Greeting a Torah scholar

Rebbe and Rabbi Chiya were traveling. When they reached a certain town, they asked if a Torah scholar lived there who they could visit, and they were told that there was a blind one there. Rabbi Chiya told Rebbe not to come, for it would denigrate his position as Nasi, but he insisted on coming along. When they took leave from the scholar, he told them that just as they had greeted one who is seen but cannot see, so too they should merit to greet Hashem, Who sees but is not seen. Rebbe told Rabbi Chiya that if he had listened to him and not come, he would have lost out on this blessing.

 

Rebbe’s students asked him where he learned how important it is to greet Torah scholars, and he said he learned it from Rabbi Yaakov’s lesson, as Rabbi Yaakov from the town of Chitaya would greet his Rebbe every day. When he got old, his Rebbe told him that he need not visit, as it was now hard for him. He objected, as the verse says that one will live eternally, and not see purgatory, when he sees Sages that die. If one receives such a reward for seeing them dying, how much more will he receive a reward for seeing them alive. Rav Idi, the father of Rabbi Yaakov bar Idi, would travel for 3 months to learn Torah in the Bais Midrash for one day, and then travel back for 3 months, returning home in time for the next holiday. They referred to him as the one-day resident of the Bais Midrash, and Rabbi Yochanan asked Rav Idi not to get upset at this term, since that would cause the scholars to be punished. Rabbi Yochanan then explained the verse which says that “they seek Me day by day” to mean that even if they can only seek Me for one day in the year, it is tantamount to them doing so the whole year. We also find this with punishments, as Hashem punished a full year for each day the spies traveled. (5b)