Michael Levi Rodkinson.

New edition of the Babylonian Talmud. Original text edited, corrected, formulated, and translated into English (Volume 8) online

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Meir said — perhaps it was as R. Hyya bar Abbi will explain
farther on, that Mordecai understood the language of Rigthau
and Theres; and what R. Jose b. Durmaskes said — perhaps they
may have sent messengers to the king; but to what Samuel said
there is no objection. Said Rabbina: That is as people say, it
is better to have one pungent pepper-grain than a full basket
of cucumbers. R. Joseph said: From this passage [ix. 28]:
" And these days of Purim will not pass away" (and how can
this be known ? Only from the Holy Spirit). And R. Na'hman
b. Itz'hak said (from the end of the verse): " Nor will their
memorial cease from their seed."

" Gifts to the poor." R. Joseph taught: It is written [ix.
22] : " Sending portions one to another." " Portions " in plural
— two portions should be sent to one man; " and gifts to the
needy" — needy is in plural: that means, no less than two por-
tions to two men. R. Jehudah the Second * sent to R. Oshyia a
leg of a third-born calf and a pitcher of wine, and the latter sent
to him the message: " The Master has confirmed both duties —
to send portions one to another; and to give gifts to the needy."
Rabha sent to Mari bar Mar through Abayi a bag of dates and
a goblet full of flour of dried wheat. Said Abayi to him : Now
Mari will say: When a countryman becomes a king, he is still
unable to remove the basket from his shoulder. And it is the
same with you : now you are the Head of the College, and send

* We doubt whether it was the second or the third, as there were also two Oshyias,
one in the time of the second and one in the time of the third. See Seder Hadoroth,
parag. Oshyia.


to him commonplace articles. R. Mari bar Mar returned to
Rabha through Abayi a pouch (tasca, Lat.) of ginger and a goblet
full of long pepper. Said Abayi : Now the Master will say : I
had sent him sweets, and he has sent to me pungent things.
Said Abayi again : When I went out from the house of my
Master, I was sated. When I arrived there, they furnished the
table with sixty diverse dishes, and they ate all; and the last
dishes were called " roast of Kedar," and it was so good that
I wanted to eat up the dish with it. And this is what people
say: " The poor does not know even when he is hungry." Or,
as people say: " The stomach is wide enough for sweet things."

Abayi bar Abbin and R. Hanina bar Abbin used to change
their meals on Purim. Said Rabha: A man is obliged to in-
toxicate himself on Purim, till he cannot distinguish between
" cursed be Haman " and " blessed be Mordecai. " Rabha said
again: If one has eaten the festive meal in the night, he has not
fulfilled his duty, because it is written, " days of entertainment
and joy."

R. Ashi was sitting in the presence of R. Kahana. It
became dark, and the rabbis had not yet come. Said R.
Kahana to him: Why have not the rabbis come yet ? And he
answered him: Perhaps they are engaged with the festive meal ?
And he rejoined: Could they not have the festive meal in the
evening ? Said R. Ashi : Has the Master not heard what Rabha
said, that if one has eaten the meal of Purim in the night, he
has not fulfilled his duty. And he rejoined: Did Rabha indeed
say so ? And he answered : Yea. And he learned it from him
forty times, and afterward it was as if he had put it into his

MISHNA: There is no difference between Sabbath and fes-
tivals, except in the preparation of food. There is no difference
between the Sabbath and the Day of Atonement, excepting that
those who knowingly and wilfully profane the Sabbath are pun-
ished by man, while those who wilfully profane the Day of
Atonement are punished with Karoth (by Heaven).

There is no difference between one who by a vow has inter-
dicted himself from receiving a benefit from another man and
one whose vow was confined to the interdiction of accepting any
food from another, except that it is not lawful for the first to set
his foot in the house (or property) of the other and to borrow
vessels (of the other) which are not used for the preparation of
food. There is no difference between vows and voluntary offer-


ings, except that in the case of the first-mentioned the person
who thus vows is liable for the risk, but he is not liable for the

GEMARA: "Except in the preparation of food." But in
the preparations for the preparing of food, they are equal.

" He is punished with Karoth." But in paying of damages,
both are equal. And the Mishna is in accordance with R.
Nehunia b. Hakana of the following Boraitha: He decided that
the Day of Atonement is equal to Sabbath with regard to dam-
ages: as on Sabbath, because it is a capital punishment, no
damages are to be paid, so on the Day of Atonement, as the
punishment is Karoth, he is exempt from damages.

1 Vessels which are not used," etc. But in regard to vessels
which are used for the preparation of food, they are equal.

" He is not liable for the last-mentioned." But with regard
to the commandment, " Thou shalt not delay," they are equal.
(This is explained in Tract Rosh Hashana, page 5.)

MISHNA: There is no difference between a person laboring
under an involuntary emission of semen who has experienced it
twice (on the same day, or on the two following days) and one
who has experienced it thrice (in the same time, or within three
days), excepting that the last-mentioned must bring a sacrifice.
There is no difference between a leprous person who has only
been shut up and one whom the priest has declared as leprous,
excepting that the latter must go with rent clothes, and suffer
the hair of his head to grow wild. There is no difference be-
tween the leper declared clean after being shut up and one who
has been cured of that disease, excepting that the latter must
be shaved, and bring offerings of birds.

There is no difference between the Holy Books and Thephi-
lin and Mezuzoth, except that the first-mentioned may be writ-
ten in any language, but the latter in Assyrian characters only.
Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says : The permission to write the
Holy Books in another language was limited to the Greek lan-
guage only.

There is no difference between a high-priest anointed with
the sacred oil and one whose dignity was marked by additional
sacerdotal vestments only, except the bull which the first-
mentioned is to offer, in case he gave a wrong decision which
led to a transgression of a precept. There is no difference
between an officiating high-priest and his late substitute,
except the bull offered on the Day of Atonement, and the


tenth of the ephah of flour (which the real high-priest alone
might offer).

There is no difference between a large high place * and a small
one, except the Paschal offering. This is the rule: All offerings
which are brought in consequence of vows, and all peace-offer-
ings, may be offered on a small high place, but not sacrifices of
another kind.

There was no difference between the Tabernacle of Shiloh
and the Temple of Jerusalem, except that at the former place it
was lawful to eat of sacrifices having a minor degree of holiness,
and of the second tithe, in any place from whence Shiloh might
be seen ; but in Jerusalem it was lawful to eat these within the
walls only. In both places, however, sacrifices which were most
holy might be only eaten within the hangings (of the court of
the sanctuary). The holiness of Shiloh had subsequently a
period in which it became lawful (to offer sacrifices elsewhere),
but the holiness of Jerusalem has no such period.

GEMARA: '* Excepting that the last -mentioned must bring a
sacrifice." But in respect to their lying, sitting, and the seven
days which they have to wait till it is allowed to take a legal
bath, both are equal (all this will be explained in Tract Zabim).
There is no difference between a leprous person," etc. But
in regard to sending him away outside of the assembly and in
respect to defilement they are both equal (as will be explained
in Tract Negaim).

There is no difference between the Holy Books" etc. But to
sew it with dried veins of a clean animal and to make unclean
the hand (see Appendix, Sabbath) both are equal.

" May be written in any language." There is a contradiction
to the following Boraitha: If one wrote a Targum instead of
portions of the Holy Book (in the original) ; or, vice versa, if he
wrote the translation in characters of the original, and also if he
wrote it not in Assyrian but ancient Hebrew (square) characters,
it is not holy to make unclean the hand, until it should be writ-
ten in Assyrian characters, in a book and with ink (and there it
has been said the Holy Books can be written in all languages). It
presents no difficulty: the Boraitha meant, not Holy Books, but
the Thephilin and Mezuzoth, and the Mishna means Scripture.
What is the reason that Thephilin and Mezuzoth if written in

* High places are the public altars on which they used to sacrifice before the
erection of the Temple at Jerusalem. Small places are altars of private persons,


another tongue are not holy ? Because it is written [Deut. vi.
8] : " They shall be as frontlets between thy eyes." They shall
be as originally.

What is meant, if the Targum was written in the original
characters ? If in the Torah, it is right. The words " Yegar
Sahadutha " [Gen. xxxi. 47] are Aramaic; but what Aramaic
words are in the Thephilin ? Therefore we must answer the
contradition thus: The Boraitha refers to the Book of Esther.
Why must it not be written in other languages ? Because it is
written [Esther, viii. 9] : " According to their writing, and accord-
ing to their language." But what Aramaic words are in the
Book of Esther ? Said R. Papa [in Chapter I., verse 20], " The
king's decree" (Pithgam), which is not a Hebrew word, but
Aramaic. R. Na'hman bar Itz'hak said [ibid., ibid.]: The last
word, " will show respect" (Yekar), is not Hebrew. R. Ashi,
however, said : That the Boraitha means, not the Holy Scrolls
(Pentateuch), but the Prophets and Hagiographa. And this is in
accordance with R. Jehudah of the following Boraitha: Thephi-
lin and Mezuzoth must be written only in Assyrian characters;
and our sages have not allowed they shall be written in any lan-
guage, only in Greek. And in addition to this Boraitha it is stated :
Said R. Jehudah: The sages allowed to write in Greek only the
Pentateuch, but not anything else. And this was also allowed only
because of what occurred with Ptolemy the king, as follows : It
happened to Ptolemy the king that he took seventy-two elders
from Jerusalem, and placed them in seventy-two separate cham-
bers, and did not inform them to what purpose he had brought
them. And afterward he entered to each of them, and said to
them : Translate me the Torah of Moses from memory. And the
Holy One, blessed be He, sent into the heart of each of them a
counsel, and they all agreed to have one mind, and changed as
follows: Instead of " In the beginning God created the world,"
they wrote, " God created the world in the beginning " ; instead
of Gen. i. 26 they wrote, " /will make a man in an image " ; in-
stead of Gen. ii. 2 they wrote, " And God finished on the sixth
day, and rested on the seventh day " ; instead of Gen. v. 2 they
wrote, " created him " ; instead of Gen. xi. 7 they wrote, " Let
me go down " ; [xviii. 12] : " And Sarah laughed among her rela-
tives " ; instead of xlix. 6, " In their anger they slew an ox, and
their self-will lamed a fattened ox." And instead of Ex. iv. 20,
" Set them on a porter (man-carrier)"; instead of ibid. xii. 40,
" Dwelt in Egypt and in other lands " ; and ibid. xxiv. as ibid.,


■' Against the respectable men of Israel." Instead of Num. xvi.
15, " Not one precious thing I took away"; and instead of
Deut. iv. 19 they wrote, "assigned to light for all nations";
instead of ibid. xvii. 3, " which I have not commanded to wor-
ship " ; and instead of Lev. xi. 6, M the hare," which is expressed
in the Bible " Arnebeth," as Ptolemy's wife was named so they
wrote, " and the beast that has small feet."

" Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says/' etc. Said R. Abahu in
the name of R. Johanan: The Halakha prevails according to
R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. And he says again : What is the reason
of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel ? Because it is written [Gen. ix. 27] :
" May God enlarge the boundaries of Japheth, and may he dwell
in the tents of Shem." That means to say, the most beautiful
thing which Japheth has — that is, the Greek language — shall
dwell in the tents of Shem.

11 There is no difference between a high-priest '," etc. But in
respect to the bullock of the Day of Atonement, and the tenth
of an ephah, which the high-priest must bring, both are equal.

" There is no difference between Shiloh and Jerusalem." Said
R. Itz'hak: I have heard that one may sacrifice in the Temple
of Honin in Egypt, even at this time. He holds that the Tem-
ple of Honin is not a temple for idolatry, but for God, and also
that the sanctitude of Jerusalem was only while the Temple
existed, but is not so for the future, since its destruction. As
it is written [Deut. xii. 9] : " For ye are not as yet come to the
rest and to the inheritance." " To the rest," i.e., the Taber-
nacle of Shiloh; " to the inheritance," i.e., the Temple of Jeru-
salem : and we see that the Tabernacle of Shiloh is compared to
the Temple of Jerusalem, as Shiloh, after the Tabernacle was
destroyed, ceased to be holy, and it was lawful to sacrifice else-
where, the same was with Jerusalem. The sages then said to R.
Itz'hak : Do you say so ? And he answered : No. Said Rabha :
I swear by God that he has said so, and I have learned it from
him. But what is the reason that he himself receded from this ?
Because R. Mari objected to this, from a Boraitha which states
that the sanctitude of Shiloh was gone after the Tabernacle was
destroyed, but of Jerusalem the sanctitude was not gone even
after the Temple's destruction.

It is written : " And it came to pass in the days of Ahasue-
rus." R. Levi, according to others R. Jonathan, said: This is
a tradition among us from our ancestors — the men of the Great
Assembly — that wherever it is written ^j-p^ ( it: came to pass),


was some disaster. Here there was Haman. In Ruth: " And
it came to pass in the days of the judges." There was hunger.
Genesis, vi. I : " And it came to pass when men began to multi-
ply," and soon after is written : " And God saw that the wicked-
ness of man was great " ; [ibid. xi. 2] : And it came to pass as
they journeyed toward the east." And there was the disper-
sion. And ibid. xiv. 1 : " And it came to pass in the days of
Amrophel." There was a war. In Joshua, v. 13: "It came
to pass when Joshua was by Jericho," it is written he saw a man
with a drawn sword in his hand; ibid. vi. 27: " And the Lord
was with Joshua" (the Hebrew expression is the same); and
soon it is written: "And the children of Israel committed a
trespass " ; I Samuel: " There was a certain man " ; and after-
ward it is written: " Hannah he loved, but the Lord had shut
her womb." Ibid. viii. 1 : "It came to pass when Samuel was
old." His sons walked not in his way. Ibid, xviii. 14: " And
David was successful in all his ways," and soon comes: " Saul
was in dread of him." II Samuel, vii. I : " And it came to pass
when the king dwelt in his house." And he was not allowed
to build the Temple. But is it not written [Gen. xxix. 16] :
' When Jacob saw Rachel," and in Genesis [i. 5]: " And it was
evening, and it was morning, the first day" — and so in many
other instances, and no disaster happened ? Wherever it is said,
" it came to pass," there may or may not be a calamity; but
whenever it is said, " and it came to pass in the days," there
surely happened a misfortune. There are five expressions, " it
came to pass in the days " ; viz., in the days of Ahasuerus, the
Judges, Amrophel, Ahaz [Is. vii.], and Yoiakim [Jerem. i.], and
in all instances there were troubles.

R. Levi says again: We have a tradition from our ancestors
that Amuz and Amaziah were brothers. What does he come to
teach us ? It is similar to what R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in
the name of R. Jonathan: A bride who is chaste in the house of
her husband's parents deserves that kings and prophets should
descend from her, and this we infer from Tamar, as it is
written [Gen. xxxviii. 15]: "And Judah saw her and thought
her to be a harlot, because she had covered her face." Be-
cause she had covered her face he took her for a harlot ?
That means, she had covered her face when she had been
in his house, so that he did not know her. Therefore she
was rewarded that from her descended kings and prophets —
kings from David ; and prophets, as R. Levi said above. Amuz


and Amaziah were brothers, and Isaiah the son of Amuz was
a prophet.

R. Jonathan, when he came to lecture about the Book of
Esther, began with this passage [Is. xiv. 22]: " I will rise up
against them," etc., M and I will cut from Babylon name and
remnant, and son and grandson, saith the Lord." Name, i.e.,
they will not have their own writing; " remnant," they will not
have their own language; " son," they will not have any king-
dom; " grandchild," that means Vashti.

R. Simeon b. Nahmani, when he came to lecture, began his
lecture with the passage [Is. lv. 13] : " Instead of the thorn shall
come up the fir-tree, and instead of the nettle shall come up the
myrtle." " Instead of the thorn," i.e., instead of Haman the
wicked, who made himself an idol, as it is written [ibid. vii. 19].
" All thorn-hedges"; "shall come up the fir-tree," i.e., Mor-
decai, who was the essence to all the spices, as it is written [Ex.
xxx. 23] : " And thou, take unto thyself principal spices, of pure
myrrh " — this is translated in the Aramaic Mor-decai ; " instead
of the nettle," i.e., Vashti the wicked, who was granddaughter
of Nebuchadnezzar the wicked, who had burnt the house of
God, shall rise Esther the upright, who was called Hadassa
(Myrtle), as it is written: " And he had brought up Hadassah
— that is, Esther" [Esther, ii. 7]; "And it shall be unto the
Lord for a name," i.e., the reading of the Megilla; " for a sign
of everlasting that shall not be cut off," i.e., the Days of Purim.

R. Joshua b. Levi began his lecture from this passage [Deut.
xxviii. 63]: " And it shall come to pass that as the Lord rejoiced
over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so will the Lord
rejoice over you to bring you to nought, and to destroy you."
Let us see. Does the Holy One, blessed be He, rejoice when
the wicked are in misfortune ? It is written [II Chron. xx. 21]:
"As they went out before the armed array, and said: Give
thanks unto the Lord; for unto everlasting endureth his kind-
ness." Said R. Johanan : Why is it not here said, as usually,
M for He is good " ? Because the Holy One, blessed be He,
rejoices not at the misfortunes of the wicked. And R. Johanan
said again : It is written [Ex. xiv. 20]: " And the one came not
unto the other all the night." That means, the angels of heaven
wanted to sing the usual song, and the Holy One, blessed be
He, said to them : My creatures are drowning in the sea, and
you want to sing songs! Said R. Elazar: He Himself does
not rejoice, but He makes others rejoice. And it seems to be


so, because it is not written: "As he rejoiced," etc., " so will
he rejoice " (others).*

R. Abba bar Kahana began his lecture with this passage
[Ecc. ii. 26]: " For to a man who is good in His presence He
giveth wisdom and knowledge and joy" — this means Mordecai
the Upright ; " but to the sinner he giveth employment to gather
up and to bring together " — that means Haman; " that he may
give it to him that is good before God," i.e., Mordecai and
Esther, as it is written afterward [Esther, viii. 2]: " And Esther
appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman."

Rabba bar Upbron began his lecture with the following pas-
sage [Jerem. xlix. 38] : " And I will set up my throne in Elam,
and I will destroy thence kings and princes." By kings is meant
Vashti, and by princes Haman and his ten sons.

And R. Dimi b. Itz'hak begins to lecture from this passage
[Ezra, ix. 9]: " For we are bondmen; yet in our bondage hath
our God not forsaken us, but hath extended unto us kindness
before the kings of Persia." And that was in the time of Mor-

R. Hanina bar Papa begins his lecture from this passage [Ps.
lxvi. 12]: "Thou hast caused men to ride on our heads: we
entered into fire and into water." " Into fire," in the time of
Nebuchadnezzar; " into water," in the time of Pharaoh. " But
thou broughtest us to the enjoyment of overflowing plenty."
That was in the time of Haman.

R. Johanan began his lecture from this passage [Ps. xcviii.
3]: " He hath remembered his kindness and his truth to the
house of Israel : all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation
of our God." When did all the ends of the earth see it ? In
the time of Mordecai and Esther.

Resh Lakish began his lecture with this passage [Prov.
xxviii. 15]: "Asa roaring lion and greedy bear, so is a wicked
ruler over an indigent people." " The roaring lion " — that is,
Nebuchadnezzar, as it is written [Jeremiah, iv. 7] : " The lion is
come up from his thicket." " A greedy bear" is Ahasuerus,
about whom it is written [Daniel, vii. 5]: "And behold, there
was another, a second beast, like a bear." And R. Joseph said:
The Persians are meant, who eat and drink like a bear, and are
corpulent like a bear, and let their hair grow like a bear, and

* The Hebrew is B^\ "he will make rejoice." " He will rejoice himself"
should have been WW*.


have no repose, like a bear. "Wicked ruler," i.e., Haman ;
11 indigent people," i.e., Israel, who are poor in merits.

R. Elazar begins his lecture with this passage [Ecc. x. 18]:
" Through slothful hands the rafters will sink, and through idle-
ness of the hands the house will become leaky." That means
to say, because Israel became idle, and did not observe the Law,
the enemy of the Holy One, blessed be He (meaning Him),
becomes sunk, i.e., poor.

R. Na'hman b. Itz'hak begins his lecture with this passage
[Ps. cxxiv. 2]: "If it had not been the Lord who was for us,
when men rose up against us." Men, and not a king (that is

Rabha begins his lecture with [Prov. xxix. 2]: " When the
righteous are in authority, the people will rejoice; but when the
wicked beareth rule, the people groan." When the righteous
rule, i.e., Mordecai and Esther, the people rejoice, as it is writ-
ten [Esther, viii. 15] : " And the city of Shushan was glad and
joyful." And when the wicked rule, i.e., Haman, the people
groan, as it is written [ibid. iv. 15]: " But the city of Shushan
was perplexed."

R. Mathna begins with the following passage [Deut. iv. 7]:
" For what great nation is there that hath God so nigh unto

R. Ashi begins with the following passage [ibid., ibid. 34]:
" Or hath God essayed to go to take to himself a nation from
the midst of a nation ? " (What they lectured is not written.)

"And it came to pass in the time of A hasuerus. ' ' Said Rabh :
Woe! woe! This is what is written [ibid, xxviii. 68]: "And
there ye will offer yourselves for sale unto your enemies for
bondmen and bondwomen without anyone to buy you." Sam-
uel said: It is written [Lev. xxvi. 44]: " I will not cast them
away, neither will I loathe them, to destroy them utterly." I
have not cast them away — in the times of the Greek, and I have
not loathed them — in the time of Nebuchadnezzar; " to destroy
them" — in the time of Haman; " to break my covenant with
them " — in the time of the Persians; " for I am the Lord their
God"— in the time of Gog and Magog. A Boraitha stated:
" I will not cast away" — in the times of the Chaldeans, as in
that time I raised for them Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and
Azariah ; and have not loathed men in the times of the Greeks,
when I gave them Simeon the Upright and the Maccabees; " to
destroy them "—in the time of Haman I gave them Mordecai


and Esther; " to break my covenant " — in the time of Rome I
gave them the House of Rabbi and the sages of that generation ;
"for I am the Lord their God" — in the future no nation or
tongue will dominate over them.

R. Levi said: From this verse [Num. xxxiii. 55], and R.
Hyya from ibid. 56. (What they lectured is unknown.)

" Ahasuerus." Said Rabh: He was the brother of a head*

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