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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 118a

FOOD FOR THREE MEALS MAY BE SAVED: surely that is where one has not [yet] eaten?1 — No: it is where he has [already eaten]. [IF] IN THE MORNING, FOOD FOR TWO MEALS MAY BE SAVED: surely that is where one has not yet eaten? — No: [where] he has eaten. AT [THE TIME OF] MINHAH, FOOD FOR ONE MEAL: surely that is where one has not eaten? — No: [where] he has eaten. But since the final section states, R. JOSE SAID: AT ALL TIMES WE MAY SAVE FOOD FOR THREE MEALS, it follows that the first Tanna holds [that] three [are required]. Hence it is clear that our Mishnah does not agree with R. Hisda.

Now, as to what we learnt: He who has food for two meals must not accept [relief] from the tamhuy: food for fourteen meals, must not accept from the kuppah,2  — who [is the authority for this], [for] it is neither the Rabbis nor R. Hidka? If the Rabbis, there are fifteen meals; if R. Hidka, there are sixteen?3  — In truth, it is the Rabbis, for we say to him [the recipient], 'What you require to eat at the conclusion of the Sabbath, eat it on the Sabbath.4  Shall we say then that it agrees [only] with the Rabbis and not with R. Hidka? — You may even say [that it agrees with] R. Hidka: we say to him, 'What you require to eat on the eve of the Sabbath [before nightfall], eat it on the Sabbath.'5  And the whole day of Sabbath eve [Friday] we make him spend in fasting?6  Rather the author of this is R. Akiba, who said: Treat thy Sabbath like a weekday rather than be dependent on men.7

Now, as to what we learnt: 'A poor man travelling from place to place must be given not less than a loaf [valued] at a pundion when four se'ahs cost one sela';8  if he stays overnight, he must be given the requirements for spending the night; while if he spends the Sabbath there, he must be given food for three meals'9  — shall we say that this is [according to] the Rabbis [only], not R. Hidka? — In truth, it may [agree with] R. Hidkah, [the circumstances being] e.g., where he [already] has one meal with him, so we say to him, 'Eat that which you have with you.' And when he departs, shall he depart empty-handed!10  — We provide him with a meal to accompany him. 'What is meant by 'the requirements of spending the night?' — Said R. Papa: A bed and a bolster.

Our Rabbis taught: The plates in which one eats in the evening [Friday night] may be washed for eating in them in the morning; [those which are used] in the morning may be washed to eat in them at midday; [those used] at midday are washed to eat in them at minhah; but from minhah and onwards they may no longer he washed;11  but goblets, [drink-]ladles and flasks, one may go on washing [them] all day, because there is no fixed time for drinking.

R. Simeon b. Pazzi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi in Bar Kappara's name: He who observes [the practice of] three meals on the Sabbath is saved from three evils: the travails of the Messiah,12  the retribution of Gehinnom,13  and the wars of Gog and Magog.14  'The travails of the Messiah': 'day' is written here;15  whilst there it is written, Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.16  The retribution of Gehinnom': 'day' is written here; whilst there it is written, That day is a day of wrath.17  'The wars of Gog and Magog': 'day' is written here; whilst there it is written, in that day when Gog shall come.18

R. Johanan said in R. Jose's name: He who delights in the Sabbath is given an unbounded heritage, for it is written, Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth; and I will feed thee

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Thus proving that our Mishnah disagrees with R Hidka.
  2. Tamhuy is the charity plate, the food collected from contributors and distributed daily; kuppah (lit., 'heap', 'pile'), the communal charity, from which weekly grants were made every Friday for food. With two meals one has enough for the day; with fourteen he has enough for the week, hence he must not accept relief from either respectively; v. Pe'ah VIII, 7.
  3. In the week.
  4. Just before its termination.
  5. I.e., after nightfall.
  6. It is virtually a fast if he must postpone his second meal to the night.
  7. Hence if he has fourteen meals he can eat two on the Sabbath rather than receive charity. — This saying of R. Akiba is sometimes quoted nowadays to show that one may even desecrate the Sabbath rather than descend to charity. It is quite obvious that R. Akiba had no such thing in mind but merely meant that one should not seek to obtain the extra luxuries of the Sabbath through charity.
  8. A pundion = one-twelfth of a denar= one forty-eighth of a sela'. A loaf of that size is sufficient for the average two meals.
  9. V. Pe'ah ibid.
  10. Surely not.
  11. Since they are not required for the Sabbath any more.
  12. The advent of the Messiah was pictured as being preceded by years of great distress.
  13. Purgatory.
  14. Also a time of intense suffering.
  15. V. supra 117b bottom.
  16. Mal. III, 2. (E.V. IV, 5). This is understood to refer to the advent of the Messiah.
  17. Zeph. I, 15.
  18. Ezek. XXXVIII, 18. Since 'day' is mentioned three times in connection with the Sabbath meals (supra 117b), their observance will save one from the bitter experiences of these three 'days'.
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Shabbath 118b

with the heritage of Jacob thy father, etc.1  Not like Abraham, of whom it is written, Arise, walk through the land in the length of it, etc.;2  nor like Isaac of whom it is written, for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, etc.;3  but like Jacob, of whom it is written, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south.4  R. Nahman b. Isaac said, He is saved from the servitude of the Diaspora: here it is written, and I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth; whilst there it is written, and thou shalt tread upon their high places.5

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: He who delights in the Sabbath is granted his heart's desires, for it is said, Delight thyself also in the Lord; And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.6  Now, I do not know what this 'delight' refers to; but when it is said, and thou shalt call the Sabbath a delight,7  you must say that it refers to the delight of the Sabbath.8

Wherewith does one show his delight therein? — Rab Judah son of R. Samuel b. Shilath said in Rab's name: With a dish of beets, large fish, and heads of garlic. R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in Rab's name: Even a trifle, if it is prepared in honor of the Sabbath, is delight. What is it [the trifle]? — Said R. Papa: A pie of fish-hash.

R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: He who observes the Sabbath according to its laws, even if he practises idolatry like the generation of Enosh,9  is forgiven, for it is said, Blessed is Enosh10  that doeth this … [that keepeth the Sabbath mehallelo from profaning it]:11  read not mehallelo but mahul lo [he is forgiven].

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Had Israel kept the first Sabbath, no nation or tongue would have enjoyed dominion over them, for it is said, And it came to pass on the seventh day, that there went out some of the people for to gather;12  which is followed by, Then came Amalek.13  R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: If Israel were to keep two Sabbaths according to the laws thereof, they would be redeemed immediately, for it is said, Thus saith the Lord of the eunuch that keep my Sabbaths,14  which is followed by, even them will I bring to my holy mountain, etc.15

R. Jose said: May my portion be of those who eat three meals on the Sabbath. R. Jose [also] said: May my portion be of those who recite the entire Hallel16  every day. But that is not so, for a Master said: He who reads Hallel every day blasphemes and reproaches [the Divine Name]?17  — We refer to the 'Verses of Song'.18

R. Jose said: May my portion be of those who pray with the red glow of the sun.19  R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: It is virtuous to pray with the red glow of the sun. R. Zera observed: What verse [intimates this]? They shall revere thee with [i.e., at the time of the sun [rise], and before the moon [shines],20  throughout all generations.21 

R. Jose also said: May my lot be of those who die with bowel trouble,22  for a Master said, The majority of the righteous die of trouble in the bowels. R. Jose also said: May my portion be of those who die on the way to the performance of a religious duty.23  R. Jose also said: May my lot be of those who welcome the Sabbath in Tiberias and who let it depart in Sepphoris.24  R. Jose also said: May my lot be of those who seat [pupils] in the Beth Hamidrash,25  and not of those who order [them] to rise [depart] from the Beth Hamidrash.26  R. Jose also said: May my lot be of those who collect charity, but not of those who distribute charity.27  R. Jose also said: May my lot be of those who are suspected whilst innocent.28  R. Papa said: I was suspected [of something] of which I was free.29

    R. Jose said: I cohabited five times and planted five cedars in Israel. Who are they? R. Ishmael son of R. Jose, R. Eleazar30  son of R. Jose, R. Halafta son of R. Jose, R. Abtilos son of R. Jose, and R. Menahem son of R. Jose. But there was Wardimos? — Wardimos and Menahem are identical, and why was he called Wardimos? Because his face was like a rose [werad]. Shall we say that R. Jose did not fulfil his marital duties?31  — Rather say, I cohabited five times and repeated.32

R. Jose said: I have never called my wife 'my wife' or my ox 'my ox', but my wife [I called] 'my home,' and my ox 'my field'.

R. Jose said: I have never looked at my circumcised membrum. But that is not so, for Rabbi was asked, Why were you called 'Our holy Teacher?' Said he to them, I have never looked at my membrum?33  — In Rabbi's case there was another thing to his credit, viz., he did not insert his hand beneath his girdle. R. Jose also said: The beams of my house have never seen the seams of my shirt.34

R. Jose also said: I have never disregarded the words of my neighbours. I know of myself that I am not a priest, [yet] if my neighbours were to tell me to ascend the dais,35  I would ascend [it].36  R. Jose also said: I have never in my life said anything from which I retracted.37

R. Nahman said: May I be rewarded38  for observing three meals on the Sabbath. Rab Judah said: May I be rewarded for observing devotion in prayers.39  R. Huna son of R. Joshua said: May I be rewarded for never walking four cubits bareheaded.40  R. Shesheth said: May I be rewarded for fulfilling the precept of tefillin.41  R. Nahman also said: May I be rewarded for fulfilling the precept of fringes.

R. Joseph asked R. Joseph son of Rabbah: Of what is thy father most observant? Of fringes, he replied. One day he was ascending a ladder42  when a thread [of his fringes] broke, and he would not descend until [another] was inserted.

Abaye said: May I be rewarded for that when I saw that a disciple had completed his tractate,

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Isa. LVIII, 14.
  2. Gen. XIII, 17,
  3. Ibid. XXVI, 3.
  4. Ibid. XXVIII, 14.
  5. Deut. XXXIII, 29. The underlying idea is probably the same as that of Heine's 'Princess Sabbath'.
  6. Ps. XXXVII, 3.
  7. Isa. ibid, 13.
  8. The emphasis on the importance of observing the Sabbath with those meals and as a day of delight was meant according to Weiss (Dor I, 122) to counteract the ascetic tendencies of the Essenes.
  9. Gen. IV, 26. According to tradition idolatry commenced in his days.
  10. E.V. 'the man'.
  11. Isa. LVI, 2.
  12. Ex. XVI, 27. This refers to the manna, in connection with which the Sabbath is mentioned for the first time explicitly.
  13. Ibid. XVII, 8.
  14. Isa. LVI, 4.
  15. Ibid. 7.
  16. Lit.'praise' Ps.CXIII-CXVIII which was inserted in the service on Festivals, Hanukkah, and New Moon — on the latter occasion, as well as from the third day of Passover, chs. CXV, 1-11 and CXVI, 1-11 are omitted.
  17. Because its recital was instituted for special occasions only, and by reading it every day he treats it as a mere song.
  18. The name given to Ps. CXLV-CL which are designated here as Hallel on account of the term 'praise' recurring in them; v. Elbogen, Der Judische Gottesdienst, p. 83, 2.
  19. Rashi Jast.: The time in the morning and the evening when the sun appears to stand still or be silent, viz., dawn and sunset.
  20. I.e., at sunset.
  21. Ps. LXXII, 5. Cf. R. Johanan's statement in Ber. 9b on the wathikin (R. Zera quotes this verse there too, which makes it probable that the same time is referred to there and here); Elbogen, op. cit. p. 246.
  22. The suffering involved effects atonement (Rashi).
  23. I.e., while engaged in the performance of a good deed (Maharsha).
  24. In Tiberias, which was situated in a valley, the Sabbath commenced rather earlier, whilst in Sepphoris, which was on a mountain, it terminated rather later than elsewhere.
  25. Rashi: the ushers who collect the pupils.
  26. To adjourn for meals.
  27. It is very difficult to perform the latter with absolute impartiality, as personal predilections are apt to intervene.
  28. Lit., 'and it is not in him'.
  29. V. Ber. 8b.
  30. Var. lec.: Eliezer.
  31. Except on five occasions.
  32. Cf. 'Er. 100b.
  33. Which shows that this modesty was peculiar to him.
  34. I.e., he did not turn his shirt inside out when he undressed but pulled it over his head whilst sitting up in bed, so that he remained covered as much as possible out of modesty.
  35. When the priests recite the priestly blessing; v. Num. VI, 22-27.
  36. Though he certainly would not recite the blessing with the other priests, which is forbidden, but merely stand there (Maharsha).
  37. Rashi refers this] to his opinions on other people: even if unfavourable he did not retract even in the owner's presence, because he did not state them in the first place without being perfectly sure of their truth.
  38. Lit., 'may it (sc. reward) come to me
  39. I did not pray mechanically. — The same phrase is used in a derogatory and possibly opposite sense elsewhere, v. Ber. 55a, B.B. 164b.
  40. Cf. infra 156b.
  41. V. Glos. Rashi: he never walked four cubits without wearing his tefillin; similarly with respect to fringes.
  42. Or, stairs.
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