וְלֹא בֵּרַכְתִּי לִפְנֵי כֹהֵן וְלֹא אָכַלְתִּי מִבְּהֵמָה שֶׁלֹּא הוּרְמוּ מַתְּנוֹתֶיהָ And I never recited Grace after Meals in the presence of a priest, but rather I gave him the privilege to lead. And I never ate from an animal whose priestly portions, i.e., the foreleg, the jaw, and the maw, had not already been set aside.
דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אָסוּר לֶאֱכוֹל מִבְּהֵמָה שֶׁלֹּא הוּרְמוּ מַתְּנוֹתֶיהָ וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק כׇּל הָאוֹכֵל מִבְּהֵמָה שֶׁלֹּא הוּרְמוּ מַתְּנוֹתֶיהָ כְּאִילּוּ אוֹכֵל טְבָלִים וְלֵית הִלְכְתָא כְּווֹתֵיהּ Another example of Rabbi Perida’s meticulous behavior is based on that which Rabbi Yitzḥak said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is prohibited to eat meat from an animal whose priestly portions have not been set aside. And Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Anyone who eats meat from an animal whose priestly portions have not been set aside is regarded as if he were eating untithed produce. The Gemara comments: And the halakha is not in accordance with his opinion. Rather, it is permitted to eat meat from such an animal. Nevertheless, Rabbi Perida acted stringently and did not eat from it.
וְלֹא בֵּרַכְתִּי לִפְנֵי כֹהֵן The Gemara considers another of Rabbi Perida’s actions: He said: And I never blessed Grace after Meals in the presence of a priest, but rather I gave him the privilege to lead.
לְמֵימְרָא דִּמְעַלְּיוּתָא הִיא וְהָא אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן כׇּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ לְפָנָיו אֲפִילּוּ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל עַם הָאָרֶץ אוֹתוֹ תַּלְמִיד חָכָם חַיָּיב מִיתָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כׇּל מְשַׂנְאַי אָהֲבוּ מָוֶת אַל תִּקְרֵי מְשַׂנְאַי אֶלָּא מַשְׂנִיאַי Is this to say that doing so is especially virtuous? But hasn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Any Torah scholar who allows someone else to bless Grace after Meals in his presence, i.e., to lead for him, even if that person is a High Priest who is an ignoramus, then that Torah scholar is liable to receive the death penalty for belittling his own honor? This is as it is stated: “All those who hate me, love death” (Proverbs 8:36). Do not read it as “those who hate Me [mesan’ai],” rather read it as though it said: Those who make Me hated [masni’ai]. The honor due to a Torah scholar is representative of the honor of God in the world. Therefore, by belittling his own honor, he causes others to fail to respect God, which can ultimately develop into hate. If so, why did Rabbi Perida consider his behavior to be so deserving of praise?
כִּי קָאָמַר אִיהוּ בְּשָׁוִין The Gemara answers: When Rabbi Perida says this, he was speaking of people of equal stature. He was particular to honor the priesthood only when the priest was also a Torah scholar.
שָׁאֲלוּ תַּלְמִידָיו אֶת רַבִּי נְחוּנְיָא בֶּן הַקָּנָה בַּמֶּה הֶאֱרַכְתָּ יָמִים אָמַר לָהֶם מִיָּמַי לֹא נִתְכַּבַּדְתִּי בִּקְלוֹן חֲבֵרִי וְלֹא עָלְתָה עַל מִטָּתִי קִלְלַת חֲבֵרִי וַותְּרָן בְּמָמוֹנִי הָיִיתִי The Gemara discusses the fourth Sage who was blessed with longevity: Rabbi Neḥunya ben HaKana was once asked by his disciples: In the merit of which virtue were you blessed with longevity? He said to them: In all my days, I never attained veneration at the expense of my fellow’s degradation. Nor did my fellow’s curse ever go up with me upon my bed. If ever I offended someone, I made sure to appease him that day. Therefore, when I went to bed I knew that no one had any grievances against me. And I was always openhanded with my money.
לֹא נִתְכַּבַּדְתִּי בִּקְלוֹן חֲבֵרִי כִּי הָא דְּרַב הוּנָא דָּרֵי מָרָא אַכַּתְפֵּיהּ אֲתָא רַב חָנָא בַּר חֲנִילַאי וְקָא דָרֵי מִינֵּיהּ אֲמַר לֵיהּ אִי רְגִילַתְּ דְּדָרֵית בְּמָאתָיךְ דְּרִי וְאִי לָא אִתְיַיקּוֹרֵי אֲנָא בְּזִילוּתָא דִּידָךְ לָא נִיחָא לִי The Gemara clarifies the meaning of his statement: Rabbi Neḥunya said: I never attained veneration at the expense of my fellow’s denigration. This is referring to conduct such as that of Rav Huna, who was carrying a hoe over his shoulder as he returned from his work. Rav Ḥana bar Ḥanilai came and, out of respect for his teacher, took the hoe from him to carry it for him. Rav Huna said to him: If you are accustomed to carry such objects in your own city, you may carry it; but if not, then for me to be venerated through your denigration is not pleasing for me.
וְלֹא עָלְתָה עַל מִטָּתִי קִלְלַת חֲבֵרִי כִּי הָא דְּמַר זוּטְרָא כִּי הֲוָה סָלֵיק לְפוּרְיֵיהּ אֲמַר שְׁרֵי לֵיהּ לְכׇל מַאן דְּצַעֲרָן Rabbi Neḥunya also said: Nor did I ever allow the resentment caused by my fellow’s curse to go up with me upon my bed. This is referring to conduct such as that of Mar Zutra. When he would go to bed at night, he would first say: I forgive anyone who has vexed me.
וַותְּרָן בְּמָמוֹנִי הָיִיתִי דְּאָמַר מָר אִיּוֹב וַותְּרָן בְּמָמוֹנֵיהּ הֲוָה שֶׁהָיָה מַנִּיחַ פְּרוּטָה לַחֶנְוָנִי מִמָּמוֹנֵיהּ Lastly, Rabbi Neḥunya said: And I was always openhanded with my money. This is referring to conduct such as that which the Master said: Job was openhanded with his money, as he would always leave at least a peruta of his money with the shopkeeper. He never demanded the change from his transactions.
שָׁאַל רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אֶת רַבִּי נְחוּנְיָא הַגָּדוֹל (אָמַר לוֹ) בַּמֶּה הֶאֱרַכְתָּ יָמִים אֲתוֹ גַּוּוֹזֵי וְקָא מָחוּ לֵיהּ סְלֵיק יְתֵיב אַרֵישָׁא דְּדִיקְלָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַבִּי אִם נֶאֱמַר כֶּבֶשׂ לָמָּה נֶאֱמַר אֶחָד אָמַר לְהוּ צוּרְבָּא מִדְּרַבָּנַן הוּא שִׁבְקוּהוּ On a similar occasion, Rabbi Akiva asked Rabbi Neḥunya the Great; he said to him: In the merit of which virtue were you blessed with longevity? Rabbi Neḥunya’s attendants [gavzei] came and started beating Rabbi Akiva, for they felt that he was acting disrespectfully by highlighting Rabbi Neḥunya’s old age. Rabbi Akiva ran away from them, and he climbed up and sat upon the top of a date palm. From there, he said to Rabbi Neḥunya: My teacher, I have a question about the verse concerning the daily offering that states “one lamb” (Numbers 28:4). If it is stated “lamb” in the singular, why is it also stated “one”; isn’t this superfluous? Upon hearing Rabbi Akiva’s scholarly question, Rabbi Neḥunya said to his attendants: He is clearly a young Torah scholar, let him be.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ אֶחָד מְיוּחָד שֶׁבְּעֶדְרוֹ Rabbi Neḥunya then addressed Rabbi Akiva’s questions. With regard to the second question, he said to him: The word “one” teaches that the lamb should be the unique one of its flock, i.e., only the best quality lamb should be used.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ מִיָּמַי לֹא קִבַּלְתִּי מַתָּנוֹת וְלֹא עָמַדְתִּי עַל מִדּוֹתַי וּוַתְּרָן בְּמָמוֹנִי הָיִיתִי With regard to the original question, Rabbi Neḥunya said to him: In all my days I never accepted gifts. Nor was I ever inflexible by exacting a measure of retribution against those who wronged me. And I was always openhanded with my money.
לֹא קִבַּלְתִּי מַתָּנוֹת כִּי הָא דְּרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר כִּי הֲווֹ מְשַׁדְּרִי לֵיהּ מַתָּנוֹת מִבֵּי נְשִׂיאָה לָא הֲוָה שָׁקֵיל כִּי הֲוָה מְזַמְּנִי לֵיהּ לָא הֲוָה אָזֵיל אֲמַר לְהוּ לָא נִיחָא לְכוּ דְּאֶחְיֶה דִּכְתִיב שׂוֹנֵא מַתָּנוֹת יִחְיֶה רַבִּי זֵירָא כִּי הֲווֹ מְשַׁדְּרִי לֵיהּ מִבֵּי נְשִׂיאָה לָא הֲוָה שָׁקֵיל כִּי הֲוָה מְזַמְּנִי לֵיהּ אָזֵיל אֲמַר אִתְיַיקּוֹרֵי דְּמִתְיַיקְּרִי בִּי The Gemara explains: I never accepted gifts; this is referring to conduct such as that of Rabbi Elazar. When they would send him gifts from the house of the Nasi, he would not take them, and when they would invite him, he would not go there, as he considered hospitality to be a type of gift. He would say to them: Is it not pleasing to you that I should live, as it is written: “He that hates gifts shall live” (Proverbs 15:27)? In contrast, it was reported about Rabbi Zeira that when they would send him gifts from the house of the Nasi, he would not accept them, but when they would invite him, he would go there. He said: They are honored by my presence; therefore my visiting is not considered like I am taking a gift from them.
וְלֹא עָמַדְתִּי עַל מִדּוֹתַי דְּאָמַר רָבָא כׇּל הַמַּעֲבִיר עַל מִדּוֹתָיו מַעֲבִירִין מִמֶּנּוּ כׇּל פְּשָׁעָיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר נוֹשֵׂא עָוֹן וְעוֹבֵר עַל פֶּשַׁע לְמִי נוֹשֵׂא עָוֹן לְמִי שֶׁעוֹבֵר עַל פֶּשַׁע He also said: Nor was I ever inflexible in exacting a measure of retribution against those who wronged me. This is referring to conduct such as that which Rava said: Anyone who overlooks exacting a measure of retribution against those who wronged him, all his transgressions are removed from him, as it is stated: “He pardons iniquity and overlooks transgression” (Micah 7:18), which is homiletically read as saying: For whom does He pardon iniquity? For he who overlooks transgressions that others have committed against him.
שָׁאַל רַבִּי אֶת רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן קׇרְחָה בַּמָּה הֶאֱרַכְתָּ יָמִים אָמַר לוֹ קַצְתָּ בְּחַיַּי אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי תּוֹרָה הִיא וְלִלְמוֹד אֲנִי צָרִיךְ אָמַר לוֹ מִיָּמַי לֹא נִסְתַּכַּלְתִּי בִּדְמוּת אָדָם רָשָׁע דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אָסוּר לְאָדָם לְהִסְתַּכֵּל בְּצֶלֶם דְּמוּת אָדָם רָשָׁע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לוּלֵא פְּנֵי יְהוֹשָׁפָט מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה אֲנִי נוֹשֵׂא אִם אַבִּיט אֵלֶיךָ וְאִם אֶרְאֶךָּ In a similar incident, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi once asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa: In the merit of which virtue were you blessed with longevity? He said to him: Why do you ask me, are you wearied of my long life? Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to him: My teacher, it is Torah and so I must learn it. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa said to him: In all my days I never gazed at the likeness of a wicked man, as Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is prohibited for a person to gaze in the image of the likeness of a wicked man, as it is stated that the prophet Elisha said to Jehoram king of Israel: “Were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judea, I would not look toward you, nor see you” (II Kings 3:14).
רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אָמַר עֵינָיו כֵּהוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיְהִי כִּי זָקֵן יִצְחָק וַתִּכְהֶיןָ עֵינָיו מֵרְאוֹת מִשּׁוּם דְּאִסְתַּכַּל בְּעֵשָׂו הָרָשָׁע Rabbi Elazar said: One who gazes at the likeness of an evil man, his eyes become dim, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim so that he could not see” (Genesis 27:1). This happened because he gazed at the wicked Esau.
וְהָא גְּרַמָא לֵיהּ וְהָאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק לְעוֹלָם אַל תְּהִי קִלְלַת הֶדְיוֹט קַלָּה בְּעֵינֶיךָ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֲבִימֶלֶךְ קִלֵּל אֶת שָׂרָה וְנִתְקַיֵּים בְּזַרְעָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הִנֵּה הוּא לָךְ כְּסוּת עֵינַיִם אַל תִּקְרֵי כְּסוּת אֶלָּא כְּסִיַּית עֵינַיִם The Gemara asks: Did this cause Isaac’s blindness? Didn’t Rabbi Yitzḥak say: A curse of an ordinary person should not be lightly regarded in your eyes, because Abimelech cursed Sarah, and although he was not a righteous man, his curse was nevertheless fulfilled, albeit in her descendant. As it is stated that Abimelech said to Sarah with regard to the gift that he gave to Abraham: “Behold, it is for you a covering of the eyes” (Genesis 20:16). Do not read it as “a covering [kesut] of the eyes,” but rather read it as: A blindness [kesiat] of the eyes. Abimelech’s words were a veiled curse for Sarah to suffer from blindness. While she herself did not suffer, the curse was apparently fulfilled in the blindness of her son, Isaac.
הָא וְהָא גְּרַמָא לֵיהּ רָבָא אָמַר מֵהָכָא שְׂאֵת פְּנֵי רָשָׁע לֹא טוֹב According to Rabbi Yitzḥak, Abimelech’s curse was the cause of Isaac’s blindness, and it was not, as Rabbi Elazar suggested, the fact he gazed at Esau. The Gemara explains: Both this and that jointly caused it. Rava said: The prohibition against gazing at the likeness of a wicked person is derived from here: “It is not good to raise the face of the wicked” (Proverbs 18:5).
בִּשְׁעַת פְּטִירָתוֹ אָמַר לוֹ [רַבִּי] בָּרְכֵנִי אָמַר לוֹ יְהִי רָצוֹן שֶׁתַּגִּיעַ לַחֲצִי יָמַי וּלְכוּלְּהוּ לָא אָמַר לוֹ הַבָּאִים אַחֲרֶיךָ בְּהֵמָה יִרְעוּ At the time of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa’s departure from this world, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to him: My teacher, bless me. He said to him: May it be God’s will that you live to reach to half of my days. When Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi heard this, he asked in astonishment: Are you saying that to the entirety of your days I should not reach? Why? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa said to him: Shall those who come after you just tend cattle? If you live as long as me, your sons will never be able to succeed you in the position of Nasi. As such, they will never achieve greatness in Torah, and it will be as if they just tended cattle throughout their lives. It is therefore better that your life not be so prolonged, so that they have the opportunity to rise to eminence.
אֲבוּהּ בַּר אִיהִי וּמִנְיָמִן בַּר אִיהִי חַד אָמַר תֵּיתֵי לִי דְּלָא אִסְתַּכַּלִי בְּגוֹי וְחַד אָמַר תֵּיתֵי לִי דְּלָא עֲבַדִי שׁוּתָּפוּת בַּהֲדֵי גּוֹי Avuh bar Ihi and Minyamin bar Ihi both spoke on this topic: One of them said: May a blessing come to me for I never gazed at a wicked gentile. And the other one said: May a blessing come to me for I never formed a partnership with a wicked gentile, so as not to have any association with a wicked person.
שָׁאֲלוּ תַּלְמִידָיו אֶת רַבִּי זֵירָא בַּמָּה הֶאֱרַכְתָּ יָמִים אָמַר לָהֶם מִיָּמַי לֹא הִקְפַּדְתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתִי וְלֹא צָעַדְתִּי בִּפְנֵי מִי שֶׁגָּדוֹל מִמֶּנִּי וְלֹא הִרְהַרְתִּי בִּמְבוֹאוֹת הַמְטוּנָּפוֹת וְלֹא הָלַכְתִּי אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת בְּלֹא תּוֹרָה וּבְלֹא תְּפִילִּין וְלֹא יָשַׁנְתִּי בְּבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ לֹא שֵׁינַת קֶבַע וְלֹא שֵׁינַת עֲרַאי וְלֹא שַׂשְׂתִּי בְּתַקָּלַת חֲבֵירִי וְלֹא קָרָאתִי לַחֲבֵירִי (בַּחֲנִיכָתוֹ) וְאָמְרִי לַהּ (בַּחֲכִינָתוֹ): The Gemara presents a similar incident: Rabbi Zeira was once asked by his disciples: In the merit of which virtue were you blessed with longevity? He said to them: In all my days, I was never angry inside my house with members of my household who acted against my wishes. Nor did I ever walk ahead of someone who was a greater Torah scholar than me. Nor did I ever meditate upon words of Torah in filthy alleyways, as doing so is a disgrace to the Torah. Nor did I ever walk four cubits without meditating on words of Torah or without wearing phylacteries. Nor did I ever sleep in a study hall, neither a deep sleep or a brief nap. Nor did I ever rejoice when my fellow stumbled. Nor did I ever call my fellow by his derogatory nickname [ḥanikhato]. And some say that he said: I never called my fellow by his nickname [ḥakhinato], i.e., even one that is not derogatory.
מַתְנִי׳ וְעוֹד אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת שֶׁחָרַב אֵין מַסְפִּידִין בְּתוֹכוֹ וְאֵין מַפְשִׁילִין בְּתוֹכוֹ חֲבָלִים וְאֵין פּוֹרְשִׂין לְתוֹכוֹ מְצוּדוֹת וְאֵין שׁוֹטְחִין עַל גַּגּוֹ פֵּירוֹת וְאֵין עוֹשִׂין אוֹתוֹ קַפֶּנְדַּרְיָא MISHNA: And Rabbi Yehuda said further: A synagogue that fell into ruin still may not be used for a mundane purpose. Therefore, one may not eulogize in it. And nor may one stretch out and repair ropes in it. The wide expanse of the synagogue would have been particularly suitable for this. And nor may one spread animal traps within it. And nor may one spread out produce upon its roof to dry. And nor may one make it into a shortcut.
שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַהֲשִׁמּוֹתִי אֶת מִקְדְּשֵׁיכֶם קְדוּשָּׁתָן אַף כְּשֶׁהֵן שׁוֹמְמִין The halakha that a synagogue in disrepair still may not be used for mundane purposes is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “And I will bring desolation to your sanctuaries” (Leviticus 26:31). The fact that the word “sanctuaries” appears after the word “desolation” indicates that their sanctity remains upon them even when they are desolate.
עָלוּ בּוֹ עֲשָׂבִים לֹא יִתְלוֹשׁ מִפְּנֵי עׇגְמַת נֶפֶשׁ: However, if grass sprang up of its own accord in the ruined synagogue, although it is not befitting its sanctity, one should not pick it, due to the anguish that it will bring to those who see it. It will remind them of the disrepair of the synagogue and the need to rebuild it.
גְּמָ׳ תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן בָּתֵּי כְנֵסִיּוֹת אֵין נוֹהֲגִין בָּהֶן קַלּוּת רֹאשׁ אֵין אוֹכְלִין בָּהֶן וְאֵין שׁוֹתִין בָּהֶן GEMARA: The Sages taught in a baraita: With regard to synagogues: One may not act inside them with frivolity. Therefore, one may not eat in them; nor may one drink in them;