Whence do we know that an oath may be taken to fulfil a precept? From the verse, I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.1 But is he not under a perpetual oath from Mount Sinai?2 — But what [R. Giddal] teaches us is that one may stimulate himself.3 R. Giddal also said in Rab's name: He who says, 'I will rise early to study this chapter or this tractate,' has vowed a great vow to the God of Israel. But he is under a perpetual oath from Mount Sinai, and an oath cannot fall upon another?4 Then [again] if he informs us that a person may thus stimulate himself, it is identical with R. Giddal's first [statement]? — This is what R. Giddal teaches: The oath is binding, since one can free [i.e., acquit] himself by the reading of the Shema' morning or evening.5 R. Giddal said in Rab's name: If one says to his neighbour, 'Let us rise early and study this chapter,' it is his [the former's] duty to rise early, as it is written, And he said unto me, arise, go forth into the plain, and there I will talk with thee. Then I arose and went forth into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there.6
R. Joseph said: If one was placed under a ban in a dream, ten persons are necessary for lifting the ban.7 They must have studied halachah;8 I but if they had only learnt [Mishnah],9 they cannot lift the ban; but if such as have studied halachah are unavailable, then even those who have only learnt Mishnah], but had not studied [halachah] will do. But if even such are unavailable, let him go and sit at the cross-roads, and extend greetings10 to ten men, until he finds ten men who have studied halachah.11 Rabina asked R. Ashi: If he knew [in his dream] the person who placed him tinder a ban, can this person lift the ban? — He answered: He might have been appointed [God's] messenger to ban him, but not to revoke it. R. Aha asked R. Ashi: What if one was both banned and readmitted12 in his dream? — Said he to him: Just as grain is impossible without straw,13
Original footnotes renumbered.
- Ps. CXIX, 106.
- Every Jew is regarded as having sworn at Sinai to observe God's precepts.
- By an oath, to do what he is in any case bound to do.
- I.e., an oath is not valid when referring to that which is already subject to an oath.
- The passage commencing: Hear O Israel etc. (Deut. VI, 4 seq.). There is a definite obligation to study day and night, which is derived either from Deut. VI, 7 (and thou shalt teach them, etc.) or from Josh. I, 8 (This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth). But it is stated in Men. 95b that the obligation is fulfilled by the reading of the Shema' morning and evening.
- Ezek. III, 22, 23. The Lord, having instructed him to go forth, had preceded him.
- Dreams were widely held to have a positive significance; indeed, as almost partaking of the nature of prophecy. As we see here, a definite quality of reality was ascribed to them. V. J.E. s.v. 'Dreams'.
- Heb., hilketha, v. next note.
- So Rashi and Ran on the basis of our text. Mishnah is the law in broad outline, which characterises the whole of our present Mishnah, as compiled by R. Judah I. Hilketha (halachah) (law, rule) would appear to connote here the Talmudic discussion thereon, i.e., the amoraic development of the Mishnah. For tanu ([H],) referring to amoraic teaching instead of Tannaitic. cf. Kaplan, Redaction of the Talmud, pp. 209 seq. Ran, Asheri, and Tosaf, offer another interpretation, based on a slightly different reading: They must have taught law, but not merely learnt it (themselves).
- Lit., 'give peace' — the usual form of a Jewish greeting.
- Tosaf.: the greetings of ten men at the cross-roads will remove his grief; but ten scholars are necessary for the removal of the ban.
- Lit., 'it was loosened for him'.
- Cf. Jer. XXIII, 28.
so is there no dream without meaningless matter.1
Rabina's wife was under a vow; he then came before R. Ashi, asking. Can the husband become an agent for his wife's regret?2 — He replied: If they [the three scholars] are ready assembled, he can do so: but not otherwise.3 Three things may be inferred front this incident: [i] A husband can become an agent for his wife's regret. [ii] It is not seemly4 for a scholar to revoke a vow in his teacher's town.5 [iii] If they [the necessary scholars] are already assembled, it is well. But a scholar may lift a ban even in the vicinity of his master, and even a single ordained scholar6 may lift a ban.
R. Simeon b. Zebid said in the name of R. Isaac b. Tabla, in the name of R. Hiyya Areka of the school of R. Aha, in the name of R. Zera in the name of R. Eleazar in the name of R. Hanania in the name of R. Mi'asha on the authority of R. Judah b. Il'ai: What is the meaning of, But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings?7 — This refers to those people who fear to utter the Divine name in vain.8 'The sin of righteousness with healing in its wings': Said Abaye, This proves that the motes dancing in the sun's rays have healing power. Now, he differs from R. Simeon b. Lakish, who said: There is no Gehinnom9 in the world to come,10 but the Holy One, blessed be He, will draw forth the sun from its sheath: the righteous shall be healed, and the wicked shall be judged and punished thereby. As it is written, But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings.11 Moreover, they shall be rejuvenated by it, as it is written, And ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.12 But the wicked shall be punished thereby, as it is written, Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.13
Original footnotes renumbered.
- I.e., the ban is not lifted.
- So as to have the vow cancelled. On regret (haratah). v. infra 21b, a.l.
- Because having troubled to assemble three scholars, he may be anxious that his trouble should not be unrewarded and so exceed his wife's instructions as to the grounds on which she desired absolution.
- This is the reading of Ran. Cur. edd. (quoted by Rashi too): a scholar is not permitted.
- Since Rabina, himself a Rabbi, did not act in the town of R. Ashi, his teacher.
- Mumhe, v. Glos.
- Mal. III. 20.
- The name of God represents the Divine nature and the relation of God to His people. As such it was understood as the equivalent of the Divine Presence, hence the awe with which it was surrounded, cf. Kid. 71a, Sanh. 99a.
- Gehinnom (Gehenna) as an equivalent of hell, purgatory, takes its name from the place where children were once sacrificed to Moloch, viz., ge ben Hinnom, the valley of the son of Hinnom, to the south of Jerusalem (Josh. XV, 8; 11 Kings XXIII, 10; Jer. VII, 32-32; XIX, 6. 13-14).
- ['Olam ha-ba. Here, as it is clear from the context, the reference is to the Messianic days.]
- Thus, unlike Abaye, he applies the verse to the future world.
- Mal. III, 20.
- Mal. III, 19.