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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Kamma

Folio 82a

But did not R. Abin upon arriving [from Palestine] state on behalf of R. Johanan that the owner of a tree which overhangs a neighbour's field as well as the owner of a tree close to the boundary has to bring the first-fruits [to Jerusalem]1  and read the prescribed text2  as it was upon this stipulation [that trees might he planted near the boundary of fields and even overhang a neighbour's field] that Joshua transferred the land to Israel3  for an inheritance.4  [How then could R. Johanan describe this as a stipulation of Joshua when it was not included in the authoritative text of the Baraitha cited enumerating all the stipulations of Joshua?] — It must therefore be that the Tanna5  of [the text enumerating] the ten stipulations laid down by Joshua was R. Joshua b. Levi.6  R. Gebiha of Be Kathil7  explicitly taught this in the text: 'R. Tanhum and R. Barias stated in the name of a certain sage, who was R. Joshua b. Levi, that ten stipulations were laid down by Joshua.'

The [following] ten enactments were ordained by Ezra: That the law be read [publicly] in the Minhah8  service on Sabbath; that the law be read [publicly] on Mondays and Thursdays; that Courts be held on Mondays and Thursdays; that clothes be washed on Thursdays; that garlic be eaten on Fridays; that the housewife rise early to bake bread; that a woman must wear a sinnar;9  that a woman must comb her hair before performing immersion;10  that pedlars [selling spicery] be allowed to travel about in the towns,11  He12  also decreed13  immersion to be required10  by those to whom pollution has happened.14

'That the law be read [publicly] in the Minhah service on Sabbath:' on account of shopkeepers [who during the weekdays have no time to hear the reading of the Law].

'That the law be read [publicly] on Mondays and Thursdays.' But was this ordained by Ezra? Was this not ordained even before him? For it was taught: 'And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water,15  upon which those who expound verses metaphorically16  said: water means nothing but Torah,17  as it says: Ho, everyone that thirsteth come ye for water.18  It thus means that as they went three days without Torah they immediately became exhausted. The prophets among them thereupon rose and enacted that they should publicly read the law on Sabbath, make a break on Sunday, read again on Monday, make a break again on Tuesday and Wednesday, read again on Thursday and then make a break on Friday so that they should not be kept for three days without Torah.'19  — Originally it was ordained that one man should read three verses or that three men should together read three verses, corresponding to priests, Levites and Israelites.20  Then Ezra came and ordained that three men should be called up to read, and that ten verses should be read, corresponding to ten batlanim.21

'That Courts be held on Mondays and Thursdays' — when people are about, as they come to read the Scroll of the Law.

'That clothes be washed on Thursdays' — that the Sabbath22  may be duly honoured.

'That garlic be eaten on Fridays' — because of the 'Onah.'23  as it is written: 'That bringeth forth its fruit in its season'24  and Rab Judah, or as others say R. Nahman, or as still others say R. Kahana, or again as others say R. Johanan, stated that this refers to him who performs his marital duty every Friday night.25

Our Rabbis taught: Five things were said of garlic: It satiates, it keeps the body warm, it brightens up the face, it increases semen, and it kills parasites in the bowels. Some say that it fosters love and removes jealousy.

'That a housewife rise early to bake bread'26  — so that there should be bread for the poor.27

'That a woman must wear a sinnar — out of modesty.

'That a woman comb her hair before performing the immersion.' But this is derived from the pentateuch! For it was taught:28  'And he shall bathe [eth besaro] his flesh in water29  [implying] that there should be nothing intervening between the body and the water; "[eth besaro] his flesh", "eth" [including] whatever is attached to his flesh,30  i.e. the hair.' [Why then had this to be ordained by Ezra?] — It may, however, be said that as far as the Pentateuch goes it would only have to be necessary to see that the hair should not he knotted or that nothing dirty should be there which might intervene,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Cf. Ex. XXIII. 19.
  2. I.e. Deut. XXVI, 5-10, which could he recited only by one who was the sole legitimate owner of both the fruits and the tree and the ground.
  3. And no misappropriation could thus he traced in the produce of such trees.
  4. How then could R. Johanan, who was an Amora, differ from Tannaitie views?
  5. [MSS omit rightly, 'the Tanna.']
  6. [Who was himself an Amoraic sage from whom R. Johanan might have differed in this case as he did on many other occasions, cf. e.g., Ber. 3b and Meg. 27a.]
  7. [Kathil on the Tigris, N. of Bagdad, Obermeycr, op. cit. p 143.]
  8. I.e., afternoon; cf. Ber. IV, 1.
  9. A sort of garment, breeches (Rashi), or belt. The word is of doubtful origin.
  10. In a ritual plunge bath called Mikweh.
  11. Even against the wishes of the townspeople; cf. B.B. 22a.
  12. I.e., Ezra.
  13. Cf. Ber. 22b.
  14. Cf. Lev. XV, 16; Deut. XXIII, 11-12. [For a discussion of the ten enactments of Ezra, v. Hoffmann, Magazin, 1883, 48ff.]
  15. Ex. XV. 22.
  16. Doreshe Reshumoth; v. Sanh. (Sonc. ed.) p. 712. n. 12.
  17. Cf. supra p. 76.
  18. Isa. LV, 1.
  19. [Why then was it necessary for Ezra to enact this?]
  20. In which groups the people were classed.
  21. The ten persons released from all obligations and thus having leisure to attend to public duties, and to form the necessary quorum for synagogue services; cf. Meg. 1, 3; v. also Meg. 21b.
  22. Cf. Isa. LVIII. 13 and Shab. 119a.
  23. I.e., the duty of marriage; cf. Ex. XXI, 10 and Keth. V, 6.
  24. Ps. I, 3.
  25. Cf. Keth. 62b.
  26. [J. Meg. IV adds 'on Fridays'.]
  27. Cf. Keth. 67b.
  28. 'Er. 4b.
  29. Lev. XIV, 9.
  30. For a similarity v. supra p. 235.

Baba Kamma 82b

whereas Ezra came and ordained actual combing.1

'That pedlars selling spicery be allowed to travel about in the towns' — for the purpose of providing toilet articles for the women so that they should not be repulsive in the eyes of their husbands.

'He also decreed that immersion was required for those to whom pollution had happened.' Is not this in the pentateuch, as it is written: And if the flow of seed go out front him, then he shall bathe all his flesh in water?2  — The pentateuchal requirement referred to terumah and sacrifices and he came and decreed that even for [the study of] the words of the Torah [immersion is needed].

Ten special regulations were applied to Jerusalem:3  That a house sold there should not be liable to become irredeemable;4  that it should never bring a heifer whose neck is broken;5  that it could never be made a condemned city;6  that its houses would not become defiled through leprosy;7  that neither beams nor balconies should be allowed to project there; that no dunghills should be made there; that no kilns should be kept there; that neither gardens nor orchards should be cultivated there, with the exception, however, of the garden of roses8  which existed from the days of the former prophets;9  that no fowls should be reared there, and that no dead person should be kept there over night.10

'That a house sold there should not be liable to become irredeemable' — for it is written: Then the house that is in the walled city shall be made sure in perpetuity to him that bought it throughout his generations11  and as it is maintained12  that Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes.13

'That it should never bring a heifer whose neck is broken' — as it is written: If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it,14  and Jerusalem [could not be included as it] was not divided among the tribes.13

'That it could never be made a condemned city' — for it is written, [One of] thy cities,15  and Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes.

'That its houses could not become defiled through leprosy' — for it is written, And I put the plague of leprosy in the house of the land of your possession,16  and Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes.13

'That neither beams nor balconies should be allowed to project' — in order not to form a tent spreading defilement,17  and not to cause harm to the pilgrims for the festivals.18

'That no dunghills be made there' — on account of reptiles.19

'That no kilns be kept there' — on account of the smoke.20

'That neither gardens nor orchards be cultivated there' — on account of the bad odour [of withered grasses].

'That no fowls be bred there' on account of the sacrifices.

'That no dead person be kept there overnight' — this is known by tradition.

IT IS NOT RIGHT TO BREED PIGS IN ANY PLACE WHATEVER. Our Rabbis taught: When the members of the Hasmonean house were contending with one another, Hyrcanus was within and Aristobulus without [the city wall].21  [Those who were within] used to let down to the other party every day a basket of denarii, and [in return] cattle were sent up for the regular sacrifices.22  There was, however, an old man23  [among the besiegers] who had some knowledge in Grecian Wisdom24  and who said to them: 'So long as the other party [are allowed to] continue to perform the service of the sacrifices they will not be delivered into your hands.' On the next day when the basket of denarii was let down, a swine was sent up. When the swine reached the centre of the wall it stuck its claws into the wall, and Eretz Yisrael quaked over a distance of four hundred parasangs25  by four hundred parasangs. It was proclaimed on that occasion: Cursed be the man who would breed swine and cursed be the man who would teach his son Grecian Wisdom. It was concerning this time that we have learnt26  that the 'Omer27  was once brought from the gardens of Zarifin and the two loaves28  from the Valley of En Soker.29

But was Grecian Wisdom proscribed? Was it not taught that Rabbi stated: 'Why use the Syriac language in Eretz Yisrael

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. For the sake of absolute certainty.
  2. V. Lev. XV. 16.
  3. V. Yoma 23a; 'Ar. 32b and Tosef. Neg. VI, 2. [According to Krauss, REJ. LIII, 29 ff., some of these regulations relate only to the Temple Mount.]
  4. As should be the case with dwelling houses of a walled city (cf. Lev. XXV, 29-30); but is on the other hand considered as a house of a village which has no wall round about it; (ibid. 31.).
  5. As required in Deut. XXI, 3-4 in the case of a person found slain and it be not known who hath slain him.
  6. Which would he subject to Deut. XIII, 13-18.
  7. Cf. Lev. XIV, 34-53.
  8. Where the Jordan resin grew; cf. Ker. 6a.
  9. [Cf. II Kings XXV, 4; Jer. XXXI, 4; Neh. III, 15. V. Krauss, loc. cit. p. 33.]
  10. Cf. Hag. 26a; v. infra, p. 469.
  11. Lev. XXV. 29-30.
  12. Cf. Yoma 12a.
  13. But was kept in trust for all Israel and could therefore not be subject to a law where absolute private ownership is referred to.
  14. Deut. XXI, 1.
  15. Ibid. XIII, 13.
  16. Lev. XIV, 34.
  17. Cf. Num. XIX, 14.
  18. By the spread of defilement.
  19. Which thrive in dunghills, and as soon as they die they become a source of defilement.
  20. Which would blacken the buildings of the town; cf. B.B. 23a.
  21. [In the parallel passage the roles are reversed, Aristobulus being besieged and Hyrcanus laying the siege; v. Graetz, Geschichte III, p. 710 ff. Cf. Josephus, Ant. XIV, 2, 2.]
  22. Cf. Num. XXVIII, 2-4.
  23. [Identified with Antipater, an ally of Hyrcanus, v. Graetz, op. cit. 711.]
  24. ['Sophistry'. v. Graetz, loc. cit.]
  25. V. Glos.
  26. Men. 64b. [The places are identified respectively with Sarafand near Lydda and Assakar near Nablus.]
  27. Lit., 'a sheaf', denoting the public sacrifice of the first-fruits of the harvest described in Lev. XXIII, 10-14.
  28. Cf. ibid. 17.
  29. Sot. 49b and Men. 64b.