MISHNA: There is no difference between Shiloh and Jerusalem except this: In Shiloh, one eats sacrifices of lesser holiness and second tithes (ma’aser sheni) in all places where one can still see Shiloh, but in Jerusalem they could only be eaten within the walls. And here and here in both Shiloh and Jerusalem the holiest of holy sacrifices were eaten within the curtains.
The sanctification of Shiloh — even after it, there was permission for other places to be designated for sacrifices; the sanctification of Jerusalem — after it, there was no permission for others.
GEMARA: Rabbi Yitchak said: I have heard that one may offer sacrifices at the House i.e., Shrine of Onias which was built in Egypt at the present time. This is his reasoning: The House of Onias is not a shrine of avodah zarah, and this is his reasoning: the initial sanctity assigned to Jerusalem was sanctity for its period of time while the Temple stood and not sanctity for now and forever. As it is written in Deut. 12: “For you have not come until now to the place of rest not to the place of inheritance.” How do we interpret this verse? “Rest” — this is Shiloh. “Inheritance” — this is Jerusalem. Furthermore, “rest” is juxtaposed with “inheritance” to show that just as in the case of “rest” i.e., Shiloh, there is permission for others after it; also for Jerusalem, designated by “inheritance”, there is permission for others after it.
They said to Rabbi Yitzchak: You say this? Do you really hold by this derivation?
Rabbi Yitzchak said to them: No.
Rabba said: Oh, God! He said it, and I learned it from him!
And what is the reason that Rabbi Yitchak took it back? Due to the challenge posed by Rav Mari, for Rav Mari quoted the end of our Mishna: The sanctity of Shilo, there is permission for others after it; the sanctity of Jerusalem, there is not permission for others after it.
And it was further taught: from the time when they settled in Jerusalem, the bamot were forbidden, and there was never permission for them again, and this was the “inheritance.”
This is a dispute between tana’im, as it is taught in a baraita:
Rabbi Eliezer said: I heard that when they were building the heichal of the Temple, they made curtains for the heichal and curtains for the courtyard. Not only that, but rather: the walls that were in the heichal they built outside the curtains, and the walls that were in the courtyard they built inside the curtains.
And Rabbi Yehoshua said: I heard that sacrifices may be offered even though there is no Temple; the holiest of holy sacrifices may be eaten even though there are no curtains, offerings of lesser holiness and second tithes may be eaten even though there is no wall. Why are these permitted? Because the initial sanctity of Jerusalem was both a sanctity of its hour and a sanctity of now and forever.
From this dispute we can deduce that Rabbi Eliezer reasoned that it is not a sanctity of now and forever.
Ravina said to Rav Ashi: From where can we deduce this? Perhaps the whole world agrees that the initial sanctity is both sanctity for its hour and sanctity now and forever; and one master relates what he had heard, and the other master relates what he had heard.
And if you say regarding the requirement of curtains in the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, why do I have this tradition? They were really for modesty.
Rather, it was a dispute between a different pair of Tana’im, for it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yishmael the son of Rabbi Yosi said: For what purpose did the sages enumerate these nine cities as having been walled in the time of Joshua — regarding a passage in Arakhin 32b? Because when the exiles came up returned to eretz Yisrael they found these still walled and gave them sanctity, but the original ones were nullified when the land was nullified by losing its sanctity when the exile occurred.
We learn that he reasoned in this way: the initial sanctity was a sanctity of its hour and not a sanctity of now and forever because the other cities lost their sanctity when the exile occurred; and the returning exiles re-sanctified the nine walled cities upon their return.
They challenged him i.e., they challened the tanna who brought this teaching in the name of Rabbi Yishmael, from a teaching of a second tanna also in the name of Rabbi Yishmael, for it was taught: Rabbi Yishmael the son of Rabbi Yosi said: And these? Were they all? Look, doesn’t it say in Deut. 3: “Sixty cities, all the region of Argav”? And it is written later in that chapter “All of these were fortified cities with high walls?” Rather, for what purpose did the sages enumerate these nine? For when the exiles came up from exile, they found these and sanctified them again.
The second teaching continues: They sanctified them?!? 10b Now, we just said that it is not necessary to sanctify them! Rather, the baraita should have said, they found these and enumerated them. And not just these! Rather, all of them regarding which you have a tradition in your hands from your ancestors that it was surrounded by a wall from the days of Joshua bin Nun, all of these mitzvot that pertain to such a city shall be the custom there, because the initial sanctity is both a sanctity of its hour and a sanctity now and forever.
There is a challenge from the first teaching in the name of Rabbi Yishmael to the second teaching in the name of Rabbi Yishmael! Two tana’im relate different traditions about Rabbi Yishmael the son of Rabbi Yose.
And if you wish, say: this second one, it was Rabbi Elazar the son of Yose who said it, for it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Elazar the son of Rabbi Yose said, quoting Lev. 25: “the city that has / that has no wall”. The word lamed-vav-alef is written “lav” — “that has no” — but is read “lo” — “that it has”. Rabbi Elazar, in this baraita, derives the law from both meanings: even though it has no wall now, it had one before, and its previous sanctity remains in force forever.
The Gemara now begins its exegesis on the book of Esther.
“And it was in the days of Achashverosh” Esth. 1 Rabbi Levi (and there are those who say it was Rabbi Yonatan) said: The matter we are about to cite is a tradition in our hands, from the Men of the Great Assembly. In every place where it says “And it was” at the beginning of a narrative it is nothing but the language of trouble.
We will now adduce all such passages as proof.
• “And it was in the days of Achashverosh” Esth. 1 was Haman.
• “And it was in the days when the judges judged” Ruth 1 was famine.
• “And it was when humankind began to become numerous” Gen 6 — “And God saw the increase in the wickness of mankind.”
• “And it was, when they journeyed to the east” Gen 11 — “And they said, let us build a city for ourselves” This was the tower of Bavel.
• “And it was in the days of Amarfel” Gen 14 — “they made war.”
• “And it was when Joshua was in Jericho” Josh. 6 — “and the angel’s sword was drawn in his hand.”
• “And God was with Joshua” Josh. 6 — “and the Children of Israel sinned.”
• “And there was a man from the Ramatim” I Sam. 1 — “for he loved Hannah, but God had closed up her womb.”
• “And it was, when Samuel was old” I Sam. 8 — “And his sons did not walk in his path.”
• “And there was unto David, in all his undertakings, success.” I Sam. 18 — “And Saul eyed David.”
• “And it was when the King David dwelt in his house” II Sam. 7 – David was told “But you will not build the Temple.”
Now we will examine counterexamples.
But it is written: “And it was on the eighth day” of the dedication of the mishkan; Lev. 9. And it was taught in a baraita: That very day there was rejoicing before the Holy One, Who is Blessed, just as the day when the heavens and the earth were created.
For it is written here, “And it was on the eighth day”, and it is written there Gen 1 “And it was evening and it was morning, one day.”
Hey, Nadav and Avihu died on the day of the mishkan’s dedication. So it was also a time of misfortune.
But it is written: “And it was in the 480th year” I Kings 6.
“And it was when Jacob saw Rachel” Gen 29.
And hey, it is written: “And it was evening, and it was morning, one day!” Gen. 1 And there is “the second day”, and there is “the third day”, and they are good!
Rav Ashi said: All the times scripture states “And it was…” — there are some like this which designate trouble and there are some like that which do not indicate trouble. But when scripture says “And it was in the days of…” — this is nothing but the language of trouble. There are five instances of “And it was in the days of…”:
• “And it was in the days of Achashverosh…”
• “And it was in the days when the judges judged…”
• “And it was in the days of Amrafel…”
• “And it was in the days of Achaz…” Is. 7
• “And it was in the days of Yechoyakim…” Jer. 1
The gemara now digresses, based on the introductory phrase “The matter is a tradition in our hands from our ancestors.”
Rav Levi said: The matter we are about to cite is a tradition in our hands, from our ancestors. Amotz the father of Isaiah and Amaziah the king of Judah were brothers. What does this come to teach us? It is what Rav Shmuel bar Nachmani said that Rabbi Yonatan had said: Every bride who is modest in the house of her father-in-law merits that from her should descend kings and prophets. From where do we learn this? From Tamar. For it is written in Gen. 38: “And Yehudah saw her, and he thought she was a harlot, for she covered her face.” Because she covered her face he thought she was a harlot? The Gemara takes issue with the plain sense of the verse, and explains it this way: Rather, because she had covered her face in the house of Yehudah, who was her father-in-law, and he did not know her i.e., he did not recognize her on the road, she merited that kings and prophets should descend from her. Kings — from David. Prophets — as Rabbi Levi said: Amotz and Amaziah were brothers; and it is written as the superscription to Is. 1 “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amotz.”
And Rabbi Levi said: The matter we are about to cite is a tradition in our hands, from our ancestors. The space of the aron the ark of the covenant had no dimension. It was also taught in a baraita: the aron that Moshe made — it had ten cubits in each direction. Literally, “to each wind”, meaining in each of the cardinal compass directions. And it is written in I Kings 6: “And in front of the sanctuary was a space measuring twenty cubits of length”. And it is written there “The wing of one cherub was ten cubits; and the wing of one cherub was ten cubits.” This adds up to the entire twenty-cubit space. So as for the ark — its body was where? Rather, we must derive from this: By a miracle did it stand.
Having begun our exegesis on the Book of Esther, above, the Gemara now backtracks a little. Before the rabbis began their lectures on a text, they would offer an introductory word. The Gemara will now do the same, relating the introductions that various rabbis gave before delving into the Book of Esther.
Rabbi Yonatan would open the beginning of this pericope from here Is. 14: “And I will rise against them … and I will cut off from Bavel both name and remainder and offspring and descendant — thus says Hashem.”
Rabbi Yonatan would explain the verse: “name” — this is the writing. “remainder” — this is speech. “offspring” — this is kingship. “descendant” — this is Vashti.
Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani would open the beginning of this pericope from here Is. 45: “In lieu of the thorn shall arise the cypress; and in lieu of the briar shall arise the myrtle.”
He would interpret the verse: “In lieu of the thorn” — in lieu of Haman the wicked, who made himself an object of avodah zarah, as it is written in Is. 7: “and on all the thorns and all the brambles”. “Shall arise the cypress” — this is Mordechai, who was called the head of all the spices, as it is said in Ex. 30: “And for you, take yourself spices, first the flowing myrrh in Hebrew, mar dror” and its Aramaic translation is mari deki which sounds like “Mordechai”.
Continuing: “In lieu of the briar” — in lieu of Vashti the wicked, the daughter of the son of Nebuchadnezzar the wicked, who burned the roof of the House of Hashem, as it is written in Shir ha-Shirim 3: “its top was gold”. “Shall arise the myrtle” in Hebrew, hadas — this is Esther the righteous, who was called Hadassah, as it is said in Es. 2: “And it was, that he Mordechai brought up Esther.”
The cited verse continued: “And it shall be to Hashem as a name” — this is the reading of the Megillah. “As an eternal sign that shall not be cut off” — these are the days of Purim.
Another rabbi’s introduction. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi would open the beginning of this pericope from here Dev. 28: “And it shall be, just as Hashem rejoiced upon you, to do good for you, so shall Hashem rejoice upon you, to do evil unto you.”
How can you say that God derives pleasure from the downfall of the wicked? For isn’t it written II Chron. 20: “They went forth in front of the army, they say: ‘Hodu Lashem, ki leolam chaso — Give thanks to Hashem, for His mercy is eternal.’” And Rabbi Yochanan said: Why did they not say “ki tov — for He is good” in this thanksgiving? (In Psalms, this sentence is Hodu Lashem ki tov, ki leolam chaso — Give thanks to Hashem, for He is good, for His mercy is eternal.) He answered his rhetorical question: Because the Holy One, Who is Blessed, does not rejoice in the downfall of the wicked.
And Rabbi Yochanan said: Why is it written in Ex. 14: “They did not come near to one another, this one to that one, for the whole night?” The Egyptian army and the Israelites, waiting to cross the Sea of Reeds, were separated by the Cloud of Glory, which kept the two camps separated overnight. The angels of the heavenly court requested permission to recite transcendent song. The Holy One, Who is Blessed, said to them: “The work of My hands is drowning in the sea, and you are reciting song?”
Rabbi Elazar said: God does not rejoice, but others are permitted to rejoice. This is also shown in the text, for it is written “ken yasis“ and it is not written “ken yasus“. ”yasis” is the hif’il form, “yasus” is the kal form; the difference is that “yasus” could only mean “He (himself) rejoices,” whereas “yasis” can also mean “He causes others to rejoice,” which is the way that Rabbi Elazar understands the text. Learn from this.
Another rabbi’s introduction to the study of the Book of Esther: Rabbi Abba bar Kahane would open the beginning of this pericope from here Kohelet 2: “To the person who is good before Him, He gives wisdom and knowledge and joy.” This is Mordechai the righteous. “And to the sinner, He gives the burden, to gather and make heaps.” This is Haman. “That he may give it to the one who is good before God.” This is Mordechai and Esther, as it is written Es. 9: “And Esther set Mordechai over the house of Haman.”
And another. Rabba bar Ofran would open the beginning of this pericope from here Jer. 49: “And I will establish My throne in Eilam, and from there I will destroy royalty and princes.” “Royalty” — this is Vashti. “And princes” — this is Haman and his ten sons.
And another. Rav Dimi bar Yitzchak would open the beginning of this pericope from here — but this is the end of 10b