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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah
Said Samuel: An open wound is to be regarded as dangerous for which the Sabbath may be profaned. What is the remedy? — For stopping the bleeding, cress with vinegar; for bringing on [flesh], scraped root of cynodon and the paring of the bramble, or worms form a dunghill.
Said R. Safra: A berry-like excrescence14 is a forerunner of the Angel of Death. What is the remedy for it? — Rue in honey, or parsley in strong wine. In the meantime a berry resembling it [in size] should be brought and rolled over it: white [berry] for a white one, and black for a black one. Said Raba: An abscess is a forerunner of fever. What is the remedy for it? — It should be snapped sixty times with the thumb and then cut open crosswise; that is if it has not been brought to a white head, but if its head is white, it matters not.
R. Jacob was suffering from
‘Abodah Zarah 28ba slit in the rectum and R. Ammi — some say R. Assi — directed him to take seven grains of purple coloured alkali, wrap them up in the collar of a shirt, tie it round with a white thread [of cattle-hair], dip it in white naphtha and burn it, and apply [the ashes] to the sore. While preparing this he was to take the kernel of a bramble nut and apply its split side to the slit. That is if there is a slit externally; what [is one to do] if it is internal? One should take some fat of a goat that has not borne any young, melt it and apply it. Else one should take three melon leaves which have faded in the shade, burn them and apply the ashes. In the absence of these, let one apply snail-shells, or else take olive-oil mixed with wax and let him be covered with rag of linen in the summer and cotton wool in the winter.
R. Abbahu had pain in his ear and he was given some directions by R. Johanan — others say, by those in the House of Study. What were the directions? — Similar to those of Abaye1 [who said]: My Mother told me that kidneys were only made to [heal] the ear. So also said Raba: Minyomi the physician told me that any kind of fluid is bad for the ear except the juice from kidneys. One should take the kidney of a 'bald-buck', cut it cross-wise and place it on glowing coals, and pour the water which comes out of it into the ear, neither cold nor hot, but tepid. Else, one should take the fat of a large-size cockchafer, melt it and drip it [into the ear]. Or else, the ear should be filled with oil, then seven wicks should be made out of green blades of wheat-stalks at the one end of which dry garlic ends and some white thread should be set alight while the other end is placed within the ear, the ear should be exposed to the light but care should be taken that no spark falls on it, each wick [when done with] should be replaced by another. Another version is: One should prepare seven wicks of white thread2 and dip them in oil of balsam-wood3 setting light to the one end and placing the other end in the ear, each one, when done with, should be replaced by another, care being taken to avoid any sparks. Or let one take tow cotton which has been dyed but not combed and place it within the ear, which should be placed above a fire, taking precaution against sparks. Another remedy: Take a tube of an old cane [which has been detached from the soil] for about a century and fill it with rock salt, then burn it and apply the ashes [to the sore part]. [Take as] thy mnemonic [to remember how to apply the foregoing,] in liquid form to a dry sore, and in dry form to a wet sore.
Said Raba b. Zutra in the name of R. Hanina: It is permissible to restore the ear into its proper position on the Sabbath. Whereon R. Samuel b. Judah commented: Only with the hand, but not by applying medicines. Some report: By applying medicine, but not with the hand, the reason being that it causes soreness.
Said R. Zutra b. Tobiah in the name of Rab: If one's eye gets out of order, it is permissible to paint it on the Sabbath. He was understood to be of opinion that this only holds good when the medical ingredients had been ground the previous day, but if it is necessary to grind them on the Sabbath and carry them through a public road, it would not be permitted; but one of the Rabbis, R. Jacob by name, remarked to him: It was made plain to me on behalf of Rab Judah that even grinding on the Sabbath and the carrying through the public street are permissible.
Rab Judah declared it as permissible to paint the eye on the Sabbath. Whereupon R. Samuel b. Judah said: He who acts according to Judah profanes the Sabbath. After some time when he himself had a sore eye he sent to ask of Rab Judah: Is it permitted or forbidden? He sent back [the following reply:] 'To everyone else it is permitted — but to you it is forbidden.4 Was it on my own authority [that I permitted it?] It was on that of Mar Samuel'. It once happened to a maid-servant in Mar Samuel's house that her eye became inflamed on a Sabbath; she cried, but no one attended her5 and her eye dropped. On the morrow Mar Samuel went forth and propounded that if one's eye gets out of order it is permissible to paint it on the Sabbath, the reason being because the eyesight is connected with the mental faculties.6
What kind [of disorder]?7 Said R. Judah: Such as discharge, pricking, congestion, watering, inflammation or the first stages of sickness, excluding the last stage of sickness or the brightening of the eyesight in which cases it is not permitted.
Said Rab Judah: The sting of a wasp, the prick of a thorn,8 an abscess, a sore eye or an inflammation — for all these a bath-house is dangerous. Radishes are good for fever, and beets for cold shivers: the reverse is dangerous. Warm things [are good] for a scorpion [bite] and cold things for that by a wasp: the reverse is dangerous. Likewise warm things for a thorn prick and cold
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