"יפה אמרה ברוריא": על חוכמתה של ברוריה
1א
הדף מאת: גילי ושירה זיוון / מרכז יעקב הרצוג
2ב
לימוד זה עוסק בדמותה של ברוריה, אשת התנא ר' מאיר, בתו של התנא חנינא בן תרדיון ותלמידת חכמים משובחת בפני עצמה. מהסיפורים על-אודותיה הפזורים בתלמוד ובמדרש, ניתן ללמוד על אופייה ועל תכונותיה שהפכו אותה לבת-פלוגתא חריפה, לידענית גדולה בתחום ההלכה והמקרא ולבעלת תובנות נפשיות עמוקות.
3ג
דיון
ברוריה, אשת התנא ר' מאיר ובתו של התנא חנינא בן תרדיון, הייתה תלמידת חכמים משובחת בפני עצמה. מהסיפורים על-אודותיה הפזורים בתלמוד ובמדרש, ניתן ללמוד על אופייה ועל תכונותיה שהפכו אותה לבת פלוגתא חריפה, לידענית גדולה בתחום ההלכה והמקרא ולבעלת תובנות נפשיות עמוקות.
4ד
דיון
"אין חכמה לאשה אלא בפלך": כיצד התקבלו נשים חכמות בבית המדרש:
לפני שנגלה את דמותה המרתקת של ברוריה, נעמוד על היחס המקדמי שרווח בבית המדרש כלפי נשים וחוכמתן:
5ה
שאלה אשה חכמה את ר' אליעזר, מאחר שמעשה העגל שוין [בחטאם], מפני מה אין מיתתן [של בני ישראל] שוה [לפי רש"י: שהרי היו שלוש מיתות שונות- מיתה בסייף, מיתה במגפה ומיתת הדרוקן (סוג של מחלה)]? אמר לה, אין חכמה לאשה אלא בפלך. וכן הוא אומר (שמות לה, כה) 'וכל אשה חכמת לב בידיה טוו'.
The Gemara cites another question posed to Rabbi Eliezer. A wise woman asked Rabbi Eliezer: Since all bore equal responsibility for the incident of the Golden Calf, due to what factor were their deaths not equal? Some of the people were killed by the sword of Moses and the Levites, some were killed in a plague, and others were struck with an intestinal illness. He said to her: There is no wisdom in a woman except weaving with a spindle, and so it states: “And any woman who was wise-hearted spun with her hands” (Exodus 35:25). Therefore, it is unbefitting for a woman to concern herself with such questions.
6ו
דיון
  • מדוע לא ענה ר' אליעזר לשאלתה של האשה החכמה?
  • מה מלמדת אותנו תגובתו של ר' אליעזר על היחס לנשים אשר ניסו לפרוץ את חומות בית המדרש?
7ז
דיון
א. "יפה אמרה ברוריא": על ידיעותיה בתחום ההלכה והפרשנות:
בתוספתא למסכת כלים דנים החכמים בשעת טומאתו וטהרתו של תנור:
8ח
תנור - מאימתי מקבל טומאה? משיסיקנו כדי לאפות בו סופגנין. [...] מאימתי טהרתו? אמר ר' חלפתא איש כפר חנניא, שאלתי את שמעון בן חנניא ששאל את בנו של רבי חנניא בן תרדיון ואמר, משיסיענו ממקומו, ובתו אומרת משיפשטו את חלוקו. כשנאמרו דברים לפני ר' יהודה בן בבא אמר, יפה אמרה בתו [ברוריה] מהוא [מאביה, ר' חנניה בן תרדיון]".
9ט
ר' שמלאי אתא לקמיה דרבי יוחנן [רבי שמלאי בא לפני רבי יוחנן]. א"ל [אמר לו]: ניתני לי מר ספר יוחסין [אמר לו: ילמדני מר ספר יוחסין (דברי תנאים על ספר דברי הימים)]. א"ל: מהיכן את? א"ל מלוד. והיכן מותבך [היכן מושבך]? בנהרדעא. א"ל: אין נידונין לא ללודים ולא לנהרדעים וכל שכן דאת מלוד ומותבך בנהרדעא [לא מלמדים לא ללודים ולא לנהרדעים וכל שכן שאתה מלוד ומושבך בנהרדעא (שאינכם מיוחסים)]! כפייה וארצי [כפהו (רבי שמלאי) וריצהו], א"ל ניתנייה בג' ירחי [נלמד בשלושה חודשים] שקל קלא פתק ביה [הרים ר' יוחנן גוש עפר, זרק בו] א"ל: ומה ברוריה דביתהו [אשתו] דרבי מאיר, [שהיא גם] ברתיה [בתו של] דרבי חנניה בן תרדיון דתניא תלת מאה שמעתתא ביומא משלש מאה רבוותא [שלמדה שלוש מאות שמועות (מסורות) ביום משלוש מאות רבנים] ואפילו הכי לא יצתה ידי חובתה בתלת שנין [ואפילו כך לא יצאה לידי חובה], ואת אמרת בתלתא ירחי [ואתה חושב שתספיק בשלושה חודשים]?!
impurity of the meat, where is it permitted to eat impure sacrificial meat? Rather, it is obvious that the baraita is talking here about impurity of the people. And where is an allowance made from its rule? It is made in the community; when the majority of the community is ritually impure, it is permitted to offer the Paschal lamb and eat it while impure. The Gemara expresses surprise again: It turns out then that the first clause of the baraita is referring to impurity of the meat, while the latter clause relates to impurity of the people. The Gemara answers: Yes, and there is no difficulty, as the baraita argues from the general category of impurity without necessarily relating to the same type of impurity. And if you wish, say a different answer: The entire baraita is referring to impurity of the meat, and where is it permitted to eat impure sacrificial meat? It is permitted in a case of the impurity of the Paschal lamb, as we learned in a mishna: A Paschal lamb that comes in impurity, e.g., when the majority of the community is ritually impure and the offering may be brought in impurity, may also be eaten in impurity, as from the very outset it came only to be eaten. This is unlike the law with regard to other offerings that are brought in impurity; their blood is sprinkled on the altar, but their meat may not be eaten. Consequently, even the prohibition to consume impure sacrificial meat is permitted under certain circumstances. Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, raised an objection from a baraita that teaches: The Paschal sacrifice may be a young lamb or goat less than one year old. In the case of a Paschal lamb that has passed its first year, so that it has automatically become a peace-offering, if he slaughtered it at its appointed time on Passover eve for its own purpose as a Paschal lamb, and similarly, if he slaughtered another offering, e.g., a lamb that had been sanctified as a peace-offering, for the purpose of a Paschal lamb at its set time, the tanna’im disagree with regard to the status of the offering. Rabbi Eliezer disqualifies the offering; and Rabbi Yehoshua validates it, based on the principle that offerings brought for the purpose of other offerings are valid. The only exception is the Paschal lamb, which when brought for another purpose is invalid. According to Rabbi Yehoshua, in both of these cases the animal is not truly a Paschal lamb; rather, it is a peace-offering brought with the intent that it serve as a Paschal lamb. The Gemara infers: The reason that the sacrifice is disqualified is that it was brought at its proper time; it is in this case that the tanna’im disagree. But if it was not brought at its proper time, it is valid according to everyone, as it is like any other peace-offering that was slaughtered for a different purpose. But why is this so? Let us say: Since slaughtering another sacrifice for the purpose of a Paschal lamb disqualifies it at its proper time, this should also disqualify it not at its proper time. Consequently, the ruling quoted above is difficult according to the opinion of Rav Ḥisda, who accepts the principle of since for the sake of stringency. Rav Pappa said: It is different there in the case of another sacrifice slaughtered for the purpose of a Paschal lamb, as the verse said: “And you shall say: It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord, Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He smote Egypt, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and prostrated themselves” (Exodus 12:27). The word “it” indicates that the Paschal lamb must be brought as it is, according to its details, without any change. It, the Paschal lamb, must not be offered for the purpose of other sacrifices; and other sacrifices must not be offered for its purpose, i.e., as a Paschal lamb. In both of these cases, the offering is disqualified. It may now be inferred: At its proper time, on Passover eve, when the Paschal lamb is disqualified if it is brought for the purpose of other sacrifices, other sacrifices are disqualified according to Rabbi Eliezer if they are brought for its purpose, i.e., as a Paschal lamb. But not at its proper time, when a Paschal lamb offered for the purpose of other sacrifices is valid, other sacrifices offered for its purpose as a Paschal lamb are also valid. Since the verse’s use of the word “it” links the disqualifications of a Paschal lamb offered as a different sacrifice and any other sacrifice offered for the purpose of a Paschal lamb, the principle of since does not apply. There is a fundamental problem in the mishna that was clarified during the course of a particular incident: Rabbi Simlai came before Rabbi Yoḥanan. He said to him: Would the Master teach me the Book of Genealogies? The Book of Genealogies was a collection of tannaitic teachings that formed a midrash on the book of Chronicles. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: Where are you from? He said to him: From Lod. Rabbi Yoḥanan further asked: And where is your present place of residence? He said to him: In Neharde’a. Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: I have a tradition that we teach these subjects neither to Lodites nor to Neharde’ans, and certainly not to you who comes from Lod and your residence is in Neharde’a, such that you have both shortcomings. Rabbi Simlai pressured Rabbi Yoḥanan until he agreed to teach him. Rabbi Simlai said to him: Teach me the Book of Genealogies in three months. Rabbi Yoḥanan took a clod of dirt, threw it at him, and said to him: Berurya, wife of Rabbi Meir and daughter of Rabbi Ḥananya ben Teradyon, was so sharp and had such a good memory that she learned three hundred halakhot in one day from three hundred Sages, and nonetheless she did not fulfill her responsibility to properly learn the Book of Genealogies in three years because it is especially long and difficult. And you say that I should teach it to you in three months? After your inappropriate request, I am not inclined to teach you at all. When Rabbi Simlai was taking leave to go, he said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: Even so, my teacher, as I have already come, let me ask you a question: What is the difference between one who offers a Paschal lamb both for its own purpose and for a different purpose, in which case the offering is disqualified, and one who offers the sacrifice with the intent that it be both for those who can eat it and for those who cannot eat it, in which case the offering is not disqualified? He said to him: Since I understand from your question that you are a Torah scholar, come and I will tell you the answer: When one sacrifices an offering for its own purpose and for a different purpose, the disqualification is in the offering itself; that is, the disqualifying intention relates to the sacrifice itself. In contrast, when one sacrifices an offering for those who can eat it and for those who cannot eat it, the disqualification is not in the offering itself, as the disqualifying intent relates to the people who are to eat from it. Furthermore, when one sacrifices an offering for its own purpose and for a different purpose, it is impossible to identify its prohibition; that is, there is no way to differentiate between valid and invalid parts of the offering. In contrast, when one sacrifices an offering for those who can eat it and for those who cannot eat it, it is possible to identify its prohibition. If some of the people may eat it and some may not, it is possible to distribute the offering to each group and thereby determine which part of the offering is invalid. Furthermore, the intent that the offering be for its own purpose and for a different purpose applies and can disqualify the offering in all four rites, namely: Slaughtering, receiving the blood, carrying the blood to the altar, and sprinkling it on the altar; however, the intent that it be for those who can eat it and for those who cannot eat it does not apply during all four rites, as it has no effect during the time of the sprinkling. Moreover, the intent that the offering be for its own purpose and for a different purpose is a disqualification that applies to communal sacrifices as it does to individual sacrifices; in contrast, the intent that it be for those who can eat it and those who cannot eat it does not apply to the community as it does to an individual. Rav Ashi said that careful analysis of these answers demonstrates the following: The argument that its disqualification is in the offering itself and the argument that it is impossible to identify its prohibition are one and the same thing; they are not two separate reasons. As, what is the reason that Rabbi Yoḥanan says that when one brings an offering for a different purpose, its disqualification is in the offering itself? It is because it is impossible to identify its prohibition, and therefore the prohibition applies to the offering itself. Having mentioned the Book of Genealogies, the Gemara notes that Rami bar Rav Yuda said that Rav said the following about it: From the day the Book of Genealogies was hidden and no longer available to the Sages, the strength of the Sages has been weakened, and the light of their eyes has been dimmed, as the book contained the reasons for many Torah laws and lists of genealogies that are now lost. Mar Zutra said: The Book of Genealogies’ exposition of Chronicles was so extensive that it was said, in exaggeration, that the verses from the word Azel mentioned in the verse: “And Azel had six sons and these are their names: Azrikam, Bocru, and Ishmael and Sheariah and Obadia and Hanan; all these were the sons of Azel” (I Chronicles 8:38), to the word Azel mentioned in a different verse with the identical wording: “And Azel had six sons and these are their names: Azrikam, Bocru, and Ishmael and Sheariah and Obadia and Hanan; these were the sons of Azel” (I Chronicles 9:44), bore four hundred camels of expositions written about these verses. It was taught in a baraita that Aḥerim say: If one sacrifices a Paschal lamb for both circumcised and uncircumcised people and had in mind first the circumcised people and then the uncircumcised people, the offering is valid. But if he had in mind first the uncircumcised people and then the circumcised people, it is disqualified. The Gemara asks: What is different about having in mind first the circumcised people and then the uncircumcised people, such that the offering is valid? One might say that in order to disqualify the sacrifice, we require that all the people he has in mind be uncircumcised, and this is not the case here, as some of them are circumcised. But if this is so, when he has in mind first the uncircumcised people and then the circumcised people, we should also say that in order to disqualify the sacrifice we require that all the people he has in mind be uncircumcised, and this is not the case here. What, then, is the difference between the two cases?
10י
דיון
  • מה ניתן ללמוד ממקורות אלו על יחס התנאים לברוריה?
11יא
דיון
ב. "לא כך כתוב!": על חריפות לשונה
ברוריה השייכת לזרם הפרושי (המרכזי) התעמתה עם צדוקי שהתגרה בה:
12יב
אמר לה ההוא צדוקי לברוריא: כתיב "רני עקרה לא ילדה" [ישעיהו, נד, א] משום דלא ילדה רני? אמרה ליה: שטיא! שפיל לסיפיה דקרא, דכתיב [שוטה! הסתכל לסוף הפסוק, שבו כתוב]: "כי רבים בני שוממה מבני בעולה אמר ה'" [שם], אלא מאי "עקרה לא ילדה"? רני כנסת ישראל שדומה לאשה עקרה שלא ילדה בנים לגיהנם [כלומר עליה לשמוח שלא ילדה ילדים במצב קשה זה- ולכן כתוב "רוני"]
Every chapter that was dear to David, he began with “happy is” and concluded with “happy is.” He opened with “happy is,” as it is written: “Happy is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the wicked or stood in the way of sinners or sat in the dwelling place of the scornful” (Psalms 1:1). And he concluded with “happy,” as it is written at the end of the chapter: “Pay homage in purity, lest He be angry, and you perish on the way when His anger is kindled suddenly. Happy are those who take refuge in Him” (Psalms 2:12). We see that these two chapters actually constitute a single chapter. With regard to the statement of Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi, that David did not say Halleluya until he saw the downfall of the wicked, the Gemara relates: There were these hooligans in Rabbi Meir’s neighborhood who caused him a great deal of anguish. Rabbi Meir prayed for God to have mercy on them, that they should die. Rabbi Meir’s wife, Berurya, said to him: What is your thinking? On what basis do you pray for the death of these hooligans? Do you base yourself on the verse, as it is written: “Let sins cease from the land” (Psalms 104:35), which you interpret to mean that the world would be better if the wicked were destroyed? But is it written, let sinners cease?” Let sins cease, is written. One should pray for an end to their transgressions, not for the demise of the transgressors themselves. Moreover, go to the end of the verse, where it says: “And the wicked will be no more.” If, as you suggest, transgressions shall cease refers to the demise of the evildoers, how is it possible that the wicked will be no more, i.e., that they will no longer be evil? Rather, pray for God to have mercy on them, that they should repent, as if they repent, then the wicked will be no more, as they will have repented. Rabbi Meir saw that Berurya was correct and he prayed for God to have mercy on them, and they repented. The Gemara relates an additional example of Berurya’s incisive insight: A certain heretic said to Berurya: It is written: “Sing, barren woman who has not given birth, open forth in song and cry, you did not travail, for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, said the Lord” (Isaiah 54:1). Because she has not given birth, she should sing and rejoice? Berurya responded to this heretic’s mockery and said: Fool! Go to the end of the verse, where it is written: “For the children of the desolate shall be more numerous than the children of the married wife, said the Lord.” Rather, what is the meaning of: “Sing, barren woman who has not given birth”? It means: Sing congregation of Israel, which is like a barren woman who did not give birth to children who are destined for Gehenna like you. In explaining passages from Psalms, the Gemara relates another instance of a response to the question of a heretic: A certain heretic said to Rabbi Abbahu, it is written: “A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son, Absalom” (Psalms 3:1), and similarly it is said: “To the chief musician, al tashḥet, a mikhtam of David when fleeing from Saul into the cave” (Psalms 57:1). Which event was first? Since the event with Saul was first, it would have been appropriate to write it first. Rabbi Abbahu said to him: For you, who do not employ the homiletic method of juxtaposition of verses, it is difficult. But for us, who employ the homiletic method of juxtaposition of verses, it is not difficult, as the Sages commonly homiletically infer laws and moral lessons from the juxtaposition of two verses. Regarding the juxtaposition of verses, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: From where in the Bible is it derived that one may draw homiletical inferences from the juxtaposition of verses? As it is said: “The works of His hands in truth and justice, all His commandments are sure. Adjoined forever and ever, made in truth and uprightness” (Psalms 111:7–8). Conclude from here that it is appropriate to draw inferences from the juxtaposition of God’s commandments. Accordingly, David’s fleeing from Absalom is situated where it is in order to juxtapose it to the next chapter, which mentions the war of Gog and Magog; the second chapter of Psalms opens: “Why are the nations in an uproar?” Why was the chapter of Absalom juxtaposed with the chapter of Gog and Magog? They are juxtaposed so that if a person should say to you, expressing doubt with regard to the prophecy of the war of Gog and Magog “against the Lord and against His anointed”: Is there a slave who rebels against his master? Is there someone capable of rebelling against God? You too say to him: Is there a son who rebels against his father and severs the relationship with the one who brought him into the world and raised him? Yet, nevertheless, there was such a son, Absalom, and so too there can be a situation where people will seek to rebel against God. Rabbi Yoḥanan said explanations of other verses in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: What is the meaning of that which is written: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of loving-kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26)? The Sages explain that this chapter discusses the wisdom of Torah and those who engage in its study, so with reference to whom did Solomon say this verse? He said this verse about none other than his father, David, who was the clearest example of one who opens his mouth in wisdom, and who resided in five worlds or stages of life and his soul said a song of praise corresponding to each of them. Five times David said: “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” each corresponding to a different stage of life. He resided in his mother’s womb, his first world, and said a song of praise of the pregnancy, as it is stated: “Of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name” (Psalms 103:1), in which he thanks God for creating all that is within his mother, i.e., her womb. He emerged into the atmosphere of the world, his second world, looked upon the stars and constellations and said a song of praise of God for the entirety of creation, as it is stated: “Bless the Lord, His angels, mighty in strength, that fulfill His word, listening to the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all His hosts, His servants, that do His will. Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His kingship, bless my soul, Lord” (Psalms 103:20–23). David saw the grandeur of all creation and recognized that they are mere servants, carrying out the will of their Creator (Ma’ayan HaBerakhot). He nursed from his mother’s breast, his third world, and he looked upon her bosom and said a song of praise, as it is stated: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all His benefits [gemulav]” (Psalms 103:2). The etymological association is between gemulav and gemulei meḥalav, which means weaned from milk (Isaiah 28:9). We still must understand, however, what is meant by all His benefits? What in particular is praiseworthy in what God provided, beyond merely providing for the infant? Rabbi Abbahu said: In contrast with most other animals, God placed her breasts near her heart, the place that is the source of understanding. What is the reason that God did this? Rav Yehuda said: So that the nursing child would not look upon the place of his mother’s nakedness. Rav Mattana said: So that the child would not nurse from a place of uncleanliness. He witnessed in both vision and reality the downfall of the wicked and he said a song of praise, as it is stated: “Let sinners cease from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul, Halleluya (Psalms 104:35). The fifth world was when David looked upon the day of death and said a song of praise, as it is stated: “Bless the Lord, O my soul. Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed in glory and majesty” (Psalms 104:1); for even death is a time of transcendence for the righteous. The connection between this final praise and the day of death is unclear. The Gemara asks: From where is it inferred that this verse was stated with regard to the day of death? Rabba bar Rav Sheila says: We can derive this from the verses at the end of the matter, where it is written: “You hide Your face, they vanish; You gather Your breath, they perish and return to the dust” (Psalms 104:29). Other interpretations of this verse exist. The Gemara relates how Rav Shimi bar Ukva, and some say Mar Ukva, would regularly study before Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi, who was well versed in aggada and would arrange the aggada before Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi.
Once, Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi said to him: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Bless the Lord, my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy name”?
Rav Shimi bar Ukva said to Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi: Come and see that the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not like the attribute of flesh and blood, as this verse praises the formation of man in his mother’s womb. The attribute of flesh and blood is such that he shapes a form on the wall for all to see, yet he cannot instill it with a spirit and soul, bowels and intestines. While the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not so, as God shapes one form within another form, a child in its mother’s womb, and instills it with spirit and soul, bowels and intestines. And this is the explanation of what Hannah said with regard to the birth of Samuel: “There is none holy like the Lord, for there is none like You, and there is no Rock like our God” (I Samuel 2:2). What is the meaning of there is no rock [tzur] like our God? There is no artist [tzayyar] like our God. The Gemara continues to interpret the rest of that verse homiletically: What is the meaning of “there is none like You”? Rabbi Yehuda ben Menasya said: Do not read the verse to mean “there is none like You [biltekha]”; rather, read it to mean “none can outlast You [levalotkha],” as the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not like the attribute of flesh and blood: The attribute of flesh and blood is such that his creations outlast him, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, outlasts His actions. This did not satisfy Rav Shimi bar Ukva, who said to Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi: I meant to say to you as follows: Corresponding to whom did David say these five instance of “Bless the Lord, O my soul”? He answered him: He said them about none other than the Holy One, Blessed be He, and corresponding to the soul, as the verse refers to the relationship between man’s soul and God. The five instances of “Bless the Lord, O my soul” correspond to the five parallels between the soul in man’s body and God’s power in His world. Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, fills the entire world, so too the soul fills the entire body.
Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, sees but is not seen, so too does the soul see, but is not seen.
Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, sustains the entire world, so too the soul sustains the entire body.
Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, is pure, so too is the soul pure.
Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, resides in a chamber within a chamber, in His inner sanctum, so too the soul resides in a chamber within a chamber, in the innermost recesses of the body.
Therefore, that which has these five characteristics, the soul, should come and praise He Who has these five characteristics. With regard to redemption and prayer, the Gemara tells the story of Hezekiah’s illness, his prayer to God, and subsequent recuperation. Rav Hamnuna said: What is the meaning of that which is written praising the Holy One, Blessed be He: “Who is like the wise man, and who knows the interpretation [pesher] of the matter” (Ecclesiastes 8:1)? This verse means: Who is like the Holy One, Blessed be He, Who knows how to effect compromise [peshara] between two righteous individuals, between Hezekiah, the king of Judea, and Isaiah the prophet. They disagreed over which of them should visit the other. Hezekiah said: Let Isaiah come to me, as that is what we find with regard to Elijah the prophet, who went to Ahab, the king of Israel, as it is stated: “And Elijah went to appear to Ahab” (I Kings 18:2). This proves that it is the prophet who must seek out the king. And Isaiah said: Let Hezekiah come to me, as that is what we find with regard to Yehoram ben Ahab, king of Israel, who went to Elisha the prophet, as it is stated: “So the king of Israel, Jehosaphat and the king of Edom went down to him” (II Kings 3:12). What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do to effect compromise between Hezekiah and Isaiah? He brought the suffering of illness upon Hezekiah and told Isaiah: Go and visit the sick. Isaiah did as God instructed, as it is stated: “In those days Hezekiah became deathly ill, and Isaiah ben Amoz the prophet came and said to him: Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Set your house in order, for you will die and you will not live” (Isaiah 38:1). This seems redundant; what is the meaning of you will die and you will not live? This repetition means: You will die in this world, and you will not live, you will have no share, in the World-to-Come. Hezekiah said to him: What is all of this? For what transgression am I being punished?
Isaiah said to him: Because you did not marry and engage in procreation.
Hezekiah apologized and said: I had no children because I envisaged through divine inspiration that the children that emerge from me will not be virtuous. Hezekiah meant that he had seen that his children were destined to be evil. In fact, his son Menashe sinned extensively, and he thought it preferable to have no children at all. Isaiah said to him: Why do you involve yourself with the secrets of the Holy One, Blessed be He? That which you have been commanded, the mitzva of procreation, you are required to perform, and that which is acceptable in the eyes of the Holy One, Blessed be He, let Him perform, as He has so decided. Hezekiah said to Isaiah: Now give me your daughter as my wife; perhaps my merit and your merit will cause virtuous children to emerge from me.
Isaiah said to him: The decree has already been decreed against you and this judgment cannot be changed.
Hezekiah said to him: Son of Amoz, cease your prophecy and leave. As long as the prophet spoke as God’s emissary, Hezekiah was obligated to listen to him. He was not, however, obligated to accept Isaiah’s personal opinion that there was no possibility for mercy and healing. Hezekiah continued: I have received a tradition from the house of my father’s father, from King David, the founding father of the dynasty of kings of Judea: Even if a sharp sword rests upon a person’s neck, he should not prevent himself from praying for mercy. One may still hold out hope that his prayers will be answered, as was David himself when he saw the Angel of Destruction, but nonetheless prayed for mercy and his prayers were answered. With regard to the fact that one should not despair of God’s mercy, the Gemara cites that it was also said that Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Eliezer both said: Even if a sharp sword is resting upon a person’s neck, he should not prevent himself from praying for mercy, as it is stated in the words of Job: “Though He slay me, I will trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Even though God is about to take his life, he still prays for God’s mercy.
13יג
דיון
ברוריה התעמתה גם עם תלמידי חכמים:
14יד
רבי יוסי הגלילי היה מהלך בדרך. מצא את ברוריה, אמר לה: באיזה דרך נלך לעיר לוד? אמרה לו: גלילי שוטה, לא כך אמרו חכמים: "אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה"? היה לך לומר: "באיזה ללוד?".

מושגים
  • ברוריה - תלמידת חכמים מהיחידות בתלמוד, אשת התנא רבי מאיר, ובתו של התנא ר' חנינא בן תרדיון (שהיה אחד מעשרת הרוגי מלכות). זכתה להערכה רבה בזכות חוכמתה והיקף ידיעותיה בענייני הלכה ואגדה.
Having discussed wise speech and the wisdom of Jewish women, the Gemara cites the following story: Rabbi Yosei HaGelili was walking along the way, and met Berurya. He said to her: On which path shall we walk in order to get to Lod? She said to him: Foolish Galilean, didn’t the Sages say: Do not talk much with women? You should have said your question more succinctly: Which way to Lod?
15טו
ברוריה אשכחתיה לההוא תלמידא דהוה קא גריס בלחישה [ברוריה נפגשה בתלמיד שהיה לומד תלמודו בלחישה] בטשה ביה [בעטה בו] אמרה ליה: לא כך כתוב "ערוכה בכל ושמורה" (שמואל ב' כג, ה)?- אם ערוכה ברמ"ח אברים שלך משתמרת, ואם לאו אינה משתמרת!
he did them mischief” (i Samuel 14:47). The Gemara concludes the mention of Saul on a positive note. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He, forgave him for that sin, the massacre of Nov, the city of priests? As it is stated that the spirit of Samuel said to him: “And the Lord will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow shall you and your sons be with me” (i Samuel 28:19); the phrase “with me” means within my partition together with me in heaven, i.e., on the same level as the righteous prophet Samuel. The Gemara returns to the earlier question with regard to the correct reading of the word me’abberin. Rabbi Abba said: If there is anyone who can ask the people of Judea, who are precise in their language, whether the term in the mishna that we learned is me’abberin with an alef or me’abberin with an ayin, he should ask them. Similarly, with regard to the blemishes of a firstborn animal, was the term meaning its hindquarters that we learned in the mishna akkuzo with an alef, or did we learn akkuzo with an ayin? They would know. The Gemara answers: One asked the people of Judea, and they said to him: Some teach me’abberin with an alef, and some teach me’abberin with an ayin. Some teach akkuzo with an alef, and some teach akkuzo with an ayin. Both versions are well founded and neither one is erroneous. Having mentioned that the people of Judea are precise in their speech, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of this? The Gemara answers with an example: As in the case of a certain person from Judea who said to those within earshot: I have a cloak to sell. They said to him: What color is your cloak? He said to them: Like beets on the ground, providing an exceedingly precise description of the exact shade of the cloak, the green tint of beet greens when they first sprout. The Gemara returns to the people of the Galilee, who are not precise in their speech. What is the meaning of this? The Gemara cites examples: As it was taught in a baraita that there was a certain person from the Galilee who would walk and say to people: Who has amar? Who has amar? They said to him: Foolish Galilean, what do you mean? Galileans did not pronounce the guttural letters properly, so it was unclear whether he sought a donkey [ḥamor] to ride, or wine [ḥamar] to drink, wool [amar] to wear, or a lamb [imar] to slaughter. This is an example of the lack of precision in the Galileans’ speech. The Gemara cites another example of the lack of linguistic precision of the Galileans: There was a certain woman who wanted to say to her friend: My neighbor, come and I will feed you milk [ta’i de’okhlikh ḥelba]; however, due to the imprecise articulation of her words, she said to her: My neighbor, may a lioness eat you [tokhlikh lavya]. The Gemara cites another example of the ignorance and incivility of the Galileans: There was a certain woman who came before a judge intending to say: Master, sir [Mari kiri, spelled with a kuf ], I had a board, and they stole it from me [tavla havet li ugenavuha mimeni]. But instead she said to him: Master, servant [Mari kiri, spelled with a kaf ], I had a beam and they stole you from me [tafla havet li ugenavukh min]. And it was so large, that when they would hang you upon it, your feet would not reach the ground. In contrast to the speech of the Galileans, which indicates ignorance and loutishness, the Gemara cites examples of the clever phraseology of the inhabitants of Judea and the Sages: The maidservant in the house of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, when she would speak enigmatically, employing euphemistic terminology or in riddles, she would say as follows: The ladle used for drawing wine from the jug is already knocking against the bottom of the jug, i.e., the wine jug is almost empty. Let the eagles fly to their nests, i.e., let the students return home, as there is nothing left for them to drink. And when Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi wanted them to sit, she would say to them: Let us remove the stopper from another jug, and let the ladle float in the jug like a ship sailing in the sea. The Gemara also relates that when Rabbi Yosei bar Asyan would speak enigmatically, he would say: Prepare for me an ox in judgment on a poor mountain. His method was to construct words by combining words from Aramaic translations of Hebrew words or Hebrew translations of Aramaic words. Ox is tor in Aramaic; judgment is din. Combined they form teradin, beets. Mountain in Hebrew is har, which they pronounced ḥar; poor is dal. Together it spells ḥardal, mustard. Thus, Rabbi Yosei bar Asyan was requesting beets in mustard. And when he would inquire about an inn, he would say as follows: This man here is raw; what is this good that there is? The phrase “this man here is raw” is used in a similar syllable-by-syllable translation: Man in Hebrew is ish; here is po; this is zeh; and raw is na. All together, they sound like ushpazikhna, i.e., an innkeeper (Rabbeinu Ḥananel). In other words, Rabbi Yosei bar Asyan was asking after the innkeeper. When Rabbi Abbahu would speak enigmatically, he would say as follows: Make the coals the color of an etrog; beat the golden ones, i.e., spread out the coals, which redden like gold when they glow; and make me two speakers-in-the-dark, i.e., roosters, which announce the dawn when it is still dark. Some say a slightly different version: And they shall make me in them, on the coals, i.e., roast for me on top of the coals, two speakers-in-the-dark. In a similarly clever manner, the Sages said to Rabbi Abbahu: Show us [hatzpinenu] where Rabbi Elai is hiding [tzafun], as we do not know his whereabouts. He said to them: He rejoiced with the latter [aḥaronit] Aharonic [Aharonit] girl; she is lively [eiranit] and kept him awake [vehiniratu]. There are two ways to understand this cryptic statement: Some say it refers to a woman, i.e., he married a young girl from a priestly family [Aharonic], who is his second [latter] wife, from a village [eiranit], and he is sleeping now because she kept him awake during the night. And some say it refers to a tractate. The term girl refers to the tractate; Aharonic indicates that it is a tractate from the order of Kodashim, which deals with the priestly service. The phrase the latter means that it is his latest course of study, and lively alludes to the challenging nature of the subject matter. Since he was awake all night studying, he is presently sleeping. The Gemara continues: They said to Rabbi Elai: Show us where Rabbi Abbahu is hiding, as we do not know where he is. He said to them: He has taken counsel with the one who crowns, i.e., the Nasi, who appoints the Sages, and has gone south [hingiv] to Mephibosheth, i.e., he has headed to the Sages of the south, referred to here as Mephibosheth, who was King Saul’s grandson and a great Sage of his time. Having discussed the clever speech of various Sages, the Gemara relates that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said as follows: In all my days, no person defeated me in a verbal encounter except for a woman, a young boy, and a young girl. What is the encounter in which a woman got the better of me? One time I was staying at a certain inn and the hostess prepared me beans. On the first day I ate them and left nothing over, although proper etiquette dictates that one should leave over something on his plate. On the second day I again ate and left nothing over. On the third day she over-salted them so that they were inedible. As soon as I tasted them, I withdrew my hands from them. She said to me: My Rabbi, why aren’t you eating beans as on the previous days? Not wishing to offend her, I said to her: I have already eaten during the daytime. She said to me: You should have withdrawn your hand from bread and left room for some beans. She then said to me: My Rabbi, perhaps you did not leave a remainder of food on your plate on the first days, which is why you are leaving over food today. Isn’t this what the Sages said: One need not leave a remainder in the pot [ilpas], but one must leave a remainder on the plate as an expression of etiquette (Tosafot). This is the incident in which a woman got the better of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya. What is the incident with a young girl? One time I was walking along the path, and the path passed through a field, and I was walking on it. A certain young girl said to me: My Rabbi, isn’t this a field? One should not walk through a field, so as not to damage the crops growing there. I said to her: Isn’t it a well-trodden path in the field, across which one is permitted to walk? She said to me: Robbers like you have trodden it. In other words, it previously had been prohibited to walk through this field, and it is only due to people such as you, who paid no attention to the prohibition, that a path has been cut across it. Thus, the young girl defeated Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya in a debate. What is the incident with a young boy? One time I was walking along the path, and I saw a young boy sitting at the crossroads. And I said to him: On which path shall we walk in order to get to the city? He said to me: This path is short and long, and that path is long and short. I walked on the path that was short and long. When I approached the city I found that gardens and orchards surrounded it, and I did not know the trails leading through them to the city. I went back and met the young boy again and said to him: My son, didn’t you tell me that this way is short? He said to me: And didn’t I tell you that it is also long? I kissed him on his head and said to him: Happy are you, O Israel, for you are all exceedingly wise, from your old to your young. Having discussed wise speech and the wisdom of Jewish women, the Gemara cites the following story: Rabbi Yosei HaGelili was walking along the way, and met Berurya. He said to her: On which path shall we walk in order to get to Lod? She said to him: Foolish Galilean, didn’t the Sages say: Do not talk much with women? You should have said your question more succinctly: Which way to Lod? The Gemara relates more of Berurya’s wisdom: Berurya came across a certain student who was whispering his studies rather than raising his voice. She kicked him and said to him: Isn’t it written as follows: “Ordered in all things and secure” (ii Samuel 23:5), which indicates that if the Torah is ordered in your 248 limbs, i.e., if you exert your entire body in studying it, it will be secure, and if not, it will not be secure. The Gemara relates that it was similarly taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer had a student who would study quietly, and after three years he forgot his studies. Incidental to the story cited above involving a student of Rabbi Eliezer, the Gemara cites the following episode: It was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer had a student who was liable for the punishment of death by burning, for his sins against God, but the Rabbis said: Let him alone and do not punish him as he deserves, because he served a great person. The Gemara cites instructions issued by Shmuel that are similar to those of Berurya. Shmuel said to Rav Yehuda: Keen scholar [shinnana], open your mouth and read from the Torah, open your mouth and study the Talmud, in order that your studies should endure in you and that you should live a long life, as it is stated: “For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:22). Do not read: “To those who find them [lemotzeihem],” but rather “to those who express them [lemotzi’eihem],” with their mouth. The Gemara cites additional instructions issued by Shmuel: Shmuel said to Rav Yehuda, his beloved student: Keen scholar, grab and eat, grab and drink, as the world from which we are departing is like a wedding feast, whose joy is only temporary, and one who does not take pleasure in it now will not be able to do so in the future. Similarly, Rav said to Rav Hamnuna: My son, if you have money, do well for yourself. There is no point waiting, as there is no pleasure in the netherworld, and death does not tarry. And if you say: I will save up in order to leave for my children, who told you the law of the netherworld, i.e., how do you know which of you will die first (Arukh)? People are similar to grass of the field, in that these blossom, i.e., grow, and their actions are blessed, and these wither and die. Having expounded the verse “For they are life to those who find them” as referring to the Torah, the Gemara cites another teaching related to this verse that praises the Torah. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who is walking along the way without a companion and is afraid should engage in Torah study, as it is stated with regard to the words of Torah: “For they shall be a graceful wreath [livyat ḥen] for your head, and chains about your neck” (Proverbs 1:9). The word livyat is understood here as a reference to levaya, accompaniment, so that the verse is interpreted to mean that Torah is a graceful accompaniment to one who is traveling. One who feels pain in his head should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “For they shall be a graceful wreath for your head.” One who feels pain in his throat should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “And chains about your neck.” One who feels pain in his intestines should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “It shall be health to your navel” (Proverbs 3:8). One who feels pain in his bones should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “And marrow to your bones” (Proverbs 3:8). One who feels pain in his entire body should engage in Torah study, as it is stated: “And health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:22). Rav Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, said: Come and see that the attribute of flesh and blood is unlike the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He. The attribute of flesh and blood is that when a person gives a drug to his fellow, it is good for this part of his body and it is harmful to that other part of his body. But the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not so; He gave the Torah to the Jewish people, and it is a drug of life for one’s entire body, as it is stated: “And health to all their flesh.” The Gemara continues with praise for Torah study and knowledge. Rav Ami said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them be firmly attached together to your lips” (Proverbs 22:18)? When are words of Torah pleasant? When you keep them within you and know them. And when will you keep them within you? When they will be attached together to your lips, i.e., when you articulate them audibly and expound them. Rabbi Zeira said that this idea is derived from here: “A man has joy in the answer of his mouth; and a word in due season, how good it is” (Proverbs 15:23). When does a man have joy? When an answer related to Torah study is in his mouth. Another version: When does a man have joy in the answer of his mouth? When he experiences the fulfillment of: A word in due season, how good it is, i.e., when he knows when and how to address each issue. Rabbi Yitzḥak said that this idea is derived from here: “But the matter is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it” (Deuteronomy 30:14). When is it very near to you? When it is in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it, i.e., when you articulate your Torah study. Rava said that this idea is actually derived from here: “You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips, Selah” (Psalms 21:3). When have You given him his heart’s desire? When You have not withheld the request of his lips, Selah, i.e., when he converses in words of Torah. Rava raised an internal contradiction in that very verse: In the beginning of the verse it is written: “You have given him his heart’s desire,” implying that it is enough for one to request in his heart, whereas in the end of the verse it is written: “And You have not withheld the request of his lips, Selah,” indicating that one must express his prayers verbally. Rava himself resolved the contradiction: If one is fortunate, “You have given him his heart’s desire,” even if he does not give verbal expression to his wants. But if he is not fortunate, at least “You have not withheld the request of his lips, Selah.” With regard to the end of this verse, a Sage of the school of Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov taught the following baraita: Wherever it states netzaḥ, Selah, or va’ed, the matter will never cease. Netzaḥ, as it is written: “For I will not contend forever; neither will I be eternally [lanetzaḥ] angry” (Isaiah 57:16), which demonstrates that netzaḥ bears a similar meaning to forever. Selah, as it is written: “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of Hosts, in the city of our God; may God establish it forever, Selah” (Psalms 48:9), which demonstrates that Selah means forever. Va’ed, as it is written: “The Lord shall reign forever and ever [va’ed]” (Exodus 15:18). In light of the previous discussion, the Gemara cites several expositions of verses proposed by Rabbi Eliezer, while first providing them with a mnemonic: Chains, cheeks, tablets, engraved. Rabbi Eliezer said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And chains about your neck” (Proverbs 1:9)? If a person makes himself like a chain that hangs loosely on the neck, i.e., if a scholar is not pushy and disruptive to others, and he is also seen but not seen, i.e., just as a chain is covered by clothes and hair, so too, the scholar does not let himself be seen, his Torah study will endure. But if not, if he acts in a rude and arrogant manner, his Torah study will not endure. And Rabbi Eliezer also said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “His cheeks are like a bed of spices” (Song of Songs 5:13)? If a person makes himself humble like this garden bed upon which everyone treads, and like this spice with which everyone perfumes himself, i.e., which benefits not only the one who wears it, his Torah study will endure. But if not, his Torah study will not endure. And Rabbi Eliezer further said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Tablets [luḥot] of stone” (Exodus 31:18)? If a person makes his cheeks [leḥayav] like this stone that does not wear away, his Torah study will endure. But if not, i.e., if he is not diligent in his studies, his Torah study will not endure. And, lastly, Rabbi Eliezer said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved upon the tablets” (Exodus 32:16)? This teaches that had the first tablets, the subject of this verse, not been broken, the Torah would never have been forgotten from the Jewish people, as the Torah would have been engraved upon their hearts. Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: Had the tablets not been broken, no nation or tongue would ever have ruled over them, as it is stated: “Engraved”; do not read it engraved [ḥarut] but rather freedom [ḥeirut]. Similarly, Rav Mattana said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “The well that the princes dug out, that the nobles of the people delved, with the scepter, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah” (Numbers 21:18)? If a person makes himself humble like this wilderness, which is open to all and upon which everyone treads, his Torah study will endure and be given to him as a gift [mattana]. And if not, his Torah study will not endure. The Gemara relates that Rav Yosef had a grievance against Rava, son of Rav Yosef bar Ḥama, who is usually referred to in the Gemara simply as Rava, and as a result of the grievance the two would never meet. When the eve of Yom Kippur arrived, Rava said: I will go and appease him. He went and found Rav Yosef’s attendant mixing him a cup of wine. He said to the attendant: Give it to me, and I will mix it. He gave it to Rava, and Rava mixed it. Rav Yosef was blind and could not see his visitor, but when he tasted the wine he said: This mixture is similar to the mixture of Rava, son of Rav Yosef bar Ḥama, who would add extra water to the wine. Rava said to him: It is I. Rav Yosef said to him: Do not sit on your knees until you have explained these verses to me: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And from the wilderness to Mattanah; and from Mattanah to Nahaliel; and from Nahaliel to Bamoth; and from Bamoth to the valley in the field of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looks out toward the desert” (Numbers 21:19–20)? Rava said to him: If a person makes himself humble like this wilderness, which is open to all and upon which everyone treads, the Torah will be given to him as a gift [mattana]. And once it is given to him as a gift, he inherits it [neḥalo] and God [El] makes it His inheritance, as it is stated: “And from Mattanah to Nahaliel.” And once God has made it His inheritance, he rises to greatness, as it is stated: “And from Nahaliel to Bamoth,” which means heights. And if he becomes haughty, the Holy One, Blessed be He, lowers him, as it is stated: “And from Bamoth to the valley.” And if he repents, the Holy One, Blessed be He, raises him back up, as it is stated: “Every valley shall be exalted” (Isaiah 40:4). Rav Huna said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Your flock found a dwelling in it; You, O God, prepare of Your goodness for the poor” (Psalms 68:11)? If a person makes himself like an animal that tramples its prey and eats it immediately, without being particular about its food, i.e., if a scholar immediately reviews what he has heard from his teacher; and some say, like an animal that soils and eats, i.e., if a scholar is not particular about maintaining his honor during his Torah study, just as an animal is not particular about the quality of its food, his Torah study will endure. And if not, his Torah study will not endure. And if he does so, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will Himself prepare him a feast, as it is stated: “You, O God, prepare of Your goodness for the poor,” indicating that God in His goodness will Himself prepare a feast for that pauper. Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He who guards the fig tree shall eat its fruit” (Proverbs 27:18)? Why were matters of Torah compared to a fig tree? Just as this fig tree,
16טז
דיון
  • מה ניתן ללמוד ממקורות אלו על אופייה של ברוריה?
  • איזה מסר טמון בתשובתה לר' יוסי הגלילי?
17יז
דיון
ג. "שאלה אחת יש לי לשאול לך" על חוכמת לבה:
טפח נוסף באישיותה של ברוריה נחשף ביחסיה עם ר' מאיר אישהּ
18יח
רבי מאיר וברוריה
בשכונתו של ר' מאיר היו בריונים והיו מצערים אותו הרבה, התפלל עליהם ר' מאיר שימותו.
אמרה לו ברוריה אשתו :מה דעתך משום שנאמר 'יתמו חטאים'?!, והרי כתוב חֲטָאים ולא חוֹטאים.
וראה גם את המשך הפסוק: "ורשעים עוד אינם" (ישעיהו נד), כלומר כיון שייתמו החטאים, לא יהיו עוד רשעים, ויש להתפלל לכיליונו של הרֶשע ולא של הרַשע.
אלא, בַּקש עליהם רחמים שיחזרו בתשובה.
בִּקש עליהם רחמים, וחֲזרו בתשובה.

מושגים
  • ברוריה - תלמידת חכמים מהיחידות בתלמוד, אשת התנא רבי מאיר, ובתו של התנא ר' חנינא בן תרדיון (שהיה אחד מעשרת הרוגי מלכות). זכתה להערכה רבה בזכות חוכמתה והיקף ידיעותיה בענייני הלכה ואגדה.
Every chapter that was dear to David, he began with “happy is” and concluded with “happy is.” He opened with “happy is,” as it is written: “Happy is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the wicked or stood in the way of sinners or sat in the dwelling place of the scornful” (Psalms 1:1). And he concluded with “happy,” as it is written at the end of the chapter: “Pay homage in purity, lest He be angry, and you perish on the way when His anger is kindled suddenly. Happy are those who take refuge in Him” (Psalms 2:12). We see that these two chapters actually constitute a single chapter. With regard to the statement of Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi, that David did not say Halleluya until he saw the downfall of the wicked, the Gemara relates: There were these hooligans in Rabbi Meir’s neighborhood who caused him a great deal of anguish. Rabbi Meir prayed for God to have mercy on them, that they should die. Rabbi Meir’s wife, Berurya, said to him: What is your thinking? On what basis do you pray for the death of these hooligans? Do you base yourself on the verse, as it is written: “Let sins cease from the land” (Psalms 104:35), which you interpret to mean that the world would be better if the wicked were destroyed? But is it written, let sinners cease?” Let sins cease, is written. One should pray for an end to their transgressions, not for the demise of the transgressors themselves. Moreover, go to the end of the verse, where it says: “And the wicked will be no more.” If, as you suggest, transgressions shall cease refers to the demise of the evildoers, how is it possible that the wicked will be no more, i.e., that they will no longer be evil? Rather, pray for God to have mercy on them, that they should repent, as if they repent, then the wicked will be no more, as they will have repented. Rabbi Meir saw that Berurya was correct and he prayed for God to have mercy on them, and they repented. The Gemara relates an additional example of Berurya’s incisive insight: A certain heretic said to Berurya: It is written: “Sing, barren woman who has not given birth, open forth in song and cry, you did not travail, for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, said the Lord” (Isaiah 54:1). Because she has not given birth, she should sing and rejoice? Berurya responded to this heretic’s mockery and said: Fool! Go to the end of the verse, where it is written: “For the children of the desolate shall be more numerous than the children of the married wife, said the Lord.” Rather, what is the meaning of: “Sing, barren woman who has not given birth”? It means: Sing congregation of Israel, which is like a barren woman who did not give birth to children who are destined for Gehenna like you. In explaining passages from Psalms, the Gemara relates another instance of a response to the question of a heretic: A certain heretic said to Rabbi Abbahu, it is written: “A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son, Absalom” (Psalms 3:1), and similarly it is said: “To the chief musician, al tashḥet, a mikhtam of David when fleeing from Saul into the cave” (Psalms 57:1). Which event was first? Since the event with Saul was first, it would have been appropriate to write it first. Rabbi Abbahu said to him: For you, who do not employ the homiletic method of juxtaposition of verses, it is difficult. But for us, who employ the homiletic method of juxtaposition of verses, it is not difficult, as the Sages commonly homiletically infer laws and moral lessons from the juxtaposition of two verses. Regarding the juxtaposition of verses, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: From where in the Bible is it derived that one may draw homiletical inferences from the juxtaposition of verses? As it is said: “The works of His hands in truth and justice, all His commandments are sure. Adjoined forever and ever, made in truth and uprightness” (Psalms 111:7–8). Conclude from here that it is appropriate to draw inferences from the juxtaposition of God’s commandments. Accordingly, David’s fleeing from Absalom is situated where it is in order to juxtapose it to the next chapter, which mentions the war of Gog and Magog; the second chapter of Psalms opens: “Why are the nations in an uproar?” Why was the chapter of Absalom juxtaposed with the chapter of Gog and Magog? They are juxtaposed so that if a person should say to you, expressing doubt with regard to the prophecy of the war of Gog and Magog “against the Lord and against His anointed”: Is there a slave who rebels against his master? Is there someone capable of rebelling against God? You too say to him: Is there a son who rebels against his father and severs the relationship with the one who brought him into the world and raised him? Yet, nevertheless, there was such a son, Absalom, and so too there can be a situation where people will seek to rebel against God. Rabbi Yoḥanan said explanations of other verses in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: What is the meaning of that which is written: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of loving-kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26)? The Sages explain that this chapter discusses the wisdom of Torah and those who engage in its study, so with reference to whom did Solomon say this verse? He said this verse about none other than his father, David, who was the clearest example of one who opens his mouth in wisdom, and who resided in five worlds or stages of life and his soul said a song of praise corresponding to each of them. Five times David said: “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” each corresponding to a different stage of life. He resided in his mother’s womb, his first world, and said a song of praise of the pregnancy, as it is stated: “Of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name” (Psalms 103:1), in which he thanks God for creating all that is within his mother, i.e., her womb. He emerged into the atmosphere of the world, his second world, looked upon the stars and constellations and said a song of praise of God for the entirety of creation, as it is stated: “Bless the Lord, His angels, mighty in strength, that fulfill His word, listening to the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all His hosts, His servants, that do His will. Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His kingship, bless my soul, Lord” (Psalms 103:20–23). David saw the grandeur of all creation and recognized that they are mere servants, carrying out the will of their Creator (Ma’ayan HaBerakhot). He nursed from his mother’s breast, his third world, and he looked upon her bosom and said a song of praise, as it is stated: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all His benefits [gemulav]” (Psalms 103:2). The etymological association is between gemulav and gemulei meḥalav, which means weaned from milk (Isaiah 28:9). We still must understand, however, what is meant by all His benefits? What in particular is praiseworthy in what God provided, beyond merely providing for the infant? Rabbi Abbahu said: In contrast with most other animals, God placed her breasts near her heart, the place that is the source of understanding. What is the reason that God did this? Rav Yehuda said: So that the nursing child would not look upon the place of his mother’s nakedness. Rav Mattana said: So that the child would not nurse from a place of uncleanliness. He witnessed in both vision and reality the downfall of the wicked and he said a song of praise, as it is stated: “Let sinners cease from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul, Halleluya (Psalms 104:35). The fifth world was when David looked upon the day of death and said a song of praise, as it is stated: “Bless the Lord, O my soul. Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed in glory and majesty” (Psalms 104:1); for even death is a time of transcendence for the righteous. The connection between this final praise and the day of death is unclear. The Gemara asks: From where is it inferred that this verse was stated with regard to the day of death? Rabba bar Rav Sheila says: We can derive this from the verses at the end of the matter, where it is written: “You hide Your face, they vanish; You gather Your breath, they perish and return to the dust” (Psalms 104:29). Other interpretations of this verse exist. The Gemara relates how Rav Shimi bar Ukva, and some say Mar Ukva, would regularly study before Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi, who was well versed in aggada and would arrange the aggada before Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi.
Once, Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi said to him: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Bless the Lord, my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy name”?
Rav Shimi bar Ukva said to Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi: Come and see that the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not like the attribute of flesh and blood, as this verse praises the formation of man in his mother’s womb. The attribute of flesh and blood is such that he shapes a form on the wall for all to see, yet he cannot instill it with a spirit and soul, bowels and intestines. While the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not so, as God shapes one form within another form, a child in its mother’s womb, and instills it with spirit and soul, bowels and intestines. And this is the explanation of what Hannah said with regard to the birth of Samuel: “There is none holy like the Lord, for there is none like You, and there is no Rock like our God” (I Samuel 2:2). What is the meaning of there is no rock [tzur] like our God? There is no artist [tzayyar] like our God. The Gemara continues to interpret the rest of that verse homiletically: What is the meaning of “there is none like You”? Rabbi Yehuda ben Menasya said: Do not read the verse to mean “there is none like You [biltekha]”; rather, read it to mean “none can outlast You [levalotkha],” as the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not like the attribute of flesh and blood: The attribute of flesh and blood is such that his creations outlast him, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, outlasts His actions. This did not satisfy Rav Shimi bar Ukva, who said to Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi: I meant to say to you as follows: Corresponding to whom did David say these five instance of “Bless the Lord, O my soul”? He answered him: He said them about none other than the Holy One, Blessed be He, and corresponding to the soul, as the verse refers to the relationship between man’s soul and God. The five instances of “Bless the Lord, O my soul” correspond to the five parallels between the soul in man’s body and God’s power in His world. Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, fills the entire world, so too the soul fills the entire body.
Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, sees but is not seen, so too does the soul see, but is not seen.
Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, sustains the entire world, so too the soul sustains the entire body.
Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, is pure, so too is the soul pure.
Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, resides in a chamber within a chamber, in His inner sanctum, so too the soul resides in a chamber within a chamber, in the innermost recesses of the body.
Therefore, that which has these five characteristics, the soul, should come and praise He Who has these five characteristics. With regard to redemption and prayer, the Gemara tells the story of Hezekiah’s illness, his prayer to God, and subsequent recuperation. Rav Hamnuna said: What is the meaning of that which is written praising the Holy One, Blessed be He: “Who is like the wise man, and who knows the interpretation [pesher] of the matter” (Ecclesiastes 8:1)? This verse means: Who is like the Holy One, Blessed be He, Who knows how to effect compromise [peshara] between two righteous individuals, between Hezekiah, the king of Judea, and Isaiah the prophet. They disagreed over which of them should visit the other. Hezekiah said: Let Isaiah come to me, as that is what we find with regard to Elijah the prophet, who went to Ahab, the king of Israel, as it is stated: “And Elijah went to appear to Ahab” (I Kings 18:2). This proves that it is the prophet who must seek out the king. And Isaiah said: Let Hezekiah come to me, as that is what we find with regard to Yehoram ben Ahab, king of Israel, who went to Elisha the prophet, as it is stated: “So the king of Israel, Jehosaphat and the king of Edom went down to him” (II Kings 3:12). What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do to effect compromise between Hezekiah and Isaiah? He brought the suffering of illness upon Hezekiah and told Isaiah: Go and visit the sick. Isaiah did as God instructed, as it is stated: “In those days Hezekiah became deathly ill, and Isaiah ben Amoz the prophet came and said to him: Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Set your house in order, for you will die and you will not live” (Isaiah 38:1). This seems redundant; what is the meaning of you will die and you will not live? This repetition means: You will die in this world, and you will not live, you will have no share, in the World-to-Come. Hezekiah said to him: What is all of this? For what transgression am I being punished?
Isaiah said to him: Because you did not marry and engage in procreation.
Hezekiah apologized and said: I had no children because I envisaged through divine inspiration that the children that emerge from me will not be virtuous. Hezekiah meant that he had seen that his children were destined to be evil. In fact, his son Menashe sinned extensively, and he thought it preferable to have no children at all. Isaiah said to him: Why do you involve yourself with the secrets of the Holy One, Blessed be He? That which you have been commanded, the mitzva of procreation, you are required to perform, and that which is acceptable in the eyes of the Holy One, Blessed be He, let Him perform, as He has so decided. Hezekiah said to Isaiah: Now give me your daughter as my wife; perhaps my merit and your merit will cause virtuous children to emerge from me.
Isaiah said to him: The decree has already been decreed against you and this judgment cannot be changed.
Hezekiah said to him: Son of Amoz, cease your prophecy and leave. As long as the prophet spoke as God’s emissary, Hezekiah was obligated to listen to him. He was not, however, obligated to accept Isaiah’s personal opinion that there was no possibility for mercy and healing. Hezekiah continued: I have received a tradition from the house of my father’s father, from King David, the founding father of the dynasty of kings of Judea: Even if a sharp sword rests upon a person’s neck, he should not prevent himself from praying for mercy. One may still hold out hope that his prayers will be answered, as was David himself when he saw the Angel of Destruction, but nonetheless prayed for mercy and his prayers were answered. With regard to the fact that one should not despair of God’s mercy, the Gemara cites that it was also said that Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Eliezer both said: Even if a sharp sword is resting upon a person’s neck, he should not prevent himself from praying for mercy, as it is stated in the words of Job: “Though He slay me, I will trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Even though God is about to take his life, he still prays for God’s mercy.
19יט
דיון
  • איזו גישה נוקטת ברוריה בוויכוח עם ר' מאיר? האם גישה זו דומה לגישתה בעימותים עם חכמים? מה ניתן ללמוד מכך על אישיותה של ברוריה?
מדרש משלי מספר על גורלם העצוב של בניהם של ברוריה ור' מאיר:
20כ
אשת חיל מי ימצא - מעשה היה ברבי מאיר שהיה יושב ודורש בבית המדרש בשבת במנחה, ומתו שני בניו. מה עשתה אימן?
הניחה שניהם על המטה ופרשה סדין עליהם.
במוצאי השבת בא ר' מאיר מבית המדרש לביתו.
אמר לה: היכן שני בני?
אמרה לו: לבית המדרש הלכו.
אמר לה: צפיתי לבית המדרש ולא ראיתי אותם.
נתנה לו כוס של הבדלה והבדיל.
חזר ואמר לה: היכן שני בני?
אמרה לו: פעמים שהלכו ועכשיו הם באים. הקריבה לפניו המאכל ואכל.
לאחר שבירך אמרה לו: רבי, שאלה אחת יש לי לשאול לך.
אמר לה: אמרי שאלתך.
אמרה לו: רבי, קודם היום בא אדם אחד ונתן לי פקדון, ועכשיו בא ליטול אותו, נחזיר לו או לא?
אמר לה: בתי, מי שיש פקדון אצלו אינו צריך להחזירו לרבו?!
אמרה לו: רבי, חוץ מדעתך לא הייתי נותנת אצלו.
מה עשתה? תפשתו בידה, והעלתה אותו לאותו החדר, הקריבה אותו למיטה, ונטלה סדין מעליהם, וראה שניהם מתים ומונחים על המטה.
התחיל בוכה ואומר: בני בני, רבאי רבאי, בני כדרך הארץ, ורבאי שהיו מאירין פני בתורתן!
באותה שעה אמרה לו: ר' מאיר, רבי, לא כך אמרת לי שאנו צריכים להחזיר הפקדון לרבו?
כך אמר: "ה' נתן וה' לקח יהי שם ה' מבורך" (איוב א, כא).
אמר ר' חנינא בדבר הזה נחמתו ונתיישבה דעתו, לכך נאמר "אשת חיל מי ימצא"".
"A valiant woman, who can find" (Proverbs 31:10): That is the Torah; "and further than pearls (peninim) is her price" - as it was 'in front of Me and inside (lefanim)' and Moshe merited to bring it down to earth. "Her husband puts his confidence in her, and lacks no 'booty'" - that there is nothing lacking in it. Another explanation: "A valiant woman, who can find" - They said, "There was a story about Rabbi Meir who was sitting and expounding in the study hall on Shabbat afternoon, when two of his sons died. What did his mother do? She placed both of them on the bed and spread a sheet over them. At the end of Shabbat, Rabbi Meir came home from the study hall. He said to her, 'Where are my two sons?' She said [back], 'They went to the study hall.' He said to her, 'I scanned the study hall and I did not see them.' They gave him the cup of Havdalah and he separated [the days of the week with the closure of Shabbat]. He repeated and said, 'Where are my two sons?' She said, 'They went elsewhere and they are coming now.' She placed food in front of him and he ate and blessed. After he blessed, she said to him, 'I have a question to ask you.' He said to her, 'Say your question.' She said to him, 'Rabbi, before today, a man came and deposited something with me, and now he is coming to take it. Should we return it to him or not?' He said, 'My daughter, one who has a deposit with him must return it to its owner.' She said to him, 'Were it not for your consent, I would not have given it to him.' What did she do? She grabbed his hand, brought him up to that room, had him approach the bed and took off the sheet from upon them. When he saw both of them dead and laying upon the bed, he began to cry and say, 'My sons, my sons, my teachers, my teachers - my sons in the way of the world, my teachers in that they would enlighten my eyes with their Torah.' At that time, she said to Rabbi Meir, 'Rabbi, is this not what I told you - do I not need to return the deposit to its Owner?' He said, '"The Lord has given and the Lord has taken; may the name of the Lord be blessed"' (Job 1:21)." Rabbi Chanina said, "With this thing, she consoled him and his mind became composed - that is is why it states, 'A valiant woman, who can find.'" Rabbi Chama bar Chanina said, "On account of what did the sons of Rabbi Meir become liable and die at one time? Because they were accustomed to leaving the study hall to sit with food and drink." Rabbi Yochanan said, "Even with trifling matters - as when the Torah was given to Israel, he only warned them about the words of Torah, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 26:16), 'This day the Lord, your God, commands you to do.'"
21כא
דיון
  • כיצד התמודדה ברוריה עם הנורא מכול - מות שני בניה? מה ניתן ללמוד מכך על אישיותה?
  • מדוע זכתה ברוריה להיקרא "אשת חיל"? במה מתבטאת גבורתה? במה מתבטאת חוכמתה?
22כב
דיון
"מעשה דברוריא": על הפרשייה שאיימה להכתים את דמותה
במסכת עבודה זרה בתלמוד מסופר כי ר' מאיר ערק (ברח) מארץ ישראל לבבל "משום מעשה דברוריא". הגמרא עצמה אינה מפרטת את המשפט הסתום ורש"י מספר את הסיפור המלא לגרסתו:
23כג
פירוש רש"י לתלמוד בבלי, מסכת עבודה זרה, דף יח, עמוד ב
ואיכא דאמרי משום מעשה דברוריא - שפעם אחת לגלגה [ברוריה] על שאמרו חכמים (קדושין, דף פ' ע"א) נשים דעתן קלות הן עלייהו, ואמר לה [ר' מאיר]: "חייך סופך להודות לדבריהם", וצווה לאחד מתלמידיו לנסותה לדבר עברה [לפתות אותה] והפציר בה ימים רבים עד שנתרצית, וכשנודע לה [שלא עמדה בניסיון שהציב לה בעלה] חנקה עצמה וערק רבי מאיר מחמת כסופא [בושה].
24כד
דיון
  • מה דעתכם על סיפור זה?
  • כיצד ניתן (אם בכלל) ליישב את הפער בין סיפור זה לבין דמותה של ברוריה?
"מעשה דברוריא" העסיק מפרשים רבים, ראשונים ואחרונים. קרא שתי התמודדיות בנות ימינו עם הסיפור.

שי בן נחום, מישיבת הר עציון, קושר בין סופה של ברוריה לבין האמירה המפורסמת ממסכת סוטה "כל אדם שיש בו גסות הרוח לבסוף נכשל באשת איש" (תלמוד בבלי, מסכת סוטה, דף ד, עמוד ב):
25כה
שי בן נחום, 'מעשה דברוריה', מתוך אתר ישיבת הר עציון באלון שבות
ברוריה עולה במעלות לימוד התורה תוך מאבק בלתי פוסק בסביבה. [...]. ברוריה מבססת את מקומה בביהמ"ד [בבית המדרש] בזכות עצמה, כתנאית עצמאית, המחדשת הלכות וחולקת לעיתים על תנאים אחרים. היא בעלת שיטת לימוד משל עצמה ואף זורקת לעיתים מרה בתלמידים. אך סכנה קיימת גם בלימוד תורה: "כל העוסק בלימוד התורה בלבד דומה כמי שאין לו אלוה" (עבודה זרה י"ז:). גדולתה של ברוריה בתורה גורמת לה לשכוח את יראת ה' ואת מידת הענווה והכפיפות שהייתה בה כלפי תלמידי חכמים, בחינת: 'את ה' אלוהיך תירא לרבות תלמידי חכמים' [תלמוד בבלי, מסכת פסחים, דף כב, עמוד ב]. היא מתרגלת לכך שאפשר לחלוק על דברי חכמים וההקפדה היתרה שהיתה בה למאמר חכמים "אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה", הוחלפה בזלזול במאמר חכמים אחר: "נשים דעתן קלה" ברוריה השוקעת בעולם התורה מתוך צידוק הדין, מאבדת אט אט את רגישותה לזולת. היא מתרכזת בעצמה, בכבודה [...] ר' מאיר שמכיר מגמות אלו משנים עשר אלף זוגות תלמידי ר' עקיבא שמתו בגלל חטאים דומים, מזהה אותן אצל אשתו. ר' מאיר מנסה להזהיר את ברוריה ע"י העמדתה בניסיון עם אחד מתלמידיו. ברגע שברוריה מתרצית, התלמיד מספר לה שנפלה בפח. לברוריה לא נותר דבר בעולמה: ביתה שומם, ולבית המדרש אין היא יכולה להיכנס מחמת הבושה. היא מתייאשת ולבסוף מתאבדת. נראה כי ברגעיה האחרונים הבינה ברוריה את אשר רצה לרמוז לה ר' מאיר: אין בכח לימוד תורה בלבד, ללא תשומת לב מתמדת לתיקון המידות, בכדי להביא את האדם להגשמת ייעודו. על מנת לדעת את ה' ולדבקה בו יש לתקן את המדות כשלב מקדים של "והלכת בדרכיו"
למאמר המלא

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26כו
דיון
  • כיצד מסביר בן נחום את התנהגותה של ברוריה בפרשייה זו?
  • מה דעתכם על פרשנות זו? איזו עמדה עומדת מאחוריה?
27כז
יהודה הרצל הנקין, שו"ת בני בנים, חלק ד, מאמר ד, הערה 5.
הסיפור אינו מסתבר לע"ד [=לעניות דעתי] [...] סיפור זה אינו נמצא בדברי חז"ל ולא נודע מקורו ושאר ראשונים לא הזכירוהו, ושמא יסודו באיזה סיפור או מקור אחר שנשתרבב שמה של ברוריה לתוכו. ועל רש"י אין תלונה כי הוא רשם מה ששמע. והגם שאין להשוות בין רש"י לאחרונים, נמצא דומה לזה בתפארת ישראל בסוף משניות קידושין אות סז שהביא באהדה סיפור מוזר על משה רבנו, ומאז התברר שמקור הסיפור היה סיפור הגויים אודות אריסטו.
28כח
דיון
יהודה הרצל הנקין מעניק במאמרו התייחסות שונה ל"מעשה דברוריא":
29כט
דיון
עדות לכך שגרסתו של רש"י לא הייתה הגרסה היחידה לסיפור ולכן גם לא הבלעדית, מגיעה מרבנו ניסים (רב נסים גאון), אשר חי כמה דורות לפני רש"י. בספרו 'חיבור יפה מן הישועה' מציג רבנו ניסים את סיפור הצלתה של אחות ברוריה על ידי ר' מאיר, ובסופו מובא המשפט הבא:
30ל
רבנו ניסים ב"ר יעקב (רב ניסים גאון), חיבור יפה מהישועה, ירושלים תש"ל, עמ' ל
"הלך [ר' מאיר] לקח את אשתו וכל מה שהיה לו ועבר אל עראק (בבל)"
31לא
דיון
  • כיצד מסייעים דברי הרב הנקין ורבנו ניסים להסביר את הפערים בין "מעשה דברוריא" לאישיותה של ברוריה כפי שעלתה מן המקורות התלמודיים והמדרשיים?
  • מהם ההבדלים העקרוניים בין שתי הגישות - זו של בן נחום וזו של הרב הנקין?
  • "מעשה דברוריא" קנה אחיזה בציבור והתפרסם כעובדה מוגמרת, ואילו הדעה כי מקורו מפוקפק אינה מוכרת. כיצד ניתן להסביר זאת?
  • איזה אינטרס היה למחבר גרסת "מעשה דברוריא" (שלפי הרב הנקין התגלגלה בטעות לפירוש רש"י), "לשרבב" את שמה של ברוריה לסיפור זה?
33 לג
34לד
דף הנחיות למנחה:
ברוריה.rtf
35לה
דף מספר 5 בסדרה 'פיה פתחה בחכמה': על נשים חכמות בעולם גברי, דפים נוספים בסדרה:
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