Sanhedrin 97b:9סנהדרין צ״ז ב:ט
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97bצ״ז ב

ובעונותינו שרבו יצאו מהם מה שיצאו

That is the course that history was to take, but due to our sins that time frame increased. The Messiah did not come after four thousand years passed, and furthermore, the years that elapsed since then, which were to have been the messianic era, have elapsed.

אמר ליה אליהו לרב יהודה אחוה דרב סלא חסידא אין העולם פחות משמונים וחמשה יובלות וביובל האחרון בן דוד בא אמר ליה בתחילתו או בסופו אמר ליה איני יודע כלה או אינו כלה אמר ליה איני יודע רב אשי אמר הכי א"ל עד הכא לא תיסתכי ליה מכאן ואילך איסתכי ליה

Elijah the prophet said to Rav Yehuda, brother of Rav Sala Ḥasida: The world will exist no fewer than eighty-five Jubilee cycles, or 4,250 years. And during the final Jubilee, the son of David will come. Rav Yehuda said to Elijah: Will the Messiah come during the beginning of the Jubilee or during its end? Elijah said to Rav Yehuda: I do not know. Rav Yehuda asked: Will this last Jubilee cycle end before the Messiah comes or will it not yet end before his coming? Elijah said to him: I do not know. Rav Ashi says: This is what Elijah said to him: Until that time do not anticipate his coming; from this point forward anticipate his coming. Elijah did not inform Rav Yehuda of the date of the coming of the Messiah.

שלח ליה רב חנן בר תחליפא לרב יוסף מצאתי אדם אחד ובידו מגילה אחת כתובה אשורית ולשון קדש אמרתי לו זו מניין לך אמר לי לחיילות של רומי נשכרתי ובין גינזי רומי מצאתיה וכתוב בה לאחר ד' אלפים ומאתים ותשעים ואחד שנה לבריאתו של עולם העולם יתום מהן מלחמות תנינים מהן מלחמות גוג ומגוג ושאר ימות המשיח ואין הקב"ה מחדש את עולמו אלא לאחר שבעת אלפים שנה רב אחא בריה דרבא אמר לאחר חמשת אלפים שנה איתמר

Rav Ḥanan bar Taḥlifa sent a message to Rav Yosef: I found one man, and in his hand there was one scroll written in Ashurit script and in the sacred tongue, Hebrew. I said to him: From where did this scroll come into your possession? He said to me: I was hired to serve in the Roman army and I found the scroll among the Roman archives. It was clear that the scroll was written by Jews, not Romans. And it is written in the scroll: After 4,291 years have elapsed from the creation of the world, the world will end; during those years there will be the wars of the sea monsters between the leviathan and the animals, and among those years there will be the wars of Gog and Magog and the remaining years of the messianic period. Then the world will be destroyed. And the Holy One, Blessed be He, will renew His world only after the passage of seven thousand years. Rav Aḥa, son of Rava, says that it was stated: After the passage of five thousand years.

תניא רבי נתן אומר מקרא זה נוקב ויורד עד תהום (חבקוק ב, ג) כי עוד חזון למועד ויפח לקץ ולא יכזב אם יתמהמה חכה לו כי בא יבא לא יאחר

§ It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Natan says: This verse penetrates and descends until the depths; just as the depths are unfathomable, so too, the period depicted in the following verse is unquantifiable. “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; and it declares of the end, and does not lie; though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).

לא כרבותינו שהיו דורשין (דניאל ז, כה) עד עידן עידנין ופלג עידן

The Messiah will come not in accordance with the opinion of our Rabbis, who would interpret the verse: “For a period and periods and a half period” (Daniel 7:25), to mean that the duration of the ultimate exile will be three and a half times the duration of the period of the exile in Egypt.

ולא כר' שמלאי שהיה דורש (תהלים פ, ו) האכלתם לחם דמעה ותשקמו בדמעות שליש

And the Messiah will come not in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Simlai, who would interpret the verse: “You have fed them with the bread of tears and have given them tears to drink in great measure [shalish]” (Psalms 80:6), to mean that the duration of the ultimate exile will be three times the duration of the period of the exile in Egypt.

ולא כרבי עקיבא שהיה דורש (חגי ב, ו) עוד אחת מעט היא ואני מרעיש את השמים ואת הארץ

And the Messiah will come not in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva, who would interpret the verse: “Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth” (Haggai 2:6), to mean that the redemption would transpire soon after the destruction of the Temple.

אלא מלכות ראשון שבעים שנה מלכות שניה חמשים ושתים ומלכות בן כוזיבא שתי שנים ומחצה

Rather, the first, great, Hasmonean monarchy ruled seventy years. The second kingdom, of Herod and his descendants, ruled fifty-two years, and the duration of the monarchy of bar Koziva, or bar Kokheva, was two and a half years. The duration of the exile that follows is unknown.

מאי ויפח לקץ ולא יכזב א"ר שמואל בר נחמני אמר ר' יונתן תיפח עצמן של מחשבי קיצין שהיו אומרים כיון שהגיע את הקץ ולא בא שוב אינו בא אלא חכה לו שנאמר אם יתמהמה חכה לו שמא תאמר אנו מחכין והוא אינו מחכה ת"ל (ישעיהו ל, יח) לכן יחכה ה' לחננכם ולכן ירום לרחמכם

The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase “And it declares [veyafe’aḥ] of the end, and does not lie”? Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: May those who calculate the end of days be cursed [tippaḥ], as they would say once the end of days that they calculated arrived and the Messiah did not come, that he will no longer come at all. Rather, the proper behavior is to continue to wait for his coming, as it is stated: “Though it tarry, wait for it.” Lest you say we are expectantly awaiting the end of days and the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not awaiting the end of days and does not want to redeem His people, the verse states: “And therefore will the Lord wait, to be gracious to you; and therefore will He be exalted, to have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of judgment; happy are all they who wait for Him” (Isaiah 30:18).

וכי מאחר שאנו מחכים והוא מחכה מי מעכב מדת הדין מעכבת וכי מאחר שמדת הדין מעכבת אנו למה מחכין לקבל שכר שנאמר (ישעיהו ל, יח) אשרי כל חוכי לו

And seemingly, since we are awaiting the end of days and the Holy One, Blessed be He, is also awaiting the end of days, who is preventing the coming of the Messiah? It is the divine attribute of judgment that prevents his coming, as it is written: “For the Lord is a God of judgment,” and we are not worthy. And since the attribute of judgment prevents the coming of the Messiah and we are not worthy of redemption, why do we await his coming daily? We do so in order to receive a reward for awaiting his coming, as it is stated: “Happy are all they who wait for Him.”

אמר אביי לא פחות עלמא מתלתין ושיתא צדיקי דמקבלי אפי שכינה בכל דרא שנאמר אשרי כל חוכי לו לו בגימטריא תלתין ושיתא הוו איני והאמר רבא דרא דקמי קודשא בריך הוא תמני סרי אלפי [פרסא] הואי שנאמר (יחזקאל מח, לה) סביב שמנה עשר אלף לא קשיא הא דמסתכלי באיספקלריא המאירה הא דמסתכלי באיספקלריא שאינה מאירה

Apropos that verse, Abaye said: The world has no fewer than thirty-six righteous people in each generation who greet the Divine Presence, as it is stated: “Happy are all they who wait for Him [lo]” (Isaiah 30:18). The numerical value of lo, spelled lamed vav, is thirty-six. The Gemara asks: Is that so? But doesn’t Rava say: The row of the righteous before the Holy One, Blessed be He, extends eighteen thousand parasangs, as it is stated with regard to the city of God at the end of days: “It shall be eighteen thousand reeds round about, and the name of the city from that day shall be: The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35)? The Gemara answers: It is not difficult; this statement of Abaye refers to the thirty-six righteous people who view the Divine Presence through a luminous crystal [be’ispaklarya], and that statement of Rava refers to the multitudes who view the Divine Presence through a crystal that is not luminous.

ומי נפישי כולי האי והאמר חזקיה א"ר ירמיה משום רשב"י ראיתי בני עלייה והן מועטין אם אלף הם אני ובני מהם אם מאה הם אני ובני מהם אם שנים הם אני ובני הם

The Gemara asks: And are those who view the Divine Presence through a crystal that is luminous so numerous? But doesn’t Ḥizkiyya say that Rabbi Yirmeya says in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai: I have seen members of the group of the spiritually prominent, who are truly righteous, and they are few. If they number one thousand, I and my son are among them. If they number one hundred, I and my son are among them; and if they number two, I and my son are they. Apparently, it is conceivable that there are no more than two who view the Divine Presence through a luminous crystal.

לא קשיא הא דעיילי בבר הא דעיילי בלא בר

The Gemara answers: It is not difficult. This statement of Abaye is referring to those who may enter to view the Divine Presence only by requesting and being granted permission [bar] from the angels. That statement of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai is referring to the select few who may enter to view the Divine Presence even without requesting permission, for whom the gates of Heaven are open at all times.

אמר רב כלו כל הקיצין ואין הדבר תלוי אלא בתשובה ומעשים טובים ושמואל אמר דיו לאבל שיעמוד באבלו כתנאי ר' אליעזר אומר אם ישראל עושין תשובה נגאלין ואם לאו אין נגאלין אמר ליה רבי יהושע אם אין עושין תשובה אין נגאלין אלא הקב"ה מעמיד להן מלך שגזרותיו קשות כהמן וישראל עושין תשובה ומחזירן למוטב

§ Rav says: All the ends of days that were calculated passed, and the matter depends only upon repentance and good deeds. When the Jewish people repent, they will be redeemed. And Shmuel says: It is sufficient for the mourner to endure in his mourning to bring about the coming of the Messiah. Even without repentance, they will be worthy of redemption due to the suffering they endured during the exile. The Gemara notes: This dispute is parallel to a dispute between tanna’im: Rabbi Eliezer says: If the Jewish people repent they are redeemed, and if not they are not redeemed. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: If they do not repent, will they not be redeemed at all? Rather, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will establish a king for them whose decrees are as harsh as those issued by Haman, and the Jewish people will have no choice but to repent, and this will restore them to the right path.

תניא אידך ר' אליעזר אומר אם ישראל עושין תשובה נגאלין שנאמר (ירמיהו ג, יד) שובו בנים שובבים ארפא משובותיכם אמר לו רבי יהושע והלא כבר נאמר (ישעיהו נב, ג) חנם נמכרתם ולא בכסף תגאלו חנם נמכרתם בעבודת כוכבים ולא בכסף תגאלו לא בתשובה ומעשים טובים

It is taught in another baraita that Rabbi Eliezer says: If the Jewish people repent they are redeemed, as it is stated: “Return, wayward children, I will heal your iniquities” (Jeremiah 3:22). Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: But isn’t it already stated: “So says the Lord: You were sold for naught, and without money you shall be redeemed” (Isaiah 52:3)? Rabbi Yehoshua explains: “You were sold for naught” means you were sold for idol worship, which is a sin with no basis. “And without money you shall be redeemed” means you will be redeemed not through repentance and good deeds, but through the will of God.

אמר לו רבי אליעזר לר' יהושע והלא כבר נאמר (מלאכי ג, ז) שובו אלי ואשובה אליכם אמר ליה רבי יהושע והלא כבר נאמר (ירמיהו ג, יד) כי אנכי בעלתי בכם ולקחתי אתכם אחד מעיר ושנים ממשפחה והבאתי אתכם ציון

Rabbi Eliezer said to Rabbi Yehoshua: But isn’t it already stated: “Return to me and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7)? Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: But isn’t it already stated: “For I have taken you to Myself; and I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion” (Jeremiah 3:14), unconditionally?

אמר לו ר' אליעזר והלא כבר נאמר (ישעיהו ל, טו) בשובה ונחת תושעון אמר לו ר' יהושע לרבי אליעזר והלא כבר נאמר (ישעיהו מט, ז) כה אמר ה' גואל ישראל וקדושו לבזה נפש למתעב גוי לעבד מושלים

Rabbi Eliezer said to him: But isn’t it already stated: “In ease [beshuva] and rest shall you be saved” (Isaiah 30:15), indicating that redemption is dependent upon repentance [teshuva]? Rabbi Yehoshua said to Rabbi Eliezer: But isn’t it already stated: “So says the Lord, Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him who is despised of man, to him who is abhorred of the nation, to a servant of rulers: