Rabbi Elozar said: Moshe, Aharon and Miriam earned the merit to die "by the mouth of G-d", which is referred to as 'death by a kiss'. When Miriam died, the Torah does not use that expression, since it is not respectful to Hashem to write such a thing. Nevertheless, Chazal derive from a Gezeirah shavah (one of the thirteen principles of Biblical hermeneutics - Gezeirah shavah links two similar words from dissimilar verses in the Torah) that Miriam died in the same way as her brother Moshe. (28a)
Rabbi Ami said: The Torah informs us of Miriam's death immediately after enumerating the laws of the "Parah Adumah", the red heifer whose ashes were used for purification.
Why is the death of Miriam juxtaposed to the laws of the Parah Adumah? This teaches that just as the Parah Adumah brings atonement, so too, the death of the righteous brings atonement.
Rabbi Elozar said: Why is the death of Aaron juxtaposed to the mentioning of the priestly clothes? This teaches that just as the priestly clothes bring atonement, so too, the death of the righteous brings atonement. (28a)
The Gemora cites a braisa: One who dies suddenly, he is said to have died an abrupt death; if the death was preceded by one day's sickness, it is a hastened death. Rabbi Chananiah ben Gamliel said: The latter case is termed death by a plague, as it is written [Yechezkel 24:16]: Son of man, behold, I will take away from you the darling of your eyes in a plague; and it is stated again [ibid: 18]: I told this to the people in the morning, and my wife died at evening. If it was preceded by a two days' sickness, it is a hurried death; if by a three days', it is a rebuke; if by a four days', a scorn; but if preceded by a five days' sickness, it is an ordinary death. Death at the age of fifty is Kares (cut off); at fifty-two, the age at which Shmuel the Ramathite died; at sixty, a death by the hands of Heaven.
Rabbah said: If one dies from fifty to sixty, it is also regarded as Kares; the reason why this is not stated in the braisa is because of the honor of Shmuel.
When Rav Yosef reached the age of sixty, he made a celebration for the students. He said: I have passed the age of Kares. Abaye said to him: It is true that the Master has passed the age of Kares, but has the Master already passed the day of Kares (referring to one who dies without being sick for five days)? Rav Yosef replied: Be content with at least half.
Rav Huna died suddenly, which caused the students great worry. A pair of scholars from Hadayab taught them the following braisa: Sudden death can be regarded as Kares only when the deceased has not reached the age of eighty; but if he has, it is, on the contrary, considered a death by a kiss. (28a)
Rava said: The length of one’s life, the amount of his children, and his sustenance are not dependent on merit, but rather on mazal (fate).
He cites proof to this from Rabbah and Rav Chisda who were both righteous rabbis as can be proven from the fact that one prayed and it began to rain and the other prayed and it began to rain. Rav Chisda lived ninety-two years and yet, Rabbah lived only forty. Rav Chisda’s house had sixty weddings, and yet, Rabbah’s house had sixty deaths. Rav Chisda’s house gave fine-flour bread to their dogs because they had so much; whereas Rabbah’s house gave barley flour to people and there wasn’t enough.
Rava said: Three things I prayed that Heaven should grant me. Two were granted, the third one not. I asked for the wisdom of Rav Huna and the wealth of Rav Chisda and both were granted to me, but I asked also for the humility of Rabbah bar Rav Huna and that was not given to me. (28a)
Rav Seorim, the brother of Rava, was sitting at the bedside of Rava when Rava was deathly ill. As Rava was about to die, he said: Let the Master tell him (the Angel of Death) not to pain me. He answered him: Is, then, the Master himself not a friend of him? Rava replied: As my fate was already delivered to him, he will not listen to me any more. Rav Seorim said to Rava: I would like that the Master should appear before me after he dies. After Rava died, he came to Rav Seorim and Rav Seorim asked him: Did the Master feel any pain? He answered: It resembled a puncture from a bloodletter’s lancet (there was very little pain).
Rava was sitting at the bedside of Rav Nachman when Rav Nachman was deathly ill. As Rav Nachman was about to die, he said: Let the Master tell him (the Angel of Death) not to pain me. Rava answered him: Isn’t the Master a prominent person? Rav Nachman replied: Who is esteemed, or awesome, or exalted? Rava said to Rav Nachman: I would like that the Master should appear before me after he dies. After Rav Nachman died, he came to Rava and Rava asked him: Did the Master feel any pain? He answered: It resembled the removal of hair from milk (it didn’t cause any pain); and yet, if the Holy One, blessed be He, would command me to return to the world, I would not be interested, for the fear of the Angel of Death is too great.
Rabbi Elozar was eating terumah when the Angel of Death appeared before him. Rabbi Elozar said to him: I am now eating terumah, is it not sacred? The moment passed and he was spared.
The Angel of Death presented himself to Rav Sheishes in the marketplace. Rav Sheishes said to him: Do you wish to take me when I am in the market, as if I were an animal? Come to my house.
The Angel of Death presented himself to Rav Ashi in the marketplace. Rav Ashi said to him: Wait thirty days in order that I will be able to review my studies, as it is said: Fortunate is the person who comes here with his studies in his hand. On the thirtieth day he appeared again, and Rav Ashi said to him: What is the rush? He answered him: You are interfering with (Rav Huna) Bar Nassan (as his time has come to take over your position), and the reign of one ruler may not impinge upon another, even as much as a hair.
Rav Chisda could not be overpowered (by the Angel of Death), since his mouth never ceased from studying Torah. The Angel of Death climbed up and sat on a cedar in front of Rav Chisda’s house of study. When the cedar broke down, Rav Chisda interrupted his study for a moment and the Angel of Death overpowered him at that moment.
Rabbi Chiya could not be overpowered (by the Angel of Death). One day he disguised himself as a pauper, and went and knocked on the door of Rabbi Chiya, and asked for a slice of bread. The household members gave him some bread. The Angel of Death said to him: Doesn’t the Master have mercy with a poor man? Why doesn’t the Master have mercy with me (and let me fulfill my mission)? He revealed himself to Rabbi Chiya, showing him a rod of fire and Rabbi Chiya surrendered his soul to him. (28a)