(a)What are the two possible descriptions of the Me'oras ha'Machpeilah, and what are the corresponding interpretations of the word Machpeilah?
(b)Chevron is otherwise known as Kiryas Arba.. Why is it called by that name?
(c)Nimrod and Amrafel were one and the same person. If his real name was ...
1. ... Nimrod, then why was he called 'Amrafel'?
2. ... Amrafel, then why was he called 'Nimrod'?
(d)Some say that "va'Yakam Melech Chadash al Mitzra'im" (in Shemos) must not be taken literally. What then, does it mean, and what prompts them to learn like that?
(a)Me'oras ha'Machpeilah means either two houses one within the other, or one on top of the other. According to the latter, Machpeilah means simply a double cave; according to the former, it means that couples were buried there.
(b)Chevron is called Kiryas Arba - because four couples were buried there: Adam and Chavah, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rifkah, Ya'akov and Le'ah.
1. ... Nimrod was called 'Amrafel' - because he ordered Avraham to jump into the fire ('Amar Pol').
2. ... Amrafel was called 'Nimrod' - because he led the whole world to rebel against Hash-m.
(d)Those who learn that "va'Yakam Melech Chadash al Mitzra'im" (in Shemos) must not be taken literally - explain it to mean that he changed his approach towards Yisrael and began to issue harsh decrees against them.
(a)What is the one Chidush (regarding 'Keitzad Me'abrin' in our Mishnah) that Rebbi Yochanan learnt from Rebbi Oshaya in the eighteen days that he learnt by him?
(b)Why did he not learn more from him? Was it because he was not such an outstanding Talmid-Chacham? In which respect did he compare him to Rebbi Meir?
(c)He did however, learn something from his disciples. What was it?
(d)If we take Rebbi Yochanan's word literally, he might even have learnt quite a lot from Rebbi Oshaya. How is this possible?
(a)The one Chidush that Rebbi Yochanan learnt from Rebbi Oshaya in the eighteen days that he studied by him - was that 'Keitzad Me'abrin' in our Mishnah is spelt with an 'Aleph' (with the connotation of 'limb') and not with an 'Ayin' (with the connotation of 'a pregnant woman').
(b)Rebbi Yochanan did not learn more from Rebbi Oshaya - because, like Rebbi Meir, Rebbi Oshaya was so profound, that even his contemporaries had difficulty in fully comprehending him (see above Daf 13b - 6a).
(c)Rebbi Yochanan learnt the level of sharpness and breadth of knowledge of each of Rebbi Oshaya's disciples.
(d)Rebbi Yochanan may really have learnt much than just that one interpretation of our Mishnah - because what he really said was that he only learnt from him one thing in the Mishnah, but that does not cover other areas of Torah.
(a)What did Rebbi Yochanan mean to say, when he related how they would sit in front of him 'four to an Amah'?
(b)About whom did Rebbi give similar testimony?
(a)When Rebbi Yochanan testified how they would sit in front of him 'four to an Amah' - he meant to point out how they would squeeze together to listen to his words.
(b)Rebbi testified how they would sit six to an Amah to listen to Rebbi Elazar ben Shamua.
(a)Rebbi Yochanan maintained that the heart of the early Rebbe Tana'im was as wide as the entrance of the Ulam (twenty Amos), and that of the later Tana'im, like that of the Heichal (six Amos). By earlier and later he may have been referring to Rebbi Elazar ben Shamua and Rebbi Oshaya, respectively. What is the alternative explanation?
(b)To what did he then compare his own heart?
(c)How did Abaye continue the sequence with regard to his own ability to learn 'Gemara'?
(d)Rava and Rav Ashi concluded the sequence regarding Sevara, and Rav Ashi with regard to forgetting what he had learnt. To what did they compare themselves?
(a)When Rebbi Yochanan described the heart of the early Rebbe Tana'im as being as wide as the entrance of the Ulam (twenty Amos), and that of the later Tana'im, like that of the Heichal (six Amos) - he may have been referring to Rebbi Akiva and Rebbi Elazar ben Shamua, respectively.
(b)In stark contrast, Rebbi Yochanan compared his own heart to the eye of a very fine needle.
(c)Abaye said that his own heart with regard to understanding Gemara, was comparable to knocking a peg into a very narrow hole in the wall.
(d)Rava added that when it came to Sevara, his comprehension was as shallow as sticking one's finger into hard wax - which comes away with very little; and Rav Ashi that, when it came to forgetting, he found it as easy to forget as putting one's finger into the mouth of a well.
(a)The Gemara attributes the B'nei Yehudah's success in retaining their Torah-learning (as opposed to the B'nei Galil, who did not succeed), to the fact that they would be careful to revise whatever they learnt from their Rebbes with the exact same wording as they had been taught, and to the fact that they would always make signs by which to remember it. To which other two points can their success be ascribed?
(b)Who else had a similar edge over his predecessor (and father-in-law)?
(a)The B'nei Yehudah, besides the fact that they would be careful to revise whatever they learnt from their Rebbes with the exact same wording as they had been taught, and that they would always make signs by which to remember it - also used to learn (Sevara - not texts) from more than one Rebbe, and to teach Torah (or to search for the reasoning behind what they had learnt) - which is why they succeeded in their learning; whereas the Bnei Galil, who did not do this, did not.
(b)David ha'Melech too, was careful in all the above points, whereas King Shaul was not. That explains why he succeeded in his learning, whilst King Shaul did not.
(a)We learnt earlier that the B'nei Yehudah were precise in their speech. How is that reflected in that Ben Yehudah, who described the cloak he wanted to sell as the color of 'Teradin Alei Adamah'?
(b)And why did they call that Galilean, who announced 'Imar le'Ma'an', a fool? Which four things might he have been referring to?
(c)What was Rebbi's maidservant hinting when she said to the Talmidim ...
1. ... that there was no more wine left in the barrel?
2. ... that they could open a fresh barrel in which the wine was floating like a ship in the ocean?
(a)We have a good example of the preciseness of the B'nei Yehudah's speech - in that man from Yehudah, who described the coat that he was selling, not just as 'green', but as 'green like the leaves of a beet'.
(b)When that Galilean announced 'Imar le'Ma'an', they called him a fool - because 'Imar' is such a vague term. In fact, he could have meant any one of four things: a donkey, wine, a woolen coat or a woolen blanket.
(c)When Rebbi's maidservant told the Talmidim ...
1. ... that there was no more wine left in the barrel - she was intimating that they should go home.
2. ... that they could open a fresh barrel in which the wine was floating like a ship in the ocean - that they were welcome to stay.
(a)What did Rebbi Yossi ben Asi'an mean when he asked ...
1. ... for 'an ox in judgement on a poor mountain'?
2. ... 'Gevar Pum Dein Chai Mah Zu Tovah Yesh'?
(b)What did Rebbi Avahu mean when he said 'Asrigu li'Pechamin, Arki'u li'Zehavin, va'Asu Li Shnei Magidei ba'Alatah'?
(c)Rebbi Avahu told the Talmidim who were looking for Rebbi Ila'i 'Alatz be'Na'arah Aharonis, Achoranis, Iranis, ve'Hin'iraso'. What did he mean (according to the Gemara's first and second interpretations respectively)?
(d)And what did Rebbi Ila'i mean when he told the Talmidim who were looking for Rebbi Avahu 'Nisya'etz ba'Machtir, ve'Higniv li'Mefivoshes'?
(a)When Rebbi Yossi ben Asi'an asked ...
1. ... for 'an ox in judgment on a poor mountain' - he meant that he wanted beets ('Tar Din' - Shor Din) with vinegar ('Har Dal' - Chardal).
2. ... 'Gevar Pum Dein Chai Mah Zu Tovah Yesh' - he meant to ask about the virtues of a certain host. What he was hinting was 'Ish Pi Zeh Chai, Kamah Tov Lo' (whether that particular person was a good host) - though it is unclear why this was not a question of Lashon ha'Ra.
(b)When Rebbi Avahu said 'Asrigu li'Pechamin, Arki'u li'Zehavin, va'Asu Li Shnei Magidei ba'Alatah' - he meant to say 'Light the coals, until they become red like an Esrog, spread them out on top of the oven, prepare for me two roosters (who call out in the night).
(c)When Rebbi Avahu told the Talmidim who were looking for Rebbi Ila'i 'Alatz be'Na'arah Aharonis, Achoranis, Iranis, ve'Hin'iraso' - he meant to say that he had just married his second wife, a young bas Kohen, full of Chen and smart, who kept him awake late. According to the second interpretation, he had just finished learning a certain Masechta, and had just begun learning Kodshim, whose depth kept him awake late at night. Either way, his Talmidim could not find him, because he had subsequently overslept.
(d)And when Rebbi Ila'i told the Talmidim who were looking for Rebbi Avahu 'Nisya'etz ba'Machtir, ve'Higniv li'Mefivoshes - he meant that Rebbi Ila'i had received Semichah from the Nasi, and had gone to learn from the Chachamim of the south (who were exceptionally sharp - like Mefivoshes).
(a)Rebbi Yehoshua was a public figure, yet only three people in his whole lifetime outsmarted him (verbally): a woman, a young girl and a young boy. What were the three incidents?
(b)What was Rebbi Yehoshua's reaction to the young boy's sharpness?
(a)The woman: who outsmarted Rebbi Yehoshua, his inn-keeper (or the inn-keeper's wife) was surprised that he did not leave anything over from the bean-stew that she served him (a matter of manners - like Rus). When this happened a second time, she served him on the third day, a dish that had been grossly over-salted. This time he left the dish untouched. When her queries did not draw from him a satisfactory answer, she reminded him that, although it is not necessary to leave anything in the serving dish, one should however, leave something on one's plate. The young girl: questioned Rebbi Yehoshua, who was walking through a private field. When he replied that there was a path running through it, she retorted that it was robbers like him who had created the path. The young boy sitting at the crossroads: told Rebbi Yehoshua, in reply to his request for directions on how to arrive at the town - that if he turned way it would lead along a short road which was long, whereas the other way led along a long way that was short. Rebbi Yehoshua chose the first route, only to find that it was indeed a short route to town, only it ended outside gardens and orchards, through which he had no permission to pass. Upon his return, he met the same boy, and he asked him that it was why he had informed him that this was a short route. To which he replied 'But did I not also tell you that it was long?'
(b)Rebbi Yehoshua kissed him on the head, and exclaimed 'How fortunate are you, Yisrael, that you are all wise, from the youngest to the oldest'!
(a)What did Rebbi Yossi ha'Gelili ask Beruri'ah when he met her on the road, and what did she respond?
(b)What did Beruri'ah do to that Talmid who was learning silently?
(c)What happened to the disciple of Rebbi Eliezer who used to learn silently?
(d)What do we learn from the Pasuk in Mishlei "Ki Chayim Hem le'Motz'eihem*, u'le'Chol Besaro Marpei"?
(a)When Rebbi Yossi ha'Gelili once met Beruri'ah on the road - he asked her 'Which way do we go to Lud?' By way of response, she called him 'Galilean fool', for saying to a woman more than was necessary - he should have said 'Which way to Lud?'
(b)When Beruri'ah saw that Talmid learning silently she kicked him, saying that it is only if one absorbs Torah with all of one's two hundred and forty eight limbs that Torah lasts. Otherwise, it will be forgotten.
(c)The disciple of Rebbi Eliezer who used to learn silently - forgot all his learning in the space of three years (though it is not clear what 'in three years' means - When did he begin learning silently?).
(d)We learn from the Pasuk "Ki Chayim Hem le'Motz'eihem, u'le'Chol Besaro Marpei" - that although Torah is a source of life for those who study it, that is only on condition they pronounce the words, but not if they learn silently.