Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Sanhedrin 39

On the very last line of Sanhedrin 38b, R' Yochanan states that R' Meir had three hundred parables about foxes, but we have only retained three of them. On the top of Sanhedrin 39a, the gemara states that the three remaining parables (which are in reality only one) relate to three pesukim - one from Yechezkel, one from Parshas Kedoshim and one from Mishlei. However, the gemara does not state the actual parable(s).

Rashi (d'h Avos) fills in the gap from the daf and tells the following story. A fox tricked a wolf to enter the Jews' camp by telling the wolf that the Jews wanted to cook with him on Friday so that they could eat the Shabbos meal with him. When the wolf entered the camp, the Jews beat him with sticks. The wolf then wanted to kill the fox. The fox told the wolf that he was beaten because the wolf's father once tried to help the Jews cook and then ate all the best cuts of meat. The wolf asked - should I be punished because of my father? The fox replied by citing the first pasuk from Yechezkel which states that the fathers will eat unripe grapes, but the sons will have their teeth blunted.

Rashi states that the fox then told the wolf - come with me and I will show you a place to eat and be satiated. He took the wolf to a well which had a beam across it and a rope hanging down from the beam. Each end of the rope was attached to a bucket which was suspended inside the well. The fox jumped in one bucket and was lowered to the bottom of the well, while the other bucket rose. The wolf then said - why did you go down? The fox replied - there is meat and cheese here and then the fox showed him the moon reflected in the water which looked a cheese wheel. The wolf asked - how shall I get down there? The fox replied - jump into the upper bucket. The wolf complied and he was lowered to the bottom of the well, while the fox was raised out of the well. The wolf then asked - how do I get out of here? The fox replied by quoting the pasuk from Mishlei - A tzaddik will be saved and the rasha will take his place. Besides said the fox - (quoting the pasuk from Kedoshim) one should have righteous weights and righteous scales.

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