the lute, and all will proclaim heresy and say that they have no portion in the God of Israel.
מִיָּד גָּעוּ כׇּל הָעָם בִּבְכִיָּה וְאָמְרוּ: חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, יֵשׁ לָנוּ חֵלֶק בֵּאלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. This message had a profound impact on the people, and immediately the entire nation burst into tears, saying: God forbid. We do have a portion in the God of Israel. They reconsidered their plans to establish Babylonia as the center of the Jewish people.
וְכׇל כָּךְ לָמָּה? מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כִּי מִצִּיּוֹן תֵּצֵא תוֹרָה וּדְבַר ה׳ מִירוּשָׁלָיִם״. The Gemara asks: Why did the Sages of Eretz Yisrael go to that extent to stop Ḥanina? The Gemara answers: Because it is stated: “For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
בִּשְׁלָמָא הוּא מְטַהֵר, וְהֵם מְטַמְּאִין — לְחוּמְרָא. אֶלָּא הוּא מְטַמֵּא וְהֵם מְטַהֲרִין, הֵיכִי הָוֵי? וְהָא תַּנְיָא: חָכָם שֶׁטִּמֵּא — אֵין חֲבֵרוֹ רַשַּׁאי לְטַהֵר, אָסַר — אֵין חֲבֵרוֹ רַשַּׁאי לְהַתִּיר! קָסָבְרִי כִּי הֵיכִי דְּלָא נִגָּרְרוּ בָּתְרֵיהּ. The Gemara considers the details of this event: Granted, Ḥanina would rule an item pure and the Sages from Eretz Yisrael would rule it impure; they ruled stringently. But in a case where he ruled an item impure and they ruled it pure, what are the circumstances? How could they rule pure that which he ruled impure? Was it not taught in a baraita: If a Sage ruled an item impure, his colleague is not permitted to rule it pure; if he prohibited it, his colleague may not permit it? The Gemara explains: They held that they must do so in this case, so that people would not be drawn after him; due to the exigencies of the time they overturned his rulings.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן כְּשֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ לַכֶּרֶם בְּיַבְנֶה, הָיוּ שָׁם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי יוֹסֵי וְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה וְרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בְּנוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי. פָּתְחוּ כּוּלָּם בִּכְבוֹד אַכְסַנְיָא וְדָרְשׁוּ. The Sages taught: When our Rabbis, the Sages of the Mishna, entered the vineyard, the academy, in Yavne, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Yosei, Rabbi Neḥemya, and Rabbi Eliezer, son of Rabbi Yosei HaGelili, were there presiding over the Sages. They all began to speak in honor of their hosts, the local population hosting them and their students as guests, and they taught.
פָּתַח רַבִּי יְהוּדָה רֹאשׁ הַמְדַבְּרִים בְּכָל מָקוֹם בִּכְבוֹד תּוֹרָה, וְדָרַשׁ: ״וּמֹשֶׁה יִקַּח אֶת הָאֹהֶל וְנָטָה לוֹ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה״. וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר: וּמָה אֲרוֹן ה׳ שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה מְרוּחָק אֶלָּא שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מִיל אָמְרָה תּוֹרָה ״וְהָיָה כׇּל מְבַקֵּשׁ ה׳ יֵצֵא אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד״ — תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁהוֹלְכִים מֵעִיר לָעִיר וּמִמְּדִינָה לִמְדִינָה לִלְמוֹד תּוֹרָה, עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. Rabbi Yehuda, head of the speakers in every place, opened his speech in honor of Torah, and taught: It is stated: “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the Tent of Meeting. And it came to pass, that every seeker of God went out unto the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp” (Exodus 33:7). He said: Isn’t this an a fortiori inference? Just as the Torah says of the ark of God, which was only twelve mil from the camp: “Every seeker of God went out unto the Tent of Meeting”; all the more so should Torah scholars, who wander great distances and go from city to city and country to country to study Torah, be called seekers of God.
״וְדִבֶּר ה׳ אֶל מֹשֶׁה פָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים״, אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמֹשֶׁה: מֹשֶׁה, אֲנִי וְאַתָּה נַסְבִּיר פָּנִים בַּהֲלָכָה. אִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי כָּךְ אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמֹשֶׁה: כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֲנִי הִסְבַּרְתִּי לְךָ פָּנִים, כָּךְ אַתָּה הַסְבֵּר פָּנִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְהַחֲזֵר הָאֹהֶל לִמְקוֹמוֹ. The Gemara continues: It is stated: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, face to face” (Exodus 33:11). Rabbi Yitzḥak said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Moses, you and I will show cheerful faces in the study of halakha to those who come to study. Some say that the Holy One, Blessed be He, told Moses: Just as I showed you a cheerful face, so too you will show Israel a cheerful face and restore the tent to its place in the camp.
״וְשָׁב אֶל הַמַּחֲנֶה״ וְגוֹ׳, אָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ״ אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמֹשֶׁה: עַכְשָׁיו יֹאמְרוּ הָרַב בְּכַעַס וְתַלְמִיד בְּכַעַס, יִשְׂרָאֵל מַה תְּהֵא עֲלֵיהֶם? אִם אַתָּה מַחֲזִיר הָאֹהֶל לִמְקוֹמוֹ — מוּטָב, וְאִם לָאו — יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן נוּן תַּלְמִידְךָ מְשָׁרֵת תַּחְתֶּיךָ. It is said: “And he would return into the camp; but his minister, Joshua bin-Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent” (Exodus 33:11). Rabbi Abbahu said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, told Moses: Now, they will say: The Master, God, is angry and the student, Moses, is also angry, and what will happen to Israel? Rather, you must restore the tent to its place among the people. If you restore the tent to its place, fine; and if not, Joshua bin-Nun, your student, will serve as Israel’s leader in your place.
וְהַיְינוּ דִּכְתִיב: ״וְשָׁב אֶל הַמַּחֲנֶה״. אָמַר רָבָא: אַף עַל פִּי כֵן, לֹא יָצָא הַדָּבָר לְבַטָּלָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וּמְשָׁרְתוֹ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן נוּן נַעַר לֹא יָמִישׁ מִתּוֹךְ הָאֹהֶל״. And that is what is written: “And he would return into the camp; but his minister, Joshua bin-Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent.” Rava said: Nevertheless, though Moses obeyed and restored the tent, the statement written with regard to the role of Joshua was not uttered for naught. Joshua bin-Nun remained as deputy to Moses, and ultimately served in his place, as it is stated: “But his minister, Joshua bin-Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent.”
וְעוֹד פָּתַח רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בִּכְבוֹד תּוֹרָה וְדָרַשׁ: ״הַסְכֵּת וּשְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה נִהְיֵיתָ לְעָם״, וְכִי אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם נִתְּנָה תּוֹרָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל? וַהֲלֹא אוֹתוֹ יוֹם סוֹף אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה הָיָה! אֶלָּא לְלַמֶּדְךָ שֶׁחֲבִיבָה תּוֹרָה עַל לוֹמְדֶיהָ בְּכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם כַּיּוֹם שֶׁנִּתְּנָה מֵהַר סִינַי. And Rabbi Yehuda again began to speak in honor of Torah and taught: When Moses took leave of Israel on his last day in this world, he said: “Keep silence [hasket] and hear, Israel; this day you have become a people unto the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 27:9). This is surprising: Was the Torah given to Israel on that day? Wasn’t that day at the end of forty years since the Torah was given? Rather, it comes to teach that each and every day the Torah is as dear to those who study it, as it was on the day it was given from Mount Sinai.
אָמַר רַבִּי תַּנְחוּם בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַבִּי חִיָּיא אִישׁ כְּפַר עַכּוֹ: תֵּדַע — שֶׁהֲרֵי אָדָם קוֹרֵא קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שַׁחֲרִית וְעַרְבִית, וְעֶרֶב אֶחָד אֵינוֹ קוֹרֵא — דּוֹמֶה כְּמִי שֶׁלֹּא קָרָא קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע מֵעוֹלָם. Rabbi Tanḥum, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, of the village of Akko, said: Know that the Torah is indeed beloved, as one who recites Shema, morning and evening, for his entire life, and does not recite it one evening, it is as if he never recited Shema. He cannot compensate for what he missed.
״הַסְכֵּת״ — עֲשׂוּ כִּתּוֹת כִּתּוֹת וְעִסְקוּ בַּתּוֹרָה. לְפִי שֶׁאֵין הַתּוֹרָה נִקְנֵית אֶלָּא בַּחֲבוּרָה. כִּדְרַבִּי יוֹסֵי בְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא, דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא: מַאי דִּכְתִיב ״חֶרֶב אֶל הַבַּדִּים וְנֹאָלוּ״ — חֶרֶב עַל שׂוֹנְאֵיהֶם שֶׁל תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁיּוֹשְׁבִים בַּד בְּבַד וְעוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה. וְלֹא עוֹד, אֶלָּא שֶׁמִּטַּפְּשִׁים, כְּתִיב הָכָא ״וְנֹאָלוּ״, וּכְתִיב הָתָם ״אֲשֶׁר נוֹאַלְנוּ״. וְלֹא עוֹד, אֶלָּא שֶׁחוֹטְאִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ״וַאֲשֶׁר חָטָאנוּ״. The Gemara interprets the word hasket in this verse homiletically, as an acronym of the words as, make, and kat, group. Form [asu] many groups [kitot] and study Torah, for the Torah is only acquired through study in a group. This is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina; as Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the boasters [habaddim], and they shall become fools [noalu]” (Jeremiah 50:36)? This verse can be interpreted homiletically: A sword upon the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for the Torah scholars themselves, who sit alone [bad bevad] and study Torah. And furthermore, those who study alone grow foolish, as it is written here, noalu, and elsewhere it is written that after Miriam was afflicted with leprosy, Aaron told Moses: “For that we have done foolishly [noalnu]” (Numbers 12:11). And furthermore, they sin due to that ignorance, as at the end of that same verse it is stated: “For that we have done foolishly, and for that we have sinned.”
אִיבָּעֵית אֵימָא מֵהָכָא: ״נוֹאֲלוּ שָׂרֵי צֹעַן״. If you wish, say instead that it is derived from here: “The princes of Tzoan are become fools [noalu]” (Isaiah 19:13).
דָּבָר אַחֵר: ״הַסְכֵּת וּשְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל״ — כַּתְּתוּ עַצְמְכֶם עַל דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה. כִּדְאָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ, דְּאָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ: מִנַּיִן שֶׁאֵין דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה מִתְקַיְּימִין אֶלָּא בְּמִי שֶׁמֵּמִית עַצְמוֹ עָלֶיהָ — שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״זֹאת הַתּוֹרָה אָדָם כִּי יָמוּת בְּאֹהֶל״. The Gemara offers an alternative explanation of this verse: “Keep silence [hasket] and hear, Israel”; break [kattetu] yourselves over words of the Torah. This is in accordance with the opinion of Reish Lakish, as Reish Lakish said: From where is it derived that matters of Torah are only retained by one who kills himself over it? As it is stated: “This is the Torah: When one dies in a tent” (Numbers 19:14); true Torah study demands the total devotion of one who is willing to dedicate his life in the tent of Torah.
דָּבָר אַחֵר: ״הַסְכֵּת וּשְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל״ — הַס, וְאַחַר כָּךְ כַּתֵּת. כִּדְרָבָא, דְּאָמַר רָבָא: לְעוֹלָם יִלְמוֹד אָדָם תּוֹרָה, וְאַחַר כָּךְ יֶהֱגֶה. The Gemara offers yet another alternative explanation of this verse: “Keep silence [hasket] and hear, Israel”; first be silent [has] and listen and then study intensively in order to analyze [kattet] and clarify the details. This is in accordance with the opinion of Rava, as Rava said: One must always study Torah and gain expertise in it, and only then analyze and delve into it.
אָמְרִי דְּבֵי רַבִּי יַנַּאי: מַאי דִּכְתִיב ״כִּי מִיץ חָלָב יוֹצִיא חֶמְאָה וּמִיץ אַף יוֹצִיא דָם וּמִיץ אַפַּיִם יוֹצִיא רִיב״? In the school of Rabbi Yannai they said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For the churning of milk brings forth curd, and the wringing of the nose [af] brings forth blood, so the forcing of wrath [appayim] brings forth strife” (Proverbs 30:33)?
בְּמִי אַתָּה מוֹצֵא חֶמְאָה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה — בְּמִי שֶׁמֵּקִיא חָלָב שֶׁיָּנַק מִשְׁדֵּי אִמּוֹ עָלֶיהָ. With regard to the beginning of the verse: For the churning of milk brings forth curd; in whom do you find the cream of Torah? With one who spits out the milk that he nursed from his mother’s breasts over it; one who struggles with all his might to study Torah.
״וּמִיץ אַף יוֹצִיא דָם״ — כׇּל תַּלְמִיד שֶׁכּוֹעֵס עָלָיו רַבּוֹ פַּעַם רִאשׁוֹנָה וְשׁוֹתֵק — זוֹכֶה לְהַבְחִין בֵּין דָּם טָמֵא לְדָם טָהוֹר. With regard to: And the wringing of the nose brings forth blood, any student whose rabbi is angry [af] with him the first time and he is silent and does not react, will merit to be able to distinguish between blood that is ritually impure and blood that is ritually pure.
״וּמִיץ אַפַּיִם יוֹצִיא רִיב״ — כׇּל תַּלְמִיד שֶׁכּוֹעֵס עָלָיו רַבּוֹ פַּעַם רִאשׁוֹנָה וּשְׁנִיָּה וְשׁוֹתֵק — זוֹכֶה לְהַבְחִין בֵּין דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת לְדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת. דִּתְנַן, רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר: הָרוֹצֶה שֶׁיִּתְחַכֵּם — יַעֲסוֹק בְּדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת, שֶׁאֵין לָךְ מִקְצוֹעַ בַּתּוֹרָה יוֹתֵר מֵהֶן, שֶׁהֵן כְּמַעְיָן נוֹבֵעַ. As for: And the forcing of wrath [appayim] brings forth strife; any student whose rabbi is angry with him for the first and second times, appayim being the plural of af, and he is silent, merits to distinguish between monetary cases, strife, and capital cases, as that is the highest level of learning. As we learned in a mishna: Rabbi Yishmael says: One who seeks to become wise should engage in monetary laws, as there is no greater discipline in Torah, as they are like a flowing well in which innovations constantly spring forth.
אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָנִי: מַאי דִּכְתִיב ״אִם נָבַלְתָּ בְהִתְנַשֵּׂא וְאִם זַמּוֹתָ יָד לְפֶה״ — כׇּל הַמְנַבֵּל עַצְמוֹ עַל דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה — סוֹפוֹ לְהִתְנַשֵּׂא. וְאִם זָמַם — יָד לְפֶה. Similarly, Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If you have done foolishly in lifting up yourself, or if you have planned devices [zamota], lay your hand over your mouth” (Proverbs 30:32)? Anyone who abases himself over matters of Torah, asking questions despite the shame he feels for his ignorance, will ultimately be exalted. And if he muzzles [zamam] himself due to embarrassment, he will end up with his hand over his mouth, unable to answer.
פָּתַח רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה בִּכְבוֹד אַכְסַנְיָא וְדָרַשׁ: מַאי דִּכְתִיב ״וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל הַקֵּינִי לְכוּ סֻּרוּ רְדוּ מִתּוֹךְ עֲמָלֵקִי פֶּן אוֹסִפְךָ עִמּוֹ וְאַתָּה עָשִׂיתָה חֶסֶד עִם כׇּל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל״? וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר: וּמָה יִתְרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא קֵרַב אֶת מֹשֶׁה אֶלָּא לִכְבוֹד עַצְמוֹ — כָּךְ, הַמְאָרֵחַ תַּלְמִיד חָכָם בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ, וּמַאֲכִילוֹ וּמַשְׁקֵהוּ וּמְהַנֵּהוּ מִנְּכָסָיו — עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. The Gemara returns to the homilies offered by the Sages in the vineyard of Yavne. Rabbi Neḥemya began to speak in honor of the hosts and taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And Saul said unto the Kenites: Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites lest I destroy you with them, for you showed kindness to all the Children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt” (I Samuel 15:6)? Isn’t this an a fortiori inference: Just as Jethro, the forbearer of the Kenite tribe, who only befriended Moses for his own honor, is treated in this way and rewarded that his merit would protect his descendants; all the more so should one who hosts a Torah scholar in his home, providing him with food and drink and availing him of his possessions, be rewarded with that protection.
פָּתַח רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בִּכְבוֹד אַכְסַנְיָא וְדָרַשׁ: ״לֹא תְתַעֵב אֲדֹמִי כִּי אָחִיךָ הוּא לֹא תְתַעֵב מִצְרִי כִּי גֵר הָיִיתָ בְאַרְצוֹ״, וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר: וּמָה מִצְרִיִּים שֶׁלֹּא קֵרְבוּ אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶלָּא לְצוֹרֶךְ עַצְמָן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וְאִם יָדַעְתָּ וְיֶשׁ בָּם אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל וְשַׂמְתָּם שָׂרֵי מִקְנֶה עַל אֲשֶׁר לִי״ — כָּךְ, הַמְאָרֵחַ תַּלְמִיד חָכָם בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ וּמַאֲכִילוֹ וּמַשְׁקֵהוּ וּמְהַנֵּהוּ מִנְּכָסָיו — עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. Rabbi Yosei began to speak in honor of the hosts, and taught: It is said: “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land” (Deuteronomy 23:8). Isn’t this an a fortiori inference: Just as the Egyptians, who only befriended Israel, even when they hosted them, for their own benefit, as Pharaoh said to Joseph, as it is stated: “And if you know any able men among them, then make them rulers over my cattle” (Genesis 47:6), are treated this way, all the more so should one who hosts a Torah scholar in his home, providing him with food and drink and availing him of his possessions without concern for personal gain, be treated this way.
פָּתַח רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בְּנוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי בִּכְבוֹד אַכְסַנְיָא וְדָרַשׁ: ״וַיְבָרֶךְ ה׳ אֶת עֹבֵד אֱדֹם הַגִּתִּי בַּעֲבוּר אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים״, וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר: וּמָה אָרוֹן שֶׁלֹּא אָכַל וְשָׁתָה, אֶלָּא כִּבֵּד וְרִבֵּץ לְפָנָיו — כָּךְ, הַמְאָרֵחַ תַּלְמִיד חָכָם בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ, וּמַאֲכִילוֹ וּמַשְׁקֵהוּ וּמְהַנֵּהוּ מִנְּכָסָיו — עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. Rabbi Eliezer, son of Rabbi Yosei HaGelili, began to speak in honor of the hosts, and taught: It is stated: “The Lord has blessed the house of Oved-edom…because of the ark of God” (II Samuel 6:12). Isn’t this an a fortiori inference: Just as in reward for honoring the ark, which neither ate nor drank, but before which Oved-edom simply swept and sprinkled water to settle the dust, he was treated this way and merited a blessing, all the more so should one who hosts a Torah scholar in his home, providing him with food and drink and availing him of his possessions without concern for his personal gain, be rewarded with such a blessing.
מַאי הִיא בְּרָכָה שֶׁבֵּרְכוֹ? אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה בַּר זְבִידָא: זוֹ חָמוֹת וּשְׁמוֹנֶה כַּלּוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁיָּלְדוּ שִׁשָּׁה שִׁשָּׁה בְּכָרֵס אֶחָד. The Gemara asks: What is that blessing with which Oved-edom was blessed? Rav Yehuda bar Zevida said: This is Ḥamot and her eight daughters-in-law, each of whom bore six in a single womb,