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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth

Folio 63a

The rule [about spitting] for the Temple mount where the shoe is forbidden we may derive from the analogy of the shoe, but in the case of the synagogue where the shoe is permitted, instead of deriving the rule from the shoe and permitting it, let us rather derive it from the short cut and forbid it? — Rather, said Raba: [The synagogue is] on the same footing as a man's house. Just as a man objects to his house being made a short cut but does not object to the wearing of shoes or to spitting there, so in the case of the synagogue, the using it as a short cut is forbidden, but wearing the shoe and spitting in it is not forbidden.

AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE BENEDICTIONS SAID IN THE TEMPLE [THEY USED TO SAY, FOR EVER etc.]. Why all this? — Because the Amen response is not given in the Sanctuary. And whence do we know that the Amen response was not made in the Sanctuary? — Because it says, Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting,1  and it goes on, And let them say,2  Blessed be Thy glorious name that is exalted above every3  blessing and praise. I might think that one praise would suffice for all the blessings.4  It therefore says, 'Above every blessing and praise', implying, for every blessing assign to Him praise.5

IT WAS LAID DOWN THAT GREETING SHOULD BE GIVEN IN [GOD'S] NAME etc. Why the further citation? — You might think that Boaz spoke thus on his own accord;6  come and hear, therefore, [the other text] 'THE LORD IS WITH THEE, THOU MIGHTY MAN OF VALOUR'. You might still say that it was an angel who spoke thus to Gideon;7  come and hear, therefore, the other text, 'DESPISE NOT THY MOTHER WHEN SHE IS OLD';8  and it says, 'IT IS TIME TO WORK FOR THE LORD, THEY HAVE MADE VOID THY LAW.9  Raba said: The first clause of this verse can be taken as explaining the second, and the second can be taken as explaining the first. 'The first clause may be taken as explaining the second', thus: It is time to work for the Lord.10  Why? Because they have made void Thy law.'The second clause may be taken as explaining the first', thus: They have made void Thy law.11  Why? Because it is time to work for the Lord.

It was taught: Hillel the Elder said: When the scholars keep in [the teaching of] the Torah, do thou disseminate it,12  and when they disseminate it do thou keep it in.13  If thou seest a generation which is eager for the knowledge of the Torah, spread it abroad,14  as it says, There is that scattereth and yet increaseth.15  But if thou seest a generation which takes no interest in the Torah, keep it in to thyself, as it says, When it is time to work for the Lord,16  they make void Thy law. Bar Kappara expounded: When goods are cheap, collect17  [money] and buy. In a place where there is no man, there be a man. Abaye said: You may infer from this that in a place where there is a man [to teach the Torah], there you should not be a man. This is obvious? — It required to be stated for the case where the two are equal.18

Bar Kappara expounded: What short text is there upon which all the essential principles of the Torah depend? In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.19  Raba remarked: Even for a matter of transgression.20  Bar Kappara [further] expounded: A man should always teach his son a clean and not laborious trade. What, for example? R. Hisda said: Needle-stitching.21

It has been taught: Rabbi says, A man should not invite too many friends to his house, as it says, There are friends that one hath to his own hurt.22  It has been taught: Rabbi says, A man should not appoint a steward over his house, for had not Potiphar appointed Joseph as steward over his house, he would not have fallen into such trouble as he did. It has been taught: Rabbi says, Why does the section of the Nazirite23  follow immediately on that of the unfaithful wife?24  To teach you that anyone who sees an unfaithful wife in her evil ways should completely abstain from wine. Hezekiah the son of R. Parnak said in the name of R. Johanan: Why does the section of the unfaithful wife follow immediately on one dealing with terumoth25  and tithes?26  To teach you that if one has terumoth and tithes and does not give them to the priest, in the end he will require the priest's services to deal with his wife. For so it says, Every man's hallowed things shall be his,27  and immediately afterwards it says, If any man's wife go aside,28  and later is it written, And the man shall bring his wife, etc.29  Nay more, in the end he shall be in need of them,30  as it says, 'Every man's hallowed things shall be his'.31  R. Nahman b. Isaac said: If he does give, he will eventually become rich, as it says, Whatever a man giveth the priest, he shall have32  — he shall have much wealth.

R. Huna b. Berekiah said in the name of R. Eleazar ha-Kappar: Whoever associates the name of heaven with his suffering33  will have his sustenance doubled, as it says, And the Almighty shall be in thy distress, and thou shalt have double silver.34  R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: His sustenance shall fly to him like a bird, as it says, And silver shall fly to thee.35

R. Tabi said in the name of R. Josiah: Whoso is faint36  in the study of the Torah will have no strength to stand in the day of trouble, as it says, If thou art faint [in the study of the Torah] in the day of adversity thy strength will be small.37  R. Ammi b. Mattenah said in the name of Samuel: Even if only in the performance of a single precept, as it says, 'If thou faint', in any case.

R. Safra said: R. Abbahu used to relate that when Hananiah the son of R. Joshua's brother went down to the Diaspora,38  he began to intercalate the years and fix new moons outside Palestine. So they [the Beth din] sent after him two scholars, R. Jose b. Kippar and the grandson of R. Zechariah b. Kebutal. When he saw them, he said to them: Why have you come? — They replied: We have come to learn Torah [from you]. He thereupon proclaimed: These men are among the most eminent of the generation. They and their ancestors have ministered in the Sanctuary (as we have learnt: Zechariah b. Kebutal said: Several times I read to him39  out of the book of Daniel). Soon they began to declare clean what he declared unclean and to permit what he forbade. Thereupon he proclaimed: These men are worthless, they are good for nothing. They said to him: You have already built and you cannot overthrow, you have made a fence and you cannot break it down.40  He said to them: Why do you declare clean when I declare unclean, why do you permit when I forbid? — They replied: Because you intercalate years and fix new moons outside of Palestine. He said to them: Did not Akiba son of Joseph intercalate years and fix new moons outside of Palestine?41  — They replied: Don't cite R. Akiba, who left not his equal in the Land of Israel. He said to them: I also left not my equal in the Land of Israel. They said to him: The kids which you left behind have become goats with horns, and they have sent us to you, bidding us, 'Go and tell him in our name. If he listens, well and good; if not, he will be excommunicated.

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Neh. IX, 5.
  2. Those who made the response.
  3. E.V. 'all'.
  4. I.e., that one response should be made at the end of all the blessings (Rashi).
  5. V. Sot. (Sonc. ed.) p. 198, n. 2.
  6. And his action need not be taken as a precedent.
  7. Simply transmitting his message.
  8. I.e., despise not the example of Boaz.
  9. V. p. 329, n. 4.
  10. As much as to say, Boaz had good warrant for what he did. This rule apparently was cavilled at in certain quarters, and the Rabbis felt that some very strong justification was needed for it.
  11. Like Elijah in sacrificing on Mount Carmel.
  12. So that it should not be forgotten. Lit., 'scatter', like a sower scattering.
  13. So as not to compete with them.
  14. Lit., 'scatter'. Cf. n. 7.
  15. Prov. XI, 24.
  16. I.e., when disseminating the Torah would bring it into contempt.
  17. The Aruch reads, 'make haste'.
  18. For there is no question that a superior may displace an inferior.
  19. Prov. III, 6.
  20. Weigh the pros and cons of it. This must be linked with the foregoing principle which permits the violation of the law when the exigencies of the time demand it.
  21. Lit., 'the stitching of furrows'.
  22. Prov. XVIII, 24.
  23. Num. VI.
  24. Ibid. V, 11-31.
  25. Plural of terumah, v. Glos.
  26. Ibid. V, 5-10.
  27. Ibid. 10.
  28. Ibid. 12. The juxtaposition implies: 'If a man keeps his hallowed things to himself and does not give them to the priest, then this wife, etc.'.
  29. Ibid. 15.
  30. Since he will lose his money.
  31. In the form of poor man's tithe.
  32. Ibid. 10. E.V. 'it shall be his'.
  33. By blessing God for the evil, or praying.
  34. Job XXII, 25. E.V. 'And the Almighty shall be thy treasure, and thou shalt have precious silver. The word to'afoth (precious) is connected by the Rabbis with the Aramaic word 'af, to double.
  35. Here the word to'afoth is connected with the Hebrew 'uf, to fly.
  36. I.e., is negligent.
  37. Prov. XXIV, 10. E.V. 'If thou art faint in the day of adversity, thy strength shall be small indeed'.
  38. Golah, Babylon. Here the reference is to Pumbeditha. This was during the Hadrianic persecution following the Bar Kochebah Wars. V. J.E. VI, p. 207.
  39. The High Priest. V. Yoma 18b.
  40. I.e., you cannot take away from us the name you have conferred on us.
  41. Yeb. 122a.

Berakoth 63b

Tell also our brethren in the Diaspora [not to listen to him]. If they listen to you, well and good; if not, let them go up to the mountain, let Ahia1  build an altar and let Hananiah play the harp,2  and let them all become renegades and say that they have no portion in the God of Israel'. Straightway all the people broke out into weeping and cried, Heaven forbid, we have a portion in the God of Israel. Why all this to-do? — Because it says, For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.3  We can understand that if he declared clean they should declare unclean, because this would be more stringent. But how was it possible that they should declare clean what he declared unclean, seeing that it has been taught: If a Sage has declared unclean, his colleague is not permitted to declare clean? — They thought proper to act thus so that the people should not be drawn after him.

Our Rabbis have taught: When our teachers entered the vineyard at Jabneh,4  there were among them R. Judah and R. Jose and R. Nehemiah and R. Eliezer the son of R. Jose the Galilean. They all spoke in honour of hospitality and expounded texts [for that purpose]. R. Judah, the head of the speakers in every place,5  spoke in honour of the Torah and expounded the text, Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it without the camp.6  Have we not here, he said, an argument a fortiori? Seeing that the Ark of the Lord was never more than twelve mil distant7  and yet the Torah says, Everyone that sought the Lord went out unto the tent of meeting,8  how much more [is this title9  applicable to] the disciples of the wise who go from city to city and from province to province to learn Torah!

And the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face.10  R. Isaac said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, Moses, I and thou will propound views11  on the halachah. Some say that the Holy One, blessed be He, said thus to Moses: Just as I have turned upon thee a cheerful face, so do thou turn upon Israel a cheerful face and restore the tent to its place. And he would return to the camp.12  R. Abbahu said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Now they will say, The Master13  is angry and the disciple14  is angry, what will happen to Israel? If thou wilt restore the tent to its place, well and goods but if not, Joshua son of Nun, the disciple, will minister in thy place. Therefore it is written, 'And he would return to the camp'. Raba said: All the same [God's] word was not uttered in vain, since it says, But his minister Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tent.15

R. Judah spoke further in honour of the Torah, expounding the text, Attend [hasket] and hear, O Israel: this day thou art become a people unto the Lord thy God.16  Now was it on that day that the Torah was given to Israel? Was not that day the end of the forty years [of the wandering]? It is, however, to teach thee that the Torah is as beloved every day to those that study it as on the day when it was given from Mount Sinai. R. Tanhum the son of R. Hiyya, a man of Kefar Acco17  said: The proof is that if a man recites the Shema' every morning and evening and misses one evening, it is as if18  he had never recited the Shema'. The word 'hasket' implies: Make yourselves into groups [kittoth] to study the Torah, since the knowledge of the Torah can be acquired only in association with others, as stated by R. Jose b. Hanina; for R. Jose b. Hanina said: What is the meaning of the text, A sword is upon the boasters [baddim] and they shall become fools?19  A sword is upon the enemies of the disciples of the wise20  who sit separately [bad bebad] and study the Torah. What is more, they become stupid. It is written here, 'and they shall become fools', and it is written elsewhere, For that we have done foolishly.21  What is more, they are sinners, as it says, and we have sinned.22  If you prefer, I can learn the meaning from here: The princes of Zoan are become fools [no'alu].23  Another explanation of 'Attend [hasket] and hear, Israel'. Cut yourselves to pieces [kattetu] for words of Torah, as was said by Resh Lakish. For Resh Lakish said: Whence do we learn that words of Torah are firmly held by one who kills himself for it? Because it says, This is the Torah, when a man shall die in the tent.24  Another explanation of 'Attend and hear, O Israel': Be silent [has] and then analyse [katteth],25  as stated by Raba; for Raba said: A man should always first learn Torah and then scrutinize it.

They said in the school of R. Jannai: What is meant by the verse, For the churning of milk bringeth forth curd, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood; so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife?26  With whom do you find the cream of the Torah? With him who spits out upon it the milk which he has sucked from the breasts of his mother.27  'The wringing of the nose28  bringeth forth blood'. Every student who is silent when his teacher is angry with him the first time will become worthy to distinguish between clean blood and unclean. 'The forcing of wrath29  bringeth forth strife': Every student who is silent when his teacher is angry with him a first and a second time will be worthy to distinguish between money cases and capital cases,30  as we have learnt: R. Ishmael says, One who desires to be wise should occupy himself with money judgments, since no branch of the Torah surpasses them, for they are like a perpetual fountain [of instruction]. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: What is meant by the verse, If thou hast done foolishly [nobaltah] in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast planned devices [zammotah], lay thy hand upon thy mouth?31  Whoever abases [menabbel] himself for words of Torah32  will in the end be exalted, but if one muzzles [zamam] himself, his hand will be upon his mouth.33

R. Nehemiah began to speak in praise of hospitality, expounding the text, And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them; for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.34  Have we not here an argument a fortiori: if such was the reward of Jethro35  who befriended Moses only for his own benefit, how much more will it be for one who entertains a scholar in his house and gives him to eat and drink and allows him the use of his possessions!

R. Jose began to speak in praise of hospitality, expounding the verse, Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land.36  Have we not here an argument a fortiori? If such was the reward of the Egyptians who befriended the Israelites only for their own purposes, as it says, And if thou knowest any able men among them, then make them rulers over my cattle,37  how much more will it be for one who entertains a scholar in his house and gives him to eat and drink and allows him the use of his possessions!

R. Eliezer the son of R. Jose the Galilean began to speak in praise of hospitality, expounding the verse, And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his house … because of the Ark of God.38  Have we not here an argument a fortiori? If such was the reward for attending to the ark which did not eat or drink, but before which he merely swept and laid the dust, how much more will it be for one who entertains a scholar in his house and gives him to eat and drink and allows him the use of his possessions! What was the blessing with which God blessed him [Obed-Edom]? — R. Judah b. Zebida says: This refers to Hamoth39  and her eight daughters-in-law who each bore six children at a birth,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. The head of the community.
  2. Hananiah was a Levite.
  3. Isa. II, 3.
  4. The Academy at Jabneh, so called either because it actually was in a vineyard, or because the disciples sat in rows like the vines in a vineyard. The incident is related in a somewhat different form in the Midrash Rabbah on Cant. II, 5.
  5. V. Shab. 33b.
  6. Ex. XXXIII, 7.
  7. This being the extent of the Israelitish camp.
  8. Ex. XXXIII, 7.
  9. Of 'one who seeks the Lord'.
  10. Ibid. 11.
  11. Lit., 'faces'.
  12. Ibid.
  13. God.
  14. Moses.
  15. Ibid. This is taken to mean that he succeeded Moses.
  16. Deut. XXVII, 9.
  17. In Lower Galilee.
  18. I.e., he feels as if.
  19. Jer. L, 36.
  20. Euphemism for the disciples themselves.
  21. Num. XII, 11. In both texts the Hebrew word is no'alu.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Isa. XIX, 13.
  24. Num. XIX, 14. 'Tent' is taken to mean a place of study.
  25. I.e., first listen to the teacher, and then discuss what he has said.
  26. Prov. XXX, 33.
  27. I.e., who commences to learn in his earliest childhood.
  28. Heb. af, which also means anger.
  29. Heb. appayim, lit., 'two angers'.
  30. I.e., to decide to which category an intricate case belongs.
  31. Prov. XXX, 32.
  32. I.e., is not ashamed to ask questions which may at first sound foolish.
  33. He will be unable to answer questions put to him.
  34. I Sam. XV, 6.
  35. Who is called the Kenite, Judg. I, 16.
  36. Deut. XXIII, 8.
  37. Gen. XLVII, 6.
  38. II Sam. VI, 12.
  39. The wife of Obed-Edom.