Nedarim 40aנדרים מ׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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40aמ׳ א

רב חלבו באיש לא איכא דקא אתי אמר להו לא כך היה מעשה בתלמיד אחד מתלמידי ר' עקיבא שחלה לא נכנסו חכמים לבקרו ונכנס ר' עקיבא לבקרו ובשביל שכיבדו וריבצו לפניו חיה א"ל רבי החייתני יצא ר' עקיבא ודרש כל מי שאין מבקר חולים כאילו שופך דמים

Rav Ḥelbo fell ill. There was no one who came to visit him. Rav Kahana said to the Sages: Didn’t the incident involving one of the students of Rabbi Akiva who became sick transpire in that manner? In that case, the Sages did not enter to visit him, and Rabbi Akiva entered to visit him and instructed his students to care for him. And since they swept and sprinkled water on the dirt floor before the sick student, he recovered. The student said to Rabbi Akiva: My teacher, you revived me. Rabbi Akiva went out and taught: With regard to anyone who does not visit the ill, it is as though he is spilling blood, as it could be that the sick person has no one to care for him. If there are no visitors, no one will know his situation and therefore no one will come to his aid.

כי אתא רב דימי אמר כל המבקר את החולה גורם לו שיחיה וכל שאינו מבקר את החולה גורם לו שימות מאי גרמא אילימא כל המבקר את החולה מבקש עליו רחמים שיחיה וכל שאין מבקר את החולה מבקש עליו רחמים שימות שימות ס"ד אלא כל שאין מבקר חולה אין מבקש עליו רחמים לא שיחיה ולא שימות

When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia he said: Anyone who visits the ill causes that he will live, and anyone who does not visit the ill causes that he will die. The Gemara asks: In what way are his actions the cause of that result? If we say that anyone who visits the ill pleads for mercy from God that he will live, and anyone who does not visit the ill pleads for mercy that he will die, does it enter your mind that he would pray that the sick person will die? Rather, anyone who does not visit the ill does not plead for mercy for him, neither that he will live nor that he will die. Since he might have saved the sick person with prayers had he visited, his failure to visit is tantamount to causing his death.

רבא יומא קדמאה דחליש אמר להון לא תיגלו לאיניש דלא לתרע מזליה מכאן ואילך אמר להון פוקו ואכריזו בשוקא דכל דסני לי ליחדי לי וכתיב (משלי כד, יז) בנפול אויבך אל תשמח וגו' ודרחים לי ליבעי עלי רחמי

The Gemara relates with regard to Rava: On the first day that he was ill, he would say to his family: Do not reveal to any person that I am ill, so that his luck not suffer. From this point forward, when his situation deteriorated he would say to them: Go and proclaim in the marketplace that I am ill, as thereby let all who hate me rejoice over my distress, and it is written: “Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him” (Proverbs 24:17–18). And let all who love me pray that God have mercy upon me.

אמר רב כל המבקר את החולה ניצול מדינה של גיהנם שנאמר (תהלים מא, ב) אשרי משכיל אל דל ביום רעה ימלטהו י"י אין דל אלא חולה שנאמר (ישעיהו לח, יב) מדלה יבצעני אי נמי מן הדין קרא (שמואל ב יג, ד) מדוע אתה ככה דל בן המלך בבקר בבקר וגו' אין רעה אלא גיהנם שנאמר (משלי טז, ד) כל פעל י"י למענהו וגם רשע ליום רעה

Rav said: Anyone who visits the ill is spared from the judgment of Gehenna, as it is stated: “Happy is he that considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the day of evil” (Psalms 41:2). In this verse, the term poor [dal] means nothing other than ill, as it is stated in the prayer of Hezekiah when he was ill: “He will cut me off from the illness [middalla]” (Isaiah 38:12). Alternatively, it may be derived from this verse in which Jonadab asked his sick friend Amnon, son of King David: “Why, son of the king, are you so sick [dal] from morning to morning?” (II Samuel 13:4). And the term evil means nothing other than Gehenna, as it is stated: “The Lord made everything for His own purpose, and even the wicked for the day of evil” (Proverbs 16:4), and the ultimate punishment of the evildoer is Gehenna.

ואם ביקר מה שכרו מה שכרו כדאמר ניצול מדינה של גיהנם אלא מה שכרו בעוה"ז

And if one visited the ill, what is his reward? The Gemara wonders at that question: What is his reward? It is as Rav said: He is spared from the judgment of Gehenna. Rather, the question is: What is his reward in this world?

(תהלים מא, ג) י"י ישמרהו ויחייהו ואושר בארץ ואל תתנהו בנפש אויביו יי' ישמרהו מיצר הרע ויחייהו מן היסורין ואושר בארץ שיהו הכל מתכבדין בו ואל תתנהו בנפש אויביו שיזדמנו לו רועים כנעמן שריפו את צרעתו ואל יזדמנו לו ריעים כרחבעם שחילקו את מלכותו

Rav continues: His reward is as it is written: “The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive, let him be called happy in the land; and deliver not You him unto the greed of his enemies” (Psalms 41:3). He elaborates: “The Lord will preserve him” from the evil inclination; “and keep him alive” and spare him from suffering; “let him be called happy in the land” means that everyone will be honored from their association with him; “and deliver not You him unto the greed of his enemies,” so that companions like those who counseled Naaman to seek a cure for his leprosy from Elisha (II Kings 5:3) will happen to associate with him, and companions like those who counseled Rehoboam with advice that resulted in the schism in his kingdom (I Kings 12:6–19) will not happen to associate with him.

תניא ר"ש בן אלעזר אומר אם יאמרו לך ילדים בנה וזקנים סתור שמע לזקנים ואל תשמע לילדים שבנין ילדים סתירה וסתירת זקנים בנין וסימן לדבר (מלכים א יב, כא) רחבעם בן שלמה

On a similar note, it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: If youths would say to you: Construct, and Elders would say to you: Demolish, heed the Elders and do not heed the youths, as the construction of youths is demolition, and the demolition of Elders is construction. And a mnemonic device for this matter is “Rehoboam, son of Solomon” (I Kings 12:21). Had he heeded the advice of the Elders and yielded at that time, there would have been no schism.

אמר רב שישא בריה דרב אידי לא ליסעוד איניש קצירא לא בתלת שעי קדמייתא ולא בתלת שעי בתרייתא דיומא כי היכי דלא ליסח דעתיה מן רחמי תלת שעי קדמייתא רווחא דעתיה בתרייתא תקיף חולשיה

Rav Sheisha, son of Rav Idi, said: Let one not visit a sick person, neither during the first three hours of the day, nor in the last three hours of the day, so that he will not be diverted from praying for mercy. Rav Sheisha elaborates: During the first three hours the sick person is relieved, as after a night’s sleep his suffering is somewhat alleviated and the visitor will conclude that there is no need for prayer. In the last three hours of the day his weakness is exacerbated, and the visitor will despair of ameliorating his suffering and will conclude that prayer is futile.

אמר רבין אמר רב מניין שהקב"ה זן את החולה שנאמר (תהלים מא, ד) יי' יסעדנו על ערש דוי וגו' ואמר רבין אמר רב מניין שהשכינה שרויה למעלה ממטתו של חולה שנאמר יי' יסעדנו על ערש דוי

§ Ravin said that Rav said: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He Himself sustains the sick person? It is as it is stated: “The Lord will support him upon the bed of suffering” (Psalms 41:4). Support in this context is understood to mean that He will feed him. And Ravin said that Rav said: From where is it derived that the Divine Presence is resting above the bed of the sick person? It is also as it is stated: “The Lord will support him upon the bed of suffering,” which indicates that God is actually over his bed.

תניא נמי הכי הנכנס לבקר את החולה לא ישב לא על גבי מטה ולא ע"ג ספסל ולא על גבי כסא אלא מתעטף ויושב ע"ג קרקע מפני שהשכינה שרויה למעלה ממטתו של חולה שנאמר יי' יסעדנו על ערש דוי

The Gemara notes that this is also taught in a baraita: One who enters to visit a sick person may neither sit on the bed nor sit on a bench or on a chair that is higher than the bed upon which the sick person is lying. Rather, he deferentially wraps himself in his garment and sits on the ground, because the Divine Presence is resting above the bed of the sick person, as it is stated: “The Lord will support him upon the bed of suffering,” and it is inappropriate for one to sit above the place where the Divine Presence rests.

ואמר רבין אמר רב מטרא במערבא סהדא רבה פרת ופליגא דשמואל דאמר שמואל נהרא מכיפיה מתבריך ופליגא דשמואל אדשמואל דאמר שמואל אין המים מטהרין בזוחלין

And apropos statements of Rav cited by Ravin, the Gemara cites an additional statement that Ravin said that Rav said: When there is rain in the West, Eretz Yisrael, a great witness to that rainfall is the Euphrates River, as ultimately that rainwater increases the water flow in the Euphrates River. And this statement of Rav disagrees with a statement of Shmuel, as Shmuel said: A river is blessed from its banks, i.e., the increase in its water flow is attributable to its tributaries and not to rain. The Gemara comments: And this statement of Shmuel disagrees with another statement of Shmuel, as Shmuel said: The water purifies when flowing