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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah
MISHNAH. IF [A HEATHEN] HIRE [AN ISRAELITE] WORKMAN TO ASSIST HIM IN [THE PREPARATION OF] YEN NESEK, HIS WAGE IS PROHIBITED. IF HE HIRED HIM TO ASSIST HIM IN ANOTHER KIND OF WORK, EVEN SAYING TO HIM, 'REMOVE FOR ME A CASK OF YEN NESEK FROM THIS PLACE TO THAT,' HIS WAGE IS PERMITTED. IF HE HIRED [AN ISRAELITE'S] ASS TO CARRY YEN NESEK, ITS HIRE IS PROHIBITED; BUT IF HE HIRED IT TO SIT UPON, EVEN THOUGH THE HEATHEN RESTED HIS JAR [OF YEN NESEK] UPON IT, ITS HIRE IS PERMITTED.
GEMARA. Why is [the workman's] wage prohibited? If I answer that inasmuch as yen nesek is prohibited for use of any kind and therefore the wage which came to him from it is likewise prohibited, behold 'orlah1 and the mixed plantings of a vineyard2 are prohibited for use of any kind and yet we have learnt: If he sold them and with the proceeds married a wife she is legally married!3 On the other hand, [should I answer that the reason is] because his money [which comes to him on account of yen nesek] is affected as though it were an idolatrous object,4 behold the Sabbatical year affects the money [obtained from the sale of its produce] and yet we have learnt: If one said to a workman [in the Sabbatical year], 'Here is a denar and for it gather vegetables for me to-day,' his wage is prohibited;5 [but if he said,] 'Gather vegetables for me to-day,' his wage is permitted!6 — R. Abbahu said in the name of R. Johanan: [The true explanation is] that it is a penalty which the Sages imposed upon ass-drivers and in connection with yen nesek.7 As for yen nesek it is as has just been stated; and what is the case of the ass-drivers? — As it has been taught: If ass-drivers work with the fruits of the Sabbatical year, their wage is [the produce of] a Sabbatical year.8 What means 'their wage is [produce of] a Sabbatical year'? If I say it means that they receive their wage in fruits of the Sabbatical year, consequently [the employer] discharges his obligation with fruits of the Sabbatical year and the Torah stated, [And the sabbath of the land shall be] for food9 — but not for trading!10 If, on the other hand, [I answer that the meaning is] that their wage is holy11 like the holiness of [the produce of] the Sabbatical year, is it holy? For it has been taught: If one said to a workman [in the Sabbatical year], 'Here is a denar and gather vegetables for me to-day,' his wage is permitted; [only if he said], 'Gather vegetables for me to-day for this [denar]' is his wage prohibited! — Abaye said: It certainly means that they receive their wage in fruits of the Sabbatical year, and the difficulty you raise, viz., 'for food' but not for trading, [is met by the supposition] that he paid them in a lawful manner, as we have learnt: One may not say to his neighbour,
‘Abodah Zarah 62b'Carry up for me these fruits1 to Jerusalem [and for doing so] have a share in them'; but he may say to him, 'Carry them up so that we may eat and drink of them in Jerusalem.' They may also make a free gift of them to each other.2 Raba, however, said: [The meaning is] certainly that their wage is holy like the holiness of [the produce of] the Sabbatical year, and the difficulty you raise over the teaching concerning the workman [who gathers fruits in that year can be met by the answer] that in the case of a labourer whose wage is small the Rabbis did not impose a penalty, but in the case of ass-drivers whose wage is considerable the Rabbis did impose a penalty;3 and as for our Mishnah4 the seriousness of yen nesek accounts for the difference.
The question was asked: How is it with his wage [when an Israelite is employed by a heathen] in connection with ordinary wine?5 Do we maintain that since its prohibition6 is as strict as with wine for a libation, the wage is likewise prohibited; or perhaps for the reason that its power of defilement is lighter7 [the attitude towards] the wage is also more lenient? — Come and hear! A certain man hired out his ship [to transport] ordinary wine [of heathens] and they paid him in wheat. He came before R. Hisda who said to him, 'Go, burn and bury it in a graveyard.' But he should have told him to scatter it!8 — People might come to wrong-doing through it.9 Then he should have told him to burn and scatter it! — People might use it as manure. Then let it be buried in its natural state, for have we not learnt: The stone with which a person was stoned, the tree upon which he was hanged, the sword with which he was decapitated, and the sheet with which he was strangled are all alike buried with him!10 — In this latter instance, since the persons were buried by the Court,11 it would be generally known that they had been executed under sentence of the Court; but in the former instance the circumstances would not be generally known and a person might suppose that somebody had stolen [the wheat] and brought it to be buried there.
The scholars in the School of R. Jannai used to borrow fruits of the Sabbatical year from the poor and repay them in the eighth year.12 When this was reported to R. Johanan, he said to them,
'They act rightly';13 and an analogy may be found in the matter of a harlot's hire which is permitted;14 for it has been taught: If he gave her [an animal] without having intercourse with her or had intercourse without giving it to her,15 her hire is permitted [for use in the Sanctuary]. Now if he gave her it without having intercourse with her, obviously [it may be devoted to the Sanctuary] for the reason that, having had no intercourse with her, he merely presented her with a gift! Further, if he had intercourse without giving it to her, behold he gave her nothing, and since he made no presentation to her what means that her hire is permitted! — This is what he intends: If he gave her it and subsequently had intercourse with her, or had intercourse with her and subsequently gave it to her, the hire is permitted16 But if he gave it to her and subsequently had intercourse with her, since he did have intercourse with her,
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