מַתְנִי׳ נָשִׁים בַּמּוֹעֵד מְעַנּוֹת אֲבָל לֹא מְטַפְּחוֹת רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר הַסְּמוּכוֹת לַמִּטָּה מְטַפְּחוֹת MISHNA: On the intermediate days of a Festival women may wail in grief over the deceased, but they may not clap [metapeḥot] their hands in mourning. Rabbi Yishmael says: Those who are close to the bier may clap.
בְּרָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים בַּחֲנוּכָּה וּבְפוּרִים מְעַנּוֹת וּמְטַפְּחוֹת בְּזֶה וָזֶה לֹא מְקוֹנְנוֹת נִקְבַּר הַמֵּת לֹא מְעַנּוֹת וְלֹא מְטַפְּחוֹת On New Moons, Hanukkah and Purim, which are not Festivals by Torah law, the women may both wail and clap their hands in mourning. On both the intermediate days of a Festival and on New Moons, Hanukkah and Purim they may not lament. After the deceased has been buried they may neither wail nor clap.
אֵיזֶהוּ עִינּוּי שֶׁכּוּלָּן עוֹנוֹת כְּאַחַת קִינָה שֶׁאַחַת מְדַבֶּרֶת וְכוּלָּן עוֹנוֹת אַחֲרֶיהָ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְלַמֵּדְנָה בְנוֹתֵיכֶם נֶהִי וְאִשָּׁה רְעוּתָהּ קִינָה The mishna explains: What is considered wailing? This is when they all wail together simultaneously. And what is considered a lament? This is when one speaks and they all answer after her with a repeated refrain, as it is stated: “And teach your daughters wailing and everyone her neighbor lamentation” (Jeremiah 9:19).
אֲבָל לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא הוּא אוֹמֵר בִּלַּע הַמָּוֶת לָנֶצַח וּמָחָה ה׳ אֱלֹהִים דִּמְעָה מֵעַל כׇּל פָּנִים וְגוֹ׳: In order to conclude on a positive note, the mishna says: But with regard to the future, the verse states: “He will destroy death forever; and the Lord, God, will wipe away tears from off all faces and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth” (Isaiah 25:8).
גְּמָ׳ מַאי אֲמַרַן אָמַר רַב וַיי לְאָזְלָא וַיי לַחֲבִילָא GEMARA: What do the women who wail over the dead say? Rav said: They say: Woe over him who is now departing; woe over him who is now returning the pledge, i.e., his soul, which had been deposited in his hands all the years of his life.
אָמַר רָבָא נְשֵׁי דְּשַׁכְנְצִיב אֲמַרַן הָכִי וַיי לָאָזְלָא וַיי לַחֲבִילָא וְאָמַר רָבָא נְשֵׁי דְשַׁכְנְצִיב אָמְרָן גּוּד גַּרְמָא מִכַּכָּא וְנִמְטֵי מַיָּא לְאַנְטִיכִי Rava said: The women in the city of Shekhantziv, who were known for their wisdom, would say as follows: Woe over him who is now departing; woe over him who is now returning the pledge. And Rava said: The women of Shekhantziv would say about an elderly person: The bone has been removed from the jaw and the water returns to the kettle.
וְאָמַר רָבָא נְשֵׁי דְשַׁכְנְצִיב אָמְרָן עֲטוֹף וְכַסּוֹ טוּרֵי דְּבַר רָמֵי וּבַר רַבְרְבֵי הוּא וְאָמַר רָבָא נְשֵׁי דְשַׁכְנְצִיב אָמְרָן שְׁייוֹל אִצְטְלָא דְמֵלָתָא לְבַר חוֹרִין דִּשְׁלִימוּ זְווֹדֵיהּ And Rava said: The women of Shekhantziv would say at a time of bereavement: Wrap and cover the mountains in mourning, as the deceased is the son of the high and distinguished. Rava said: The women of Shekhantziv would say: Lend out a cloak of fine wool to serve as a burial shroud for a free man whose sustenance has been depleted. In other words, a wealthy person who loses his fortune would rather die than live in poverty.
וְאָמַר רָבָא נְשֵׁי דְשַׁכְנְצִיב אָמְרָן רָהֵיט וְנָפֵיל אַמַּעְבָּרָא וִיזוּפְתָּא יָזֵיף וְאָמַר רָבָא נְשֵׁי דְשַׁכְנְצִיב אָמְרָן אֲחַנָא תַּגָּרֵי אַזַּבְזָגֵי מִיבַּדְקוּ וְאָמַר רָבָא נְשֵׁי דְשַׁכְנְצִיב אָמְרָן מוֹתָא כִּי מוֹתָא וּמַרְעִין חִיבוּלְיָא And Rava said: The women of Shekhantziv would say: A person runs and tumbles at the ford and still he borrows. And Rava said: The women of Shekhantziv would say: Our brothers, the merchants, will be examined at their places of business to see if they are honest businessmen. And Rava said: The women of Shekhantziv would say: Death is like death, as everyone must die, and suffering is like interest.
תַּנְיָא הָיָה רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר טוֹב לָלֶכֶת אֶל בֵּית אֵבֶל וְגוֹ׳ עַד וְהַחַי יִתֵּן אֶל לִבּוֹ דְּבָרִים שֶׁל מִיתָה דְּיִסְפֹּד יִסְפְּדוּנֵיהּ דְּיִקְבַּר יִקְבְּרוּנֵיהּ דְּיִטְעֹן יִטְעֲנוּנֵיהּ דִּידַל יְדַלּוּנֵיהּ It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir would say with regard to the verse “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2): What should the living lay to his heart? Matters relating to death. And these matters are as follows: He that eulogizes will be eulogized by others. He that buries others will be buried by others. He that loads many words of praise and tribute into the eulogies that he delivers for others will be similarly treated by others. He that raises his voice in weeping over others will have others raise their voices over him.
וְאִיכָּא דְאָמְרִי דְּלָא יְדַל יְדַלּוּנֵיהּ דִּכְתִיב כִּי טוֹב אֲמׇר לְךָ עֲלֵה הֵנָּה וְגוֹ׳ And some say: One who does not raise himself with pride, but chooses his place among the lowly, will be raised by others, as it is written: “Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and stand not in the place of great men. For it is better to be told, step up here, than to be degraded in the presence of the great” (Proverbs 25:6–7).
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן כְּשֶׁמֵּתוּ בָּנָיו שֶׁל רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל נִכְנְסוּ אַרְבָּעָה זְקֵנִים לְנַחֲמוֹ רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן וְרַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה וְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אֲמַר לָהֶם רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן דְּעוּ שֶׁחָכָם גָּדוֹל הוּא וּבָקִי בְּאַגָּדוֹת אַל יִכָּנֵס אֶחָד מִכֶּם לְתוֹךְ דִּבְרֵי חֲבֵירוֹ אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וַאֲנִי אַחֲרוֹן The Sages taught the following baraita: When the sons of Rabbi Yishmael died, four Elders entered to console him: Rabbi Tarfon, Rabbi Yosei HaGelili, Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya, and Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Tarfon said to them: Know that Rabbi Yishmael is a great Sage and well versed in aggadot. Let none of you interrupt the words of another, but rather each person should say something novel of his own. Rabbi Akiva said: And I shall speak last.
פָּתַח רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל וְאָמַר רַבּוּ עֲוֹנוֹתָיו תְּכָפוּהוּ אֲבָלָיו הִטְרִיחַ רַבּוֹתָיו פַּעַם רִאשׁוֹנָה וּשְׁנִיָּה Rabbi Yishmael, the mourner, opened and said about himself: Many are his sins. Due to this, his bereavements came in quick succession and he troubled his teachers once and then a second time to come and console him.
נַעֲנָה רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן וְאָמַר וַאֲחֵיכֶם כׇּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל יִבְכּוּ אֶת הַשְּׂרֵפָה וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר וּמָה נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא שֶׁלֹּא עָשׂוּ אֶלָּא מִצְוָה אַחַת דִּכְתִיב וַיַּקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן אֶת הַדָּם אֵלָיו כָּךְ בָּנָיו שֶׁל רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה Having been granted permission to speak, Rabbi Tarfon answered and said: With regard to the death of Aaron’s sons it says: “But let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled” (Leviticus 10:6). Are these matters not inferred a fortiori: If, with regard to Nadav and Avihu, who had performed only one mitzva that is explicitly mentioned in the Bible, as it is written: “And the sons of Aaron brought the blood to him” (Leviticus 9:9), this was nevertheless stated about them, then with regard to the sons of Rabbi Yishmael, who were well known for their performance of many mitzvot, all the more so should the entire Jewish people bewail their death.
נַעֲנָה רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי וְאָמַר וְסָפְדוּ לוֹ כׇל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְקָבְרוּ אוֹתוֹ וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר וּמָה אֲבִיָּה בֶּן יָרׇבְעָם שֶׁלֹּא עָשָׂה אֶלָּא דָּבָר אֶחָד טוֹב דִּכְתִיב בֵּיהּ יַעַן נִמְצָא בוֹ דָּבָר טוֹב כָּךְ בָּנָיו שֶׁל רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה Rabbi Yosei HaGelili answered and said: With regard to Abijah, son of King Jeroboam, the verse states: “And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him” (I Kings 14:13). Are these matters not inferred a fortiori: If, with regard to Abijah, son of Jeroboam, who did only one good thing, as it is written: “Because in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel” (I Kings 14:13), i.e., he did only one good thing, and this was his reward, then with regard to the sons of Rabbi Yishmael all the more so should they be rewarded by having the entire Jewish people mourn for them and bury them.
מַאי דָּבָר טוֹב רַבִּי זֵירָא וְרַבִּי חִינָּנָא בַּר פָּפָּא חַד אָמַר שֶׁבִּיטֵּל מִשְׁמַרְתּוֹ וְעָלָה לָרֶגֶל וְחַד אָמַר שֶׁבִּיטֵּל פַּרְדְּסָאוֹת שֶׁהוֹשִׁיב יָרׇבְעָם אָבִיו עַל הַדְּרָכִים שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לָרֶגֶל The Gemara asks: What was this one good thing that Abijah did? Rabbi Zeira and Rabbi Ḥinnana bar Pappa disagreed about this issue. One said: He abandoned his guard post. His father, Jeroboam, had assigned him to serve as one of the guards whose mission it was to prevent people from going up to Jerusalem on the pilgrimage Festivals. And he himself went up to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage Festival. And one said: He removed the guards [pardesaot] that his father, Jeroboam, had placed along the roads so that the people of Israel would not go up to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage Festivals.
נַעֲנָה רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה וְאָמַר בְּשָׁלוֹם תָּמוּת וּבְמִשְׂרְפוֹת אֲבוֹתֶיךָ הַמְּלָכִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים [אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ לְפָנֶיךָ כֵּן] יִשְׂרְפוּ לָךְ וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר וּמָה צִדְקִיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה שֶׁלֹּא עָשָׂה אֶלָּא מִצְוָה אַחַת שֶׁהֶעֱלָה יִרְמְיָה מִן הַטִּיט כָּךְ בָּנָיו שֶׁל רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה The baraita continues: Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya answered and said: With regard to King Zedekiah, the verse states: “But you shall die in peace; and with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings that were before you, so shall they make a burning for you” (Jeremiah 34:5). Are these matters not inferred a fortiori: If, with regard to Zedekiah, king of Judea, who had performed only one mitzva that is explicitly mentioned in the Bible, for he had Jeremiah lifted out of the mire (Jeremiah 38:10), this was nevertheless stated about him, then with regard to the sons of Rabbi Yishmael all the more so should they be rewarded by dying in peace.
נַעֲנָה רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְאָמַר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִגְדַּל הַמִּסְפֵּד בִּירוּשָׁלִַם כְּמִסְפַּד הֲדַדְרִימּוֹן [בְּבִקְעַת מְגִידּוֹ] וְאָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף אִלְמָלֵא תַּרְגּוּמֵיהּ דְּהַאי קְרָא לָא הֲוָה יָדַעְנָא מַאי קָאָמַר Rabbi Akiva answered and said: The verse states: “On that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon” (Zechariah 12:11). The Gemara comments: With regard to this verse, Rav Yosef said: Had it not been for the Aramaic translation of this verse, we would not have known what it is saying, as nowhere in the Bible do we find this incident involving Hadadrimmon.
בְּעִידָּנָא הָהוּא יִסְגֵּי מִסְפְּדָא בִּירוּשְׁלֶם כְּמִסְפְּדָא דְּאַחְאָב בַּר עָמְרִי דִּקְטַל יָתֵיהּ הֲדַדְרִימּוֹן בַּר טַבְרִימּוֹן וּכְמִסְפֵּד דְּיֹאשִׁיָּה בַּר אָמוֹן דִּקְטַל יָתֵיהּ פַּרְעֹה חֲגִירָא בְּבִקְעַת מְגִידּוֹ The Aramaic translation reads as follows: At that time the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning over Ahab, son of Omri, who was slain by Hadadrimmon, son of Tabrimmon, and like the mourning over Josiah, son of Amon, who was slain by Pharaoh the lame in the valley of Megiddon.
וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר וּמָה אַחְאָב מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁלֹּא עָשָׂה אֶלָּא דָּבָר אֶחָד טוֹב דִּכְתִיב וְהַמֶּלֶךְ הָיָה מׇעֳמָד בַּמֶּרְכָּבָה נֹכַח אֲרָם כָּךְ בָּנָיו שֶׁל רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה The baraita continues: Are these matters not inferred a fortiori: If, with regard to Ahab, king of Israel, who did only one good thing that is explicitly mentioned in the Bible, as it is written: “And the king was propped up in his chariot facing Aram” (I Kings 22:35), as he did not want the Jewish people to see that he was mortally wounded and flee, and this, that he was greatly mourned, was nevertheless stated about him, then all the more so will the sons of Rabbi Yishmael be greatly mourned.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ רָבָא לְרַבָּה בַּר מָרִי כְּתִיב בֵּיהּ בְּצִדְקִיָּהוּ בְּשָׁלוֹם תָּמוּת וּכְתִיב וְאֶת עֵינֵי צִדְקִיָּהוּ עִוֵּר אֲמַר לֵיהּ הָכִי אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן שֶׁמֵּת נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר בְּיָמָיו The Gemara discusses issues in the aforementioned verses: Rava said to Rabba bar Mari: It is written with regard to Zedekiah: “You shall die in peace,” but elsewhere it is written: “And he put out Zedekiah’s eyes” (Jeremiah 39:7). Rabba bar Mari said to him: Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: The first verse: “You shall die in peace,” means that Nebuchadnezzar died in Zedekiah’s lifetime and consequently the latter died in peace, having seen the death of the wicked.
וְאָמַר רָבָא לְרַבָּה בַּר מָרִי כְּתִיב בֵּיהּ בְּיֹאשִׁיָּהוּ לָכֵן הִנְנִי אוֹסִיפְךָ עַל אֲבוֹתֶיךָ וְנֶאֱסַפְתָּ אֶל קִבְרוֹתֶיךָ בְּשָׁלוֹם וּכְתִיב וַיּוֹרוּ הַיּוֹרִים לַמֶּלֶךְ יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ וְאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב שֶׁעֲשָׂאוּהוּ כִּכְבָרָה And Rava further said to Rabba bar Mari: It is written with regard to Josiah: “Behold, therefore I will gather you unto your fathers, and you shall be gathered into your grave in peace” (II Kings 22:20), and elsewhere it is written: “And the archers shot at King Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Get me away; for I am grievously wounded” (II Chronicles 35:23). And with regard to this verse Rabbi Yehuda said that Rav said: With their many arrows, they made his body like a sieve.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ הָכִי אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן שֶׁלֹּא חָרַב בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בְּיָמָיו Rabba bar Mari said to him: Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: The words “in peace” stated with regard to King Josiah refer to the fact that the Temple was not destroyed in his lifetime, as the verse itself continues: “And your eyes shall not see all the evil that I will bring upon this place” (II Kings 22:20).
אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אֵין מְנַחֲמִין רַשָּׁאִין לוֹמַר דָּבָר עַד שֶׁיִּפְתַּח אָבֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אַחֲרֵי כֵן פָּתַח אִיּוֹב אֶת פִּיהוּ וַהֲדַר וַיַּעַן אֱלִיפַז הַתֵּימָנִי The Gemara returns to examining the halakhot of consolation. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The consolers are not permitted to speak words of consolation until the mourner opens and speaks first. As it is stated: “And they sat down with him upon the ground for seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word to him; for they saw that his suffering was very great. After this Job opened his mouth” (Job 2:13–3:1). And afterward: “And Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said” (Job 4:1).
אָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ מִנַּיִן לָאָבֵל שֶׁמֵּיסֵב בָּרֹאשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֶבֲחַר דַּרְכָּם וְאֵשֵׁב רֹאשׁ וְאֶשְׁכּוֹן כְּמֶלֶךְ בַּגְּדוּד כַּאֲשֶׁר אֲבֵלִים יְנַחֵם Rabbi Abbahu said: From where is it derived that the mourner reclines at the head [rosh] of the table? As it is stated: “I chose out their way, and sat as chief [rosh], and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforts [yenaḥem] the mourners” (Job 29:25). This indicates that the mourner sits at the head of the table, as the chief.
יְנַחֵם אַחֲרִינֵי מַשְׁמַע אָמַר רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק יִנָּחֵם כְּתִיב The Gemara raises an objection: But the word yenaḥem means that he comforts others, thereby implying that one who comforts the mourners sits at the head of the table. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: The word is written as yinaḥem, meaning: Will be comforted, and therefore can be understood as referring to the mourner.
מָר זוּטְרָא אָמַר מֵהָכָא וְסָר מִרְזַח סְרוּחִים מִרְזָח נַעֲשֶׂה שַׂר לִסְרוּחִים Mar Zutra said: A proof may be derived from here: The verse “And the revelry [mirzaḥ] of those who stretched themselves out shall pass away [sar]” (Amos 6:7) means that mirzaḥ, he who is bitter [mar] and whose mind is overwrought [zaḥ] due to grief, is made a prince [sar] over those who sit beside him stretched out below him to comfort him.
אָמַר רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר חֲנִינָא מִנַּיִן לְחָתָן שֶׁמֵּיסֵב בָּרֹאשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כְּחָתָן יְכַהֵן פְּאֵר מָה כֹּהֵן בָּרֹאשׁ אַף חָתָן בָּרֹאשׁ Rabbi Ḥama bar Ḥanina said: From where is it derived that a groom reclines at the head of the table? As it is stated: “As a bridegroom decks himself [yekhahen] with a garland” (Isaiah 61:10). Just as a priest [kohen] is at the head of the table, so too, a bridegroom is at the head of the table.
וְכֹהֵן גּוּפֵיהּ מְנָלַן דְּתָנָא דְּבֵי רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל וְקִדַּשְׁתּוֹ לְכׇל דָּבָר שֶׁבִּקְדוּשָּׁה לִפְתּוֹחַ רִאשׁוֹן וּלְבָרֵךְ רִאשׁוֹן וְלִיטּוֹל מָנָה יָפָה רִאשׁוֹן The Gemara asks: From where do we derive that the priest himself sits at the head? The Gemara answers: As the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: With regard to a priest it says: “You shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God” (Leviticus 21:8), meaning that you are to sanctify him with regard to all matters of sanctity: To be first to begin reading the Torah, to be first to recite the Grace after Meals, and to be first to take a portion during a meal.
אָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא קָשָׁה יְצִיאַת נְשָׁמָה מִן הַגּוּף § The Gemara returns to its discussion of death: Rabbi Ḥanina said: The soul’s departure from the body is as difficult