R. Elai b. Jebarekya also said: Had it not been for the prayer of Habakkuk, two disciples of the Sages would have to cover themselves with one garment4 and occupy themselves with Torah; as it is stated: O Lord, I have heard the report of Thee and am afraid; O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years5 — read not 'in the midst of the years [bekereb shanim]' but in the drawing together of two [bekerub shenayim].6
R. Elai b. Jebarekya also said: If two disciples of the Sages proceed on a journey and there are no words of Torah between them, they are deserving of being burnt with fire; as it is stated: And it came to pass, as they still went on, that, behold, a chariot of fire etc.7 The reason [why the chariot of fire appeared] was that there was discussion [of Torah between them]; hence if there had not been such discussion, they would have deserved to be burnt.
R. Elai b. Jebarekya also said: If two disciples of the Sages reside in the same city and do not support each other in [the study of] the law, one dies and the other goes into exile;8 as it is stated: That the manslayer might flee thither, which slayeth his neighbour without knowledge,9 and 'knowledge' means nothing but Torah, as it is stated: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.10
R. Judah, son of R. Hiyya said: Any disciple of the Sages who occupies himself with Torah in poverty will have his prayer heard; as it is stated: For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; thou shalt weep no more; He will surely be gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear, He will answer thee,11 and it continues, And the Lord will give you bread in adversity and water in affliction.12 R. Abbahu said: They also satisfy him from the lustre of the Shechinah, as it is stated: Thine eyes shall see thy Teacher.13 R. Aha b. Hanina said: Neither is the veil14 drawn before him, as it is said: 'Thy teacher shall no more be hidden.'
RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAYS IN THE NAME OF R. JOSHUA:15 FROM THE DAY THAT THE TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED, THERE IS NO DAY etc. Raba said: And the curse of each day is severer than that of the preceding, as it is stated: In the morning thou shalt say: Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say: Would God it were morning.16 Which morning [would they long for]? If I say the morning of the morrow, nobody knows what it will be. Therefore [it must be the morning] which had gone.17 How, in that case, can the world endure?18 — Through the doxology recited after the Scriptural reading,19 and [the response of] 'May His great Name [be blessed]' [which is uttered in the doxology] after studying Aggada;20 as it is stated: A land of thick darkness, as darkness itself, a land of the shadow of death, without any order.21 Hence if there are Scriptural readings, it is illumined from the thick darkness.
THE DEW HAS NOT DESCENDED FOR A BLESSING AND THE FLAVOUR HAS DEPARTED FROM THE FRUITS etc. It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar Says: [The cessation of] purity has removed taste and fragrance [from fruits]; [the cessation of] tithes has removed the fatness of corn. R. Huna once found a juicy date which he took and wrapped in his mantle. His son, Rabbah, came and said to him, 'I smell the fragrance of a juicy date'. He said to him, 'My son, there is purity in thee',22 and gave it to him. Meanwhile [Rabbah's] son, Abba, came; [Rabbah] took it and gave it to him. [R. Huna] said to [Rabbah], 'My son, thou hast gladdened my heart23 and blunted my teeth'.24 That is what the popular proverb Says, 'A father's love is for his children; the children's love is for their own children.'
R. Aha b. Jacob reared R. Jacob, his daughter's son. When he grew up, [the grandfather] said to him, 'Give me some water to drink'. He replied: 'I am not thy son'.25 That is what the popular proverb says: 'Rear me, rear me;26 I am thy daughter's son'.
MISHNAH. DURING THE WAR WITH VESPASIAN27 THEY [THE RABBIS] DECREED AGAINST [THE USE OF] CROWNS WORN BY BRIDEGROOMS AND AGAINST [THE USE OF] THE DRUM.28 DURING THE WAR OF QUIETUS29 THEY DECREED AGAINST [THE USE OF] CROWNS WORN BY BRIDES AND THAT NOBODY SHOULD TEACH HIS SON GREEK. DURING THE FINAL WAR30 THEY DECREED THAT A BRIDE SHOULD NOT GO OUT IN A PALANQUIN31 IN THE MIDST OF THE CITY, BUT OUR RABBIS DECREED THAT A BRIDE MAY GO OUT IN A PALANQUIN IN THE MIDST OF THE CITY.
WHEN R. MEIR32 DIED, THE COMPOSERS OF FABLES CEASED. WHEN BEN AZZAI33 DIED, THE ASSIDUOUS STUDENTS [OF TORAH] CEASED. WHEN BEN ZOMA34 DIED, THE EXPOSITORS CEASED.35 WHEN R. AKIBA36 DIED, THE GLORY OF THE TORAH CEASED. WHEN R. HANINA B. DOSA DIED, MEN OF DEED37 CEASED. WHEN R. JOSE KETANTA DIED, THE PIOUS MEN CEASED; AND WHY WAS HIS NAME CALLED KETANTA? BECAUSE HE WAS THE YOUNGEST38 OF THE PIOUS MEN.39 WHEN R. JOHANAN B. ZAKKAI40 DIED, THE LUSTRE OF WISDOM CEASED.41 WHEN RABBAN GAMALIEL THE ELDER DIED, THE GLORY OF THE TORAH CEASED, AND PURITY AND ABNEGATION PERISHED. WHEN R. ISHMAEL B. FABI42 DIED, THE LUSTRE OF THE PRIESTHOOD CEASED. WHEN RABBI DIED, HUMILITY AND FEAR OF SIN CEASED.43 R. PHINEAS B. JAIR SAYS: WHEN [THE SECOND] TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED, SCHOLARS44 AND NOBLEMEN WERE ASHAMED AND COVERED THEIR HEAD,45 MEN OF DEED WERE DISREGARDED, AND MEN OF ARM AND MEN OF TONGUE46 GREW POWERFUL. NOBODY ENQUIRES,47 NOBODY PRAYS [ON THEIR BEHALF], AND NOBODY ASKS.48 UPON WHOM IS IT FOR US TO RELY? UPON OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN. R. ELIEZER THE GREAT SAYS: FROM THE DAY THE TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED, THE SAGES BEGAN TO BE LIKE SCHOOL-TEACHERS,49 SCHOOL-TEACHERS LIKE SYNAGOGUE-ATTENDANTS, SYNAGOGUE-ATTENDANTS LIKE COMMON PEOPLE, AND THE COMMON PEOPLE
Sotah 49bBECAME MORE AND MORE DEBASED; AND THERE WAS NONE TO ASK, NONE TO INQUIRE. UPON WHOM IS IT FOR US TO RELY? UPON OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE MESSIAH1 INSOLENCE WILL INCREASE AND HONOUR DWINDLE;2 THE VINE WILL YIELD ITS FRUIT [ABUNDANTLY] BUT WINE WILL BE DEAR;3 THE GOVERNMENT WILL TURN TO HERESY4 AND THERE WILL BE NONE [TO OFFER THEM] REPROOF; THE MEETING-PLACE [OF SCHOLARS] WILL BE USED FOR IMMORALITY; GALILEE WILL BE DESTROYED, GABLAN5 DESOLATED, AND THE DWELLERS ON THE FRONTIER WILL GO ABOUT [BEGGING] FROM PLACE TO PLACE WITHOUT ANYONE TO TAKE PITY ON THEM; THE WISDOM OF THE LEARNED6 WILL DEGENERATE, FEARERS OF SIN WILL BE DESPISED, AND THE TRUTH WILL BE LACKING; YOUTHS WILL PUT OLD MEN TO SHAME, THE OLD WILL STAND UP IN THE PRESENCE OF THE YOUNG, A SON WILL REVILE HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER WILL RISE AGAINST HER MOTHER, A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, AND A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD;7 THE FACE OF THE GENERATION WILL BE LIKE THE FACE OF A DOG,8 A SON WILL NOT FEEL ASHAMED BEFORE HIS FATHER. SO UPON WHOM IS IT FOR US TO RELY? UPON OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.
GEMARA. Rab said: [The decree against the use of a crown] applies only to one made of salt and brimstone,9 but if made of myrtle or roses it is permitted; and Samuel said: Also one made of myrtle or roses is prohibited, but if made of reeds or rushes it is permitted; and Levi said: Also one made of reeds or rushes is prohibited. Similarly taught Levi in his Mishnah:10 It is also prohibited if made of reeds or rushes.
AND AGAINST [THE USE OF] THE DRUM [IRUS]. What means IRUS? — R. Eleazar said: A drum with a single bell.11 Rabbah b. R. Huna made a tambourine for his son; his father came and broke it, saying to him, 'It might be substituted for a drum with a single bell. Go, make for him [an instrument by stretching the skin] over the mouth of a pitcher or over the mouth of a kefiz'.12
DURING THE WAR OF QUIETUS THEY DECREED AGAINST [THE USE OF] CROWNS WORN BY BRIDES etc. What means 'crowns worn by brides'? — Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: A [miniature] golden city.13 There is a teaching to the same effect: What are 'crowns worn by brides'? — A golden city. But one may make a cap for her out of fine wool. A Tanna taught: They also decreed against [the use of] the canopy of bridegrooms. What means 'canopy of bridegrooms'? — Crimson silk embroidered with gold. There is a teaching to the same effect. The canopy of bridegrooms is crimson silk embroidered with gold. But we may make a framework of laths and hang on it anything one desires.
AND THAT NOBODY SHOULD TEACH HIS SON GREEK. Our Rabbis taught: When the kings of the Hasmonean house fought one another,14 Hyrcanus was outside and Aristobulus within. Each day15 they used to let down denarii in a basket, and haul up for them [animals for] the continual offerings. An old man there, who was learned in Greek wisdom,16 spoke with them17 in Greek,18 saying: 'As long as they carry on the Temple-service, they will never surrender to you'. On the morrow they let down denarii in a basket, and hauled up a pig.19 When it reached half way up the wall, it stuck its claws [into the wall] and the land of Israel was shaken over a distance of four hundred parasangs. At that time they declared, — 'Cursed be a man who rears pigs and cursed be a man who teaches his son Greek wisdom!' Concerning that year we learnt that it happened that the 'omer20 had to be supplied from the gardens of Zarifim and the two loaves from the valley of En-Soker.21 But it is not so!22 For Rabbi said: Why use the Syrian language in the land of Israel? Either use the holy tongue or Greek! And R. Joseph said: Why use the Syrian language in Babylon? Either use the holy tongue or Persian! — The Greek language and Greek wisdom are distinct.23 But is Greek philosophy forbidden? Behold Rab Judah declared that Samuel said in the name of Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, What means that which is written: Mine eye affecteth my soul, because of all the daughters of my city?24 There were a thousand pupils in my father's house; five hundred studied Torah and five hundred studied Greek wisdom, and of these there remained only I here and the son of my father's brother in Assia!25 — It was different with the household of Rabban Gamaliel because they had close associations with the Government;26 for it has been taught: To trim the hair in front27 is of the ways of the Amorites;28 but they permitted Abtilus b. Reuben29 to trim his hair in front because he had close associations with the Government. Similarly they permitted the household of Rabban Gamaliel to study Greek wisdom because they had close associations with the Government.
DURING THE FINAL WAR THEY DECREED THAT A BRIDE SHOULD NOT GO OUT IN A PALANQUIN etc. Why? — For reasons of chastity.30
WHEN RABBAN JOHANAN [B. ZAKKAI] DIED, [THE LUSTRE OF] WISDOM CEASED. Our Rabbis taught: When R. Eliezer died, the Torah-scroll was hidden away.31 When R. Joshua died, counsel and thought ceased.32 When R. Akiba died, the arms of the Torah ceased and the fountains of wisdom were stopped up. When R. Eleazar b. Azariah died, the crowns of wisdom ceased, because the crown of the wise is their riches.33 When R. Hanina b. Dosa died, men of deed ceased. When Abba34 Jose b. Ketanta died, the pious men ceased; and why was his name called Abba Jose b. Ketanta? Because he was the youngest of the pious men. When Ben Azzai died, the assiduous students [of Torah] ceased. When Ben Zoma died, the expositors ceased. When Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel died, locusts35 came up and troubles increased. When Rabbi died, troubles were multiplied twofold.
WHEN RABBI DIED, HUMILITY AND FEAR OF SIN CEASED. R. Joseph said to the tanna,36 Do not include [when reciting this Mishnah] the word 'humility', because there is I.37 R. Nahman said to the teacher, Do not include 'fear of sin', because there is I.38