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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 66a


GEMARA. Raba asked R. Nahman, How do we learn [this]?12  I do not know, replied he. What is the law? I do not know, was his answer. It was stated: Samuel said: A stump-legged person may not, [etc.]; and R. Huna said likewise: A stump-legged person may not, [etc.].13  R. Joseph observed: Since Samuel said: A stump-legged person may not [etc.], and R. Huna [also] said: A stump-legged person may not [etc.], then we too should learn, A stump-legged person may not. Rabbah b. Shila demurred: Did they not hear what R. Hanan b. Raba recited to Hiyya b. Rab before Rab in a little room of Rab's academy: A stump-legged person may not go out with his wooden stump: this is R. Meir's view; but R. Jose permits it; whereupon Rab signalled to them that it was the reverse? R. Nahman b. Isaac observed: And your token is samek samek.14

Now, Samuel too retracted.15  For we learnt: If she performs halizah16  with a shoe that is not his,17  with a wooden shoe, or with a left-footed [shoe] placed on the right foot, the halizah is valid. Now we observed, Which Tanna [rules thus]?18  Said Samuel, R. Meir: For we learnt: A STUMP-LEGGED PERSON MAY GO OUT WITH HIS WOODEN STUMP: THIS IS R. MEIR'S VIEW; WHILE R. JOSE FORBIDS IT.19

Now, R. Huna too retracted. For it was taught: A lime burner's shoe20  is unclean as midras, a woman may perform halizah therewith, and one may not go out with it on the Sabbath: this is R. Akiba's view; but they [the Sages] did not agree with him. But it was taught:21  They agree with him? — Said R. Huna, Who agreed with him? R. Meir.22  And who did not agree with him? R. Jose.23  R. Joseph said: Who did not agree with him? R. Johanan b. Nuri. For we learnt: A hive of straw and a tube of canes:24  R. Akiba declares it unclean; while R. Johanan b. Nuri declares it clean.25

The Master said: 'A lime-burner's shoe is unclean as midras'. But it is not made for walking?26  — Said R. Aha son of R. 'Ulla: That is because the lime-burner walks in it until he comes home.

AND IF IT HAS A RECEPTACLE FOR PADS, IT IS UNCLEAN. Abaye said: It has the uncleanness of a corpse, but not midras; Raba said: It is unclean even as midras.27  Said Raba: Whence do I know it? For we learnt: A child's waggonette28  is unclean as midras. But Abaye said: There he [the child] leans upon it, but here he [the stump-legged person] does not lean upon it. Abaye said: How do I know it? Because it was taught: A staff of old men is completely clean.29  And Raba?30  — There

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Upon which the stump rests.
  2. 'Unclean' and 'clean' in this and similar passages means susceptible and not susceptible to uncleanness respectively. A wooden article is unclean only when it has a receptacle for objects to be carried therein. If the log is merely hollowed out for the stump, it is not a receptacle in this sense.
  3. Leather supports for one who is stumped in both legs.
  4. If he is a zab, q.v. Glos. Midras, lit., 'treading' is the technical term for the uncleanness occasioned by a zab through bringing his weight to bear upon an object, e.g., by treading, sitting, or leaning, even if he does not actually touch it with his body. The degree of defilement imposed thereby is called 'the principal degree of uncleanness' (Heb. ab, father), and is only one grade less than that of a corpse: cf. p. 55, n. 6.
  5. They rank as ornaments.
  6. Though one may not enter wearing his shoes (Ber. 54a), these are not accounted as such.
  7. This refers to one who is unable to walk upon supports alone, the muscles of his foreleg being atrophied or paralysed. A stool is made for him, and also supports for his stumps, and he propels himself along with his hands and just a little with his feet too. R. Israel Lipshitz in his commentary [H] on Mishnah seems to translate [H] here as referring to the hand supports used by the cripple in propelling himself along, and not to the foot supports, which meaning it bears in the earlier clause.
  8. Rashi: as he does not actually walk upon them, they dangle in the air and may fall off, which will cause him to carry them in the street.
  9. There seems no adequate reason for this, and most commentators are silent upon the matter. Tosaf. Yom Tob states that 'ONE MAY NOT … SABBATH' refers only to the 'SUPPORTS' mentioned in the first clause, not to the 'STOOL AND ITS SUPPORTS' (he appears to agree with R. Israel Lipshitz in his interpretation), which are mentioned only to teach that they are unclean as midras.
  10. Jast. s.v. [H]: for carrying burdens. Rashi: a kind of mask for frightening children. The actual meaning of the word is discussed in the Gemara.
  11. Jast.: because it is intended for carrying burdens. Rashi: because it is neither useful nor ornamental.
  12. The text seems to have been doubtful, and it was not clear whether R. Meir gave a lenient ruling and R. Jose a stringent one or the reverse. V. Weiss, Dor, II, 213 seqq. on doubtful and corrupt readings in the Mishnah.
  13. This was their text in the Mishnah; thus it differed from ours.
  14. Samek (x) is a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus R. Jose (hxuh) forbids (rxut), the samek occurring in the name and in the ruling.
  15. 'Too' in the sense that he too subsequently held as Rab.
  16. V. Glos.
  17. Sc. her brother-in-law's.
  18. That a wooden shoe comes within the term and she shall loose his shoe' (Deut. XXV, 9).
  19. R. Meir regards even a hollowed-out log as a shoe, though it is unusual, and the same applies here, though wood is an unusual material for a shoe. Thus Samuel quotes Rab's version of the Mishnah.
  20. Rashi states two views: (i) that it was of wood; (ii) that it was of straw. Rashi and Tosaf. incline to the latter view.
  21. Wilna Gaon emends: but we learnt, since the citation is from a Mishnah.
  22. V. n. 6; the same argument applies here.
  23. Thus he accepts our version of the Mishnah.
  24. Or reeds, Wilna Gaon emends: A straw mat and a tube of straw.
  25. The former holds that straw is the same as wood, which is susceptible to uncleanness, while the latter regards it as a different material.
  26. It was put on over the ordinary leather shoe to protect the latter from the burning action of the lime. In order to be subject to midras uncleanness an object must be used for walking, sitting, or lying upon.
  27. 'The uncleanness of a corpse' is mentioned merely as an example of any ordinary defilement, where the uncleanness of the object defiled is one degree less than that of the object which defiles it, and which requires either actual contact or that the object be under the same covering as the corpse. Thus Abaye holds that it attains even a primary degree of uncleanness (ab hatum'ah) through a corpse, which itself possesses a supra-primary degree of uncleanness, but not through the midras of a zab. Abaye holds that the wooden stump is not made primarily for leaning upon.
  28. Rashi: on which it is carried, thus a perambulator. Tosaf. with which a child learns to walk, by holding on to it.
  29. I.e., it is susceptible neither to midras nor to any other form of defilement. It is not susceptible to midras because it is not made for leaning, since one walks on his feet. This shows that though one does lean on it occasionally, yet since that is not its main purpose, it is not defiled as midras, and the same applies here. — It is not susceptible to other forms of defilement because it is a wooden utensil without a cavity (p. 238, n. 6).
  30. How does he rebut this proof?
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Shabbath 66b

it is made to facilitate his steps;1  whereas here it is made to lean on, and he does so.2

HIS STOOL AND SUPPORTS ARE UNCLEAN AS MIDRAS, AND ONE MAY NOT GO OUT WITH THEM ON THE SABBATH, AND ONE MAY NOT ENTER THE TEMPLE COURT WITH THEM. A tanna recited before R. Johanan: One may enter the Temple court with them. Said he to him, I learn, A woman can perform halizah therewith,3  yet you say [that] they may enter! Learn, One may not enter the Temple court with them.

AN ARTIFICIAL ARM [LUKITMIN] IS CLEAN. What is lukitmin? — Said R. Abbahu: A pulley for loads.4  Raba b. Papa said: Stilts. Raba son of R. Huna said: A mask.


GEMARA. What is kesharim? — Said Adda Mari in the name of R. Nahman b. Baruch in the name of R. Ashi b. Abin in Rab Judah's name: Garlands of pu'ah.5  (Abaye said, Mother6  told me: Three7  arrest [illness], five cure [it], seven are efficacious even against witchcraft. R. Aha b. Jacob observed: Providing that neither the sun nor the moon see it, and that it does not see rain nor hear the sound of iron, or the cry of a fowl or the sound of steps. R. Nahman b. Isaac said: The pu'ah has fallen into a pit!)8  Why [then] particularly BOYS; even girls too [may go out therewith]? And why particularly children; even adults too?9  — But [then] what is meant by KESHARIM? As Abin b. Huna said in the name of It. Hama b. Guria: If a son yearns for his father [the father] takes a strap from his right shoe and ties it to his left [hand].10  R. Nahman b. Isaac said: And your token is phylacteries.11  But if the reverse there is danger.12

Abin b. Huna said in the name of R. Hama b. Guria: The placing of a [hot] cup upon the navel on Sabbath13  is permitted. Abin b. Huna also said in the name of R. Hama b. Guria: One may rub in oil and salt on the Sabbath.14  Like R. Huna at Rab's college, and Rab at R. Hiyya's, and R. Hiyya at Rabbi's,15  when they felt the effect of the wine they would bring oil and salt and rub into the palms of their hands and the instep of their feet and say, 'Just as this oil is becoming clear,16  so let So-and-so's wine become clear.'17  And if [this was] not [possible], they would bring the sealing clay of a wine vessel and soak it in water and say, 'Just as this clay becomes clear, so let So-and-so's wine become clear.'18

Abin b. Huna also said in the name of R. Hama b. Guria: One may reset [a laryngeal muscle]19  on the Sabbath. Abin b. Huna also said in the name of R. Hama b. Guria: To swaddle a babe on the Sabbath is in order.20  R. Papa recited [two dicta about] children, [while] R. Zebid recited [one dictum] about a child.21  R. Papa recited [the two dicta about] children,22  and both in the name of Abin b. Huna. While R. Zebid recited a dictum about a child [in his name]; for the first he recited in the name of Abin b. Huna, but this [latter one] he recited in the name of Rabbah b. Bar Hanah, for Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said: To swaddle a babe on the Sabbath is in order.

Abaye said: Mother told me, All incantations which are repeated several times must contain the name of the patient's mother, and all knots23  must be on the left [hand?]. Abaye also said: Mother told me, of all incantations, the number of times they are to be repeated, is as stated; and where the number is not stated, it is forty-one times.

Our Rabbis taught: One may go out with a preserving stone24  on the Sabbath. On the authority of R. Meir it was said: Even with the counterweight of a preserving stone.25  And not only when one has miscarried,26  but even [for fear] lest she miscarry; and not only when she is [already] pregnant, but even lest she become pregnant and miscarry. R. Yemar b. Shalmia said on Abaye's authority: Provided that it was found to be its natural counterweight.27  Abaye asked: What about the counterweight of the counterweight? The question stands over.

Abaye also said: Mother told me, For a daily fever28  one must take a white zuz,29  go to a salt deposit,30  take its weight in salt, and tie it up in the nape of the neck with a white twisted cord. But if this is not [possible], let one sit at the cross-roads, and when he sees a large ant carrying something, let him take and throw it into a brass tube and close it with lead, and seal it with sixty seals.31  Let him shake it, lift it up and say to it, 'Thy burden be upon me and my burden be upon thee.' Said R. Aha son of R. Huna to R. Ashi: But perhaps [another] man had [previously] found it and cast [his illness] upon it?32  Rather let him say to it, 'My burden and thy burden be upon thee.' But if this is impossible, let him take a new pitcher, go to the river and say to it, 'O river, O river, lend me a pitcher of water for a journey that had chanced to me.' Let him then turn it seven times about his head, throw it behind his back, and say to it, 'O river, O river, take back the water thou gavest me, for the journey that chanced to me came in its day and departed in its day!'

R. Huna said:

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. But not that his whole body should lean upon it.
  2. I.e., its purpose is to bear the weight of his whole body.
  3. Which shows that they count as shoes, in which one may not enter the Temple court.
  4. So Jast. Rashi: a wooden donkey's head worn by mummers.
  5. A vegetable; dyer's madder; a prophylactic.
  6. She was really his foster-mother, v. Kid. 31a.
  7. Garlands; or, plants.
  8. It is useless as a remedy to-day, as none take all these precautions — probably a sarcastic remark showing his disbelief in these remedies.
  9. This is an objection to Rab Judah's explanation. If the Mishnah means garlands used as prophylactics, they are surely not confined to young boys!
  10. This cures him so that he is able to bear his father's absence.
  11. The right hand winds the strap on the left hand.
  12. If the strap of his left is tied to the son's right.
  13. To alleviate stomach ache.
  14. Into the skin.
  15. I.e., when they were at these colleges.
  16. The heat of the flesh would clarify it.
  17. Let the fumes depart!
  18. This is an instance of sympathetic magic.
  19. Lit., 'strangle'. An operation performed in cases of abdominal affection by squeezing the jugular veins. Rashi and 'Aruk reads: one may have the laryngeal muscle reset.
  20. In order to set its limbs.
  21. I.e., R. Papa recited two separate dicta about children, both in the name of Abin b. Huna, as explained below, while R. Zebid recited a single law about children in his name.
  22. The one referring to the child that yearns for his father and the other relating to swaddling.
  23. For magical purposes of healing.
  24. As a safeguard against abortion. [The aetit (or Eagle stone). For the belief in the efficacy of this stone against abortion among the ancients v. Preuss, Medizin, p. 446].
  25. Anything that was weighed against it.
  26. To protect her from a repetition.
  27. Without anything having been added or taken away.
  28. A quotidian whose paroxysms recur every day.
  29. I.e., new and clean.
  30. In a cavity in which sea-water was allowed to evaporate.
  31. The number is not exact, but simply means many e.g., sealing wax over the lead, then pitch above that, then clay, etc. (Rashi).
  32. And the second would now take it over.
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