Talmud Tips

For the week ending 11 April 2015 / 22 Nisan 5775

Ketuvot 72 - 78

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

“The living will take to heart matters pertaining to death: one who eulogizes another will be eulogized by others; one who buries another will be buried by others; one who cries bitterly for another will be wept for by others; one who escorts another to the grave will be escorted by others; and one who carries another to his burial place will be carried by others.”

Our gemara explains in this manner the teaching of Rabbi Meir in a beraita regarding the enigmatic words “and the living will take it to heart” in Kohelet 7:1.

Rashi sees this as a lesson in human behavior. Interaction requires give-and-take and is not one-sided. The Maharsha, however, suggests that the lesson is that a person should engage in activities that will make him aware of his own mortality.

  • Ketubot 72a

"Fortunate is the person who arrives here (the World-to-Come) with his Torah learning in his hand."

This reason is stated on our daf by Rabbi Chanina bar Papa to explain his request from the angel of death (who was his “friend” — Rashi) to not “take him” immediately but rather only after another thirty days. During these thirty days Rabbi Chanina bar Papa reviewed his entire Torah learning, the best preparation for the World-to-Come.

  • Ketuvot 77b

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