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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 10a

— There1  drinking is rare; here it is usual.2  Alternatively, as for minhah, since it has a fixed time, one is afraid3  and will not come to transgress; but as for the evening service, since there is time for it all night, he is not afraid, and may come to transgress.

R. Shesheth demurred: Is it any trouble to remove the girdle!4  moreover, let him stand thus [ungirdled] and pray? &mdash Because it is said, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.5  Raba son of R. Huna put on stockings and prayed, quoting, 'prepare to meet etc.' Raba removed his cloak,6  clasped his hands and prayed, saying, '[I pray] like a slave before his master.' R. Ashi said: I saw R. Kahana, when there was trouble in the world, removing his cloak, clasp his hands, and pray, saying, '[I pray] like a slave before his master.' When there was peace, he would put it on, cover and enfold himself and pray, quoting, 'Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.'7

Raba saw R. Hamnuna prolonging his prayers.8  Said he, They forsake eternal life and occupy themselves with temporal life.9  But he [R. Hamnuna] held, The times for prayer and [study of the] Torah are distinct from each other. R. Jeremiah was sitting before R. Zera engaged in study; as it was growing late for the service, R. Jeremiah was making haste [to adjourn]. Thereupon R. Zera applied to him [the verse], He that turneth away from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.10

When is the beginning of a lawsuit? R. Jeremiah and R. Jonah one maintains: When the judges wrap themselves round;11  and the other says: When the litigants commence [their pleas]. And they do not differ: the latter means when they are already engaged in judging;12  the former, when they are not already engaged in judging.

R. Ammi and R. Assi were sitting and studying between the pillars;13  every now and then they knocked at the side of the door and announced: If anyone has a lawsuit, let him enter and come. R. Hisda and Rabbah son of R. Huna were sitting all day [engaged] in judgments, and their hearts grew faint,14  [whereat] R. Hiyya b. Rab of Difti15  recited to them, and the people stood about Moses from the morning into the evening;16  now, can you really think that Moses sat and judged all day? when was his learning done? But it is to teach you, Every judge who judges with complete fairness17  even for a single hour, the Writ gives him credit as though he had become a partner to the Holy One, blessed be He, in the creation.18  [For] here it is written, 'and the people stood about Moses from the morning into the evening'; whilst elsewhere it is written, and there was morning, and there was evening, one day.19

Until when must they [the judges)sit at judgment? — R. Shesheth said: Until the time of the [main] meal [of the day]. R. Hama observed, What verse [teaches this]? For it is written, Woe to thee,  land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Happy art thou,  land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!20  [i.e.,] in the strength of the Torah and not in the drunkenness of wine.21

Our Rabbis taught: The first hour [of the day]22  is the mealtime for gladiators;23  the second, for robbers;24  the third, for heirs;25  the fourth, for labourers,26  the fifth, for all [other] people. But that is not so, for R. Papa said: The fourth [hour] is the mealtime for all people? — Rather the fourth hour is the mealtime for all [other] people, the fifth for [agricultural] labourers, and the sixth for scholars. After that it is like throwing a stone into a barrel.27  Abaye said: That was said only if nothing at all is eaten in the morning; but if something is eaten in the morning, there is no objection.28

R. Adda b. Ahabah said: One may recite his prayers [the Eighteen Benedictions] at the baths. An objection is raised: If one enters the baths in the place where people stand dressed,29  both reading [the shema'] and prayer [the Eighteen Benedictions] are permissible, and a greeting of 'Peace'30  goes without saying; and one may don the phylacteries there,31  and it goes without saying that he need not remove them [if already wearing them]; in the place where people stand undressed,32  a greeting of 'Peace' is not permissible there33  and reading and praying goes without saying; the phylacteries must be removed, and it goes without saying that they must not be donned!-When R. Adda b. Ahabah made his statement it referred to baths in which no one is present. But did not R. Jose b. Hanina say: The baths of which they [the Rabbis] spoke are even those in which none are present; the privy closet of which they spoke34  means even such as contains no excrement? — Rather, when R. Adda stated [his ruling] it was in reference to new [baths].35  But surely [this is just what] Rabina propounded: What if a place is designated for a privy closet; is designation recognized or not?36  and it was not solved. Now did not the same [query of his] apply to baths?37  No. Perhaps

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. At minhah time.
  2. It was not customary to drink much by day; but the evening meal was often prolonged through drinking; therefore, on the view that the evening service is obligatory, one must refrain from his meal even if he has removed his girdle.
  3. Careful not to overstep it.
  4. Surely you cannot maintain that by that slight act he has commenced his meal.
  5. Amos IV, 12. When it is customary to wear a girdle, it is not fitting to pray without one.
  6. Rashi: divested himself of his costly upper cloak as a mark of humility.
  7. On these preparations for prayer cf. MGWJ. 1935 Vol. 4, pp. 330f.
  8. Though the general order and contents of the service, e.g., the Eighteen Benedictions (v. Elbogen, op. cit. pp. 5, 27: [H] and [H] refer to these) was settled, the actual text was left to each individual (ibid, pp. 41 seqq.), and R. Hamnuna may have thus prayed at great length; or perhaps this length was due to devotional intensity.
  9. They spend time in prayer which might be more usefully employed in study: the former, which is a petition for health, sustenance, etc., he called temporal life — not with great exactitude, as it also contains prayers for knowledge, repentance, and forgiveness. This is interesting as shewing the high place occupied by study as a religious observance in itself,
  10. Prov. XXVIII, 9.
  11. In their praying shawls (tallith), that they might be duly impressed with the solemnity of dispensing justice,
  12. Having started earlier with a different suit.
  13. Of the Beth Hamidrash.
  14. Rashi: they grieved at not being able to study. Or literally, because they had not eaten all day.
  15. A town probably to be identified with Dibtha, in the vicinity of Wasit on the Tigris; Obermeyer, p. 197.
  16. Ex. XVIII, 13.
  17. Lit., 'who judges a true judgment according to its truth'. V. Sanh., Sonc. ed., p. 27, n. 8.
  18. Lit., 'work of the Beginning'.
  19. Gen. 1, 5. The deduction is based on the similarity of the phrases used in both cases.-Thus, according to Rashi's first reason for their faintness (v. n. 4) he comforted them with the assurance of great reward. According to the second, he told them that they were not bound to sit and judge all day.
  20. Eccl. X, 16f.
  21. Translating: thy princes, viz., judges, do not eat the first thing in the morning, but sit and judge until the proper time for eating.
  22. Which was reckoned from six a.m. to six p.m.
  23. Whose diet required special attention (Jast.); or perhaps, circus attendants.
  24. Rashi in Pes. 12b: both are rapacious, hence they eat so early; but robbers, being awake all night, sleep during the first hour of the day.
  25. Not having to earn a living, they can eat earlier than others.
  26. In the field.
  27. Rashi: no benefit is derived.
  28. To postponing the main meal,
  29. In the outer chamber.
  30. ) Lit., 'enquiring after one's Peace.'
  31. In Talmudic times these were worn all day, not only at the morning service as nowadays.
  32. In the inner chamber.
  33. V. infra.
  34. In the same connection.
  35. I.e., which had never been used, but merely (designated for baths
  36. Does designation subject the place to the laws appertaining to a privy?
  37. But surely he could have solved it on the latest interpretation from R. Adda's ruling.

Shabbath 10b

a privy is different, because it is offensive.1

'A greeting of 'Peace' is not permissible there'. This supports the following dictum of R. Haninuna on 'Ulla's authority: A man may not extend a greeting of 'Peace' to his neighbour in the baths, because it is said, And he called it, The Lord is peace.2  If so, let it also be forbidden to mention, By faith!3  in a privy, for it is written, the faithful God?4  And should you answer, that indeed is so: but R. Hama b. Goria said in Rab's name, By faith! may be mentioned in a privy? — There the Name itself is not so designated, as we translate it, God is faithful; but here the Name itself is designated 'Peace,' as it is written, and he called it, The Lord is Peace.5

Raba b. Mehasia also said in the name of R. Hama b. Goria in Rab's name: If one makes a gift to his neighbour, he must inform him [beforehand], as it is written, that ye may know that I the Lord sanctify you:6  It was taught likewise: That ye may know that I the Lord sanctify you: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, I have a precious gift in My treasure house, called the Sabbath, and desire to give it to Israel; go and inform them. Hence R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: If one gives a loaf to a child, he must inform his mother. What shall he do to him?7  — Said Abaye, He must rub him with oil and paint8  him with kohl.9  But nowadays that we fear witchcraft what [shall be done]?10 — Said R. Papa: He must rub him with the self-same kind.11  But that is not so, for R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: If one makes a gift to his neighbour, he need not inform him, as it is said, and Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him?12  — There is no difficulty: the one refers to a matter which is likely to be revealed; the other, to one which is not likely to be revealed. But the Sabbath is a matter which stood to be revealed!-Its reward did not stand to be revealed.13

R. Hisda was holding two [priestly] gifts of oxen in his hand.14  Said he, 'Whoever will come and tell me a new dictum in Rab's name, I will give them to him.' Said Raba b. Mehasia to him, Thus did Rab say: If one makes a gift to his neighbour he must inform him, as it is said, 'that ye may know that I the Lord sanctify you'. Thereupon he gave them to him. Are Rab's dicta so dear to you? asked he. Yes, he replied. That illustrates what Rab said, he rejoined, A garment is precious to its wearer.15  Did Rab indeed say thus! he exclaimed; I rate the second higher than the first, and if I had another [priestly gift] I would give it to you.

Raba b. Mehasia also said in the name of R. Hama b. Goria in Rab's name: A man should never single out16  one son among his other sons, for on account of the two sela's weight of silk, which Jacob gave Joseph in excess of his other sons, his brothers became jealous of him and the matter resulted in our forefathers' descent into Egypt.17

Raba b. Mehasia also said in the name of R. Hama b. Goria in Rab's name: A man should always seek to dwell in a city but recently populated, for since it is but recently populated its sins are few, as it is said, behold now, this city is near [kerobah] to flee to, and it is a little one.18  What is meant by 'kerobah'? Shall we say that it is near and small? But surely they could see that for themselves! Rather [he meant,] because it has been recently populated19  its sins are few. R. Abin said: What verse [supports this]? Oh, let me [na] escape thither:20  the numerical value of na is fifty-one;21  whereas that of Sodom is fifty-two, whilst its peace

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Hence mere designation may suffice there, yet be ineffective in respect to baths.
  2. Judg. VI, 24. The form of the greeting was 'Peace unto thee,' 'What is thy peace?'
  3. By my word! A term of asseveration,
  4. Deut. VII, 9.
  5. 'Faithful' is an adjective; 'peace' is a predicative substantive referring to God.
  6. Ex. XXXI, 13.
  7. To the child, that his mother may know.
  8. Lit., 'fill',
  9. A powder used for painting the eyelids.-His mother, seeing this, will enquire who did it, and so the child will tell her about the loaf too.
  10. The mother may think that the child was put under a spell.
  11. Of whatever he gives him.
  12. Ex. XXXIV, 29.
  13. And this Moses was bidden to do.
  14. He was a priest, v. Ber. 44a. The 'gifts' are the priestly dues, viz., the shoulder, jaws and the maw.
  15. And you, being Rab's disciple, cherish his sayings.
  16. Lit., 'distinguish'.
  17. Lit., 'and the matter was rolled on and our forefathers descended' etc.
  18. Gen. XIX, 20.
  19. Likewise expressed by kerobah.
  20. Gen. XIX, 20.
  21. Heb. [H]; every letter in Hebrew is also a number.