EXTINGUISHING A LAMP FOR A CHOLEH
(Mishnah): If Reuven extinguished a Ner because he fears that Nochrim or bandits will see it [and harm him], because the light depresses him, or to enable a Choleh (sick person) to sleep, he is exempt (the entire Mishnah will be explained);
If he extinguished to save the Ner [from breaking], to save oil or the wick, he is liable.
R. Yosi exempts in every case, except for saving the wick, for he makes a singed wick (which lights better).
(Gemara) Question: The middle clause obligates [for Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah, i.e. it does not bring benefit (Tosfos - like in the Mishkan)], like R. Yehudah - what is the case in the Reisha?
If the Choleh is in mortal danger, it should not say 'exempt' (implying that it is forbidden), it is permitted!
If he is not in mortal danger, Reuven is Chayav Chatas!
Answer: Really, he is in mortal danger, it should say 'permitted' - it says 'exempt' for parallel structure with the Seifa, which says 'Chayav'.
Question: How do we explain the following Beraisa?
(R. Oshaya - Beraisa): It is forbidden to extinguish a Ner to enable a Choleh to sleep; if one did so, he is exempt.
Answer: The case is, there is no mortal danger; it is like R. Shimon [who exempts Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah].
DO THE DEAD TRANSCEND THE LIVING?
Question (to R. Tanchum of Noy): May one extinguish a Ner to enable a Choleh to sleep? (He prefaced his answer with a related Agadata.)
Contradiction (R. Tanchum): How do we understand the words of Shlomo, the greatest Chacham - not only do they contradict the words of David, they are self-contradictory!
David said "Lo ha'Mesim Yehalelu Kah"; Shlomo said "V'Shabe'ach Ani Es ha'Mesim [...Min ha'Chayim]", but also said "L'Chelev Chai Hu Tov Min ha'Arye ha'Mes"!
Resolution: David arouses one to glorify Hash-m by engaging in Torah and Mitzvos while he is alive, for he cannot do so after death;
(R. Yochanan): "Ba'Mesim Chofshi" - once someone dies, he is exempt from Torah and Mitzvos.
Shlomo said "V'Shabe'ach Ani Es ha'Mesim", for the Zechus of the Avos helped where Moshe's Zechus did not;
Moshe said many prayers to save Yisrael after Chet ha'Egel, but was not answered until he said 'Zechor l'Avraham l'Yitzchak and ul'Yisrael Avadecha".
Another supremacy of the dead - normally, a mortal officer decrees, people might or might not fulfill it; even if they do, this is only during his life, not after his death;
Another supremacy is like Rav Yehudah taught:
Question (Rav Yehudah): What does it mean "Ase Imi Os l'Tovah v'Yir'u Son'ai v'Yevoshu"?
Answer: David asked forgiveness for his sin [with Bas Sheva] - Hash-m granted it;
David: In my lifetime, give me a sign that you forgave me!
Hash-m: I will not do this in your life, only in the life of your son Shlomo;
When Shlomo built the Beis ha'Mikdash and wanted to bring the Aron into the Kodesh ha'Kodoshim, the gates clung to each other and would not let it enter. Shlomo sang 24 praises to Hash-m, they remained closed.
He said "Se'u She'arim Rosheichem...v'Yavo Melech ha'Havod", they thought that he referred to himself, they sought to swallow him - 'Who is the King of honor?'!
Shlomo: "Hash-m Izuz v'Gibor; Se'u She'arim Rosheichem...v'Yavo Melech ha'Havod...Hash-m Tzevakos Hu Melech ha'Havod". The gates remained closed.
When he said "Zochrah l'Chasdei David Avdecha", they opened; the faces of David's enemies turned black (from shame), all knew that Hash-m forgave David.
This explains why it says [after the celebration over Binyan Beis ha'Mikdash] "...Va'Yelchu l'Ohaleichem Semechim v'Tovei Lev Al Kol ha'Tovah Asher Asah Hash-m l'David Avdo ul'Yisrael Amo";
"Va'Yelchu l'Ohaleichem" - everyone found his wife Tehorah; "Semechim" - because they enjoyed the radiance of the Shechinah; "v'Tovei Lev" - everyone's wife became pregnant and gave birth to a son; "ha'Tovah Asher Asah Hash-m l'David" - he forgave him for the sin; "ul'Yisrael Amo" - he forgave Yisrael for [feasting on] Yom Kipur [during the celebration].
Another teaching of Rav Yehudah explains "L'Chelev Chai Hu Tov Min ha'Arye ha'Mes":
(Rav Yehudah): "Hodi'eni Hash-m Kitzi..." - David asked to know how long he will live.
Hash-m: I decreed that a person will not know this (so he will constantly repent)!
David: "U'Midas Yamai Mah Hi ..." - which day of the year will I die? (Maharsha - he would still be motivated to repent every year. Rashi - the first question was, what will happen to him in the rest of his life; this question was how long he will live.)
Hash-m: I decreed that a person will not know this (so he will repent every day)!
David: "Ed'ah Meh Chadel Ani" - David asked to know which day of the week he will die.
Hash-m: You will die on Shabbos.
David: May I live another day, and die on Sunday (so people can take care of my body and eulogize me)!
Hash-m: The reign of your son Shlomo must begin that Shabbos, a king cannot usurp a moment of the reign destined for another king.
David: May I die the day before, on Erev Shabbos!
Hash-m: [I do not desire this -] "Ki Tov Yom ba'Chatzerecha me'Elef", the Torah you learn each day is dearer to me than 1000 Olos that Shlomo will offer to me on the Mizbe'ach.
Every Shabbos David would learn Torah the entire day (the Satan (angel of death) cannot kill one who is learning). The Shabbos he was due to die came; the Satan was unable to do anything, for he did not cease learning. David had an orchard in back of his house; the Satan made the trees move, David went to see what was happening. When he was ascending steps, the Satan removed a step; David ceased learning, and died.
Shlomo asked Chachamim: My father is dead, in the sun [perhaps the body will rot], and his dogs are hungry - what should I do?
Chachamim: Cut up a Nevelah for the dogs to eat; put a loaf or child on top of your father, you may move his body together with the loaf or child. (Ben Yehoyada - this is a parable through which Shlomo asked, people used to taunt my father about the episode with Bas Sheva, he humbly bore their insults - if I do not nothing, they will speak more, now that he is dead! Chachamim told him to kill them, and publicly justify his father (prove that Bas Sheva was already divorced).)
Regarding this Shlomo said "L'Chelev Chai Hu Tov Min ha'Arye ha'Mes" (the dogs could be fed normally, David's body could not be moved normally (by itself, it is Muktzeh); alternatively, they answered about the dogs before about David
Answer (to Question (h) - R. Tanchum): A lamp is called Ner, just like a Neshamah ("Ner Hash-m Nishmas Adam)" - it is better to extinguish a mortal's Ner to preserve the Ner of Hash-m.
OTHER TEACHINGS OF KOHELES
(Rav Yehudah brei d'Rav Shmuel): Chachamim sought to bury Sefer Koheles, because of the [seeming] contradictions in it.
Question: Why didn't they bury it?
Answer: They did not because it begins and ends with Divrei Torah:
Near the beginning it says "Mah Yisron la'Adam b'Chol Amalo Tachas ha'Shemesh";
(D'vei R. Yanai): Nothing is gained through toil under the sun, but there is gain in what preceded the sun (Torah).
The end says "Sof Davar ha'Kol Nishma Es ha'Elokim Yera v'Es Mitzvosav Shemor Ki Zeh Kol ha'Adam";
Question: What does it mean "Ki Zeh Kol ha'Adam"?
Answer #1 (R. Elazar): The entire world was created only for this (fearing Hash-m and doing his Mitzvos).
Answer #2 (Rav Aba bar Kahana): This is worth as much as the entire world.
Answer #3 (Ben Azai): The entire world was created to be company for one who fulfills this.
Question: What contradictions are in Koheles?
Answer - Contradiction #1: It says "Tov Ka'as mi'Sechok" (even anger is better than laughter), and it says "Li'Schok Amarti Mehulal" (it is praiseworthy)!
Contradiction #2: It says " V'Shibachti Ani Es ha'Simchah" and it says "Ul'Simchah Mah Zo Osah"!
Answer (to Contradiction #1): The anger that Hash-m has against Tzadikim [to punish them] in this world is better than His laughter with the Resha'im in this world (they are rewarded for their Mitzvos here, and get no share in the world to come);
The Sechok Hash-m will have with Tzadikim in the world to come is praiseworthy.
Answer (to Contradiction #2): Shlomo lauds the Simchah one has in a Mitzvah (Rashi - Simchah that is itself a Mitzvah, e.g. to gladden a Chasan and Kalah), but sees no value in other Simchah.
We learn from that the Shechinah does not rest [on a person] amidst sadness, laziness, Sechol, lightheadedness, conversation or idle words, only amidst Simchah of a Mitzvah - "V'Hayah k'Nagen ha'Menagen va'Tehi Alav Ru'ach Hash-m".
(Rav Yehudah): Similarly, one must learn Halachah amidst Simchah.
(Rava): Similarly, going to sleep amidst Simchah will cause good dreams.
Question: But Rav Gidal taught that if a Talmid learns from his Rebbi and his lips are not dripping with bitterness [on account of awe], his lips should be burned!
It says "Sifsosav Shoshanim Notfos Mor Over" - we read this 'she'Shonim Notfos Mar' (lips that are learning drip with bitterness).
Answer #1: The Rebbi should be amidst Simchah, the Talmidim must be in awe.
Answer #2: The Rebbi should begin amidst Simchah, afterwards he must be in awe.
Rabah would begin with something amusing to make the Talmidim jovial - afterwards he would teach amidst awe.
They also sought to bury Sefer Mishlei, because of the [seeming] contradictions in it.
Question: Why didn't they bury it?
Answer: They said, just like we investigated and resolved the contradictions in Koheles, we can do the same for Mishlei!
Question: What are contradictions in Mishlei?
Answer - contradiction: It says "Al Ta'an Kesil k'Ivalto", and it says "Ane Chesil k'Ivalto"!
Resolution: One may answer a fool regarding Torah, one may not respond to other things he says.
A man came in front of Rebbi and said 'Your wife is my wife, your children are my children (they are Mamzerim).
Rebbi offered him wine; he drank and died. (Iyun Yakov - one who blemishes others, he himself has that blemish - the man was a Mamzer, [unknown] Mamzerim do not live (lest people marry them). Maharshal - some say, he intended for "Im Ra'ev Sona'acha...Hashkehu" (Mishlei 25:21); Maharal - a Tzadik humbling himself in front of a Rasha is called giving him to drink, it is like poison for the Rasha.)
A man came in front of R. Chiya (text of Ein Yakov - Rebbi) and said 'Your mother is my wife, your are my son (you are a Mamzer). R. Chiya offered him wine; he drank and died.
R. Chiya: Rebbi's prayer helped prevent him from being considered a Mamzer!
Rebbi used to pray 'May it be Your will to save me today from brazen people and from [accusations of] brazenness (i.e. that I am a Mamzer).'
Question: What are cases when it is proper to answer a fool regarding Torah?
Answer: R. Gamliel was teaching that in the future, women will give birth every day - "Harah v'Yoledes Yachdav".
A Talmid mocked this - "V'Ein Kol Chadash Tachas ha'Shamesh" (nothing ever changes)!
R. Gamliel: We have something like this even today - hens [lay eggs every day].
R. Gamliel: In the future, trees will bear fruit every day - "V'Nosa Anaf v'Asah Feri" - just like it has branches every day, it will bear fruit every day.
The Talmid mocked this - "V'Ein Kol Chadash Tachas ha'Shamesh"!
R. Gamliel showed him a caper bush (which bears three kinds of fruits, once one is picked, another starts growing immediately).
R. Gamliel: In the future, buns and silk garments will grow in Eretz Yisrael - "Yehi Fisas (this word also suggests hand-sized, or silk) Bar ba'Aretz".
The Talmid: "V'Ein Kol Chadash Tachas ha'Shamesh"!
R. Gamliel showed him mushrooms and truffles (overnight, they grow to be big and round, like buns) and moss growing around bark, which resembles a silk garment.