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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 109a

to the vat,1  let it be cut off: [because] the [unwashed] hand leads to blindness, the hand leads to deafness, the hand causes a polypus.2

It was taught, R. Nathan said: It3  is a free agent, and insists [on remaining on the hands] until one washes his hands three times. R. Johanan said: Stibium removes [cures] the Princess,4  stops the tears, and promotes the growth of the eye-lashes. It was taught likewise, R. Jose said: Stibium removes the Princess, stops the tears, and promotes the growth of the eye-lashes.

Mar 'Ukba also said in Samuel's name: Leaves5  have no healing properties.6  R. Joseph said: Coriander has no healing properties. R. Shesheth said: Cuscuta has no healing properties. R. Joseph observed: Coriander is injurious even to me.7  R. Shesheth observed: Eruca is beneficial even to me.8

Mar 'Ukba said in Samuel's name: All kinds of cuscuta are permitted, except teruza.9 

R. Hisda said: To glair roast meat10  is permitted; to make hashed eggs11  is forbidden. Ze'iri's wife made [it] for Hiyya b. Ashi,12  but he did not eat it. Said she, 'I have made this for your teacher [Ze'iri] and he ate, yet do you not eat'!-Ze'iri follows his view. For Ze'iri said: One may pour clear wine and clear water through a strainer on the Sabbath, and he need have no fear.13  This proves that since it can be drunk as it is,14  he does nothing;15  so here too, since it can be eaten as it is,16  he does nothing.

Mar 'Ukba also said: If one knocks his hand or foot, he may reduce the swelling with wine, and need have no fear. The scholars asked: What about vinegar? Said R. Hillel to R. Ashi, When I attended R. Kahana's academy they said, Not vinegar.17  Raba observed: But the people of Mahoza,18  since they are delicate, even wine heals them.19

Rabina visited R. Ashi: He saw that an ass had trodden on his foot, and he was sitting and reducing the swelling in vinegar.20  Said he to him, Do you not accept R. Hillel's statement, Not vinegar? [A swelling on] the back of the hand or on the foot is different, he replied.21  Others state, He saw him reducing the swelling in wine. Said he to him, Do you not agree with what Raba said, The people of Mahoza, since they are delicate, even wine heals them, and you too are delicate? [A swelling on] the hand or on the foot is different, he replied, for R. Adda b. Mattenah said in Rab's name, [A blow on] the hand or on the foot is like an internal wound, and the Sabbath may be desecrated on its account.

Our Rabbis taught: One may bathe in the water of Gerar,22  in the water of Hammethan,23  in the water of Essa,24  and in the water of Tiberias,25  but not in the Great Sea [the Mediterranean], or in the water of steeping,26  or in the Lake of Sodom. But this contradicts it: One may bathe in the water of Tiberias and in the Great Sea, but not in the water of steeping or in the Lake of Sodom. Thus [the rulings on] the Great Sea are contradictory. — Said R. Johanan, There is no difficulty: one agrees with R. Meir, the other with R. Judah. For we learnt: All seas are like a mikweh,27  for it is said, and the gathering of [mikweh] the waters called he Seas:28  this is R. Meir's view. R. Judah said: The Great Sea [alone] is like a mikweh, 'seas' being stated only because it contains many kinds of waters.29  R. Jose maintained: All seas [including the Great Sea] purify when running,30  but they are unfit for zabim, lepers, and to be sanctified as the water of lustration.31  R. Nahman b. Isaac demurred:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Which is to be filled with wine.
  2. A morbid growth in the nose.
  3. The evil spirit that rests on the hands during the night. The belief in same is held to have been borrowed from the Persians, and many regulations were based thereon; v. Weiss, Dor, II, p. 13.
  4. The name of a demon afflicting the eye, also a certain disorder of the eye. Var. lec.: [H] the Nobleman's daughter, likewise with the same meaning.
  5. 'Alin. Rashi: the name of a certain herb.
  6. Therefore they may be applied to the eye on the Sabbath (Ri).
  7. Who am blind.
  8. Though I possess good eyesight already.
  9. A kind of cucumber or melon possessing medicinal properties. These are used for no other purpose; hence they are forbidden (cf. p. 527, n. 16).
  10. Rashi; R. Han.: to strain off the juice of melon, which is taken as a laxative. V. Tosaf. a.l.
  11. I.e., a hash of roasted eggs beaten up.
  12. Rashi: roast meat glared.
  13. Of transgression.
  14. Without straining.
  15. Though one may not filter muddy wine on the Sabbath.
  16. Without the covering of eggs.
  17. Its purpose is too obviously medicinal.
  18. V. p. 150, n. 11.
  19. Their skin is so delicate that even wine acts like vinegar upon it. Hence they would only use it medicinally, and therefore it is forbidden.
  20. It was the Sabbath.
  21. A bruise there is dangerous.
  22. Gerar was the seat of a Philistine prince (Gen. X, 19; XX, 1 et seq; I Chron. IV, 39) whose site has not been identified with certainty. Some think it was southwest of Kadesh; others, that it vas south of Gaza.
  23. The word means 'hot Springs'. It was a town a mile away from Tiberias.
  24. Supposed to be east of the lake of Tiberias, v. Neub. Geogr. p. 38; Jast. s.v.
  25. Though all these are salty, it is permitted, as it does not look that one is bathing particularly for medicinal purposes (v. p. 527, n. 16).
  26. In which flax was steeped.
  27. v. Glos. They are like a mikweh in all respects, and not like a spring. The difference between these two are: (i) a zab can have his ritual bath in a spring, but not in a mikweh; (ii) the water of a spring, but not of a mikweh, is fit for sprinkling upon a leper (Lev. XIV, 5) and for mixing with the ashes of the red heifer (Num. XIX, 17); (iii) the water of a spring purifies when running, whereas a mikweh purifies only when its water is still (v. supra 65a bottom and b top and notes a.l.). — Since R. Meir maintains that all seas are alike, he draws no distinction in respect to bathing either, and permits it in the Great Sea too.
  28. Gen. I, 10.
  29. Many different rivers flow into the sea, hence the plural; but actually the verse refers to the Great Sea only. Thus he draws a distinction between the Great Sea and other seas, and so he also forbids bathing therein on the Sabbath.
  30. Since that is the nature of seas.
  31. I.e., to be mixed with the ashes of the red heifer.

Shabbath 109b

Say that they differ in respect to uncleanness and purity; but do you know them [to differ] in respect of the Sabbath?1  Rather said R. Nahman b. Isaac: There is no difficulty: in the one case he tarries [there];2  in the other he does not tarry [there]. To what have you referred the second [Baraitha]? Where he does not tarry! If he does not tarry, [it is permitted] even in the water of steeping too. For it was taught: One may bathe in the waters of Tiberias and in the water of steeping and in the Lake of Sodom, even if he has scabs on his head. When is that? If he does not tarry [there]; but if he tarries [there], it is forbidden! — Rather [reply thus]: [The rulings on] the Great Sea are not contradictory: one refers to its wholesome [water]; the other to its malodorous [water].3  [The rulings on] the water of steeping too are not contradictory: in the one case he tarries; in the other he does not tarry.


GEMARA. R. Joseph said: Hyssop10  is abratha bar hemag;11  Greek hyssop is abratha bar henag.12  'Ulla said: [Hyssop is] white marwa [sage]. 'Ulla visited R. Samuel b. Judah [and] they set white marwa before him. Said he to them, That is the hyssop prescribed in Scripture. R. Pappi said, It is shumshuk. [marjoram]. R. Jeremiah of Difti13  said: Reason Supports R. Pappi. For we learnt: 'The law of hyssop [requires] three stalks [each] containing three calyxes'; and shumshuk, is found to have that shape. For what is it eaten? — [As a remedy] for worms. With what is it eaten? With seven black dates. By what is it [the disease of worms] caused? — Through [eating] barley-flour forty days old.

BUT ONE MAY EAT YO'EZER. What is YO'EZER? — Pennyroyal.14  For what is it eaten? [As a remedy] for worms in the bowels15  With what is it eaten? With seven white dates. Through what is it caused? Through [eating] raw meat16  and [drinking] water on an empty stomach; through meat on an empty stomach or ox meat on an empty stomach; through nuts on an empty stomach; shoots of fenugreek on an empty stomach and drinking water after it.17  But if not,18  let him swallow white cress. If not, let him fast, then bring fat meat and cast it on the coals, suck out a thick piece and drink vinegar. But others say, not vinegar, because it affects the liver. If not, let him procure the scrapings of a thorn bush which was scraped from top to bottom but not from below and upward, lest [the worms] issue through his mouth, and boil them in strong liquor19  at twilight.20  On the morrow let him stop up his orifices21  and drink it: And when he eases himself, he must do so on the stripped parts of a palm tree.

AND DRINK ABUB RO'EH. What is ABUB RO'EH? Humtarya [eupatorium]. What is humtarya? The lonely staff.22  What is it prepared for? [As a remedy for] one who drank uncovered water.23  If not,24  let him bring five roses and five glasses of strong liquor, boil them together until they amount to an anpak,25  and drink it. The mother of R. Ahadbuy b. Ammi prepared [a potion of] one rose and one glass of strong liquor for a certain man. She boiled them up, made him drink it, lit the stove and swept it out, placed bricks in it,26  and it [the poison of the snake] issued like a green palm-leaf. R. Awia said: A quarter [log] of milk from a white goat.27  R. Huna b. Judah said: Let him obtain a sweet citron, scoop it out, fill it with honey, set it on burning embers [to boil], and then eat it. R. Hanina said: [One drinks] urine forty days old28  [as a remedy]; a barzina29  for [the sting of] a wasp; a quarter [log] for a scorpion [bite]; an eighth [of a log] for uncovered water; a quarter is efficacious even against witchcraft. R. Johanan said: Elaiogaron,30  kangad,31  and theriac are efficacious against both uncovered water and witchcraft. If one swallows a snake, he should be made to eat cuscuta with salt and run three mils. R. Shimi b. Ashi saw a man swallow a snake; thereupon he appeared to him in the guise of a horseman,32  made him eat cuscuta with salt and run three mils before him, [and] it issued from him in strips.33  Others say: R. Shimi b. Ashi swallowed a snake, thereupon Elijah came,34  appeared to him in the guise of a horseman, made him eat cuscuta with salt and run three mils before him, [and] it issued from him in strips.

If one is bitten by a snake, he should procure an embryo of a white ass, tear it open, and be made to sit upon it; providing. however, that it was not found to be terefah. A certain

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Which is totally different.
  2. Then it is obvious that his purpose is to effect a cure.
  3. The latter is forbidden, since no one would bathe therein for cleanliness.
  4. But obviously a medicine.
  5. A certain plant.
  6. Lit., 'shepherd's flute' — name of a plant (Eupatorium) used for medicinal purposes (Jast.).
  7. Provided that they are eaten and drunk without healing intentions too.
  8. Explained infra 110a.
  9. Lit., 'clip'.
  10. Prescribed in the Torah for purification, e.g.. Lev. Xlv, 4.
  11. So they called it.
  12. Abratha is probably Artemisia abrotanum, and with the designations bar hemag (of the bush) and bar hemag (of the shrub) the names of two sub-species of hyssop were meant.
  13. V p. 35, n. 5.
  14. Mentha pelegium; Jast.
  15. Fluke worms(?).
  16. Umza is meat roasted directly on coals or pickled in a strong acid.
  17. That probably applies to all the foregoing.
  18. If pennyroyal is unobtainable or has failed to cure.
  19. Mead, or beer.
  20. Or the text may mean, 'in a neighbour's house', so that the sufferer himself should not smell it, lest the smell affect him.
  21. Either his nostrils, so as not to smell it, lest the smell nostrils and ears, that the strength of the potion should not pass out of his body.
  22. Name of a drink made of liver-wort (Jast.).
  23. Water left uncovered over night might not be drunk, lest a snake had drunk of it — a necessary precaution in Eastern countries.
  24. V. n. 6.
  25. A quarter of a log. B.B. 58b.
  26. For the sufferer to sit on.
  27. Is a good remedy for this.
  28. Or, of a babe forty days old.
  29. A small measure, one thirty-second of log.
  30. A sauce of oil and garum, to which wine is sometimes added (Jast.).
  31. A kind of chervil.
  32. Rashi: in order to frighten him, which would help to kill the snake.
  33. The snake was broken up within him.
  34. Elijah was thought to appear quite frequently to favoured persons: cf. B.M. 59b; Sanh. 113a; Keth. 61a, passim.