Beruriah Comments on the Future

 

There were once some thugs in the neighborhood of Rabbi Meir who caused him much trouble. Rabbi Meir prayed that they should die. His wife Beruriasaid to him, “What are you thinking? It is written ‘Let sins cease.’ Is it written “sinners”? It is written “sins”! Moreover, look at the end of the verse: “…and let the wicked be no more.” Since the sins will cease, there will be no more wicked people! Rather, pray for them that they should do teshuvah, and there will be no more wicked people.” He prayed for them, and they did teshuvah. A certain heretic said to Beruria, “It is written: ‘Sing, barren one, you who did not bear children.’  Because she did not bear children she is to sing?” She said to him: “Fool! Look at the end of the verse, where it is written, ‘For more shall be the children of the desolate than that of the married wife, says the Lord.’ What then is the meaning of ‘a barren one who did not bear children'? Sing, community of Israel, who is like a barren woman, who has not born children like you for Gehenna.” (B. Brachot 10.)

 

There is a braita: After the death of Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehudah said to his students, “Don’t let Rabbi Meir's students enter here, because they are argumentative and do not come to learn Torah but to overwhelm one with halachot.” Somchus pushed through and entered. He said to them, “Rabbi Meir taught me: If one marries [a woman] with his portion, whether of the higher or of the lower sanctity, it does not make a marriage. Rabbi Yehudah got angry at them; he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you, don’t let Rabbi Meir's students enter here, because they are argumentative and do not come to learn Torah but to overwhelm one with halachot? How does a woman come to be in the Temple courtyard?” Rabbi Yosi said, “They will say, ‘Meir is dead, Yehudah is angry, and Yosi is silent.’ What will become of the words of the Torah? Can’t a man accept kiddushin on his daughter's behalf in the Temple courtyard? Can’t a woman appoint a representative to accept her kiddushin in the Temple courtyard? Moreover, if she pushes through and enters, what then?” (B. Kedushin 52:)

 

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