Taanit 20b:8תענית כ׳ ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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20bכ׳ ב

נזדמן לו אדם אחד שהיה מכוער ביותר אמר לו שלום עליך רבי ולא החזיר לו אמר לו ריקה כמה מכוער אותו האיש שמא כל בני עירך מכוערין כמותך אמר לו איני יודע אלא לך ואמור לאומן שעשאני כמה מכוער כלי זה שעשית כיון שידע בעצמו שחטא ירד מן החמור ונשתטח לפניו ואמר לו נעניתי לך מחול לי אמר לו איני מוחל לך עד שתלך לאומן שעשאני ואמור לו כמה מכוער כלי זה שעשית

He happened upon an exceedingly ugly person, who said to him: Greetings to you, my rabbi, but Rabbi Elazar did not return his greeting. Instead, Rabbi Elazar said to him: Worthless [reika] person, how ugly is that man. Are all the people of your city as ugly as you? The man said to him: I do not know, but you should go and say to the Craftsman Who made me: How ugly is the vessel you made. When Rabbi Elazar realized that he had sinned and insulted this man merely on account of his appearance, he descended from his donkey and prostrated himself before him, and he said to the man: I have sinned against you; forgive me. The man said to him: I will not forgive you go until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say: How ugly is the vessel you made.

היה מטייל אחריו עד שהגיע לעירו יצאו בני עירו לקראתו והיו אומרים לו שלום עליך רבי רבי מורי מורי אמר להם למי אתם קורין רבי רבי אמרו לו לזה שמטייל אחריך אמר להם אם זה רבי אל ירבו כמותו בישראל אמרו לו מפני מה אמר להם כך וכך עשה לי אמרו לו אעפ"כ מחול לו שאדם גדול בתורה הוא

He walked behind the man, trying to appease him, until they reached Rabbi Elazar’s city. The people of his city came out to greet him, saying to him: Greetings to you, my rabbi, my rabbi, my master, my master. The man said to them: Who are you calling my rabbi, my rabbi? They said to him: To this man, who is walking behind you. He said to them: If this man is a rabbi, may there not be many like him among the Jewish people. They asked him: For what reason do you say this? He said to them: He did such and such to me. They said to him: Even so, forgive him, as he is a great Torah scholar.

אמר להם בשבילכם הריני מוחל לו ובלבד שלא יהא רגיל לעשות כן מיד נכנס רבי אלעזר בן רבי שמעון ודרש לעולם יהא אדם רך כקנה ואל יהא קשה כארז ולפיכך זכה קנה ליטול הימנה קולמוס לכתוב בו ספר תורה תפילין ומזוזות:

He said to them: For your sakes I forgive him, provided that he accepts upon himself not to become accustomed to behave like this. Immediately, Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, entered the study hall and taught: A person should always be soft like a reed and he should not be stiff like a cedar, as one who is proud like a cedar is likely to sin. And therefore, due to its gentle qualities, the reed merited that a quill is taken from it to write with it a Torah scroll, phylacteries, and mezuzot.

וכן עיר שיש בה דבר או מפולת כו': תנו רבנן מפולת שאמרו בריאות ולא רעועות שאינן ראויות ליפול ולא הראויות ליפול

§ The mishna taught: And likewise, if a city is afflicted by pestilence or collapsing buildings, that city fasts and sounds the alarm, and all of its surrounding areas fast but they do not sound the alarm. Rabbi Akiva says: They sound the alarm but they do not fast. The Sages taught: These collapsing buildings to which the Sages referred are those of sturdy and not dilapidated walls; they have walls that are not ready to fall, and not those that are ready to fall.

הי ניהו בריאות הי ניהו שאינן ראויות ליפול הי ניהו רעועות הי ניהו ראויות ליפול לא צריכא דנפלו מחמת גובהייהו אי נמי דקיימן אגודא דנהרא

The Gemara expresses puzzlement with regard to the wording of the baraita: What are sound walls; what are walls that are not ready to fall; what are dilapidated walls; what are those that are ready to fall? The elements in each pair of walls are apparently the same, and the baraita is repetitive. The Gemara answers: No, it is necessary to specify that in the case of walls that fell due to their height, i.e., they are sound but also ready to fall, due to their excessive height. Alternatively, the baraita is referring to a case where the walls were positioned on a riverbank, as they are likely to fall despite the fact that they are not dilapidated, as the riverbank itself is unstable.

כי ההיא אשיתא רעועה דהואי בנהרדעא דלא הוה חליף רב ושמואל תותה אע"ג דקיימא באתרה תליסר שנין יומא חד איקלע רב אדא בר אהבה להתם אמר ליה שמואל לרב ניתי מר נקיף אמר ליה לא צריכנא האידנא דאיכא רב אדא בר אהבה בהדן דנפיש זכותיה ולא מסתפינא

The Gemara relates: This is like that dilapidated wall that was in Neharde’a, under which Rav and Shmuel would not pass, although it stood in place thirteen years. One day Rav Adda bar Ahava happened to come there and walked with them. As they passed the wall, Shmuel said to Rav: Come, Master, let us circumvent this wall, so that we do not stand beneath it. Rav said to him: It is not necessary to do so today, as Rav Adda bar Ahava is with us, whose merit is great, and therefore I am not afraid of its collapse.

רב הונא הוה ליה ההוא חמרא בההוא ביתא רעיעא ובעי לפנוייה עייליה לרב אדא בר אהבה להתם משכי' בשמעתא עד דפנייה בתר דנפק נפל ביתא ארגיש רב אדא בר אהבה איקפד

The Gemara relates another incident. Rav Huna had a certain quantity of wine in a certain dilapidated house and he wanted to move it, but he was afraid that the building would collapse upon his entry. He brought Rav Adda bar Ahava to there, to the ramshackle house, and he dragged out a discussion with him concerning a matter of halakha until they had removed all the wine. As soon as they exited, the building collapsed. Rav Adda bar Ahava realized what had happened and became angry.

סבר לה כי הא דאמר רבי ינאי לעולם אל יעמוד אדם במקום סכנה ויאמר עושין לי נס שמא אין עושין לו נס ואם תימצי לומר עושין לו נס מנכין לו מזכיותיו אמר רב חנן מאי קרא דכתיב (בראשית לב, יא) קטנתי מכל החסדים ומכל האמת

The Gemara explains: Rav Adda bar Ahava holds in accordance with this statement, as Rabbi Yannai said: A person should never stand in a place of danger and say: A miracle will be performed for me, and I will escape unharmed, lest a miracle is not performed for him. And if you say that a miracle will be performed for him, they will deduct it from his merits. Rav Ḥanan said: What is the verse that alludes to this idea? As it is written: “I have become small from all the mercies and all the truth that You have showed Your servant” (Genesis 32:11). In other words, the more benevolence one receives from God, the more his merit is reduced.

מאי הוה עובדיה דרב אדא בר אהבה כי הא דאתמר שאלו תלמידיו (את רבי זירא ואמרי לה) לרב אדא בר אהבה במה הארכת ימים אמר להם מימי לא הקפדתי בתוך ביתי ולא צעדתי בפני מי שגדול ממני

After recounting stories that reflect Rav Adda bar Ahava’s great merit, the Gemara asks: What were the exceptional deeds of Rav Adda bar Ahava? The Gemara reports that they are as it is stated: The students of Rabbi Zeira asked him, and some say that the students of Rav Adda bar Ahava asked him: To what do you attribute your longevity? He said to them: In all my days I did not become angry with my household, and I never walked before someone greater than myself; rather, I always gave him the honor of walking before me.

ולא הרהרתי במבואות המטונפות ולא הלכתי ד' אמות בלא תורה ובלא תפילין ולא ישנתי בבית המדרש לא שינת קבע ולא שינת עראי ולא ששתי בתקלת חברי ולא קראתי לחבירי בהכינתו ואמרי לה בחניכתו

Rav Adda bar Ahava continued: And I did not think about matters of Torah in filthy alleyways; and I did not walk four cubits without engaging in Torah and without donning phylacteries; and I would not fall asleep in the study hall, neither a deep sleep nor a brief nap; and I would not rejoice in the mishap of my colleague; and I would not call my colleague by his nickname. And some say that he said: I would not call my colleague by his derogatory family name.

אמר ליה רבא לרפרם בר פפא לימא לן מר מהני מילי מעלייתא דהוה עביד רב הונא אמר ליה בינקותיה לא דכירנא בסיבותיה דכירנא דכל יומא דעיבא הוו מפקין ליה בגוהרקא דדהבא וסייר לה לכולה מתא וכל אשיתא דהוות רעיעתא הוה סתר לה אי אפשר למרה בני לה ואי לא אפשר בני לה איהו מדידיה

§ The Gemara relates another story about the righteous deeds of the Sages involving a dilapidated wall. Rava said to Rafram bar Pappa: Let the Master tell us some of those fine deeds that Rav Huna performed. He said to him: I do not remember what he did in his youth, but the deeds of his old age I remember. As on every cloudy day they would take him out in a golden carriage [guharka], and he would survey the entire city. And he would command that every unstable wall be torn down, lest it fall in the rain and hurt someone. If its owner was able to build another, Rav Huna would instruct him to rebuild it. And if he was unable to rebuild it, Rav Huna would build it himself with his own money.

וכל פניא דמעלי שבתא הוה משדר שלוחא לשוקא וכל ירקא דהוה פייש להו לגינאי זבין ליה ושדי ליה לנהרא וליתביה לעניים זמנין דסמכא דעתייהו ולא אתו למיזבן ולשדייה לבהמה קסבר מאכל אדם אין מאכילין לבהמה

Rafram bar Pappa further relates: And every Shabbat eve, in the afternoon, Rav Huna would send a messenger to the marketplace, and he would purchase all the vegetables that were left with the gardeners who sold their crops, and throw them into the river. The Gemara asks: But why did he throw out the vegetables? Let him give them to the poor. The Gemara answers: If he did this, the poor would sometimes rely on the fact that Rav Huna would hand out vegetables, and they would not come to purchase any. This would ruin the gardeners’ livelihood. The Gemara further asks: And let him throw them to the animals. The Gemara answers: He holds that human food may not be fed to animals, as this is a display of contempt for the food.

ולא ליזבניה כלל נמצאת מכשילן לעתיד לבא

The Gemara objects: But if Rav Huna could not use them in any way, he should not purchase the vegetables at all. The Gemara answers: If nothing is done, you would have been found to have caused a stumbling block for them in the future. If the vegetable sellers see that some of their produce is left unsold, the next week they will not bring enough for Shabbat. Therefore, Rav Huna made sure that the vegetables were all bought, so that the sellers would continue to bring them.

כי הוה ליה מילתא דאסותא הוי מלי כוזא דמיא ותלי ליה בסיפא דביתא ואמר כל דבעי ליתי ולישקול ואיכא דאמרי מילתא דשיבתא הוה גמיר והוה מנח כוזא דמיא ודלי ליה ואמר כל דצריך ליתי וליעול דלא לסתכן

Another custom of Rav Huna was that when he had a new medicine, he would fill a water jug with the medicine and hang it from the doorpost of his house, saying: All who need, let him come and take from this new medicine. And there are those say: He had a remedy against the demon Shivta that he knew by tradition, that one must wash his hands for protection against this evil spirit. And to this end, he would place a water jug and hang it by the door, saying: Anyone who needs, let him come to the house and wash his hands, so that he will not be in danger.

כי הוה כרך ריפתא הוה פתח לבביה ואמר כל מאן דצריך ליתי וליכול אמר רבא כולהו מצינא מקיימנא לבר מהא דלא מצינא למיעבד

The Gemara further relates: When Rav Huna would eat bread, he would open the doors to his house, saying: Whoever needs, let him come in and eat. Rava said: I can fulfill all these customs of Rav Huna, except for this one, which I cannot do,