וְהַמַּלְוֶה סֶלַע לְעָנִי בִּשְׁעַת דׇּחְקוֹ עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר אָז תִּקְרָא וַה׳ יַעֲנֶה תְּשַׁוַּע וְיֹאמַר הִנֵּנִי and who lends a sela to a pauper at his time of need, about him the verse states: “Then shall you call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say: Here I am” (Isaiah 58:9).
סִימָן אִשָּׁה וְקַרְקַע עֵזֶר זֹאת שְׁתֵּי הַבְרָכוֹת תַּגָּרֵי פָּחֲתִי אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר כׇּל אָדָם שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אִשָּׁה אֵינוֹ אָדָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בְּרָאָם וַיִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמָם אָדָם וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר כׇּל אָדָם שֶׁאֵין לוֹ קַרְקַע אֵינוֹ אָדָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הַשָּׁמַיִם שָׁמַיִם לַה׳ וְהָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִבְנֵי אָדָם § The Gemara provides a mnemonic device for a series of statements cited in the name of Rabbi Elazar: Woman; and land; helper; this; two; the blessings; merchants; lowly. The Gemara presents these statements: Rabbi Elazar said: Any man who does not have a wife is not a man, as it is stated: “Male and female He created them…and called their name Adam” (Genesis 5:2). And Rabbi Elazar said: Any man who does not have his own land is not a man, as it is stated: “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Psalms 115:16).
וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר מַאי דִּכְתִיב אֶעֱשֶׂה לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ זָכָה עוֹזַרְתּוֹ לֹא זָכָה כְּנֶגְדּוֹ וְאִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר רָמֵי כְּתִיב כְּנַגְּדוֹ וְקָרֵינַן כְּנֶגְדּוֹ זִכָּה כְּנֶגְדּוֹ לֹא זָכָה מְנַגַּדְתּוֹ And Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “I will make him a helpmate for him [kenegdo]” (Genesis 2:18)? If one is worthy his wife helps him; if he is not worthy she is against him. And some say a slightly different version: Rabbi Elazar raised a contradiction: It is written in the Torah with a spelling that allows it to be read: Striking him [kenagdo], and we read it as though it said: For him [kenegdo]. If he is worthy she is for him as his helpmate; if he is not worthy she strikes him.
אַשְׁכְּחֵיהּ רַבִּי יוֹסֵי לְאֵלִיָּהוּ אֲמַר לֵיהּ כְּתִיב אֶעֱשֶׂה לוֹ עֵזֶר בַּמָּה אִשָּׁה עוֹזַרְתּוֹ לָאָדָם אֲמַר לֵיהּ אָדָם מֵבִיא חִיטִּין חִיטִּין כּוֹסֵס פִּשְׁתָּן פִּשְׁתָּן לוֹבֵשׁ לֹא נִמְצֵאת מְאִירָה עֵינָיו וּמַעֲמִידָתוֹ עַל רַגְלָיו The Gemara relates that Rabbi Yosei encountered Elijah the prophet and said to him: It is written: I will make him a helpmate. In what manner does a woman help a man? Elijah said to him: When a man brings wheat from the field, does he chew raw wheat? When he brings home flax, does he wear unprocessed flax? His wife turns the raw products into bread and clothing. Is his wife not found to be the one who lights up his eyes and stands him on his feet?
וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר מַאי דִּכְתִיב זֹאת הַפַּעַם עֶצֶם מֵעֲצָמַי וּבָשָׂר מִבְּשָׂרִי מְלַמֵּד שֶׁבָּא אָדָם עַל כׇּל בְּהֵמָה וְחַיָּה וְלֹא נִתְקָרְרָה דַּעְתּוֹ עַד שֶׁבָּא עַל חַוָּה And Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23)? This teaches that Adam had intercourse with each animal and beast in his search for his mate, and his mind was not at ease, in accordance with the verse: “And for Adam, there was not found a helpmate for him” (Genesis 2:20), until he had intercourse with Eve.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר מַאי דִּכְתִיב וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה אֲמַר לֵיהּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְאַבְרָהָם שְׁתֵּי הַבְרָכוֹת טוֹבוֹת יֵשׁ לִי לְהַבְרִיךְ בְּךָ רוּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּה וְנַעֲמָה הָעַמּוֹנִית כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחוֹת הָאֲדָמָה אֲפִילּוּ מִשְׁפָּחוֹת הַדָּרוֹת בָּאֲדָמָה אֵין מִתְבָּרְכוֹת אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל יִשְׂרָאֵל כׇּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ אֲפִילּוּ סְפִינוֹת הַבָּאוֹת מִגַּלְיָא לְאַסְפַּמְיָא אֵינָן מִתְבָּרְכוֹת אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל יִשְׂרָאֵל And Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed [nivrekhu]” (Genesis 12:3)? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Abraham: I have two good shoots to graft [lehavrikh] onto you: Ruth the Moabite, the ancestress of the house of David, and Naamah the Ammonite, whose marriage with Solomon led to the ensuing dynasty of the kings of Judea. “All the families of the earth” means: Even families that live in the earth, i.e., who have land of their own, are blessed only due to the Jewish people. Similarly, when the verse states: “All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him” (Genesis 18:18), it indicates that even ships that come from Galia to Hispania are blessed only due to the Jewish people.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר עֲתִידִים כׇּל בַּעֲלֵי אוּמָּנִיּוֹת שֶׁיַּעַמְדוּ עַל הַקַּרְקַע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְיָרְדוּ מֵאֳנִיּוֹתֵיהֶם כֹּל תֹּפְשֵׂי מָשׁוֹט מַלָּחִים כֹּל חֹבְלֵי הַיָּם עַל הָאָרֶץ יַעֲמֹדוּ וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אֵין לְךָ אוּמָּנוּת פְּחוּתָה מִן הַקַּרְקַע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְיָרְדוּ רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר חַזְיַהּ לְהַהִיא אַרְעָא דְּשָׁדֵי בַּיהּ כְּרָבָא לְפוּתְיָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ אִי תִּשְׁדְּיֵיהּ לְאוּרְכָּיךְ הַפּוֹכֵי בְּעִיסְקָא טָב מִינָּךְ And Rabbi Elazar said: All craftsmen are destined to stand upon and work the land, as it is stated: “And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land” (Ezekiel 27:29). And Rabbi Elazar said: There is no occupation lowlier than working the land, as it is stated: “And they shall come down,” implying that one who works the land is of lower stature than even a sailor. The Gemara similarly relates: Rabbi Elazar saw land that was plowed across its width. He said to it: Even if they plow you once more lengthwise, for further improvement, conducting business is better than farming with you, as the potential profits gained by selling merchandise are far greater than those from working the land.
רַב עָל לְבֵינֵי שֻׁיבְלֵי חֲזַנְהוּ דְּקָא נָיְיפָן אֲמַר לְהוּ אִי נָיְיפַתְּ אִיתְנוֹפֵי הַפּוֹכֵי בְּעִיסְקָא טָב מִינָּךְ אָמַר רָבָא מְאָה זוּזֵי בְּעִיסְקָא כֹּל יוֹמָא בִּשְׂרָא וְחַמְרָא מְאָה זוּזֵי בְּאַרְעָא מִילְחָא וַחֲפוּרָה וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא מַגְנְיָא לֵיהּ אַאַרְעָא וּמַרְמְיָא לֵיהּ תִּיגְרֵי The Gemara relates a similar incident: Rav entered between the sheaves in a field and saw them waving in the wind. He said to them: If you want to wave go ahead and wave, but conducting business is better than farming with you. Rava similarly said: One who has a hundred dinars that are invested in a business is able to eat meat and wine every day, whereas he who has a hundred dinars worth of land eats only salt and vegetables. And what is more, working the land causes him to lie on the ground at night in order to guard it, and it draws quarrels upon him with other people.
אָמַר רַב פָּפָּא זְרַע וְלָא תִּזְבֹּין אַף עַל גַּב דְּכִי הֲדָדֵי נִינְהוּ הָנֵי מִבָּרְכָן זַבֵּין וְלָא תִּיזּוֹל הָנֵי מִילֵּי בִּיסְתַּרְקֵי אֲבָל גְּלִימָא לָא מִיתְרַמְיָא לֵיהּ Rav Pappa said: Sow your own produce and do not buy it. Even though they are equal to each other in value, these that you sow will be blessed. Conversely, buy your clothes rather than weave [teizul] them yourself. The Gemara comments: This applies only to mats [bistarkei], but with regard to the cloak one wears, perhaps he will not find it precisely to his liking, and therefore he should make his own cloak, which fits his measurements.
טוּם וְלָא תְּשַׁפֵּיץ שַׁפֵּיץ וְלָא תִּיבְנֵי שֶׁכׇּל הָעוֹסֵק בְּבִנְיָן מִתְמַסְכֵּן קְפוֹץ זְבֹין אַרְעָא מְתוֹן נְסֵיב אִיתְּתָא נְחֵית דַּרְגָּא נְסֵיב אִיתְּתָא סַק דַּרְגָּא בְּחַר שׁוֹשְׁבִינָא Rav Pappa further advised: If there is a hole in your house, close it up and do not enlarge it and then plaster it, or at least plaster it and do not knock it down and build it again. As, whoever engages in construction becomes poor. Hurry to buy land so that you do not lose the opportunity. Be patient and marry a woman who is suitable for you. Descend a level to marry a woman of lower social status, and ascend a level to choose a friend [shushevina].
אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בַּר אֲבִינָא אֵין פּוּרְעָנוּת בָּאָה לָעוֹלָם אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הִכְרַתִּי גוֹיִם נָשַׁמּוּ פִּנּוֹתָם הֶחֱרַבְתִּי חוּצוֹתָם וּכְתִיב אָמַרְתִּי אַךְ תִּירְאִי אוֹתִי תִּקְחִי מוּסָר Rabbi Elazar bar Avina said: Calamity befalls the world only due to the sins of the Jewish people, as it is stated: “I have cut off nations, their corners are desolate; I have made their streets waste” (Zephaniah 3:6), and it is written: “I said: Surely you will fear Me, you will receive correction” (Zephaniah 3:7). This indicates that other nations were punished so that the Jewish people would mend their ways.
רַב הֲוָה מִיפְּטַר מֵרַבִּי חִיָּיא אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַחֲמָנָא לַיצְּלָךְ מִמִּידֵּי דְּקָשֵׁה מִמּוֹתָא וּמִי אִיכָּא מִידֵּי דְּקָשֵׁה מִמּוֹתָא נְפַק דָּק וְאַשְׁכַּח וּמוֹצֶא אֲנִי מַר מִמָּוֶת אֶת הָאִשָּׁה וְגוֹ׳ רַב הֲוָה קָא מְצַעֲרָא לֵיהּ דְּבֵיתְהוּ כִּי אָמַר לַהּ עֲבִידִי לִי טְלוֹפְחֵי עָבְדָא לֵיהּ חִימְצֵי חִימְצֵי עָבְדָא לֵיהּ טְלוֹפְחֵי The Gemara cites more statements with regard to wives. When Rav was taking leave of his uncle and teacher, Rabbi Ḥiyya, upon his return from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, Rabbi Ḥiyya said to him: May the Merciful One save you from something that is worse than death. Rav was perplexed: Is there anything that is worse than death? He went, examined the sources, and found the following verse: “And I find more bitter than death the woman, etc.” (Ecclesiastes 7:26). Rabbi Ḥiyya was hinting at this verse, and indeed, Rav’s wife would constantly aggravate him. When he would say to her: Prepare me lentils, she would prepare him peas; if he asked her for peas, she would prepare him lentils.
כִּי גְדַל חִיָּיא בְּרֵיהּ אֲפֵיךְ לַהּ אֲמַר לֵיהּ אִיעַלַּיָא לָךְ אִמָּךְ אֲמַר לֵיהּ אֲנָא הוּא דְּקָא אָפֵיכְנָא לַהּ אֲמַר לֵיהּ הַיְינוּ דְּקָא אָמְרִי אִינָשֵׁי דְּנָפֵיק מִינָּךְ טַעְמָא מַלְּפָךְ אַתְּ לָא תַּעֲבֵיד הָכִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לִמְּדוּ לְשׁוֹנָם דַּבֶּר שֶׁקֶר הַעֲוֵה וְגוֹ׳ When Ḥiyya, his son, grew up, he would reverse the requests Rav asked him to convey to her, so that Rav would get what he wanted. Rav said to his son Ḥiyya: Your mother has improved now that you convey my requests. He said to Rav: It is I who reverse your request to her. Rav said to him: This is an example of the well-known adage that people say: He who comes from you shall teach you wisdom; I should have thought of that idea myself. You, however, should not do so, i.e., reverse my request, as it is stated: “They have taught their tongue to speak lies, they weary themselves to commit iniquity, etc.” (Jeremiah 9:4). If you attribute such a request to me, you will have uttered a falsehood.
רַבִּי חִיָּיא הֲוָה קָא מְצַעֲרָא לֵיהּ דְּבֵיתְהוּ כִּי הֲוָה מַשְׁכַּח מִידֵּי צָיַיר לֵיהּ בְּסוּדָרֵיהּ וּמַיְיתֵי נִיהֲלַהּ אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַב וְהָא קָא מְצַעֲרָא לֵיהּ לְמָר אֲמַר לֵיהּ דַּיֵּינוּ שֶׁמְּגַדְּלוֹת בָּנֵינוּ וּמַצִּילוֹת אוֹתָנוּ The Gemara relates a similar story. Rabbi Ḥiyya’s wife would constantly aggravate him. Nevertheless, when he would find something she would appreciate, he would wrap it in his shawl and bring it to her. Rav said to him: Doesn’t she constantly aggravate you? Why do you bring her things? Rabbi Ḥiyya said to him: It is enough for us that our wives raise our children and save us