fbpx

Megillah, Daf Yod, Part 4

 

Introduction

Today’s section deals with other statements made by R. Levi that open with the words "The following is a tradition that we have from our ancestors."

 

(א"ר) +מסורת הש"ס: [וא"ר]+ לוי: דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו: אמוץ ואמציה אחים הוו.

 

R. Levi further said: The following is a tradition that we have from our ancestors, that Amoz and Amaziah were brothers.

 

Amoz was the prophet Isaiah’s father and Amatzyah was king of Judea from 798-769. R. Levi relates a tradition not found in the Tanakh itself that they were brothers.

 

מאי קא משמע לן? – כי הא דאמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן: כל כלה שהיא צנועה בבית חמיה, זוכה ויוצאין ממנה מלכים ונביאים. מנלןמתמר. דכתיב +בראשית ל"ח+ ויראה יהודה ויחשבה לזונה כי כסתה פניה. משום דכסתה פניה ויחשבה לזונה? אלא: משום דכסתה פניה בבית חמיה ולא הוה ידע לה, זכתה ויצאו ממנה מלכים ונביאים. מלכיםמדוד, נביאיםדאמר רבי לוי: מסורת בידינו מאבותינו: אמוץ ואמציה אחים היו. וכתיב +ישעיהו א‘+ חזון ישעיהו בן אמוץ.

 

What does this come to teach us? That which was said by R. Shmuel b. Nahmani in the name of R. Yonathan: Every bride who is modest in the house of her father-in-law is rewarded by having kings and prophets among her descendants. How do we know this? From Tamar, as it is written, "And Judah saw her and thought her to be a harlot; for she had covered her face" (Genesis 38:15). Just because she covered her face did he think her to be a harlot? Rather, what it means is that because she had covered her face in the house of her father-in-law and he did not know her, she was rewarded by having among her descendants kings and prophets; kings from David, and prophets as R. Levi said: It is a tradition handed down to us from our ancestors that Amoz and Amaziah were brothers , as it is written, The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz.

 

The Talmud asks why we should care that Amoz and Amaziah were brothers. The answer comes from a midrash about Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah who seemingly dressed as a harlot to entice him into sleeping with her. The midrash is bothered by the verse just because she covered her face, Judah should think that she is a harlot? Therefore the verse is reinterpreted. Judah thought that she was a harlot for some other reason (perhaps based on where she was waiting for him). The verse tells us that she covered her face to let us know that she was so modest that she covered her face even in the house of her father-in-law, Judah. In other words, she was so modest that Judah had never seen her face! That’s why he didn’t recognize her.

As a reward for her modesty she became the mother not only to kings, but also to prophets. The book of Ruth itself says that David came from the union of Judah and Tamar. Here we learn that the prophet Isaiah was also from the Davidic line.

 

 

ואמר רבי לוי: דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאבותינו: מקום ארון אינו מן המדה. תניא נמי הכי: ארון שעשה משה יש לו עשר אמות לכל רוח, וכתיב +מלכים או‘+ ולפני הדביר עשרים אמה ארך, וכתיב כנף הכרוב האחד עשר אמות וכנף הכרוב האחד עשר אמות, ארון גופיה היכא הוה קאי? אלא לאו שמע מינה: בנס היה עומד.

 

R. Levi further said: The following is a tradition from our ancestors: the ark took up no room.

It was also taught: The ark that Moses made had round it an [empty] space of ten cubits on every side. And it is written, "And in front of the Sanctuary was twenty cubits in length [and twenty cubits in breadth]," (I Kings 6:20) and it is also written, "And the wing of the one cherub was ten cubits and the wing of the other cherub was ten cubits" (based on I Kings 6:24-25). Where then was the ark itself? Rather derive from this that it stood [without occupying any room].

 

The final statement of R. Levi is that the Ark of the Covenant miraculously took up no room in the Holy of Holies. This is explained in the following baraita. The inside of the Holy of Holies, where the ark stood, was 20 cubits by 20 cubits. On top of the ark were two cherubs, the wing of one was 10 cubits and the wing of the other was also 10 cubits. Thus there was no space for the ark.

We should note that many commentators raise serious problems with this baraita. Specifically, the wings of the cherubs were above the ark, not to the sides of it. Therefore, there is no proof from these verses that the ark took up no room.