איזהו הגיבור? על יסורי השבים, מבצעי התיקון והתשובה; הרהורים בצל ימים נוראים
1א
הדף מאת: איתן גור אריה / מכון גנדל
2ב
"השיבנו ה' אליך ונשובה" היא משאת נפש של האדם הדתי, המתגלמת בתפילות ראש השנה ויום הכיפורים, הנערכות בהשתתפות המונית של הציבור החילוני. אך יש היוצאים בשאלה מעולמם הדתי אל הוויה חילונית. אלה גם אלה נדרשים לתעצומות נפש. לגבורה. החזרה בתשובה והיציאה בשאלה הם לכאורה שני הפכים של אותה תופעה: צעד אישי המתחייב בעקבות גילוי האמת הפנימית, האישית, והליכה נגד הזרם, הכרוכה בקריעת או פרימת הקשרים המשפחתיים והחברתיים הישנים והמוכרים ובאימוץ אורח חיים וקשרים חברתיים חדשים, שמלכתחילה טיבם הממשי עלום לעיתים, ומחירם בפועל מתגלה לעיתים כגבוה מהמצופה. נעמוד על המאמץ העצום ומחיר השינוי הכרוכים בצעדים שכאלה.
3ג
רבי זירא והבריונים
אותם בריונים שהיו בשכונתו של ר' זירא,
שהיה מקרב להם כדי שיחזרו בתשובה, החכמים הקפידו עליו.
כשנפטר ר' זירא, אמרו הבריונים: עד עכשיו היה "הקטן חרוך השוקיים"
מבקש עלינו רחמים מלפני האל, עכשיו מי יבקש עלינו רחמים?! הרהרו בלבם ועשו תשובה.

מילים
  • מקרב להם - מקרב אותם אליו
  • הקפידו עליו - כעסו עליו
Why would we want this trouble? Perhaps it would be better not to testify at all. But be aware, as is it not already stated: “And he being a witness, whether he has seen or known, if he does not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity” (Leviticus 5:1)? It is a transgression not to testify when one can do so. And perhaps you will say: Why would we want to be responsible for the blood of this person? But be aware, as is it not already stated: “When the wicked perish, there is song” (Proverbs 11:10)? GEMARA: The Sages taught in a baraita: How does the court describe testimony based on conjecture? The court says to the witnesses: Perhaps you saw this man about whom you are testifying pursuing another into a ruin, and you pursued him and found a sword in his hand, dripping with blood, and the one who was ultimately killed was convulsing. If you saw only this, it is as if you saw nothing, and you cannot testify to the murder. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Shataḥ said as an oath: I will not see the consolation of Israel if I did not once see one person pursue another into a ruin, and I pursued him and saw a sword in his hand, dripping with blood, and the one who was ultimately killed was convulsing. And I said to him: Wicked person, who has killed this man? Either you or I. But what can I do, since your blood is not given over to me, as the Torah states: “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death” (Deuteronomy 17:6), and I did not witness you killing him. The One Who knows one’s thoughts shall punish this man who killed another. The Sages said: They did not move from there before a snake came and bit the murderer, and he died. The Gemara questions this account: But was this murderer fit to die by being bitten by a snake? But doesn’t Rav Yosef say, and so the school of Ḥizkiyya also taught: From the day that the Temple was destroyed, although the Sanhedrin ceased to be extant, the four types of court-imposed capital punishment have not ceased. The Gemara asks: Have they really not ceased? But they have ceased, as court-imposed capital punishment is no longer given. Rather, the intention is that the halakha of the four types of court-imposed capital punishment has not ceased to be applicable. The Gemara explains: How so? For one who would be liable to be executed by stoning, either he falls from a roof or an animal mauls him and breaks his bones. This death is similar to death by stoning, in which the one liable to be executed is pushed from a platform and his bones break from the impact of the fall. For one who would be liable to be executed by burning, either he falls into a fire and is burned or a snake bites him, as a snakebite causes a burning sensation. For one who would be liable to be executed by slaying through decapitation by the sword, either he is turned over to the authorities and they execute him with a sword, or robbers come upon him and murder him. One who would be liable to be executed by strangling either drowns in a river and is choked by the water or dies of diphtheria [bisronekhi], which causes his breathing to become constricted. According to this, a murderer, whose verdict in court would be death by slaying, should not be bitten by a snake. The Sages say in explanation: That murderer had another sin for which he deserved execution by burning, and as the Master says: One who is found liable by the court to receive two types of court-imposed capital punishment is sentenced to the harsher of the two, and burning is considered a harsher death than slaying (see 50a). § The mishna teaches that in cases of capital law the court warns the witnesses not to testify based on conjecture. The Gemara comments: One can infer that it is only in cases of capital law that we do not rule based on conjecture, but in cases of monetary law, we do rule based on conjecture. In accordance with whose opinion is the mishna taught? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Aḥa. As it is taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Bava Kamma 3:6) that Rabbi Aḥa says: If there was a rutting male camel that was rampaging among other camels, and then a camel was found killed at its side, it is evident that this rampaging camel killed it, and the owner must pay for the damage caused. The baraita indicates that Rabbi Aḥa rules that cases of monetary law are decided based on conjecture. The Gemara asks: But according to your reasoning, with regard to that which the mishna teaches, that the court warns the witnesses not to provide testimony based on hearsay, should one infer that it is in cases of capital law that we do not say that testimony based on hearsay is allowed, but in cases of monetary law, we do say that testimony based on hearsay is allowed? But didn’t we learn in a mishna (29a): If the witness said: The defendant said to me: It is true that I owe the plaintiff, or if he says: So-and-so said to me that the defendant owes the plaintiff, the witness has said nothing, i.e., his testimony is disregarded. These two statements by witnesses are examples of testimony based on hearsay, yet they are not valid in cases of monetary law. A witness’s testimony is not valid testimony unless he says, for example: The defendant admitted in our presence to the plaintiff that he owes him two hundred dinars, as by admitting the debt in the presence of witnesses he rendered himself liable to pay the amount that he mentioned. Evidently, although testimony based on hearsay is invalid in cases of monetary law, we tell the witnesses to be aware of this in capital law. Here, too, with regard to testimony based on conjecture, one can say that although testimony based on conjecture is invalid in cases of monetary law, we tell the witnesses to be aware of this in cases of capital law. § The mishna teaches that the court would say: You should know that cases of capital law are not like cases of monetary law, and would reference the murder of Abel by Cain. Rav Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, says: By employing the plural term for blood, “The voice of your brother’s blood [demei] cries out to Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10), the verse teaches that Cain caused multiple wounds and multiple injuries to his brother Abel. As Cain did not know from where the soul departs, he struck him multiple times. This continued until he came to his neck and struck him there, whereupon Abel died. And Rav Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, says: From the day the earth opened its mouth and received the blood of Abel, its mouth has not opened again, as it is stated: “From the corner of the earth have we heard songs: Glory to the righteous” (Isaiah 24:16): One can infer that the songs are heard “from the corner of the earth,” but not from the mouth of the earth, as the earth never again opened its mouth. Ḥizkiyya, Rav Yehuda’s brother, raised an objection to Rav Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya: The verse states concerning Korah and his assembly: “And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods” (Numbers 16:32). Rav Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, said to him: It opened again for a deleterious purpose; it did not open again for a constructive purpose. And Rav Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, says: Exile atones for half of a sin. As initially it is written in the verse concerning Cain that he said: “And I shall be a fugitive [na] and a wanderer [vanad ] in the earth” (Genesis 4:14), and ultimately it is written: “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod” (Genesis 4:16). Rav Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, equates “Nod” with “nad,” and understands that Cain was given only the punishment of being a wanderer. Exile atoned for half his sin, thereby negating the punishment of being a fugitive. Rav Yehuda says: Exile atones for three matters, i.e., three types of death, as it is stated: “So says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He that abides in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goes out, and falls away to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall survive, and his life shall be for him for a prey” (Jeremiah 21:8–9), indicating that exile from Jerusalem will save one from those three deaths. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Exile atones for all transgressions and renders a sinner like a new person, as it is stated concerning the king Jeconiah, a descendant of King David: “So says the Lord: Write you this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:30). And after Jeconiah was exiled it is written: “And the sons of Jeconiah, the same is Assir, Shealtiel his son” (I Chronicles 3:17). The verse employs the plural “sons of” although he had only one son, Shealtiel. “Assir,” literally, prisoner, teaches that his mother conceived him in prison. “Shealtiel,” literally, planted by God, teaches that God planted him in a way atypical of most plants [hanishtalin], i.e., people. It is learned as a tradition that a woman does not conceive when she is standing during sexual intercourse,
4ד
דיון
שאלות
  • מה בהתנהגותו של ר' זירא, הכעיס כל כך את החכמים (שקרבו בכך את קיצו?!) ?
  • מה הביא את הבריונים לחזור בתשובה: האם דרכו של ר' זירא בחייו או הזעזוע ממותו?
  • מה מרמז בסיפור על קשיי הביריונים לחזור בתשובה בטרם מותו של ר' זירא?
  • קראו את הקטעים מתוך המונולגים של היוצאים בשאלה שלהלן. מה משותף ומה שונה בין 'עושי התשובה' ל'יוצאים בשאלה'?
  • 5ה
    שמעון לב, "ושיודע לשאול". עמ' 62-64, חרגול הוצאה לאור 1998
    קשיי היוצאים בשאלה - מתוך מונולוג של דלית נ.
    ...אף אחד לא בא לעזור לי כשעברתי את התקופה הזאת, אחת התקופות הכי קשות בחיי, אם לא הכי קשה. קודם כל המשפחה שלי לא היתה שם. המשפחה שלי! אף אחד לא עזר לי ואף אחד לא התקשר. עברתי הכל לבד, והם אנשים דתיים, זה מה שכואב לי היום, זה נראה לי צביעות... עצוב לי לראות שאנשים יכולים להיות מאוד דתיים וגם להיות חלאות...

    באקוודור היינו בקיטו, כל הישראלים, הגיע יום כיפור, זו הפעם הראשונה שלא צמתי ביום כיפור מגיל שמונה . זה נראה לי עבודה בעיניים... היום אני יכולה להבין הרבה יותר שלא הכל שחור או לבן. יכול להיות שביום כיפור הבא אני כן אצום... אני לא נלחמת בשום דבר, ואני בטח לא נלחמת באלוהים

    מושגים
    • שמעון לב - יליד 1962, בן למשפחה ציונית דתית משכילה. התחנך בישיבות תיכוניות ואף למד שנה אחת בישיבת מרכז הרב. יצא בשאלה במהלך השירות הצבאי במלחמת לבנון. צלם וכתב.
    • ושיודע לשאול - קובץ ובו ארבעה עשר מונולוגים של 'יוצאים בשאלה' מהקהילה הדתית בה גדלו.
    6ו
    שמעון לב : ושיודע לשאול, עמ' 187, חרגול הוצאה לאור
    מתוך מונלוג של ישראל א.
    ... בתהליך של להיעשות לא -דתי, אתה לבד, בודד לגמרי. יש לך מישור משותף מאוד מצומצם עם אחרים. אף אחד לא שותף איתך באמת, אין לך עם מי לדבר על זה, זה תהליך שאתה עושה בבדידות מוחלטת, ואולי לכן הוא כל כך חזק. חוץ מקבוצה מצומצמת של כאלו שהיו כמוך, אחרים לא יכולים להבין את זה עד הסוף... בחברה הלא דתית יש בכלל בורות מדהימה לגבי זה. ובחברה הדתית אף אחד לא מקבל את זה. תגיד מה שתגיד, הדת תמיד צודקת ואתה נכשלת.
    7ז
    יחסי השב והמשיב בתשובה
    8ח
    פעם אחת היה ר' יוחנן רוחץ בירדן. ראהו ריש לקיש וקפץ אחריו לתוך הירדן.
    אמר לו ר' יוחנן: כוחך לתורה.
    אמר לו: יופיך לנשים.
    אמר לו ר' יוחנן: אם תחזור בך אתן לך את אחותי שהיא יפה ממני. קיבל עליו. ביקש לחזור ולהביא כליו - ולא יכול לחזור.
    הקריא והשנה לו ונעשה אדם גדול.
    פעם אחת נחלקו חכמים בבית המדרש: הסיף והסכין והפגיון והרומח ומגל היד ומגל הקציר - מאימתי מקבלים טומאה? - משעת גמר מלאכתם. ומאימתי גמר מלאכתם? ר' יוחנן אמר: משיצרפם בכבשן, וריש לקיש אמר: משיצחצחם במים.
    אמר לו ר' יוחנן לריש לקיש: ליסטים בליסטיותו יודע.
    אמר ריש לקיש: ומה הועלת לי? שם קראו לי "רבי" וכאן קוראים לי "רבי".
    אמר לו: הועלתי לך, שקרבתיך תחת כנפי השכינה. חלשה דעתו של ר' יוחנן וחלה ריש לקיש.
    באה אשתו של ריש לקיש ובכתה, אמרה לו: עשה בשביל בני! אמר לה: "עזבה יתומיך אני אחיה" (ירמיה פרק מ"ט). - עשה בשביל אלמנותי! אמר לה: "ואלמנותיך עלי תבטחו" (ירמיה פרק מ"ט).
    ומת רבי שמעון בן לקיש. היה רבי יוחנן מצטער אחריו הרבה. ולא ירד לבית הועד. אמרו חכמים: מי ילך להניח דעתו? - ילך ר' אלעזר בן פדת ששמועותיו מחודדות. בא וישב לפניו. כל מה שהיה ר' יוחנן אומר - אמר לו ר' אלעזר בן פדת: "תניא דמסייעא לך" [=יש אמירת תנאים שתומכת בטענתך]. אמר לו ר' יוחנן: אתה כבן לקיש? בן לקיש כשהייתי אומר דבר - היה מקשה לי עשרים וארבע קושיות ואני מתרץ לו עשרים וארבע תירוצים - והשמועה נתרווחה מאליה; ואתה אומר "תניא דמסייעא לך" - וכי איני יודע שיפה אמרתי?! עמד וקרע את בגדיו ובכה ואמר: היכן אתה בן לקיש! היכן אתה בן לקיש! היה צועק והולך עד שנטרפה עליו דעתו. ביקשו עליו חכמים רחמים ומת.

    הסברים
    • אשתו של ריש לקיש היא אחותו של רבי יוחנן
    מושגים
    • ריש לקיש - כינויו של רבי שמעון בן לקיש. מגדולי אמוראי ארץ ישראל בדור השני, במחצית השניה של המאה השלישית לספירה. תלמיד חבר לר' יוחנן.
      מוצאו ממשפחה של תלמידי חכמים, אולם בצעירותו מכר עצמו ללודיים- הגלדיאטורים ובהמשך גם עמד בראש כנופיית שודדים.
      בתלמוד בבלי, בבא מציעא, דף פ"ד עמוד א, מסופר סיפור פגישתם של ריש לקיש ור' יוחנן שהוביל לשינוי משמעותי בדמותו של ריש לקיש.
    • רבי יוחנן - (מכונה גם בר נפחא) - גדול אמוראי ארץ ישראל בדור השני. שימש במשך כשמונים שנה כראש ישיבה בטבריה. תרומתו בתחומי ההלכה והאגדה ממלאים את דפי שני התלמודים, הבבלי והירושלמי, וכן את המדרשים. פעילותו משתרעת החל מהרבע הראשון של המאה השלישית לספירה ועד לסיומה של המאה כמעט. תרומתו של רבי יוחנן לחתימת התלמוד הירושלמי היא גולת הכותרת של חייו
    Elijah the prophet encountered him and said to him: Until when will you inform on the nation of our God to be sentenced to execution? Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, said to Elijah: What should I do? It is the king’s edict that I must obey. Elijah said to him: Faced with this choice, your father fled to Asia. You should flee to Laodicea rather than accept this appointment. § 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. § After this digression, the Gemara returns to the story of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon. And although his flesh did not putrefy, even so Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, still did not rely on his own opinion, as he was worried that he may have erred in one of his decisions. He accepted afflictions upon himself as atonement for his possible sins. At night his attendants would spread out sixty felt bed coverings for him. In the morning, despite the bed coverings, they would remove sixty basins of blood and pus from underneath him. The following day, i.e., every morning, his wife would prepare for him sixty types of relish [lifda] made from figs, and he would eat them and become healthy. His wife, concerned for his health, would not allow him to go to the study hall, so that the Rabbis would not push him beyond his limits. In the evening, he would say to his pains: My brothers and my friends, come! In the morning he would say to them: Go away, due to the dereliction of Torah study that you cause me. One day his wife heard him inviting his pains. She said to him: You are bringing the pains upon yourself. You have diminished the money of my father’s home due to the costs of treating your self-imposed afflictions. She rebelled against him and went back to her father’s home, and he was left with no one to care for him. Meanwhile, there were these sixty sailors who came and entered to visit Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon. They brought him sixty servants, each bearing sixty purses, and prepared him sixty types of relish and he ate them. When they had encountered trouble at sea, these sailors had prayed to be saved in the merit of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon. Upon returning to dry land, they presented him with these gifts. One day, the wife of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, said to her daughter: Go and check on your father and see what he is doing now. The daughter came to her father, who said to her: Go and tell your mother that ours is greater than theirs, i.e., my current financial status is greater than that of your father’s household. He read the verse about himself: “She is like the merchant-ships; she brings her food from afar” (Proverbs 31:14). As he was unhindered by his wife from going to the study hall, Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, ate and drank and became healthy and went out to the study hall. The students brought sixty questionable samples of blood before him for inspection, to determine whether or not they were menstrual blood. He deemed them all ritually pure, thereby permitting the women to engage in intercourse with their husbands. The Rabbis of the academy were murmuring about Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, and saying: Can it enter your mind that there is not one uncertain sample among them? He must be mistaken. Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, said to them: If the halakha is in accordance with my ruling, let all the children born from these women be males. And if not, let there be one female among them. It turned out that all of the children were males, and they were called Elazar in his name. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi lamented and said concerning the wife of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon: How much procreation has this evil woman prevented from the Jewish people. She caused women not to have children by preventing her husband from going to the study hall and rendering his halakhic rulings. As Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, was dying, he said to his wife: I know that the Rabbis are angry at me for arresting several thieves who are their relatives, and therefore they will not properly tend to my burial. When I die, lay me in my attic and do not be afraid of me, i.e., do not fear that anything will happen to my corpse. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: Rabbi Yonatan’s mother told me that the wife of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, told her: I laid him in the attic for no less than eighteen years and for no more than twenty-two years. His wife continued: When I would go up to the attic I would check his hair, and when a hair would fall out from his head, blood would come and appear in its place, i.e., his corpse did not decompose. One day I saw a worm emerging from his ear, and I became very distressed that perhaps his corpse had begun to decompose. My husband appeared to me in a dream and said to me: It is no matter for concern. Rather, this is a consequence for a sin of mine, as one day I heard a Torah scholar being insulted and I did not protest as I should have. Therefore, I received this punishment in my ear, measure for measure. During this period, when two people would come for adjudication of a dispute, they would stand by the doorway to the home of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon. One litigant would state his side of the matter, and the other litigant would state his side of the matter. A voice would issue forth from his attic, saying: So-and-so, you are guilty; so-and-so, you are innocent. The Gemara relates: One day, the wife of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, was quarreling with a neighbor. The neighbor said to her as a curse: This woman should be like her husband, who was not buried. When word spread that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, had not been buried, the Rabbis said: This much, i.e., now that the matter is known, to continue in this state is certainly not proper conduct, and they decided to bury him. There are those who say that the Sages found out that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, had not been buried when Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai, his father, appeared to them in a dream and said to them: I have a single fledgling among you, i.e., my son, and you do not wish to bring it to me by burying him next to me. Consequently, the Sages went to tend to his burial. The residents of Akhbaria, the town where the corpse of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, was resting, did not allow them to do so, as they realized that all the years that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, had been resting in his attic, no wild beast had entered their town. The townspeople attributed this phenomenon to his merit and they did not want to lose this protection. One day, which was Yom Kippur eve, everyone in the town was preoccupied with preparations for the Festival. The Rabbis sent a message to the residents of the adjacent town of Biri instructing them to help remove the body of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, from the attic, and they removed his bier and brought it to his father’s burial cave. They found a serpent [le’akhna] that had placed its tail in its mouth and completely encircled the entrance to the cave, denying them access. They said to it: Serpent, serpent! Open your mouth to allow a son to enter next to his father. It opened its mouth for them and uncoiled, and they buried Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, alongside his father. The Gemara continues: After this incident, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi sent a messenger to speak with the wife of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, and propose marriage. She sent a message to him in response: Shall a vessel used by someone sacred, i.e., Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, be used by someone who is, relative to him, profane? There, in Eretz Yisrael, they say that she used the colloquial adage: In the location where the master of the house hangs his sword, shall the contemptible shepherd hang his basket [kultei]? Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi sent a message back to her: Granted that in Torah he was greater than I, but was he greater than I in pious deeds? She sent a message back to him: Whether he was greater than you in Torah I do not know; but I do know that he was greater than you in pious deeds, as he accepted afflictions upon himself. The Gemara asks: With regard to Torah knowledge, what is the event that demonstrated the superiority of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, over Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi? The Gemara answers: When Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa, the leading Sages of the generation, were sitting on benches [asafselei] teaching Torah along with the other Sages, the youthful pair Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would sit before them on the ground out of respect. These two young students would engage in discussions with the Sages, in which they would raise difficulties and answer them brilliantly. Seeing the young scholars’ brilliance, the leading Sages said: From their waters we drink, i.e., we are learning from them, and they are the ones sitting on the ground? Benches were prepared for Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, and they were promoted to sit alongside the other Sages. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said to the other Sages present: I have a single fledgling among you, i.e., my son Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, and you are seeking to take it from me? By promoting my son to such a prestigious position at such a young age, his chances of being adversely affected by the evil eye are greatly increased. They demoted Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi to sit on the ground, at his father’s request. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa said to the Sages: Should one who has a father to care for him, i.e., Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, be demoted so that he may live, while the other one, who does not have a father to care for him, i.e., Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, should be allowed to die? Upon hearing his argument, the Sages also demoted Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, without explaining to him the reason for his demotion. He became offended and said to them: You are equating Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi to me, by demoting us together. In fact, I am much greater than he. As a result of that incident, the relationship of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, with Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi changed. Up until that day, when Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would state a matter of Torah, Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, would support him by citing proofs for his opinion. From this point forward, when they were discussing a subject and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would say: I have an argument to respond, Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, would preempt him by saying to him: Such and such is what you have to respond, and this is the refutation of your claim. Now that you asked these questions, you have surrounded us with bundles of refutations that have no substance, i.e., you have forced us to give unnecessary answers. Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, would anticipate Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s comments and immediately dismiss them as having no value. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi became offended. He came and told his father what had transpired. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said to him: My son, do not let his actions offend you, as he is a lion, son of a lion, and you are a lion, son of a fox. Rabbi Elazar’s father, Rabbi Shimon, was a renowned Sage, and therefore Rabbi Elazar’s sagacity is not surprising. In any event, this incident demonstrates the superiority of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi with regard to knowledge of Torah. The Gemara concludes: This incident is the background to a statement which Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said: There are three prototypical modest people, and they are: Father, i.e., Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel;
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    רציתי לשאול אותך פרופסור ליבוביץ, בעריכת מירה עופרן וישי עופרן, הוצאת כתר, 1999, עמ' 195
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    6. בהתייחס לסיפור ר' יוחנן וריש לקיש : דונו בשאלה - עד כמה יכולה סביבה חברתית להכיל שינויים קיצוניים של ה'שבים' וה'יוצאים'
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    יונה וולך, 'החיים שיש לך', מתוך: מופע, הקיבוץ המאוחד: 1985. עמ' 32
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    7. כיצד מתייחסת יונה וולך אל העבר?

    8. מה היתה עשויה להיות עמדתה של יונה וולך לשאלת החזרה בתשובה/ יציאה בשאלה?

    9. הציגו את המשותף והשונה בין עמדתה בשאלה זו לעמדת הפסוק אותו שרים בערגה בתפילה: 'השיבנו ה' אליך ונשובה, חדש ימינו כקדם' (איכה ה' 21)
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