On that day, when the nations finally fail in their claims before God, God will laugh (the word can also be translated as delight).
This section relates loosely to yesterday’s section in that it too quotes the statement of R. Yitzchak.
According to this passage, at the end of days the non-Jews will come and convert.
According to this counter tradition, when things are going well for the Jews, either because it is the end of days and God has made it clear that He desires the Jews, or when Jewish kings ruled, converts are not accepted. The underlying idea is that non-Jews should convert purely out of love, without any ulterior motive such as justification in the eyes of God or power/money. To be sure that this is so, non-Jews are not accepted as converts during times when it seems that they may have ulterior motives While the Jewish community will not accept these converts, they will simply begin to act as Jews, in an attempt to save themselves at the time of the Messiah. However, when they see the destruction of Gog and Magog they will take flight in fear. It is at this point that God will laugh at the non-Jews who do not trust in God’s protection. This is the only day on which God will laugh.
While the Jewish community will not accept these converts, they will simply begin to act as Jews, in an attempt to save themselves at the time of the Messiah. However, when they see the destruction of Gog and Magog they will take flight in fear. It is at this point that God will laugh at the non-Jews who do not trust in God’s protection. This is the only day on which God will laugh.
The notion that God laughs only at the end of days is countered by a tradition in which God laughs, playing with the leviathan, every day.
There is a difference, as we know, between laughing with someone, and laughing at someone. God laughs at his creatures in mockery only at the end of days. Until then, his laughter is not of scorn but of joy.
This sugya continues the discussion of laughter.
Aha says that once the Temple was destroyed there was no more laughter, i.e. joy, for God. The Talmud will now search for a proof text for this. A verse in Isaiah in which God calls Israel to weep and wail may refer only to the day on which the Temple was destroyed. It does not mean that the weeping and wailing must continue forever.
The well-known verse from Psalms means that God will not forget Jerusalem. But it does not mean that God will no longer experience joy or laughter.
The Talmud finally settles on a verse which can be used to prove that from the time the Temple was destroyed there is no more laughter before God.
Now that laughter has been removed from the world, what does God do during the fourth quarter of each day? He teaches children.
Since God started teaching children only after the destruction of the Temple, who taught them before. There are two answers. The first is Metatron, one of God’s archangels. The other answer is that God educated the children, while he was doing other things. God should be able to multitask, I would think.
God seems to have fun by night. Either he rides around on his chariot, visiting his 18,000 worlds. Or he listens to his singing angels.
The Talmud now moves to other related discussions.
With a small emendation, the verse can be made to read, “They who break away from the table to idle gossip, will have roots of juniper as their food.”
Studying at night seems to be preferable to study during the day. Perhaps because there are less visual distractions at night. Or maybe people’s hearts are open at night.
This is another version of Resh Lakish’s midrash on the verse. Studying in this world will lead to grace in the world to come.
People are like fish and Torah is like water. We cannot live without Torah.
Just as fish are scorched by the sun, so too are humans. This statement is then applied to either this world or to the world to come. If it applies to this world, it is understood as something out of God’s control. God does not control the heat or cold. This is an interesting acknowledgment that not all natural phenomena are in the power of God.
In this second possibility, the sun is reserved for the world to come where it will consume the wicked and bring healing to the righteous. This is the nature of the sun—it can cause both great harm and great good.