Sotah 46bסוטה מ״ו ב
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46bמ״ו ב

(במדבר כד, כא) איתן מושבך ושים בסלע קנך ואומר (מיכה ו, ב) שמעו הרים את ריב ה' והאיתנים מוסדי ארץ אחרים אומרים מנין לאיתן שהוא ישן שנאמר (ירמיהו ה, טו) גוי איתן הוא גוי מעולם הוא

“Firm [eitan] is your dwelling-place, and your nest is set in the rock” (Numbers 24:21), and it states: “Hear, O you mountains, the Lord’s controversy, and the enduring rocks [eitanim], the foundations of the earth” (Micah 6:2). The use of the word in these verses indicates that “eitan” means something hard, like a rock or a mountain. Others say a different explanation of the word eitan: From where is it derived that eitan means old? As it is stated: “It is an ancient [eitan] nation, a nation from of old” (Jeremiah 5:15).

ועורפין אותה בקופיץ מאחוריה מ"ט גמר עריפה עריפה מחטאת העוף

§ The mishna taught: And they break the neck [orfin] of the heifer from behind with a cleaver. The Gemara explains: What is the reason that the Sages understood that the heifer is killed in this manner? They derive that the term arifa, which describes what is done to the heifer, refers to breaking the back of the neck, from the term arifa stated with regard to the bird brought as a sin-offering (see Leviticus 5:8).

ומקומה אסור מלזרוע ומליעבד ת"ר (דברים כא, ד) אשר לא יעבד בו ולא יזרע לשעבר דברי רבי יאשיה רבי יונתן אומר להבא

§ The mishna taught further: And with regard to its place, it is prohibited for that ground to be sown or to be worked. The Sages taught: The verse: “Which may be neither worked nor sown” (Deuteronomy 21:4) is referring to the past, that is, a place which has not previously been worked or sown. This is the statement of Rabbi Yoshiya. Rabbi Yonatan says: It speaks of the future, meaning it is prohibited to sow or work the land from that point onward.

רבא אמר להבא דכ"ע לא פליגי דכתיב ולא יזרע כי פליגי לשעבר רבי יאשיה סבר מי כתיב ולא יעובד ורבי יונתן מי כתיב אשר לא נעבד ורבי יאשיה אשר לשעבר משמע ור' יונתן אשר רבויא הוא

Rava said: As for the future, everyone agrees that it is prohibited to sow or work the land, as it is written “neither worked nor sown” in the future tense. When they disagree is with regard to the past. Rabbi Yoshiya, who disqualifies a place that was sown beforehand, holds: Does it state: And shall not be worked, in the form of a future command? And Rabbi Yonatan responds: Does it state: And was not worked, in the past tense? And Rabbi Yoshiya answers: The term “which” indicates the past. And as for Rabbi Yonatan, in his opinion the term “which” is a term of amplification, as will be explained later in the Gemara, and it is not referring to the past.

ומותר לסרוק שם פשתן ולנקר שם אבנים ת"ר אשר לא יעבד בו ולא יזרע אין לי אלא זריעה שאר עבודות מנין תלמוד לומר אשר לא יעבד בו מכל מקום

§ The mishna taught: But it is permitted to comb flax there or to cut stones there. The Sages taught: From the phrase “which may be neither worked nor sown,” I have derived only sowing; from where do I derive that other types of labor are also prohibited? The verse states: “Which may be neither worked,” indicating that it may not be worked in any manner.

אם כן מה ת"ל ולא יזרע לומר לך מה זריעה מיוחדת שהיא בגופה של קרקע אף כל שהיא בגופה של קרקע יצא סריקת פשתן וניקור אבנים שאינן בגופה של קרקע

The baraita continues: If so, why does the verse also need to state “nor sown”? It is in order to say to you: Just as sowing is unique in that it is labor performed on the land itself, so too, all labor that is performed on the land itself is prohibited. This excludes combing flax and cutting stones, which are not done on the land itself.

ואימא אשר לא יעבד בו כלל ולא יזרע פרט כלל ופרט אין בכלל אלא מה שבפרט זריעה אין מידי אחרינא לא אשר רבויא הוא

The Gemara raises an objection: And perhaps one can say a different exposition: “Which may be neither worked” is a generalization, and “nor sown” a detail. When the Torah writes a generalization and a detail, there is nothing in the generalization other than what is in the detail, i.e., the detail serves to impose a limit on the generalization. Consequently, the verse is teaching that with regard to sowing, yes, it is prohibited, but with regard to anything else, no, it is not prohibited. The Gemara again answers: The term “which” is an amplification, and the addition of this term results in this verse not belonging to the category of generalizations and details.

זקני העיר רוחצין ידיהן כו' ת"ר (דברים כא, ו) וכל זקני העיר ההיא הקרובים אל החלל ירחצו את ידיהם על העגלה הערופה בנחל שאין ת"ל הערופה ומה ת"ל הערופה על מקום עריפתה של עגלה

§ The mishna taught that the Elders of the city would then wash their hands. The Sages taught: With regard to the verse: “And all the Elders of that city, who are nearest to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley” (Deuteronomy 21:6), one might have thought that there is no need for the verse to state: “Whose neck was broken,” because there is no heifer mentioned other than the one whose neck was broken. And what is the meaning when the verse states: “Whose neck was broken”? It serves to teach us that they wash their hands over the place where the heifer’s neck was broken.

ואמרו ידינו לא שפכו את הדם הזה ועינינו לא ראו וכי על לבנו עלתה שב"ד שופכין דמים אלא לא בא לידינו ופטרנוהו בלא מזונות ולא ראינוהו והנחנוהו בלא לויה

The verse further states: “And they shall say: Our hands did not spill this blood, nor did our eyes see” (Deuteronomy 21:7). The mishna explains: But did it enter our minds that the Elders of the court are spillers of blood, that they must make such a declaration? Rather, they mean to declare: The victim did not come to us and then we let him take his leave without food, and we did not see him and then leave him alone to depart without accompaniment. They therefore attest that they took care of all his needs and are not responsible for his death even indirectly.

תניא היה ר"מ אומר כופין ללויה ששכר הלויה אין לה שיעור שנאמר (שופטים א, כד) ויראו השומרים איש יוצא מן העיר ויאמרו לו הראנו נא את מבוא העיר ועשינו עמך חסד וכתיב ויראם את מבוא העיר ומה חסד עשו עמו שכל אותה העיר הרגו לפי חרב ואותו האיש ומשפחתו שלחו

It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Meir would say: There is coercion with regard to accompaniment, i.e., one who does not want to accompany another is nevertheless required to do so, as the reward for accompaniment is without measure. The proof of the importance of accompaniment is from a verse, as it is stated with regard to when the Jewish people laid siege to the city of Bethel: “And the watchers saw a man come out of the city, and they said to him: Show us, please, the entrance into the city, and we will deal kindly with you” (Judges 1:24), and it is written: “And he showed them the entrance to the city” (Judges 1:25). And what kindness did they perform with him? It is that they killed the entire city by the sword, but that man and his family they sent free.

(שופטים א, כו) וילך האיש ארץ החתים ויבן עיר ויקרא שמה לוז היא שמה עד היום הזה תניא היא לוז שצובעין בה תכלת היא לוז שבא סנחריב ולא בלבלה נבוכדנצר ולא החריבה ואף מלאך המות אין לו רשות לעבור בה אלא זקנים שבה בזמן שדעתן קצה עליהן יוצאין חוץ לחומה והן מתים

The Gemara elaborates on the reward received in that story. The next verse states: “And the man went to the land of the Hittites, and he built a city, and he called its name Luz; that is its name to this day” (Judges 1:26). It is taught in a baraita: This is the city Luz where sky blue wool is dyed. It is the same city Luz where, although Sennacherib came and exiled many nations from place to place, he did not disarrange and exile its inhabitants; Nebuchadnezzar, who conquered many lands, did not destroy it; and even the angel of death has no permission to pass through it. Rather, its Elders, when they have decided that they have reached the end of life, go outside the city wall and die.

והלא דברים ק"ו ומה כנעני זה שלא דיבר בפיו ולא הלך ברגליו גרם הצלה לו ולזרעו עד סוף כל הדורות מי שעושה לויה ברגליו על אחת כמה וכמה

Are these matters not inferred a fortiori: And if this Canaanite, who did not speak with his mouth and explicitly tell them where the city entrance was, and did not walk with them by foot, but merely indicated the correct path to them, nevertheless caused himself to be rescued and also had the merit to provide rescue for his descendants until the end of all generations, then with regard to one who accompanies another by foot, all the more so will his reward be great.

במה הראה להם חזקיה אמר בפיו עקם להם ר' יוחנן אמר באצבעו הראה להם תניא כוותיה דר' יוחנן בשביל שכנעני זה הראה באצבעו גרם הצלה לו ולזרעו עד סוף כל הדורות

After stating that the man did not openly guide those watching the city, the Gemara asks: How did that Canaanite show them the entrance to the city? Ḥizkiyya says: He twisted his mouth for them, i.e., he showed them the path to the city by moving his lips. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: He showed them with his finger alone. It is taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan: Because this Canaanite showed them with his finger, he caused himself to be rescued and merited rescue for his descendants as well, until the end of all generations.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי המהלך בדרך ואין לו לויה יעסוק בתורה שנאמר (משלי א, ט) כי לוית חן הם לראשך וענקים לגרגרותיך ואמר ר' יהושע בן לוי בשביל ארבעה פסיעות שלוה פרעה לאברהם שנאמר (בראשית יב, כ) ויצו עליו פרעה אנשים וגו' נשתעבד בבניו ארבע מאות שנה שנאמר (בראשית טו, יג) ועבדום וענו אותם ארבע מאות שנה אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כל המלוה את חבירו ארבע אמות בעיר אינו ניזוק רבינא אלויה לרבא בר יצחק ד' אמות בעיר מטא לידיה היזיקא ואיתציל

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: One who walks along the way without having someone to accompany him should occupy himself with words of Torah, as it is stated with regard to words of Torah: “For they shall be a chaplet of grace to your head, and chains around your neck” (Proverbs 1:9). And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi further says: Due to four steps that Pharaoh accompanied Abraham, as it is stated: “And Pharaoh gave men charge concerning him, and they brought him on the way, and his wife, and all that he had” (Genesis 12:20), Pharaoh enslaved Abraham’s descendants for four hundred years, as it is stated: “And shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years” (Genesis 15:13). Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: Anyone who accompanies his friend four cubits in a city will come to no harm by accompanying him. The Gemara relates: Ravina accompanied Rava bar Yitzḥak four cubits in a city. He came close to harm, but he was saved.

ת"ר הרב לתלמיד עד עיבורה של עיר חבר לחבר עד תחום שבת תלמיד לרב אין לו שיעור וכמה א"ר ששת עד פרסה ולא אמרן אלא רבו שאינו מובהק אבל רבו מובהק שלשה פרסאות

The Sages taught: A teacher accompanies a student until the outskirts of the city; a friend accompanies a friend until the Shabbat boundary of that city, which is two thousand cubits; and for a student who accompanies his teacher, there is no measure to the distance he accompanies him. The Gemara asks: And how far? The student is certainly not required to walk with him the entire way. Rav Sheshet says: Up to a parasang [parsa], which is four mil. The Gemara comments: And we said this amount only with regard to one who is not his most significant teacher, but he accompanies his most significant teacher, who taught him most of his knowledge, three parasangs.

רב כהנא אלויה לרב שימי בר אשי מפום נהרא עד בי ציניתא דבבל כי מטו התם אמר ליה ודאי דאמריתו הני ציניתא דבבל משני אדם הראשון איתנהו

The Gemara relates a story about accompaniment: Rav Kahana accompanied Rav Shimi bar Ashi from the town of Pum Nahara to the palm grove in Babylonia. When they arrived there, Rav Kahana said to Rav Shimi bar Ashi: Is it true that you say that these palm trees of Babylonia have been in this place since the years of Adam the first man?

א"ל אדכרתן מלתא דאמר רבי יוסי בר' חנינא מאי דכתיב (ירמיהו ב, ו) בארץ לא עבר בה איש ולא ישב אדם שם וכי מאחר שלא עבר היכן ישב (ומאחר שלא ישב היכן עבר) אלא ארץ שגזר עליה אדם הראשון לישוב נתישבה ארץ שלא גזר עליה אדם הראשון לא נתישבה

Rav Shimi bar Ashi said to him: By mentioning Adam the first man you reminded me of something that Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Through a land that no man passed through, and where no person [adam] dwelt”? (Jeremiah 2:6). This verse is difficult: Since it is a land through which no man has passed, where would he dwell? And if he did not dwell, where did he pass? Why does the verse add that no person has dwelled there? Rather, this is the meaning: Any land concerning which Adam the first man decreed that it would be a settled area, was settled; but a land concerning which Adam the first man did not decree that it should be settled, was not settled.

רב מרדכי אלויה לרב אשי מהגרוניא ועד בי כיפי ואמרי לה עד בי דורא

The Gemara also relates that Rav Mordekhai accompanied Rav Ashi from the town of Hagronya until Bei Keifei, and some say that he accompanied him until Bei Dura.

אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי מאיר כל שאינו מלוה ומתלוה כאילו שופך דמים שאילמלי ליווהו אנשי יריחו לאלישע לא גירה דובים לתינוקות שנאמר (מלכים ב ב, כג) ויעל משם בית אל והוא עלה בדרך ונערים קטנים יצאו מן העיר ויתקלסו בו ויאמרו לו עלה קרח עלה קרח

The Gemara continues to discuss the importance of accompaniment. Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Meir: Whoever does not accompany another or will not allow himself to be accompanied is like a spiller of blood and is held responsible for any deaths that occur as a result of his inaction. The proof for this is that had the inhabitants of Jericho accompanied Elisha, he would not have incited the bears to attack the children, as it is stated: “And he went up from there to Bethel, and as he was going up by the way, there came forth young lads out of the city and mocked him, and said to him: Go up, baldhead; go up, baldhead” (II Kings 2:23). Had the residents of Jericho accompanied him, they would have sent away those youths and prevented what occurred next.

אמרו לו עלה שהקרחת עלינו את המקום מאי ונערים קטנים אמר ר' אלעזר שמנוערים מן המצות קטנים שהיו מקטני אמנה תנא נערים היו ובזבזו עצמן כקטנים

The Gemara proceeds to discuss this episode in detail, beginning with the meaning of the youths’ taunt. They said to him: Go up, away from here, for you have made the place bald, i.e., bare, for us. They had previously earned their living by providing the city of Jericho with water. Elisha sweetened the city’s own water, rendering their services unnecessary. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of: “Young lads [ne’arim ketannim]”? One would have expected the verse to state either “young” or “lads,” but not both. Rabbi Elazar says: The word “lads [ne’arim]” means that they were shaken empty [meno’arim] of the mitzvot; the word “young [ketannim]” means that they were of little faith [ketannei amana], as they had no trust that they would be able to earn their livelihood by any other means. The Sages taught: They were lads, that is, already of age, but they disgraced themselves like young children.

מתקיף לה רב יוסף ודלמא על שם מקומן מי לא כתיב (מלכים ב ה, ב) וארם יצאו גדודים וישבו מארץ ישראל נערה קטנה וקשיא לן נערה וקטנה ואמר ר' פדת קטנה דמן נעורן התם לא מפרש מקומה הכא מפורש מקומן

Rav Yosef objects to this interpretation: And perhaps they were called ne’arim after their place of origin? Isn’t it written: “And the Arameans had gone out in bands, and had brought away captive from Eretz Yisrael a minor young woman [na’ara ketana]” (II Kings 5:2), and this verse raised a difficulty to us: A minor and a young woman; how could she be both of these? And Rabbi Pedat says it means a minor girl from the town of Ne’oran. This verse concerning the lads can be explained in a similar manner: They were young children from Ne’oran. The Gemara answers: These two cases are not comparable. There the verse does not specify her place of origin, so “na’ara” could mean from the town of Ne’oran; but here the verse specifies their place of origin, namely Jericho.

(מלכים ב ב, כד) ויפן אחריו ויראם ויקללם בשם ה' מה ראה אמר רב ראה ממש כדתניא רבן שמעון בן גמליאל אומר כל מקום שנתנו חכמים עיניהם או מיתה או עוני ושמואל אמר ראה שכולן נתעברה בהן אמן ביום הכיפורים

The verse further states with regard to the same incident: “And he turned behind him and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord” (II Kings 2:24). The Gemara asks: What did he see? There are four explanations offered. Rav says: He literally saw, i.e., he stared and bored his eyes into them, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Wherever it states that the Sages placed their eyes upon a certain person, they brought upon that person either death or poverty. And Shmuel says: He saw their essential nature, that all their mothers became pregnant with them on Yom Kippur, when conjugal relations are forbidden.

ורבי יצחק נפחא אמר בלורית ראה להן כאמוריים ורבי יוחנן אמר ראה שלא היתה בהן לחלוחית של מצוה ודלמא בזרעייהו ניהוה הוה אמר רבי אלעזר לא בם ולא בזרעם עד סוף כל הדורות

And Rabbi Yitzḥak Nappaḥa says: He saw that they had plaited locks grown on the back of their heads like the gentiles. And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: He saw that they did not contain even a smidgen of a mitzva. The Gemara raises an objection to this last interpretation of Rabbi Yoḥanan: But how could he curse them just because they did not have any mitzvot? Perhaps their descendants would have many mitzvot. Rabbi Elazar says: He saw that mitzvot would be found neither in them nor in their descendants, through all generations.

(מלכים ב ב, כד) ותצאנה שתים דובים מן היער ותבקענה מהם ארבעים ושני ילדים

The verse states: “And two she-bears came out of the forest and tore forty-two children from them” (II Kings 2:24).