Megillah 25bמגילה כ״ה ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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25bכ״ה ב

ומה לפנים ומה לאחור קמ"ל

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.

מעשה לוט ושתי בנותיו נקרא ומתרגם פשיטא מהו דתימא ניחוש לכבודו דאברהם קמ"ל

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.

מעשה תמר ויהודה נקרא ומתרגם פשיטא מהו דתימא ליחוש לכבודו דיהודה קמ"ל שבחיה הוא דאודי

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.

מעשה עגל הראשון נקרא ומתרגם פשיטא מהו דתימא ליחוש לכבודן של ישראל קמ"ל כל שכן דניחא להו דהויא להו כפרה

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.

קללות וברכות נקרין ומתרגמין פשיטא מהו דתימא ניחוש דלמא פייגא דעתייהו דצבורא קמ"ל

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.

אזהרות ועונשין נקרין ומתרגמין פשיטא מהו דתימא ניחוש דלמא אתו למעבד מיראה קמ"ל

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.

מעשה אמנון ותמר נקרא ומתרגם [מעשה אבשלום נקרא ומתרגם] פשיטא מהו דתימא ליחוש ליקריה דדוד קמ"ל

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.

מעשה פילגש בגבעה נקרא ומתרגם פשיטא מהו דתימא ליחוש לכבודו דבנימין קמ"ל

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.

(יחזקאל טז, ב) הודע את ירושלם את תועבותיה נקרא ומתרגם פשיטא לאפוקי מדרבי אליעזר דתניא מעשה באדם אחד שהיה קורא למעלה מרבי אליעזר הודע את ירושלם את תועבותיה אמר לו עד שאתה בודק בתועבות ירושלים צא ובדוק בתועבות אמך בדקו אחריו ומצאו בו שמץ פסול:

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.

ואלו נקרין ולא מתרגמין (רעבד"ן סימן) מעשה ראובן נקרא ולא מתרגם ומעשה ברבי חנינא בן גמליאל שהלך לכבול והיה קורא חזן הכנסת (בראשית לה, כב) ויהי בשכון ישראל ואמר לו למתורגמן (הפסק) אל תתרגם אלא אחרון ושיבחוהו חכמים

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.

מעשה עגל השני נקרא ולא מתרגם איזה מעשה עגל השני מן (שמות לב, כא) ויאמר משה עד וירא משה

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).

תניא ר"ש בן אלעזר אומר לעולם יהא אדם זהיר בתשובותיו שמתוך תשובה שהשיבו אהרן למשה פקרו המערערים שנאמר (שמות לב, כד) ואשליכהו באש ויצא העגל הזה:

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.

ברכת כהנים נקרין ולא מתרגמין מ"ט משום דכתיב (במדבר ו, כו) ישא:

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.

מעשה דוד ואמנון לא נקרין ולא מתרגמין והא אמרת מעשה אמנון ותמר נקרא ומתרגם לא קשיא הא דכתיב אמנון בן דוד הא דכתיב אמנון סתמא

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.

ת"ר כל המקראות הכתובין בתורה לגנאי קורין אותן לשבח כגון (דברים כח, ל) ישגלנה ישכבנה (דברים כח, כז) בעפולים בטחורים (מלכים ב ו, כה) חריונים דביונים (מלכים ב יח, כז) לאכול את חוריהם ולשתות את מימי שיניהם לאכול את צואתם ולשתות את מימי רגליהם

§ 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].

(מלכים ב י, כז) למחראות למוצאות ר' יהושע בן קרחה אומר למחראות כשמן מפני שהוא גנאי לעבודת כוכבים

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.

אמר רב נחמן כל ליצנותא אסירא בר מליצנותא דעבודת כוכבים דשריא דכתיב (ישעיהו מו, א) כרע בל קרס נבו וכתיב (ישעיהו מו, ב) קרסו כרעו יחדיו לא יכלו מלט משא וגו' ר' ינאי אמר מהכא (הושע י, ה) לעגלות בית און יגורו שכן שומרון כי אבל עליו עמו וכמריו עליו יגילו על כבודו כי גלה ממנו אל תקרי כבודו אלא כבידו

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.

אמר רב הונא בר מנוח משמיה דרב אחא בריה דרב איקא שרי ליה לבר ישראל למימר ליה לעובד כוכבים שקליה לעבודת כוכבים ואנחיה בשין תיו שלו אמר רב אשי האי מאן דסנאי שומעניה שרי ליה לבזוייה בגימ"ל ושי"ן האי מאן דשפיר שומעניה שרי לשבוחיה ומאן דשבחיה ינוחו לו ברכות על ראשו:

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.



הדרן עלך הקורא את המגילה עומד

May we return to you “One who reads the megillah while standing.”

מתני׳ בני העיר שמכרו רחובה של עיר לוקחין בדמיו בית הכנסת בית הכנסת לוקחין תיבה תיבה לוקחין מטפחות מטפחות

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,