1)

THE EVIL SERVANTS

(a)

The servants made a lame excuse to check his garment, and found his portion wrapped inside. They complained to the Reish Galusa that Rav Sheshes did not even eat, for he wanted only to make trouble!

1.

Rav Sheshes excused himself by saying that the meat came from a stricken animal. This claim was verified.

(b)

The servants dug a pit, covered it, and tried to make Rav Sheshes fall in. Rav Chisda hinted to him about the danger.

1.

Rav Sheshes (to a child): What verse are you learning?

2.

The child: "Veer to the right, or to the left."

(c)

Rav Sheshes asked his attendant, and heard that he saw a mat. He averted it.

2)

FINDING THE SHAMIR

(a)

(Chachamim of Bavel): "I (Shlomo) made for myself... Shedim v'Shedos" - these are male and female Shedim;

(b)

(Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael): These are wagon coaches.

(c)

Question: According to Chachamim of Bavel, why did he need the Shedim?

(d)

Answer: "The Beis ha'Mikdash was built from complete rocks like they were quarried..."

1.

Shlomo (to Chachamim): How can I cut the rocks without iron?

2.

Chachamim: Use the Shamir (a special worm) that Moshe used to engrave the stones of the Efod.

(e)

Chachamim suggested that Shedim might know where to find the Shamir. Shlomo pressed two Shedim together (to coerce them to tell him). They did not know. They said that Ashmedai, king of the Shedim, might know.

1.

They told Shlomo where Ashmedai resides, and his daily schedule. Shlomo sent Benayahu ben Yehoyada with a chain and ring. Each with Hash-m's name carved on it.

(f)

Benayahu replaced Ashmedai's water with wine. Ashmedai, realizing that wine is not conducive to wisdom, was reluctant to drink it. When he became very thirsty, he drank the wine and fell asleep. Benayahu put the chain on him, and told him 'your Master's name is on you.' Ashmedai could not free himself.

(g)

Benayahu took Ashmedai to Shlomo. Ashmedai encountered a date tree. He rubbed against it, and toppled it. He did the same to a house. He came to a widow's shack. She supplicated that he not rub against it. He bent away, and broke a bone. He applied to this "soft speech breaks a bone."

68b----------------------------------------68b

(h)

Ashmedai saw a blind man, and set him on his path. He also set a drunkard on his path.

(i)

He saw a jubilant wedding, and cried. He heard a man request shoes that will last for seven years, and laughed. He saw a sorcerer engaging in his trade, and laughed.

(j)

When he arrived, he was not taken to see Shlomo for three days. The first day, they told him that Shlomo had drunk too much. Ashmedai put one brick on another. Shlomo explained that he hinted that they should give him more to drink.

(k)

The next day, they told him that Shlomo had eaten too much. Ashmedai removed the brick from on top of the other. Shlomo explained that he hinted that they should withhold from him (excess) food.

(l)

At the end of three days, he was taken to see Shlomo. He cast a reed of four Amos in front of him, and said 'when you will die, you will have in the world only four Amos (your grave). You conquered the entire world. You were not satisfied until you also conquered me?!

1.

Shlomo: I do not desire you (to be under my reign). I need the Shamir to build the Beis ha'Mikdash!

2.

Ashmedai: It is entrusted to the angel appointed over the sea, who entrusts it only to a wild chicken.

3.

The wild chicken uses the Shamir to cleave mountains, enabling vegetation to grow in the middle.

i.

Shlomo's men found the nest of a wild chicken with fledglings inside; they covered it with glass. The bird returned and was unable to enter the nest; it brought the Shamir to cleave the glass. Shlomo's men shouted, and the bird dropped the Shamir, which they took.

3)

ASHMEDAI'S BEHAVIOR

(a)

Ashmedai explained his behavior when he was taken to Shlomo.

1.

He set the blind man on his path because he heard a Heavenly proclamation that the man was a Tzadik, and whoever helps him would merit (a share in) the world to come.

2.

He set the drunkard on his path, for the drunkard was wicked. This would help the drunkard receive his reward in this world, depriving him of the world to come.

3.

He cried at the wedding, for he foresaw that within 30 days the Chasan would die, and the Kalah would unable to remarry for 13 years until the Yavam (a baby) could do Yibum or Chalitzah.

4.

He laughed at the man who request shoes that will last for seven years, for he knew that the man would not live seven days.

5.

He laughed at the sorcerer, for he did not know that he was above the king's treasure.

(b)

Shlomo detained Ashmedai until he finished building the Mikdash. One day when they were alone, he asked him "k'To'afos" are angels. "Re'em" are Shedim. What is so special about Shedim?

1.

Ashmedai: If you will remove the chain from me and give me the ring (with Hash-m's name), I will show you.

2.

Shlomo consented. Ashmedai swallowed Shlomo (some texts - the ring), put one wing in Heaven and one on the ground, and threw Shlomo 400 Parsa'os (about 1600 kilometers).

3.

"Zeh Hayah Chelki mi'Kol Amali" - Rav and Shmuel argued about whether Shlomo was left with only his staff, or only his cloak. He went begging from door to door, saying "I, Koheles, was king over Yisrael."

(c)

(Ashmedai had assumed the appearance of Shlomo, and was acting like king.) When Shlomo came before the Sanhedrin, they observed that he never veered from his claim to be Shlomo, unlike a lunatic, who says more than one absurdity.

(d)

The Sanhedrin investigated. They found that the acting king was having Bi'ah in socks, which would cover up the telltale feet of a Shed. Further, he was requesting to have Bi'ah with his wives when they were Nidah, and with his mother Bas Sheva.

(e)

They gave to Shlomo a ring and chain with Hash-m's name. He came to Ashmedai, who fled in fear.

1.

Still, Shlomo forever remained afraid of Ashmedai - "Motaso sheli'Shlomo... mi'Pachad ba'Leilos."

(f)

Rav and Shmuel argued about whether or not Shlomo ever resumed being king (like at first).

4)

CURES FOR HEADACHES

(a)

For a headache due to excess blood, one cooks together certain woods, and pours 300 cups of the soup on each side of the head, or 60 cups (on each side) in which a white rose was cooked.

(b)

For an aching half-head, one uses a silver coin to slaughter a wild chicken over the aching half, being careful lest the blood blind his eyes;

1.

The dead fowl is placed on the doorpost, so the patient will rub against it when he enters and leaves.

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