וּמָה לִפְנִים וּמָה לְאָחוֹר, קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן. what was before Creation and what is after, i.e., what will be at the end of time, therefore the Tosefta teaches us that the act of Creation is read in public.
מַעֲשֵׂה לוֹט וּשְׁתֵּי בְנוֹתָיו נִקְרָא וּמִתַּרְגֵּם. פְּשִׁיטָא! מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא: נֵיחוּשׁ לִכְבוֹדוֹ דְאַבְרָהָם, קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן. The Tosefta continues: The incident of Lot and his two daughters is read and translated. The name Lot begins with a lamed, the second letter of the mnemonic. The Gemara comments: This is obvious. Why might one think otherwise? The Gemara answers: Lest you say that one should be concerned for the honor of Abraham, as Lot was his nephew, and therefore the incident casts shame upon Abraham as well, therefore the baraita teaches us that this is not a concern.
מַעֲשֵׂה תָמָר וִיהוּדָה נִקְרָא וּמִתַּרְגֵּם. פְּשִׁיטָא! מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא: לֵיחוּשׁ לִכְבוֹדוֹ דִיהוּדָה, קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן שְׁבָחֵיהּ הוּא דְּאוֹדִי. The Tosefta continues: The incident of Tamar, beginning with a tav, and Judah is read and translated. The Gemara comments: This is obvious. The Gemara answers: Lest you say that one should be concerned for the honor of Judah, therefore the Tosefta teaches us that there is no such concern. On the contrary, the story is to his credit, as he confessed to his sin.
מַעֲשֵׂה עֵגֶל הָרִאשׁוֹן נִקְרָא וּמִתַּרְגֵּם. פְּשִׁיטָא! מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא: לֵיחוּשׁ לִכְבוֹדָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל, קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן: כׇּל שֶׁכֵּן דְּנִיחָא לְהוּ, דְּהָוְיָא לְהוּ כַּפָּרָה. The Tosefta continues: The first report of the incident of the Golden Calf [egel] is read and translated. Egel begins with the letter ayin, the next letter of the mnemonic. The Gemara comments: This is obvious. The Gemara answers: Lest you say that one should be concerned for the honor of the Jewish people, therefore the Tosefta teaches us that all the more so is it amenable to them that the matter be publicized, so that they will achieve atonement through their shame.
קְלָלוֹת וּבְרָכוֹת נִקְרִין וּמִתַּרְגְּמִין. פְּשִׁיטָא! מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא: נֵיחוּשׁ דִּלְמָא פָּיְיגָא דַּעְתַּיְיהוּ דְצִבּוּרָא, קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן. The Tosefta states: The curses [kelalot] and blessings are read and translated. The Gemara comments: This is obvious. The Gemara answers: Lest you say that one should be concerned that perhaps the congregation will become dismayed by the many curses, therefore the Tosefta teaches us that this is not a concern.
אַזְהָרוֹת וָעוֹנָשִׁין נִקְרִין וּמִתַּרְגְּמִין. פְּשִׁיטָא! מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא: נֵיחוּשׁ דִּלְמָא אָתוּ לְמֶעְבַּד מִיִּרְאָה, קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן. The Tosefta continues: The warnings and punishments [onashin], alluded to in the first nun of the mnemonic mentioned above, are read and translated. The Gemara comments: This is obvious. The Gemara answers: Lest you say that if this section is read aloud, people will come to act out of fear and keep the mitzvot due to the fear of punishment rather than love of God, therefore the Tosefta teaches us that this is not a concern.
מַעֲשֵׂה אַמְנוֹן וְתָמָר נִקְרָא וּמִתַּרְגֵּם [מַעֲשֵׂה אַבְשָׁלוֹם נִקְרָא וּמִתַּרְגֵּם]. פְּשִׁיטָא! מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא: לֵיחוּשׁ לִיקָרֵיהּ דְּדָוִד, קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן. It is further taught: The incident of Amnon and Tamar, alluded to in the second nun in the mnemonic mentioned above, is read and translated. Additionally, the incident of Absalom is read and translated, alluded to in the shin of the mnemonic, the third letter of his name. The Gemara comments: This is obvious. The Gemara explains: Lest you say that one should be concerned for the honor of David, therefore the Tosefta teaches us that this section is read and translated.
מַעֲשֵׂה פִּילֶגֶשׁ בַּגִּבְעָה נִקְרָא וּמִתַּרְגֵּם. פְּשִׁיטָא! מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא: לֵיחוּשׁ לִכְבוֹדוֹ דְבִנְיָמִין, קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן. The Tosefta continues: The incident of the concubine [pilegesh] in Gibeah is read and translated. The Gemara comments: This is obvious. The Gemara explains: Lest you say that one should be concerned for the honor of the tribe of Benjamin, therefore the Tosefta teaches us that this section is read and translated.
״הוֹדַע אֶת יְרוּשָׁלִַם אֶת תּוֹעֲבוֹתֶיהָ״ נִקְרָא וּמִתַּרְגֵּם. פְּשִׁיטָא! לְאַפּוֹקֵי מִדְּרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר. דְּתַנְיָא: מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאָדָם אֶחָד שֶׁהָיָה קוֹרֵא לְמַעְלָה מֵרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר ״הוֹדַע אֶת יְרוּשָׁלִַם אֶת תּוֹעֲבוֹתֶיהָ״. אָמַר לוֹ: עַד שֶׁאַתָּה בּוֹדֵק בְּתוֹעֲבוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם צֵא וּבְדוֹק בְּתוֹעֲבוֹת אִמֶּךָ. בָּדְקוּ אַחֲרָיו וּמָצְאוּ בּוֹ שֶׁמֶץ פְּסוּל. The Tosefta continues: The section of: “Make known [hoda] to Jerusalem her abominations” (Ezekiel 16:2) is read and translated. The Gemara comments: This is obvious. The Gemara answers: This is needed to exclude the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, who held that this chapter may not be read as a haftara, as it is taught in a baraita: There was an incident with regard to a certain man who was reading the haftara in the presence of Rabbi Eliezer, and he read the section of: “Make known to Jerusalem her abominations.” Rabbi Eliezer said to him: Before you examine the abominations of Jerusalem, go and examine the abominations of your own mother. The Gemara relates that they examined his lineage and found him to have a stain of illegitimacy. His mother had engaged in illicit sexual relations, and therefore he was of questionable lineage.
וְאֵלּוּ נִקְרִין וְלֹא מִתַּרְגְּמִין, (רעבד״ן סִימָן) מַעֲשֵׂה רְאוּבֵן נִקְרָא וְלֹא מִתַּרְגֵּם. וּמַעֲשֶׂה בְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל שֶׁהָלַךְ לְכָבוּל, וְהָיָה קוֹרֵא חַזַּן הַכְּנֶסֶת ״וַיְהִי בִּשְׁכּוֹן יִשְׂרָאֵל״, וְאָמַר לוֹ לַמְּתוּרְגְּמָן: (הַפְסֵק) אַל תְּתַרְגֵּם אֶלָּא אַחֲרוֹן, וְשִׁיבְּחוּהוּ חֲכָמִים. The Tosefta also states: And these sections are read but are not translated. The acrostic composed of the letters reish, ayin, bet, dalet, nun is a mnemonic for the sections included in this category, as the Gemara will explain. The Tosefta states that the incident of Reuben is read but not translated. The name Reuben begins with a reish, the first letter of the mnemonic. And there was an incident involving Rabbi Ḥanina ben Gamliel, who went to the village of Kavul, and the sexton of the synagogue was reading: “And it came to pass, while Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine; and Israel heard of it” (Genesis 35:22). Rabbi Ḥanina said to the translator: Stop, translate only the end of the verse. And the Sages praised him for this.
מַעֲשֵׂה עֵגֶל הַשֵּׁנִי נִקְרָא וְלֹא מִתַּרְגֵּם. אֵיזֶה מַעֲשֵׂה עֵגֶל הַשֵּׁנִי — מִן ״וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה״ עַד ״וַיַּרְא מֹשֶׁה״. The Tosefta continues: The second narrative of the incident of the Golden Calf is read but not translated. Egel, the Hebrew word for calf, begins with an ayin, the second letter in the mnemonic. The Gemara explains: What is the second narrative of the incident of the Golden Calf? Aaron’s account of what had taken place, from “And Moses said to Aaron” (Exodus 32:21) until “And Moses saw” (Exodus 32:25).
תַּנְיָא, רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר: לְעוֹלָם יְהֵא אָדָם זָהִיר בִּתְשׁוּבוֹתָיו, שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ תְּשׁוּבָה שֶׁהֱשִׁיבוֹ אַהֲרֹן לְמֹשֶׁה פָּקְרוּ הַמְעַרְעֲרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וָאַשְׁלִיכֵהוּ בָאֵשׁ וַיֵּצֵא הָעֵגֶל הַזֶּה״. With regard to Aaron’s account, the Gemara cites that which is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: A person should always be careful in the way he formulates his responses, as sometimes the explanation that a person provides for his actions is worse than the original action itself, as, for example, based on Aaron’s response to Moses, the skeptics renounced their religious beliefs. It is stated in Aaron’s response: “And I cast it into the fire and this calf came forth” (Exodus 32:24). This formulation implies that the calf came from the fire by itself, suggesting that it had divine power and substance.
בִּרְכַּת כֹּהֲנִים נִקְרִין וְלֹא מִתַּרְגְּמִין. מַאי טַעְמָא? מִשּׁוּם דִּכְתִיב: ״יִשָּׂא״. We learned in the mishna: The verses constituting the Priestly Benediction [birkat kohanim] are read but not translated. The Gemara asks: What is the reason for this? The Gemara explains that it is because it is written: “May the Lord lift up His countenance to you” (Numbers 6:26). Listeners may understand this to mean that God shows unfair favoritism to the Jewish people.
מַעֲשֵׂה דָּוִד וְאַמְנוֹן לֹא נִקְרִין וְלֹא מִתַּרְגְּמִין. וְהָא אָמְרַתְּ מַעֲשֵׂה אַמְנוֹן וְתָמָר נִקְרָא וּמִתַּרְגֵּם! לָא קַשְׁיָא: הָא דִּכְתִיב ״אַמְנוֹן בֶּן דָּוִד״, הָא דִּכְתִיב ״אַמְנוֹן״ סְתָמָא. We also learned in the mishna: The incident of David and Amnon is neither read nor translated. David’s name begins with a dalet, the next letter in the mnemonic; nun, the last letter of the mnemonic, is the third letter in Amnon’s name. The Gemara asks: Didn’t you say in the Tosefta that the incident of Amnon and Tamar is both read and translated? The Gemara explains that this is not difficult. This statement of the mishna applies where Amnon’s name is written: Amnon, son of David. That statement of the Tosefta applies where it is written simply as Amnon.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: כׇּל הַמִּקְרָאוֹת הַכְּתוּבִין בַּתּוֹרָה לִגְנַאי — קוֹרִין אוֹתָן לְשֶׁבַח, כְּגוֹן: ״יִשְׁגָּלֶנָּה״ — יִשְׁכָּבֶנָּה, ״בַּעֲפוֹלִים״ — בַּטְּחוֹרִים, ״חִרְיוֹנִים״ — דִּבְיוֹנִים, ״לֶאֱכוֹל אֶת חוֹרֵיהֶם וְלִשְׁתּוֹת אֶת מֵימֵי שִׁינֵּיהֶם״ — לֶאֱכוֹל אֶת צוֹאָתָם וְלִשְׁתּוֹת אֶת מֵימֵי רַגְלֵיהֶם. § The Sages taught in a baraita: All of the verses that are written in the Torah in a coarse manner are read in a refined manner. For example, the term “shall lie with her [yishgalena]” (Deuteronomy 28:30) is read as though it said yishkavena, which is a more refined term. The term “with hemorrhoids [bafolim]” (Deuteronomy 28:27) is read bateḥorim. The term “doves’ dung [ḥiryonim]” (II Kings 6:25) is read divyonim. The phrase “to eat their own excrement [ḥoreihem] and drink their own urine [meimei shineihem]” (II Kings 18:27) is read with more delicate terms: To eat their own excrement [tzo’atam] and drink their own urine [meimei ragleihem].
״לְמַחֲרָאוֹת״ — לְמוֹצָאוֹת, רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן קׇרְחָה אוֹמֵר: ״לְמַחֲרָאוֹת״ כִּשְׁמָן, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא גְּנַאי לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה. The term “into latrines [lemoḥra’ot]” (II Kings 10:27) is read as the more refined lemotza’ot. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa says: Lemoḥara’ot is read as it is written because it is used here as an expression of contempt for idol worship, and it is therefore permissible to use an indelicate term.
אָמַר רַב נַחְמָן: כֹּל לֵיצָנוּתָא אֲסִירָא, בַּר מִלֵּיצָנוּתָא דַּעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה — דְּשַׁרְיָא. דִּכְתִיב: ״כָּרַע בֵּל קֹרֵס נְבוֹ״, וּכְתִיב: ״קָרְסוּ כָרְעוּ יַחְדָּיו לֹא יָכְלוּ מַלֵּט מַשָּׂא וְגוֹ׳״. רַבִּי יַנַּאי אָמַר, מֵהָכָא: ״לְעֶגְלוֹת בֵּית אָוֶן יָגוּרוּ שְׁכַן שׁוֹמְרוֹן כִּי אָבַל עָלָיו עַמּוֹ וּכְמָרָיו עָלָיו יָגִילוּ עַל כְּבוֹדוֹ כִּי גָלָה מִמֶּנּוּ״. אַל תִּקְרֵי ״כְּבוֹדוֹ״, אֶלָּא ״כְּבֵידוֹ״. Similarly, Rav Naḥman said: All mockery and obscenity is forbidden except for mockery of idol worship, which is permitted, as it is written: “Bel bows down, Nevo stoops” (Isaiah 46:1). The prophet mocks these idols by describing them as crouching in order to defecate. Additionally, it is written: “They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden” (Isaiah 46:2). Rabbi Yannai said: This principle that one is permitted to mock idol worship is derived from here: “The inhabitants of Samaria shall be in dread for the calves of Beth-aven; for its people shall mourn over it, and its priests shall tremble for it, for its glory, because it is departed from it” (Hosea 10:5). Do not read it is as “its glory [kevodo],” rather read it as its burden [keveido], meaning that it is unable to restrain itself from defecating.
אָמַר רַב הוּנָא בַּר מָנוֹחַ מִשְּׁמֵיהּ דְּרַב אַחָא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַב אִיקָא: שְׁרֵי לֵיהּ לְבַר יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמֵימַר לֵיהּ לְגוֹי: שִׁקְלֵיהּ לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה וְאַנְּחֵיהּ בְּשִׁין תָּיו שֶׁלּוֹ. אָמַר רַב אָשֵׁי: הַאי מַאן דִּסְנֵי שׁוּמְעָנֵיהּ — שְׁרֵי לֵיהּ לְבַזּוֹיֵיהּ בְּגִימֶל וְשִׁין, הַאי מַאן דְּשַׁפִּיר שׁוּמְעָנֵיהּ — שְׁרֵי לְשַׁבּוֹחֵיהּ, וּמַאן דְּשַׁבְּחֵיהּ — יָנוּחוּ לוֹ בְּרָכוֹת עַל רֹאשׁוֹ. Rav Huna bar Manoaḥ said in the name of Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika: It is permitted for a Jew to say to a gentile: Take your idol and put it in your shin tav, i.e., shet, buttocks. Rav Ashi said: One whose reputation is tarnished, i.e., he is known as a philanderer, it is permitted to humiliate him by calling him gimmel sin, an acronym for girta sarya, son of a putrid harlot. One whose reputation is commendable, it is permitted to publicly praise him, and one who praises him, blessings will rest upon his head.
הֲדַרַן עֲלָךְ הַקּוֹרֵא אֶת הַמְּגִילָּה עוֹמֵד
May we return to you “One who reads the megillah while standing.”
בְּנֵי הָעִיר שֶׁמָּכְרוּ רְחוֹבָהּ שֶׁל עִיר — לוֹקְחִין בְּדָמָיו בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת. בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת — לוֹקְחִין תֵּיבָה. תֵּיבָה — לוֹקְחִין מִטְפָּחוֹת. מִטְפָּחוֹת — MISHNA: Residents of a town who sold the town square, which was at times used for public prayer and therefore attained a certain degree of sanctity, may use the proceeds of the sale only to purchase something of a greater degree of sanctity. They may therefore purchase a synagogue with the proceeds of the sale. If they sold a synagogue, they may purchase an ark in which to house sacred scrolls. If they sold an ark, they may purchase wrapping cloths for the sacred scrolls. If they sold wrapping cloths,