ורחץ בקרונה של צפורי בשבעה עשר בתמוז ובקש לעקור תשעה באב ולא הודו לו
And he bathed at the time when the wagons [kerona] were traveling through Tzippori, i.e., on the market day, when the public would know about it, on the seventeenth of Tammuz, to show that bathing is permitted on that day. And he sought to abolish the fast of the Ninth of Av. And with respect to the Ninth of Av, the Sages did not agree with him.
אמר לפניו רבי אבא בר זבדא רבי לא כך היה מעשה אלא תשעה באב שחל להיות בשבת הוה ודחינוהו לאחר השבת ואמר רבי הואיל ונדחה ידחה ולא הודו חכמים קרי עליה (קהלת ד, ט) טובים השנים מן האחד
Rabbi Abba bar Zavda said to Rabbi Elazar: My teacher, the incident did not occur in this fashion. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi never sought to abolish the fast of the Ninth of Av. Rather, it was a year when the Ninth of Av occurred on Shabbat, and they postponed it until after Shabbat. And Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said about that case: Since it has already been deferred from its usual time, let it be altogether deferred this year. And the Rabbis did not agree with him. Rabbi Elazar read the verse about Rabbi Abba bar Zavda: “Two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9), meaning, it is good that you were here to provide an accurate report about that incident.
ורבי היכי נטע נטיעה בפורים והתני רב יוסף שמחה ומשתה וי"ט שמחה מלמד שאסורים בהספד משתה מלמד שאסור בתענית ויום טוב מלמד שאסור בעשיית מלאכה אלא רבי בר ארביסר הוה וכי נטע בחמיסר נטע
The Gemara asks: And how could Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi plant a sapling on Purim? Didn’t Rav Yosef teach with regard to the verse: “Therefore the Jews of the villages, who dwell in the unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month of Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day [yom tov]” (Esther 9:19), that the term “gladness” teaches that it is prohibited to eulogize on Purim; “feasting” teaches that it is prohibited to fast; and the term “good day” [yom tov] teaches that it is prohibited to perform labor, just as on a Festival, which is also referred to as a yom tov? Rather, what happened was as follows: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was in a place that observed Purim on the fourteenth, and when he planted the sapling, he planted it on the fifteenth.
איני והא רבי בטבריא הוה וטבריא מוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נון הואי אלא רבי בר חמיסר הוה וכי נטע בארביסר הוה
The Gemara asks: Is that so? Wasn’t Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in Tiberias, and Tiberias was surrounded by a wall since the days of Joshua, son of Nun. Consequently, he was obligated to observe Purim on the fifteenth. Rather, say just the opposite: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi lived in a place that observed Purim on the fifteenth, and when he planted the sapling, he planted it on the fourteenth.
ומי פשיטא ליה דטבריא מוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נון והא חזקיה קרי בטבריא בארביסר ובחמיסר מספקא ליה אי מוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נון היא אי לא לחזקיה מספקא ליה לרבי פשיטא ליה
The Gemara asks: Wasn’t it obvious to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi that the city of Tiberias was surrounded by a wall since the days of Joshua, son of Nun? Didn’t Hezekiah read the Megilla in Tiberias both on the fourteenth and on the fifteenth of Adar, because he was uncertain if it had been surrounded by a wall since the days of Joshua, son of Nun, or not? The Gemara answers: Hezekiah was indeed uncertain about the matter, whereas it was obvious to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi that Tiberias had been surrounded by a wall in the time of Joshua.
וכי פשיטא ליה מי שרי והכתיב במגילת תענית את יום ארבעה עשר ואת יום חמשה עשר יומי פוריא אינון דלא למספד בהון
The Gemara asks further: And when it was obvious to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi that the Megilla should be read in Tiberias on the fifteenth, was it permitted to plant there on the fourteenth? Isn’t it written in Megillat Ta’anit that the fourteenth day and the fifteenth day of Adar are the days of Purim, and one is not permitted to eulogize on them?
ואמר רבא לא נצרכא אלא לאסור את של זה בזה ואת של זה בזה הני מילי בהספד ובתענית אבל מלאכה יום אחד ותו לא
And Rava said: This statement is necessary only to prohibit those who observe Purim on this day to eulogize on that day, and those who observe Purim on that day to eulogize on this day. Since the two days are mentioned in the Bible, it was only necessary to mention them in Megillat Ta’anit in order to indicate that the prohibition against eulogizing applies to both days. Presumably, the same should apply to the prohibition against performing labor. Consequently, how could Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi plant a sapling on the fourteenth of Adar? The Gemara answers: That applies only to eulogies and fasting. However, labor is prohibited for only one day, either the fourteenth or the fifteenth, and no more.
איני והא רב חזייה לההוא גברא דהוה קא שדי כיתנא בפוריא ולטייה ולא צמח כיתניה התם בר יומא הוה
The Gemara asks: Is that so? Didn’t Rav see a certain man planting flax on Purim, and cursed him, and the man’s flax never grew. The Gemara answers: There, the man was obligated to observe Purim on that day that he planted the flax. Therefore, it was certainly prohibited to perform labor.
רבה בריה דרבא אמר אפי' תימא ביומיה הספד ותענית קבילו עלייהו מלאכה לא קבילו עלייהו
Rabba, son of Rava, said a different answer to the question: Even if you say that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi planted the sapling on his own day of Purim, i.e., on the day that the Megilla was read in his location, it was still permitted to plant the sapling. This is because the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the prohibitions against eulogizing and fasting on Purim, but they did not accept upon themselves the prohibition against performing labor.
דמעיקרא כתיב (אסתר ט, יט) שמחה ומשתה ויום טוב ולבסוף כתיב (שם, כב) לעשות אותם ימי משתה ושמחה ואילו יום טוב לא כתיב
This can be proven from the fact that initially, when Mordecai and Esther proposed the celebration of Purim, it is written: “A day of gladness and feasting and a good day [yom tov]” (Esther 9:19), and at the end, when it the celebration of Purim was accepted by the Jewish people, it is written: “That they should make them days of feasting and gladness” (Esther 9:22), whereas the term good day [yom tov], which alludes to a day when it is prohibited to perform labor, is not written. The people never accepted upon themselves the prohibition against performing labor on Purim as if it were a Festival, and therefore the prohibition never took effect.
ואלא רב מ"ט לטייה לההוא גברא דברים המותרין ואחרים נהגו בהן איסור הוה ובאתריה דרבי לא נהוג
The Gemara asks: If labor is permitted on Purim, what is the reason that Rav cursed that man who planted the flax? The Gemara answers: It was a case of matters that are permitted by halakha, but others were accustomed to treat them as a prohibition, in which case one may not permit these actions in their presence, lest they come to treat other prohibitions lightly. In the place where that man planted his flax, it was customary to abstain from labor on Purim. However, in Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s place, it was not the custom to abstain from labor on Purim, and therefore it was permitted for him to plant the sapling even in public.
ואיבעית אימא לעולם נהוג ורבי נטיעה של שמחה נטע כדתנן עברו אלו ולא נענו ממעטין במשא ומתן בבנין ובנטיעה באירוסין ובנישואין
And if you wish, say an alternative answer: Actually, it was the custom to abstain from labor on Purim in Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s place, and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi engaged in a joyful act of planting, for pleasure rather than for financial benefit. As we learned in a mishna with regard to public fasts: If these fasts for rain have passed and the community’s prayers have still not been answered, and the drought continues, one decreases his business activities, as well as construction, planting, betrothals, and marriages.
ותנא עלה בנין בנין של שמחה נטיעה נטיעה של שמחה איזהו בנין של שמחה זה הבונה בית חתנות לבנו איזו היא נטיעה של שמחה זה הנוטע אבורנקי של מלכים
And it was taught in a baraita about this mishna: When the Sages said that construction must be decreased on public fasts, they were not referring to the construction of homes for people who have nowhere to live, but to joyful construction. Similarly, when they said that planting must be decreased, they were not referring to planting food crops, but to joyful planting. What is meant by joyful construction? This is referring to one who builds a wedding chamber for his son. It was customary to build a special house where the wedding would take place, and at times the couple would also live there. What is meant by joyful planting? This is referring to one who plants trees for shade and pleasure such as one might find in a royal garden [avurneki]. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi engaged in joyful planting on Purim, in keeping with the joyous nature of the day.
גופא חזקיה קרי בטבריא בארביסר ובחמיסר מספקא ליה אי מוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נון היא אי לא ומי מספקא ליה מלתא דטבריא והכתיב (יהושע יט, לה) וערי מבצר הצדים צר וחמת רקת וכנרת וקיימא לן רקת זו טבריא היינו טעמא דמספקא ליה משום דחד גיסא שורא דימא הות
§ The Gemara examines the matter itself cited in the previous discussion. Hezekiah read the Megilla in Tiberias both on the fourteenth and on the fifteenth of Adar, because he was uncertain if it had been surrounded by a wall since the days of Joshua, son of Nun, or not. The Gemara asks: Was he really uncertain about the matter of Tiberias? Isn’t it written: “And the fortified cities were Ziddim-zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth” (Joshua 19:35), and we maintain that Rakkath is Tiberias? The Gemara answers: This is the reason that he was uncertain: Although Tiberias was surrounded by a wall in the time of Joshua, Hezekiah was uncertain about the halakha due to the fact that on one side, there was a wall of the sea, i.e., there was no physical wall, but the city was protected due to the fact that it adjoined the sea.
אי הכי אמאי מספקא ליה ודאי לאו חומה היא דתניא (ויקרא כה, ל) אשר לו חומה ולא שור איגר סביב פרט לטבריא שימה חומתה
The Gemara asks: If so, why was he uncertain? The sea is certainly not a wall. As it is taught in a baraita with regard to the sale of houses in walled cities, the phrase: “Which has a wall” (Leviticus 25:30), indicates that the city has a bona fide wall and not merely a wall of roofs. If a city is completely encircled by attached houses but there is no separate wall, it is not considered a walled city. The next verse, which is referring to cities that have no wall “round about them” (Leviticus 25:31), excludes Tiberias from being considered a walled city, as the sea is its wall on one side and it is not fully encircled by a physical wall. Consequently, Tiberias is not considered a walled city.
לענין בתי ערי חומה לא מספקא ליה כי קא מספקא ליה לענין מקרא מגילה מאי פרזים ומאי מוקפין דכתיבי גבי מקרא מגילה משום דהני מיגלו והני לא מיגלו והא נמי מיגליא או דלמא משום דהני מיגנו והני לא מיגנו והא נמי מיגניא משום הכי מספקא ליה
The Gemara answers: With regard to the sale of houses of walled cities, Hezekiah was not uncertain. Where he was uncertain was with regard to the reading of the Megilla: What are the unwalled towns and what are the walled cities that are written with regard to the reading of the Megilla? Is the difference between them due to the fact that these unwalled towns are exposed, whereas those walled cities are not exposed? If so, since Tiberias is also exposed, as it is not entirely surrounded by a wall, it should be considered unwalled. Or perhaps the difference is due to the fact that these walled cities are protected, whereas those unwalled towns are not protected, and Tiberias is also protected by the sea and should be treated as a walled city. It was due to that reason that Hezekiah was uncertain when to read the Megilla.
רב אסי קרי מגילה בהוצל בארביסר ובחמיסר מספקא ליה אי מוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נון היא אי לא איכא דאמר אמר רב אסי האי הוצל דבית בנימין מוקפת חומה מימות יהושע היא
The Gemara relates that Rav Asi read the Megilla in the city of Huzal in Babylonia on both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of Adar, because he was uncertain if it had been surrounded by a wall since the days of Joshua, son of Nun, or not. Huzal was an ancient city, and it was possible that it had been surrounded by a wall in the time of Joshua. Some say a different version of this report, according to which there was no uncertainty. Rav Asi said: This city of Huzal of the house of Benjamin was walled since the days of Joshua, son of Nun.
אמר רבי יוחנן כי הוינא טליא אמינא מלתא דשאילנא לסבייא
Incidental to the previous discussion concerning Tiberias, the Gemara relates that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: When I was a child I said something that I later asked the Elders about,