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Tractate Sukkah: Chapter 4

Regulations concerning the four kinds tied with the lulav, concerning Hallel, pouring the water on the altar

Regulations concerning the four kinds tied with the lulav, concerning Hallel, pouring the water on the altar

MISHNA: The Lulab and willow to surround the altar were sometimes used on six days, and sometimes on seven days of the festival. The Hallel and the eating of peace-offerings took place on eight days. The dwelling in the Succah and the pouring out of water lasted seven days, and the pipes were played on sometimes five, sometimes six days. In which case was the Lulab used seven days? When the first holy day of the festival fell on a Sabbath, the Lulab was used on seven days; but when the first day of the festival fell on any other day of the week, the Lulab was only used six days. In which case was the willow used on seven days? When the seventh day of the willow happened to fall on a Sabbath, the willow was used seven days; but when the seventh day fell on any other day of the week, the willow was only used six days. How was the command to take the Lulab fulfilled when the first holy day of the festival fell on a Sabbath? It was the custom that every man brought his Lulab to the Temple mount, where it was received by inspectors, who deposited it in a gallery. The elders placed theirs in a separate chamber, and the people were taught to say: Whoever gets hold of my Lulab, be it his as a gift. On the next morning the people came early; the inspectors threw all the Lulabs down before them; every man seized on one, and it often happened that they hurt each other. When the Beth Din saw that the people were thus exposed to danger, they ordained that every man was to use his Lulab in his own house.

GEMARA: Why? It is only handling it, and as the commandment of this is biblical, that it shall be taken in the Temple all the seven days, why shall it not be preferred to Sabbath? Said Rabba: As a precautionary measure, lest one take it into his hand to go with it to an expert to learn the performance, and at the same time one will carry it four ells in public ground. And the same reason is with the cornet, and the same reason is with the Book of Esther, when Purim falls on Sabbath. If it is so, let it be forbidden even on the first day of the festival? On the first day of the festival, was it not ordained that it shall be used in the house, as mentioned above? Yea, that was after it was ordained; but what was the case before it was ordained? Therefore we must say, that the reason is because for the first day, which is biblical even in the country, the rabbis did not take the precautionary measure; but the other days, which for the country is only rabbinical, the rabbis took it. If it is so, why shall we not take it now on the first day, when it falls on Sabbath? If one may say, because we do not know exactly the calendar, why do the Palestinians, who know exactly the calendar, not carry it on Sabbath? Yea, they did so, even after the Temple was destroyed, as we have learned in the Mishna above that the people brought their Lulabs to the Temple mount; and another Mishna said, they brought it to the prayer-house, from which we may infer that in the time of the Temple they took it to the Temple mount, and after its destruction they took it into the house of prayer. But whence do we deduce that in the country it is biblically obligatory on the first day? From the following Boraitha: It is written: "Ye shall take." That signifies, it shall be taken with the hand. "Unto yourselves," it shall be your own, excluding a borrowed or a robbed one; "on the day," even on Sabbath; "the first," even in the country. "The first," from this we infer that only when the first day falls on Sabbath it must be taken, but not on the other days. The text says, "the day," to include Sabbath. Let us see. This is only handling. Do we need a biblical verse to allow handling? Said Rabba: It is meant to allow the preparing of the Lulab, and this is in accordance with the Tana of the following Boraitha: The Lulab and all its preparations violate the Sabbath. So is the decree of R. Eliezer. And the reason of R. Eliezer is, because it is written, "the day," it is meant the Sabbath.

The rabbis taught: It is written: "In booths shall Ye dwell seven days." "Days" signifies the nights also; but perhaps only the days are meant, and not the nights? And it would be an analogy of expression: it is written here "the days," and about the Lulab "the days"; as of the Lulab only days are meant, and not the nights, so also it may be with the Succah? Or take another way, the analogy of expression of "the seven days of Aaron's consecration" [Lev. ix.]; as there the nights are included, so shall here also the nights be included. Now let us see what it resembles more: We may draw a lesson about a thing the duty of which is the whole day, from another thing of which the duty is also the whole day, and not draw the same from a thing the duty of which is only one hour. Or in another way: We shall draw a lesson about a thing of which the duty is forever from a thing of which the duty is also forever, and not about a thing of which the duty is forever from Aaron's consecration, of which the duty was only for that time. Therefore another analogy of expression is found: It is written here: "Ye shall dwell," and about the seven days of Aaron's consecration it is also written [Lev. viii. 35]: "ye shall dwell"; as there it is plainly written days and nights, so is here also meant days and nights.

"In which case is the willow used seven days?" Why shall the willow violate the Sabbath? Said R. Johanan: To let the public know that the willow is biblical. If it is so, let the Lulab also violate the Sabbath, to make it public that the Lulab is biblical? The precautionary measure, which Rabbi mentioned above, is taken in reference to the Lulab. But why not in reference to the willow? Because usually the messengers of the Beth Din were sent to take the willow for the performance, but the Lulab was taken by private persons. Said Rabha to R. Itz'hak the son of Rabba bar bar Hana: Son of a scholar, come and I will tell you a good thing that your father said: What we learn in a Mishna farther on, that every day they went round the altar once, and on that day seven times, said your father in the name of R. Elazar: That is meant with the Lulab (not with the willow). R. Itz'hak objected: We have learned in a Tosephta: The Lulab violates the Sabbath in the beginning of its duty, and the willow in the end of its duty. It happened once that the seventh day of the willow fell on Sabbath and the branches of the willow were brought on the eve, and were laid in the court of the Temple; and when the Baithusees got wind of it, they took the branches of the willows, and hid them under the stones of the court. On the morrow the common people pulled them out from beneath the stones, and the priests erected them around the altar, because the Baithusees do not agree that the performance of the duty of willows violates the Sabbath. Hence we see that they performed the religious ceremony with the willows, and not with the Lulab? The question remains: But why did they bring them on the eve of Sabbath, why not on Sabbath (let the bringing of the willows violate the Sabbath as the handling while the duty is performed)? Because as we, who are in exile and are not certain of the calendar, do not violate the Sabbath for the willow, they in Palestine also do not violate the Sabbath for the bringing. But we see that on the first day we do not violate the Sabbath for the Lulab, and they do? It was told, that now they also do not violate even with the Lulab.

Abayi said to Rabha: Why do we use the Lulab all the seven days in memory of the Temple, and not the willow? Rabha answered: We use the willow tied with the Lulab together all the seven days. Rejoined Abayi: But we use it not for the sake of the willow, but for the sake of the Lulab; and if you would say that we raise it again for the sake of the willow, we see proofs every day that we do not do so. Said R. Zbhid in the name of Rabha: The Lulab, which is biblical, we use in memory of the Temple all the seven days, but the willow, which is rabbinical, we do not use so.

It was taught: R. Johanan and R. Joshuah b. Levi differ: One says that the basis of the willow is a tradition from the prophets, and one says that the willow is only a custom of the prophets. From the following saying of R. Abahu we may assume that R. Johanan is the one who said that the basis is a tradition of the prophets, because he said in his name that so said R. Johanan. Said R. Zera to R. Abahu: Did R. Johanan say so? Did he not say in the name of R. Nehumia, the man of the valley of Beth Hursa, that the ten plants concerning Kilaim, the willow, and the pouring of water are Sinaic laws? He was astounded for a little while, and said: They were forgotten once, and then reëstablished. But how could R. Johanan say so? Did he not say to the sages of Palestine: Do not say that the ordinances derived from the Torah are yours: they are the Babylonians', because we have received all our learning from them. (R. Johanan said this when he saw R. Kahna, one of the disciples of Rabh, come to Palestine and explain many questions which R. Johanan could not decide.) Hence we see that R. Johanan did not think that in Babylon the Torah was forgotten, and how can it be said it was forgotten? It presents no difficulty: In the Temple it was Sinaic, but in the country it had for a basis the tradition of the prophets.

R. Ami said: The willow has to be of the prescribed size, and must be taken separately, and a man does not fulfil his duty with the willow which is tied with the Lulab. R. Hisda in the name of R. Itz'hak, however, said that a man can fulfil his duty with the willow which is tied with the Lulab. What is the prescribed size? Said R. Na'hman: Three moist twigs with leaves. R. Shesheth, however, said: Even if there was one leaf on one twig. Said Aibu: I was standing in the presence of R. Elazar bar Zadok, and a man brought a willow before him; and he took the willow into his hand, and knocked off the leaves, but without any benediction, because he held that the willow was only a custom of the prophets. Aibu and Hezekiah, the grandsons of Rabh by his daughter, brought a willow to Rabh, and he also took it and knocked it, without benediction, because he also held it was only a custom of the prophets.

Aibu said again: I was standing before R. Elazar bar R. Zadok, and a man came to him and said: I possess some villages, and the inhabitants of the villages weeded the orchards in the Sabbatical year, and for their labor they ate the olives: did they right, or not? R. Elazar answered: It is not right. And the man went away. Said R. Elazar: I am living in this country forty years, and I have not seen a man walk in the right path as this man. Afterwards the man came again, and asked R. Elazar what he should do in this matter, and R. Elazar told him he should abandon the olives to the poor, and the laborers he should pay from his purse.

Aibu says again in the name of R. Elazar: A man must not walk on the eve of Sabbath more than three Parsaoth. Said R. Kahna: The case is when he goes home, and his family does not know that he will come, and do not prepare anything for him for Sabbath; but if he is going to an inn, he may walk more, because he has prepared everything that is necessary for Sabbath. According to others, R. Kahna said that even to his house he shall not go, so much the less to an inn. And he added to this: It once happened to me that I was coming home late on the eve of Sabbath, and my family did not expect me: I did not find even small fish prepared for Sabbath.

"How was the commandment to take the Lulab fulfilled?" One Tana taught in the presence of R. Na'hman: He deposited it on the roof of the gallery. And R. Na'hman said to him: Why on the roof, did he intend to dry it? Read, "on the galleries."

MISHNA: How was the command to take the willow fulfilled? There was a place below Jerusalem called Motza. Thither the people descended, and gathered drooping willow branches. These they brought and erected at the side of the altar, the tips inclining over it. While this was doing, a blast, a long note, and again a blast were blown. Every day they made one circuit round the altar, and recited the verse: "O Lord, help us; O Lord, prosper us." R. Jehudah said the words: "I and he, help us," were also said. On the particular day for using the willows (the seventh of the festival) they made seven circuits round the altar. When they withdrew, what did they say? "Beauty is thine, O altar! Beauty is thine, O altar!" R. Elazar said, they also said: "To God and to thee, O altar! To God and to thee, O altar!" As they did on week-days, so did they likewise on the Sabbath; excepting only that they gathered the willow branches on the Sabbath-eve and put them into golden casks (filled with water), that they might not fade. R. Johanan b, Beroka said: They fetched branches of palms and threshed them to pieces on the sides of the altar. Thence the day was called "the branch-threshing day." Directly afterwards the children threw down their Lulabs and ate the citrons.

GEMARA: In a Boraitha it was taught: that the place where they were taken was free from taxes, and one Tana of the Mishna calls it Motza, because this word signifies exempt from taxes.

"They brought and erected at the side of the altar." In a Boraitha was taught: They were soft and eleven ells high, so that they could cover the altar one ell. Said R. Abahu: From what biblical passage is this inferred? From Psalm cxviii. 27: "Bind the festive sacrifice with cords," etc. He said again in the name of R. Elazar: One who takes the Lulab with its binding, and the myrtle bough with its braiding, the verse makes him equal to one who would build an altar and offer a sacrifice on it, and he infers it from the end of the passage just quoted. Hezekiah said in the name of R. Jeremiah, quoting R. Simeon b. Jochai, and R. Johanan in the name of R. Simeon the Mehuzi, quoting R. Johanan the Mekuthi: One who added a day to the festival for eating and drinking, the verse makes him equal to one who built an altar and offered a sacrifice on it, as it is written: "Bind the festive sacrifice with cords (leading it) up to the horns of the altar."

Hezekiah said again in the name of R. Jeremiah, quoting R. Simeon b. Jochai: All the prescribed plants for religious duties must be taken as they grow, as it is written [Ex. xxvi. 15]: "Shittim wood, standing up." Hezekiah said again in the name of the same authority: I could exempt the whole world from the Day of Judgment since I was born till now; and if Eliezer my son would be with me, I could do it for all men since the world was created till now. And if King Jotham ben Uzziah would be with us, we could do it for all men from the creation of the world till its end. The same says again in the name of the same: I see the greatest men in the world are very few. If they are a thousand, I and my son are included; if they are a hundred, I and my son are included, and if they are only two, they are I and my son. Said Abayi: There are no less than thirty-six upright men in the world who receive appearance of the Shekhina every day, as it is written [Is. xxx. 18]: "Happy are all those that wait for him," and him is expressed by לו, which counts thirty-six.

"To God and to thee." How did they do so? Did they not combine the name of the Lord with another thing, and we have learned in a Boraitha: Who combines the name of the Lord with another thing, will be destroyed from the world? As it is written [Ex. xxii, 19]: "Save unto the Lord only." The Mishna meant it was said so: "To God we bow, and Thee we praise."

R. Jehudah in the name of Samuel said: The benediction over the Lulab must be pronounced all the seven days, but in the Succah the benediction must be made only the first day. Why so? Because the nights intervene between the days, and every day it is a separate commandment; but in case of the Succah, which is a duty during the nights also, all the seven days are considered as one long day, and one benediction is enough. Rabba bar bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan, however, said: The benediction over the Succah must be pronounced all the seven days, but over the Lulab only the first day. Why so? Because the Succah is biblical, the benediction is to be made every time; but the Lulab being rabbinical, it is sufficient on the first day. When Rabbin came from Palestine, he said in the name of R. Johanan, that over both it is to be pronounced every day all the seven days. Said R. Joseph: Keep what Rabba bar bar Hana said in your mind, because all the Amoraim hold with him concerning Succah. Other Tanaim, however, differ also on the same point. As we have learned in the following Boraitha: Over the Tefilin, every time one lays them, one must pronounce a benediction. So is the decree of Rabbi. The sages, however, said: In the morning only. And it was taught Abayi said the halakhah prevails according to Rabbi, and Rabba said the halakhah prevails according to the sages. Said R. Mari the son of the daughter of Samuel: I have seen Rabba did not follow his own decision, and we also all are doing according to Rabbi, and pronounce the benediction on every one of the seven days.

R. Jehudah in the name of Samuel said: The commandment of the Lulab is all the seven days; but R. Joshuah b. Levi said: The biblical commandment is only for the first day, and from this day further on it is the commandment of the Elders; and so said also R. Itz'hak. Rabh, however, holds that the commandment is for all seven days, and R. Na'hman bar Itz'hak taught plainly that Rabh said so.

The rabbis taught: If one made a Succah for himself, he must pronounce the benediction of the time. When he comes to dwell in it, he must pronounce the benediction: "Blessed be He, etc., who has commanded us to dwell in a Succah"; but if the Succah had been prepared, if he is able to fix there something new, he may pronounce the benediction of the time; if not, when he comes to dwell in it, he should pronounce both benedictions. Said R. Ashi: I have seen R. Kahna, who used to pronounce all the benedictions over the goblet, together with the benediction of the day.

The rabbis taught: If one have before himself many religious duties, he can say: "Blessed be He who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded to us many duties." R. Jehudah, however, said: He must pronounce the benediction before each one separately. Said R. Zera, according to others R. Hanina bar Papa: The halakhah prevails according to R. Jehudah. And he (either of the two mentioned) says again: What is the reason of R. Jehudah? Because it is written [Ps. lxviii. 20]: "Blessed be the Lord, day by day." Do we only bless Him by day, and not by night? We may learn from this that every day we should bless Him for the duties of that day (if Sabbath, we must bless Him for the Sabbath; if a festival, for the duties belonging to each festival). The same authority says again: Come and see. The usages of the Holy One, blessed be He, are not as the usages of human beings: A human being can put only something into an empty vessel, but if the vessel is full, he can put in nothing; but the Holy One, blessed be He, can add to a full vessel, but can put nothing into an empty one, as it is written [Deut. xxviii. 1]: "If thou wilt hearken diligently"; 1 i.e., if you have heard diligently, you can receive more knowledge, but if not diligently, you can hear nothing. Another interpretation for this verse is this: If you have given your attention to what you have learned before, you can learn from it new things; but if you have turned away your heart from the old teaching, you cannot learn anything new.

"The children threw down," etc. Said R. Johanan: The citron on the seventh day is prohibited to be eaten, but on the eighth day it is allowed; but the wood of the Succah, even on the eighth day, is not allowed to be used. Resh Lakish, however, said: Even on the seventh day the citron is allowed. R. Johanan made an objection to Resh Lakish from our Mishna: The children throw down their Lulabs and eat their citrons. From this we may infer that only the children may do so, but not adults. Answered Resh Lakish: Nay, adults may also do so, but the Mishna mentions children because it was usually done so. R. Papa asked Abayi: What is the reason that R. Johanan makes a difference between the Succah and the citron? And he answered: The Succah is fit for twilight, so that if one had to eat at twilight, he must sit in the Succah and eat there; and because it was designated for twilight, it is designated for the whole eighth day; but the citron, which is not to be used at twilight, and was not designated for the twilight, is not designated for the whole eighth day. Levi, however, said: The citron is prohibited even on the eighth day. And the father of Samuel said: On the seventh day it is not allowed, but on the eighth day it is allowed. The father of Samuel afterwards retracted his teaching, and remained in accordance with the system of Levi. R. Zera, however, remains in accordance with the old teaching of the father of Samuel, and taught in the house of learning that a citron which becomes invalid must not be eaten all the seven days. R. Zera said again: One must not give as a present to a child a Lulab on the first day of the festival. Why so? Because a child may receive a present, but cannot make a present to another; and afterwards if the man uses the Lulab for the religious purpose, he has used a thing which is not his (by which he cannot fulfil his duty). He says again: A man shall not promise a child something, and afterwards not keep his word, for the child can learn from it to tell a lie.

We in exile, who keep two days of the festival, how shall we do? Said Abayi: On the eighth day, which it is doubtful perhaps it is the seventh, it is prohibited; but the ninth day, which it is doubtful perhaps it is the eighth, it is allowed. Meremar, however, said: Even on the eighth day, which it is doubtful perhaps it is the seventh, it is also allowed. In Sura they acted according to Meremar; but R. Shesheth the son of R. Iddi acted according to Abayi, and the halakhah prevails according to Abayi.

R. Jehudah the son of Samuel bar Shilath said in the name of Rabh: The eighth day, which it is doubtful whether it is not the seventh, may be considered as the seventh day in reference to the Succah, but is considered the eighth day in reference to the benediction. R. Johanan, however, said: It may be considered the eighth day for both purposes. (The Gemara explains it so): In reference to the benediction, all agree that the benediction may not be said. What they differ about is only the citron. According to Rabh, on the eighth day one must sit in the Succah, and according to R. Johanan, even sitting is not necessary either. Said R. Joseph: Keep in your mind what R. Johanan said, because the Master of this halakhah, R. Jehudah bar Samuel, who declared it in the name of Rabh, did not act according to his teaching, and we have seen him on the eighth day sitting outside of the Succah. The halakhah prevails: That we do sit in the Succah, but do not pronounce the benediction over it.

R. Johanan said: The benediction of the time must be pronounced on the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, but not on the seventh day of Passover. Said R. Levi bar Hama, according to others R. Hama bar Hanina: This may be approved, because the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles is different in three things from the preceding days: It needs not Succah, it needs not Lulab, nor the pouring of water. If it is so, the seventh day of Passover is also different, because it is not a duty to eat Matzah thereon, as the Master said that only the first night it is a duty to eat Matzah? What comparison is this? There it is different only from the first night, but not from the first day; but here it is different from the day also. Rabhina said: The eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles is different from the preceding day; but the seventh day of Passover differs only from the first day, but not from the one preceding it. How shall we act? Said R. Na'hman: The benediction of the time maybe said on the eighth day, and R. Shesheth said it must not, and the halakhah prevails that it may be said. We have learned in a Boraitha in support to R. Na'hman: The eighth day is a holy day by itself, has lots cast for itself (which priest should perform the service of the sacrifice, as is explained in Shekalim), the benediction of time for itself, offerings for itself, a separate song for itself (all seven days one song was sung by the Levites at the sacrifice), and also a blessing for itself ("the eighth day of assembly" was pronounced in the benediction).

MISHNA: The Hallel and the enjoying of peace-offerings were eight days. How so? We infer from this, that a man is bound to recite the Hallel and enjoy the peace-offerings the last day of the festival the same as the preceding days.

GEMARA: Where is this deduced from? The rabbis taught: It is written [Deut. xvi. 15]: "Thou shalt only rejoice"; it comes to add the night of the last day of the festival, and to exclude the night of the first day. But perhaps it is meant only for the first day? The word (ach) "only" separates it. But why do you include the last day, and exclude the first day? I include the last night, before which there was enjoyment; but I exclude the first night, before which was no enjoyment.

MISHNA: The Succah is dwelt in seven days. How so? When a man has taken his last meal therein, he is not directly to pull down his Succah; but, after noon, he may move the furniture back into the house, in honor of the last day of the festival.

How was the pouring out of the water? A golden pitcher that held three lugs was filled with water from the brook Siloah. When they came with it to the water-gate, they blew a blast, a long note, and again a blast. The priest then ascended the stair of the altar, and turned to the left. Two silver basins stood there. R. Jehudah says: They were of gypsum, but had a dark appearance from the wine. Each was perforated with a small hole, like a nostril (at the bottom), the one for the wine somewhat wider, the other for the water narrower, that both might get empty at once. The one, to the west, was used for water; the other, to the east, for the wine. But if the water was poured into the wine basin, or the wine into the water basin, one's duty was reckoned to be fulfilled. R. Jehudah says: They poured out one lug on each of the eight days. To him who poured out the water the people called: "Raise thy hand"; for once it happened that one priest charged with this duty poured the water over his feet, and all the people pelted him with their citrons, As they did on the week-days, so they did likewise on the Sabbath, except that they fetched the water from the Siloah on the Sabbath eve in a golden cask that had not been consecrated, and placed it in a chamber; if it was upset or uncovered, they filled again from the laver. For it was not lawful to bring on the altar water or wine which had been uncovered.

GEMARA: Whence is it deduced? Said R. Eina: It is written [Is. xii. 3]: "Ye shall draw water with gladness."

"Ascended the stair," etc. The rabbis taught: All who ascended the altar ascended on the right, went round, and descended on the left; except that those who ascended for the following three purposes (duties) ascended on the left, and went back on the same side: to pour water, to pour wine, and to offer a burnt-offering of a fowl when it was too much on the east side of the altar. 1

"Each was perforated," etc. Shall we assume that the Mishna is according to R. Jehudah and not according to the sages, as it teaches farther on: "R. Jehudah said with a lug," etc.; because if the Mishna would be according to the sages, the quantity of the wine and water was equal? (And why was one wider, and the other narrower?) Nay, we may say the Mishna is according to the sages; but wine is thick, and water is thinner, and this is the reason for the unequal sizes of the holes. It seems to us it is so, for according to R. Jehudah one must be wide and the other narrow, as we learn in the following Boraitha: R. Jehudah said: Two urns were there, one for water and one for wine: that for wine had its mouth wide, and that for water narrow, that they should be emptied at the same time.

Rabha lectured: It is written [Song of Songs, Vii. 2]: "How beautiful are thy steps in sandals, O prince's daughter! How beautiful were the steps of Israel, when they pilgrimaged for the festival! "Prince's daughter" means, daughter of Abraham our father, who was called prince; as it is written [Ps. xlvii. 10]: "The nobles of the people are gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham." The God of Abraham, and not the God of Isaac and Jacob? It means, the God of Abraham, who was the first of the proselytes.

The disciples of R. Anan taught: It is written [Song of Songs, ibid.]: "The roundings of thy thighs." As the thighs are in a hidden place, so the words of the Law must all be hidden, and this is similar to what R. Elazar said, as follows: It is written [Micah, vi. 8]: "He hath told thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord doth require of thee: nothing but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God." To do justice, i.e., judgment; to love kindness, i.e., the bestowing of favors; and to walk humbly with thy God, that means, to bear a dead body, and to conduct a bride under the canopy. Is this not an a fortiori conclusion? If things usually done publicly are to be done surreptitiously, so much the more things usually done privately?

R. Elazar said: The doing of charity is greater than all the sacrifices; as it is written [Prov. xxi. 3]: "To exercise righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice." The same says again: The bestowing of favors is greater than charity; as it is written [Hosea, x. 12]: "Sow then for yourselves righteousness, that you may reap the fruit of kindness." If a man sows, it is doubtful whether he will eat from his sowing, or not; but if a man reaps, he is sure to eat of it (and so it is with charity, sometimes it is useful, sometimes not, but kindness is always so).

R. Elazar says again: Charity is rewarded only according to the kindness with which it is done; as it is written: "Sow for yourselves righteousness, that you may reap kindness."

The rabbis taught: In three things is the bestowing of favors greater than charity: Charity is only with money, but the bestowing of favors is either with one's money or with one's person; charity is only to poor men, but the bestowing of favors is to poor and rich; charity is only for the living, but the bestowing of favors is both for the living and the dead. The same says again: One who does charity and judgment is as if he filled the whole world with kindness; as it is written [Ps. xxxiii. 5]: "He loveth righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the kindness of the Lord." But if you mean that every one who wants to do charity is given the opportunity to do real charity, it is therefore written [ibid. xxxvi. 8]: "How precious is thy kindness! "It is different, however, with a man fearing Heaven; as it is written [ibid. ciii. 17]: "But the kindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting over those that fear him." R. Hama bar Papa said: A man who finds favor everywhere, it is certain that he fears God; as it is written: "The kindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting over those that fear him."

He says again: It is written [Prov. xxxi. 26] She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue." Are there two laws, one of kindness, and one not of kindness? That means, if one studies the law in honor of the Lord, it is a law of kindness; but if one studies the law for his own interest, it is a law not of kindness. According to others, if he studies the law to teach it, it is a law of kindness; but if he studies it for himself, it is not.

"If it was upset or uncovered," etc. Why so? He can strain the water? Shall we assume that our Mishna is not according to R. Nehemiah from the following Boraitha: Even if the water was strained, the law of uncovered water does still apply to it. R. Nehemiah, however, said: This is only when the lower vessel was uncovered, but when the lower vessel was covered, though the upper one was uncovered, the law of uncovered water does not apply to it, because the venom of a snake, like a sponge, rises to the top. The Mishna can apply also to R. Nehemiah, but he spoke of preparing for an ordinary man, but in honor of the Lord could he say so? Did not R. Nehemiah consider the verse in Malachi [i. 8]: "Do but present it unto thy governor, will he be pleased with thee, or receive thee with favor? says the Lord of hosts."


69:1 The Hebrew term for this is שמע חשמע, which is literally, "by hearing you will hear more."

73:1 The burnt-offerings and east side of the altar will be explained in Tract Tamid, Chap. I.

Sources: Sacred Texts