REGULATIONS CONCERNING ARTICLES WHICH MAY BE SAVED FROM A CONFLAGRATION ON SABBATH.
MISHNA: All sacred scriptures may be saved from a conflagration (on the Sabbath); be such scriptures allowed or not allowed to be read on Sabbath. The Scriptures written in any language whatsoever must be considered sacred, and brought to a safe place, even on a week-day. Why are some (sacred scriptures) not allowed to be read (on Sabbath)? In order that one might not miss the sermons at the school-house. One may save the case of the book with the book, the case of the Tephillin with the Tephillin, even if money is contained therein. Where must such things be taken (for safety)? In a closed space surrounded by walks. Ben Bathyra says: “Even in a space that has one side open.”
GEMARA: It was taught: If the Scriptures wore written in Aramaic (Targum), or in any other language, they need not be saved from a conflagration. So says R. Huna. But R. Hisda says: “They must be saved.” According to the Tana who holds, that all of the scriptures may be read on Sabbath, there is no difference of opinion between R. Huna and R. Hisda, for the Scriptures must be saved. But, according to the Tana who holds, that some scriptures may and others may not be read on the Sabbath, R. Huna says, that the latter need not be saved, while R. Hisda says they must, in order not to disgrace the Scriptures. An objection was made: “Our Mishna says, that all scriptures, whether allowed to be read on the Sabbath or not, or even if written in whatever language, must be saved. We must assume, that the readable part of the Scriptures is the Prophets and the non-readable part is the Hagiographa, and if written in other languages, which are naturally non-readable, they must nevertheless be saved. How, then, can R. Huna say, that the non-readable need not be saved?” R. Huna might say: How can this explanation of the Mishna correspond with the further ordinance that they “should be brought to a safe
place”? If it says that they must be saved from the conflagration, it is self-evident that they must be brought to a safe place? What is the correct interpretation of the Mishna? R. Huna interprets it according to his understanding thus: “The readable part of the Scriptures is the Prophets, the non-readable part is the Hagiographa, providing they are written in the holy language (Hebrew), but if written in other languages they need not be saved; but although they need not be saved on the Sabbath, if they lie in an unfit place even on week-days, they must be brought into a safe place.” R. Hisda interprets the Mishna according to his understanding thus: “The readable part is the Prophets, the non-readable part is the Hagiographa, and although written in other languages they must also be saved, and the term ‘should be brought to a safe place’ refers even to torn pieces of such Scriptures although written in other languages.”
Another objection was made: We have learned in a Boraitha: “If they (the Scriptures) are written
in Aramaic or any other language, they must be saved from a conflagration? Is this not contradictory to R. Huna’s opinion? Nay; R. Huna may say that the Tana of the Boraitha holds the Scriptures written in other languages to be readable. Come and hear: Scriptures written in Coptic, Median, old Hebrew, Elamite or Greek, although not permitted to be read, must be saved from a conflagration.” This is surely a contradiction to R. Huna? R. Huna might say: There is a difference of opinion among the different Tanaim, as we have learned in the following Tosephta: If the Scriptures are written in Aramaic or in any other language, they must be saved from a conflagration, but R. Jose says, that they must not. Said R. Jose: It happened that Aba ‘Halafta went to R. Gamaliel the Great in Tiberias, who sat at the table of Johanan the Nazuph (also called Ben Nazuph), and held in his hand the book of job in Aramaic, which he was reading. Said Aba ‘Halafta to R. Gamaliel: “I remember having at one time come to thy grandfather R. Gamaliel, who stood on the steps of the corridor of the Temple when a Book of Job in Aramaic was brought to him. He told the mason to take the book and immure it underneath the stairway.” Whereupon the later R. Gamaliel also ordered the book he was reading to be immured.
The rabbis taught: The benedictions, which are written in Hebrew, or amulets although containing letters of the Holy Name and many passages of the Scriptures, must not be saved
from a conflagration, but may be burned up together with such letters and passages. From this it was said, that one who writes benedictions commits an act equal to burning up the Scriptures, as it happened in Zidon: One wrote benedictions, and it was told to R. Ishmael. R. Ishmael set forth to investigate the matter. As soon as the man saw R. Ishmael approach, he threw the writings into a bowl of water. Said R. Ishmael to him the following words: “The punishment thou wilt receive for this latter deed will be greater than that for writing the benedictions.”
The Exilarch asked of Rabba bar R. Huna: If the Scriptures were written with paint or with dyes and in the holy language, may they be saved from a conflagration or not? I ask thee, taking in consideration the differences of opinion existing between the different Tanaim, for those who hold that Scriptures written in Aramaic or any other language must not be saved, what is their opinion regarding such as are written in the holy language and not with ink? Whereas those who hold that the Scriptures in any language must be saved, do they not refer to such as are written in ink only, but those written with paint or dye, even if written in Hebrew, should also not be saved? Answered Rabba bar R. Huna: “No, they must not be saved.” Rejoined the Exilarch: “R. Hamnuna taught, in a Boraitha, that they may?–Answered Rabba: “If such was taught in a Boraitha, it must be so!”
The rabbis taught: Before the passage [Numb. x. 35]: “And it came to pass when the ark set forward, that Moses said, etc.,” and at the close of the next verse, the Holy One, blessed be He, made signs (the inverted letter Nun, which must be inserted in the Scroll) in order to signify that this is not the proper place for the two passages; but Rabbi says, that this is out of the question, and that the two verses form a valuable book in themselves. We have heard from R. Samuel ben Na’hmeni in the name of R. Jonathan, that we have not a Pentateuch but a Septateuch 1 (i.e., we have not five books of Moses, but seven). Would this imply that R. Samuel holds with Rabbi and declares that there are seven (because the two verses, which form a book in themselves, divide Numbers into two books)? Who is the Tana, however, that differs with Rabbi? He is R. Simeon ben Gamaliel, for we have learned in a Boraitha:
[paragraph continues] R. Simeon ben Gamaliel says, that these two passages will in the future be removed and put in their proper place. Why were they put here, then? In order to make a separation between the two scourges that befell the Israelites. Which was the second scourge? The one that follows immediately afterwards [Numb. xi. 1]: “And it came to pass, that, as the people complained in a manner displeasing to the Lord,” etc., etc. And which was the first? The first was as it is written [ibid. x. 33]: “And they set forward from the mount of the Lord, which, according to R. Hama b. Hanina, means “and they departed from the ways of the Lord.” Which is the proper place for the two passages? Said R. Ashi: In Numbers ii. (where it is decreed how every man should walk in the wilderness, and the end of the chapter stating that every, man did as he was commanded, should be followed by those two verses).
The schoolmen asked: May the blank pieces of the Scroll of Laws which had become detached from the Scroll be saved from a conflagration on Sabbath or not? Come and hear: The Gilyonim (blank pieces of the Scroll) and the Sadducean books need not be saved from the conflagration. They, together with the holy names contained in them. Does not the word Gilyonim have reference to the blank pieces of the Scroll? Nay; the blank pages of the Sadducean books. How can it mean the blank pages of the Sadducean books. Why, it is not even allowed to save the Sadducean books themselves? Perhaps the Boraitha means, that the Sadducean books are considered as blank pages, and hence must not be saved.
The text of the Boraitha says further: The Gilyonim and the Sadducean books must not be saved from a conflagration; R. Jose says, that on week-days the Holy Name must be torn out wherever it appears and preserved, and the remainder must be burned; but R. Tarphon says: May I bury my children, if I would not burn such books together with the Holy Name, whenever they reached my hands; for when a man is pursued by murderers or by a snake, it were better for him to seek refuge in the temple of an idol than to enter the houses of such people; for the idolaters serve their idols because they know not God, but the others know God and deny him; they (the latter) are referred to by the verse [Isaiah lvii. 8]: “And behind the doors and the doorposts hast thou placed thy remembrance” (implying that they remember the Lord very well, but nevertheless place their memory behind the doors and doorposts).
Said R. Ishmael: In the Scriptures it is even allowed to erase with bitter water the Holy Name of God, which was written in a holy cause in order to bring about peace between man and wife, a fortiori it should be allowed in the case of those people who cause discord and enmity between Israel and the Heavenly Father. To them David had reference [in Psalms cxxxix. 21, 22]: “Behold those that hate thee, I ever hate, O Lord! and for those that rise up against thee do I feel loathing. With the utmost hatred do I hate them: enemies are they become unto me.” So, as they must not be saved from a conflagration, they must also not be saved from the waters, or anything that might destroy them.
Joseph bar Hanin asked of R. Abuha: “May the books of Be Abhidon be saved?” Answered R. Abuha: Yea, nay, I really cannot tell. Rabh never went to the Be Abhidon, and all the more not to the Be Nitzrephe. 1 Samuel, however, never went to the Be Nitzrephe, but did go to the Be Abhidon. Mar bar Joseph said: “I am of their society and do not fear them.” Still it happened at
one time that he was in danger on their account.
Ema Shalom, the wife of R. Eliezer, who was also a sister of R. Gamaliel the Second, encountered a philosopher in her neighborhood who was a judge, and had the reputation of being inaccessible to bribery. R. Gamaliel and his sister wished to ridicule him and prove that he was accessible to bribery. Ema Shalom brought him a golden candle. He asked her what she wanted, so she answered: “My father is dead, and I wish to inherit some of his possessions.” The judge said: “Go, I will order that you be given your share.” Said she: “Thou canst not order it so, because our law decrees, that wherever there is a son a daughter cannot inherit.” Answered the judge: “Since you Israelites are in exile, your law given you by Moses has been revoked, and a new law was given you by which daughters may inherit equally with sons.” On the morrow came R. Gamaliel and brought him a Libyan ass, and told him that he did not wish to let his sister inherit. Said the judge: “After thy sister left I consulted the law again, and found that the new law said: ‘I did not come to abolish the Mosaic law, neither to increase nor
to diminish it.’ Hence it must remain as in the old law, that where a son is left a sister must not inherit.” Said Ema Shalom to the judge: “May God make thy light as bright as a candle.” Said R. Gamaliel to her (in the presence of the judge): “An ass came along and extinguished thy candle.”
“Why are some (sacred Scriptures) not allowed to be read (on the Sabbath)?” etc. Said Rabh: “It is not allowed to read such Scriptures only during the time of the sermons at the school-house, but at any other they may be read.” Samuel, however, said, that even at any other time they must not be read, because he holds with R. Nehemiah as we have learned in the following Boraitha: “Although it was said that the Hagiographa should not be read, still they may be discussed and lectured upon, and when a quotation must be made, the book maybe referred to and the quotation read.” Said R. Nehemiah: “Why was it prohibited to read the Hagiographa on the Sabbath? In order that it might be said: As it is forbidden to read the Hagiographa, it is all the more so forbidden to read ordinary papers.”
“In a closed space surrounded by walls.” What is to be understood by the term “closed space”? Said R. Hisda: “This refers to a lane surrounded on three sides by walls and having on the fourth side two beams. If the lane have three walls and two beams it is a closed space, if it have only one beam on the fourth side it is an open place, and the Tana of the Mishna as well as Ben Bathyra hold in accordance with the opinion of R. Eliezer, who decided to that effect elsewhere.” Said Rabba to R. Hisda: “Dost thou call a space surrounded by three walls and one beam an open place? If this be so, according to the sages, why cannot victuals and beverages also be brought there, not alone Scriptures? In my opinion, two walls and two beams, one on each side, form a closed space, and two walls with only one beam constitute an open space. And the two Tanaim of the Mishna are not in accord with R. Eliezer, but with R. Jehudah, who opposes him (in Tract Erubin).”
Said Abayi to Rabba: “And why should not, according to thy explanation, victuals and beverages be brought there (for safety) in conformity with the opinion of the sages?” Said R. Ashi, however, “The two Tanaim of the Mishna are of the opinion of R. Eliezer, and a closed place is formed by three walls and one beam, while an open place is made by three walls without any beam at all; and even according to R. Eliezer, who
requires two beams, it is only for the bringing thither of victuals; but for the safe keeping of the Scriptures, R. Eliezer holds even one beam to be sufficient.”
MISHNA: One may save enough victuals to last for three meals (on the Sabbath in the event of a conflagration). Such food as is fit for human beings may be saved for the use of human beings, and such as is fit for cattle may be saved for cattle. How so? If a conflagration happen on the eve of Sabbath, one may save enough victuals for three meals. If it occur in the forenoon of Sabbath, one may save enough for two meals, and if it occur in the afternoon of Sabbath one may only save enough for one meal. R. Jose, however, says: “One may at all times save enough for three meals.”
GEMARA: Let us see! Why should it only be allowed to save three meals, or two, or one? (It says, further on, that the victuals for the meals are to be brought into such a place as is covered by an Erub. In such a place things may be carried, and the things themselves may also be handled, then why should one not be allowed to save more than enough for three meals?) Said Rabha: Because a man is anxious for his possessions, he might, if allowed to save as much as possible, forget about the Sabbath and extinguish the fire altogether. Said Abayi to him: “We have learned previously, that a man upon whose roof a barrel filled with victuals becomes broken, may bring another vessel and put it underneath the barrel in order that the contents of the barrel fall into the vessel, but may not bring another barrel and transfer the contents of the broken one into the new, nor may he place a new barrel alongside of the other and remove the contents of the broken one into the new one by keeling over the former and letting its contents drop into the latter. Why should he not be allowed to do this? (He is on private ground, and the barrel with its contents may be handled?) If it is prohibited as a precautionary measure in the manner of the previous case, where does the precaution arise?” This latter case is also a precautionary measure; for were he allowed to remove the contents from one barrel into another, there is fear of his carrying it through public ground. The text of the Boraitha, how ever, teaches further, that if the man had guests in his house, he may remove the contents of the broken barrel into a new one, etc. But he may not first remove the contents and then call guests, but first call guests and then remove the things; nor may he pretend (to call guests), but must actually desire their
company. In the name of R. Jose bar R. Jehudah it was said, that even calling guests as a pretext is also allowed.
The rabbis taught: If one had saved (from the fire) fine bread, he must not return and save coarse bread, but if he first saved the coarse he may return and save the fine. One may also save enough on the Day of Atonement in the event of a fire (when that day is succeeded by Sabbath) to last him through the Sabbath also, but on a Sabbath it is not permitted to save enough for the Day of Atonement (if the Sabbath falls on the day before), and all the more so is it not allowed if the Sabbath precedes a feast-day; nor is it allowed to save on one Sabbath for the following Sabbath.
The rabbis taught: If one forgets bread in an oven, and in the meantime the Sabbath sets in, it is allowed to save enough bread to last for three meals; and one may say to bystanders, “Come and
take out as much as ye need”; and when taking out the bread it should not be done with a baker’s shovel, hut with some other utensil. R. Hisda said: A man should see that everything should be prepared on Friday for the Sabbath as early as possible, as it is written [Exodus xvi. 5]: “And it shall come to pass, on the sixth day, when they prepare what they shall have brought in,” etc., and this means, that as soon as the sixth day sets in, preparations for the Sabbath should be begun.
R. Aba said: “A man must pronounce the benediction over two loaves on the Sabbath,” for it is written [ibid. xvi. 5]: “Double bread.” Said R. Ashi: “I noticed the manner in which R. Kahana did this: He would hold two loaves, but would cut only one, because it is written [ibid. xvi. 18]: ‘Every man according to his eating had he gathered.'” R. Zera used to cut off the loaf sufficient to last him for the entire meal. Asked Rabhina of R. Ashi: “Does this not seem gluttonous, to hold so large a piece in one’s hand?” Answered R. Ashi: “Because on week-days such was not his wont, it does not appear gluttonous on Sabbath, and R. Zera did this only in honor of the day.” R. Ami and R. Assi, if happening to have the same bread used in making an Erub, for use on Sabbath, would pronounce the benediction over the bread, for they said that because one religious duty had been fulfilled with that bread, it should be used to fulfil another religious duty.”
“How so: If a conflagration,” etc. The rabbis taught: How many meals should a man eat on the Sabbath? Three. R. ‘Hidka said four. Said R. Johanan: Both the rabbis and R.
[paragraph continues] ‘Hidka adduced their opinions from the same passage, as follows [Exodus xvi. 25]: “And Moses said, Eat it to-day; for a Sabbath is this day unto the Lord: to-day ye will not find it in the field.” R. ‘Hidka holds that, day being mentioned three times, three meals should be eaten during the day and one at night, and the rabbis hold that the day includes the night and only three meals are required. Our Mishna, however, which decrees that only enough for three meals should be saved, does therefore not agree with R. ‘Hidka. According to whose opinion, however, will the following Mishna be? (Tract Peah): “If a poor man have sufficient for two meals, he must not apply for another at the public kitchen (where food is distributed), but he may apply to the general charity fund. If he have, however, sufficient for fourteen meals (for the week) he must not even apply to the general charity fund!” If the Mishna were of the opinion of
R. ‘Hidka, he should have had sufficient for sixteen meals, so as to afford him four meals on the Sabbath, and, according to the rabbis, for fifteen meals in order to have three meals on the Sabbath? It is therefore neither in accord with R. ‘Hidka nor with the rabbis. Nay; it is in accord with the rabbis, and the poor man should eat his Sabbath-night meal on the Sabbath day, so with his Friday-night meal it will make three meals on the Sabbath. It may also be said that the Mishna holds with R. ‘Hidka, and that the poor man should leave his Friday meal for the Sabbath. Shall we make the poor man then fast on Friday? It would therefore be better to hold the Mishna’s opinion to be in accord with R. Aqiba, who says, that the poor man should make Sabbath equal to a weekday in order not to be forced to rely upon charity. Thus fourteen meals are sufficient, and he may eat only two on Sabbath.
But according to whose opinion is the Mishna (Tract Peah): “If a wandering mendicant come to a town, he must be given a loaf which can be bought for a Pundian (one forty-eighth of a Sela) when the price of flour is one Sela for four Saahs (and the sages calculated that such a loaf is sufficient for two meals). If he remain over night he must be given lodging, and if he remain
over Sabbath he must be given three meals for Sabbath.” Shall we assume, that this Mishna holds with the rabbis and not with R. ‘Hidka? It might also be in accord with R. ‘Hidka if the mendicant happen to have one meal with him, he is told to eat the one he has and is given three more. Should the mendicant then depart empty-handed? Nay; he is also given a meal
to take along on the way. What must he be given for lodging? Said R. Papa: Enough to hire a bed and a pillow.
The rabbis taught: The dishes used on the eve of Sabbath may be cleansed for the Sabbath- morning meal. The dishes used in the morning may be cleansed for the mid-day meal, and those of the mid-day meal for the afternoon; but those of the afternoon must not be cleansed until the Sabbath is over. All this is said concerning dishes; but glasses, cups, and all drinking utensils may be cleansed at any time, because there are no fixed times for drinking.
R. Simeon ben Pazi in the name of R. Jehoshua ben Levi, quoting Bar Qapara, said: One who keeps the commandment to eat three times on the Sabbath will be rid of three punishments, viz.: “The tribulations (at the time) of Messiah; the punishment of Gehenna, and the war of Gog and Magog.” From the tribulations of Messiah, because the Sabbath is always mentioned as the day, and it is written [Malachi iii. 23]: “Behold, I send unto you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the day of the Lord, the great and the dreadful.” From the punishment of Gehenna, because it is written [Zephaniah i. 15]: “A day of wrath is that day,” etc., meaning the Gehenna. From the war of Gog and Magog, because it is written [Ezekiel xxxviii. 18]: “On the day of Gog’s coming.”
R. Johanan said in the name of R. Jose: One who makes the Sabbath pleasant will be rewarded with a boundless inheritance, as it is written [in Isaiah lviii. 14]: “Then shalt thou find delight in the Lord; and I will cause thee to tread upon the high places of the earth, and I will cause thee to enjoy the inheritance of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Not the inheritance of Abraham, concerning whom it is written [Genesis xiii. 17]: “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it,” etc., and not as in the case of Isaac, as it is written [ibid. xxvi. 4]: “And I will give unto thy seed all these countries,” but as it is written of Jacob [ibid. xxviii. 14]: “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west and to the east, and to the north and to the south.”
R. Na’hman bar Itz’hak said: (The man who makes the Sabbath pleasant) will also be saved the pain of exile, because it is written [Isaiah lviii. 14]: “And I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth,” and [Deut. xxxiii. 29]: “And thou shalt tread upon their high places.” Said
R. Jehudah in the
name of Rabh, “He who makes the Sabbath pleasant is given everything his heart desires,” because it is written [Psalms xxxvii. 4]: “And delight thyself in the Lord, and he will give thee the wishes of thy heart.” What is meant by “delight”? From the passage [Isaiah lviii. 13]: “If thou call the Sabbath a delight,” we can adduce that the delight means Sabbath.
Wherewith should the Sabbath be made pleasant? Said R. Jehudah, the son of R. Samuel bar Shilath, in the name of Rabh: “With a mess of beets, large fish, and garlic-heads.” But R. Hyya bar Ashi said in the name of Rabh: “Even with any dish whatever prepared especially for the Sabbath.” What does “any dish whatever” mean? Said R. Papa: “Even small fish fried in oil.”
R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: “If the Israelites had kept the first Sabbath (after the commandments were given) properly, no nation or race on earth could have harmed them. For it is written [Exodus xvi. 27]: ‘And it came to pass on the seventh day that there went out some of the people to gather; but they found nothing.’ And not long afterwards Amalek attacked the Israelites.”
R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon ben Jochai: “If the Israelites were to keep two Sabbaths in succession as they should, they would immediately be released from exile, for it is written [Isaiah lvi. 6]: ‘Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves unto the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be unto him as servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath by not violating it, and those who take hold of my covenant,’ and immediately afterwards it is written [ibid. ibid. 7]: ‘Even these will I bring to my holy mountain.’
R. Jose said: “May my share in the world to come be with those who eat three meals on the Sabbath.” Again he said: “May my share in the world to come be with those who recite Hallel 1 every day.” This is not so. The Master says, that he who recites Hallel every day is a blasphemer. Nay; R. Jose does not mean Hallel, but Hallelujah.
R. Jose said again: “May my share in the world to come be with those who perform their morning devotion as soon as the sun begins to rise.” Again said he: “May my share be with those who die of abdominal disease, for the Master said, that most of the righteous die of bowel troubles.” He also said:
[paragraph continues] “May my share be with those who die when about to fulfil a commandment; also with those who receive the Sabbath in Tiberias and see it out in Zipporias (Tiberias was in a valley and Zipporias on a hill); also with those who remain in the houses of learning, and not with those who attempt to draw scholars away from their studies; also with those who solicit alms but not with those who dispense alms; also with those who are suspected but are not guilty.” Said R. Papa: “I have been suspected but was not guilty.” Said R. Jose: “I have gone in unto my wife five times and have planted five cedars in Israel.” Who are they? R. Ishmael, R. Eliezer, R. ‘Halafta, R. Aftiles, and R. Mena’hem, all sons of R. Jose. But he also had a son called Vradimos? Nay; Vradimos is the same as R. Mena’hem, and the reason he was called Vradimos was because his face was as beautiful as a rose (Vrad is Aramaic for rose).
Said R. Jose again: “In all my days the ceiling of my house never saw the seam of my undershirt.” Again said be: “I never acted contrary to the advice of my colleagues. I know well that I am not a descendant of priests, but when my colleagues asked me to pronounce a benediction usually said by priests, I did so.” Again he said: “I never said a thing that I afterwards repented having said.”
R. Na’hman said: “May it be accounted to me (for my reward), that I have observed the three
meals (in honor of the) Sabbath.” R. Jehudah said: “May it be accounted to me, that I have given my prayers preliminary consideration.” 1 R. Huna, the son of R. Jehoshua, said: “May it be accounted to me, that I have never walked four ells with uncovered head.” R. Shesheth said: “May it be accounted to me, that I have observed the commandment of Tephillin,” and R. Na’hman said again: “May it be accounted to me, that I have observed the commandment of Tzitzith (showthreads).”
Said R. Joseph to R. Joseph the son of Rabha: “Canst thou tell me which commandment thy father observed most punctually?” The answer was: “The commandment of Tzitzith. For it happened one day that my father was ascending the stairway, and a thread of his Tzitzith becoming torn off, he would not leave his place until a new thread had been brought to him and the Tzitzith were mended.”
Said Abayi: “May it be accounted to me, that whenever I
noticed a young scholar (of my college) had finished a Tract of the Talmud, I gave a feast to all the sages of the day.” Said Rabha: “May it be accounted to me, that whenever a young scholar and another man came before me for judgment, I did not put my head on the pillow (rest) until I exhausted every to find the scholar’s words prove the justice of his claim.” Said Mar, the son of
R. Ashi: “I am unfit to judge a young scholar because I love him as well as I do myself, and no man call see himself unjust.”
R. Hanina used to wrap himself in a cloak on the eve of Sabbath and say: “Come with me, and let us go toward Sabbath the queen.” R. Yanai used to clothe himself in his holiday clothes on the eve of Sabbath and say: “Come, bride; come, bride.”
Rabba, the son of R. Huna, came as a guest to the house of Rabba the son of R. Na’hman. At the table three cakes steeped in the fat of the ram (which were only served on special occasions) were placed before him. Said he to his host: “Didst thou know that I would come to visit thee?” Answered the host: “Art thou then better than the Sabbath? (We prepare it usually for every Sabbath, as it is written: ‘And thou shalt call the Sabbath a pleasure.’)”
R. Aba used to buy on the eve of every Sabbath thirteen Isteris’ (six and a half Dinars) worth of meat from thirteen different butchers, and would hand them the money immediately upon their entering his door 1 and delivering the meat, saying to them: “Make haste, make haste and deliver your orders to others.” R. Abuha used to sit on an ivory stool and make fire in honor of the Sabbath. R. Anan used to don a black apron in order to show that this day (the eve of the Sabbath) was a day of preparation, and that work had to be performed for the Sabbath. R. Safra used to singe a cow’s head himself for the Sabbath, and Rabha would salt fish himself. R. Huna would light candles himself. R. Papa would prepare the wicks for the lamps. R. Hisda would cut herbs himself. Rabba and R. Joseph would chop wood for Sabbath. R. Zera would light the kindling wood. R. Na’hman bar Itz’hak would shoulder all burdens
to be carried in and out of the house himself on the eve of Sabbath, saying: “If R. Ami or R. Assi
would come to visit me, would I not do the same for them?” Others say that R. Ami and Assi did this on the eve of every Sabbath, saying: “If it should happen that R. Johanan were to visit us, would we not do the same for him?”
Joseph, who honored the Sabbath, had a rich Gentile for a neighbor. The astrologers told the Gentile that all his goods and possessions would eventually be eaten up by Joseph, his neighbor. He went and sold out all his goods, and with the proceeds bought a precious pearl. This pearl he had set in his turban. While crossing a lake one day, the wind blew off his turban and it fell into the water. A fish swallowed it. Subsequently the fish was caught by fishermen late on the eve of Sabbath. Said the fishermen: “Who will buy this so late in the evening?” They were told by some people to go to Joseph, who honored the Sabbath, and that he usually bought such things. They carried it to Joseph, who bought it, and upon opening the fish he found the pearl, which he sold for thirteen 1 boxes of golden Dinars. A certain old man met this Joseph, and said to him: He who lends to the Sabbath is repaid by the Sabbath itself.
Rabbi (Jehudah Hanassi) asked of R. Ishmael the son of R. Jose: “By what acts did the rich men of Palestine, so wealthy, merit their wealth?”
He answered: “Because they gave tithes, as it is written [Deut. xiv. 22]: ‘Thou shalt truly give tithes.'” 2 “By what acts did the rich men of Babylon merit their wealth?” asked Rabbi again. “Because they keep the law honorably,” was the reply. “And what about the rich men of other lands?” “Because they honor the Sabbath,” as R. Hyya bar Aba related: “It happened that I was a guest in the house of a man in the city of Ludkai and a golden table was brought for me, which required sixteen men to carry, and sixteen silver chains were fastened to it, and bowls, pitchers, goblets, and glasses were hung on those chains, and on the table were all kinds of food and
beverages and spices, and when the table was set down they said: ‘Unto the Lord belongeth the earth, with what filleth it’ [Psalms xxiv. 1], and when the table was taken away, they said: ‘The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; but the earth hath he given unto the children of
men.’ [Psalms xcv. 16.] I said to my host, ‘My son, how didst thou merit all this?’ Said he, ‘I used to be a butcher, and whenever I came across a good animal, I would keep it for Sabbath.’ Said I to him: ‘Well is unto thee, that thou hast merited this, and praise be to God, who hath rewarded thee.'”
Said the Exilarch to R. Hamnuna: “It is written [Isaiah lviii. 13]: ‘The holy day of the Lord, honorable.’ What does this ‘honorable’ signify?” R. Hamnuna answered: “It means the Day of Atonement, on which day there is no eating and no drinking, and hence the Thora says, thou shalt honor it with clean clothes.” Further, it says [ibid.]: “Thou shalt honor it” (this evidently does not refer to the Day of Atonement, which is called honorable, but must again refer to the Sabbath; how, then, should it be honored?) Said Rabh: “Thou shalt make the usual time of thy meals earlier,” and Samuel said, “Thou shalt postpone the ordinary meal-hour.” The children of
R. Papa bar Aba asked R. Papa: “How shall we, who have meat and wine every day, distinguish the Sabbath day?” He answered: “If ye usually have your meals at a late hour, have them earlier, and if at an early hour, have them later.”
R. Shesheth (who was blind) in the summer used to seat his pupils, who came to hear him
lecture on Sabbath, in a place where the sun shone earliest, in order that they might become warm and leave, and in the winter used to seat them where the sun could not reach them, that they might become cold and leave the sooner.
R. Zera, when seeing his pupils standing in pairs and discussing the Thora on the Sabbath, used to say to them: “I pray ye, go home, eat, drink, and be merry. Do not violate the Sabbath! (It is made for pleasure and not for learning.)”
Rabha, according to others R. Jehoshua ben Levi, said: “Even a man who prays singly on the Sabbath eve must recite the prayer commencing with ‘Thus were finished,’ etc. [Genesis ii. 1-3]; for R. Hamnuna said, that he who prays on the Sabbath eve and recites that prayer is considered by the verse as being a collaborator in the creation of the world.”
R. Eliezer said: “Whence do we know that speaking is
equal to acting, as it is written [Psalms xxxiii. 6]: ‘By the word of the Lord were the heavens made.'”
R. Hisda in the name of Mar Uqba said: “He who on the Sabbath recites the prayer commencing with, ‘Thus were finished,’ etc., has the hands of the two angels who accompany each man laid on his head, and they say to him [Isaiah vi. 7]: ‘And thy iniquity is departed and thy sin is forgiven.'”
We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Jose bar Jehudah said: “Two angels accompany a man on the Sabbath eve on his way home from the house of prayer; one is a good angel and the other an evil one; and when the man comes home and finds the candles lit, the table set, and his bed made up, the good angel says: ‘May it be the will of God that the next Sabbath shall be the same,’ and the evil angel answers ‘Amen’ involuntarily. If, however, the man does not find everything in order, the evil angel says: ‘Mayst thou find it so on the next Sabbath also,’ and the good angel answers against his own will: ‘Amen.'”
R. Elazar said: “A man should set his table on the Sabbath eve, although he may not be hungry and can eat not more than the size of an olive.” R. Hanina said: “A man should set his table on the eve following the Sabbath, though he may not be hungry and can eat but the size of one olive. (This is also in honor of the. Sabbath and is like the accompanying of a king at his departure.) Warm water at the close of the Sabbath day is wholesome. Warm bread at that time is also wholesome.”
R. Abuha used to have a calf which was the third calf of its mother (and hence the best) killed for him at the close of the Sabbath day, and he ate only one of the entrails of the calf. When his son Abhimi grew up, he (Abhimi) said, “Why kill a whole calf for the sake of one of its entrails? Let us leave one of the entrails of the calf killed for the Sabbath for father, that he may eat it at the close of the Sabbath.” This was done, but a lion came and killed the calf that was spared.
R. Jehoshua ben Levi said: “He who answers ‘Amen. The Name of the Eternal be blessed,’ with
all his heart, has any ill fate which has been predestined for him nullified in heaven, as it is written [Judges v. 2]: ‘When depravity had broken out in Israel, then did the people offer themselves willingly; (therefore) praise ye the Lord.’ Why had depravity broken out in Israel? Because they had not praised the Lord.” R. Hyya bar Abba in the name of R. Johanan said: “Even if
that man have amongst his sins aught of idolatry, he is also forgiven.”
Said Resh Lakish: “He who answers ‘Amen,’ etc., with all his might has the gates of Paradise opened for him, as it is written [Isaiah xxvi. 2]: ‘Open ye the gates, that there may enter in the righteous nation that guardeth the truth.'” (The truth in Hebrew is called “Emunim,” and Resh Lakish said, “Do not read Emunim but Amenim, the plural for Amen.”) What is Amen? Said R. Hanina: “Amen is the abbreviation for El (God), Melech (king), Neamon (truth).” (Meaning that by saying Amen a man certifies that his Creator is the God and king of truth.)
R. Jehudah, the son of R. Samuel, in the name of Rabh said: “A fire seldom occurs in a place unless there is a violation of the Sabbath, as it is written [Jeremiah xvii. 27]: ‘But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, and to enter in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.'” What does “it shall not be quenched” signify? Said R. Na’hman bar Itz’hak: “The fire shall occur at a time when men are not around, as a rule.”
Abayi said: “Jerusalem was destroyed solely on account of the violation of the Sabbath, as it is written [Ezekiel xxii. 26]: ‘And from (the violations of) my Sabbaths do they turn away their eyes, so that I am profaned among them.'” R. Abuha said: “Jerusalem was not destroyed until they had abolished the reading of the Shema in the morning and in the evening, as it is written [Isaiah v. 11-13]: ‘Wo unto those that rise up early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, that continue until late in the twilight, till wine inflame them! And there are harp and psaltery, tambourine and flute, and wine, at their drinking feasts; but the deeds of the Lord they regard not, and the works of his hands they behold not. Therefore are my people led into exile, for want of knowledge.'” R. Hamnuna said: “Jerusalem was not destroyed until the children were kept away from school, as it is written [Jeremiah vi. 11]: ‘(I must) pour it out over the child in the street’; and it may be explained thus: Why must I pour it out? Because the child is in the street and not at school.”
Ula said: “Jerusalem was destroyed because the people were devoid of shame, as it is written [ibid. 15]: ‘They should
have been ashamed because they committed an abomination; but they neither felt the least shame, nor did they know how to blush; therefore shall they fall among those that fall.'”
R. Itz’hak said: “Jerusalem was destroyed only because no distinction was made between great and small, as it is written [Isaiah xxiv. 2, 3]: ‘And it shall be the same with the people as with the
priest, etc. Empty, emptied out shall be the land.'” R. Amram, the son of R. Simeon bar Aba, in the name of his father, quoting R. Hanina, said: “Jerusalem was destroyed only because the people did not admonish one another, as it is written (Lamentations i. 6): ‘Her princes have become like harts that have found no pasture.’ As the harts in a herd travel head to rump, so would the men of Jerusalem not dare face each other with admonitions, but followed from behind in silence.”
R. Jehudah said: “Jerusalem was destroyed because they insulted men of learning, as it is written [II Chronicles xxxvii. 16]: “But they mocked at the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scorned his prophets, until the fury of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” What does “till there was no remedy” signify? Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: “He who insults a man of learning, can find no panacea for his affliction.”
R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh said again: “It is written [I Chronicles xvi. 22]: ‘Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm.'” By “touch not my anointed” is meant the children of the school (for children are usually anointed), and “do my prophets no harm” refers to the scholars. 1
Resh Lakish said in the name of R. Jehudah the Second: “The world is sustained solely through the exhalation of the children” (because they are pure and without sin). Said R. Papa to Abayi: “What about thy and my exhalation?” Answered Abayi: “The difference lies therein, that thou and I might have sinned, but children are incapable of committing sin.” Resh Lakish said again in the name of the same authority: “The children should not be withheld from attending school, even while the new temple shall be in process of construction.”
Said Resh Lakish to R. Jehudah the Second: “I have heard
a tradition coming from thy parents which says, that the city which has no school for children shall be destroyed; but Rabhina says, the tradition is to the effect that the high court shall put the city under a ban (until a school is built for children).”
Rabha said: Jerusalem was destroyed solely because there were no more trustworthy men there, as it is written [Jeremiah v. 1]: “Roam about through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and notice, and search in its broad places, if ye can find one man, if there be one that executeth justice, that searcheth for truth: and I will pardon it.” What is meant by trustworthy men? Such as can be trusted in business.
MISHNA: Further, one may save a basket full of loaves (of bread), be it even enough for a hundred meals, a fig-cake, and a cask of wine; and one may also call to others: “Come ye and save for yourselves!” If those who do so understand their advantage, they make a settlement with the owner after the Sabbath is over. Where may such articles be taken to (for safety)? To a court that is joined to the other (court of the house burning) by an Erub. Ben Bathyra says: “Even to one that is not joined by an Erub.”
There all utensils (dishes) may be brought, that are used on the same day; one may (in the event of a conflagration on the Sabbath) put on as many clothes as possible, and may wrap himself in
whatever is possible. R. Jose says: “One may only put on eighteen pieces of ordinary apparel, but he can come back as often as he chooses and put on the same quantity and carry them off.” One may also call to others: “Come ye and save with me (whatever ye can)!”
GEMARA: Have we not learned, in the preceding Mishna [page 245], that only (enough victuals for) three meals may be saved (and in the above Mishna sufficient for a hundred meals is permitted)? Said R. Huna: “This presents no difficulty. Our Mishna refers to one who comes to save the food with only one basket (when he may fill it with any quantity, whereas the
preceding Mishna refers to one who brings several baskets, and in such a case it is not permitted to put in each basket more than sufficient for three meals).” But R. Aba bar Zavda in the name of Rabh said: “Both Mishnas refer to one who comes even with several baskets, but still no difficulty arises. This Mishna speaks of one who does not carry the food beyond the same court, while the other refers to one who carries it into another court.
“A fig-cake,” etc. Why does the Mishna say, that if those who save for themselves know their advantage they will make a settlement with the owner after having saved the things from the conflagration? Are they not entitled to it under any circumstances, by virtue of the owner having made it public property when saying, “Come ye and save for yourselves”? Said R. Hisda: “This refers to pious people who would not take advantage of a man who is compelled to sacrifice his property.” Said Rabha: “Can they be called pious, who accept remuneration for their time on the Sabbath? Nay; the Mishna does not refer to pious men, but to God-fearing men, who, while they would not take anything not belonging to them, would not care to trouble themselves gratuitously. By stating, therefore, that those who know their advantage will settle accounts with the owner afterwards, the Mishna means to say that their prudence consists in their knowing that they will not receive any remuneration for their time on Sabbath, but will only receive their own property as their due.”
“Come ye and save with me.” Why does the first part of the Mishna permit the saying of “Come and save for yourselves,” and in the last part the permission is given to say: “Come and save with me”? Because the first part of the Mishna refers to victuals, and a man cannot save more than sufficient for three meals, while the last part of the Mishna refers to clothing; and as a man can change his clothing as often as he pleases, he may call to others to come and help him save whatever is possible.
“One may put on as many clothes as possible.” The rabbis taught: One may dress himself, go out and undress, come back and dress again, and so on as often as he chooses. So said R. Meir. R. Jose, however, said, that one may put on only eighteen pieces of ordinary apparel. These were:
and 2. Macturen and Unqly, a mantle with a head-hold; 3. Funda, pocket for money; 4. Kalbus, a dress without sleeves; 5. Chaluk, a kind of shirt; 6. Apiliute, cover or overcoat; 7. Maopareth; 8 and 9. Drawers and pantaloons and cap for the head; 10. and 11. Shoes; 12 and
- Socks; 14 and 15. Pargud, striped suit; 16. Girdle; 17. Hat; 18. Neckties.
MISHNA: R. Simeon, the son of Nanas, says: “One may spread a goat-skin over a chest, a box, or a cupboard, which lips caught fire, so that they only become singed. One may also form a partition with any, utensil (or vessel), be it full of water
or not, in order to keep the fire from spreading. R. Jose forbids the making of such a partition with new earthenware vessels filled with water, because such vessels cannot stand heat, but burst and extinguish the fire.”
GEMARA: R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: “When one side of a garment has caught fire, the other side may be put in water, and if thereby the fire is extinguished it makes no difference.” An objection was made: We have learned in a Tosephta, that if a garment has caught fire one may wrap it around him, and it makes no difference if the fire is thereby extinguished. One may also unroll the Sacred Scrolls, if the covering has caught fire on one side, and it does not matter if thus the fire is quenched. (This Tosephta then simply permits the unfolding or the folding of a garment that has caught fire, but says nothing about soaking the undamaged part in water.) Rabh holds with R. Simeon, the son of Nanas, in the above Mishna (who permits the prevention of the fire). R. Simeon, however, restricts his permission so that, while preventing the fire, it is not extinguished, but simply singes the objects (when the article, however, is soaked in water the fire will certainly be quenched, and did R. Simeon permit this also?) Yea, he did; for the last part of the Mishna relates, that R. Jose forbids the making of a partition with new pottery filled with water, because such vessels are liable to burst and extinguish the fire; and if R. Jose forbids this, surely R. Simeon (the first Tana) must have permitted it in the first part of the Mishna.
The rabbis taught: If a candle fall on the table, the table board may be raised and the candle dropped to the floor, and if it become extinguished, it matters not. Another Boraitha taught, that if a candle burn behind a door, the door may be opened and closed as usual, regardless of whether the candle is thus extinguished. Rabh scolded the one that thus decreed. Said Rabhina to
R. A’ha the son of Rabha, according to others R. A’ha the son of Rabha to R. Ashi: “Why did Rabh scold the one who made that decree? Shall we say that it was because he holds with R. Jehudah (who says that an indirect act is also prohibited), and the Boraitha holds with R. Simeon, who permits the performance of an indirect act; is it possible that Rabh will scold every one who holds with R. Simeon?” he answered: “In this matter R. Simeon would also agree that this is prohibited, as it would be like decapitating a man without killing him.”
R. Jehudah said: “One may open a door opposite a hearth-fire.” Abayi scolded the one that decreed thus. Of what circumstances do we treat here? If the door is opened when there is an ordinary wind blowing, what reason had the one to prohibit it; and if there be an extraordinary wind blowing, why did the other permit it? The case here treated of is that of an ordinary wind, and the one prohibits the door being opened as a precautionary measure, lest this be done when a high wind is blowing, while the other does not regard a precautionary measure necessary.
“One may also form a partition,” etc. Shall we say that the rabbis hold the indirect bringing about of an extinction to be permissible and R. Jose holds to the contrary? Have we not heard the case to be the reverse? We have learned in a Boraitha: One may make a partition with empty vessels, and with vessels filled with water that are not liable to burst, and such are iron vessels.
R. Jose, however, says, that the vessels made of pottery in the villages of Shihin and Hananiah are also proof against bursting. Thus we see that R. Jose is even more lenient than the rabbis? This presents no difficulty, for the above Boraitha is altogether in accordance with R. Jose; but it
is incomplete, and should read thus: “One may make a partition with empty vessels, and with such as are filled with water but are not liable to burst; and such vessels are iron vessels and vessels made of pottery in the villages of Shihin and Hananiah,” as R. Jose says that the vessels made of pottery in these villages are proof against heat.
MISHNA: If a non-Israelite comes near to extinguish (the fire), one must neither say to him: “Extinguish (it),” nor “Do not extinguish it,” and for the reason, that one is not obliged to make him rest (on Sabbath). If a minor, however, desires to extinguish the fire, one must not allow him to do so, because one is obliged to see that he (the minor) rests (on Sabbath).
GEMARA: R. Ami said: “During a conflagration one may proclaim: ‘Whoever will come and extinguish the fire, will lose nothing by it.'”
The rabbis taught: It happened that a fire broke out in the court of Joseph ben Simai in the town of Shihin, and the men of the fortress of Sepphoris came to extinguish the fire, because Joseph was an official of the government; but he would not allow them to do so, in honor of the Sabbath. A miracle occurred, and it commenced to rain, and the fire was extinguished. That
evening he sent to each man in the fortress two selah and to their officer fifty selah. When the sages heard this, they said: “It was not at all necessary to do this, because the Mishna says, that when a Gentile comes to extinguish a fire on Sabbath, one need not tell him to do it, or not to do it.”
“If a minor, however, desires to extinguish the fire,” etc. Could we conclude from this, that if a minor is detected eating forbidden food it is the duty of the court of justice to prevent his doing so (and we know such is not the case)? Said R. Johanan: “Yea; if the minor does this with his father’s knowledge. We must say, then, that the same case applies to the Gentile, who does the work with the knowledge of the Israelite whose house is burning. Is this permitted? Yea, it is; for the Gentile does it of his own volition, and it makes no difference whether the Israelite knows it or not (because he, the Gentile, knows he will be rewarded).”
MISHNA-. One may cover the top of a lamp with a vessel in order that the ceiling may not catch fire, and also cover the ordure (of poultry 1) on account of the children (in the house). (One may also place a vessel) over a scorpion in order to prevent him from biting. R. Jehudah said: “A case of this kind happened once in the presence of R. Johanan ben Zakai in Arab, and he said, ‘I am not certain whether (the man) is not culpable (and bound to bring a sin-offering).'”
GEMARA: R. Jehudah, R. Jeremiah b. Aba, and R. Hanon b. Ram happened to be the guests of Abin of Nishikia. The two former were furnished with beds, and the last one was not. At the same time, he noticed him teaching his son that the ordure of a child is to be covered, in order that the child should not touch it; and he said, “Abin the fool is teaching foolishness to his children. Is not the ordure of a child useful for dogs? What can you say? It was not prepared from yesterday. But this makes no difference; for we have learned in a Boraitha, that running rivers and springing wells are to be considered as the feet of every man.” And Abin asked, “How, then, shall we teach?” And Hanon answered, “Over the ordure of poultry, that the child shall not touch it.”
“Over a scorpion in order to prevent him from biting.” R. Jehoshua ben Levi said: “All dangerous creatures may be killed on Sabbath.” R. Joseph raised an objection: “We have
learned in a Boraitha, that five creatures may be killed on Sabbath, and they are: the fly of Egypt, the wasp of Nineveh, and the serpent of Hadaiev, and the snake of Palestine, and a mad dog from any region.” According to whose opinion is this Boraitha? It is not according to the opinion of R. Jehudah, who holds, that the performance of an act not in itself necessary makes one culpable? We must say, then, that the Boraitha agrees with R. Simeon. If this is so, is it allowed to kill only these five, and not others? Said R. Jeremiah: “Who can tell us that this Boraitha is a correct one? It may be erroneous.” Said R. Joseph: “I have studied the Boraitha. The same objection was made before me, and I defended it by stating, that the Boraitha refers to the case where the creatures pursued the man in order to harm him, and under these circumstances even R. Jehudah permits the killing of these creatures.”
A certain disciple related before Rabha, the son of R. Huna, quoting a Boraitha: “One who kills serpents and snakes on the Sabbath does not find favor in the eyes of the pious.” Answered Rabha: “And these pious men do not find favor in the eyes of our sages.” Thus he differs with R. Huna, for it happened that R. Huna, seeing a man killing a snake on Sabbath, said to him: Hast thou killed the last of them (if thou hast only killed one, of what use is it to violate the Sabbath? From this we see that R. Huna differs from the opinion of his son.)
The rabbis taught: If a man met snakes on the road and killed them, it was decreed above that he should kill them (thus, removing danger for others, because a good deed is performed through a righteous man); if, however, he did not kill them, it was decreed above that he should be killed by them (that is, he is a sinner and deserving of death), but through the mercy of the Lord a miracle was performed, and he was saved. Said Ula, according to others Rabba bar bar Hana, in the name of R. Johanan: “Only in case the snakes prepared to strike at the man, can it be said that it was decreed that the man should be killed.”
R. Aba bar Kahana said: “It happened that a snake was found in the school-house, and a man of the city of Neiety killed it.” Said Rabbi: “He met his equal.” The schoolman asked: “Did Rabbi mean, that the man was right in his deed, or on the contrary?” Come and hear: R. Aba, the son of Hyya b. Aba, and R. Zera were sitting in the hut of R. Janai, and they resolved to ask R. Janai if one might kill snakes and
serpents on the Sabbath. And he answered: “If a bee should annoy me, I would kill it; a fortiori, snakes and serpents.”
Aba the son of Marta, who is Aba the son of Minyumi, was indebted in a sum of money to the Exilarch’s house. He was brought there and was worried. While standing in the room, Aba spat on the floor. This happened on the Sabbath, and the Exilarch ordered his servants to bring a dish and cover up the spittle. Said Aba to him: “This is not necessary, for R. Jehudah says, that one may put his foot on spittle and thus clear it off.” Thereupon the Exilarch remarked: “This proves
to me that the man is a young scholar; let him go in peace.”
Aba bar Kahana said in the name of R. Hanina: “The lamps of the house of Rabbi may be handled on the Sabbath.” R. Zera asked him: “Which lamps do you refer to, the lamps that can be handled with one hand, or those that require both hands”? and he answered: “The same as can be found in your father’s house (those were small lamps).” The same Aba said in the name of the same authority, that the carriages of the house of Rabbi might also be handled on the Sabbath.
R. Zera asked him which he referred to, those that one man can pull, or those that require two men, and the answer was: “The same that your father possesses.” Aba bar Kahana said again, that the same R. Hanina permitted the house of Rabbi to drink wine that was scaled with but one seal, in the markets of the heathens, and he states, that he does not know whether R. Hanina holds with R. Eliezer (who held that one seal only was necessary) or whether he permitted this out of respect to the house of the Nassi (for fear that if he prohibited this, they would become angry 1).
MISHNA: If a non-Israelite lit a lamp on the Sabbath, the Israelite might make use of the light. If he (the non-Israelite) did so (especially) for the Israelite, the latter must not use it. If the non- Israelite filled up (a trough) with water, to water his (own) cattle, the Israelite may water his cattle after him; if he did so for the Israelite (especially), the latter must not water his cattle with it. If a non-Israelite made a stairway in order to descend upon it from a ship, the Israelite might descend after him; if he made it (especially) for the Israelite, the latter must not descend. Once
R. Gamaliel and several elders arrived on a ship (on Sabbath) and a non-Israelite made a stairway upon which
to descend (from the ship), whereupon R. Gamaliel and the elders also descended.
GEMARA: And it is necessary for the Mishna to mention the above cases separately, because if we were taught only concerning a lamp, we would say, that a lamp only may be used because a lamp will give light for a hundred men as well as for one; but as for water, we might say, that the water should not be used, in precaution lest the non-Israelite replenish the trough especially for the Israelite. For what purpose, however, is the stairway mentioned? That was only for the purpose of relating what happened to R. Gamaliel and the elders.
The rabbis taught: With grass which a Gentile mowed for his own cattle, an Israelite may feed his cattle, but if the grass was mowed especially for the Israelite, he may not. The same rule applies to water for watering the cattle. This applies only where the Gentile and the Israelite are not acquainted; but if they are, it is not allowed, under any circumstances. This is not so! For R. Huna said in the name of R. Hanina, that a man may allow his cattle to graze on the Sabbath, but must not feed them on grass which he designated previously for some other purpose (it matters not whether the grass is still uncut or cut). (Now, we see that things which have been designated for another purpose must not be fed to cattle on the Sabbath; how then is it allowed to feed one’s cattle on the Gentile’s grass which was cut on the Sabbath, and surely designated for some express purpose?) This presents no difficulty; for the permission to feed one’s cattle on the Gentile’s grass only holds good if the cattle feed themselves, and the man may stand by and prevent them from invading another pasture (but does not allow the man to feed them by hand).
It is said above: “This applies only where the Gentile and the Israelite are not acquainted,” etc. Is this so? Did not R. Gamaliel descend on the stairway, although he and the Gentile were acquainted? Said Abayi: “The Gentile made the stairway when R. Gamaliel did not see him.” But Rabha said: “It may be that the stairway was made in the presence of R. Gamaliel, but this case would be the same as that of a lamp. A lamp for one is a lamp for a hundred.”
An objection was made to the teaching of Rabha: We have learned in a Tosephta: R. Gamaliel said to the elders: “As the Gentile made the stairway while we were not looking, we may descend on it.” Answered Rabha: “Read simply, that R.
[paragraph continues] Gamaliel said, ‘because the Gentile had already made it, we may use it.'”
Samuel happened to arrive at the house of Abin in Touron on a Sabbath. A Gentile came and lit a candle. Samuel turned his face away from the light; but after seeing that the Gentile brought a paper and commenced to read by the light of that candle, he said: “I see now that the Gentile lit the candle for his own use,” and he then made use of it himself.
243:1 We render these names without translations, as we also do in the case of Gilyonim, because of the incessant discussions concerning them among Hebrew theologians, and we do not desire to decide the definite meaning.
251:1 Rashi interprets this passage somewhat differently, namely: R. Aba did not hand the money to the butchers immediately upon their entering the door, but would hand the meat to his servants at the door, saying: “Make haste and cook this while I go and bring more,” showing that he went himself for the meat and brought each piece from each butcher home separately.
256:1 Rashi justifies this reference by basing it on the verse in Psalms xc. 12, which he interprets: “A prophet has a heart endowed with wisdom”; although Isaac Leeser translates the verse, “That we may obtain a heart endowed with wisdom,” the Hebrew word Navi meaning both “prophet” and also “we may obtain.”
Next: Chapter XVII: Regulations Concerning Handling of Utensils and Furniture on the Sabbath