Saturday, August 27, 2005

Give tithes and honor the sabbath: honor the sabbath and it will honor you


R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: He who observes the Sabbath according to its laws, even if he practises idolatry like the generation of Enosh, is forgiven, for it is said, Blessed is Enosh that does this ... [that keeps the Sabbath mehallelo from profaning it]: read not mehallelo but mahul lo [he is forgiven].

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Had Israel kept the first Sabbath, no nation or tongue would have enjoyed dominion over them, for it is said, And it came to pass on the seventh day, that there went out some of the people for to gather; which is followed by, Then came Amalek. R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: If Israel were to keep two Sabbaths according to the laws thereof, they would be redeemed immediately, for it is said, Thus saith the Lord of the eunuch that keep my Sabbaths, which is followed by, even them will I bring to my holy mountain, etc.

And from today's daf 119a:

Joseph-who-honours-the-Sabbaths had in his victory a certain gentile who owned much property. Soothsayers17 told him, ‘Joseph-who-honours-the-Sabbaths will consume all your property. — [So] he went, sold all his property, and bought a precious stone with the proceeds, which he set in his turban. As he was crossing a bridge the wind blew it off and cast it into the water, [and] a fish swallowed it. [Subsequently] it [the fish] was hauled up and brought [to market] on the Sabbath eve towards sunset. ‘Who will buy now?’ cried they. ‘Go and take them to Joseph-who-honours-the-Sabbaths,’ they were told, ‘as he is accustomed to buy.’ So they took it to him. He bought it, opened it, found the jewel therein, and sold it for thirteen roomfuls of gold denarii. A certain old man met him [and] said, ‘He who lends to the Sabbath, the Sabbath repays him.’

Rabbi asked R. Ishmael son of R. Jose, The wealthy in Palestine, whereby do they merit [wealth]? — Because they give tithes, he replied, as it is written, ‘Asser te'asser [which means], give tithes [‘asser] so that thou mayest become wealthy [tith'asser]. Those in Babylon, wherewith do they merit [it]? — Because they honour the Torah, replied he. And those in other countries, whereby do they merit it? — Because they honour the Sabbath, answered he. For R. Hiyya b. Abba related: I was once a guest of a man in Laodicea, and a golden table was brought before him, which had to be carried by sixteen men; sixteen silver chains were fixed in it, and plates, goblets, pitchers and flasks were set thereon, thereon, and upon it were all kinds of food, dainties and spices. When they set it down they recited, The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; and when they removed it [after the meal] they recited, The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, But the earth hath he given to the children of men. Said I to him, ‘My son! whereby hast thou merited this?’ ‘I was a butcher,’ replied he, ‘and of every fine beast I used to say, "’This shall be for the Sabbath"’. Said I to him, ‘Happy art thou that thou hast [so] merited, and praised be the Omnipresent who has permitted thee to enjoy [all] this.’

The emperor said to R. Joshua b. Hanania, ‘Why has the Sabbath dish such a fragrant odour?’ ‘We have a certain seasoning,’ replied he, ‘called the Sabbath, which we put into it, and that gives it a fragrant odour.’ ‘Give us some of it,’ asked he. ‘To him who keeps the Sabbath,’ retorted he, ‘it is efficacious; but to him who does not keep the Sabbath it is of no use.’

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