Monday, February 13, 2017

Were the Amoraim/Tannaim paragons of virtue? Part 3

Today's daf (Bava Basra 22) has such a good example that I can't pass it up.

The Gemara has a Din that if a Talmid Chacham comes to a city to sell his wares we allow him to and give him exclusive rights for that period of time. The Gemara then relates that R' Dimi came to a city and wanted to sell dried figs. The Reish Galusa asked Rava to see if he was a Chacham. If he was, they would give him exclusive rights to sell figs. Rava told Rav Ada bar Aba to test him. Rav Ada bar Aba asked him R' Dimi a question that he could not answer. Rav Ada teased him, and did not give him exclusive rights to sell figs. The figs spoiled and R' Dimi lost his investment. Rav Dimi complained to Rav Yosef and R' Yosef cursed him and R' Ada died. Imagine, R' Ada teased R' Dimi and because of that R' Yosef cursed him and he died?

The Gemara then goes on to list 5 different Amoraim who thought they were responsible for R' Adas death for various reasons:

  1. R' Yosef 
  2. R' Dimi 
  3. Abaye
  4. Rava 
  5. R' Nachman
The Gemara then relates the following story regarding why R' Nachman thought that he was responsible for R' Adas death. Rav Nachman used to give a shiur on Shabbos. Beforehand, he would review what he was going to say with Rav Ada. One Shabbos, Rav Ada was detained by Rav Papa and Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua, who wanted to hear teachings of Rava that they had missed. In the meantime the Talmidim asked Rav Nachman to begin his shiur. R' Nachman was waiting for R' Ada to come to review the shiur. When R' Ada didn't show up, R' Nachman then cursed R' Ada by saying I am waiting for the casket of Rav Ada and word spread that Rav Ada died.

This is truly unbelievable. R' Ada was detained by other talmidim asking him questions in Torah and yet, R' Nachman got so upset with him that he was late for him that he cursed him and killed him. What kind of behavior is that?


  1. 2 cursings in one story. Boy, they sure loved their cursing!

  2. You know, the point of these stories is how great the amoraim were, that Hashem carried out their curses. Thinking through the implications of cursing someone and causing him to die is such a krum way looking at it! (;

    1. That of course raises another question, what kind of God would fulfill their curse knowing that it was done by mistake?