Sotah 13bסוטה י״ג ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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13bי״ג ב

קיים זה כל מה שכתוב בזה

This one, i.e., the deceased Joseph, fulfilled all that is written in this. Therefore, it is fitting that the two arks should lie side by side.

ואי לא עסיק ביה משה ישראל לא הוו מיעסקי ביה והכתיב (יהושע כד, לב) ואת עצמות יוסף אשר העלו בני ישראל ממצרים קברו בשכם ותו אי לא איעסקו ביה ישראל בניו לא הוו מיעסקי ביה והכתיב (יהושע כד, לב) ויהיו לבני יוסף לנחלה

The Gemara asks: And if Moses had not dealt with the burial of Joseph, would the Jewish people not have dealt with it? But isn’t it written that after Moses died: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, they buried in Shechem” (Joshua 24:32), which indicates that the Jewish people completed the burial of Joseph? And furthermore, if the Jewish people had not dealt with Joseph’s burial, would his children not have dealt with it? But isn’t it written in that same verse: “And they became the inheritance of the children of Joseph,” as Joseph was buried in Shechem, which was then given to his descendants? Therefore, the question arises: Why did Joseph’s descendants initially leave the task of his burial to the Jewish people and Moses?

אמרו הניחו לו כבודו במרובים יותר מבמועטין ותו אמרו הניחו לו כבודו בגדולים יותר מבקטנים

The Gemara answers: They said: Leave Joseph for others. It is more of an honor for Joseph to be buried by the many than by the few, and therefore it is better that the Jewish people be involved in the burial. And furthermore, they said: Leave Joseph for others. It is more of an honor for Joseph to be buried by one of the great men like Moses than by lesser ones like us.

קברו בשכם מאי שנא בשכם אמר ר' חמא בר' חנינא משכם גנבוהו ולשכם נחזיר אבידתו

In the aforementioned verse it states: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, they buried in Shechem, in the parcel of ground that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money” (Joshua 24:32). The Gemara asks: What is different about Shechem that they specifically chose to bury Joseph there? Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says that the Jewish people said: His brothers kidnapped him from Shechem (see Genesis 37:12–28), and to Shechem we should return his lost body.

קשו קראי אהדדי כתיב (שמות יג, יט) ויקח משה את עצמות יוסף עמו וכתיב ואת עצמות יוסף אשר העלו בני ישראל וגו'

The Gemara comments: The verses contradict each other, as it is written: “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him” (Exodus 13:19), and it is written elsewhere: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt” (Joshua 24:32). Who in fact took Joseph’s bones?

א"ר חמא בר' חנינא כל העושה דבר ולא גמרו ובא אחר וגמרו מעלה עליו הכתוב על שגמרו כאילו עשאו

Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: Anyone who performs a matter but does not complete it, and then another comes and completes it, the verse ascribes credit to the one who completed it as if he had actually performed the entire act. Due to the fact that the children of Israel completed Joseph’s burial, the Torah ascribes them credit as if they had performed the entire act.

רבי אלעזר אומר אף מורידין אותו מגדולתו דכתיב (בראשית לח, א) ויהי בעת ההיא וירד יהודה

Rabbi Elazar says with regard to one who initiates performance of a mitzva but does not complete it when capable of doing so: He is also demoted [moridin] from his position of greatness, as it is written: “And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down [vayyered] from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah” (Genesis 38:1). Usage of the term “went down” indicates that the rest of Judah’s brothers had demoted him from his position of greatness because he began the process of saving Joseph, but he did not complete it.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר אף קובר אשתו ובניו דכתיב (בראשית לח, יב) ותמת בת שוע אשת יהודה וגו' וכתיב וימת ער ואונן

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: The episode with regard to Judah also indicates that one who initiates performance of a mitzva but does not complete it will also bury his wife and children as Judah did, as it is written: “And in process of time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died” (Genesis 38:12), and it is written further: “And the sons of Judah: Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan” (Genesis 46:12).

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב מפני מה נקרא יוסף עצמות בחייו מפני שלא מיחה בכבוד אביו דקאמרי ליה (בראשית מד, כד) עבדך אבינו ולא אמר להו ולא מידי

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: For what reason was Joseph called: Bones, even during his lifetime, as he had his brothers take an oath that “God will surely remember you, and you shall carry up my bones from here” (Genesis 50:25)? Because he did not protest for the honor of his father, as the brothers said to Joseph while unaware of his true identity: “Your servant our father” (Genesis 43:28, 44:31), and Joseph said nothing to them in protest that they referred to his father Jacob as Joseph’s servant.

ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב ואיתימא רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מפני מה מת יוסף קודם לאחיו מפני שהנהיג עצמו ברבנות

And Rav Yehuda says that Rav says, and some say that this was said by Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina: For what reason did Joseph predecease his brothers, as is indicated from his requesting of them to take care of his burial needs? Because Joseph acted authoritatively, and such behavior can reduce one’s life span.

(בראשית לט, א) ויוסף הורד מצרימה א"ר אלעזר אל תיקרי הורד אלא הוריד שהוריד איצטגניני פרעה מגדולתן

After describing that Judah “went down” from his greatness, the Gemara discusses a similar term employed with regard to Joseph, as the verse states: “And Joseph was brought down [hurad] to Egypt” (Genesis 39:1). Rabbi Elazar says: Do not read the word as hurad,” meaning that he was passively brought down, but rather read it as horid, meaning: He, Joseph, brought down others, as Joseph brought down the astrologers [itztagninei] of Pharaoh from their position of eminence because he knew the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams when they did not.

ויקנהו פוטיפר סריס פרעה אמר רב שקנאו לעצמו (בא גבריאל וסירסו) בא גבריאל ופירעו מעיקרא כתיב פוטיפר ולבסוף פוטיפרע

The continuation of that verse states: “And Potiphar, an officer [seris] of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites, who had brought him down there” (Genesis 39:1). Rav says: He purchased the handsome Joseph for himself, for the intended purpose of homosexual intercourse, but was unable to fulfill his desires, as the angel Gabriel came and castrated Potiphar [seireso]. Then Gabriel came again and further mutilated him [ fero] in the same part of his body. This is alluded to in the verses that write Potiphar’s name differently: Initially, it is written “Potiphar” (Genesis 39:1) and in the end it is written “Poti-phera” (Genesis 41:45). The change in his name indicates that a part of himself was mutilated.

מי לנו גדול ממשה וכו' (דברים ג, כו) ויאמר ה' אלי רב לך א"ר לוי ברב בישר ברב בישרוהו ברב בישר (במדבר טז, ג) רב לכם ברב בישרוהו רב לך

§ The mishna teaches: Who, to us, had a greater burial than Moses, as no one involved himself in his burial other than the Omnipresent Himself. The Gemara teaches: When Moses relates how God responded to him when denying his request to enter Eretz Yisrael, he states: “And the Lord said to me: Let it suffice for you [rav lakh]; speak no more to Me of this matter” (Deuteronomy 3:26). Rabbi Levi says: Moses proclaimed to the Jewish people when rebuking them with the term rav,” and therefore it was proclaimed to him with the term rav that he would not enter Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara explains: He proclaimed with the term rav when speaking with the congregation of Korah: “You take too much upon you [rav lakhem], you sons of Levi” (Numbers 16:7), and it was proclaimed to him with the term rav,” as God denied his request and said: “Let it suffice for you [rav lakh].”

דבר אחר רב לך רב יש לך ומנו יהושע

Alternatively: God’s telling Moses rav lakh was intended to mean: You now have a rav, a master, and who is it? It is Joshua, who has been chosen to lead the Jewish people.

דבר אחר רב לך שלא יאמרו הרב כמה קשה ותלמיד כמה סרבן וכל כך למה תנא דבי ר' ישמעאל לפום גמלא שיחנא

Alternatively: God’s telling Moses rav lakh was intended to mean: You have a rav, i.e., God, Who says that you may not enter Eretz Yisrael. You must not importune Me anymore, so that people should not say: How difficult is the Master and how obstinate is the student. The Gemara asks: And why was Moses punished so much in that he was not allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael, despite being so righteous? The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught that the reason is based on the common aphorism: Based on the camel is the burden. In other words, a person is judged in accordance with his stature, and therefore a righteous individual will be punished greatly due to any sins he committed.

(דברים לא, ב) ויאמר אליהם בן מאה ועשרים שנה אנכי היום שאין ת"ל היום היום מלאו ימי ושנותי ללמדך שהקב"ה משלים שנותיהם של צדיקים מיום ליום ומחדש לחדש דכתיב (שמות כג, כו) את מספר ימיך אמלא

The verse relates what Moses said to the Jewish people at the end of his life: “And he said to them: I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no longer go out and come in; and the Lord has said to me: You shall not go over this Jordan” (Deuteronomy 31:2). The wording is problematic, as there is no need for the verse to state the term “this day.” Moses said it in order to indicate: On this day, my days and years have been completed to be precisely one hundred and twenty, in order to teach you that the Holy One, Blessed be He, completes the years of the righteous from day to day and from month to month, as it is written: “The number of your days I will fill” (Exodus 23:26), indicating that the righteous will live out their years fully.

לא אוכל עוד לצאת ולבא מאי לצאת ולבא אילימא לצאת ולבא ממש והכתיב (דברים לד, ז) ומשה בן מאה ועשרים שנה במותו לא נס ליחה וכתיב (דברים לד, א) ויעל משה מערבות מואב אל הר נבו ותניא שתים עשרה מעלות היו שם ופסען משה בפסיעה אחת

The verse continues: “I can no longer go out and come in” (Deuteronomy 31:2). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “go out and come in”? If we say it means literally that Moses was actually physically restricted from going out and coming in, but isn’t it written: “And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7), indicating that he was at full physical strength? And it is written further: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo” (Deuteronomy 34:1). And it is taught in a baraita: There were twelve steps there to ascend the mountain, and Moses stepped over them all in one step, also indicating that he was at full physical strength.

א"ר שמואל בר נחמני א"ר יונתן לצאת ולבוא בדברי תורה מלמד שנסתתמו ממנו שערי חכמה

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: The verse means that he could no longer go out and come in with words of Torah. This teaches that the gates of wisdom were closed off to him.

(דברים לא, יד) וילך משה ויהושע ויתיצבו באהל מועד תנא אותה שבת של דיו זוגי היתה ניטלה רשות מזה וניתנה לזה

The verse discussing when Joshua was appointed to be the successor of Moses states: “And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the Tent of Meeting” (Deuteronomy 31:14). A Sage taught: That Sabbath when Moses died was a day of two pairs [deyo zugei], i.e., two wise men, Moses and Joshua, serving together in one place. Authority was taken from one and given to the other.

(ותניא) א"ר יהודה אילמלא מקרא כתוב אי אפשר לאומרו היכן משה מת בחלקו של ראובן דכתיב (דברים לד, א) ויעל משה מערבות מואב אל הר נבו ונבו בחלקו של ראובן קיימא דכתיב (במדבר לב, לז) ובני ראובן בנו וגו' ואת נבו וגו'

And it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda said: If not for an explicitly written verse, one could not say what is written with regard to the death and burial of Moses. Where did Moses die? In the portion of Reuben, as it is written: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo” (Deuteronomy 34:1), and it is known from elsewhere that Nebo is situated in the portion of Reuben, as it is written: “And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kiriathaim, and Nebo” (Numbers 32:37–38).

(נבו ששם מתו ג' נביאים משה ואהרן ומרים)

The name is also expounded: It is called “Nebo [Nevo],” for three prophets [nevi’im] died there: Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam.

והיכן משה קבור בחלקו של גד דכתיב (דברים לג, כא) וירא ראשית לו וגו' ומחלקו של ראובן עד חלקו של גד כמה הוי ארבעה מילין אותן ארבעה מילין מי הוליכו

Rabbi Yehuda continues: And where is Moses buried? In the portion of Gad, as it is written in the blessing of Moses to the tribe of Gad: “And he chose a first part for himself, for there a portion of a ruler was reserved” (Deuteronomy 33:21), indicating that Moses, the ruler, is buried in the portion of Gad. And how much is the distance from the portion of Reuben to the portion of Gad? Four mil. Rabbi Yehuda asks: For those four mil from Mount Nebo in the portion of Reuben to the burial place of Moses in the portion of Gad, who transported him?

מלמד שהיה משה מוטל בכנפי שכינה ומלאכי השרת אומרים (דברים לג, כא) צדקת ה' עשה ומשפטיו עם ישראל והקדוש ברוך הוא אומר (תהלים צד, טז) מי יקום לי עם מרעים מי יתיצב לי עם פועלי און

He answers: The contradiction between the two verses teaches that Moses was lying in the wings of the Divine Presence, as Moses was carried out by God Himself, and the ministering angels were saying: “He executed the righteousness of the Lord, and His ordinances with Israel” (Deuteronomy 33:21). And the Holy One, Blessed be He, was saying: “Who will rise up for Me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for Me against the workers of iniquity?” (Psalms 94:16). In other words, God asked: Who will now defend the Jewish people against its accusers? The idea that God Himself transported Moses to his burial could not have been said if not for the proof from the resolution between the contradictory verses.

ושמואל אמר (קהלת ח, א) מי כהחכם ומי יודע פשר דבר ורבי יוחנן אמר (איוב כח, יב) החכמה מאין תמצא ורב נחמן אמר (דברים לד, ה) וימת שם משה וגו' סמליון אמר וימת שם משה ספרא רבה דישראל

And Shmuel says that God was saying the verse: “Who is as the wise man and who knows the interpretation [pesher] of a matter?” (Ecclesiastes 8:1), referring to the greatness of Moses, who was able to forge compromises, pesharim, between God and the Jewish people. And Rabbi Yoḥanan says that God was saying the verse: “Wisdom, where can it be found?” (Job 28:12). And Rav Naḥman says that God was saying the verse: “And Moses, the servant of God, died there” (Deuteronomy 34:5). Semalyon says that God was saying: And Moses, the great scribe of Israel, died there.

תניא רבי אליעזר הגדול אומר שנים עשר מיל על שנים עשר מיל כנגד מחנה ישראל בת קול משמיע ואומר וימת משה ספרא רבה דישראל ויש אומרים לא מת משה כתיב הכא וימת שם וכתיב התם (שמות לד, כח) ויהי שם עם ה' מה להלן עומד ומשמש אף כאן עומד ומשמש

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer the Great says: Over an area of twelve mil by twelve mil, equivalent to the size of the camp of Israel, a Divine Voice proclaimed and said: And Moses, the great scribe of Israel, died. And some say: Moses did not actually die, as it is written here: “And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there” (Deuteronomy 34:5), and it is written there: “And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 34:28). Just as there, where it says: “And he was there with the Lord,” it means that he was standing and serving before God; so too, here, when it says: “And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there,” it means that he was standing and serving before God.

(דברים לד, ו) ויקבר אותו בגיא בארץ מואב מול בית פעור א"ר ברכיה סימן בתוך סימן ואפ"ה ולא ידע איש את קבורתו

The verse describing the burial of Moses states: “And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth Peor; and no man knows of his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6). Rabbi Berekhya says: This verse provides a sign within a sign, i.e., a very precise description of the location of his burial, and even with this the verse concludes: “And no man knows of his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6).

וכבר שלחה מלכות הרשעה אצל

The Gemara relates: And the evil monarchy of the Roman Empire already sent messengers to