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  • Power of Repentance
  • Setting an example
  • Confession - when and how
  • Remedy for pride
  • Human relations
  • Ritual contamination on Yom Kippur
  • Why a succah cannot be too high
  • How large the succah must be
  • When is house a house
  • Reducing height to make the succah kosher
  • Virtual succot
  • How low can the succah be
  • How close to Heaven did Moshe rise
  • Thickness of the kaporet cover of the Holy Ark
  • The position of the keruvim

How He Got to Babylon

  • Yoma 87b

One of the Sages most prominently identified with the Babylonian Talmud is Rav. How he reached Babylon, where he achieved prominence as a disseminator of Torah, is detailed in the final pages of Mesechta Yoma that we now conclude.

Rav was once studying a chapter of Tanach in front of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi in Eretz Yisrael. He was soon joined by some other Sages, one after the other, who wished to do the same. Time and again he was forced to go back to the beginning in order to accommodate them. When Rabbi Chanina bar Chama came after three such interruptions, Rav lost his patience and expressed irritation.

Upon realizing that he had hurt the feelings of this venerable colleague, Rav went on the day before Yom Kippur to beg his forgiveness. Rabbi Chanina refused to accept his apology even though Rav came to him thirteen years in a row to seek his forgiveness.

This behavior of Rabbi Chanina was challenged by the gemara on the basis of the statement of the Sage Rava regarding the importance of forgiving one who has wronged you. Rabbi Chanina’s action is explained as the result of a dream he had which indicated that Rav would be the head of a yeshiva. Since it was Rabbi Chanina who succeeded Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi as head, he was afraid that this was a sign that he would die and be succeeded by Rav. He therefore acted towards Rav in an unforgiving manner that would encourage him to leave for Babylon, where he would be the head of a great yeshiva without jeopardizing Rabbi Chanina’s longevity.

It was thus that Babylonian Jewry was enriched by the arrival of Rav in their city.

What the Sages Say

“Great is the power of repentance for it brings closer our redemption.”
  • Rabbi Yonatan - Yoma 86

“Committing a sin and then repeating it causes the sinner to assume that he is not sinning after all.”

  • Rabbi Huna in the name of the Sage Rav - Yoma 87a

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