THE BOOK OF ADAM HA'RISHON (cont.)
(The book also said that) Rebbi and R. Nasan are the end of the Tana'im, Rav Ashi and Ravina are the end of the Amora'im;
The latter is hinted at in "Mikdashei Kel Avinah l'Acharisam (at their end)."
THE DEATH OF RABAH
(Rav Kahana): Rabah died due to fear of the king.
Someone informed on him that he causes thousands of Yisre'elim to avoid taxes (because they gather to learn from him) for a month in spring and a month in fall. The king sent a Shali'ach to seek him; he did not find him. Rabah fled from Pumbedisa to Akra, then to a swamp, to Shechin, to a hut, to a spring, then back to Pumbedisa. They found him in Pumbedisa.
The king's Shali'ach came to lodge at the inn Rabah was in. They put food in front of the Shali'ach; they took it away after he drank two cups. (Drinking an even number made him vulnerable to a certain Shed.) His face went in back of his head. Rabah told them to give to him another cup, he was cured.
This made him realize that Rabah was there. He searched for him and found him. He said 'if they will kill me for not revealing where Rabah is, I will die, and not reveal. If they will torture me, I will reveal.'
He locked Rabah in a room. Rabah prayed for mercy, and the wall fell. He escaped to the swamp. He was sitting on a stump and learning.
(Shitah Mekubetzes - Rabah dreamed that) the Heavenly academy was learning about Tzara'as:
If the Tzara'as (white appearance on the skin) preceded the white hair, he is (absolutely) Tamei; if the white hair came first, he is Tahor (i.e. only quarantined);
If we are in doubt which came first, (Shitah - a group of Chachamim close to) Hash-m said Tahor, and the rest of the Heavenly academy said Tamei. They decided that Rabah would decide the matter.
Rabah used to comment 'I am the most learned scholar alive in matters of Tzara'as and Tum'ah of an Ohel.'
The angel of death was sent to take him. He could not, for Rabah never ceased learning. A wind made a big noise among the reeds; Rabah thought it was a troop searching for him. Rabah preferred to die than to be taken by the kingdom. He died amidst saying 'Tahor, Tahor.'
A voice from Heaven: Happy is Rabah. His body is Tahor, and his soul left amidst saying 'Tahor'.
In Pumbedisa, a note fell from Heaven that Rabah was taken to the Heavenly academy. Abaye, Rava and all the Rabanan wanted to bury him, but they did not know where he was. They went to the swamp. They saw birds making shade over a certain place, and realized that is the place. They eulogized him for three days and nights. A note fell from Heaven excommunicating anyone who will leave.
They eulogized him for seven days; a note fell from Heaven permitting them to go home.
The day he died there was a terrible wind. A man riding a camel was blown across the Papa river. People told him that this was because Rabah died.
The man: Hash-m, You own the world, and You own Rabah. Granted, You love him. Will You destroy Your entire world due to him?!
The wind abated.
One day, R. Shimon ben Chalafta was hot. He sat on top of a mountain, and asked his daughter to fan him, and promised her loaves of spikenard. A wind came. He exclaimed 'how much I owe to the One who sent this wind!'
HOW MUCH WORKERS MUST BE FED
(Mishnah): Everything is like the local custom.
Question: What does this come to include?
Version #1 - Answer: In a place where the custom is to eat bread and drink at sunrise, and then to go work, he cannot force them to eat earlier so they will start work earlier.
Version #2 - Answer: In a place where the custom is to eat and drink in the employer's house and then to go work, he cannot tell them 'start working, and when the food is ready I will bring it to you.'
(Mishnah): A case occurred in which R. Yochanan ben Masya told his son to hire workers...
Question: The case contradicts the law!
Answer: The Mishnah is abbreviated. It should say as follows: if he promised to feed them, he must give more than the local custom;
There was a case in which R. Yochanan ben Masya told his son to hire workers; his son promised to feed them.
R. Yochanan: They descend from Avraham, Yitzchak and Yakov. Even if you give them a banquet like Shlomo's, this does not suffice! Before they start working, tell them that you promise them only bread and legumes.
Inference: Avraham served a larger meal than Shlomo.
Question: "The daily food of Shlomo was 30 Kor (a Kor is the volume of 4320 eggs) of fine flour, 60 Kor of (regular) flour, ten fattened cattle, 20 cattle (that grazed), 100 flock, aside from deer, fallow deer and Barburim Avusim (this will be explained)";
(Guryon ben Astiyon): The verse gives only the amount of flour and fine flour to absorb the froth of the pots.
(R. Yitzchak): The verse gives only the amount of meat to make seasoned meat.
(R. Yitzchak): Shlomo had 1000 wives. Each made such a meal for him every night in her house, hoping that he would eat with her that night.
Avraham served only "Ben Bakar Rach va'Tov";
(Rav Yehudah): This teaches that he served three animals.
Answer: Avraham served three bulls for three guests. Shlomo's meal was for all of "Yehudah v'Yisrael Rabim ka'Chol Asher Al ha'Yam."
Question: What are "Barburim Avusim"?
Answer #1 (Rav): They are hens that we are Oves (force-feed, to fatten them).
Answer #2 (Shmuel): They are chickens that were allowed to fatten themselves.
Answer #3 (R. Yochanan): They would bring to Shlomo's table cattle that never worked ("Bakar Re'i") and hens that were never set to raise chicks (the latter are "Barburim Avusim").
(R. Yochanan): The choicest domestic animal is an ox; the choicest fowl is a hen. (This is why they only took "spoiled animals" from these two categories.)
(Ameimar): Barburim Avusim are black hens with big stomachs (alternately - that were fattened at home) that frequent the winepress at the time grapes are pressed (and eat the skins), and are too fat to step over a reed.
THE HOSPITALITY OF AVRAHAM AVINU
(Rav Yehudah): "Ben-Bakar Rach va'Tov" teaches that he served three bulls.
Question: Perhaps it was only one. The verse teaches that it was tender and good!
Answer: If so, it should have said 'Rach Tov.' "Va'Tov" shows that it comes to teach about more animals.
Question: We should say that there were two, and "Rach" means tender!
Answer: Since "va'Tov" teaches another animal, also "Rach" does.
Question (Rabah bar Ula): "He gave to the lad, and he rushed to prepare Oso" (it, i.e. one animal)!
Answer: He gave each one to a different lad.
Question: It says "u'Ven ha'Bakar Asher Osah (singular) and put in front of them."
Answer: He served each one when it finished cooking.
Question: Why did he need to serve three? One bull would suffice for three guests!!
Answer (Rabah bar bar Chanah): He wanted to serve each a tongue with mustard.
THE ANGELS' VISIT
(R. Tanchum bar Chanilai): One should not deviate from the local custom. Moshe went to Heaven, and did not eat. Angels descended to earth, and ate (Avraham's food)!
Question: Surely, they did not eat!
Answer: Rather, they appeared to eat and drink.
(Rav Yehudah): Everything that Avraham did himself for the angels (the first four matters listed below), Hash-m Himself did similarly for Avraham's children (in the wilderness). Everything that Avraham did through a Shali'ach (the fifth matter), Hash-m did for Avraham's children through a Shali'ach.
"Avraham ran to the herd", and "a wind came me'Es Hash-m (bringing meat, i.e. Slav)";
"He took butter and milk", and "I will make bread (fall like) rain for you from Shamayim" (Maharsha - the manna tasted like "Leshad ha'Shamen" (Bamidbar 11:8), i.e. milk (Yoma 75a));
"He stood (watching) over them", and "I will stand in front of you by the rock";
"Avraham walked with them to escort them", and "Hash-m went in front of them".
"Yukach (will be taken) a little water", and "you (Moshe) will strike the rock and water will exude."
Rav Yehudah argues with R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina.
(R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina): In the merit of three things that Avraham did, Yisrael merited three things from Hash-m (through Moshe and Aharon).
The Mon was a reward for giving butter and milk. The Amud Anan (the cloud that accompanied Yisrael in the wilderness) was a reward for standing over the angels while they ate. (This is unlike Rav Yehudah.) The well of Miryam was a reward for bringing water for them.
(R. Yanai b'Rebbi Yishmael): Avraham said "will be taken a little water, and you will wash your feet." The angels rebuked Avraham 'you suspect we worship the dust of our feet?! (You fathered Yishmael, who does so)!'
Question: What does it mean "Hash-m appeared to him... k'Chom ha'Yom"?
Answer (R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina): It was the third day from Avraham's circumcision. Hash-m came to visit him, and He made the sun extra strong so Avraham would not be bothered with guests;
Avraham sent Eliezer to look for guests; he did not find. Avraham did not trust him. This is like they say in Eretz Yisrael, that one cannot trust slaves.
Avraham went out and found Hash-m by the door. He asked "do not pass from Your servant (while I go to invite guests)."
Avraham was untying and retying the bandage on the circumcision. Hash-m saw that it was not proper to remain there, so He left. (Also the angels went away for this reason;)
"Avraham saw... Nitzavim Alav va'Yar va'Yaratz Likrasam" - at first, they stood over him. They saw his pain, and realized that it was not proper to remain there, so they distanced themselves.
Question: Who were the three "men"?
Answer: Micha'el came to inform Sarah that she will have a son. Refa'el came to heal Avraham. Gavri'el was on his way to destroy Sedom.
Question: "The two angels came to Sedom"!
Answer: Micha'el also went, to save Lot.
Support: It says "va'Yahafoch" (singular).