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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 19a

Babylonian kutah1  and any [other] kind of kutah may not be sold thirty days before Passover.2

Our Rabbis taught: Food may be placed before a dog in a courtyard, [and] if it takes it and goes out, one has no duty toward it.3  Similarly, food may be placed before a Gentile in a courtyard, [and] if he takes it and goes out, one has no duty toward him. What is the purpose of this further [dictum]; [surely] it is the same [as the first]? — You might argue, The one is incumbent upon him, whereas the other is not:4  therefore we are informed [otherwise].5

Our Rabbis taught: A man must not hire his utensils to a Gentile on the eve of Sabbath; [but] on Wednesday or Thursday it is permitted.6  Similarly, letters may not be sent by a Gentile on the eve of Sabbath, [but] on Wednesday or Thursday it is permitted. It was related of R. Jose the priest-others say, of R. Jose the Pious-that his handwriting was never found in a Gentile's hand.7

Our Rabbis taught: Letters may not be sent by Gentiles on the eve of Sabbath unless a fee is stipulated.8  Beth Shammai maintain: There must be time to reach his [the addressee's] house [before the Sabbath];9  while Beth Hillel rule: There must be time to reach the house nearest the [city] wall.10  But has he not stipulated?11 — Said R. Shesheth, This is its meaning: And if he did not stipulate, Beth Shammai maintain: There must be time to reach his [the addressee's] house; while Beth Hillel rule: to reach the house nearest the [city] wall. But you said in the first clause that one must not send [at all]?12  — There is no difficulty: in the one case a post office is permanently located in the town,13  in the other case a post office is not permanently located in the town.14

Our Rabbis taught: One may not set out in a ship less than three days before the Sabbath. This was said only [if it is] for a voluntary purpose, but [if] for a good deed,15  it is well; and he stipulates with him16  that it is on condition that he will rest [on the Sabbath], yet he does not rest:17  this is Rabbi's view. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: It is unnecessary. But from Tyre to Sidon18  it is permitted even on the eve of Sabbath.19

Our Rabbis taught: Gentile cities must not be besieged less than three days before the Sabbath, yet once they commence they need not leave off. And thus did Shammai say: until until it fall,20  even on the Sabbath.

R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL, SAID: IT WAS THE PRACTICE IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE etc. It was taught, R. Zadok said, This was the practice of R. Gamaliel's house, viz., they used to give white garments to the fuller three days before the Sabbath, but coloured garments even on the eve of the Sabbath. And from their usage21  we learn that white [garments] are more difficult to wash than coloured ones. Abaye was giving a coloured garment to a fuller and asked him, How much do you want for it? 'As for a white garment,' he answered. 'Our Rabbis have already anticipated you,' said he.22

Abaye said: When one gives a garment to a fuller he should deliver it to him by measure and receive it back by measure, for if it is more, he spoiled it by stretching, and if less he spoiled it by shrinking.23

AND BOTH AGREE THAT THE BEAM OF THE [OIL] PRESS AND THE CIRCULAR WINE PRESS MAY BE LADEN. Wherein do all [the other acts] differ that Beth Shammai forbid them, and wherein do [those relating to] the beam of the [oil] press and the circular wine press differ, that Beth Shammai do not forbid them? — Those other [acts] which, if done on the Sabbath involve a sin-offering, Beth Shammai forbade on the eve of the Sabbath just before nightfall; [but the loading of] the beam of the [oil] press and the circular wine press, which if done on the Sabbath does not involve a sin-offering, they did not forbid.24

Which Tanna [maintains] that everything which comes automatically is well?25  — Said R. Jose son of R. Hanina, It is R. Ishmael. For we learnt: [In the case of] garlic, half-ripe grapes, and parched ears [of corn] were crushed before sunset, R. Ishmael said: One may finish them at night; R. Akiba said:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Jast.: a preserve consisting of sour milk, bread-crusts and salt.
  2. It is used as a sauce or relish and hence lasts a long time. It was customary to give popular lectures about the Festivals thirty days before them, and therefore from that time one was forbidden to sell kutah to a Gentile.
  3. To restrain it from carrying it out into the street.
  4. He has a duty towards his animals which he does not owe to a stranger, and therefore I might think that in the latter case food must not be given, since it may be carried out.
  5. That even so food may be placed before a Gentile. Because though one has no legal obligation, he has the duty of charity towards him, just as towards a Jew, as stated in Git. 61a (Tosaf.).
  6. Though he will use it on the Sabbath.
  7. He never sent a letter by a Gentile lest he might take it to its destination on Sabbath. This was a measure of ultra stringency.
  8. Once the fee is stipulated the Gentile works for himself, to earn it, and not for the Jew.
  9. Otherwise it is forbidden even if the fee was already stipulated.
  10. If the addressee lives in a different town; cf. p. 77, n. 9.
  11. In which case the first Tanna, i.e., Beth Hillel, rules that it may be carried on the Sabbath itself.
  12. Other edd. more plausibly, But it was taught that they must not be sent (at all)? The reference is then to the preceding Baraitha, not this one, for this one distinctly states that if the fee was arranged it is permitted; v. marg. gloss, cur. edd.
  13. Of the addressee. Then letters may be sent, even if the fee was not stipulated, providing that the messenger can reach the post office or the nearest house in that town before the Sabbath.
  14. Rashi: then one must not send if the fee was not stipulated, as he may go searching for him on the Sabbath.
  15. Lit., 'a matter of a precept'.
  16. The Gentile owner of the ship.
  17. I.e., though the condition will not be carried out.
  18. Both on the Phoenician coast, about thirty miles apart.
  19. Being such a short distance.
  20. Deut. XX, 20. The reference is to a besieged city.
  21. Lit., 'words'.
  22. I know from them that this requires less labour.
  23. And he is entitled to make a deduction.
  24. On Sabbath eve before nightfall.
  25. I.e., permitted, as here, the beams being laden before the Sabbath and the juice then oozing automatically on the Sabbath.

Shabbath 19b

One may not finish them [at night].1  And R. Eleazar [b. Pedath] said, It is R. Eleazar [b. Shammua']. For we learnt: If honeycombs are crushed on the eve of Sabbath and it [the honey] exudes spontaneously,2  it is forbidden;3  but R. Eleazar permits it.

Now, as to R. Jose son of R. Hanina, what is the reason that he did not answer as R. Eleazar? — He can tell you: it is only there [that R. Eleazar permits it], since it was originally food and still food;4  but here5  it was originally food and now a liquid.6  And R. Eleazar [b. Pedath]?7 — He can answer you: But we know R. Eleazar [b. Shammua'] to hold that even olives and grapes are also permitted. For when R. Hoshaya came from Nehardea, he came and brought a Baraitha in his hands: If olives and grapes are crushed on the eve of Sabbath and they [their juices] exude spontaneously, they are forbidden;8  R. Eleazar and R. Simeon permit it. And R. Jose b. R. Hanina? — He did not know this Baraitha.9

And R. Eleazar! what is the reason that he did not answer as R. Jose son of R. Hanina? — He can tell you: was it not stated thereon:10  where they lack crushing there is no controversy at all;11  they differ only where pounding is lacking:12  and these too13  are similar to those that lack crushing. R. Jose son of R. Hanina gave a practical decision in accordance with R. Ishmael.14

As to the oil belonging to the pressers, and the mats of the pressers:15  Rab forbade it,16  and Samuel permitted it.17  As to coupled mattings18  Rab forbids them,19  and Samuel permits [them].

R. Nahman said: As to a goat [kept] for its milk, a ewe for its shearings, a fowl for its eggs, oxen for ploughing and dates for trading: Rab forbids, and Samuel permits [them],20  and they differ in the controversy of R. Simeon and R. Judah.21  A certain disciple gave a practical decision in Harta of Argiz22  in accordance with R. Simeon;23  thereupon R. Hamnuna banned him.24  But do we not hold as R. Simeon? — It was in the place of Rab,25  and so he should have acted accordingly. There were two disciples: one saved [food, etc.] in one utensil, and one saved [it] in four or five utensils;26  and they differ in the same dispute as that of Rabbah b. Zabda and R. Huna.27


Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. A heavy weight was placed upon them to cause their juice to run out, and the controversy is whether this may be done on the Sabbath, since they were already crushed before.
  2. On the Sabbath.
  3. To consume them on the Sabbath.
  4. Honey is a food, not a drink, even after it oozes out.
  5. The case of the Mishnah, where the oil exudes from the olives, etc.
  6. Olives and grapes are food; oil and wine are liquid. Since it changes so much on the Sabbath, it may be that R. Eleazar forbids it.
  7. Does he not admit the force of this argument?
  8. For drinking on the Sabbath.
  9. This may also mean: he rejects the authenticity of this Baraitha, for not all Baraithas were of equal authority.
  10. On the Mishnah quoted by R. Jose b. R. Hanina.
  11. It is certainly forbidden on all views.
  12. 'Pounding' (shehikah) connotes a further stage in the process, after crushing.
  13. In our Mishnah.
  14. Supra a bottom.
  15. The remnants of the oil in the corners and the oil which gathered in the mats with which the olives were covered belonged to the workers who pressed it out.
  16. To be handled on the Sabbath.
  17. This oil is 'mukzeh,' v. p. 81, n. 4, and it is disputed infra 44a et passim whether such may be handled on the Sabbath. Rab and Samuel differ on the same question.
  18. Keroke ([H]) connotes mattings which can be rolled up, and zuze means in pairs. Rashi explains: mattings used in couples to form a roof-like protection for merchandise. He also quotes a variant found in Geonic responsa: [H] ship mattings.
  19. To be handled on the Sabbath.
  20. V. next note.
  21. Infra 156b on 'mukzeh'. All these are 'mukzeh', set apart, i.e., their owner has set them apart not to be eaten but for the purposes stated, and it is disputed infra 156b whether one may change his mind and slaughter them on Festivals for food. With the exception of dates kept for trading the present controversy is in respect of Festivals, whilst that of dates refers to the Sabbath too.
  22. In S. Babylon on the right arm of the Euphrates, subsequently called Hira. Obermeyer, Landschaft, p. 234.
  23. That the above are permitted.
  24. A form of excommunication. The banned person observed certain mourning rites and was shunned by his colleagues. Generally speaking it lasted for thirty days.
  25. I.e., it was within his jurisdiction.
  26. They saved them from being destroyed in a fire.
  27. V. infra i 20a.
  28. And left to roast on the Sabbath. We have no fear that one may rake the coals on the Sabbath (v. supra 18b),
  29. Ma'ahizin means to ignite logs by means of burning chips.
  30. A room where the priests warmed themselves, as they performed the service in the Temple barefoot and became cold. The priests were very careful, and so it is sufficient if the fire just catches on, and no fear is entertained that they may forgetfully rake it into a blaze in the evening.