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Ketubot, Daf Kuf Yod Alef, Part 2
Reading for Monday
, June 12
Ketubot 111-2



The sugya continues with the dialogue concerning the primacy of the value of living in the land of Israel.


אמר רבי אלעזר כל הדר בארץ ישראל שרוי בלא עון שנאמר (ישעיהו לג, כד) ובל יאמר שכן חליתי העם היושב בה נשוא עון

א”ל רבא לרב אשי אנן בסובלי חלאים מתנינן לה


Elazar said: Whoever lives in the Land of Israel lives without sin, as it is said, “And the inhabitant will not say, ‘I am sick,’ for the people that dwell there shall be forgiven their sins” (Isaiah 33:24).

Rava said to R. Ashi; We apply this [text] to those who suffer from disease.


To R. Elazar, the very act of living in the land of Israel cleanses one of sin. Notably, though, the Babylonian amoraim read this verse very differently. Illness cleanses one of sin, not living in the land of Israel.


אמר רב ענן כל הקבור בארץ ישראל כאילו קבור תחת המזבח כתיב הכא (שמות כ, כד) מזבח אדמה תעשה לי וכתיב התם (דברים לב, מג) וכפר אדמתו עמו


Anan said: Whoever is buried in the Land of Israel is deemed to be buried under the altar; it says here, “An altar of earth you shall make for me” (Exodus 20:24), and there it says, “And his earth cleanses him.”


Whereas R. Elazar lauded living in Israel, and perhaps we could understand that as the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvoth that can only be fulfilled in Israel, R. Anan believes that burial in Israel atones for sin, like the altar does. The implication might be that R. Elazar’s statement should be read that way too. Living in Israel is preferable not for a practical reason, but for a mystical reason—Israel is holy land.


עולא הוה רגיל דהוה סליק לארץ ישראל.

נח נפשיה בחוץ לארץ

אתו אמרו ליה לרבי אלעזר אמר אנת עולא (עמוס ז, יז) על אדמה טמאה תמות

אמרו לו ארונו בא

אמר להם אינו דומה קולטתו מחיים לקולטתו לאחר מיתה.


Ulla would frequently go up to the land of Israel. He died outside the Land. People came and reported this to R. Elazar. He exclaimed, “You Ulla, “should you die in an unclean land!” (Amos 7:17). They said to him, “His coffin has arrived.” He said to them, “His absorption [in the land] when dead is not the same as his absorption when alive.”


To R. Elazar living in the land of Israel is what is crucial. While he may not deny all value to being buried in the land, it is not the same. Interestingly, we see here a practice begun with Jacob and Joseph in the Bible. Leaders who die outside the land, are brought to Israel for burial.


ההוא גברא דנפלה ליה יבמה בי חוזאה

אתא לקמיה דר’ חנינא

א”ל מהו למיחת וליבמה

א”ל אחיו נשא כותית ומת ברוך המקום שהרגו והוא ירד אחריו.


A certain man at Be Hoza’a sister become liable for levirate marriage with him. He came in front of R. Hanina. He asked him: Can I go down there to contract with her levirate marriage? [R. Hanina] replied: His brother married a Cuthean and died, blessed be God who killed him, and this one would follow him!


Not only does R. Hanina refuse to allow the man to leave Israel to marry his dead brother’s wife, he goes so far as to bless God for causing the brother to die. He even calls the man’s wife a “Cuthean” which usually means a Samaritan. It is as if to say that the mere fact that she lived outside the land implies that she is not a Jew.


אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל כשם שאסור לצאת מארץ ישראל לבבל כך אסור לצאת מבבל לשאר ארצות רבה ורב יוסף דאמרי תרוייהו אפילו מפומבדיתא לבי כובי

ההוא דנפק מפומבדיתא לבי כובי שמתיה רב יוסף

ההוא דנפק מפומבדיתא לאסתוניא שכיב

אמר אביי אי בעי האי צורבא מרבנן הוה חיי


Rav Judah stated in the name of Shmuel: Just as it is forbidden to leave the Land of Israel for Babylon so it is forbidden to leave Babylon for other countries. Rabbah and R. Joseph both said: Even from Pumbeditha to Be Kubi.      

A man once moved from Pumbedita to Be Kubi and R. Joseph placed him under the ban.    

A man once moved from Pumbedita to Astunia and he died. Abaye said: “If this young scholar wanted, he would still be alive.”     


These Babylonian amoraim again shift the conversation away from the ontological superiority of the land of Israel to the Torah superiority of Babylonia, and within Babylonia, the superiority of Pumbedita over other places.


רבה ורב יוסף דאמרי תרוייהו כשרין שבבבל א”י קולטתן כשרין שבשאר ארצות בבל קולטתן

למאי? אילימא ליוחסין, והאמר מר כל הארצות עיסה לארץ ישראל וארץ ישראל עיסה לבבל

אלא לענין קבורה


Rabbah and R. Joseph both stated: The fit persons of Babylonia are received by the Land of Israel, and the fit of other countries are received by Babylonia.

In what respect?   If it be suggested: In respect of genealogy, but did not the Master say, “All countries are [like] dough vis a vis the Land of Israel, and the Land of Israel is [like] dough vis a vis Babylon”? 

Rather in respect of burial.


Rabbah and R. Joseph make a statement that seems to prioritize Israel over Babylonia and Babylonia over all other places. But they do not clarify what these people are “fit” for. The normal meaning of “fit” in statements like this is genealogical. Those whose genealogy is pure in Babylonia could marry Jews from Israel, and those from outside of Babylonia could marry Jews in Babylonia. The problem is that elsewhere we learn that Babylonia is genealogically superior to other lands, even Israel. Israel is “dough” compared to Babylonia, meaning its genealogical lines are all mixed up. Thus the statement is reinterpreted to refer to burial. The fit in Babylonia are of a high enough level to be successfully buried in Israel. Evidently, the unfit are not.


אמר רב יהודה כל הדר בבבל כאילו דר בארץ ישראל שנאמר (זכריה ב, יא) הוי ציון המלטי יושבת בת בבל

אמר אביי נקטינן בבל לא חזיא חבלי דמשיח תרגמה אהוצל דבנימין וקרו ליה קרנא דשיזבתא


Rav Judah said: Whoever lives in Babylonia it is as if he lived in the Land of Israel; for it is said, “Ho, Zion, escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon” (Zechariah 2:11).      

Abaye stated: We have a tradition that Babylonia will not witness the birth pangs of the Messiah.   He [also] explained it to refer to Huzal in Benjamin and they called it the Horn of Salvation.


Again, Rav Judah voices the opinion that Babylonia is at least equivalent to the land of Israel.

Abaye adds that Babylonia will be spared the suffering that will come with the advent of the Messianic age. This particular statement was interpreted as referring to a place known as Hutzal in Benjamin, a city in Babylonia. This place was called the “Horn of Salvation” for it will only experience salvation and not suffering.