Xliiiii

1. A. R. Tanhuma and R. Hiyya the Elder state the following matter, as does R. Berekhiah in the name of R. Eleazar [the Modite], "The following exegetical principle came up in our possession from the exile.

B. "Any passage in which the words, 'And it came to pass' appear is a passage that relates misfortune."

C. Said R. Samuel bar Nahman, "There are five such passages marked by the words, 'and it came to pass,' that bear the present meaning.

D. " 'And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel, king of Shinar . . . these kings made war with Bera, king of Sodom' (Gen. 14:1).

E. "The matter [of Abram's defending the local rulers] may be compared to the ally of a king who came to live in a province. On his account the king felt obligated to protect that entire province. Barbarians came and attacked him. Now when the barbarians came and attacked him, the people said, 'Woe, the king is not going to want to protect the province the way he used to [since it has caused him trouble].' That is in line with the following verse of Scripture, 'And they turned back and came to En Mishpat [source of justice], that is Kadesh [holy] [and subdued all the country of the Amalekites]' (Gen. 14:7)." [This concludes the first of the five illustrations.] [Lev. R. XI:VII.2.E adds: So too, Abraham was the ally of the King, the Holy One, blessed be he, and in his regard it is written, 'And in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed' (Gen. 12:4). So it was on his account that the Holy One, blessed be he, felt obligated to protect the entire world.]

F. Said R. Aha, "They sought only to attack the orb of the Eye of world. The eye that had sought to exercise the attribute of justice in the world did they seek to blind: 'That is Kadesh' (Gen. 14:7)."

G. Said R. Aha, "It is written, 'that is . . . ,' meaning, that is the particular one who has sanctified the name of the Holy One, blessed be he, by going down into the fiery furnace."

H. [Reverting to the discourse suspended at the end of E:] When the barbarians came and attacked, they began to cry, "Woe, woe!"

I. "And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel" (Gen. 14:1).

2. A. "And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz" (Is. 7:1):

B. "The Aramaeans on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth" (Is. 9:12):

C. The matter [of Israel's position] may be compared to the case of a king who handed over his son to a tutor, who hated the son. The tutor thought, "If I kill him now, I shall turn out to be liable to the death penalty before the king. So what I'll do is take away his wet-nurse, and he will die on his own."

D. So thought Ahaz, "If there are no kids, there will be no he-goats. If there are no he-goats, there will be no flock. If there is no flock, there will be no Shepherd, if there is no Shepherd, there will be no world."

E. So did Ahaz plan, "If there are no children, there will be no adults. If there are no adults, there will be no disciples. If there are no disciples, there will be no sages. If there are no sages, there will be no prophets. If there are no prophets, the Holy One, blessed be he, will not allow his presence to come to rest in the world." [Lev. R.: . . . Torah. If there is no Torah, there will be no synagogues and schools. If there are no synagogues and schools, then the Holy One, blessed be he, will not allow his presence to come to rest in the world.]

F. That is in line with the following verse of Scripture: "Bind up the testimony, seal the Torah among my disciples" (Is. 8:16).

G. R. Huna in the name of R. Eleazar: "Why was he called Ahaz? Because he seized [ahaz] synagogues and schools."

H. R. Jacob in the name of R. Aha: "Isaiah said, 'I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him' (Is. 8:17). You have no more trying hour than that moment concerning which it is written, 'And I shall surely hide my face on that day' (Deut. 31:18).

I. "From that hour: 'I will hope in him' (Is. 8:17). For he has said, 'For it will not be forgotten from the mouth of his seed' (Deut. 31:21).

J. "What good did hoping do for Isaiah?

K. " 'Behold I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts who dwells on Mount Zion' (Is. 8:18). Now were they his children? Were they not his disciples? But this teaches that they were precious to him so that he regarded them as his children."

L. [Reverting to G:] Now since everyone saw that Ahaz had seized the synagogues and schools, they began to cry out, "Woe, woe!'" Thus: "And it came to pass [marking the woe] in the days of Ahaz" (Is. 7:1).

3. A. "And it came to pass in the days of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah" (Jer.

B. "1 look on the earth and lo, it was waste and void" (Jer. 4:23).

C. The matter may be compared to the case of royal edicts which came into a province. What did the people do? They took the document, tore it up and burned the bits in fire. That is in line with the following verse of Scripture: "And it came to pass, as Jehudi read three or four columns, that is, three or four verses, the king would cut them off with a penknife and throw them into the fire in the brazier until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier" (Jer. 36:23).

D. When the people saw all this, they began to cry out, "Woe, woe."

E. "And it came to pass in the days of Jehoiakim" (Jer. 1:3).

4. A. "And it came to pass in the days in which the judges ruled" (Ruth

1:1). "There was a famine in the land" (Ruth 1:1).

B. The matter may be compared to a province which owed taxes in arrears to the king, so the king sent a revenuer to collect. What did the inhabitants of the province do? They went and hung him, hit him, and robbed him. They said, "Woe is us, when the king gets word of these things. What the king's representative wanted to do to us, we have done to him."

C. So too, woe to the generation that has judged its judges.

D. "And it came to pass in the days in which the judges themselves were judged" (Ruth 1:1).

5. A. "And it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus" (Est. 1:1). "Haman undertook to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate all the Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day" (Est. 3:13).

B. The matter may be compared to the case of a king who had a vineyard, and three of his enemies attacked it. One of them began to clip off the small branches, the next began to take the pendants off the grape clusters, and the last of them began to uproot the vines altogether.

C. Pharoah [began by clipping off the small branches]: "Every son that is born will you throw into the river" (Ex. 1:22).

D. Nebuchadnezzar [began to clip off the pendants of the grape clusters,] deporting the people: "And he carried away captive the craftsmen and smiths, a thousand" (2 Kgs. 24:16).

E. R. Berekhiah in the name of R. Judah and rabbis:

F. R. Berekhiah in the name of R. Judah: "There were a thousand craftsmen and a thousand smiths."

G. Rabbis say, "This group and that group all together added up to a thousand."

H. The wicked Haman began to uproot the vines altogether. He uprooted Israel from its roots: "To destroy, to slay, and to annihilate all the Jews" (Est. 3:13).

I. When everybody saw that [Ahasuerus had sold and Haman had bought the Jews], they began to cry, "Woe, woe,"

J. "And it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus" (Est. 1:1).

6. A. R. Simeon b. Abba in the name of R. Yohanan: "Any context in which the words, 'And it came to pass . . . ,' appear serves to signify either misfortune or good fortune. If it is a case of misfortune, it is misfortune without parallel. If it is a case of good fortune, it is good fortune without parallel."

B. R. Samuel b. Nahman came and introduced this distinction: "Any context in which the words, 'And it came to pass . . .' occur signifies misfortune, and any context in which the words, 'And it shall come to pass . . .' are used signifies good fortune."

C. They objected [to this claim], "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and it came to pass that there was light" (Gen. 1:3).

D. He said to them, "This too does not represent good fortune, for in the end the world did not enjoy the merit of actually making use of that light."

E. R. Judah [b. R. Simeon] said, "With the light that the Holy One, blessed be he, created on the first day of creation, a person could look and see from one side of the world to the other. When the Holy One, blessed be he, foresaw that there would be wicked people, he did it away for the [exclusive use of the] righteous. 'But the path of the righteous is as the light of the dawn that shines more and more to the perfect day' (Prov. 4:18)."

F. They further objected, "And it came to pass that there was evening and morning, one day" (Gen. 1:5).

G. He said to them, "This too does not signify good fortune. For whatever God created on the first day of creation is destined to be wiped out. That is in line with the following verse of Scripture: 'For the heaven shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment' (Is. 51:6)."

H. They further objected, "And it came to pass that there was evening and it came to pass that there was morning, a second day . . . , a third day . . . , a fifth day . . . , a sixth day . . ." (Gen. 1:8, 13, 19, 23,31).

I. He said to them, "This too does not signify good fortune. For everything which God created on the six days of creation was incomplete and would require further processing. Wheat has to be milled, mustard to be sweetened, [lupine to impart sweetness]."

J. They further objected, "And it came to pass that the Lord was with Joseph, and Joseph was a prosperous man" (Gen. 39:2).

K. He said to them, "This too does not signify good fortune, for on this account that she-bear [Potiphar's wife] came his way."

L. They further objected, "And it came to pass on the eighth day that

Moses called Aaron and his sons for consecration in the priesthood" (Lev. 9:1).

M. He said to them, "This too does not signify good fortune, for on that same day Nadab and Abihu died."

N. They further objected, "And it came to pass on the day on which Moses made an end of setting up the tabernacle" (Num. 7:1).

O. He said to them, "This too does not signify good fortune. For on the day on which the Temple was built, the tabernacle was hidden away."

P. They further objected, "And it came to pass that the Lord was with Joshua and his fame was in all the land" (Joshua 6:27).

Q. He said to them, "This too does not signify good fortune, for he still had to tear his garments [on account of the defeat at Ai (Joshua 7:6)]."

R. They further objected, "And it came to pass that the king dwelt in his palace, and the Lord gave him rest round about" (2 Sam. 7:1).

S. He said to them, "This too does not signify good fortune. On that very day Nathan the prophet came to him and said, 'You will not build the house' (1 Kgs. 8:19)."

T. They said to him, "We have given our objections, now you give your proofs about good fortune."

U. He said to them, " 'And it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out of Jerusalem' (Zech. 14:8). 'And it shall come to pass in that day that a great horn shall be blown' (Is. 27:13). 'And it shall come to pass in that day that a man shall rear a youngling' (Is. 7:21). 'And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will set his hand again a second time to recover the remnant of his people' (Is. 11:11). 'And it shall come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drop down sweet wine' (Joel 4:18). [All of these represent good fortune without parallel.]"

V. They said to him, "And it shall come to pass on the day on which Jerusalem is taken . . .'(Jer. 38:28)."

W. He said to them, "This too does not signify misfortune but good fortune [without parallel], for on that day the Israelites received a full pardon for all their sins.

X. "That is in line with what R. Samuel b. Nahman said, 'The Israelites received a full pardon for all their sins on the day on which the Temple was destroyed. That is in line with the following verse of Scripture, "The punishment of your inquiry is completed, daughter of Zion, and he will no more take you away into exile" (Lam. 4:22)."'

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