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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 136a

how then can we circumcise him?1  — Said R. Adda b. Ahabah: We circumcise him in either case: if he is viable, the is rightly circumcised; whilst if not, one [merely] cuts flesh.2  Then as to what was taught, If there is doubt whether he is a seven-months' [infant] or an eight-months', we must not desecrate the Sabbath on his account:3  why so? let us circumcise him in either case: if he is viable, he is rightly circumcised; if not, you [merely] cut flesh? — Mar the son of Rabina said: R. Nehumi b. Zechariah and I explained it: We do indeed circumcise him; this [teaching] is required only in respect of the preliminaries of circumcision, this being in accordance with R. Eliezer.4

Abaye said, This is dependent on Tannaim:5  And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die: [he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even];6  this is to include an eight-months' [animal],7  [teaching] that shechitah8  does not render it clean.9  R. Jose son of R. Judah and R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon maintain: It is shechitah does render it clean. Surely they differ in this: one Master holds, It is a living creature;10  whilst the other Master holds, It is [technically] dead? — Said Raba: If so, instead of disputing on the matter of uncleanness and cleanness, let them dispute on the question of consumption.11  Rather [say then] all hold that it is [technically] dead, but R. Jose son of R. Judah and R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon argue, it is as a terefah:12  a terefah, though indeed it is dead, does not shechitah render it clean?13  So here too it is not different. But the Rabbis [reason]: it is unlike a terefah, for a terefah had a period of fitness,14  whereas this one enjoyed no period of fitness. And should you object, what can be said about a terefah from birth?15  There shechitah is efficacious for its kind, whereas here shechitah is not efficacious for its kind.16

The scholars asked: Do the Rabbis disagree with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel17  or not?18  Should you answer [that] they differ, is the halachah as he or not? — Come and hear: If a calf is born on a festival, one may slaughter it on a festival!19  — What case do we treat of here? Where we know for certain that its months [of bearing] were complete.20  Come and hear: And they agree that if it is born together with its blemish, it is mukan!21  Here too [it is said] where its months [of bearing] were complete. Come and hear: For Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: The halachah, is as R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. 'The halachah [is thus]' implies that they [the Rabbis] disagree.22  This proves it.

Abaye said: If it falls from a roof or is devoured by a lion, all hold that it was viable.23  When do they differ? if it yawns and dies.24  One Master holds: It was viable; whilst the other Master holds: it was [technically] dead. What is the practical difference? Whether it frees the mother from Levirate marriage.25

'If it falls from a roof or is devoured by a lion, all hold that it was viable.' But surely R. Papa and R. Huna the son of R. Joshua visited the house of R. Iddi b. Abin's son, who prepared a third-born calf26  for them on its seventh day [from birth], whereupon they said to him, 'Had you waited with it until evening27  we would have eaten thereof: now we will not eat thereof'!28  — Rather [say thus:] If it yawns and dies, all agree that it was dead [non-viable]; they differ where it falls from a roof or is devoured by a lion, one Master holding that it was viable; the other Master, that it was dead.29

A child was born to the son of R. Dimi b. Joseph, [and] it died within thirty days. [Thereupon] he sat and mourned for it.30  Said his father to him, 'Do you wish to eat dainties?'31  'I know for certain that its months [of pregnancy] were complete.' R. Ashi visited R. Kahana: a mishap befell him within the thirty days.32  Seeing him sitting and mourning for it, he said to him, 'Does the Master not agree with what Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: The halachah is as R. Simeon b. Gamaliel?' — 'I know for certain that its months were complete,' replied he.

It was stated: If it died within thirty days,33  and she [the mother] arose and was betrothed,34  — Rabina said in Raba's name:

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. On the eighth day which falls on the Sabbath, seeing that he may be non-viable, in which case there is really no obligation to circumcise him at all,
  2. Which cannot be regarded as the inflicting of a wound (this is the form of labour to which circumcision belongs). since the infant is already as dead.
  3. V. supra 135a.
  4. Supra 130a; but here the Sabbath may not be violated for the preliminaries.
  5. Sc. whether a non-viable infant is so completely regarded as dead that the infliction of a wound on it is merely flesh cutting.
  6. Lev. XI, 39.
  7. I.e., a calf born in, the eighth month of bearing instead of in the usual ninth.
  8. V. Glos.
  9. For even if ritually slaughtered, it may not be eaten, since it was non-viable (v. p. 679, n. 5; the same applies to animals), and therefore it is the same as though it had died of itself.
  10. Therefore shechitah renders it clean, just as in the case of any other animal that is permitted as food.
  11. According to the first Tanna shechitah should make it fit for food, but not according to the others.
  12. An animal suffering with some disease or illness on account of which it may not be eaten after shechitah. It too is regarded as technically dead.
  13. This is deduced by the Rabbis from the present verse.
  14. Before it contracted that disease.
  15. Lit., 'the womb'.
  16. An animal born at nine months belongs to the species where shechitah counts, though this particular one is an exception. But no eight-months' animal is rendered fit for food by shechitah.
  17. Supra 135b bottom,
  18. The question is whether they permit a young animal to be eaten before it is eight days old.
  19. Though it is only one day old.
  20. Then it is definitely viable.
  21. V. Glos. The reference is to a firstling born blemished on a festival. A firstling might not be eaten before it received a blemish and we are taught there that this animal is mukan and may be eaten on the day of its birth. V. Bez. 26b.
  22. Cf. supra 106b.
  23. I.e., if the infant dies through an external cause before thirty, days, we assume that it was viable. Hence if he was an only child and survived his father, no matter by how short a time, his mother is free from Levirate marriage (v. Deut. XXV, 5), since his father did have a son. Similarly in the case of an animal, if slaughtered before it is eight days old it may be eaten, because we assume that it was viable,
  24. I.e., it dies naturally within thirty days, having shown very little vitality.
  25. V.p. 685, n. 12.
  26. I.e., the third which its mother had calved. Aliter: (a) a third-grown calf; (b) a calf in its third year.
  27. When it would have been eight days old.
  28. Though it was slaughtered.
  29. Hence the attitude of R. Papa and R. Huna b. R. Joshua.
  30. I.e., he performed the ritual mourning rites which are obligatory upon a bereaved father.
  31. Lit., 'throat-ticklers'; Jast.: Which friends send to mourners — i.e., you should not mourn for him, seeing that he was non-viable.
  32. I.e., his child died within thirty days from birth.
  33. V. supra n. 13; the same case is referred to here.
  34. At a later date, thinking that the child had freed her from the levirate obligation.
Tractate List

Shabbath 136b

If she is an Israelite's wife,1  she must perform halizah;2  but if she is a priest's wife,3  she does not perform halizah.4  But R. Sherabia5  ruled in Raba's name: Both the one and the other must perform halizah. Rabina said to R. Sherabia: In the evening Raba did rule thus, but the [following] morning he retracted.6  You would permit her,7  he retorted: would that you permitted forbidden fat!

R. JUDAH PERMITS, etc. R. Shizbi said in R. Hisda's name: Not in respect of everything did R. Judah rule [that] an hermaphrodite is a male; for if you do say thus, in the case of vows of valuation8  let him be subject to valuation — And how do we know that he is not subject to 'valuation'? Because it was taught: '[And thy estimation shall be of] the male [from twenty years old, etc.]:9  but not a tumtum10  or an hermaphrodite. You might think that he does not come within the valuation of a man, yet he does come within the valuation of a woman; therefore it is stated, … the male … and if it be a female:11  a certain male, a certain female, but not a tumtum or a hermaphrodite'. —

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. I.e., if her second husband is an Israelite, i.e., not a priest, and may marry a haluzah (q.v. Glos.). — Betrothal was the first stage of marriage, and binding like marriage; v. Kid., Sonc. ed., p. 1, n. 9.
  2. V. Glos.: for the child may have been non-viable.
  3. Who may not marry a haluzah.
  4. But may assume that her child was viable, relying on the majority of births, and therefore she has no levirate obligation.
  5. In Yeb. 36b the reading is: R. Mesharsheya.
  6. Ruling that she need not perform halizah if she is a priest's wife.
  7. Without halizah, thus disregarding the view of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel.
  8. 'Arakin, — vows whereby one offers his own or another person's 'valuation,' to the Temple. The valuations were fixed and dependent on the age and sex of the person concerned, v. Lev. XXVII, 1ff
  9. Lev. XXVII, 3.
  10. One whose genitals are hidden or undeveloped, so that his sex is doubtful. In Bek. 42a the Talmud deletes 'tumtum' from this passage.
  11. Ibid. 4.
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