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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
GEMARA. R. Abba said in R. Hiyya b. Ashi's name in Rab's name: If a bird creeps under the skirts [of one's garments], he may sit and guard it1 until evening. R. Nahman b. Isaac objected: IF THE FIRST SITS DOWN IN THE DOORWAY AND FILLS IT, AND A SECOND COMES AND SITS DOWN AT HIS SIDE, EVEN IF THE FIRST [THEN] RISES AND DEPARTS, THE FIRST IS CULPABLE WHILE THE SECOND IS EXEMPT. Surely that means, he IS EXEMPT, yet it is forbidden? — No: he is exempt, bind it is permitted. Reason too supports this: since the second clause teaches, WHAT DOES THIS RESEMBLE? ONE WHO SHUTS HIS HOUSE TO GUARD IT, AND A DEER IS [THEREBY] FOUND TO BE GUARDED THEREIN, it follows that it means, he is EXEMPT, and it is permitted.2 Others state, R. Nahman b. Isaac said: We too learnt thus: EVEN IF THE FIRST [THEN] RISES AND DEPARTS, THE FIRST IS CULPABLE, WHILE THE SECOND IS EXEMPT: surely that means, he IS EXEMPT, and it is permitted? No: he is EXEMPT, yet it is forbidden. But since the second clause states, WHAT DOES THIS RESEMBLE? ONE WHO SHUTS HIS HOUSE TO GUARD IT, AND A DEER IS [THEREBY] FOUND TO BE GUARDED THEREIN, it follows that he is EXEMPT, and it is permitted. This proves it.
Samuel said: Everything [taught as] involving no liability on the Sabbath involves [indeed] no liability, yet is forbidden, save these three, which involve no liability and are permitted. This [sc. the capture of a deer] is one. And how do you know that he is exempt and it is permitted? Because the second clause teaches: WHAT DOES THIS RESEMBLE? ONE WHO SHUTS HIS HOUSE TO GUARD IT, AND A DEER IS THEREBY FOUND TO BE GUARDED THEREIN. A second [is this]: If one manipulates an abscess on the Sabbath, if in order to make an opening for it, he is liable;3 if in order to draw the matter out of it, he is exempt. And how do you know that he is exempt and it is permitted? Because we learnt: A small needle4 [may be moved on the Sabbath] for the purpose of extracting a thorn.5 And the third: If one catches a snake on the Sabbath: if he is engaged therewith [sc. in catching it] so that it should not bite him,6 he is exempt; if for a remedy,7 he is liable. And how do you know that he is exempt and it is permitted? — Because we learnt: A dish may be inverted over a lamp, that the beams should not catch [fire], or over an infant's excrements, or over a scorpion, that it should not bite.8
MISHNAH. AS FOR THE EIGHT REPTILES [SHERAZIM] WHICH ARE MENTIONED IN THE TORAH,9 HE WHO CATCHES OR WOUNDS THEM [ON THE SABBATH] IS CULPABLE;10 BUT [AS FOR] OTHER ABOMINATIONS AND CREEPING THINGS,11 HE WHO WOUNDS THEM IS EXEMPT; HE WHO CATCHES THEM, BECAUSE HE NEEDS THEM, HE IS LIABLE; IF HE DOES NOT NEED THEM, HE IS EXEMPT, AS FOR A BEAST OR BIRD IN ONE'S PRIVATE DOMAIN, HE WHO CATCHES IT IS EXEMPT; HE WHO WOUNDS IT IS CULPABLE.
GEMARA. Since he [the Tanna] teaches, HE WHO WOUNDS THEM IS CULPABLE, it follows that they have skin.12 Which Tanna [maintains this]? — Said Samuel, It is R. Johanan b. Nuri. For we learnt, R. Johanan b. Nuri said: The eight reptiles have skins.13 Rabbah son of R. Huna said in Rab's name, You may even say [that this agrees with] the Rabbis: the Rabbis disagree with R. Johanan b. Nuri only in respect of defilement, because it is written, And these are they which are unclean unto you,14 extending [the law to teach] that their skins are as their flesh; but in respect to the Sabbath even the Rabbis agree. But do they not differ in respect of the Sabbath? Surely it was taught: He who catches one of the eight reptiles mentioned in the Torah, [or] he who wounds them, is culpable: this is R. Johanan b. Nuri's view. But the Sages maintain: Only those which the Sages enumerated15 have skin.
[Whereon it was asked]: On the contrary, Those which the Sages enumerated have no skin?1 And 'Abaye said, This is what he [the Tanna] states: Only those not enumerated by the Sages have a skin distinct from the flesh.2 Said Raba to him: But he states, which the Sages enumerated? Rather said Raba, This is the meaning: the skin of those [reptiles] only which the Sages enumerated defiles like the flesh.3 Hence it follows that R. Johanan b. Nuri holds that even those which the Sages did not enumerate defile [in this way]? But it is stated, R. Johanan b. Nuri said: The eight reptiles have skins and do not defile? — Rather Said R. Adda b. Mattenah, Reconcile it thus: But the Sages maintain: In respect of defilement those which the Sages enumerated have skin.
Still, however, do they not differ in respect of the Sabbath? But it was taught: He who catches one of the eight reptiles mentioned in the Torah, [or] he who wounds them, is culpable, [viz.,] in the case of the reptiles which have skins.4 And what is a wound that does not heal?5 If the blood becomes clotted, even if it does not issue. R. Johanan b. Nuri said: The eight reptiles have skins!6 — Said R. Ashi, Who is the first Tanna? R. Judah, who maintains that touch is the criterion.7 For we learnt, R. Judah said: The halta'ah8 is like the weasel. But the Rabbis who disagree with R. Johanan b. Nuri in respect of defilement agree with him in respect of the Sabbath.9 If so, instead of 'this is the view of R. Johanan b. Nuri,' 'this is the view of R. Johanan b. Nuri and his opponents' is required?10 — Learn: 'this is the view of R. Johanan b. Nuri and his opponents.'11
Levi asked Rabbi: How do we know that a wound12 is such as is permanent?13 — Because it is written, Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots [habarbarothaw]?14 What does 'habarbarothaw' mean: shall we say, that it is covered with spots? Then instead of 'and a leopard habarbarothaw,'it should read, 'a leopard gawwanaw [its colours]'? Rather it is parallel to Ethiopian, — just as the skin of an Ethiopian cannot turn, so is a [real] wound one that does not turn [i.e., heal].15
BUT OTHER ABOMINATIONS, etc. But if one kills them, he is culpable: which Tanna [holds thus]? Said R. Jeremiah, It is R. Eliezer. For it was taught, R. Eliezer said: He who kills vermin on the Sabbath is as though he killed a camel on the Sabbath. R. Joseph demurred to this: The Rabbis disagree with R. Eliezer only in respect to vermin, which does not multiply and increase, but as for other abominations and creeping things, which multiply and increase, they do not differ [therein]. And both learn it from none but the rams.16 R. Eliezer holds, It is as the rams: just as there was the taking of life in the case of the rams, so whatever constitutes the taking of life [is a culpable offence]. While the Rabbis argue, It is as the rams: just as rams multiply and increase, so are all which multiply and increase [of account].17 Said Abaye to him, Do not vermin multiply and increase? But a Master said: 'The Holy One, blessed be He, sits and sustains [all creatures], from the horns of wild oxen to the eggs of vermin'?18 — It is a species called 'eggs of vermin'. But it was taught: Tippuyyi19 and the eggs of vermin? — The species is called 'eggs of vermin'. But there is the flea, which multiplies and increases, yet it was taught, If one catches a flea on the Sabbath: R. Eliezer declares him liable, while R. Joshua exempts [him]? — Said R. Ashi: You oppose catching to killing! R. Eliezer and R. Joshua disagree only in that one Master holds: If the species is not hunted, one is liable; whilst the other Master holds: He is exempt. But in respect to killing even R. Joshua agrees.
HE WHO CATCHES THEM BECAUSE HE NEEDS THEM, HE IS LIABLE, etc. Which Tanna [rules thus]? — Said Rab Judah in Rab's name: It is R. Simeon, who maintains, One is not culpable on account of a labour unrequired per se.20 Others learn it in reference to this: If one manipulates an abscess on the Sabbath, — if in order to make an opening for it, he is liable; if in order to draw the matter out of it, he is exempt. Which Tanna [rules thus]? Said Rab Judah in Rab's name: It is R. Simeon, who maintains: One is not culpable on account of a labour unrequired per se. Others again learn it in reference to this: If one catches a snake on the Sabbath: if he is engaged therewith [in catching it] so that it should not bite him, he is exempt; if for a remedy, he is liable.21 Which Tanna [rules thus]? Said Rab Judah in Rab's name, It is R. Simeon, who maintains: One is not culpable on account of a labour unrequired per se.
Samuel said: If one removes a fish from the sea,22 as soon as the size of a sela' thereof becomes dry, he is liable.23 R. Jose b. Abin observed: provided it is between the fins.24 R. Ashi said: Do not think literally dry, but even if it forms slimy threads.25
Mar Bar Hamduri said in Samuel's name: If one inserts his hand in an animal's bowels and detaches an embryo that is inside her, he is culpable. What is the reason? Said Raba: Bar Hamduri explained it to me: Did not R. Shesheth say: If one plucks cuscuta from shrubs and thorns, he is culpable on account of uprooting something from the place of its growth;26 so here too he is culpable on account of uprooting something [sc. the embryo] from the place of its growth. Abaye said: He who plucks
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