R. Hanina said: On account of the forty-two sacrifices which Balak, king of Moab, offered,3 were forty-two children cut off from Israel. But it is not so; for Rab Judah has said in the name of Rab: Always should a man occupy himself with Torah and the commandments even though it be not for their own sake,4 for from [occupying himself with them] not for their own sake he comes to do so for their own sake; because as a reward for the forty-two sacrifices which Balak, king of Moab, offered,5 he merited that Ruth should issue from him and from her issued Solomon concerning whom it is written: A thousand burnt-offerings did Solomon offer!6 And R. Jose b. Honi said: Ruth was the daughter of Eglon the son of Balak!7 — Nevertheless his desire was to curse Israel.8
And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, we pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth etc.9 [But how could it be so] since 'the water is naught and the land miscarrieth'! What, then, was its pleasantness? — R. Hanin said: The favour of a place in the estimation of its inhabitants. R. Johanan said: There are three kinds of favour: the favour of a locality in the estimation of its inhabitants, the favour of a woman In the estimation of her husband, and the favour of an article in the estimation of its purchaser.
Our Rabbis taught: Elisha was afflicted with three illnesses: one because he stirred up the bears against the children, one because he thrust Gehazi away with both his hands, and one of which he died; as it is said: Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.10
Our Rabbis have taught: Always let the left hand thrust away and the right hand draw near. Not like Elisha who thrust Gehazi away with both his hands (and not like R. Joshua b. Perahiah who thrust one of his disciples away with both his hands).11 How is it with Elisha? As it is written: And Naaman said: Be content, take two talents,12 and it is written: And he said unto him, Went not my heart with thee when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and sheep and oxen, and manservants and maidservants?13 But had he received all these things? Silver and garments were what he had received! — R. Isaac said: At that time Elisha was engaged [in the study of the Law concerning] the eight kinds of [unclean] creeping things;14 so he said to [Gehazi], 'You wicked person, the time has arrived for you to receive the reward for [studying the law of] the eight creeping things.'15 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and unto thy seed for ever.16
Now there were four leprous men17 — R. Johanan said: This refers to Gehazi and his three sons. And Elisha came to Damascus18 — why did he go there?19 — R. Johanan said: He went to induce Gehazi to repent but he refused. He said to him, 'Repent'; but he replied: 'Thus have I received from thee that whoever sinned and caused others to sin is deprived of the power of doing penitence'. What had he done? Some say: He applied a loadstone to the idolatrous image of Jeroboam20 and suspended it between heaven and earth. Others say: He engraved upon it the Name [of God] so that it used to exclaim, 'I [am the Lord thy God]' and 'Thou shalt have no [other God beside me]' — Still others say: He drove the Rabbis from before him, as it is written: And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell before thee is too strait for us21 — hence, up to then it had not been too strait.
What22 was the incident with R. Joshua b. Perahiah? — When King Jannaeus23 put the Rabbis to death, Simeon b. Shetah was hid by his sister, whilst R. Joshua b. perahiah fled to Alexandria in Egypt. When there was peace,24 Simeon b. Shetah sent [this message to him]: 'From me, Jerusalem, the Holy city, to thee Alexandria in Egypt. O my sister, my husband25 dwelleth in thy midst and I abide desolate'. [R. Joshua] arose and came back and found himself in a certain inn where they paid him great respect. He said: 'How beautiful is this 'aksania'!26 One of his disciples27 said to him, 'My master, her eyes are narrow!' He replied to him, 'Wicked person! Is it with such thoughts that thou occupiest thyself!' He sent forth four hundred horns and excommunicated him.28 [The disciple] came before him on many occasions, saying'Receive me'; but he refused to notice him. One day while [R. Joshua] was reciting the Shema', he came before him. His intention was to receive him and he made a sign to him with his hand, but the disciple thought he was repelling him. So he went and set up a brick and worshipped it. [R. Joshua] said to him, 'Repent'; but he answered him, 'Thus have I received from thee that whoever sinned and caused others to sin is deprived of the power of doing penitence'. A Master has said: The disciple practised magic and led Israel astray.
MISHNAH. IF THE MURDERER WAS DISCOVERED BEFORE THE HEIFER'S NECK WAS BROKEN, IT GOES FREE AND FEEDS WITH THE HERD; BUT IF AFTER THE HEIFER'S NECK WAS BROKEN, IT IS BURIED IN THAT PLACE BECAUSE IT CAME THERE FROM THE OUTSET IN CONNECTION WITH A MATTER OF DOUBT,31 AND ATONED FOR THE DOUBT WHICH IS NOW GONE. IF THE HEIFER'S NECK WAS BROKEN AND AFTERWARDS THE MURDERER IS DISCOVERED, BEHOLD HE IS EXECUTED.
IF ONE WITNESS SAYS 'I SAW THE MURDERER' AND ONE WITNESS SAYS 'YOU DID NOT SEE HIM';32 OR IF A WOMAN SAYS 'I SAW HIM' AND ANOTHER WOMAN SAYS 'YOU DID NOT SEE HIM', THEY BREAK ITS NECK. IF ONE WITNESS SAYS 'I SAW HIM' AND TWO SAY 'YOU DID NOT SEE HIM', THEY BREAK ITS NECK. IF TWO SAY 'WE SAW HIM' AND ONE SAYS TO THEM 'YOU DID NOT SEE HIM', THEY DO NOT BREAK ITS NECK.33
WHEN MURDERERS MULTIPLIED THE CEREMONY OF BREAKING A HEIFER'S NECK WAS DISCONTINUED. THAT WAS WHEN ELIEZER B. DINAI, ALSO CALLED TEHINAH B. PERISHAH, APPEARED;34 HE WAS AFTERWARDS RENAMED 'SON OF THE MURDERER'. — WHEN ADULTERERS MULTIPLIED THE CEREMONY OF THE BITTER WATER WAS DISCONTINUED AND IT WAS R. JOHANAN B. ZAKKAI WHO DISCONTINUED IT, AS IT IS SAID, I WILL NOT PUNISH YOUR DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY COMMIT WHOREDOM, NOR YOUR BRIDES WHEN THEY COMMIT ADULTERY, FOR THEY THEMSELVES ETC.35 WHEN JOSE B. JOEZER OF ZEREDAH AND JOSE B. JUDAH OF JERUSALEM DIED, THE GRAPE-CLUSTERS36 CEASED, AS IT IS SAID, THERE IS NO CLUSTER TO EAT; MY SOUL DESIRETH THE FIRST RIPE FIG.37
Sotah 47bUP TO HIS DAYS THE HAMMER USED TO STRIKE1 IN JERUSALEM, AND IN HIS DAYS THERE WAS NO NEED TO INQUIRE ABOUT DEMAI.2
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: Whence is it that if the heifer's neck had been broken, and the murderer is afterwards discovered, they do not set him free? There is a text to state, And no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.3
IF ONE WITNESS SAYS, 'I SAW THE MURDERER' etc. The reason [why his evidence is not accepted] is because there is somebody who contradicts him; therefore if there is nobody who contradicts him, one witness is believed. Whence is this? — As our Rabbis taught: And it be not known who hath smitten him4 — hence if it be known who had smitten him, even by one person at the other end of the world, they do not break the neck. R. Akiba says: Whence is it that if the Sanhedrin saw a person commit murder, but they do not recognise him, the neck of the heifer is not broken? There is a text to state, Neither have our eyes seen it;5 but [in this case] they had seen it.6
Now that you admit that one witness is believed, how is it possible for another individual to contradict him? Surely 'Ulla has said: Wherever the Torah accepts the testimony of one witness, he is regarded as two [witnesses], but the evidence of one is not regarded as the evidence of two!7 'Ulla can reply to you, Read in the Mishnah: They do not break its neck. Similarly said R. Isaac, Read in the Mishnah: They do not break its neck; but R. Hiyya said: Read in the Mishnah: They break its neck. Then R. Hiyya is in conflict with the teaching of 'Ulla! — There is no contradiction, one case referring to evidence given simultaneously8 and the other when one witness follows the others.9
The Mishnah declares: IF ONE WITNESS SAYS 'I SAW THE MURDERER' AND TWO SAY 'YOU DID NOT SEE HIM', THEY BREAK ITS NECK. Consequently if there is one against one, they do not break its neck; and this is a refutation of R. Hiyya's statement!10 — But according to your own argument, cite the con tinuation: IF TWO SAY 'WE SAW HIM' AND ONE SAYS TO THEM 'YOU DID NOT SEE HIM', THEY DO NOT BREAK ITS NECK. Consequently if — there is one against one, they do break its neck!11 But our Mishnah deals entirely with disqualified witnesses,12 and is in accord with R. Nehemiah who said,13 Wherever the Torah accepts the testimony of one witness, [the decision] follows the majority of persons [who testify], so that two women against one woman is identical with two men against one man. But there are some who declare that wherever a competent witness came [and testified] first, even a hundred women are regarded as equal to one witness; and with what circumstance are we dealing here? For example, if it was a woman who came first [and testified]; and R. Nehemiah's statement is to be construed thus: R. Nehemiah Says: Wherever the Torah accepts the testimony of one witness, [the decision] follows the majority of persons [who testify], so that two women against one woman is identical with two men against one man, but two women against one man is like half and half. Why, then, have we two teachings concerning disqualified witnesses?14 What you might have said was that when we follow the majority of persons [who testify] it is for taking the severer view, but to take the lenient view we do not follow [the majority]. Therefore [the Mishnah] informs us [of one case where the neck is broken and one where it is not, and in each the majority is followed].
WHEN MURDERERS MULTIPLIED etc. Our Rabbis taught: When murderers multiplied the ceremony of breaking a heifer's neck was discontinued, because it is only performed in a case of doubt; but when murderers multiplied openly, the ceremony of breaking a heifer's neck was discontinued.
WHEN ADULTERERS MULTIPLIED etc. Our Rabbis taught: And the man shall be free from iniquity15 — at the time when the man is free from iniquity, the water proves his wife; but when the man is not free from iniquity, the water does not prove his wife. Why, then, [was it necessary for the Mishnah to add]: AS IT IS SAID, 'I WILL NOT PUNISH YOUR DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY COMMIT WHOREDOM etc'? Should you say that his own iniquity [prevents the water from proving his wife] but the iniquity of his sons and daughters does not, come and hear: 'I WILL NOT PUNISH YOUR DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY COMMIT WHOREDOM, NOR YOUR BRIDES WHEN THEY COMMIT ADULTERY'. And should you say that his sin with a married woman [prevents the water from proving his wife] but not if it was with an unmarried woman, come and hear: FOR THEY THEMSELVES GO ASIDE WITH WHORES AND WITH THE HARLOTS etc.' What means And the people that doth not understand shall be overthrown?16 R. Eleazar said: The prophet spoke to Israel, If you are scrupulous with yourselves, the water will prove your wives; otherwise the water will not prove your wives.
When hedonists multiplied, justice became perverted,17 conduct deteriorated and there is no satisfaction [to God] in the world. When they who displayed partiality in judgment multiplied, the command Ye shall not be afraid [of the face of man]18 became void and Ye shall not respect [persons in judgment]19 ceased to be practised; and people threw off the yoke of heaven and placed upon themselves the yoke of human beings. When they who engaged in whisperings in judgment20 multiplied, fierceness of [the divine] anger increased against Israel and the Shechinah departed; because it is written: He judgeth among the judges.21 When there multiplied [men of whom it is said] Their heart goeth after their gain,22 there multiplied they who call evil good and good evil.23 When there multiplied they 'who call evil good and good evil', woes24 increased in the world. When they who draw out their spittle25 multiplied, the arrogant increased, disciples diminished, and Torah went about [looking] for them who would study it. When the arrogant multiplied, the daughters of Israel began to marry arrogant men, because our generation looks only to the outward appearance. But that is not so; for a Master has declared: An arrogant person is not acceptable even to the members of his household, as it is said: A haughty man one abideth not at home26 — i.e., even in his own house! — At first they jump round him, but in the end he becomes repugnant to them.
When there multiplied they who forced their goods upon householders,27 bribery increased as well as miscarriage of justice, and happiness ceased. When there multiplied [judges] who said 'I accept your favour' and 'I shall appreciate your favour', there was an Increase of Every man did that which was right in his own eyes;28 common persons were raised to eminence, the eminent were brought low, and the kingdom [of Israel] deteriorated more and more. When envious men and plunderers [of the poor] multiplied, there increased they who hardened their hearts and closed their hands from lending [to the needy], and they transgressed what is written in the Torah, viz., Beware that there be not etc.29 When there multiplied women who had stretched forth necks and wanton eyes,30 [the need] increased for the bitter water but it ceased [to be used]. When receivers of gifts multiplied, the days [of human life] became fewer and years were shortened; as it is written: But he that hateth gifts shall live.31 When the haughty of heart multiplied, dissensions increased in Israel. When the disciples of Shammai and Hillel multiplied who had not served [their teachers] sufficiently, dissensions increased in Israel and the Torah became like two Toroth. When there multiplied they who accepted charity of Gentiles, Israel became on top and they below, Israel went forward and they backward.32
WHEN JOSE B. JOEZER DIED etc. What does 'grape-clusters' [eshkoloth] mean? — Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: A man in whom is everything [ish she-hakol bo].
JOHANAN THE HIGH PRIEST BROUGHT TO AN END THE CONFESSION MADE AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE TITHE etc. What was his reason? — R. Jose b. Hanina said: Because people were not presenting it according to the regulation; for the Allmerciful said that they should give it to the Levites
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