Megillah 9aמגילה ט׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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9aט׳ א

כאן בגופן שלנו כאן בגופן שלהן

Here, the mishna is referring to Torah scrolls written in another language in our script, i.e., in Hebrew letters. There, the baraita is referring to Torah scrolls written in another language in their script, in the letters of another alphabet.

אמר ליה אביי במאי אוקימתא לההיא בגופן שלהן מאי איריא מקרא שכתבו תרגום ותרגום שכתבו מקרא אפילו מקרא שכתבו מקרא ותרגום שכתבו תרגום נמי דהא קתני עד שיכתבנו אשורית על הספר בדיו

Abaye said to Rava: How did you establish that baraita, i.e., that it is referring to Torah scrolls written in another language in their script? If it is so, why did the baraita specifically teach that the legal status of a Hebrew verse in the Bible that one wrote in Aramaic translation, or a verse written in Aramaic translation that one wrote in the Hebrew of the Bible, is not that of sacred writings? The legal status of even a Hebrew verse in the Bible that one wrote in the Hebrew of the Bible and a verse written in Aramaic translation that one wrote in Aramaic translation are also not that of sacred writings, as it is taught at the end of the baraita: A Torah scroll renders the hands impure only if one writes it in Ashurit script, on a parchment scroll, and in ink.

אלא לא קשיא הא רבנן הא רשב"ג

Rather, the matter must be explained differently. This is not difficult. This ruling in the mishna is according to the Rabbis, who permit writing Torah scrolls in any language, and that ruling in the baraita is according to Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel.

אי רשב"ג הא איכא יונית אלא לא קשיא כאן בספרים כאן בתפלין ומזוזות

The Gemara asks: If the baraita is according to Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, in addition to Ashurit, isn’t there Greek in which the Torah may also be written? Rather, say this is not difficult. Here, the mishna is referring to Torah scrolls, which may be written in any language; there, the baraita is referring to phylacteries and mezuzot, which may be written only in Hebrew, using Hebrew script.

תפלין ומזוזות מ"ט משום דכתיב בהו (דברים ו, ו) והיו בהוייתן יהו מאי תרגום שכתבו מקרא איכא בשלמא תורה איכא (בראשית לא, מז) יגר שהדותא אלא הכא מאי תרגום איכא

The Gemara asks: With regard to phylacteries and mezuzot, what is the reason that they must be written in Hebrew? The Gemara explains: It is because it is written with regard to them: “And these words shall be” (Deuteronomy 6:6), indicating that as they are so shall they be, without change. The Gemara raises a difficulty: If the baraita is referring to phylacteries and mezuzot, what Aramaic translation that one wrote in the Hebrew of the Bible is there? Granted, in the Torah there is a verse written in Aramaic translation: Yegar sahaduta (Genesis 31:47); however, here, in phylacteries and mezuzot, what verses in Aramaic translation are there that could be written in Hebrew?

אלא לא קשיא כאן במגילה כאן בספרים מגילה מ"ט דכתיב בה ככתבם וכלשונם מאי תרגום שכתבו מקרא איכא

Rather, say this is not difficult. Here, the baraita is referring to the Megilla, the Scroll of Esther, which must be written in Hebrew; there, the mishna is referring to Torah scrolls, which may be written in any language. The Gemara asks: What is the reason that the Megilla must be written in Hebrew? It is due to the fact that it is written with regard to the Megilla: “According to their writing, and according to their language” (Esther 8:9), without change. The Gemara asks: But if the baraita is referring to the Megilla, what Aramaic translation that one wrote in the Hebrew of the Bible is there? The entire Megilla is written in Hebrew.

אמר רב פפא (אסתר א, כ) ונשמע פתגם המלך רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר (אסתר א, כ) וכל הנשים יתנו יקר לבעליהן

Rav Pappa said that it is written: “And when the king’s decree [pitgam] shall be publicized” (Esther 1:20), and that pitgam is essentially an Aramaic word. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said that it is written: “And all the wives will give honor [yekar] to their husbands” (Esther 1:20), and yekar is Aramaic for honor.

רב אשי אמר כי תניא ההיא בשאר ספרים ורבי יהודה היא דתניא תפלין ומזוזות אין נכתבין אלא אשורית ורבותינו התירו יונית

Rav Ashi suggested a different explanation and said: When that baraita is taught it is taught with regard to the rest of the books of the Bible, other than the Torah. And it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, as it is taught in a baraita: Phylacteries and mezuzot are written only in Ashurit; and our Rabbis permitted writing them in Greek as well.

והכתיב והיו אלא אימא ספרים נכתבים בכל לשון ורבותינו התירו יונית התירו מכלל דתנא קמא אסר

The Gemara asks: How did our Rabbis permit this? Isn’t it written with regard to phylacteries and mezuzot: “And these words shall be” (Deuteronomy 6:6), indicating that their language may not be changed. Rather, say that this is what the baraita is saying: Torah scrolls are written in any language; and our Rabbis permitted writing them in Greek as well. Once again the Gemara asks: Our Rabbis permitted? By inference, apparently the first tanna prohibits writing a Torah scroll in Greek. However, he explicitly permits writing a Torah scroll in any language.

אלא אימא רבותינו לא התירו שיכתבו אלא יונית ותניא א"ר יהודה אף כשהתירו רבותינו יונית לא התירו אלא בספר תורה

Rather, say in explanation of the baraita: And our Rabbis permitted them to be written only in Greek. And it is taught in another baraita that Rabbi Yehuda said: Even when our Rabbis permitted Greek, they permitted it only in a Torah scroll, and not for other books of the Bible, which must be written only in Hebrew.

ומשום מעשה דתלמי המלך דתניא מעשה בתלמי המלך שכינס שבעים ושנים זקנים והכניסן בשבעים ושנים בתים ולא גילה להם על מה כינסן ונכנס אצל כל אחד ואחד ואמר להם כתבו לי תורת משה רבכם נתן הקב"ה בלב כל אחד ואחד עצה והסכימו כולן לדעת אחת

The Gemara continues: And this was due to the incident of King Ptolemy, as it is taught in a baraita: There was an incident involving King Ptolemy of Egypt, who assembled seventy-two Elders from the Sages of Israel, and put them into seventy-two separate rooms, and did not reveal to them for what purpose he assembled them, so that they would not coordinate their responses. He entered and approached each and every one, and said to each of them: Write for me a translation of the Torah of Moses your teacher. The Holy One, Blessed be He, placed wisdom in the heart of each and every one, and they all agreed to one common understanding. Not only did they all translate the text correctly, they all introduced the same changes into the translated text.

וכתבו לו אלהים ברא בראשית (בראשית א, א) אעשה אדם בצלם ובדמות (בראשית א, כו)

And they wrote for him: God created in the beginning [bereshit], reversing the order of the words in the first phrase in the Torah that could be misinterpreted as: “Bereshit created God” (Genesis 1:1). They did so to negate those who believe in the preexistence of the world and those who maintain that there are two powers in the world: One is Bereshit, who created the second, God. And they wrote: I shall make man in image and in likeness, rather than: “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26), as from there too one could mistakenly conclude that there are multiple powers and that God has human form.

ויכל ביום הששי וישבות ביום השביעי (בראשית ב, ב) זכר ונקבה בראו (בראשית ה, ב) ולא כתבו בראם

Instead of: “And on the seventh day God concluded His work” (Genesis 2:2), which could have been understood as though some of His work was completed on Shabbat itself, they wrote: And on the sixth day He concluded His work, and He rested on the seventh day. They also wrote: Male and female He created him, and they did not write as it is written in the Torah: “Male and female He created them” (Genesis 5:2), to avoid the impression that there is a contradiction between this verse and the verse: “And God created man” (Genesis 1:27), which indicates that God created one person.

הבה ארדה ואבלה שם שפתם (בראשית יא, ז) ותצחק שרה בקרוביה (בראשית יח, יב)

Instead of: “Come, let us go down, and there confound their language” (Genesis 11:7), which indicates multiple authorities, they wrote in the singular: Come, let me go down, and there confound their language. In addition, they replaced the verse: “And Sarah laughed within herself [bekirba]” (Genesis 18:12), with: And Sarah laughed among her relatives [bikroveha]. They made this change to distinguish between Sarah’s laughter, which God criticized, and Abraham’s laughter, to which no reaction is recorded. Based on the change, Sarah’s laughter was offensive because she voiced it to others.

כי באפם הרגו שור וברצונם עקרו אבוס (בראשית מט, ו) ויקח משה את אשתו ואת בניו וירכיבם על נושא בני אדם (שמות ד, כ)

They also altered the verse: “For in their anger they slew a man and in their self-will they slaughtered an ox” (Genesis 49:6), to read: For in their anger they slew an ox and in their self-will they uprooted a trough, to avoid the charge that Jacob’s sons were murderers. Instead of: “And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon a donkey” (Exodus 4:20), they wrote: And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon a carrier of people, which could be understood as referring to a horse or a camel rather than the lowly donkey.

ומושב בני ישראל אשר ישבו במצרים ובשאר ארצות ארבע מאות שנה (שמות יב, מ) וישלח את זאטוטי בני ישראל (שמות כד, ה) ואל זאטוטי בני ישראל לא שלח ידו (שמות כד, יא)

Instead of: “And the residence of the children of Israel, who resided in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years” (Exodus 12:40), which when read literally is imprecise, for they did not dwell in Egypt that long, they wrote: And the residence of the children of Israel, who resided in Egypt and in other lands, was four hundred years. Instead of: “And he sent the youth of the children of Israel, who brought burnt-offerings” (Exodus 24:5), which evokes the question of why young men were sent to perform that service, they wrote: And he sent the elect [za’atutei] of the children of Israel. The same term was substituted again several verses later, rendering the verse: “And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand” (Exodus 24:11), as: And upon the elect of the children of Israel He laid not His hand.