נִזְדַּמֵּן לוֹ אָדָם אֶחָד שֶׁהָיָה מְכוֹעָר בְּיוֹתֵר. אָמַר לוֹ: שָׁלוֹם עָלֶיךָ רַבִּי! וְלֹא הֶחְזִיר לוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ: רֵיקָה, כַּמָּה מְכוֹעָר אוֹתוֹ הָאִישׁ! שֶׁמָּא כׇּל בְּנֵי עִירֶךָ מְכוֹעָרִין כְּמוֹתְךָ? אָמַר לוֹ: אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ, אֶלָּא לֵךְ וֶאֱמוֹר לָאוּמָּן שֶׁעֲשָׂאַנִי: ״כַּמָּה מְכוֹעָר כְּלִי זֶה שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ״. כֵּיוָן שֶׁיָּדַע בְּעַצְמוֹ שֶׁחָטָא, יָרַד מִן הַחֲמוֹר וְנִשְׁתַּטַּח לְפָנָיו, וְאָמַר לוֹ: נַעֲנֵיתִי לְךָ, מְחוֹל לִי! אָמַר לוֹ: אֵינִי מוֹחֵל לְךָ עַד שֶׁתֵּלֵךְ לָאוּמָּן שֶׁעֲשָׂאַנִי וֶאֱמוֹר לוֹ: כַּמָּה מְכוֹעָר כְּלִי זֶה שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ. 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.
הָיָה מְטַיֵּיל אַחֲרָיו עַד שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לְעִירוֹ. יָצְאוּ בְּנֵי עִירוֹ לִקְרָאתוֹ, וְהָיוּ אוֹמְרִים לוֹ: שָׁלוֹם עָלֶיךָ רַבִּי רַבִּי, מוֹרִי מוֹרִי! אָמַר לָהֶם: לְמִי אַתֶּם קוֹרִין רַבִּי רַבִּי? אָמְרוּ לוֹ: לְזֶה שֶׁמְּטַיֵּיל אַחֲרֶיךָ. אָמַר לָהֶם: אִם זֶה רַבִּי — אַל יִרְבּוּ כְּמוֹתוֹ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. אָמְרוּ לוֹ: מִפְּנֵי מָה? אָמַר לָהֶם: כָּךְ וְכָךְ עָשָׂה לִי. אָמְרוּ לוֹ: אַף עַל פִּי כֵּן, מְחוֹל לוֹ, שֶׁאָדָם גָּדוֹל בְּתוֹרָה הוּא. 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.
אָמַר לָהֶם: בִּשְׁבִילְכֶם הֲרֵינִי מוֹחֵל לוֹ, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא רָגִיל לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן. מִיָּד נִכְנַס רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן, וְדָרַשׁ: לְעוֹלָם יְהֵא אָדָם רַךְ כְּקָנֶה וְאַל יְהֵא קָשֶׁה כְּאֶרֶז. וּלְפִיכָךְ זָכָה קָנֶה לִיטּוֹל הֵימֶנּוּ קוּלְמוֹס לִכְתּוֹב בּוֹ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה תְּפִילִּין וּמְזוּזוֹת. 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.
וְכֵן עִיר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ דֶּבֶר אוֹ מַפּוֹלֶת כּוּ׳. תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: מַפּוֹלֶת שֶׁאָמְרוּ, בְּרִיאוֹת וְלֹא רְעוּעוֹת. שֶׁאֵינָן רְאוּיוֹת לִיפּוֹל, וְלֹא הָרְאוּיוֹת לִיפּוֹל. § 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.
הֵי נִיהוּ בְּרִיאוֹת, הֵי נִיהוּ שֶׁאֵינָן רְאוּיוֹת לִיפּוֹל. הֵי נִיהוּ רְעוּעוֹת, הֵי נִיהוּ רְאוּיוֹת לִיפּוֹל! לָא צְרִיכָא, דִּנְפַלוּ מֵחֲמַת גּוּבְהַיְיהוּ. אִי נָמֵי, דְּקָיְימָן אַגּוּדָּא דְנַהֲרָא. 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.
כִּי הַהִיא אֲשִׁיתָא רְעִיעֲתָא דַּהֲוַאי בִּנְהַרְדְּעָא דְּלָא הֲוָה חָלֵיף רַב וּשְׁמוּאֵל תּוּתַהּ, אַף עַל גַּב דְּקַיְימָא בְּאַתְרַהּ תְּלֵיסַר שְׁנִין. יוֹמָא חַד אִיקְּלַע רַב אַדָּא בַּר אַהֲבָה לְהָתָם, אֲמַר לֵיהּ שְׁמוּאֵל לְרַב: נֵיתֵי מָר נַקֵּיף! אֲמַר לֵיהּ: לָא צְרִיכְנָא הָאִידָּנָא, דְּאִיכָּא רַב אַדָּא בַּר אַהֲבָה בַּהֲדַן דִּנְפִישָׁ[א] זְכוּתֵיהּ, וְלָא מִסְתְּפֵינָא. 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.
רַב הוּנָא הֲוָה לֵיהּ הָהוּא חַמְרָא בְּהָהוּא בֵּיתָא רְעִיעָא, וּבְעָא לְפַנּוֹיֵיהּ. עַיְּילֵיהּ לְרַב אַדָּא בַּר אַהֲבָה לְהָתָם, מַשְׁכֵיהּ בִּשְׁמַעְתָּא עַד דְּפַנְּיֵיהּ. בָּתַר דִּנְפַק נְפַל בֵּיתָא. אַרְגֵּישׁ רַב אַדָּא בַּר אַהֲבָה, אִיקְּפַד. 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.
סָבַר לַהּ כִּי הָא דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יַנַּאי: לְעוֹלָם אַל יַעֲמוֹד אָדָם בְּמָקוֹם סַכָּנָה וְיֹאמַר: עוֹשִׂין לִי נֵס, שֶׁמָּא אֵין עוֹשִׂין לוֹ נֵס. וְאִם תִּימְצֵי לוֹמַר עוֹשִׂין לוֹ נֵס — מְנַכִּין לוֹ מִזְּכִיּוֹתָיו. אָמַר רַב חָנָן: מַאי קְרָא — דִּכְתִיב: ״קָטֹנְתִּי מִכֹּל הַחֲסָדִים וּמִכׇּל הָאֱמֶת״. 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.
מַאי הֲוָה עוֹבָדֵיהּ דְּרַב אַדָּא בַּר אַהֲבָה? כִּי הָא דְּאִתְּמַר, שָׁאֲלוּ תַּלְמִידָיו לְרַב אַדָּא בַּר אַהֲבָה: בַּמָּה הֶאֱרַכְתָּ יָמִים? אָמַר לָהֶם: מִיָּמַי לֹא הִקְפַּדְתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתִי, וְלֹא צָעַדְתִּי בִּפְנֵי מִי שֶׁגָּדוֹל מִמֶּנִּי, 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.
וְלֹא הִרְהַרְתִּי בִּמְבוֹאוֹת הַמְטוּנָּפוֹת, וְלֹא הָלַכְתִּי אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת בְּלֹא תּוֹרָה וּבְלֹא תְּפִילִּין, וְלֹא יָשַׁנְתִּי בְּבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ לֹא שֵׁינַת קֶבַע וְלֹא שֵׁינַת עֲרַאי, וְלֹא שַׂשְׂתִּי בְּתַקָּלַת חֲבֵרַי, וְלֹא קָרָאתִי לַחֲבֵירִי בַּהֲכִינָתוֹ, וְאָמְרִי לַהּ בַּחֲנִיכָתוֹ. 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.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ רָבָא לְרַפְרָם בַּר פָּפָּא: לֵימָא לַן מָר מֵהָנֵי מִילֵּי מְעַלְּיָיתָא דַּהֲוָה עָבֵיד רַב הוּנָא! אֲמַר לֵיהּ: בְּיַנְקוּתֵיהּ לָא דְּכִירְנָא, בְּסֵיבוּתֵיהּ דְּכִירְנָא. דְּכֹל יוֹמָא דְעֵיבָא הֲווֹ מַפְּקִין לֵיהּ בְּגוּהַרְקָא דְּדַהֲבָא, וְסָיַיר לַהּ לְכוּלַּהּ מָתָא. וְכֹל אֲשִׁיתָא דַּהֲווֹת רְעִיעֲתָא, הֲוָה סָתַר לַהּ. אִי אֶפְשָׁר לְמָרַהּ — בָּנֵי לַהּ, וְאִי לָא אֶפְשָׁר — בָּנֵי לַהּ אִיהוּ מִדִּידֵיהּ. § 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.
וְכֹל פַּנְיָא דְּמַעֲלֵי שַׁבְּתָא הֲוָה מְשַׁדַּר שְׁלוּחָא לְשׁוּקָא, וְכֹל יַרְקָא דַּהֲוָה פָּיֵישׁ לְהוּ לְגִינָּאֵי, זַבֵּין לֵיהּ וְשָׁדֵי לֵיהּ לְנַהֲרָא. וְלִיתְּבֵיהּ לַעֲנִיִּים! זִמְנִין דְּסָמְכָא דַּעְתַּיְיהוּ וְלָא אָתוּ לְמִיזְבַּן. וְלִשְׁדְּיֵיהּ לִבְהֵמָה! קָסָבַר: מַאֲכַל אָדָם אֵין מַאֲכִילִין לִבְהֵמָה. 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.
וְלָא לִיזְבְּנֵיהּ כְּלָל! נִמְצֵאתָ מַכְשִׁילָן לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא. 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.
כִּי הֲוָה לֵיהּ מִילְּתָא דְאָסוּתָא, הֲוָה מָלֵי כּוּזָא (דְמַיָּא) [מִינֵּיהּ], וְתָלֵי לֵיהּ בְּסִיפָּא דְבֵיתָא, וְאָמַר: כׇּל דְּבָעֵי לֵיתֵי וְלִישְׁקוֹל. וְאִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי: מִילְּתָא דְשִׁיבְתָּא הֲוָה גְּמִיר, וַהֲוָה מַנַּח כּוּזָא דְמַיָּא וְדָלֵי לֵיהּ, וְאָמַר: כׇּל דִּצְרִיךְ — לֵיתֵי וְלֵיעוּל דְּלָא לִסְתַּכַּן. 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.
כִּי הֲוָה כָּרֵךְ רִיפְתָּא, הֲוָה פָּתַח לְבָבֵיהּ, וְאָמַר: כׇּל מַאן דִּצְרִיךְ לֵיתֵי וְלֵיכוֹל. אָמַר רָבָא: כּוּלְּהוּ מָצֵינָא מְקַיַּימְנָא, לְבַר מֵהָא דְּלָא מָצֵינָא לְמִיעְבַּד, 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,