HOW LONG A MAN MAY LEAVE HOME
(Mishnah): Chachamim may go to learn (for 30 days, without permission).
Question: For how long may they go with permission?
Objection: If they have permission, surely there is no limit!
Answer: We ask about how long is proper.
Answer #1 (Rav): He should learn for a month, and be home for a month (like we find regarding the workers who served David) - "The shifts come and go month by month..."
Answer #2 (R. Yochanan): He should learn for a month, and be home for two months (like we find regarding those who cut wood for the Beis ha'Mikdash) - "one month in Lebanon, and two months in his house."
Rav did not learn like R. Yochanan, for others can (take turns to help) build the Beis ha'Mikdash (therefore, no worker needs to be away from home so much);
R. Yochanan did not learn like Rav, for there he is paid well (she is pleased that he is away so much).
THE EFFECTS OF SIGHING
(Rav): A sigh breaks half a person's body - "Sigh, as if your loins broke."
(R. Yochanan): It breaks the entire body - "...Why are you sighing? Every heart melts, all hands are soft, every spirit is weakened, all knees turn to water."
Question: How does R. Yochanan explain Rav's verse, which says it is as if the loins are broken?
Answer: The loins break first.
Question: How does Rav explain R. Yochanan's verse?
Answer: Hearing about the Churban is more severe (than normal sighing).
A Yisrael and Nochri were on the road together; the Nochri could not keep up with the Yisrael. The Nochri mentioned the Churban. The Yisrael sighed, but still the Nochri could not keep up with him.
Nochri: Don't you say that a sigh breaks half the body?
Yisrael: That refers only to a new sorrow. This is an old matter.
This is like people say, that a woman who has already suffered the loss of children is not bewildered when another child dies.
THE ONAH OF DIFFERENT MEN
(Mishnah): The Onah of Tayalim is every day.
Question: What are Tayalim?
Answer #1 (Rava): They are Talmidim (who learn in their city and sleep at home).
Objection (Abaye): R. Yitzchak taught that "...Hash-m will give l'Dido (to His dear one) Sheinah" refers to the wives of Talmidim, who deprive their eyes of sleep in this world (waiting for their husbands to return) and receive the world to come. You cannot say that Onas Talmidim is every day! (Rashi - if a Talmid is still learning when people normally sleep, surely he has no time for Bi'ah every night! Rashi in Shitah Mekubetzes - Talmidim would not have Bi'ah every night with such women to satisfy them. The women would be concerned for Bitul Torah!)
Answer #2 (Abaye): Tayalim are men like Rav Shmuel bar Shilas, who consumes his money (that he gets for teaching children), sleeps in his house, and is not conscripted for the king's work.
Answer #3 (Ravin): Tayalim are the pampered ones of Eretz Yisrael. (They eat and drink well, so they have strength for Bi'ah every night);
R. Avahu was in the bathhouse. Two attendants were supporting him. The floor caved in; he grabbed a pole with one hand, grabbed the attendants with the other hand, and lifted them and himself to safety.
R. Yochanan was ascending a ladder; Rav Ami and Rav Asi were supporting him. The rung broke; he lifted them and himself to safety.
Rabanan: Since you are so strong, why do you use us to support you?
R. Yochanan: If I use my strength now, what will remain in my old age?
(Mishnah): The Onah of workers is twice a week.
Contradiction (Beraisa): The Onah of workers is once a week.
Answer (R. Yosi bar Chanina): The Mishnah discusses workers who work in their own city. The Beraisa discusses workers who work in another city.
Support (Beraisa): The Onah of workers is twice weekly if they work in their city, and once a week if they work in another city.
(Mishnah): The Onah of donkey-drivers is once a week.
Question (Rabah bar Rav Chanan): (In the Reisha, Beis Hillel obligated one who vowed to forbid Bi'ah for one week to divorce his wife. Surely, this applies only to one whose Onah is more frequent than once a week.) Does the Mishnah teach only about Tayalim and workers?!
Answer (Abaye): No, it applies to everyone.
Question (Rabah): In any case Onah of sailors is only once every six months!
Answer (Abaye): The vow breaks her hope that her husband will return early.
MEN WHO ARE AWAY FOR LONG PERIODS
Question (Rabah bar Rav Chanan): May a donkey-driver become a camel-driver (without his wife's consent)?
Answer (Abaye): No. A woman prefers meager food and frequent Onah, to more food and abstinence.
(Rav Berona): The Halachah follows R. Eliezer. (Talmidim may leave for a month without permission.)
(Rav Ada bar Ahavah): Chachamim argue, and permit them to go to learn for two or three years.
(Rava): Many rely on Rav Ada bar Ahavah's leniency, and are mortally punished for this!
Rav Rechumi often learned by Rava; he would return home every Erev Yom Kipur. Once, he was involved in his learning, and delayed. His wife was waiting for him, expecting him to come any moment. She was distressed and shed a tear. Rav Rechumi was sitting on the roof. The roof collapsed, and he died.
Question: What is the Onah of Chachamim?
Answer (Rav Yehudah): It is every Shabbos night.
(Rav Yehudah): "He gives its fruit in the right time" refers to one who has Bi'ah on Shabbos night.
R. Chiya's son Yehudah was R. Yanai's son-in-law. He learned by his Rebbi, and came home every Erev Shabbos. R. Yanai would see a pillar of fire come before him. Once, Yehudah was involved in his learning and delayed.
R. Yanai did not see the fire. He commanded to turn over Yehudah's bed (a sign of mourning), for 'If he was alive, he would not have neglected Onah of Shabbos.'
He was not careful with his words, and they were fulfilled; Yehudah died.
Rebbi was Mekadesh his son to a daughter of R. Chiya. When it was time to write the Kesuvah, she died.
Rebbi: Heaven forbid, perhaps one of them has improper lineage!
They checked the lineage. Rebbi descends from Shaftiyah, a son of David, and R. Chiya, from Shim'i, a brother of David. (His seed was not worthy to marry one who descends from a king.)
Rebbi married his son to a daughter of R. Yosi bar Zimra. They agreed that his son would learn from 12 years before the Nisu'in.
She passed in front of his son, and he decided to learn for only six years before the Nisu'in.
She passed in front of him again, and he decided to have the Nisu'in before going to learn.
He felt embarrassed in front of his father-in-law. His father-in-law told him 'you are like your Maker!'
At Kri'as Yam Suf, it says "(Hash-m) will bring Yisrael to (Yerushalayim,) the place of the Mikdash (and dwell among us, i.e. Nisu'in)." Later, it says "they will build for Me a Mikdash (the Mishkan) and I will dwell among them (in the Midbar, for Hash-m did not want to wait so long)."
He went and learned for 12 years. By the time he returned, his wife had become sterile.
Rebbi: What should we do?
If he divorces her, people will say that this poor girl waited for him in vain!
If he will marry a second wife, people will say that he has a wife and a harlot!
Rebbi prayed, and Hash-m healed her.
R. Chananyah ben Chachinai went to learn for 12 years. When he returned, the streets of the city had changed, and he could not find his home. He heard a girl being called 'Bas Chachinai.' He knew that it must be his daughter; he followed her home.
His wife was sifting flour. When she saw him, she fainted and died. He beseeched 'Hashem, is this her reward?' She returned to life.
R. Chama bar Bisa went to learn for 12 years. Upon returning, he was careful not to do like R. Chachinai. He sat in the Beis Medrash and sent word to his home.
His son R. Oshaya (whom he did not recognize) spoke with him in learning.
R. Chama: If only I had stayed home, I could have raised a son like this!
When he entered his house, his son also entered; R. Chama stood up for him.
R. Chama's wife: Does a father stand up for his son?!
Rami bar Chama: "A three-stranded rope does not quickly become undone" refers to (three generations of Chachamim, which makes the family a permanent tower of Torah, such as) R. Oshaya, R. Chama and his father Bisa.
R. Akiva was a shepherd for Ben Kalba Savu'a. Ben Kalba Savu'a's daughter saw modesty and good Midos in R. Akiva. She agreed to become Mekudeshes to him on condition that he would go to learn. He agreed. He was Mekadesh her covertly, and he went to learn. Her father heard about this, expelled her from his house, and vowed that she would not benefit from his property (because R. Akiva was unlearned at the time).
R. Akiva learned for 12 years; he returned with 12,000 Talmidim. He heard a man ask his wife 'How long will you be like a widow (waiting for him)?' She replied that she would prefer that he learn for another 12 years!