who eat without working). And it is [further] written, I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: the multitude of your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees hath the palmerworm devoured.1 and it is also written, That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten;2 and it is written, And one shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry, and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied; they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm.3 Read not, the flesh of his own arm [zero'o], but, the flesh of his own seed [zar'o].
As a punishment for delay of judgment,4 perversion of judgment,5 spoiling of judgment,6 and neglect of Torah, sword and spoil increase, pestilence and famine come, people eat and are not satisfied, and eat their bread by weight, for it is written, and I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute the vengeance of the covenant:7 now 'covenant' means nothing else but Torah, as it is written, But for my covenant of day and night [I had not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth];8 and it is written, When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver your bread again by weight;9 and it is written, because, even because they rejected my judgments.10
For the crime of vain oaths, false oaths,11 profanation of the Divine Name,12 and the desecration of the Sabbath, wild beasts multiply, [domestic] animals cease, the population decreases, and the roads become desolate, for it is said, And if by these things [be-eleh] ye will not be reformed unto me;13 read not be-eleh but be-alah;14 and it is written, and I will send the beast of the field among you, etc.15 Now, in respect to false oaths it is written, And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, so that you profane [we-hillalta] the name of thy God;16 and of the profanation of the Name it is written, and that they profane not [ye-hallelu] my holy name;17 and of the profanation of the Sabbath it is written, every one that profaneth it [mehallelehah] shall surely be put to death:18 and [the punishment for] profanation is learnt19 from a false oath.20
Through the crime of bloodshed the Temple was destroyed and the Shechinah departed from Israel, as it is written, So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are; for blood, it polluteth the land … And thou shalt not defile the land which ye inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell.-21 hence, if ye do defile it, ye will not inhabit it and I will not dwell in its midst.22
As a punishment for incest,23 idolatry, and non-observance of the years of release and jubilee24 exile comes to the world, they [the Jews] are exiled, and others come and dwell in their place, for it is said, for all these abominations have the men of the land done, etc.;25 and it is written, and the land is defiled, — therefore do I visit the in iniquity thereof upon it;26 and it is written, that the land vomit not you out also, when ye defile it.27 Again, with respect to idolatry it is written, and I will cast your carcases [upon the carcases of your idols];28 and it is written, And I will make your cities a waste, and will bring your sanctuaries into desolation etc....29 and you will I scatter among the nations.30 Further, in reference to release and jubilee years it is written, Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land, etc.;31 and it is written, As long as it lieth desolate it shall have rest.32
As a punishment for obscenity,33 troubles multiply, cruel decrees are proclaimed afresh, the youth of Israel's enemies34 die, and the fatherless and widows cry out and are not answered; for it is said, Therefore shall the Lord not rejoice over the young men, neither shall he have compassion over their fatherless and their widows: for every one is profane and an evil-doer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all is his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.35 What is meant by, 'but his hand is stretched out still'? — Said R. Hanan b. Rabbah: All know for what purpose a bride enters the bridal canopy, yet against whomsoever who speaks obscenely [thereof], even if a sentence of seventy years' happiness had been sealed for him,36 it is reversed for evil.
Rabbah b. Shila said in R. Hisda's name: He who puts his mouth to folly,37 Gehenna is made deep for him, as it is said, A deep pit is for the mouth [that speaketh] perversity.38 R. Nahman b. Isaac said, Also [for] one who hears and is silent,39 for it is said, he that is abhorred of the Lord40 shall fall therein.41
R. Oshaia said: He who devotes himself42 to sin, wounds and bruises break out over him, as it is said, Stripes and wounds are for him that devoteth himself to evil.43 Moreover, he is punished by dropsy, for it is said, and strokes reach the innermost parts of the belly.44 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: Dropsy is a sign of sin.
Our Rabbis taught: There are three kinds of dropsy: that [which is a punishment] of sin is thick; that caused by hunger is swollen; and what is caused by magic is thin.45 Samuel the Little46 suffered through it. 'Sovereign of the Universe!' he cried out, who will cast lots?'47 [Thereupon] he recovered. Abaye suffered from it. Said Raba, I know of Nahmani48 that he practises hunger.49 Raba suffered from it. But was it not Raba himself who said, More numerous are those slain by delayed calls of nature50 than the victims51 of starvation?52 — Raba was different, because the scholars compelled him [to practise restraint] at the set times [for lectures].
Our Rabbis taught: Croup comes to the world
on account of [neglect of] tithes.1 R. Eleazar b. R. Jose said: On account of slander. Said Raba-others maintain, R. Joshua b. Levi-what verse [teaches this]? But the king shall rejoice in God: Everyone that sweareth by him shall glory; For the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped [yissaker].2
The scholars propounded: Does R. Eleazar son of R. Jose say, [Only] on account of slander, or perhaps on account of slander too? — Come and hear: For when our Rabbis entered the 'vineyard' in Yabneh,3 R. Judah, R. Eleazar son of R. Jose and R. Simeon were present, and this question was raised before them: why does this affliction commence in the bowels and end in the throat? Thereupon R. Judah son of R. Ila'i, the first speaker on all occasions4 answered and said: Though the kidneys counsel, the heart gives understanding,5 and the tongue gives form,6 yet the mouth completes it. R. Eleazar son of R. Jose answered: Because they eat unclean food therewith. 'Unclean food!' can you think so?7 Rather [say] because they eat unfit food.8 R. Simeon answered and said, As a punishment for the neglect of study.9 Said they to him. Let women prove it!10 — That is because they restrain their husbands [from study]. Let Gentiles prove it!11 — That is because they restrain Israel. Let children prove it! — That is because they make their fathers to neglect [study].12 Then let school-children prove it!-There it is as R. Gorion. For R. Gorion-others state, R. Joseph son of R. Shemaiah-said: When there are righteous men in the generation, the righteous are seized [by death] for the [sins of the] generation; when there are no righteous in a generation, school-children are seized for the generation.13 R. Isaac b. Ze'iri others state, R. Simeon b. Neizra-said: Which verse [teaches this]? If thou know not, O thou, fairest among women, Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, etc.,14 and we interpret this as [referring to] the goats which are taken in pledge for the [debts of the] shepherds. Thus this proves that he said on account of slander too. This proves it.
Now, why is he [R. Judah son of R. Ila'i] called the first speaker on all occasions? — For R. Judah, R. Jose, and R. Simeon were sitting, and Judah, a son of proselytes, was sitting near them. R. Judah commenced [the discussion] by observing, 'How fine are the works of this people!15 They have made streets, they have built bridges, they have erected baths.' R. Jose was silent. R. Simeon b. Yohai answered and said, 'All that they made they made for themselves; they built market-places, to set harlots in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them.' Now, Judah the son of proselytes went and related their talk,16 which reached17 the government. They decreed: Judah, who exalted [us], shall be exalted,18 Jose, who was silent, shall be exiled to Sepphoris;19 Simeon, who censured, let him be executed.
He and his son went and hid themselves in the Beth Hamidrash, [and] his wife brought him bread and a mug of water and they dined.20 [But] when the decree became more severe he said to his son, Women are of unstable temperament: she21 may be put to the torture and expose us.'22 So they went and hid in a cave. A miracle occurred and a carob-tree and a water well were created for them. They would strip their garments and sit up to their necks in sand. The whole day they studied; when it was time for prayers they robed, covered themselves, prayed, and then put off their garments again, so that they should not wear out. Thus they dwelt twelve years in the cave.23 Then Elijah came and stood at the entrance to the cave and exclaimed, Who will inform the son of Yohai that the emperor is dead and his decree annulled?24 So they emerged. Seeing a man ploughing and sowing, they exclaimed, 'They forsake life eternal and engage in life temporal!' Whatever they cast their eyes upon was immediately burnt up. Thereupon a Heavenly Echo came forth and cried out, 'Have ye emerged to destroy My world: Return to your cave!'25 So they returned and dwelt there twelve months, saying, 'The punishment26 of the wicked in Gehenna is [limited to] twelve months.'27 A Heavenly Echo then came forth and said, 'Go forth from your cave!' Thus.'; they issued: wherever R. Eleazar wounded,28 R. Simeon healed. Said he to him, 'My son! You and I are sufficient for the world.'29 On the eve of the Sabbath before sunset they saw an old man holding two bundles of myrtle and running at twilight. What are these for?' they asked him. 'They are in honour of the Sabbath,' he replied.30 'But one should suffice you'? — One is for 'Remember-' and one for 'Observe.'31 Said he to his son, 'See how precious are the commandments to Israel.' Thereat their minds were tranquilized.
R. Phinchas b. Ya'ir his son-in-law heard [thereof] and went out to meet him. He took him into the baths and massaged32 his flesh. Seeing the clefts in his body33 he wept and the tears streamed from his eyes. 'Woe to me that I see you in such a state!' he cried out. 'Happy are you that you see me thus,' he retorted, 'for if you did not see me in such a state you would not find me thus [learned].34 For originally, when R. Simeon b. Yohai raised a difficulty, R. Phinehas b. Ya'ir would give him thirteen answers, whereas subsequently when R. Phinehas b. Ya'ir raised a difficulty, R. Simeon b. Yohai would give him twenty-four answers.
Since a miracle has occurred, said he, let me go and amend something, for it is written, and Jacob came whole35 [to the city of Shechem],36 which Rab interpreted. Bodily whole [sound], financially whole, and whole in his learning. And he was gracious to the city.,37 Rab said: He instituted coinage for them.38 Samuel said: He instituted markets for them; R. Johanan said: He instituted baths for them. Is there ought that requires amending? he39 asked. There is a place of doubtful uncleanness,40 he was informed,
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