Pesachim 109bפסחים ק״ט ב
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109bק״ט ב

אמה על אמה ברום שלש אמות ושיערו חכמים שיעור מי מקוה ארבעים סאה

A cubit, by a cubit, by a height of three cubits. And the Sages measured the measure of the water necessary for a ritual bath at forty se’a.

אמר רב אשי אמר לי רבין בר חיננא שולחן של מקדש של פרקים הוה דאי סלקא דעתך הדוקי הוה מיהדק אמתא באמתא היכי מטבליה

The Gemara cites a discussion related to the topic of measurements. Rav Ashi said: Ravin bar Ḥinnana said to me: The table of the Temple, upon which the shewbread was placed, was comprised of assembled parts. For if it should enter your mind that the table was firmly connected and could not be taken apart, how could the priests immerse a cubit in a cubit? The dimensions of the table were two cubits by one cubit, with a height of one and a half cubits. If the table contracted ritual impurity, it had to be immersed in a ritual bath. If a ritual bath contains an area of one cubit by one cubit, the table can fit inside only if it is dismantled.

מאי קושיא דילמא בים שעשה שלמה הוה מטביל ליה דתני רבי חייא ים שעשה שלמה מחזיק מאה וחמשים מקוה טהרה:

The Gemara responds: What is the difficulty? Perhaps the priest would immerse it in the sea that King Solomon built, which was a very wide ritual bath, as it states: “And he made the molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass” (I Kings 7:23). As Rabbi Ḥiyya taught: The sea that Solomon built contained the volume of water of one hundred and fifty ritual purification baths. It was certainly possible to immerse even large vessels in this sea.

ולא יפחתו לו מארבעה: היכי מתקני רבנן מידי דאתי בה לידי סכנה והתניא לא יאכל אדם תרי ולא ישתה תרי ולא יקנח תרי ולא יעשה צרכיו תרי

We learned in the mishna that even with regard to the poorest of Jews, the charity distributors should not give him less than four cups of wine. The Gemara asks: How could the Sages establish a matter through which one will come to expose himself to danger? But wasn’t it taught in a baraita: A person should not eat pairs, i.e., an even number of food items; and he should not drink pairs of cups; and he should not wipe himself with pairs; and he should not attend to his sexual needs in pairs. The concern was that one who uses pairs exposes himself to sorcery or demons. Why would the Sages require one to drink an even number of cups and thereby place himself in a position of danger?

אמר רב נחמן אמר קרא ליל שמורים ליל המשומר ובא מן המזיקין

Rav Naḥman said that the verse said: “It was a night of watching to the Lord” (Exodus 12:42), which indicates that Passover night is a night that remains guarded from demons and harmful spirits of all kinds. Therefore, there is no cause for concern about this form of danger on this particular night.

רבא אמר כוס של ברכה מצטרף לטובה ואינו מצטרף לרעה רבינא אמר ארבעה כסי תקינו רבנן דרך חירות כל חד וחד

Rava said a different answer: The cup of blessing for Grace after Meals on Passover night is used in the performance of an additional mitzva and is not simply an expression of freedom. Therefore, it combines with the other cups for the good, i.e., to fulfill the mitzva to drink four cups, and it does not combine for the bad. With regard to the danger of drinking pairs of cups, it is as though one drinks only three cups. Ravina said: The Sages instituted four separate cups, each of which is consumed in a manner that demonstrates freedom. Therefore, each and every one