״וּמָה חַשְׁחָן וּבְנֵי תוֹרִין וְדִכְרִין וְאִמְּרִין לַעֲלָוָן לֶאֱלָהּ שְׁמַיָּא חִנְטִין מְלַח חֲמַר וּמְשַׁח כְּמֵאמַר כָּהֲנַיָּא דִי בִירוּשְׁלֶם לֶהֱוֵא מִתְיְהֵב לְהֹם יוֹם בְּיוֹם דִּי לָא שָׁלוּ״! אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי יִצְחָק: רַבִּי, מִטּוּנָךְ: ״דִּי לֶהֱוֹן מְהַקְרְבִין נִיחוֹחִין לֶאֱלָהּ שְׁמַיָּא וּמְצַלַּיִן לְחַיֵּי מַלְכָּא וּבְנוֹהִי״. “And that which they need, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt-offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the word of the priests who are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail” (Ezra 6:9)? Doesn’t Cyrus’ contribution to the Temple demonstrate his fear of Heaven? Rabbi Yitzḥak said to Rav Kahana: My teacher, a refutation can be brought from your own burden, from the text you yourself cited, as the next verse continues: “That they may sacrifice offerings of sweet savor to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons” (Ezra 6:10). This shows that Cyrus did this solely for his own benefit, so that the Jews would sacrifice offerings and pray for him and his sons.
וּמַאן דְּעָבֵד הָכִי לָאו מְעַלְּיוּתָא הִיא? וְהָתַנְיָא, הָאוֹמֵר: ״סֶלַע זוֹ לִצְדָקָה בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁיִּחְיוּ בָּנַי״, וּ״בִשְׁבִיל שֶׁאֶזְכֶּה בָּהּ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא״ — הֲרֵי זֶה צַדִּיק גָּמוּר. The Gemara asks: And one who acts in this manner, is he not acting in exemplary fashion? Isn’t it taught in a baraita: If one gives charity, saying: I give this sela for charity in order that my children may live, or: I give it in order that through it I may merit life in the World-to-Come, he is still considered a full-fledged righteous person? If so, what was wrong with the king bringing offerings so that the Jews would pray for his life and the life of his children?
לָא קַשְׁיָא: כָּאן בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, כָּאן בְּגוֹיִם. The Gemara answers: This is not difficult. Here, in the case of one who makes his charity conditional yet is considered to be righteous, it is referring to a Jew. This is because even if his condition is not fulfilled, he will not complain to God. However, there, where Cyrus was not given credit for his good deed because it was conditional, it is referring to gentiles. A gentile may come to regret his actions and complain to God if his condition is not fulfilled.
וְאִיבָּעֵית אֵימָא: מְנָלַן דְּאַחְמִיץ — דִּכְתִיב: ״נִדְבָּכִין דִּי אֶבֶן גְּלָל תְּלָתָא וְנִדְבָּךְ דִּי אָע חֲדַת וְנִפְקְתָא מִן בֵּית מַלְכָּא תִּתְיְהִב״, לְמָה לֵיהּ דַּעֲבַד הָכִי? סָבַר: אִי מָרְדוּ בִּי יְהוּדָאֵי — אִיקְלְיֵיהּ בְּנוּרָא. And if you wish, say: From where do we derive that Cyrus became corrupt? As it is written with regard to the building of the Temple that he issued the following command: “Let the house be built…with three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber, and let the expense be paid out of the king’s house” (Ezra 6:4). Why did he do it in this manner and command that the Temple be built with a row of timber? He thought: If the Jews rebel against me, I will burn their Temple with fire, and it will be more flammable because of the wood.
אַטּוּ שְׁלֹמֹה לָא עֲבַד הָכִי? וְהָכְתִיב: ״שְׁלֹשָׁה טוּרֵי גָזִית וְטוּר כְּרֻתוֹת אֲרָזִים״! שְׁלֹמֹה עֲבַד מִלְּמַעְלָה, וְאִיהוּ עֲבַד מִלְּמַטָּה. שְׁלֹמֹה שַׁקְּעֵיהּ בְּבִנְיָנָא, אִיהוּ לָא שַׁקְּעֵיהּ בְּבִנְיָנָא. שְׁלֹמֹה סַדְיֵיהּ בְּסִידָא, אִיהוּ לָא סַדְיֵיהּ בְּסִידָא. The Gemara raises a question: Is that to say that Solomon did not do this very same thing when he built the first Temple? Isn’t it written: “And he built the inner court, three rows of hewn stone and a row of cedar beams” (I Kings 6:36)? The Gemara answers: Solomon placed the wood above the stone foundation, so that even if the Temple were burned, the stone foundation would remain, whereas Cyrus placed it below, so that if he were to set fire to the Temple, the whole structure would collapse. Also, Solomon sunk the wood into the building in order to make it less flammable, whereas Cyrus did not sink it into the building. Furthermore, Solomon plastered the wood over with plaster to prevent it from catching fire, whereas Cyrus did not plaster the wood over with plaster.
אָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף, וְאִיתֵּימָא רַבִּי יִצְחָק: מְנָלַן דְּאַחְמִיץ — מֵהָכָא: ״וַיֹּאמֶר לִי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהַשֵּׁגַל יוֹשֶׁבֶת אֶצְלוֹ״. מַאי ״שֵׁגַל״? אָמַר רַבָּה בַּר לִימָא מִשְּׁמֵיהּ דְּרַב: כַּלְבְּתָא. Rav Yosef said, and some say that it was Rabbi Yitzḥak who said: From where do we derive that Cyrus became corrupt? From here, as it is written: “And the king said to me, the consort [shegal] also sitting by him: For how long shall your journey be? And when will you return? So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a time” (Nehemiah 2:6). What is the meaning of the word shegal in the verse? Rabba bar Lima said in the name of Rav: It means a she-dog that sat next to him, which he used for sexual relations.
אֶלָּא מֵעַתָּה, הָא דִּכְתִיב: ״וְעַל מָרֵא שְׁמַיָּא הִתְרוֹמַמְתָּ וּלְמָאנַיָּיא דִי בַיְתֵיהּ הַיְתִיו קׇדָמָךְ וְאַנְתְּ וְרַבְרְבָנָךְ שֵׁגְלָתָךְ וּלְחֵנָתָךְ חַמְרָא שָׁתַיִן בְּהוֹן״, וְאִי ״שֵׁגַל״ כַּלְבְּתָא הִיא, כַּלְבְּתָא בַּת מִשְׁתְּיָא חַמְרָא הִיא? הָא לָא קַשְׁיָא, דְּמַלְּפָא לָה וְשָׁתְיָיא. The Gemara raises a difficulty: However, if that is so, there is a contradiction from that which is written about Belshazzar: “But you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you, and your lords, your consorts [shegal] and your concubines, have drunk wine in them” (Daniel 5:23). If shegal means a she-dog, does a she-dog drink wine? The Gemara explains: This is not difficult, as perhaps they trained it to drink wine.
אֶלָּא מֵעַתָּה דִּכְתִיב: ״בְּנוֹת מְלָכִים בְּיִקְּרוֹתֶיךָ נִצְּבָה שֵׁגַל לִימִינְךָ בְּכֶתֶם אוֹפִיר״, וְאִי שֵׁגַל כַּלְבְּתָא הִיא, מַאי קָא מְבַשַּׂר לְהוּ נָבִיא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל?! הָכִי קָאָמַר: בִּשְׂכַר שֶׁחֲבִיבָה תּוֹרָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּשֵׁגַל לַגּוֹיִם — זְכִיתֶם לְכֶתֶם אוֹפִיר. The Gemara raises another difficulty: However, if that is so, there is a contradiction from that which is written: “Kings’ daughters are among your favorites; upon your right hand stands a consort [shegal] in gold of Ophir” (Psalms 45:10). Now, if shegal is a she-dog, what is the prophet heralding for the Jewish people? The Gemara explains: This is what the prophet is saying: In reward for the Torah being as precious to the Jews as a she-dog is to gentiles, you merited the gold of Ophir.
וְאִיבָּעֵית אֵימָא: לְעוֹלָם ״שֵׁגַל״ — מַלְכְּתָא הִיא, וְרַבָּה בַּר לִימָא גְּמָרָא, גְּמִיר לַהּ. וְאַמַּאי קָרֵי לַהּ ״שֵׁגַל״? שֶׁהָיְתָה חֲבִיבָה עָלָיו כְּשֵׁגַל. אִי נָמֵי: שֶׁהוֹשִׁיבָהּ בִּמְקוֹם שֵׁגַל. And if you wish, say: Actually, the word shegal in all these other contexts means consort, but Rabba bar Lima had a tradition that in connection with Cyrus the word shegal means she-dog. And why was it called a consort [shegal]? It is because the dog was as precious to him as a consort; or else, because he set the dog next to him in place of a consort.
וְאִיבָּעֵית אֵימָא: מְנָלַן דְּאַחְמִיץ — מֵהָכָא: ״עַד כְּסַף כַּכְּרִין מְאָה וְעַד חִנְטִין כּוֹרִין מְאָה וְעַד חֲמַר בַּתִּין מְאָה וְעַד בַּתִּין מְשַׁח מְאָה וּמְלַח דִּי לָא כְתָב וְגוֹ׳״. מֵעִיקָּרָא — בְּלָא קִיצּוּתָא, וְהַשְׁתָּא — בְּקִיצּוּתָא. And if you wish, say: From where do we derive that Cyrus became corrupt? It is from here, as it is stated: “Up to a hundred talents of silver, and up to a hundred measures of wheat, and up to a hundred bat of wine, and up to a hundred bat of oil, and salt without prescribed limit” (Ezra 7:22). Initially he gave without setting a limit, but now he introduced a limit.
וְדִילְמָא מֵעִיקָּרָא לָא הֲוָה קִים לֵיהּ בְּקִיצּוּתָא? אֶלָּא, מְחַוַּורְתָּא כִּדְשַׁנִּיין מֵעִיקָּרָא. This is rejected: But perhaps initially he did not know what limit to set, as he was not familiar with the daily needs of the Temple, and afterward, when the matter became clarified, he set an appropriate limit. Rather, it is clear as we initially answered that the evidence that Cyrus became corrupt is based on his relationship with his consort rather than on his donations to the Temple.
וְלָרְגָלִים. רְגָלִים בְּאֶחָד בְּנִיסָן הוּא? בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר בְּנִיסָן הוּא! אָמַר רַב חִסְדָּא: רֶגֶל שֶׁבּוֹ, רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לָרְגָלִים. § The mishna teaches: And the first of Nisan is also the New Year for the order of the Festivals. The Gemara asks: Is the New Year for the Festivals really on the first of Nisan? Isn’t it on the fifteenth of Nisan, the first day of the festival of Passover? Rav Ḥisda said: What the mishna means is that the Festival that occurs in the month of Nisan is the New Year for Festivals.
נָפְקָא מִינַּהּ לְנוֹדֵר, לְמֵיקַם עֲלֵיהּ בְּ״בַל תְּאַחֵר״, וְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן הִיא. דְּתַנְיָא: אֶחָד הַנּוֹדֵר, וְאֶחָד הַמַּקְדִּישׁ, וְאֶחָד הַמַּעֲרִיךְ, כֵּיוָן שֶׁעָבְרוּ עָלָיו שְׁלֹשָׁה רְגָלִים — עוֹבֵר בְּ״בַל תְּאַחֵר״. The Gemara comments: This ruling makes a practical difference to one who makes a vow, in order to determine when he is liable for violating the prohibition: You shall not delay. And the mishna was taught in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon, as it is taught in a baraita: Whether one makes a vow to bring an offering to the Temple, or consecrates an item to the Temple, or makes a valuation, promising to pay the value of a particular person to the Temple treasury, once three Festivals have passed from that day and he has not yet fulfilled his promise, he transgresses the prohibition: You shall not delay, as stated in the verse: “When you shall vow a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay paying it” (Deuteronomy 23:22).
רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר: שְׁלֹשָׁה רְגָלִים כְּסִדְרָן, וְחַג הַמַּצּוֹת תְּחִילָּה. וְכֵן הָיָה רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַי אוֹמֵר: רְגָלִים, פְּעָמִים שְׁלֹשָׁה, פְּעָמִים אַרְבָּעָה, פְּעָמִים חֲמִשָּׁה. כֵּיצַד? נָדַר לִפְנֵי הַפֶּסַח — שְׁלֹשָׁה. לִפְנֵי עֲצֶרֶת — חֲמִשָּׁה. לִפְנֵי הֶחָג — אַרְבָּעָה. Rabbi Shimon says: One transgresses the prohibition against delaying not when any three Festivals have passed, but when three Festivals have passed in their proper order, i.e., Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot, with Passover first. And, so too, Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai would say: The Festivals that must pass before a person is liable for violating the prohibition against delaying are sometimes three, sometimes four, and sometimes five. How so? If one made his vow before Passover they are three, as he may delay bringing his offering until the festival of Sukkot; if he made his vow before Shavuot they are five, as the counting of three Festivals begins only from the next Passover; and if he made his vow before the festival of Sukkot, they are four.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: חַיָּיבֵי הַדָּמִין וְהָעֲרָכִין, הַחֲרָמִין וְהַהֶקְדֵּשׁוֹת, חַטָּאוֹת וַאֲשָׁמוֹת, עוֹלוֹת וּשְׁלָמִים, צְדָקוֹת וּמַעַשְׂרוֹת, בְּכוֹר וּמַעֲשֵׂר וּפֶסַח, The Sages taught in a baraita: With regard to those who are liable for vows of monetary payment, or for vows of valuations, or for dedications, or for consecrations, sin-offerings, guilt-offerings, burnt-offerings, peace-offerings, vows of charity, tithes, firstborn offerings, animal tithes, or the Paschal offering,