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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Source Text for Tonight's Class, Rabbi Meir and the Bear

"So he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he knew nothing about what was with him except the bread that he ate; and Joseph had handsome features and a beautiful complexion." (Genesis 39:6)

Rashi on the above verse - and Joseph had handsome features: As soon as Joseph found himself [in the position of] ruler, he began eating and drinking and curling his hair. Said the Holy One, blessed be He: “Your father is mourning and you curl your hair! I will incite the bear against you.” Immediately afterwards“his master’s wife lifted up her eyes.” [from Tanchuma Vayeshev 8]

 Rabbi Meir would say: Engage minimally in business, and occupy yourself with Torah. Be humble before every man. If you neglect the Torah, there will be many more causes for neglect before you; if you toil much in Torah, there is much reward to give to you. (Pirkei Avot 4:12)

There were once some highwaymen in the neighbourhood of R. Meir who caused him a great deal of trouble. R. Meir accordingly prayed that they should die. His wife Beruria  said to him: How do you make out [that such a prayer should be permitted]? Because it is written Let hatta'im cease? Is it written hot'im? It is written hatta'im! Further, look at the end of the verse: and let the wicked men be no more. Since the sins will cease, there will be no more wicked men! Rather pray for them that they should repent, and there will be no more wicked. He did pray for them, and they repented.  (Talmud Berachot 10a) 

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