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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 15a

— Solomon came and decreed in respect of holy things,1  while they came and instituted [it] in respect of terumah.

[To revert to] the main text: 'Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: They enacted eighteen measures, and differed in eighteen 'But it was taught: They were in agreement? — On that day they differed and [only] on the morrow were they in agreement.2

[To revert to] the main text: R. Huna said: In three places Shammai and Hillel differed: Shammai said: Hallah3  is due from a kab [of flour]; Hillel said: From two kabs: but the Sages ruled neither as the one nor as the other, but a kab and a half is liable to hallah. When the measures were enlarged, they said, Five quarters of flour are liable to hallah. R. Jose said: [Exactly] five are exempt; just over five are liable.4

And the second? — Hillel said: A hin full of drawn water renders a mikweh unfit. (For one must state [a dictum] in his teacher's phraseology. Shammai maintained: nine kabs). But the Sages ruled neither as one nor as the other, until two weavers5  came from the dung gate of Jerusalem and testified on the authority of Shemaiah and Abtalion that three logs of drawn water render a mikweh unfit, and the Sages ratified their words.6

And the third? — Shammai said: All women, their time suffices them; Hillel maintained: From examination to examination; but the Sages ruled neither as the one nor as the other, but a full day7  reduces [the time] between examination and examination, and [the time] between examination and examination reduces a full day.8

And are there no more? But there is [this]: Hillel said: One shall lay [hands]; while Shammai ruled that one must not lay [hands]?9  — R. Huna spoke only of those concerning which there is no dispute of their teachers in addition.10  But there is also [this:] When one vintages [grapes] for the vat [i.e., to manufacture wine], Shammai maintains: It is made fit [to become unclean]; while Hillel ruled: It is not made fit.11  — That is excepted, for there Hillel was silenced by Shammai'.12

'Jose b. Jo'ezer of Zeredah and Jose b. Johanan of Jerusalem decreed uncleanness in respect of the country of the heathens and glassware.' But the Rabbis of the 'eighty years' decreed this? For R. Kahana said, When R. Ishmael son of R. Jose fell sick, they [the Rabbis] sent [word] to him, 'Rabbi, Tell us the two or three things which you stated [formerly] on your father's authority.' He sent back, 'Thus did my father say: One hundred and eighty years before the destruction of the Temple the wicked State [sc. Rome] spread over Israel.13  Eighty years before the destruction of the Temple uncleanness was imposed in respect of the country of heathens and glassware. Forty years before the destruction of the Temple the Sanhedrin went into exile14  and took its seat in the trade Halls.15  (in respect to what law [is this stated]? — Said R. Isaac b. Abdimi, To teach that they did not adjudicate in laws of fines.16  'The laws of fines' can you think so!17  But say: They did not adjudicate in capital cases.18  ) And should you answer, They [Jose b. Jo'ezer and Jose b. Johanan] flourished during these eighty years too: surely it was taught: Hillel and Simeon [his son], Gamaliel and Simeon wielded their Patriarchate during one hundred years of the Temple's existence;19  whereas Jose b. Jo'ezer of Zeredah and Jose b. Johanan were much earlier!20

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. That the hands must be washed before eating e.g., flesh of sacrifices.
  2. V. Halevi, Doroth, 1, p. 600 for a discussion of a variant which he considers correct.
  3. V. Glos.
  4. 1 kab = four logs = 2197.4 cu. cm. The controversy centres on the interpretation of 'your dough' in Num. XV, 20. The Talmud does not state when the measures were enlarged, but the enlargement was by one fifth, i.e., one 'Sepphoric' log (which was the name of the new measure) = one and one fifth Jerusalem log, as the old one was called; v. 'Ed., Sonc. ed., p. 2, n. 3.
  5. V. Halevi, op. cit., p. 122, n. 59.
  6. A mikweh (v. Glos.) must be filled with 'living' water, as opposed to 'drawn' water, i.e., water drawn in vessels, and it must contain not less then forty se'ahs. The controversy refers to the quantity of drawn water which, if poured into the mikweh before it contains forty se'ahs of 'living' water, renders it unfit. The hin is a Biblical measure, equal to twelve logs. The passage 'for one must state (a dictum) in his teacher's phraseology' is difficult, and various interpretations have been advanced. They are discussed by Halevi in Doroth, 1, 3, 95-7, who explains it thus: The teachers referred to are not Shemaiah and Abtalion, Hillel's masters in Palestine, but his Babylonian teachers (unnamed). Now hin is not the usual Mishnaic term but Biblical. This, however, was sometimes preferred to Babylonian because it was constant, whereas the Babylonian measure varied in different places (cf. J. E. XIII, 488 s.v. Cab.). Thus Hillel said a hin full instead of twelve logs, in order to be faithful to his teacher's phraseology. V. 'Ed., Sonc. ed., p. 2 notes.
  7. Lit., 'from time to time', the technical phrase for a twenty-four hour day.
  8. A menstruous woman defiles whatever food she touches. Shammai maintains that this is only from when she discovers her discharge, but not retrospectively. Hillel holds that since her discharge may have been earlier, though she has only now observed it, her uncleanness is retrospective to when she last examined and found herself clean. Thus Shammai said, Their time, sc. when they actually find that they are unclean, suffices them and it has no retrospective effects; whilst Hillel rules, They are retrospectively unclean from the present examination to the last. The Sages make a compromise: she is retrospectively unclean for twenty-four hours or from the last examination, whichever is less. V. 'Ed., Sonc. ed., p. 1 notes.
  9. When a man brings a freewill-offering, part of the ritual consists in his laying hands upon the head of the animal (v. Lev. I, 4; III, 2, 8). The dispute refers to festivals.
  10. This matter was disputed by Shammai and Hillel's predecessors too; v. Hag. 16a. For the importance of this particular question v. Frankel, Darke ha-Mishnah, p. 44; Weiss, Dor. I, 104.
  11. V. P. 45, nn. 1, 4; the same applies to grapes. Now, if the grapes are to be eaten, the liquid they exude whilst being gathered does not subject them to uncleanness, since their owner is displeased therewith. But when they are vintaged for wine they differ; V. infra 17a for the full discussion.
  12. I.e., he was unable to refute his proofs and accepted Shammai's ruling.
  13. Judea appears to have entered into official relations with Rome for the first time in 161 B.C.E. at the instance of Judas Maccabeus; Margolis and Marx, Jewish History, p. 145. But the first step which laid Judea under subjection of Rome was the quarrel of Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II over the throne, when both brothers appealed to Pompey (e. 66 C.E). A date midway between these two is given here (110 B.C.E.) which may be assumed as merely approximate. This corresponds roughly to the death of Hyrcanus I in 106 B.C.E.
  14. I.e., they forsook their locale in the Chamber of Hewn Stones in the Temple.
  15. A place on the Temple Mount Hannuth, v. Sanh., Sonc. ed., p. 267, n. 11.
  16. E.g., the fine for seduction, Deut. XXII, 29.
  17. Any court in Palestine consisting of ordained judges was competent to adjudicate in laws of fine, whatever its locale.
  18. V. Krauss, op. cit., pp. 23f.
  19. I.e., Hillel commenced his Patriarchate a hundred years before the destruction of the Temple, and he was followed by Simeon, Gamaliel and Simeon, his direct descendants, the four spreading over that century. V, Halevi, Doroth, I, 3, pp. 706 seq.
  20. V. P. 59, n. 4.
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Shabbath 15b

Rather say they came and decreed in respect to a clod, that it be burnt,1  but nothing at all in respect to the atmosphere;2  while the Rabbis of the eighty years came and decreed in respect to the atmosphere that it [terumah] be suspended.3  Shall we say that the original enactment was for burning? Surely Ilfa said: The original decree concerning hands was for burning. Thus, only concerning hands was the original decree for burning, but concerning nothing else? — Rather say they came and decreed in respect to a clod, that it be suspended, and nothing at all in respect to the atmosphere; and then the Rabbis of these eighty years came and decreed in respect to a clod that it be burnt and in respect to the atmosphere that it be suspended. Yet still, that4  was decreed in Usha?5  For we learnt: Terumah is burnt on account of six doubtful cases [of uncleanness]: — [i] The doubt of Beth ha-Peras;6  [ii] The doubt of earth which comes from the land of the heathens;7  [iii] The doubt attached to the garments of an 'am ha-arez;8  [iv] the doubt of vessels which are found;9  [v] doubtful saliva;10  and [vi] the doubtful human urine near cattle urine.11  On account of their certain contact, which is doubtful defilement, terumah is burnt.12  R. Jose said: It is burnt even on account of their doubtful contact in a private domain.13  But the Sages maintain: [If there is doubtful contact] in a private domain we suspend it; in public ground, it [the terumah] is clean. Now 'Ulla observed, These six cases of doubt were enacted at Usha!14 — Rather say they [Jose b. Jo'ezer and Jose b. Johanan] came and decreed suspense in respect of a clod and nothing at all in respect of atmosphere; then the Rabbis of the eighty years came and decreed suspense in both cases; then they came at Usha and decreed burning in respect of a clod, and as to the atmosphere they left it in status quo.

Why did the Rabbis impose uncleanness upon glassware? — Said R. Johanan in the name of Resh Lakish, Since it is manufactured from15  sand, the Rabbis declared it the same as earthenware.16  If so, let them be incapable of purification in a mikweh?17  Why then did we learn, And the following interpose in utensils: pitch and myrrh gum in the case of glass vessels?18 — The circumstances here19  are e.g., they were perforated, and molten lead was poured into them, this agreeing with R. Meir, who maintained, Everything depends on the support.20  For it was taught: If glass vessels are perforated and [molten] lead is poured into them, — said R. Simeon b. Gamaliel: R. Meir declares them unclean, while the Sages declare them clean.21  If so,22

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Sc. terumah which came into contact with a clod of earth from the 'land of the heathens', as something definitely unclean.
  2. When terumah enters the atmosphere of the 'land of the heathen' with nothing intervening between it and the ground.
  3. On 'suspended' v. p. 60, n. 2
  4. The enactment of burning in respect to a clod.
  5. A city in Galilee, near Sepphoris and Tiberias, and the scene of an important Rabbinical synod or synods about the time of the Hadrianic persecution in the middle of the second century C.E. V. J.E. 'Synod of Usha'.
  6. A field one square peras (peras half the length of a furrow — fifty cubits) in area, declared unclean because a grave was ploughed in it and the crushed bones scattered over the field, so that their exact position is not known, If terumah enters its atmosphere it must be burnt, though it is doubtful whether it was actually over the crushed bones.
  7. I.e., any earth which comes thence.
  8. V. P. 51, n. 1. His garments are doubtful, because his wife may have sat upon them while a menstruant; v. Hag. 18b.
  9. And it is unknown whether they are clean or not.
  10. All saliva found is suspected of uncleanness, as it may be of a zab; v. p. 58, n. 10.
  11. This is not the same as the preceding, where the substances themselves were not in doubt; e.g., the object was definitely a utensil, or saliva. Here, however, there is a double doubt; it may not be human urine at all, but cattle urine; and even if it is, it may not be a zab's (only his defiles). Yet the Rabbis ruled it definitely unclean, even when found near cattle urine, so that it might be supposed that this is the same.
  12. If terumah comes definitely into contact (or as explained in n. 2) with these, which renders it doubtfully unclean, it is burnt.
  13. Cf. p. 20, n. 5.
  14. The difficulty arises from ii.
  15. Lit., 'the beginning of its making'.
  16. Other edd. omit 'R. Johanan said in the name of', reading simply Resh Lakish. It is certainly unlikely that R. Johanan, who, as head of the Academy at Tiberias enjoyed a superiority over Resh Lakish, his contemporary, would report his statement.
  17. Just as earthenware.
  18. Mik. IX, 5. When a utensil is purified in a mikweh, nothing must interpose between it and the water; if it does, the immersion is ineffective: pitch and gum on the side of a glass vessel constitute an interposition.
  19. In Mik. IX, 5.
  20. The perforated glass vessel is supported by the lead, i.e., it can be used only through the lead. Hence, according to R. Meir, it is a metal, not a glass vessel.
  21. Rashi in R.H. 19a offers two explanations: (i) When an unclean vessel is perforated, it becomes clean, since it can no longer be used as a vessel. Now, if a metal utensil is thus broken and then repaired, it reverts to its former state, but not so a glass vessel (infra 16a). R. Meir maintains that a glass vessel supported by metal is treated as metal; while the Rabbis hold that it is still regarded as a glass vessel. (ii) A clean glass vessel supported by metal becomes Biblically unclean, according to R. Meir, as a metal utensil, while the Rabbis hold that it is Biblically clean, as a glass vessel, and is subject to defilement only on account of the Rabbinical enactment; the reasoning being the same as before. Tosaf. a.l. s.v. [H] is inclined to agree with the second interpretation.
  22. Since they are treated as earthenware vessels.
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