בְּסֵירוּגִין. 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.
נִיקָנוֹר נַעֲשׂוּ נִסִּים לְדַלְתוֹתָיו. תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: מָה נִסִּים נַעֲשׂוּ לְדַלְתוֹתָיו? אָמְרוּ: כְּשֶׁהָלַךְ נִיקָנוֹר לְהָבִיא דְּלָתוֹת מֵאֲלֶכְּסַנְדְּרִיָּא שֶׁל מִצְרַיִם, בַּחֲזִירָתוֹ עָמַד עָלָיו נַחְשׁוֹל שֶׁבַּיָּם לְטַבְּעוֹ, נָטְלוּ אַחַת מֵהֶן וֶהֱטִילוּהָ לַיָּם, וַעֲדַיִין לָא נָח הַיָּם מִזַּעְפּוֹ. § 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.
בִּקְּשׁוּ לְהָטִיל אֶת חֲבֶרְתָּהּ, עָמַד הוּא וּכְרָכָהּ, אָמַר לָהֶם: הֲטִילוּנִי עִמָּהּ. מִיָּד נָח הַיָּם מִזַּעְפּוֹ, וְהָיָה מִצְטַעֵר עַל חֲבֶרְתָּהּ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לִנְמֵלָהּ שֶׁל עַכּוֹ, הָיְתָה מְבַצְבֶּצֶת וְיוֹצְאָה מִתַּחַת דּוֹפְנֵי הַסְּפִינָה. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים בְּרִיָּה שֶׁבַּיָּם בְּלָעַתָּה, וֶהֱקִיאַתָּה לַיַּבָּשָׁה. 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.
וְעָלֶיהָ אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה: ״קוֹרוֹת בָּתֵּינוּ אֲרָזִים רַהִיטֵנוּ בְּרוֹתִים״, אַל תִּיקְרֵי ״בְּרוֹתִים״, אֶלָּא ״בְּרִית יָם״. לְפִיכָךְ, כׇּל הַשְּׁעָרִים שֶׁהָיוּ בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ נִשְׁתַּנּוּ לִהְיוֹת שֶׁל זָהָב, חוּץ מִשַּׁעֲרֵי נִיקָנוֹר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ בּוֹ נִסִּים. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים: מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנְּחוֹשְׁתָּן מוּצְהֶבֶת הָיְתָה. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן יַעֲקֹב אוֹמֵר: נְחֹשֶׁת קְלוֹנִיתָא הָיְתָה, וְהָיְתָה מְאִירָה כְּשֶׁל זָהָב. 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.
מַתְנִי׳ וְאֵלּוּ לִגְנַאי: שֶׁל בֵּית גַּרְמוּ לֹא רָצוּ לְלַמֵּד עַל מַעֲשֵׂה לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים, שֶׁל בֵּית אַבְטִינָס לֹא רָצוּ לְלַמֵּד עַל מַעֲשֵׂה הַקְּטוֹרֶת. 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.
הוּגְרַס בֶּן לֵוִי הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ פֶּרֶק בַּשִּׁיר וְלֹא רָצָה לְלַמֵּד, בֶּן קַמְצָר לֹא רָצָה לְלַמֵּד עַל מַעֲשֵׂה הַכְּתָב. עַל הָרִאשׁוֹנִים נֶאֱמַר: ״זֵכֶר צַדִּיק לִבְרָכָה״, וְעַל אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמַר: ״וְשֵׁם רְשָׁעִים יִרְקָב״. 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).
גְּמָ׳ תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: בֵּית גַּרְמוּ הָיוּ בְּקִיאִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂה לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים וְלֹא רָצוּ לְלַמֵּד. שָׁלְחוּ חֲכָמִים וְהֵבִיאוּ אוּמָּנִין מֵאֲלֶכְּסַנְדְּרִיָּא שֶׁל מִצְרַיִם. וְהָיוּ יוֹדְעִין לֶאֱפוֹת כְּמוֹתָן, וְלֹא הָיוּ יוֹדְעִין לִרְדּוֹת כְּמוֹתָן. שֶׁהַלָּלוּ מַסִּיקִין מִבַּחוּץ וְאוֹפִין מִבַּחוּץ, וְהַלָּלוּ מַסִּיקִין מִבִּפְנִים וְאוֹפִין מִבִּפְנִים. הַלָּלוּ פִּיתָּן מִתְעַפֶּשֶׁת, וְהַלָּלוּ אֵין פִּיתָּן מִתְעַפֶּשֶׁת. 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.
כְּשֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ חֲכָמִים בַּדָּבָר, אָמְרוּ: כֹּל מַה שֶּׁבָּרָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לִכְבוֹדוֹ בְּרָאוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כֹּל הַנִּקְרָא בִשְׁמִי וְלִכְבוֹדִי בְּרָאתִיו״. וְחָזְרוּ בֵּית גַּרְמוּ לִמְקוֹמָן. שָׁלְחוּ לָהֶם חֲכָמִים — וְלֹא בָּאוּ, כָּפְלוּ לָהֶם שְׂכָרָן וּבָאוּ. בְּכׇל יוֹם הָיוּ נוֹטְלִין שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מָנֶה, וְהַיּוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: בְּכׇל יוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה, וְהַיּוֹם אַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמוֹנָה. 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.
אָמְרוּ לָהֶם חֲכָמִים: מָה רְאִיתֶם שֶׁלֹּא לְלַמֵּד? אָמְרוּ לָהֶם: יוֹדְעִין הָיוּ שֶׁל בֵּית אַבָּא שֶׁבַּיִת זֶה עָתִיד לֵיחָרֵב, שֶׁמָּא יִלְמוֹד אָדָם שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְהוּגָּן וְיֵלֵךְ וְיַעֲבוֹד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה בְּכָךְ. וְעַל דָּבָר זֶה מַזְכִּירִין אוֹתָן לְשֶׁבַח: מֵעוֹלָם לֹא נִמְצֵאת פַּת נְקִיָּה בְּיַד בְּנֵיהֶם, שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ מִמַּעֲשֵׂה לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים זֶה נִיזּוֹנִין, לְקַיֵּים מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וִהְיִיתֶם נְקִיִּים מֵה׳ וּמִיִּשְׂרָאֵל״. 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.
שֶׁל בֵּית אַבְטִינָס לֹא רָצוּ לְלַמֵּד עַל מַעֲשֵׂה הַקְּטוֹרֶת. תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: בֵּית אַבְטִינָס הָיוּ בְּקִיאִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַקְּטוֹרֶת וְלֹא רָצוּ לְלַמֵּד, שָׁלְחוּ חֲכָמִים וְהֵבִיאוּ אוּמָּנִין מֵאֲלֶכְּסַנְדְּרִיָּא שֶׁל מִצְרַיִם. וְהָיוּ יוֹדְעִין לְפַטֵּם כְּמוֹתָם וְלֹא הָיוּ יוֹדְעִין לְהַעֲלוֹת עָשָׁן כְּמוֹתָן. שֶׁל הַלָּלוּ — מִתַּמֵּר וְעוֹלֶה כְּמַקֵּל, שֶׁל הַלָּלוּ — מַפְצִיעַ לְכָאן וּלְכָאן. § 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.
וּכְשֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ חֲכָמִים בַּדָּבָר, אָמְרוּ: כֹּל מַה שֶׁבָּרָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא — לִכְבוֹדוֹ בְּרָאוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כֹּל פָּעַל ה׳ לַמַּעֲנֵהוּ״, וְחָזְרוּ בֵּית אַבְטִינָס לִמְקוֹמָן. שָׁלְחוּ לָהֶם חֲכָמִים וְלֹא בָּאוּ, כָּפְלוּ לָהֶם שְׂכָרָן וּבָאוּ. בְּכׇל יוֹם הָיוּ נוֹטְלִין שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מָנֶה, וְהַיּוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: בְּכׇל יוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה, וְהַיּוֹם אַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמוֹנָה. 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.
אָמְרוּ לָהֶם חֲכָמִים: מָה רְאִיתֶם שֶׁלֹּא לְלַמֵּד? אָמְרוּ: יוֹדְעִין הָיוּ שֶׁל בֵּית אַבָּא שֶׁבַּיִת זֶה עָתִיד לֵיחָרֵב, אָמְרוּ: שֶׁמָּא יִלְמוֹד אָדָם שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְהוּגָּן וְיֵלֵךְ וְיַעֲבוֹד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה בְּכָךְ. וְעַל דָּבָר זֶה מַזְכִּירִין אוֹתָן לְשֶׁבַח: מֵעוֹלָם לֹא יָצָאת כַּלָּה מְבוּשֶּׂמֶת מִבָּתֵּיהֶן, וּכְשֶׁנּוֹשְׂאִין אִשָּׁה מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר, מַתְנִין עִמָּהּ שֶׁלֹּא תִּתְבַּסֵּם, שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ: מִמַּעֲשֵׂה הַקְּטוֹרֶת מִתְבַּסְּמִין, לְקַיֵּים מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וִהְיִיתֶם נְקִיִּים מֵה׳ וּמִיִּשְׂרָאֵל״. 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).
תַּנְיָא, אָמַר רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל: פַּעַם אַחַת הָיִיתִי מְהַלֵּךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וּמָצָאתִי אֶחָד מִבְּנֵי בְנֵיהֶם, אָמַרְתִּי לוֹ: אֲבוֹתֶיךָ בִּקְּשׁוּ לְהַרְבּוֹת כְּבוֹדָן וְרָצוּ לְמַעֵט כְּבוֹד הַמָּקוֹם, עַכְשָׁיו כְּבוֹד מָקוֹם בִּמְקוֹמוֹ, וּמִיעֵט כְּבוֹדָם. 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.
אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא: (פַּעַם אַחַת) סָח לִי רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן לוֹגָא: פַּעַם אַחַת יָצָאתִי אֲנִי וְאֶחָד מִבְּנֵי בְנֵיהֶם לַשָּׂדֶה לְלַקֵּט עֲשָׂבִים, וְרָאִיתִי (שֶׁשָּׂחַק וּבָכָה). אָמַרְתִּי לוֹ: מִפְּנֵי מָה בָּכִיתָ? אָמַר לִי: כְּבוֹד אֲבוֹתַי נִזְכַּרְתִּי. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה שָׂחַקְתְּ? אָמַר לִי: שֶׁעָתִיד הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהַחְזִירָהּ לָנוּ. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה נִזְכַּרְתָּ? אָמַר לִי: מַעֲלֶה עָשָׁן כְּנֶגְדִּי. הַרְאֵהוּ לִי! אָמַר לִי: שְׁבוּעָה הִיא בְּיָדֵינוּ שֶׁאֵין מַרְאִין אוֹתוֹ לְכׇל אָדָם. 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.
אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן בֶּן נוּרִי: פַּעַם אַחַת מָצָאתִי זָקֵן אֶחָד וּמְגִילַת סַמְמָנִין בְּיָדוֹ. אָמַרְתִּי לוֹ: מֵאַיִן אַתָּה? אָמַר לִי: מִבֵּית אַבְטִינָס אֲנִי. וּמָה בְּיָדֶךָ? אָמַר לִי: מְגִילַּת סַמְמָנִין. הַרְאֵהוּ לִי! אָמַר לִי: כׇּל זְמַן שֶׁבֵּית אַבָּא הָיוּ קַיָּימִין, לֹא הָיוּ מוֹסְרִין אוֹתוֹ לְכׇל אָדָם, וְעַכְשָׁיו הֲרֵי הוּא לְךָ, וְהִזָּהֵר בָּהּ. וּכְשֶׁבָּאתִי וְסַחְתִּי דְּבָרַי לִפְנֵי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא, אָמַר לִי: מֵעַתָּה אָסוּר לְסַפֵּר בִּגְנוּתָן שֶׁל אֵלּוּ. 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.
מִכָּאן אָמַר בֶּן עַזַּאי: בְּשִׁמְךָ יִקְרָאוּךְ, וּבִמְקוֹמְךָ יוֹשִׁיבוּךְ, 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,