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Sanhedrin 97

SANHEDRIN 96-100 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the third Yahrzeit of her father, Reb Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner), who passed away 18 Teves 5760. May the merit of supporting and advancing Talmud study serve as an Iluy for his Neshamah



(a) Rav Nachman asked Rebbi Yitzchak whether he had heard when bar Nifli was due to arrive. 'bar Nifli' - Mashi'ach, was called by that name - on account of the Pasuk in Amos "ba'Yom ha'Hu Akim es Sucks David ha'Nofales".

(b) Rebbi Yitzchak citing Rebbi Yochanan, replied that the generation of Mashi'ach will witness a dearth of Talmidei-Chachamim. Besides a longing that will end in grief and sighing, the hallmark of that generation will be - many troubles and decrees that follow each other in quick succession.

(a) The Beraisa describes the Sh'mitah-cycle of Mashi'ach. The first year will witness rain on some cities but not on others, and the second year, acute famine, whereas the third year will bring - a heavy famine, which will kill men, women and children, pious men, men of good deeds and of Torah-knowledge. The scholars will forget the Torah they have learned - due to hunger.

(b) If the fourth year will be a year of plenty, though limited, the fifth year will be - one of absolute plenty, when people will eat, drink and be happy, a situation which will cause the scholars to recall the Torah that they forgot.

(c) The sixth year will witness Kolos which means - either rumors that Mashi'ach is on his way, or the voice of the Shofar that will precede his arrival (see also Agados Maharsha).

(d) The seventh year will consist of wars, whereas the year after the Sh'mitah - will herald the long-awaited Mashi'ach.

(a) Rav Yosef asked in surprise that many Sh'mitos had seen wars, yet Mashi'ach had not yet arrived, to which Abaye replied - that a. it had not been preceded by 'Kolos' in the sixth year, and b. the pattern of Tzaros (in the early years) must follow the sequence described by the Tana.

(b) The significance of the Pasuk that some versions quote here "Asher Cherfucha Oyvecha Hashem, Asher Cherfu Ikvos Meshichecha" is - that it depicts one of the signs of Mashi'ach (cited in Sotah) 'Chutzpah Yasgi' (an abundance of Chutzpah).

(c) In another Beraisa, Rebbi Yehudah describes the generation of Mashi'ach. The Beis ha'Va'ad - the place where Talmidei-Chachamim meet to study Torah, he says, will become a brothel.

(d) The Galil will be destroyed he continues, the Gavlan desolate and the men of G'vul will wander from place to place and no-one will take pity on them. 'The men of ...

1. ... G'vul' are - men who live on the borders of Eretz Yisrael.
2. ... Gazis' (as other texts read) are - members of the Sanhedrin.
(a) The wisdom of the Chachamim will be scorned and those who fear G-d rejected. When Rebbi Yehudah said that the face of the generation will be like that of a dog, he means - either that they will behave like dogs (see Margalis ha'Yam), or that they will have no shame before one another (see also Eitz Yosef).

(b) And when he says ...

1. ... 've'ha'Emes Ne'ederes', say Amri de'Bei Rav, he means - that it is only to be found in flocks (here and there) see also Agados Maharsha.
2. ... 've'Sar me'Ra Mishtolel", Amri de'Bei Rebbi Shilo explain, he means - that people will consider those who run away from evil to be idiots.
(c) Rava initially thought that there was no truth left in the world. Rav Tavos (or Rav Tivyumi) told him - that he would not deviate from the truth if one were to offer him all the treasures in the world.
(a) This was due to a bitter experience that he had when he lived in Kushta. What was special about the town Kushta was - that none of its inhabitants died prematurely, because they spoke only the truth.

(b) Rav Tavos - went to live there and married a local woman, who bore him two sons.

(c) When a neighbor once asked for his wife, who was washing her hair - he considered it improper to answer her truthfully, so he replied that she was not at home.

(d) As a result of his lie - his two sons died, and he was asked to leave Kushta (known elsewhere as Luz).

(a) According to Rebbi Nehora'i, in the generation of Mashi'ach, young boys will shame old men. He comments that ...
1. ... old men will be made to stand up for young boys (who demand Kavod).
2. ... daughters (and daughters-in-law) - will insult and embarrass their mothers (and mothers-in-law).
(b) He too agrees that the face of the generation will resemble that of a dog. And he adds that - a son will behave in front of his father with no shame.

(c) According to Rebbi Nechemyah in another Beraisa, Mashi'ach will not come until Chutzpah abounds. 've'ha'Yoker Ye'aves' means - either that honor will be twisted (meaning that people will not respect each other), or that the most honorable person will be a cheat.

(d) There will be plenty of grapes yet wine will be expensive - either because there will no B'rachah in the fruit (so that a lot of grapes will be required to produce a little wine), or because everybody will want it, and the sellers will raise their prices to exploit the high demand.

(a) Rava cites a Pasuk in Tazri'a to prove Rebbi Nechemyah's final sign of Mashi'ach "Kulo Hafach Lavan Tahor Hu". Rebbi Nechemyah's final sign of Mashi'ach is - that the entire ruling power will become heretical and there will be nobody to rebuke them.

(b) Rava's proof from the Pasuk is - that like by Tzara'as, when the entire piece of flesh has signs of Tum'ah, it becomes Tahor, so too, when the entire ruling power is heretical, Mashi'ach will come.

(c) The Pasuk in Ha'azinu writes "When Hashem judges His people ... when He sees that the hand is getting stronger, and there is no-one to help". According to the Beraisa, "judges His people" refers to - the coming of Mashi'ach, and "the hand is getting stronger" - to the sneaks (Jews who hand over their fellow-Jews and their money to the ruling power). When the latter increase Mashi'ach will come.

(d) Others say that "Ozlas Yad" refers to the diminishing of Talmidim (who help Yisrael to return to their Father in Heaven), or to the empty hand (no money). Another opinion explains that the end of the Pasuk "ve'Efes Atzur ve'Azuv" - refers to those who have given up hope, who maintain that no-one will help them and that Mashi'ach will not come.

(a) When Rebbi Zeira saw the Chachamim discussing the coming of Mashi'ach - he would ask them not to keep him at bay by discussing him, since Mashi'ach is destined to come with Hesech ha'Da'as (only when one is not thinking about him).

(b) Besides finding a lost article - a scorpion's bite too, comes when one least expects it.


1. Rav Ketina learns from the Pasuk "ve'Nisgav Hashem Levado ba'Yom ha'Hu" - that after the six thousand years of Olam ha'Zeh (but before Techi'as ha'Meisim), there will be one thousand years during which time Hashem will reign alone.
2. Abaye learns from the Pasuk "Yechayenu mi'Yomayim, ba'Yom ha'Shelishi Yekimenu ve'Yichyeh Lefanav" - that Hashem will reign alone not for one thousand years, but for two.
(d) We cite a Beraisa in support of Rav Ketina. Based on the same Pasuk as Rav Ketina, the Tana says that, just as in the cycle of Sh'mitah, the six years are followed by one year of Sh'mitah (where the land lies fallow), so too, after six thousand years, there will be one thousand (during which time the world will 'lie fallow').
(a) According to the Beraisa, the Pasuk "Mizmor Shir le'Yom ha'Shabbos" - refers to those one thousand years, since one day of Hashem lasts a thousand of our years ...

(b) ... as the Tana learns from the Pasuk "Ki Elef Shanim be'Einecha ke'Yom Esmol Ki Ya'avor".

(c) Tana de'Bei Eliyahu breaks down the years of the world (until Mashi'ach) into three. The first two thousand years of the world's existence were devoid of Torah, and the two thousand years of Torah (which was only given officially in 2448) began - in the year two thousand, when Avraham, at the age of fifty-two, began teaching the people of Charan Monotheism.

(d) The Tana comments about the years of the two thousand of Mashi'ach that have already passed - that, due to our sins, so many of those years have already passed (and Mashi'ach has not yet come).

(a) Given that Ma'amad Har Sinai took place in the year 2448, the years that would elapse ...
1. ... until the building of the first Beis-Hamikdash were - 520 (40 years in the desert, plus 480 years in Eretz Yisrael).
2. ... from the building until its destruction were - 410.
3. ... from the destruction until the destruction of the second Beis-Hamikdash were - 490 (the 70 years of Galus Bavel plus 420 of the second Beis-Hamikdash).
(b) 172 years remained until the two thousand years of Mashi'ach would begin.

(c) The significance of the two thousand years of Mashi'ach is - that any time during that period, Mashi'ach can come, bringing an end to Galus Edom and Yishmael.

(d) We cannot imply from 'the two thousand years of Torah', that Torah would come to an end once the two thousand years of Mashi'ach began - because the Tana only refers to the 'two thousand years of Torah' to balance the 'two thousand years of void' (which did come to an end with the two thousand years of Torah).




(a) Eliyahu ha'Navi told Rav Yehudah the brother of Rav Sala Chasida - that this world would not last less than eighty-five Yovlos, and that in the last Yovel, Mashi'ach would come.

(b) When Rav Yehudah asked him whether ...

1. ... Mashi'ach will come at the beginning of the last Yovel or at the end - he replied that he did not know.
2. ... the time would elapse before Mashi'ach comes or not (see Agados Maharsha) - he replied that he did not know that either.
(c) According to Rav Ashi's interpretation, Rav Yehudah's questions are not relevant, because in his opinion, what Eliyahu said was - that Mashi'ach would not come before eighty-five Yovlim had elapsed, and that once they had, one should expect his arrival at any time.
(a) Rav Chanan bar Tachlifa informed Rav Yosef that he found someone with an authentic scroll. He ...
1. ... found the scroll - in a national treasury, whilst in the employ of a Roman soldier.
2. ... knew that it was authentic - because it was written in the Ashuri script and in Lashon ha'Kodesh (see Agados Maharsha).
(b) The scroll stated - that after the year 4231, the battles of the Taninim (fish [presumably, the Livyasan]- see also Agados Maharsha) and those of Gog and Magog would terminate, and the days of Mashi'ach would arrive ...

(c) ... though Hashem would only renew His world ...

1. ... after the year seven thousand, according to the scroll.
2. ... according to Rav Acha B'rei de'Rava - only after the year five thousand.
(a) When the Beraisa, quoting Rebbi Nasan, states, regarding the Pasuk "Im Yismahmah, Chakeh Lo", 'Mikra Zeh Nokev ve'Yored ad ha'Tehom', it means - that just as one cannot fathom the depths of the sea, so too, can one not fathom the date of the coming of Mashi'ach (one just has to wait, longingly and patiently, for the time to arrive ["Ki Vo Yavo, Lo Ye'acher"]).

(b) 'Not like various Tana'im, according to whom Mashi'ach should already have arrived. According to ...

1. ... our Rebbes, who Darshened the Pasuk in Daniel "ad Idan Idunin u'Pelag Idan", he ought to have arrived - by the year 4400 (three and a half times four hundred [the years of Galus Mitzrayim).
2. ... Rebbi Simla'i, who Darshened the Pasuk in Tehilim "Ha'achaltem Lechem Dim'ah, va'Tashkeimo bi'Dema'os *Sha'lish*", he ought to have arrived - by the year 44i0 (three times the 400 years of Galus Mitzrayim plus three times the 70 of Galus Bavel).
3. ... Rebbi Akiva, who Darshened the Pasuk in Chagai "Od Achas Me'at, va'Ani Mar'ish es ha'Shamayim ve'es ha'Aretz, he ought to have arrived - shortly after Churban Bayis Sheini (which took place in the year 4828).
(c) The Pasuk in Chagai referred to various kingdoms in the time of the second Beis-Hamikash, after which *genuine* sovereignty ceased. When the Tana says ...
1. ... 'Malchus Rishon Shiv'im Shanah', he means - the kingdom of the Chashmona'im (the hundred and three years listed in connection with this and the next kingdom, are not considered *genuine* sovereignty).
2. ... 'Malchus Sheini Chamishim u'Shetayim', he means that of Hurdus (Herod, in spite of the Seider Olam, as we just explained).
(d) The reign of ben Kuziba lasted - two and a half years.
(a) Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeini Amar Rebbi Yonasan interprets the Pasuk "ve'Yafe'ach le'Ketz ve'Lo Yechazev" to mean - that those who reckon the coming of Mashi'ach, and when he fails to arrive, they conclude that he will not come at all, will perish ('Teipach Atzman [or Rucham', as the Rambam writes]).

(b) In fact, even Hashem awaits the coming of Mashi'ach, as the Pasuk writes "Lachen, Yechakeh Hashem La'chananchem". Even though Hashem longs for Mashi'ach and so do we, he does not come - because the Midas ha'Din does not let him.

(c) Seeing as we do not know when Mashi'ach is due to arrive, (neither will waiting for him bring him any sooner) it is nevertheless a Mitzvah to wait (even though waiting merely leads to disappointment - Agados Maharsha) - because the waiting itself earns us a reward (as the Navi Yeshayah himself writes "Ashrei Kol Chochei Lo").

(a) Abaye learns from the Pasuk that we just quoted "Ashrei Kol Chochei *Lo*" - that, in each generation, there are at least thirty-six Tzadikim (the numerical value of "Lo") who receive the Shechinah.

(b) Rava interprets the Pasuk (in connection with Yerushalayim shel Ma'alah) "Saviv Shemonah-Asar Elef" - with reference to the eighteen thousand Tzadikim comprising the front row of Neshamos who stand before Hashem (far more than the thirty-six per generation of Abaye).

(c) We reconcile Abaye and Rava's statements - by establishing Abaye by Tzadikim who have a clear vision (who see the shine of the Shechinah in its full brilliance from up close ['be'Ispaklarya ha'Me'irah']), and Rava, by those who see it dimmed from afar ('be'Ispaklarya she'Einah Me'irah').

(d) Chizkiyah Amar Rebbi Yirmiyah in the name of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai said that if the people who were constantly growing in stature (spiritually) numbered ...

1. ... a thousand - then he and his son, Rebbi Elazar, were among them.
2. ... a hundred - then he and his son, Rebbi Elazar, were among them.
3. ... two - then he and his son Rebbi Elazar, were they.
(e) We reconcile this with Abaye, according to whom there are thirty-six Tzadikim who see with a clear vision - by establishing his statement with regard to those who require permission to enter, whereas Rebbi Shimon is speaking about those who do not.
(a) According to Rav, all the 'Kitzin' had already passed in his time. Mashi'ach will come, he says - when we do Teshuvah and perform good deeds.

(b) When Shmuel says 'Dayo le'Aveil she'Ya'amod be'Evlo' - he might be referring to Hashem (who is mourning for Yisrael in Galus, but, like an Aveil, the period of mourning must come to an automatic end. Or he might be referring to the mourning of K'lal Yisrael over their suffering, which is bound to come to an end, too.

(c) When Rebbi Eliezer said that the Ge'ulah depends exclusively on Teshuvah, Rebbi Yehoshua replied - that if Yisrael do not perform Teshuvah under their own steam, then Hashem will set up against them a king whose decrees resemble those of Haman, and they will be forced to do Teshuvah.

(a) In another Beraisa, Rebbi Eliezer quotes a series of Pesukim, intimating that the Ge'ulah depends exclusively on Teshuvah, whereas Rebbi Yehoshua cites many Pesukim proving that it will come about, even if they don't. Rebbi Yehoshua explains the Pasuk ...
1. ... "*Chinam* Nimkartem, ve'Lo *be'Kesef* Tiga'elu" to mean - that Yisrael were sold into Galus for worshipping idols, and they will be redeemed even without Teshuvah.
2. ... "Ki Anochi Ba'alti Bachem, ve'Lakachti Eschem Echad me'Ir u'Shenayim mi'Mishpachah" to mean - that Hashem will take them us out of Galus by force (even if we have not done Teshuvah).
3. ... "Koh Amar Hashem, Ho'el Yisrael ... le'Vezoh Nefesh li'Mesa'ev Goy le'Eved Moshlim, Melachim Yir'u va'Kamu, Sarim va'Yishtachavu" - to mean that He will redeem the same disgusting and abominable people whom He sent into exile, even if they do not do Teshuvah on their own volition.
(b) The Pasuk that Rebbi Yehoshua quotes to which Rebbi Eliezer has no answer is - "va'Eshma es ha'Ish ... ve'Yishava be'Chayei Olam Ki le'Mo'ed Mo'adim va'Chetzi ... ", since the time limit precludes the prerequisite of Teshuvah.
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