It is preferable for a person to engage in intercourse with a woman whose married status is uncertain and not humiliate another in public. The Gemara asks: From where do we derive this? The Gemara answers: It is from that which Rava interpreted, as Rava interpreted: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And when I limped they rejoiced and gathered…they tore and did not cease [damu]” (Psalms 35:15)? The term “damu” can also be understood as a reference to blood. Concerning the fasting he undertook to atone for his sin with Bathsheba (see II Samuel, chapters 11–12), David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, it is revealed and known before You that if my tormenters were to tear my flesh, my blood [dami] would not flow to the ground, due to excessive fasting. And moreover, they torment me to the extent that even at the time when they are engaged in the public study of the halakhot of leprous sores and tents in which there is a corpse, i.e., halakhic matters that have no connection to my sin, they say to me: David, one who engages in intercourse with a married woman, his death is effected with what form of execution? And I say to them: One who engages in intercourse with a married woman before witnesses and with forewarning, his death is by strangulation, but he still has a share in the World-to-Come. But one who humiliates another in public has no share in the World-to-Come. The transgression of you, who humiliate me, is more severe than my transgression. And Mar Zutra bar Toviyya says that Rav says; and some say Rav Ḥana bar Bizna says that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida says; and some say Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: It is more comfortable for a person to cast himself into a fiery furnace, than to humiliate another in public to avoid being cast into the furnace. From where do we derive this? From Tamar, daughter-in-law of Judah. When she was taken out to be burned, she did not reveal that she was pregnant with Judah’s child. Rather, she left the decision to him, to avoid humiliating him in public, as it is written: “And Judah said: Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law, saying: I am pregnant by the man to whom these belong. And she said: Examine these, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff?” (Genesis 38:24–25). § Rav Ḥinnana, son of Rav Idi, says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And you shall not mistreat each man his colleague [amito]” (Leviticus 25:17)? The word amito is interpreted as a contraction of im ito, meaning: One who is with him. With one who is with you in observance of Torah and mitzvot, you shall not mistreat him. Rav says: A person must always be careful about mistreatment of his wife. Since her tear is easily elicited, punishment for her mistreatment is immediate. Rabbi Elazar says: Since the day the Temple was destroyed the gates of prayer were locked, and prayer is not accepted as it once was, as it is stated in lament of the Temple’s destruction: “Though I plead and call out, He shuts out my prayer” (Lamentations 3:8). Yet, despite the fact that the gates of prayer were locked with the destruction of the Temple, the gates of tears were not locked, and one who cries before God may rest assured that his prayers will be answered, as it is stated: “Hear my prayer, Lord, and give ear to my pleading, keep not silence at my tears” (Psalms 39:13). And Rav says: Nevertheless, anyone who follows the counsel of his wife descends into Gehenna, as it is stated: “But there was none like Ahab, who did give himself over to do that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife incited” (I Kings 21:25). Rav Pappa said to Abaye: But don’t people say a popular proverb: If your wife is short, stoop and whisper to her and consult with her? The Gemara answers: This is not difficult, as this statement of Rav instructs that one not follow her counsel in general matters; and that proverb instructs that one follow her counsel in household matters. The Gemara presents another version of this distinction: This statement of Rav maintains that one should not follow her counsel in divine matters; and that proverb maintains that one should follow her counsel in general matters. Rav Ḥisda says: All the gates of Heaven are apt to be locked, except for the gates of prayer for victims of verbal mistreatment, as it is stated: “And behold, the Lord stood upon a wall built with a plumb line, and a plumb line in His hand” (Amos 7:7). God stands with the scales of justice in His hand to determine if one has been subjected to injustice. Rabbi Elazar says: In response to all transgressions, God punishes the perpetrator by means of an agent, except for mistreatment [ona’a], as it is stated: “And a plumb line [anakh] in His hand.” The term for mistreatment and the term for plumb line are spelled in a similar manner, indicating that God Himself inflicts retribution. Rabbi Abbahu says: There are three sins before whose transgressors the curtain [hapargod] between the world and the Divine Presence is not locked; their sins reach the Divine Presence. They are: Verbal mistreatment, robbery, and idol worship. Mistreatment, as it is stated: “And a plumb line in His hand”; robbery, as it is stated: “Violence and robbery are heard in her, they are before Me continually” (Jeremiah 6:7); idol worship, as it is stated: “A people that angers Me before Me continually; that sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense upon bricks” (Isaiah 65:3). Apropos the topic of how man should approach his household, Rav Yehuda says: A person must always be careful about ensuring that there is grain inside his house, as discord is found in a person’s house only over matters of grain, as it is stated: “He makes your borders peace; He gives you plenty with the finest wheat” (Psalms 147:14). If there is the finest wheat in your house, there will be peace there. Rav Pappa said: This is in accordance with the adage that people say: When the barley is emptied from the jug, quarrel knocks and enters the house. And Rav Ḥinnana bar Pappa says: A person must always be careful about ensuring that there is grain inside his house, as the Jewish people were characterized as poor only over matters of grain, as it is stated: “And it was, if Israel sowed, and Midian and the children of the east ascended” (Judges 6:3); and it is written: “And they encamped against them and they destroyed the crops of the land” (Judges 6:4); and it is further written: “And Israel was greatly impoverished due to Midian” (Judges 6:6). And Rabbi Ḥelbo says: A person must always be careful about sustaining the honor of his wife, as blessing is found in a person’s house only because of his wife, as it is stated in allusion to this: “And he dealt well with Abram for her sake, and he had sheep and oxen” (Genesis 12:16). And that is what Rava said to the residents of Meḥoza, where he lived: Honor your wives, so that you will become rich. § Apropos the topic of verbal mistreatment, we learned in a mishna there (Kelim 5:10): If one cut an earthenware oven widthwise into segments, and placed sand between each and every segment, Rabbi Eliezer deems it ritually pure. Because of the sand, its legal status is not that of a complete vessel, and therefore it is not susceptible to ritual impurity. And the Rabbis deem it ritually impure, as it is functionally a complete oven. And this is known as the oven of akhnai. The Gemara asks: What is the relevance of akhnai, a snake, in this context? Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: It is characterized in that manner due to the fact that the Rabbis surrounded it with their statements like this snake, which often forms a coil when at rest, and deemed it impure. The Sages taught: On that day, when they discussed this matter, Rabbi Eliezer answered all possible answers in the world to support his opinion, but the Rabbis did not accept his explanations from him. After failing to convince the Rabbis logically, Rabbi Eliezer said to them: If the halakha is in accordance with my opinion, this carob tree will prove it. The carob tree was uprooted from its place one hundred cubits, and some say four hundred cubits. The Rabbis said to him: One does not cite halakhic proof from the carob tree. Rabbi Eliezer then said to them: If the halakha is in accordance with my opinion, the stream will prove it. The water in the stream turned backward and began flowing in the opposite direction. They said to him: One does not cite halakhic proof from a stream. Rabbi Eliezer then said to them: If the halakha is in accordance with my opinion, the walls of the study hall will prove it. The walls of the study hall leaned inward and began to fall. Rabbi Yehoshua scolded the walls and said to them: If Torah scholars are contending with each other in matters of halakha, what is the nature of your involvement in this dispute? The Gemara relates: The walls did not fall because of the deference due Rabbi Yehoshua, but they did not straighten because of the deference due Rabbi Eliezer, and they still remain leaning. Rabbi Eliezer then said to them: If the halakha is in accordance with my opinion, Heaven will prove it. A Divine Voice emerged from Heaven and said: Why are you differing with Rabbi Eliezer, as the halakha is in accordance with his opinion in every place that he expresses an opinion? Rabbi Yehoshua stood on his feet and said: It is written: “It is not in heaven” (Deuteronomy 30:12). The Gemara asks: What is the relevance of the phrase “It is not in heaven” in this context? Rabbi Yirmeya says: Since the Torah was already given at Mount Sinai, we do not regard a Divine Voice, as You already wrote at Mount Sinai, in the Torah: “After a majority to incline” (Exodus 23:2). Since the majority of Rabbis disagreed with Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion, the halakha is not ruled in accordance with his opinion. The Gemara relates: Years after, Rabbi Natan encountered Elijah the prophet and said to him: What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do at that time, when Rabbi Yehoshua issued his declaration? Elijah said to him: The Holy One, Blessed be He, smiled and said: My children have triumphed over Me; My children have triumphed over Me. The Sages said: On that day, the Sages brought all the ritually pure items deemed pure by the ruling of Rabbi Eliezer with regard to the oven and burned them in fire, and the Sages reached a consensus in his regard and ostracized him. And the Sages said: Who will go and inform him of his ostracism? Rabbi Akiva, his beloved disciple, said to them: I will go, lest an unseemly person go and inform him in a callous and offensive manner, and he would thereby destroy the entire world. What did Rabbi Akiva do? He wore black and wrapped himself in black, as an expression of mourning and pain, and sat before Rabbi Eliezer at a distance of four cubits, which is the distance that one must maintain from an ostracized individual. Rabbi Eliezer said to him: Akiva, what is different about today from other days, that you comport yourself in this manner? Rabbi Akiva said to him: My teacher, it appears to me that your colleagues are distancing themselves from you. He employed euphemism, as actually they distanced Rabbi Eliezer from them. Rabbi Eliezer too, rent his garments and removed his shoes, as is the custom of an ostracized person, and he dropped from his seat and sat upon the ground. The Gemara relates: His eyes shed tears, and as a result the entire world was afflicted: One-third of its olives were afflicted, and one-third of its wheat, and one-third of its barley. And some say that even dough kneaded in a woman’s hands spoiled. The Sages taught: There was great anger on that day, as any place that Rabbi Eliezer fixed his gaze was burned. And even Rabban Gamliel, the Nasi of the Sanhedrin at Yavne, the head of the Sages who were responsible for the decision to ostracize Rabbi Eliezer, was coming on a boat at the time, and a large wave swelled over him and threatened to drown him. Rabban Gamliel said: It seems to me that this is only for the sake of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, as God punishes those who mistreat others. Rabban Gamliel stood on his feet and said: Master of the Universe, it is revealed and known before You that neither was it for my honor that I acted when ostracizing him, nor was it for the honor of the house of my father that I acted; rather, it was for Your honor, so that disputes will not proliferate in Israel. In response, the sea calmed from its raging. The Gemara further relates: Imma Shalom, the wife of Rabbi Eliezer, was the sister of Rabban Gamliel. From that incident forward, she would not allow Rabbi Eliezer to lower his head and recite the taḥanun prayer, which includes supplication and entreaties. She feared that were her husband to bemoan his fate and pray at that moment, her brother would be punished. A certain day was around the day of the New Moon, and she inadvertently substituted a full thirty-day month for a deficient twenty-nine-day month, i.e., she thought that it was the New Moon, when one does not lower his head in supplication, but it was not. Some say that a pauper came and stood at the door, and she took bread out to him. The result was that she left her husband momentarily unsupervised. When she returned, she found him and saw that he had lowered his head in prayer. She said to him: Arise, you already killed my brother. Meanwhile, the sound of a shofar emerged from the house of Rabban Gamliel to announce that the Nasi had died. Rabbi Eliezer said to her: From where did you know that your brother would die? She said to him: This is the tradition that I received from the house of the father of my father: All the gates of Heaven are apt to be locked, except for the gates of prayer for victims of verbal mistreatment. § The Sages taught: One who verbally mistreats the convert violates three prohibitions, and one who oppresses him in other ways violates two. The Gemara asks: What is different with regard to verbal mistreatment, that three prohibitions are written concerning it: “And you shall neither mistreat a convert” (Exodus 22:20); “And when a convert lives in your land, you shall not mistreat him” (Leviticus 19:33); “And you shall not mistreat, each man his colleague” (Leviticus 25:17), and a convert is included in the category of colleague? With regard to one who also oppresses a convert as well, three prohibitions are written: “And you shall neither mistreat a convert, nor oppress him” (Exodus 22:20); “And you shall not oppress a convert (Exodus 23:9); “And you shall not be to him like a creditor” (Exodus 22:24). This last prohibition is a general prohibition, in which converts are included. Consequently, it is not correct that one who oppresses a convert violates only two prohibitions. Rather, both this one, who verbally mistreats a convert, and that one, who oppresses him, violate three prohibitions. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer the Great says: For what reason did the Torah issue warnings in thirty-six places, and some say in forty-six places, with regard to causing any distress to a convert? It is due to the fact that a convert’s inclination is evil, i.e., he is prone to return to his previous way of living. What is the meaning of that which is written: “And you shall not mistreat a convert nor oppress him, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:20)? We learned in a baraita that Rabbi Natan says: A defect that is in you, do not mention it in another. Since the Jewish people were themselves strangers, they are not in a position to demean a convert because he is a stranger in their midst. And this explains the adage that people say: One who has a person hanged in his family [bidyotkei], does not say to another member of his household: Hang a fish for me, as the mention of hanging is demeaning for that family. MISHNA: One may not intermingle produce bought from one supplier with other produce, even if he intermingles new produce with other new produce and ostensibly the buyer suffers no loss from his doing so.