5ה׳
1 א

בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֣ר מַלְכָּ֗א עֲבַד֙ לְחֶ֣ם רַ֔ב לְרַבְרְבָנ֖וֹהִי אֲלַ֑ף וְלָקֳבֵ֥ל אַלְפָּ֖א חַמְרָ֥א שָׁתֵֽה׃

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his thousand nobles, and in the presence of the thousand he drank wine.

2 ב

בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֞ר אֲמַ֣ר ׀ בִּטְעֵ֣ם חַמְרָ֗א לְהַיְתָיָה֙ לְמָאנֵי֙ דַּהֲבָ֣א וְכַסְפָּ֔א דִּ֤י הַנְפֵּק֙ נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּ֣ר אֲב֔וּהִי מִן־הֵיכְלָ֖א דִּ֣י בִירוּשְׁלֶ֑ם וְיִשְׁתּ֣וֹן בְּה֗וֹן מַלְכָּא֙ וְרַבְרְבָנ֔וֹהִי שֵׁגְלָתֵ֖הּ וּלְחֵנָתֵֽהּ׃

Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar ordered the gold and silver vessels that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple at Jerusalem to be brought so that the king and his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines could drink from them.

3 ג

בֵּאדַ֗יִן הַיְתִיו֙ מָאנֵ֣י דַהֲבָ֔א דִּ֣י הַנְפִּ֗קוּ מִן־הֵֽיכְלָ֛א דִּֽי־בֵ֥ית אֱלָהָ֖א דִּ֣י בִירֽוּשְׁלֶ֑ם וְאִשְׁתִּ֣יו בְּה֗וֹן מַלְכָּא֙ וְרַבְרְבָנ֔וֹהִי שֵׁגְלָתֵ֖הּ וּלְחֵנָתֵֽהּ׃

The golden vessels that had been taken out of the sanctuary of the House of God in Jerusalem were then brought, and the king, his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines drank from them.

4 ד

אִשְׁתִּ֖יו חַמְרָ֑א וְ֠שַׁבַּחוּ לֵֽאלָהֵ֞י דַּהֲבָ֧א וְכַסְפָּ֛א נְחָשָׁ֥א פַרְזְלָ֖א אָעָ֥א וְאַבְנָֽא׃

They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

5 ה

בַּהּ־שַׁעֲתָ֗ה נפקו [נְפַ֙קָה֙] אֶצְבְּעָן֙ דִּ֣י יַד־אֱנָ֔שׁ וְכָֽתְבָן֙ לָקֳבֵ֣ל נֶבְרַשְׁתָּ֔א עַל־גִּירָ֕א דִּֽי־כְתַ֥ל הֵיכְלָ֖א דִּ֣י מַלְכָּ֑א וּמַלְכָּ֣א חָזֵ֔ה פַּ֥ס יְדָ֖ה דִּ֥י כָתְבָֽה׃

Just then, the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace opposite the lampstand, so that the king could see the hand as it wrote.

6 ו

אֱדַ֤יִן מַלְכָּא֙ זִיוֺ֣הִי שְׁנ֔וֹהִי וְרַעיֹנֹ֖הִי יְבַהֲלוּנֵּ֑הּ וְקִטְרֵ֤י חַרְצֵהּ֙ מִשְׁתָּרַ֔יִן וְאַ֨רְכֻבָּתֵ֔הּ דָּ֥א לְדָ֖א נָֽקְשָֽׁן׃

The king’s face darkened, and his thoughts alarmed him; the joints of his loins were loosened and his knees knocked together.

7 ז

קָרֵ֤א מַלְכָּא֙ בְּחַ֔יִל לְהֶֽעָלָה֙ לְאָ֣שְׁפַיָּ֔א כשדיא [כַּשְׂדָּאֵ֖י] וְגָזְרַיָּ֑א עָנֵ֨ה מַלְכָּ֜א וְאָמַ֣ר ׀ לְחַכִּימֵ֣י בָבֶ֗ל דִּ֣י כָל־אֱ֠נָשׁ דִּֽי־יִקְרֵ֞ה כְּתָבָ֣ה דְנָ֗ה וּפִשְׁרֵהּ֙ יְחַוִּנַּ֔נִי אַרְגְּוָנָ֣א יִלְבַּ֗שׁ והמונכא [וְהַֽמְנִיכָ֤א] דִֽי־דַהֲבָא֙ עַֽל־צַוְּארֵ֔הּ וְתַלְתִּ֥י בְמַלְכוּתָ֖א יִשְׁלַֽט׃ (ס)

The king called loudly for the exorcists, Chaldeans, and diviners to be brought. The king addressed the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me its meaning shall be clothed in purple and wear a golden chain on his neck, and shall rule as one of three in the kingdom.”

8 ח

אֱדַ֙יִן֙ עללין [עָֽלִּ֔ין] כֹּ֖ל חַכִּימֵ֣י מַלְכָּ֑א וְלָֽא־כָהֲלִ֤ין כְּתָבָא֙ לְמִקְרֵ֔א ופשרא [וּפִשְׁרֵ֖הּ] לְהוֹדָעָ֥ה לְמַלְכָּֽא׃

Then all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing or make known its meaning to the king.

9 ט

אֱ֠דַיִן מַלְכָּ֤א בֵלְשַׁאצַּר֙ שַׂגִּ֣יא מִתְבָּהַ֔ל וְזִיוֺ֖הִי שָׁנַ֣יִן עֲל֑וֹהִי וְרַבְרְבָנ֖וֹהִי מִֽשְׁתַּבְּשִֽׁין׃

King Belshazzar grew exceedingly alarmed and his face darkened, and his nobles were dismayed.

10 י

מַלְכְּתָ֕א לָקֳבֵ֨ל מִלֵּ֤י מַלְכָּא֙ וְרַבְרְבָנ֔וֹהִי לְבֵ֥ית מִשְׁתְּיָ֖א עללת [עַלַּ֑ת] עֲנָ֨ת מַלְכְּתָ֜א וַאֲמֶ֗רֶת מַלְכָּא֙ לְעָלְמִ֣ין חֱיִ֔י אַֽל־יְבַהֲלוּךְ֙ רַעְיוֹנָ֔ךְ וְזִיוָ֖יךְ אַל־יִשְׁתַּנּֽוֹ׃

Because of the state of the king and his nobles, the queen came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke up and said, “O king, live forever! Let your thoughts not alarm you or your face darken.

11 יא

אִיתַ֨י גְּבַ֜ר בְּמַלְכוּתָ֗ךְ דִּ֠י ר֣וּחַ אֱלָהִ֣ין קַדִּישִׁין֮ בֵּהּ֒ וּבְיוֹמֵ֣י אֲב֗וּךְ נַהִיר֧וּ וְשָׂכְלְתָנ֛וּ וְחָכְמָ֥ה כְּחָכְמַת־אֱלָהִ֖ין הִשְׁתְּכַ֣חַת בֵּ֑הּ וּמַלְכָּ֤א נְבֻֽכַדְנֶצַּר֙ אֲב֔וּךְ רַ֧ב חַרְטֻמִּ֣ין אָֽשְׁפִ֗ין כַּשְׂדָּאִין֙ גָּזְרִ֔ין הֲקִימֵ֖הּ אֲב֥וּךְ מַלְכָּֽא׃

There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him; in your father’s time, illumination, understanding, and wisdom like that of the gods were to be found in him, and your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, exorcists, Chaldeans, and diviners.

12 יב

כָּל־קֳבֵ֡ל דִּ֣י ר֣וּחַ ׀ יַתִּירָ֡ה וּמַנְדַּ֡ע וְשָׂכְלְתָנ֡וּ מְפַשַּׁ֣ר חֶלְמִין֩ וַֽאַֽחֲוָיַ֨ת אֲחִידָ֜ן וּמְשָׁרֵ֣א קִטְרִ֗ין הִשְׁתְּכַ֤חַת בֵּהּ֙ בְּדָ֣נִיֵּ֔אל דִּֽי־מַלְכָּ֥א שָׂם־שְׁמֵ֖הּ בֵּלְטְשַׁאצַּ֑ר כְּעַ֛ן דָּנִיֵּ֥אל יִתְקְרֵ֖י וּפִשְׁרָ֥ה יְהַֽחֲוֵֽה׃ (פ)

Seeing that there is to be found in Daniel (whom the king called Belteshazzar) extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, to explain riddles and solve problems, let Daniel now be called to tell the meaning [of the writing].”

13 יג

בֵּאדַ֙יִן֙ דָּֽנִיֵּ֔אל הֻעַ֖ל קֳדָ֣ם מַלְכָּ֑א עָנֵ֨ה מַלְכָּ֜א וְאָמַ֣ר לְדָנִיֵּ֗אל אנתה־[אַנְתְּ־] ה֤וּא דָנִיֵּאל֙ דִּֽי־מִן־בְּנֵ֤י גָלוּתָא֙ דִּ֣י יְה֔וּד דִּ֥י הַיְתִ֛י מַלְכָּ֥א אַ֖בִי מִן־יְהֽוּד׃

Daniel was then brought before the king. The king addressed Daniel, “You are Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah whom my father, the king, brought from Judah.

14 יד

וְשִׁמְעֵ֣ת עליך [עֲלָ֔ךְ] דִּ֛י ר֥וּחַ אֱלָהִ֖ין בָּ֑ךְ וְנַהִיר֧וּ וְשָׂכְלְתָנ֛וּ וְחָכְמָ֥ה יַתִּירָ֖ה הִשְׁתְּכַ֥חַת בָּֽךְ׃

I have heard about you that you have the spirit of the gods in you, and that illumination, knowledge, and extraordinary wisdom are to be found in you.

15 טו

וּכְעַ֞ן הֻעַ֣לּוּ קָֽדָמַ֗י חַכִּֽימַיָּא֙ אָֽשְׁפַיָּ֔א דִּֽי־כְתָבָ֤ה דְנָה֙ יִקְר֔וֹן וּפִשְׁרֵ֖הּ לְהוֹדָעֻתַ֑נִי וְלָֽא־כָהֲלִ֥ין פְּשַֽׁר־מִלְּתָ֖א לְהַחֲוָיָֽה׃

Now the wise men and exorcists have been brought before me to read this writing and to make known its meaning to me. But they could not tell what it meant.

16 טז

וַאֲנָה֙ שִׁמְעֵ֣ת עליך [עֲלָ֔ךְ] דִּֽי־תוכל [תִיכּ֥וּל] פִּשְׁרִ֛ין לְמִפְשַׁ֖ר וְקִטְרִ֣ין לְמִשְׁרֵ֑א כְּעַ֡ן הֵן֩ תוכל [תִּכ֨וּל] כְּתָבָ֜א לְמִקְרֵ֗א וּפִשְׁרֵהּ֙ לְהוֹדָ֣עֻתַ֔נִי אַרְגְּוָנָ֣א תִלְבַּ֗שׁ והמונכא [וְהַֽמְנִיכָ֤א] דִֽי־דַהֲבָא֙ עַֽל־צַוְּארָ֔ךְ וְתַלְתָּ֥א בְמַלְכוּתָ֖א תִּשְׁלַֽט׃ (פ)

I have heard about you, that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known its meaning to me, you shall be clothed in purple and wear a golden chain on your neck and rule as one of three in the kingdom.”

17 יז

בֵּאדַ֜יִן עָנֵ֣ה דָנִיֵּ֗אל וְאָמַר֙ קֳדָ֣ם מַלְכָּ֔א מַתְּנָתָךְ֙ לָ֣ךְ לֶֽהֶוְיָ֔ן וּנְבָ֥זְבְּיָתָ֖ךְ לְאָחֳרָ֣ן הַ֑ב בְּרַ֗ם כְּתָבָא֙ אֶקְרֵ֣א לְמַלְכָּ֔א וּפִשְׁרָ֖א אֲהוֹדְעִנֵּֽהּ׃

Then Daniel said in reply to the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself, and give your presents to others. But I will read the writing for the king, and make its meaning known to him.

18 יח

אנתה [אַ֖נְתְּ] מַלְכָּ֑א אֱלָהָא֙ עליא [עִלָּאָ֔ה] מַלְכוּתָ֤א וּרְבוּתָא֙ וִיקָרָ֣א וְהַדְרָ֔ה יְהַ֖ב לִנְבֻכַדְנֶצַּ֥ר אֲבֽוּךְ׃

O king, the Most High God bestowed kingship, grandeur, glory, and majesty upon your father Nebuchadnezzar.

19 יט

וּמִן־רְבוּתָא֙ דִּ֣י יְהַב־לֵ֔הּ כֹּ֣ל עַֽמְמַיָּ֗א אֻמַיָּא֙ וְלִשָּׁ֣נַיָּ֔א הֲו֛וֹ זאעין [זָיְעִ֥ין] וְדָחֲלִ֖ין מִן־קֳדָמ֑וֹהִי דִּֽי־הֲוָ֨ה צָבֵ֜א הֲוָ֣א קָטֵ֗ל וְדִֽי־הֲוָ֤ה צָבֵא֙ הֲוָ֣ה מַחֵ֔א וְדִֽי־הֲוָ֤ה צָבֵא֙ הֲוָ֣ה מָרִ֔ים וְדִֽי־הֲוָ֥ה צָבֵ֖א הֲוָ֥ה מַשְׁפִּֽיל׃

And because of the grandeur that He bestowed upon him, all the peoples and nations of every language trembled in fear of him. He put to death whom he wished, and whom he wished he let live; he raised high whom he wished and whom he wished he brought low.

20 כ

וּכְדִי֙ רִ֣ם לִבְבֵ֔הּ וְרוּחֵ֖הּ תִּֽקְפַ֣ת לַהֲזָדָ֑ה הָנְחַת֙ מִן־כָּרְסֵ֣א מַלְכוּתֵ֔הּ וִֽיקָרָ֖ה הֶעְדִּ֥יוּ מִנֵּֽהּ׃

But when he grew haughty and willfully presumptuous, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was removed from him.

21 כא

וּמִן־בְּנֵי֩ אֲנָשָׁ֨א טְרִ֜יד וְלִבְבֵ֣הּ ׀ עִם־חֵיוְתָ֣א שוי [שַׁוִּ֗יְו] וְעִם־עֲרָֽדַיָּא֙ מְדוֹרֵ֔הּ עִשְׂבָּ֤א כְתוֹרִין֙ יְטַ֣עֲמוּנֵּ֔הּ וּמִטַּ֥ל שְׁמַיָּ֖א גִּשְׁמֵ֣הּ יִצְטַבַּ֑ע עַ֣ד דִּֽי־יְדַ֗ע דִּֽי־שַׁלִּ֞יט אֱלָהָ֤א עליא [עִלָּאָה֙] בְּמַלְכ֣וּת אֲנָשָׁ֔א וּלְמַן־דִּ֥י יִצְבֵּ֖ה יְהָקֵ֥ים עליה [עֲלַֽהּ׃]

He was driven away from men, and his mind made like that of a beast, and his habitation was with wild asses. He was fed grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he came to know that the Most High God is sovereign over the realm of man, and sets over it whom He wishes.

22 כב

ואנתה [וְאַ֤נְתְּ] בְּרֵהּ֙ בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֔ר לָ֥א הַשְׁפֵּ֖לְתְּ לִבְבָ֑ךְ כָּל־קֳבֵ֕ל דִּ֥י כָל־דְּנָ֖ה יְדַֽעְתָּ׃

But you, Belshazzar his son, did not humble yourself although you knew all this.

23 כג

וְעַ֣ל מָרֵֽא־שְׁמַיָּ֣א ׀ הִתְרוֹמַ֡מְתָּ וּלְמָֽאנַיָּ֨א דִֽי־בַיְתֵ֜הּ הַיְתִ֣יו קדמיך [קָֽדָמָ֗ךְ] ואנתה [וְאַ֨נְתְּ] ורברבניך [וְרַבְרְבָנָ֜ךְ] שֵֽׁגְלָתָ֣ךְ וּלְחֵנָתָךְ֮ חַמְרָא֮ שָׁתַ֣יִן בְּהוֹן֒ וְלֵֽאלָהֵ֣י כַסְפָּֽא־וְ֠דַהֲבָא נְחָשָׁ֨א פַרְזְלָ֜א אָעָ֣א וְאַבְנָ֗א דִּ֠י לָֽא־חָזַ֧יִן וְלָא־שָׁמְעִ֛ין וְלָ֥א יָדְעִ֖ין שַׁבַּ֑חְתָּ וְלֵֽאלָהָ֞א דִּֽי־נִשְׁמְתָ֥ךְ בִּידֵ֛הּ וְכָל־אֹרְחָתָ֥ךְ לֵ֖הּ לָ֥א הַדַּֽרְתָּ׃

You exalted yourself against the Lord of Heaven, and had the vessels of His temple brought to you. You and your nobles, your consorts, and your concubines drank wine from them and praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear, or understand; but the God who controls your lifebreath and every move you make—Him you did not glorify!

24 כד

בֵּאדַ֙יִן֙ מִן־קֳדָמ֔וֹהִי שְׁלִ֖יַחַ פַּסָּ֣א דִֽי־יְדָ֑א וּכְתָבָ֥א דְנָ֖ה רְשִֽׁים׃

He therefore made the hand appear, and caused the writing to be inscribed.

25 כה

וּדְנָ֥ה כְתָבָ֖א דִּ֣י רְשִׁ֑ים מְנֵ֥א מְנֵ֖א תְּקֵ֥ל וּפַרְסִֽין׃

This is the writing that is inscribed: mene mene tekel upharsin.

26 כו

דְּנָ֖ה פְּשַֽׁר־מִלְּתָ֑א מְנֵ֕א מְנָֽה־אֱלָהָ֥א מַלְכוּתָ֖ךְ וְהַשְׁלְמַֽהּ׃

And this is its meaning: mene—God has numbered [the days of] your kingdom and brought it to an end;

27 כז

תְּקֵ֑ל תְּקִ֥ילְתָּה בְמֹֽאזַנְיָ֖א וְהִשְׁתְּכַ֥חַתְּ חַסִּֽיר׃

tekel—you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting;

28 כח

פְּרֵ֑ס פְּרִיסַת֙ מַלְכוּתָ֔ךְ וִיהִיבַ֖ת לְמָדַ֥י וּפָרָֽס׃

peres—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.”

29 כט

בֵּאדַ֣יִן ׀ אֲמַ֣ר בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֗ר וְהַלְבִּ֤ישׁוּ לְדָֽנִיֵּאל֙ אַרְגְּוָנָ֔א והמונכא [וְהַֽמְנִיכָ֥א] דִֽי־דַהֲבָ֖א עַֽל־צַוְּארֵ֑הּ וְהַכְרִ֣זֽוּ עֲל֔וֹהִי דִּֽי־לֶהֱוֵ֥א שַׁלִּ֛יט תַּלְתָּ֖א בְּמַלְכוּתָֽא׃

Then, at Belshazzar’s command, they clothed Daniel in purple, placed a golden chain on his neck, and proclaimed that he should rule as one of three in the kingdom.

30 ל

בֵּ֚הּ בְּלֵ֣ילְיָ֔א קְטִ֕יל בֵּלְאשַׁצַּ֖ר מַלְכָּ֥א כשדיא [כַשְׂדָּאָֽה׃] (פ)

That very night, Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed,

Sanhedrin 22a:8סנהדרין כ״ב א:ח
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22aכ״ב א

(עזרא ד, ז) וכתב הנשתוון כתוב ארמית ומתורגם ארמית וכתיב (דניאל ה, ח) לא כהלין כתבא למיקרא ופשרא להודעא למלכא וכתיב (דברים יז, יח) וכתב את משנה התורה הזאת כתב הראוי להשתנות

“And the writing of the letter [hannishtevan] was written in the Aramaic script, and set forth in the Aramaic tongue” (Ezra 4:7). The term “hannishtevan” is similar to the word nishtana, meaning changed, alluding to the fact that the script had been changed. And it is written with regard to the writing on the wall of Belshazzar’s palace: “Then came in all the king’s wise men. But they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation” (Daniel 5:8), and the reason they could not read it is that it was written in the new script that Ezra would transmit. And it is written: “That he shall write for himself a second [mishne] Torah” (Deuteronomy 17:18), where “second [mishne]” teaches that it is written in a script that is apt to be changed [lehishtannot].

למה נקרא אשורית שעלה עמהם מאשור

The baraita continues: Why is this script called Ashurit? Because it ascended with the Jewish people from Ashur when they returned from their exile in Babylonia.

תניא רבי אומר בתחלה בכתב זה ניתנה תורה לישראל כיון שחטאו נהפך להן לרועץ כיון שחזרו בהן החזירו להם שנאמר (זכריה ט, יב) שובו לביצרון אסירי התקוה גם היום מגיד משנה אשיב לך

It is taught in a baraita (Tosefta 4:5): Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Initially, the Torah was given to the Jewish people in this script, Ashurit, which is in use today. Once the Jewish people sinned, it turned into an impairment for them and they began writing with a different script, Libona’a. Once they repented, the first script was returned to them, and they resumed writing with Ashurit script, as it is stated: “Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will render double [mishne] unto you” (Zechariah 9:12), meaning that God restored to the Jewish people this script that had been changed [nishtanna].

למה נקרא שמה אשורית שמאושרת בכתב

The baraita continues: If this script predates the exile to Babylonia, why is it called Ashurit? Because it is meusheret, beautiful and straight, in script.

רשב"א אומר משום ר' אליעזר בן פרטא שאמר משום רבי אלעזר המודעי כתב זה לא נשתנה כל עיקר שנאמר (שמות כז, י) ווי העמודים מה עמודים לא נשתנו אף ווים לא נשתנו ואומר (אסתר ח, ט) ואל היהודים ככתבם וכלשונם מה לשונם לא נשתנה אף כתבם לא נשתנה

The baraita continues: Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says in the name of Rabbi Eliezer ben Perata, who said in the name of Rabbi Elazar HaModa’i: This script did not change at all, as it is stated with regard to the construction of the Tabernacle: “The hooks of [vavei] the poles” (Exodus 27:10). This teaches that just as the poles were not changed, so too, the hooks [vavim] were not changed. The letter vav in Ashurit script has the shape of a hook. Evidently, this is why the term for hook in the Torah is vav. And the verse states: “And to the Jews according to their script and according to their language” (Esther 8:9). This teaches that just as their language was not changed over the generations but remained Hebrew, so too, their script was not changed.

אלא מה אני מקיים את משנה התורה הזאת לשתי תורות אחת שיוצאה ונכנסת עמו ואחת שמונחת לו בבית גנזיו אותה שיוצאה ונכנסת עמו עושה אותה כמין קמיע ותולה בזרועו שנאמר (תהלים טז, ח) שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד

The baraita continues: But if the script was in fact not changed, how do I realize the meaning of the phrase “a second [mishne] Torah” (Deuteronomy 17:18)? This serves to teach the halakha concerning the two Torah scrolls that the king writes, one that goes out and comes in with him, and one that is placed in his treasury. With regard to the one that goes out and comes in with him, he makes it very small, like an amulet, and he hangs it on his arm. As it is stated by King David: “I have set the Lord always before me; He is at my right hand, that I shall not be moved” (Psalms 16:8). This verse alludes to the two Torah scrolls, one that is before him and one that is in his right hand.

ואידך האי שויתי מאי דריש ביה ההוא מיבעי ליה כדרב חנה בר ביזנא דאמר רב חנה בר ביזנא אר"ש חסידא המתפלל צריך שיראה עצמו כאילו שכינה כנגדו שנאמר שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד

The Gemara asks: And with regard to the other Sage, i.e., Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who does not hold that the king must write and affix the second scroll to his arm, what does he expound from that verse: “I have set” (Psalms 16:8)? The Gemara responds: He requires that verse in accordance with the statement of Rav Ḥana bar Bizna, as Rav Ḥana bar Bizna says that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida says: One who prays needs to see himself as if the Divine Presence is opposite him, as it is stated: “I have set the Lord always before me” (Psalms 16:8).

לר"ש דאמר כתב זה לא נשתנה מאי לא כהלין כתבא למיקרא אמר רב בגימטריא איכתיב להון יטת יטת אידך פוגחמט

The Gemara asks: According to Rabbi Shimon, who says that this script was not changed at all, what is the reason “they could not read the writing” (Daniel 5:8)? Rav says: Because it was written for them in the obscure code of gimatriyya. It was written: Yod, tet, tav; yod, tet, tav; alef, yod, dalet, khaf; peh, vav, gimmel, ḥet, mem, tet. These letters correspond with: Mem, nun, alef; mem, nun, alef; tav, kuf, lamed; vav, peh, reish, samekh, yod, nun; this is based on the exchange of letters known as at bash, or the exchanging of a letter with its counterpart in the opposite place in the alphabet, e.g., alef, the first letter, for tav, the last letter.

מאי פריש להו (דניאל ה, כה) מנא מנא תקל ופרסין מנא מנא אלהא מלכותך (והשלמת לך) תקיל תקילתא במאזניא והשתכחת חסיר (פרסין) פריסת מלכותך ויהיבת למדי ופרס

What did Daniel explain to them? The letters stand for the terms: Mene mene tekel ufarsin (Daniel 5:25). He then explained the meaning: Mene”: God has numbered [mena] the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. “Tekel”: You are weighed [tekilta] on the scale and are found lacking. “Parsin”: Your kingdom is divided [perisat] and given to the Medes and Persians” (Daniel 5:26–28).

ושמואל אמר ממתוס ננקפי אאלרן ור' יוחנן אמר אנם אנם לקת ניסרפו רב אשי אמר נמא נמא קתל פורסין:

And Shmuel says: The writing used the correct letters for those terms, but instead of being written in order, the four words, mene mene tekel ufarsin were written vertically and were therefore meant to be read from the top down. If read in the usual way, from right to left, it says: Mamtos nankafei a’alran.” And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Each word was written backward, so that read right to left, they spelled, Anem anem leket nisrapu. Rav Ashi says: They were written with the first two letters of each word reversed: Nema nema ketal pursin.

מתני׳ אין רוכבין על סוסו ואין יושבין על כסאו ואין משתמשין בשרביטו ואין רואין אותו כשהוא מסתפר ולא כשהוא ערום ולא כשהוא בבית המרחץ שנאמר (דברים יז, טו) שום תשים עליך מלך שתהא אימתו עליך:

MISHNA: One may not ride on the king’s horse, and one may not sit on his throne, and one may not use his scepter, and one may not see him when he is having his hair cut, nor when he is naked, nor when he is in the bathhouse, as it is stated: “You shall set a king over you” (Deuteronomy 17:15), meaning, ensure that his fear should be upon you. All of these actions would lessen one’s fear of and reverence for the king.

גמ׳ אמר רב יעקב א"ר יוחנן אבישג מותרת לשלמה ואסורה לאדניה מותרת לשלמה דמלך היה ומלך משתמש בשרביטו של מלך ואסורה לאדניה דהדיוט הוא

GEMARA: Rav Ya’akov says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Abishag the Shunammite was permitted to Solomon but forbidden to Adonijah, who in fact wanted to marry her. She was permitted to Solomon, as he was a king, and a king may use the scepter of a king. Abishag’s status was similar to the king’s scepter, as she had been designated to serve King David. She was forbidden to Adonijah, as he was an ordinary person, not a king.

אבישג מאי היא דכתיב (מלכים א א, א) והמלך דוד זקן בא בימים וגו' ויאמרו לו עבדיו יבקשו וגו' וכתיב (מלכים א א, ג) ויבקשו נערה יפה וגו' וכתיב (מלכים א א, ד) והנערה יפה עד מאד ותהי למלך סוכנת ותשרתהו אמרה נינסבן אמר לה אסירת לי

The Gemara clarifies: The story of Abishag, what is it? As it is written: “Now King David was old and stricken in years…and his servants said to him, let there be sought…a young virgin…and let her lie in your bosom, that my lord the king may get heat” (I Kings 1:1–2); and it is written: “So they sought for a beautiful maiden…and found Abishag” (I Kings 1:1–3); and it is written: “And the maiden was very beautiful and she became a companion to the king and ministered to him, but the king did not know her” (I Kings 1:1–4). Abishag said to King David: Marry me. King David said to her: You are forbidden to me, as I already have eighteen wives.

אמרה ליה חסריה לגנבא נפשיה לשלמא נקיט אמר להו קראו לי לבת שבע וכתיב (מלכים א א, טו) ותבא בת שבע אל המלך החדרה אמר רב יהודה אמר רב באותה שעה קינחה בת שבע בשלש עשרה מפות

Abishag said to him: When the thief is lacking what to steal, he makes himself like a man of peace. In other words, she was saying that since King David was physically unable to engage in intercourse, he devised an excuse not to marry her. King David said to his attendants: Call Bathsheba to me. And it is written: “And Bathsheba went in to the king into the chamber; now the king was very old and Abishag the Shunammite ministered to the king” (I Kings 1:15). Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: At that time, Bathsheba wiped herself with thirteen cloths, corresponding to the number of words in the verse, indicating that she engaged in intercourse with King David thirteen times.

אמר רב שמן בר אבא בוא וראה כמה קשין גירושין שהרי דוד המלך התירו לו לייחד ולא התירו לו לגרש

Rav Shemen bar Abba says: Come and see how severe a matter divorce is, as they rendered it permitted for King David to be secluded with Abishag without marrying her, but they did not render it permitted for him to divorce one of his wives to enable him to marry Abishag.

א"ר אליעזר כל המגרש את אשתו ראשונה אפילו מזבח מוריד עליו דמעות שנאמר (מלאכי ב, יג) וזאת שנית תעשו כסות דמעה את מזבח ה' בכי ואנקה מאין עוד פנות אל המנחה ולקחת רצון מידכם וכתיב (מלאכי ב, יד) ואמרתם על מה על כי ה' העיד בינך ובין אשת נעוריך אשר אתה בגדתה בה והיא חברתך ואשת בריתך

§ Rabbi Eliezer says: Concerning anyone who divorces his first wife, even the altar sheds tears about him, as it is stated: “And further, this you should do: Cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and sighing, from His no longer showing regard to the offering, nor receiving it with goodwill from your hand” (Malachi 2:13), and it is written: “Yet you say: Why? Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and the wife of your covenant” (Malachi 2:14).

א"ר יוחנן ואיתימא ר' אלעזר אין אשתו של אדם מתה אלא אם כן מבקשין ממנו ממון ואין לו שנאמר (משלי כב, כז) ואם אין לך לשלם למה יקח משכבך מתחתיך

Rabbi Yoḥanan, and some say Rabbi Elazar, says: A man’s wife does not die unless his creditors ask him for money that he owes and he does not have it, as it is stated: “If you do not have with what to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?” (Proverbs 22:27). The bed mentioned in the verse alludes to one’s wife.

וא"ר יוחנן כל אדם שמתה אשתו ראשונה כאילו חרב בהמ"ק בימיו שנאמר (יחזקאל כד, טז) בן אדם הנני לוקח ממך את מחמד עיניך במגפה לא תספד ולא תבכה ולא תבוא דמעתך וכתיב (יחזקאל כד, יח) ואדבר אל העם בבקר ותמת אשתי בערב וכתיב (יחזקאל כד, כא) הנני מחלל את מקדשי גאון עוזכם מחמד עיניכם

And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: For any man whose first wife dies, it is as if the Temple were destroyed in his days, as it is stated: “Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke; yet neither shall you make lamentation nor weep, neither shall your tears run down” (Ezekiel 24:16). And it is written: “So I spoke to the people in the morning and in the evening my wife died” (Ezekiel 24:18). And it is written in the continuation of the same passage: “Behold I will profane My Sanctuary, the pride of your power, the desire of your eyes” (Ezekiel 24:21), illustrating that a man’s wife is as precious to him as the Temple is for the entire Jewish nation.

אמר רבי אלכסנדרי כל אדם שמתה אשתו בימיו עולם חשך בעדו שנאמר (איוב יח, ו) אור חשך באהלו ונרו עליו ידעך ר' יוסי בר חנינא אמר פסיעותיו מתקצרות שנאמר (איוב יח, ז) יצרו צעדי אונו רבי אבהו אמר עצתו נופלת שנאמר (איוב יח, ז) ותשליכהו עצתו

Rabbi Alexandri says: For any man whose wife dies in his days, the world is dark for him, as it is stated: “The light shall be dark in his tent and his lamp over him shall be put out” (Job 18:6), since the word tent is commonly employed as a metonym for a wife. Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina says: His steps get shorter, as it is stated: “The steps of his strength shall be constrained” (Job 18:7). Rabbi Abbahu says: His counsel falls, as it is stated: “And his own counsel shall cast him down” (Job 18:7).

אמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר רבי יוחנן קשה לזווגם כקריעת ים סוף שנאמר (תהלים סח, ז) אלהים מושיב יחידים ביתה מוציא אסירים בכושרות (אל תיקרי מוציא אסירים אלא כמוציא אסירים אל תיקרי בכושרות אלא בכי ושירות)

Rabba bar bar Ḥana says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: It is as difficult to match a couple as the splitting of the Red Sea, as it is stated: “God makes the solitary dwell in a house; He brings out prisoners into prosperity” (Psalms 68:7). Do not read the verse as “brings out prisoners”; rather, read it as: Like bringing out prisoners. Accordingly, the act described in the first clause of the verse, God’s causing the solitary to dwell in a house, i.e., to marry, is compared to the act described in the next clause in the verse, i.e., bringing out prisoners. And do not read the verse as “into prosperity [bakkosharot]”; rather, read it as: Crying and singing [bekhi veshirot], which alludes to the splitting of the Red Sea, when there was both crying and singing.

איני והאמר רב יהודה אמר רב ארבעים יום קודם יצירת הולד בת קול יוצאת ואומרת בת פלוני לפלוני לא קשיא הא בזווג ראשון הא בזווג שני

The Gemara asks: Is that so that it is this difficult to find a match? But doesn’t Rav Yehuda say that Rav says: Forty days before the formation of the fetus a Divine Voice emerges and states: The daughter of so-and-so shall be the wife of so-and-so? Why should matching them be so difficult, since they are prepared for this from before their birth? The Gemara responds: This is not difficult. This latter statement, about predestined matches, is stated with regard to the first match; that former statement, about the difficulty of matchmaking, is stated with regard to the second match.

א"ר שמואל בר נחמן לכל יש תמורה חוץ מאשת נעורים שנא' (ישעיהו נד, ו) ואשת נעורים כי תמאס מתני לה רב יהודה לרב יצחק בריה אין אדם מוצא קורת רוח אלא מאשתו ראשונה שנא' (משלי ה, יח) יהי מקורך ברוך ושמח מאשת

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥman says: For everything that is lost there is a substitute, except for one’s wife from youth who dies, as it is stated: “And a wife from youth, can she be rejected?” (Isaiah 54:6). Rav Yehuda taught Rav Yitzḥak, his son: A man finds calmness of spirit only from his first wife, as it is stated: “Let your fountain be blessed and have joy with the wife of