Continued Misfortune – Bava Basra 12


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Rabbi Yochanan said: Since the Holy Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from prophets and given to fools and children.

When was it given to fools? It happened with Mar the son of Rav Ashi. He was one day standing in the marketplace of Mechuza when he heard a certain deranged person exclaim: “The man who is to be appointed head of the Academy in the city of Mechasya signs his name Tavyumi.” He said to himself, “Who among the Rabbis signs his name Tavyumi? I do! This indicates that my fortunate time has come.” So he quickly went to the city of Mechasya. When he arrived, he found that the Rabbis had voted to appoint Rav Acha of Difti as their head. When they heard of his arrival, they sent a couple of Rabbis to him to ask his advice (and his permission to appoint Rav Acha). He detained them with him, and they sent another couple of Rabbis. He detained these also, and it continued until there were ten. When ten were assembled (for that is when one should begin lecturing), he began to discourse and expound to them. [He was then appointed as the head of the Academy.]

Rav Acha applied to himself the saying: If a man is dealt with harshly, he does not readily come into favor, and if a man is in favor, he does not readily fall into misfortune.

The Maharsha writes that this is only if it troubles him greatly. If he thinks that being rejected from a position of prominence was a grave misfortune, then good things will not happen soon happen to him. This is in accordance with what the Sages say: One who pursues honor – the honor will run away from him.

The Meiri writes that although there can be times that due to a person’s fortune, the door of success keeps closing on him and it is not readily opened, nevertheless, it is not completely shut. The gates of tefillah and good deeds are not sealed; they will always be there for a person’s protection.