נֵימְרִינְהוּ לְתַרְוַיְיהוּ אֵל הַהוֹדָאוֹת וְרוֹב הַהוֹדָאוֹת
we will recite them both: God of thanksgivings, and: Abundant thanksgivings.
אָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ גָּדוֹל יוֹם הַגְּשָׁמִים מִתְּחִיַּית הַמֵּתִים דְּאִילּוּ תְּחִיַּית הַמֵּתִים לַצַּדִּיקִים וְאִילּוּ גְּשָׁמִים בֵּין לַצַּדִּיקִים בֵּין לָרְשָׁעִים וּפְלִיגָא דְּרַב יוֹסֵף דְּאָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁהִיא שְׁקוּלָה כִּתְחִיַּית הַמֵּתִים קְבָעוּהָ בִּתְחִיַּית הַמֵּתִים
§ The Gemara cites statements in praise of rainfall. Rabbi Abbahu said: The day of rain is greater than the resurrection of the dead. The reason is that while the resurrection of the dead benefits only the righteous, rain benefits both the righteous and the wicked. The Gemara comments: And this statement disagrees with the opinion of Rav Yosef, as Rav Yosef said: Since rainfall is equivalent to the resurrection of the dead, the Sages established its recitation in the second blessing of the Amida, the blessing of the resurrection of the dead. According to Rav Yosef, rainfall is the equivalent to, but not superior to, the resurrection of the dead.
אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה גָּדוֹל יוֹם הַגְּשָׁמִים כְּיוֹם שֶׁנִּיתְּנָה בּוֹ תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר יַעֲרֹף כַּמָּטָר לִקְחִי וְאֵין לֶקַח אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי לֶקַח טוֹב נָתַתִּי לָכֶם תּוֹרָתִי אַל תַּעֲזֹבוּ רָבָא אָמַר יוֹתֵר מִיּוֹם שֶׁנִּיתְּנָה בּוֹ תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר יַעֲרֹף כַּמָּטָר לִקְחִי מִי נִתְלֶה בְּמִי הֱוֵי אוֹמֵר קָטָן נִתְלֶה בַּגָּדוֹל
Similarly, Rav Yehuda said: The day of the rains is as great as the day on which the Torah was given, as it is stated: “My doctrine [likḥi] shall drop as the rain” (Deuteronomy 32:2), and lekaḥ means nothing other than Torah, as it is stated: “For I give you good doctrine [lekaḥ]; do not forsake My Torah” (Proverbs 4:2). Rava said: Rainfall is even greater than the day on which the Torah was given, as it is stated: “My doctrine shall drop as the rain,” and when one makes a comparison, which object is made dependent upon which? You must say that the lesser object is dependent upon the greater one. If Torah is compared to rain, it follows that rain is greater than Torah.
רָבָא רָמֵי כְּתִיב יַעֲרֹף כַּמָּטָר לִקְחִי וּכְתִיב תִּזַּל כַּטַּל אִמְרָתִי אִם תַּלְמִיד חָכָם הָגוּן הוּא כַּטַּל וְאִם לָאו עוֹרְפֵהוּ כַּמָּטָר
The Gemara cites another interpretation of the verse from Deuteronomy. Rava raised a contradiction: At the beginning of the verse it is written: “My doctrine shall drop [ya’arof] as the rain,” in a harsh manner, and yet later in the verse, it is written: “My speech shall distill as the dew,” in a gentle tone. He resolves this apparent contradiction as follows: If he is a worthy Torah scholar, the Torah flows through him like the dew, but if he is not worthy, it snaps his neck [orfehu] like the powerful rain.
תַּנְיָא הָיָה רַבִּי בְּנָאָה אוֹמֵר כׇּל הָעוֹסֵק בְּתוֹרָה לִשְׁמָהּ תּוֹרָתוֹ נַעֲשֵׂית לוֹ סַם חַיִּים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ וְאוֹמֵר רִפְאוּת תְּהִי לְשָׁרֶּךָ וְאוֹמֵר כִּי מֹצְאִי מָצָא חַיִּים וְכׇל הָעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ נַעֲשֵׂית לוֹ סַם הַמָּוֶת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר יַעֲרֹף כַּמָּטָר לִקְחִי וְאֵין עֲרִיפָה אֶלָּא הֲרִיגָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְעָרְפוּ שָׁם אֶת הָעֶגְלָה בַּנָּחַל
It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Bena’a would say: Anyone who engages in Torah for its own sake, his Torah study will be an elixir of life for him, as it is stated: “It is a tree of life to them who lay hold upon it” (Proverbs 3:18), and it says: “It shall be health to your navel” (Proverbs 3:8), and it says: “For whoever finds Me finds life” (Proverbs 8:35). And anyone who engages in Torah not for its own sake, e.g., for self-aggrandizement, his Torah will be an elixir of death for him, as it is stated: “My doctrine shall drop [ya’arof ] as the rain,” and arifa means nothing other than killing, as it is stated: “And they shall break the heifer’s neck [arefu] there in the valley” (Deuteronomy 21:4).
אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה לְרַבִּי זֵירָא לֵיתֵי מָר לִיתְנֵי אֲמַר לֵיהּ חֲלַשׁ לִבַּאי וְלָא יָכֵילְנָא לֵימָא מָר מִילְּתָא דְּאַגַּדְתָּא אֲמַר לֵיהּ הָכִי אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן מַאי דִּכְתִיב כִּי הָאָדָם עֵץ הַשָּׂדֶה וְכִי אָדָם עֵץ שָׂדֶה הוּא
Rabbi Yirmeya once said to Rabbi Zeira: Let the Master come and teach a halakhic discourse. Rabbi Zeira said to him: My heart is weak and I cannot strain myself over a halakhic discourse. Rabbi Yirmeya replied to him: In that case, let the Master tell us a matter of aggada, which does not require as much effort. Rabbi Zeira said to him that Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19)? And is man actually a tree of the field?
אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם דִּכְתִיב כִּי מִמֶּנּוּ תֹאכֵל וְאֹתוֹ לֹא תִכְרֹת וּכְתִיב אֹתוֹ תַשְׁחִית וְכָרָתָּ הָא כֵּיצַד אִם תַּלְמִיד חָכָם הָגוּן הוּא מִמֶּנּוּ תֹאכֵל וְאֹתוֹ לֹא תִכְרֹת וְאִם לָאו אֹתוֹ תַשְׁחִית וְכָרָתָּ
Rather, it is because it is written earlier in the same verse: “You may eat of them but you may not cut them down,” and it is written in the next verse: “Them you may destroy and cut down” (Deuteronomy 20:20). This indicates that there are certain trees which may be cut down, while others may not be destroyed. How so? If a Torah scholar is worthy: “You may eat of them but you may not cut them down,” but if he is not worthy: “He you may destroy and cut down.”
אָמַר רַבִּי חָמָא בְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא מַאי דִּכְתִיב בַּרְזֶל בְּבַרְזֶל יָחַד לוֹמַר לָךְ מָה בַּרְזֶל זֶה אֶחָד מְחַדֵּד אֶת חֲבֵירוֹ אַף שְׁנֵי תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים מְחַדְּדִין זֶה אֶת זֶה בַּהֲלָכָה
The Gemara cites other expositions that deal with Torah study. Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17)? This verse comes to tell you that just as with these iron implements, one sharpens the other when they are rubbed against each other, so too, when Torah scholars study together, they sharpen one another in halakha.
אָמַר רַבָּה בַּר בַּר חָנָה לָמָּה נִמְשְׁלוּ דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה כָּאֵשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הֲלֹא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ נְאֻם ה׳ לוֹמַר לָךְ מָה אֵשׁ אֵינוֹ דּוֹלֵק יָחִיד אַף דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה אֵין מִתְקַיְּימִין בִּיחִידִי
Rabba bar bar Ḥana said: Why are matters of Torah compared to fire, as it is stated: “Is not My word like fire, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:29)? To tell you: Just as fire does not ignite in a lone stick of wood but in a pile of kindling, so too, matters of Torah are not retained and understood properly by a lone scholar who studies by himself, but by a group of Sages.
וְהַיְינוּ דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בַּר חֲנִינָא מַאי דִּכְתִיב חֶרֶב אֶל הַבַּדִּים וְנֹאָלוּ חֶרֶב עַל שׂוֹנְאֵיהֶן שֶׁל תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁעוֹסְקִין בַּד בְּבַד בַּתּוֹרָה וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁמִּטַּפְּשִׁין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְנֹאָלוּ
And this is what Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the boasters [habaddim], and they shall become fools [noalu]” (Jeremiah 50:36)? This verse can be interpreted homiletically: There is a sword upon the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for Torah scholars themselves, who sit alone [bad bevad] and study Torah. And not only that, but those who study by themselves grow foolish from their solitary Torah study, as it is stated: “And they shall become fools.”
וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁחוֹטְאִין כְּתִיב הָכָא וְנֹאָלוּ וּכְתִיב הָתָם אֲשֶׁר נוֹאַלְנוּ וַאֲשֶׁר חָטָאנוּ וְאִיבָּעֵית אֵימָא מֵהָכָא נוֹאֲלוּ שָׂרֵי צֹעַן [וְגוֹ׳] הִתְעוּ אֶת מִצְרַיִם
And not only that, but they sin, as it is written here: “And they shall become fools,” and it is written there: “For that we have done foolishly [noalnu] and for that we have sinned” (Numbers 12:11). And if you wish, say instead that it is derived from here: “The princes of Zoan have become fools [noalu]…they have caused Egypt to go astray” (Isaiah 19:13).
אָמַר רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק לָמָּה נִמְשְׁלוּ דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה כְּעֵץ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ לוֹמַר לָךְ מָה עֵץ קָטָן מַדְלִיק אֶת הַגָּדוֹל אַף תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים קְטַנִּים מְחַדְּדִים אֶת הַגְּדוֹלִים וְהַיְינוּ דְּאָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא הַרְבֵּה לָמַדְתִּי מֵרַבּוֹתַי וּמֵחֲבֵירַי יוֹתֵר מֵרַבּוֹתַי וּמִתַּלְמִידַי יוֹתֵר מִכּוּלָּן
Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: Why are Torah matters likened to a tree, as it is stated: “It is a tree of life to them who lay hold upon it” (Proverbs 3:18)? This verse comes to tell you that just as a small piece of wood can ignite a large piece, so too, minor Torah scholars can sharpen great Torah scholars and enable them to advance in their studies. And this is what Rabbi Ḥanina said: I have learned much from my teachers and even more from my friends, but from my students I have learned more than from all of them.
רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בַּר פָּפָּא רָמֵי כְּתִיב לִקְרַאת צָמֵא הֵתָיוּ מָיִם וּכְתִיב הוֹי כׇּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם אִם תַּלְמִיד הָגוּן הוּא לִקְרַאת צָמֵא הֵתָיוּ מַיִם וְאִי לָא הוֹי כׇּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם
Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa raised a contradiction. In one verse it is written: “To him who is thirsty bring water” (Isaiah 21:14), which indicates that the one who has water must bring it to the thirsty person, and it is written elsewhere: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1), from which it may be inferred that the thirsty person must seek out water himself. Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa resolves this apparent contradiction by explaining that if he is a worthy student the teacher must seek him out, as in “to him who is thirsty bring water,” but if the student is not worthy, then “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water,” i.e., this student must seek out a teacher himself.
רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בַּר חָמָא רָמֵי כְּתִיב יָפוּצוּ מַעְיְנֹתֶיךָ חוּצָה וּכְתִיב יִהְיוּ לְךָ לְבַדֶּךָ אִם תַּלְמִיד הָגוּן הוּא יָפוּצוּ מַעְיְנֹתֶיךָ חוּצָה וְאִם לָאו יִהְיוּ לְךָ לְבַדֶּךָ
Rabbi Ḥanina bar Ḥama raised another contradiction. In one verse it is written: “Let your springs be dispersed abroad” (Proverbs 5:16), whereas in the next verse it is written: “Let them be your own” (Proverbs 5:17). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Ḥama explains: If the student sitting before you is worthy, then “Let your springs be dispersed abroad,” as you should teach him, but if he is not worthy, then “Let them be your own.”
וְאָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בַּר אִידִי לָמָּה נִמְשְׁלוּ דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה לְמַיִם דִּכְתִיב הוֹי כׇּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם לוֹמַר לָךְ מָה מַיִם מַנִּיחִין מָקוֹם גָּבוֹהַּ וְהוֹלְכִין לְמָקוֹם נָמוּךְ אַף דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה אֵין מִתְקַיְּימִין אֶלָּא בְּמִי שֶׁדַּעְתּוֹ שְׁפָלָה
And Rabbi Ḥanina bar Idi said: Why are matters of Torah likened to water, as it is written: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1)? This verse comes to tell you: Just as water leaves a high place and flows to a low place, so too, Torah matters are retained only by one whose spirit is lowly, i.e., a humble person.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי אוֹשַׁעְיָא לָמָּה נִמְשְׁלוּ דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה לִשְׁלֹשָׁה מַשְׁקִין הַלָּלוּ בְּמַיִם וּבְיַיִן וּבְחָלָב דִּכְתִיב הוֹי כׇּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם וּכְתִיב לְכוּ שִׁבְרוּ וֶאֱכֹלוּ וּלְכוּ שִׁבְרוּ בְּלוֹא כֶסֶף וּבְלוֹא מְחִיר יַיִן וְחָלָב לוֹמַר לָךְ מָה שְׁלֹשָׁה מַשְׁקִין הַלָּלוּ אֵין מִתְקַיְּימִין אֶלָּא בַּפָּחוּת שֶׁבַּכֵּלִים אַף דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה אֵין מִתְקַיְּימִין אֶלָּא בְּמִי שֶׁדַּעְתּוֹ שְׁפָלָה
And Rabbi Oshaya said: Why are matters of Torah likened to these three liquids: To water, wine and milk? As it is written with regard to water: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water,” and it is written in the same verse: “Come, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” This verse comes to tell you: Just as these three liquids can be retained only in the least of vessels, e.g., clay pots, but not vessels of silver and gold, as they will spoil, so too, matters of Torah are retained only by one whose spirit is lowly.
כְּדַאֲמַרָה לֵיהּ בְּרַתֵּיה דְּקֵיסָר לְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן חֲנַנְיָה אִי חׇכְמָה מְפוֹאָרָה בִּכְלִי מְכוֹעָר אֲמַר לַהּ אָבִיךָ רָמֵי חַמְרָא בְּמָנֵי דְפַחְרָא אֲמַרָה לֵיהּ אֶלָּא בְּמַאי נִירְמֵי אֲמַר לַהּ אַתּוּן דַּחֲשִׁיבִיתוּ רְמוֹ בְּמָאנֵי דַּהֲבָא וְכַסְפָּא
The Gemara cites a related incident: This is as the daughter of the Roman emperor said to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya, who was an ugly man: Woe to glorious wisdom such as yours, which is contained in an ugly vessel. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her, in a seemingly unrelated response: Does your father keep his wine in simple clay vessels? The emperor’s daughter said to him: Rather, in what, then, should he keep it? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her: You, who are so important, should put it in vessels of gold and silver.
אֲזַלָה וַאֲמַרָה לֵיהּ לַאֲבוּהּ רַמְיֵיהּ לְחַמְרָא בְּמָנֵי דַּהֲבָא וְכַסְפָּא וּתְקֵיף אֲתוֹ וַאֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ אֲמַר לַהּ לִבְרַתֵּיהּ מַאן אֲמַר לָךְ הָכִי אֲמַרָה לֵיהּ רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן חֲנַנְיָה קַרְיוּהוּ אֲמַר לֵיהּ אַמַּאי אֲמַרְתְּ לַהּ הָכִי אֲמַר לֵיהּ כִּי הֵיכִי דַּאֲמַרָה לִי אֲמַרִי לַהּ וְהָא אִיכָּא שַׁפִּירֵי דִּגְמִירִי
The emperor’s daughter went and said this to her father. He put the wine in vessels of gold and silver and it turned sour. When his advisors came and told the emperor that the wine had turned sour, he said to his daughter: Who told you to do this? His daughter responded: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya. The emperor summoned him and said to him: Why did you say this to her? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to him: Just as she said to me, so I said say to her, to demonstrate to her that fine material is best preserved in the least of vessels. The emperor said to him: But there are handsome people who are learned.