Monday, February 25, 2008

Spit in his Eye

The Yerushalmi in Sotah relates the following: Rav Meir was accustomed to deliver a Torah lecture every Friday night. A certain woman was always in attendance. One time, Rabbi Meir said a lengthy drasha and by the time she arrived home, the Shabbos candles had already burnt out. Her husband was angry with her and told her, “I do not want to see you again until you spit into the eye of the person who was giving the lecture that you attended.”

The Medrash records that the woman sat outside of her house for several weeks. All the women saw her and asked her what was going on. She explained the story. The women went to Rabbi Meir and related the situation to him in hope that he would have a solution. (The Yerushalmi states that Rabbi Meir realized through Divine spirit what the situation was even before the women came to him.)

Rabbi Meir pretended to be suffering from pain in the eyes, and announced: “If there is any woman skilled in whispering charms for the eyes (a type of "medicine" which was believed to be effective in those days) , let her come and whisper.” When this particular woman came to him, he asked her: “Are you skilled in whispering charms for the eyes?” She said that she didn’t. Rabbi Meir told her, “Do not worry. I will tell you what to do. Just spit into this eye seven times and all will be well.” After she did as she was instructed, Rabbi Meir told her to go to her husband and say that you only requested of me to spit in his eye once; I did so seven times.

His students asked him: “Master! Should Torah be degraded in such a manner?” Rabbi Meir replied: “Should my honor be treated in a higher regard than the honor of the Omnipresent? If, in order to make peace between a husband and a wife, the Torah commanded: Let My Name, which was written in sanctity, be erased in the destructive waters, how much more so I, where I can forego my honor in order to bring about peace between a man and his wife.


Anonymous said...

Nothing on Baba Ben Buta?