THE EXECUTION OF R. CHANINA BEN TERADYON
It was decreed that he be burned, for he was Hogeh the letters of Hash-m's name (Rashi - he expounded them; Tosfos - he pronounced His name as it is written).
Question: How could he do so?
(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 to come;
Aba Sha'ul says, also one who is Hogeh Hash-m's name.
Answer: (Aba Sha'ul discusses one who does so to achieve his desires.) Rav Chanina did so for the sake of learning.
(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. (The same applies to being Hogeh His name.)
Question: If so, why was he punished?
Answer: He did so in public.
It was decreed that his wife be killed, because she did not protest to what he did.
This teaches that if one could protest, but does not, he is punished.
It was decreed that his daughter would be placed in a harlots' booth, for she once acted immodestly:
She once walked in front of important people of Romi, and heard them praise the way she stepped. She made an effort to take nice steps.
(Reish Lakish): "Avon Akevai Yesubeni" - transgressions that one does with his feet (some say - tramples, i.e. ignores) in this world surround him on the day of judgment (in the world to come).
When they were taken out for their punishments, they justified Hash-m's decree:
R. Chanina: "Ha'Tzur Tamim Pa'alo..."
His wife: "Kel Emunah v'Ein Avel."
His daughter: "Gedol ha'Etzah v'Rav ha'Aliliyah... Al Kol Darchei Bnei Adam."
Rebbi: They were such great Tzadikim that there was a verse to justify the judgment of each one!
(Beraisa): When R. Yosi ben Kisma fell sick, R. Chanina ben Tradyon (his Talmid) visited him.
R. Yosi: Hash-m put Romi in power, allowed them to destroy the Mikdash and kill the greatest Tzadikim, and they are still ruling;
I hear that you teach Torah to multitudes, holding a Sefer Torah! (You endanger yourself!)
R. Chanina: Hash-m will have mercy on me (to protect me).
R. Yosi: That is not a proper answer! I suspect that you will be burned with the Sefer Torah!
R. Chanina: What kind of share will I have in the world to come?
R. Yosi: Is there an episode that characterizes you?
R. Chanina: I once collected money for Purim, and I mistakenly thought it was (Stam) Tzedakah, and gave it for Tzedakah. Later, I donated that amount for Purim.
R. Yosi: I hope that I will have a share like you!
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.
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.
His daughter: Woe that I see you this way!
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.
His Talmidim: What do you see?
R. Chanina: The margins of the parchment are burning, and the letters are flying in the air.
His Talmidim: Open your mouth, so the fire will enter and you will die quickly!
R. Chanina: Hash-m gave me my soul. He will take it, and not I.
The executioner: Rebbi, if I increase the fire and remove the sponges, will you bring me to the world to come?
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.
A voice from Heaven: R. Chanina and the executioner are prepared for the world to come.
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!
SAVING HIS DAUGHTER
Bruriya, R. Meir's wife, was the daughter of R. Chanina. 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 her.
He took a great amount of money and dressed up like a (Roman) soldier. He went to her booth, and requested her services.
R. Chanina's daughter: I cannot. I am menstruating!
R. Meir: I will wait for you!
R. Chanina's daughter: There are many girls here prettier than me!
R. Meir understood that she would say this to everyone, and she never sinned. He asked her guardian to release her.
The guardian: I fear the kingdom!
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), and the other half you can enjoy.
The guardian: What will I do when the money runs out?
R. Meir: Say 'G-d of Meir, answer me!' and you will be saved.
The guardian: Who says that I will be answered?
R. Meir demonstrated. He threw earth at vicious dogs, inciting them to eat him. He said 'G-d of Meir, answer me'; the dogs left him alone.
The guardian released her. The king found out; they hung him on a gallows. He said 'G-d of Meir, answer me'; he came down.
The executioners: What is going on?
The guardian explained. They carved R. Meir's image on the gates of Romi, and announced that whoever sees him should seize him.
One day, he was seen;
Version #1: He fled to a house of harlotry.
Version #2: He found food of Nochrim; he dipped fingers in it, and sucked (different) fingers (it seemed he eats it with appetite).
Version #3: Eliyahu assumed the form of a harlot, and was embracing him.
His pursuers: That cannot be R. Meir!
Version #1: Due to this, R. Meir fled to Bavel.
Version #2: R. Meir fled to Bavel out of shame over his wife (who succumbed to temptation and killed herself out of shame).
(Beraisa #1): The following are forbidden due to frivolity: going to stadiums (e.g. bullfighting) or a siege around a city where they engage in witchcraft, snake-charming, or other frivolity;
"Ashrei... Lo Halach... Ki Im b'Toras Hash-m" - going to frivolity causes one to be idle from Torah.
Contradiction (Beraisa #2): One may go to stadiums, for (if a Yisrael is thrown to the bull) one can scream to save him;
One may go to a siege around a city, for if they conquer the city, he may be able to save Yisraelim inside.
One may not encourage them to besiege the city (Rashi; Tosfos - one may not be counted among the soldiers).
Resolution - part 1 (regarding a siege): Beraisa #1 forbids it when the Yisrael encourages (Tosfos - is counted with) them.
Resolution - part 2 (regarding a stadium): Tana'im argue about this;
(Beraisa): One may not go to a stadium, for it is frivolity;
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 remarry.
(Beraisa - R. Meir): One may not go to theatres and stadiums because they are Mezavel (Rashi - oversee the needs of; Tosfos - sacrifice to) idolatry;
Chachamim say, where they are Mezavel, it is forbidden lest people think that he is Mezavel. Where they are not Mezavel, it is forbidden due to frivolity.
Question: What is the difference between them?
Answer (R. Chanina mi'Sura): They argue about one who bought or sold there. (R. Meir is concerned for money of idolatry, so he forbids b'Di'eved. Chachamim permit.)
(R. Shimon ben Pazi) Question: "Ashrei... Lo Halach... Lo Amad uv'Moshav Letzim Lo Yashav" - since he did not go, surely he did not stand; since he did not stand, surely he did not sit, surely he did not scoff!
Answer (R. Shimon ben Pazi): The verse teaches that had he gone, in the end he would stand. Had he stood, in the end he would sit. Had he sat, in the end he would scoff.
Regarding frivolity, it says "v'Latzta Levadecha Tisa" (you will bear the punishment yourself).
(R. Elazar): Anyone who scoffs is afflicted - "Al Tislotzatzu Pen Yechzeku Mosereichem."
Rava (to Rabanan): Please don't scoff, lest you bring afflictions on yourselves.
(Rav Ketina): Anyone who scoffs, his income will be reduced - "(Hash-m) Mashach Yado Es Lotzetzim."
(Reish Lakish): Anyone who scoffs falls to Gehinom - "Letz... b'Evras Zadon";
'Evrah' refers to Gehinom - "Yom Evrah ha'Yom ha'Hu."
(R. Oshaya): Anyone who gets haughty falls to Gehinom - "Zed Yahir... b'Evras Zadon";
'Evrah' refers to Gehinom - "Yom Evrah..."
(R. Chanila'i bar Chanila'i): Anyone who scoffs brings destruction to the world - "Al Tislotzatzu... Ki Cholah v'Necheratzah."
(R. Elazar): Scoffery is severe. It starts with punishments and ends with destruction.
(R. Shimon ben Pazi): "Ashrei... Lo Halach ba'Atzas Resha'im" - to the theatres and stadiums of Nochrim;
"Uv'Derech Chataim Lo Amad" - he did not stand among people who hunt for fun;
"Uv'Moshav Letzim Lo Yashav" - he did not sit among people planning evil;
Suggestion: Since he did not go to the theatres or, and he did not stand among hunters, he may indulge in sleep!
Rejection: "Uv'Soraso Yehgeh Yomam va'Lailah."