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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 12a

that the wall be not damaged [by the rain], it does not fall within [the terms of] 'and if it be put [etc.]'1  But how compare! There he does not want that fluid at all, whereas here he needs this pouch to receive the discharge.2  This can only be compared to the second clause: If a tub3  is placed so that the dripping [of water] should fall therein, the water which rebounds or overflows is not within [the meaning of] 'and if [water] be put'; but the water inside it is within [the meaning of] and if [water] be put!4 — Rather, said both Abaye and Raba, There is no difficulty: the one is according to R. Judah; the other agrees with R. Simeon.5

The School of R. Ishmael taught: A man may go out with his tefillin6  on the eve of Sabbath near nightfall.7  What's the reason? Because Rabbah son of R. Huna said: One must feel his tefillin every now and then, [inferring] a minori from [the High Priest's] headplate. If in the case of the headplate, which contained the Divine Name8  only once, yet the Torah said, and it shall always be on his forehead,9  [i.e.,] his mind must not be diverted from it; then with the tefillin, which contain the Divine Name many times, how much more so! therefore he is fully cognizant thereof.10

It was taught: Hanania said: One must examine11  his garments on Sabbath eve before nightfall. R. Joseph observed: That is a vital12  law for the Sabbath.13


Dilling Exhibit 6
    ONE MAY NOT SEARCH HIS GARMENTS [FOR VERMIN] etc. The scholars propounded: [Does this mean], ONE MAY NOT SEARCH HIS GARMENTS by day, lest he kill [the vermin], and would this agree with R. Eliezer, (for it was taught, R. Eliezer said: If one kills vermin on the Sabbath, it is as though he killed a camel);14  while ONE MAY NOT READ BY THE LIGHT OF A LAMP, lest he tilt it? Or perhaps, both are [forbidden] lest he tilt [the lamp]?15 — Come and hear: One may not search [his garments] nor read by the light of a lamp. But is it stronger than our Mishnah?16  Come and hear: One may not search his garments by the light of a lamp, nor read by the light of a lamp, and these are of the halachoth stated in the upper chamber of Hananiah b. Hezekiah b. Garon.17  This proves that both are on account lest he tilt [the lamp]; this proves it.

Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: [It is forbidden] even to distinguish between one's own garments and his wife's [by lamp light]. Said Raba: That was stated only of townspeople;18  but those of country folk19  are easily distinguished. And [even] in the case of townspeople this was stated only of old women;20  but those of young women are readily distinguishable.

Our Rabbis taught: One must not search [his garments] in the street out of decency. In like way R. Judah-others state, R. Nehemiah-said: One must not cause himself to vomit in the street, out of decency.

Our Rabbis taught: If one searches his garments [on the Sabbath] he may press [the vermin] and throw it away, providing that he does not kill it. Abba Saul said: He must take and throw it away, providing that he does not press it. R. Huna said, The halachah is, he may press and throw it away, and that is seemly, even on weekdays. Rabbah killed them, and R. Shesheth killed them.21  Raba threw them into a basin of water. R. Nahman said to his daughters, 'Kill them and let me hear the sound of the hated ones.'22

It was taught, R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: Vermin must not be killed on the Sabbath: this is the view of Beth Shammai; while Beth Hillel permit it. And R. Simeon b. Eleazar said likewise on the authority of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel: One must not negotiate for the betrothal of children [girls],23  nor for a boy, to teach him the book24  and to teach him a trade,25  nor may mourners be comforted, nor may the sick be visited on the Sabbath:26  that is the ruling of Beth Shammai; but Beth Hillel permit it.

Our Rabbis taught: If one enters [a house] to visit a sick person [on the Sabbath], he should say, 'It is the Sabbath, when one must not cry out, and recovery will soon come.' R. Meir said, [One should say] 'It [the Sabbath] may have compassion.'27

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. V. Lev. XI, 38. Foodstuffs, e.g., grain, fruit, etc., cannot become unclean unless moisture has fallen upon them after being harvested; also, this moisture must be such as the owner of the foodstuffs desires. Now, in the first instance the rain was desired; hence, even if it rebounds from the basin on to the fruit, it is regarded as desired moisture, though it was not wanted for the latter, and the fruit is henceforth liable to uncleanness. But in the second it was not wanted at all, and therefore does not render the fruit liable. This proves that an action to prevent another thing from being soiled (here, to save the wall from damage) has no positive value.
  2. And precisely because he needs the pouch be should be liable.
  3. Or kneading trough.
  4. The latter is desired, and therefore if it comes into contact with fruit the fruit is liable to uncleanness, but the water that squirts or overflows is not desired. This shows that when a man's intentions are fulfilled, the action is of positive value; so here too, he carries the pouch with a definite intention, which is fulfilled. Hence he should be liable!
  5. R. Judah maintains that one is culpable for an act even if that which necessitates it is undesired; while R. Simeon holds that there is no liability for such. Thus, here the carrying of the pouch is necessitated by the discharge, but the discharge itself is certainly unwanted.
  6. V. Glos. phylacteries.
  7. In Talmudic times the phylacteries were worn all day and in the street, but not on the Sabbath.
  8. Lit., 'mention'.
  9. Ex. XXVIII, 38.
  10. And need not fear that he will go out with them after nightfall,
  11. Lit., 'feel'; to see whether there is anything attached to them or in them.
  12. Lit., 'great'.
  13. In general, steps must be taken before the Sabbath to avoid the desecration of the Sabbath.
  14. I.e., it is a complete labour, and forbidden.
  15. In which case HE MAY NOT SEARCH HIS GARMENTS at night only.
  16. The same question of interpretation arises here.
  17. V. Mishnah infra 13b.
  18. Rashi: being idle, the men wear wide garments like women's.
  19. Land workers.
  20. Whose garments were more like those of men.
  21. Even on the Sabbath (Rashi).
  22. Of their death?
  23. On marrying young v. T.A. II, pp, 28f.
  24. I.e., for his elementary education. The obligation of a child's education lies primarily upon his father (Kid. 30a), and was left to him originally, public instruction being given to adults only. By the reforms of R. Simeon b. Shetah and Joshua b. Gamala elementary schools were set up for children from the age of six or seven and upwards (J. Keth VIII, ad fin.). From this passage we may conclude that the system of engaging private teachers was also in vogue in the education of girls, v. Kid., Sonc. ed., p. 141, n. 1 and Ned., p. 107, n. 2. It may be observed that only boys are referred to here.
  25. This was definitely obligatory upon the father; Kid. 29a.
  26. Both are too sad for the Sabbath.
  27. The due observance of the Sabbath will bring recovery in its wake.

Shabbath 12b

R. Judah said, 'May the Omnipresent have compassion upon you and upon the sick of Israel.' R. Jose said, 'May the Omnipresent have compassion upon you in the midst of the sick of Israel.' Shebna, a citizen of Jerusalem, on entering would say 'Peace'; and on leaving, 'It is the Sabbath, when one must not cry out and healing will soon come, His compassion is abundant and enjoy the Sabbath rest in peace.' With whom does this dictum of R. Hanina agree: One who has an invalid in his house should combine him with other Jewish sick?1  With whom? — With R. Jose.

R. Hanina also said: It was [only] with difficulty that comforting mourners and visiting the sick was permitted on the Sabbath.2

Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said: When we followed R. Eleazar to inquire after a sick person. sometimes he would say to him, [in Hebrew], 'The Omnipresent visit thee in peace'; at others, be said, [in Aramaic], 'The Omnipresent remember thee in peace'. But how might he do thus: did not Rab Judah say, One should never petition for his needs in Aramaic; and R. Johanan said: When one petitions for his needs in Aramaic, the Ministering Angels do not heed him, for they do not understand Aramaic?3  — An invalid is different, because the Divine Presence is with him. For R. 'Anan said in Rab's name, How do you know that the Divine Presence supports an invalid? Because it is written, The Lord supports him upon the couch of languishing.4  It was taught likewise: One who enters [a house] to visit the sick may sit neither upon the bed nor on a seat, but must wrap himself about5  and sit in front of him,6  for the Divine Presence is above an invalid's pillow, as it is said, The Lord supports him upon the couch of languishing. And Raba said in Rabin's name: How do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, sustains the sick? Because it is said, The Lord supports him on the couch of languishing.

NOR MUST HE READ BY THE LIGHT OF A LAMP. Raba said: Even if it is as high as twice a man's stature, or as two ox-goads [height],7  or even as ten houses on top of each other.8

One alone may not read, but for two [together] it is well?9  But it was taught: Neither one nor two! — Said R. Eleazar, There is no difficulty: the former refers to one subject; the latter to two.10  R. Huna said: But by [the light] of an open fire even ten people are forbidden.11  Said Raba: If he is an important man,12  it is permitted.

An objection is raised: One must not read by the light of a lamp, lest he tilt [it]. Said R. Ishmael b. Elisha, 'I will read and will not tilt.' Yet once he read and wished to tilt. 'How great are the words of the Sages!' he exclaimed, 'who said, One must not read by the light of a lamp.' R. Nathan said, He read and did tilt [it], and wrote in his note book, 'I, Ishmael b. Elisha, did read and tilt the lamp on the Sabbath. When the Temple is rebuilt I will bring a fat sin-offering.'13 — R. Ishmael b. Elisha was different, since he treated himself as an ordinary person in respect to religious matters.

One [Baraitha] taught: An attendant may examine glasses and plates by the light of a lamp; and another taught: He must not examine [them]! There is no difficulty: one refers to a permanent attendant, the other to a temporary one.14  Alternatively, both refer to a permanent attendant yet there is no difficulty: one refers to [a lamp fed with] oil, the other to naphtha.15

The scholars propounded: What of a temporary attendant and a [lamp fed with] oil? — Rab said: There is the halachah, but we do not teach thus.16  R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: There is the halachah and we teach it so. R. Jeremiah b. Abba chanced to visit R. Assi. Now, his17  attendant arose and examined [the glasses] by candlelight.18  Thereupon his [R. Assi's] wife said to him [R. Assi], 'But you do not act thus!' 'Let him be,' he answered her, 'he holds with his master.'19

IN TRUTH IT WAS SAID, THE HAZZAN etc., But you say in the first clause, [HE] MAY SEE; Surely that means to read?20 — No: to arrange the beginnings of the sections.21  And Rabbah b. Samuel said likewise: But he may arrange the beginnings of the sections; But not the whole section?

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. I.e., pray for him as one of many.
  2. Because both induce grief, which is contrary to the spirit of the Sabbath, which is 'a day of delight.'
  3. Angels were held to mediate between God and man, carrying the prayers of the latter to the Former (Tobit XII, 12, 15). This is not to be compared with prayer to or worshipping angels, from which Judaism is free. 'Not as one who would first send his servant to a friend to ask for aid in his hour of need should man apply to Michael, or Gabriel, to intercede for him; but he should turn immediately to God Himself, for 'whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered'. (Joel III, 5; Yer. Ber. IX, 13a. Many Rabbinical authorities disapprove even of invoking angels as mediators, as shown by the passage quoted; v. Zunz, S P. p. 148.)
  4. Ps. XLI, 4. — Hence he does not need the angel's intercession,
  5. In a spirit of reverence.
  6. In Ned. 40a the reading is, 'upon the ground.'
  7. Probably twice the height of an ass and its saddle.
  8. Though the lamp is inaccessible and cannot be tilted, the Rabbis enacted a general measure without distinctions.
  9. This follows from the use of the singular in the Mishnah. But when two read, each may remind the other should he wish to tilt the lamp.
  10. When both are reading the same subject in the scroll, each can remind the other. But if they are occupied with different subjects, neither thinks of his companion.
  11. Each sits at a distance from the other, and any one may forget himself and stir up the fire.
  12. Who is not accustomed even on weekdays to trim the lamp.
  13. This shows that the prohibition applies even to a great man like R. Ishmael b. Elisha.
  14. The former is more careful, and may tilt the lamp to see whether there is the least grease on the crockery; hence he must not examine them by a lamp.
  15. The latter emits an unpleasant odour, and so one naturally refrains from tilting.
  16. It is permitted, but this must not be publicly diffused.
  17. R. Jeremiah's.
  18. In R. Assi's house; he was not of course a permanent attendant.
  19. The light of naphtha (or of a candle) is the same as the light of an oil-fed lamp,
  20. How then explain BUT HE HIMSELF MAY NOT READ?
  21. In ancient times the Pentateuch portion which was part of the Sabbath service was read by a number of worshippers (on Sabbaths, seven), whilst the hazzan prompted them.