DEALINGS WITH OVDEI KOCHAVIM BEFORE THEIR FESTIVALS
(Mishnah): The following are forbidden three days before Eidehen (festivals) of idolators: to buy from or sell to them (Rashi; R. Tam - to sell to them things that are offered to idolatry), to lend to them or borrow from them objects or money, and to pay up or collect loans;
R. Yehudah permits collecting loans from them, for this pains them.
Chachamim: Even though it pains them now, it gladdens them later.
(Gemara - Rav or Shmuel): The word Eideihen (festivals) in the Mishnah is spelled with an Aleph;
(The other of Rav and Shmuel): It is spelled with an Ayin.
Both texts are reasonable.
Eideihen with an Aleph is reasonable, like it says "Karov Yom Eidam" (the day of their downfall);
Edeihen with an Ayin is reasonable, like it says "Yitenu Edeihem v'Yitzdaku" (they will bring witnesses and be justified).
Question: Why does the first opinion favor Eideihen?
Answer: That expression is used to refer to their downfall.
Question: Why does the second opinion favor Edeihen?
Answer: Their downfall is due to the Edus (testimony) that they will give against themselves.
Objection: "Yitenu Edeihem v'Yitzdaku" refers to Yisrael!
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi):"Yitenu Edeihem v'Yitzdaku" - Mitzvos that Yisrael do in this world testify for them in the world to come;
"Va'Yomeru Emes" refers to the idolators.
(Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua): Rather, Edeihen is reasonable, like it says "Yotzerei Fesel... v'Edeihen Hemah."
THE FINAL JUDGMENT OF THE NOCHRIM
(R. Chanina bar Papa): In the future, Hash-m will hold a Sefer Torah and offer reward to all who engaged in Torah. All the Nochrim will come together. Hash-m will insist that one nation come at a time.
Question: Hash-m can judge them all together!
Answer: He wants each nation to hear what He says to it.
Romi will be the first to be judged, for it is most important;
(R. Yochanan): "V'Seichul Kol Ara u'Sdushinah v'Sadekinah" is Romi, whose fame (Rashi; Maharsha - coinage) spans the entire world.
Question: What is the source that the most important is first to be judged?
Answer: This is like Rav Chisda taught;
(Rav Chisda): The king enters for judgment before the nation - "La'asos Mishpat Avdo u'Mishpat Amo Yisrael."
Question: What is the reason?
Answer #1: It is improper for the king to wait outside until the nation is judged.
Answer #2: If the nation were judged first, perhaps Hash-m would be angry when He judges the king (and punish him for their sins).
Hash-m: How did you engage in Torah?
Romi: We established markets, built bathhouses, and made money plentiful, all in order that Yisrael can engage in Torah.
Hash-m: Fools! (True, I helped you to do all that in order that Yisrael can engage in Torah, but) you intended for your own benefit (therefore, you get no reward for this);
You established markets for your own benefit, (even) to house harlots;
You built bathhouses to indulge yourselves;
The money is mine - "Li ha'Kesef v'Li ha'Zahav Ne'um Hash-m."
Can you say that you engaged in this (the Torah given through Moshe)?!
Romi left dejected. Peras entered next, for they are second in importance.
(Rav Yosef): "Sinyanah Damyah l'Dov (the second creature in Nebuchadnetzar's dream was like a bear)" - this represents Peras. They are like bears in the following ways: their eating and drinking habits, their obesity, they are hairy, and they are always moving.
Hash-m: How did you engage in Torah?
Peras: We built bridges, conquered great cities, and made many wars, all in order that Yisrael can engage in Torah.
Hash-m: You intended for your own benefit!
You built bridges in order to collect taxes, you conquered cities to conscript people to serve the king;
I made the wars - "Hash-m Ish Milchamah"
Can you say that you engaged in Torah?!
Peras left dejected.
Question: Since they saw Hash-m's answer to Romi, why did they hope to get reward?
Answer: They thought that Romi gets no reward for they destroyed the (second) Mikdash, but Peras will be rewarded, for they helped built it (in the days of Koresh).
Similarly, every nation enters hopeful of reward, but is dejected by Hash-m's rebuttal.
Question: After they saw Hash-m's answers to the previous nations, why did they hope to get reward?
Answer: Each thinks that it did not subjugate Yisrael like the others.
Question: Why did R. Chanina mention only Romi and Peras?
Answer: The kingdoms of Romi and Peras will endure until Mashiach.
THE NOCHRIM GET ANOTHER CHANCE
The Nochrim: Will You say that You offered us the Torah and we refused it?!
Objection: Indeed, He did!
It says "Hash-m mi'Sinai Ba v'Zarach mi'Se'ir Lamo"; and it says "Eloka mi'Teiman Yavo (v'Kadosh me'Har Paran)";
Question: Why was Hash-m in Se'ir (Esav's inheritance) and Paran (where Yishmaelim live)?
Answer (R. Yochanan): This teaches that Hash-m offered the Torah to every nation, but only Yisrael accepted it.
Correction: Rather, the Nochrim will ask 'did we accept the Torah and did not fulfill it?!'
Objection: That is self-incriminating (for refusing the Torah)!
Correction: Rather, they will say 'did You hold a mountain over us (like You did for Yisrael) and we refused it?!'
(Rav Dimi bar Chama): "Va'Yitzyatzvu b'Sachtis ha'Har" - Hash-m suspended the mountain over Yisrael like a barrel, and said 'if you do not accept the Torah, you will be buried there.'
Hash-m: Because you did not observe the seven Mitzvos you already had, I did not force you to accept the rest.