For the week ending 22 May 2010 / 8 Sivan 5770

Sanhedrin 100 - 106

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Who is called an "apikoros"
  • Miracles of the hereafter
  • To which apocrypha does Rabbi Akiva refer
  • The questionable wisdom of Ben Sira
  • Wrong songs and occult cures
  • The visit of the Sages to an ailing Rabbi Eliezer
  • The rise of Yarovam and his sins
  • Sages and their judgment of idolatrous kings
  • The merits of two sinful kings
  • The last kings of the Kingdom of Yehuda
  • Kings and commoners who have no share in World to Come
  • The Book of Eicha (Lamentations) and destruction of Beit Hamikdash
  • Bil'am and the failed curses
  • Envy of a son or disciple
  • Doeg and Achitofel, the scholar sinners

Royal Builder of a City

  • Sanhedrin 102b

"How did Omri merit to be a king?" asked Rabbi Yochanan, and he answered his own question: "Because he added one city to Eretz Yisrael."

Following the brief reign of Zimri who overthrew the sinful King Basha of the Kingdom of Israel, the general of the army, Omri, became the king. He is described as one who "did evil in the eyes of G-d worse than all that were before him (Melachim I 16:25). He nevertheless reigned for many years and Rabbi Yochanan's statement appears to be an explanation of how he merited doing so, and is based on the previous passage.

"He (Omri) bought the hill Shomron from Shemer for two talents of silver and built on the hill and called the name of the city Shomron after the name of the owner." (Ibid. 16:24)

Maharsha, however, points out that the sequence of these two passages indicates that Omri became king before building Shomron. He therefore explains that Rabbi Yochanan's observation was not why Omri deserved to become a king but rather why he merited that his son and grandson should succeed to his throne, a privilege denied to his predecessors who ruled over the Kingdom of Israel. It was the building of a great city in Eretz Yisrael that gave him this honor.

What the Sages Say

"A person is capable of envying anyone except for his son or disciple."

  • Rabbi Yossi bar Choni - Sanhedrin 105b

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