Ruth Rabbah
Petichta פתיחתא
1 א

וַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים (רות א, א), רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן פָּתַח וְאָמַר (תהלים נ, ז): שִׁמְעָה עַמִּי וַאֲדַבֵּרָה, אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אֵין מְעִידִין אֶלָּא בְּשׁוֹמֵעַ. רַבִּי יוּדָן בְּרַבִּי סִימוֹן אָמַר, לְשֶׁעָבַר הָיוּ קְרוּיִין יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הָאֻמּוֹת (בראשית י, ז): סַבְתָּא וְרַעֲמָא וְסַבְתְּכָא, מִכָּאן וָאֵילָךְ אֵין נִקְרָאִין אֶלָּא עַמִּי: שִׁמְעָה עַמִּי וַאֲדַבֵּרָה, מֵאַיִן זְכִיתֶם שֶׁתִּקָּרְאוּ עַמִּי, מִוַאֲדַבֵּרָה, מִמַּה שֶּׁדִּבַּרְתֶּם לְפָנַי בְּסִינַי וַאֲמַרְתֶּם (שמות כד, ז): כֹּל אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר ה' נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן, שִׁמְעָה עַמִּי, לְשֶׁעָבַר. וַאֲדַבֵּרָה, לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא. שִׁמְעָה עַמִּי, בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. וַאֲדַבֵּרָה, בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא. כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא לִי פִּתְחוֹן פֶּה בִּפְנֵי שָׂרֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעֲתִידִין לְקַטְרְגָם לְפָנַי וְלוֹמַר רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים, אֵלּוּ עוֹבְדִין עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים וְאֵלּוּ עוֹבְדִין עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים, אֵלּוּ גִּלּוּ עֲרָיוֹת וְאֵלּוּ גִּלּוּ עֲרָיוֹת, אֵלּוּ שָׁפְכוּ דָמִים וְאֵלּוּ שָׁפְכוּ דָמִים, אֵלּוּ יוֹרְדִין לְגַן עֵדֶן וְאֵלּוּ יוֹרְדִין לְגֵיהִנֹּם. אוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה סָנֵיגוֹרָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל מִשְׁתַּתֵּק, הֲדָא הִיא דְתֵימָא (דניאל יב, א): וּבָעֵת הַהִיא יַעֲמֹד מִיכָאֵל, וְכִי יֵשׁ יְשִׁיבָה לְמַעְלָה, וְהָא אָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא אֵין יְשִׁיבָה לְמַעְלָה, דִּכְתִיב (דניאל ז, טז): קִרְבֵת עַל חַד מִן קָאֲמַיָּא, מַהוּ דֵין לָשׁוֹן קָאֲמַיָּא, קַיָּימָא, דִּכְתִיב (ישעיה ו, ב): שְׂרָפִים עֹמְדִים מִמַּעַל לוֹ. וּכְתִיב (מלכים א כב, יט) (דברי הימים ב יח, יח): וְכָל צְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם עֹמְדִים עָלָיו מִימִינוֹ וּמִשְׂמֹאלוֹ, וְאַתָּה אוֹמֵר יַעֲמֹד. מַהוּ יַעֲמֹד, מִשְׁתַּתֵּק, כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (איוב לב, טז): וְהוֹחַלְתִּי כִּי לֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ [כי עמדו לא ענו עוד]. אוֹמֵר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נִשְׁתַּתַּקְתָּ וְאֵין אַתָּה מְלַמֵּד סָנֵיגוֹרְיָא עַל בָּנַי, חַיֶּיךָ שֶׁאֲנִי מְדַבֵּר בִּצְדָקָה וּמוֹשִׁיעַ אֶת בָּנַי. בְּאֵיזוֹ צְדָקָה, רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר וְרַבִּי יוֹחָנָן, חַד אָמַר בִּצְדָקָה שֶׁעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת עוֹלָמִי, עַל שֶׁקִּבַּלְתֶּם אֶת תּוֹרָתִי, שֶׁאִלּוּ לֹא קִבַּלְתֶּם אֶת תּוֹרָתִי, הָיִיתִי מַחֲזִיר אוֹתוֹ לְתֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, דְּאָמַר רַבִּי הוּנָא בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי אַחָא (תהלים עה, ד): נְמוֹגִים אֶרֶץ וְכָל ישְׁבֶיהָ, כְּבָר הָיָה הָעוֹלָם מִתְמוֹגֵג וְהוֹלֵךְ, אִלּוּלֵי שֶׁעָמְדוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי וכו', וּמִי בִּסֵּם אֶת הָעוֹלָם (תהלים עה, ד): אָנֹכִי תִכַּנְתִּי עַמּוּדֶיהָ, בִּזְכוּת אָנֹכִי תִּכַּנְתִּי עַמּוּדֶיהָ סֶלָּה. וְחַד אָמַר בִּצְדָקָה שֶׁעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת עַצְמְכֶם עַל שֶׁקִּבַּלְתֶּם אֶת תּוֹרָתִי, שֶׁאִלּוּלֵי כֵן הָיִיתִי מְכַלֶּה אֶתְכֶם מִן הָעַמִּים. (תהלים נ, ז): אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ אָנֹכִי, רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אָמַר דַּיֶּךָּ אֲנִי פַּטְרוֹנְךָ. וְרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ אָמַר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֲנִי פַּטְרוֹנְךָ, מַה פַּטְרוֹנֵי מְהַנֵּי בְּדִינָא. תָּאנֵי רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר יוֹחָאי, אֱלֹהִים אָנֹכִי לְכָל בָּאֵי עוֹלָם, וְלֹא יִחַדְתִּי שְׁמִי אֶלָּא עַל עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֵין אֲנִי נִקְרָא אֱלֹהֵי כָּל הָאֻמּוֹת, אֶלָּא אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ אָנֹכִי. רַבִּי יוּדָן פָּתַר קְרָיָיא בְּמשֶׁה, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּרָאתִי אוֹתְךָ אֱלֹהִים לְפַרְעֹה, אֱלֹהֶיךָ אָנֹכִי, אֲנִי עַל גַּבְּךָ. רַבִּי אַבָּא בַּר יוּדָן פָּתַר קְרָיָיא בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּרָאתִי אֶתְכֶם אֱלֹהִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים פב, ו): אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם, אֱלֹהֶיךָ אָנֹכִי, דְּעוּ שֶׁאָנֹכִי עַל גַּבֵּיכֶם. רַבָּנָן פַּתְרֵי קְרָיָיא בְּדַיָּנִים, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּרָאתִי אֶתְכֶם אֱלֹהִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב, כז): אֱלֹהִים לֹא תְקַלֵּל, דְּעוּ שֶׁאֲנִי עַל גַּבֵּיכֶם, וְחָזַר וְאָמַר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנִי חָלַקְתִּי כָּבוֹד לַדַּיָּנִים וְקָרָאתִי אוֹתָם אֱלֹהִים, וְהֵן מְבַזִּים אוֹתָם, אוֹי לַדּוֹר שֶׁשָּׁפְטוּ אֶת שׁוֹפְטֵיהֶם.

"And it was in the time the judges judged (Ruth 1:1)". Rabbi Yochanan opened his sermon and said "Listen my nation and I will speak; O Israel and I will testify against you (Psalms 50:7)". Rabbi Yochanan said: "We can only testify against one who heard". Rabbi Yudan the son of Rabbi Simon said: "In the past the Jews were called the same as all the other nations "And Sabata and Raamah and Sabteca (Genesis 10:7)". From here on they are only called "my nation": "Hear my nation and I will speak." From where did you merit to be called "my nation"? From "and i will speak" meaning, because of what you said before me at Sinai saying: "Everything that God said we will do and hear (Exodus 24:7)". "Hear my nation" is in the past tense, while "and i will speak" is in the future tense. "Hear my nation" refers to this world but "and i will speak" refers to the next world. Why should you do this? So I can have something to answer to the nations of the world, for they will say to me: "These and those are idol worshipers, these were licentious and those were licentious, these murdered and those murdered, yet these go to the Garden of Eden and those go to Gehinnom!? At that time the defender of the Jewish people is silent, as it says: "At that time Michael stood (Daniel 12:1)". Now is there such a thing as sitting in heaven? But Rabbi Chanina said: "There no concept of sitting in heaven, as it says "And I asked one of the standing ones (ka'amaya) (Daniel 7:16)" What does "standing ones" mean? It refers to standing as it says: "Seraphim stand above him (Isaiah 6:2)" and it says further: "And all the heavenly army's are standing above him from his left and right (1 Kings 22:19)" and you say that Michael stood? Rather what does it mean "he stood"? It means he was quiet as it says in another verse: "And I began for they did not speak they stood and answered no further (Job 32:16)". The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Michael: "You were quiet and did not defend my children, by your life I will talk about kindness and through this I will save my children!". Of what kindness will God speak of to defend his nation? The kindness that created his world, through the acceptance of the Torah, for if you would not have accepted the Torah I would have returned my world to "formlessness and void (Genesis 1:2)", for Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rabbi Acha: "The world and its inhabitants were shaking and melting (Psalms 75:4)" if it was not for Israel who stood at mount Sinai, and who made the world in the first place, as the verse says "I made its pillars, I made its pillars forever (Psalms 75:4)": In the merit of "myself" I set up the "pillars". And the other opinion is that it is the kindness you did for yourselves, that you accepted my Torah, because if you had not, I would have wiped you out from the nations, as the verse says: " God, I am your God (Psalm 50:7)". Rabbi Yochnan said: "God was saying: "It is for you that "I am your God""". "God, I am your God": Reish Lakish said: "It means that even though "I am your God" (and not the other nations' God) that does not help in judgment". "God, I am your God": Rabbi Shimon son of Yochai taught: ""I am a God" to all the nations but I did not single out a nation to be called by name except for the Jewish people; I am not called the God of all the nations, only the God of Israel". "God, I am your God": Rabbi Yudan says: "Even though I called you (Moses) a god to Pharaoh, I am your God and therefore above you". "God, I am your God": Rabbi Abba interpreted the verse with regard to Israel: "Even though i called you gods, as it says: "I said you are gods (Psalm 82:6)", "I am your God", know that I am above you". The Rabbis interpret the verse to refer to judges: "God said to the judges: "Even though I called you gods, it says in the verse: "And gods you shall not curse (Exodus 22:27)"; know that I am above you, and then God went back and said to the Jewish people: "I gave honor to the judges and called them gods, and you are desecrating them!". Woe to the generation that judges its judges!

2 ב

וַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים, (משלי יט, טו): עַצְלָה תַּפִּיל תַּרְדֵּמָה, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁנִּתְעַצְּלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲשׂוֹת גְּמוּל חֶסֶד לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (יהושע כד, ל): וַיִּקְבְּרוּ אוֹתוֹ בִּגְבוּל נַחֲלָתוֹ מִצָּפוֹן לְהַר גָּעַשׁ, אָמַר רַבִּי בֶּרֶכְיָה חָזַרְנוּ עַל כָּל הַמִּקְרָא וְלֹא מָצִינוּ מָקוֹם שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ גַּעַשׁ, וּמַהוּ הַר גַּעַשׁ, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁנִּתְגָּעֲשׁוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעֲשׂוֹת גְּמִילוּת חֶסֶד לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה נֶחְלְקָה אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהָיְתָה חִלּוּקָהּ חֲבִיבָה עֲלֵיהֶם יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי, וְהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹסְקִין בִּמְלַאכְתָּן, זֶה עוֹסֵק בְּשָׂדֵהוּ, זֶה עוֹסֵק בְּכַרְמוֹ, וְזֶה עוֹסֵק בְּזֵיתָיו, וְזֶה עוֹסֵק בְּפָצוּמוֹ לְפָרֵשׁ (יהושע כד, ל): וְנֶפֶשׁ רְמִיָּה תִרְעָב, נִתְגָּעֲשׁוּ מֵעֲשׂוֹת גְּמִילוּת חֶסֶד לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, וּבִקֵּשׁ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהַרְעִישׁ אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ עַל יוֹשְׁבָיו, כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (תהלים יח, ח): וַתִּגְעַשׁ וַתִּרְעַשׁ הָאָרֶץ. וְנֶפֶשׁ רְמִיָּה תִרְעָב, עַל שֶׁהָיוּ מְרַמִּין לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, מֵהֶם עוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים, לְכָךְ הִרְעִיבָן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֵרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ, דִּכְתִיב (שמואל א ג, א): וּדְבַר ה' הָיָה יָקָר בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם. דָּבָר אַחֵר, עַצְלָה תַּפִּיל תַּרְדֵּמָה, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁנִּתְעַצְּלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת תְּשׁוּבָה בִּימֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ, תַּפִּיל תַּרְדֵּמָה, רָבְתָה הַנְּבוּאָה. רָבְתָה, וְאַתְּ אֲמַרְתְּ תַּפִּיל, כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר נְפַל שַׁעֲרֵיהוֹן דְּפוּרְיָא. אָמַר רַבִּי סִימוֹן כְּאִינִישׁ דַּאֲמַר לְחַבְרֵיהּ הָא סַקָּא וְהָא סַלְּעָא וְהָא סְאָה קוּם אֱכֹל. דְּאָמַר רַבִּי דְרוֹסָא שִׁשִּׁים רִבּוֹא נְבִיאִים עָמְדוּ לָהֶם לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בִּימֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ, רַבִּי יַעֲקֹב אָמַר מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים רִבּוֹא. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן מִגְּבַת וְעַד אַנְטִיפְרָס שִׁשִּׁים רִבּוֹא עֲיָרוֹת הֵן, וְאֵין לְךָ עֲיָרוֹת מְקוּלְקָלוֹת מֵהֶן מִבֵּית אֵל וִירִיחוֹ, יְרִיחוֹ עַל שֶׁאֵרַרָהּ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, בֵּית אֵל עַל שֶׁהָיוּ עֲגָלִים שֶׁל יָרָבְעָם עוֹמְדִים שָׁם, וּכְתִיב (מלכים ב ב, ג): וַיֵּצְאוּ בְנֵי הַנְּבִיאִים אֲשֶׁר בֵּית אֵל אֶל אֱלִישָׁע, נְבִיאִים, אֵין נְבִיאִים פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁנַיִם, וּמִפְּנֵי מָה לֹא נִתְפַּרְסְמָה נְבוּאָתָם, שֶׁלֹא הָיָה בָּהּ צֹרֶךְ לְדוֹרוֹת. אֱמֹר מֵעַתָּה כָּל נְבוּאָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ צֹרֶךְ לְדוֹרוֹת לֹא נִתְפַּרְסְמָה, אֲבָל לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בָּא וּמְבִיאָן עִמּוֹ וְתִתְפַּרְסֵם נְבוּאָתָם, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (זכריה יד, ה): וּבָא ה' אֱלֹהַי כָּל קְדשִׁים עִמָּךְ. וְנֶפֶשׁ רְמִיָּה תִרְעָב, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהָיוּ מְרַמִּים לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, מֵהֶם עוֹבְדִין לַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים, וּמֵהֶם עוֹבְדִים לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, הוּא שֶׁאֵלִיָּהוּ אוֹמֵר לָהֶם (מלכים א יח, כא): עַד מָתַי אַתֶּם פּוֹסְחִים עַל שְׁתֵּי הַסְּעִפִּים. תִרְעָב, הִרְעִיבָן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּימֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א יז, א): חַי ה' אֲשֶׁר עָמַדְתִּי לְפָנָיו. דָּבָר אַחֵר, עַצְלָה תַּפִּיל תַּרְדֵּמָה, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁנִּתְעַצְּלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת תְּשׁוּבָה בִּימֵי שׁוֹפְטִים, תַּפִּיל תַּרְדֵּמָה. וְנֶפֶשׁ רְמִיָּה תִרְעָב, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהָיוּ מְרַמִּים לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, מֵהֶם עוֹבְדִין לַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים, וּמֵהֶם עוֹבְדִים לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, הִרְעִיבָן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּרְעָבוֹן בִּימֵי שׁוֹפְטֵיהֶם.

"And it was in the days the judges judged (Ruth 1:1). "Laziness brings sleep (Proverbs 19:15)", this means that Israel was too lazy to act with kindness towards Joshua, as it is written: "and they buried him in the area of his inheritance north of Mount Gaash (Joshua 24:30)". Rabbi Berachya said: "We have checked all of the verses and didn't find a place named "Mount Gaash", rather it means that Israel was too lazy (nitga'ashu) to do kindness with Joshua, at that time the land was being divided, and the process of dividing was too dear to them, and so Israel was busy with their work: one was dealing with his field, one with his vineyard, one with his olives, and this one with his building to show the meaning of the verse: "An idle soul will go hungry (Proverbs 19:16)". They did not do a kindness for Joshua, and the Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to turn the world on its dwellers like it says in the verse: "And the earth quaked and roared (Psalms 18:8)". "And an idle (remiyyah) soul will go hungry", because they deceived (merammin) the Holy One, blessed be He, because some them in fact worshiped idols, therefore the Holy One, blessed be He, starved them of Ruach Hakodesh, as it says: "And the word of God was rare in those days (1 Samuel 3:1)". A different understanding of the verse "Laziness brings sleep": because Israel was too "lazy" to repent on the days of Elijah, "sleep fell upon", prophecy increased. Yet you say it increased of the verse says "it fell" which sounds like it decreased! The answer is that in fact what it means is that the rarity of prophecy decreased because it was so found, like a person says to his friend: " The prices in the market dropped". Rabbi Simon said: "It is like a person saying to his friend here is a sack, here is money, and here is a measure, now get up and eat!". For Rabbi Drosa said: "600,000 prophets were existent in the times of Elijah". Rabbi Jacob says: "120,000". Rabbi Yochnan says: "From Gevas until Antipatris there are 600,000 cities and the you dint have worse cities than Bethel and Jericho: Jericho is bad because Joshua cursed it, and Bethel because Jeroboam had put the calves there, and the verse says that: "The prophets of Bethel came out to greet Elisha (2 Kings 2:5)". The term "prophets" cannot refer to any less than 2; if there were so many why was their prophecy not public? Because it was relevant for future generations. We can now say that any prophecy that was not needed for all generations was not made public, but in later times the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring them and their prophecy will become known, and this is what is written: "And Hashem God will come and his holy ones with you (Zechariah 14:5). "And the idle soul shall starve (remiyyah)": This refers to the period of Elijah, because the people were being dishonest (merammim) with the Holy One, blessed be He, for some of them worshiped idols and some worshiped the Holy One, blessed be He. This is what Elijah said to them: "Until when do you keep hopping between two paths (1 Kings 18:21)". He (the idle soul) "starved" which means that the Holy One, blessed be He, starved them in the times of Elijah, as it says: : As Hashem lives, whom I stood in front of (1 Kings 18:15)". Another interpretation of the verse "laziness will bring sleep": Because Israel too lazy to repent in the days of the judges, "sleep will befall them". "And an idle soul shall starve": because some of them served the Holy One, blessed be He, and some of them served idols, and thus the Holy One, blessed be He brought a famine on the times of their judges.

3 ג

וַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים וַיְהִי רָעָב, (משלי כא, ח): הֲפַכְפַּךְ דֶּרֶךְ אִישׁ וָזָר, זֶה עֵשָׂו הָרָשָׁע שֶׁהוּא מִתְהַפֵּךְ וּבָא עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּגְזֵרוֹת, גְּנַבְתּוּן לָא גְנַבְנוּן, קְטַלְתּוּן לָא קְטַלְנוּן, לָא גְנַבְתָּ מַאן גְּנַב עִמָּךְ, לָא קְטַלְתָּ מַאן קְטַל עִמָּךְ, קָנֵיס לְהוֹן, יַזְמֵי לְהוֹן, אַיְיתֵי אַרְנוֹנָךְ, אַיְיתֵי גוּלְגַּלְתָּךְ, אַיְיתֵי דִימוֹסָיךְ. אִישׁ זֶה עֵשָׂו הָרָשָׁע, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית כה, כז): וַיְהִי עֵשָׂו אִישׁ יֹדֵעַ צַיִּד. וָזָר, שֶׁעָשָׂה עַצְמוֹ זָר לַמִּלָּה וְזָר לַמִּצְווֹת. וְזַךְ זֶה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁהוּא נוֹהֵג עִמּוֹ בְּמִדּוֹת יְשָׁרוֹת, וְנוֹתֵן לוֹ שְׂכָרוֹ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה כְּפוֹעֵל הָעוֹשֶׂה מְלָאכָה עִם בַּעַל הַבַּיִת בֶּאֱמוּנָה. דָּבָר אַחֵר, הֲפַכְפַּךְ דֶּרֶךְ אִישׁ, אֵלּוּ אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם שֶׁמְהַפְּכִין וּבָאִין עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּגְזֵרוֹת. אִישׁ, הַבָּאִים מִנֹּחַ שֶׁנִּקְרָא אִישׁ. וָזָר, שֶׁהֵם עוֹבְדִין עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים. וְזַךְ יָשָׁר פָּעֳלוֹ, זֶה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁנּוֹהֵג עִמָּהֶם בְּיַשְׁרוּת. רַבִּי אַחָא אָמַר הֲפַכְפַּךְ דֶּרֶךְ, אֵלּוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לב, כ): כִּי דּוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה. אִישׁ (שופטים כא, א): וְאִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל נִשְׁבַּע. וָזָר, שֶׁעָשׂוּ עַצְמָם לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כְּזָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע ה, ז): בַּה' בָּגָדוּ כִּי בָנִים זָרִים יָלָדוּ. וְזַךְ, זֶה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנּוֹהֵג עִמָּהֶם בְּמִדַּת ישֶׁר בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וְנוֹתֵן שְׂכָרָם שָׁלֵם לֶעָתִיד, כְּאֻמָּן הָעוֹשֶׂה מְלָאכָה בֶּאֱמוּנָה אֵצֶל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בָּנַי סַרְבָנִין הֵן, לְכַלּוֹתָן אִי אֶפְשָׁר, לְהַחֲזִירָן לְמִצְרַיִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר, לְהַחֲלִיפָם בְּאֻמָּה אַחֶרֶת אֵינִי יָכוֹל, אֶלָּא מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לָהֶם, הֲרֵינִי מְיַסְּרָן בְּיִסּוּרִים, וּמְצָרְפָן בִּרְעָבוֹן, בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב: וַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ.

"And it was in the times when the judges judges and there was a famine (Ruth 1:1)". "The way of a man may be tortuous (hafakhpakh) and strange, but the conduct of the pure is upright (Proverbs 21:8)": this refers to Esau the wicked, who turns (mithapekh) and and comes with decrees on Israel: "You stole and you didn't steal, you killed and you didn't kill, they say we will not charge you for stealing if you tell someone who did, and the same for murder: you didn't murder tell us who murdered with you?" They fined them and they said: "Bring your agricultural tax, bring your house tax, bring your head tax". The verse says the "man" this refers to Esau the wicked, as it says: "And Esau was a man who knew how to hunt (Genesis 25:27)". The verse continues: "And strange": this means that he made himself strange to circumcision and to the commandments. "The pure one", this refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, who acts with proper characteristics, and gives Esau his reward like a master of the house who pays his loyal employee. Another interpretation: "The way of a man may be tortuous (hafakhpakh) and strange": this refers to the nations of the world that overturned (mehapkhin) and came against Israel with decrees. "A man": they came from Noah who is called "a man". "And strange" because they served idols. "The conduct of the pure one": this is the Holt One, blessed be He, who acts with proper characteristics. Rabbi Acha said: ""The way is torturous": this refers to Israel as it says in the verse: "Because they are a turned over (tahpukhot) generation (Deuteronomy 32:20)". The verse continues "man" refers to the verse that says: "And the man of Israel swore (Judges 21:1)". A "stranger": this means they made themselves like strangers as it says: "They betrayed god for they gave birth to strangers (Hosea 5:7)". "The pure one": this refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, who acts with the Jewish in a proper fashion in this world and gives their reward fully in the next world, like a person who is a loyal employee, at that time the Holy One, blessed be He said: "My children are stubborn: I cannot kill them all, I cannot bring them back to Egypt, I cannot exchange them for a different nation. Rather what can I do with them? I will give them punishments and purify them with the famine, "in the days the judges judged". See! This is what it says: "And it was in the times that the judges judged and there was a famine in the land".

4 ד

רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בְּרַבִּי סִימוֹן פָּתַח (דברים לב, כ): וַיֹּאמֶר אַסְתִּירָה פָנַי מֵהֶם, לְבֶן מֶלֶךְ שֶׁיָּצָא לַשּׁוּק וּמַכֶּה וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה, מְבַזֶּה וְאֵינוֹ מִתְבַּזֶּה, וְהָיָה עוֹלֶה אֵצֶל אָבִיו בִּמְרוּצָה, אָמַר לוֹ אָבִיו מַה אַתְּ סָבוּר שֶׁבִּכְבוֹדְךָ אַתְּ מִתְכַּבֵּד, אֵין אַתְּ מִתְכַּבֵּד אֶלָּא בִּכְבוֹדִי, מֶה עָשָׂה אָבִיו הִפְלִיג דַּעְתּוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ, וְלֹא הָיָה בִּרְיָה מַשְׁגַּחַת עָלָיו. כָּךְ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיָּצְאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרַיִם נָפְלָה אֵימָתָן עַל כָּל הָאֻמּוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות טו, יד): שָׁמְעוּ עַמִּים יִרְגָּזוּן חִיל אָחַז ישְׁבֵי פְּלָשֶׁת אָז נִבְהֲלוּ אַלּוּפֵי אֱדוֹם אֵילֵי מוֹאָב יֹאחֲזֵמוֹ רָעַד נָמֹגוּ כֹּל ישְׁבֵי כְנָעַן תִּפֹּל עֲלֵיהֶם אֵימָתָה וָפַחַד, כֵּיוָן שֶׁבָּאוּ לִידֵי עֲבֵרוֹת וּמַעֲשִׂים רָעִים, אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מָה אַתֶּם סְבוּרִים שֶׁבִּכְבוֹדְכֶם אַתֶּם מִתְכַּבְּדִים, אֵין אַתֶּם מִתְכַּבְּדִים אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל כְּבוֹדִי, מֶה עָשָׂה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הִפְלִיג דַּעְתּוֹ מֵהֶם קִימְעָא וּבָאוּ עֲמָלֵקִים וְנִזְדַּוְּגוּ לָהֶם לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות יז, ח): וַיָּבֹא עֲמָלֵק וַיִּלָּחֶם עִם יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּרְפִידִם. וְעוֹד בָּאוּ כְּנַעֲנִיִים וְנִזְדַּוְּגוּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כא, א): וַיִּשְׁמַע הַכְּנַעֲנִי. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֵין בָּכֶם אֲמָנָה שֶׁל מַמָּשׁ, אֵין אַתֶּם מַאֲמִינִין לְדִבְרֵיכֶם, הֲפַכְפָּכִין אַתֶּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לב, כ): כִּי דוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה בָּנִים לֹא אֵמֻן בָּם. אָמֵן כְּתִיב, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַנְּבִיאִים מְבָרְכִין אוֹתָן לֹא פָּתַח אֶחָד מֵהֶם לוֹמַר אָמֵן, עַד שֶׁאֲמָרוֹ יִרְמְיָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה יא, ה): וָאַעַן וָאֹמַר אָמֵן ה'. בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הֲפַכְפָּכִין אַתֶּם, טַרְחָנִין הֵם, סַרְבָנִין הֵם, לְכַלּוֹתָן אִי אֶפְשָׁר, לְהַחֲזִירָן לְמִצְרַיִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר, לְהַחֲלִיפָן בְּאוּמָה אַחֶרֶת אִי אֶפְשָׁר וכו'.

Rabbi Yehuda the son of Rabbi Simon opened his sermon and said: ""And God said I will hide my face from them (Deuteronomy 32:20)". This is analogous to a son of a king that went out into the market place and hit people, but he himself wasn't being hit, disgraced people, but himself wasn't being disgraced, and before anything would be done to him he went quickly to his father. His father said to him: "Did you think that it was because if your own honor that you were being honored? You are only being honored because of me". What did his father do to make him realize this? He turned his attention away from him, and no one cared about him anymore. In the same manner when Israel came out of Egypt all of the nations feared them, as it says: "The nations heard they shook fear over took the dwellers of Philistia, the mighty ones of Edom were shocked. The mighty ones of Moab were overtaken with fright fear, and fright will fall upon them (Exodus 15:14-16)". Since they sinned, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to them: "What did you think that it was due to you that you were honored? You were only honored because of me". What did the Holy One, blessed be He do? He stopped paying attention to them just a little bit and the Amalekites came and started fighting with them as it says: "And the Amalekites came and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8)". And further the Canaanites came and fought with Israel, as it says : "And the Canaanites heard (Numbers 21:1)". The Holy One, blessed be He said: "You do not have any real reliability, you do not believe your own words, you are switchers, as it says: "For they are a treacherous breed, children with no loyalty (Deuteronomy 32:20)". The verse actually says 'amun ("reliability) [with a missing vav, which has an identical spelling to amen] which hints to the fact that at the time that the prophets blessed them no one opened to say "amen" until Jeremiah said it: "And I answered and said "amen Hahsem" (Jeremiah 11:5)". At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, said: "Your traders, they are burdensome, they are stubborn, I cannot obliterate them, I cannot bring them back to Egypt, I cannot exchange them for a different nation. [Rather what can I do with them? I will give them punishments and purify them with the famine, "in the days the judges judged". See! This is what it says: "And it was in the times that the judges judged and there was a famine in the land".]

5 ה

רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה פָּתַח (יחזקאל יג, ד): כְּשֻׁעָלִים בָּחֳרָבוֹת נְבִיאֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל הָיוּ, מָה הַשּׁוּעָל הַזֶּה מְצַפֶּה בָּחֳרָבוֹת לִכְשֶׁיִּרְאֶה בְּנֵי אָדָם לְאֵיזֶה צַד יְהֵי בּוֹרֵחַ, כָּךְ כְּשֻׁעָלִים בָּחֳרָבוֹת [נביאיך], לֹא עֲלִיתֶם בַּפְּרָצוֹת כְּמשֶׁה, לְמִי הָיָה דוֹמֶה משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ, לְרוֹעֶה נֶאֱמָן שֶׁנָּפְלָה גָּדֵר סָמוּךְ לַחֲשֵׁכָה, עָמַד וּגְדָרָהּ מִשָּׁלשׁ רוּחוֹתֶיהָ, נִשְׁתַּיֵּיר פִּרְצָה וְלֹא הָיָה לוֹ שָׁעָה לְגָדְרָהּ, וְעָמַד הוּא בְּתוֹךְ הַפִּרְצָה, בָּא אֲרִי וְעָמַד כְּנֶגְדוֹ, בָּא זְאֵב וְעָמַד כְּנֶגְדוֹ, אֲבָל אַתֶּם לֹא עֲמַדְתֶּם בְּתוֹךְ הַפִּרְצָה כְּמשֶׁה, שֶׁאִלּוּ עֲלִיתֶם בַּפְּרָצוֹת כְּמשֶׁה, הֱיִיתֶם יְכוֹלִין לַעֲמֹד בַּמִּלְחָמָה בְּיוֹם אַף ה'.

Rabbi Nehemiah began his sermon: ""Your prophets Israel are like foxes in the wilderness. You did not enter the breaches and repair the walls for the House of Israel, that they might stand up in battle in the day of Hashem (Ezekiel 13:4-5)": just as a fox waits in the wilderness to see where people come to see where to run away, so are your prophets, who don't keep breaches like Moses. Moses our prophet was like a faithful shepherd whose fence fell close to dusk. He managed to repair the fence on three sides, but there was a "breach" left. He stood by the "breach" [to defend the sheep within]. A lion came, he frightened it. A wolf came, he frightened it. And you, you didn't stand by the "breach" like Moses. If you had, you could have "stood up in battle in the day of Hashem's" anger.

6 ו

וְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ אֱלִימֶלֶךְ, כֵּיוָן דַּאֲתַת עָקְתָה אֲזַלְתְּ לָךְ וּשְׁבַקְתְּ לְהוֹן, וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה. זֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (תהלים קמד, יד): אַלּוּפֵינוּ מְסֻבָּלִים, רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אָמַר סוֹבְלִין אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן, אֶלָּא מְסֻבָּלִים, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַקְּטַנִּים סוֹבְלִין אֶת הַגְּדוֹלִים, אֵין פֶּרֶץ, אֵין פִּרְצָה שֶׁל מַגֵּפָה, כְּמָה דְתֵימָא (תהלים קו, כט): וַתִּפְרָץ בָּם מַגֵּפָה. וְאֵין יוֹצֵאת, אֵין יְצִיאָתָהּ שֶׁל מַגֵּפָה, כְּמָה דְתֵימָא (ויקרא ט, כד): וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי ה', אֵין צְוָחָה, אֵין צְוָחָה שֶׁל מַגֵּפָה, כְּמָה דְתֵימָא (במדבר טז, לד): וְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתֵיהֶם נָסוּ לְקֹלָם. רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ מְסָרֵס קְרָא, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַגְּדוֹלִים סוֹבְלִים אֶת הַקְּטַנִּים, אֵין פֶּרֶץ שֶׁל גָּלוּת, דִּכְתִיב (עמוס ד, ג): וּפְרָצִים תֵּצֶאנָה. וְאֵין יוֹצֵאת שֶׁל גָּלוּת, דִּכְתִיב (ירמיה טו, א): שַׁלַּח מֵעַל פָּנַי וְיֵצֵאוּ. וְאֵין צְוָחָה שֶׁל גָּלוּת, דִכְתִיב (ירמיה ח, יט): הִנֵּה קוֹל שַׁוְעַת בַּת עַמִּי, וּכְתִיב (ירמיה יד, ב): וְצִוְחַת יְרוּשָׁלָיִם עָלָתָה. רַבִּי לוּלִיאָנִי אָמַר בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַקְּטַנִּים שׁוֹמְעִים אֶת הַגְּדוֹלִים וְאֵין הַגְּדוֹלִים נוֹשְׂאִין מַשָֹּׂאָן שֶׁל קְטַנִּים, עֲלֵיהֶן הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר (ישעיה ג, יד): ה' בְּמִשְׁפָּט יָבוֹא. וְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ אֱלִימֶלֶךְ, כַּד אֲתַת עָקְתָא אֲזֵילְתְּ לָךְ וּשְׁבַקְתְּ לְהוֹן, וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה.

"And the name of the man was Elimelech (Ruth 1:2)". When trouble came to you, you forsook them: "and the man went out from Bethlehem in Judah (Ruth 1:1)". This is what scripture said: "our cattle are well cared for ('alufeinu mesubalim). There is no breaching and no sortie, and no wailing in our streets (Psalm 144:14)". Rabbi Yochanan said: "bear" (sovlin) is not written here, but rather the passive "borne" (mesubalim). In the time when the younger bear the older "there is no breaching (peretz)", and there is not outbreak (pirtzah) of plague, as it says: "And a plague broke out among them (Psalm 106:9)". "And no sortie (yotz'et)": there is no sortie of plague, as it says: "Fire came forth (vattetz'e) from before Hashem (Leviticus 9:24)". "And no wailing": there is no wailing from plague, as it says: "All Israel around them fled at their shrieks (Numbers 16:34)"". Reish Lakish rearranged this reading: "In the time that the old bear the young, there is no "breach" of exile, as it is written: "Each one through a breach straight ahead (Amos 4:3)". And there is no "sortie" (yotz'et) of exile, as it is written: "Dismiss them from My presence, and let them go forth (vayetze'u) (Jeremiah 15:1)". And there is no "wailing" from exile, as it is written: "The outcry of my poor people From the land far and wide (Jeremiah 8:19)" and it is written: "And the outcry of Jerusalem rises (Jeremiah 14:2)"". Rabbi Luliani said: "In the time when the young listen to the old and the old do not bear the burden of the young, upon them, as scripture says: "Hashem will come in judgment (Isaiah 3:14)"". "And the name of the man was Elimelech". When trouble came to you, you forsook them: "and the man went out from Bethlehem in Judah".

7 ז

רַבִּי תַּנְחוּמָא בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי חִיָּא רַבָּה וְרַבִּי בֶּרֶכְיָה בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר, הַמִּדְרָשׁ הַזֶּה עָלָה בְּיָדֵינוּ מִן הַגּוֹלָה, כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיְהִי, צָרָה. רַבִּי חִיָּא רַבָּה כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיְהִי, מְשַׁמֵּשׁ צָרָה וְשִׂמְחָה, אִם צָרָה אֵין כַּיּוֹצֵא בָהּ, אִם שִׂמְחָה אֵין כַּיּוֹצֵא בָהּ. רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל אָמַר חֲמִשָּׁה בִּימֵי הֵם (בראשית יד, א): וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אַמְרָפֶל, מַה צָּרָה הָיְתָה שָׁם, עָשׂוּ מִלְחָמָה, לְאוֹהֲבוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיָה שָׁרוּי בִּמְדִינָה וּבִשְׁבִילוֹ הָיָה הַמֶּלֶךְ נִזְקָק לַמְּדִינָה, פַּעַם אַחַת בָּאוּ הַבַּרְבָּרִיִּין וְנִזְדַּוְּגוּ לוֹ, אוֹמְרִים אוֹי לָנוּ שֶׁאֵין הַמֶּלֶךְ נִזְקָק לַמְּדִינָה כְּמוֹת שֶׁהָיָה, כָּךְ כָּל הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ לֹא נִבְרָא אֶלָּא בִּזְכוּת אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (בראשית יד, א): וַיָּשֻּׁבוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל עֵין מִשְׁפָּט הִיא קָדֵשׁ. אָמַר רַבִּי אַחָא לֹא בָּאוּ לְהִזְדַּוֵּג אֶלָּא לְגַלְגַּל עֵינוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, עַיִן שֶׁעָשְׂתָה מִדַּת הַדִּין בָּעוֹלָם אַתֶּם מְבַקְּשִׁים לְסַמּוֹתָהּ. הִיא קָדֵשׁ, אָמַר רַבִּי אַחָא הוּא קָדֵשׁ, הוּא אָבִינוּ אַבְרָהָם שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ שְׁמוֹ בְּכִבְשַׁן הָאֵשׁ, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁבָּאוּ אוֹתָם הַמְּלָכִים וְנִזְדַּוְּגוּ לוֹ הִתְחִילוּ הַכֹּל צוֹוְחִים וַוי, הֱוֵי וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אַמְרָפֶל. (ישעיה ז, א): וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אָחָז, מַה צָּרָה הָיְתָה שָׁם, (ישעיה ט, יא): אֲרָם מִקֶּדֶם וּפְלִשְׁתִּים מֵאָחוֹר, לְבֶן מְלָכִים שֶׁנִּזְדַּמֵּן לוֹ פַּדְגּוֹג אֶחָד לַהֲמִיתוֹ, אָמַר אוֹתוֹ פַּדְגּוֹג אִם אֲנִי מְמִיתוֹ הֲרֵינִי חַיָּב לַמַּלְכוּת, אֶלָּא הֲרֵינִי מוֹשֵׁךְ מֵינִקְתּוֹ וּמֵעַצְמוֹ הוּא מֵת. כָּךְ אָמַר אָחָז, אִם אֵין גְּדָיִּים אֵין תְּיָישִׁים, אִם אֵין תְּיָישִׁים אֵין צֹאן, אִם אֵין צֹאן אֵין רוֹעֶה. כָּךְ אָחָז הָיָה סָבוּר בְּדַעְתּוֹ לוֹמַר אִם אֵין קְטַנִּים אֵין גְּדוֹלִים, אִם אֵין גְּדוֹלִים אֵין תַּלְמִידִים, וְאִם אֵין תַּלְמִידִים אֵין חֲכָמִים, וְאִם אֵין חֲכָמִים אֵין בָּתֵּי כְנֵסִיּוֹת וּבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת, וְאִם אֵין בָּתֵּי כְנֵסִיּוֹת וּבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת כִּבְיָכוֹל אֵין הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַשְׁרֶה שְׁכִינָתוֹ עַל הָעוֹלָם, אֶלָּא הֲרֵינִי אוֹחֵז בָּתֵּי כְנֵסִיּוֹת וּבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת, וְעָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר (ישעיה ח, טז): צוֹר תְּעוּדָה חֲתוֹם תּוֹרָה בְּלִמֻּדָי. רַבִּי חֲנִינָא אָמַר לָמָּה נִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ אָחָז, שֶׁאָחַז בָּתֵּי כְנֵסִיּוֹת וּבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת. רַבִּי יַעֲקֹב בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי אָבִין אָמַר יְשַׁעְיָה (ישעיה ח, טז): וְחִכִּיתִי לַה' הַמַּסְתִּיר פָּנָיו מִבֵּית יַעֲקֹב, אֵין לְךָ שָׁעָה קָשָׁה כְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לא, יח): וְאָנֹכִי הַסְתֵּר אַסְתִּיר פָּנַי בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וּמֵאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה וְקִוֵּיתִי לוֹ, שֶׁאָמַר (דברים לא, כא): כִּי לֹא תִשָּׁכַח מִפִּי זַרְעוֹ, מַה הוֹעִיל לוֹ (ישעיה ח, יח): הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי וְהַיְּלָדִים אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לִי ה', וְכִי יְלָדָיו הָיוּ וַהֲלֹא תַּלְמִידָיו הָיוּ, אֶלָּא מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיוּ חֲבִיבִין עָלָיו כְּבָנָיו, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁאָחַז בָּתֵּי כְנֵסִיּוֹת וּבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת הִתְחִילוּ צוֹוְחִין וַוי, הֱוֵי וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אָחָז. (ירמיה א, ג): וַיְהִי בִּימֵי יְהוֹיָקִים, מַה צָּרָה הָיְתָה שָׁם, (ירמיה ד, כג): רָאִיתִי אֶת הָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְאֶל הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵין אוֹרָם, לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁשָּׁלַח פְּרוֹסְטִיגְמָא שֶׁלּוֹ לַמְּדִינָה, מֶה עָשׂוּ לוֹ בְּנֵי הַמְּדִינָה, נָטְלוּ אוֹתָהּ וּקְרָעוּהָ וּשְׂרָפוּהָ בָּאֵשׁ, אָמְרוּ אוֹי לָנוּ כְּשֶׁיַּרְגִּישׁ הַמֶּלֶךְ בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (ירמיה לו, כג): וַיְהִי כִּקְרוֹא יְהוּדִי שָׁלשׁ דְּלָתוֹת וְאַרְבָּעָה, תְּלָתָא אַרְבְּעָה פְּסוּקִים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לַפָּסוּק הַחֲמִישִׁי הָיוּ צָרֶיהָ לְרֹאשׁ, מִיָּד יִקְרָעֶהָ בְּתַעַר הַסֹּפֵר וְהַשְׁלֵךְ אֶל הָאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר אֶל הָאָח עַד תֹּם כָּל הַמְגִלָּה עַל הָאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר עַל הָאָח. כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ כֵּן הִתְחִילוּ צוֹוְחִים וַוי, הֱוֵי וַיְהִי בִּימֵי יְהוֹיָקִים. (אסתר א, א): וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ, מַה צָּרָה הָיְתָה שָׁם, לַהֲרֹג וּלְאַבֵּד אֶת כָּל הַיְּהוּדִים. לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ כֶּרֶם וְנִזְדַּוְּגוּ לוֹ שְׁלשָׁה שׂוֹנְאִים, הָאֶחָד הִתְחִיל מְקַטֵּף בָּעוֹלֵלוֹת, וְהַשֵּׁנִי מְזַנֵּב בָּאֶשְׁכּוֹלוֹת, וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁי בִּקֵּשׁ לַעֲקֹר אֶת כָּל הַגְּפָנִים. כָּךְ פַּרְעֹה הָרָשָׁע הִתְחִיל מְקַטֵּף בָּעוֹלֵלוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות א, כב): כָּל הַבֵּן הַיִּלּוֹד הַיְאֹרָה תַּשְׁלִיכֻהוּ. נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר הָרָשָׁע הִתְחִיל מְזַנֵּב בָּאֶשְׁכּוֹלוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב כד, טז): הֶחָרָשׁ וְהַמַּסְגֵּר אֶלֶף. רַבִּי בֶּרֶכְיָה בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אָמַר הֶחָרָשׁ אֶלֶף וְהַמַּסְגֵּר אֶלֶף. רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אָמַר כֻּלָּן אֶלֶף. רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל אָמַר אֵלּוּ הַבַּלְיוֹטִין. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בְּרַבִּי סִימוֹן אָמַר אֵלּוּ תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים. הָמָן הָרָשָׁע בִּקֵּשׁ לַעֲקֹר אֶת כָּל הַבֵּיצָה, אָמְרֵי זָבִין בְּבֵיעָתָא (אסתר ג, יג): לְהַשְּׁמִיד לַהֲרֹג וּלְאַבֵּד, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ כֵּן הִתְחִילוּ צוֹוְחִין וַוי, הֱוֵי וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ. וַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים, מַה צָּרָה הָיְתָה שָׁם, וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ, לִמְדִינָה שֶׁהָיְתָה חַיֶּיבֶת לִיפְסֵי לַמֶּלֶךְ, מֶה עָשָׂה הַמֶּלֶךְ שָׁלַח טַמִּיאוֹן לִגְבוֹתָה, מֶה עָשׂוּ בְּנֵי הַמְדִינָה, נָטְלוּ אוֹתוֹ וְהִלְקוּהוּ וְגָבוּ אוֹתוֹ, אָמְרוּ מַה שֶּׁהָיָה מְבַקֵּשׁ לַעֲשׂוֹת לָנוּ עָשִׂינוּ לוֹ. כָּךְ בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים הָיָה אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל עוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים, וְהָיָה הַדַּיָּן מְבַקֵּשׁ לַעֲשׂוֹת בּוֹ דִּין, וְהָיָה הוּא בָּא וּמַלְקֶּה הַדַּיָּן, וְאָמַר מַה דִּבְעָא מֶעֱבַד לִי עֲבַדְתִּי לֵיהּ, אוֹי לַדּוֹר שֶׁשּׁוֹפְטָיו נִשְׁפָּטִין, הֱוֵי וַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים. שִׁמְעוֹן בְּרַבִּי אַבָּא אָמַר בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר צָרָה וְשִׂמְחָה, אִם צָרָה אֵין צָרָה כְּמוֹתָהּ, אִם שִׂמְחָה אֵין שִׂמְחָה כְּמוֹתָהּ בָּעוֹלָם. אֲתָא רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָנִי וַעֲבַדָּהּ פַּלְגָּא, כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיְהִי צָרָה, וְהָיָה שִׂמְחָה, וְהָא כְתִיב (בראשית א, ג): וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר, אָמַר לָהֶם אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ אוֹרָה שֶׁל שִׂמְחָה, שֶׁלֹא זָכָה הָעוֹלָם לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּאוֹתָהּ אוֹרָה, שֶׁאוֹתָהּ אוֹרָה שֶׁנִּבְרָאת בְּיוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אָדָם צוֹפֶה מִסּוֹף הָעוֹלָם וְעַד סוֹפוֹ, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁרָאָה שֶׁעֲתִידִין רְשָׁעִים לָצֵאת, כְּדוֹר אֱנוֹשׁ וְאַנְשֵׁי דוֹר הַמַּבּוּל וְדוֹר הַפְלָגָה וּכְאַנְשֵׁי סְדוֹם, לְקָחָהּ. הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (איוב לח, טו): וְיִמָּנַע מֵרְשָׁעִים אוֹרָם, וּגְנָזוֹ לַצַּדִּיקִים לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים צז, יא): אוֹר זָרֻעַ לַצַּדִּיק. מֵיתִיבִין לֵיהּ וְהָכְתִיב (בראשית א, א): וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד, אָמַר לָהֶם אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ שִׂמְחָה, שֶׁעֲתִידִין שָׁמַיִם לְהִבָּלוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נא, ו): כִּי שָׁמַיִם כֶּעָשָׁן נִמְלָחוּ, מֵיתִיבִין לֵיהּ וְהָא כְתִיב וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי, וּשְׁלִישִׁי, וּרְבִיעִי, חֲמִישִׁי, וְשִׁשִּׁי. אָמַר לָהֶם אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ שִׂמְחָה, שֶׁכָּל מַה שֶּׁנִּבְרָא בְּשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי בְרֵאשִׁית צְרִיכִים עֲשִׂיָּה, כְּגוֹן הַחַרְדָּל צָרִיךְ לְהַמְתִּיקוֹ, הַתּוּרְמוֹסִין צְרִיכִין לִמָּתֵק, הַחִטִּים צְרִיכִין לִטָּחֵן. וְהָא כְתִיב (בראשית לט, ב): וַיְהִי ה' אֶת יוֹסֵף, אָמַר אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ שִׂמְחָה, דִּכְתִיב (בראשית מ, טו): כִּי שָׂמוּ אֹתִי בַּבּוֹר. וְהָא כְתִיב (במדבר ז, א): וַיְהִי בְּיוֹם כַּלּוֹת משֶׁה, אָמַר לָהֶם אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ שִׂמְחָה, שֶׁבּוֹ נִגְנַז בִּנְיַן בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות מ, לה): וְלֹא יָכֹל משֶׁה לָבוֹא אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד. וְהָא כְתִיב (יהושע ה, יג): וַיְהִי בִּהְיוֹת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, אָמַר לָהֶם אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ שִׂמְחָה, שֶׁבּוֹ קָרַע יְהוֹשֻׁעַ שִׂמְלוֹתָיו, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע ז, ו): וַיִּקְרַע יְהוֹשֻׁעַ שִׂמְלֹתָיו. וְהָא כְתִיב (ויקרא ט, א): וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי, אָמַר לָהֶם אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ שִׂמְחָה, שֶׁבּוֹ מֵתוּ נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא. וְהָא כְתִיב (שמואל ב ז, א): וַיְהִי כִּי יָשַׁב הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּבֵיתוֹ, אָמַר לָהֶם אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ שִׂמְחָה, שֶׁבּוֹ בָּא נָתָן הַנָּבִיא וְאָמַר לוֹ (מלכים א ח, יט): רַק אַתָּה לֹא תִבְנֶה הַבָּיִת. אָמְרֵי לֵיהּ אָמְרִינַן אֲנַן דִּידָן, אֱמֹר אַתְּ דִּידָךְ, אָמַר לָהֶם (יואל ד, יח): וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַהוּא יִטְּפוּ הֶהָרִים עָסִיס. (זכריה יד, ח): וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יֵצְאוּ מַיִם חַיִּים. (ישעיה יא, יא): וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יוֹסִיף ה' שֵׁנִית יָדוֹ. (ישעיה ז, כא): וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יְחַיֶּה אִישׁ. (ישעיה כז, יג): וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִתָּקַע בְּשׁוֹפָר גָּדוֹל. (ישעיה ד, ג): וְהָיָה הַנִּשְׁאָר בְּצִיּוֹן וְהַנּוֹתָר בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם. מֵיתִיבִין לֵיהּ וְהָא כְתִיב (ירמיה לח, כח): וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר נִלְכְּדָה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, אָמַר לָהֶם אַף הִיא אֵינָהּ צָרָה, אֶלָּא שִׂמְחָה, שֶׁבּוֹ בַּיּוֹם נָטְלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹפָכִין שְׁלֵמָה עַל עֲוֹנוֹתֵיהֶם בַּיּוֹם שֶׁחָרַב בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ. סְלִיק פְּתִיחָתָא דְרוּת רַבָּה

Rabbi Tanchuma in the name of Rabbi Chiyya and Rabbi Berachya in the name of Rabbi Elazar [all] said, "This midrash came up to our hands from the exile - 'Any place that it is stated, "and it was in the days of," it is nothing but a term of grief.'" Rabbi Chiyya: "Every place that it is stated "and it was in the days of" it discusses trouble or joy. If trouble, unforeseen, and if joy, also unforeseen". Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Natan, "And there are five": "And it was in the days of Amrafel" (Genesis 14:1): What grief was there over there? They made a war. [It is comparable] to a dear friend of a king who entered a province, and on his account was the king [concerned] about that whole province. [Then] barbarians came and grappled with him. And when he wanted to leave, they all said to him, "Woe that the king will no longer be concerned about the province as he was": So [too,] was Abraham a dear friend of the Holy One, blessed be He - as it is written about him (Isaiah 41:8), "the seed of Abraham, My dear one"; and it is written (Genesis 12:3), "and through you shall all the families of the world be blessed." And when the barbarians came and grappled with him, they all said, "Woe that the Holy One, blessed be He, will not be concerned with the world as He was; since He was concerned with the world for his sake." This is [the meaning of] that which the verse stated (Genesis 14:7), "And they came to Ein Mishpat (which can be understand as the eye of justice)" - Rabbi Acha said, "They sought to grapple with no less than the eyeball of the world." They said, "They sought to blind the eye that [suppressed] the trait of [strict] judgment in the world." [The verse continues -] "It (hi') is Kadesh," [but] it is written, "h'i (hu) is Kadesh"; meaning to say, he sanctified (hu kidesh) the name of the Holy One, blessed be He and went down to the fiery furnace. When they saw that the things were like this, they cried out. (2) "And it was in the days of Ahaz the son of Joshiah, King of Judah" (Isaiah 7:1). What grief was there over there? "It is what is stated by the verse (Isaiah 9:11), "Aram is in front and the Philistines are behind, etc." [It is comparable] to a king that gave his son over to a mentor, and the mentor hated him. He said, "If I kill him, I will become liable for death. Rather, I will take away his nourishment from him and he will die on his own": So did the evil Ahaz say, "If there are no goats, there will be no rams; if there is no flock, there will be no shepherd, [and] where will the world be?" So did he say, "If there are no masters, there will be no students; if there are no students, there will be no sages; if there is no Torah, there will be no synagogues and study halls." What did he do? He passed all the synagogues and study halls and sealed them. And this [is the meaning of] that which the verse states (Isaiah 8:16), "Bind up the message; seal the instruction with My disciples.".... And when they saw that the things were like this, they all started to cried out, "Woe that the world is being destroyed" - when [study of] the Torah was negated, that was in the days of Ahaz. (3) "And it was in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah" (Jeremiah 1:3). What grief was there over there? "I looked at the earth, and behold it was empty and void; at the heavens and their light was not" (Jeremiah 4:23), [It is comparable] to edicts of the kings that were were brought to the province. What did the people of the province do? They tore them up and burned them. This is what the verse stated (Jeremiah 36:23), "And it was when Yehudi would read three columns or four" - meaning to say, he read four verses - and in the fifth verse, he read, "And her tormentors became the head" (Lamentations 1:5) - and it is is written (Jeremiah 36:23), "he would tear it with a scribe's blade and throw it into the fire until the end of all of the scroll." And when they saw this, everyone began to cry out, "Woe for the decree that is hanging over us." "And it was in the days when the judges ruled" (Ruth 1:1) - there was famine there. [And to what is the matter comparable?] To a province that was liable a tax to the king. [So] he sent collectors to collect it. The people of the province rose and smote the collectors and hung them. The judgment that they were liable - as they appointed other judges for themselves - they did to the collectors. So did they do at that time.... (5) "And it was in the days of Ahashverosh" (Esther 1:1). What grief was there over there? [It is comparable] to a king that had a vineyard, and he had three enemies. What did they do? One cut the small berries, the second ripped the clusters and the third uprooted the vines: So did Pharaoh began with the small berries, as it is stated (Exodus 1:22), "Any son that is born, throw him into the river." Nebuchadnezzar [ripped the clusters,] as it is stated (Jeremiah 29:2), "the craftsmen and the smiths".... Haman [then] came [to] uproot the vines, as it is stated (Esther 3:13), "to annihilate, to kill and to destroy." Everyone began to cry out, "Woe." Rabbi Shimon ben Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan, "Any place that it is stated, 'and it was (vayehi),' it is used for grief and it is used for joy. And when for grief, there is no grief like it, and when for joy, there is no joy like it." Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman came and divided it, "Any place that it is stated 'it will be,' it is used for joy; [but] 'and it was' [is for] grief." The Sages responded, "Behold 'And God said, "Vayehi (here used as a command form, and not past tense) light"' [is] joy!" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as the world did not merit to use that light. As so did Rabbi Yehudah bar Simon say, '[Regarding] the light that the Holy One, blessed be He, created on the first day, Adam [could] look and observe from [one] end of the world to the [other] end. [But] since the Holy One, blessed be He, saw the deeds of the generation of Enosh and the generation of the flood, He arose and hid it from them. That is [the meaning of] what the verse states (Job 38:15), "From the wicked is their light withheld." And to where is it hidden? [It is] in the Garden of Eden, for the righteous ones, as it is stated (Psalms 97:11), "Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the straight-hearted."'" They responded to him further, "It states, 'And it was evening and it was morning, one day.'" He said to them, "On that day too, it is not of joy, as all the acts of the first day are destined to wither, as it is stated (Isaiah 51:6), 'when the heavens melt away like smoke and the earth wither like a garment.'" They responded to him, "Behold, the [acts of] the second day, the third day, the fourth day, the fifth day, the sixth day." He said to them, "They too are not of joy, as all the acts of the six days of creation require further action - for example, wheat needs to be ground; mustard needs to be mellowed; lupine need to be mellowed." They responded to him, "[And what about,] 'And it was that the Lord was with Yosef and he was a successful man' (Genesis 39:7)?" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as that 'bear' chanced upon him from this, as it is stated in the verse, 'after' - 'And it was after these things, and the wife of his master raised, etc.' (Genesis 39:7)...." They responded to him, "[And what about,] 'And it was that the Lord was with Joshua, and his reputation was in all the land' (Joshua 6:27)?" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as he had to rend his garments." They responded to him, "And is it not written (I Samuel 18:14), 'And it was that David was successful in all of his ways and the Lord was with him'?" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as enmity descended into the heart of Saul from this, as it is stated (I Samuel 18:9), 'And it was that Saul eyed David.'" They responded to him, "And is it not written (II Samuel 7:1), 'And it was when the king sat in his house and the Lord allowed him rest from all of his enemies'?" He said to them, "It too is not of joy, as on that same day, Nathan the prophet came to David and said to him, 'However you will not build the House' (I Kings 8:19)." They said to him, "Behold, we have said what is ours; [now] say what is yours - that 'and it will be' is joy." He said to them, "'And it will be on that day that the mountains will drip with nectar' (Joel 4:18), that will be in the days of the messiah, and there will be great joy for Israel. And so [too,] 'And it will be on that day that a man shall save alive a heifer of the herd and two sheep' (Isaiah 7:21). And so [too,] 'And it will be on that day that living waters will come out from Jerusalem' (Zechariah 14:8). And so [too,] 'And he will be like a tree planted over streams of water' (Psalms 1:3). And so [too,] 'And the remnant of Jacob will be among many nations' (Micah 5:6)." They said to him, "But behold, it is written (Jeremiah 38:28), 'vahaya (here used in the past tense, and not like the other examples) when Jerusalem was captured'!" He said to them, "It too is not of grief, as on that day was the verdict of Israel for their sins taken; as so is it written (Lamentations 4:22), 'Your sin has been completed, Daughter of Zion, He will not again exile you.'" This is the end of the petichata of Ruth Rabbah.