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Michael Levi Rodkinson.

New edition of the Babylonian Talmud. Original text edited, corrected, formulated, and translated into English (Volume 5) online

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the God of our ancestors, bring us to the peaceable enjoyment
of other solemn feasts and sacred seasons which are nigh unto
us, that we may rejoice in the rebuilding of thy city and exult
in thy service, that we may there eat of the paschal and other
sacrifices," etc., until " Blessed art thou, O Lord, who hast
redeemed Israel."

GEMARA: Rabha said: One must say, the Lord hath
redeemed Jis from Egypt, and he said again ; The unleavened
bread and the bitter herbs must be lifted up when about to be
eaten, but the meat need not be lifted up ; and, moreover, if the
meat were lifted up, it would appear as if consecrated things
were eaten outside (of the Temple).

R. A'ha bar Jacob said: " A blind man is exempt from the
lecital of the Haggada, and this is adduced from the comparison
by analogy of the two passages [Exod. xiii. 8] : ' This is done,'
etc., and [Deut. xxi, 20] : ' This our son is stubborn,* etc. ; and
as concerning the latter verse it is taught elsewhere that, if the
parents of the son be blind, and hence unable to point him out,
the son shall not be stoned, so concerning the former verse it is
taught, that a blind man is exempt from the duty of the recital."

Is this indeed the case ? Did not Mareimar say that he asked
the teachers of the disciples of R. Joseph who recited the Hag-
gada in the house of R. Joseph, and that they answered: " R,
Joseph," and who recited the Haggada in the house of R,
Shesheth, and they answered : " R. Shesheth " (R. Joseph nd



244 THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD.

R. Shesheth were both blind) ? (The answer is,) both R. Joseph
and R. Shesheth hold, that the entire ceremony pertaining to
unleavened bread is in these days only a rabbinical institution
(and therefore its observance is optional).

''It is therefore incumbent on every person,'' etc. Said R.
Jehoshua ben Levi: " With ten different expressions of praise
the entire Book of Psalms was composed, namely: With Nitz.
ua'ch, Nigon, Maskil, Mizmor, Shir, Ashrai,Thehiloh,Thephilah,
Hodaah, and Hallelujah.* The most important of all the
expressions is that of Hallelujah, because it contains within
itself both praise and the Name."

Said R. Jehudah in the name of Samuel: " The song in the
Scriptures [Exod. xv.] was sung by Moses with Israel when
coming up out of the sea, and who recited the Hallel ? The
prophets among them ordained, that at all times when they are
delivered out of afifliction, they should say it on account of their
redemption."

We have learned in a Boraitha : R. Meir said : All the praises
uttered in the Book of Psalms were uttered by David, as it is
written [Psalms Ixxii. 20]: "Here are ended the prayers of
David the son of Jesse." Do not read " Kolu " (are ended),
but " Kol Elu" (all these are).

Who said Hallel ? Said R. Jose: " My son Elazar says,
that Moses together with Israel said it, when coming up out of
the sea, but his colleagues differ with him, maintaining that
David said it; but to me my son's opinion seems the more rea-
sonable, for how can it be that the Israelites should slaughter
their paschal offerings and take their palm-branches, and not
sing a song of praise ? "

The rabbis taught : All the songs and hymns in the Book of
Psalms were, according to the dictum of R. Elazar, sung by
David for his own sake; but R. Jehoshua says, that he did so
for the congregation at large, and the sages say, that some were
uttered by him for the congregation at large while others were
only for his own sake, namely, those which he uttered in the
singular were for his own sake and those uttered in the plural
were for the community at large. The Psalms containing the
terms Nitzua'ch and Nigon were intended for the future; those
containing the term Maskil were proclaimed through an inter-



* All these ten expressions are to be found in the original Psalms, and while not
all of exactly the same meaning imply more or less the same thing.



TRACT PESACHIM (PASSOVER). 245

preter; where the psalm commences" Le-David Mizmor " the
Shekhina first rested upon David and then he sang the psalm,
but where it commences " Mizmor Le-David " he first sang the
psalm and then the Shekhina rested upon him, whence it may-
be inferred that the Shekhina does not rest upon one who is in
a state of idleness, or sorrow, or laughter, or thoughtlessness,
or upon him who indulges in vain words, but only upon one who
rejoices in the fulfilment of a duty, as it is written [II Kings
iii. 15] : " But now bring me a musician. And it came to pass
when the musician played, that the inspiration of the Lord came
upon him."

Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: " The same applies
to the study of Halakhaoth," and R. Na'hman said: "The
same also applies to a good dream."

Is this indeed the case ? Did not R. Giddel say in the name
of Rabh, that every scholar who sits in the presence of his Mas-
ter in other than a serious mood cannot retain anything he has
learned, so as to be able to repeat it with his lips? as it is written
[Solomon's Song v. 13]: " His lips, like roses, dripping with
fluid myrrh." (The Hebrew term for roses is " Shoshanim,"
and for learning the term is " Shanah." The expression for
" myrrh " is " mar," which also signifies bitterness. Thus the
passage may be interpreted as follows:) " The lips that learn,
drip with bitterness (seriousness)." Thus we see that serious-
ness is necessary when learning, and not rejoicing ? This pre-
sents no difficulty. Rejoicing is necessary for the teacher, i.e.,
he should be in an agreeable mood ; but the disciple who is
learning must be serious, and if you wish, I will tell you that
both apply to the teacher, but the former applies before the
teacher commenced his lecture and the latter when he had
already commenced, as Rabba was wont to do, namely: He
would preface his lecture with a joke and bring his disciples into
a good humor; then he would proceed in all seriousness and
teach the Halakha.

The rabbis taught: Who said the Hallel ? R. Elazar said:
Moses and Israel said it when standing by the sea. They said
what is written [Psalms cxv. i] : " Not for our sake, O Lord,
not for our sake, but unto thy name give glory," and the Holy
Spirit replied [Isaiah xlviii. 11]: "For my own sake, for my
own sake, will I do it " ; and R. Jehudah said : Joshua and Israel
said it when they did battle with the kings of the Canaanites.
Israel said: " Not for our sake," etc., and the Holy Spirit said:



246 THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD.

" For my own sake," etc. R. Elazar of Modai said: Deborah
and Barak said it when Sissera waged war upon them. They
said: " Not for our sake," and the Holy Spirit replied: " For,,
my own sake," etc. R. Elazar ben Azariah said: King Heze-
kiah and his companions said it when Sennacherib waged war
upon them. They said: " Not for our sake," etc., and the Holy
Spirit replied: " For my sake," etc. R. Aqiba said: Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah said it when Nebuchadnezzar was about to
throw them into the fiery furnace. They said: " Not for our
sake," etc., and the Holy Spirit replied: " For my sake," etc.
R. Jose the Galilean said: Mordechai and Esther said it when
Haman the wicked rose up against them. They said: " Not for
our sake," etc., and the Holy Spirit replied: " For my sake, "
etc. ; but the sages said, that the prophets among the Israelites
arranged so that whenever affliction overtook the Israelites, they
said it in the hour of their redemption.

Said R. Hisda: " Each Hallelujah denotes the conclusion of
a chapter in Psalms," but Rabba bar R. Huna said: " It denotes
the commencement of a chapter." Said R. Hisda: " I saw the
Book of Psalms in the hands of R. Hanan bar Rabh, and
observed that a Hallelujah stood in the midst of a chapter,
whence I infer that there must have been a doubt whether it
belonged at the beginning of the chapter or at the end, and for
that reason it was placed in the centre." Said R. Hanin the son
of Rabha: All agree, that after the verse [Psalms cxlv. 21] : " The
praise of the Lord shall my mouth speak : and let all flesh bless
His holy name for ever and ever," the Hallelujah is the com-
mencement of the chapter; and after the verse [ibid. cxii. 10]:
" The wicked shall see it and be vexed; he will gnash with his
teeth and melt away; the longing of the wicked shall perish,"
the Hallelujah is also the commencement of a chapter; and
after the verse [ibid, cxxxv. 2] : " Ye that stand in the house of
the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God," the Hallelu-
jah is also the beginning of a chapter. The Karaites * add to
these verses, ibid. ex. 7 and ibid. cxi. 10, after both of which
the Hallelujah is the beginning of a chapter.

* There was already in the time of the Talmud a class of men who did not care
for the figurative explanation of the Scripture, but who explained it almost literally.
They were called Karaier or Baali Mikra, which means men who depended only on
the literal translation of the Scriptures, as the Hebrew word Kara means verse. The
Karaier of the time of the Gaonim have probably derived their name from them. (See
pur " History of the Talmud," Chap. Karaites.)



TRACT PESACHIM (PASSOVER). 247

ShalT we assume, that the Tanaim also differ concerning the
Hallelujah in the above Mishna ? We have learned : How far is
the Hallel to be said ? According to Beth Shammai, till
[Psalms cxiii. 9] " the joyful mother of children," etc., but
according to Beth Hillel, till [ibid. cxiv. 5] " who changeth the
rock into a pool of water"; and we have learned in another
Boraitha, according to Beth Shammai, till [ibid. cxiv. i] " when
Israel went forth out of Egypt," and according to Beth Hillel,
till [ibid. cxv. i] " not for our sake, O Lord," etc. Shall we
then assume, that those who say till " the joyful mother of
children," hold that the Hallelujah which succeeds the verse is
the beginning of a chapter, while those who say that the Hallel
should be said till " when Israel went forth out of Egypt," hold
the Hallelujah to be the end of a chapter? Nay; R. Hisda
may answer this according to his own theory, that all agree upon
Hallelujah as being the end of a chapter, and that those who
in accordance with Beth Shammai say the Hallel till " when
Israel went forth out of Egypt," are perfectly correct, as they
already include the Hallelujah, but those who according to Beth
Shammai in the first Boraitha say the Hallel as far as " the
joyful mother of children," mean to include that verse also with
the Hallelujah.

Rabba bar R. Huna, however, may answer this according to
his theory, that all agree upon Hallelujah as being the beginning
of a chapter, and that those who according to Beth Shammai say
the Hallel as far as " the joyful mother of children," are correct,
while those who say it till " when Israel went forth out of
Egypt," mean to exclude that verse with the Hallelujah.

' ' They are to close with a blessing for the redemption. ' ' Rabha
said : In the reading of the Shema and the Hallel the redemption
of Israel should be referred to in the past tense, namely: " Who
hast redeemed," etc., while in the prayer embracing the eighteen
benedictions it should be referred to in the future tense, namely:
" Who wilt redeem," etc., for a prayer should be made to apply
to the future and not to the past.

R. Zera said : When the Kiddush is said, the benediction
contained therein must read: " Who hast sanctified us with his
commandments," etc., but in prayer the sentence should read:
" Sanctify us with thy commandments," etc., because such is
the prayer for Mercy.

R. Aha bar Jacob said : In the benediction contained in the
Kiddush, the exodus from Egypt must be referred to, and this



248 THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD.

is derived from a comparison by analogy in the verses [Deuti .
xvi. 3]: "That thou mayest remember the day of thy going
forth out of Egypt," etc., and [Exod. xx. 8] : " Remember the
Sabbath day to keep it holy," whence the inference, that the
exodus from Egypt must be remembered in the Kiddush.

Rabba bar Shela said : In the prayer for redemption, the
sentence, " He causeth to sprout the foundation of help,"
should be said, and the benediction pronounced after the recital
of the Haphtorah * should be concluded, after the blessing for
the redemption, with " the shield of David." As it is written
[II Sam. vii. 9] : " I have made thee a great name, like the name
of the great," etc., and R. Joseph taught that it signifies the
conclusion with " the shield of David."

R. Simeon ben Lakish said : It is written [Gen. xii. 2] : " And
I will make of thee a great nation," and this is explanatory to
the term " the God of Abraham " used in prayer. " I will bless
thee" [ibid.] refers to "the God of Isaac," and " make thy
name great " [ibid.] refers to " the God of Jacob " ; and lest we
assume that the conclusion of the benedictions should also be
made to embrace all three terms, therefore the passage [ibid.]
ends with "and tJwu shalt be a blessing," signifying that only
one (and that is Abraham) should form the concluding blessing.

Rabba said : I discovered that the sages of Pumbaditha once
sat and proclaimed the following: " On Sabbath, both in the
recital of the Kiddush and in prayer, the concluding blessing
must be * who hath sanctified the Sabbath,' and on a festival
also, both in prayer and in the Kiddush, the concluding bene-
diction must be ' who hath sanctified Israel and the time of the
festivals.* " Said I to the sages: " On the contrary! On Sab-
bath and on festivals the concluding blessing of the prayer should
be ' who hath sanctified Israel,' but the concluding benediction
of the Kiddush on the Sabbath should be ' who hath sanctified
the Sabbath,' while on a festival it should be ' who hath sancti-
fied Israel and the time of the festivals,' and I will tell you the
reason both for your assertion and my own. Your reason is,
that Sabbath is not an institution of the IsraeHtes themselves,
but one ordained for them from the beginning; hence it should
be said ' who hath sanctified the Sabbath,' but on the festivals,
which are instituted by the Israelites themselves, by making



* By Haphtorah is meant the several passages in the Prophets which are tread
after the reading of the section in the Pentateuch of the day has been ended.



TRACT PESACHIM (PASSOVER). 249

months intercalary or ordinary, it should be said, ' who hath
sanctified Israel and the time of the festivals.'

" My reason is, however, that as prayer is generally offered
up by an assembly, it should therefore conclude with ' who hath
sanctified Israel ' ; but Kiddush, which is recited by an individ-
ual, should conclude with 'who hath sanctified the Sabbath,'
and, on festivals only, with ' who hath sanctified Israel and the
time of the festivals.' " [This is, however, no argument; for
prayer may be offered up by an individual, and Kiddush can be
said in an assembly.]

Ula, the son of Rabh, in the presence of Rabha, prayed in
accordance with the dictum of the sages of Pumbaditha, and
Rabha did not object ; whence we may infer that he retracted his
former statement and finally agreed with those sages.

R. Nathan the father of R. Huna ben Nathan also prayed in
the presence of R. Papa in accordance with the dictum of the
elders of Pumbaditha, and R. Papa commended him for doing
so.

Rabhina said: " I once came to Sura and prayed in the syna-
gogue in the presence of Mareimar, and the reader prayed in
accordance with the dictum of the sages of Pumbaditha. The
congregation, however, desired to silence him, when Mareimar
said to them : ' Let him proceed ; for the Halakha prevails
according to the sages of Pumbaditha.' "

MISHNA: A third cup of wine is then poured out, and the
benediction after meals is said. After pouring out the fourth
cup, the Hallel should be concluded over it and the blessings on
the songs of praise be said. A person may drink as much as he
chooses between the second and third cups, but not between the
third and fourth.

GEMARA: Said R. Hanan to Rabha: "Infer from this
Mishna, that for the benediction after meals a cup (of wine) is
required," and Rabha replied: " Nay; these four cups serve as
a symbol of our freedom, and incidentally they were divided for
the accomplishment of several religious duties, but no inference
should be made that the benediction after meals requires a cup
of wine."

" A?td the blessings on the songs of praise {should) be said. ' '
What are these blessings ? R. Jehudah said : The prayer follow-
ing the Hallel, namely: "All thy works, O Lord, shall praise
thee," etc., and R. Johanan said: The prayer commencing;
" The breath of all living," etc.



Bso THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD.

The rabbis taught: On the fourth cup the Hallel is con-
cluded, and the great Hallel should also be recited thereon.
Such is the decree of R. Tarphon, and according to another
version, R. Tarphon decreed that the chapter [Psalms xxiii.],
" The Lord is my shepherd," etc., should also be said. Whence
does the great Hallel commence? Said R. Jehudah: From
[Psalms cxxxvi.] " Give thanks unto the Lord," etc., until [ibid,
cxxxvii.] " by the rivers of Babylon," etc. R. Johanan, how-
ever, said: From [ibid, cxx.] "A song of the degrees," etc.,
until [ibid, cxxxvii.] " by the rivers of Babylon," etc. R. Aha
bar Jacob, however, said: From [ibid, cxxxv. 4] " For Jacob
hath the Lord chosen," etc., until [ibid, cxxxvii.] " by the rivers
of Babylon," etc.

Why is this called the great Hallel ? Said R. Johanan ;
Because the Holy One, blessed be He, sits in the uppermost
height of the world and thence deals out food for all his creatures
(as it is written [Psalms cxxxvi. 25, 26]: "Who giveth food
unto all flesh ; for to eternity endureth his kindness. O give
thanks unto the God of the heavens," etc.).

R. Jehoshua ben Levi said: " The twenty-six verses of the
chapter [cxxxvi.] apply to the twenty-six generations existing
before the Law was given, and who were nourished only by His
grace. ' '

R. Hisda said : The passage [ibid, cxxxvi. i], " O give thanks
unto the Lord, for he is good," signifies that the Lord punishes
man for evil deeds only by diminishing his (the man's) posses-
sions (goods); f.i.y a rich man is punished by the loss of an ox,
a poor man by the loss of a sheep, an orphan by the loss of an
^gg, and a widow by the loss of her hen, etc.

R. Johanan said: The earning of a man's daily bread is twice
as laborious to him as the bearing of a child is to a woman, for
concerning a woman lying-in it is written [Gen. iii. 16]: "In
pain (Be'etzeb) shalt thou bring forth children," while concern-
ing man it is written [ibid. 17]: " In pain (Be'itzabon) shalt thou
eat of it all the days of thy life," which implies a greater
degree of pain.

R. Johanan said again : The earning of a man's daily bread
is beset with more difficulty than the redemption ; for concern-
ing the redemption it is written [Gen. xlviii. 16]: "The angel
who redeemed me from all evil," while concerning a man's daily
bread it is written [ibid. 15] : " The God who fed me from my
first being unto this day," whence we see that for redemption it



TRACT PESACHIM (PASSOVER). 251

only required an angel, while for the sustenance of a man it
required God's providence.

R. Jehoshua ben Levi said : When the Lord said to Adam
[Gen. iii. 18] : " And thorns and thistles shall it (the earth) bring
forth to thee," tears ran from Adam's eyes, and he said:
" Creator of the Universe! Shall then I and my ass eat of the
same crib ?" but when he heard the Lord say [ibid. 19]: " In
the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," he felt relieved.
Said R. Simeon ben Lakish : " It were better for us had we been
left in our original condition, when we were doomed to eat the
herbs of the field ; then we would not have been obliged to
work so hard for our bread. " * Said Abayi : " We have not yet
been released from that doom, for there are quite a number of
herbs which we can eat directly from the field."

R. Shezbi said in the name of R. Elazar ben Azariah: " The
earning of a man's daily bread is as difificult of accomplishment
as was the dividing of the Red Sea for the Israelites when going
out of Egypt."

If it is necessary to recite the great Hallel, why must the
small Hallel be recited at the Passover-meal ? Because the
small Hallel contains the following five things: " The exodus
from Egypt, the dividing of the Red Sea, the giving of the Law
to the Israelites, the resurrection of the dead, and the sufferings
in the time of the Messiah." The exodus from Egypt, as it is
written [Psalms cxiv. i] : "When Israel went forth out of
Egypt"; the dividing of the Red Sea, as it is said [ibid. 3]:
" The sea beheld it, and fled " ; the giving of the Law, as it is
said [ibid. 6] : " Ye mountains, that ye skip like wethers," refer-
ring to the time when the Law was given to Israel ; the resur-
rection of the dead, as it is said [ibid. cxvi. 9]: "I will walk
before the Lord in the lands of life " ; and the sufferings in the
time of the Messiah, as it is written [ibid. cxv. i]: " Not for
our sake, O Lord," etc., commenting upon which, R. Johanan
said that it refers to the time of the war of Gog and Magog
(which will occur just before the coming of the Messiah and will
be the worst period for the Israelites to pass through).

R. Na'hman bar Itz'hak said: The small Hallel is recited for
another reason, namely, because it contains the transposition of
the souls of the righteous from Gehenna to Heaven, as it is



вЦ†* This explanation of the text is according to the commentary of Rabbi Samuel
Aidlash (Marsha').



252 THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD.

written [Psalms cxvi. 4]: "I beseech thee, O Lord^ releasi "tiy
soul " (from Gehenna).

Hez'kyah said : There is still another reason why the smal\
Hallel should be recited, namely, because it is mentioned that
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were thrown into the fiery fur-
nace and came out alive: for the passage, " Not for our sake, O
Lord," was said by Hananiah ; " but unto thy name give glory,"
was said by Mishael, and " for the sake of thy kindness, for the
sake of thy truth," was said by Azariah; and the next passage,
" Wherefore should the nations say. Where now is their God ? "
they all three said together. This happened when they were
thrown into the fiery furnace, and when they came out Hana-
niah said the passage [Psalms cxvii.], " Praise the Lord, all ye
nations"; Mishael said: " Praise him, all ye people." " For
mighty is his kindness over us," was said by Azariah, and " And
the truth of the Lord endureth forever, Hallelujah!" all three
said in unison. According to another version, this last sentence,
"The truth of the Lord endureth forever," was said by the
angel Gabriel, because it was said that when Nimrod the wicked
threw Abraham our father into the fiery furnace, the angel Gabriel
said to the Lord: " Permit me to go and make the furnace cold,
that it may do no harm to Abraham," and the Holy One, blessed
be He, replied : " Abraham is now the only one who has forsaken
idolatry and believes in God, and I am the only One in the
world, hence it would be but fair that the only One should res-
cue the other exception," and as the Holy One, blessed be He,
would not deprive any one creature of the reward due, He said
to Gabriel: " Thou shalt have an opportunity to rescue three of
his children from the fiery furnace, while I Myself shall rescue
him." (Whereupon Gabriel is supposed to have said: "The
truth of the Lord endureth forever.")

R. Simeon of Shiloni preached : When Nebuchadnezzar the
wicked threw Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into the fiery
furnace, the angel Jurqami, master of the waters, came before
the Lord and said: " Permit me to go and cool the furnace, so
that I might rescue the righteous from death." Said Gabriel to
him: " This would not prove the power of the Lord, for it is
well known that water can extinguish fire, and thou art the
master of waters ; hence it would be but commonplace if through
thy means the furnace were cooled. Rather should I, who am
the master of fire, be permitted to go, and I shall remove
the fire on the inside and make it so much more fierce on the



TRACT PESACHIM (PASSOVER). 253

outside, which will be a miracle within a miracle ; for a master
of fire will make the fire cool in one place and so much hotter
in another." Whereupon the Lord said: " Go thou, Gabriel,
and do so," and Gabriel said: " The truth of the Lord endureth
forever. ' '

R. Nathan said : The truth of the Lord endureth forever,
was said by the fish of the sea, and this is in accordance with the
dictum of R. Huna, who said: When the Israelites were brought


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