עַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר עַשֵּׂר בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁתִּתְעַשֵּׁר “A tithe shall you tithe [te’aser]” (Deuteronomy 14:22)? This phrase can be interpreted homiletically: Take a tithe [asser] so that you will become wealthy [titasher], in the merit of the mitzva.
אַשְׁכְּחֵיהּ רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן לְיָנוֹקָא דְּרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ אֲמַר לֵיהּ אִימָּא לִי פְּסוּקָיךְ אֲמַר לֵיהּ עַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר אֲמַר לֵיהּ וּמַאי עַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר אֲמַר לֵיהּ עַשֵּׂר בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁתִּתְעַשֵּׁר אֲמַר לֵיהּ מְנָא לָךְ אֲמַר לֵיהּ זִיל נַסִּי Rabbi Yoḥanan found the young son of Reish Lakish. He said to the boy: Recite to me your verse, i.e., the verse you studied today in school. The boy said to him: “A tithe shall you tithe.” The boy further said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: But what is the meaning of this phrase: “A tithe shall you tithe”? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: The verse means: Take a tithe so that you will become wealthy. The boy said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: From where do you derive that this is so? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: Go and test it.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ וּמִי שְׁרֵי לְנַסּוֹיֵיהּ לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְהָכְתִיב לֹא תְנַסּוּ אֶת ה׳ אֲמַר לֵיהּ הָכִי אָמַר רַבִּי הוֹשַׁעְיָא חוּץ מִזּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הָבִיאוּ אֶת כׇּל הַמַּעֲשֵׂר אֶל בֵּית הָאוֹצָר וִיהִי טֶרֶף בְּבֵיתִי וּבְחָנוּנִי נָא בָּזֹאת אָמַר ה׳ צְבָאוֹת אִם לֹא אֶפְתַּח לָכֶם אֵת אֲרֻבּוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וַהֲרִיקֹתִי לָכֶם בְּרָכָה עַד בְּלִי דָי The boy said to him: And is it permitted to test the Holy One, Blessed be He? But isn’t it written: “You shall not test the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:16)? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to the boy that Rabbi Hoshaya said as follows: It is prohibited to test God in any way, except in this case of tithes, as it is stated: “Bring the whole tithe into the storeroom, that there may be food in My house, and test Me now by this, said the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing that there shall be more than sufficiency” (Malachi 3:10).
מַאי עַד בְּלִי דָי אָמַר רָמֵי בַּר חָמָא אָמַר רַב עַד שֶׁיִּבְלוּ שִׂפְתוֹתֵיכֶם מִלּוֹמַר דַּי אֲמַר לֵיהּ אִי הֲוָת מָטֵי הָתָם לְהַאי פְּסוּקָא לָא הֲוֵית צְרִיכְנָא לָךְ וּלְהוֹשַׁעְיָא רַבָּךְ In relation to the above verse, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase: “That there shall be more than sufficiency [ad beli dai]”? Rami bar Ḥama said that Rav said: It means that the abundance will be so great that your lips will be worn out [yivlu], similar to the word beli, from saying enough [dai]. Returning to the above incident, the Gemara adds that the boy said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: Your claim appears explicitly in a verse. If I had arrived there, at this verse, I would not have needed you or Hoshaya your teacher, a I could have understood it on my own.
וְתוּ אַשְׁכְּחֵיהּ רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן לְיָנוֹקֵיהּ דְּרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ דְּיָתֵיב וְאָמַר אִוֶּלֶת אָדָם תְּסַלֵּף דַּרְכּוֹ וְעַל ה׳ יִזְעַף לִבּוֹ The Gemara relates another story about the precociousness of this child. And furthermore, on a different occasion Rabbi Yoḥanan found the young son of Reish Lakish, when he was sitting and studying and he was reciting the verse: “The foolishness of man perverts his way, and his heart frets against the Lord” (Proverbs 19:3). This verse means that when someone sins and every manner of mishap befalls him, he complains and wonders why these things are happening to him.
יְתֵיב רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן וְקָא מַתְמַהּ אָמַר מִי אִיכָּא מִידֵּי דִּכְתִיבִי בִּכְתוּבֵי דְּלָא רְמִיזִי בְּאוֹרָיְיתָא אָמַר לֵיהּ אַטּוּ הָא מִי לָא רְמִיזִי וְהָכְתִיב וַיֵּצֵא לִבָּם וַיֶּחֶרְדוּ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו לֵאמֹר מַה זֹּאת עָשָׂה אֱלֹהִים לָנוּ Rabbi Yoḥanan sat down and wondered aloud about this verse, saying: Is there anything that is written in the Writings that is not alluded to in the Torah at all? I cannot think of any hint of this idea in the Torah itself. The child said to him: Is that to say that this idea is really not alluded to in the Torah? But isn’t it written, with regard to Joseph’s brothers: “And their heart failed them and they turned trembling to one to another, saying: What is this that God has done to us?” (Genesis 42:28). This verse exemplifies the notion that when one sins and encounters troubles, he wonders why it is happening to him.
דַּל עֵינֵיהּ וַחֲזָא בֵּיהּ אָתְיָא אִימֵּיהּ אַפֵּיקְתֵּיהּ אֲמַרָה לֵיהּ תָּא מִקַּמֵּיהּ דְּלָא לֶיעְבַּד לָךְ כְּדַעֲבַד לַאֲבוּךְ Impressed by the youth’s wisdom, Rabbi Yoḥanan raised his eyes and stared at the boy. At this point, the boy’s mother came and took him away, saying to him: Come away from Rabbi Yoḥanan, so that he does not do to you as he did to your father. Reish Lakish, the boy’s father, died during a heated dispute with Rabbi Yoḥanan over a Torah matter. The argument ended with an offended look from Rabbi Yoḥanan which caused Reish Lakish’s death, and the boy’s mother was afraid that her son might suffer the same fate.
אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן מָטָר בִּשְׁבִיל יָחִיד פַּרְנָסָה בִּשְׁבִיל רַבִּים מָטָר בִּשְׁבִיל יָחִיד דִּכְתִיב יִפְתַּח ה׳ לְךָ אֶת אוֹצָרוֹ הַטּוֹב לָתֵת מְטַר אַרְצְךָ פַּרְנָסָה בִּשְׁבִיל רַבִּים דִּכְתִיב הִנְנִי מַמְטִיר לָכֶם לֶחֶם § After this brief digression, the Gemara turns to the fifth in the series of statements by Rabbi Yoḥanan concerning rain. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Rain falls even for the sake of an individual, in response to the petition of a single person in need of rain, whereas a blessing of sustenance comes only for the sake of many. Rain falls even for the sake of an individual, as it is written: “The Lord will open for you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain of your land” (Deuteronomy 28:12). The fact that this verse is written in the second person singular demonstrates that rain can fall even for the sake of an individual. Rabbi Yoḥanan further proves that sustenance comes for the sake of many, as it is written: “Behold I will cause to rain bread from the heavens for you” (Exodus 16:4). Here, God is referring to the people in the plural form.
מֵיתִיבִי רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בְּרַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר שְׁלֹשָׁה פַּרְנָסִים טוֹבִים עָמְדוּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֵלּוּ הֵן מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן וּמִרְיָם וְשָׁלֹשׁ מַתָּנוֹת טוֹבוֹת נִיתְּנוּ עַל יָדָם וְאֵלּוּ הֵן בְּאֵר וְעָנָן וּמָן בְּאֵר בִּזְכוּת מִרְיָם עַמּוּד עָנָן בִּזְכוּת אַהֲרֹן מָן בִּזְכוּת מֹשֶׁה מֵתָה מִרְיָם נִסְתַּלֵּק הַבְּאֵר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַתָּמׇת שָׁם מִרְיָם וּכְתִיב בָּתְרֵיהּ וְלֹא הָיָה מַיִם לָעֵדָה וְחָזְרָה בִּזְכוּת שְׁנֵיהֶן The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: Three good sustainers rose up for the Jewish people during the exodus from Egypt, and they are: Moses, Aaron and Miriam. And three good gifts were given from Heaven through their agency, and these are they: The well of water, the pillar of cloud, and the manna. He elaborates: The well was given to the Jewish people in the merit of Miriam; the pillar of cloud was in the merit of Aaron; and the manna in the merit of Moses. When Miriam died the well disappeared, as it is stated: “And Miriam died there” (Numbers 20:1), and it says thereafter in the next verse: “And there was no water for the congregation” (Numbers 20:2). But the well returned in the merit of both Moses and Aaron.
מֵת אַהֲרֹן נִסְתַּלְּקוּ עַנְנֵי כָּבוֹד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיִּשְׁמַע הַכְּנַעֲנִי מֶלֶךְ עֲרָד מָה שְׁמוּעָה שָׁמַע שָׁמַע שֶׁמֵּת אַהֲרֹן וְנִסְתַּלְּקוּ עַנְנֵי כָּבוֹד וּכְסָבוּר נִיתְּנָה לוֹ רְשׁוּת לְהִלָּחֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַיְינוּ דִּכְתִיב וַיִּרְאוּ כׇּל הָעֵדָה כִּי גָוַע אַהֲרֹן When Aaron died the clouds of glory disappeared, as it is stated: “And the Canaanite, the king of Arad heard” (Numbers 33:40). What report did he hear? He heard that Aaron had died and the clouds of glory had disappeared, and he thought that the Jewish people were no longer protected by Heaven and therefore he had been given permission to go to war against the Jewish people. And this disappearance of the clouds is the meaning of that which is written: “And all the congregation saw that [ki] Aaron was dead” (Numbers 20:29).
אָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ אַל תִּקְרֵי וַיִּרְאוּ אֶלָּא וַיִּירָאוּ כִּדְדָרֵישׁ רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ דְּאָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ כִּי מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בְּאַרְבַּע לְשׁוֹנוֹת אִי דִּלְמָא אֶלָּא דְּהָא Rabbi Abbahu said: Do not read the verse as: “And they saw [va’yiru]”; rather, read it as: And they were seen [va’yera’u], as the clouds which had concealed the Jewish people were temporarily removed. This is as Reish Lakish taught. As Reish Lakish said: The term ki actually has at least four distinct meanings: If; perhaps; but; because, or that. According to this interpretation, the verse would be rendered: And all the congregation was seen, because [ki] Aaron was dead.
חָזְרוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בִּזְכוּת מֹשֶׁה מֵת מֹשֶׁה נִסְתַּלְּקוּ כּוּלָּן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וָאַכְחִד אֶת שְׁלֹשֶׁת הָרֹעִים בְּיֶרַח אֶחָד וְכִי בְּיֶרַח אֶחָד מֵתוּ וַהֲלֹא מִרְיָם מֵתָה בְּנִיסָן וְאַהֲרֹן בְּאָב וּמֹשֶׁה בַּאֲדָר אֶלָּא מְלַמֵּד שֶׁנִּתְבַּטְּלוּ שָׁלֹשׁ מַתָּנוֹת טוֹבוֹת שֶׁנִּתְּנוּ עַל יָדָן וְנִסְתַּלְּקוּ כּוּלָּן בְּיֶרַח אֶחָד The baraita continues: Both the well and the clouds of glory returned in the merit of Moses. However, when Moses died all of them disappeared. As it is stated: “And I cut off the three shepherds in one month” (Zechariah 11:8). But did the three shepherds really die in one month? Didn’t Miriam die in the month of Nisan, and Aaron in Av and Moses in Adar? Rather, this verse teaches us that with the death of Moses the three good gifts that were given through their agency were annulled, and all three gifts disappeared in one month, which made it seem as though all three leaders had died at the same time.
אַלְמָא אַשְׁכְּחַן פַּרְנָסָה בִּשְׁבִיל יָחִיד שָׁאנֵי מֹשֶׁה כֵּיוָן דִּלְרַבִּים הוּא בָּעֵי כְּרַבִּים דָּמֵי The Gemara explains the difficulty from this baraita. Apparently, we find that sustenance can come for the sake of an individual, as the baraita states that sustenance in the form of manna came for the sake of Moses. The Gemara answers: Moses is different, since he requested the manna for many, and therefore he was considered like many, not as an individual.
רַב הוּנָא בַּר מָנוֹחַ וְרַב שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר אִידִי וְרַב חִיָּיא מִוּוֹסְתַּנְיָא הֲווֹ שְׁכִיחִי קַמֵּיהּ דְּרָבָא כִּי נָח נַפְשֵׁיהּ דְּרָבָא אֲתוֹ לְקַמֵּיהּ דְּרַב פָּפָּא כׇּל אֵימַת דַּהֲוָה אָמַר לְהוּ שְׁמַעְתָּא וְלָא הֲוָה מִסְתַּבְּרָא לְהוּ הֲווֹ מְרַמְּזִי אַהֲדָדֵי חֲלַשׁ דַּעְתֵּיהּ The Gemara relates a story concerning the aforementioned verse from Zechariah. Rav Huna bar Manoaḥ, Rav Shmuel bar Idi, and Rav Ḥiyya from Vastanya were often found before Rava, as they were among his most distinguished students. When Rava died, they came before Rav Pappa to learn from him. However, as also they were great Sages, whenever Rav Pappa would say a halakha that did not sound reasonable to them, they would gesture to each other that Rav Pappa was not equal in stature to Rava. Rav Pappa was offended by their behavior.