Presented by Rabbi Joshua Neely
When Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Yosei and Rabbi Shimon were sitting,
and Yehuda, son of converts, sat beside them. Rabbi Yehuda opened and
said: How pleasant are the actions of the Romans, they established
marketplaces, established bridges, and established bathhouses. Rabbi Yosei
was silent. Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai responded and said: Everything that
they established, they established only for their own purposes. They
established marketplaces, to place prostitutes in them; bathhouses, to
pamper themselves; bridges, to collect taxes from them. Yehuda, son of
converts, went and talked about their statements to others, and they were
heard by the monarchy. They said: Yehuda, who elevated, shall be elevated.
Yosei, who remained silent, shall be exiled to Tzippori. And Shimon, who
denounced, shall be killed.
He and his son, went and hid in the study hall. Every day his wife
would bring them bread and a jug of water and they would eat. When the
decree intensified, he said to his son: Women are weak-willed, perhaps the
authorities torture her and she reveal us. They went and they hid in a cave.
A miracle occurred and a carob tree was created for them as well as a spring
of water. They would remove their clothes and sit in sand up to their necks.
They would study all day. At the time of prayer, they would dress, cover
themselves, and pray, and they would again remove their clothes afterward
so that they would not become tattered. They sat in the cave for twelve
years. Elijah came and stood at the entrance to the cave and said: Who will
inform bar Yoḥai that the emperor died and his decree has been abrogated?
They emerged, and saw people who were plowing and sowing. He
said: They abandon eternal life and engage in life of doing. Every place that
they directed their eyes was immediately burned. A Divine Voice emerged
and said to them: Did you emerge to destroy My world? Return to your
cave! They again went and sat for twelve months. They said: The judgment
of the wicked in Gehenna lasts for twelve months. A Divine Voice emerged
and said: Emerge from your cave. They emerged. Everywhere that Rabbi
Elazar would strike, Rabbi Shimon would heal. Rabbi Shimon said to Rabbi
Elazar: My son, you and I suffice for the world.
As the sun was setting on Shabbat eve, they saw an elderly man who
was holding two bundles of myrtle branches and running at twilight. They
said to him: Why do you have these? He said to them: In honor of Shabbat.
They said to him: And let one suffice. He answered them: One is
corresponding to: Remember (Ex. 20:8), and one is corresponding to:
Observe (Deut. 5:12). Rabbi Shimon said to his son: See how beloved the
mitzvot are to Israel. Their minds were at ease.
Rabbi Pineḥas ben Ya’ir, his son-in-law, heard and went out to him. He
brought him into the bathhouse and tended to his flesh. He saw that he had
cracks in his body. He cried, and the tears fell from his eyes and caused
Rabbi Shimon pain. Rabbi Pineḥas said to Rabbi Shimon, his father-in-law:
Woe is me, that I have seen you like this. Rabbi Shimon said to him: Happy
are you that you have seen me like this, as had you not seen me like this,
you would not have found in me this. At first, when Rabbi Shimon ben
Yoḥai would raise a difficulty, Rabbi Pineḥas ben Ya’ir would respond with
twelve answers. Ultimately, when Rabbi Pineḥas ben Ya’ir would raise a
difficulty, Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai would respond with twenty-four
He said: Since a miracle happened for me, I will go and repair
something … Rav said: Jacob established a currency for them. And Shmuel
said: He established marketplaces for them. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: He
established bathhouses for them. In any event, clearly one for whom a
miracle transpires should perform an act of kindness for his neighbors as a
sign of gratitude. Shabbat 33a