Shabbat 30aשבת ל׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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30aל׳ א

גמ׳ מדקתני סיפא חייב שמע מינה רבי יהודה היא רישא במאי עסיקנא אי בחולה שיש בו סכנה מותר מיבעי ליה ואי בחולה שאין בו סכנה חייב חטאת מיבעי ליה

GEMARA: From the fact that it was taught in the latter clause of the mishna that one who extinguishes a flame on Shabbat is liable, conclude from it that this mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who holds that one who performs a prohibited labor on Shabbat is liable to bring a sin-offering even it is a labor that is not necessary for its own sake [melakha sheeina tzerikha legufa]. In the mishna, one does not extinguish the flame to achieve the product produced by extinguishing it. He does so to prevent the light from shining. If so, with what is the first clause of the mishna dealing? If it is referring to one who extinguished the flame due to a critically ill person, the term exempt is imprecise. It should have said permitted, as it is permitted even ab initio to perform a prohibited labor on Shabbat in a case of danger. And if it is speaking about a non-critically ill person, why is one who extinguished the flame exempt? It should have said that one is liable to bring a sin-offering.

לעולם בחולה שיש בו סכנה ובדין הוא דליתני מותר ואיידי דבעי למתני סיפא חייב תנא נמי רישא פטור והדתני רבי אושעיא אם בשביל החולה שיישן לא יכבה ואם כבה פטור אבל אסור ההיא בחולה שאין בו סכנה ורבי שמעון היא:

The Gemara replies: Actually, the first clause was referring to a critically ill person, and it should have taught that it is permitted. And since the latter clause of the mishna had to teach that one is liable, in the first clause too, it taught employing the opposite term, exempt, so that the mishna would maintain stylistic uniformity. The halakha is, indeed, that not only is one exempt if he extinguished a light for a critically ill person, it is even permitted to do so ab initio. The Gemara asks: What of that which Rabbi Oshaya taught: If one wants to extinguish a flame on Shabbat for a sick person so he can sleep, he may not extinguish it, and if he extinguished it, he is not liable after the fact, but ab initio he is prohibited to do so? The Gemara answers: This is not similar, as that baraita is referring to a non-critically ill person and it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon, who said that one who performs a prohibited labor not necessary for its own sake is exempt. Our mishna is referring to a critically ill person.

שאול שאילה זו לעילא מרבי תנחום דמן נוי מהו לכבות בוצינא דנורא מקמי באישא בשבתא פתח ואמר אנת שלמה אן חכמתך אן סוכלתנותך לא דייך שדבריך סותרין דברי דוד אביך אלא שדבריך סותרין זה את זה דוד אביך אמר לא המתים יהללו יה ואת אמרת ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו וחזרת ואמרת כי לכלב חי הוא טוב מן האריה המת

The Gemara relates: This question was asked before Rabbi Tanḥum from the village of Nevi: What is the ruling with regard to extinguishing a burning lamp before a sick person on Shabbat? The Gemara relates that Rabbi Tanḥum delivered an entire homily touching upon both aggadic and halakhic materials surrounding this question. He began and said: You, King Solomon, where is your wisdom, where is your understanding? Not only do your statements contradict the statements of your father David, but your statements even contradict each other. Your father David said: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence” (Psalms 115:17); and you said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive” (Ecclesiastes 4:2). And then again you said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4). These are different assessments of life and death.

לא קשיא הא דקאמר דוד לא המתים יהללו יה הכי קאמר לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ובמצות קודם שימות שכיון שמת בטל מן התורה ומן המצות ואין להקדוש ברוך הוא שבח בו והיינו דאמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב במתים חפשי כיון שמת אדם נעשה חפשי מן התורה ומן המצות

He resolved the contradictions in the following manner: This is not difficult. That which David said: “The dead praise not the Lord,” this is what he is saying: A person should always engage in Torah and mitzvot before he dies, as once he is dead he is idle from Torah and mitzvot and there is no praise for the Holy One, Blessed be He, from him. And that is what Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Set free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom You remember no more” (Psalms 88:6)? When a person dies he then becomes free of Torah and mitzvot.

ודקאמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו שכשחטאו ישראל במדבר עמד משה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא ואמר כמה תפלות ותחנונים לפניו ולא נענה וכשאמר זכור לאברהם ליצחק ולישראל עבדיך מיד נענה ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו דבר אחר מנהגו של עולם שר בשר ודם גוזר גזרה ספק מקיימין אותה ספק אין מקיימין אותה ואם תמצי לומר מקיימין אותה בחייו מקיימין אותה במותו אין מקיימין אותה ואילו משה רבינו גזר כמה גזירות ותיקן כמה תקנות וקיימות הם לעולם ולעולמי עולמים ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים וגו׳

And that which Solomon said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead”; he was not speaking of all dead people, but rather in praise of certain dead people. As when Israel sinned in the desert, Moses stood before the Holy One, Blessed be He, and he said several prayers and supplications before Him, and his prayers were not answered. And when he said: “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants” (Exodus 32:13), his prayers were answered immediately. Consequently, did Solomon not speak appropriately when he said: “Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead”? Certainly the merit of the deceased forefathers is greater than that of the righteous people who are alive. Alternatively, the way of the world is such that when a flesh-and-blood prince issues a decree on the public it is uncertain whether they fulfill it and uncertain whether they do not fulfill it. And even if you want to say that they fulfill it, it is only during his lifetime that they fulfill it; after he dies they do not fulfill it. But Moses our teacher issued several decrees and instituted several ordinances, and they are in effect forever and ever. And, if so, is it not appropriate that which Solomon said: “Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead”?

דבר אחר ושבח אני וגו׳ כדרב יהודה אמר רב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב מאי דכתיב עשה עמי אות לטובה ויראו שונאי ויבושו אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מחול לי על אותו עון אמר לו מחול לך אמר לו עשה עמי אות בחיי אמר לו בחייך איני מודיע בחיי שלמה בנך אני מודיע

Alternatively, another explanation is given for the verse: “And I praised the dead that are already dead,” is in accordance with that which Rav Yehuda said that Rav said. As Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: What is the meaning of the verse that was written: “Work on my behalf a sign for good; that they that hate me may see it, and be put to shame” (Psalms 86:17)? David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, forgive me for that sin in the matter of Bathsheba. He said to him: It is forgiven you. David said to Him: Show me a sign in my lifetime so that all will know that You have forgiven me. God said to him: In your lifetime I will not make it known that you were forgiven; however, in the lifetime of your son Solomon I will make it known.

כשבנה שלמה את בית המקדש ביקש להכניס ארון לבית קדשי הקדשים דבקו שערים זה בזה אמר שלמה עשרים וארבעה רננות ולא נענה פתח ואמר שאו שערים ראשיכם והנשאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד רהטו בתריה למיבלעיה אמרו מי הוא זה מלך הכבוד אמר להו ה׳ עזוז וגבור חזר ואמר שאו שערים ראשיכם ושאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד מי הוא זה מלך הכבוד ה׳ צבאות הוא מלך הכבוד סלה ולא נענה כיון שאמר ה׳ אלהים אל תשב פני משיחך זכרה לחסדי דוד עבדך מיד נענה באותה שעה נהפכו פני כל שונאי דוד כשולי קדירה וידעו כל העם וכל ישראל שמחל לו הקדוש ברוך הוא על אותו עון ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו

When Solomon built the Temple and sought to bring the Ark into the Holy of Holies, the gates clung together and could not be opened. Solomon uttered twenty-four songs of praise, as in his prayer there are twenty-four expressions of prayer, song, etc. (I Kings 8), and his prayer was not answered. He began and said: “Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be you lifted up, you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in” (Psalms 24:7). Immediately, the gates ran after him to swallow him, as they thought that in the words: “King of glory” he was referring to himself, and they said to him: “Who is the King of glory?” (Psalms 24:8). He said to them: “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalms 24:8). And he said again: “Lift up your heads, O you gates, yea, lift them up, you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in. Who then is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts; He is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalms 24:9–10), and he was not answered. When he said: “O Lord God, turn not away the face of Your anointed; remember the good deeds of David Your servant” (II Chronicles 6:42), he was immediately answered, and a fire descended from Heaven (II Chronicles 7:1). At that moment, the faces of all of David’s enemies turned dark like the charred bottom of a pot. And all of Israel knew that the Holy One, Blessed be He, forgave him for that sin. And if so, is it not appropriate what Solomon said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead,” David, more than the living, Solomon, to whose request to open the gates of the Temple God did not respond?

והיינו דכתיב ביום השמיני שלח את העם ויברכו את המלך וילכו לאהליהם שמחים וטובי לב על כל הטובה אשר עשה ה׳ לדוד עבדו ולישראל עמו וילכו לאהליהם שמצאו נשותיהן בטהרה שמחים שנהנו מזיו השכינה וטובי לב שנתעברו נשותיהן של כל אחד ואחד וילדה זכר על כל הטובה אשר עשה ה׳ לדוד עבדו (ולישראל עמו לדוד עבדו) שמחל לו על אותו עון ולישראל עמו דאחיל להו עון דיום הכפורים

And that is what is written: “On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David His servant and to Israel His people” (I Kings 8:66). The Gemara explains: And went unto their tents, in accordance with the common expression: One’s house is his wife. It is explained that when they returned home they found their wives ritually pure from the ritual impurity of menstruation. Joyful means that they enjoyed the aura of the Divine Presence at the dedication of the Temple. And glad of heart means that the wife of each and every one of them was impregnated and gave birth to a male. The verse continues: For all the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David His servant and to Israel His people. Unto David His servant means that at that opportunity they all saw that God forgave him for that sin. And to Israel His people means that He forgave them for the sin of Yom Kippur, as they did not fast that year (see I Kings 8:65).

ודקאמר שלמה כי לכלב חי הוא טוב מן האריה המת כדרב יהודה אמר רב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב מאי דכתיב הודיעני ה׳ קצי ומדת ימי מה היא אדעה מה חדל אני אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם הודיעני ה׳ קצי אמר לו גזרה היא מלפני שאין מודיעין קצו של בשר ודם ומדת ימי מה היא גזרה היא מלפני שאין מודיעין מדת ימיו של אדם ואדעה מה חדל אני אמר לו בשבת תמות אמות באחד בשבת אמר לו כבר הגיע מלכות שלמה בנך ואין מלכות נוגעת בחברתה אפילו כמלא נימא אמות בערב שבת אמר לו כי טוב יום בחצריך מאלף טוב לי יום אחד שאתה יושב ועוסק בתורה מאלף עולות שעתיד שלמה בנך להקריב לפני על גבי המזבח

The Gemara continues: And that which Solomon said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4), is in accordance with that which Rav Yehuda said that Rav said. As Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: What is the meaning of that verse which David said: “Lord, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; let me know how short-lived I am” (Psalms 39:5)? It means that David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, Lord, make me to know my end; in how long will I die? God said to him: It is decreed before Me that I do not reveal the end of the life of flesh and blood. He asked further: And the measure of my days; on what day of the year will I die? He said to him: It is decreed before Me not to reveal the measure of a person’s days. Again he requested: Let me know how short-lived I am; on what day of the week will I die? He said to him: You will die on Shabbat. David requested of God: Let me die on the first day of the week so that the honor of Shabbat will not be tarnished by the pain of death. He said to him: On that day the time of the kingdom of your son Solomon has already arrived, and one kingdom does not overlap with another and subtract from the time allotted to another even a hairbreadth. He said to him: I will cede a day of my life and die on Shabbat eve. God said to him: “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand” (Psalms 84:11); a single day in which you sit and engage in Torah is preferable to Me than the thousand burnt-offerings that your son Solomon will offer before Me on the altar (see I Kings 3:4).