אוֹצָר, מָה אוֹצָר זֶה רָחָב מִלְּמַטָּה וְקָצָר מִלְמַעְלָה כְּדֵי לְקַבֵּל אֶת הַפֵּירוֹת — אַף הָאִשָּׁה רְחָבָה מִלְּמַטָּה וּקְצָרָה מִלְמַעְלָה כְּדֵי לְקַבֵּל אֶת הַוָּלָד.
of a storehouse. Just as a storehouse is built wide on the bottom and narrow on top, in order to hold produce without collapsing, so too a woman is created wide on the bottom and narrow on top, in order to hold the fetus.
״וַיְבִיאֶהָ אֶל הָאָדָם״ — מְלַמֵּד שֶׁעָשָׂה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שׁוֹשְׁבִינוּת לָאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן, מִכָּאן לַגָּדוֹל שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה שׁוֹשְׁבִינוּת לַקָּטָן וְאַל יֵרַע לוֹ.
The Gemara cites an exposition of the end of the previously cited verse: “And brought her unto the man” (Genesis 2:22). This verse teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, was Adam the first man’s best man, attending to all his wedding needs and bringing his wife to him. From here we learn that a greater individual should serve as a best man for a lesser individual and should not feel bad about it as something beneath his dignity.
וּלְמַאן דְּאָמַר פַּרְצוּף, הֵי מִינַּיְיהוּ סָגֵי בְּרֵישָׁא? אָמַר רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק: מִסְתַּבְּרָא דְּזָכָר סָגֵי בְּרֵישָׁא, דְּתַנְיָא: לֹא יְהַלֵּךְ אָדָם אֲחוֹרֵי אִשָּׁה בַּדֶּרֶךְ, וַאֲפִילּוּ הִיא אִשְׁתּוֹ. נִזְדַּמְּנָה עַל הַגֶּשֶׁר יְסַלְּקֶנָּה לִצְדָדִין. וְכׇל הָעוֹבֵר אֲחוֹרֵי אִשָּׁה בַּנָּהָר — אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא.
The Gemara asks: And according to the one who says 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 male walked in front, as this is proper behavior, as it was taught in a baraita: A man should not walk behind a woman on a path, even if she is his wife. If she happens upon him on a bridge, he should walk quickly in order to catch up to her and consequently move her to his side, so that she will not walk before him. And anyone who walks behind a woman in a river, where she has to lift up her skirt in order to cross, has no share in the World-to-Come.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: הַמַּרְצֶה מָעוֹת לְאִשָּׁה מִיָּדוֹ לְיָדָהּ אוֹ מִיָּדָהּ לְיָדוֹ בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁיִּסְתַּכֵּל בָּהּ, אֲפִילּוּ דּוֹמֶה לְמֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ שֶׁקִּיבֵּל תּוֹרָה מֵהַר סִינַי — לֹא יִנָּקֶה מִדִּינָהּ שֶׁל גֵּיהִנָּם. וְעָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר: ״יָד לְיָד לֹא יִנָּקֶה רָע״ — לֹא יִנָּקֶה מִדִּינָהּ שֶׁל גֵּיהִנָּם.
The Sages taught: With regard to one who counts out money for a woman from his hand into her hand or from her hand into his hand, in order to look upon her, even if in other matters he is like Moses our teacher, who received the Torah from Mount Sinai, he will not be absolved from the punishment of Gehenna. The verse says about him: “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.
אָמַר רַב נַחְמָן: מָנוֹחַ עַם הָאָרֶץ הָיָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וַיָּקׇם וַיֵּלֶךְ מָנוֹחַ אַחֲרֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ״.
Rav Naḥman said: From the following verse, it is known that Samson’s father, Manoah, was an ignoramus, as it is stated: “And Manoah arose, and went after his wife” (Judges 13:11), which shows that he was unfamiliar with the principle that one must not walk behind a woman.
מַתְקֵיף לַהּ רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק: אֶלָּא מֵעַתָּה, גַּבֵּי אֶלְקָנָה דִּכְתִיב: ״וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶלְקָנָה אַחֲרֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ״, הָכִי נָמֵי? וְגַבֵּי אֱלִישָׁע דִּכְתִיב: ״וַיָּקׇם וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֶיהָ״, הָכִי נָמֵי?
Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak strongly objects to this: If that is so, if the verse relating to Manoah is understood literally, what will one say about the verse with regard to Elkana, the father of the prophet Samuel, as it is written: “And Elkana walked after his wife.” Does this verse mean that Elkana was also an ignorant person? And what of the verse with regard to the prophet Elisha, as it is written: “And the mother of the child said: As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you; and he arose and followed her” (ii Kings 4:30). Does this verse mean that Elisha was also an uneducated person?
אֶלָּא: אַחֲרֵי דְּבָרֶיהָ וַעֲצָתָהּ, הָכָא נָמֵי — אַחֲרֵי דְּבָרֶיהָ וַעֲצָתָהּ.
Rather, certainly each of these verses means that he followed her words and advice. If so, here too, the verse concerning Manoah may be similarly interpreted. He did not literally walk behind his wife, but rather he followed her words and advice.
אָמַר רַב אָשֵׁי: וּלְמַאי דְּאָמַר רַב נַחְמָן מָנוֹחַ עַם הָאָרֶץ הָיָה, אֲפִילּוּ בֵּי רַב נָמֵי לָא קְרָא. דִּכְתִיב: ״וַתָּקׇם רִבְקָה וְנַעֲרוֹתֶיהָ וַתִּרְכַּבְנָה עַל הַגְּמַלִּים וַתֵּלַכְנָה אַחֲרֵי הָאִישׁ״, וְלָא לִפְנֵי הָאִישׁ.
Rav Ashi said: And according to what Rav Naḥman said, that Manoah was an ignoramus, he did not even read the basic Torah stories that children learn in school. As it is written: “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.
אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: אַחֲרֵי אֲרִי וְלֹא אַחֲרֵי אִשָּׁה. אַחֲרֵי אִשָּׁה וְלֹא אַחֲרֵי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה. אֲחוֹרֵי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה וְלֹא אֲחוֹרֵי בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמִּתְפַּלְּלִין.
On this topic, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is preferable to walk behind a lion, and not behind a woman. And it is preferable to walk behind a woman and not behind idolatry. When a procession honoring idolatry is passing in the street, it is better to walk behind a woman than appear to be accompanying the idolatry. It is preferable to walk behind idolatry and not behind a synagogue at a time of prayer. By walking behind a synagogue at a time of prayer and not entering, one appears as though he were denying the God to Whom the congregation is directing its prayers.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר: כָּל אוֹתָן הַשָּׁנִים שֶׁהָיָה אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּנִידּוּי, הוֹלִיד רוּחִין וְשֵׁידִין וְלִילִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וַיְחִי אָדָם שְׁלֹשִׁים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד בִּדְמוּתוֹ כְּצַלְמוֹ״, מִכְּלָל דְּעַד הָאִידָּנָא לָאו כְּצַלְמוֹ אוֹלֵיד.
Having cited an aggadic statement of Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar, the Gemara cites other statements of his: Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar said: All those years during which Adam was ostracized for the sin involving the Tree of Knowledge, he bore spirits, demons, and female demons, as it is stated: “And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth” (Genesis 5:3). By inference, until now, the age of one hundred thirty, he did not bear after his image, but rather bore other creatures.
מֵיתִיבִי, הָיָה רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר: אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן חָסִיד גָּדוֹל הָיָה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאָה שֶׁנִּקְנְסָה מִיתָה עַל יָדוֹ, יָשַׁב בְּתַעֲנִית מֵאָה שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה, וּפֵירַשׁ מִן הָאִשָּׁה מֵאָה שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה, וְהֶעֱלָה זִרְזֵי תְּאֵנִים עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ מֵאָה שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה.
The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: Rabbi Meir would say: Adam the first man was very pious. When he saw that death was imposed as a punishment because of him, he observed a fast for a hundred thirty years, and he separated from his wife for a hundred thirty years, and wore belts [zarzei] of fig leaves on his body as his only garment for a hundred thirty years. If so, how did he father demons into the world?
כִּי קָאָמְרִינַן הָהוּא, בְּשִׁכְבַת זֶרַע דַּחֲזָא לְאוּנְסֵיהּ.
The Gemara answers: When Rabbi Yirmeya made his statement, he meant that those destructive creatures were formed from the semen that Adam accidentally emitted, which brought the destructive creatures into being.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר: מִקְצָת שִׁבְחוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם אוֹמְרִים בְּפָנָיו, וְכוּלּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו. מִקְצָת שִׁבְחוֹ בְּפָנָיו, דִּכְתִיב: ״כִּי אוֹתְךָ רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק לְפָנַי בַּדּוֹר הַזֶּה״,
And Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar further said: Only some of a person’s praise should be said in his presence, and all of it may be said not in his presence. Only some of his praise should be said in his presence, as it is written: “And the Lord said to Noah, come, you and all your house into the ark, for you have I seen righteous before Me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1).
כּוּלּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו, דִּכְתִיב: ״נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה בְּדוֹרוֹתָיו״.
And all of it may be said not in his presence, as it is written: “These are the generations of Noah; Noah was a righteous man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). When not referring to him in his presence, God refers to Noah as a righteous and perfect man.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר, מַאי דִּכְתִיב: ״וְהִנֵּה עֲלֵה זַיִת טָרָף בְּפִיהָ״ — אָמְרָה יוֹנָה לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, יִהְיוּ מְזוֹנוֹתַי מְרוֹרִין כְּזַיִת וּמְסוּרִין בְּיָדְךָ, וְאַל יִהְיוּ מְתוּקִין כִּדְבַשׁ וּתְלוּיִן בְּיַד בָּשָׂר וָדָם. כְּתִיב הָכָא ״טָרָף״, וּכְתִיב הָתָם ״הַטְרִיפֵנִי לֶחֶם חוּקִּי״.
And Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar also said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the dove came in to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf, plucked off [taraf]; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth” (Genesis 8:11)? The dove said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, let my food be bitter as an olive but given into Your hand, and let it not be sweet as honey but dependent upon flesh and blood. He adds this explanation: Here it is written: Taraf. And there it is written: “Remove far from me falsehood and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me [hatrifeni] my allotted portion” (Proverbs 30:8).
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר: כׇּל בַּיִת שֶׁנִּשְׁמָעִין בּוֹ דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה בַּלַּיְלָה, שׁוּב אֵינוֹ נֶחְרָב, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וְלֹא אָמַר אַיֵּה אֱלוֹהַּ עוֹשָׂי נוֹתֵן זְמִירוֹת בַּלָּיְלָה״.
And Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar also said: Any house in which the words of Torah are heard at night will never be destroyed, as it is stated: “But none says: Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night” (Job 35:10). The verse implies that one who sings songs of Torah in his house at night will not need to lament the destruction of his home.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר: מִיּוֹם שֶׁחָרַב בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, דַּיּוֹ לָעוֹלָם שֶׁיִּשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בִּשְׁתֵּי אוֹתִיּוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ הַלְלוּיָהּ״.
And Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar further said: From the day that the Temple was destroyed, it is enough for the world to use in its praise of God, or in greeting one another with the name of God, only two letters of the Tetragrammaton, namely yod and heh, as it is stated: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord [Yah]. Halleluya” (Psalms 150:6), without mentioning the full name of God, comprised of four letters.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר: נִתְקַלְּלָה בָּבֶל — נִתְקַלְּלוּ שְׁכֵינֶיהָ, נִתְקַלְּלָה שׁוֹמְרוֹן — נִתְבָּרְכוּ שְׁכֵינֶיהָ. נִתְקַלְּלָה בָּבֶל נִתְקַלְּלוּ שְׁכֵינֶיהָ — דִּכְתִיב: ״וְשַׂמְתִּיהָ לְמוֹרַשׁ קִיפּוֹד וְאַגְמֵי מָיִם״. נִתְקַלְּלָה שׁוֹמְרוֹן נִתְבָּרְכוּ שְׁכֵינֶיהָ — דִּכְתִיב: ״וְשַׂמְתִּי שׁוֹמְרוֹן לְעִי הַשָּׂדֶה
And Rabbi Yirmeya ben Elazar also said: When Babylonia was cursed, its neighbors were cursed along with it. When Samaria was cursed, its neighbors were blessed. He explains: When Babylonia was cursed, its neighbors were cursed, as it is written: “I will also make it a possession for wild birds, and pools of water” (Isaiah 14:23), and the arrival of predatory animals brings harm to the surrounding neighbors as well. When Samaria was cursed, its neighbors were blessed, as it is written: “Therefore I will turn Samaria into a heap of rubble in the field