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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin

Folio 7a

should be said by him gently, so that they should obey him readily. R. Ashi said: I was never taught that rule of Rabba b. Bar Hanah, but I observed it because my own sense told me to.

R. Abbahu said: A man should never terrorise his household. For there was a certain great man who terrorised his household, and in consequence they fed him with a thing to eat which is a great sin. This was R. Hanina b. Gamaliel. Do you mean to say they actually fed him with it? Why, even the beasts of the righteous are not allowed by the Holy One, blessed be He, to offend;1  how then shall the righteous themselves be allowed so to sin? — Say, they wanted to feed him. And what was it they set before him? A piece of flesh cut from an animal still living.2

Mar 'Ukba3  sent for advice to R. Eleazar, saying: Certain men are annoying me, and I am able to get them into trouble with the government; shall I do so? He traced lines on which he wrote [quoting], I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue, I will keep a curb upon my mouth while the wicked is before me;4  [that is,] he added, although the wicked is before me, I will keep a curb on my mouth. Mar 'Ukba again sent to him saying: They are worrying me very much, and I cannot stand them. He replied [with the quotation], Resign thyself unto the Lord, and wait patiently [hitholel] for him;5  [that is to say,] he added, wait for the Lord, and He will cast them down prostrate [halalim] before thee; go to the Beth-Hamidrash early morning and evening and there will soon be an end of them. R. Eleazar had hardly spoken the words when Geniba6  was placed in chains [for execution].7

An inquiry was once addressed to Mar 'Ukba: Where does Scripture tell us that it is forbidden [in these times] to sing [at carousals]? He sent back [the following quotation] written on lines: Rejoice not, O Israel, unto exultation like the peoples, for thou hast gone astray from thy God.8  Should he not rather have sent the following: They shall not drink wine with music, strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it?9  — From this verse I should conclude that only musical instruments are forbidden, but not song; this I learn [from the other verse].

R. Huna b. Nathan asked R. Ashi: What is the point of the verse, Kinah and Dimonah and Adadah?10  — He replied: [The text] is enumerating towns in the Land of Israel. Said the other: Do I not know that the text is enumerating towns in the Land of Israel? But I want to tell you that R. Gebihah from [Be]Argiza11  learnt a lesson from these names: 'Whoever has cause for indignation [kinah] against his neighbour and yet holds his peace [domem], He that abides for all eternity ['ade 'ad] shall espouse his cause; said the other: If that is so, the verse Ziklag and Madmanah and Sansanah12  should also convey a lesson? — He replied: If R. Gebihah from [Be] Argiza were here, he would derive a lesson from it. R. Aha from Be Hozae13  expounded [it as follows]: 'If a man has just cause of complaint against his neighbour for taking away his livelihood [za'akath legima] and yet holds his peace [domem], He that abides in the bush [shokni sneh] will espouse his cause.

The Exilarch14  said to R. Huna: On what ground is based the prohibition of garlands? — He replied: This was imposed by the Rabbis on their own authority. For so we have learnt: At the time of the invasion of Vespasian they prohibited the wearing of garlands by bridegrooms and the [beating of] drums [at weddings].15  R. Huna then got up to leave the room. R. Hisda16  thereupon said to him [the Exilarch]: There is scriptural warrant for it: Thus saith the Lord God, The mitre shall be removed and the crown taken off this shall be no more the same; that which is low shall be exalted and that which is high abased,17  [It may be asked, he continued] what the mitre has to do with the crown. It is to teach that when the mitre is worn by the High priest,18  ordinary persons can wear the crown,19  but when the mitre has been removed from the head of the High priest, the crown must be removed from the head of ordinary persons. At this point R. Huna returned, and found them still discussing the matter. He said: I swear to you that the prohibition was made by the Rabbis on their own authority, but as your name is Hisda [favour], so do your words find favour. Rabina found Mar son of R. Ashi weaving a garland for his daughter. He said to him: Sir, do you not hold with the interpretation given above of 'Remove the mitre and take off the crown'? — He replied: The men [have to follow] the example of the High Priest, but not the women.

What is the meaning of the words in this passage, 'This not this'?20  R. 'Awira gave the following exposition, sometimes in the name of R. Ammi and sometimes in the name of R. Assi: When God said to Israel, 'Remove the mitre and take off the crown', the ministering angels said, Sovereign of the Universe, is 'this' for Israel who at Mount Sinai said 'we will do' before 'we will hear'?21  Should not 'this' be for Israel, replied the Holy One, blessed be He, who have made low that which should be exalted and exalted that which should be low, and placed an image in the sanctuary? R. 'Awira also gave the following exposition, sometimes in the name of R. Ammi and sometimes in the name of R. Assi; What is the meaning of the verse, Thus saith the Lord, though they be in full strength and likewise many, even so shall they be sheared off22  and he shall cross etc.?23  If a man sees that his livelihood is barely sufficient for him, he should give charity from it, and all the more so if it is plentiful.24  What is the meaning of the words, 'Even so they shall be sheared and he shall cross'? — In the school of R. Ishmael it was taught: Whoever shears off part of his possessions and dispenses it in charity is delivered from the punishment of Gehenna. Picture two sheep crossing a river, one shorn and the other not shorn; the shorn one gets across, the unshorn one does not.

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. V. Hul. 7a. The story is told there of the ass of Phineas b. Yair which refused to touch untithed corn.
  2. A piece of meat had been mislaid and the servant attempted to substitute for it flesh cut from a living animal.
  3. [Mar 'Ukba II the Exilarch. On the great influence he wielded in government circles v. Funk, Die Juden in Babylonien I pp. 106ff. and n. 4; and Halevy. Doroth, II, p. 248.]
  4. Ps. XXXIX, 2.
  5. Ibid. XXXVII, 7.
  6. Who was one of his antagonists.
  7. [V. J. Git. VI, 5.]
  8. Hos. IX, 1.
  9. Isa. XXIV, 9.
  10. Josh. XV, 22.
  11. [Obermeyer, op. cit. p. 144, locates it near Be Kathil, on the Tigris, N. of Bagdad; v. B.K. (Sonc. ed.) p. 465, n. 10.]
  12. Ibid. 31.
  13. [The modern Khuzistan, province of S.W. Persia, Obermeyer, op. cit. p. 204ff.]
  14. [Mar 'Ukba II.]
  15. V. Sot. 49a.
  16. He was R. Huna's disciple, and therefore did not like to answer in his presence.
  17. Ezek. XXI, 31.
  18. I.e., while the Temple is still standing.
  19. I.e., garland.
  20. E.V. 'This shall be no more the same', quoted above.
  21. Thus showing their devotion to God. Ex. XXIV, 7.
  22. E.V. 'cut down'.
  23. E.V. 'pass away Nah. I, 12.
  24. Translating, 'If they be … and all the more.'

Gittin 7b

And though I have afflicted thee:1  Mar Zutra said: Even a poor man who himself subsists on charity should give charity. I will afflict thee no more:2  R. Joseph learnt: If he does that, [Heaven] will not again inflict poverty upon him.

R. JUDAH SAYS, FROM REKEM EASTWARDS etc. This would seem to imply that Acco is at the [extreme] north of Eretz Israel. Does not this conflict with the following: '[Suppose a traveller] follows the road from Acco to Chezib.3  Then all the country on his right, east of the road, partakes of the uncleanness of the "land of the Gentiles",4  and the obligations of tithe and sabbatical year do not apply to it, save where it is definitely known to be liable.5  The country on his left hand, west of the road, does not partake of the uncleanness of the "land of the Gentiles", and is subject to the rules of tithe and sabbatical year, save where [the reverse] that it is exempt, is definitely known.6  Up to what point [does this hold good]? As far as Chezib. R. Ishmael the son of R. Jose says in the name of his father, As far as Lablabu.'7  — Said Abaye: A narrow strip does in fact jut out [beyond Acco].8  And is this important enough for the Tanna to define it so precisely?9  — It is, for the Scripture also gives indications in the same way, in the following passage: And they said, Behold there is the feast of the Lord from year to year in Shiloh. which is on the north of Bethel, on the east side the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah;10  And R. Papa pointed out, that it means 'the east side of the highway.'11

One [Baraitha] teaches: 'If a man brings a Get by boat12  he is in the same category as if he brought it [from place to place] in Eretz Israel;'13  and another [Baraitha] teaches that he is in the same category with one who brings it [from place to place] in foreign parts.14  Said R. Jeremiah: The contradiction can easily be explained: the latter view is based on the ruling of R. Judah, the former on that of the Rabbis, as we have learnt: [Plants grown in] earth from foreign parts which is carried in a boat in Eretz Israel are subject to the obligations of tithe and Sabbatical year. R. Judah says: This is the case only if the boat touches bottom, but if not, the obligations do not apply.15  Abaye says that both [authorities] follow R. Judah, and there is no contradiction between them, the one16  referring to a boat which does not touch bottom and the other to one which does.

Said R. Ze'ira: The case of a plant pot with a hole in the bottom resting on a stand17  may be variously decided according as we follow R. Judah or the Rabbis [in this case]. Said Rabba: This is open to question. Possibly R. Judah would say [that actual contact with the soil was necessary to make the plant liable to tithe] only in the case of a boat,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Ibid.
  2. Ibid.
  3. [The Biblical Achzib, between Acre and Tyre. Josh. XIX, 29.]
  4. Those parts of Palestine of which the population was preponderatingly Samaritan or non-Jewish, and on which a Jew could not set foot without becoming ritually unclean. V. Nazir, (Sonc. ed.) p. 204, n. 1.
  5. Because the territory is known to belong to Eretz Israel.
  6. (V. Tosef. Oh. XVIII and J. Sheh. where the reading is reversed: '. … East of the road does not partake of the uncleanness; west of the road does partake etc.' This reading, as the Wilna Gaon points out, is to be given preference, since Acco is situated on the West of Palestine, whereas our reading assumes that it is on the Eastern border; v. also Schwarz, J. Tebuoth ha-'Arez (ed. Luncz) p. 8, n. 1.]
  7. [Tosef. loc. cit. Kalabu; neither names are definitely identified; v. Neubauer p. 233, who locates the former on the outskirts of Acco, the latter east of Tyre.] This shows that the extreme northern point is Chezih or Lablabu and not Acco.
  8. [Though Acco is on the extreme North, the narrow strip of territory jutting out beyond Acco leading to Chezib belongs to Eretz Israel (Rashi); Kaftor wa-Ferach p. 276, in name of Maimonides, reverses: Eretz Israel stretches to Chezib which is in the extreme north, but a strip of territory belonging to the land of the Gentiles juts out from Chezib to Acco; v. also Tosaf. Yom Tob, Sheb. VI, 1.]
  9. So Nashi. Tosaf., however, renders: 'Is a road so important that the Tanna in speaking of "east" and "west" had to refer to it?' which seems to suit the context better.
  10. Jud. XXI, 19.
  11. [The text might be taken to mean that Shiloh is on the N.E. of Bethel; v. Strashun a.l.]
  12. It is assumed that it was written on the boat in Eretz Israel waters.
  13. The river being reckoned an integral part of Eretz Israel.
  14. The river not being reckoned an integral part of Eretz Israel.
  15. Hal. II, 2. The laws of tithing and Sabbatical year apply only to Palestinian grown products.
  16. Who says that the Get is in the same category as one brought from place to place in foreign parts.
  17. I.e., the question whether the plant in it is subject to tithe, seeing that it does not touch the ground.