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Avodah Zarah 25



(a) The Pasuk writes in Yehoshua (in connection with Yehoshua's battle against the five kings who attacked the Giv'onim) "Va'yidom ha'Shemesh ve'Yare'ach Amad ad Yakum Goy Oyvav ha'Lo Hi Kesuvah al Seifer ha'Yashar". Based on the Pasuk in Balak "Tamos Nafshi Mos Yesharim", Rebbi Chiya bar Aba Amar Rebbi Yochanan interprets "Seifer ha'Yashar" - to mean Sefer Bereishis (which describes the deeds of the Avos, the 'Yesharim' to whom Bil'am was referring).

(b) This is hinted in the Pasuk "ve'Zar'o Yih'yeh M'lo ha'Goyim" - Ya'akov's prediction of Ephrayim's greatness (referring specifically to the occasion when, unlike other miracles, of which the nations of the world were not aware, they all knew when the sun stood still at the behest of Yehoshua, who was a descendant of Ephrayim).

(c) According to Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, the entire miracle lasted a total of twenty-four hours - the first and the last six hours of the day, during which time the sun moved across the sky as usual, and the six-hour period following each one, when it stood still in the sky, before moving on.

(d) Rebbi Elazar divides the same four periods into thirty-six hours - by establishing the two periods when the sun stood still, as twelve hours each.

(e) Each one derives his opinion from the Pasuk "Vaya'amod ha'Shemesh ba'Chatzi ha'Shamayim ... ve'Lo Atz La'vo ke'Yom Tamim" - Rebbi Yochanan interprets "ke'Yom Tamim" as referring to the entire period that incorporated the miracle (including the hours that it actually moved across the sky), whereas Rebbi Elazar confined it to the hours that the sun actually stood still.

(a) Based on the same Pasuk, Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni divides the same four periods into a total of forty-eight hours - six and twelve, six and twenty-four hours, respectively.

(b) And he learns this from "ve'Lo Atz La'vo ke'Yom Tamim" - which implies that the period before the sun set lasted a full day (of twenty-four hours), but that the first period when it stood still, lasted only the same twelve-hour period that it always ceases to sing Shirah each night.

(c) Others explain that the three Amora'im are referring exclusively to the time that the sun stood still, in which case - Rebbi Yochanan will learn like Rebbi Elazar in the first Lashon, and Rebbi Elazar, like Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni (in the first Lashon). Whereas according to Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni, each of the two periods that the sun stood still, lasted twenty-four hours ...

(d) ... and he learns this from the Pasuk, which compares the first 'standing still' to the second (where the Pasuk explicitly writes ''ke'Yom Tamim'').

(a) The sun also stood still - for Moshe Rabeinu and Nakdimon ben Gurion (as we learned in Ta'anis).

(b) The Tana learns from the 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "*Achel* Teis Pachdecha" (Devarim) and "Achel Gadelcha" (Yehoshua), and Rebbi Yochanan from "Achel *Teis* ... " and "be'Yom Teis Hashem es ha'Emori" - that the sun stood still for Moshe just as it did for Yehoshua.

(c) Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni disagrees. According to him, no Gezeirah-Shavah is necessary, since we can learns this directly from the Pasuk "Asher Yishme'u Shim'acha, ve'Ragzu ve'Chalu mi'Panecha" - indicating that the sun stood still for Moshe and the whole world trembled before him.

(d) The problem that the Pasuk "ve'Lo Hayah ka'Yom ha'Hu Lefanav ve'Acharav" creates - is that it implies that that miracle was without parallel, so how can we suggest that the same miracle had also taken place in the time of Moshe?

(e) And we answer this Kashya in two ways. One of them, by establishing the length of time of the miracle of Moshe to have been shorter than that of Yehoshua. The other - that the additional miracle of stones that rained down on the enemy as they attempted to escape, was unique to Yehoshua.

(a) In the lamentation that David said following the death of Shaul, he said "Le'lamed Yehudah Keshes, Hinei Kesuvah al Sefer ha'Yashar", which, according to Rebbi Chiya bar Aba, refers to Sefer Bereishis, as we learned above. Yehudah's expertise in fighting with a bow is hinted in the Pasuk in Vayechi "Yadcha be'Oref Oyvecha" - by virtue of the fact that when fighting with a bow, one pulls the string towards one's eyes (which is called 'Mul Oref').

(b) According to Rebbi Elazar, based on the Pasuk "Ve'asisa ha'Yashar ve'ha'Tov", 'Sefer ha'Yashar' refer to - Sefer Devarim.

(c) The Pasuk in ve'Zos ha'Berachah "Yadav Rav Lo" hints at Yehudah's prowess at the bow - because it is the archers who employ both hands when fighting (as opposed to the swordsmen, who only use one).

(d) According to Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni, based on the Pasuk "ba'Yamim ha'Heim, Ein Melech be'Yisrael, Ish ha'Yashar be'Einav Ya'aseh", 'Sefer ha'Yashar' refers to Sefer Shoftim.

(e) Yehudah's knowledge of fighting with a bow is hinted in the Pasuk there "Lema'an Da'as Doros B'nei Yisrael Le'lamdam Milchamah" - because archery more than any other area of ancient warfare, required intensive training. And we know that this Pasuk refers to Yehudah - from another Pasuk there, where Hashem specifically instructed Yehoshua that Yehudah should be the first to go into battle.

(a) The Pasuk relates how the butcher gave the calf and what was on it ("ve'he'Alehah") and placed it in front of Shaul. Rebbi Yochanan interprets "ve'he'Alehah" as the Alyah (the fat-tail), arriving at this interpretation - because the calf supports all that is 'on top of it', including the fat-tail.

(b) Whereas Rebbi Elazar interprets it as the chest - because the Kohen places the chest on top of the right calf of the Shelamim before waving it.

(c) And Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni interprets it as - the fleshy part of the thigh, which is directly above the calf.




(a) We learned in our Mishnah that a woman is forbidden to be secluded with Nochrim. This cannot be speaking about being alone with ..
1. ... one Nochri - since this would be forbidden even if the man was a Yisrael.
2. ... three Nochrim - because that would be forbidden even if they were Yisre'elim, assuming they belonged to the category of 'Perutzim' (loose-moralled men who would not be embarrassed to 'behave indecently' in public [in which we automatically place all Nochrim]).
(b) Being secluded with two 'decent' Jewish men - is permitted in town but forbidden on a journey (in case one of them needs to relieve himself, leaving the other one to seduce the woman).

(c) Our source for this is a Mishnah in Kidushin, where the Tana forbids even two women to be secluded with one Yisrael - because of the principle 'Nashim Da'atan Kalos' (in which case she will be easily seduced to 'behave indecently' even in front of her friend).

(d) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel tells of an episode concerning ten men - who carried a woman (as immodest as themselves) out of town in a coffin on the pretext of burying her, for immoral purposes. This story in fact, serves as the basis of the prohibition of a woman being secluded with even three indecent men under any circumstances.

(a) We finally establish our Mishnah - by a Nochri whose wife is with him, and with whom, in the case of a Jew, a woman would be permitted to be secluded.

(b) We have solved the problem of 'Yichud'. Our Mishnah still appears to be obvious - because of the suspicion of murder, for which reason even a Yisrael is forbidden to be alone with a Nochri.

(c) Rebbi Yirmiyah establishes it by an important woman, whom the Nochrim would not dare to kill. The dual meaning of 'Ishah Chashuvah' - is important in the regular sense, as well as being important in the realm of women (i.e. beautiful in looks).

(d) According to Rav Idi - we are not afraid that the Nochrim will kill a woman, because she comes well-armed (with feminine charm), and if need be, she will seduce him.

(a) The ramifications of the Machlokes between Rebbi Yirmiyah and Rav Idi are - in the case of a woman who is ugly, but who is important in the conventional sense.

(b) In the Beraisa which supports Rav Dimi, the Tana writes 'ha'Ishah, Af-al-Pi she'ha'Shalom Imah, Lo Tisyached Imahen Mipnei she'Chashudin al ha'Arayos' - which means that even though she is safe as far as her life is concerned, she is forbidden to be secluded with a Nochri, because they are suspected of adultery.

(a) We learned in a Beraisa that if a Yisrael who is traveling out of town (on foot) finds himself in the company of a Nochri, he should make sure that the Nochri walks on his right - so that, should the Nochri attempt to kill him, he will be able to grab him with his right hand in self-defense.

(b) Rebbi Yishmael b'no shel Rebbi Yochanan ben Berokah qualifies this, confining it to where the Nochri is wearing a sword, but if he was brandishing a stick - he should keep him to his left, so that, in the event that he raises the stick to strike him, the Nochri's right hand will be sufficiently close for him to grab with his left hand.

(c) If they need to climb or descend a steep slope, the Yisrael should make sure to always climb ahead of the Nochri (though still keeping him on his right) and to descend after him.

(d) A Yisrael should never - bend down (to pick something up or to tie up his shoelace) in the presence of a Nochri.

(a) Should the Nochri ask him where he is headed for - he should always name a place that is further than his real destination, in the hope that, even if the Nochri does mean him harm, he will delay carying it out until after he reaches his destination and the parting of the ways.

(b) We learn this from - Ya'akov Avinu, who intimated to Eisav that he was on his way to Edom, when really he was only as far as Sukos at that stage.

(c) When the (Jewish) robbers asked the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva, who were on their way to K'ziv, where they were going, they replied that they were on their way to Acco (which was not as far as K'ziv).

(d) When they stopped in Acco and told him that they were Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva, the robbers could only praise him (for his astuteness), proclaiming that no evil person could harm his Talmidim.

(a) And when the Jewish thieves asked Rav Menasheh, a Talmid of Rav Yehudah who was on his way to Bei Tursa, where he was going - he told them that he was going to Pumedisa (which was much further than Bei Tursa).

(b) When Rav Menasheh parted from them in Bei Tursa, they remarked - that he must must be a Talmid of Rav Yehudah the swindler.

(c) Rav Menasheh gave them a 'B'rachah' - that Rav Yehudah's Shamta (Niduy) should take effect on them.

(d) His 'B'rachah' did indeed materialize - inasmuch as for the next twenty-two years all their attempted robberies failed.

(a) After that twenty-two year period - the Ganavim came to Rav Yehudah to ask for forgiveness and to request that he release the Shamta.

(b) The one thief who did not ask Rav Yehudah's forgiveness - who was a weaver ...

(c) ... was eaten by a lion.

(d) This conforms with the folk-saying 'Gird'na de'Lo Tayzan, Shata Batzir mi'Sheneih' - which means 'a weaver who has no shame loses years of his life'.

13) We conclude from this episode - that the robbers of Eretz Yisrael have are more refined than the thieves of Bavel (despite the fact that robbers are generally more depraved than thieves).

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