Join Our Mailing List

Sponsor Us!

Tractate Yoma:
Chapter 3



Print Friendly and PDF

Regulations concerning the time of slaughtering the daily offering, the entering of a layman into the court of the Temple, and the order of the high-priests service on the Day of Atonement.

MISHNA: The Superintendent used to say to them: Go out and see whether the time for slaughtering has come. If it had come, the one who saw it said: "(Barqai) It becomes light." Matthew b. Samuel says: He used to ask: "Is the whole east bright, as far as Hebron?" and he answered: "Yea."

[Why was all this necessary? Because on one occasion the moonlight was bright, and they mistook it for dawn. They slaughtered the daily sacrifice, and removed it to the place of burning (finding it unfit).] The high-priest used to be then taken down to the bath. This was the rule in the temple: After necessary human needs a bath had to be taken, and after making water one had to wash his hands and feet.

GEMARA: We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Ishmael said: He said: "Baraq barqai." And R. Aqiba said: "Ala' barqai (The light has risen)." Ne'huma b. Aphaqshyon said: He said: "It has become light even at Hebron. But R. Jehudah b. Bathyra said: He said: "The whole east is bright, as far as Hebron." Then each went to do his work. When each went to his work, it was full day. Did they wait so long? It is meant, those who needed laborers went to look for them. Said R. Sophra: The Mincha prayer of Abraham was when the walls begin to be blackened by shadow. Said R. Joseph: Have we to imitate Abraham? Said Rabha: The Tana learns from Abraham, why shall we not? As we have learned in the following Boraitha: It is written [Lev. xii. 3]: On the eighth day shall the flesh of his foreskin be circumcised." But those who are devout do this religious duty early in the morning. As it is written [Gen. xxii. 3]: "And Abraham rose up early in the morning." Therefore says Rabha: How can we learn of Abraham? He was an older man, who taught the public, 1 and his actions are not to be applied to common men.

"Matthew b. Samuel says," etc. Who used to say, "Yea"? if you wish, I will say, he who stood on the roof used to say: "The east is bright," and as the one who stood beneath asked him: "As far as Hebron?" he would reply: "Yea." And if you wish, I can say: He who stood beneath used to say: "Is the east bright?" The one on the roof would then say: "As far as Hebron?" He would reply: "Yea." (Rashi explains: It is written elsewhere: Why Hebron? To remind of the merit of the patriarchs.)

"Why was all this necessary?" How could they have made this mistake? Did we not learn in a Boraitha: Rabbi said: The beams of the moon are not like to those of the sun. For those of the moon rise straight like sticks, whereas those of the sun diverge in all directions. The disciples of R. Ishmael taught: That time it was a cloudy day, and the moon's rays were multiplied in all directions as those of the sun.

R. Na'hman said: The heat during a clouded day is worse than the solar heat itself. A similar instance I can show: A barrel of vinegar smells more strongly when one hole is made in it than when it is wholly opened. A mixed light (of the sun and fire) is more unendurable (by the eye) than the solar light itself. A similar case: It is more difficult to stand under a shower, than to enter wholly into water. The thoughts about women are more exhausting than the sin itself. A similar case: The smell of wasted meat is more irritating than the meat itself. The heat of the end of summer is worse than that of the summer itself (because it is easier to catch a cold, because the body has been inured to heat during the summer). A similar case is: When an oven is heated four or five times a day, then even a couple of pieces of wood render it hot. Fever is much worse in the winter than in the summer. A like case is: In a cold oven much wood is necessary to heat it; hence if one has a high temperature in the winter, the fever must be great. To study old subjects is much more difficult than a wholly new subject. A like case: It is easier to make clay of new sand than of sand which had once been part of a building.

R. Abahu said: What is the reason that Rabbi says that the solar rays are in all directions? Because it is written [Ps. xxii. 1]: "To the chief musician upon the hind of dawn." As a hind has her horns diverging, so are the sun's rays.

R. Elazar said: Why are the prayers of the upright compared to a hind? As the horns of a hind diverge as long as they grow, so the more prayers they will offer, the more they are heard.

"They slaughtered the daily sacrifice." To what does this refer? If all the year (they mistook the passage beginning with "The high-priest" to be connected with the foregoing), why was the high-priest taken to the bath? During the whole year he does not sacrifice? If it refers to the Day of Atonement, then there is no moon in the middle of the night (as it is the tenth day in the month). The answer is, the two passages have no connection. When it was bright, they took him to the bath.

"This is the rule," etc. The feet he had to wash, since it was possible they had been defiled while performing the function; but the hands? Said R. Abba: Hence it can be inferred, that it is a merit to clean with one's hand the feet in such a case. And this is in support of what R. Ammi had said: A man may not go out into the street when his feet have been thus defiled, lest it be said that he is suffering from a certain infirmity [Deut. xxiii. 2, end]--lest it be said his children are bastards.

MISHNA: No one may enter the forecourt [even of Israelites, not priests] to do service, even when he is clean, before he has bathed. On this day the high-priest bathes five times, and washes his hands and feet ten times. All these ablutions are taken within the sanctuary, over Beth Haparva, except the first. A screen of linen [byssus] was placed between him and the people.

GEMARA: B. Zorna was asked: What was the bathing needed for? He said: If one passes from one holy place to another, and from a place which it is Karath to enter, to a similar place, still one must take a bath; how much more when one, passes from the forecourt, which is not a holy place, and which it is not Karath to enter, to the sanctuary. R. Jehudah says: The bathing is not obligatory. It is only used as a reminder. If he was once unclean, and forgot to bathe, he will now remember it, and will wait after bathing till sunset. On what point do they differ? In case he entered without having bathed, according to R. Zorna, he has committed a sin, and rendered the service invalid; according to R. Jehudah, he has not.

Abayi asked R. Joseph: Ought there to be nothing between his body and the water in this bathing, as in other bathing? Or if it is only as according to R. Jehudah, that does not matter? He answered: All that the rabbis have ordered must be done as if it were biblical. He asked him again: If only a part of his body (as head, foot, hand) is introduced into the sanctuary, is a bathing also necessary? He replied: The thumbs and great toes of a leper, which must be besprinkled by the priest with blood [Lev. xiv. 14], he yet introduced into the sanctuary, while standing in the gate of Nicanor, as we have learned in a Boraitha. We see, then, that this was not considered entering, as he could not enter himself.

"Bathes five times." The rabbis taught: Five times the high-priest bathed, and washed his hands and feet ten times, all this in the sanctuary over the Beth Haparva, except the first, which was not in the sanctuary, but over the Gate of Water, and near the high-priest's chamber.

"A screen of byssus," etc. Why one of byssus? That is according to R. Kahna, as he says further, to remind him that the service of this day is in the linen clothes (not golden). So we say it is meant in this case.

MISHNA: He undressed, went down, and dived. After he had come out again, and wiped himself (dried himself with a sponge?), the garments of cloth of gold were brought to him, which he put on, and then washed his hands and feet. They brought to him the daily sacrifice; he made an incision, and another completed the slaughtering in his presence. He took up the blood, and sprinkled it, went in to fume the morning, (matinal) incense, and to trim the lamps, as well as to offer the head, the members, the things made in pans, and the wine.

The morning incense was offered between the blood and the members; that of evening, between the members and drink-offerings. If he was an aged or delicate high-priest, the cold water of the bath was mixed with water warmed previously.

GEMARA: Our Mishna, which says that after bathing he put on the garments of cloth of gold without having washed his hands and feet previously, is not in accordance with R. Meir, who maintains that the hands and feet must be washed twice at each time of his putting on the garments. As we have learned in the following Boraitha: A screen of linen was placed between him and the people. He undressed himself, went down, dived, came out, wiped himself. They brought him the garments of cloth of gold, he put them on, he washed his hands and his feet. R. Meir, however, said: He undressed himself, washed his hands and feet, and then went down, and dived. He came up, dried himself. They brought him the garments of cloth of gold, he put them on, then washed his hands and his feet. It is right, according to R. Meir, who says that for each diving two washings of the hands and feet are needed; that ten times he should wash his hands and feet, as in the Mishna. But according to the rabbis, who say only once, there will be but nine? The rabbis can reply, that the last time he washed his hands and feet, was when he stripped himself of the holy garments and had to put on his week-day clothes, after the whole service.

We have learned in a Boraitha: Rabbi Jehudah said: How is it known that the high-priest has to dive five times, and wash his hands and feet ten times? Because it is written [Lev. xvi. 23]: "And Aaron shall then go into the tabernacle of the congregation, and he shall take off the linen garments, which he had put on when he went into the holy place, and he shall leave them there. And he shall wash his flesh with water in a holy place, and put on his garments, and come then forth, and offer," etc. From this we infer that between one service and the other he had to dive. So also said Rabha, with the addition: Because it is written [ibid. 4], "These are holy garments," that proves that all holy clothes are equal. This day there were five services: The daily morning offering, in garments of cloth of gold; the service of the day, in linen clothes; his ram and the people's ram, in garments of cloth of gold; the spoon and the censer, in linen clothes; the daily evening offering, in garments of cloth of gold. (For the five services, were five divings.) How is it known that for each diving two times have the hands and feet to be washed? Because it is written [ibid.]: "He shall take off his garments . . . and shall wash, . . . put on . . ." The phrase "shall wash" applies to the taking off and the putting on of the garments. From this we see only that when he takes off the linen garment, and puts on cloth of gold, he must wash himself. How do we know that when he takes off the garments of cloth of gold, and puts on the linen ones, he must wash himself? The disciples of R. Ishmael have taught: This can be inferred by a reasoning a fortiori. If when he puts off the linen clothes, whose atonement is not great, still he must have a bathing, how much more when he puts off the cloth of gold, whose atonement is great?

But it may he asked, Is the atonement of the linen clothes not great? Did not the high-priest enter in them the Holy of Holies? It is written [ibid. 4]: "These are holy garments, therefore shall he wash his flesh in water (and both the cloth of gold and linen garments are holy.) "

"He made an incision." How much? Says Ulla: The greater part of the windpipe and the gullet. So also have said R. Johanan and Resh Lakish. Abayi ordered the services according to a tradition he had, and it agrees with that of Abbu Saul. The (first) great arrangement of wood preceded the second arrangement of wood on the southwestern comer of the altar (as will be explained in Tamid). This preceded the two measures of wood, and they preceded the removal of the ashes from the inner altar, and this preceded the trimming of the five lamps. This preceded the sprinkling of the blood of the morning daily offering, and this preceded the trimming of the two lamps; and this preceded the offering of the incense, which came before the offering of the members; this was before the meal-offering, and this was before the things baked in pans. This preceded the drink-offering, and this preceded the additional offerings (for Sabbath or festival), and these were before the spoonfuls of frankincense, that preceded the daily evening offering, as it is written [Lev. vi. 5]: "He shall burn thereon the fat of the peace-offerings." From the word Hashlamim (peace-offerings) can be inferred that they should complete the service of the day (this word means, also, completion).

The Master says: "The first great arrangement of wood preceded. The second," etc. How is it known? Because it is written [Lev. vi. 2]: "It is the burnt-offering which shall be burning upon the altar all night. And after that it is written: "And the fire of the altar shall be burning upon it." By this the other arrangement of wood is meant. How is it known that this precedes the two measures of wood? Because it is written [ibid. 5]: "The priest shall burn wood on it every morning." On it, and not on the other fire. From this we infer there is another fire. Which? That of the two measures of wood. How is it known the two measures of wood precede the clearing of the inner altar? Although in both places it is written, "every morning," yet we understand that preparation for service precedes the mere removal of ashes. Whence do we deduce that this precedes the trimming of the five lamps? Says Abayi: I have it so by tradition, but I know no reason. Rabba says: I know it is according to Resh Lakish, who says when one meets an opportunity to perform a meritorious act, one should not pass by it. When the priest enters, he meets first the altar, then the lamps. And what is the reason that this precedes the blood of the daily morning offering? And this precedes the two lamps? Says Abayi: Since it is written of the measures of wood "every morning" twice, (in Hebrew) superfluously, let it apply to the five lamps and to the two lamps, the one to precede the blood of the morning sacrifice, the other to follow it. How do we know that these two lamps precede the incense? Because it is written [Exod. xxx. 7]: "When he dresseth the lamps, (then) shall he burn it." How is it known that the incense comes before the members? Of the incense [ibid.] it is said "every morning," but of the daily sacrifice only "morning." [The first precedes the second.] Why do the members come before the meal-offering? Because we have learned in a Boraitha as follows: Whence do we deduce, that before the daily morning offering has been sacrificed nothing else shall be offered? Because it is written [Lev. vi. 5]: "He shall lay in order upon it the burnt-offering." In addition to this Boraitha, said Rabba: By the word the burnt-offering is meant the first burnt-offering; that is, the daily offering. How is it known that the meal-offering precedes the things made in pans? Because they are mentioned [Lev. xxiii. 37] in this order. How is it known the things made in pans precede the drink-offering? Because they are also a meal-offering, and added to the daily sacrifice [Num. xxviii. 5]. And why do these precede the additional sacrifice? Because in that verse [Lev. xxiii. 371 they are mentioned in this order. And why do these precede the spoonfuls of frankincense? Did we not learn in a Boraitha that they succeed the frankincense? About this, Tanaim differ. (Pesachim, p 107.) Said Abayi: It seems to me the Halakha prevails, that the additional sacrifices ought to precede the frankincense. Because we have seen that of which it is said "every morning" precedes that of which it is said "morning." [See Lev. xxiv. 7 and 8.] Here of the additional sacrifice is said "every and each day," hence--not morning.

"The morning incense was offered between the blood and members." According to whom is this? If according to the rabbis, it should have been between the blood and lamps; and if according to Abbu Saul, it should have been between the lamps and the members? The whole Mishna is according to the rabbis, but about the order the arranger of the Mishna has not been particular.

"That of evening, between the members and drink-offerings." How do we know this? Because it is written [Num. xxviii. 8]: "As the meat-offering of the morning, and the drink-offering thereof, shalt thou prepare it." As in the case of the meat-offering the incense precedes the drink-offering, so in the evening the incense shall precede the drink-offering.

The rabbis taught: It is written [ibid. 7]: "The drink-offering thereof shall be the fourth part of a hin." "Thereof," of the evening sacrifice [ibid. 4]. We deduce concerning the morning sacrifice from the evening sacrifice. Rabbi, however, said: On the contrary, we deduce concerning the evening offering from the morning offering. It is right, according to the rabbis, since that of the evening is mentioned last. But what is Rabbi's reason? Said Rabba b. Ulla: Because it is written [ibid. 7], "for the one sheep," and [ibid. 4] "the one sheep," hence in both cases the same morning offering is meant.

"If he was an aged or delicate high-priest." We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Jehudah said: Iron plates were heated on the eve of the Day of Atonement, and were on the Day of Atonement plunged into the cold water, to warm it for the high-priest. But the iron gets tempered thereby (which is forbidden as a work)? R. Bibi answers: The iron had not been heated so much as to become tempered. Abayi, however, says: It does not matter, since it is not intentional, and therefore not forbidden.

MISHNA: They brought him to Beth-Haparva, which was in the sanctuary; a linen screen was spread out between him and the people; he washed his hands and feet and stripped himself. R. Meir says: He undressed, and washed his hands and feet. He went down and dived, came up and dried himself, white garments were brought to him, which he put on, and he washed his hands and feet.

In the morning, he put on linen of Pelusium, costing twelve Minas. In the evening, Hindoo linen, of 800 Zuz [8 Minas]. This is according to R. Meir. The sages say, in the morning he put on garments worth 18 Minas, in the evening of 12 Minas--together amounting to 30 Minas. This from public money [another version, taken from the holy funds?]; but if he chooses, he can have them more costly out of his private means.

GEMARA: Why is it called Parva? Said R. Joseph: Because it was built by one Parva, one of the magi.

"In the morning he put on linen of Pelusium." Wherefore does he tell us the price? He comes to teach us that linen less costly were invalid. Let us see: All agree that what he put on in the morning was more costly than that in the evening. Whence is this deduced? Said R. Huna, the son of R. Ilai: Because [Lev. xvi. 4] linen is mentioned four times in that verse; in reference to the morning garments, they are to be of the best linen.

R.' Huna b. Jehudah, according to others R. Samuel b. Jehudah, taught: After the service of the congregation was finished, if the high-priest possessed a linen coat made by his mother at her own cost, he might put it on, and perform the services appertaining to an individual (not congregation: carry out the spoons from the Holy of Holies, and the censer; the first had been used for frankincense, the second for incense), provided that when he puts it on, he shall bestow it on the congregation. It was said of R. Ishmael b. Phabi: His mother had made him a linen coat worth 100 Minas; he used to put it on, perform the services of an individual, and bestow it (in his mind) on the congregation. Of R. Eliezer b. Harsum it was said: His mother had made him a linen coat worth 20,000 Minas. His brethren the priests did not permit him to put it on, as in it he seemed to be naked (so delicate was its texture). How could this be, if it is said to have been thick, the threads six times twisted? Said Abayi: As wine is seen through a glass, however thick it be.

The rabbis taught: In the world to come, when a poor man, a rich man, and a wicked man come before the judgment, when the poor is asked, "Why hast thou not studied the Law?" if he answers: "I have been poor, I had to earn my bread, and had no time," they answer him: "Wast thou poorer than Hillel the Elder?" Of Hillel the Elder it was said: Every day he went to work, and earned a Tarpeik (a Stater coin of 4 Dinars). Half he gave away to the porter of the college, to let him in, and on the other half he and his family lived. Once it happened he did not earn anything, the porter did not let him in. He ascended the roof where there was an opening, and listened to the words of the living God, from the mouth of Shemaia and Abtalian. It was said: That day was a Friday, and in the season of Tebeth (winter), and he was besnowed. When it dawned, Shemaia said to Abtalian: "Every day it becomes light at this time, and now it is dark. Is it such a cloudy day?" They raised their eyes, and saw the figure of a man. When they went up, they found on him a layer of snow three ells thick. They took him down, washed him, dressed him with oil, placed him before a fire, and they said: "Such a man deserves that Sabbath should be violated for his sake (by the making of fire)."

When the rich man is asked: "Why hast thou not studied the Law?" if he answers: "Because I was a rich man, and had many estates, and had no time to study," they answer him: "Wast thou richer than R. Elazar b. Harsum?" Of him it was said: His father had bequeathed to him a thousand towns on land, and a thousand ships on the sea, and he himself used to take a bag of flour on his shoulder, and wander from town to town and land to land to study the Law. Once his own slaves found him, and put him to hard labor. He said to them: "I pray you, let me go to study the Torah." They replied: "We swear, by R. Elazar b. Harsum's life, we will not let you go before you work." Thus, as long as he lived, he did not attend to his affairs, but studied all day and all night the Law.

When the wicked man is asked: "Why hast thou not studied the Law?" if he replies: "I was handsome, and was absorbed by my sins," they answer him: "Wast thou more handsome than Joseph?" It was said of Joseph the Righteous, that every day Potiphar's wife used to try to seduce him by her talk. The clothes she used to put on in the morning (to attract his attention) she did not put on in the evening, and vice versa, and her refrain was always: "Listen to me; do what I ask of you." He answered: "No." She said: "I will imprison you." He replied [Ps. cxlvi. 7]: "The Lord looseneth the prisoners." She then said: "I will bend your loftiness." His reply was [ibid.]: "The Lord raiseth up those who are bowed down." She said to him: "I will blind you." He answered [ibid. 8]: "The Lord causeth the blind to see." She gave him a thousand talents of silver. He was averse to her, or "to lie with her, or to be with her" [Gen. xxxix. 10]. "To lie with her" in this world, "to be with her" in the world to come.

From this we see that Hillel makes the poor man guilty, R. Eliezer b. Harsum the rich, and Joseph the wicked.

MISHNA: He went to his bullock, which stood between the porch and the altar, his head due south, but his face due west. The high-priest stood on the east, his face due west. He put his two hands on him and confessed himself in the following terms: I beseech thee, Jehovah, I have committed iniquities, have transgressed, and have sinned before thee, I and my house. I beseech thee, Jehovah, forgive, pray, the iniquities, the transgressions, and the sins, which I have committed, transgressed, and sinned before thee, I and my house, as it is written in the Torah of Moses thy servant, "For on that day shall he make an atonement for you," etc. [Lev. xvi. 30]. They respond after him: "Blessed be the name of His kingdom's glory for ever!"

GEMARA: "His head due south, but his face due west." If his head was turned to the south, how could his face be turned to the west? Said Rabh: His head was turned aside. Why? Says Abayi: It was apprehended, lest he should excrete. The rabbis taught: How were the hands imposed on his head? The sacrifice stood in the north, his face turned westward; he who imposed his hand stood in the east, his face westward; he placed both his hands between the two horns, provided that there was nothing between his hands and the head of the sacrifice; then he confessed himself. On the sin-offering he confessed the sins for which a sin-offering has to be brought; on a trespass-offering, the sins corresponding to it; and on a burnt-offering, sins of preventing the poor to gather, not forgetting for the poor, and not leaving corners [Lev. xix. 9]. So said R. Joel the Galilean.

The rabbis taught: How did the high-priest confess? He said: "I have committed iniquities, transgressed, and sinned." So he confessed over the goat [Lev. xvi. 21]: "And confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, in all their sins." (The order of the terms is the same.) So also by Moses is it written [Ex. xxxiv. 7], "Forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." So says R. Meir. The sages, however, say: By iniquities are meant intentional transgressions, for it is written [Num. xv. 31]: "That person shall be cut off, his iniquity is upon him." By transgressions are meant rebellion. As it is written [2 Kings iii. 7]: "The King of Moab hath rebelled." (The term in Hebrew is the same.) By sin is meant unintentional wrong, as is written [Lev. iv. 2]: "If any person sin through ignorance." Now, is it possible that after he has confessed the intentional and rebellious sins, he will confess the errors? Therefore we must say that he used to say differently: "I have sinned, committed iniquities, and transgressed, I and my house." And so it is written by David [Ps. cvi. 6]: "We have sinned together with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. . . ." And so also Solomon says [1 Kings viii. 47]: "We have sinned, we have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly." So also Daniel [Dan. ix. 5]: "We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled." Why, then, is it said by Moses: "Forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin." Moses said to the Holy One, blessed be He: "Lord of the Universe, when the children of Israel will sin before thee, and then repent, mayest thou consider their intentional sins as sins done through ignorance." Said Rabbi b. Samuel in the name of Rabh: The Halakha prevails according to the sages. Is not this self-evident? R. Meir is an individual, the sages are a majority, and we know that the decree of an individual is prevailed over by that of the majority? Lest one say, In this case the Halakha ought to prevail according to R. Meir, as he takes in his support what Moses said. He comes to teach us that here also the Halakha is according to the majority.

One of the scholars prayed for the people in the presence of Rabba, and followed R. Meir's decree. Said Rabba to him: Thou departest from the rabbis, and doest as R. Meir says. He replied: I hold with R. Meir, for it is written in the Bible that Moses said so.

"They respond after him." We have learned in a Boraitha: Rabbi said: It is written [Deut. xxxii. 3]: "When I call on the name of the Lord, ascribe ye greatness unto our God." So said Moses to Israel: "When I mention the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, ye shall add greatness to it." Hananiah the son of R. Joshua's brother said: From the following verse [Prov. x. 7]: "The memory of the just is blessed." That means, the prophet says to Israel: "When I mention the just One of the Worlds, ye shall add a blessing."

MISHNA: He came to the eastern part of the forecourt, to the north of the altar, the Segan of the high-priest on his right, and the head of the family ministering during the week [Rosh-Beth-Ab] on his left. There were two he-goats; and a box was there wherein were two lots. Of box-tree they were. [The high-priest] Ben Gamla made them of gold, for which his memory was praised.

[The high-priest] Ben Katin made twelve cocks to the laver, which had had only two. He, also made a machine to the laver [to take it down into a well at will], that its water should not become unfit by being kept over night [in free air]. The king Monobaz made all the handles of the utensils used on the Day of Atonement--of gold. Helen, his mother, made a golden candelabrum over the temple-gate. She likewise made a tablet of gold, whereon was inscribed the section about a woman who goes aside [Num. v. 12]. Miracles happened to the gates which Nicanor brought. Therefore all these persons' memory was praised.

GEMARA: "The Segan on his right." R. Jehudah said: One who goes on the right of his Master is a boor. An objection was raised from this Mishna: It is written that the Segan was on his right. And we have learned in a Boraitha, that when three walk, the Master ought to be in the middle, the greater of two on his right, and the other on his left. And so we find that of. the three angels that came to Abraham, Michael was in the middle, Gabriel on his right, and Raphael on his left. (How, then, is he a boor?)

R. Samuel b. Papa explained before R. Adda, that it is meant, he should walk on his right, but a little behind, and not side by side. Did we not learn in a Boraitha that he who precedes the Master is rude, and he who walks behind his Master is too ostentatiously humble? He should fall a little back--not precede, and not follow.

"And a box was there," etc. The rabbis taught: It is written [Lev. xxi. 8]: "And Aaron shall put lots upon the two goats." Hence, lots of any kind. Should we assume, that he must place two on each goat? Therefore it is written: "One lot for the Lord, one lot for Azazel." Therefore one ought to be for the Lord, and one for Azazel. Should we assume that he should place both lots on one goat, and then draw them and then place them on the other goat, and draw again? Therefore it is written, "one lot." What, then, means the word "lots"? This signifies that they should be equal: one should not be made of gold, the other of silver; one large, the other small. It is said in the Boraitha, lots of all kinds. This is self-evident? It must teach us this because of another Boraitha: Because the plate on the high-priest's brow, on which the name of the Lord was written, was of gold, one might think this lot must also be so. Therefore it is written, "one lot," twice, to teach that they may be of many kinds, of olive-tree wood, of nut-tree wood, of box-tree wood.

"Ben Katin made twelve cocks," etc. We have so learned in a Boraitha, to the end that the twelve priests engaged in the service of the morning daily offering might wash their hands and feet at the same time. We have learned again in a Boraitha: In the morning, when the laver was full, the high-priest washed his hands from the upper cock; but in the evening when he departed, when it was not full, he did it from the lower cock.

"He also made a machine." What machine? Says Abayi: He made a sort of wheel, which brought it down into the well.

"Helen his mother," etc. We have learned in a Boraitha: When the sun rose, from the golden candelabrum emanated rays, and all knew it was time to read Shema.

"Miracles happened to the gates," etc. The rabbis taught: What miracles have happened to his gates? It was said, when Nicanor had gone to Alexandria, and was returning with the gates, the waves of the sea threatened to drown him; they took one of the gates and cast it into the sea. The sea was not appeased. They desired to cast the second gate overboard also. He took it on his body, and said: "Fling me together with it." Thereupon the sea became quiet. He grieved for the other gate. When he came to the coast at Accho, the gate appeared by the ship. According to others, some beast of the sea had swallowed the gate, and afterward spit it out. Therefore all gates of the Temple were gilt, except Nicanor's, because miracles had happened to them, and they were therefore left as they were. Others say, because their bronze was brilliant. R. Eliezer b. Jacob says: It was polished bronze, and glittered like gold.

MISHNA: And the memories of the following were mentioned with blame; those of the house of Garmo, they were unwilling to teach the art of making the showbread; those of the house of Abtinas, who did not want to teach the art of preparing the incense; Hogros b. Levi, who knew something in music which he was unwilling to instruct others in; Ben Kamtsar did not want to teach the art of writing. Of the first it is said: "The memory of the just is blessed" [Prov. x. 7]; but of the rest is said: "But the name of the wicked shall rot."

GEMARA: The rabbis taught: "The house of Garmo were skilled in making the showbread, and did not want to teach it to others. The sages sent for workers from Alexandria, and they could bake as well, but could not take it out from the oven [it got broken]. They heated the oven from outside, and baked it there, and took it from there, while the house of Garmo heated it inside and baked it inside (and removed it from there). Also the showbread of the Alexandrian bakers used to become mouldy, and that of the former never became so. When the sages heard this, they said: All which the Lord hath created, He created only for His glory. As it is written [Is. xliii. 7]: "Every one that is called by my name, I have created for my glory." So the Beth Garmo had to be invited again to resume their post. The sages sent for them, they did not come: so their wages had to be doubled. They used to receive 12 Minas daily, and henceforth 24. R. Jehudah says: They had received 24, and thenceforth 48. Then the sages inquired of them: "Why are you unwilling to instruct others?" They replied: "Our family knows by tradition that this Temple will one day fall, and then, if we will have taught it to an improper person, he may go and serve thereby other idols." And for this thing their memory, was praised: their children were never seen to use bread of pure flour, that it should not be suspected they took it from the flour for the showbread. They did it, to fulfil what is written [Num. xxxii. 22]: "And ye be thus guiltless before the Lord, and before Israel."

"Those of the house of Abtinas," etc. The rabbis taught: The house of Abtinas were skilled in the preparing of incense, and were unwilling to teach it. The sages sent for workers from Alexandria. These could prepare the incense, but could not make it so that the smoke should not bend. The smoke of the incense prepared by the house of Abtinas rose straight, like a rod, and the smoke of the others' incense bent hither and thither. When the sages heard of this, they said, etc. [the same as previously; the reason they gave for not teaching was also the same]. For the following thing they were mentioned with praise: Never a bride of their house went out perfumed, and even when one of their house married a woman of another family, it was on the, condition that she should not be perfumed, that it be not said: "They take it from the incense." To fulfil what is written, etc. [as before].

We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Ishmael said: I once was, in the road, and met one of their grandchildren. I said to him: Your ancestors wished to increase their own glory, and diminish that of the Lord; now the Lord's glory persists, and yours has ended in nothing. R. Aqiba said: R. Ishmael b. Luga has related to me: I and one of their grandchildren once went out into, the field to gather grass. I observed that he wept and rejoiced. I inquired of him: Why weepest thou? He replied: I recall the honor my ancestors once had enjoyed, and weep. And why did, he rejoice? "Because I feel sure that the Holy One, blessed be He, will restore it to us." He asked him: Why hast thou been reminded of it just at present? He said: Because I see the grass we used to put in to make the smoke straight. He said to him: Point it out to me. He replied: We are under an oath not to show it to anyone. Said R. Johanan b. Nuri: It happened once I met an old man, who had a scroll on which was a list of the names of the spices composing the incense. I asked him: Whence art thou? He replied: I am descended of the house of Abtinas. "And what do you hold in your hand?" He said: The scrolls of the spices. I said to him: Show it to me. He said: As long as our family was in life, they did not show it to any man. But now, when they have all died, and the Temple itself no longer exists, I can give it to thee, but be cautious with it. When I related all this to R. Aqiba, he said: From this time one need not blame them any longer. To this said Ben Azai: "By thy name thou shalt be called and to thy position thou shalt be restored, and thine thou wilt always receive, as so it is recorded Above." It is a rule, one man cannot touch what is destined for another [as they were recalled and paid double wages].

"Hogros b. Levi," etc. We have learned in a Boraitha: When he had to render his voice melodious, he placed his thumb in his mouth, and the index in his mustache. When all his fellow-priests heard his voice, they bent to the ground (from ecstasy).

The rabbis taught: Ben Kamtsar did not want to teach the art of writing. It was said of him: He used to take four quills between his four fingers, and when he had to write a word of four letters, he wrote it at once. (Jehovah's name is of four letters.) When they inquired of him: Why dost thou not teach it to others? he found no answer. Therefore of the first it is said "he memory of the just is blessed"; and of Ben Kamtsar and his tribe it is said: "The name of the wicked shall rot." What is meant by "rot"? How can a name "rot"? Said R. Elazar: Their name shall contract such a rottenness that children shall not be named after them.

Rabbina said to one of the scholars who arranged for him the Agada: How do we know that the rabbis have said: "The name of the just is blessed"? He replied: Why rabbis--it is in the Bible, in the Proverbs? He said: Nay. How is it known from the Pentateuch? It is known from the following verse [Gen. xviii. 17]: "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?" And the next verse is: "Abraham shall surely become a great nation." And how is it known from the Pentateuch that the name of the wicked shall rot? Because it is written [ibid. xiii. 12]: "And pitched his tents close to Sodom." And the next: "The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners." R. Elazar said: From the blessings awarded to the righteous, one can infer what curses are bestowed on the wicked; as it is written [ibid. xviii. 19]: "For I know him, that he will command," etc. And the next verse is: "The Lord said, Because the cry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great." And from the curses given to the wicked the blessings reserved for the righteous can be inferred, as it is written [ibid. xiii. 13]: "The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners." And the next verse says: "And the Lord said unto Abram, Lift up now thy eyes and look," etc.

R. Elazar says again: Even for one just man is a whole world created. As it is written [Gen. i. 4]: "And God saw the light, that it was good." And good is only a just man, since it is written [Is. iii. 10]: "Say to the just, that he is good." 1 R. Elazar says again: Whoever forgets something of his study, causes exile to his children, as is written [Hosea iv. 6]: "As thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, so will I myself also forget thy children." R. Abahu says: He is degraded from his high station, as it is written [ibid.]: "Because thou hast rejected knowledge, so will I also reject thee from officiating before me."

R. Hiya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: A righteous man does not depart from the world, till another righteous man like him has been created, as it is written [Eccles. i. 5]: "The sun rises, the sun goes down." Before the sun of Eli had been extinguished, the sun of Samuel of Ramah already shone. The same said again: The Holy One, blessed be He, perceived that righteous men are few: He planted them in every generation, as it is written [1 Sam. ii. 8]: "For the Lord's are the pillars of the earth, on which He hath set the world." And the same said once more, on the same authority: Even when there is only one just man in the world, the world can exist through his merit, as it is written [Prov. x. 25]: "The righteous is the foundation of the world." R. Hiya says, on his own authority, as it is written in a different verse [1 Sam. ii. 9]: "He ever guardeth the feet of his pious ones." But they are spoken of in the plural? Says R. Na'hman, it is read in the plural, but it is written in the singular. R. Hiya b. Abba says again, in the name of R. Johanan: When a man has lived the greatest part of his life without having sinned, he will sin no more, for they will guard him Above, and this he infers from the above passage. The disciples of R. Shila have said: When a man has had occasion to commit a sin once and twice, and he escapes committing it, he will be guarded Above from sinning. They infer it from the same verse. Resh Lakish said: It is written [Prov. iii. 34]: "The mockers He will mock, but to the modest He will give grace." From this we can infer: If one wishes to defile himself (to sin) the door is opened to him; but he who comes to purify himself, he is assisted. The disciples of R. Ishmael have told a parable in reference to this: When one sells both naphtha and perfumes, when one arrives to buy naphtha, he saith to him: "Measure the quantity you need"; but if one arrives to buy perfumes, he says: "Wait, we will both measure it, and contract the odor." The same disciples taught: A sin stops up a man's heart, as it is written [Lev. xi. 43]: "And ye shall not make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby." Do not read ונטמאתם {Hebrew WNTMATM} but ונטמטם {Hebrew WNTMTM} (stop up).

The rabbis taught: This verse signifies that when a man defiles himself a little here below, Above he is defiled much; and if he defiles himself in this world, he is defiled in the world to come. And it is written [ibid. 44]: "Ye shall sanctify yourselves, and be holy." When a man sanctifies himself a little here below, he is sanctified much Above, and when he sanctifies himself in this world, he is sanctified in the world to come.


Footnotes

41:1 Here follows a passage to prove that whenever "old man" is used in the Bible, one who teaches in a college is meant; but as it is mentioned elsewhere we omit it.

56:1 The Talmud translates it thus, literally.


Sources: Sacred Texts

Back to Top