לְמִיטְעֵי אָמְרִי הַאי חָסֵר הוּא וְהַאי דְּלָא עֲבִיד מֵאֶתְמוֹל מִשּׁוּם דְּלָא אֶפְשָׁר אוֹ דִלְמָא מָלֵא הוּא וּבִזְמַנּוֹ עֲבַדוּ to err. They will be unsure how to interpret the lighting of the torches, as they will say: Perhaps this month is deficient, i.e., of twenty-nine days, and the reason that the torch sequence was not performed yesterday, on Shabbat eve, is due to the fact that it was impossible to do so on Shabbat. Or perhaps it is a full, thirty-day month, and they are performing the sequence at its proper time. Therefore, the Sages instituted that the torches should be lit only after deficient months, and the absence of this signal means that the month was a full one.
וְלֶיעְבֵּיד בֵּין אַמָּלֵא בֵּין אַחָסֵר וְכִי מִקְּלַע רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת לָא לֶיעְבֵּיד כְּלָל וְכֵיוָן דְּלָא עָבְדִינַן מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת וְעָבְדִינַן אַמָּלֵא מִידָּע יָדְעִי דְּחָסֵר הוּא The Gemara suggests: And let them perform the ceremony both for a full, thirty-day month and for a deficient one, and when the New Moon occurs on Shabbat eve, in which case they would have to light the torches after Shabbat, let them not perform it at all. And since the torches are not lit this month at the conclusion of Shabbat, and one normally performs the sequence for a full month, people will know that the month is deficient. In this manner, it should be possible to light the torches for all the months, with this one exception.
אֲפִילּוּ הָכִי אָתוּ לְמִיטְעֵי אָמְרִי הַאי מָלֵא הוּא וְהַאי דְּלָא עָבְדִי אִיתְּנוֹסֵי הוּא דְּאִיתְּנוּסי The Gemara answers: Even so, people might come to err, as they will say: This month is indeed full, and the reason that they are not performing the ceremony is that they were subject to circumstances beyond their control. Therefore, there might still be confusion as to the date of the New Moon that month.
וְלֶיעְבֵּיד אַמָּלֵא וְלָא לֶיעְבֵּיד אַחָסֵר כְּלָל אָמַר אַבָּיֵי מִשּׁוּם בִּיטּוּל מְלָאכָה לָעָם שְׁנֵי יָמִים: The Gemara asks: And let them perform the ceremony of torches only for a full, thirty-day month, and not perform it for a deficient month at all, in which case there will never be room for error. Abaye said: This cannot be done, because this would lead to a two-day suspension of work for the people, as it was customary to refrain from certain types of work on the New Moon. After a full month there will always be a suspension of work for two days, as the people must abstain from work on the thirtieth of the month in case it is declared the New Moon. However, if the torches are lit for a deficient month, then at least in that case people could return to work the following day. Therefore, the Sages instituted that the torches are lit only for a deficient month.
כֵּיצַד הָיוּ מַשִּׂיאִין מַשּׂוּאוֹת מְבִיאִין כְּלוֹנְסוֹת כּוּ׳ אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אַרְבָּעָה מִינֵי אֲרָזִים הֵן אֶרֶז קַתְרוֹם עֵץ שֶׁמֶן וּבְרוֹשׁ קַתְרוֹם אָמַר רַב אַדְרָא דְּבֵי רַבִּי שֵׁילָא אָמְרִי מַבְלִיגָא וְאָמְרִי לַהּ זוֹ גּוּלְמֵישׁ § The mishna taught: How would they light the torches? They would bring long poles [kelonsot] of cedar and other materials that burn well, tie them all together, and set them on fire. Rav Yehuda said that there are four types of cedar: Cedar, katrom, pinewood, and cypress. With regard to the identification of the tree called katrom, Rav said: This is the addera tree. In the school of Rabbi Sheila, they say: This is the mavliga tree. And some say it is the gulmish tree.
וּפְלִיגָא דְּרַבָּה בַּר רַב הוּנָא דְּאָמַר רַבָּה בַּר רַב הוּנָא אָמְרִי בֵּי רַב עֲשָׂרָה מִינֵי אֲרָזִים הֵם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֶתֵּן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֶרֶז שִׁטָּה וַהֲדַס וְעֵץ שָׁמֶן אָשִׂים בָּעֲרָבָה בְּרוֹשׁ תִּדְהָר וּתְאַשּׁוּר יַחְדָּו אֶרֶז אַרְזָא שִׁטָּה תּוּרְנִיתָא הֲדַס אַסָּא עֵץ שֶׁמֶן אֲפַרְסְמָא בְּרוֹשׁ בְּרָתָא תִּדְהָר שָׁאגָא תְּאַשּׁוּר שׁוּרִיבְנָא The Gemara comments: And this opinion of Rav Yehuda disagrees with that of Rabba bar Rav Huna. As Rabba bar Rav Huna said that they say in the school of Rav: There are ten species of cedar, as it is stated: “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia tree and myrtle and the pine tree; I will set in the desert cypress, the plane tree, and the larch together” (Isaiah 41:19). The seven species mentioned in this verse are all types of cedars. The Gemara proceeds to identify these trees by their Aramaic names: Cedar is arza, acacia is tornita, myrtle is asa, pine tree is afarsema, cypress is berata, maple is shaga, and box tree is shorivna.
הָנֵי שִׁבְעָה הָווּ כִּי אֲתָא רַב דִּימִי אָמַר הוֹסִיפוּ עֲלֵיהֶם אַלּוֹנִים אַלְמוֹנִים אַלְמוּגִּין אַלּוֹנִים בּוּטְמֵי אַלְמוֹנִים בָּלוּטֵי אַלְמוּגִּין כְּסִיתָא אִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי אַרוּנִּים עַרְמוֹנִים אַלְמוּגִּין אַרוּנִּים עָרֵי עַרְמוֹנִים דּוּלְבֵי אַלְמוּגִּין כְּסִיתָא The Gemara asks: Even if we count all the names in the verse, these are only seven, not ten. When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Israel to Babylonia, he said: They added to them three more types of cedar: Terebinth, oak, and coral wood. The Gemara identifies them: Terebinth is the tree called butmei, oak is balutei, and coral wood is kasita. There are those who say that the additional three types are: Bay tree, plane tree, and coral wood. And their Aramaic names are as follows: Bay tree is arei, plane is dulvei, and coral wood is kasita.
וְצִי אַדִּיר לֹא יַעַבְרֶנּוּ אָמַר רַב זוֹ בּוּרְנִי גְּדוֹלָה § Apropos coral, the Gemara cites a relevant verse: “Neither shall a tzi adir be able to cross it” (Isaiah 33:21), i.e., it will not be able to traverse the river that will issue forth from the Temple in the future. What is this tzi adir? Rav said: This is a great ship [burnei] used to collect coral from the sea.
הֵיכִי עָבְדִי מַיְיתוּ שֵׁית אַלְפֵי גַּבְרֵי בִּתְרֵיסַר יַרְחֵי שַׁתָּא וְאָמְרִי לַהּ תְּרֵיסַר אַלְפֵי גַּבְרֵי בְּשִׁיתָּא יַרְחֵי שַׁתָּא וְטָעֲנִי לַהּ חָלָא עַד דְּשָׁכְנָא וְנָחֵית בַּר אָמוֹרַאי וְקָטַר אֲטוּנֵי דְכִיתָּנָא בִּכְסִיתָא וְקָטַר לְהוּ בִּסְפִינְתָּא וְנָטְלִי חָלָא וְשָׁדוּ לְבָרַאי וְכַמָּה דְּמִדַּלְיָא עָקְרָא וּמַתְיָא The Gemara explains: How do they perform this collection of coral? They bring six thousand men to work for twelve months of the year, and some say they bring twelve thousand men for six months of the year. And they load the ship with sand until it sinks to the bottom of the sea. A diver descends and ties flax ropes around the coral and ties the other ends of the ropes to the boat. And then they take the sand and cast it overboard, and the boat rises once again to the surface. And as it rises, it uproots and brings the coral with it.
וּמַחְלֵיף עַל חַד תְּרֵין בְּכַסְפָּא תְּלָת פַּרְווֹתָא הָוְיָין תַּרְתֵּי בֵּי רוֹמָאֵי וַחֲדָא דְּבֵי פָרְסָאֵי דְּבֵי רוֹמָאֵי מַסְּקָן כְּסִיתָא דְּבֵי פָרְסָאֵי מַסְּקָן מַרְגָּנְיָיתָא וּמִקַּרְיָיא פַּרְווֹתָא דְמַשְׁמְהִיג The Gemara comments: And this coral is so precious that it is exchanged for twice its weight in silver. The Gemara further notes: There are three ports in those places. Two belong to the Romans [Armai], and one belongs to the Persians. In the one belonging to the Romans, they raise up coral, whereas in the one belonging to the Persians, they raise up pearls. And the Persian ports are called royal ports.
אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן כׇּל שִׁיטָּה וְשִׁיטָּה שֶׁנָּטְלוּ גּוֹיִם מִירוּשָׁלַיִם עָתִיד הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהַחֲזִירָן לָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֶתֵּן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֶרֶז שִׁטָּה וְאֵין מִדְבָּר אֶלָּא יְרוּשָׁלַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר צִיּוֹן מִדְבָּר הָיְתָה וְגוֹ׳ With regard to the aforementioned verse, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Each and every acacia tree that the gentiles took from Jerusalem will be returned to the city by the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia tree and myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert cypress, the plane tree and the larch together” (Isaiah 41:19). And the term wilderness is referring to nothing other than Jerusalem, as it is stated: “Zion is become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation” (Isaiah 64:9).
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן כׇּל הַלּוֹמֵד תּוֹרָה וְאֵינוֹ מְלַמְּדָהּ דּוֹמֶה לַהֲדַס בַּמִּדְבָּר אִיכָּא דְאָמְרִי כׇּל הַלּוֹמֵד תּוֹרָה וּמְלַמְּדָהּ בִּמְקוֹם שֶׁאֵין תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים דּוֹמֶה לַהֲדַס בַּמִּדְבָּר דְּחַבִּיב And Rabbi Yoḥanan also said: Anyone who studies Torah but does not teach it to others is likened to a myrtle in the wilderness. The myrtle has a pleasant fragrance, but there is nobody to enjoy it in the wilderness. There are those who say a different version of this statement: Anyone who studies Torah and teaches it to others in a place where there are no other Torah scholars is likened to a myrtle in the wilderness, which is especially precious and thoroughly enjoyed by those who find it.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אוֹי לָהֶם לַגּוֹיִם שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם תַּקָּנָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר תַּחַת הַנְּחֹשֶׁת אָבִיא זָהָב וְתַחַת הַבַּרְזֶל אָבִיא כֶסֶף וְתַחַת הָעֵצִים נְחֹשֶׁת וְתַחַת הָאֲבָנִים בַּרְזֶל תַּחַת רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וַחֲבֵירָיו מַאי מְבִיאִין וַעֲלֵיהֶם הוּא אוֹמֵר וְנִקֵּיתִי דָּמָם לֹא נִקֵּיתִי: And Rabbi Yoḥanan further said: Woe to the nations of the world, as they have no remedy for the sins they committed against the Jewish people, as it is stated: “For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron” (Isaiah 60:17). For all things there is a remedy, as one can always exchange them for an item of equivalent or greater value. However, for Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues, whom the nations put to death, what can one bring to atone for their sin? And with regard to them it is stated: And I will hold them as innocent, but for their blood I will not hold them innocent (see Joel 4:21).
וּמֵאַיִן הָיוּ מַשִּׂיאִין מַשּׂוּאוֹת כּוּ׳ וּמִבֵּית בִּלְתִּין מַאי בֵּית בִּלְתִּין אָמַר רַב § The mishna states: And from which mountains would they light the torches? From the Mount of Olives to Sartava, and from Sartava to Gerofina, and from Gerofina to Ḥavran, and from Ḥavran to Beit Baltin. And from Beit Baltin they would not light torches in any other pre-established places. The Gemara asks: What is this place called Beit Baltin? Rav said: