Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Daf Yomi - Taanis 8 - Reincarnations

Rabbi Ami said: Come and see how great are the people who trust in Hashem. Rabbi Ami points to the story of those who believe in the huldah u-bor - the rodent and the pit - arguing that if you believe in the huldah u-bor, certainly you can believe in Hashem.

It is interesting that the Gemora feels no need to explain what the story of the huldah u-bor entails, taking for granted that it was a story so well known that there was no need to put it in writing. Rashi and Tosfos both tell a short version of the story, but a lengthier version, whose source is in the traditions of the Ge'onim, appears in the Arukh.

As R. Natan ben Yehiel tells it in his Arukh, the story begins with a girl from a noble family who loses her way and, having fallen into a well while drinking, cannot manage to extract herself. A passerby hears her cries and shouts. After a lengthy conversation during which time he ascertains that she is, in fact, a woman and not a demon of some sort, he agrees to save her, on the condition that she will marry him. Upon lifting her from the well he wants to consummate the marriage immediately, but she objects, arguing that a Jewish man surely wants to marry according to the halacha and would not be interested in simply fulfilling animalistic urges. They agree to marry and appoint the well and a passing weasel as witnesses to their pact.

Upon returning home, she scrupulously kept her agreement, refusing the entreaties of all suitors. He, on the other hand, soon forgot the agreement and married another woman, who bore children - the first of whom was bitten by a weasel, the second of whom drowned in a well. Seeing that her children died under unnatural circumstances, she demanded an explanation from her husband, who admitted that he had promised another that he would marry her. They divorced and he searched for the woman who he had saved and promised to marry. When she refused him - as she did all others - he told her of the honest witnesses, the huldah u-bor, that brought him back to her. In the end they married and had many children, proving the passage in Tehillim (101:6) that God's eyes are upon the faithful who merit a close relationship with Him. (Courtesy of the Aleph Society)

The Rama Mipano writes that this man was a reincarnation of Yehoram who had taken two sons from the wife of Ovadia the Prophet and now he was being punished for this. He had taken those two sons by a well and every Motzoei Shabbos, the well of Miriam the Prophetess passes by all the wells in the world. The weasel in the incident had the spirit of Chuldah the Prophetess and they are the ones who punish Yehoram.


Anonymous said...

I want to know why a divorce was required here if it was before cherem drabenu Gershon?

Avromi said...

interesting question, perhaps it wasn't required

Anonymous said...

So why did he give one to make the shechina cry?

Avromi said...

I was saying that he didnt have to but between the two of them, they decided that this is the best option