Yoma 38aיומא ל״ח א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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38aל״ח א

בסירוגין

with alternating complete words and initials. The first words of each verse were written there, but the rest of the words in the verse were represented by initials. Therefore, this contribution of Queen Helene does not resolve the question of whether writing a scroll for a child is permitted.

ניקנור נעשו נסים לדלתותיו ת"ר מה נסים נעשו לדלתותיו אמרו כשהלך ניקנור להביא דלתות מאלכסנדריא של מצרים בחזירתו עמד עליו נחשול שבים לטבעו נטלו אחת מהן והטילוה לים ועדיין לא נח הים מזעפו

§ The mishna related: For Nicanor, miracles were performed to his doors. The Sages taught in the Tosefta: What miracles occurred for his doors? They said: When Nicanor went to bring copper doors for the eastern gate of the Temple from Alexandria in Egypt, famous for its craftsmanship, on his return voyage by ship, a storm arose in the sea and threatened to drown him. The ship’s passengers took one of the doors, which were exceedingly heavy, and cast it into the sea, fearing that the weight of the doors would sink the ship. And still the sea did not rest from its rage.

בקשו להטיל את חברתה עמד הוא וכרכה אמר להם הטילוני עמה מיד נח הים מזעפו והיה מצטער על חברתה כיון שהגיע לנמלה של עכו היתה מבצבצת ויוצאה מתחת דופני הספינה ויש אומרים בריה שבים בלעתה והקיאתה ליבשה

They sought to cast the other door into the sea, at which point Nicanor stood and embraced it and said to them: Cast me into the sea with it. Immediately, the sea rested from its rage, and it was necessary to cast neither the door nor Nicanor into the sea. The ship continued its journey with one door and for the entire voyage, he regretted the fate of the other door that he allowed them to cast into the sea. When they arrived at the port of Akko and prepared to disembark, despite the fact that it was made of copper, the door that was thrown into the sea was poking out under the sides of the ship. And some say a sea creature swallowed it and spewed it onto the land.

ועליה אמר שלמה (שיר השירים א, יז) קורות בתינו ארזים רהיטנו ברותים אל תיקרי ברותים אלא ברית ים לפיכך כל השערים שהיו במקדש נשתנו להיות של זהב חוץ משערי ניקנור מפני שנעשו בו נסים ויש אומרים מפני שנחושתן מוצהבת היתה ר' אליעזר בן יעקב אומר נחשת קלוניתא היתה והיתה מאירה כשל זהב

And with regard to this, Solomon said: “The beams of our houses are cedars, and our doors are cypresses [berotim]” (Song of Songs 1:17), and the Sages interpreted it homiletically: Do not read it as berotim but as berit yam, covenant of the sea, meaning that the door forged a covenant with the sea for the sea to deliver it to its place. Therefore, when the nation prospered and the people replaced the doors made of various metals, the doors in all the gates in the Temple were altered to become doors of gold except the doors in the Gates of Nicanor because miracles were performed to them. And some say it was because their copper was brightly-colored and high quality. Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov says it was refined [kelonita] copper, and it illuminated its surroundings like gold.

מתני׳ ואלו לגנאי של בית גרמו לא רצו ללמד על מעשה לחם הפנים של בית אבטינס לא רצו ללמד על מעשה הקטורת

MISHNA: Apropos the mention in the mishna of people who took action in the Temple and were mentioned favorably, the mishna lists those who took action in the Temple and were mentioned unfavorably. The craftsmen of the House of Garmu did not want to teach the secret of the preparation of the shewbread and sought to keep the secret within their family. The craftsmen of the House of Avtinas did not want to teach the secret of the preparation of the incense.

הוגרס בן לוי היה יודע פרק בשיר ולא רצה ללמד בן קמצר לא רצה ללמד על מעשה הכתב על הראשונים נאמר (משלי י, ז) זכר צדיק לברכה ועל אלו נאמר (משלי י, ז) ושם רשעים ירקב

Also, Hugras ben Levi knew a chapter in the art of music, as will be explained, and he did not want to teach it to others. And the scribe ben Kamtzar did not want to teach a special act of writing. He was expert at writing all four letters of a four-letter name simultaneously. About the first ones, who were mentioned favorably, it is stated: “The memory of the righteous shall be for a blessing” (Proverbs 10:7); and about these who were concerned only for themselves it is stated: “But the name of the wicked shall rot” (Proverbs 10:7).

גמ׳ ת"ר בית גרמו היו בקיאין במעשה לחם הפנים ולא רצו ללמד שלחו חכמים והביאו אומנין מאלכסנדריא של מצרים והיו יודעין לאפות כמותן ולא היו יודעין לרדות כמותן שהללו מסיקין מבחוץ ואופין מבחוץ והללו מסיקין מבפנים ואופין מבפנים הללו פיתן מתעפשת והללו אין פיתן מתעפשת

GEMARA: The Sages taught in a baraita: The craftsmen of the House of Garmu were expert in the preparation of the shewbread, and they did not want to teach others the secret of its production. The Sages dismissed them and sent for and brought craftsmen from Alexandria in Egypt, a large city with many experts. And those craftsmen knew how to bake like the members of the House of Garmu did, but they did not know how to remove the bread from the oven like they did. The shewbread was baked in a complex shape, and it was difficult to place it in the oven and remove it without breaking it. The difference was that these Alexandrians light the fire outside the oven and bake it outside the oven; and these members of the House of Garmu light the fire inside the oven and bake it inside. In the case of these Alexandrians, their bread becomes moldy over the course of the week, and in the case of these members of the House of Garmu, their bread does not become moldy.

כששמעו חכמים בדבר אמרו כל מה שברא הקב"ה לכבודו בראו שנאמר (ישעיהו מג, ז) כל הנקרא בשמי ולכבודי בראתיו וחזרו בית גרמו למקומן שלחו להם חכמים ולא באו כפלו להם שכרן ובאו בכל יום היו נוטלין שנים עשר מנה והיום עשרים וארבעה ר' יהודה אומר בכל יום עשרים וארבעה והיום ארבעים ושמונה

When the Sages heard of the matter that the bread of the imported craftsmen was of lower quality than before, they said: Whatever the Holy One, Blessed be He, created, He created in His honor, as it is stated: “Everyone who is called by My name, I have created for My glory” (Isaiah 43:7). In deference to God, the Sages should diminish their honor for the greater glory of God and let the House of Garmu return to their original station. The Sages sent for them to reassume their previous position, and they did not come. They doubled their wages and they came. Each day until then they would take wages of twelve maneh, and today they take wages of twenty-four maneh. Rabbi Yehuda says: Each day they took twenty-four maneh, and today they take forty-eight.

אמרו להם חכמים מה ראיתם שלא ללמד אמרו להם יודעין היו של בית אבא שבית זה עתיד ליחרב שמא ילמוד אדם שאינו מהוגן וילך ויעבוד עבודת כוכבים בכך ועל דבר זה מזכירין אותן לשבח מעולם לא נמצאת פת נקיה ביד בניהם שלא יאמרו ממעשה לחם הפנים זה ניזונין לקיים מה שנאמר (במדבר לב, כב) והייתם נקיים מה' ומישראל

The Sages said to them: What did you see that led you not to teach others this craft? They said: The members of our father’s house knew that this house, the Temple, is destined to be destroyed, and they were concerned lest an unworthy man learn our skill of baking and go and engage in idol worship with that skill. Therefore, they attempted to prevent this skill from spreading beyond their family. The Gemara comments: And for this matter they are mentioned favorably: Never was refined bread of fine flour found in the hands of their descendants, so that people would not say that they are sustained from that technique of preparing the shewbread. They ate only bread made of coarse flour mixed with bran, to fulfill that which is stated: “And you shall be clear before the Lord and before Israel” (Numbers 32:22). Not only must one’s behavior be beyond reproach, he should also make certain to be beyond suspicion.

של בית אבטינס לא רצו ללמד על מעשה הקטורת ת"ר בית אבטינס היו בקיאין במעשה הקטורת ולא רצו ללמד שלחו חכמים והביאו אומנין מאלכסנדריא של מצרים והיו יודעין לפטם כמותם ולא היו יודעין להעלות עשן כמותן של הללו מתמר ועולה כמקל של הללו מפציע לכאן ולכאן

§ Similarly, the mishna related: The craftsmen of the House of Avtinas did not want to teach about the secret of the preparation of the incense, at which they were particularly adept. The Sages taught in a baraita: The members of the House of Avtinas were expert in the technique of preparing the incense, and they did not want to teach others. The Sages dismissed them and sent for and brought craftsmen from Alexandria in Egypt. And the Alexandrian craftsmen knew how to blend the spices like they did, but they did not know how to cause the smoke to rise like the House of Avtinas did. The smoke of the incense blended by these members of the House of Avtinas rises in a column like a stick; the smoke of the incense blended by these Alexandrians branched out to here and to there and did not rise in a straight line.

וכששמעו חכמים בדבר אמרו כל מה שברא הקב"ה לכבודו בראו שנאמר (משלי טז, ד) כל פעל ה' למענהו וחזרו בית אבטינס למקומן שלחו להם חכמים ולא באו כפלו להם שכרן ובאו בכל יום היו נוטלין שנים עשר מנה והיום עשרים וארבעה ר' יהודה אומר בכל יום עשרים וארבעה והיום ארבעים ושמונה

When the Sages heard of the matter, they said: Whatever the Holy One, Blessed be He, created, He created in His honor, as it is stated: “God made everything for His sake” (Proverbs 16:4), and they let the House of Avtinas return to their original station. The Sages sent for the members of the House of Avtinas to reassume their previous position, and they did not come. They doubled their wages and they came. Each day until then they would take wages of twelve maneh, and today they take wages of twenty-four maneh. Rabbi Yehuda says: Each day they took twenty-four maneh, and today they take forty-eight.

אמרו להם חכמים מה ראיתם שלא ללמד אמרו יודעין היו של בית אבא שבית זה עתיד ליחרב אמרו שמא ילמוד אדם שאינו מהוגן וילך ויעבוד עבודת כוכבים בכך ועל דבר זה מזכירין אותן לשבח מעולם לא יצאת כלה מבושמת מבתיהן וכשנושאין אשה ממקום אחר מתנין עמה שלא תתבסם שלא יאמרו ממעשה הקטורת מתבסמין לקיים מה שנא' והייתם נקיים מה' ומישראל

The Sages said to them: What did you see that led you not to teach others this craft? They said: The members of our father’s house knew that this house, the Temple, is destined to be destroyed, and they were concerned lest an unworthy man learn our skill of preparing incense and go and engage in idol worship with that skill. Therefore, they attempted to prevent this skill from spreading beyond their family. The Gemara comments: And for this matter they are mentioned favorably: Never did a perfumed bride emerge from their homes. And when they marry a woman from a different place, they stipulate with her that she will not perfume herself, so that cynics would not say that it is with the work of the incense that they perfume themselves, to fulfill that which is stated: “And you shall be clear before the Lord and before Israel” (Numbers 32:22).

תניא אמר ר' ישמעאל פעם אחת הייתי מהלך בדרך ומצאתי אחד מבני בניהם אמרתי לו אבותיך בקשו להרבות כבודן ורצו למעט כבוד המקום עכשיו כבוד מקום במקומו ומיעט כבודם

It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yishmael said: One time I was walking along the road and I found one of the descendants of the House of Avtinas. I said to him: Your fathers sought to enhance their honor and sought to diminish God’s honor by not revealing their secret to others. Now, although the Temple was destroyed, the honor of God remains as it was, and He diminished their honor, as their significance stemmed from their Temple service.

אמר ר' עקיבא (פעם אחת) סח לי ר' ישמעאל בן לוגא פעם אחת יצאתי אני ואחד מבני בניהם לשדה ללקט עשבים וראיתי (ששחק ובכה) אמרתי לו מפני מה בכית אמר לי כבוד אבותי נזכרתי ומפני מה שחקת אמר לי שעתיד הקב"ה להחזירה לנו ומפני מה נזכרת אמר לי מעלה עשן כנגדי הראהו לי אמר לי שבועה היא בידינו שאין מראין אותו לכל אדם

Rabbi Akiva said: One time Rabbi Yishmael ben Loga related to me: One time I and one of the descendants of the House of Avtinas went out to the field to collect herbs, and I saw that he laughed and he cried. I said to him: Why did you cry? He said to me: I was reminded of the honor of my forefathers, how important they were in the Temple. I said to him: And why did you laugh? He said to me: The Holy One, Blessed be He, is going to restore it to us in the future and we will be honored again. I said to him: And why are you reminded of this now? He said to me: The smoke-raising herb is before me, here in the field, reminding me of the past. I said to him: Show it to me; which one is it? He said to me: We are bound by oath not to show it to any person other than the members of our family.

אמר ר' יוחנן בן נורי פעם אחת מצאתי זקן א' ומגילת סממנין בידו אמרתי לו מאין אתה אמר לי מבית אבטינס אני ומה בידך אמר לי מגילת סממנין הראהו לי אמר לי כל זמן שבית אבא היו קיימין לא היו מוסרין אותו לכל אדם ועכשיו הרי הוא לך והזהר בה וכשבאתי וסחתי דברי לפני ר"ע אמר לי מעתה אסור לספר בגנותן של אלו

Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Nuri said: One time I found an old man who had in his hand a scroll with the location and formula for blending of spices. I said to him: Where are you from? What is your ancestry? He said to me: I am from the House of Avtinas. I asked him: And what is in your hand? He said to me: A scroll of spices. I said to him: Show it to me. He said to me: As long as the House of Avtinas, my forefathers, was extant, they would not pass it on to anyone. And now, here it is; and be careful with it not to give it to anyone. And when I came and related my statement before Rabbi Akiva, he said to me: And now that they have surrendered the scroll to worthy recipients since they are unable to maintain its sanctity, it is prohibited to mention them unfavorably, as even their earlier reticence was apparently for the glory of God.

מכאן אמר בן עזאי בשמך יקראוך ובמקומך יושיבוך

From here, with regard to the cases of the Temple’s craftsmen whom the Sages restored to their posts, ben Azzai said: One should not be concerned that others might usurp his livelihood and success, since at the appropriate moment, by your name they shall call you to return to your previous position, and in your place, they shall seat you,