אכולהו והא ששה חדשים קאמר אינו דומה מי שיש לו פת בסלו למי שאין לו פת בסלו
the tanna taught us a halakha with regard to all of them, not only a man of leisure or a laborer. He asked him: But with regard to a sailor it said that the set interval for conjugal relations is six months; why, then, should he have to divorce her if he vowed to forbid these relations for only a week? He answered him: It is well known that one who has bread in his basket is not comparable to one who does not have bread in his basket. On a fast day, one who does not have bread available in his basket suffers more than one who does have bread available and knows that he will be able to eat later. In this case as well, when a woman knows that marital relations are forbidden to her due to a vow, her suffering from waiting for her husband to return is increased.
א"ל רבה בר רב חנן לאביי חמר ונעשה גמל מאי א"ל רוצה אשה בקב ותיפלות מעשרה קבין ופרישות:
Rabba bar Rav Hanan said to Abaye: If a donkey driver who is already married wants to become a camel driver, what is the halakha? Is he permitted to change his profession in order to earn more money from his work, even though this will mean he reduces the frequency with which he engages in conjugal relations with his wife? He answered him: A woman prefers a kav, i.e., modest means, with conjugal relations to ten kav with abstinence. Consequently, he is not allowed to change his profession without her permission.
הספנים אחת לששה חדשים דברי ר' אליעזר: אמר רב ברונא אמר רב הלכה כר"א אמר רב אדא בר אהבה אמר רב זו דברי ר' אליעזר אבל חכמים אומרים התלמידים יוצאין לת"ת ב' וג' שנים שלא ברשות אמר רבא סמכו רבנן אדרב אדא בר אהבה ועבדי עובדא בנפשייהו
§ The mishna stated: For sailors, the set interval for conjugal relations is once every six months. This is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer. Rav Berona said that Rav said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer. Rav Adda bar Ahava said that Rav said: This is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer, but the Rabbis say: Students may leave their homes to study Torah for as long as two or three years without permission from their wives. Rava said: The Sages relied on Rabbi Adda bar Ahava’s opinion and performed an action like this themselves, but the results were sometimes fatal.
כי הא דרב רחומי הוה שכיח קמיה דרבא במחוזא הוה רגיל דהוה אתי לביתיה כל מעלי יומא דכיפורי יומא חד משכתיה שמעתא הוה מסכיא דביתהו השתא אתי השתא אתי לא אתא חלש דעתה אחית דמעתא מעינה הוה יתיב באיגרא אפחית איגרא מתותיה ונח נפשיה
This is as it is related about Rav Reḥumi, who would commonly study before Rava in Meḥoza: He was accustomed to come back to his home every year on the eve of Yom Kippur. One day he was particularly engrossed in the halakha he was studying, and so he remained in the study hall and did not go home. His wife was expecting him that day and continually said to herself: Now he is coming, now he is coming. But in the end, he did not come. She was distressed by this and a tear fell from her eye. At that exact moment, Rav Reḥumi was sitting on the roof. The roof collapsed under him and he died. This teaches how much one must be careful, as he was punished severely for causing anguish to his wife, even inadvertently.
עונה של תלמידי חכמים אימת אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל מע"ש לע"ש (תהלים א, ג) אשר פריו יתן בעתו אמר רב יהודה ואיתימא רב הונא ואיתימא רב נחמן זה המשמש מטתו מע"ש לע"ש
§ When is the ideal time for Torah scholars to fulfill their conjugal obligations? Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: The appropriate time for them is from Shabbat eve to Shabbat eve, i.e., on Friday nights. Similarly, it is stated with regard to the verse “that brings forth its fruit in its season” (Psalms 1:3): Rav Yehuda said, and some say that it was Rav Huna, and some say that it was Rav Naḥman: This is referring to one who engages in marital relations, bringing forth his fruit, from Shabbat eve to Shabbat eve.
יהודה בריה דר' חייא חתניה דר' ינאי הוה אזיל ויתיב בבי רב וכל בי שמשי הוה אתי לביתיה וכי הוה אתי הוה קא חזי קמיה עמודא דנורא יומא חד משכתיה שמעתא כיון דלא חזי ההוא סימנא אמר להו רבי ינאי כפו מטתו שאילמלי יהודה קיים לא ביטל עונתו הואי (קהלת י, ה) כשגגה שיוצא מלפני השליט ונח נפשיה
It is related further that Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya and son-in-law of Rabbi Yannai, would go and sit in the study hall, and every Shabbat eve at twilight he would come to his house. When he would come, Rabbi Yannai would see a pillar of fire preceding him due to his sanctity. One day he was engrossed in the halakha he was studying, and he stayed in the study hall and did not return home. When Rabbi Yannai did not see that sign preceding him, he said to the family: Turn his bed over, as one does at times of mourning, since he must have died, reasoning that if Yehuda were alive he would not have missed his set interval for conjugal relations and would certainly have come home. What he said became “like an error that proceeds from a ruler” (Ecclesiastes 10:5), and Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, died.
רבי איעסק ליה לבריה בי רבי חייא כי מטא למיכתב כתובה נח נפשה דרביתא אמר רבי ח"ו פסולא איכא יתיבו ועיינו במשפחות רבי אתי משפטיה בן אביטל ורבי חייא אתי משמעי אחי דוד
It is related further that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi arranged for his son to marry a daughter of the household of Rabbi Ḥiyya. When he came to write the marriage contract, the girl died. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said: Is there, Heaven forbid, some disqualification in these families, as it appears that God prevented this match from taking place? They sat and looked into the families’ ancestry and found that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was descended from Shefatya ben Avital, the wife of David, whereas Rabbi Ḥiyya was descended from Shimi, David’s brother.
אזיל איעסק ליה לבריה בי ר' יוסי בן זימרא פסקו ליה תרתי סרי שנין למיזל בבי רב אחלפוה קמיה אמר להו ניהוו שית שנין אחלפוה קמיה אמר להו איכניס והדר איזיל הוה קא מכסיף מאבוה א"ל בני דעת קונך יש בך
He went and arranged for his son to marry a daughter of the household of Rabbi Yosei ben Zimra. They agreed for him that they would support him for twelve years to go to study in the study hall. It was assumed that he would first go to study and afterward get married. They passed the girl in front of the groom and when he saw her he said: Let it be just six years. They passed her in front of him again and he said to them: I will marry her now and then go to study. He was then ashamed to see his father, as he thought he would reprimand him because when he saw the girl he desired her and could not wait. His father placated him and said to him: My son, you have your Maker’s perception, meaning you acted the same way that God does.
מעיקרא כתיב (שמות טו, יז) תביאמו ותטעמו ולבסוף כתיב (שמות כה, ח) ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם
The proof for this is that initially it is written: “You bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, the place that You, O Lord, have made for You to dwell in” (Exodus 15:17), which indicates that God’s original intention was to build a Temple for the Jewish people after they had entered Eretz Yisrael. And ultimately it is written: “And let them make Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8), i.e., even while they were still in the desert, which indicates that due to their closeness to God, they enjoyed greater affection and He therefore advanced what would originally have come later.
אזיל יתיב תרתי סרי שני בבי רב עד דאתא איעקרא דביתהו אמר רבי היכי נעביד נגרשה יאמרו ענייה זו לשוא שימרה נינסיב איתתא אחריתי יאמרו זו אשתו וזו זונתו בעי עלה רחמי ואיתסיאת:
After his wedding he went and sat for twelve years in the study hall. By the time he came back his wife had become infertile, as a consequence of spending many years without her husband. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said: What should we do? If he will divorce her, people will say: This poor woman waited and hoped for naught. If he will marry another woman to beget children, people will say: This one, who bears him children, is his wife and that one, who lives with him, is his mistress. Therefore, her husband pleaded with God to have mercy on her and she was cured.
רבי חנניה בן חכינאי הוה קאזיל לבי רב בשילהי הלוליה דר"ש בן יוחאי א"ל איעכב לי עד דאתי בהדך לא איעכבא ליה אזל יתיב תרי סרי שני בבי רב עד דאתי אישתנו שבילי דמתא ולא ידע למיזל לביתיה
Rabbi Ḥananya ben Ḥakhinai went to the study hall at the end of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai’s wedding feast. Rabbi Shimon said to him: Wait for me until I can come with you, after my days of celebration are over. However, since he wanted to learn Torah, he did not wait and went and sat for twelve years in the study hall. By the time he came back, all the paths of his city had changed and he did not know how to go to his home.
אזל יתיב אגודא דנהרא שמע לההיא רביתא דהוו קרו לה בת חכינאי בת חכינאי מלי קולתך ותא ניזיל אמר ש"מ האי רביתא דידן אזל בתרה הוה יתיבא דביתהו קא נהלה קמחא דל עינה חזיתיה סוי לבה פרח רוחה אמר לפניו רבש"ע ענייה זו זה שכרה בעא רחמי עלה וחייה
He went and sat on the bank of the river and heard people calling to a certain girl: Daughter of Ḥakhinai, daughter of Ḥakhinai, fill your pitcher and come up. He said: I can conclude from this that this is our daughter, meaning his own daughter, whom he had not recognized after so many years. He followed her to his house. His wife was sitting and sifting flour. She lifted her eyes up, saw him and recognized him, and her heart fluttered with agitation and she passed away from the emotional stress. Rabbi Ḥananya said before God: Master of the universe, is this the reward of this poor woman? He pleaded for mercy for her and she lived.
רבי חמא בר ביסא אזיל יתיב תרי סרי שני בבי מדרשא כי אתא אמר לא איעביד כדעביד בן חכינאי עייל יתיב במדרשא שלח לביתיה אתא ר' אושעיא בריה יתיב קמיה הוה קא משאיל ליה שמעתא חזא דקא מתחדדי שמעתיה חלש דעתיה אמר אי הואי הכא הוה לי זרע כי האי
Rabbi Ḥama bar Bisa went and sat for twelve years in the study hall. When he came back to his house, he said: I will not do what the son of Ḥakhinai, who came home suddenly with tragic consequences for his wife, did. He went and sat in the study hall in his hometown, and sent a message to his house that he had arrived. While he was sitting there his son Rabbi Oshaya, whom he did not recognize, came and sat before him. Rabbi Oshaya asked him questions about halakha, and Rabbi Ḥama saw that the halakhot of Rabbi Oshaya were incisive, i.e., he was very sharp. Rabbi Ḥama was distressed and said: If I had been here and had taught my son I would have had a child like this.
על לביתיה על בריה קם קמיה הוא סבר למשאליה שמעתתא קא בעי אמרה ליה דביתהו מי איכא אבא דקאים מקמי ברא קרי עליה רמי בר חמא (קהלת ד, יב) החוט המשולש לא במהרה ינתק זה ר' אושעיא בנו של רבי חמא בר ביסא
Rabbi Ḥama went in to his house and his son went in with him. Rabbi Ḥama then stood up before him to honor a Torah scholar, since he thought that he wanted to ask him a matter of halakha. His wife said to him: Is there a father who stands up before his son? The Gemara comments: Rami bar Ḥama read the verse about him: “A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). This is referring to Rabbi Oshaya, son of Rabbi Ḥama bar Bisa, as he represented the third generation of Torah scholars in his family.
ר"ע רעיא דבן כלבא שבוע הוה חזיתיה ברתיה דהוה צניע ומעלי אמרה ליה אי מקדשנא לך אזלת לבי רב אמר לה אין איקדשא ליה בצינעה ושדרתיה שמע אבוה אפקה מביתיה אדרה הנאה מנכסיה אזיל יתיב תרי סרי שנין בבי רב כי אתא אייתי בהדיה תרי סרי אלפי תלמידי שמעיה לההוא סבא דקאמר לה עד כמה
The Gemara further relates: Rabbi Akiva was the shepherd of ben Kalba Savua, one of the wealthy residents of Jerusalem. The daughter of Ben Kalba Savua saw that he was humble and refined. She said to him: If I betroth myself to you, will you go to the study hall to learn Torah? He said to her: Yes. She became betrothed to him privately and sent him off to study. Her father heard this and became angry. He removed her from his house and took a vow prohibiting her from benefiting from his property. Rabbi Akiva went and sat for twelve years in the study hall. When he came back to his house he brought twelve thousand students with him, and as he approached he heard an old man saying to his wife: For how long