The Very Exceptional Rabban Gamliel

(ה) חָתָן פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע בַּלַּיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן עַד מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת, אִם לֹא עָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה.

מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל שֶׁקָּרָא בַלַּיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁנָּשָׂא.

אָמְרוּ לוֹ תַּלְמִידָיו, לֹא לִמַּדְתָּנוּ, רַבֵּנוּ, שֶׁחָתָן פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע בַּלַּיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן. אָמַר לָהֶם, אֵינִי שׁוֹמֵעַ לָכֶם לְבַטֵּל מִמֶּנִּי מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם אֲפִלּוּ שָׁעָה אֶחָת:

A groom is exempt from reciting the Shema on the first night until the end of the Shabbat, if he has not performed the act.

But the story goes that Rabban Gamaliel did recite the Shema on the first night after he had married.

His students said to him: Our master, have you not taught us that a groom is exempt from reciting the Shema?! He replied to them: I will not listen to you to remove from myself the Kingship of Heaven even for a moment.

רָחַץ לַיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁמֵּתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ.

אָמְרוּ לוֹ תַלְמִידָיו, לֹא לִמַּדְתָּנוּ, רַבֵּנוּ, שֶׁאָבֵל אָסוּר לִרְחֹץ. אָמַר לָהֶם, אֵינִי כִשְׁאָר כָּל אָדָם, אִסְטְנִיס אָנִי:

[Rabban Gamaliel] bathed on the first night after the death of his wife.

His students said to him: Master, have you not taught us, that a mourner is forbidden to bathe?! He replied to them: I am not like other people; I am very delicate (istenis ani).

וּכְשֶׁמֵּת טָבִי עַבְדּוֹ, קִבֵּל עָלָיו תַּנְחוּמִין.

אָמְרוּ לוֹ תַּלְמִידָיו, לֹא לִמַּדְתָּנוּ רַבֵּנוּ, שֶׁאֵין מְקַבְּלִין תַּנְחוּמִין עַל הָעֲבָדִים. אָמַר לָהֶם, אֵין טָבִי עַבְדִּי כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הָעֲבָדִים, כָּשֵׁר הָיָה:

When [Rabban Gamaliel’s] slave, Tavi, died, he accepted condolences for him.

His students said to him: Master, have you not taught us that one does not accept condolences for slaves? He replied to them: My slave Tavi was not like other slaves: he was kosher.

(ח) חָתָן אִם רָצָה לִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע לַיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן, קוֹרֵא.

רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר, לֹא כָל הָרוֹצֶה לִטֹּל אֶת הַשֵּׁם יִטֹּל:

If a groom wants to recite the Shema on the first night of his marriage, he may do so.

Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel says: not everyone who desires to take up the name of God may do so.

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