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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin

Folio 70a

or grapes from a vine trailed on a palm tree in water. For lichen,1  he should take seven Arzanian wheat stalks2  and roast them over a new hoe and smear himself with the juice that exudes from them. R. Shimi b. Ashi used this remedy for a heathen for something else,3  and it cured him.

Samuel said: If a man has been wounded by a Persian lance4  there is no hope for him. All the same, however, he should be given fat roast meat and strong wine, as this may keep him alive long enough to enable him to give his last instructions. R. Idi b. Abin said: If a man has swallowed a wasp there is no hope for him. It is as well, however, to give him a revi'ith of Shamgaz vinegar5  to drink, as this may keep him alive long enough to enable him to give his last instructions.

R. Joshua b. Levi said: If a man eats beef with turnips and sleeps in the moon on the nights of the fourteenth and fifteenth of the month in the cycle of Tammuz,6  he is liable to ahilu.7  To this a gloss was added: If one gorges himself with anything, he is liable to ahilu. R. Papa said: This applies even to dates. Is not this obvious? — [Not so: for] you might argue thus: Seeing that a Master has said, Dates fill and warm and promote digestion and strengthen and do not spoil the taste,8  I might think [that dates are] not [included]; hence we are told [that they are]. What is ahilu? — R. Eleazar said: A burning in the bones.9  (What is meant by a burning of bones? — Abaye replied: A burning in the bones.)10  What is the remedy for it? — Abaye said: I have been told by my mother that all medicines are to be taken either three days or seven or twelve, but with this he must go on till he is cured. All other medicines must be taken on an empty stomach; this one, however, [is different]. After he has eaten and drunk and relieved himself and washed his hands, they must bring him a handful of shatitha11  with lentils, and a handful of old wine, and mix them together, and he must


Dilling Exhibit 208
    then eat it and wrap himself in his cloak and sleep, and he must not be disturbed till he wakes of himself. When he wakes he must remove his cloak, otherwise the illness will return.

Elijah once said to R. Nathan: Eat a third and drink a third and leave a third for when you get angry, and then you will have had your fill.12

R. Hiyya taught: If a man wants to avoid stomach trouble, he should take tibbul13  regularly summer and winter. In a meal which you enjoy indulge not too freely, and do not wait too long to consult nature.

Mar 'Ukba said: If a man drinks white tilia,14  he will be subject to debility. R. Hisda said: There are sixty kinds of wine; the best of all is red fragrant wine, the worst is white tilia. Rab Judah said: If a man sits by the fire on the mornings of Nisan and rubs himself with oil and then goes out and sits in the sun, he will be liable to debility.

Our Rabbis taught: If a man lets blood and then has marital intercourse his children [born therefrom] will be weaklings. If both man and wife let blood before intercourse their children will be liable to ra'athan.15  R. Papa said: This is the case only if they did not take anything to eat [in between], but if they took something to eat, there is no harm. Rabbah b. Bar Huna said: If a man immediately on returning from a journey has marital intercourse, his children will be weaklings. The Rabbis taught: On coming from a privy a man should not have sexual intercourse till he has waited long enough to walk half a mil, because the demon of the privy is with him for that time; if he does, his children will be epileptic. The Rabbis taught: If a man has sexual intercourse standing, he will be liable to convulsions; if sitting, to spasms;16  if she is above and he below, he will be subject to delaria [diarrhoea]. What is delaria!17  R. Joshua b. Levi says: The cure for diarrhoea is dardara. What is


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    dardara? — Abaye said: The 'crocus of thorns'.18  R. Papa used to crunch it in his teeth and swallow it: R. Papi used to crunch it and spit it out.

Abaye said: One who is not conversant with the way of the world19  should take three kefizi20  of safflower and grind it and boil it in wine and drink it. R. Johanan said: This is just what restored me to my youthful vigour.

Three things weaken a man's strength, namely, anxiety, travelling and sin. Anxiety, as it is written, My heart fluttereth, my strength faileth me.21  Travelling, as it is written, He weakened my strength in the way.22  Sin, as it is written, My strength faileth because of mine iniquity.23

Three things enfeeble a man's body, namely, to eat standing, to drink standing, and to have marital intercourse standing.

Five are nearer to death than to life, namely, one who eats and rises immediately, or who drinks and rises immediately, or who lets blood and rises immediately, or who rises immediately on waking or after marital intercourse.

If one does the following six things [together], he will die immediately: if he comes weary from a journey, lets blood and has a bath and drinks himself drunk and lies down to sleep on the floor and has marital intercourse. R. Johanan said: That is, if he does them in this order; Abaye said: If he does them in this order he will die; if not in this order he will fall ill. Is that so? Did not [a certain] Me'orath do three of these things to her slave and he died? — He was a weakling.

There are eight things which in large quantities are harmful but in small quantities are beneficial, namely, travelling, the 'way of the world', wealth, work, wine, sleep, hot baths, and blood-letting.

Eight things cause a diminution of seed, namely, salt, hunger, scalls, weeping, sleeping on the ground, lotus, cucumbers out of season, and bloodletting below, which is as bad as any two. A Tanna taught: As it is as bad as any two below, so it is as good as any two above. R. Papa said:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. A kind of skin disease.
  2. Which were noted for their size.
  3. I.e., leprosy.
  4. The tip of which was usually poisoned.
  5. [Shamgaz is probably the name of a place. Others simply: Strong vinegar.]
  6. I.e., the three summer months. v. p. 128, n. 7.
  7. A chili or fever. V. infra.
  8. I.e., make one fastidious.
  9. Lit., 'a fire of bones'.
  10. [Abaye is but giving an Aramaic version of R. Eleazar's definition in Hebrew.]
  11. A kind of sauce made with flour and honey.
  12. As much as to say, Otherwise when you fall into a passion you will burst.
  13. Lit., 'dippings': bread or other food dipped in wine or vinegar as a relish.
  14. An inferior kind of wine.
  15. A kind of skin disease.
  16. Reading [H], s.v. Aruch, curr. edd. read [H] (delaria) v. infra.
  17. The answer to this question seems to have dropped out of the text.
  18. Cantharus tinctorius.
  19. A euphemism for marital intercourse.
  20. A small measure.
  21. Ps. XXXVIII, 11.
  22. Ibid. CII, 24.
  23. Ibid. XXXI, 11.

Gittin 70b

: 'Below' means below the middle,1  and 'above' means above the middle. In regard to cucumbers out of season a gloss was added: As they are bad out of season, so they are good in season. R. Papa said: 'In season' means Tammuz; 'out of season' means Tebeth; round about Nisan and Tishri they are neither good nor bad.

IF HE SAYS, WRITE A GET FOR MY WIFE, AND IS THEN SEIZED WITH A KORDIAKOS AND THEN SAYS, DO NOT WRITE, HIS LAST WORDS ARE OF NO EFFECT. R. Simeon b. Lakish said: The Get may be written immediately;2  R. Johanan, however, said that it is not to be written till he comes to himself again. What is the reason of Resh Lakish? — Because it is stated, HIS LAST WORDS ARE OF NO EFFECT. To this R. Johanan replies that the words HIS LAST WORDS ARE OF NO EFFECT' mean that when he recovers the scribe need not consult him again, but all the same the Get is not written until he comes round. In what do they differ in principle? — Resh Lakish puts the man on a par with one who is asleep and R. Johanan with a madman. Why should not R. Johanan put him on the same footing as a sleeper? — A sleeper needs no treatment, this man does. Why does not Resh Lakish put him on the same footing as a madman? — For a madman we have no cure, for this man we have, namely red flesh broiled on the coals and wine much diluted.3

But can R. Johanan have said this, seeing that Rab Judah has said in the name of Samuel, If a man had two passages4  or the greater part of two passages cut and he indicated by a gesture5  that they should write a Get for his wife, the Get should be written and given,6  and it has also been taught, 'If people saw him hacked or nailed to a cross and he indicated by a gesture, Write a Get for my wife, they should write and deliver it'? — Are the two cases comparable? In that case his mind was clear, and only physical weakness had set in,7  but here his mind is clouded.

But did Samuel really say this? Did not Rab Judah say in the name of Samuel: If he had two passages or the greater part of two passages cut and ran away, those who saw him can testify that he is dead.8  Now if we presume that he is alive [after the passages have been cut],9  why can they testify that he is dead? — We say that he is alive, but he is bound to die. But if that is the case, [the man who cut his throat] [accidentally] should be exiled [to a city of refuge] on account of him; why then has it been taught, 'If one cut [accidentally] two passages or the greater part of two passages of [the throat of] another, he is not exiled'? — It has been explained in regard to this that R. Oshaia said: We consider it possible that the wind troubled him or that he hastened his own death.10  What difference does it make which reason we adopt? — There is a difference where he killed him in a marble room and he struggled,11  or where he killed him outside and he did not struggle.

IF HE IS STRUCK DUMB AND THEY SAY TO HIM, SHALL WE WRITE A GET FOR YOUR WIFE etc. But is there not a possibility that he was seized [just then] with an involuntary nodding of the head in a negative or a positive sense?12  — R. Joseph b. Manyumi said, in the name of R. Nahman: [We suppose that] we question him at intervals. But perhaps the involuntary nodding seized him at the same intervals? — We suppose that we ask him two [questions requiring a] negative [answer] and one [requiring an] affirmative [answer], or two [requiring an] affirmative and one a negative [answer]. In the school of R. Ishmael it was taught: They talk to him about the requirements of the summer season in the rainy season and of the rainy season in the summer season. What is referred to here? Shall we say winter coat and summer coat? Perhaps just then he was seized with a shiver or a perspiration?13

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. E.g., the legs and thighs.
  2. After the last words are uttered.
  3. As supra p. 415.
  4. The windpipe and the oesophagus.
  5. I.e., he nodded assent when they asked him.
  6. Apparently the questioner puts such a man on the same footing as one suffering from kordiakos. But in this case it is not easy to see why the question was not raised against the Mishnah itself and not against R. Johanan (v. Tosaf.).
  7. Lit., 'had begun with him'.
  8. So that his wife can marry again.
  9. So that his Get is valid.
  10. And therefore we do not hold the man who cut his throat guilty even of accidental homicide.
  11. In which case his death could not have been due to the wind, and therefore if we adopt the first reason the other man would be guilty of homicide.
  12. Lit., 'a bending of no, no"! or "yes, yes"! I.e., sideways or forwards, so that he was not giving any answer to the question.
  13. And even if he asked for a summer coat in winter or vice-versa, his answer might still be rational.