Menachot 99bמנחות צ״ט ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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99bצ״ט ב

שביטולה של תורה זהו יסודה דכתיב (שמות לד, א) אשר שברת אמר לו הקב"ה למשה יישר כחך ששברת

the apparent dereliction of the study of Torah is its foundation, e.g., if one breaks off his studies in order to participate in a funeral or a wedding procession. This is derived from a verse, as it is written: “And the Lord said to Moses: Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write upon the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which [asher] you broke” (Exodus 34:1). The word “asher” is an allusion to the fact that that the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Your strength is true [yishar koḥakha] in that you broke the tablets, as the breaking of the first tablets led to the foundation of the Torah through the giving of the second tablets.

ואמר ריש לקיש תלמיד חכם שסרח אין מבזין אותו בפרהסיא שנאמר (הושע ד, ה) וכשלת היום וכשל גם נביא עמך לילה כסהו כלילה

And Reish Lakish says: With regard to a Torah scholar who sinned, he is not disgraced in public, as it is stated: “Therefore, you shall stumble in the day, and the prophet also shall stumble with you in the night” (Hosea 4:5). One can derive from the verse that if a prophet or any other Torah scholar stumbles and sins, one should conceal his offense like the night and not punish him in public.

ואמר ריש לקיש כל המשכח דבר אחד מתלמודו עובר בלאו שנאמר (דברים ד, ט) השמר לך ושמור נפשך מאד פן תשכח את הדברים וכדר' אבין אמר ר' אילעא דאמר רבי אבין אמר ר' אילעא כל מקום שנאמר השמר פן ואל אינו אלא לא תעשה

And Reish Lakish says: Anyone who causes himself to forget even one matter from his studies violates a prohibition, as it is stated with regard to the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai: “Only observe for yourself, and guard your soul diligently, lest you forget the matters that your eyes saw, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life, but you should make them known to your children and to your children’s children” (Deuteronomy 4:9). And this is in accordance with the principle that Rabbi Avin says that Rabbi Ile’a says, as Rabbi Avin says that Rabbi Ile’a says: Wherever it is stated: Observe, or: Lest, or: Do not, it is nothing other than a prohibition.

רבינא אמר השמר ופן שני לאוין נינהו רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר בשלשה לאוין שנאמר השמר לך ושמור נפשך מאוד פן תשכח את הדברים

Ravina says: One who forgets his studies violates two prohibitions, as the verse uses both the term “observe” and the term “lest,” and these are two prohibitions. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: He violates three prohibitions, as it is stated: “Only observe for yourself, and guard your soul diligently, lest you forget the matters that your eyes saw.” The term “Guard your soul” is derived from the same root as “observe” and is considered an additional prohibition.

יכול אפילו מחמת אונסו תלמוד לומר (דברים ד, ט) ופן יסורו מלבבך במסירם מלבו הכתוב מדבר רבי דוסתאי בר' ינאי אמר יכול אפילו תקפה עליו משנתו תלמוד לומר רק

The Gemara qualifies this statement: One might have thought this applies even to one who forgot his Torah knowledge due to circumstances beyond his control. Therefore, the verse states: “And lest they depart from your heart.” This indicates that the verse is speaking of one who willingly causes them to depart from his heart. Rabbi Dostai, son of Rabbi Yannai, says: One might have thought that this applies even if his studies were too hard for him to remember. Therefore, the verse states: “Only,” which excludes one who is unable to recall his studies.

ר' יוחנן ור' אלעזר דאמרי תרוייהו תורה ניתנה בארבעים ונשמה נוצרה בארבעים כל המשמר תורתו נשמתו משתמרת וכל שאינו משמר את התורה אין נשמתו משתמרת

Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Elazar both say: The Torah was given in forty days, when Moses ascended to Mount Sinai to receive it, and similarly the soul of man is formed in forty days, as the formation of the fetus in the womb takes forty days from the time of conception. This teaches that anyone who preserves his Torah studies, his soul is likewise preserved, and anyone who does not preserve his Torah studies, his soul is not preserved either.

תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל משל לאדם שמסר צפור דרור לעבדו אמר כמדומה אתה שאם אתה מאבדה שאני נוטל ממך איסר בדמיה נשמתך אני נוטל ממך:

The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: This can be illustrated by a parable, as it is comparable to a person who delivered a sparrow to his slave for safekeeping, and said to him: Are you under the impression that if you lose it I will take from you an issar, a small coin, which is the value of the bird? It is not so; I will take your soul from you as punishment, meaning I will kill you. Similarly, one who fails to preserve the Torah entrusted to him will be severely punished.

מתני׳ שני שולחנות היו באולם מבפנים על פתח הבית אחד של שייש ואחד של זהב על של שייש נותנים לחם הפנים בכניסתו ועל של זהב ביציאתו

MISHNA: There were two tables in the Entrance Hall, on the inside of the Entrance Hall, next to the entrance to the Temple, i.e., next to the entrance to the Sanctuary. One was of marble and one was of gold. On the table of marble, the priests place the new shewbread that has been baked, before its entrance into the Sanctuary, so that the loaves may cool a little from the heat of the oven and not spoil. And when the old shewbread is removed from the shewbread Table it is placed on the table of gold upon its exit from the Sanctuary, where it remains until the frankincense is burned on the altar.

שמעלין בקודש ולא מורידין ואחד של זהב מבפנים שעליו לחם הפנים תמיד

The reason the shewbread is placed on a gold table when it is removed, rather than on a marble or silver table, is that one elevates to a higher level in matters of sanctity and one does not downgrade. Since it is set on the gold shewbread Table all week, it cannot be downgraded to a marble or silver table upon its removal. And there was one Table of gold within the Sanctuary, upon which the shewbread is always found.

וארבעה כהנים נכנסין שנים בידם שני סדרים ושנים בידם שני בזיכין וארבעה מקדימין לפניהם שנים ליטול שני סדרים ושנים ליטול שני בזיכין

The mishna describes the manner in which it is ensured that the shewbread is constantly on the Table: And four priests enter, two with the two arrangements of the new shewbread in their hands and two with the two bowls of frankincense in their hands. And four priests precede them, entering the Sanctuary before them, two to take the two arrangements of the old shewbread from the Table, and two to take the two bowls of frankincense.

המכניסים עומדים בצפון ופניהם לדרום והמוציאין עומדים בדרום ופניהם בצפון אלו מושכין ואלו מניחין וטפחו של זה כנגד טפחו של זה שנאמר (שמות כה, ל) לפני תמיד

Those bringing the new shewbread into the Sanctuary stand in the north and their faces are to the south, and those removing the old shewbread stand in the south and their faces are to the north. These priests draw the old shewbread from the Table and those priests place the new shewbread on the Table, and for each handbreadth of this old shewbread that is removed from the Table a handbreadth of that new shewbread is placed upon the Table, so that the Table is never without loaves upon it, as it is stated: “And you shall set upon the Table shewbread before Me always” (Exodus 25:30).

ר' יוסי אומר אפילו אלו נוטלין ואלו מניחין אף היא היתה תמיד

Rabbi Yosei says: Even if these priests were to remove the shewbread from the Table entirely, and only afterward those priests were to place the new shewbread upon the Table, this too would fulfill the requirement that the shewbread always be on the Table. It is unnecessary to ensure the uninterrupted presence of the shewbread upon the Table, as long as it does not remain a single night without shewbread upon it.

יצאו ונתנום על שלחן הזהב שהיה באולם הקטירו הבזיכין והחלות מתחלקות לכהנים

The mishna describes the manner in which the shewbread is distributed: The priests who carried the old shewbread loaves came out of the Sanctuary and placed them on the table of gold that was in the Entrance Hall. The priests then burned on the altar the frankincense that was in the bowls. And the loaves were subsequently distributed to the priests. This occurred on Shabbat, the day that the priestly watch that served in the Temple during the preceding week was replaced by the priestly watch that would serve during the following week. The shewbread was distributed to the priests of both watches.

חל יום כיפורים להיות בשבת החלות מתחלקות לערב חל להיות בערב שבת שעיר של יום הכפורים נאכל לערב והבבליים אוכלין אותו כשהוא חי מפני שדעתן יפה:

If Yom Kippur occurs on Shabbat, the loaves are distributed at night, at the conclusion of the fast, since they may not be eaten during the day. If Yom Kippur occurs on Friday, i.e., when the holy day begins on Thursday evening, the goat sin offering of Yom Kippur is eaten by the priests at night, i.e., on Friday night, as it may be eaten only on the day that it is sacrificed or during the following night, until midnight. And since there is no possibility of cooking the meat, as one may not cook on Yom Kippur or Shabbat, the Babylonians, i.e., priests who had emigrated from Babylonia, eat it when it is raw, due to the fact that they are broad-minded with regard to their food, i.e., they are not particular and will eat meat even when it is not cooked.

גמ׳ תניא רבי יוסי אומר אפילו סילק את הישנה שחרית וסידר את החדשה ערבית אין בכך כלום אלא מה אני מקיים לפני תמיד שלא ילין שלחן בלא לחם

GEMARA: The mishna teaches that according to Rabbi Yosei, even if the priest first removes the old shewbread entirely, and only then places the new shewbread upon the Table, this fulfills the requirement that the shewbread always be on the Table. Moreover, it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei says: Even if the priest removed the old shewbread on the morning of Shabbat, and arranged the new shewbread toward evening, there is nothing wrong with that. Rather, how do I realize the meaning of the verse: “And you shall set upon the Table shewbread before Me always” (Exodus 25:30)? This means that the Table should not be left overnight without bread upon it.

אמר ר' אמי מדבריו של ר' יוסי נלמוד אפילו לא שנה אדם אלא פרק אחד שחרית ופרק אחד ערבית קיים מצות (יהושע א, ח) לא ימוש (את) ספר התורה הזה מפיך

The baraita teaches that according to Rabbi Yosei, even if the old shewbread remained on the Table for a short while in the morning, and the new shewbread was placed on the Table toward evening, and even though it did not reside constantly on the Table, this fulfills the requirement that the shewbread should always be on the Table. Rabbi Ami says: From Rabbi Yosei’s statement we may learn that even if a person learned only one chapter of the Mishna in the morning and one chapter of the Mishna in the evening, he has thereby fulfilled the mitzva of: “This Torah scroll shall not depart from your mouth, and you shall contemplate in it day and night, that you may take heed to do according to all that is written in it, for then you shall make your ways prosperous, and then you shall have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי אפילו לא קרא אדם אלא קרית שמע שחרית וערבית קיים לא ימוש ודבר זה אסור לאומרו בפני עמי הארץ ורבא אמר מצוה לאומרו בפני עמי הארץ

Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: Even if a person recited only the recitation of Shema in the morning and in the evening, he has fulfilled the mitzva of: “This Torah scroll shall not depart from your mouth.” And it is prohibited to state this matter in the presence of ignoramuses [amei ha’aretz], as they are likely to get the impression that there is no need to study Torah beyond this. And Rava says: On the contrary, it is a mitzva to state this matter in the presence of ignoramuses, as they will realize that if merely reciting the Shema leads to such a great reward, all the more so how great is the reward of those who study Torah all day and night.

שאל בן דמה בן אחותו של ר' ישמעאל את ר' ישמעאל כגון אני שלמדתי כל התורה כולה מהו ללמוד חכמת יונית קרא עליו המקרא הזה לא ימוש ספר התורה הזה מפיך והגית בו יומם ולילה צא ובדוק שעה שאינה לא מן היום ולא מן הלילה ולמוד בה חכמת יונית

Ben Dama, son of Rabbi Yishmael’s sister, asked Rabbi Yishmael: In the case of one such as I, who has learned the entire Torah, what is the halakha with regard to studying Greek wisdom? Rabbi Yishmael recited this verse about him: “This Torah scroll shall not depart from your mouth, and you shall contemplate in it day and night.” Go and search for an hour that is neither part of the day nor part of the night, and learn Greek wisdom in it.

ופליגא דר' שמואל בר נחמני דאמר ר' שמואל בר נחמני אמר ר' יונתן פסוק זה אינו לא חובה ולא מצוה אלא ברכה ראה הקב"ה את יהושע שדברי תורה חביבים עליו ביותר שנאמר (שמות לג, יא) ומשרתו יהושע בן נון נער לא ימיש מתוך האהל אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא יהושע כל כך חביבין עליך דברי תורה לא ימוש ספר התורה הזה מפיך

The Gemara notes: And this statement of Rabbi Yishmael’s disagrees with the opinion of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani, as Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: This verse is neither an obligation nor a mitzva, but a blessing. Rabbi Yonatan explains: The Holy One, Blessed be He, saw Joshua and observed that the words of Torah were very precious to him, as it is stated: “And the Lord spoke to Moses face-to-face…and his servant Joshua, son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the Tent” (Exodus 33:11). The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Joshua: Joshua, are the words of Torah so precious to you? I bless you that “this Torah scroll shall not depart from your mouth.”

תנא דבי ר' ישמעאל דברי תורה לא יהו עליך חובה ואי אתה רשאי לפטור עצמך מהן

The tanna of the school of Rabbi Yishmael teaches: The words of Torah should not be considered as an obligation upon you, i.e., one should not treat Torah study as a burden, but at the same time you are not permitted to exempt yourself from them.

אמר חזקיה מאי דכתיב (איוב לו, טז) ואף הסיתך מפי צר רחב לא מוצק תחתיה בוא וראה שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם אדם מסית את חבירו מדרכי חיים לדרכי מיתה והקדוש ברוך הוא מסית את האדם מדרכי מיתה לדרכי חיים שנאמר ואף הסיתך מפי צר מגיהנם שפיה צר שעשנה צבור

Ḥizkiyya said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He delivers the afflicted due to His affliction, and opens their ear by tribulation; and also He has allured you out of a narrow opening to a broad place without confines below it, and that which is set on your table is full of fatness” (Job 36:15–16)? Come and see that the attribute of flesh and blood is unlike the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He. The attribute of flesh and blood is that a person allures another from the paths of life to the paths of death, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, allures the person from the paths of death to the paths of life, as it is stated: “And also He has allured you out of a narrow opening,” i.e., from Gehenna, the opening of which is narrow so that its smoke is collected