FROM WHEN DO WE DATE DOCUMENTS?
A case occurred in which a loan document was found. It was dated six years after the current date.
Rabanan: It is postdated. We should hold it and not allow the lender to collect until the date on it.
Rav Nachman: No, the date is for this year;
Most documents are dated from Yavan's supremacy. This scribe was precise, and dated it from the start of Yavan's rule, therefore the date is six years more than we normally write. (This is more reasonable than to say that the lender agreed to write a postdated document, for then he forfeits the right to collect from property sold in the interim!)
(R. Yosi): Yavan ruled in Eilam for six years, then they conquered the world.
Question (Rav Acha bar Yakov): What is the source that the document was dated from Yavan's rule? Perhaps it was dated from Yetzi'as Miztrayim (which was exactly 1000 years before Yavan conquered the world); the scribe omitted the 1000, and only wrote the number of years above 1000.
If so, it is postdated!
Answer (Rav Nachman): In Bavel, we date documents only from the reign of Yavan.
Support #1: Rav Acha bar Yakov found a Beraisa saying exactly like Rav Nachman.
Support #2 (Ravina -Mishnah): The first of Nisan is Rosh Hashanah for kings and festivals;
Question: In what sense is it Rosh Hashanah for kings?
Answer (Rav Chisda): It is for documents (we write 'in such and such year of King Ploni', counting his years from Nisan).
(Mishnah): The first of Tishrei is Rosh Hashanah for years and Shemitah;
Question: In what sense is it Rosh Hashanah for years?
Answer (Rav Chisda): It is Rosh Hashanah for documents.
Question: He himself said that Nisan is Rosh Hashanah for documents!
Answer: We count the years of Yisrael kings from Nisan, and of Nochri kings from Tishrei.
Summation of support: Every Tishrei we (in Bavel) add onto the year on our documents. If we counted from Yetzi'as Miztrayim, we would count from Nisan!
THE DAY OF GINUSIYA
(Mishnah): The day of Ginusiya of kings...
Question: What is this?
Answer #1: (Rav Yehudah): It is the day the Nochrim crowned their king.
Question (Beraisa): The day of Ginusiya of kings and the day Nochrim crowned their king... (This shows that they are different!)
Answer: One is the day that the king was crowned, and the other is the day his son was crowned.
Objection: In Rome, the king's son does not succeed him!
(Rav Yosef): "Katon Nesaticha ba'Goyim" - Edom does not have a hereditary monarchy;
"Bazuy Atah Me'od" - they do not have their own language (Rashi - they took from other nations; Tosfos - they do not have a special royal language).
Answer #2: Rather, it is the king's birthday.
Question (Beraisa): The day of Ginusiya of kings and (the king's) birthday.
Answer: One is the king's birthday, and the other is his son's birthday.
Objection (Beraisa): The day of Ginusiya of the king and his son, the king's birthday and that of his son.
Answer #1 (as we gave above): Really, it is the day the Nochrim crowned their king.
Question: The Beraisa mentioned both the day of Ginusiya of kings and the day Nochrim crowned their king!
Answer: One is the day the king was crowned, and the other is the day his son was crowned.
Question: In Rome, the king's son does not succeed him!
Answer: The king can ask the nobles to allow his son to succeed him, like Antoninus did.
REBBI WAS ANTONINUS' TEACHER
Antoninus (to Rebbi): I want my son Asvirus to succeed me; and I want to exempt Tiverya from taxes, but the nobles will not grant both requests!
Rebbi told Ploni 'climb on top of Almoni.' He put a dove in Almoni's hands, and told Ploni 'tell Almoni to let the dove go.'
Antoninus understood 'I should ask the nobles to let my son succeed me, and I will ask my son Asvirus to exempt Tiverya from taxes.'
Antoninus: The nobles are paining me!
Rebbi walked with Antoninus in the garden. Each day, he uprooted one tree.
Antoninus understood 'I should kill one noble each day, and not confront them all together.'
Question: Why didn't Rebbi explicitly counsel him?
Answer: He was afraid lest the nobles harm him.
Question: He could have whispered, so no one else would know!
Answer: "Ki Of ha'Shamayim Yolich Es ha'Kol" (it would become known).
Antoninus' daughter Gira sinned. He sent a plant called Gargira (hinting that Gar (had illicit relations) Gira).
Rebbi sent back coriander (Kusbarta, hinting that he should Kus Barta (slaughter his daughter).
Antoninus sent back leeks (Karti, i.e. should I cut off (Kores) my seed?!).
Rashi sent back lettuce (Chasa, he should Chas (have compassion on her. Tosfos - Rebbi initially meant Kus Barta, i.e. cover up for your daughter. Antoninus misunderstood.)
Every day Antoninus used to send gold to Rebbi in leather bags. He told his servants that he was sending wheat (and put wheat on top, in case they would check).
Rebbi: I do not need it, I have enough!
Antoninus: Take, for your descendants will need to pay tribute to mine!
Every day Antoninus would go through a cave to go to Rebbi's house to learn Torah. He would take two guards with him. He would kill one at Rebbi's door, and the other when he returned. He told Rebbi that no one else should be with them. One day, he saw R. Chanina bar Chama there, and was upset.
Rebbi: He is not a (regular) person.
Antoninus (to R. Chanina): My servant is sleeping at the door. Tell him to come.
R. Chanina found that the servant was dead. (He did not know that he was being tested.) He reasoned: it is improper to return and say that I could not fulfill my mission; it is disrespectful to the king to not return at all.
He prayed that the servant should be revived. Hash-m did so.
Antoninus: I see that even your small Talmidim can revive the dead! In any case, no one else should be with us.
Antoninus used to serve Rebbi. He would give to him to eat and drink. He would ask Rebbi to step on him when Rebbi wanted to enter his bed.
Rebbi: It is improper to treat a king so lowly!
Antoninus: I should merit being a sheet under you in the world to come! Will you bring me there?
Antoninus: it says "v'Lo Yihyeh Sarid l'Veis Esav"!
Rebbi: That refers to those who act like Esav.
A Beraisa says just like Rebbi.
Antoninus: It says "Shamah (in Gehinom) Edom Melacheha v'Chol Nesi'eha"!
Rebbi: There are "Melacheha", but not all its kings (it says 'all' only regarding Nesi'im), and "v'Chol Nesi'eha", but not all its Sarim (nobles).
(Beraisa): "Melacheha", but not all its kings, excludes Antoninus. "V'Chol Nesi'eha", but not all its nobles, excludes Keti'a bar Shalom.
KETI'A BAR SHALOM
There was a Kaiser who hated Yisrael. He asked his nobles 'if one has a wart on his foot (i.e. Yisrael), should he cut it off and get better, or leave it and be in pain?'
The nobles: He should cut it off!
Keti'a bar Shalom: Firstly, you cannot wipe out Yisrael - "k'Arba Ruchos ha'Shamayim Perashti Eschem";
Question: What does this mean?
Suggestion: Hash-m spread Yisrael to the four corners of the world.
Rejection: If so, it should rather say 'l'Arba Ruchos... '!
Answer: Rather, just like the world cannot endure without the winds, it cannot endure without Yisrael.
Secondly, if you did kill them, you would be called a Keti'a (cut off) kingdom!
Kaiser: You are right. However, the punishment for outwitting the king is to be cast (to die) in a house of earth (Rashi; R. Chananel - into a furnace).
While he was being led to his death, a Nochris exclaimed 'woe, the ship goes without the tax!' (You will be killed for defending Yisrael, but you will not get a share in the world to come with them, for you are uncircumcised!)
Keti'a fell on his foreskin, thereby cutting it. He declared 'my property is given to R. Akiva and his colleagues.'
R. Akiva: "V'Hayah l'Aharon ul'Vanav" teaches that Aharon gets half (of the Lechem ha'Panim), and the other Kohanim get half. (Here also, I get half, and my colleagues get half.)
A voice from Heaven announced 'Keti'a bar Shalom is prepared for the world to come (he need not go to Gehinom first).'
Rebbi cried: Some acquire their share in the world to come in a moment, and some acquire their share over the course of many years.
Antoninus served Rebbi (like a Talmid). Adarchan (a Nochri noble) served Rav. When each of them died, his Rebbi lamented 'the bond of love has been severed.'