Regulations concerning the meal on the eve of Passover and the four cups of wine to be drunk with the meal
MISHNA: On the eve of any Passover it is not lawful for a person to eat anything from the time of Min'hah (afternoon prayer) until after dusk. Even the meanest in Israel shall not eat until they have arranged themselves in proper order at ease round the able; nor shall a person have less than four cups of wine, even if they must be given him from the funds devoted to the charitable support of the very poor.
GEMARA: Does the law (in the first clause of the Mishna) apply only to the eve of Passover? is it not unlawful to eat aught on the eve of the Sabbath or any other festival from the time of Min'hah until after dark, as we have learned in the following Boraitha: A person must not eat aught on the eve of Sabbath or of a festival from the time of Min'hah on, in order that the entry of the Sabbath or the festival may find him in condition to relish a meal? Such is the decree of R. Jehudah; R. Jose, however, said: "One may eat continually until it becomes dark."
Said R. Huna, "Our Mishna is even in accordance with the opinion of R. Jose, who says that one may only eat continually, on the eve of Sabbath or of any other festival until dark, but on the eve of Passover, when, as soon as the night of the Passover commences, unleavened bread must be eaten, he also admits that nothing should be eaten from the time of Min'hah until dark."
We have learned in a Boraitha: If a meal was in progress on the eve of Sabbath, and before it was finished the Sabbath was ushered in, the table must be cleared off and then reset, the Sabbath benediction made, and then the meal may be continued, in order to demonstrate that the Sabbath had set in. Such is the decree of R. Jehudah; but R. Jose states that this is not necessary.
"It once happened that R. Simeon ben Gamaliel, R. Jehudah, and R. Jose were sitting on the eve of Sabbath and partaking of a meal in the city of Achu, and when the Sabbath was about to set in, R. Simeon ben Gamaliel said to R. Jose the Great: "Wouldst thou desire that we clear off the table, and act in conformity with the opinion of our colleague, R. Jehudah?" Replied R. Jose: "Ordinarily thou wouldst favor my decrees in preference to those of R. Jehudah, and now thou favorest, in his presence, his decree in preference to mine. 'Will he even do violence to the queen before me in the house?'" [Esther vii. 8]. Rejoined R. Simeon ben Gamaliel: "True! Let us rather not interrupt the meal, for if the disciples should observe this, they might establish the ordinance for future generations." It was said that they did not leave their places until it was decided that the Halakha should prevail according to R. Jose's opinion.
R. Jehudah said in the name of Samuel: "The Halakha does not prevail either according to R. Jehudah or R. Jose; for if a meal was in progress on the eve of Sabbath, when Sabbath set in they should change the table-cloth as a sign and then recite the Kiddush (Sabbath benediction)." But this is not so! For did not R. Ta'hlipha bar Ab. Dimi say in the name of Samuel, that in the same manner as a meal must be interrupted on account of the Kiddush, so must it also be interrupted on account of the Habdalah (the benediction recited at the close of the Sabbath). Must we not assume that by interruption is meant clearing away of the table entirely? Nay; by interruption is meant, that the table-cloth should be changed.
It once happened that Rabba bar R. Huna came to the house of the Exilarch, and a small table was set before him; so he covered the table with a cloth and recited the Kiddush. We also learned in a Boraitha: "A table must not be brought for each guest separately unless the Kiddush had already been recited (by the head of the household); but if a table had been set before him before the Kiddush had been recited, then the guest should cover the table set before him with a cloth and himself pronounce that benediction."
"Those that heard the Kiddush pronounced in the synagogue," said Rabh, "need not recite it at their homes, but should merely pronounce the customary benediction over wine"; but Samuel said: "They have not acquitted themselves of the duty of reciting the Kiddush."
According to Rabh, then, why should a man recite the Kiddush[portions missing]
over the same cup of wine? Where a man has not another cup of wine, it is different.
If a festival follow a Sabbath, a man has doubtless more wine in his house, and still Rabh says, that one must, over one cup of wine, pronounce the benediction over wine, recite the Kiddush, pronounce the benediction over light, and the Habdalah? Because Rabh mentions all these benedictions but omits that of the season (which must be said at the commencement of each festival), it must be presumed that he refers to the seventh day of Passover as the festival (because on that day the benediction of the season is not said), and at that time it is possible that a man has only one cup of wine left.
How is this possible? On the first day of a festival, when a man surely has more wine, still Abayi said, that over one cup the benediction of wine, Kiddush, of the season, of light, and the Habdalah should be pronounced, and Rabba said, of wine, Kiddush, light, Habdalah, and finally of the season (and both agree that all this may be done over one cup of wine); hence we must say, that all these benedictions, like Kiddush, Habdalah, etc., are classed as one, because the duty of such benedictions devolves upon a man as soon as the Sabbath draws to a close, and hence may be made over one cup; but the benediction before the meal, and that after, are two separate kinds of benedictions and should not be said over one and the same cup of wine.
The statement previously quoted. "If a festival follow a Sabbath, Rabh says, one must pronounce the benediction of wine, recite the Kiddush, say the benediction of light and the Habdalah," is supplemented by "Samuel says, he must pronounce the benediction of wine, light, Habdalah, and then recite the Kiddush; Rabba says, of wine, Habdalah, light, and then Kiddush; Levi says, Kiddush, light, wine, and Habdalah; other sages say, Kiddush, wine, light, and Habdalah; Mar the son of Rabhina says, light, Kiddush, wine, and Habdalah; and Martha says in the name of R. Jehoshua, light, wine, Habdalah, and Kiddush."
The father of Samuel sent to Rabbi the request: "Let Master teach us the order in which the benediction of Habdalah should be made over the cup of wine," and Rabbi sent the reply: "So said R. Ishmael the son of R. Jose in the name of his father, who in turn said in the name of R. Jehoshua ben Hananiah: 'Light, Habdalah, wine, and Kiddush.'" Said R. Hanina: This can be compared to the exit of a king from, and to the entrance of a high official into, a city. First the king is escorted out of the city, and then the high official is ushered in. (Likewise the Sabbath, being the holier, is first escorted out with Habdalah, and then the festival is ushered in with the Kiddush.) How does, finally, the Halakha prevail? Abayi said: Wine, Kiddush, season, light, and Habdalah," and Rabba said: "Wine, Kiddush, light, Habdalah, and season." The Halakha prevails according to Rabba. R. Jacob bar Abba once happened to be in the house of Rabha, and he noticed that Rabha said the benediction, "Who hath created the fruit of the vine," over the first cup, and after the meal was over, before the benediction at the conclusion of the meal was pronounced, he again made the same benediction over the wine and then drank it. So R. Jacob asked: "Why dost thou say so many benedictions? Thou hast already made one over the wine, why dost thou make another?" Rabha replied: "When I was at the house of the Exilarch we would do likewise," and R. Jacob replied: "At the house of the Exilarch this was proper, because it was not known whether more wine would be given, hence a benediction was said at the commencement, and then if more wine was given another was said; but here, when we have the wine before our eyes, surely this is not necessary!" Said Rabha: "I act as the disciples of Rabh; for R. Brona and R. Hananel the disciples of Rabh were sitting at a meal, and were waited on by Yeba the Elder. In the meantime they said: 'Give us a cup of wine and we will say the benediction (at the conclusion of a meal).' Subsequently they reconsidered it, and asked for more wine to drink. Said R. Yeba to them: Thus said Rabh, 'As soon as ye have said, give us a cup and we will make the benediction, ye have given up the intention of eating any more, hence ye must not drink until ye have pronounced the benediction at the conclusion of the meal' (whence we see that the concluding benediction disconnects all previous benedictions, and if anything else is eaten afterwards another benediction thereon must be made)."
[Ameimar, Mar Zutra, and R. Ashi sat at one meal, and R. Aha the son of Rabha waited on them. Ameimar made a benediction over each separate cup of wine. Mar Zutra made a benediction over the first, and then over the last cup. R. Ashi only made one over the first cup, and no more.] (Referring to R. Jacob's visit to Rabha again:) When the time for the Habdalah prayer arrived, the servant of Rabha lit several candles and joined them into one flame. Said R. Jacob to him: Why dost thou need so many candles?" and Rabha replied: The servant did this of his own accord," and R. Jacob rejoined: "If the servant did not know that such is thy wont, he would not have done this; therefore thou probably doest this always, and I ask thee again, Why so many candles?" He then answered: "Doth not my master hold, that the flame used at the Habdalah prayer is a religious duty of the highest degree?"
When Rabha commenced to recite the Habdalah prayer he said thus: "Who hath made a distinction between sanctified and ordinary days, between light and darkness, between Israel and other nations, and between the seventh day and the six working days." Said R. Jacob to him: "Why dost thou recite such a voluminous prayer? Did not R. Jehudah say in the name of Rabh, that R. Jehudah Hanassi's mode of reciting the Habdalah was merely, 'Who hath made a distinction between sanctified and ordinary days'?" and Rabha replied: "I hold with the following Tana, R. Eliezer in the name of R. Oshiya said: 'One who desires to embody few distinctions in the Habdalah prayer should not recite less than three, and he who would multiply them should not recite more than seven.'" Then R. Jacob remarked: "Yea, but thou, Master, hast not recited either three or seven, for there were four." Answered Rabha: "The last one was merely an adjunct to the conclusion of the prayer, for R. Jehudah said in the name of Samuel that one who recites the Habdalah prayer must make the words immediately preceding the conclusion of the prayer similar to the conclusion itself." The sages of Pumbaditha, however, said: "The conclusion of that prayer must be identical with the commencement." Wherein do they differ? Both the commencement and the conclusion read, "Who hath made the distinction between sanctified and ordinary days." They differ in a case of a Sabbath followed by a festival, when the initial and concluding benedictions read: "Who hath made a distinction between sanctification and sanctification." According to those who say that the words immediately preceding the conclusion must be similar to the conclusion itself, the additional sentence, "Who distinguisheth between the sanctification of the Sabbath and that of the festival," must be included; while according to those who say that only the conclusion and the commencement must be identical, the additional sentence is not necessary.
An objection was made: We have learned in a Boraitha: That one who is accustomed to incorporate many benedictions in the Habdalah prayer may embody as many as he chooses, while one who is not, may only recite one? This constitutes a diversity of opinion among Tanaim, as R. Johanan said: "The son of the Holy says, that only one benediction should be recited in the Habdalah, but the people generally pronounce three. [Who is called the son of the Holy? R. Mena'hem bar Sinai, and the reason he was called "son of the Holy" was because he never saw the likeness of a zuz.]
Said R. Jehoshua ben Levi: "One who recites the Habdalah prayer must recite it similarly to the Habdalah in the Scriptures."
An objection was made: How is the order of the Habdalah to be observed? As follows: "Who hath made a distinction between sanctified and ordinary, between light and darkness, between Israel and other nations, between the seventh day and working days, between unclean and clean, between the sea and dry land, between the waters above and beneath, between priests, Levites, and Israelites," and must conclude with, "Blessed be He who hath arranged in order the creation," and others say, "who hath created all things."
R. Jose bar R. Jehudah said: "He must conclude with 'who hath sanctified Israel.'" How then can it be said that the scriptural order should be observed? It does not mention sea and dry land? This should be eliminated. If that should be so, and taking into consideration that the distinction between the seventh day and working days is merely an adjunct to the conclusion, then seven benedictions will not remain? I will tell thee: Between the priests, Levites, and Israelites are virtually two separate distinctions, because it is written [Deut. x. 8]: "At that time did the Lord separate the tribe of Levi," and between the priests and Levites, as it is written [I Chronicles xxiii. 13]: "The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was set apart, to sanctify him as most holy."
What is the conclusion of the benediction? Said Rabh: "It concludes with 'who hath sanctified Israel,'" and Samuel said: "It concludes with 'who maketh a distinction between sanctified and ordinary.'" Abayi, according to another version R. Joseph, denounced Rabh's decree.
We have learned in a Boraitha upon the authority of R. Jehoshua ben Hananiah, that one who concludes the benediction with both passages, viz., "who hath sanctified Israel" and "who maketh a distinction between sanctified and ordinary," his years and days are prolonged for him; but the Halakha does not prevail accordingly.
Ula once came to Pumbaditha. So R. Jehudah said to his son, R. Itz'hak: "Go and carry a basket of fruit to Ula, and incidentally observe how he recites the Habdalah." R. Itz'hak would not go himself, but sent Abayi in his stead. When Abayi returned, he related that Ula merely said, "who distinguisheth between sanctified and ordinary (days)," and nothing more. R. Itz'hak then went to his father and told him that he did not go himself, but had sent Abayi, who related that Ula merely said, "who distinguisheth between sanctified and ordinary days," and R. Jehudah replied: "Thy arrogance and disobedience will be the cause of thy not being able to cite a Halakha in Ula's name, but thou wilt have to cite it in Abayi's name."
R. Hananiah bar Shlamia and the disciples of Rabh sat together at a meal, and R. Hamnuna the Elder waited on them, and they said to him: "Go and see if the Sabbath, has already set in. If it has, we will stop and make the meal for Sabbath." He replied: "Ye need not do this; for Rabh said, that the Sabbath asserts itself without other aid, and it is not necessary to make a special distinction for it. 'For,' said Rabh, 'as on the Sabbath the law of giving tithes must be particularly observed, even when a light meal is taken, because the Sabbath renders it an honorable duty, so in the case of the Kiddush (prayer)--even if a meal is in the course of being served, one may arise and recite that prayer without first clearing off the table.'"
The disciples of Rabh desired to infer therefrom, that as the Sabbath makes it a duty to recite the Kiddush even when in the midst of a meal, the Habdalah should also be said, even though a meal have to be interrupted on that account. Said R. Amram to them: "Thus said Rabh: 'For Kiddush this is imperative but not for Habdalah, and as for interrupting a meal, it need not be done for the sake of Habdalah; at the same time, it is not lawful to commence eating at the time appointed for the Habdalah, without first reciting that prayer. No interruption need be made when solid food is taken; but when drinking, the Habdalah should be said over the same cup, i.e., an interruption should be made and the Habdalah recited. Again, the interruption must be made only when wine or beer is drunk, but when water is the beverage that is not necessary.'"
Rabhina asked R. Na'hman bar Itz'hak: "If a man did not recite the Kiddush on the eve of Sabbath, is it lawful for him to do so during the Sabbath day?" and he answered: "The children of Hyya having stated, that one who had not recited the Habdalah at the close of Sabbath may do so at any time during the week following, we must assume, that one who had not recited the Kiddush on the eve of Sabbath may do so during all the Sabbath day."
Rabhina objected: "The eve of a Sabbath or of a festival brings with it the duty of saying the Kiddush over a cup (of wine) and also the duty of including the remembrance in the benediction at the conclusion of meals, but the Sabbath or the festival days only carry with them the duty of including remembrance in the benedictions after meals? Now, if it were allowed to recite the Kiddush on the Sabbath or festival day, because they have the duty of the benediction in common with the eve of the Sabbath or the festival, could not a man wilfully postpone the recital of the Kiddush until the morrow?" Replied R. Na'hman bar Itz'hak: "The case of a man who does not act in accordance with the proper law is not considered."
Rabhina again objected: "The honor of the Sabbath day is more important than that of the eve preceding it, so that if a man have but one cup of wine for both the Kiddush on the eve of Sabbath and for the purpose of honoring therewith the Sabbath day, he should rather use it for the Kiddush; whence we can see, that it should not be postponed until the next day; for were this allowed, the owner could leave the cup until the following day and then use it for both purposes." Answered R. Na'hman: "The fulfilment of a religious duty at its proper time is the more preferable." Rabhina, however, rejoined: "Is this indeed the case? Have we not learned in a Boraitha, that if a man enter his house at the close of the Sabbath, he pronounces a benediction over wine, light, and spices in the order named, and then recites the Habdalah over the cup? Now if a man have only one cup of wine, he may leave it until after the meal and then pronounce all the benedictions over it at once. Is this not proof positive that the fulfilment of a religious duty at its proper time is not preferable?" Then R. Na'hman replied: "I am not one of those sages who would proclaim a decree upon my own authority; neither am I a prophet nor do 1 quote an authority without corroboration. The traditional ordinance I quoted I did riot learn from my teachers as referring to Kiddush alone, but I merely took it upon myself to arrange the order of the benedictions in the Kiddush and Habdalah, and I did so because I was convinced that my order was correct; 1 for thus it is also taught in the colleges, and the reason of all this is, that there is a great difference between the entrance of a sanctified day and its close. At the entrance of such a day, the sooner we observe its sanctification the better, for we thereby demonstrate that we consider the duty a pleasure; but at its close, the further we can postpone its termination the better, for thereby we demonstrate that it is not a burden to us. (Hence if a meal is in progress at the time when the Sabbath is about to set in, we should attempt the repast and say the Kiddush in order to usher in the Sabbath that much sooner; but if we only have one cup of wine at the close of Sabbath with which to say the Habdalah, we should first finish our repast and pronounce the other benedictions, and then recite the Habdalah over that cup in order to postpone the termination of the holy day that much longer.)"
From the preceding Boraitha we may infer eight things: First: One who included the Habdalah in his evening prayer must nevertheless recite it again over a cup (this is inferred from the sentence "if a man enter his house at the close of the Sabbath," which signifies, that he came from the house of worship, where he had already recited the Habdalah). Second: The benediction after a meal must be made over a cup (of wine). Third: The cup used at the benediction must be of a prescribed capacity (i.e., a quarter of a lug; for were this not so, it could be divided and part used for the Habdalah and another part for the other benediction). Fourth: One who pronounces the benediction over the cup of wine must taste some (for otherwise the benediction could be made and the wine left over for the next benediction). Fifth: As soon as part of the wine is tasted after a benediction, the cup of wine is rendered unfit for any other benedictions. Sixth: Even if a full meal is eaten at the close of Sabbath and the sanctification of the day had passed, it is still a duty to recite the Habdalah. Seventh: Two degrees of sanctification may be bestowed upon one cup of wine. Lastly: The entire Boraitha is in accordance with the school of Shammai and with the interpretation of R. Jehudah (i.e., that the benedictions over light must be pronounced prior to that over spices, and not vice versa).
R. Ashi said: "The inference that the cup of wine must be of a prescribed quantity, and the one that by tasting the wine the cup becomes unfit for other benedictions, are virtually one and the same thing, and the eight inferences are completed thus: Why does tasting of the cup of wine render it unfit? Because the prescribed quantity is thereby lessened."
R. Jacob bar Idi was so particular, that if the jug containing the wine was ever so slightly damaged he would not use the wine for Kiddush or Habdalah, and R. Idi bar Shesha was only particular about the condition of the goblet; Mar the son of R. Ashi was particular even about the condition of the barrel containing the wine, and if it was at all damaged he would not use the wine for the Kiddush or the Habdalah.
The rabbis taught: "It is written [Exod. xx. 8]: 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The remembrance should be effected over wine. This, however, refers to the Sabbath day; whence do we know that the night is also meant? To that end it is written, 'to keep it holy,' which refers also to the night."
"Whence do we know that the night is also meant," is the question? Is not the night the principal time of the Sabbath, when the Kiddush must be said? Then, again, how can the passage refer to the night, when it distinctly states the day? The following is meant: "Remember the day" implies that it should be remembered over wine, when the Sabbath sets in. This therefore refers to the night, and that the day also is meant is clearly proven by the words, "the Sabbath day."
What benediction is made during the day of Sabbath? Said R. Jehudah: "Only the usual benediction over the wine, viz., 'who hath created the fruit of the vine.'"
R. Ashi came to the city of Mehuzza, and the people said to him: "Let Master recite for us the great Kiddush," and not knowing what they meant by the great Kiddush, he thought: "Let us see! The first benediction to be made is the usual one over wine." Accordingly, he pronounced the benediction, "who hath created the fruit of the vine," in a rather prolonged manner. He thereupon observed an old man bending over and sipping the wine (whence he concluded that the one benediction constituted the great Kiddush). He then applied to himself the passage [Ecclesiastes ii. 14]: "The wise man hath his eyes in his head."
We have previously learned that the children of R. Hyya said: "If a man did not say the Habdalah at the close of the Sabbath, he may say it at any time during the following week." Until what day of the week? Said R. Zera: "Until the fourth day of the week (for after that the days belong to the next week)."
R. Brona said in the name of Rabh: "If a man had washed his hands for a meal, he should not make the Kiddush, because that will cause an interruption (and he will be obliged to wash his hands again)." Said R. Itz'hak bar Samuel bar Martha: "Rabh is not yet dead, and still we have already forgotten all his Halakhoth. I myself stood before Rabh several times and noticed that whenever he preferred bread he would make the Kiddush over bread, and whenever he preferred wine he would make the Kiddush over wine."
Said R. Huna in the name of Rabh: "If a man had eaten anything prior to making the Kiddush, he need not make the Kiddush." R. Hana the son of Hinana asked R. Huna: "If a man had eaten prior to reciting the Habdalah, what is the law?" and he answered: "I say, that he must nevertheless recite the Habdalah, but R. Assi said, that he need not do so."
R. Jeremiah bar Abba was at one time in the house of R. Assi, and through forgetfulness ate something before saying the Habdalah. Afterwards he was given a cup of wine and he then said the Habdalah. Said R. Assi's wife to her husband: "Master does not do this?" and he replied: "Let him be; he acts according to the teaching of his masters."
R. Joseph in the name of Samuel said: "If a man had thoughtlessly eaten either before Kiddush or before Habdalah, he need not recite those prayers," but Rabba in the name of R. Na'hman quoted Samuel to the contrary, namely, that he may do so. Said Rabha: The Halakha prevails that one who had eaten before Kiddush or Habdalah may nevertheless recite those prayers; if one had not made the Kiddush on the eve of Sabbath, he may do so during the Sabbath day; and if he did not say the Habdalah at the close of Sabbath, he may say it on the following day.
Mar the Younger and Mar the Elder, sons of R. Hisda, related to R. Ashi the following: It once happened, that Ameimar was a guest in our house, and not having any wine, beer was brought for the Habdalah; but he would not use it for that purpose, and went to sleep without supper. On the morrow, after a good deal of trouble we succeeded in procuring some wine; and he said the Habdalah and ate. A year afterwards he was again our guest, and once more we did not have any wine, so we brought beer for the Habdalah. He then remarked: "If wine is so scarce with you and your usual beverage is beer, then the beer may be considered as wine of your land." Accordingly he said the Habdalah over it and ate his meal.
From this narrative we can infer three things: First, that a man who heard the Habdalah in the house of worship, must nevertheless recite it in his house; second, that nothing should be eaten prior to the Habdalah; and third, that if a man did not say the Habdalah at the close of Sabbath, he may say it during the following week.
R. Huna asked of R. Hisda: "May the Kiddush be made over beer?" and he answered: "If as to unfermented barley-beer, fig-beer, and senna-beer, concerning which Rabh was asked, who in turn asked of R. Hyya, who then asked Rabbi, it could not be decided whether they may be used or not, how then can I decide about ordinary beer?"
It was thought, however, that while Kiddush could not be made, it was surely allowed to make Habdalah with beer. Said R. Hisda to them: "So said Rabh: 'As the Kiddush cannot be made over beer, so also must Habdalah not be made over it.'" It was also taught, that R. Ta'hlipha bar R. Abimi said the same thing in the name of Samuel.
Levi sent Rabbi beer made of a thirteen-fold extract of dates, and it was very sweet in taste; and Rabbi said: "With this kind of beer the Kiddush may be made, and all hymns and songs in praise of the Lord may be sung over it." At night he felt some bad effects on account of that beer; so he said: "Should a thing which produces a bad effect be used for the Kiddush?"
R. Joseph said: "I will register a vow before a multitude of people that I will never again drink beer," and Rabha said: "I would rather drink water in which flax was soaked than beer," and continued he: "He who makes the Kiddush over beer, should never have anything else to drink (i.e., in a place where wine is to be had)."
R. Huna once found Rabh making Kiddush over beer. So he said: "It seems to me, that Abba will soon commence to deal in beer, if it is so dear to him."
The rabbis taught: "Neither Kiddush nor any other benediction should be made with anything except wine." Is there then no benediction made over beer and water, namely: "Through whose word everything came into being"? Said Abayi: "The teaching of the rabbis relative to any other benediction means, that the cup given for the benediction after meals should only be of wine."
The rabbis taught: "Kiddush is not made with beer." It was said upon the authority of R. Eliezer bar R. Simeon, that Kiddush may be made with beer.
The statement previously made, that the wine must be tasted when Kiddush is made, means that even ever so little may be tasted, and R. Jose bar R. Jehudah says, that a mouthful must be tasted.
R. Huna said in the name of Rabh, and likewise R. Giddel of Narash taught: "If a man made Kiddush and tasted a mouthful of the beverage, he has fulfilled his duty; but if he had not tasted that much, he has not acquitted himself of the duty."
"From the time of Min'hah," etc. The schoolmen asked: Does this refer to the long Min'hah (the time for which commences in the half of the eighth hour, i.e., at half-past one in the afternoon) or to the short Min'hah (the time for which commences on the half of the tenth hour, i.e., at half-past three in the afternoon in our time)? Is it not lawful to eat from the time of the long Min'hah, because thereby the time in which the paschal offering must be brought will be taken up, or is it not lawful to eat from the time of the short Min'hah, because in that event a man would become satiated, and not be able to do justice to the Passover-meal of unleavened bread?
Said Rabhina: Come and hear: We have learned: Even King Agrippa, whose wont it was to eat at the ninth hour of the day (3 P.M.), should on the eve of Passover not eat until it becomes dark. Now if the short Min'hah is the time meant, after which it is not lawful to eat, then the case of King Agrippa is worthy of note; but if the long Min'hah is meant, what proof does this case exhibit then that it was only because the meal would interfere with the paschal offering, and why is Agrippa's case specially mentioned? Hence we may infer therefrom that the short Min'hah is meant. Still, wherein is the case of Agrippa so noteworthy? If he commence his meal as usual in the ninth hour, the time when it is already unlawful to eat will arrive while he is still at his meal? We might assume, that the ninth hour of Agrippa is the equivalent of our fourth hour. Hence we are told that such is not the case.
R. Jose said: "While eating is not permitted after the time stated in the Mishna, it is allowed to partake of a light repast of fruit, delicacies, etc." R. Itz'hak would partake of herbs. Rabha would drink wine during all the eve of Passover, in order to arouse his appetite for unleavened bread at night. R. Shesheth would fast all through the eve of Passover, because, being in delicate health, had he eaten anything during the day he would not have been able to eat at night.
"Even the meanest in Israel," etc. It was taught: When eating unleavened bread on the Passover-night it is required that one should recline in an easy position, but this is not required when the bitter herbs are eaten. When wine is drunk it was taught in the name of R. Na'hman that a reclining position should be taken, and also that it need not be taken. Still, this apparent contradiction presents no difficulty. The statement quoted of R. Na'hman that a reclining position is necessary when drinking wine refers to the first two cups, and the statement that it is not necessary refers to the last two cups. Some explain the apparent contradiction in the manner quoted because the first two cups symbolize the commencement of liberty for the previously enslaved Jews, while the last two cups have no such significance. Others, however, say on the contrary! The first two cups are a remembrance of the days of bondage, and should therefore not be drunk in a reclining position, while the last two cups are a remembrance of the dawn of freedom, and hence should be drunk in an easy reclining position.
Leaning backwards is not considered reclining, nor is leaning over on the right side considered reclining in an easy position, and another reason why this should not be done is for fear lest the food enter the trachea instead of the gullet, and thus cause danger.
The woman who sits with her husband need not recline when eating, but if she is a woman of prominence she should do so. A son sitting with his father must recline, and the schoolmen raised the question whether a disciple sitting with his master should also recline or not? Come and hear: Abayi said: When we were at the house of our master (Rabba) we disciples would recline each on the other's knee; but when we afterwards came to R. Joseph, be told us that we need not do this, for it is said in Aboth: "The fear of thy master should be as the fear of the Lord." The schoolmen then inquired whether the servant in the house of his master must recline or not. Come and hear: R. Jehoshua ben Levi said: "If the servant ate unleavened bread to the size of an olive in a reclining position, he has fulfilled his duty." Whence we may infer that the servant must also recline (for he says "in a reclining position," but if not in a reclining position the servant would not have discharged the duty).
R. Jehoshua ben Levi said again: "Women must also drink the four cups, because they were also included in the miracles which delivered us all from Egypt."
R. Jehudah said in the name of Samuel: "Each cup must contain wine which, when mixed with three parts of water, will be good wine. If unmixed wine was drunk, the duty has nevertheless been fulfilled. If all the four cups were poured into one and drunk, the duty has also been fulfilled. If the household was allowed to drink part of the four cups, the duty has also been fulfilled." Rabha, however, said: "If the wine was drunk unmixed the duty of drinking the wine has been acquitted, but the symbolical feature thereof has not been carried out," and in the case of where the four cups were poured into one, Rabh said: "The duty of drinking wine has been accomplished, but the duty of the four cups has not." If the household was allowed to drink part of the four cups, R. Na'hman said: "The master of the house has fulfilled the duty of drinking the four cups, provided he drunk the larger part thereof."
We have learned in a Boraitha, R. Jehudah said: "The cup must contain the taste and the color of red wine." Said Rabha: "What is the reason of R. Jehudah's statement? Because it is written [Proverbs xxiii. 31]: 'Do not look on the wine when it is red' (whence we adduce, that wine must be red)."
The rabbis taught: "The duty of drinking the four cups devolves upon all alike--men, women, and even children." R. Jehudah, however, said: "What benefit would children derive from wine? They should rather be given nuts, parched corn, etc., on the eve of Passover, so as to keep them awake at night, and that may make them inquire into the reason of the festivity."
It was said of R. Aqiba, that he would deal out nuts and parched corn on the eve of Passover to the children, in order to keep them awake and have them ask for reasons.
We have learned in a Boraitha, R. Eliezer said: On the night of the Passover the unleavened bread is snatched out of the children's hand in order to keep them awake and have them ask for the reason. 1
A Boraitha states that it was told of R. Aqiba, that he never proposed adjourning the session at the college excepting on the eve of Passover for the children's sake, that they should not fall asleep, and on the eve of the Day of Atonement, in order to see that the children be given their meals at the proper time.
The rabbis taught: It is the duty of every man to cause his household and his children to rejoice on a festival, as it is written [Deut. xvi. 14]: "And thou shalt rejoice on thy feast." Wherewith should a man cause his household to rejoice? With wine. R. Jehudah, however, said: "The men with the thing they like best and the women with what is most pleasing to them." The thing men like best is, of course, wine; but what is most pleasing to women? R. Joseph taught: "In Babylonia multicolored dresses and in Judæa pressed linen garments."
We have learned in a Boraitha, R. Jehudah ben Bathyra said: "When the Temple was still in existence, there was no better mode of rejoicing, than with (the eating of) flesh, as it is written [Deut. xxvii. 7]: 'And thou shalt slay peace-offerings, and eat them there; and thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God'; but now, when there is no Temple, wine is the principal means of rejoicing, as it is written [Psalms civ. 15]: 'And wine that maketh joyful the heart of man.'"
"Nor shall a person have less than four cups of wine." How can the rabbis order a thing which might involve danger? 2 Have we not learned in a Boraitha, that a man should not eat two dishes, nor drink two cups, nor do anything by twos? Said R. Na'hman: "It is written [Exod. xii. 42]: 'A night to be observed was this unto the Lord,' which signifies that on that night one is exempt from danger." Rabha said: "The cup of benediction (after meals) is only counted in for good purposes but never for evil, because its very name implies that it is for good, and thus only three cups are virtually drunk." Rabhina, however, said: "At all events, the four cups cannot be conjoined, for each one represents a different duty." 3
In Palestine no attention was paid to even or odd numbers, but R. Dimi of Neherdai was even particular about the signs on his barrels; and it once happened that he paid no attention to the signs, so one of the barrels burst. Whence the rule may be adduced, that one who is particular about things lays himself liable to accidents, but one who is not is not affected by superstition; still, it might happen that an accident should occur to him.
When R. Dimi came from Palestine, he said: Two eggs, two nuts, two cucumbers, and two of some other thing which I cannot remember, prove injurious to a man, is a Sinaic law; and because the rabbis could not find out what that other thing was, they included two of everything among the injurious as a precautionary measure. The statement elsewhere, that ten, eight, six, and four are excluded from the even numbers which are injurious only refers to acts caused by evil spirits; but where witchcraft is concerned, even those and more numbers may prove injurious, as it happened that a man once divorced his wife and she then became the wife of a wine-dealer. The first husband would generally go to that wine-dealer for his wine, and they tried to bewitch him, but without success; for he was always careful to avoid the even numbers. One day he imbibed too freely, and after drinking his sixteenth cup he became confused, and did not know how many he had drunk. So they saw to it that he drank an even number, and then succeeded in bewitching him. When he went out into the street he was met by a certain merchant, who said: "I see a murdered man walking before me." Not being able to proceed farther, the drunken man embraced a tree for support, when the tree emitted a groan and dried up, and the man was killed.
R. Avira said: Bowls and loaves of bread are not affected by even numbers. The rule is, that all things produced artificially are not subject to the evil arising from even numbers; but natural productions, such as fruit and edible things, are. Shops are not affected by even numbers (if one eat in two shops). If one ate one of a certain thing and then considered it, and ate another, the rule of even numbers does not apply. Guests are not affected by even numbers; i.e., if one cup of wine was given a guest and then another, as he had not known in advance how many he would be given, he is not affected.
A woman is not affected by even numbers, but a prominent woman should nevertheless be careful.
Said R. Hinana the son of R. Jehoshua. "Asparagus is always counted in with things tending to good but not to evil." R. Joseph said: Two cups of wine and one cup of beer are not counted together; but two cups of beer and one of wine are counted together. Proof of this can be adduced from a Mishna in Tract Kelim, to the effect that where uncleanness is concerned, the less valuable things are defiled by more valuable, but valuable things are not defiled by things of lesser value.
R. Na'hman said in the name of Rabh: "If two cups are drunk before going to the table, and one while at table, they are counted together, but one drunk before going to the table and two drunk at the table are not counted together." R. Mesharshia opposed this statement. Do we then concern ourselves with the table? It is the man who is affected, and if he drank three cups, it is well. Therefore only if a man drank two cups at the table, pronounced the benediction after the meal, and subsequently drank another, the three cups are not counted together. 1
"Even if they must be given him from the funds devoted to charitable support." Is this not self-evident? (Is not the poor man equal to all others?) This statement in the Mishna is made for the purpose of counteracting the decree of R. Aqiba, to the effect that a man should even make his Sabbath-day as any other, in order not to depend upon charity. When the observance of the Passover, however, is concerned, and the miracles performed for our ancestors are to be proclaimed, even R. Aqiba admits that a man may avail himself of charity so that he may be enabled fitly to celebrate the event.
The disciples of Elijah taught: Although R. Aqiba taught that a man should even make his Sabbath-day as any other, in order not to depend upon charity, still some slight distinction should be made in honor of the Sabbath [What is meant by some slight distinction? Said R. Papa: "Small fishes should be eaten"], as it is taught in a Mishna (Aboth): R. Jehudah ben Thaima said: Thou shalt be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle; swift as a deer, and strong as a lion to do the will of thy Heavenly Father (which signifies, that a man should go even beyond his means in order to honor the Sabbath).
The rabbis taught,. Seven things R. Aqiba commanded his son R. Jehoshua, viz.: "My child, sit not in the midst of a city, when thou desirest to study; do not live in a city the officials of which are scholars, for they do not attend to the wants of the city; do not enter thy house without warning, and so much the less into thy neighbor's house; never go bare-footed; always arise early, and immediately eat in summer on account of the heat and in winter on account of the cold; and rather make thy Sabbath-day as any other in order not to depend upon charity; and, finally, have transactions only with such men as have no ill-fortune." Said R. Papa: "This last injunction does not refer to buying of or selling to a man in good fortune, but merely to entering into partnership."
Now that we have heard from R. Samuel bar Itz'hak that the passage [Job i. 10]: "The work of his hands hast thou blessed" signifies, that whoever only received a coin from the hands of job was fortunate in all his undertakings, we can infer, that with a man who is fortunate it is not only beneficial to be associated as a partner, but it is even to one's interest to buy from or sell to such a person.
Five things R. Aqiba while in prison commanded to R. Simeon ben Jochai: When R. Simeon ben Jochai said to him: "Master, teach me the Law," and R. Aqiba replied, "I do not wish to do this," the former said: "If thou wilt not, I shall complain to my father Jochai, and he will denounce thee to the government." R. Aqiba then remarked: "My son, more than the calf desireth to suck is the cow anxious to yield her milk," and R. Simeon replied: "In this case, however, the calf is in greater danger" (because R. Aqiba had been in prison already for this offence, while R. Simeon ben Jochai (the calf) stood yet in danger of being detected). Whereupon R. Aqiba told him the five things, viz.: If thou wouldst hang thyself, select at least a stout tree (meaning, that if thou wouldst have thy words listened to, quote them in the name of some great authority). If thou wouldst teach thy child, teach it from books free of errors. [What is meant thereby? Said Rabha, and according to others R. Mesharshia: "If a child is taught incorrectly to commence with, it is next to impossible to correct it subsequently."] Do not cook in the same pot that thy neighbor once used. [What is meant thereby? A divorced woman whose husband is still living; because the Master said, that if a divorced man marry a divorced woman there are four different minds in one bed, and others say, that R. Aqiba even referred to a widow.] If thou wouldst do an act of charity or perform a religious duty, and incidentally derive material benefit therefrom, thou shouldst lend thy money to the husbandman and eat of the fruit of his land, in which case thou wilt do an act of charity and also derive material benefit. If thou wouldst perform a religious duty and keep thy body clean, thou shouldst take a wife and have children.
Four things our holy Rabbi commanded his children, viz.: Do not live in the city of Shakantzib (because the inhabitants are scorners). Do not sit on the bed of a Syrian woman. [What is meant thereby? Some say, that one should not lie down to sleep without reciting the Shema prayer; and others say, that one should not marry a proselyte; while still others say, that the literal meaning is to be accepted on account of what happened to R. Papa. 1] Do not try to avoid taxation (for aside from the fact that it is a duty to pay taxes, should it be known that ye desire to avoid them, your property is in danger of being confiscated). Lastly, do not stand in front of an ox just emerging from the swamps, for at that time he is so wild that it seems as if Satan were moving between his horns. R. Samuel said: "This refers only to a black ox in the month of Nissan."
R. Oshiya taught: An ox that had attempted to gore a person once should not be approached for a distance of fifty ells, and one that had done so three times should be avoided as long as he is in sight. It was taught in the name of R. Meir: If thou hast perceived an ox so vicious, even if he still have his head in his crib, climb up an elevation and draw thy ladder after thee immediately.
Three things R. Ishmael bar R. Jose commanded Rabbi, viz.: Thou shalt not cause a blemish on thyself [i.e., thou shalt not deal with three men, one of whom will sue thee in a court of law and the other two will serve as witnesses against thee; for then thou wilt surely lose thy case]. Thou shalt not haggle over the price of a thing if thou hast not the wherewithal to purchase it with thee; and on the night when thy wife has returned from the bath thou shalt have nothing to do with her. Said Rabh: "This refers to a woman who had been ritually unclean according to biblical law but not to one who had been unclean according to rabbinical law; for in the former case, having been unclean only seven days, there is danger of a recurrence of her uncleanness, while in the latter, where she had been unclean fourteen days, there is no such danger."
Three things R. Jose bar R. Jehudah also commanded Rabbi, viz.: Thou shalt not go out at night alone. Thou shalt not stand naked before a light; and thou shalt not enter a new bathhouse, lest it be imperfectly constructed and breakdown. [How long is a bath-house considered new? Said R. Jehoshua ben Levi: "For twelve months." Why should not a man stand naked before a light? Because we have learned in a Boraitha: "One who stands naked before a light is liable to be seized with epilepsy, and one who has sexual intercourse before a light may produce epileptic children."]
The rabbis taught: "One who has intercourse with his wife in a bed where a child sleeps may cause the child to be epileptic, but this is the case only if the child is less than six years old. If it is over six years old, or even if it be less than six years old but sleeps at the foot or at the head of the bed, it does not matter. If the man, however, put his hand on the child, no matter where it sleeps, there will be no evil consequences."
Why should not a man go out alone at night? For we have learned in a Boraitha: "A man should not go out alone on the night following the fourth day or on the night following the Sabbath, because an evil spirit called Agrath, the daughter of Ma'hlath, together with one hundred and eighty thousand other evil spirits, go forth into the world and have the right to injure anyone they should chance to meet."
In former times this spirit would go forth every day. Once she met with R. Hanina ben Dosa and said to him: "If I had not heard it proclaimed in the heavens, 'Hanina and his knowledge must be respected,' I would inflict some injury upon thee," and he answered: "If I am esteemed in the heavens above, I command thee never to appear where men dwell," and she pleaded: "I must obey thy command, but leave me some freedom," whereupon be allowed the night following the fourth day and the night following the Sabbath.
At another time this same evil spirit met Abayi, and she also said to him: "Had I not heard it proclaimed above, 'Respect Na'hmeni (another name for Abayi) and his knowledge,' I would do thee harm"; and he answered: "If I am respected above, I command thee never to appear where men dwell."
Rabh said to R. Assi: "Do not live in a city where thou canst not hear a horse neigh or a dog bark, and do not live in a city whose (executive) head is a physician. Do not take unto thee two wives, because they might conspire against thee to do thee wrong. If thou, however, already hast two wives, take a third (and should two conspire against thee the third will betray them to thee)."
Rabh said to R. Kahana: "It were better that thou shouldst occupy thyself with carrion (for a livelihood) than that thou shouldst break thy word (promise). Rather skin carrion in the market for pay than say that thou art a priest or an important person and above such work; for all honest labor is preferable to accepting charity. When thou goest on a journey, no matter how short, always take some food with thee. Even when a hundred cucumbers may be had for one zuz, do not say that thou wilt buy thy food on the way, but carry it along with thee, for thou never canst know what might happen on the way."
Rabh said to his son Hyya: "Do not make a habit of taking medicine. Do not make long strides. Avoid as much as possible having a tooth extracted. Never try to tease a snake, and do not make sport of a Persian."
The rabbis taught: Never tease a little (young) Gentile, a small snake, or a young pupil; because their kingdom is behind their ears (i.e., when they become older they seek revenge).
Rabh said to Aibo his son: "I have tried to teach thee the holy Law, but I cannot succeed; come and I will teach thee worldly things. When the sand is still on thy feet (i.e., if thou hast returned from a purchasing trip), shouldst thou meet with a buyer sell out at once. Sell everything, even though thou mightst subsequently regret it, especially wine, which thou wilt never regret selling, for it might become spoiled. Make fast thy purse and open thy sack (i.e., when selling, obtain the money first, secure it well, and then deliver the merchandise). If thou hast an opportunity to gain a kabh of land in thy immediate vicinity, it is better than a kur of land far away. If thy basket is filled with dates, run to the brewer and have him brew the beer; for the dates might be eaten up, and then thou wilt have naught." [What quantity of dates should a man have before he goes to the brewer? Said Rabha: "Three saahs." Said R. Papa: "If I had not brewed beer, I should never have been rich," and so also said R. Hisda.
Said R. Papa: "All debts requiring promissory notes are doubtful, and those where the signatures must be verified are even more so; and even should they be paid, the money will not be good (i.e., will come little by little)."]
Three things R. Johanan said in the name of the great men of Jerusalem: When thou goest to war, and canst persuade others to join thee, stay as long as possible in order to see that the men that thou hast recruited all go, and then go thyself last of all. Then upon the return thy reward shall be that thou shalt be first. Rather make thy Sabbath-day as any other, and avoid depending on charity. Associate thyself with one upon whom fortune smiles.
R. Jehoshua ben Levi also said three things in the name of the great men of Jerusalem, viz.: Do not commit private acts in public (on account of the evil consequences which have ensued by reason thereof). If thy daughter is of marriageable age, free thy slave and give her to him in marriage (rather than allow her to remain single), and watch thy wife with her first son-in-law. [Why so? Said R. Hisda: "On account of love," and R. Kahana said: "On account of money matters." As a matter of fact, both things should be looked after.]
R. Johanan said: The following three kinds of men shall inherit the world to come: Those that live in the Holy Land, those that send their children to houses of learning, and those that make Habdalah over wine (i.e., those that have but little and leave some of the wine from the Kiddush for Habdalah, refraining from drinking it on the Sabbath).
R. Johanan said again: The Holy One, blessed be He, himself proclaims the virtue of the three following men: Of a bachelor who lives in a large city and sins not; of a poor man who finds a valuable thing and returns it to its owner; and of a rich man who gives a tenth of his profits to charity unbeknown to others.
R. Saphra was a bachelor, and lived in a large city. A certain Tana repeated the statement of R. Johanan, just quoted, in the presence of Rabha and R. Saphra. R. Saphra's face beamed with delight. Said Rabha to him: "A bachelor such as thou art is not meant, but such men as R. Hanina and R. Oshiya, who were shoemakers in the land of Israel and whose shops were in the markets of the prostitutes. They would make shoes for those women and carry the shoes to the houses where the prostitutes lived, and even fit them there. Still, though the women would look at them, they never lifted their eyes to look at the prostitutes. Thus when oaths were taken, they would swear by the lives of these holy rabbis of the land of Israel."
The Holy One, blessed be He, loves three kinds of men, viz.: Those that never become angry, those that never become intoxicated, and those who do not insist upon asserting themselves. The following three the Lord hates: The one who speaks with his mouth and thinks otherwise in his heart; the one who can testify in a man 1 s favor and does not do so; and the one who alone saw another man doing wrong and testifies against him in public, although knowing that the testimony of one man is not sufficient to convict, as it once happened that a certain man by the name of Tubia sinned. A certain Zigud came to R. Papa and testified against this Tubia. R. Papa ordered this Zigud chastised, and the latter said: "Tubia has sinned, and Zigud should be punished?" and R. Papa answered: "Yea; for it is written [Deutr. xix. 15]: 'There shall not rise up one single witness against a man,' and thou art the single witness against Tubia; hence thy testimony is of no value and merely slanders a man."
The rabbis taught: The following three kinds of men do not live a life worth living, viz.: Those who have too much pity with importunates, those who are very excitable, and those who are too fastidious. Said R. Joseph: "I combine in myself all those three defects."
The rabbis taught: The following three species hate others of their own kind, viz.: a dog, a cock, and a Persian Gueber (fire-worshipper); and others say, one prostitute hates another; and still others say, one scholar hates another.
The rabbis taught: The three following love others of their own kind, viz.: Proselytes, slaves, and ravens. The following four are unbearable to the sound sense of a man, viz.: A poor man who is vain, a rich man who constantly tells lies, an old man who is lascivious, and a president of a congregation who considers himself superior to all others without cause. Others say, also one who divorces his wife once, remarries, then divorces her again and again marries her.
Five things Canaan the son of Ham the son of Noah commanded his children; viz.: "Love ye one another, love robbery, love lasciviousness, hate your masters, and never tell the truth."
Six things were said of a horse, viz.: He is very passionate, he loves war, he is very proud, he hates to sleep, he eats much and casts off little; and according to others, he loves to kill his owner in a battle.
Rabba bar bar Hana said in the name of R. Samuel bar Martha, quoting Rabh upon the authority of R. Jose the man of Hutzal: Whence do we know that an Israelite must not consult astrologers? Because it is written [Deutr. xviii. 13]: "Perfect shalt thou be with the Lord thy God" (which signifies that perfect confidence must be reposed in the Lord). Whence do we know that if a man is convinced of the superiority of his neighbor to himself, even in one instance only, he should respect him? From the passage [Daniel vi. 4]: "Because a superior spirit was in him: and the king sought to appoint him over the whole kingdom." When a woman continues in the blood of her purification, 1 although she is not defiled, she should not halve any connection with her husband.
We have learned in a Boraitha: Joseph the man of Hutzal is Joseph the Babylonian or Issi ben Gur Ariah or Issi ben Jehudah or Issi ben Gamaliel or Issi ben Mahalalal, and what is (really) his name? Issi ben Aqabia.
R. Itz'hak ben Tabla is R. Itz'hak ben Haqla and the same as R. Itz'hak ben Elazar (Ela'a), and where R. Itz'hak is mentioned in Halakha it refers to R. Itz'hak ben A'ha, while where R. Itz'hak is mentioned in Haggada it refers to R. Itz'hak ben Pin'has.
Rabba bar bar Hana said in the name of R. Johanan, quoting R. Jehudah bar Ilayi: Rather eat onions and sit in peace in thy house than geese and chickens, which thou wilt acquire a taste for and perhaps be unable to gratify it. Reduce the quality of thy meals, if need be, in order to improve the quality of thy abode. When Ula came from Palestine, he said: "There is a saying in Palestine to this effect: He who always eats the fat of a ram's tail must hide himself from his creditors in an altar, but he who satisfies himself with herbs, can sit in the centre of, the market in full view of all."
MISHNA: When the first cup is poured out, the blessing pertaining to the festival should be said, and then the benediction over the wine must be pronounced. Such is the dictum of Beth Shammai; but according to Beth Hillel, the benediction over the wine should be said first, and then the blessing of the festival may be pronounced.
GEMARA: The rabbis taught: The following presents one of the instances wherein Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel continually differ as regards meals, namely: Beth Shammai hold, first, that the blessing of the festival should precede that over the wine, because the festival is the direct cause of drinking the wine; and, second, the festival was already at hand while the wine was just brought. The school of Hillel, however, maintain, first, that the blessing over the wine has the preference, because, were it not for the wine or bread, no Kiddush could be said; secondly, the wine is usual and drank every day, while the festival only comes once in a certain period, and the rule is, that between a thing which occurs frequently and one which occurs only at intervals, the latter is to be given preference. The Halakha prevails according to Beth Hillel.
MISHNA: Herbs and vegetables are then to be brought; the lettuce is then to be immersed, part thereof eaten, and the remainder left until after the meal arranged for the night is eaten; then unleavened cakes are to be placed before him as well as the lettuce, sauce (Charoseth), and two kinds of cooked food, although it is not strictly obligatory to use the same; R. Elazar ben Zadok, however, said, that it is obligatory. During the existence of the Holy Temple, the paschal sacrifice was then placed before him.
GEMARA: Why are two immersions necessary, the one when lettuce is immersed and the other when the bitter herbs are immersed? In order to excite the curiosity of the children, and have them inquire into the reason therefor. Which kinds of the above-mentioned cooked food are meant? Said R. Huna: "Mangold and rice," and Rabh would see to it that there was only mangold and rice in place of the cooked victuals, because he wished to carry out the literal sense of R. Huna's teaching.
Hezkyah said: "Fish, together with an egg, may also serve for the two kinds of cooked food," and R. Joseph said: "Nay; there must be two kinds of meat (one roasted and the other boiled), one to serve as a remembrance of the paschal offering and the other as a remembrance of the festal offering." Rabhina said: "A bone and some boiled meat suffice."
It is self-evident that if a man have other vegetables besides lettuce he can say the blessing required for the vegetables, namely, "who hath created the fruit of the earth," and eat them, and then, when coming to the bitter herbs, he may say the blessing required, namely, "who hath commanded us to eat bitter herbs," and then eat them; but if a man have no other vegetables besides lettuce, how shall he pronounce the benedictions? Said R. Huna: "He should first say the ordinary benedictions for vegetables, eat a piece of the lettuce, then say the blessing over bitter herbs, and proceed to eat."
R. Hisda opposed this: "How can the man say another blessing after he had already eaten of the thing? Therefore he should say the two benedictions together, eat part of the lettuce, and when the time arrives to eat the remainder he can eat it without saying a blessing."
In Suria they acted in accordance with R. Huna's opinion, and R. Shesheth the son of R. Jehoshua would act in accordance with R. Hisda's decree. The Halakha prevails according to R. Hisda's decree. R. A'ha the son of Rabha took care to have other vegetables besides lettuce, in order to avoid the difference of opinion between the two sages.
Rabhina said: R. Mesharshia the son of R. Nathan told me, that so said Hillel, quoting a tradition: A man should not place the bitter herbs between unleavened cakes and eat them in that manner. Why not? Because the eating of unleavened cakes is a biblical commandment, while the eating of bitter herbs in this day is only a rabbinical ordinance. Now if the two be eaten together, the bitter herbs might destroy the taste of the cakes, and thus a rabbinical ordinance would supersede a biblical commandment; and even according to those who hold that one commandment cannot nullify another when both are fulfilled at the same time, such is only the case where both are biblical or both are rabbinical; but when one is a biblical and the other a rabbinical commandment, the rabbinical nullifies the other, and hence their joint fulfilment is not allowed.
Who is the Tana from whom we have heard that the fulfilment of one commandment does not nullify that of another? That Tana is Hillel, as we have learned in a Boraitha: It was said of Hillel, that he would take a piece of the paschal offering, an unleavened cake, and some bitter herbs, and eat them together, as it is written [Numb. ix. 11]: "With unleavened bread and bitter herbs shall ye eat it."
R. Johanan said: "Hillel's colleagues did not agree with him, as we have learned in a Boraitha: Lest we assume that the paschal offering, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs must be eaten together, therefore it is written, 'With unleavened bread and bitter herbs shall ye eat it,' which signifies, that each may even be eaten separately." R. Ashi opposed this: "If this Boraitha is supposed to be in opposition to Hillel, why does it state that each may even be eaten separately? (If they may be eaten even separately, then surely they may be eaten together.) Therefore the Boraitha means to state, that even if the three things were eaten separately the duty was acquitted, though they should rather be eaten together."
Now in this day, when it is not known whether the Halakha prevails according to the opinion of Hillel or of the opposing sages, the mode of procedure should be thus: A blessing should be said over the unleavened bread and a piece thereof eaten; then another blessing should be said over the bitter herbs and a piece tasted, and finally the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs should be put together and eaten at the same time, saying: "This is in remembrance of Hillel's actions when the Temple was still in existence."
R. Elazar said in the name of R. Oshiya: "When anything is dipped in sauce, the hands should be perfectly clean"; i.e., previously washed. Said R. Papa: "Thence we may infer that the lettuce must be entirely immersed in the Charoseth (sauce), for otherwise what need would there be of washing the hands, they would not touch the sauce?" Nay; perhaps this is not so: the odor of the sauce might neutralize any poison which might be lurking in the lettuce, and thus the lettuce need not be entirely immersed, and as for washing the hands, that is merely a precaution lest they accidentally touch the sauce.
R. Papa said again: "The bitter herbs should not be allowed to stay any length of time in the sauce, lest the spices draw out the bitterness, and thus make the bitter herbs tasteless."
R. Hisda led Rabbana Ubqa by the arms and the latter preached: "If a man washed his hands prior to dipping the lettuce the first time, he should nevertheless wash his hands again when dipping a second time." The rabbis told this to R. Papa, and remarked that the statement did not refer to the Passover-meal alone, but that it was a general rule; for if it referred to the Passover-meal alone, why should a man wash his hands the second time, he had already performed that duty? Rejoined R. Papa: "On the contrary! The statement refers to the Passover-meal alone; for where do we find that a second dipping is required, and should it be claimed that the duty had already been performed, hence a second washing of the hands were unnecessary, it should be taken into consideration, that between the first and second washing of the hands the recital of the Haggada and the Hallel prayer was accomplished, and thus the first washing of the hands might have been lost sight of?"
Rabha said: "If a man swallowed unleavened bread (without masticating it), even if he did not taste it, he has acquitted himself of the duty of eating unleavened bread; but if he swallowed the bitter herbs without getting a taste of the bitterness, he has not discharged the duty pertaining to eating bitter herbs If he swallowed unleavened bread together with bitter herbs, he has acquitted himself of the duty pertaining to unleavened bread, but not of that pertaining to bitter herbs. If he had, however, wrapped the unleavened bread together with the bitter herbs in a leaf (or peel of a fruit) and swallowed it, so that neither the unleavened bread nor the bitter herbs touched the palate, he did not even discharge the duty pertaining to unleavened bread."
R. Shimi bar Ashi said: "Unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and Charoseth must be dealt out to each man separately, but immediately before the Haggada is read, the tables on which the food is served 1 should not be removed at once, but only from the man who is about to recite." R. Huna, however, said: "The things mentioned were only served to the man who was to recite the Haggada, and he would then deal them out to the others," and the Halakha prevails according to the decree of R. Huna.
For what purpose were the tables removed? Said the disciples of R. Janai: "In order to excite the curiosity of the children present, and induce them to inquire into the reasons."
Abayi while still a child sat at a table in the presence of Rabba, and observed that the table of Rabba was removed. Said Abayi: "We have not yet eaten our meal, why are the tables being removed?" and Rabba replied: "By thy question we are absolved from commencing with the passage: 'Wherefore is this night distinguished from all nights?' and we can immediately proceed with the answer: 'Because we were slaves,'" etc.
Samuel said: It is written [Deut. xvi. 3]: "Bread of affliction" (Le'hem Oni), and as "Oni" can also stand for "proclaiming," the bread may be called "bread of proclamation," i.e., "bread over which proclamations should be made," and thus we have also learned in a Boraitha (with the following supplementary statement): Or "Oni" may still be called "poor," and for the reason that the benediction pertaining to the eating of the unleavened bread should be made over a broken piece after the manner of the poor.
"Although it is not obligatory to use Charoseth," etc. If it is not obligatory, why is it used? For the purpose of neutralizing any poison that might be contained in the bitter herbs, said R. Ami.
"R. Elazar ben Zadok, however, said: It is obligatory," etc. What religious purpose can it serve? Said R. Levi: "It serves as a remembrance of the apple-trees." 1 R. Johanan, however, said: "It serves as a remembrance of the loam which the Israelites were compelled to prepare when in bondage in Egypt." Said Abayi: Therefore the Charoseth should be made to have an acid taste in memory of the apple-trees, and also thick, in memory of the loam.
We have learned in a Boraitha in support of R. Johanan, viz.: "The spices used in the preparation of the Charoseth were in memory of the straw used in the preparation of the loam, and the Charoseth was in memory of the loam itself." R. Elazar ben Zadok said: "The vendors of spices in Jerusalem would shout on the streets, 'Come and buy spices for the religious purpose'!"
MISHNA: A second cup of wine is poured out; and the son should then inquire of his father (the reasons for the ceremony). If the son is mentally incapacitated to do this, the father is bound to instruct him as follows: Wherefore is this night distinguished from all other nights? That on all other nights we may eat either leavened or unleavened bread, but on this it must be all unleavened; on all other nights we may eat all kinds of herbs, but on this we may only eat bitter herbs; on all other nights we may eat meat, roasted, boiled, or cooked in different ways, but on this night we may only eat it roasted; on all other nights we immerse what we eat once, but on this night twice. And according to the powers of comprehension of the child, thus should his father teach him: first, he should inform him of the disgrace (of our ancestors), and then conclude with the recital of the favorable and laudatory passages; he should expound the passage [Deutr. xxvi. 5]: "A Syrian, wandering about, was my father," etc., until the end of the passage [ibid. 9].
GEMARA: The rabbis taught: One who has an intelligent son should be asked by his son; if the son is not sufficiently intelligent, the wife should inquire, and if the wife is not capable, he himself should ask those questions; and even if two scholars who are well versed in the laws of the Passover should sit together at the Passover-meal, one should ask the other the above questions.
The Mishna states, "on all other nights we immerse what we eat once." "Is, then, this done because it is a duty?" asked Rabha. "Therefore," said he, "it should state this: On all other nights we are not even bound to immerse what we eat once, but on this night we must do so twice.'"
R. Saphra opposed this: "Shall we tell children of the duty: what do children know of duty? Therefore let the Mishna rather state: 'On all other nights we do not immerse what we eat at all, but on this night we do so twice.'"
MISHNA: Rabbon Gamaliel used to say: Whosoever does not mention the following three things on the Passover has not fulfilled his duty. They are: The paschal sacrifice, the unleavened cakes, and the bitter herbs. The paschal sacrifice is offered because the Lord passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is written [Exod. xii. 27]: "That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Passover unto the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt," etc.; the unleavened bread is eaten because our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt (before they had time to leaven their dough), as it is written [ibid. 34]: "And the people took up their dough before it was leavened," etc.; and bitter herbs are eaten because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is written [ibid. 1-14]: "And they made their lives bitter," etc. It is therefore incumbent on every person, in all ages, that he should consider it as though he had personally gone forth from Egypt, as it is written [ibid. xiii. 8]: "And thou shalt tell thy son on that day, saying, This is done for the sake of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt." We are therefore in duty bound to thank, praise, adore, glorify, extol, honor, bless, exalt, and reverence Him who wrought all these miracles for our ancestors and for us; for He brought us forth from bondage to freedom, He changed our sorrow into joy, our mourning into a feast, He led us from darkness into a great light, and from servitude into redemption: let us therefore say in His presence, "Hallelujah" (sing the Hallel prayer).
How far is the Hallel then to be said? According to Beth Shammai, till [Psalms cxiii. 9]: "He causeth the barren woman to dwell," etc.; but according to Beth Hillel, till [ibid. cxiv. 8]: "Who changeth the rock into a pool of water," etc., and they are to close with a blessing for the redemption. R. Tarphon says: This is the form: "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, Sovereign of the universe, who hast redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt," without any further concluding blessing. R. Aqiba, however, says: "(The preceding should be continued as follows.) Thus mayest thou, O Lord our God, and 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 us 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 recital 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 Haggada 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 and 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 Nitzua'ch, Nigon, Maskil, Mizmor, Shir, Ashrai, Thehiloh, Thephilalh, Hodaah, and Hallelujah. 1 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 affliction, 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 lxxii. 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 reasonable, 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 interpreter; 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 Master 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 seriousness is necessary when learning, and not rejoicing? This presents no difficulty. Rejoicing is necessary for the teacher, i.e., be 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: "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 Hezekiah 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 commencement 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 Hallelujah is also the beginning of a chapter. The Karaites 1 add to these verses, ibid. cx. 7 and ibid. cxi. 10, after both of which the Hallelujah is the beginning of a chapter.
Shall 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. 1] "when Israel went forth out of Egypt," and according to Beth Hillel, till [ibid. cxv. 1] "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 is derived from a comparison by analogy in the verses [Deutr. 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 1 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 thou 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 benediction must be 'who hath sanctified Israel and the time of the festivals.'" Said I to the sages: "On the contrary! On Sabbath 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 sanctified 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 Israelites 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 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 individual, 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 synagogue 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."
"And the blessings on the songs of praise (should) be said." What are these blessings? R. Jehudah said: The prayer following 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.
The rabbis taught: On the fourth cup the Hallel is concluded, 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, however, 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. 1], "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) possessions (goods); f.i., 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 egg, 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 concerning 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 concerning 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 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." 1 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 difficult 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. 1]: "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," referring to the time when the Law was given to Israel; the resurrection 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 written [Psalms cxvi. 4]: "I beseech thee, O Lord! release my soul" (from Gehenna).
Hez'kyah said: There is still another reason why the small Hallel should be recited, namely, because it is mentioned that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were thrown into the fiery furnace 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 Hananiah 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 rescue 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 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 forth out of Egypt, they were still sceptics, and when taken through the Red Sea, they said: "Surely the Egyptians have passed through the sea at another point, and will overtake and slay us." So the Lord said to the master of the sea: "Throw out all the bodies of the Egyptians in the sea on dry land, so that the Israelites may see them," and the master of the sea replied: "Creator of the Universe! Is there then a slave who was given a gift by his master, and was then deprived of it again?" So the Lord replied: "I shall return to thee half as many again as thou shalt throw out," and the master of the sea said again: "Creator of the Universe! Is there then a slave who should demand restitution of his master?" and the Lord answered again: "The stream of Kishon shall be thy pledge." Whereupon all the bodies of the Egyptians were thrown up on the dry land, and Israel saw them, as it is written [Exod. xiv. 30]: "And Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the shore of the sea." Whence do we know that the Lord promised half as many again in return for the bodies of the Egyptians? Because concerning the Egyptians it is said [ibid. xiv. 7]: "And he took six hundred chariots," while concerning Sissera it is said [Judges iv. 3]: "For he had nine hundred chariots of iron."
When Sissera came to wage war upon the Israelites, he came with iron spears; but the Lord changed the position of the stars, as it is written [Judges v. 20]: "From heaven they fought: the stars in their courses fought against Sissera." As soon as the stars moved, the spears of Sissera's army became heated, so the men went to cool them in the stream of Kishon, and then the Lord said to the stream of Kishon: "Thou wast pledged, Go now, and redeem thy pledge." Whereupon the stream threw them all into the sea, as it is written [ibid. 21]: "The stream of Kishon swept them away, that ancient stream, the stream of Kishon." Why is it called the ancient stream? It is so called, because it was given as a pledge in ancient time. Then, when all those men were swept into the sea, the fishes, which were thus provided with so much food, said: "The truth of the Lord endureth forever."
Rabha preached: It is written [Psalms cxvi. ]: "It is lovely to me, that the Lord heareth my voice." The congregation of Israel (Kneseth Israel) said to the Holy One, blessed be He: "Lord of the Universe! When do I know that I have found favor in thine eyes, when thou hearest my prayer?" Further, it is written [ibid. 6]: "I was in misery, and He helped me." The congregation of Israel said to the Lord: "Lord of the Universe! Although I am deficient in the fulfilment of religious duties, I am nevertheless thine; hence it would be seemly that thou shouldest help me."
R. Kahana said: When R. Ishmael bar R. Jose became ill, Rabbi sent to him the following request: "Tell us two or three things which thou wert wont to say in the name of thy father," and R. Ishmael replied: So said my father: The passage [Psalms cxvii. 1], "Praise the Lord, all ye nations," signifies that all the nations should praise Him, on account of the power and the miracles with which He has helped the nations, and so much the more should we Israelites praise him; for concerning us it is written [ibid. 2]: "For mighty is his kindness over us." My father also said: In the future, Egypt will bring a gift to our Messiah, and he will hesitate whether to accept it or not, when the Lord will say unto him: "Accept it, for they were hospitable to my children in their land," and it is written [Psalms lxviii. 32]: "Nobles will come out of Egypt" (with gifts). Seeing this, Ethiopia will say: "If the gifts of Egypt, which held the Israelites in bondage, were accepted, surely gifts from us, who never did them any injury, will be so much the more accepted." So the Lord will say to the Messiah: "Accept their gifts also," and it is written [ibid.]: "Ethiopia will stretch forth her hands eagerly unto God." When Rome shall see this, they will say: "Surely if the gifts of the Ethiopians, who are nowise near to the Israelites, were accepted, gifts from us, who are their brethren, 1 will be accepted." And the Lord said to the angel Gabriel: "Rebuke the wild beasts" [Psalms lxviii. 31], and R. Hyya bar Abba in the name of R. Johanan explains this to mean: "Rebuke the wild beasts, whose quills, are used solely to write decrees to the detriment of the Israelites," and the further passage [ibid.], "the troop of steers among the calves of nations," signifies that they (the Romans) were like a troop who slew the greatest among the Israelites like calves who had no owners. "That hasten along with presents of silver," signifies that they stretch forth their hands to receive bribes from the Israelites, promising them permission to carry out the ordinances of their law; but when in receipt of the bribe violate their promises and prevent the Israelites from performing their religious duties. "He scattereth the nations that are eager for the fight," signifies the following: "What was the cause of the scattering of Israel among the nations? Their own eagerness for strife."
Finally, R. Ishmael sent to them the following saying of his father: "There will be a city containing 365 market-places; each market will have 365 stalls; each stall will have 365 steps; and each step will contain merchandise sufficient for the entire world." So R. Simeon the son of Rabbi asked his father, according to others he asked R. Ishmael ben Jose: "To whom will such a city belong?" and the answer was: "To thee, to thy colleagues, and to the friends of thy colleagues (i.e., to all righteous men), as it is written [Isaiah xxiii. 18]: "And her gain and her hire shall be holy to the Lord; it shall not be treasured nor laid up; but for those that dwell before the Lord shall her gain be, to eat to fulness, and for magnificent clothing.'"
[Said R. Samuel ben Na'hmeni in the name of R. Jonathan: The passage [Psalms cxviii. 21], "I will thank thee, for thou hast answered me," was said by David. The next passage [ibid. 22], "The stone which the builders rejected is become the chief corner-stone," was said by Jesse (when David was chosen king). The following passage [ibid. 23], "From the Lord is this come to pass," was said by David's brothers, and the next passage [ibid. 24], "This is the day which the Lord hath made," was said by Samuel. "We beseech thee, O Lord! save us now" [ibid. 25], was said by the brothers of David. "We beseech thee, O Lord! Send us now prosperity" [ibid. ibid.], was said by David himself. "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord" [ibid. 26], was said by Jesse, and "We bless you out of the house of the Lord" [ibid. ibid.], was said by Samuel. "God is the Lord, and he giveth us light" [ibid. 27], was said by all. "Bind the festive sacrifice with cords" [ibid. ibid.], was said by Samuel. "Thou art my God, and I will thank thee" [ibid. 28], was said by David, and "My God, I will exalt thee" [ibid.], was said by all.]
R. Avira preached at one time, saying it in the name of R. Ami, and at another time quoting it in the name of R. Assi: It is written [Gen. xxi. 8]: "And the child grew and was weaned," which signifies that the Lord will prepare a meal for the children of Isaac on the day when he will receive them into his favor. After the meal and the beverages will have been consumed, the Lord will hand the cup used for the benediction after meals to Abraham, and Abraham will say: "I am not worthy; for from me issued forth Ishmael." Isaac will then be asked to pronounce the benediction, but he will refuse on the ground that from him issued forth Esau. Jacob will then be offered the cup, but he will refuse on the ground that he married two sisters, which was afterwards prohibited by Law. Moses will then be requested to say the benediction, but he also will refuse, on the ground that he was not destined to enter the promised land, neither before nor after his death. Joshua will then be asked to accept the cup, and he also will refuse, saying: "I am not worthy, for I died childless." David will finally be offered the cup, and he will accept it, saying: "I am indeed worthy and shall recite the benediction," as it is written [Psalms cxvi. 13]: "The cup of salvation will I lift up, and on the name of the Lord will I call."
MISHNA: It is unlawful to conclude the eating of the paschal sacrifice with a dessert.
GEMARA: What is meant by a dessert? Said Rabh: "After the paschal sacrifice had been eaten in one company, one should not go and eat aught in another company," and Samuel said: "The literal meaning should be taken, as, for instance, I am used to eating mushrooms for dessert, and Abba (Rabh) eats doves for dessert."
R. Hinana bar Shila and R. Johanan both say: "It means, that no dates, parched corn, or nuts should be eaten afterwards," and so we have also learned in a Boraitha.
R. Joseph said in the name of R. Jehudah, quoting Samuel: "After the unleavened bread, dessert may be eaten." Shall we assume that the Mishna supports this statement by teaching that after the paschal sacrifice no dessert should be eaten, but after the unleavened bread it may? Nay; on the contrary, after unleavened bread, which has a hardly perceptible taste, dessert must certainly not be eaten, but lest we assume that after the paschal sacrifice, which is fat and has a pungent savor, we may do so, hence we are taught that it is unlawful.
And objection was made: "We have learned that sponge-cake, honey-cake, and sugar-cake may be eaten to satiety, providing a piece of unleavened bread to the size of an olive be eaten afterwards," whence we see that those sweetmeats may be eaten before but not afterwards. Nay; this is merely to teach us, that not only does a man fulfil by eating unleavened bread when he is hungry, but even if he does so when satiated, he also acquits himself of the duty.
Rabha said: In the present day, the law pertaining to unleavened bread is biblical, but that pertaining to bitter herbs is rabbinical. Why is the law pertaining to bitter herbs rabbinical? Because the biblical law is, that it should be eaten with the paschal sacrifice; but where the latter does not exist, the bitter herbs need not be eaten? Would this not apply also to the unleavened bread? Concerning unleavened bread there is a separate and distinct commandment, namely [Exod. xii. 18]: "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at evening, shall ye eat unleavened bread." R. A'ha bar Jacob, however, said, that the law pertaining to unleavened bread is also rabbinical, and the passage just quoted refers to such as were incapacitated to eat of the paschal sacrifice, and who might assume that they were exempt from eating unleavened bread also, hence that passage imposes upon them the duty.
The following Boraitha supports the statement of Rabha: The passage [Deut. xvi. 8], "Six days shalt thou eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord thy God," implying that on the seventh day eating of unleavened bread is not obligatory: the same is the case with the other six days. Why so? Because the seventh day was excluded from the rule governing the whole seven days, and as there is a tradition that an exception holds good for the entire rule, so the exception of the seventh day holds good for the entire six; i.e., if it is not obligatory to eat unleavened bread on the seventh day, it is also not obligatory on the other six days. Shall we assume, then, that it is also not obligatory on the first night? for that reason it is expressly written: "At evening shall ye eat unleavened bread," which makes it obligatory for that evening.
Shall we say that as the paschal sacrifice was a duty only when the Temple was in existence, so it is with the unleavened bread, that after the destruction of the Temple it is not obligatory; therefore the passage says: "In the evening ye shall eat Matzoth," consequently the passage made this obligatory forever.
MISHNA: If any of the company fall asleep during the meal, they may eat of the paschal sacrifice afterwards; but if the whole company have fallen asleep, they must not again eat thereof (upon awakening). R. Jose said: "If they are only drowsy, they may eat it, but if they fall fast asleep, they must not eat of it afterwards."
The paschal offering does, after the hour of midnight, render the hands unclean. Sacrifices which are rejected or that have remained beyond their prescribed time, also render the hands unclean.
GEMARA: Abayi was sitting before Rabba. The former said that the Master was asleep, and he said to him: "Are you asleep, Master?" and he answered: "I am only drowsy"; and we have learned in a Mishna that if they are drowsy they may eat, but if they are fast asleep they must not eat of it afterwards.
Who is the Tana who holds that after midnight on the Passover eve the remaining portion of the sacrifice is called a remainder within the meaning of the law? Said R. Joseph: R. Elazar ben Azariah."
Said Rabha: According to R. Elazar ben Azariah, if a man ate unleavened bread after midnight on the Passover eve, he has not accomplished his duty. Is this not self-evident? If the unleavened bread is put on a par with the paschal sacrifice, then surely after midnight the time during which it must be eaten has elapsed. We might assume that, because the passage finally separates the unleavened bread from the paschal sacrifice, it cannot be classed with the latter, therefore we are taught that it remains on a par with the paschal sacrifice, as stated in the passage, Exod. xii. 8.
MISHNA: Whosoever has said the blessing on the paschal offering is not bound to say that on the festal offering, but one who has said the blessing on the festal offering is bound to say it on the paschal offering also. Such is the dictum of R. Ishmael; but R. Aqiba said: "Neither of these absolves from the obligation of saying the other blessing."
GEMARA: R. Simlai once happened to be at a celebration of the redemption of a first-born son, and he was asked the following: "It is self-evident that the benediction, 'who hath sanctified us with his commandments and has commanded us the redemption of our son,' should be said by the father, but the other benediction, namely, 'who hath permitted us to live to this time,' who is to say this--the priest, because he derives material benefit therefrom, or also the father, because he fulfils the religious duty?" R. Simlai did not know; so he went to the college and inquired, when he was told that the father of the son must pronounce both benedictions, and so the Halakha prevails.
229:1 All that is stated here about odd and even numbers, as well as the subject of evil spirits (which covers here two and one-half pages of the original), is omitted in Maimonides; and the author of the "History of Oral Law" maintains that, according to the opinion of Maimonides, it was not contained in the Talmud originally. (See page 223, vol. iv., Vienna, 1883.) We, however, although we agree with the above mentioned author, do not care to omit these themes entirely, and have put in a little of both, as the tradition of the odd and even numbers at least existed at that time. (See, also, our Hebrew Commentary to Tract Shekalim, vol. iv., Page 14, of the Hebrew.)
231:1 There is a legend that R. Papa had lent a Syrian woman money, and whenever he would call on her to collect the debt, she would invite him to sit on a bed. One day she strangled a child and threw it upon the bed where R. Papa sate. She then accused him of strangling the babe, and he was compelled to flee for his life.
241:1 The apple-tree that is mentioned in Solomon's Song (viii. 5), "Under the apple-tree have I waked thee," upon which is based the legend that when the edict was promulgated in Egypt to slay the male children of the Israelites, the mothers would give birth to their children under apple-trees and thus shield them from the Egyptians.
246:1 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 our "History of the Talmud," Chap. Karaites.)
Sources: Sacred Texts