I Have Grown Years in a Matter of Days
תְּפִלַּת הָעֶרֶב אֵין לָהּ קֶבַע. מַאי אֵין לָהּ קֶבַע? אִילֵּימָא דְּאִי בָּעֵי מְצַלֵּי כּוּלֵּיהּ לֵילְיָא, לִיתְנֵי ״תְּפִלַּת הָעֶרֶב כׇּל הַלַּיְלָה״! אֶלָּא מַאי אֵין לָהּ קֶבַע — כְּמַאן דְּאָמַר, תְּפִלַּת עַרְבִית רְשׁוּת. דְּאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: תְּפִלַּת עַרְבִית: רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר חוֹבָהּ, רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר רְשׁוּת. אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: הֲלָכָה כְּדִבְרֵי הָאוֹמֵר חוֹבָה. וְרָבָא אָמַר: הֲלָכָה כְּדִבְרֵי הָאוֹמֵר רְשׁוּת. תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: מַעֲשֶׂה בְּתַלְמִיד אֶחָד שֶׁבָּא לִפְנֵי רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ. אָמַר לוֹ: תְּפִלַּת עַרְבִית רְשׁוּת אוֹ חוֹבָה? אָמַר לֵיהּ: רְשׁוּת. בָּא לִפְנֵי רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל, אָמַר לוֹ: תְּפִלַּת עַרְבִית רְשׁוּת אוֹ חוֹבָה? אָמַר לוֹ: חוֹבָה. אָמַר לוֹ: וַהֲלֹא רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אָמַר לִי רְשׁוּת?! אָמַר לוֹ: הַמְתֵּן עַד שֶׁיִּכָּנְסוּ בַּעֲלֵי תְּרִיסִין לְבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ. כְּשֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ בַּעֲלֵי תְּרִיסִין, עָמַד הַשּׁוֹאֵל וְשָׁאַל: תְּפִלַּת עַרְבִית רְשׁוּת אוֹ חוֹבָה? אָמַר לוֹ רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל: חוֹבָה. אָמַר לָהֶם רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל לַחֲכָמִים: כְּלוּם יֵשׁ אָדָם שֶׁחוֹלֵק בְּדָבָר זֶה? אָמַר לֵיהּ רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ: לָאו. אָמַר לוֹ: וַהֲלֹא מִשִּׁמְךָ אָמְרוּ לִי רְשׁוּת! אָמַר לֵיהּ: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, עֲמוֹד עַל רַגְלֶיךָ וְיָעִידוּ בְּךָ. עָמַד רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ עַל רַגְלָיו וְאָמַר אִלְמָלֵא אֲנִי חַי וְהוּא מֵת — יָכוֹל הַחַי לְהַכְחִישׁ אֶת הַמֵּת. וְעַכְשָׁיו שֶׁאֲנִי חַי וְהוּא חַי — הֵיאַךְ יָכוֹל הַחַי לְהַכְחִישׁ אֶת הַחַי?

We learned in the mishna: The evening prayer may be recited throughout the night and is not fixed to a specific hour. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of is not fixed? If you say that if one wishes, he may pray throughout the night, then let the mishna teach: The evening prayer may be recited throughout the night. Rather, what is the meaning of not fixed? It is in accordance with the opinion of the one who said: The evening prayer is optional. As Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said with regard to the evening prayer. Rabban Gamliel says: It is obligatory. Rabbi Yehoshua says: It is optional. Abaye said: The halakha is in accordance with the statement of the one who said: The evening prayer is obligatory. Rava said: The halakha is in accordance with the statement of the one who said: The evening prayer is optional. The Sages taught: There was an incident involving a student, who came before Rabbi Yehoshua. The student said to him: Is the evening prayer optional or obligatory? Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: Optional. The same student came before Rabban Gamliel and said to him: Is the evening prayer optional or obligatory? Rabban Gamliel said to him: Obligatory. The student said to Rabban Gamliel: But didn’t Rabbi Yehoshua tell me that the evening prayer is optional? Rabban Gamliel said to the student: Wait until the “masters of the shields,” a reference to the Torah scholars who battle in the war of Torah, enter the study hall, at which point we will discuss this issue. When the masters of the shields entered, the questioner stood before everyone present and asked: Is the evening prayer optional or obligatory? Rabban Gamliel said to him: Obligatory. In order to ascertain whether or not Rabbi Yehoshua still maintained his opinion, Rabban Gamliel said to the Sages: Is there any person who disputes this matter? Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: No, no one disagrees. In deference to the Nasi, he did not wish to argue with him publicly (Tziyyun LeNefesh Ḥayya). Rabban Gamliel said to Rabbi Yehoshua: But was it not in your name that they told me that the evening prayer is optional? Rabban Gamliel said to Rabbi Yehoshua: Yehoshua, stand on your feet and they will testify against you. Rabbi Yehoshua stood on his feet and said: If I were alive and the student were dead, the living can contradict the dead, and I could deny issuing that ruling. Now that I am alive and he is alive, how can the living contradict the living? I have no choice but to admit that I said it.

הָיָה רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל יוֹשֵׁב וְדוֹרֵשׁ וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ עוֹמֵד עַל רַגְלָיו, עַד שֶׁרִנְּנוּ כׇּל הָעָם וְאָמְרוּ לְחוּצְפִּית הַתּוּרְגְּמָן: עֲמוֹד! וְעָמַד. אָמְרִי: עַד כַּמָּה נְצַעֲרֵיהּ וְנֵיזִיל, בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה אֶשְׁתָּקַד צַעֲרֵיהּ. בִּבְכוֹרוֹת בְּמַעֲשֵׂה דְרַבִּי צָדוֹק צַעֲרֵיהּ. הָכָא נָמֵי צַעֲרֵיהּ, תָּא וְנַעְבְּרֵיהּ! מַאן נוֹקֵים לֵיהּ? נוֹקְמֵיהּ לְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ — בַּעַל מַעֲשֶׂה הוּא. נוֹקְמֵיהּ לְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא — דִּילְמָא עָנֵישׁ לֵיהּ, דְּלֵית לֵיהּ זְכוּת אָבוֹת. אֶלָּא נוֹקְמֵיהּ לְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה, דְּהוּא חָכָם, וְהוּא עָשִׁיר, וְהוּא עֲשִׂירִי לְעֶזְרָא. הוּא חָכָם — דְּאִי מַקְשֵׁי לֵיהּ, מְפָרֵק לֵיהּ. וְהוּא עָשִׁיר — דְּאִי אִית לֵיהּ לְפַלּוֹחֵי לְבֵי קֵיסָר, אַף הוּא אָזֵל וּפָלַח. וְהוּא עֲשִׂירִי לְעֶזְרָא — דְּאִית לֵיהּ זְכוּת אָבוֹת, וְלָא מָצֵי עָנֵישׁ לֵיהּ. אֲתוֹ וַאֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ: נִיחָא לֵיהּ לְמָר דְּלֶיהְוֵי רֵישׁ מְתִיבְתָּא? אֲמַר לְהוּ: אֵיזִיל וְאִימְּלִיךְ בְּאִינָשֵׁי בֵּיתִי. אֲזַל וְאִמְּלִיךְ בִּדְבֵיתְהוּ. אֲמַרָה לֵיהּ: דִּלְמָא מְעַבְּרִין לָךְ. אֲמַר לַהּ: לִשְׁתַּמַּשׁ אִינָשׁ יוֹמָא חֲדָא בְּכָסָא דְמוֹקְרָא, וְלִמְחַר לִיתְּבַר. אֲמַרָה לֵיהּ: לֵית לָךָ חִיוָּרָתָא. הָהוּא יוֹמָא בַּר תַּמְנֵי סְרֵי שְׁנֵי הֲוָה, אִתְרְחִישׁ לֵיהּ נִיסָּא וְאִהַדַּרוּ לֵיהּ תַּמְנֵי סְרֵי דָּרֵי חִיוָּרָתָא. הַיְינוּ דְּקָאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה: הֲרֵי אֲנִי כְּבֶן שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה. וְלֹא ״בֶּן שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה״.
In the meantime, Rabban Gamliel, as the Nasi, was sitting and lecturing, and Rabbi Yehoshua all the while was standing on his feet, because Rabban Gamliel did not instruct him to sit. He remained standing in deference to the Nasi. This continued for some time, until it aroused great resentment against Rabban Gamliel, and all of the people assembled began murmuring and said to Ḥutzpit the disseminator: Stop conveying Rabban Gamliel’s lecture. And he stopped. The Gemara relates that in their murmuring they said: How long will Rabban Gamliel continue afflicting him? Last year on Rosh HaShana, he afflicted him; Rabban Gamliel ordered Rabbi Yehoshua to come to him carrying his staff and bag, on the day on which Yom Kippur occurred, according to Rabbi Yehoshua’s calculations. Regarding the firstborn, in the incident involving the question of Rabbi Tzadok, he afflicted him just as he did now, and forced him to remain standing as punishment for his failure to defend his differing opinion. Here too, he is afflicting him. Let us remove him from his position as Nasi. It was so agreed, but the question arose: Who shall we establish in his place? Shall we establish Rabbi Yehoshua in his place? The Sages rejected that option because Rabbi Yehoshua was party to the incident for which Rabban Gamliel was deposed. Appointing him would be extremely upsetting for Rabban Gamliel. Shall we establish Rabbi Akiva in his place? The Sages rejected that option because Rabbi Akiva, who descended from a family of converts, would be vulnerable. Perhaps due to Rabban Gamliel’s resentment he would cause him to be divinely punished as he lacks the merit of his ancestors to protect him. Rather, suggested the Sages, let us establish Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya in his place, his outstanding characteristics set him apart from the other candidates. He is wise, rich, and a tenth generation descendant of Ezra. The Gemara explains: He is wise, so if Rabban Gamliel raises a challenge in matters of Torah, he will answer it and not be embarrassed. And he is rich, so if the need arises to pay homage to the Caesar’s court and serve as a representative of Israel to lobby and negotiate, he has sufficient wealth to cover the costs of the long journeys, taxes, and gifts, so he too is able to go and pay homage. And he is a tenth generation descendant of Ezra, so he has the merit of his ancestors, and Rabban Gamliel will be unable to cause him to be punished. They came and said to him: Would the Master consent to being the Head of the Yeshiva? He said to them: I will go and consult with my household. He went and consulted with his wife. She said to him: There is room for concern. Perhaps they will remove you from office just as they removed Rabban Gamliel. He said to her, based on the folk saying: Let a person use an expensive goblet one day and let it break tomorrow. In other words, one should take advantage of an opportunity that presents itself and he need not concern himself whether or not it will last. She said to him: You have no white hair, and it is inappropriate for one so young to head the Sages. The Gemara relates: That day, he was eighteen years old, a miracle transpired for him and eighteen rows of hair turned white. The Gemara comments: That explains that which Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said: I am as one who is seventy years old and he did not say: I am seventy years old, because he looked older than he actually was.
תָּנָא אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם, סִלְּקוּהוּ לְשׁוֹמֵר הַפֶּתַח וְנִתְּנָה לָהֶם רְשׁוּת לַתַּלְמִידִים לִיכָּנֵס. שֶׁהָיָה רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל מַכְרִיז וְאוֹמֵר: כׇּל תַּלְמִיד שֶׁאֵין תּוֹכוֹ כְּבָרוֹ, לֹא יִכָּנֵס לְבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ. הַהוּא יוֹמָא אִתּוֹסְפוּ כַּמָּה סַפְסַלֵּי. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: פְּלִיגִי בַּהּ אַבָּא יוֹסֵף בֶּן דּוֹסְתַּאי וְרַבָּנַן. חַד אָמַר: אִתּוֹסְפוּ אַרְבַּע מְאָה סַפְסַלֵּי. וְחַד אָמַר: שְׁבַע מְאָה סַפְסַלֵּי. הֲוָה קָא חָלְשָׁה דַּעְתֵּיהּ דְּרַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל, אֲמַר: דִּלְמָא חַס וְשָׁלוֹם מָנַעְתִּי תּוֹרָה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. אַחְזוֹ לֵיהּ בְּחֶלְמֵיהּ חַצְבֵי חִיוָּרֵי דְּמַלְיִין קִטְמָא. וְלָא הִיא, הַהִיא לְיַתּוֹבֵי דַּעְתֵּיהּ, הוּא דְּאַחְזוֹ לֵיהּ. תָּנָא: עֵדֻיוֹת בּוֹ בַּיּוֹם נִשְׁנֵית. וְכׇל הֵיכָא דְּאָמְרִינַן ״בּוֹ בַּיּוֹם״, הַהוּא יוֹמָא הֲוָה. וְלֹא הָיְתָה הֲלָכָה שֶׁהָיְתָה תְּלוּיָה בְּבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ שֶׁלֹּא פֵּירְשׁוּהָ. וְאַף רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל לֹא מָנַע עַצְמוֹ מִבֵּית הַמִּדְרָשׁ אֲפִילּוּ שָׁעָה אַחַת. דִּתְנַן: בּוֹ בַּיּוֹם בָּא יְהוּדָה גֵּר עַמּוֹנִי לִפְנֵיהֶם בְּבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ. אָמַר לָהֶם: מָה אֲנִי לָבֹא בַּקָּהָל? אָמַר לוֹ רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל: אָסוּר אַתָּה לָבֹא בַּקָּהָל. אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ: מוּתָּר אַתָּה לָבֹא בַּקָּהָל. אָמַר לוֹ רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל: וַהֲלֹא כְּבָר נֶאֱמַר ״לֹא יָבֹא עַמּוֹנִי וּמוֹאָבִי בִּקְהַל ה׳״? אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ: וְכִי עַמּוֹן וּמוֹאָב בִּמְקוֹמָן הֵן יוֹשְׁבִין? כְּבָר עָלָה סַנְחֵרִיב מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וּבִלְבֵּל אֶת כׇּל הָאוּמּוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וְאָסִיר גְּבֻלוֹת עַמִּים וַעֲתוּדוֹתֵיהֶם שׁוֹשֵׂתִי וְאוֹרִיד כַּבִּיר יוֹשְׁבִים״, וְכׇל דְּפָרֵישׁ — מֵרוּבָּא פָּרֵישׁ. אָמַר לוֹ רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל: וַהֲלֹא כְּבָר נֶאֱמַר ״וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן אָשִׁיב אֶת שְׁבוּת בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן נְאֻם ה׳״, וּכְבָר שָׁבוּ! אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ: וַהֲלֹא כְּבָר נֶאֱמַר ״וְשַׁבְתִּי אֶת שְׁבוּת עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל״, וַעֲדַיִין לֹא שָׁבוּ. מִיָּד הִתִּירוּהוּ לָבֹא בַּקָּהָל. אָמַר רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל: הוֹאִיל וְהָכִי הֲוָה, אֵיזִיל וַאֲפַיְּיסֵיהּ לְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ. כִּי מְטָא לְבֵיתֵיהּ, חֲזִינְהוּ לְאַשְׁיָתָא דְבֵיתֵיהּ דְּמַשְׁחֲרָן. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: מִכּוֹתְלֵי בֵיתְךָ אַתָּה נִיכָּר שֶׁפֶּחָמִי אַתָּה. אָמַר לוֹ: אוֹי לוֹ לַדּוֹר שֶׁאַתָּה פַּרְנָסוֹ, שֶׁאִי אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ בְּצַעֲרָן שֶׁל תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים, בַּמֶּה הֵם מִתְפַּרְנְסִים וּבַמֶּה הֵם נִזּוֹנִים. אָמַר לוֹ: נַעֲנֵיתִי לְךָ מְחוֹל לִי. לָא אַשְׁגַּח בֵּיהּ: עֲשֵׂה בִּשְׁבִיל כְּבוֹד אַבָּא. פַּיֵּיס. אֲמַרוּ: מַאן נֵיזִיל וְלֵימָא לְהוּ לְרַבָּנַן. אֲמַר לְהוּ הַהוּא כּוֹבֵס: אֲנָא אָזֵילְנָא. שְׁלַח לְהוּ רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ לְבֵי מִדְרְשָׁא: מַאן דְּלָבֵישׁ מַדָּא — יִלְבַּשׁ מַדָּא, וּמַאן דְּלָא לָבֵישׁ מַדָּא יֵימַר לֵיהּ לְמַאן דְּלָבֵישׁ מַדָּא: שְׁלַח מַדָּךְ וַאֲנָא אֶלְבְּשֵׁיהּ?! אֲמַר לְהוּ רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא לְרַבָּנַן: טְרוּקוּ גַּלֵּי דְּלָא לֵיתוּ עַבְדֵי דְרַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל וּלְצַעֲרוּ לְרַבָּנַן. אֲמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ: מוּטָב דְּאֵיקוּם וְאֵיזִיל אֲנָא לְגַבַּיְיהוּ. אֲתָא טְרַף אַבָּבָא. אֲמַר לְהוּ: מַזֶּה בֶּן מַזֶּה יַזֶּה. וְשֶׁאֵינוֹ לֹא מַזֶּה וְלֹא בֶּן מַזֶּה יֹאמַר לְמַזֶּה בֶּן מַזֶּה מֵימֶיךָ מֵי מְעָרָה וְאֶפְרְךָ אֵפֶר מִקְלֶה. אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא: רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, נִתְפַּיַּיסְתָּ? כְּלוּם עָשִׂינוּ אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל כְּבוֹדְךָ, לְמָחָר אֲנִי וְאַתָּה נַשְׁכִּים לְפִתְחוֹ. אָמְרִי: הֵיכִי נַעֲבֵיד, נַעְבְּרֵיהּ — גְּמִירִי מַעֲלִין בַּקֹּדֶשׁ וְאֵין מוֹרִידִין. נִדְרוֹשׁ מָר חֲדָא שַׁבְּתָא וּמַר חֲדָא שַׁבְּתָא — אָתֵי לְקַנּאוֹיֵי. אֶלָּא: לִדְרוֹשׁ רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל תְּלָתָא שַׁבָּתֵי וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה חֲדָא שַׁבְּתָא. וְהַיְינוּ דְּאָמַר מָר שַׁבָּת שֶׁל מִי הָיְתָה — שֶׁל רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה הָיְתָה. וְאוֹתוֹ תַּלְמִיד רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַאי הֲוָה.
It was taught: On that day that they removed Rabban Gamliel from his position and appointed Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya in his place, there was also a fundamental change in the general approach of the study hall as they dismissed the guard at the door and permission was granted to the students to enter. Instead of Rabban Gamliel’s selective approach that asserted that the students must be screened before accepting them into the study hall, the new approach asserted that anyone who seeks to study should be given opportunity to do so. As Rabban Gamliel would proclaim and say: Any student whose inside, his thoughts and feelings, are not like his outside, i.e., his conduct and his character traits are lacking, will not enter the study hall. The Gemara relates: On that day several benches were added to the study hall to accommodate the numerous students. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Abba Yosef ben Dostai and the Rabbis disputed this matter. One said: Four hundred benches were added to the study hall. And one said: Seven hundred benches were added to the study hall. When he saw the tremendous growth in the number of students, Rabban Gamliel was disheartened. He said: Perhaps, Heaven forbid, I prevented Israel from engaging in Torah study. They showed him in his dream white jugs filled with ashes alluding to the fact that the additional students were worthless idlers. The Gemara comments: That is not the case, but that dream was shown to him to ease his mind so that he would not feel bad. It was taught: There is a tradition that tractate Eduyyot was taught that day. And everywhere in the Mishna or in a baraita that they say: On that day, it is referring to that day. There was no halakha whose ruling was pending in the study hall that they did not explain and arrive at a practical halakhic conclusion. And even Rabban Gamliel did not avoid the study hall for even one moment, as he held no grudge against those who removed him from office and he participated in the halakhic discourse in the study hall as one of the Sages. As we learned in a mishna: On that day, Yehuda, the Ammonite convert, came before the students in the study hall and he said to them: What is my legal status in terms of entering into the congregation of Israel, i.e., to marry a Jewish woman? Rabban Gamliel said to him: You are forbidden to enter into the congregation. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: You are permitted to enter into the congregation. Rabban Gamliel said to Rabbi Yehoshua: Wasn’t it already stated: “An Ammonite and a Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to the tenth generation shall none of them enter into the congregation of the Lord forever” (Deuteronomy 23:4)? How can you permit him to enter the congregation? Rabbi Yehoshua said to Rabban Gamliel: Do Ammon and Moab reside in their place? Sennacherib already came and, through his policy of population transfer, scrambled all the nations and settled other nations in place of Ammon. Consequently, the current residents of Ammon and Moab are not ethnic Ammonites and Moabites, as it is stated in reference to Sennacherib: “I have removed the bounds of the peoples, and have robbed their treasures, and have brought down as one mighty the inhabitants” (Isaiah 10:13). And although it is conceivable that this particular convert is an ethnic Ammonite, nevertheless, there is no need for concern due to the halakhic principle: Anything that parts from a group parts from the majority, and the assumption is that he is from the majority of nations whose members are permitted to enter the congregation. Rabban Gamliel said to Rabbi Yehoshua: But wasn’t it already stated: “But afterward I will bring back the captivity of the children of Ammon, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 49:6) and they have already returned to their land? Therefore, he is an ethnic Ammonite and he may not convert. Rabbi Yehoshua said to Rabban Gamliel: That is no proof. Wasn’t it already stated in another prophecy: “And I will turn the captivity of My people Israel and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them” (Amos 9:14), and they have not yet returned? In rendering the ruling, only proven facts may be taken into consideration. They immediately permitted him to enter the congregation. This proves that Rabban Gamliel did not absent himself from the study hall that day and participated in the halakhic discourse. Rabban Gamliel said to himself: Since this is the situation, that the people are following Rabbi Yehoshua, apparently he was right. Therefore, it would be appropriate for me to go and appease Rabbi Yehoshua. When he reached Rabbi Yehoshua’s house, he saw that the walls of his house were black. Rabban Gamliel said to Rabbi Yehoshua in wonderment: From the walls of your house it is apparent that you are a blacksmith, as until then he had no idea that Rabbi Yehoshua was forced to engage in that arduous trade in order to make a living. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: Woe unto a generation that you are its leader as you are unaware of the difficulties of Torah scholars, how they make a living and how they feed themselves. Rabban Gamliel said to him: I insulted you, forgive me. Rabbi Yehoshua paid him no attention and did not forgive him. He asked him again: Do it in deference to my father, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, who was one of the leaders of Israel at the time of the destruction of the Temple. He was appeased. Now that Rabbi Yehoshua was no longer offended, it was only natural that Rabban Gamliel would be restored to his position. They said: Who will go and inform the Sages? Apparently, they were not eager to carry out the mission that would undo the previous actions and remove Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya from his position as Nasi. This launderer said to them: I will go. Rabbi Yehoshua sent to the Sages to the study hall: The one who wears the uniform will continue to wear the uniform, the original Nasi will remain in his position so that the one who did not wear the uniform will not say to the one who wears the uniform, remove your uniform and I will wear it. Apparently, the Sages believed that this emissary was dispatched at the initiative of Rabban Gamliel and they ignored him. Rabbi Akiva said to the Sages: Lock the gates so that Rabban Gamliel’s servants will not come and disturb the Sages. When he heard what happened, Rabbi Yehoshua said: It is best if I go to them. He came and knocked on the door. He said to them with a slight variation: One who sprinkles pure water on those who are ritually impure, son of one who sprinkles water shall continue to sprinkle water. And it is inappropriate that he who is neither one who sprinkles nor son of one who sprinkles will say to one who sprinkles son of one who sprinkles: Your water is cave water and not the running water required to purify one exposed to ritual impurity imparted by a corpse and your ashes are burnt ashes and not the ashes of a red heifer. Rabbi Akiva said to him: Rabbi Yehoshua, have you been appeased? Everything we did was to defend your honor. If you have forgiven him, none of us is opposed. Early tomorrow you and I will go to Rabban Gamliel’s doorway and offer to restore him to his position as Nasi. The question arose what to do with Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya? They said: What shall we do? Remove him from his position. That is inappropriate as we learned a halakha through tradition: One elevates to a higher level of sanctity and does not downgrade. Therefore, one who was the Nasi of the Sanhedrin cannot be demoted. Let one Sage lecture one week and the other Sage one week, they will come to be jealous one of another, as they will be forced to appoint one as the acting head of the Sanhedrin. Rather, Rabban Gamliel will lecture three weeks and Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya will lecture as head of the yeshiva one week. That arrangement was adopted and that is the explanation of the exchange in tractate Ḥagiga: Whose week was it? It was the week of Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya. One final detail: That student who asked the original question that sparked this entire incident was Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai.

Michelle Alexander, "America, This is Your Chance" New York Times, June 8, 2020

We know these truths about black experiences, but we often pretend we don’t. As Stanley Cohen wrote in “States of Denial,” many people “know” and “not-know” the truth about oppression and suffering. He explains: “Denial may be neither a matter of telling the truth nor intentionally telling a lie. There seem to be states of mind, or even whole cultures, in which we know and don’t know at the same time.”