אֶלָּא חָיָה. אֲבָל שְׁאָר נָשִׁים — מַנִּיחִין. with regard to a woman who died in childbirth, and therefore continues to bleed. But the biers of other women may be set down in the street.
רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אָמַר: אֲפִילּוּ שְׁאָר הַנָּשִׁים, דִּכְתִיב: ״וַתָּמׇת שָׁם מִרְיָם וַתִּקָּבֵר שָׁם״ — סָמוּךְ לַמִּיתָה קְבוּרָה. Rabbi Elazar said: Even the biers of other women must not be set down in the street, as it is written: “And Miriam died there and was buried there” (Numbers 20:1), which teaches that the site of her burial was close to the place of her death. Therefore, it is preferable to bury a woman as close as possible to the place where she died.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר: אַף מִרְיָם בִּנְשִׁיקָה מֵתָה. אָתְיָא ״שָׁם״ ״שָׁם״ מִמֹּשֶׁה. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה לֹא נֶאֱמַר בָּהּ ״עַל פִּי ה׳״ — מִפְּנֵי שֶׁגְּנַאי הַדָּבָר לְאוֹמְרוֹ. With regard to that same verse Rabbi Elazar said further: Miriam also died by the divine kiss, just like her brother Moses. What is the source for this? This is derived through a verbal analogy between the word “there” stated with regard to Miriam and the word “there” mentioned with regard to Moses. With regard to Moses it says: “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab by the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 34:5). For what reason was it not explicitly stated with regard to her, as it is stated with regard to Moses, that she died “by the mouth of the Lord”? It is because it would be unseemly to say such a thing, that a woman died by way of a divine kiss, and therefore it is not said explicitly.
אָמַר רַבִּי אַמֵּי: לָמָּה נִסְמְכָה מִיתַת מִרְיָם לְפָרָשַׁת פָּרָה אֲדוּמָּה? לוֹמַר לָךְ: מָה פָּרָה אֲדוּמָּה מְכַפֶּרֶת — אַף מִיתָתָן שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים מְכַפֶּרֶת. אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר: לָמָּה נִסְמְכָה מִיתַת אַהֲרֹן לְבִגְדֵי כְהוּנָּה? מָה בִּגְדֵי כְהוּנָּה מְכַפְּרִין — אַף מִיתָתָן שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים מְכַפֶּרֶת. Rabbi Ami said: Why was the Torah portion that describes the death of Miriam juxtaposed to the portion dealing with the red heifer? To tell you: Just as the red heifer atones for sin, so too, the death of the righteous atones for sin. Rabbi Elazar said: Why was the Torah portion that describes the death of Aaron juxtaposed to the portion discussing the priestly garments? This teaches that just as the priestly garments atone for sin, so too, the death of the righteous atones for sin.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: מֵת פִּתְאוֹם — זוֹ הִיא מִיתָה חֲטוּפָה, חָלָה יוֹם אֶחָד וָמֵת — זוֹ הִיא מִיתָה דְּחוּפָה. רַבִּי חֲנַנְיָא בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר: זוֹ הִיא מִיתַת מַגֵּפָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״בֶּן אָדָם הִנְנִי לוֹקֵחַ מִמְּךָ אֶת מַחְמַד עֵינֶיךָ בְּמַגֵּפָה״, וּכְתִיב: ״וָאֲדַבֵּר אֶל הָעָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַתָּמׇת אִשְׁתִּי בָּעָרֶב״. § The Sages taught the following baraita: If one dies suddenly without having been sick, this is death through snatching. If he became sick for a day and died, this is an expedited death. Rabbi Ḥananya ben Gamliel says: This is death at a stroke, as it is stated: “Son of man, behold, I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes at a stroke” (Ezekiel 24:16). And when this prophecy is fulfilled it is written: “So I spoke to the people in the morning and at evening my wife died” (Ezekiel 24:18).
שְׁנֵי יָמִים וָמֵת — זוֹ הִיא מִיתָה דְּחוּיָה. שְׁלֹשָׁה — גְּעָרָה. אַרְבָּעָה — נְזִיפָה. חֲמִשָּׁה — זוֹ הִיא מִיתַת כׇּל אָדָם. If he was sick for two days and died, this is a quickened death. If he was sick for three days and died, this is a death of rebuke. If he died after being sick for four days, this is a death of reprimand. If one died after a sickness lasting five days, this is the ordinary death of all people.
אָמַר רַבִּי חָנִין, מַאי קְרָא: ״הֵן קָרְבוּ יָמֶיךָ לָמוּת״. ״הֵן״ — חַד, ״קָרְבוּ״ — תְּרֵי, ״יָמֶיךָ״ — תְּרֵי, הָא חֲמִשָּׁה. ״הֵן״ חַד, שֶׁכֵּן בְּלָשׁוֹן יְוָנִי קוֹרִין לְאַחַת ״הֵן״. Rabbi Ḥanin said: What is the verse from which this is derived? It is stated: “Behold, your days approach that you must die” (Deuteronomy 31:14). This verse is expounded in the following manner: “Behold [hen]” indicates one; “approach [karvu],” a plural term, indicates two; “your days [yamekha],” also a plural term, indicates another two; and therefore in total this is five. How does the word hen indicate one? Because in the Greek language they call the number one hen.
מֵת בַּחֲמִשִּׁים שָׁנָה — זוֹ הִיא מִיתַת כָּרֵת. חֲמִשִּׁים וּשְׁתַּיִם שָׁנָה — זוֹ הִיא מִיתָתוֹ שֶׁל שְׁמוּאֵל הָרָמָתִי. שִׁשִּׁים — זוֹ הִיא מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם. The Gemara discusses the significance of death at different ages: If one dies when he is fifty years old, this is death through karet, the divine punishment of excision, meted out for the most serious transgressions. If he dies when he is fifty-two years old, this is the death of Samuel from Ramah. If he dies at the age of sixty, this is death at the hand of Heaven.
אָמַר מָר זוּטְרָא: מַאי קְרָא — דִּכְתִיב: ״תָּבֹא בְּכֶלַח אֱלֵי קֶבֶר״, ״בְּכֶלַח״ בְּגִימַטְרִיָּא שִׁיתִּין הָווּ. Mar Zutra said: What is the verse from which this is derived? As it is written: “You shall come to your grave in a ripe age [bekhelaḥ]” (Job 5:26). The word “ripe age” [bekhelaḥ] has the numerical value of sixty, and it is alluded to there that dying at this age involves a divine punishment.
שִׁבְעִים — שֵׂיבָה. שְׁמוֹנִים — גְּבוּרוֹת, דִּכְתִיב: ״יְמֵי שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרוֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה״. אָמַר רַבָּה: מֵחֲמִשִּׁים וְעַד שִׁשִּׁים שָׁנָה — זוֹ הִיא מִיתַת כָּרֵת. וְהַאי דְּלָא חָשֵׁיב לְהוּ — מִשּׁוּם כְּבוֹדוֹ שֶׁל שְׁמוּאֵל הָרָמָתִי. One who dies at the age of seventy has reached old age. One who dies at the age of eighty dies in strength, as it is written: “The days of our years are seventy, or if by reason of strength, eighty years” (Psalms 90:10). Rabba said: Not only is death at the age of fifty a sign of karet, but even death from fifty to sixty years of age is death by karet. And the reason that all of these years were not counted in connection with karet is due to the honor of Samuel from Ramah, who died at the age of fifty-two.
רַב יוֹסֵף כִּי הֲוָה בַּר שִׁיתִּין, עֲבַד לְהוּ יוֹמָא טָבָא לְרַבָּנַן, אָמַר: נְפַקִי לִי מִכָּרֵת. אָמַר לֵיהּ אַבָּיֵי: נְהִי דִּנְפַק לֵיהּ מָר מִכָּרֵת דִּשְׁנֵי, מִכָּרֵת דְּיוֹמֵי מִי נָפֵיק מָר? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: נְקוֹט לָךְ מִיהָא פַּלְגָא בִּידָךְ. The Gemara relates that when Rav Yosef turned sixty he made a holiday for the Sages. Explaining the cause for his celebration, he said: I have passed the age of karet. Abaye said to him: Master, even though you have passed the karet of years, have you, Master, escaped the karet of days? As previously mentioned, sudden death is also considered to be a form of karet. He said to him: Grasp at least half in your hand, for I have at least escaped one type of karet.
רַב הוּנָא נָח נַפְשֵׁיהּ פִּתְאוֹם, הֲווֹ קָא דָּיְיגִי רַבָּנַן, תְּנָא לְהוּ זוּגָא דְּמֵהַדְיָיב: לֹא שָׁנוּ אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹּא הִגִּיעַ לִגְבוּרוֹת, אֲבָל הִגִּיעַ לִגְבוּרוֹת — זוֹ הִיא מִיתַת נְשִׁיקָה. It was related that Rav Huna died suddenly, and the Sages were concerned that this was a bad sign. The Sage Zuga from Hadayeiv taught them the following: They taught these principles only when the deceased had not reached the age of strength, i.e., eighty. But if he had reached the age of strength and then died suddenly, this is death by way of a divine kiss.
אָמַר רָבָא: חַיֵּי, בְּנֵי וּמְזוֹנֵי, לָא בִּזְכוּתָא תַּלְיָא מִילְּתָא, אֶלָּא בְּמַזָּלָא תַּלְיָא מִילְּתָא. דְּהָא רַבָּה וְרַב חִסְדָּא תַּרְוַיְיהוּ רַבָּנַן צַדִּיקֵי הֲווֹ, מָר מְצַלֵּי וְאָתֵי מִיטְרָא וּמָר מְצַלֵּי וְאָתֵי מִיטְרָא, Rava said: Length of life, children, and sustenance do not depend on one’s merit, but rather they depend upon fate. As, Rabba and Rav Ḥisda were both pious Sages; one Sage would pray during a drought and rain would fall, and the other Sage would pray and rain would fall.
רַב חִסְדָּא חֲיָה תִּשְׁעִין וְתַרְתֵּין שְׁנִין, רַבָּה חֲיָה אַרְבְּעִין. בֵּי רַב חִסְדָּא שִׁיתִּין הִלּוּלֵי, בֵּי רַבָּה שִׁיתִּין תִּיכְלֵי. And nevertheless, their lives were very different. Rav Ḥisda lived for ninety-two years, whereas Rabba lived for only forty years. The house of Rav Ḥisda celebrated sixty wedding feasts, whereas the house of Rabba experienced sixty calamities. In other words, many fortuitous events took place in the house of Rav Ḥisda and the opposite occurred in the house of Rabba.
בֵּי רַב חִסְדָּא סְמִידָא לְכַלְבֵי וְלָא מִתְבְּעֵי, בֵּי רַבָּה נַהֲמָא דִשְׂעָרֵי לְאִינָשֵׁי וְלָא מִשְׁתְּכַח. In the house of Rav Ḥisda there was bread from the finest flour [semida] even for the dogs, and it was not asked after, as there was so much food. In the house of Rabba, on the other hand, there was coarse barley bread even for people, and it was not found in sufficient quantities. This shows that the length of life, children, and sustenance all depend not upon one’s merit, but upon fate.
וְאָמַר רָבָא: הָנֵי תְּלָת מִילֵּי בְּעַאי קַמֵּי שְׁמַיָּא, תַּרְתֵּי יְהַבוּ לִי, חֲדָא לָא יְהַבוּ לִי: חוּכְמְתֵיהּ דְּרַב הוּנָא, וְעוּתְרֵיהּ דְּרַב חִסְדָּא, וִיהַבוּ לִי. עִנְוְתָנוּתֵיהּ דְּרַבָּה בַּר רַב הוּנָא, לָא יְהַבוּ לִי. Apropos Rav Ḥisda’s great wealth, the Gemara reports that Rava said: These three things I requested from Heaven, two of which were given to me, and one was not given to me: I requested the wisdom of Rav Huna and the wealth of Rav Ḥisda and they were given to me. I also requested the humility of Rabba bar Rav Huna, but it was not given to me.
רַב שְׂעוֹרִים אֲחוּהּ דְּרָבָא הֲוָה יָתֵיב קַמֵּיהּ דְּרָבָא, חַזְיֵיהּ דַּהֲוָה קָא מְנַמְנֵם. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: לֵימָא לֵיהּ מָר דְּלָא לְצַעֲרַן. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: מָר לָאו שׁוֹשְׁבִינֵיהּ הוּא? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: כֵּיוָן דְּאִימְּסַר מַזָּלָא, לָא אַשְׁגַּח בִּי. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: לִיתְחֲזֵי לִי מָר. אִיתְחֲזִי לֵיהּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: הֲוָה לֵיהּ לְמָר צַעֲרָא? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: כִּי רִיבְדָּא דְכוּסִילְתָּא. The Gemara continues its discussion of the deaths of the righteous. Rav Seorim, Rava’s brother, sat before Rava, and he saw that Rava was dozing, i.e., about to die. Rava said to his brother: Master, tell him, the Angel of Death, not to torment me. Knowing that Rava was not afraid of the Angel of Death, Rav Seorim said to him: Master, are you not a friend of the Angel of Death? Rava said to him: Since my fate has been handed over to him, and it has been decreed that I shall die, the Angel of Death no longer pays heed to me. Rav Seorim said to Rava: Master, appear to me in a dream after your death. And Rava appeared to him. Rav Seorim said to Rava: Master, did you have pain in death? He said to him: Like the prick of the knife when letting blood.
רָבָא הֲוָה יָתֵיב קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַב נַחְמָן, חַזְיֵיהּ דְּקָא מְנַמְנֵם. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: לֵימָא לֵיהּ מָר דְּלָא לְצַעֲרַן. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: מָר לָאו אָדָם חָשׁוּב הוּא? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: מַאן חֲשִׁיב, מַאן סְפִין, מַאן רְקִיעַ! It was similarly related that Rava sat before Rav Naḥman, and he saw that Rav Naḥman was dozing, i.e., slipping into death. Rav Naḥman said to Rava: Master, tell the Angel of Death not to torment me. Rava said to him: Master, are you not an important person who is respected in Heaven? Rav Naḥman said to him: In the supernal world who is important? Who is honorable? Who is complete?
אֲמַר לֵיהּ: לִיתְחֲזֵי לִי מָר. אִתְחֲזִי לֵיהּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: הֲוָה לֵיהּ לְמָר צַעֲרָא? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: כְּמִישְׁחַל בִּנִיתָא מֵחֲלָבָא, וְאִי אָמַר לִי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא זִיל בְּהָהוּא עָלְמָא כִּד הֲוֵית — לָא בָּעֵינָא, דִּנְפִישׁ בִּיעֲתוּתֵיהּ. Rava said to Rav Naḥman: Master, appear to me in a dream after your death. And he appeared to him. Rava said to him: Master, did you have pain in death? Rav Naḥman said to him: Like the removal of hair from milk, which is a most gentle process. But nevertheless, were the Holy One, Blessed be He, to say to me: Go back to that world, the physical world, as you were, I would not want to go, for the fear of the Angel of Death is great. And I would not want to go through such a terrifying experience a second time.
רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר הֲוָה קָאָכֵיל תְּרוּמָה. אִיתְחֲזִי לֵיהּ, אֲמַר לֵיהּ: תְּרוּמָה קָא אָכֵילְנָא, וְלָאו קוֹדֶשׁ אִיקְּרִי? חֲלַפָא לֵיהּ שַׁעְתָּא. The Gemara relates that Rabbi Elazar was once eating teruma, when the Angel of Death appeared to him. He said to the Angel of Death: I am eating teruma; is it not called sacred? It would be inappropriate for me to die now and thereby defile this sacred teruma. The Angel of Death accepted his argument and left him. The moment passed, and he lived for some time afterward.
רַב שֵׁשֶׁת אִיתְחֲזִי לֵיהּ בְּשׁוּקָא, אֲמַר לֵיהּ: בְּשׁוּקָא כִּבְהֵמָה? אִיתַא לְגַבֵּי בֵּיתָא. It was similarly related that the Angel of Death once appeared to Rav Sheshet in the marketplace. Rav Sheshet said to the Angel of Death: Shall I die in the market like an animal? Come to my house and kill me there like a human being.
רַב אָשֵׁי אִיתְחֲזִי לֵיהּ (בְּשׁוּקָא), אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אִיתְּרַח לִי תְּלָתִין יוֹמִין, וְאַהְדְּרֵי[הּ] לְתַלְמוּדַאי, דְּאָמְרִיתוּ: אַשְׁרֵי מִי שֶׁבָּא לְכָאן וְתַלְמוּדוֹ בְּיָדוֹ. בְּיוֹם תְּלָתִין אֲתָא. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: מַאי כּוּלֵּי הַאי? קָא דָחֲקָא רַגְלֵיהּ דְּבַר נָתָן, וְאֵין מַלְכוּת נוֹגַעַת בַּחֲבֶירְתָּהּ אֲפִילּוּ כִּמְלֹא נִימָא. So too, the Angel of Death appeared to Rav Ashi in the marketplace. Rav Ashi said to the Angel of Death: Give me thirty days so that I may review my studies, for you say above: Fortunate is he who comes here to Heaven with his learning in his hand. On the thirtieth day the Angel of Death came to take him. Rav Ashi said to the Angel of Death: What is all of this? Why are you in such a hurry to take me? Why can you not postpone my death? He said to him: The foot of Rav Huna bar Natan is pushing you, as he is ready to succeed you as the leader of the generation, and one sovereignty does not overlap with its counterpart, even by one hairbreadth. Therefore, you cannot live any longer.
רַב חִסְדָּא, לָא הֲוָה יָכֵיל לֵיהּ, דְּלָא הֲוָה שָׁתֵיק פּוּמֵּיהּ מִגִּירְסָא, סְלֵיק יְתֵיב בְּאַרְזָא דְּבֵי רַב. פְּקַע אַרְזָא וּשְׁתַק, וִיכֵיל לֵיהּ. The Angel of Death was unable to take Rav Ḥisda because his mouth was never silent from study. So the Angel of Death went and sat on the cedar column that supported the roof of the study hall of the Sages. The cedar cracked and Rav Ḥisda was silent for a moment, as he was startled by the sound. At that point the Angel of Death was able to take him.
רַבִּי חִיָּיא לָא הֲוָה מָצֵי לְמִיקְרַבא לֵיהּ, יוֹמָא חַד אִידְּמִי לֵיהּ כְּעַנְיָא, אֲתָא טָרֵיף אַבָּבָא, אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אַפֵּיק לִי רִיפְתָּא, אַפִּיקוּ לֵיהּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: וְלָאו קָא מְרַחֵם מָר אַעַנְיָא? אַהָהוּא גַּבְרָא אַמַּאי לָא קָא מְרַחֵם מָר? גַּלִּי לֵיהּ, אַחְוִי לֵיהּ שׁוֹטָא דְנוּרָא, אַמְצִי לֵיהּ נַפְשֵׁיהּ. The Angel of Death could not come near Rabbi Ḥiyya, owing to his righteousness. One day the Angel of Death appeared to him as a poor person. He came and knocked on the door. He said to Rabbi Ḥiyya: Bring out bread for me, and he took out bread for him. The Angel of Death then said to Rabbi Ḥiyya: Master, do you not have mercy on a poor person? Why, then, do you not have mercy upon that man, i.e., upon me, and give me what I want? The Angel of Death then revealed his identity to him, and showed him a fiery rod in order to confirm that he was the Angel of Death. At this point Rav Ḥiyya surrendered himself to him.