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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth

Folio 64a

as it says, Peullethai the eighth son1  for God blessed him,2  and it is written, All these were of the sons of Obed-Edom, they and their sons and their brethren, able men in the strength for the service, threescore and two of Obed-Edom.3

R. Abin the Levite said: Whoever tries to force his [good] fortune will be dogged by [ill] fortune,4  and whoever forgoes his [good] fortune will postpone his [ill] fortune.5  This we can illustrate from the case of Rabbah and R. Joseph. For R. Joseph was 'Sinai'6  and Rabbah was 'an uprooter of mountains'.7  The time came when they were required [to be head of the Academy].8  They [the collegiates] sent there [to Palestine] to ask, As between 'Sinai' and an 'uprooter of mountains', which should have the preference? They sent answer: Sinai, because all require the owner of wheat.9  Nevertheless, R. Joseph would not accept the post, because the astrologers had told him that he would be head for only two years. Rabbah thereupon remained head for twenty-two years, and R. Joseph after him for two years and a half.10  During all the time that Rabbah was head, R. Joseph did not so much as summon a cupper to come to his house.11

R. Abin the Levite further said: What is the point of the verse, The Lord answer thee in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob set thee up on high?12  The God of Jacob and not the God of Abraham and Isaac? This teaches that the owner of the beam should go in with the thickest part of it.13

R. Abin the Levite also said: If one partakes of a meal at which a scholar is present, it is as if he feasted on the effulgence of the Divine Presence, since it says, And Aaron came and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God.14  Was it before God that they ate? Did not they eat before Moses? This tells you, however, that if one partakes of a meal at which a scholar is present, it is as if he feasted on the effulgence of the Divine Presence.

R. Abin the Levite also said: When a man takes leave of his fellow, he should not say to him, 'Go in peace'. but 'Go to peace'. For Moses, to whom Jethro said, Go to peace,15  went up and prospered, whereas Absalom to whom David said, Go in peace,16  went away and was hung.

R. Abin the Levite also said: One who takes leave of the dead17  should not say to him 'Go to peace', but 'Go in peace', as it says, But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace.18

R. Levi b. Hiyya said: One who on leaving the synagogue goes into the House of Study and studies the Torah is deemed worthy to welcome the Divine Presence, as it says, They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.19

R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in the name of Rab: The disciples of the wise have no rest either in this world or in the world to come,20  as it says, They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Zion'.

R. Eleazar said in the name of R. Hanina: The disciples of the wise increase peace in the world, as it says, And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.21  Read not banayik [thy children] but bonayik [thy builders].22  Great peace have they that love Thy law, and there is no stumbling for them.23  Peace be within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces.24  For my brethren and companions' sake I will now say, Peace be within thee.25  For the sake of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.26  The Lord will give strength unto His people, the Lord will bless His people with peace.27

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Omitting with BaH: 'and it is written' inserted in cur. edd.
  2. I Chron. XXVI, 5. This shows that he had eight sons.
  3. Ibid. 8. The sixty-two are made up of the eight sons mentioned, six more to his wife at one birth, and six to each of his eight daughters-in-law.
  4. Lit., 'whoever pushes his hour will be pushed by his hour'.
  5. Lit., 'if one is pushed away from before his hour, his hour is pushed away from before him'.
  6. I.e., possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the traditions.
  7. I.e., exceptionally skillful in dialectic.
  8. Sc. of Pumbeditha.
  9. I.e., to know the authentic traditions.
  10. Rabbah was head 309-330. R. Joseph who succeeded him died in 333.
  11. But went instead to him, like any ordinary individual. On the whole passage v. Hor. (Sonc. ed.) p. 105 notes.
  12. Ps. XX, 2.
  13. He should put the thicker end in the ground so as to give better support. So the name of Jacob would be more efficacious in prayer because he was the more immediate ancestor of the Jewish people.
  14. Ex. XVIII, 12.
  15. Ibid. IV, 18.
  16. II Sam. XV, 9.
  17. On leaving the funeral procession.
  18. Gen. XV, 15.
  19. Ps. LXXXIV, 8.
  20. Because they are always progressing in their spiritual strivings.
  21. Isa. LIV, 13.
  22. I.e., learned men.
  23. Ps. CXIX, 165.
  24. Ibid. CXXII, 7.
  25. Ibid. 8.
  26. Ibid. 9.
  27. Ibid. XXIX, 11.
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