הוא הלך בשדות
1א
הדף מאת: רמי פורת / בינ"ה
2ב
מעשה בחכם הגדול אביי אשר שמע גבר אומר לאשה "נקדים ונלך" ומה שאירע לו בהמשך הדרך.
3ג
אביי ובני הזוג
... כי הא דאביי שמעיה לההוא גברא דקאמר לההיא אתתא נקדים וניזיל באורחא. אמר: איזיל אפרשינהו מאיסורא. אזל בתרייהו תלתא פרסי באגמא. כי הוו פרשי מהדדי שמעינהו דקא אמרי: אורחין רחיקא וצוותין בסימא. אמר אביי: אי מאן דסני לי הוה - לא הוה מצי לאוקומיה נפשיה. אזל, תלא נפשיה בעיבורא דדשא, וקא מצטער. אתא ההוא סבא, תנא ליה:כל הגדול מחבירו יצרו גדול הימנו.

הסברים
  • אביי (או נחמני) ראש ישיבת פומפדיתא, מגדולי אמוראי בבל (הדור הרביעי, שנת 300 לספירה לערך). הוא וחברו רבא נחשבים לעמודי התווך של התלמוד הבבלי.
  • פרסה = מידת מרחק ששיעורה כארבעה ק"מ או יותר.
  • יצרו גדול הימנו = 'יצר' סתם בגמרא הוא יצר הרע, ובעיקר היצר המיני.
  • רש"י: אי מאן דסני לי - אם היה שונאי מתייחד עם האשה - לא הוה מצי אוקומי אנפשיה מלחטוא, ועל עצמו היה אומר.
מושגים
  • אביי - (או בשמו האחר נחמני) ראש ישיבת פומפדיתא, מגדולי אמוראי בבל (הדור הרביעי, שנת 300 לספירה לערך). הוא וחברו רבא נחשבים לעמודי התווך של התלמוד הבבלי.
The Gemara illustrates that point. It is like this incident, as Abaye once heard a certain man say to a certain woman: Let us rise early and go on the road. Upon hearing this, Abaye said to himself: I will go and accompany them and prevent them from violating the prohibition that they certainly intend to violate. He went after them for a distance of three parasangs in a marsh among the reeds, while they walked on the road, and they did not engage in any wrongful activity. When they were taking leave of each other, he heard that they were saying: We traveled a long distance together, and the company was pleasant company. Abaye said: In that situation, if instead of that man it had been one whom I hate, a euphemism for himself, he would not have been able to restrain himself from sinning. After becoming aware of so great a shortcoming he went and leaned against the doorpost, thinking and feeling regret. A certain Elder came and taught him: Anyone who is greater than another, his evil inclination is greater than his. Therefore, Abaye should not feel regret, as his realization is a consequence of his greatness.
4ד
אביי ובני הזוג - תרגום
...כפי זה שאביי שמע איש אחד שאומר לאישה אחת: נשכים ונלך בדרך. אמר: אלך ואפרישם מן האיסור. הלך אחריהם שלש פרסות באגם [=בקני הסוף ליד האגם]. כשהיו פורשים זה מזו, שמע אותם שהם אומרים: דרכנו ארוכה וחברתנו עריבה. אמר אביי: אילו השונא שלי היה זה - לא היה מצליח להעמיד את עצמו [=לעמוד בניסיון]. הלך ותלה עצמו בקורת הגשר, והיה מצטער. בא אותו זקן ושנה לו:"כל הגדול מחברו - יצרו גדול הימנו."
It is stated: “The land will eulogize, each family separately; the family of the house of David separately, and their women separately, the family of the house of Nathan separately, and their women separately” (Zechariah 12:12). This indicates that at the end of days a great eulogy will be organized during which men and women will be separate. They said: And are these matters not inferred a fortiori? If in the future, at the end of days referred to in this prophecy, when people are involved in a great eulogy and consequently the evil inclination does not dominate them, as typically during mourning inappropriate thoughts and conduct are less likely, and nevertheless the Torah says: Men separately and women separately; then now that they are involved in the Celebration of the Drawing of the Water, and as such the evil inclination dominates them, since celebration lends itself to levity, all the more so should men and women be separate. Apropos the eulogy at the end of days, the Gemara asks: For what is the nature of this eulogy? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Dosa and the Rabbis disagree concerning this matter. One said that this eulogy is for Messiah ben Yosef who was killed in the war of Gog from the land of Magog prior to the ultimate redemption with the coming of Messiah ben David. And one said that this eulogy is for the evil inclination that was killed. The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who said that the lament is for Messiah ben Yosef who was killed, this would be the meaning of that which is written in that context: “And they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son” (Zechariah 12:10). However, according to the one who said that the eulogy is for the evil inclination that was killed, does one need to conduct a eulogy for this? On the contrary, one should conduct a celebration. Why, then, did they cry? The Gemara answers: This can be understood as Rabbi Yehuda taught: In the future, at the end of days, God will bring the evil inclination and slaughter it in the presence of the righteous and in the presence of the wicked. For the righteous the evil inclination appears to them as a high mountain, and for the wicked it appears to them as a mere strand of hair. These weep and those weep. The righteous weep and say: How were we able to overcome so high a mountain? And the wicked weep and say: How were we unable to overcome this strand of hair? And even the Holy One, Blessed be He, will wonder with them, as it is stated with regard to the eulogy: “So says the Lord of hosts: If it be wondrous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, it should also be wondrous in My eyes” (Zechariah 8:6). Apropos the evil inclination and the battle against it, the Gemara cites that which Rav Asi said: Initially, when it begins to entice someone, the evil inclination is like a strand of a spider’s web [bukhya]; and ultimately it is like the thick ropes of a wagon, as it is stated: “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if it were with a wagon rope” (Isaiah 5:18). Initially, the enticement is almost imperceptible, like a thin strand; however, after one sins, it is like wagon ropes tied tightly around him. The Sages taught: To Messiah ben David, who is destined to be revealed swiftly in our time, the Holy One, Blessed be He, says: Ask of Me anything and I will give you whatever you wish, as it is stated: “I will tell of the decree; the Lord said unto me: You are My son, this day have I begotten you, ask of Me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession” (Psalms 2:7–8). Once the Messiah ben David saw Messiah ben Yosef, who was killed, he says to the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I ask of you only life; that I will not suffer the same fate. The Holy One, Blessed be He, says to him: Life? Even before you stated this request, your father, David, already prophesied about you with regard to this matter precisely, as it is stated: “He asked life of You, You gave it to him; even length of days for ever and ever” (Psalms 21:5). § Rabbi Avira, and some say Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, taught: The evil inclination has seven names. The Holy One, Blessed be He, called it evil, as it is stated: “For the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). Moses called it uncircumcised, as it is stated: “And circumcise the foreskin of your hearts” (Deuteronomy 10:16). David called it impure, as it is stated: “Create for me a pure heart, O God” (Psalms 51:12); by inference, there is an impure heart that is the evil inclination. Solomon called it enemy, as it is stated: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21–22). Do not read it as: And the Lord will reward you [yeshalem lakh]; rather read it as: And the Lord will reconcile it to you [yashlimenu lakh]. God will cause the evil inclination to love you and no longer seek to entice you to sin. Isaiah called it a stumbling block, as it is stated: “And He will say: Cast you up, cast you up, clear the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of My people” (Isaiah 57:14). Ezekiel called it stone, as it is stated: “And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Joel called it hidden one, as it says: “But I will remove the northern one [hatzefoni] far off from you” (Joel 2:20). The Sages taught concerning the verse: “But I will remove the northern one [hatzefoni] far off from you,” that this is referring to the evil inclination. And why is the evil inclination referred to as tzefoni? It is due to the fact that it is always hidden [tzafun] in the heart of man. The baraita continues interpreting the verse in the book of Joel. “And will drive it to a land barren and desolate” (Joel 2:20), where there are no people for the evil inclination to incite. And what damage does the evil inclination cause? “With its face toward the eastern [hakadmoni] sea” (Joel 2:20), as it set its eyes on the First [mukdam] Temple and destroyed it, and killed the Torah scholars that were in it; “and its end toward the western [ha’aḥaron] sea” (Joel 2:20), as it set its eyes on the Second [aḥaron] Temple and destroyed it, and killed the Torah scholars that were in it; “its foulness may come up, and its ill odor may come up” (Joel 2:20), as it forsakes the nations of the world and incites the enemies of the Jewish people: In this context, the term the nations is a euphemism for the Jewish people. The evil inclination seeks to corrupt the Jews more than it does the members of any other nation. “Because it has done greatly” (Joel 2:20): Abaye said: And it provokes Torah scholars more than it provokes everyone else. The Gemara illustrates that point. It is like this incident, as Abaye once heard a certain man say to a certain woman: Let us rise early and go on the road. Upon hearing this, Abaye said to himself: I will go and accompany them and prevent them from violating the prohibition that they certainly intend to violate. He went after them for a distance of three parasangs in a marsh among the reeds, while they walked on the road, and they did not engage in any wrongful activity. When they were taking leave of each other, he heard that they were saying: We traveled a long distance together, and the company was pleasant company. Abaye said: In that situation, if instead of that man it had been one whom I hate, a euphemism for himself, he would not have been able to restrain himself from sinning. After becoming aware of so great a shortcoming he went and leaned against the doorpost, thinking and feeling regret. A certain Elder came and taught him: Anyone who is greater than another, his evil inclination is greater than his. Therefore, Abaye should not feel regret, as his realization is a consequence of his greatness. Rabbi Yitzḥak said: A person’s inclination overcomes him each day, as it is stated: “Only
5ה
דיון
הנחיות ללימוד לימוד בחברותא או בקבוצות קטנות
א. לפני שנתחיל לדון, לברר ולבאר - קראו שוב את הסיפור וספרו אותו בלשונכם.
ב. שאלות:
  • "נקדים ונלך בדרך" - למה מתכוונים בני הזוג? איך מבין זאת אביי?
  • מה מניע את אביי – הדאגה, הסקרנות? מה עובר בראשו בשעה שהוא צופה בבני הזוג?
  • למה הוא לא מתערב (ואולי הוא כן מתערב)?
  • "דרכנו רחוקה וחברתנו עריבה" – איזו דרך? מה נעים?
  • איך אתם מבינים את מערכת היחסים בין בני הזוג? האם הם מתאפקים? האם יש ערך לאיפוק בבניית מערכת יחסים?
  • האם הם מודעים לקיומו של אביי?
  • על מה מצטער אביי?
  • "כל הגדול מחבירו - יצרו גדול הימנו" - מה דעתכם? הביאו דוגמאות.
  • האם אמירה זו משנה או מוסיפה משהו לסיפור?
ג. מהו נושא הסיפור?
6ו
דיון
מליאה
א. איסוף
ב. דיון - על תפקידו של המבוגר החונך
  • נניח שאביי (המבוגר/ המחנך/ ההורה) היה נפגש עם בני הזוג, או עם אחד מהם, טרם צאתם לדרך – איך הייתה מתנהלת השיחה ביניהם?
  • האם תבנית היחסים המתקיימת בסיפור בין אביי לבני הזוג מוכרת לכם? בין מי למי היא מתקיימת?
  • נניח שאביי הוא מחנך: האם המעקב אחרי בני הזוג מצביע על חוסר אמון בהם? מה זה אומר על הצלחתו כמחנך?
  • ובכלל - מה צריך המבוגר/ המחנך לעשות: להניח או להשגיח?
7ז
חלק שני הסיפור בהקשרו הרחב
8ח
על יצר הרע
משנה. מי שלא ראה שמחת בית השואבה לא ראה שמחה מימיו. במוצאי יום טוב הראשון של חג ירדו לעזרת נשים ומתקנין שם תיקון גדול. מנורות של זהב היו שם, וארבעה ספלים של זהב בראשיהם, וארבעה סולמות לכל אחד ואחד, וארבעה ילדים מפרחי כהונה, ובידיהם כדים של מאה ועשרים לוג שהן מטילין לכל ספל וספל. מבלאי מכנסי כהנים ומהמייניהן [=אבנטים], מהן היו מפקיעין, ובהן היו מדליקין. ולא היה חצר בירושלים שאינה מאירה מאור בית השואבה. חסידים ואנשי מעשה היו מרקדין בפניהם. .... גמרא... במוצאי יום טוב כו'. מאי תיקון גדול? - אמר רבי אלעזר: כאותה ששנינו, חלקה היתה בראשונה והקיפוה גזוזטרא, והתקינו שיהו נשים יושבות מלמעלה ואנשים מלמטה. תנו רבנן: בראשונה היו נשים מבפנים ואנשים מבחוץ, והיו באים לידי קלות ראש, התקינו שיהו נשים יושבות מבחוץ ואנשים מבפנים. ועדיין היו באין לידי קלות ראש. התקינו שיהו נשים יושבות מלמעלה ואנשים מלמטה. היכי עביד הכי? [= איך עשו כך? כלומר, כיצד שינו מתבנית בית המקדש] והכתיב [והרי נאמר] (דברי הימים א כח, פס' יט) "הכל בכתב מיד ה' עלי השכיל!" - אמר רב: קרא אשכחו ודרוש [=קראו, מצאו ודרשו /פסוק אחר נמצא ודרשו], (זכריה יב, פס' יב) "וספדה הארץ משפחות משפחות - לבד משפחת בית דוד לבד ונשיהם לבד". אמרו: והלא דברים קל וחומר. ומה לעתיד לבא - שעוסקין בהספד ואין יצר הרע שולט בהם - אמרה תורה אנשים לבד ונשים לבד, עכשיו שעסוקין בשמחה ויצר הרע שולט בהם - על אחת כמה וכמה. ... זה יצר הרע, שצפון ועומד בלבו של אדם... אמר אביי: ובתלמידי חכמים יותר מכולם. כי הא דאביי שמעיה...

הסברים
  • שמחת בית השואבה - הטקסים הנלוים לשאיבת המים ממעין השילוח לצורך ניסוך המים על המזבח בחג הסוכות. חג הסוכות היה המועד בו "נידונין על המים" (= בו נקבע אם תהיה השנה מבורכת בגשמים או שחונה), וניסוך המים קשור בהתחלת תקופת הגשמים.
MISHNA: One who did not see the Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water never saw celebration in his days. This was the sequence of events: At the conclusion of the first Festival day the priests and the Levites descended from the Israelites’ courtyard to the Women’s Courtyard, where they would introduce a significant repair, as the Gemara will explain. There were golden candelabra atop poles there in the courtyard. And there were four basins made of gold at the top of each candelabrum. And there were four ladders for each and every pole and there were four children from the priesthood trainees, and in their hands were pitchers with a capacity of 120 log of oil that they would pour into each and every basin. From the worn trousers of the priests and their belts they would loosen and tear strips to use as wicks, and with them they would light the candelabra. And the light from the candelabra was so bright that there was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that was not illuminated from the light of the Place of the Drawing of the Water. The pious and the men of action would dance before the people who attended the celebration, with flaming torches that they would juggle in their hands, and they would say before them passages of song and praise to God. And the Levites would play on lyres, harps, cymbals, and trumpets, and countless other musical instruments. The musicians would stand on the fifteen stairs that descend from the Israelites’ courtyard to the Women’s Courtyard, corresponding to the fifteen Songs of the Ascents in Psalms, i.e., chapters 120–134, and upon which the Levites stand with musical instruments and recite their song. And this was the ceremony of the Water Libation: Two priests stood at the Upper Gate that descends from the Israelites’ courtyard to the Women’s Courtyard, with two trumpets in their hands. When the rooster crowed at dawn, they sounded a tekia, and sounded a terua, and sounded a tekia. When they who would draw the water reached the tenth stair the trumpeters sounded a tekia, and sounded a terua, and sounded a tekia, to indicate that the time to draw water from the Siloam pool had arrived. When they reached the Women’s Courtyard with the basins of water in their hands, the trumpeters sounded a tekia, and sounded a terua, and sounded a tekia. When they reached the ground of the Women’s Courtyard, the trumpeters sounded a tekia, and sounded a terua, and sounded a tekia. They continued sounding the trumpets until they reached the gate through which one exits to the east, from the Women’s Courtyard to the eastern slope of the Temple Mount. When they reached the gate through which one exits to the east, they turned from facing east to facing west, toward the Holy of Holies, and said: Our ancestors who were in this place during the First Temple period who did not conduct themselves appropriately, stood “with their backs toward the Sanctuary of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east” (Ezekiel 8:16), and we, our eyes are to God. Rabbi Yehuda says that they would repeat and say: We are to God, and our eyes are to God. GEMARA: The Sages taught: One who did not see the Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water, never saw celebration in his life. One who did not see Jerusalem in its glory, never saw a beautiful city. One who did not see the Temple in its constructed state, never saw a magnificent structure. The Gemara asks: What is the Temple building to which the Sages refer? Abaye said, and some say that it was Rav Ḥisda who said: This is referring to the magnificent building of Herod, who renovated the Second Temple. The Gemara asks: With what materials did he construct it? Rava said: It was with stones of green-gray marble and white marble [marmara]. Some say: It was with stones of blue marble and white marble. The rows of stones were set with one row slightly protruded and one row slightly indented, so that the plaster would take better. He thought to plate the Temple with gold, but the Sages said to him: Leave it as is, and do not plate it, as it is better this way, as with the different colors and the staggered arrangement of the rows of stones, it has the appearance of waves of the sea. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: One who did not see the great synagogue [deyofloston] of Alexandria of Egypt never saw the glory of Israel. They said that its structure was like a large basilica [basileki], with a colonnade within a colonnade. At times there were six hundred thousand men and another six hundred thousand men in it, twice the number of those who left Egypt. In it there were seventy-one golden chairs [katedraot], corresponding to the seventy-one members of the Great Sanhedrin, each of which consisted of no less than twenty-one thousand talents of gold. And there was a wooden platform at the center. The sexton of the synagogue would stand on it, with the scarves in his hand. And because the synagogue was so large and the people could not hear the communal prayer, when the prayer leader reached the conclusion of a blessing requiring the people to answer amen, the sexton waved the scarf and all the people would answer amen. And the members of the various crafts would not sit mingled. Rather, the goldsmiths would sit among themselves, and the silversmiths among themselves, and the blacksmiths among themselves, and the coppersmiths among themselves, and the weavers among themselves. And when a poor stranger entered there, he would recognize people who plied his craft, and he would turn to join them there. And from there he would secure his livelihood as well as the livelihood of the members of his household, as his colleagues would find him work in that craft. After depicting the glory of the synagogue, the Gemara relates that Abaye said: All of the people who congregated in that synagogue were killed by Alexander the Great of Macedonia. The Gemara asks: What is the reason that they were punished and killed? It is due to the fact that they violated the prohibition with regard to Egypt in this verse: “You shall henceforth return no more that way” (Deuteronomy 17:16), and they returned. Since they established their permanent place of residence in Egypt, they were punished. When Alexander arrived, he found them, and saw that they were reading the verse in the Torah scroll: “The Lord will bring a nation against you from far, from the end of the earth, as the vulture swoops down; a nation whose tongue you shall not understand” (Deuteronomy 28:49). He said, referring to himself: Now, since that man sought to come by ship in ten days, and a wind carried it and the ship arrived in only five days, apparently the verse referring a vulture swooping down is referring to me and heavenly forces are assisting me. Immediately, he set upon them and slaughtered them. § The mishna continues: At the conclusion of the first Festival day, etc., the priests and the Levites descended from the Israelites’ courtyard to the Women’s Courtyard, where they would introduce a significant repair. The Gemara asks: What is this significant repair? Rabbi Elazar said that it is like that which we learned: The walls of the Women’s Courtyard were smooth, without protrusions, initially. Subsequently, they affixed protrusions to the wall surrounding the Women’s Courtyard. Each year thereafter, for the Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water, they placed wooden planks on these projections and surrounded the courtyard with a balcony [gezuztra]. And they instituted that the women should sit above and the men below. The Sages taught in the Tosefta: Initially, women would stand on the inside of the Women’s Courtyard, closer to the Sanctuary to the west, and the men were on the outside in the courtyard and on the rampart. And they would come to conduct themselves with inappropriate levity in each other’s company, as the men needed to enter closer to the altar when the offerings were being sacrificed and as a result they would mingle with the women. Therefore, the Sages instituted that the women should sit on the outside and the men on the inside, and still they would come to conduct themselves with inappropriate levity. Therefore, they instituted in the interest of complete separation that the women would sit above and the men below. The Gemara asks: How could one do so, i.e., alter the structure of the Temple? But isn’t it written with regard to the Temple: “All this I give you in writing, as the Lord has made me wise by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern” (I Chronicles 28:19), meaning that all the structural plans of the Temple were divinely inspired; how could the Sages institute changes? Rav said: They found a verse, and interpreted it homiletically and acted accordingly: It is stated: “The land will eulogize, each family separately; the family of the house of David separately, and their women separately, the family of the house of Nathan separately, and their women separately” (Zechariah 12:12). This indicates that at the end of days a great eulogy will be organized during which men and women will be separate. They said: And are these matters not inferred a fortiori? If in the future, at the end of days referred to in this prophecy, when people are involved in a great eulogy and consequently the evil inclination does not dominate them, as typically during mourning inappropriate thoughts and conduct are less likely, and nevertheless the Torah says: Men separately and women separately; then now that they are involved in the Celebration of the Drawing of the Water, and as such the evil inclination dominates them, since celebration lends itself to levity, all the more so should men and women be separate. Apropos the eulogy at the end of days, the Gemara asks: For what is the nature of this eulogy? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Dosa and the Rabbis disagree concerning this matter. One said that this eulogy is for Messiah ben Yosef who was killed in the war of Gog from the land of Magog prior to the ultimate redemption with the coming of Messiah ben David. And one said that this eulogy is for the evil inclination that was killed. The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who said that the lament is for Messiah ben Yosef who was killed, this would be the meaning of that which is written in that context: “And they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son” (Zechariah 12:10). However, according to the one who said that the eulogy is for the evil inclination that was killed, does one need to conduct a eulogy for this? On the contrary, one should conduct a celebration. Why, then, did they cry? The Gemara answers: This can be understood as Rabbi Yehuda taught: In the future, at the end of days, God will bring the evil inclination and slaughter it in the presence of the righteous and in the presence of the wicked. For the righteous the evil inclination appears to them as a high mountain, and for the wicked it appears to them as a mere strand of hair. These weep and those weep. The righteous weep and say: How were we able to overcome so high a mountain? And the wicked weep and say: How were we unable to overcome this strand of hair? And even the Holy One, Blessed be He, will wonder with them, as it is stated with regard to the eulogy: “So says the Lord of hosts: If it be wondrous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, it should also be wondrous in My eyes” (Zechariah 8:6). Apropos the evil inclination and the battle against it, the Gemara cites that which Rav Asi said: Initially, when it begins to entice someone, the evil inclination is like a strand of a spider’s web [bukhya]; and ultimately it is like the thick ropes of a wagon, as it is stated: “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if it were with a wagon rope” (Isaiah 5:18). Initially, the enticement is almost imperceptible, like a thin strand; however, after one sins, it is like wagon ropes tied tightly around him. The Sages taught: To Messiah ben David, who is destined to be revealed swiftly in our time, the Holy One, Blessed be He, says: Ask of Me anything and I will give you whatever you wish, as it is stated: “I will tell of the decree; the Lord said unto me: You are My son, this day have I begotten you, ask of Me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession” (Psalms 2:7–8). Once the Messiah ben David saw Messiah ben Yosef, who was killed, he says to the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I ask of you only life; that I will not suffer the same fate. The Holy One, Blessed be He, says to him: Life? Even before you stated this request, your father, David, already prophesied about you with regard to this matter precisely, as it is stated: “He asked life of You, You gave it to him; even length of days for ever and ever” (Psalms 21:5). § Rabbi Avira, and some say Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, taught: The evil inclination has seven names. The Holy One, Blessed be He, called it evil, as it is stated: “For the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). Moses called it uncircumcised, as it is stated: “And circumcise the foreskin of your hearts” (Deuteronomy 10:16). David called it impure, as it is stated: “Create for me a pure heart, O God” (Psalms 51:12); by inference, there is an impure heart that is the evil inclination. Solomon called it enemy, as it is stated: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21–22). Do not read it as: And the Lord will reward you [yeshalem lakh]; rather read it as: And the Lord will reconcile it to you [yashlimenu lakh]. God will cause the evil inclination to love you and no longer seek to entice you to sin. Isaiah called it a stumbling block, as it is stated: “And He will say: Cast you up, cast you up, clear the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of My people” (Isaiah 57:14). Ezekiel called it stone, as it is stated: “And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Joel called it hidden one, as it says: “But I will remove the northern one [hatzefoni] far off from you” (Joel 2:20). The Sages taught concerning the verse: “But I will remove the northern one [hatzefoni] far off from you,” that this is referring to the evil inclination. And why is the evil inclination referred to as tzefoni? It is due to the fact that it is always hidden [tzafun] in the heart of man. The baraita continues interpreting the verse in the book of Joel. “And will drive it to a land barren and desolate” (Joel 2:20), where there are no people for the evil inclination to incite. And what damage does the evil inclination cause? “With its face toward the eastern [hakadmoni] sea” (Joel 2:20), as it set its eyes on the First [mukdam] Temple and destroyed it, and killed the Torah scholars that were in it; “and its end toward the western [ha’aḥaron] sea” (Joel 2:20), as it set its eyes on the Second [aḥaron] Temple and destroyed it, and killed the Torah scholars that were in it; “its foulness may come up, and its ill odor may come up” (Joel 2:20), as it forsakes the nations of the world and incites the enemies of the Jewish people: In this context, the term the nations is a euphemism for the Jewish people. The evil inclination seeks to corrupt the Jews more than it does the members of any other nation. “Because it has done greatly” (Joel 2:20): Abaye said: And it provokes Torah scholars more than it provokes everyone else. The Gemara illustrates that point. It is like this incident, as Abaye once heard a certain man say to a certain woman: Let us rise early and go on the road. Upon hearing this, Abaye said to himself: I will go and accompany them and prevent them from violating the prohibition that they certainly intend to violate. He went after them for a distance of three parasangs in a marsh among the reeds, while they walked on the road, and they did not engage in any wrongful activity. When they were taking leave of each other, he heard that they were saying: We traveled a long distance together, and the company was pleasant company.
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