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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
He [the owner] may completely disregard one;1 hence he [the Tanna] informs us (that we do not fear this].
R. Joseph said in Rab Judah's name in Samuel's name: The halachah is as R. Eliezer b. Jacob. Said Abaye to him, [You say,] The halachah [etc.]: hence it follows that they [the Rabbis] disagree?2 And what difference does that make? he replied. Shall the accepted tradition be [merely] like a song? he retorted.3
MISHNAH. A BUCKET [OVER A WELL] MAY BE TIED WITH A FASCIA4 BUT NOT WITH A CORD;5 BUT R. JUDAH PERMITS IT. R. JUDAH STATED A GENERAL RULE: ANY KNOT THAT IS NOT PERMANENT ENTAILS NO CULPABILITY.
GEMARA. What CORD is meant. Shall we say an ordinary [bucket] cord? [How then state] R. JUDAH PERMITS IT? — [Surely] it is a permanent knot? Rather it refers to a weaver's rope.6 Shall we say that the Rabbis hold, We preventively forbid a weaver's cord on account of an ordinary one,7 while R. Judah holds, We do not preventively forbid? But the following contradicts it: If the cord of a bucket is broken, one must not tie it [together] but merely make a loop [slip-knot]; whereas R. Judah maintains: One may wind a hollow belt or a fascia around it, providing that he does not tie it with a slip-knot. [Thus] R. Judah's [views] are self-contradictory and [similarly] the Rabbis'? — The Rabbis' [views] are not self-contradictory: one rope may be mistaken for8 another,9 [whereas] looping cannot be mistaken for knotting.10 R. Judah's [views] are not self-contradictory: there it is not because looping may be mistaken for knotting, but [because] looping itself is [a form of] knotting.11
R. Abba said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Ashi in Rab's name: A man may bring a cord from his house and tie it to a cow and [its] trough.12 R. Aha the Long, that is R. Aha b.Papa, refuted R. Abba: If a cord [is attached] to a trough, one may tie it to [his] cow; and if [attached] to a cow, one may tie it to a trough, provided however, that he does not bring a cord from his house and tie it to the cow and the trough? — There [the reference is to] an ordinary cord; here [we treat of] a weaver's cord.
Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: A weaver's implements may be handled on the Sabbath.13 Rab Judah was asked: What of the upper beam and the lower beam?14 — Yes and No, and he was uncertain about it.15 It was stated: R. Nahman said in Samuel's name: A weaver's implements may be handled on the Sabbath, even the upper beam and the lower beam, but not the [vertical] rollers.16 Raba asked R. Nahman: Why are rollers different, that it is not [permitted]? Shall we say, because one makes holes?17 But the holes are made automatically!18 For we learnt: If one stores turnips or radishes under a vine, provided some of their leaves are uncovered, he need have no fear on account of kil'ayim, the seventh year, or tithes, and they may be removed on the Sabbath?19 — In a field one will not come to level [fill up] the holes; [whereas] here in the house one will come to level the holes.20
R. Johanan asked R. Judah b. Lewai: As for a weaver's implements, e.g., the upper beam and the lower beam, may they be handled on the Sabbath? They may not be handled, answered he. What is the reason? Because they cannot be taken up [moved].21
MISHNAH. ONE MAY FOLD UP GARMENTS EVEN FOUR OR FIVE TIMES,22 AND SPREAD THE SHEETS ON THE BEDS ON THE NIGHT OF THE SABBATH23 FOR [USE ON] THE SABBATH, BUT NOT ON THE SABBATH FOR [USE ON] THE CONCLUSION OF THE SABBATH. R. ISHMAEL SAID: ONE MAY FOLD UP GARMENTS AND SPREAD THE SHEETS ON THE BEDS ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT FOR [USE ON] THE SABBATH;24 AND THE FATS OF THE SABBATH25 MAY BE OFFERED [BURNT ON THE ALTAR] ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT,26 BUT NOT THOSE OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT ON THE SABBATH. R. AKIBA SAID: NEITHER MAY THOSE OF THE SABBATH BE OFFERED ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT, NOR MAY THOSE OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT BE OFFERED ON THE SABBATH.
GEMARA. The School of R. Jannai said: They learnt this only of one man, but [it may] not [be done] by two men.27 And even of one man, we said [this] only of new [garments],28 but not of old [ones]. And even of old [garments], we said this only of white, but not of coloured [ones].29 And we said this only if he has no others to change, but if he has others to change it is not permitted. It was taught: [The members] of the household of R. Gamaliel did not fold up their white garments, because they had [others] for changing.
R. Huna said: If one has a change [of garments],30 he should change [them], but if he has nothing to change into, he should lower his garments.31 R. Safra demurred: But this looks like ostentation? — Since he does not do this every day, but [only] now [on the Sabbath], it does not look like ostentation.
And thou shalt honour it, not doing thine own ways:32 'and thou shalt honour it', that thy Sabbath garments should not be like thy weekday garments, and even as R. Johanan called his garments 'My honourers'.33 'Not doing thine own ways', that thy walking on the Sabbath shall not be like thy walking on weekdays.34 'Nor finding thine own affairs':35 thine affairs are forbidden, the affairs of Heaven [religious matters] are permitted. 'Nor speaking thine own words:'
that thy speech [conversation] on the Sabbath should not be like thy speech on weekdays.1 'Speaking': speech is forbidden, but thought [about mundane matters] is permitted. Now, as for all [the rest], they are intelligible; but what is meant by, 'that thy walking on the Sabbath shall not be like thy walking on weekdays'? — As R. Huna said in Rab's name-others state, R. Abba said in R. Huna's name: If one is walking on the Sabbath and comes to a stream of water, if he can put down his first foot2 before lifting the second,3 it is permitted;4 otherwise it is forbidden.5 Raba demurred: What shall he do? Shall he go round it? Then he increases the walking [distance]!6 Shall he cross it [walking through]? His garments may be soaked in water and he is led to wringing [them] out!7 Rather [in such a case], since it is impossible [otherwise], it is permitted [to jump across]. But [what is meant]8 is as Rabbi asked R. Ishmael son of R. Jose: Is it permitted to take great strides on the Sabbath?9 — Who then permitted it on weekdays? he replied; for I maintain that a long stride takes away a five hundredth part of a man's eyesight,10 and it is restored to him by the evening Kiddush.11
Rabbi asked R. Ishmael son of R. Jose: May one eat earth on the Sabbath?12 — Who then permitted it on weekdays? he replied. For I maintain, It is forbidden even on weekdays, because it causes illness.
R. Ammi said: He who eats earth of Babylon is as though he ate the flesh of his ancestors;13 some say, It is as though he ate of abominations and creeping things, because it is written, And he dissolved every living thing, etc.14 Resh Lakish said, Why is it [Babylon] called Shinar? Because all the dead of the Deluge were shaken out [deposited] thither [nin'aru lesham]. R. Johanan said: Why was it called Mezulah [depth]? Because all the dead15 of the Deluge were dumped16 there.
'Some say, It is as though he ate of abominations and creeping things.' But these were certainly completely dissolved?17 Rather because they cause illness the Rabbis forbade them. For a certain man ate 'gargishta18 and [then] ate cress, and the cress sprouted up into his heart19 and he died.
Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put they raiment upon thee.20 R. Eleazar said: This refers to the Sabbath garments. Give instructions to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser.21 R. Eleazar said: This alludes to Ruth the Moabitess and Samuel of Ramah.22 'Ruth' — for whereas Naomi said to her, Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the threshing floor, yet of her it is written, And she went down unto the threshing-floor, and [only] subsequently, and did according to all that her mother-in-law bade her.23 'Samuel': for whereas Eli said to him, Lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth;24 yet of him it is written, And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel said, Speak; for thy servant heareth,25 but he did not say, Speak, Lord.26
And she went and came and gleaned in the field.27 R. Eleazar said: She repeatedly went and came until she found decent men whom to accompany. Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over [he reapers, whose damsel is this?28 Was it then Boaz's practice to enquire about damsels?29 — Said R. Eleazar: He perceived a wise dealing30 in her behaviour, two ears of corn31 she gleaned; three ears of corn she did not glean.32 It was taught: He perceived modest behaviour in her, the standing ears33 [she gleaned] standing; the fallen [she gleaned] sitting. And cleave here by my maidens:34 was it then Boaz's practice to cleave35 to the women?36 — Said R. Eleazar, As soon as he saw that, 'and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth cleaved unto her,'37 he said, It is permitted to cleave unto her. And at meal-time Boaz said unto her, Come hither:38 Said R. Eleazar, He intimated to her,39 The royal house of David is destined to come forth from thee, [the house] whereof 'hither' is written, as it is said, Then David the king went in, and sat before the Lord, — and he said, Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hither?40
And dip thy morsel in vinegar.41 R. Eleazar said: Hence [it may be deduced] that vinegar is beneficial in hot weather. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: He intimated to her, A son is destined to come forth from thee whose actions shall be as sharp42 as vinegar; and who was it, Manasseh — And she sat beside the reapers.43 R — Eleazar observed: At the side of the reapers, but not in the midst of the reapers: he [Boaz] intimated to her44 that the Kingdom of the House of David was destined to be divided.45 And he reached her parched corn, and she did eat [and was sufficed, and left thereof]:46 Said R. Eleazar: 'She ate' in the days of David, 'she was sufficed' in the days of Solomon, 'and she left over' in the days of Hezekiah.47 Some there are who interpret, 'She ate' in the days of David and Solomon, and 'she was sufficed' in the days of Hezekiah, 'and she left over' in the days of Rabbi.48 For a Master said, Rabbi's house steward was wealthier than King Shapur.49 In a Baraitha it was taught: 'And she ate', in this world; 'and she was sufficed', in the days of the Messiah: 'and she left over', in the future that is to come.50
And beneath his glory shall he kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.51 R. Johanan said: That which is 'beneath' his glory [shall be burnt], but 'glory' is not literal.52 R. Johanan is consistent with his opinion, for R. Johanan called his garments 'my honourers'. R. Eleazar said, 'and beneath his glory' means literally instead of his glory.53 R. Samuel b. Nahmani interpreted: 'And beneath his glory' [must be understood] like the burning of the sons of Aaron; just as there the burning of the soul [is meant], while the body remained intact,54 so here too, the burning of the soul, while the body remains intact.55
R. Aha b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name:
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