Avodah Zarah 17 - Repentance of Elazar ben Durdia

When Ulla would return from the study hall, he would kiss his sisters on their arms, and some say, on their chests, and some say - on the garment opposite that part of the body. Ulla was confident that since he was pure of character, he would not entertain improper thought, but did it out of respect. He advised others to refrain from such activities. Some say, it is an allegory of Ulla's love of Torah.

Elazar ben Durdia did not leave one harlot in the world without a visit. Once he heard that there was a particular harlot overseas who took a purse of coins for her services. He crossed seven rivers for her sake. When they were starting, she blew wind with her mouth and said, "Just as this air cannot return, so they will not receive Elazar ben Durdia in repentance." He went and sat between two mountains and asked mountains, heaven, earth, moon, and stars to beseech mercy for him. They all said that they needed mercy for themselves. He then saw that the matter depends solely on him, and cried until his soul departed. A heavenly voice proclaimed, "Rabbi Elazar ben Durdia is ready for the life in the World to Come!"

Rabbi Yehudah the Prince cried and said, "Some get their World to Come in a single moment. And they are even called 'Rabbi'".

Art: John William Waterhouse - The Remorse of the Emperor Nero