ONE WHO DID NOT FATHOM HASH-M'S GREATNESS
Kaiser: I want to see your G-d.
R. Yehoshua ben Chananyah: You cannot.
The Kaiser insisted. On a summer day, R. Yehoshua asked him to look at the sun.
Kaiser: I cannot.
R. Yehoshua: The sun is a creation of Hash-m, and you cannot look at it. All the more so, you cannot see Hash-m Himself!
Kaiser: I want to prepare a meal for Hash-m.
R. Yehoshua: You cannot. His legions are too numerous.
The Kaiser insisted. R. Yehoshua told him to prepare it on the bank of a certain river.
The Kaiser prepared for six months in summer. A wind came, and blew all he had prepared into the river.
The Kaiser prepared for six months in winter. Rain came, and washed all he had prepared into the river.
Kaiser: What is happening?
R. Yehoshua: Those who clean the floor in front of Hash-m consumed it.
Kaiser: I cannot prepare a meal for Hash-m.
Kaiser's daughter: Your G-d is a carpenter - "He makes a ceiling with water in His upper chambers." Tell Him make for me a weaving rod.
R. Yehoshua agreed. He prayed, and she became leprous. It was customary in Rome to seat a leper in the market and to give him a weaving rod, so people will know to pray for him.
R. Yehoshua: Hash-m gave you a nice rod!
Kaiser's daughter: Ask Him to take it back.
R. Yehoshua: Hash-m gives. He does not take.
(Rav Yehudah): All the following should be large in an ox - the belly, hooves, head and tail;
All of these should be small in a donkey.
This is relevant to commerce. (If one sells an ox or donkey, it should meet these specifications.)
(Rav Yehudah): The ox that Adam offered had one horn on its forehead - "will be more pleasing to Hash-m than a bull Makrin (with horns) and hooves."
Question: "Makrin" is plural. This implies that it had two horns!
Answer: Although it is read "Makrin", it is written without a Yud, to connote the singular.
(Rav Yehudah): Adam offered an ox whose horns preceded (came up from the ground before) its hooves. The above verse mentions the horns before the hooves.
(This implies that it was created mature, with horns.) This supports R. Yehoshua ben Levi (regarding full stature):
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): Everything created in the six days of creation was created in is full stature, with its consent, and in its beauty - "Heaven and earth were finished, and all Tzeva'am (their legions)." We may read this 'Tzivyonam' (their (full) beauty, and the form they chose.)
(R. Chanina bar Papa): When Hash-m created the trees, he commanded that each species sprout by itself. The grass reasoned: even though it is the nature of trees to grow far apart, Hash-m insisted that they keep separate. It is the nature of grass to grow mixed together, all the more so each species should keep separate!
Each species sprouted by itself. The world minister (the angel Metatron) exclaimed "Hash-m's honor will be forever. Hash-m will exult in his works."
Question (Ravina): According to R. Chanina bar Papa, may one graft different species of grass onto each other?
Since the Torah did not say that each must grow by itself, this should be permitted;
Or, since Hash-m agreed to the grass' Kal va'Chomer, it is as if the Torah wrote that each must be separate!
This question is unresolved.
Contradiction (R. Shimon ben Pazi): It says "Hash-m made the two great luminaries", and it says "the great luminary... and the small luninary"!
Answer (R. Shimon ben Pazi): Initially, Hash-m made them both great. The moon objected 'two kings cannot share one crown!'
Hash-m: Go diminish yourself.
The moon: Is this fitting for my proper suggestion?!
Hash-m: You will rule (illuminate) day and night.
The moon: A small light is useless during the day!
Hash-m: Yisrael will count days and years through you.
The moon: They need the sun to calculate the seasons. This determines (leap) years!
Hash-m: Great Tzadikim will be called small, like yourself - Yakov, David, and Shmuel.
The moon was still not consoled. Hash-m decreed to bring an 'atonement' for Himself (i.e. to appease the moon) for having diminished the moon.
(Reish Lakish): This is why it says in the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh "Chatas la'Shem."
Contradiction (Rav Asi): It says "the ground brought grass" on the third day, but it says "No tree...(or grass) had yet sprouted" on Erev Shabbos!
Answer (Rav Asi): This teaches that the grass was just below the ground, until Adam prayed for it. Then, rain fell and it sprouted.
This teaches that Hash-m desires the prayers of Tzadikim.
Rav Nachman bar Papa had a garden. He planted seeds, but nothing grew. He prayed. Rain came and it sprouted;
Rav Nachman: This teaches like Rav Asi. (Hash-m desired my prayer.)
SURPRISING THINGS WE LEARN FROM THE TORAH
(Rav Chanan bar Aba): The Shesu'ah is a unique creation. It has two backs and two spines. (Some say that it is a species. Others say that it is an aberation, like a Siamese twin.)
Question: Was Moshe a hunter, that he would know about such exotic creatures?!
Answer: Rather, this proves that he received the Torah from Hash-m.
Question: It says "the five Plishtim rulers - of Aza, of Ashdod, of Ashkelon, of Gas, of Akron, and of Avim", but six are listed!
Answer #1 (R. Yochanan): Five of them were imporant.
Answer #2 (Rav): The Avim were not Plishtim. They came from Teiman.
Support (Beraisa): The Avim came from Teiman;
They are called Avim because they corrupted (Ivsu) their place, or because they desired (Ivu) many gods, or because anyone who saw them was seized with Avis (trembling.)
(Rav Yosef): They have 16 rows of teeth.
(Reish Lakish): Many verses seem to be pointless, but teach important lessons.
"The Avim dwell in Chatzerim, until Aza (...Kaftorim took their land)" teaches why Yisrael were permitted to take their land.
Avraham had sworn to Avimelech (king of the Plishtim) not to harm him or his children or grandchildren. Hash-m caused the Kaftorim to take the land from the Avim, permitting Yisrael to take it from the Kaftorim. (This is like R. Yochanan, who says that Avim were Plishtim. Also according to Rav, Yisrael were forbidden to take the Avim's land, for they descend from Esav. Hash-m said that Yisrael may not take Esav's land - Devarim 2:5.)
Similarly, "Sichon Melech ha'Emori... fought b'Melech Mo'av" teaches why Yisrael could take that land.
Yisrael were forbidden to fight Mo'av. Hash-m caused Sichon to take the land from Mo'av, so Yisrael could take it from Sichon.
(Rav Papa): Yisrael was permitted to take the lands of Amon and Mo'av because they were conquered by Sichon.
(Beraisa): "Tzidonim call Chermon 'Siryon' (and the Emoriyim call it 'Senir')" - Senir and Siryon are mountains of Eretz Yisrael.
This teaches that every nation built a great city and gave it the name of a mountain of Eretz Yisrael;
This teaches that even the mountains of Eretz Yisrael are dear to the nations.
"(Yosef) transferred the Mitzriyim to the cities" - he exiled them, so they would not look down on his brothers, who were exiled from their land.