Rabbi Yochanan bar Nappaha
ההיא עוברה דארחא אתו לקמיה דרבי אמר להו זילו לחושו לה דיומא דכיפורי הוא לחושו לה ואילחישא קרי עליה (ירמיהו א, ה) בטרם אצרך בבטן ידעתיך וגו' נפק מינה רבי יוחנן
§ With respect to a pregnant woman who smells food, it is told: A certain pregnant woman smelled a food and craved it. Those involved came before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi to ask how to proceed. He said to those who were inquiring: Go and whisper to her that today is Yom Kippur. They whispered to her, and this whispering helped; she stopped craving the food. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi read this verse about the baby she was carrying: “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you” (Jeremiah 1:5), and indeed, the baby who came out of that woman was Rabbi Yoḥanan.
רבי טרפון הוה ליה ההיא אמא דכל אימת דהות בעיא למיסק לפוריא גחין וסליק לה וכל אימת דהות נחית נחתת עלויה אתא וקא משתבח בי מדרשא אמרי ליה עדיין לא הגעת לחצי כיבוד כלום זרקה ארנקי בפניך לים ולא הכלמתה רב יוסף כי הוה שמע קל כרעא דאמיה אמר איקום מקמי שכינה דאתיא אמר רבי יוחנן אשרי מי שלא חמאן רבי יוחנן כי עברתו אמו מת אביו ילדתו מתה אמו וכן אביי איני והאמר אביי אמרה לי אם ההיא מרבינתיה הואי רב אסי הוה ליה ההיא אמא זקינה אמרה לי' בעינא תכשיטין עבד לה בעינא גברא נייעין לך בעינא גברא דשפיר כותך שבקה ואזל לארעא דישראל
The Gemara relates: Rabbi Tarfon had a certain manner of treating his mother, that whenever she wished to ascend into her bed he would bend over and help her to ascend, and whenever she wished to descend from the bed, she would descend onto him. He came and praised himself in the study hall for performing the mitzva of honoring one’s father and mother so thoroughly. They said to him: You still have not reached even half of the honor due to her. Has it ever happened that she threw a purse into the sea in front of you, and you did not embarrass her? When Rav Yosef heard his mother’s footsteps, he would say: I will stand before the arriving Divine Presence. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Fortunate is one who never saw his father and mother, as it is so difficult to honor them appropriately. The Gemara relates that Rabbi Yoḥanan himself never saw his parents. When his mother was pregnant with him, his father died; and when she gave birth to him, his mother died. And the same is true of Abaye. The Gemara asks: Is that so, that Abaye never saw his mother? But didn’t Abaye say on many occasions: My mother told me? The Gemara answers: That mother was actually his foster mother, not his birth mother. Rav Asi had an elderly mother. She said to him: I want jewelry, and he made jewelry for her. She said to him: I want a man whom I can marry, and he said to her: I will seek one for you. She said to him: I want a husband who is as handsome as you. At this point, he realized that she was senile, and that he would be unable to fulfill all her requests. Therefore, he left her and went to Eretz Yisrael.
טבא מליה דר' יצחק נפחא מדבר נפחא - ר' יוחנן דמקרי בר נפחא בכולא הש"ס כמו (ב"מ דף פה:) מאן עייל בר נפחא נראה למורי דאביו של ר' יוחנן הוי נפחא ולהכי מיקרי בר נפחא ואית דמפרשי בר נפחא על שם יופיו:
הנהו תרי תלמידי דהוו יתבי קמיה דהלל וחד מינייהו רבן יוחנן בן זכאי ואמרי לה קמיה דרבי וחד מינייהו רבי יוחנן חד אמר מפני מה בוצרין בטהרה ואין מוסקין בטהרה וחד אמר מפני מה בוצרין בטהרה ומוסקין בטומאה אמר מובטח אני בזה שמורה הוראה בישראל ולא היה ימים מועטים עד שהורה הוראה בישראל
The Gemara additionally relates that there were these two students who were sitting before Hillel, and one of them was Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai. And some say they were sitting before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, and one of them was the amora Rabbi Yoḥanan. One of them said: Due to what reason need one be careful to harvest grapes in a state of ritual purity, by insisting on the use of pure vessels, and one need not harvest olives in a state of ritual purity? And the other one said the same point, only he worded it differently: Due to what reason need one harvest grapes in a state of ritual purity, but one may harvest olives in a state of ritual impurity? Their teacher said: I am certain that this first student, who spoke in a clean manner, will issue halakhic rulings in Israel. The Gemara adds: And it was not even a few days later that he issued halakhic rulings in Israel.
כי הוו מקלעי ר' ישמעאל ברבי יוסי ור' אלעזר בר' שמעון בהדי הדדי הוה עייל בקרא דתורי בינייהו ולא הוה נגעה בהו אמרה להו ההיא מטרוניתא בניכם אינם שלכם אמרו לה שלהן גדול משלנו כל שכן איכא דאמרי הכי אמרו לה (שופטים ח, כא) כי כאיש גבורתו איכא דאמרי הכי אמרו לה אהבה דוחקת את הבשר ולמה להו לאהדורי לה והא כתיב (משלי כו, ד) אל תען כסיל כאולתו שלא להוציא לעז על בניהם א"ר יוחנן איבריה דר' ישמעאל [בר' יוסי] כחמת בת תשע קבין אמר רב פפא איבריה דרבי יוחנן כחמת בת חמשת קבין ואמרי לה בת שלשת קבין דרב פפא גופיה כי דקורי דהרפנאי אמר רבי יוחנן אנא אישתיירי משפירי ירושלים האי מאן דבעי מחזי שופריה דרבי יוחנן נייתי כסא דכספא מבי סלקי ונמלייה פרצידיא דרומנא סומקא ונהדר ליה כלילא דוורדא סומקא לפומיה ונותביה בין שמשא לטולא ההוא זהרורי מעין שופריה דר' יוחנן איני והאמר מר שופריה דרב כהנא מעין שופריה דרבי אבהו שופריה דר' אבהו מעין שופריה דיעקב אבינו שופריה דיעקב אבינו מעין שופריה דאדם הראשון ואילו ר' יוחנן לא קא חשיב ליה שאני ר' יוחנן דהדרת פנים לא הויא ליה ר' יוחנן הוה אזיל ויתיב אשערי טבילה אמר כי סלקן בנות ישראל מטבילת מצוה לפגעו בי כי היכי דלהוו להו בני שפירי כוותי גמירי אורייתא כוותי אמרו ליה רבנן לא מסתפי מר מעינא בישא אמר להו אנא מזרעא דיוסף קאתינא דלא שלטא ביה עינא בישא דכתיב (בראשית מט, כב) בן פורת יוסף בן פורת עלי עין ואמר ר' אבהו אל תקרי עלי עין אלא עולי עין ר' יוסי בר חנינא אמר מהכא (בראשית מח, טז) וידגו לרוב בקרב הארץ מה דגים שבים מים מכסים אותם ואין העין שולטת בהן אף זרעו של יוסף אין העין שולטת בהן יומא חד הוה קא סחי ר' יוחנן בירדנא חזייה ריש לקיש ושוור לירדנא אבתריה אמר ליה חילך לאורייתא אמר ליה שופרך לנשי א"ל אי הדרת בך יהיבנא לך אחותי דשפירא מינאי קביל עליה בעי למיהדר לאתויי מאניה ולא מצי הדר אקרייה ואתנייה ושוייה גברא רבא יומא חד הוו מפלגי בי מדרשא הסייף והסכין והפגיון והרומח ומגל יד ומגל קציר מאימתי מקבלין טומאה משעת גמר מלאכתן ומאימתי גמר מלאכתן רבי יוחנן אמר משיצרפם בכבשן ריש לקיש אמר משיצחצחן במים א"ל לסטאה בלסטיותיה ידע אמר ליה ומאי אהנת לי התם רבי קרו לי הכא רבי קרו לי אמר ליה אהנאי לך דאקרבינך תחת כנפי השכינה חלש דעתיה דרבי יוחנן חלש ריש לקיש אתאי אחתיה קא בכיא אמרה ליה עשה בשביל בני אמר לה (ירמיהו מט, יא) עזבה יתומיך אני אחיה עשה בשביל אלמנותי אמר לה (ירמיהו מט, יא) ואלמנותיך עלי תבטחו נח נפשיה דר' שמעון בן לקיש והוה קא מצטער ר' יוחנן בתריה טובא אמרו רבנן מאן ליזיל ליתביה לדעתיה ניזיל רבי אלעזר בן פדת דמחדדין שמעתתיה אזל יתיב קמיה כל מילתא דהוה אמר רבי יוחנן אמר ליה תניא דמסייעא לך אמר את כבר לקישא בר לקישא כי הוה אמינא מילתא הוה מקשי לי עשרין וארבע קושייתא ומפריקנא ליה עשרין וארבעה פרוקי וממילא רווחא שמעתא ואת אמרת תניא דמסייע לך אטו לא ידענא דשפיר קאמינא הוה קא אזיל וקרע מאניה וקא בכי ואמר היכא את בר לקישא היכא את בר לקישא והוה קא צוח עד דשף דעתיה [מיניה] בעו רבנן רחמי עליה ונח נפשיה
§ With regard to these Sages, the Gemara adds: When Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, and Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, would meet each other, it was possible for a pair of oxen to enter and fit between them, under their bellies, without touching them, due to their excessive obesity. A certain Roman noblewoman [matronita] once said to them: Your children are not really your own, as due to your obesity it is impossible that you engaged in intercourse with your wives. They said to her: Theirs, i.e., our wives’ bellies, are larger than ours. She said to them: All the more so you could not have had intercourse. There are those who say that this is what they said to her: “For as the man is, so is his strength” (Judges 8:21), i.e., our sexual organs are proportionate to our bellies. There are those who say that this is what they said to her: Love compresses the flesh. The Gemara asks: And why did they respond to her audacious and foolish question? After all, it is written: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him” (Proverbs 26:4). The Gemara answers: They answered her in order not to cast aspersions on the lineage of their children. The Gemara continues discussing the bodies of these Sages: Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The organ of Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, was the size of a jug of nine kav. Rav Pappa said: The organ of Rabbi Yoḥanan was the size of a jug of five kav, and some say it was the size of a jug of three kav. Rav Pappa himself had a belly like the baskets [dikurei] made in Harpanya. With regard to Rabbi Yoḥanan’s physical features, the Gemara adds that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: I alone remain of the beautiful people of Jerusalem. The Gemara continues: One who wishes to see something resembling the beauty of Rabbi Yoḥanan should bring a new, shiny silver goblet from the smithy and fill it with red pomegranate seeds [partzidaya] and place a diadem of red roses upon the lip of the goblet, and position it between the sunlight and shade. That luster is a semblance of Rabbi Yoḥanan’s beauty. The Gemara asks: Is that so? Was Rabbi Yoḥanan so beautiful? But doesn’t the Master say: The beauty of Rav Kahana is a semblance of the beauty of Rabbi Abbahu; the beauty of Rabbi Abbahu is a semblance of the beauty of Jacob, our forefather; and the beauty of Jacob, our forefather, is a semblance of the beauty of Adam the first man, who was created in the image of God. And yet Rabbi Yoḥanan is not included in this list. The Gemara answers: Rabbi Yoḥanan is different from these other men, as he did not have a beauty of countenance, i.e., he did not have a beard. The Gemara continues to discuss Rabbi Yoḥanan’s beauty. Rabbi Yoḥanan would go and sit by the entrance to the ritual bath. He said to himself: When Jewish women come up from their immersion for the sake of a mitzva, after their menstruation, they should encounter me first, so that they have beautiful children like me, and sons learned in Torah like me. This is based on the idea that the image upon which a woman meditates during intercourse affects the child she conceives. The Rabbis said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: Isn’t the Master worried about being harmed by the evil eye by displaying yourself in this manner? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to them: I come from the offspring of Joseph, over whom the evil eye does not have dominion, as it is written: “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a fountain [alei ayin]” (Genesis 49:22); and Rabbi Abbahu says: Do not read the verse as saying: “By a fountain [alei ayin]”; rather, read it as: Those who rise above the evil eye [olei ayin]. Joseph’s descendants are not susceptible to the influence of the evil eye. Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina said that this idea is derived from here: “And let them grow [veyidgu] into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (Genesis 48:16). Just as with regard to fish [dagim] in the sea, the water covers them and the evil eye therefore has no dominion over them, as they are not seen, so too, with regard to the offspring of Joseph, the evil eye has no dominion over them. The Gemara relates: One day, Rabbi Yoḥanan was bathing in the Jordan River. Reish Lakish saw him and jumped into the Jordan, pursuing him. At that time, Reish Lakish was the leader of a band of marauders. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to Reish Lakish: Your strength is fit for Torah study. Reish Lakish said to him: Your beauty is fit for women. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: If you return to the pursuit of Torah, I will give you my sister in marriage, who is more beautiful than I am. Reish Lakish accepted upon himself to study Torah. Subsequently, Reish Lakish wanted to jump back out of the river to bring back his clothes, but he was unable to return, as he had lost his physical strength as soon as he accepted the responsibility to study Torah upon himself. Rabbi Yoḥanan taught Reish Lakish Bible, and taught him Mishna, and turned him into a great man. Eventually, Reish Lakish became one of the outstanding Torah scholars of his generation. One day the Sages of the study hall were engaging in a dispute concerning the following baraita: With regard to the sword, the knife, the dagger [vehapigyon], the spear, a hand sickle, and a harvest sickle, from when are they susceptible to ritual impurity? The baraita answers: It is from the time of the completion of their manufacture, which is the halakha with regard to metal vessels in general. These Sages inquired: And when is the completion of their manufacture? Rabbi Yoḥanan says: It is from when one fires these items in the furnace. Reish Lakish said: It is from when one scours them in water, after they have been fired in the furnace. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to Reish Lakish: A bandit knows about his banditry, i.e., you are an expert in weaponry because you were a bandit in your youth. Reish Lakish said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: What benefit did you provide me by bringing me close to Torah? There, among the bandits, they called me: Leader of the bandits, and here, too, they call me: Leader of the bandits. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: I provided benefit to you, as I brought you close to God, under the wings of the Divine Presence. As a result of the quarrel, Rabbi Yoḥanan was offended, which in turn affected Reish Lakish, who fell ill. Rabbi Yoḥanan’s sister, who was Reish Lakish’s wife, came crying to Rabbi Yoḥanan, begging that he pray for Reish Lakish’s recovery. She said to him: Do this for the sake of my children, so that they should have a father. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to her the verse: “Leave your fatherless children, I will rear them” (Jeremiah 49:11), i.e., I will take care of them. She said to him: Do so for the sake of my widowhood. He said to her the rest of the verse: “And let your widows trust in Me.” Ultimately, Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish, Reish Lakish, died. Rabbi Yoḥanan was sorely pained over losing him. The Rabbis said: Who will go to calm Rabbi Yoḥanan’s mind and comfort him over his loss? They said: Let Rabbi Elazar ben Pedat go, as his statements are sharp, i.e., he is clever and will be able to serve as a substitute for Reish Lakish. Rabbi Elazar ben Pedat went and sat before Rabbi Yoḥanan. With regard to every matter that Rabbi Yoḥanan would say, Rabbi Elazar ben Pedat would say to him: There is a ruling which is taught in a baraita that supports your opinion. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: Are you comparable to the son of Lakish? In my discussions with the son of Lakish, when I would state a matter, he would raise twenty-four difficulties against me in an attempt to disprove my claim, and I would answer him with twenty-four answers, and the halakha by itself would become broadened and clarified. And yet you say to me: There is a ruling which is taught in a baraita that supports your opinion. Do I not know that what I say is good? Being rebutted by Reish Lakish served a purpose; your bringing proof to my statements does not. Rabbi Yoḥanan went around, rending his clothing, weeping and saying: Where are you, son of Lakish? Where are you, son of Lakish? Rabbi Yoḥanan screamed until his mind was taken from him, i.e., he went insane. The Rabbis prayed and requested for God to have mercy on him and take his soul, and Rabbi Yoḥanan died.
אמר ר' זירא אמש נראה לי ר' יוסי בר' חנינא אמרתי לו אצל מי אתה תקוע אמר לי אצל ר' יוחנן ור' יוחנן אצל מי אצל ר' ינאי ור' ינאי אצל מי אצל ר' חנינא ור' חנינא אצל מי אצל ר' חייא אמרתי לו ור' יוחנן אצל ר' חייא לא אמר לי באתר דזקוקין דנורא ובעורין דאשא מאן מעייל בר נפחא לתמן
The Gemara continues discussing the greatness of Rabbi Ḥiyya. Rabbi Zeira said: Last night, Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, appeared to me in a dream. I said to him: Near whom are you placed in the upper realms? He said to me: Near Rabbi Yoḥanan. I asked: And Rabbi Yoḥanan is near whom? He replied: Near Rabbi Yannai. And Rabbi Yannai is near whom? Near Rabbi Ḥanina. And Rabbi Ḥanina is near whom? Near Rabbi Ḥiyya. Rabbi Zeira added: I said to Rabbi Yosei: But isn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan worthy of being placed near Rabbi Ḥiyya? He said to me: In a place of fiery sparks and burning fires, who can bring Rabbi Yoḥanan, son of Nappaḥa, there?
עד כמה תחסר [וכו']: אמר זעירי אתון דלא מיתחמי לכון שיעורא שיעוריה בדינרא קורדינאה והוי כפשיטא זוטרתי ומשתכחא ביני פשיטי דפומבדיתא
§ The mishna states: How much can the windpipe be missing and still be kosher? Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Until the perforation is the same size as an Italian issar. Ze’eiri, who came from Eretz Yisrael, said with regard to this: You, who are not familiar with the measure of an Italian issar, because it is not used in Babylonia, should estimate its measure as a Kurdish dinar. And it is like a small peruta coin and can be found among the perutot of Pumbedita.
עד כמה תחסר [וכו']: אמר זעירי אתון דלא מיתחמי לכון שיעורא שיעוריה בדינרא קורדינאה והוי כפשיטא זוטרתי ומשתכחא ביני פשיטי דפומבדיתא אמר רבי חנא פתוראה עילא מינאי הוה קאי בר נפחא ובעא מיני דינרא קורדינאה לשערי ביה טריפתא ובעי למיקם מקמיה ולא שבקני אמר לי שב בני שב אין בעלי אומניות רשאין לעמוד מפני תלמידי חכמים בשעה שעסוקין במלאכתם ולא והתנן כל בעלי אומניות עומדים מפניהם ושואלין בשלומן ואומרין להם אחינו אנשי מקום פלוני בואכם בשלום אמר רבי יוחנן מפניהם עומדין מפני תלמידי חכמים אין עומדין אמר רבי יוסי בר אבין בא וראה כמה חביבה מצוה בשעתה שהרי מפניהם עומדין מפני תלמידי חכמים אין עומדין ממאי דילמא כדי שלא תהא נמצא מכשילן לעתיד לבא
§ The mishna states: How much can the windpipe be missing and still be kosher? Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Until the perforation is the same size as an Italian issar. Ze’eiri, who came from Eretz Yisrael, said with regard to this: You, who are not familiar with the measure of an Italian issar, because it is not used in Babylonia, should estimate its measure as a Kurdish dinar. And it is like a small peruta coin and can be found among the perutot of Pumbedita. Rabbi Ḥana the money changer said: Bar Nappaḥa, i.e., Rabbi Yoḥanan, was standing over me, and he requested of me a Kurdish dinar with which to measure tereifot, in accordance with the statement of Ze’eiri. And I wanted to rise before him out of respect, but he did not let me. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to me: Sit, my son, sit. Tradesmen are not permitted to stand before Torah scholars when they are engaged in their work. The Gemara asks: And are tradesmen not permitted to stand before Torah scholars? But didn’t we learn in a mishna (Bikkurim 3:3): When the pilgrims bring their first fruits to Jerusalem, all the tradesmen stand before them, and greet them, and say to them: Our brothers from such and such place, welcome? Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Yes, they stand before those bringing first fruits, but they do not stand before Torah scholars. Rabbi Yosei bar Avin says: Come and see how beloved is a mitzva performed in its proper time, as the tradesmen stand before those who brought first fruits, while they do not stand before Torah scholars. The Gemara rejects the statement of Rabbi Yosei bar Avin: From where does one know that they rise out of respect? Perhaps the tradesmen stand only in order not to cause those bringing first fruits to fail and sin in the future. That is, if the tradesmen do not treat those bringing the first fruits with great respect, they may not make the effort to travel to Jerusalem in a subsequent year.
אמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב (משלי כח, יד) אשרי אדם מפחד תמיד ומקשה לבו יפול ברעה אקמצא ובר קמצא חרוב ירושלים אתרנגולא ותרנגולתא חרוב טור מלכא אשקא דריספק חרוב ביתר אקמצא ובר קמצא חרוב ירושלים דההוא גברא דרחמיה קמצא ובעל דבביה בר קמצא עבד סעודתא אמר ליה לשמעיה זיל אייתי לי קמצא אזל אייתי ליה בר קמצא אתא אשכחיה דהוה יתיב אמר ליה מכדי ההוא גברא בעל דבבא דההוא גברא הוא מאי בעית הכא קום פוק אמר ליה הואיל ואתאי שבקן ויהיבנא לך דמי מה דאכילנא ושתינא אמר ליה לא אמר ליה יהיבנא לך דמי פלגא דסעודתיך אמר ליה לא אמר ליה יהיבנא לך דמי כולה סעודתיך א"ל לא נקטיה בידיה ואוקמיה ואפקיה אמר הואיל והוו יתבי רבנן ולא מחו ביה ש"מ קא ניחא להו איזיל איכול בהו קורצא בי מלכא אזל אמר ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי א"ל מי יימר א"ל שדר להו קורבנא חזית אי מקרבין ליה אזל שדר בידיה עגלא תלתא בהדי דקאתי שדא ביה מומא בניב שפתים ואמרי לה בדוקין שבעין דוכתא דלדידן הוה מומא ולדידהו לאו מומא הוא סבור רבנן לקרוביה משום שלום מלכות אמר להו רבי זכריה בן אבקולס יאמרו בעלי מומין קריבין לגבי מזבח סבור למיקטליה דלא ליזיל ולימא אמר להו רבי זכריה יאמרו מטיל מום בקדשים יהרג אמר רבי יוחנן ענוותנותו של רבי זכריה בן אבקולס החריבה את ביתנו ושרפה את היכלנו והגליתנו מארצנו שדר עלוייהו לנירון קיסר כי קאתי שדא גירא למזרח אתא נפל בירושלים למערב אתא נפל בירושלים לארבע רוחות השמים אתא נפל בירושלים א"ל לינוקא פסוק לי פסוקיך אמר ליה (יחזקאל כה, יד) ונתתי את נקמתי באדום ביד עמי ישראל וגו' אמר קודשא בריך הוא בעי לחרובי ביתיה ובעי לכפורי ידיה בההוא גברא ערק ואזל ואיגייר ונפק מיניה ר"מ שדריה עילוייהו לאספסיינוס קיסר אתא צר עלה תלת שני הוו בה הנהו תלתא עתירי נקדימון בן גוריון ובן כלבא שבוע ובן ציצית הכסת נקדימון בן גוריון שנקדה לו חמה בעבורו בן כלבא שבוע שכל הנכנס לביתו כשהוא רעב ככלב יוצא כשהוא שבע בן ציצית הכסת שהיתה ציצתו נגררת על גבי כסתות איכא דאמרי שהיתה כסתו מוטלת בין גדולי רומי חד אמר להו אנא זיינא להו בחיטי ושערי וחד אמר להו בדחמרא ובדמלחא ומשחא וחד אמר להו בדציבי ושבחו רבנן לדציבי דרב חסדא כל אקלידי הוה מסר לשמעיה בר מדציבי דאמר רב חסדא אכלבא דחיטי בעי שיתין אכלבי דציבי הוה להו למיזן עשרים וחד שתא הוו בהו הנהו בריוני אמרו להו רבנן ניפוק ונעביד שלמא בהדייהו לא שבקינהו אמרו להו ניפוק ונעביד קרבא בהדייהו אמרו להו רבנן לא מסתייעא מילתא קמו קלנהו להנהו אמברי דחיטי ושערי והוה כפנא מרתא בת בייתוס עתירתא דירושלים הויא שדרתה לשלוחה ואמרה ליה זיל אייתי לי סמידא אדאזל איזדבן אתא אמר לה סמידא ליכא חיורתא איכא אמרה ליה זיל אייתי לי אדאזל איזדבן אתא ואמר לה חיורתא ליכא גושקרא איכא א"ל זיל אייתי לי אדאזל אזדבן אתא ואמר לה גושקרא ליכא קימחא דשערי איכא אמרה ליה זיל אייתי לי אדאזל איזדבן
§ Apropos the war that led to the destruction of the Second Temple, the Gemara examines several aspects of the destruction of that Temple in greater detail: Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Happy is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart shall fall into mischief” (Proverbs 28:14)? Jerusalem was destroyed on account of Kamtza and bar Kamtza. The place known as the King’s Mountain was destroyed on account of a rooster and a hen. The city of Beitar was destroyed on account of a shaft from a chariot [rispak]. The Gemara explains: Jerusalem was destroyed on account of Kamtza and bar Kamtza. This is as there was a certain man whose friend was named Kamtza and whose enemy was named bar Kamtza. He once made a large feast and said to his servant: Go bring me my friend Kamtza. The servant went and mistakenly brought him his enemy bar Kamtza. The man who was hosting the feast came and found bar Kamtza sitting at the feast. The host said to bar Kamtza. That man is the enemy [ba’al devava] of that man, that is, you are my enemy. What then do you want here? Arise and leave. Bar Kamtza said to him: Since I have already come, let me stay and I will give you money for whatever I eat and drink. Just do not embarrass me by sending me out. The host said to him: No, you must leave. Bar Kamtza said to him: I will give you money for half of the feast; just do not send me away. The host said to him: No, you must leave. Bar Kamtza then said to him: I will give you money for the entire feast; just let me stay. The host said to him: No, you must leave. Finally, the host took bar Kamtza by his hand, stood him up, and took him out. After having been cast out from the feast, bar Kamtza said to himself: Since the Sages were sitting there and did not protest the actions of the host, although they saw how he humiliated me, learn from it that they were content with what he did. I will therefore go and inform [eikhul kurtza] against them to the king. He went and said to the emperor: The Jews have rebelled against you. The emperor said to him: Who says that this is the case? Bar Kamtza said to him: Go and test them; send them an offering to be brought in honor of the government, and see whether they will sacrifice it. The emperor went and sent with him a choice three-year-old calf. While bar Kamtza was coming with the calf to the Temple, he made a blemish on the calf’s upper lip. And some say he made the blemish on its eyelids, a place where according to us, i.e., halakha, it is a blemish, but according to them, gentile rules for their offerings, it is not a blemish. Therefore, when bar Kamtza brought the animal to the Temple, the priests would not sacrifice it on the altar since it was blemished, but they also could not explain this satisfactorily to the gentile authorities, who did not consider it to be blemished. The blemish notwithstanding, the Sages thought to sacrifice the animal as an offering due to the imperative to maintain peace with the government. Rabbi Zekharya ben Avkolas said to them: If the priests do that, people will say that blemished animals may be sacrificed as offerings on the altar. The Sages said: If we do not sacrifice it, then we must prevent bar Kamtza from reporting this to the emperor. The Sages thought to kill him so that he would not go and speak against them. Rabbi Zekharya said to them: If you kill him, people will say that one who makes a blemish on sacrificial animals is to be killed. As a result, they did nothing, bar Kamtza’s slander was accepted by the authorities, and consequently the war between the Jews and the Romans began. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The excessive humility of Rabbi Zekharya ben Avkolas destroyed our Temple, burned our Sanctuary, and exiled us from our land. The Roman authorities then sent Nero Caesar against the Jews. When he came to Jerusalem, he wished to test his fate. He shot an arrow to the east and the arrow came and fell in Jerusalem. He then shot another arrow to the west and it also fell in Jerusalem. He shot an arrow in all four directions of the heavens, and each time the arrow fell in Jerusalem. Nero then conducted another test: He said to a child: Tell me a verse that you learned today. He said to him as follows: “And I will lay My vengeance upon Edom by the hand of My people Israel” (Ezekiel 25:14). Nero said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, wishes to destroy His Temple, and He wishes to wipe his hands with that man, i.e., with me. The Romans are associated with Edom, the descendants of Esau. If I continue on this mission, I will eventually be punished for having served as God’s agent to bring about the destruction. So he fled and became a convert, and ultimately Rabbi Meir descended from him. The Roman authorities then sent Vespasian Caesar against the Jews. He came and laid siege to Jerusalem for three years. There were at that time in Jerusalem these three wealthy people: Nakdimon ben Guryon, ben Kalba Savua, and ben Tzitzit HaKesat. The Gemara explains their names: Nakdimon ben Guryon was called by that name because the sun shined [nakad] on his behalf, as it is related elsewhere (see Ta’anit 19b) that the sun once continued to shine in order to prevent him from suffering a substantial loss. Ben Kalba Savua was called this because anyone who entered his house when he was hungry as a dog [kelev] would leave satiated [save’a]. Ben Tzitzit HaKesat was referred to by that name because his ritual fringes [tzitzit] dragged along on blankets [keset], meaning that he would not walk in the street with his feet on the ground, but rather they would place blankets beneath him. There are those who say that his seat [kiseh] was found among the nobles of Rome, meaning that he would sit among them. These three wealthy people offered their assistance. One of them said to the leaders of the city: I will feed the residents with wheat and barley. And one of them said to leaders of the city: I will provide the residents with wine, salt, and oil. And one of them said to the leaders of the city: I will supply the residents with wood. The Gemara comments: And the Sages gave special praise to he who gave the wood, since this was an especially expensive gift. As Rav Ḥisda would give all of the keys [aklidei] to his servant, except for the key to his shed for storing wood, which he deemed the most important of them all. As Rav Ḥisda said: One storehouse [akhleva] of wheat requires sixty storehouses of wood for cooking and baking fuel. These three wealthy men had between them enough commodities to sustain the besieged for twenty-one years. There were certain zealots among the people of Jerusalem. The Sages said to them: Let us go out and make peace with the Romans. But the zealots did not allow them to do this. The zealots said to the Sages: Let us go out and engage in battle against the Romans. But the Sages said to them: You will not be successful. It would be better for you to wait until the siege is broken. In order to force the residents of the city to engage in battle, the zealots arose and burned down these storehouses [ambarei] of wheat and barley, and there was a general famine. With regard to this famine it is related that Marta bat Baitos was one of the wealthy women of Jerusalem. She sent out her agent and said to him: Go bring me fine flour [semida]. By the time he went, the fine flour was already sold. He came and said to her: There is no fine flour, but there is ordinary flour. She said to him: Go then and bring me ordinary flour. By the time he went, the ordinary flour was also sold. He came and said to her: There is no ordinary flour, but there is coarse flour [gushkera]. She said to him: Go then and bring me coarse flour. By the time he went, the coarse flour was already sold. He came and said to her: There is no coarse flour, but there is barley flour. She said to him: Go then and bring me barley flour. But once again, by the time he went, the barley flour was also sold.
אָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף: פְּרַקְדָּן, לֹא יִקְרָא קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע. מִקְרָא הוּא דְּלָא לִיקְרֵי, הָא מִיגְנָא שַׁפִּיר דָּמֵי? וְהָא רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי לָיֵיט אַמַּאן דְּגָנֵי אַפַּרְקִיד! אָמְרִי, מִיגְנָא כִּי מַצְלֵי — שַׁפִּיר דָּמֵי, מִקְרָא אַף עַל גַּב דְּמַצְלֵי נָמֵי — אָסוּר. וְהָא רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן מַצְלֵי וְקָרֵי! שָׁאנֵי רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן דְּבַעַל בָּשָׂר הֲוָה.
Rav Yosef said: One who is lying [perakdan] on his back may not recite Shema, for lying that way is unbecoming. The Gemara asks: Is that to say that one may not recite Shema in this position, but to sleep lying in that position is permissible? Didn’t Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi curse one who sleeps lying on his back? The Gemara answers: If one lies on his back while leaning slightly to the side, it is permissible. Nonetheless, to recite Shema in this position, even though he is leaning, is prohibited. The Gemara asks: Wouldn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan lie on his back, lean slightly and recite Shema? The Gemara responds: The case of Rabbi Yoḥanan is different, because he was corpulent and it was difficult for him to read any other way.