Playback speed

Sotah 9:14-15

Sotah 9:14

During the war against Vespasian, the Sages discontinued the wedding crown worn by grooms and playing the tambourine. During the war against Titus, they discontinued the wedding tiara worn by brides and prohibited a man from teaching his son Greek. In the last war (i.e., the one that culminated in the Temple’s destruction), they prohibited a bride from entering the city in a litter, though they permitted her to be carried in a litter inside the city.

Sotah 9:15

Once Rabbi Meir died, there were no more authors of fables. Once Ben Azzai died, there were no more diligent students. Once Ben Zoma died, there were no more Bible expounders. When Rabbi Yehoshua died, goodness left the world. When Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel died, locusts came and troubles increased. When Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah died, the Sages stopped being wealthy. When Rabbi Akiba died, the glory of Torah ceased. Once Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa died, there were no more men of accomplishments. Once Rabbi Yosi Katnuta died, there were no more pious men. He was called Katnuta because he was the least of the pious. Whan Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai died, the splendor of wisdom disappeared. Once Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died, the glory of Torah ceased, while purity and abstinence disappeared. When Rabbi Yishmael ben Pavi died, the splendor of the priesthood ended. When Rebbi died, humility and fear of sin ended. Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair said that when the Temple was destroyed, scholars and nobles were ashamed and covered their heads, and men of accomplishments were weakened, while violent and slanderous men gained power. Since then, no one examines, intercedes or inquires. There is no one upon whom we can rely except for our Father in Heaven. Rabbi Eliezer the Great says that since the Temple was destroyed, Sages are like teachers, teachers are like synagogue attendants, synagogue attendants are like lay people, and the lay people became increasingly degraded. No one intercedes so, again, there is no one upon whom we can rely except for our Father in Heaven. With the approach of Moshiach, insolence will increase and prices will rise sharply. The vine will yield produce but wine will be expensive. The government will turn to heresy and no one will be qualified to give rebuke. The meeting places will be used for promiscuity, the Galilee will be destroyed and the Gavlan (perhaps referring to the Golan) will be desolate. Those who live on the frontier will wander from place to place but no one will take pity on them. The wisdom of scholars will deteriorate, people who fear sin will be despised and truth won’t be found. Young people will shame their elders, old men having to stand up for the young, as per Micah 7:6, “A son despises his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” The face of the generation preceding Moshiach will be like that of a dog, a son feeling no shame before his father. Again, there is no one upon whom we can rely except for our Father in Heaven. Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair says that zeal leads to cleanliness, which leads to purity, which leads to abstinence, which leads to holiness, which leads to humility, which leads to fear of sin, which leads to piety, which leads to Divine inspiration, which leads to the resurrection of the dead, which is to be carried out by the prophet Elijah, may he be remembered for good.

Author: Rabbi Jack Abramowitz