Continuing the discussion that began on yesterday’s daf , Rabbi Yoḥanan explains that the color black can be identified by looking at the color of the clothes of bath attendants who come from overseas.
The Gemara begins a discussion of such clothing, saying:
This then implies that such clothes are black, but did not Rabbi Yannai address the following request to his sons: ‘My children, do not bury me either in black cloth or white cloth; not in black lest I be acquitted in judgment and I would be like a mourner among bridegrooms. And not in white lest I not be acquitted in judgment and I will be like a bridegroom among mourners. Rather bury me only in the clothing of the bath attendants who come from overseas.’ This clearly proves that these are not black!
The Gemara explains that there are different articles of clothing under discussion here, only some of which are black.
The commentaries note that a number of lessons can be learned from the final request that Rabbi Yannai makes from his children. The Arukh LaNer points out that this Sage saw himself neither as possessing great piety nor as being an evil person, and argues that there are a number of Rabbinic teachings that indicate the importance of having such a view of oneself.
Others point to the importance of not separating oneself from community norms and behaviors, quoting Massekhet Derekh Eretz (Chapter 7) where we learn:
“A person should not rejoice among mourners nor mourn among those rejoicing. He should not remain awake when all are asleep nor sleep when all are awake. He should not stand when others are sitting nor sit when others are standing. The general rule being: A person should not deviate from the behaviors of his friends.”
This is, of course, only if the intention of his friends is positive, and if so he should abandon his own preferences to accommodate those of the group.