the Tabernacle of David that is fallen [hanofelet]” (Amos 9:11). That is why the Messiah is called bar nifli. Rabbi Yitzḥak said to him that this is what Rabbi Yoḥanan says: During the generation in which the Messiah, son of David, comes, Torah scholars decrease; and as for the rest of the people, their eyes fail with sorrow and grief, and troubles increase. And the harsh decrees will be introduced; before the first passes the second quickly comes.
The Sages taught in a baraita: With regard to the seven-year period, i.e., the Sabbatical cycle, during which the Messiah, son of David, comes: During the first year, this verse will be fulfilled: “And I will cause it to rain upon one city and cause it not to rain upon another city” (Amos 4:7). During the second year of that period, arrows of famine will be shot, indicating that there will be famine only in certain places. During the third year there will be a great famine, and men, women, children, the pious, and men of action will die, and the Torah is forgotten by those who study it. During the fourth year there will be plenty but not great plenty. During the fifth year there will be great plenty and they will eat, and drink, and rejoice, and the Torah will return to those who study it. During the sixth year, heavenly voices will be heard. During the Sabbatical Year, wars, e.g., the war of Gog and Magog, will be waged involving the Jewish people. During the year after the conclusion of the Sabbatical Year, the son of David will come.
Rav Yosef said: Haven’t there been several Sabbatical cycles during which events transpired in that manner and nevertheless, the Messiah did not come? Abaye said: Have the phenomena: During the sixth year, heavenly voices, and during the Sabbatical Year, wars, transpired? And furthermore, have all these phenomena transpired in the order in which they were listed in the baraita?
The verse states: “That Your enemies taunted, Lord, that they have taunted the footsteps of Your anointed” (Psalms 89:52). It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: During the generation that the son of David comes, the hall of the assembly of the Sages will be designated for prostitution, and the Galilee will be destroyed, and the Gavlan, i.e., Bashan, will be desolate, and the residents of the border who flee the neighboring gentiles will circulate from city to city and will receive no sympathy. The wisdom of scholars will diminish, and sin-fearing people will be despised. And the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog in its impudence and shamelessness.
And the truth will be lacking, as it is stated: “And the truth is lacking [ne’ederet], and he who departs from evil is negated” (Isaiah 59:15). What is the meaning of the phrase: And the truth is lacking [ne’ederet]? The Sages of the study hall of Rav said: This teaches that truth will become like so many flocks [adarim] and walk away. What is the meaning of the phrase: “And he that departs from evil is negated”? The Sages of the study hall of Rabbi Sheila said: Anyone who deviates from evil is deemed insane by the people.
§ Concerning the lack of truth, Rava says: Initially I would say that there is no truth anywhere in the world. There was a certain one of the Sages, and Rav Tavut is his name, and some say Rav Tavyomei is his name, who was so honest that if they were to give him the entire world, he would not deviate from the truth in his statement. He said to me: One time I happened to come to a certain place, and Truth is its name, and its residents would not deviate from the truth in their statements, and no person from there would die prematurely. I married a woman from among them, and I had two sons from her.
One day his wife was sitting and washing the hair on her head. Her neighbor came and knocked on the door. He thought: It is not proper conduct to tell the neighbor that his wife is bathing. He said to her: She is not here. Since he deviated from the truth his two sons died. The people residing in that place came before him and said to him: What is the meaning of this? He said to them: This was the nature of the incident, and told them what happened. They said to him: Please leave our place and do not provoke premature death upon these people.
The Gemara resumes its discussion of the messianic period. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Nehorai says: During the generation in which the son of David comes, youths will humiliate elders and elders will stand in deference before youths, and a daughter will rebel against her mother, and a bride against her mother-in-law, and the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog, and a son will not be ashamed before his father.
It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Neḥemya says: During the generation that the son of David comes, arrogance will proliferate and the cost of living will corrupt people so they will engage in deceit. The vine will produce its fruit, and nevertheless, the wine will be costly. And the entire gentile monarchy will be converted to the heresy of Christianity, and there will be no inclination among the people to accept rebuke. This baraita supports the opinion of Rabbi Yitzḥak, as Rabbi Yitzḥak says: The son of David will not come until the entire kingdom will be converted to heresy. Rava says: What is the verse from which this statement is derived? It is the verse: “It is all turned white; he is ritually pure” (Leviticus 13:13). One is a leper and ritually impure only if he has a leprous mark, however small, but not if his skin is completely leprous. Similarly, the world will be redeemed only when the Jewish people reach their lowest point.
The Sages taught in a baraita: The verse states: “For the Lord shall judge His people and atone for His servants, when He sees that their power is gone and there is none shut up or left” (Deuteronomy 32:36). From the phrase “their power is gone” it is derived that the son of David will not come until informers will proliferate. Alternatively, the Messiah will not come until the number of students of Torah diminishes. Alternatively, the Messiah will not come until the peruta will cease from the purse. Alternatively, the Messiah will not come until they despair from the redemption, as it is stated: “And there is none shut up or left,” as though there were no supporter or helper for the Jewish people.
This is as in that practice of Rabbi Zeira, who, when he would find Sages who were engaging in discussions about the coming of the Messiah, said to them: Please, I ask of you, do not delay his coming by calculating the end of days. As we learn in a baraita: There are three matters that come only by means of diversion of attention from those matters, and these are they: The Messiah, a lost item, and a scorpion.
§ Rav Ketina says: Six thousand years is the duration of the world, and it is in ruins for one thousand years. The duration of the period during which the world is in ruins is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “And the Lord alone shall be exalted on that day” (Isaiah 2:11), and the day of God lasts one thousand years. Abaye says: It is in ruins for two thousand years, as it is stated: “After two days He will revive us; in the third day He will revive us, and we shall live in His presence” (Hosea 6:2).
It is taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Rav Ketina: Just as the Sabbatical Year abrogates debts once in seven years, so too, the world abrogates its typical existence for one thousand years in every seven thousand years, as it is stated: “And the Lord alone shall be exalted on that day,” and it states: “A psalm, a song for the Shabbat day” (Psalms 92:1), meaning a day, i.e., one thousand years, that is entirely Shabbat. And it says in explanation of the equation between one day and one thousand years: “For a thousand years in Your eyes are but like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night” (Psalms 90:4).
The school of Eliyahu taught: Six thousand years is the duration of the world. Two thousand of the six thousand years are characterized by chaos; two thousand years are characterized by Torah, from the era of the Patriarchs until the end of the mishnaic period; and two thousand years are the period of the coming of the Messiah.