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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 147a

If one shakes out his cloak1  on the Sabbath, he is liable to a sin-offering.2  Now, we said this only of new ones, but in the case of old ones we have nought against it; and this is said only of black ones, but in the case of white or red ones we have nought against it; [but in any case there is no culpability] unless he is particular about them.3

'Ulla visited Pumbeditha. Seeing the scholars shaking their garments he observed, 'The scholars are desecrating the Sabbath.' Said Rab Judah to them, 'Shake them in his presence, [for] we are not particular at all [about the clothes].' Abaye was standing before R. Joseph. Said he to him, 'Give me my hat.' Seeing some dew upon it he hesitated to give it to him. 'Shake it and throw it off,' he directed, '[for] we are not particular at all.'

R. Isaac b. Joseph said in R. Johanan's name: If one goes out on the Sabbath with a cloak folded up [and] lying on his shoulders, he is liable to a sin-offering.4  It was taught likewise: Clothes vendors who go out on the Sabbath with cloaks folded up [and] lying on their shoulders are liable to a sin-offering. And they [the Sages] said this not of clothes vendors alone but of all men, but that it is the nature of merchants to go out thus. Again, if a shopkeeper goes out with coins bound up in his wrapper, he is liable to a sin-offering. And they said this not of a shopkeeper alone but of all men, but that it is a shopkeeper's nature to go out thus. And runners may go out with the scarfs on their shoulders;5  and they said this not of runners alone but of all men, but that it is the nature of runners to go out thus.6

R. Judah said: It once happened that Hyrcanus, son of R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus, went out on the Sabbath with the scarf on his shoulder, but that a thread [thereof] was wound round his finger.7  But when the matter came before the Sages they said, [It is permitted] even if a thread is not wound about one's finger. R. Nahman b. R. Hisda lectured in R. Hisda's name: The halachah is [that it is permissible] even if a thread is not wound about his finger.

'Ulla visited the academy of Assi b. Hini [and] was asked: Is it permitted to make a marzeb on the Sabbath? Said he to them, Thus did R. Ilai say: It is forbidden to make a marzeb on the Sabbath. What is a marzeb? — Said R. Zera: The capes8  worn by Babylonian women.9  R. Jeremiah was sitting before R. Zera [and] asked him, How is it thus? It is forbidden, replied he. And how is it thus? It is forbidden, replied he.10  R. Papa said: Adopt this general rule: Whatever [is done] with the intention of gathering it [the skirts] up11  is forbidden; whatever is for adornment is permitted. Just as R. Shisha son of R. Idi used to adorn himself with his cloak.12

When R. Dimi came,13  he said: On one occasion Rabbi went out into the field with the two ends of his cloak lying on his shoulder. [Thereupon] Joshua b. Ziruz, the son of R. Meir's father-in-law, said to him: Did not R. Meir declare one liable to a sin-offering in such a case?14  Was R. Meir so very particular?15  he exclaimed.' [So] Rabbi let his cloak fall. When Rabin came,16  he said: It was not Joshua b. Ziruz but Joshua b. Kapusai, R. Akiba's son-in-law. Said he: Did not R. Akiba declare one liable to a sin-offering in such a case? Was R. Akiba so very particular? he exclaimed. [So] Rabbi let his cloak fall. When R. Samuel b. R. Judah came, he said: It was stated that this [question] was asked.17


GEMARA. THE WATER OF A PIT is taught analogous to THE WATER OF TIBERIAS: just as the water of Tiberias is hot, so [by] the water of a pit hot [water is meant]; [and furthermore, it states] IF ONE BATHES: only if it is done, but not at the outset.26  Hence

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Rashi: to free it from the dust. Tosaf.: he shakes off the dew.
  2. As it is tantamount to washing it.
  3. He would never put them on thus; then the dusting is tantamount to washing. But if he is not particular about the dust there is no culpability in any case.
  4. The part which is thrown over the shoulder is considered a burden.
  5. These were swift runners, e.g., for carrying express messages. In T.A. I, p. 603, n. 530b, it is conjectured that the [H] (scarf) was their only garment, apart from a loincloth.
  6. Even if they are folded up and not hanging down (Wilna Gaon and 'Aruk) — though presumably they are wound round their necks in the first place.
  7. To prevent it from falling off.
  8. Lit., 'pouches'.
  9. Formed by drawing up the skirts of their garments backwards and attaching it with ribbons, thus shaping it like a tube or gutter, which is the meaning of marzeb.
  10. He gathered up his skirts in various ways and asked him whether such were permissible on the Sabbath.
  11. Rashi: to remain so permanently. Wilna Gaon, citing Maim.: to prevent it from being torn or soiled. Jast. translates: with the intention of creasing.
  12. After putting it on he would smooth and straighten it out to make it more becoming. This is permitted even on the Sabbath.
  13. v. p. 12, n. 9.
  14. For it is not wearing but carrying a burden.
  15. As to call this a burden.
  16. V. p. 12, n. 9.
  17. The incident did not actually happen, but the question was asked in the academy: Rabbi thought of permitting it, but was dissuaded when told of R. Meir's (or, R. Akiba's) view.
  18. Which had been heated.
  19. Which was naturally hot-Tiberias possessed thermal springs.
  20. Even if carrying is permitted, his house or where an 'erub has been provided.
  21. I.e., massage strongly.
  22. With a scraper, perhaps a strigil, to invigorate the circulation.
  23. So Jast. Heb. Kordima. MS.M. and Jer. read: [H] i.e., the clay ground (of the brickyard). Rashi translates: the name of a river.
  24. By means of an emetic.
  25. By manipulation.
  26. For otherwise the Mishnah should read: one may bathe.

Shabbath 147b

sousing the whole body1  is well [permitted] even at the very outset.2  Who (is the authority for this]? It is R. Simeon. For it was taught: A man must not souse the whole of his body, either with hot or with cold water: this is R. Meir's view; but R. Simeon permits it. R. Judah said: It is forbidden with hot water, but permitted with cold.

AND DRIES HIMSELF EVEN WITH TEN TOWELS. The first clause informs us of the most surprising ruling, and the second clause informs us of the most surprising ruling. 'The first clause informs us of the most surprising ruling': even these, which do not contain much water, [are forbidden]; for since there is only one person, he will come to wring it out. 'And the second clause informs us of the most surprising ruling': even these, though they contain very much water [are permitted]; for since there are many, they will remind each other.3

Our Rabbis taught: A man may dry himself with a towel and place it on the window-sill, but he must not give it to the bath attendants, because they are suspected of that thing.4  R. Simeon said: One may dry himself with one towel and bring it home.5  Abaye asked R. Joseph: What is the law? Said he to him, Lo! there is R. Simeon; lo! there is Rabbi; lo! there is Samuel; lo! there is R. Johanan.6  'R. Simeon', as we have stated. 'Rabbi': for it was taught. Rabbi said: When we learnt Torah at R. Simeon['s academy] in Tekoa,7  we used to carry up oil and towels from the courtyard to the roof and from the roof to an enclosure,8  until we came to the fountain where we bathed. 'Samuel': for Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: A person may dry himself with a towel and carry it home [wrapped round] his hand.9  'R. Johanan': for R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: The halachah is: A person may dry himself with a towel and carry it home [wrapped round] his hand. Yet did R. Johanan say thus: surely R. Johanan said, The halachah is as an anonymous Mishnah, whereas we learnt: AND DRIES HIMSELF EVEN WITH TEN TOWELS, HE MUST NOT FETCH THEM IN HIS HAND? — He recited this as Ben Hakinai['s view].10

R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: The bath attendants may bring women's bathing clothes to the baths, providing that they cover their heads and the greater part of their bodies in them.11  As for a sabnitha,12  R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: One must tie its two bottom ends.13  R. Hiyya b. Abba also said in R. Johanan's name: [That means] below the shoulders.14  Raba said to the citizens of Mahoza: When you carry the apparel of the troops,15  let them drop below your shoulders.16

ONE MAY OIL AND LIGHTLY MASSAGE [THE BODY]. Our Rabbis taught: One may oil and massage the bowels [of an invalid] on the Sabbath, provided this is not done as on weekdays. How then shall it be done? — R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: They must first be oiled and then massaged.17  R. Johanan said: The oiling and massaging must be done simultaneously.

BUT [ONE MAY] NOT KNEAD. R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name; One may not stand on the mud of Diomsith,18  because it stimulates [the body] and loosens [the bowels]. Rab Judah said in Rab's name: The complete period of Diomsith is twenty-one days, and Pentecost is included.19  The scholars asked: Does Pentecost belong to this end or to that end?20  — Come and hear: For Samuel said: All potions [medicines] [taken] between Passover and Pentecost are beneficial.21  Perhaps that is [only] there, where it is beneficial [only] as long as the weather is cold: but here it is on account of the heat,22  [so] when the weather is warm it is [even] more beneficial.

R. Helbo said: The wine of Perugitha23  and the water of Diomsith cut off the Ten Tribes from Israel.24  R. Eleazar b. 'Arak visited that place. He was attracted to them,25  and [in consequence] his learning vanished. When he returned, he arose to read in the Scroll [of the Torah].26  He wished to read, Hahodesh hazeh lakem [This month shall be unto you, etc.],27  [instead of which] he read haharesh hayah libbam.28  But the scholars prayed for him, and his learning returned. And it is thus that we learnt, R. Nehorai said: Be exiled to a place of Torah, and say not that it will follow thee, for thy companions will establish it in thy possession;29  and do not rely on thine own understanding.30  A Tanna taught: His name was not R. Nehorai but R. Nehemiah; whilst others state, his name was R. Eleazar b. 'Arak, and why was he called R. Nehorai? Because he enlightened [manhir] the eyes of the Sages in halachah.31

BUT [ONE MAY] NOT SCRAPE. Our Rabbis taught: One may not scrape with a strigil on the Sabbath. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: If one's feet are soiled with clay and dirt he may scrape them off in the usual way, without fear. R. Samuel b. Judah's mother made him a silver strigil.

YOU MAY NOT GO DOWN TO A WRESTLING GROUND. What is the reason? Because of sinking [in the clay soil].32

ONE MAY NOT INDUCE VOMITING ON THE SABBATH. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in R. Johanan's name: They learnt this only [when it Is effected] by a drug, but it may be done by hand33  It was taught, R. Nehemiah said: It is forbidden even during the week, because of the waste of food.

OR STRAIGHTEN AN INFANT['S LIMBS]. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in R. Johanan's name: To swaddle an infant on the Sabbath is permitted. But we learnt: YOU MAY NOT STRAIGHTEN?34  There it refers to the spinal vertebrae, which appears as building.35

ONE MAY NOT RESET A BROKEN BONE. R. Hana of Bagdad said in Samuel's name:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. As opposed to an actual bath.
  2. Even in hot water.
  3. Should one forget himself and wish to wring it out.
  4. Sc. of wringing it out and giving it to others. V. 'Er., Sonc. ed., p. 610 notes.
  5. Presumably wrapped about him as a garment, or where an 'erub is provided.
  6. All these have stated their view, and surely they furnish a reliable guide.
  7. Near Bethlehem in Judea.
  8. V. supra 7a.
  9. V. n. 4.
  10. Not anonymously.
  11. So that they are brought as garments.
  12. 'Aruch; Cur. edd. saknitha. Rashi: a large cloth covering, falling over the shoulders. Maim: a small cloth, not large enough to cover the head and the greater part of the body.
  13. So that it should not fall off.
  14. So that it looks like wearing apparel.
  15. To the baths. The troops (non-Jewish) were billeted in Jewish houses (Cf. Ta'an. 21a), and the Jews had to perform such offices as bringing their bathing outfits to the baths, carrying them through the streets.
  16. V. p. 745, n. 5.
  17. On weekdays it was reversed.
  18. Jast.: identical with Emmaus, a town in the plain of Judea renowned in Talmudic days for its warm springs and luxurious life.
  19. Only twenty-one days in the year does one derive medical benefit from Diomsith, and Pentecost is included in those twenty-one days.
  20. I.e., does the period commence with Pentecost or end with it?
  21. Hence Pentecost ends the period.
  22. I.e., the healing properties of Diomsith reside in the heat of its springs.
  23. A place in northern Israel famous for its wine. A similar statement is made in Lev. Rab. about the wine of Pelugto. near Tiberias, and probably the two are identical.
  24. They were so much pre-occupied with these pleasures that they neglected learning and lost faith, which ultimately led to their exile and disappearance.
  25. Sc. its inhabitants and their luxurious life.
  26. In Talmudic days the weekly lesson of the Pentateuch was read by a number of the congregation, each of whom read a part.
  27. Ex. XII, 2.
  28. Their hearts were silent; or perhaps it is an unintelligible phrase. Each word differs only by one letter from the original to which in turn it bears some resemblance, and the story is quoted as an illustration of the seductive powers of Diomsith!
  29. Intellectual intercourse is essential if one is to retain his learning.
  30. V. Ab. IV, 14.
  31. If R. Nehorai was identical with R. Eleazar b. 'Arak, his statement was thus a result of personal experience.
  32. This makes walking a labour (Jast.). Rashi: the clay of that river (v. n. on Mishnah) is slippery, and so one may fall into the water, saturate his garments, and then ring them out. R. Han.: one may easily sink into the soft mud, thus giving many people the labour of hauling him out.
  33. By thrusting the finger down the throat.
  34. And that is the purpose of swaddling.
  35. If one is dislocated it may not be reset.