during which they committed their sins was altogether twenty-six years, as it is written: “Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer and thirteen years they rebelled, and in the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer came” (Genesis 14:4–5). The twelve years plus the fourteen years during which they were enslaved were not years of tranquility, leaving only twenty-six tranquil years when they were sinful.
And Rava bar Meḥasseya said that Rav Ḥama bar Gurya said that Rav said: Any city whose roofs are higher than the synagogue will ultimately be destroyed because of the contempt shown the synagogue. Allusion to this is from that which is stated: “To uplift the house of our God and restore its ruins” (Ezra 9:9). The house that is devoted to God needs to be elevated above the other houses of the city. The Gemara adds: And this applies only to the height of the houses themselves. However, if the poles [kashkushei] and the towers [abrurei] that extend from the house are higher than the synagogue, we have no problem with it. Rav Ashi said: I caused the city of Mata Meḥasseya to not be destroyed by building the synagogue higher than the other houses. The Gemara asks: Wasn’t Mata Meḥasseya ultimately destroyed? The Gemara answers: It was not destroyed because of that sin; other sins caused its destruction.
And Rava bar Meḥasseya said that Rav Ḥama bar Gurya said that Rav said: It is preferable to be under the yoke of Ishmael and not under the yoke of a stranger, the Romans; under a stranger and not under a Ḥabar, a Persian Zoroastrian fire priest; under a Ḥabar and not under a Torah scholar, as if one offends a Torah scholar who is greater than he, the scholar will be exacting with him and he will be punished at the hand of Heaven; under a Torah scholar and not under an orphan or a widow, as they are easily insulted and God promised to hear their cries and punish those who offend them.
And Rava bar Meḥasseya said that Rav Ḥama bar Gurya said that Rav said: It is preferable to suffer from any extended illness and not from an intestinal illness. Similarly, it is preferable to suffer any pain, even if it is sharp and excruciating, and not heart pain; any slight ache and not a headache; any evil and not an evil wife.
And Rava bar Meḥasseya said that Rav Ḥama bar Gurya said that Rav said: Even if all the seas would be ink, and the reeds that grow near swamps would be quills, and the heavens would be parchment upon which the words would be written, and all the people would be scribes; all of these are insufficient to write the unquantifiable space of governmental authority, i.e., all the considerations with which a government must concern itself and deal. Rav Mesharshiya said: What is the verse that alludes to this? “The Heavens on High and the land to the depth and the heart of kings are unsearchable” (Proverbs 25:3).
And Rava bar Meḥasseya said that Rav Ḥama bar Gurya said that Rav said: A fast is effective to neutralize a bad dream like fire burns chaff. Rav Ḥisda said: And a fast is effective specifically on that day that he dreamed. And Rav Yosef said: One suffering from a bad dream that he dreamed is permitted to fast even on Shabbat.
The Gemara relates: Rav Yehoshua, son of Rav Idi, happened to come to the house of Rav Ashi. They prepared a third-born calf, whose meat is high quality, for him. They said to him: Let the Master taste something. He said to them: I am sitting in the midst of a fast. They said to him: And does the Master not hold in accordance with this halakha of Rav Yehuda, as Rav Yehuda said: A person can borrow his fast and not fast on the day that he originally designated, and repay it by fasting on another day? You can postpone your fast to another day. He said to them: It is a fast for a dream. And Rava bar Meḥasseya said that Rav Ḥama bar Gurya said that Rav said: A fast is effective to neutralize a bad dream like fire burns chaff. And Rav Ḥisda said that the fast is effective specifically on that day that he dreamed. And Rav Yosef said that a person suffering due to a bad dream is permitted to fast even on Shabbat.
We learned in the mishna that if they already began any one of the activities mentioned in the mishna they need not stop to recite the Amida prayer; however, they stop to recite Shema. The Gemara asks: Didn’t the first clause of the mishna already teach that they need not stop? Why does the mishna repeat it? The Gemara answers: In the latter clause of the mishna, we came to discuss matters of Torah. With regard to those engaged in Torah study, they need not stop for prayer, but they are required to stop to recite Shema. As it was taught in a baraita: Torah scholars, who were engaged in the study of Torah, stop their Torah study for Shema, and they do not stop for prayer. Rabbi Yoḥanan said a caveat to this statement: They only taught that they need not stop for prayer with regard to the likes of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai and his colleagues, whose Torah is their vocation and they never interrupt their Torah study. However, for the likes of us, who also engage in other activities, we stop both for Shema and for prayer.
With regard to the essence of the statement the Gemara asks: Didn’t we learn in a different baraita: Just as they do not stop for prayer, they do not stop for Shema? The Gemara answers: When that baraita was taught, it was taught with regard to those engaged in the intercalation of the year. Since their activity is crucial and all the Festivals of the year are determined through that activity, the Sages allowed them to continue and not stop to recite Shema. As Rav Adda bar Ahava said, and the Elders of the city of Hagronya also taught that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Tzadok, said: When we were engaged in the intercalation of the year in Yavne, we would stop neither for Shema nor for prayer.
MISHNA: This mishna deals with various decrees, especially with regard to the halakhot of Shabbat, which were issued in order to distance a person from transgressions that he is liable to commit through habit and routine. The mishna said: The tailor may not go out with his needle adjacent to nightfall on Shabbat eve, lest he forget that he is carrying the needle and go out with it to the public domain even after Shabbat begins. And, similarly, the scribe [lavlar] may not go out with his quill[kulmos] for the same reason. And one may not shake his clothes on Shabbat to rid them of lice; and one may not read a book by candlelight, so that he will not come to adjust the wick of the lamp. However, in truth they said an established halakha: The attendant sees where in the book the children under his supervision are reading in the Torah, even by candlelight on Shabbat. However, he himself may not read. Similarly, the Sages issued a similar decree with regard to other halakhot, as they said: The zav may not eat even with his wife the zava, despite the fact that they are both ritually impure, because, by eating together, they will come to excessive intimacy and become accustomed to sin.
GEMARA: Among the halakhot concerning decrees that were issued lest one come to commit a transgression, we learned in a mishna there: A person may not stand in the private domain and drink water located in the public domain, or vice versa, stand in the public domain and drink water located in the private domain, lest he transfer the vessel from which he is drinking the water to the place where he is standing and become liable to bring a sin-offering. However, if he introduced his head and most of his body into the place where the water that he is drinking is located, there is no longer room for concern, and it is permitted,