But did R. Akiba learn this from R. Joshua? Surely it has been taught: When R. Eliezer fell sick, R. Akiba and his companions went to visit him. He was seated in his canopied four-poster, whilst they sat in his salon.1 That day was Sabbath eve, and his son Hyrcanus went in to him to remove his phylacteries.2 But his father rebuked him, and he retreated crestfallen. 'It seems to me,' said he to them, 'that my father's mind is deranged'.3 But R. Akiba said to them, 'his mind is clear, but his mother's [sc. of Hyrcanus] is deranged:4 how can one neglect a prohibition which is punished by death, and turn his attention to something which is merely forbidden as a shebuth?'5 The Sages, seeing that his mind was clear, entered his chamber and sat down at a distance of four cubits.6 'Why have ye come?' said he to them. 'To study the Torah', they replied; 'And why did ye not come before now', he asked? They answered, 'We had no time'. He then said, 'I will be surprised if these die a natural death'. R. Akiba asked him, 'And what will my death be?' and he answered, 'Yours will be more cruel than theirs'. He then put his two arms over his heart, and bewailed them, saying, 'Woe to you, two arms of mine, that have been like two Scrolls of the Law that are wrapped up.7 Much Torah have I studied, and much have I taught.8 Much Torah have I learnt, yet have I but skimmed from the knowledge of my teachers as much as a dog lapping from the sea. Much Torah have I taught, yet my disciples have only drawn from me as much as a painting stick from its tube. Moreover, I have studied three hundred laws on the subject of a deep bright spot,9 yet no man has ever asked me about them. Moreover, I have studied three hundred, (or, as others state, three thousand laws) about the planting of cucumbers [by magic] and no man, excepting Akiba b. Joseph, ever questioned me thereon. For it once happened that he and I were walking together on a road, when he said to me, "My master, teach me about the planting of cucumbers". I made one statement, and the whole field [about us] was filled with cucumbers. Then he said, "Master, you have taught me how to plant them, now teach me how to pluck them up". I said something and all the cucumbers gathered in one place'. His visitors then asked him, 'What is the law of a ball, a shoemaker's last, an amulet, a leather bag containing pearls, and a small weight?'10 He replied, 'They can become unclean, and if unclean, they are restored to their uncleanliness just as they are.'11 Then they asked him, 'What of a shoe that is on the last?'12 He replied, 'It is clean;' and in pronouncing this word his soul departed. Then R. Joshua arose and exclaimed, 'The vow is annulled, the vow is annulled!'13 On the conclusion of the Sabbath R. Akiba met his bier being carried from Caesarea to Lydda. [In his grief] he beat his flesh until the blood flowed down upon the earth — Then R. Akiba commenced his funeral address, the mourners being lined up about the coffin, and said: 'My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof;14 I have many coins, but no money changer to accept them.'15 Thus from this story we see that he learned this [sc. the producing of cucumbers by magic] from R. Eliezer? — He learned it from R. Eliezer, but did not grasp it, then he learned it from R. Joshua, who made it clear to him.
But how might R. Eliezer do so?16 Did we not learn, IF HE ACTUALLY PERFORMS MAGIC, HE IS LIABLE? — If it is only to teach, it is different. For it has been said, Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of these nations:17 thou mayest not learn in order to practise, but thou mayest learn in order to understand.18
MISHNAH. 'A STUBBORN AND REBELLIOUS SON':1 WHEN DOES HE BECOME LIABLE TO THE PENALTY OF A STUBBORN AND REBELLIOUS SON'? FROM THE TIME THAT HE PRODUCES TWO HAIRS UNTIL HE GROWS A BEARD RIGHT ROUND (BY WHICH IS MEANT THE HAIR OF THE GENITALS, NOT THAT OF THE FACE, BUT THAT THE SAGES SPOKE IN POLITE TERMS), FOR IT IS WRITTEN, IF A MAN HAVE A STUBBORN AND REBELLIOUS SON:2 'A SON', BUT NOT A DAUGHTER; 'A SON', BUT NOT A FULL-GROWN MAN. WHILST A MINOR IS EXEMPT, SINCE HE DOES NOT COME WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE COMMANDMENTS.3
GEMARA. Whence do we know that A MINOR IS EXEMPT? (Whence do we know? The Mishnah states the reason, viz that HE DOES NOT COME WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE COMMANDMENTS. Moreover, where else do we find that Scripture prescribed a penalty [for a minor], that a verse should be necessary here to exempt him? — This is our question: Now, is then a 'STUBBORN AND REBELLIOUS SON' executed for his actual iniquity? Surely he is rather slain on account of his ultimate end;4 and that being so, even a minor should be executed? Moreover, [the interpretation,] 'a son', but not a man, implies a minor?) Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Scripture saith, If a man have a son [that is stubborn and rebellious], implying, a son near to the strength of manhood.5
UNTIL HE GROWS A BEARD RIGHT ROUND, etc. R. Hiyya taught: Until he grows a beard round the corona. When R. Dimi came,6 he explained it thus: It means, until the hair surrounds the membrum, but not until it grows round the testicles.7
R. Hisda said: If a minor begot a son, the latter does not come within the category of a stubborn and rebellious son, for it is written, If a man have a son, but not if a son [i.e., one who has not reached manhood] have a son. But is not that verse needed for the deduction made by Rab Judah in Rab's name?8 — If so, the verse should read, If there be a son to a man: why state, If a man have a son? — To teach R. Hisda's dictum.9 Then let us say that the entire verse teaches this?10 — If so, Scripture should have said, 'If there be the son of a man who [sc. the son] is stubborn,' etc.: Why state, If a man have a son etc.? Hence both are deduced.11
Now, R. Hisda's statement conflicts with Rabbah's. For Rabbah said: A minor cannot beget children, for it is written, But if the man hath no kinsman [to recompense the trespass unto].12 Now, is there any man in Israel that has no kinsman?13 Hence the Writ must refer to the robbery of a proselyte,14
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