Rebbi: There were three humble people: my father (like we find in the above episode), Bnei Beseira, and Yonasan ben Sha'ul.
Bnei Beseira were the Nesi'im (leaders of Yisrael), and they appointed Hillel to be Nasi in their place.
Yonasan (was the king's son, yet he) told David "Atah Timloch... Ehyeh Lecha l'Mishneh (I will be secondary to you)."
Question: Perhaps that was not from humility, rather, because he saw that Yisrael supported David!
Question: Also, perhaps Bnei Beseira did not appoint Hillel from humility, rather because they saw that he was greater (and they were embarrassed because they had to ask him questions)!
We have no challenge to the proof of R. Shimon ben Gamliel's humility.
Rebbi saw the greatness of afflictions (they protected R. Elazar from decaying). He accepted six years of a kidney stone, and seven years of thrush (a mouth disease). Some say that it was vice-versa.
The stable-boy who cared for Rebbi's horses became richer (from the manure) than Shevor Malka (a Persian king). When he would give fodder to the animals, their voices would be heard for three Mil. He would give when Rebbi went to relieve himself (to try to cover up Rebbi's pain). It did not help. Rebbi's voice was louder, and people going to sea would hear it.
Still, R. Elazar's afflictions were greater than Rebbi's, for R. Elazar's came and left through love, and Rebbi's came and left through incidents. (Maharsha - R. Elazar's afflictions were of love. He requested that they come and leave at the proper times to avoid Bitul Torah. Rebbi's came due to an episode, and did not leave each morning due to his prayer, rather, due to another episode.)
A calf was being taken to slaughter. It put its head under Rebbi's garment and cried.
Rebbi: Go! You were created to be slaughtered!
It was decreed in Heaven that since he was not merciful, he will be afflicted. (Maharsha - cattle were made for plowing, and to be slaughtered only at the end of their lives.)
(This is the incident through which they left.) Rebbi's slave was cleaning the house; she was about to clear out some baby rats. Rebbi stopped her, for "v'Rachamav Al Kol Ma'asav."
It was decreed in Heaven that since he was merciful, his afflictions will cease.
All the years of R. Elazar's afflictions, no one died before his allotted years. All the years of Rebbi's afflictions, the world did not need rain.
(Rabah bar Rav Shila): A rainy day is as harsh as a day of judgment.
(Ameimar): If the world did not need rain so much, Chachamim would pray that it cease.
In spite of the lack of rain, when a radish was uprooted, its cavity was full of water.
TEACHING OTHERS' CHILDREN
Rebbi went to the city of R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon, and asked if he had left a son. He was told that he did, and the harlots would pay his son (more than they would charge)! Rebbi gave him the title of 'Rebbi', and asked R. Shimon ben Isi teach him.
Every day the son wanted to return home. R. Shimon ben Isi told him 'they put a gold garment on you and call you Rebbi. How can you discuss going home?!'
The son swore not to ask to go home again.
When he grew up, he sat in Rebbi's academy. Rebbi heard a voice similar to R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon's. They told him that it was his son.
Rebbi: "Pri Tzadik Etz Chayim" refers to R. Yosi b'Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon. "V'Loke'ach Nefashos Chacham" refers to R. Shimon ben Isi.
When the son died, they brought him to his father's cave; the snake was guarding it. They asked permission to let the son come to his father; the snake did not allow them in.
People thought that this was because his father was greater. A voice from Heaven refuted this. Rather, it was because the father suffered being in a cave for 13 years (when the Romans sought to kill R. Shimon), but the son did not.
Rebbi went to the city of R. Tarfon, and asked if he had left a son (R. Tarfon used to swear 'I will kill my son if this is false'). He was told that he left no sons, but his daughter has a son, and the harlots would pay his son more than they would charge.
Rebbi offered to marry his daughter to him if he would repent; he did.
Some say that he married Rebbi's daughter, then divorced her. Others say that he never married her, lest people say that he repented just to marry her.
Question: Why did Rebbi take such pains for other people's children?
Answer (Rav Yehudah): Anyone who teaches Torah to another's child merits to sit in the Heavenly academy - "Lefanai Ta'amod";
Anyone who teaches Torah to an ignoramus' child, harsh decrees against him are torn up - "Totzi Yakar mi'Zolel k'Fi Tihyeh" (if you take dearness from disgrace, you will be (able to nullify My decrees) like My mouth).
(R. Parnach): If a Chacham's son and grandson are Chachamim, Torah will never cease from his seed - "mi'Picha umi'Pi Zar'acha umi'Pi Zera Zar'acha Omar Hash-m me'Atah v'Ad Olam."
Question: Why does it say "Omar Hash-m"?
Answer: Hash-m made himself a guarantor for this.
Question: Why does it say "me'Atah v'Ad Olam"?
Answer (R. Yirmiyah): From this point (when a man, his son and grandson are all Chachamim), Torah returns to its host.
Rav Yosef fasted 40 fasts in order that Torah should never cease from his seed. He was shown (in a dream) "Lo Yamush mi'Picha";
He fasted another 40 fasts, and he was shown "Lo Yamush mi'Picha umi'Pi Zaracha";
He fasted another 100 (Maharshal - 40) fasts, and he was shown "Lo Yamush mi'Picha umi'Pi Zar'acha umi'Pi Zera Zar'acha ".
Rav Yosef: I need not fast any more. From now on, Torah returns to its host.
When R. Zeira came to Eretz Yisrael, he fasted 100 (or 40) fasts in order that he should forget the (argumentative) Gemara he learned in Bavel, in order that it not distract him (from the more straightforward approach of Eretz Yisrael);
He fasted another 100 (40) in order that R. Elazar (ben Pedas) not die in R. Zeira's lifetime, lest communal concerns fall upon himself;
He fasted another 100 (40) in order that he not be subjected to the fire of Gehinom.
Every 30 days he would check if he is worthy of this. He would ignite a furnace and sit inside, and it did not harm him.
Once, Rabanan were envious, and this caused his garment to be burned.
(Rav Yehudah): "Al Mah Ovdah ha'Aretz" (why did the Churban come)? "Mi ha'Ish he'Chacham" (Chachamim could not answer) "va'Asher Diber Pi Hash-m Elav" (the prophets could not answer), until "va'Yomer Hash-m Al Azvam Es Torasi Asher Nosati Lifneihem" (Hash-m explained, because they abandoned My Torah).
(Rav Yehudah): They did not bless (thank Hash-m for the Torah) before learning (because they did not appreciate it properly - R. Yonah. Perhaps Birkas ha'Torah was not yet enacted. David had enacted to make 100 Berachos a day, but until the Great Assembly codified prayer, each person would decide what Berachos to make.)
(Rav Chama): "B'Lev Navon Tanu'ach Chochmah" - Torah rests in the heart of a Chacham whose father was a Chacham (i.e., he does not flaunt it);
"Uv'Kerev Kesilim Tivada" - if an ignoramus' son learns Torah, he glorifies himself.
(Ula): A lone coin in a flask makes noise (a flask full of coins does not).
Question (R. Yirmiyah): What do we learn from "Katan v'Gadol Sham Hu v'Eved Chofshi me'Adonav"? Obviously, great and small people go to the grave!
Answer (R. Zeira): Anyone who makes himself small in this world for the sake of Torah, he becomes great in the world to come;
Anyone who makes himself a slave in this world for Torah, he becomes free in the world to come.
THE GREATNESS OF R. CHIYA
Reish Lakish used to mark off graves of Chachamim (lest people unknowingly transgress laws of Tum'ah). At R. Chiya's gravesite, he could not find the place; he felt bad.
Reish Lakish: Hash-m, didn't I delve in Torah like him?
A voice from Heaven: You delved in Torah like him, but you did not spread Torah like him.
When R. Chanina and R. Chiya argued in Torah, R. Chanina said 'how do you argue with me? If Torah would be forgotten from Yisrael, I could return it through my analytical skills!
R. Chiya: How do you argue with me? I ensured that Torah will never be forgotten from Yisrael!
R. Chiya planted flax, and wove traps from the flax. He caught deer, fed orphans the meat and made parchments from the skin. He wrote the five Chumashim and went to a city without teachers for children. He taught one Chumash to each of five children, and one order of the Mishnah to each of six other children. He told them to teach each other what each had learned. (Because everything was done for the sake of Torah, this ensured that it would never be forgotten.)
Rebbi: How great are R. Chiya's deeds!
R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi: Are they greater than yours?
R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi: Are they greater than my father's?
Rebbi: That is impossible!
R. Zeira: I saw R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina in a dream; I asked him from whom he learns in the world to come (and about his Rebbi...)
R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina: I learn from R. Yochanan, who learns from R. Yanai, who learns from R. Chanina, who learns from R. Chiya.
R. Zeira: Is R. Yochanan unfit to learn from R. Chiya?!
R. Yosi: Where the fire is sufficient, who will bring in one to fan the fire! (R. Chiya ensured that Torah will not be forgotten. There is no need for R. Chanina, who could restore it if it would be forgotten, so his merit is not enough to bring R. Yochanan there.)
R. Chaviva: Eliyahu used to speak with a certain Chacham. In the morning, the Chacham's eyes looked fine. In the evening, they looked singed. I asked about this.
The Chacham: I asked Eliyahu to let me look at Chachamim going to the Heavenly academy. He permitted to look at all, except for the chair of R. Chiya.
The Chacham: What distinguishes it?
Eliyahu: Angels must seat other Chachamim in their chairs. R. Chiya can go himself.
The Chacham could not hold himself back; he looked, and two fiery sparks blinded his eyes. The next day, he prostrated near the cave in which R. Chiya was buried, and mentioned that he learns the Tosefta of R. Chiya (so R. Chiya would be more inspired to pray for him), and he was healed.
Eliyahu was regularly in Rebbi's academy. One Rosh Chodesh he was late. He explained that he first had to wake Avraham, wash his hands, and lie him down again after he prayed. He then did the same for Yitzchak, and then the same for Yakov.
Rebbi: Why don't you wake them at the same time?
Eliyahu: If they would pray at the same time, this would bring Mashi'ach prematurely.
Rebbi: Is there anyone living today with such a power of prayer?
Eliyahu: Yes, R. Chiya and his sons.
Rebbi decreed a fast. He asked R. Chiya and his sons to lead the prayer. When they said 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach', wind blew. When they said 'Morid ha'Geshem', rain fell. When they were about to conclude the Berachah 'Mechayeh ha'Mesim', the world shook. In Heaven, Eliyahu was lashed with fire for having revealed their power of prayer.
Eliyahu appeared to them like a bear of fire to distract them.
THE BOOK OF ADAM HA'RISHON
Shmuel was Rebbi's doctor. Rebbi had pain in one eye; Shmuel wanted to put a potion in the eye; Rebbi said that he could not bear it; Shmuel wanted to put something on the eye; Rebbi refused. Shmuel prepared a powerful potion that bored through from the back of his head until his eyes; he was cured.
Rebbi was disturbed that he did not succeed in his plan to ordain Shmuel as 'Rebbi'.
Shmuel: Don't feel bad. I saw the book of Adam ha'Rishon. There I am called only Chacham, not Rebbi. It says that I will heal you.