Megillah 31b:4מגילה ל״א ב
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31bל״א ב

ראש חדש אב שחל להיות בשבת מפטירין (ישעיהו א, יד) חדשיכם ומועדיכם שנאה נפשי היו עלי לטורח מאי היו עלי לטורח אמר הקב"ה לא דיין להם לישראל שחוטאין לפני אלא שמטריחין אותי לידע איזו גזירה קשה אביא עליהם

When the New Moon of Av occurs on Shabbat, they read as the haftara the portion that includes the verse “Your New Moons and your Festivals, My soul hated; they were a burden to Me” (Isaiah 1:14). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of: “They were a burden to Me”? The Gemara explains: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: It is not enough for the Jewish people that they sin before Me, but in addition, they burden Me to reconsider what harsh decree I shall bring upon them, for they are petitioning Me to annul those decrees.

בתשעה באב גופיה מאי מפטרינן אמר רב (ישעיהו א, כא) איכה היתה לזונה מקרא מאי תניא אחרים אומרים (ויקרא כו, יד) ואם לא תשמעו לי ר' נתן בר יוסף אומר (במדבר יד, יא) עד אנה ינאצוני העם הזה ויש אומרים (במדבר יד, כז) עד מתי לעדה הרעה הזאת אמר אביי האידנא נהוג עלמא למיקרי (דברים ד, כה) כי תוליד בנים ומפטירין (ירמיהו ח, יג) אסוף אסיפם:

The Gemara asks: On the Ninth of Av itself, what do we read as the haftara? Rav said: The portion containing the verse “How did the faithful city become a harlot?” (Isaiah 1:21). The Gemara asks: What Torah portion do they read? It is taught in a baraita that others say: They read the portion containing the verse “But if you will not hearken to me” (Leviticus 26:14). Rabbi Natan bar Yosef said: They read the portion containing the verse: “How long will this people provoke me?” (Numbers 14:11). And some say: They read the portion containing the verse: “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation?” (Numbers 14:27). The Gemara comments that Abaye said: Nowadays, everyone is accustomed to read the portion of “When you shall beget children” (Deuteronomy 4:25–40), and they read as the haftara the portion of “I will utterly consume them” (Jeremiah 8:13–9:23).

[במעמדות] במעשה בראשית וכו': מנהני מילי א"ר אמי אלמלא מעמדות לא נתקיימו שמים וארץ שנאמר (ירמיהו לג, כה) אם לא בריתי יומם ולילה חוקות שמים וארץ לא שמתי

§ The mishna states: In the non-priestly watches they read the act of Creation. The Gemara asks: From where are these matters derived, i.e., why do they read the account of Creation? Rabbi Ami said: To allude to the fact that were it not for the non-priestly watches, heaven and earth would not endure, as it is stated: “Were it not for My covenant day and night, I would not have set the statutes of heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 33:25). God’s covenant is referring to the offerings sacrificed in the Temple, which sustain the world.

וכתיב (בראשית טו, ב) ויאמר ה' אלהים במה אדע כי אירשנה אמר אברהם לפני הקב"ה רבש"ע שמא ח"ו ישראל חוטאים לפניך ואתה עושה להם כדור המבול וכדור הפלגה אמר לו לאו

And with regard to Abraham it is written: “And he said, O Lord God, by what shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (Genesis 15:8). Abraham said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, perhaps, Heaven forbid, the Jewish people will sin before You, and You will do to them as You did to the generation of the Flood and as You did to the generation of the Dispersion, i.e., You will completely destroy them? God said to him: No, I will not do that.

אמר לפניו רבש"ע במה אדע אמר לו קחה לי עגלה משולשת וגו' אמר לפניו רבש"ע תינח בזמן שבית המקדש קיים בזמן שאין בית המקדש קיים מה תהא עליהם אמר לו כבר תקנתי להם סדר קרבנות כל זמן שקוראין בהן מעלה אני עליהן כאילו מקריבין לפני קרבן ומוחל אני על כל עונותיהם:

Abraham then said before Him: Master of the Universe: “By what shall I know this?” God said to him: “Take Me a heifer of three years old” (Genesis 15:9). With this, God intimated to Abraham that even if his descendants will sin, they will be able to achieve atonement through sacrificing offerings. Abraham said before Him: Master of the Universe, this works out well when the Temple is standing and offerings can be brought to achieve atonement, but when the Temple will no longer be standing, what will become of them? God said to him: I have already established for them the order of offerings, i.e., the verses of the Torah pertaining to the halakhot of the offerings. Whenever they read those portions, I will deem it as if they sacrificed an offering before Me, and I will pardon them for all of their iniquities.

בתעניות ברכות וקללות ואין מפסיקין בקללות: מה"מ אמר ר' חייא בר גמדא אמר רבי אסי דאמר קרא (משלי ג, יא) מוסר ה' בני אל תמאס

§ The mishna states: On fast days the congregation reads the portion of blessings and curses (Leviticus, chapter 16), and one may not interrupt the reading of the curses by having two different people read them. Rather, one person reads all of them. The Gemara asks: From where are these matters derived? Why does one not interrupt the reading of the curses? Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Gamda said that Rabbi Asi said: For the verse states: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be weary of His correction” (Proverbs 3:11). If one makes a break in the middle of the curses, it appears as if he loathes rebuke.

ריש לקיש אמר לפי שאין אומרים ברכה על הפורענות אלא היכי עביד תנא כשהוא מתחיל מתחיל בפסוק שלפניהם וכשהוא מסיים מסיים בפסוק שלאחריהן

Reish Lakish said a different answer: It is because one does not say a blessing over a calamity. If a second person were to begin to read in the middle of the portion of the curses, the blessing upon his reading would be considered a blessing over a calamity. Rather, what does one do? It is taught in a baraita: When one begins the reading, one begins with the verse before the curses, and when one concludes the reading, one concludes with the verse after them. In this way, neither the blessing before the reading nor after it relates directly to verses of calamity.

אמר אביי לא שנו אלא בקללות שבתורת כהנים אבל קללות שבמשנה תורה פוסק מאי טעמא הללו בלשון רבים אמורות ומשה מפי הגבורה אמרן והללו בלשון יחיד אמורות ומשה מפי עצמו אמרן

Abaye said: They taught this only with regard to the curses that are recorded in Leviticus, but with regard to the curses that are recorded in Deuteronomy, one may interrupt them by having two different people read them. What is the reason for this distinction? These curses in Leviticus are stated in the plural, and Moses pronounced them from the mouth of the Almighty. As such, they are more severe. However, these curses in Deuteronomy are stated in the singular, and Moses said them on his own, like the rest of the book of Deuteronomy. They are therefore less harsh and may be interrupted.

לוי בר בוטי הוה קרי וקא מגמגם קמיה דרב הונא בארורי אמר לו אכנפשך לא שנו אלא קללות שבתורת כהנים אבל שבמשנה תורה פוסק

It was related that Levi bar Buti was once reading the portion of the curses before Rav Huna, and he was stammering in his reading, as it was difficult for him to utter such harsh pronouncements. Rav Huna said to him: If you wish, you may stop where you are and a different reader will continue, for they taught one may not have two people read the curses only with regard to the curses that are recorded in Leviticus. But with regard to the curses that are recorded in Deuteronomy, one may interrupt them by having two different people read them.

תניא ר' שמעון בן אלעזר אומר עזרא תיקן להן לישראל שיהו קורין קללות שבתורת כהנים קודם עצרת ושבמשנה תורה קודם ר"ה מאי טעמא אמר אביי ואיתימא ריש לקיש כדי שתכלה השנה וקללותיה

It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar said: Ezra enacted for the Jewish people that they should read the portion of the curses that are recorded in Leviticus before Shavuot and the portion of the curses that are recorded in Deuteronomy before Rosh HaShana. The Gemara asks: What is the reason for this? Abaye said, and some say that it was Reish Lakish who said: In order that the year may conclude together with its curses, and the new year may begin without the ominous reading of the curses.

בשלמא שבמשנה תורה איכא כדי שתכלה שנה וקללותיה אלא שבתורת כהנים אטו עצרת ראש השנה היא אין עצרת נמי ראש השנה היא דתנן ובעצרת על פירות האילן

The Gemara asks: Granted, with regard to the curses that are recorded in Deuteronomy, there is relevance to the reason: In order that the year may conclude together with its curses, for Rosh HaShana is clearly the beginning of a new year. However, with regard to the curses that are recorded in Leviticus, what relevance does that reason have? Is that to say Shavuot is a new year? The Gemara answers: Yes, indeed, Shavuot is also a new year, as we learned in a mishna (Rosh HaShana 16a): And on Shavuot, divine judgment is made concerning the fruit of the trees, which indicates that Shavuot also has the status of a new year.

תניא רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר אם יאמרו לך זקנים סתור וילדים בנה סתור ואל תבנה מפני שסתירת זקנים בנין ובנין נערים סתירה וסימן לדבר (מלכים א יב, כא) רחבעם בן שלמה

It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: If old men say to you: Demolish, and children say to you: Build, then demolish and do not build, because the demolishing of old men is ultimately as constructive as building, despite the fact that it appears destructive, and the building of children is as destructive as demolishing. An indication of this matter is Rehoboam, son of Solomon. He ignored the advice of the Elders and did not lower himself before his people, which ultimately led to the people rebelling against him.

ת"ר מקום שמפסיקין בשבת שחרית שם קורין במנחה במנחה שם קורין בשני בשני שם קורין בחמישי בחמישי שם קורין לשבת הבאה דברי ר' מאיר ר' יהודה אומר מקום שמפסיקין בשבת שחרית שם קורין במנחה ובשני ובחמישי ולשבת הבאה

The Sages taught in a baraita: With regard to the place in the Torah where the congregation concludes the reading on Shabbat morning, it is from there that they continue to read in the afternoon service on Shabbat. Where they conclude in the afternoon service on Shabbat, from there they continue to read on Monday morning. Where they conclude on Monday, from there they continue to read on Thursday morning. Where they conclude on Thursday, from there they continue to read on the coming Shabbat. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehuda says: With regard to the place in the Torah where they conclude the reading on Shabbat morning, it is from there that they continue to read in the afternoon service on Shabbat. And from that same place they continue to read on Monday morning, and on Thursday morning, and on the coming Shabbat.

אמר רבי זירא הלכה מקום שמפסיקין בשבת שחרית שם קורין במנחה ובשני ובחמישי ולשבת הבאה ולימא הלכה כרבי יהודה

The Gemara notes that Rabbi Zeira said: The halakha is that with regard to the place where they conclude the reading on Shabbat morning, it is from there that they continue to read in the afternoon service on Shabbat. And from that same place they continue to read on Monday morning, and on Thursday morning, and on the coming Shabbat. The Gemara asks: If so, let him simply say: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda. Why did he have to explicitly state the whole halakha?