בבא מציעא  פרק  רביעי   הזהב  ( נט· )       Baba-Metzia 59a  ❃

נוח לו לאדם שיבוא על ספק אשת איש ואל ילבין פני חבירו ברבים.

- מנא לן?

- מדדרש רבא.

דדרש רבא: מאי דכתיב (תהלים ל"ה) ובצלעי שמחו ונאספו ,,, קרעו ולא דמו.

אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא: רבונו של עולם, גלוי וידוע לפניך שאם היו מקרעים בשרי לא היה דמי שותת לארץ.

ולא עוד, אלא אפילו בשעה שעוסקין בנגעים ואהלות אומרים לי: דוד, הבא על אשת איש מיתתו במה?

- ואני אומר להם: מיתתו בחנק, ויש לו חלק לעולם הבא, אבל המלבין את פני חבירו ברבים - אין לו חלק לעולם הבא.

(ואמר) (מסורת הש"ס: [אמר]) מר זוטרא בר טוביה אמר רב, ואמרי לה אמר רב חנא בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא, ואמרי לה אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחאי: נוח לו לאדם שיפיל עצמו לכבשן האש ואל ילבין פני חבירו ברבים.

מנא לן - מתמר, דכתיב (בראשית ל"ח) היא מוצאת והיא שלחה אל חמיה.

אמר רב חננא בריה דרב אידי: מאי דכתיב (ויקרא כ"ה) ולא תונו איש את עמיתו - עם שאתך בתורה ובמצוות אל תוניהו.

אמר רב: לעולם יהא אדם זהיר באונאת אשתו, שמתוך שדמעתה מצויה אונאתה קרובה.

אמר רבי אלעזר: מיום שנחרב בית המקדש ננעלו שערי תפילה, שנאמר (איכה ג') גם כי אזעק ואשוע שתם תפילתי.

ואף על פי ששערי תפילה ננעלו שערי דמעות לא ננעלו, שנאמר (תהלים ל"ט) שמעה תפלתי ה' ושועתי האזינה אל דמעתי אל תחרש.

- ואמר רב: כל ההולך בעצת אשתו נופל בגיהנם, שנאמר (מלכים א' כ"א) רק לא היה כאחאב וגו'.

- אמר ליה רב פפא לאביי: והא אמרי אינשי: איתתך גוצא גחין ותלחוש לה - לא קשיא, הא - במילי דעלמא, והא - במילי דביתא.

לישנא אחרינא: הא - במילי דשמיא, והא - במילי דעלמא.

- אמר רב חסדא: כל השערים ננעלים חוץ משערי אונאה, שנאמר (עמוס ז) הנה ה' נצב על חומת אנך ובידו אנך.

- אמר רבי אלעזר: הכל נפרע בידי שליח חוץ מאונאה, שנאמר ובידו אנך.

אמר רבי אבהו: שלשה אין הפרגוד ננעל בפניהם: אונאה, וגזל, ועבודה זרה.

אונאה - דכתיב ובידו אנך, גזל - דכתיב (ירמיהו ו') חמס ושד ישמע בה על פני תמיד, עבודה זרה - דכתיב (ישעיהו ס"ה) העם המכעיסים אתי על פני תמיד [וגו'].

אמר רב יהודה: לעולם יהא אדם זהיר בתבואה בתוך ביתו, שאין מריבה מצויה בתוך ביתו של אדם אלא על עסקי תבואה, שנאמר (תהלים קמ"ז) השם גבולך שלום חלב חטים ישביעך.

אמר רב פפא: היינו דאמרי אינשי: כמשלם שערי מכדא נקיש ואתי תגרא בביתא.

ואמר רב חיננא בר פפא: לעולם יהא אדם זהיר בתבואה בתוך ביתו, שלא נקראו ישראל דלים אלא על עסקי תבואה, שנאמר (שופטים ו') והיה אם זרע ישראל וגו'.

וכתיב (שופטים ו') ויחנו עליהם וגו', (שופטים ו') וכתיב וידל ישראל מאד מפני מדין.

(ואמר רבי) (מסורת הש"ס: [אמר ר']) חלבו: לעולם יהא אדם זהיר בכבוד אשתו, שאין ברכה מצויה בתוך ביתו של אדם אלא בשביל אשתו, שנאמר (בראשית י"ב) ולאברם הטיב בעבורה.

והיינו דאמר להו רבא לבני מחוזא: אוקירו לנשייכו כי היכי דתתעתרו.

תנן התם: חתכו חוליות ונתן חול בין חוליא לחוליא, רבי אליעזר מטהר וחכמים מטמאין.


Better it is for man to cohabit with a doubtful married woman(1) rather than that he should publicly shame his neighbour.

Whence do we know this? - From what Raba expounded, viz. , What is meant by the verse, But in mine adversity they rejoiced and gathered themselves together.

they did tear me, and ceased not?(2)

David exclaimed before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Thou knowest full well that had they torn my flesh, my blood would not have poured forth to the earth.(3)

Moreover, when they are engaged in studying "Leprosies" and "Tents"(4) they jeer at me, saying, "David! what is the death penalty of him who seduces a married woman? " I reply to them, "He is executed by strangulation, yet has he a portion in the world to come.

But he who publicly puts his neighbour to shame has no portion in the world to come. "'(5)

Mar Zutra B`Tobiah said in Rab's name - others state, R`Hana(6) B`Bizna said in the name of R`Simeon the pious - others again state, R`Johanan said on the authority of R`Simeon B`Yohai: Better had a man throw himself into a fiery furnace than publicly put his neighbour to shame.

Whence do we know it? - From Tamar.(7)

For it is written, when she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law [etc].(8)

R`Hanina, son of R`Idi, said: What is meant by the verse, Ye shall not wrong one another ['amitho]? - Wrong not a people that is with you in learning and good deeds.(9)

Rab said: One should always be heedful of wronging his wife, for since her tears are frequent she is quickly hurt.(10)

R`Eleazar said:(11) Since the destruction of the Temple, the gates of prayer are locked, for it is written, Al when I cry out, he shutteth out my prayer.(12)

Yet though the gates of prayer are locked, the gates of tears are not, for it is written, Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears.(13)

Rab also said: He who follows his wife's counsel will descend(14) into Gehenna, for it is written, But there was none like unto Ahab [which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up].(15)

R`papa objected to Abaye: But people say, If your wife is short, bend down and hear her whisper! - There is no difficulty: the one refers to general matters; the other to household affairs.(16)

Another version: the one refers to religious matters, the other to secular questions.

R`Hisda said: All gates are locked, excepting the gates [through which pass the cries of] wrong [ona'ah], for it is written, Behold the Lord stood by a wall of wrongs, and in his hand were the wrongs.(17)

R`Eleazar said: All [evil] is punished through an agent, excepting wrong, for it is written, And in his hand were the wrongs.(18)

R`Abbahu said: There are three [evils] before which the Curtain(19) is not closed: overreaching, robbery and idolatry.

Overreaching, for it is written, and in his hand was the overreaching.

Robbery, because it is written, Robbery and spoil are heard in her; they are before me continually.(20)

Idolatry, for it i written, A people that provoketh me to anger continually before my face; [that sacrificeth - sc.

to idols - in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick].(21)

Rab Judah said: One should always take heed that there be corn in his house; for strife is prevalent in a house only on account of corn [food], for it is written, He maketh peace in thy borders: he filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.(22)

Said R`papa, Hence the proverb: When the barley is quite gone from the pitcher, strife comes knocking at the door(23) , R`Hinena B`papa said: One should always take heed that there be corn in his house, because Israel were called poor only on account of [the lack of] corn, for it is said, And so it w when Israel had sown etc. , and it is further written, And they [sc. the Midianites and the Amalekites] encamped against them, [and destroyed the increase of the earth], whilst this is followed by, And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites.(24)

R`Helbo said: One must always observe the honour due to his wife, because blessings rest on a man's home only on account of his wife, for it is written, And he treated Abram well for her sake.(25)

And thus did Raba say to the townspeople of Mahuza,(26) Honour your wives, that ye may be enriched.(27)

We learnt elsewhere: If he cut it into separate tiles, placing sand between each tile: R`Eliezer declared i clean, and the Sages declared it unclean;


(1) E.g., one who was freed with a divorce, as to the validity of which doubts arose.

(2) Ps. XXXV, 15.

(3) Because of the many insults I am made to bear, which as stated above, drain the flesh of its blood.

(4) Two tractates in the sixth order of the Talmud, called 'Purity.' These are tractates of extreme difficulty and complexity, and have no bearing upon adultery or the death penalty. Thus David complained that even when engaged on totally different matters which required all their thought, they yet diverted their attention in order to humiliate him (Tosaf.) . In Sanh. 107a, the reading is: 'when they are engaged in the study of the four modes of death imposed by the Court, etc.

(5) Now Bath Sheba was a doubtful married woman, because every soldier of David's army gave his wife a conditional divorce before he left for the front, to take retrospective effect from the time of delivery in case he was lost in battle. So that when David took Bath Sheba it was doubtful whether she would prove a married woman at the time or not; and David maintained that his offence was not so grave as that of his companions.

(6) Var. lec.: Huna.

(7) Judah's daughter-in-law, with whom he unwittingly cohabited. Subsequently, on her breach of chastity being discovered, he ordered her to be burnt, and only rescinded the order when she privately sent proof to him of his own complicity; v. Gen. XXXVIII.

(8) Ibid. 25. She left it to him to confess but did not openly accuse him, choosing death rather than publicly putting him to shame. u,hng u,t og

(9) This is a play of words on ('his fellowman') reading it as two words, , the 'people that is with him.'

(10) Lit., 'her wronging is near;' - a woman is very sensitive, and therefore quick to feel and resent a hurt.

(11) [MS.M. 'For R. Eleazar said,' the statement of R. Eleazar being thus added in elucidation of Rab's dictum.]

(12) Lam. III, 8.

(13) Ps. XXXIX, 13; the idea is that the destruction of the Temple may have made it more difficult to commune with God, yet earnest prayer from the depths of the heart is always accepted.

(14) Lit., 'fall'.

(15) I Kings, XXI, 25; thus Ahab's downfall is ascribed to his action in allowing himself to be led astray by Jezebel.

(16) A man should certainly consult his wife on the latter, but not on the former, - not a disparagement of woman; her activities lying mainly in the home. lbt vtbut

(17) Amos VII, 7 (E.V. 'plumbline') is here connected with , 'overreaching', 'wronging', i.e., God is always ready to plead the cause of one who has been wronged.

(18) I.e., God in person punishes these.

(19) The Curtain of Heaven. [Hiding. so to speak, human failings from the Divine gaze.]

(20) Jer. VI, 7.

(21) Isa. LXV, 3.

(22) Ps. CXLVII, 14: the two halves of the verse are parallel to each other.

(23) Lit., 'house'.

(24) Jud. VI, 3, 4, 6.

(25) Gen. XII, 16.

(26) A large Jewish commercial town, situate on the Tigris. Raba had his academy there.

(27) The foregoing passages are Instructive on the Talmudic attitude to women. Though recognising the evil influence a bad woman can wield upon her husband, as evidenced by Ahab and Jezebel, these sayings breathe a spirit of tenderness and honour. As she is highly sensitive, the greatest care must be taken not to wound her feelings, and a husband must adapt himself to his wife; whilst it is emphatically asserted that prosperity in the home, as well as the blessings of home life, are to a great extent dependent upon her.