POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Avodah Zarah 18
1) THE EXECUTION OF R. CHANINA BEN TERADYON
(a) They charged R. Chanina ben Tradyon: Why did you engage
2) SAVING HIS DAUGHTER
(b) R. Chanina: Hash-m commanded me to!
(c) They immediately decreed that he would be burned, his
wife would be killed, and his daughter (one of them)
would be placed in a harlots' booth.
(d) It was decreed that he would be burned, because he was
Hogeh the letters of Hash-m's name (Rashi - he expounded
them (we are thinking, to achieve his desires); Tosfos -
he pronounced His name as it is written).
(e) Question: How could he do so?
1. (Mishnah): The following have no share in the world
to come: one who denies that Hash-m gave the Torah,
one who denies that the Torah alludes to the world
(f) Answer: He did so for the sake of learning.
2. Aba Sha'ul says, also one who says the letters of
1. (Beraisa): You may not learn (witchcraft) to
practice it, but you may learn it to understand (the
laws of it) and to give rulings about it. (And
similarly regarding Hogeh the letters of His name).
(g) Question: If so, why was he punished?
(h) Answer: He did so in public.
(i) It was decreed that his wife would be killed, because she
did not protest to what he did.
1. This teaches that one who could protest and does not
(j) It was decreed that his daughter would be placed in a
harlots' booth for she once acted immodestly:
1. She once walked in front of important people of
Romi; she heard them praise the way she stepped, and
made an effort to take nice steps.
(k) When they were taken out for their punishments, they
justified Hash-m's decree:
2. (Reish Lakish): "Avon Akevai Yesubeni" -
transgressions that a person does with his feet
(some say - tramples, i.e. ignores) in this world
surround him on the day of judgment (in the world to
1. R. Chanina: "Ha'Tzur Tamim Pa'alo..."
(l) Rebbi: They were such great Tzadikim that there was a
verse to justify the judgment of each one!
2. His wife: "Kel Emunah v'Ein Avel"
3. His daughter: "Gedol ha'Etzah v'Rav ha'Aliliyah...Al
Kol Darchei Benei Adam"
(m) (Beraisa): When R. Yosi ben Kisma fell sick, R. Chanina
ben Tradyon visited him.
1. R. Yosi: Hash-m put Romi in power, allowed them to
destroy the Mikdash and kill the greatest Tzadikim,
and they are still ruling;
(n) Soon after this, R. Yosi ben Kisma died; the Roman
officials went to bury him, and eulogized him greatly. On
their return, they saw R. Chanina ben Tradyon teaching
Torah to multitudes, holding a Sefer Torah.
i. I hear that you teach Torah to multitudes,
holding a Sefer Torah (you are endangering
2. R. Chanina: Hash-m will have mercy on me (to protect
3. R. Yosi: That is not a proper answer! I suspect that
you will be burned with the Sefer Torah!
4. R. Chanina: What kind of share will I have in the
world to come?
5. R. Yosi: Is there an episode that characterizes you?
6. R. Chanina: I once collected money for Purim, and I
mistakenly thought it was regular Tzedakah, and gave
it as such; later, I donated that amount for Purim.
7. R. Yosi: I hope that I will have a share like you!
(o) They wrapped him in the Sefer Torah and surrounded him
with bundles of vines, which they lit on fire. They put
wet sponges over his heart, so he would not die quickly.
1. His daughter: Woe that I see you thusly!
(p) Rebbi cried: Some acquire their share in the world to
come in a moment, some acquire their share over the
course of many years!
2. R. Chanina: If I was burned alone, I would feel bad;
since they burn me with the Sefer Torah, Hash-m will
avenge the burning of the Torah, and also the
burning of me.
3. His Talmidim: What do you see?
4. R. Chanina: The margins of the parchment are
burning, the letters are flying in the air.
5. His Talmidim: Open your mouth, so the fire will
enter and you will die quickly!
6. R. Chanina: Hash-m gave me my soul, He will take it,
7. The executioner: Rebbi, if I increase the fire and
remove the sponges, will you bring me to the world
8. R. Chanina agreed, and swore to him about this. The
executioner did as he said; R. Chanina died quickly,
and the executioner jumped into the fire.
9. A voice from Heaven: R. Chanina and the executioner
are prepared for the world to come.
(a) Bruriya, R. Meir's wife, was also R. Chanina's daughter;
she was distraught that her sister was in a harlot's
booth. R. Meir was confident that if she was still a
Tzadekes, Hash-m would miraculously enable him to redeem
(b) He took a great amount of money and dressed up like a
(Roman) soldier. He went to her booth, and requested her
1. R. Chanina's daughter: I cannot, I am menstruating!
(c) R. Meir understood that she would say this to everyone,
and never sinned. He asked her guardian to release her.
2. R. Meir: I will wait for you!
3. R. Chanina's daughter: There are many girls here
prettier than me!
1. The guardian: I fear the kingdom!
2. R. Meir: Take this money; half you can use to bribe
your overseer when he threatens you (Rashi; Tosfos -
you will give it in place of the tax they collect
for each harlot), the other half you can enjoy.
3. The guardian: What will I do when the money runs
4. R. Meir: Say 'G-d of Meir, answer me!' and you will
3) "MOSHAV LETZIM" - FRIVOLITY
5. The guardian: Who says that I will be answered?
(d) The guardian released her. The king found out; they hung
him on a gallows. He said 'G-d of Meir, answer me'; he
6. R. Meir demonstrated: he threw dirt at vicious dogs,
inciting them to eat him. He said 'G-d of Meir,
answer me'; the dogs left him alone.
1. The executioners: What is going on?
(e) One day, he was seen;
2. The guardian explained. They carved R. Meir's image
on the gates of Romi, and announced that whoever
sees him should seize him.
1. Version #1: He fled to a house of harlotry.
(f) His pursuers: That cannot be R. Meir!
2. Version #2: He found food of Nochrim; he dipped
fingers in it, and sucked (different) fingers.
3. Version #3: Eliyahu assumed the form of a harlot,
and was embracing him.
(g) Version #1: On account of this, R. Meir fled to Bavel.
(h) Version #2: R. Meir fled to Bavel out of shame over his
wife (who succumbed to temptation and killed herself out
(a) (Beraisa #1): The following are forbidden on account of
frivolity: going to stadiums (e.g. bullfighting) or a
siege around a city where they engage in witchcraft,
snake-charming, or other frivolity;
1. "Ashrei...Lo Halach...Ki Im b'Toras Hash-m" - going
to frivolity causes one to be idle from Torah.
(b) Contradiction (Beraisa #2): It is permitted to go to
stadiums, for (if a Yisrael is thrown to the bull) one
can scream to save him;
1. It is permitted to go to a siege around a city, for
if they conquer the city, he may be able to save
(c) Answer - part 1: We can resolve the contradiction
regarding a siege - Beraisa #1 forbids it when the
Yisrael encourages (Tosfos - is counted with) them.
2. One may not encourage them to besiege the city
(Rashi; Tosfos - one may not be counted among the
(d) Answer - part 2: Tana'im argue whether or not we may go
to a stadium.
1. (Beraisa): It is forbidden to go to a stadium, it is
(e) (Beraisa - R. Meir): It is forbidden to go to theatres
and stadiums because they are Mezavel (Rashi - oversee
the needs of; Tosfos - sacrifice to) idolatry;
2. R. Noson permits it for two reasons: perhaps he can
scream to save a Yisrael, or at least he will be
able to testify that he died to permit the widow to
(f) Chachamim say, where they are Mezavel, it is forbidden
lest people think that he is Mezavel; where they are not
Mezavel, it is forbidden on account of frivolity.
(g) Question: What is the difference between them?
(h) Answer (R. Chanina mi'Sura): If he bought or sold there.
(According to R. Meir, we are concerned for money of
idolatry, it is forbidden b'Diavad, Chachamim permit it.)
(i) (R. Shimon ben Pazi) Question: "Ashrei...Lo Halach...Lo
Amad uv'Moshav Letzim Lo Yashav" - since he did not go,
of course he did not stand; since he did not stand, of
course he did not sit, of course he did not scoff!
(j) Answer (R. Shimon ben Pazi): The verse teaches that had
he gone, in the end he would have stood; had he stood, in
the end he would have sat; had he sat, in the end he
would have scoffed.
1. Regarding frivolity, it says "V'Latzta Levadecha
Tisa" (you will bear the punishment yourself).
(k) (R. Elazar): Anyone who scoffs is afflicted - "Al
Tislotzatzu Pen Yechzeku Mosereichem".
(l) Rava: Please don't scoff, so you won't bring afflictions
(m) (Rav Ketina): Anyone who scoffs, his income will be
reduced - "(Hash-m) Mashach Yado Es Lotzetzim".
(n) (Reish Lakish): Anyone who scoffs falls to Gehinom -
1. 'Evrah' refers to Gehinom - "Yom Evrah ha'Yom
(o) (R. Oshaya): Anyone who gets haughty falls to Gehinom -
"Zed Yahir...b'Evras Zadon";
1. 'Evrah' refers to Gehinom - "Yom Evrah..."
(p) (R. Chanila'i bar Chanila'i): Anyone who scoffs brings
destruction to the world - "Al Tislotzatzu...Ki Cholah
(q) (R. Elazar): Scoffery is severe, it starts with
punishments and ends with destruction.
(r) (R. Shimon ben Pazi): "Ashrei...Lo Halach ba'Atzas
Resha'im" - to the theatres and stadiums of Nochrim;
1. "Uv'Derech Chataim Lo Amad" - he did not stand among
people who hunt for fun;
2. "Uv'Moshav Letzim Lo Yashav" - he did not sit among
people planning evil;
3. Suggestion: Since he did not go to the theatres or,
and he did not stand among hunters, he may indulge
4. Rejection: "Uv'Soraso Yehgeh Yomam va'Lailah".