Taanit 9aתענית ט׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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9aט׳ א

(דברים יד, כב) עשר תעשר עשר בשביל שתתעשר

“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.

אשכחיה ר' יוחנן לינוקא דריש לקיש אמר ליה אימא לי פסוקיך א"ל עשר תעשר א"ל ומאי עשר תעשר א"ל עשר בשביל שתתעשר אמר ליה מנא לך א"ל זיל נסי

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.

אמר ליה ומי שרי לנסוייה להקב"ה והכתיב (דברים ו, טז) לא תנסו את ה' א"ל הכי אמר רבי הושעיא חוץ מזו שנאמר (מלאכי ג, י) הביאו את כל המעשר אל בית האוצר ויהי טרף בביתי ובחנוני נא בזאת אמר ה' צבאות אם לא אפתח לכם את ארובות השמים והריקותי לכם ברכה עד בלי די

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).

מאי עד בלי די אמר רמי בר חמא אמר רב עד שיבלו שפתותיכם מלומר די א"ל אי הות מטי התם להאי פסוקא לא הוית צריכנא לך ולהושעיא רבך

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.

ותו אשכחיה ר' יוחנן לינוקיה דריש לקיש דיתיב ואמר (משלי יט, ג) אולת אדם תסלף דרכו ועל ה' יזעף לבו

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.

יתיב רבי יוחנן וקא מתמה אמר מי איכא מידי דכתיבי בכתובי דלא רמיזי באורייתא א"ל אטו הא מי לא רמיזי והכתיב (בראשית מב, כח) ויצא לבם ויחרדו איש אל אחיו לאמר מה זאת עשה אלהים לנו

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.

דל עיניה וחזא ביה אתיא אימיה אפיקתיה אמרה ליה תא מקמיה דלא ליעבד לך כדעבד לאבוך

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.

(א"ר יוחנן מטר בשביל יחיד פרנסה בשביל רבים מטר בשביל יחיד דכתיב (דברים כח, יב) יפתח ה' לך את אוצרו הטוב לתת מטר ארצך פרנסה בשביל רבים דכתיב (שמות טז, ד) הנני ממטיר לכם לחם

§ 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.

מיתיבי ר' יוסי בר' יהודה אומר שלשה פרנסים טובים עמדו לישראל אלו הן משה ואהרן ומרים וג' מתנות טובות ניתנו על ידם ואלו הן באר וענן ומן באר בזכות מרים עמוד ענן בזכות אהרן מן בזכות משה מתה מרים נסתלק הבאר שנאמר (במדבר כ, א) ותמת שם מרים וכתיב בתריה ולא היה מים לעדה וחזרה בזכות שניהן

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.

מת אהרן נסתלקו ענני כבוד שנאמר (במדבר כא, א) וישמע הכנעני מלך ערד מה שמועה שמע שמע שמת אהרן ונסתלקו ענני כבוד וכסבור ניתנה לו רשות להלחם בישראל והיינו דכתיב (במדבר כ, כט) ויראו כל העדה כי גוע אהרן

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).

אמר ר' אבהו אל תקרי ויראו אלא וייראו כדדריש ר"ל דאר"ל כי משמש בארבע לשונות אי דלמא אלא דהא

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.

חזרו שניהם בזכות משה מת משה נסתלקו כולן שנאמר (זכריה יא, ח) ואכחיד את שלשת הרועים בירח אחד וכי בירח אחד מתו והלא מרים מתה בניסן ואהרן באב ומשה באדר אלא מלמד שנתבטלו ג' מתנות טובות שנתנו על ידן ונסתלקו כולן בירח אחד

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.

אלמא אשכחן פרנסה בשביל יחיד שאני משה כיון דלרבים הוא בעי כרבים דמי

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.

רב הונא בר מנוח ורב שמואל בר אידי ורב חייא מווסתניא הוו שכיחי קמיה דרבא כי נח נפשיה דרבא אתו לקמיה דרב פפא כל אימת דהוה אמר להו שמעתא ולא הוה מסתברא להו הוו מרמזי אהדדי חלש דעתיה

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.