Megillah 18aמגילה י״ח א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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18aי״ח א

(הושע ג, ה) אחר ישובו בני ישראל ובקשו את ה' אלהיהם ואת דוד מלכם וכיון שבא דוד באתה תפלה שנאמר (ישעיהו נו, ז) והביאותים אל הר קדשי ושמחתים בבית תפלתי

“Afterward the children of Israel shall return, and seek the Lord their God and David their king” (Hosea 3:5), and consequently, the blessing of the kingdom of David follows the blessing of the building of Jerusalem. And once the scion of David comes, the time for prayer will come, as it is stated: “I will bring them to My sacred mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7). Therefore, the blessing of hearing prayer is recited after the blessing of the kingdom of David.

וכיון שבאת תפלה באת עבודה שנאמר עולותיהם וזבחיהם לרצון על מזבחי וכיון שבאת עבודה באתה תודה שנאמר (תהלים נ, כג) זובח תודה יכבדנני

And after prayer comes, the Temple service will arrive, as it is stated in the continuation of that verse: “Their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on My altar” (Isaiah 56:7). The blessing of restoration of the Temple service follows the blessing of hearing prayer. And when the Temple service comes, with it will also come thanksgiving, as it is stated: “Whoever sacrifices a thanks-offering honors Me” (Psalms 50:23), which teaches that thanksgiving follows sacrifice. Therefore, the blessing of thanksgiving follows the blessing of restoration of the Temple service.

ומה ראו לומר ברכת כהנים אחר הודאה דכתיב (ויקרא ט, כב) וישא אהרן את ידיו אל העם ויברכם וירד מעשות החטאת והעולה והשלמים

And why did they see fit to institute that one says the Priestly Benediction after the blessing of thanksgiving? As it is written: “And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from sacrificing the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering, and the peace-offerings” (Leviticus 9:22), teaching that the Priestly Benediction follows the sacrificial service, which includes the thanks-offering.

אימא קודם עבודה לא ס"ד דכתיב וירד מעשות החטאת וגו' מי כתיב לעשות מעשות כתיב

The Gemara asks: But the cited verse indicates that Aaron blessed the people and then sacrificed the offerings. Should we not then say the Priestly Benediction before the blessing of the Temple service? The Gemara answers: It should not enter your mind to say this, as it is written: “And he came down from sacrificing the sin-offering.” Is it written that he came down to sacrifice the offerings, implying that after blessing the people Aaron came down and sacrificed the offerings? No, it is written, “from sacrificing,” indicating that the offerings had already been sacrificed.

ולימרה אחר העבודה לא ס"ד דכתיב זובח תודה

The Gemara asks: If, as derived from this verse, the Priestly Benediction follows the sacrificial service, the Priestly Benediction should be said immediately after the blessing of restoration of the Temple service, without the interruption of the blessing of thanksgiving. The Gemara rejects this argument: It should not enter your mind to say this, as it is written: “Whoever sacrifices a thanks-offering honors Me,” from which we learn that thanksgiving follows sacrifice, as already explained.

מאי חזית דסמכת אהאי סמוך אהאי מסתברא עבודה והודאה חדא מילתא היא

The Gemara asks: What did you see to rely on this verse and juxtapose thanksgiving with sacrifice? Rely rather on the other verse, which indicates that it is the Priestly Benediction that should be juxtaposed with the sacrificial service. The Gemara answers: It stands to reason to have the blessing of thanksgiving immediately following the blessing of the sacrificial service, since the sacrificial service and thanksgiving, which are closely related conceptually, are one matter.

ומה ראו לומר שים שלום אחר ברכת כהנים דכתיב (במדבר ו, כז) ושמו את שמי על בני ישראל ואני אברכם ברכה דהקב"ה שלום שנאמר (תהלים כט, יא) ה' יברך את עמו בשלום

And why did they see fit to institute that one says the blessing beginning with the words: Grant peace, after the Priestly Benediction? As it is written immediately following the Priestly Benediction: “And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them” (Numbers 6:27). The Priestly Benediction is followed by God’s blessing, and the blessing of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is peace, as it is stated: “The Lord blesses His people with peace” (Psalms 29:11).

וכי מאחר דמאה ועשרים זקנים ומהם כמה נביאים תקנו תפלה על הסדר שמעון הפקולי מאי הסדיר שכחום וחזר וסדרום

The Gemara returns to the baraita cited at the beginning of the discussion: Now, since the baraita teaches that a hundred and twenty Elders, including many prophets, established the Amida prayer in its fixed order, what is it that Shimon HaPakuli arranged in a much later period of time, as related by Rabbi Yoḥanan? The Gemara answers: Indeed, the blessings of the Amida prayer were originally arranged by the hundred and twenty members of the Great Assembly, but over the course of time the people forgot them, and Shimon HaPakuli then arranged them again.

מכאן ואילך אסור לספר בשבחו של הקב"ה דא"ר אלעזר מאי דכתיב (תהלים קו, ב) מי ימלל גבורות ה' ישמיע כל תהלתו למי נאה למלל גבורות ה' למי שיכול להשמיע כל תהלתו

The Gemara comments: These nineteen blessings are a fixed number, and beyond this it is prohibited for one to declare the praises of the Holy One, Blessed be He, by adding additional blessings to the Amida. As Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise?” (Psalms 106:2)? It means: For whom is it fitting to utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Only for one who can declare all His praise. And since no one is capable of declaring all of God’s praises, we must suffice with the set formula established by the Sages.

אמר רבה בר בר חנה א"ר יוחנן המספר בשבחו של הקב"ה יותר מדאי נעקר מן העולם שנאמר (איוב לז, כ) היסופר לו כי אדבר אם אמר איש כי יבלע

Rabba bar bar Ḥana said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: With regard to one who excessively declares the praises of the Holy One, Blessed be He, his fate is to be uprooted from the world, as it appears as if he had exhausted all of God’s praises. As it is stated: “Shall it be told to Him when I speak? If a man says it, he would be swallowed up” (Job 37:20). The Gemara interprets the verse as saying: Can all of God’s praises be expressed when I speak? If a man would say such a thing, he would be “swallowed up” as punishment.

דרש ר' יהודה איש כפר גבוריא ואמרי לה איש כפר גבור חיל מאי דכתיב (תהלים סה, ב) לך דומיה תהלה סמא דכולה משתוקא כי אתא רב דימי אמר אמרי במערבא מלה בסלע משתוקא בתרין:

The Gemara relates: Rabbi Yehuda, a man of Kefar Gibboraya, and some say he was a man of Kefar Gibboraya, taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For You silence is praise” (Psalms 65:2)? The best remedy of all is silence, i.e., the optimum form of praising God is silence. The Gemara relates: When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Israel to Babylonia, he said: In the West, Eretz Yisrael, they say an adage: If a word is worth one sela, silence is worth two.

קראה על פה לא יצא וכו': מנלן אמר רבא אתיא זכירה זכירה כתיב הכא והימים האלה נזכרים וכתיב התם (שמות יז, יד) כתב זאת זכרון בספר מה להלן בספר אף כאן בספר

§ It is taught in the mishna: If one read the Megilla by heart he has not fulfilled his obligation. The Gemara asks: From where do we derive this? Rava said: This is derived by means of a verbal analogy between one instance of the term remembrance and another instance of the term remembrance. It is written here, with regard to the Megilla: “That these days should be remembered” (Esther 9:28), and it is written elsewhere: “And the Lord said to Moses: Write this for a memorial in the book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: That I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under the heavens” (Exodus 17:14). Just as there, with regard to Amalek, remembrance is referring specifically to something written in a book, as it is stated, “in the book,” so too here, the Megilla remembrance is through being written in a book.

וממאי דהאי זכירה קריאה היא דלמא עיון בעלמא לא סלקא דעתך (דכתיב) (דברים כה, יז) זכור יכול בלב כשהוא אומר לא תשכח הרי שכחת הלב אמור הא מה אני מקיים זכור בפה:

The Gemara raises a question: But from where do we know that this remembrance that is stated with regard to Amalek and to the Megilla involves reading it out loud from a book? Perhaps it requires merely looking into the book, reading it silently. The Gemara answers: It should not enter your mind to say this, as it was taught in a baraita: The verse states: “Remember what Amalek did to you” (Deuteronomy 25:17). One might have thought that it suffices for one to remember this silently, in his heart. But this cannot be, since when it says subsequently: “You shall not forget” (Deuteronomy 25:19), it is already referring to forgetting from the heart. How, then, do I uphold the meaning of “remember”? What does this command to remember add to the command to not forget? Therefore, it means that the remembrance must be expressed out loud, with the mouth.

קראה תרגום לא יצא וכו': היכי דמי אילימא דכתיבה מקרא וקרי לה תרגום היינו על פה לא צריכא דכתיבה תרגום וקרי לה תרגום:

§ It was taught further in the mishna: If one read the Megilla in Aramaic translation he has not fulfilled his obligation. The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances of this case? If we say that the Megilla was written in the original biblical text, i.e., in Hebrew, and he read it in Aramaic translation, then this is the same as reading it by heart, as he is not reading the words written in the text, and the mishna has already stated that one does not fulfill his obligation by reading the Megilla by heart. The Gemara answers: No, it is necessary to teach this case as well, as it is referring to a case in which the Megilla was written not in the original Hebrew but in Aramaic translation, and he read it as written, in Aramaic translation.

אבל קורין אותה ללועזות בלעז וכו': והא אמרת קראה בכל לשון לא יצא רב ושמואל דאמרי תרוייהו בלעז יווני

§ The mishna continues: However, for those who speak a foreign language, one may read the Megilla in that foreign language. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But didn’t you say in the mishna: If he read it in any other language he has not fulfilled his obligation? The Gemara cites the answer of Rav and Shmuel, who both say: When the mishna says: A foreign language, it is referring specifically to the Greek foreign language, which has a unique status with regard to biblical translation.

היכי דמי אילימא דכתיבה אשורית וקרי לה יוונית היינו על פה א"ר אחא א"ר אלעזר שכתובה בלעז יוונית

The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances of the case? If we say that the Megilla was written in Ashurit, i.e., in Hebrew, and he read it in Greek, this is the same as reading it by heart, and the mishna teaches that one does not fulfill his obligation by reading by heart. The Gemara answers: Rabbi Aḥa said that Rabbi Elazar said: The mishna is dealing with a case in which the Megilla was written in the Greek foreign language and was also read in that language.

וא"ר אחא א"ר אלעזר מנין שקראו הקב"ה ליעקב אל שנאמר (בראשית לג, כ) ויקרא לו אל אלהי ישראל דאי סלקא דעתך למזבח קרא ליה יעקב אל ויקרא לו יעקב מיבעי ליה אלא ויקרא לו ליעקב אל ומי קראו אל אלהי ישראל

Apropos statements in this line of tradition, the Gemara adds: And Rabbi Aḥa further said that Rabbi Elazar said: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He, called Jacob El, meaning God? As it is stated: “And he erected there an altar, and he called it El, God of Israel” (Genesis 33:20). It is also possible to translate this as: And He, i.e., the God of Israel, called him, Jacob, El. Indeed, it must be understood this way, as if it enters your mind to say that the verse should be understood as saying that Jacob called the altar El, it should have specified the subject of the verb and written: And Jacob called it El. But since the verse is not written this way, the verse must be understood as follows: He called Jacob El; and who called him El? The God of Israel.

מיתיבי קראה גיפטית עברית עילמית מדית יוונית לא יצא

The Gemara returns to discussing languages for reading the Megilla and raises an objection against Rav and Shmuel, who said that one may read the Megilla in Greek but not in other foreign languages. It is taught in a baraita: If one read the Megilla in Coptic [Giptit], Ivrit, Elamite, Median, or Greek, he has not fulfilled his obligation, indicating that one cannot fulfill his obligation by reading the Megilla in Greek.

הא לא דמיא אלא להא גיפטית לגיפטים עברית לעברים עילמית לעילמים יוונית ליוונים יצא

The Gemara answers: The clause in the mishna that teaches that the Megilla may be read in a foreign language to one who speaks that foreign language is comparable only to that which was taught in a different baraita: If one reads the Megilla in Coptic to Copts, in Ivrit to Ivrim, in Elamite to Elamites, or in Greek to Greeks, he has fulfilled his obligation. The Megilla may be read in any language, provided the listener understands that language.

אי הכי רב ושמואל אמאי מוקמי לה למתני' בלעז יוונית לוקמה בכל לעז [אלא מתניתין כברייתא] וכי איתמר דרב ושמואל בעלמא איתמר רב ושמואל דאמרי תרוייהו לעז יווני לכל כשר

The Gemara asks: But if so, that one who reads the Megilla in a foreign language that he speaks fulfills his obligation, why did Rav and Shmuel establish the ruling of the mishna as referring specifically to Greek? Let them interpret it as referring to any foreign language that one speaks. The Gemara explains: Rather, the mishna is to be understood like the baraita, that one who reads the Megilla in a language that he speaks fulfills his obligation; and that which was stated in the name of Rav and Shmuel was said as a general statement, not relating to the mishna but as an independent ruling, as follows: Rav and Shmuel both say: The Greek language is acceptable for everyone, i.e., anyone who reads the Megilla in Greek has fulfilled his obligation, even if he does not understand Greek.

והא קתני יוונית ליוונים אין לכולי עלמא לא אינהו דאמור כרשב"ג דתנן רשב"ג אומר אף ספרים לא התירו שיכתבו אלא יוונית

The Gemara raises a difficulty: But doesn’t the baraita cited above teach that if one reads the Megilla in Greek to Greeks he has fulfilled his obligation? This implies that reading in Greek, yes, this is acceptable for Greeks, but for everyone else, no, it is not. The Gemara answers: Rav and Shmuel disagree with this statement of the baraita, because they agree with the opinion of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel. As we learned in a mishna (Megilla 8b): Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Even for books of the Bible, the Sages did not permit them to be written in any foreign language other than Greek, indicating that Greek has a special status, and is treated like the original Hebrew.

ולימרו הלכה כרשב"ג אי אמרי הלכה כרשב"ג הוה אמינא הני מילי שאר ספרים אבל מגילה דכתיב בה ככתבם אימא לא קמ"ל:

The Gemara asks: But if this was the intention of Rav and Shmuel, let them state explicitly: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel. Why did Rav and Shmuel formulate their statement as if they were issuing a new ruling? The Gemara answers: Had they said simply that the halakha is in accordance with Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, I would have said that this applies only to the other books of the Bible, but with regard to the Megilla, of which it is written: “According to their writing,” I would say that one does not fulfill his obligation if he reads it in Greek. Therefore they stated their own opinion to teach us that even in the case of the Megilla one fulfills his obligation if he reads it in Greek.

והלועז ששמע אשורית יצא וכו': והא לא ידע מאי קאמרי מידי דהוה אנשים ועמי הארץ

§ It was taught in the mishna: And one who speaks a foreign language who heard the Megilla being read in Ashurit, i.e., in Hebrew, has fulfilled his obligation. The Gemara asks: But isn’t it so that he does not understand what they are saying? Since he does not understand Hebrew, how does he fulfill his obligation? The Gemara answers: It is just as it is with women and uneducated people; they too understand little Hebrew, but nevertheless they fulfill their obligation when they hear the Megilla read in that language.

מתקיף לה רבינא אטו אנן האחשתרנים בני הרמכים מי ידעינן אלא מצות קריאה ופרסומי ניסא הכא נמי מצות קריאה ופרסומי ניסא:

Ravina strongly objects to the premise of the question raised above, i.e., that someone who does not understand the original, untranslated language of the Megilla cannot fulfill his obligation. Is that to say that even we, the Sages, who are very well acquainted with Hebrew, know for certain the meaning of the obscure words ha’aḥashteranim benei haramakhim (Esther 8:10), often translated as: “Used in the royal service, bred from the stud”? But nevertheless, we fulfill the mitzva of reading the Megilla and publicizing the miracle of Purim by reading these words as they appear in the original text. Here too, one who speaks a foreign language who hears the Megilla being read in Hebrew fulfills the mitzva of reading the Megilla and publicizing the Purim miracle, even if he does not understand the words themselves.

קראה סירוגין יצא וכו': לא הוו ידעי רבנן מאי סירוגין שמעוה לאמתא דבי רבי דקאמרה להו לרבנן דהוי עיילי פסקי פסקי לבי רבי עד מתי אתם נכנסין סירוגין סירוגין

§ The mishna continues: If one reads the Megilla at intervals [seirugin] he has fulfilled his obligation. The Gemara relates that the Sages did not know what is meant by the word seirugin. One day they heard the maidservant in Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s house saying to the Sages who were entering the house intermittently rather than in a single group: How long are you going to enter seirugin seirugin? As she lived in Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s house and certainly heard the most proper Hebrew being spoken, they understood from this that the word seirugin means at intervals.

לא הוו ידעי רבנן מאי חלוגלוגות שמעוה לאמתא דבי רבי דאמרה ליה לההוא גברא דהוה קא מבדר פרפחיני עד מתי אתה מפזר חלוגלוגך

It is similarly related that the Sages did not know what is meant by the word ḥalogelogot, which appears in various mishnayot and baraitot. One day they heard the maidservant in Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s house saying to a certain man who was scattering purslane: How long will you go on scattering your ḥalogelogot? And from this they understood that ḥalogelogot is purslane.

לא הוו ידעי רבנן מאי (משלי ד, ח) סלסלה ותרוממך שמעוה לאמתא דבי רבי דהוות אמרה לההוא גברא דהוה מהפך במזייה אמרה ליה עד מתי אתה מסלסל בשערך

Likewise, the Sages did not know what is meant by salseleha in the verse: “Get wisdom…salseleha and it will exalt you” (Proverbs 4:7–8). One day they heard the maidservant in Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s house talking to a certain man who was twirling his hair, saying to him: How long will you go on twirling [mesalsel] your hair? And from this they understood that the verse is saying: Turn wisdom around and around, and it will exalt you.

לא הוו ידעי רבנן מאי (תהלים נה, כג) השלך על ה' יהבך אמר רבה בר בר חנה זימנא חדא הוה אזילנא בהדי ההוא טייעא וקא דרינא טונא ואמר לי שקול יהביך ושדי אגמלאי

The Gemara relates additional examples: The Sages did not know what is meant by the word yehav in the verse: “Cast upon the Lord your yehav (Psalms 55:23). Rabba bar bar Ḥana said: One time I was traveling with a certain Arab [Tayya’a] and I was carrying a load, and he said to me: Take your yehav and throw it on my camel, and I understood that yehav means a load or burden.

לא הוו ידעי רבנן מאי (ישעיהו יד, כג) וטאטאתיה במטאטא השמד שמעוה לאמתא דבי רבי דהוות אמרה לחברתה שקולי טאטיתא וטאטי ביתא

And similarly, the Sages did not know what is meant by the word matatei in the verse: “And I will tatei it with the matatei of destruction” (Isaiah 14:23). One day they heard the maidservant in Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s house saying to her friend: Take a tateita and tati the house, from which they understood that a matatei is a broom, and the verb tati means to sweep.

ת"ר קראה סירוגין יצא

On the matter of reading the Megilla with interruptions, the Sages taught the following baraita: If one reads the Megilla at intervals, pausing and resuming at intervals, he has fulfilled his obligation.