Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Bava Metzia 86: Magical Aggada, King Solomon and Abraham

Today's daf is yet another filled with wonderfully colourful aggadaic stories.  Unfortunately I will not be able to share the content in detail today.  Today's blog has to be unfairly brief.

The Gemara mentions the daughter of Chasa and her son, Rav Chama.  We are told a fantastical story about the face of a soldier (who was looking to collect taxes not earned when men were learning Torah) being turned backward and then forward again.  We learn about Rabba bar Nachmani and his ability to speak to questions about the diagnosis of leprosy as it was debated by rabbis in the World-to-Come.  Related to this story, an Arab is thrown by a hurricane after this rabbi's death.  This man reminds the Master of the Universe that Rabba bar Nachmani is still His.  The Gemara mentions that  Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta was obese and asked his daughter to fan him in exchange for a fragrance.  When a wind did that work for her, Rabbi Shimon wondered how much fragrance he owed.

Amud (b) focuses on the rabbis and their thoughts about the hospitality of our forefather Avraham and King Solomon.  We are told about King Solomon's one thousand, competing (with feasts) wives. We are told about specific verses and how they might be interpreted to understand the generosity of Abraham.  The rabbis emphasize Abraham's very special and intimate relationship with G-d.

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