A chance visit to the Resh Galusa amd then seeing Rava Bar Rav Huna in a bath is just a sheer happenstance of course!
So why would Rava bar Rav Huna "just be sitting in a bath of water for no purpose?"
This strange exchange of words does not seem to concern anyone immediately and I am at a loss as to how to explain the occurrence. There maybe is something more than an happenstance meeting by a bath?!! Any way you could perhaps explain something deeper than the simple conversation?
Noach miTelshestone, Telshestone Israel
Two questions similar to yours were asked a couple of weeks ago on this forum. I have included them below.
All the best
Meseches shabbos seems to end very strangely. A tanna or an amora is saying 'I wasn't really concentrating on what I was doing'.
Isn't this a bit anticlimactic after a whole mesechta??
abe deutsch, Cligton,NJ
It seems to me that Rabah bar Rav Huna was concentrating very hard on what he was doing. He deliberately began measuring something that was unnecessary, to teach us that this is permitted. Tana'im and Amora'im often taught Halachos in a practical way (rather than verbally), because it makes a more lasting impression (perhaps this is even an extension of the statement 'Ma'aseh Rav' [an act is more powerful than words], as well as of learning from the idle talk of Talmidei-Chachamim).
Incidentally, this makes for a nice connection with the beginning of the Masechta (which is commonly done when making a Siyum [maybe because 'Hadran Alach' means 'I will return to you').
In contrast to the opening Mishnah, where the Ashir is Chayav even though his sole intention is to perform a Mitzvah (because it is a case of 'P'sik Reisha'), here (even though it is 'P'sik Reisha') he is permitted to do it, because the Rabbanan did not extend the Isur of measuring to where it is not needed (like we learned with regard to Cheshbonos shel Mah-be'Kach in the previous Perek).
Wishing you and yours a G'mar Chasimah Tovah.
be'Virchas Kol Tuv
The art scroll edition quotes a footnote of Shabbos Shel mi suggesting a homiletical interpretation of the exchange between these two Amoraim. What is the interpretation? I am having siyyum with my chevruta on Monday and it would be great to have this to present then?
Daniel Ashkenazy, Jerusalem, Israel
The Shabbos Shel Mi in fact gives two homiletical interpretations.
1) When the Gemara says that Ula saw Rabah Bar Rav Huna bathing in the water, it means that he saw him planning to have a good time (bathing in the pleasures of this world, so to speak). This is also what is referred to when it says that he was "Mashach Ley," from a terminology of making oils and perfumes. Ula asked Rabah Bar Rav Huna that the only good times that one is allowed to "measure" is for Mitzvos, such as a Siyum or another Seudas Mitzvah. However, feasts that are not Mitzvah related, is it appropriate that one should be involved in planning them so meticulously? Rabah Bar Rav Huna answered that he is merely being "Misasek," meaning, of course, that he only involves himself in plannings of Seudos Mitzvah whenever they come up, which was rarely (he gives examples of Shevuos and Erev Yom Kippur). This is what he meant when he said he is merely "Misasek." He is only rarely involved in these things.
2) When the Gemara says that Ula saw Rabah Bar Rav Huna bathing in the water, it means that he was thinking about Torah which is compared to water. Ula thought that Rabah Bar Rav Huna was apparently becoming saddened because he was "measuring Torah." This means that he was thinking about how much Torah there is to learn, and how difficult it would be to finish it. Ula therefore told him that the only kind of measuring of this sort which is permitted is the measuring of a "Mitzvah," meaning other Mitzvos and Chesed, which a person must do as they come up (Chesed - A person must do a Chesed which cannot be performed by others, even if it disturbs his learning).
However, a person should not be upset by the fact that he cannot finish all of Torah, as the main Mitzvah of learning Torah is to learn as much of possible, not necessarily to "finish learning." Even if a person lived a long life, he would not be exempt from learning Torah. Rabah Bar Rav Huna answered that he wasn't bothered by not being able to finish Torah, but rather by the fact that he had problems making a living which prevented him from learning Torah.
Mazal Tov! May you merit to finish other Mesechtos as well, and eventually all of Shas! And if you have already done that, then may you merit to finish it many more times!