Shabbat 152bשבת קנ״ב ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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152bקנ״ב ב

כל יומא הוה דבר רב יהודה בי עשרה ויתבי בדוכתיה לאחר שבעה ימים איתחזי ליה בחילמיה דרב יהודה ואמר ליה תנוח דעתך שהנחת את דעתי

every day of the seven day mourning period, Rav Yehuda would take ten people and they would sit in his place, in the house of the deceased. After seven days had passed the deceased appeared to Rav Yehuda in his dream and said to him: Put your mind to rest, for you have put my mind to rest.

אמר רבי אבהו כל שאומרים בפני המת יודע עד שיסתם הגולל פליגי בה רבי חייא ורבי שמעון ברבי חד אמר עד שיסתם הגולל וחד אמר עד שיתעכל הבשר

Rabbi Abbahu said: Everything people say before the deceased, he knows, until the tomb is sealed with the top-stone. Rabbi Ḥiyya and Rabbi Shimon, son of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, disagreed with regard to the meaning of this statement. One of them said that the deceased is aware until the tomb is sealed with the top-stone, which is referring to the covering of the grave (Tosafot). And one of them said that it is until the flesh decomposes.

מאן דאמר עד שיתעכל הבשר דכתיב אך בשרו עליו יכאב ונפשו עליו תאבל מאן דאמר עד שיסתם הגולל דכתיב וישוב העפר על הארץ כשהיה וגו׳

The one who said that it is until the flesh decomposes can support his position based on that which is written in the following verse: “But his flesh grieves for him, and his soul mourns over him” (Job 14:22). This indicates that the deceased is aware of the pain of his flesh in the grave. The one who said that the deceased is aware only until the tomb is sealed with the top-stone can support his view based on that which is written in a different verse: “And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). This indicates that when the body returns to the earth, the spirit also returns to its place and is no longer aware of what is happening to the body.

תנו רבנן והרוח תשוב אל האלהים אשר נתנה תנה לו כמו שנתנה לך בטהרה אף אתה בטהרה משל למלך בשר ודם שחלק בגדי מלכות לעבדיו פקחין שבהן קיפלום והניחום בקופסא טפשים שבהן הלכו ועשו בהן מלאכה לימים ביקש המלך את כליו פקחין שבהן החזירום לו כשהן מגוהצין טפשין שבהן החזירום לו כשהן מלוכלכין שמח המלך לקראת פקחין וכעס לקראת טפשין

The Sages taught with regard to the verse: “And the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7) that the words: Who gave it, mean: As it was given. In other words, give it to Him as He gave it to you; just as He gave it to you in purity, you too should return it to God in purity. The Gemara cites a parable of a king of flesh and blood who distributed royal garments to his servants. The wise ones folded them and placed them in a box [kufsa] to protect them, whereas the foolish ones went and worked in them. After a period of time the king requested that his garments be returned to him. The wise ones returned them to him pressed, as they were when the servants received them, and the foolish ones returned them dirty. The king was happy to greet the wise ones and angry to greet the foolish ones.

על פקחין אמר ינתנו כלי לאוצר והם ילכו לבתיהם לשלום ועל טפשין אמר כלי ינתנו לכובס והן יתחבשו בבית האסורים

With regard to the wise ones he said: My garments shall be given back to the storehouse, and let them go to their homes in peace. And with regard to the foolish ones he said: My garments shall be given to the launderer, and they, the fools, will be locked up in prison as a punishment for degrading the king’s garments for their own purposes.

אף הקדוש ברוך הוא על גופן של צדיקים אומר יבא שלום ינוחו על משכבותם ועל נשמתן הוא אומר והיתה נפש אדוני צרורה בצרור החיים על גופן של רשעים הוא אומר אין שלום אמר ה׳ לרשעים ועל נשמתן הוא אומר ואת נפש אויביך יקלענה בתוך כף הקלע

The Holy One, Blessed be He, also acts in this way. With regard to the bodies of the righteous, which are likened to the royal garments that are well kept, it states: “He enters into peace, they rest on their beds each one that walks in his uprightness” (Isaiah 57:2). And with regard to their souls, it states: “And the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord your God” (I Samuel 25:29). And conversely, with regard to the bodies of the wicked, it states: “There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21), and with regard to their souls, it states: “And the souls of your enemies He shall sling out in the hollow of a sling” (I Samuel 25:29).

תניא רבי אליעזר אומר נשמתן של צדיקים גנוזות תחת כסא הכבוד שנאמר והיתה נפש אדני צרורה בצרור החיים ושל רשעים זוממות והולכות [ומלאך אחד עומד בסוף העולם ומלאך אחר עומד בסוף העולם ומקלעין נשמתן זה לזה] שנאמר ואת נפש אויביך יקלענה בתוך כף הקלע

It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer says: The souls of the righteous are stored beneath the Throne of Glory, as it is stated: “And the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life” (I Samuel 25:29). And the souls of the wicked are continuously tied up, and one angel stands at one end of the world and another angel stands at the other end of the world and they sling the souls of the wicked back and forth to one another, as it is stated: “And the souls of your enemies He shall sling out in the hollow of a sling” (I Samuel 25:29).

אמר ליה רבה לרב נחמן של בינונים מאי אמר ליה איכא שכיבנא לא אמרי לכו האי מילתא הכי אמר שמואל אלו ואלו לדומה נמסרין הללו יש להן מנוח הללו אין להן מנוח אמר (ליה) רב מרי עתידים צדיקים דהוו עפרא דכתיב וישוב העפר על הארץ כשהיה

Rabba said to Rav Naḥman: What happens to the souls of middling people, who are neither righteous nor wicked? Rav Naḥman said to him: It is good that you asked me this question, for even if I were dead I would not have been able to tell you that. As Shmuel said as follows: These and those, the souls of the wicked and of the middling people, are handed over to Duma, the angel in charge of spirits. But these, the souls of the middling people, have rest, and these, the souls of the wicked, do not have rest. Rav Mari said: Even the bodies of the righteous will not be preserved and will become dust, as it is written: “And the dust returns to the earth as it was” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

הנהו קפולאי דהוו קפלי בארעא דרב נחמן נחר בהו רב אחאי בר יאשיה אתו ואמרו ליה לרב נחמן נחר בן גברא אתא ואמר ליה מאן ניהו מר אמר ליה אנא אחאי בר יאשיה אמר ליה ולאו אמר רב מרי עתידי צדיקי דהוו עפרא אמר ליה ומני מרי דלא ידענא ליה אמר ליה והא קרא כתיב וישוב העפר על הארץ כשהיה

The Gemara cites a related story: The diggers who were digging in Rav Naḥman’s land came upon a grave, and Rav Aḥai bar Yoshiya, who was buried there, rebuked them. They came and said to Rav Naḥman: A deceased person just rebuked us. Rav Naḥman came and said to the person buried there: Who is the Master, i.e., who are you? He said to him: I am Aḥai bar Yoshiya. Rav Naḥman said to him: How has your body been preserved? Didn’t Rav Mari say that the righteous will turn to dust? Rav Aḥai said to him: And who is Mari, whom I do not know? Why should I be concerned about what he says? Rav Naḥman said to him: Even without Rav Mari’s statement, there is an explicit verse which is written: “And the dust will return to the earth as it was” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

אמר ליה דאקרייך קהלת לא אקרייך משלי דכתיב ורקב עצמות קנאה כל מי שיש לו קנאה בלבו עצמותיו מרקיבים כל שאין לו קנאה בלבו אין עצמותיו מרקיבים

Rav Aḥai said to him: Whoever taught you the book of Ecclesiastes did not teach you the book of Proverbs, for it is written in Proverbs: “A tranquil heart is the life of the flesh, but envy is the rotting of the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). This means that anyone who has envy in his heart during his lifetime, his bones rot in the grave, and anyone who does not have envy in his heart, his bones do not rot.

גששיה חזייה דאית ביה מששא אמר ליה ליקום מר לגוויה דביתא אמר ליה גלית אדעתך דאפילו נביאי לא קרית דכתיב וידעתם כי אני ה׳ בפתחי את קברותיכם

Rav Naḥman touched him and saw that he had substance. Rav Naḥman said to him: Let the Master arise and come into my house. Rav Aḥai said to him: You have revealed that you have not even studied Prophets, and it is not just the Writings of which you are ignorant, for it is written: “And you shall know that I am the Lord when I open up your graves and lift you up from your graves, My nation” (Ezekiel 37:13). As long as the dead have not been instructed to leave their graves, leaving of their own accord is prohibited.

אמר ליה והכתיב כי עפר אתה ואל עפר תשוב אמר ליה ההוא שעה אחת קודם תחיית המתים

Rav Naḥman once again asked Rav Aḥai about the preservation of the flesh, and he said: But it is written: “For you are dust and you shall return to dust” (Genesis 3:19), so why has your body not turned into dust? He said to him: That verse applies to the righteous only one hour before the resurrection of the dead, so that they, too, may be created anew (Maharsha).

אמר ליה ההוא מינא לרבי אבהו אמריתו נשמתן של צדיקים גנוזות תחת כסא הכבוד אובא טמיא היכא אסקיה לשמואל בנגידא אמר ליה התם בתוך שנים עשר חדש הוה דתניא כל שנים עשר חדש גופו קיים ונשמתו עולה ויורדת לאחר שנים עשר חדש הגוף בטל

A certain apostate once said to Rabbi Abbahu: You say that the souls of the righteous are stored beneath the Throne of Glory, but if so, how did the oracle woman raise up Samuel using necromancy if his soul was no longer in this world? Rabbi Abbahu said to him: There, it was within twelve months of his death, as it was taught in a baraita: For a full twelve months a deceased person’s body remains and his soul ascends and descends, such that it is sometimes in this world with its body. After twelve months, the body ceases to exist