Dedicate Daf 21a to:



הן תהוי ארכא לשלותיך
"That there may be an extension of your tranquility,"

וכתיב כלא מטא על נבוכדנצר מלכא
The chapter continues
"All of this
(interpretation)
came upon the king Nevuchadnetzar,"

וכתיב לקצת ירחין תרי עשר
And
"At the end of twelve months,
he was walking in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
"

 
So, as a reward for his good deeds, Nevuchadnetzar's punishment was postponed twelve months. However, all agree that it's less than the three years the Mishna says.
 
 
The Gemara answers:
 
 
לעולם רבי ישמעאל
It's
Rabbi Yishmael
who says that merit can delay the Sotah's punishment for three years
.

ואשכח קרא דאמר ותני
And he found a verse which says that
Hashem can delay punishment three times
.

 
Rabbi Yishmael says that a Mitzvah can delay punishment for a year, and Hashem can extend protection three times, totalling three years.
 
 
דכתיב כה אמר ה' על שלשה פשעי אדום
As
the verse says
"Thus says Hashem: For three transgressions of Edom... "

ומאי אע"פ שאין ראיה לדבר זכר לדבר
Why
does the Gemara say that
this
verse
is not a true proof?

דלמא שאני עובדי כוכבים דלא מפקיד דינא עלייהו:
Perhaps Non - Jew's are different in that Hashem doesn't
hurry
to punish them
.

 
 
 
:ויש זכות תולה ג' שנים כו':

 
 
 
זכות דמאי
What merit
delays punishment for that long?

אילימא זכות דתורה
It cannot be
the merit
of the Sotah studying
Torah,

 
Which, as the Gemara show, it very strong.
 
הא אינה מצווה ועושה היא
For she
is not commanded
to study Torah, and her reward shouldn't be so great.

 
As one who does a Mitzvah which he is not commanded is rewarded less than one who does a Mitzvah which he is commanded.
 
So the Gemara tries another possibility:
 
 
אלא זכות דמצוה
Rather,
the Sotah's punishment is delayed by
the merit of doing a Mitzvah.

 
But the Gemara doesn't like this answer since:
 
 
זכות דמצוה מי מגנא כולי האי
But does
the merit of a
Mitzvah protect
so much
?

 
The Gemara will cite two ways how Torah is more powerful than Mitzvahs.
 
 
והתניא
1. The following was
taught
in a Braisa:

את זו דרש רבי מנחם בר יוסי כי נר מצוה ותורה אור
Rabbi Menachem Ben Yossi expounded
the verse
"Because a candle is a Mitzvah, and Torah is a light"
thus:

תלה הכתוב את המצוה בנר ואת התורה באור
The verse compares a Mitzvah to a lamp, and the Torah to light.

את המצוה בנר לומר לך מה נר אינה מגינה אלא לפי שעה אף מצוה אינה מגינה אלא לפי שעה
A Mitzvah
is compared
to a lamp
to teach that
just as a candle only protects temporarily, so too a Mitzvah only protect temporarily,

ואת התורה באור לומר לך מה אור מגין לעולם אף תורה מגינה לעולם
And Torah
is compared
to light,
to teach that
just as light protects forever, so too Torah protects forever.

ואומר בהתהלכך תנחה אותך וגו'
And
the prior verse says
"When you walk, it shall lead you":

בהתהלכך תנחה אותך זה העוה"ז
"When you walk, it
(the Torah)
shall lead you"
- in
This World.

בשכבך תשמור עליך זו מיתה
"When you lie down, it
(the Torah)
shall watch over you"
- the moment of
death.

והקיצות היא תשיחך לעתיד לבא
"And when you awake, it
(the Torah)
shall talk with you."
-
The World To Come.

משל לאדם שהיה מהלך באישון לילה ואפילה ומתיירא מן הקוצים ומן הפחתים ומן הברקנים ומחיה רעה ומן הליסטין ואינו יודע באיזה דרך מהלך
A parable is of a man walks in darkness, and is afraid of thorns, pits, wild beasts and robbers, and he doesn't know the way.

נזדמנה לו אבוקה של אור ניצל מן הקוצים ומן הפחתים ומן הברקנים ועדיין מתיירא מחיה רעה ומן הליסטין ואינו יודע באיזה דרך מהלך
If
he finds a firebrand
(which is compared to a Mitzvah)
, he is saved from the thorns and pits, but is still in fear of the wild beasts and robbers, and doesn't know the way
out
.

 
The reward for keeping the commandments is a good physical life. However, it won't help him in the World-To-Come .
 
 
כיון שעלה עמוד השחר ניצל מחיה רעה ומן הליסטין ועדיין אינו יודע באיזה דרך מהלך
When the dawn rises, he is saved from the wild beasts and robbers, but he still doesn't know the way.

 
Once the dawn rises (he studies Torah), he's saved from the animal soul but not from bad company (he can still turn away from Hashem through bad friends).
 
 
הגיע לפרשת דרכים ניצל מכולם
Once
he arrives at a crossroads, he is saved from all
dangers
.

 
Only when one is about to can one guarantee that he will never stumble in sin.
 
 
ד"א
2.
Another
proof that Torah study is greater than performing Mitzvahs

עבירה מכבה מצוה ואין עבירה מכבה תורה
A sin can extinguish
the merit of a
Mitzvah, but a sin cannot extinguish
the merit of
Torah study,

שנאמר מים רבים לא יוכלו לכבות את האהבה
As
the verse
says "Many waters cannot quench love
(which represents Torah study)
".

 
The Gemara gives two answers:
 
 
א"ר יוסף מצוה בעידנא דעסיק בה מגנא ומצלא
1.
Rav Yosef said
that the reward for Mitzvah performance does have the power to
protect
one from punishment
and guards
one from sinning
while one is
involved
in performing
the Mitzvah,

בעידנא דלא עסיק בה אגוני מגנא אצולי לא מצלא
But, after one is
no longer involved in
the actual performance of a Mitzvah
, it protects
one from punishment
but does
not
protect one from sin.

 
So a Sotah who performed Mitzvahs would be protected from punishment, but not from sin.
 
 
תורה בין בעידנא דעסיק בה ובין בעידנא דלא עסיק בה מגנא ומצלא
The merit of
Torah study,
on the other hand,
protects
one from punishment and
guards
one from sin at all times, whether he's actively studying or not.

 
 
Time Torah Study Mitzvah
Involved Punishment / Sin Punishment / Sin
Not Involved Punishment / Sin Punishment
 
 
מתקיף לה רבה
Rabbah asked:

אלא מעתה דואג ואחיתופל מי לא עסקי בתורה
If even past Torah study protects one from the Evil Inclination, why were Doeg and Achitophel able to sin?
Did
they
not study Torah?

אמאי לא הגינה עלייהו
Why did
their past Torah study
not protect them?

 
They were the Torah leaders of their generation. How were they able to stumble so terribly?
 
 
אלא אמר רבא
Rather Rava said:

תורה בעידנא דעסיק בה מגנא ומצלא
The merit of
Torah
study
protects
one from punishment and
guards
one from sin, but only
at the time
one's actually studying,

בעידנא דלא עסיק בה אגוני מגנא אצולי לא מצלא
When one
is not studying, it
only
protects
from punishment
but does not save
from sin.

מצוה בין בעידנא דעסיק בה בין בעידנא דלא עסיק בה אגוני מגנא אצולי לא מצלא
The merit of performing a
Mitzvah
,on the other hand,
protects
one from punishment
but does not save
one from sinning, even while the Mitzvah is being performed.

 
 
Time Torah Study Mitzvah
Involved Punishment / Sin Punishment
Not Involved Punishment -
 
 
רבינא אמר לעולם זכות תורה
2.
Ravina said
that the Sotah is protected through
the merit of Torah
study
,

ודקאמרת אינה מצווה ועושה
But what about the above
mentioned
question
that
women are not
obligated
in Torah study?

נהי דפקודי לא מפקדא באגרא דמקרין ומתניין בנייהו ונטרן להו לגברייהו עד דאתו מבי מדרשא מי לא פלגאן בהדייהו
While they
are not obligated
in direct Torah study
, they receive the reward by taking
their children to school, and through
waiting for their husbands
to come
from the study hall.

 
So while men receive the reward of Torah study through studying, women receive it by helping their husbands and children.
 
So even a Sotah could have the full reward of Torah study, and it pushes off her from the Sotah punishment for three years.
 
 
The Gemara continues to discuss the
 
 
מאי פרשת דרכים
What is the crossroad
mentioned in the above parable?

 
The Gemara will cite three answers:
 
 
א"ר חסדא זה ת"ח ויום מיתה
1.
Rav Chisda said
that it describes
a Torah scholar on his day of death.

רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר זה ת"ח ויראת חטא
2.
Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak
that it describes
a Torah scholar with fear of sin.

מר זוטרא אמר זה ת"ח דסלקא ליה שמעתתא אליבא דהלכתא
3.
Mar Zutra said
that it describes
a Torah scholar whose teachings are accepted as the Halacha
(and is certain that his decisions were correct)
.

 
He is saved from ever sinning since such a Torah scholar thinks words of Torah wherever he goes, and Torah protects from sin.
 
 
ד"א עבירה מכבה מצוה ואין עבירה מכבה תורה
Another
proof that Torah study is greater than performing Mitzvahs
is that a sin can extinguish
the merit of a
Mitzvah, but a sin cannot extinguish
the merit of
Torah study:

א"ר יוסף דרשיה רבי מנחם בר יוסי להאי קרא כי סיני
Rav Yosef said that Rabbi Menachem Bar Yossi expounded
the following
verse like Sinai,

ואילמלא דרשוה דואג ואחיתופל הכי לא רדפו בתר דוד
And had Doeg and Achitophel expounded
this verse
likewise, they would not have pursued Dovid.

 
As they would have known that Hashem will protect him.
 
 
דכתיב לאמר אלהים עזבו וגו'
The verse says
"Saying: Hashem has forsaken him".

 
 
 
מאי דרוש ולא יראה בך ערות דבר וגו'
Why did Doeg and Achitophel chase after Dovid?
They expounded the verse "that He sees no immodest thing in you, and turn away from you."

 
They thought that after the incident with Bas Sheva, where Dovid married a previously married woman, Hashem will abandon him and they'll be able to overpower him. But their mistake was that...
 
 
והן אינן יודעין שעבירה מכבה מצוה ואין עבירה מכבה תורה
But
they didn't realize
that while
a sin extinguishes
the merit of
a Mitzvah, a sin does not extinguish
the merit of
Torah study.

 
And as Dovid was involved in Torah study, Hashem protected him even after his sin.
 
 
The Gemara will now discuss the second part of verse:
 
 
מאי בוז יבוזו לו
What is
the interpretation of the verse
"
If a man would give all the substance of his house for love
, he would utterly be disgraced"?

 
The Gemara answers that this refers to someone who wants to buy a Torah scholar's merits:
 
 
אמר עולא לא כשמעון אחי עזריה ולא כר' יוחנן דבי נשיאה
Ullah said
that this verse does
not
refer to people
like Shimon the brother of Azarya and Rabbi Yochanan the son in law of the Nassi.

 
Where their Torah study was sponsored by their relatives before their fame.
 
 
אלא כהלל ושבנא
Rather,
it refers to the relationship between
Hillel and
his brother
Shivna .

דכי אתא רב דימי אמר ר הלל ושבנא אחי הוו
As when Rav Dimi came
from Israel,
he said
that
Hillel and Shivna were brothers,

הלל עסק בתורה שבנא עבד עיסקא
At the same time
Hillel learned Torah
in immense poverty
while Shivna did business.

לסוף א"ל תא נערוב וליפלוג
In the end,
when Hillel became famous, Shivna offered Hillel a deal to
mix
their combined learning and combined wealth
together and divide
both, so Hillel would get some money and Shivna would get some the merits of his Torah study
.

יצתה בת קול ואמרה אם יתן איש את כל הון ביתו וגו':
At that point,
a heavenly voice rang out saying "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love,
he would utterly be disgraced
".






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Dedicated in loving memory of Leah Rivka Bas Reb Dovid HaKohen A"H.
Last build: 2019-01-31T02:13:57Z