Eruvin 54aעירובין נ״ד א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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54aנ״ד א

בטשה ביה אמרה ליה לא כך כתוב ערוכה בכל ושמורה אם ערוכה ברמח אברים שלך משתמרת ואם לאו אינה משתמרת תנא תלמיד אחד היה לרבי אליעזר שהיה שונה בלחש לאחר שלש שנים שכח תלמודו

She kicked him and said to him: Isn’t it written as follows: “Ordered in all things and secure” (ii Samuel 23:5), which indicates that if the Torah is ordered in your 248 limbs, i.e., if you exert your entire body in studying it, it will be secure, and if not, it will not be secure. The Gemara relates that it was similarly taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer had a student who would study quietly, and after three years he forgot his studies.

תנא תלמיד אחד היה לו לרבי אליעזר שנתחייב בשריפה למקום אמרו הניחו לו אדם גדול שמש

Incidental to the story cited above involving a student of Rabbi Eliezer, the Gemara cites the following episode: It was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer had a student who was liable for the punishment of death by burning, for his sins against God, but the Rabbis said: Let him alone and do not punish him as he deserves, because he served a great person.

אמר ליה שמואל לרב יהודה שיננא פתח פומיך קרי פתח פומיך תני כי היכי דתתקיים ביך ותוריך חיי שנאמר כי חיים הם למצאיהם ולכל בשרו מרפא אל תקרי למצאיהם אלא למוציאיהם בפה

The Gemara cites instructions issued by Shmuel that are similar to those of Berurya. Shmuel said to Rav Yehuda: Keen scholar [shinnana], open your mouth and read from the Torah, open your mouth and study the Talmud, in order that your studies should endure in you and that you should live a long life, as it is stated: “For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:22). Do not read: “To those who find them [lemotzeihem],” but rather “to those who express them [lemotzi’eihem],” with their mouth.

אמר ליה שמואל לרב יהודה שיננא חטוף ואכול חטוף ואישתי דעלמא דאזלינן מיניה כהלולא דמי

The Gemara cites additional instructions issued by Shmuel: Shmuel said to Rav Yehuda, his beloved student: Keen scholar, grab and eat, grab and drink, as the world from which we are departing is like a wedding feast, whose joy is only temporary, and one who does not take pleasure in it now will not be able to do so in the future.

אמר ליה רב לרב המנונא בני אם יש לך היטב לך שאין בשאול תענוג ואין למות התמהמה ואם תאמר אניח לבני חוק בשאול מי יגיד לך בני האדם דומים לעשבי השדה הללו נוצצין והללו נובלין

Similarly, Rav said to Rav Hamnuna: My son, if you have money, do well for yourself. There is no point waiting, as there is no pleasure in the netherworld, and death does not tarry. And if you say: I will save up in order to leave for my children, who told you the law of the netherworld, i.e., how do you know which of you will die first (Arukh)? People are similar to grass of the field, in that these blossom, i.e., grow, and their actions are blessed, and these wither and die.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי המהלך בדרך ואין עמו לוייה יעסוק בתורה שנאמר כי לוית חן הם

Having expounded the verse “For they are life to those who find them” as referring to the Torah, the Gemara cites another teaching related to this verse that praises the Torah. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who is walking along the way without a companion and is afraid should engage in Torah study, as it is stated with regard to the words of Torah: “For they shall be a graceful wreath [livyat ḥen] for your head, and chains about your neck” (Proverbs 1:9). The word livyat is understood here as a reference to levaya, accompaniment, so that the verse is interpreted to mean that Torah is a graceful accompaniment to one who is traveling.

חש בראשו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר כי לוית חן הם לראשך חש בגרונו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר וענקים לגרגרותיך חש במעיו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר רפאות תהי לשרך חש בעצמותיו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר ושקוי לעצמותיך חש בכל גופו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר ולכל בשרו מרפא

One who feels pain in his head should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “For they shall be a graceful wreath for your head.” One who feels pain in his throat should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “And chains about your neck.” One who feels pain in his intestines should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “It shall be health to your navel” (Proverbs 3:8). One who feels pain in his bones should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “And marrow to your bones” (Proverbs 3:8). One who feels pain in his entire body should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “And health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:22).

אמר רב יהודה ברבי חייא בא וראה שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם אדם נותן סם לחבירו לזה יפה ולזה קשה אבל הקדוש ברוך הוא אינו כן נתן תורה לישראל סם חיים לכל גופו שנאמר ולכל בשרו מרפא

Rav Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, said: Come and see that the attribute of flesh and blood is unlike the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He. The attribute of flesh and blood is that when a person gives a drug to his fellow, it is good for this part of his body and it is harmful to that other part of his body. But the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not so; He gave the Torah to the Jewish people, and it is a drug of life for one’s entire body, as it is stated: “And health to all their flesh.”

אמר רב אמי מאי דכתיב כי נעים כי תשמרם בבטנך יכונו יחדיו על שפתיך אימתי דברי תורה נעימים בזמן שתשמרם בבטנך ואימתי תשמרם בבטנך בזמן שיכונו יחדו על שפתיך

The Gemara continues with praise for Torah study and knowledge. Rav Ami said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them be firmly attached together to your lips” (Proverbs 22:18)? When are words of Torah pleasant? When you keep them within you and know them. And when will you keep them within you? When they will be attached together to your lips, i.e., when you articulate them audibly and expound them.

רבי זירא אמר מהכא שמחה לאיש במענה פיו ודבר בעתו מה טוב אימתי שמחה לאיש בזמן שמענה בפיו לשון אחר אימתי שמחה לאיש במענה פיו בזמן שדבר בעתו מה טוב

Rabbi Zeira said that this idea is derived from here: “A man has joy in the answer of his mouth; and a word in due season, how good it is” (Proverbs 15:23). When does a man have joy? When an answer related to Torah study is in his mouth. Another version: When does a man have joy in the answer of his mouth? When he experiences the fulfillment of: A word in due season, how good it is, i.e., when he knows when and how to address each issue.

רבי יצחק אמר מהכא כי קרוב אליך הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבבך לעשותו אימתי קרוב אליך בזמן שבפיך ובלבבך לעשותו

Rabbi Yitzḥak said that this idea is derived from here: “But the matter is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it” (Deuteronomy 30:14). When is it very near to you? When it is in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it, i.e., when you articulate your Torah study.

רבא אמר מהכא תאות לבו נתתה לו וארשת שפתיו בל מנעת סלה אימתי תאות לבו נתתה לו בזמן שארשת שפתיו בל מנעת סלה

Rava said that this idea is actually derived from here: “You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips, Selah” (Psalms 21:3). When have You given him his heart’s desire? When You have not withheld the request of his lips, Selah, i.e., when he converses in words of Torah.

רבא רמי כתיב תאות לבו נתתה לו וכתיב וארשת שפתיו בל מנעת סלה זכה תאות לבו נתתה לו לא זכה וארשת שפתיו בל מנעת סלה

Rava raised an internal contradiction in that very verse: In the beginning of the verse it is written: “You have given him his heart’s desire,” implying that it is enough for one to request in his heart, whereas in the end of the verse it is written: “And You have not withheld the request of his lips, Selah,” indicating that one must express his prayers verbally. Rava himself resolved the contradiction: If one is fortunate, “You have given him his heart’s desire,” even if he does not give verbal expression to his wants. But if he is not fortunate, at least “You have not withheld the request of his lips, Selah.”

תנא דבי רבי אליעזר בן יעקב כל מקום שנאמר נצח סלה ועד אין לו הפסק עולמית נצח דכתיב כי לא לעולם אריב ולא לנצח אקצוף

With regard to the end of this verse, a Sage of the school of Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov taught the following baraita: Wherever it states netzaḥ, Selah, or va’ed, the matter will never cease. Netzaḥ, as it is written: “For I will not contend forever; neither will I be eternally [lanetzaḥ] angry” (Isaiah 57:16), which demonstrates that netzaḥ bears a similar meaning to forever.

סלה דכתיב כאשר שמענו כן ראינו בעיר ה׳ צבאות בעיר אלהינו אלהים יכוננה עד עולם סלה ועד דכתיב ה׳ ימלוך לעולם ועד:

Selah, as it is written: “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of Hosts, in the city of our God; may God establish it forever, Selah” (Psalms 48:9), which demonstrates that Selah means forever. Va’ed, as it is written: “The Lord shall reign forever and ever [va’ed]” (Exodus 15:18).

(סימן ענקים לחייו לוחות חרות): אמר רבי (אליעזר) מאי דכתיב וענקים לגרגרותיך אם משים אדם עצמו כענק זה שרף על הצואר ונראה ואינו נראה תלמודו מתקיים בידו ואם לאו אין תלמודו מתקיים בידו

In light of the previous discussion, the Gemara cites several expositions of verses proposed by Rabbi Eliezer, while first providing them with a mnemonic: Chains, cheeks, tablets, engraved. Rabbi Eliezer said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And chains about your neck” (Proverbs 1:9)? If a person makes himself like a chain that hangs loosely on the neck, i.e., if a scholar is not pushy and disruptive to others, and he is also seen but not seen, i.e., just as a chain is covered by clothes and hair, so too, the scholar does not let himself be seen, his Torah study will endure. But if not, if he acts in a rude and arrogant manner, his Torah study will not endure.

ואמר רבי אליעזר מאי דכתיב לחיו כערוגת הבושם אם משים אדם עצמו כערוגה זו שהכל דשין בה וכבושם זה שהכל מתבשמין בה תלמודו מתקיים ואם לאו אין תלמודו מתקיים

And Rabbi Eliezer also said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “His cheeks are like a bed of spices” (Song of Songs 5:13)? If a person makes himself humble like this garden bed upon which everyone treads, and like this spice with which everyone perfumes himself, i.e., which benefits not only the one who wears it, his Torah study will endure. But if not, his Torah study will not endure.

ואמר רבי (אליעזר) מאי דכתיב לוחות אבן אם אדם משים עצמו את לחייו כאבן זו שאינה נמחית תלמודו מתקיים בידו ואם לאו אין תלמודו מתקיים בידו

And Rabbi Eliezer further said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Tablets [luḥot] of stone” (Exodus 31:18)? If a person makes his cheeks [leḥayav] like this stone that does not wear away, his Torah study will endure. But if not, i.e., if he is not diligent in his studies, his Torah study will not endure.

ואמר רבי (אליעזר) מאי דכתיב חרות על הלוחות אלמלי לא נשתברו לוחות הראשונות לא נשתכחה תורה מישראל

And, lastly, Rabbi Eliezer said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved upon the tablets” (Exodus 32:16)? This teaches that had the first tablets, the subject of this verse, not been broken, the Torah would never have been forgotten from the Jewish people, as the Torah would have been engraved upon their hearts.

רב אחא בר יעקב אמר אין כל אומה ולשון שולטת בהן שנאמר חרות אל תיקרי חרות אלא חירות

Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: Had the tablets not been broken, no nation or tongue would ever have ruled over them, as it is stated: “Engraved”; do not read it engraved [ḥarut] but rather freedom [ḥeirut].

אמר רב מתנה מאי דכתיב וממדבר מתנה אם משים אדם עצמו כמדבר זה שהכל דשין בו תלמודו מתקיים בידו ואם לאו אין תלמודו מתקיים בידו

Similarly, Rav Mattana said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “The well that the princes dug out, that the nobles of the people delved, with the scepter, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah” (Numbers 21:18)? If a person makes himself humble like this wilderness, which is open to all and upon which everyone treads, his Torah study will endure and be given to him as a gift [mattana]. And if not, his Torah study will not endure.

רבא בריה דרב יוסף בר חמא הוה ליה מלתא לרב יוסף בהדיה כי מטא מעלי יומא דכיפורי אמר איזיל ואפייסיה אזל אשכחיה לשמעיה דקא מזיג ליה כסא אמר הב לי ואימזגיה אנא יהב ליה מזגיה כדטעמיה אמר דמי האי מזיגא למזיגא דרבא בריה דרב יוסף בר חמא אמר ליה אנא הוא

The Gemara relates that Rav Yosef had a grievance against Rava, son of Rav Yosef bar Ḥama, who is usually referred to in the Gemara simply as Rava, and as a result of the grievance the two would never meet. When the eve of Yom Kippur arrived, Rava said: I will go and appease him. He went and found Rav Yosef’s attendant mixing him a cup of wine. He said to the attendant: Give it to me, and I will mix it. He gave it to Rava, and Rava mixed it. Rav Yosef was blind and could not see his visitor, but when he tasted the wine he said: This mixture is similar to the mixture of Rava, son of Rav Yosef bar Ḥama, who would add extra water to the wine. Rava said to him: It is I.

אמר ליה לא תתיב אכרעיך עד דמפרשת לי הני קראי מאי דכתיב וממדבר מתנה וממתנה נחליאל ומנחליאל במות ומבמות הגיא

Rav Yosef said to him: Do not sit on your knees until you have explained these verses to me: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And from the wilderness to Mattanah; and from Mattanah to Nahaliel; and from Nahaliel to Bamoth; and from Bamoth to the valley in the field of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looks out toward the desert” (Numbers 21:19–20)?

אמר ליה אם אדם משים עצמו כמדבר זה שהכל דשין בו תורה ניתנה לו במתנה וכיון שניתנה לו במתנה נחלו אל שנאמר וממתנה נחליאל וכיון שנחלו אל עולה לגדולה שנאמר ומנחליאל במות

Rava said to him: If a person makes himself humble like this wilderness, which is open to all and upon which everyone treads, the Torah will be given to him as a gift [mattana]. And once it is given to him as a gift, he inherits it [neḥalo] and God [El] makes it His inheritance, as it is stated: “And from Mattanah to Nahaliel.” And once God has made it His inheritance, he rises to greatness, as it is stated: “And from Nahaliel to Bamoth,” which means heights.

ואם מגיס לבו הקדוש ברוך הוא משפילו שנאמר ומבמות הגיא ואם חוזר בו הקדוש ברוך הוא מגביהו שנאמר כל גיא ינשא

And if he becomes haughty, the Holy One, Blessed be He, lowers him, as it is stated: “And from Bamoth to the valley.” And if he repents, the Holy One, Blessed be He, raises him back up, as it is stated: “Every valley shall be exalted” (Isaiah 40:4).

אמר רב הונא מאי דכתיב חיתך ישבו בה תכין בטובתך לעני אלהים אם אדם משים עצמו כחיה זו שדורסת ואוכלת ואיכא דאמרי שמסרחת ואוכלת תלמודו מתקיים בידו ואם לאו אין תלמודו מתקיים בידו ואם עושה כן הקדוש ברוך הוא עושה לו סעודה בעצמו שנאמר תכין בטובתך לעני אלהים

Rav Huna said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Your flock found a dwelling in it; You, O God, prepare of Your goodness for the poor” (Psalms 68:11)? If a person makes himself like an animal that tramples its prey and eats it immediately, without being particular about its food, i.e., if a scholar immediately reviews what he has heard from his teacher; and some say, like an animal that soils and eats, i.e., if a scholar is not particular about maintaining his honor during his Torah study, just as an animal is not particular about the quality of its food, his Torah study will endure. And if not, his Torah study will not endure. And if he does so, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will Himself prepare him a feast, as it is stated: “You, O God, prepare of Your goodness for the poor,” indicating that God in His goodness will Himself prepare a feast for that pauper.

אמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב נוצר תאנה יאכל פריה למה נמשלו דברי תורה כתאנה מה תאנה זו

Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He who guards the fig tree shall eat its fruit” (Proverbs 27:18)? Why were matters of Torah compared to a fig tree? Just as this fig tree,