5:22ה׳:כ״ב
1 א

בן בג בג. יש לפרש שלא האריך ימים. וכן בן הא הא דלקמן. וכמו שפירש הר"ב בבן זומא. ובן עזאי. דרפ"ד. אבל במד"ש שהרשב"ם כתב ששמע מדודו הר"י בן הרא"ש שגרים היו. ולהסתירם מן המלשינים נקראו כך. והם בני אברהם ושרה שנתוספו הה"א על שמותם. והם היו תחלה לגרים. ולפיכך נקראו כל הגרים בניהם. בג בג גימטריא ה' ה'. ושניהם אחד אלא שבג בג יותר נסתר ונעלם. וקראום זה משונה מזה כדי להכיר ולידע בין זה לזה. ע"כ.

BEN BAG BAG. Perhaps he and Ben Hey Hey did not live long, as Rav writes on the mishna in 4:1-2 concerning the names Ben Zoma and Ben Azai. Midrash Shmuel, however, writes that Rashbam writes that he heard from his uncle, R. Yehudah the son of Rosh, that they were converts and were called this to protect them from informers.238Who would have revealed their location to the government. This explanation presumes that conversion to Judaism was a crime under the Romans. Although Constantine made this the official rule of the empire only in 329 C.E., individual adverse reactions to conversion are attested (Dio Cassius reports that in 19 C.E. the Jews were expelled from Rome for “converting many of the natives to their ways”). They were thus the children of Abraham and Sarah, to whose names a hey was added and who were the first converts, for which reason all converts are considered their children. The alphanumeric value of Bag is five, as is that of the letter hey, and the two names are thus the same kind of name, with Ben Bag Bag being more cryptic and hidden; they gave them two different names to differentiate between the two.

2 ב

הפוך בה והפוך בה וכו' פי' הר"ב בתורה. וכתב במד"ש בשם רבינו אפרים שלפי שדברי תורה הן צורך גדול לבני אדם. היה אומר בלשון ארמי. שהיו הכל מכירין בו כשעלו מבבל וכן שנינו לעיל דלא יליף וכו'. ע"כ. ובדרך חיים כתב שהיו גרים ולשונם לשון ארמי. עוד כתב לפי שהתורה לא נתנה למלאכים. ולא שייך לגבייהו שכר מצות אמרו בלשון ארמי לשון שאין מלאכי השרת מכירין בו.

TURN IT OVER AND OVER, ETC. Rav: the Torah.
Midrash Shmuel writes in the name of Rabbenu Ephraim that because Torah is something that people greatly need, Ben Bag Bag said his dictum in Aramaic, which everyone knew upon their return from Babylon. Hillel did so as well, in the mishna of “and he who does not learn” (1:13).
Maharal writes in Derech Chaim that they were converts and they thus spoke Aramaic. He also writes that because the Torah was not given to the angels and they cannot receive reward for performing commandments, Ben Bag Bag said his dictum in Aramaic, which the angels do not understand.

3 ג

והפוך בה. כפל לשון לחזק ולהורות על התמידות והפלגה. וענין ההפוך עצמה הוא חזרת הלמוד:

TURN IT OVER AND OVER. The repetition is to strengthen the point and to teach the need for constant and great exertion. “Turning over” refers to reviewing what one has learnt.

4 ד

ובה תחזי. ר"ל האמת. פירוש ותראה האמת בעין השכל. כתרגום וירא וחזא. הרמב"ם. ורש"י גורס ובה תהוי. פירוש תדיר תדיר.

AND IN IT YOU WILL SEE [Aram. techeze]. I.e., the truth. The meaning is that you will see the truth with the eyes of the mind, as the Targum translates “and G-d saw” by vechaza—Rambam.
Rashi has “and in it you should be”—that is, regularly.

5 ה

ומינה לא תזוע. פירש הר"ב שלא תאמר וכו' שאין מותר ללמוד חכמת יונית. עיין בריש פרק חלק. בפירוש בספרים חיצונים. ויש גורסים לא תזוז.

AND DO NOT MOVE [Heb. lo tazua] FROM IT. Rav: you should not say, I have learnt the wisdom of Israel, now let me go learn chochmat yevanit.239Commonly translated as “the wisdom of the Greeks”. Rashi and Rambam, however, do not explain it this way whenever it comes up in the Talmud, writing rather that it is a kind of Greek cleverness of speech. Tosafot Yom Tov, in referring to Rav's commentary to the mishna in Sanhedrin, seems to see Rav as indeed understanding the phrase to mean “the wisdom of the Greeks”. See Rav’s comments on “outside books” in the mishna in Sanhedrin 10:1.
Some texts have lo tazuz.240A more standard verb meaning “to move”.

6 ו

שאין לך מדה טובה הימנה. שלא תאמר שבלמוד חכמת יונית בהכרח אלמד מהם מדיניות והנהגה ומדות טובות. להכי קאמר שאין לך מדה טובה הימנה. כי כל המדות טובות ערוכות בכל ושמורות בה. ועוד יש לפרש דתנא דידן מהדר אכולהו מוסרי החכמים וקאמר שאין בכל המדות טובות שיעצוך שתקנה ותשתלם בהן כמדה הזאת שיעצתיך שזאת היא עולה על גביהן. מד"ש:

FOR THERE IS NO BETTER TRAIT [Heb. middah]241Tosafot Yom Tov understands the word as “trait” or “characteristic”, the way it is indeed used in other contexts. The simple understanding of the word here, however, would be something like “way” or “lot”. THAN THIS. You should not think that through learning the wisdom of the Greeks you will certainly learn proper behavior and good character. The mishna says “there is no better trait than this”, for all good character traits are arranged and included in it. Alternatively, our tanna is addressing all of the ethical teachings of the Sages and saying that, from among all of the good character traits that the Sages have advised you to acquire and perfect yourself in, none is like this trait about which I have advised you, for it is the greatest of them all—Midrash Shmuel.