Sanhedrin 102bסנהדרין ק״ב ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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102bק״ב ב

דאיתפח הדר קא דריש אמרי לא קבילת עלך דלא דרשת בהו אמר אינהו מי הדרו בהו דאנא אהדר בי

he recovered, he then lectured on that topic. His students said to him: Did you not undertake that you will not lecture about them? Rabbi Abbahu said: Did they repent, that I will reconsider and refrain from condemning them?

רב אשי אוקי אשלשה מלכים אמר למחר נפתח בחברין אתא מנשה איתחזי ליה בחלמיה אמר חברך וחבירי דאבוך קרית לן

One day Rav Ashi ended his lecture just before reaching the matter of the three kings. He said to his students: Tomorrow we will begin the lecture with our colleagues the three kings, who, although they were sinners, were Torah scholars like us. Manasseh, king of Judea, came and appeared to him in his dream. Manasseh said to him angrily: You called us your colleague and the colleagues of your father? How dare you characterize yourself as our equal?

מהיכא בעית למישרא המוציא אמר ליה לא ידענא א"ל מהיכא דבעית למישרא המוציא לא גמירת וחברך קרית לן א"ל אגמריה לי ולמחר דרישנא ליה משמך בפירקא א"ל מהיכא דקרים בישולא

Manasseh said to him: I will ask you, from where are you required to begin cutting a loaf of bread when reciting the blessing: Who brings forth bread from the earth? Rav Ashi said to him: I do not know. Manasseh said to him: Even this, from where you are required to begin cutting a loaf of bread when reciting the blessing: Who brings forth bread from the earth, you did not learn, and yet you call us your colleague? Rav Ashi said to Manasseh: Teach me this halakha and tomorrow I will lecture and cite it in your name during my public lecture delivered on the Festival. Manasseh said to him: One cuts the loaf from where it crusts as a result of baking.

א"ל מאחר דחכימתו כולי האי מאי טעמא קא פלחיתו לעבודת כוכבים א"ל אי הות התם הות נקיטנא בשיפולי גלימא ורהטת אבתראי למחר אמר להו לרבנן נפתח ברבוותא

Rav Ashi said to him: Since you were so wise, what is the reason you engaged in idol worship? Manasseh said to him: Had you been there at that time, you would have taken and lifted the hem of your cloak and run after me due to the fierce desire to engage in idol worship and due to the fact that it was a common faith. The next day Rav Ashi said to the Sages as a prelude to his lecture: We will begin with the treatment of our teachers, those kings who were greater than us in Torah knowledge but whose sins caused them to lose their share in the World-to-Come.

אחאב אח לשמים אב לעבודת כוכבים אח לשמים דכתיב (משלי יז, יז) אח לצרה יולד אב לעבודת כוכבים דכתיב (תהלים קג, יג) כרחם אב על בנים

§ The Gemara proceeds to discuss the second king enumerated in the mishna, Ahab. Ahab [Aḥav], although he was a brother [aḥ] to Heaven, he was a father [av] for idol worship. He was a brother to Heaven, as it is written: “And a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17), and in desperate times, he turned to Heaven. He was a father for idolatry. This is the highest level of attachment, as it is written: “As a father has compassion for his children” (Psalms 103:13).

(מלכים א טז, לא) ויהי הנקל לכתו בחטאת ירבעם בן נבט אמר ר' יוחנן קלות שעשה אחאב כחמורות שעשה ירבעם ומפני מה תלה הכתוב בירבעם מפני שהוא היה תחילה לקלקלה (הושע יב, יב) גם מזבחותם כגלים על תלמי שדי א"ר יוחנן אין לך כל תלם ותלם בא"י שלא העמיד עליו אחאב עבודת כוכבים והשתחוה לו

With regard to Ahab, it is written: “And it came to pass, the most minor of his transgressions was his walking in the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat” (I Kings 16:31). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The minor sins that Ahab performed were on par with the major sins that Jeroboam performed, as the transgressions committed by Ahab were much more serious than those committed by Jeroboam. And for what reason did the verse attribute the sins of all the kings of Israel to Jeroboam, even though the sins of Ahab were more substantial? It is due to the fact that he was first to engage in iniquity. With regard to the verse: “Their altars shall also be like droppings in the furrows of the field” (Hosea 12:12), Rabbi Yoḥanan says: You do not have even one furrow in Eretz Yisrael upon which Ahab did not place an object of idol worship and bow to it.

ומנא לן דלא אתי לעלמא דאתי דכתיב (מלכים א כא, כא) והכרתי לאחאב משתין בקיר ועצור ועזוב בישראל עצור בעוה"ז ועזוב לעוה"ב

The Gemara asks: And from where do we derive that Ahab does not enter into the World-to-Come? The Gemara answers: It is derived as it is written: “And I will excise from Ahab every man, and him that is shut up and him that is abandoned in Israel” (I Kings 21:21). “Him that is shut up” indicates he will be excised in this world, while “and him that is abandoned” indicates he will be excised in the World-to-Come.

א"ר יוחנן מפני מה זכה עמרי למלכות מפני שהוסיף כרך אחד בארץ ישראל שנאמר (מלכים א טז, כד) ויקן את ההר שמרון מאת שמר בככרים כסף ויבן את ההר ויקרא [את] שם העיר אשר בנה על שם שמר אדני ההר שמרון

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: For what virtue was Omri, king of Israel, who was Ahab’s father, privileged to ascend to the monarchy? It is due to the fact that he added one city in Eretz Yisrael, as it is stated: “And he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city that he built after Shemer, the owner of the hill, Samaria” (I Kings 16:24).

א"ר יוחנן מפני מה זכה אחאב למלכות כ"ב שנה

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: For what virtue was Ahab privileged to ascend to the monarchy and rule for twenty-two years?

מפני שכיבד את התורה שניתנה בכ"ב אותיות שנאמר (מלכים א כ, ב) וישלח מלאכים אל אחאב מלך ישראל העירה ויאמר לו כה אמר בן הדד כספך וזהבך לי הוא ונשיך ובניך הטובים לי הם כי אם כעת מחר אשלח את עבדי אליך וחפשו את ביתך ואת בתי עבדיך והיה כל מחמד עיניך ישימו בידם ולקחו ויאמר למלאכי בן הדד אמרו לאדוני המלך כל אשר שלחת (לעבדך) [אל עבדך] בראשונה אעשה והדבר הזה לא אוכל לעשות

It is due to the fact that he respected the Torah, which was given with twenty-two letters, as it is stated: “And he sent messengers to Ahab, king of Israel, into the city, and said to him: So says Ben-Hadad: Your silver and your gold are mine; your wives and also your good children, are mine. And the king of Israel answered and said: It is according to your saying, my lord, O king: I am yours, and all that I have. And the messengers came again, and said: So speaks Ben-Hadad, saying: I sent to you, saying: You shall deliver me your silver, and your gold, and your wives, and your children. Yet I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house, and the houses of your servants, and it shall be, that they shall put in their hand all the delight of your eyes and take it…And he said to the messengers of Ben-Hadad, tell my lord the king: All that you did send for to your servant at the first I will do; but this thing I may not do” (I Kings 20:2–6, 9).

מאי מחמד עיניך לאו ס"ת

The Gemara asks: What is “the delight of your eyes” that Ahab refused to give Ben-Hadad after agreeing to give him his wives and his gold? Is it not a Torah scroll? Ahab treated the Torah with deference.

דילמא עבודת כוכבים לא ס"ד דכתיב (מלכים א כ, ח) ויאמרו אליו כל הזקנים וכל העם (לא תאבה ולא תשמע) ודילמא סבי דבהתא הוו מי לא כתיב (שמואל ב יז, ד) ויישר הדבר בעיני אבשלום (והזקנים) [ובעיני כל זקני ישראל] ואמר רב יוסף סבי דבהתא

The Gemara suggests: Perhaps the delight of his eyes was an object of idol worship. The Gemara answers: That could not enter your mind, as it is written that Ahab consulted the Sages with regard to this matter: “And all the elders and all the people said to him: Do not consent and heed not” (I Kings 20:8). The elders in this verse are presumably the Sages. The Gemara continues: But perhaps they were wicked elders, who worshipped idols. Isn’t it written: “And the saying pleased Absalom well and all the elders of Israel” (II Samuel 17:4), and Rav Yosef says: The elders of Israel mentioned in that verse were wicked elders. Perhaps the elders of Israel with whom Ahab consulted were also wicked.

התם לא כתיב וכל העם הכא כתיב וכל העם דאי אפשר דלא הוו בהון צדיקי וכתיב (מלכים א יט, יח) והשארתי בישראל שבעת אלפים כל הברכים אשר לא כרעו לבעל וכל הפה אשר לא נשק לו

The Gemara rejects this: There, with regard to Absalom it is not written: “And all the people,” whereas here, with regard to Ahab, it is written: “And all the people.” As it is impossible that there were not among them righteous people, if the righteous people agreed, apparently, “the delight of your eyes” was sacred. And it is written: “And I will leave seven thousand in Israel; all the knees that have not bent to the Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed it” (I Kings 19:18), indicating that there were righteous people among them.

אמר ר"נ אחאב שקול היה שנאמר (מלכים א כב, כ) ויאמר ה' מי יפתה את אחאב ויעל ויפול ברמות גלעד ויאמר זה בכה וזה אומר בכה מתקיף לה רב יוסף מאן דכתב ביה (מלכים א כא, כה) רק לא היה כאחאב אשר התמכר לעשות הרע בעיני ה' אשר הסתה אותו איזבל אשתו ותנינא בכל יום היתה שוקלת שקלי זהב לעבודת כוכבים ואת אמרת שקול היה אלא אחאב וותרן בממונו היה ומתוך שההנה תלמידי חכמים מנכסיו כיפרו לו מחצה

Rav Naḥman says: Ahab was balanced in terms of the mitzvot and transgressions that he performed, as it is stated: “And the Lord said, who shall entice Ahab that he may ascend and fall at Ramoth Gilead? And this one said in this manner, and that one said in that manner” (I Kings 22:20), indicating that it is unclear whether or not he was a full-fledged transgressor. Rav Yosef objects to this statement: This is the person about whom the prophet wrote: “But there was none like Ahab who devoted himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife had incited” (I Kings 21:25). And we learn in a baraita: Every day she would weigh gold shekels equal to Ahab’s weight for idol worship. And you say he was balanced? Rather, Ahab was generous with his money and did not scrimp, and since he also benefited Torah scholars with his property, the heavenly court expiated half his sins for him. The result was a balance between mitzvot and transgressions.

(מלכים א כב, כא) ויצא הרוח ויעמד לפני ה' ויאמר אני אפתנו ויאמר ה' אליו במה ויאמר אצא והייתי רוח שקר בפי כל נביאיו ויאמר תפתה וגם תוכל צא ועשה כן מאי רוח א"ר יוחנן רוחו של נבות היזרעאלי

With regard to God’s search for a volunteer to entice Ahab, it is written: “And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said: I will entice him. And the Lord said to him: With what? And he said: I will go out, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And He said: You shall entice him, and also prevail; go out, and do so” (I Kings 22:21–22). The Gemara asks: What spirit was that? Rabbi Yoḥanan says: It was the spirit of Naboth the Jezreelite, who sought to take revenge against Ahab.

מאי צא אמר רבינא צא ממחיצתי שכן כתיב (תהלים קא, ז) דובר שקרים לא יכון לנגד עיני אמר רב פפא היינו דאמרי אינשי דפרע קיניה מחריב ביתיה

The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the term “go out” that God instructed the spirit? Ravina says that it means: Go out from within my partition and do not return, as so it is written: “He that speaks falsehoods shall not be established before My eyes” (Psalms 101:7). The spirit that volunteered to lie may no longer be before God. Rav Pappa says that this is in accordance with the adage that people say: One who avenges due to his zealotry destroys his own house. The spirit of Naboth that sought revenge was expelled from before God.

(מלכים א טז, לג) ויעש אחאב את האשרה ויוסף אחאב לעשות להכעיס את ה' אלהי ישראל מכל מלכי ישראל אשר היו לפניו א"ר יוחנן שכתב על דלתות שמרון אחאב כפר באלהי ישראל לפיכך אין לו חלק באלהי ישראל

With regard to the verse: “And Ahab made the ashera; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him” (I Kings 16:33), Rabbi Yoḥanan says: It means that he wrote on the doors of Samaria: Ahab denies the existence of the God of Israel, therefore he has no share in the God of Israel.

(דברי הימים ב כב, ט) ויבקש את אחזיהו וילכדהו והוא מתחבא בשמרון א"ר לוי שהיה קודר אזכרות וכותב עבודת כוכבים תחתיהן

With regard to the verse: “And he sought Ahaziah, and they apprehended him, for he was hiding in Samaria” (II Chronicles 22:9), Rabbi Levi says: What would he do in hiding? He would excise mentions of God’s name in Torah scrolls and write the name of an object of idol worship in their stead.

מנשה שנשה יה ד"א מנשה שהנשי את ישראל לאביהם שבשמים ומנלן דלא אתי לעלמא דאתי דכתיב (דברי הימים ב לג, א) בן שתים עשרה שנה מנשה במלכו וחמשים וחמש שנה מלך בירושלים (מלכים ב כא, ג) ויעש (הרע) [אשרה] (בעיני ה') כאשר עשה אחאב מלך ישראל מה אחאב אין לו חלק לעוה"ב אף מנשה אין לו חלק לעוה"ב:

The Gemara proceeds to discuss the third king enumerated in the mishna. He was called Manasseh [Menashe] because he forgot God [nasha yah]. Alternatively, he was called Manasseh since he caused the kingdom of Israel to forget [hinshi] their Father Who is in Heaven. And from where do we derive that Manasseh does not enter into the World-to-Come? The Gemara answers: It is derived as it is written: “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem…And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord…And he made an ashera, as did Ahab king of Israel” (II Kings 21:1–3). Just as Ahab has no share in the World-to-Come, so too, Manasseh has no share in the World-to-Come.

רבי יהודה אומר מנשה יש לו חלק לעוה"ב שנאמר (דברי הימים ב לג, יג) ויתפלל מנשה אל ה' ויעתר לו וכו': א"ר יוחנן ושניהם מקרא אחד דרשו שנאמר (ירמיהו טו, ד) ונתתים לזעוה לכל ממלכות הארץ בגלל מנשה בן יחזקיהו מר סבר בגלל מנשה שעשה תשובה ואינהו לא עבוד ומר סבר

§ The mishna teaches that Rabbi Yehuda says: Manasseh has a share in the World-to-Come, as it is stated: “And he prayed to him and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication and brought him back to Jerusalem unto his kingdom” (II Chronicles 33:13). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: And both of them, Rabbi Yehuda and the Rabbis, who disagree with regard to whether Manasseh has a share in the World-to-Come, interpreted one and the same verse, as it is stated: “And I will make them into a horror for all the kingdoms of the earth, on account of Manasseh, son of Hezekiah” (Jeremiah 15:4). One Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, holds that “on account of Manasseh” means that the Jewish people will be judged harshly, as ultimately, one as wicked as Manasseh repented, and they did not do so. And one Sage, the Rabbis, holds that