(כב) בֶּן בַּג בַּג אוֹמֵר, הֲפֹךְ בָּהּ וַהֲפֹךְ בָּהּ, דְּכֹלָּא בָהּ. וּבָהּ תֶּחֱזֵי, וְסִיב וּבְלֵה בָהּ, וּמִנַּהּ לֹא תָזוּעַ, שֶׁאֵין לְךָ מִדָּה טוֹבָה הֵימֶנָּה:
(22) Ben Bag Bag says: Search in it and search in it, since everything is in it. And in it should you look, and grow old and be worn in it; and from it do not move, since there is no characteristic greater than it.
Commitment to Curiosity
Our Rabbis have taught, It happened to R. Yochanan ben Beruka and R. Elazar ben Chisma, that they went to visit R. Yehoshua in Pekiin. He said to them, What innovation was there in the house of study today? They said to him, We are your students, and of your waters do we drink. He said to them, Even so, it is impossible for the house of study to be without something new. Whose week was it? It was R. Elazar ben Azariah's. And what was the discussion on today? They said to him, On the section of Hakahal ("Assembly"). And what was his exposition? (Deuteronomy 31:12) "Assemble the people, the men and the women and the little ones". If the men come to learn, and if the women come to hear, why do the little ones come? In order to give reward for those that bring them. He said to them, There was a beautiful pearl in your hand, and you sought to deprive me of it! Further, he expounded: (Deuteronomy 26:17-18) "You have declared of God this day... and God has declared this day..." The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, You make Me a unique division in the world, and I will make you unique division in the world. "You make Me a unique division" - that it is written, (Deuteronomy 6:4) "Hear, O Israel the Lord is our God, the Lord is one," and I will make you a unique division in the world, for it is said,
cont. (I Chronicles 17:21) "Who is like your people Israel, a nation that is alone on the earth?" And he also opened his mouth and expounded: (Ecclesiastes 12:11) "The words of the wise are like staffs, and as nails planted are the words of the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd." Why are the words of the Torah likened to a staff? It is to tell you, Just as a staff is what direct the heifer in her furrows, so as to produce sustenance for the world, so too the words of the Torah direct the learners of them from paths of death to the paths of life. If you say, that just as a staff is what moves, so the words of the Torah will move; the text teaches "nails." If you say, that just as a nail is a thing which diminishes and does not add, so too the words of the Torah diminish and do not add, the text teaches "planted." Just as planting is a thing which is fruitful and multiplies, so too the words of the Torah are fruitful and multiply. ‘The masters of assemblies’: these are the disciples of the wise, who sit in manifold assemblies and occupy themselves with the Torah, some pronouncing unclean and others pronouncing clean, some prohibiting and others permitting, some disqualifying and others declaring fit. Should a man say: How in these circumstances shall I learn Torah? Therefore the text says: ‘All of them are given from one Shepherd’. One God gave them; one leader uttered them from the mouth of the Lord of all creation, blessed be He; for it is written: (Exodus 20:1) ‘And God spoke all these words’. Also make your ear as the upper millstone, and acquire for yourself an understanding heart to hear the words of those who declare unclean and the words of those who declare clean, the words of those who forbid and the words of those who permit, the words of those who disqualify and the words of those who pronounce ceremonially pure. In this same way he said to them, It is not an orphan generation when R. Elazar ben Azariah lives in it. And why did they not tell him without hesitation? Because of that which happened, that it was taught: When R. Yosi ben Durmaskit came before R. Eliezer in Lod, [R. Eliezer] said to him, What innovation was in the Beit HaMidrash today? [R. Yosi] replied, They counted votes and concluded that Ammon and Moab must give the poor man’s tithe in the Sabbatical year. [R. Eliezer] said to him, Yosi, extend your hand and receive your eyes [for they will fall out for saying that this is a new thing]! He extended his hand and received his eyes [he realized that he had made a mistake]. R. Eliezer wept and proclaimed, (Psalms 25:14) “God’s secret is for those that fear Him, and He has made his covenant known to them”; [R. Eliezer] said to him, Go and tell them, Do not be concerned about your tally, I have received a tradition from R. Yochanan ben Zakai, who heard from his teacher, and his teacher from his teacher until it was a law transmitted to Moses at Sinai, that Ammon and Moab must give the poor man’s tithe in the Sabbatical year. What is the reason? Many cities were conquered by those who came up from Egypt, which were not conquered by those who came up from Babylon; since the first consecration held [only] for the time, but did not hold for the future [permanently], therefore they were left in order that the poor might be sustained upon them in the seventh year. It is taught: When his mind was calmed, he said: May it be granted that Jose's sight be restored [i.e. may he see the errors of his understanding]. And it was restored [i.e. and he did and corrected it].
(י) אַרְבַּע מִדּוֹת בָּאָדָם. הָאוֹמֵר שֶׁלִּי שֶׁלִּי וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלָּךְ, זוֹ מִדָּה בֵינוֹנִית. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים, זוֹ מִדַּת סְדוֹם. שֶׁלִּי שֶׁלְּךָ וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלִּי, עַם הָאָרֶץ. שֶׁלִּי שֶׁלְּךָ וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלָּךְ, חָסִיד. שֶׁלִּי שֶׁלִּי וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלִּי, רָשָׁע:
(10) There are four temperaments among men: the one who says "what is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours" -- that's an [average] temperament. And there are some who say that is the temperament of Sodom. [A second type is one who says] "what is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine" -- [that's an] am ha'arets (uneducated person). [A third type is one who says] "what is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours" -- [that's a] pious person. [A final type is one who says] "what is yours is mine, and what is mine is mine" -- [that's a] wicked person.
לימא בכופין על מדת סדום קמיפלגי - מדת סדום כדתנן (אבות פ"ה מ"י) האומר שלי שלי שלך שלך זו מדה בינונית ויש אומרים זו מדת סדום לימא ת"ק סבר שניהם נותנין שכר ונותנין שטר אחד בין שניהם ואם יאמר אחד מהם לא אתן השכר כי אני חפץ שיהא לי שטר אחד לבדי ולך שטר אחר ויהיה שלי שלי ושלך שלך כופין אותו ועושין אחד כי מה שאמר מדת סדום היא ור"ש [ב"ג] סבר אין כופין: