ATTRIBUTES OF CHACHAMIM (cont.)
R. Freida attributed his long life to these merits:
No one ever came to the Beis Medrash before him; he never blessed (at a meal) before a Kohen; he never ate from an animal before the Zero'a, Lechayim v'Kevah were separated (to be given to a Kohen).
(R. Yitzchak): Eating from an animal before the Matanos are separated is (forbidden) like eating Tevel.
The Halachah does not follow R. Yitzchak.
Question: Is it praiseworthy that he never blessed before a Kohen?!
(R. Yochanan): If a Chacham allows an ignoramus Kohen, even a Kohen Gadol, to bless before him, he is worthy of death.
It says "Kol Mesan'ai Ohavu Maves" - we read this 'Masni'ai' (those who make people hate 'me' (Torah)).
Answer: R. Freida never blessed before a Kohen Chacham (even if he was a greater Chacham than the Kohen).
R. Nechunya ben Hakanah attributed his long life to the following merits:
He refused to get honor from his colleague's disgrace, similar to Rav Huna;
Rav Chana bar Chanilai offered to carry Rav Huna's shovel. Rav Huna said 'unless you normally carry your own shovel, I refuse.'
He would not sleep before forgiving one who had cursed him. This is like Mar Zutra. Before Mar Zutra went to sleep he would forgive all who pained him.
He was easygoing with his money. This is like Iyov, who used to give a Perutah of his money to a grocer. (Bava Basra 15b says that when a regular person owes a worker half a Perutah (the smallest coin is a Perutah), they go to a grocer and share something that costs a Perutah. Iyov would give the full Perutah. Perhaps Iyov did not want his generosity to 'deprive' the grocer, so he would give the grocer a Perutah in such a case.)
R. Akiva asked R. Nechunya ha'Gadol why he lived so long (i.e. in what merits). R. Nechunya's servants thought that R. Akiva was unhappy that he lived so long. They hit him, and he ran up a tree.
Question (R. Akiva): Why does it say "Es ha'Keves Echad"? "Ha'Keves" (singular) already teaches that there is only one!
R. Nechunya realized that R. Akiva was a Chacham; he told his servants not to bother him.
Answer (R. Nechunya): This teaches that it should be the best in the herd.
R. Nechunya attributed his long life to the following merits:
I never received gifts; I never repaid the pain someone gave me; I was open with my money.
Not receiving gifts is like R. Elazar, who would not accept gifts or invitations from the Nasi's house, because "Sonei Matanos Yichyeh";
R. Zeira would not accept gifts, but he accepted invitations from the Nasi's house. He reasoned that his coming honors them.
Not returning pain is like Rava taught, that if one overlooks what others do to him, all his transgressions are overlooked.
R. Yehoshua ben Korchah attributed his long life to the fact that he never looked at an evil person.
(R. Yochanan): One may not look at an evil person.
(R. Elazar): Looking at a Rasha weakens eyes. Yitzchak became blind because he had looked at Esav.
Question: R. Yitzchak taught that Avimelech's curse was the cause!
Answer: Both caused it.
(Rava): We learn from "Seis Pnei Rasha Lo Tov".
When R. Yehoshua ben Korchah was about to die, Rebbi requested a Berachah:
R. Yehoshua: You should live to half my age.
Rebbi: Should I not live to your entire age?!
R. Yehoshua: Should your sons be shepherds?! (If you live so long, sons will never become Nasi.)
Avuha bar Ihi or Minyamin bar Ihi praised himself for never looking at a Kusi. The other praised himself for never becoming a partner with a Kusi.
R. Zeira attributed his long life to the following merits:
He never was demanding in his house; he never walked in front of someone greater than himself; he didn't think in Torah where there was a bad smell; he didn't walk four Amos without Torah and Tefilin; he never slept in a Beis Medrash, not fixed nor haphazardly; he didn't rejoice at the stumbling of a colleague; he never called someone by his nickname or family nickname.
PROPER CONDUCT IN A BEIS HA'KENESES
(Mishnah - R. Yehudah): In a destroyed Beis ha'Keneses we may not eulogize, twine ropes, set traps, spread fruit on the roof to dry, or make it a shortcut.
"I will make desolate your holy places" - even when they are desolate, they are Kodesh.
If weeds grow in it, we do not cut them, to cause grief (that it is desolate).
(Gemara - Beraisa): We do not conduct ourselves frivolously in Batei Kenesiyos. We do not eat, drink, adorn ourselves, or stroll in them;
We do not enter a Beis ha'Keneses to avoid heat or rain; we do not eulogize an individual in a Beis ha'Keneses.
We may learn in a Beis ha'Keneses, and give mass eulogies (e.g. of a Chacham);
R. Yehudah says, this applies when they are settled. When they are desolate we abandon them, and let weeds grow to cause grief.
Question: (The Beraisa connotes that R. Yehudah argues, but) the first Tana didn't mention weeds!
Answer: The Beraisa is abbreviated, it means as follows:
We sweep and wash the floor, so weeds will not grow;
R. Yehudah says, this applies when they are settled. When they are desolate we let weeds grow and do not cut them, to cause grief.
(Rav Asi): Batei Kenesiyos in Bavel are made on condition (that we may use them when they will be desolate). Nevertheless, we do not act in them frivolously, i.e. to make calculations;
We leave a corpse overnight in a Beis ha'Keneses in which calculations are made.
Objection: Surely there is no obligation to do so!
Clarification: It means that (Hash-m will punish for this, and) a Mes Mitzvah will be left there overnight.
(Beraisa): We do not adorn ourselves (in a Beis ha'Keneses)
(Rava): Chachamim are permitted.
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): It (a Beis Medrash) is called 'the house of Rabanan'. This shows that they may use it like their home (in all ways).
Rava was teaching Ravina and Rav Acha bar Masnah. A torrential rain came; they entered a Beis ha'Keneses.
They did not enter to avoid the rain, rather, for the sake of learning, which requires clarity.
(Rav Acha Brei d'Rava): If one must enter a Beis ha'Keneses to call someone:
If he is a Chacham, he should say a Halachah. If he just knows Mishnah, he should say a Mishnah; if he knows just Tanach, he should say a verse; if not, he should ask a child to read the verse he is learning, or delay for a short time.
(Beraisa): We may give mass eulogies.
Question: What is an example of this?
Answer #1 (Rav Chisda): It is a eulogy that would be given for someone from the house of Rav Sheshes.
Answer #2 (Rav Sheshes): It is a eulogy that would be given for someone from the house of Rav Chisda.
Rafram eulogized his daughter-in-law in a Beis ha'Keneses. He reasoned that everyone will come for his honor or hers. R. Zeira eulogized a Chacham in a Beis ha'Keneses for the same reason.
Reish Lakish eulogized a man who sat in the 24th row of Talmidim and learned Halachos. He said 'Eretz Yisrael has lost a great man.' (This is like the Maharsha. Rashba - he learned Halachos, and Reish Lakish gave a great eulogy to 24 rows of people. Rashi says that he taught Mishnayos to 24 rows of Talmidim. According to this, perhaps he was greater than the man Rav Nachman refused to eulogize; if so, the Gemara's conclusion (See the difference... ) is not so clear.)
Rav Nachman refused to eulogize a man who learned (Rashi - taught) Mishnah, Medrash and Tosefta, because 'He is empty' (he never learned how to resolve difficulties in the Mishnah).
See the difference between the mighty ones of Eretz Yisrael and the Chasidim of Bavel (Reish Lakish gave a lavish praise for a Talmid, whereas Rav Nachman refused to eulogize someone who was more learned)!
(Mishnah): One who uses the crown (of Torah) will perish.
(Reish Lakish): This is one who is served by one who learns Halachos.
(Ula): One may use someone who learns four (Sedorim of the Mishnah which apply in Bavel), but not someone who teaches them.
A man was carrying Reish Lakish through water. When Reish Lakish heard that the man learned the four Sedorim, he refused to be carried.
The man: I want to serve you!
Reish Lakish: If so, I will teach you something. R. Zeira taught that Benos Yisrael are stringent on themselves to wait seven clean days (before Tevilah) after seeing even a drop of blood.
(Tana d'Vei Eliyahu): One who learns Halachos every day has a share in the world to come;
It says "Halichos Olam Lo" - we read this Halachos.