Megillah 10b:24-27מגילה י׳ ב
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10bי׳ ב

השתא [הא] אמרי לא צריכא לקדושי אלא מצאו את אלו ומנאום

Now, didn’t they say later in the same baraita that it is not necessary to consecrate them? Rather, this is what the baraita means to say: It is due to the fact that when the exiles ascended from Babylonia they discovered these and enumerated them.

ולא אלו בלבד אלא כל שתעלה לך מסורת בידך מאבותיך שמוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נון כל המצות הללו נוהגין בה מפני שקדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבא קשיא דר' ישמעאל אדר' ישמעאל

The baraita continues. And not only these, but in any city with regard to which you receive a tradition from your ancestors that it was surrounded by a wall from the days of Joshua, son of Nun, all these mitzvot are observed in it, due to the fact that the initial consecration sanctified Jerusalem for its time and sanctified Jerusalem forever. This is difficult, as there is a contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Yishmael and another statement of Rabbi Yishmael.

תרי תנאי אליבא דר' ישמעאל בר' יוסי ואיבעית אימא הא ר' אלעזר בר יוסי אמרה דתניא ר' אלעזר בר' יוסי אמר (ויקרא כה, ל) אשר לוא חומה אע"פ שאין לו עכשיו והיה לו קודם לכן:

The Gemara answers: This is a dispute between two later tanna’im, who hold according to the opinion of Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei. Each transmitted Rabbi Yishmael’s opinion in a different manner. And if you wish, say instead that one of the traditions is mistaken, as with regard to this statement, Rabbi Elazar bar Yosei said it, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, said that the verse states: “Which has [lo] a wall” (Leviticus 25:30). The word lo is written with an alef, meaning no, that it does not have a wall, but its vocalization is in the sense of its homonym, lo with a vav, meaning that it has a wall. This indicates that even though it does not presently have a wall, as it was destroyed, but it had a wall previously, it retains its status as a walled city. It is Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, who maintains that the first consecration sanctified Jerusalem forever.

ויהי בימי אחשורוש אמר רבי לוי ואיתימא רבי יונתן דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאנשי כנסת הגדולה כל מקום שנאמר ויהי אינו אלא לשון צער

§ The Gemara returns to the primary topic of this chapter, the book of Esther. The Gemara cites various aggadic interpretations of the verses of the Megilla. The opening verse of the Megilla states: “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days of Ahasuerus” (Esther 1:1). Rabbi Levi said, and some say that it was Rabbi Yonatan who said: This matter is a tradition that we received from the members of the Great Assembly. Anywhere that the word vayhi is stated, it is an ominous term indicating nothing other than impending grief, as if the word were a contraction of the words vai and hi, meaning woe and mourning.

(אסתר א, א) ויהי בימי אחשורוש הוה המן (רות א, א) ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים הוה רעב (בראשית ו, א) ויהי כי החל האדם לרוב וירא ה' כי רבה רעת האדם

The Gemara cites several proofs corroborating this interpretation. “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days of Ahasuerus” led to grief, as there was Haman. “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1) introduces a period when there was famine. “And it came to pass [vayhi], when men began to multiply” (Genesis 6:1) is immediately followed by the verse: “And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5).

(בראשית יא, ב) ויהי בנסעם מקדם הבה נבנה לנו עיר (בראשית יד, א) ויהי בימי אמרפל עשו מלחמה (יהושע ה, יג) ויהי בהיות יהושע ביריחו וחרבו שלופה בידו (יהושע ו, כז) ויהי ה' את יהושע וימעלו בני ישראל (שמואל א א, א) ויהי איש אחד מן הרמתים כי את חנה אהב וה' סגר רחמה

“And it came to pass [vayhi] as they journeyed from the east” (Genesis 11:2) is followed by: “Come, let us build us a city” (Genesis 11:4), which led to the sin of the Tower of Babel. The Gemara cites further examples: “And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel” (Genesis 14:1), about whom it is stated: “These made war” (Genesis 14:2). Another verse states: “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho” (Joshua 5:13), it was there that he saw an angel “with his sword drawn in his hand” as a warning. It is written: “And the Lord was [vayhi] with Joshua” (Joshua 6:27), and immediately afterward: “But the children of Israel committed a trespass” (Joshua 7:1). It states: “And it came to pass that there was a certain man of Ramathaim” (I Samuel 1:1), and it mentions shortly afterward Hannah’s inability to conceive: “For he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed up her womb” (I Samuel 1:5).

(שמואל א ח, א) ויהי (כי) זקן שמואל ולא הלכו בניו בדרכיו (שמואל א יח, יד) ויהי דוד לכל דרכיו משכיל [וה' עמו] ויהי שאול עוין את דוד (שמואל ב ז, א) ויהי כי ישב המלך בביתו רק אתה לא תבנה הבית

Similarly, the verse states: “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old” (I Samuel 8:1), and then it is written: “And his sons did not walk in his ways” (I Samuel 8:3). Also, it states: “And it came to pass that David was successful in all his ways, and the Lord was with him” (I Samuel 18:14), and only a few verses prior it is written: “And Saul viewed David with suspicion” (I Samuel 18:9). In another instance, the verse states: “And it came to pass, when the king dwelt in his house” (II Samuel 7:1). Here King David mentioned his desire to build a temple for God, but it is written elsewhere that he was told: “Yet you shall not build the house” (II Chronicles 6:9).

והכתיב (ויקרא ט, א) ויהי ביום השמיני ותניא אותו היום היתה שמחה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא כיום שנבראו בו שמים וארץ כתיב הכא ויהי ביום השמיני וכתיב התם (בראשית א, ה) ויהי (בקר) יום אחד

After citing several verses where vayhi portends grief, the Gemara mentions a number of verses that seem to indicate otherwise. But isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] on the eighth day” (Leviticus 9:1), which was the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle? And it is taught in a baraita with regard to that day: On that day there was joy before the Holy One, Blessed be He, similar to the joy that existed on the day on which the heavens and earth were created. The Gemara cites a verbal analogy in support of this statement. It is written here, with regard to the dedication of the Tabernacle: “And it came to pass [vayhi] on the eighth day,” and it is written there, in the Creation story: “And it was [vayhi] evening, and it was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5). This indicates that there was joy on the eighth day, when the Tabernacle was dedicated, similar to the joy that existed on the day the world was created. Apparently, the term vayhi is not necessarily a portent of grief.

הא שכיב נדב ואביהוא

The Gemara answers: This verse does not contradict the principle. On the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle, a calamity also befell the people, as Nadav and Avihu died.

והכתיב (מלכים א ו, א) ויהי בשמונים שנה וארבע מאות שנה והכתיב (בראשית כט, י) ויהי כאשר ראה יעקב את רחל והכתיב ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחד והאיכא שני והאיכא שלישי והאיכא טובא

The Gemara cites additional verses where vayhi is not indicative of impending grief: But isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] in the four hundred and eightieth year” (I Kings 6:1), which discusses the joyous occasion of the building of the Temple? And furthermore, isn’t it written: “And it came to pass [vayhi] when Jacob saw Rachel” (Genesis 29:10), which was a momentous occasion? And isn’t it written: “And it was [vayhi] evening, and it was [vayhi] morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5)? And isn’t there the second day of Creation, and isn’t there the third day, where the term vayhi is used? And aren’t there many verses in the Bible in which the term vayhi appears and no grief ensues? Apparently, the proposed principle is incorrect.

אמר רב אשי כל ויהי איכא הכי ואיכא הכי ויהי בימי אינו אלא לשון צער

Rather, Rav Ashi said: With regard to every instance of vayhi alone, there are some that mean this, grief, and there are some that mean that, joy. However, wherever the phrase “and it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei]” is used in the Bible, it is nothing other than a term of impending grief.

חמשה ויהי בימי הוו ויהי בימי אחשורוש ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים ויהי בימי אמרפל (ישעיהו ז, א) ויהי בימי אחז (ירמיהו א, ג) ויהי בימי יהויקים

The Gemara states that there are five instances of vayhi bimei in the Bible. “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Ahasuerus”; “And it came to pass in the days [vayhi bimei] when the judges ruled”; “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Amraphel”; “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Ahaz” (Isaiah 7:1); “And it came to pass in the days of [vayhi bimei] Jehoiakim” (Jeremiah 1:3). In all those incidents, grief ensued.

(א"ר) לוי דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו אמוץ ואמציה אחים הוו מאי קמ"ל

§ Apropos the tradition cited by Rabbi Levi above, the Gemara cites additional traditions that he transmitted. Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors: Amoz, father of Isaiah, and Amaziah, king of Judea, were brothers. The Gemara questions: What novel element is this statement teaching us?

כי הא דא"ר שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן כל כלה שהיא צנועה בבית חמיה זוכה ויוצאין ממנה מלכים ונביאים מנלן מתמר דכתיב (בראשית לח, טו) ויראה יהודה ויחשבה לזונה כי כסתה פניה משום דכסתה פניה ויחשבה לזונה

The Gemara responds: It is in accordance with that which Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Any bride who is modest in the house of her father-in-law merits that kings and prophets will emerge from her. From where do we derive this? From Tamar, as it is written: “When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a prostitute; for she had covered her face” (Genesis 38:15). Can it be that because Tamar covered her face he thought her to be a prostitute? On the contrary, a harlot tends to uncover her face.

אלא משום דכסתה פניה בבית חמיה ולא הוה ידע לה זכתה ויצאו ממנה מלכים ונביאים מלכים מדוד נביאים דא"ר לוי מסורת בידינו מאבותינו אמוץ ואמציה אחים היו וכתיב (ישעיהו א, א) חזון ישעיהו בן אמוץ

Rather, because she covered her face in the house of her father-in-law and he was not familiar with her appearance, Judah didn’t recognize Tamar, thought she was a harlot, and sought to have sexual relations with her. Ultimately, she merited that kings and prophets emerged from her. Kings emerged from her through David, who was a descendant of Tamar’s son, Peretz. However, there is no explicit mention that she was the forebear of prophets. This is derived from that which Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors. Amoz, father of Isaiah, and Amaziah, king of Judea, were brothers, and it is written: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz” (Isaiah 1:1). Amoz was a member of the Davidic dynasty, and his son, the prophet Isaiah, was also a descendant of Tamar.

וא"ר לוי דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו מקום ארון אינו מן המדה

And Rabbi Levi said: This matter is a tradition that we received from our ancestors: The place of the Ark of the Covenant is not included in the measurement of the Holy of Holies in which it rested.

תניא נמי הכי ארון שעשה משה יש לו עשר אמות לכל רוח וכתיב (מלכים א ו, כ) ולפני הדביר עשרים אמה אורך וכתיב כנף הכרוב האחד עשר אמות וכנף הכרוב האחד עשר אמות ארון גופיה היכא הוה קאי אלא לאו שמע מינה בנס היה עומד

The Gemara comments: This is also taught in a baraita: The Ark crafted by Moses had ten cubits of empty space on each side. And it is written in the description of Solomon’s Temple: “And before the Sanctuary, which was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth” (I Kings 6:20). The place “before the Sanctuary” is referring to the Holy of Holies. It was twenty by twenty cubits. If there were ten cubits of empty space on either side of the Ark, apparently the Ark itself occupied no space. And it is written: And the wing of one of the cherubs was ten cubits and the wing of the other cherub was ten cubits; the wings of the cherubs occupied the entire area. If so, where was the Ark itself standing? Rather, must one not conclude from it that the Ark stood by means of a miracle and occupied no space?

ר' יונתן פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא (ישעיהו יד, כב) וקמתי עליהם וגו' והכרתי לבבל שם ושאר ונין ונכד נאם ה' שם זה הכתב שאר זה לשון נין זה מלכות ונכד זו ושתי

§ The Gemara cites prologues utilized by various Sages to introduce study of the Megilla: Rabbi Yonatan introduced this passage, the book of Esther, with an introduction from here: “For I will rise up against them, says the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylonia name, and remnant, and offspring [nin], and posterity, says the Lord” (Isaiah 14:22). This verse may be interpreted homiletically: “Name,” this is the writing of ancient Babylonia that will disappear from the world. “Remnant,” this is the language of ancient Babylonia. “Offspring,” this is their kingdom. And “posterity,” this is Vashti, who according to tradition was Nebuchadnezzar’s granddaughter, and the book of Esther relates how she too was removed from the throne.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא (ישעיהו נה, יג) תחת הנעצוץ יעלה ברוש ותחת הסרפד יעלה הדס

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “Instead of the thorn shall the cypress come up, and instead of the nettle shall the myrtle come up; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 55:13). Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani interpreted the verse homiletically as referring to the righteous individuals who superseded the wicked ones in the book of Esther.

תחת הנעצוץ תחת המן הרשע שעשה עצמו ע"ז דכתיב (ישעיהו ז, יט) ובכל הנעצוצים ובכל הנהלולים

“Instead of the thorn”; this means instead of the wicked Haman. He is referred to as a thorn because he turned himself into an object of idol worship, as he decreed that all must prostrate themselves before him. The Gemara cites proof that the term thorn is used in connection with idol worship, as it is written: “And upon all thorns, and upon all brambles” (Isaiah 7:19), which is understood to be a reference to idol worship.

יעלה ברוש זה מרדכי שנקרא ראש לכל הבשמים שנאמר (שמות ל, כג) ואתה קח לך בשמים ראש מר דרור ומתרגמינן מרי דכי

The next section of the verse discusses what will replace the thorns, i.e., Haman: “Shall the cypress [berosh] come up”; this is Mordecai. Why is he called a cypress [berosh]? Because he was called the chief [rosh] of all the spices, as it is stated: “Take you also to yourself the chief spices, of pure myrrh [mar deror]” (Exodus 30:23), and we translate “pure myrrh,” into Aramaic as mari dakhei. Mordecai was like mari dakhi, the chief [rosh] of spices, and therefore he is called berosh.

תחת הסרפד תחת ושתי הרשעה בת בנו של נבוכדנצר הרשע ששרף רפידת בית ה' דכתיב (שיר השירים ג, י) רפידתו זהב

The verse continues: “And instead of the nettle [sirpad],” this means instead of the wicked Vashti. Why is she called a nettle [sirpad]? Because she was the daughter of the son of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar, who burned the ceiling [saraf refidat] of the House of God, as it is written: “Its top [refidato] of gold” (Song of Songs 3:10).

יעלה הדס זו אסתר הצדקת שנקראת הדסה שנאמר (אסתר ב, ז) ויהי אומן את הדסה והיה לה' לשם זו מקרא מגילה לאות עולם לא יכרת אלו ימי פורים

The next section of the verse states: “Shall the myrtle [hadas] come up”; this is the righteous Esther, who was called Hadassah in the Megilla, as it is stated: “And he had brought up Hadassah; that is, Esther” (Esther 2:7). The concluding section of the verse states: “And it shall be to the Lord for a name”; this is the reading of the Megilla. “For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off”; these are the days of Purim.

ר' יהושע בן לוי פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא (דברים כח, סג) והיה כאשר שש ה' עליכם להיטיב אתכם כן ישיש להרע אתכם

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you” (Deuteronomy 28:63). The verse indicates that just as the Lord rejoiced in the good he did on behalf of Israel, so too, the Lord will rejoice to cause you harm.

ומי חדי הקב"ה במפלתן של רשעים והא כתיב (דברי הימים ב כ, כא) בצאת לפני החלוץ ואומרים הודו לה' כי לעולם חסדו וא"ר יוחנן מפני מה לא נאמר כי טוב בהודאה זו לפי שאין הקב"ה שמח במפלתן של רשעים

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asked: Does the Holy One, Blessed be He, in fact rejoice over the downfall of the wicked? But it is written: “As they went out before the army, and say: Give thanks to the Lord, for His kindness endures forever” (II Chronicles 20:21), and Rabbi Yoḥanan said: For what reason were the words: “for He is good” not stated in this statement of thanksgiving, as the classic formulation is: “Give thanks to the Lord; for He is good; for His kindness endures forever” (I Chronicles 16:34)? Because the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked. Since this song was sung in the aftermath of a military victory, which involved the downfall of the wicked, the name of God was not mentioned for the good.

ואמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב (שמות יד, כ) ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה בקשו מלאכי השרת לומר שירה אמר הקב"ה מעשה ידי טובעין בים ואתם אומרים שירה

And similarly, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the one came not near the other all the night” (Exodus 14:20)? The ministering angels wanted to sing their song, for the angels would sing songs to each other, as it states: “And they called out to each other and said” (Isaiah 6:3), but the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: The work of My hands, the Egyptians, are drowning at sea, and you wish to say songs? This indicates that God does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked.

אמר רבי אלעזר הוא אינו שש אבל אחרים משיש ודיקא נמי דכתיב כן ישיש ולא כתיב ישוש ש"מ

Rabbi Elazar said that this is how the matter is to be understood: Indeed, God Himself does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked, but He causes others to rejoice. The Gemara comments: One can learn from the language of the verse as well, as it is written: “So the Lord will rejoice [ken yasis]” (Deuteronomy 28:63). And it is not written yasus, the grammatical form of the verb meaning: He will rejoice. Rather, it is written yasis. The grammatical form of this verb indicates that one causes another to rejoice. Consequently, these words are understood to mean that God will cause others to rejoice. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, learn from it that this is the case.

רבי אבא בר כהנא פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא (קהלת ב, כו) לאדם שטוב לפניו נתן חכמה ודעת ושמחה זה מרדכי הצדיק ולחוטא נתן ענין לאסוף ולכנוס זה המן לתת לטוב לפני האלהים זה מרדכי ואסתר דכתיב ותשם אסתר את מרדכי על בית המן

Rabbi Abba bar Kahana introduced this passage with an introduction from here. The verse states with regard to God’s reward to the righteous: “He gives to a man that is good in His sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). The Gemara explains that this verse is referring to the righteous Mordecai. With regard to the next part of the verse: “But to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and heaping up,” this is referring to Haman. The conclusion of the verse states: “That he may give it to one who is good before God” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). This is Mordecai and Esther, as it is written: “And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman” (Esther 8:2).

רבה בר עופרן פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא (ירמיהו מט, לח) ושמתי כסאי בעילם והאבדתי משם מלך ושרים מלך זו ושתי ושרים זה המן ועשרת בניו

Rabba bar Oferan introduced this passage with an introduction from here: “And I will set my throne in Elam, and destroy from there the king and the princes, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 49:38). “The king” who was destroyed; this is referring to Vashti. “And the princes”; this is referring to Haman and his ten sons.

רב דימי בר יצחק פתח לה פיתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא

Rav Dimi bar Yitzḥak introduced this passage with an introduction from here: