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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 24a

It was taught in accordance with R. Hisda: All those [materials] concerning which the Rabbis ruled, One must not light therewith on Sabbath, may be used for lighting on Festivals, except oil of burning,1  because sacred food must not be burnt on Festivals.

The scholars propounded: Is Hanukkah to be mentioned in grace after meals? Since it is a Rabbinical [institution], we do not mention it; or perhaps it is mentioned to give publicity to the miracle? — Said Raba in R. Sehora's name in R. Huna's name: It need not be mentioned; yet if one comes to mention it, he does so in the 'Thanks' [benediction].2  R. Huna b. Judah chanced to visit Raba's academy [and] thought to mention it [Hanukkah] in [the benediction] 'he will rebuild Jerusalem.'3  Said R. Shesheth to them [the scholars], It is as the Prayer:4  Just as [it is inserted in] the Prayer in the [benediction of] 'Thanks,'5  So [is it inserted in] grace after meals in the [benediction of] 'Thanks'.6

The scholars propounded: Is New Moon to be mentioned in grace after meals? Should you say that it is unnecessary in the case of Hanukkah, which is only Rabbinical, then on New Moon, which is Biblical,7  it is necessary; or perhaps since the performance of work is not forbidden, it is not mentioned? Rab said: It is mentioned; R. Hanina said: It is not mentioned. R. Zerika said: Hold fast8  to Rab's [ruling], because R. Oshaia supports him. For R. Oshaia taught: On those days when there is an additional offering,9  viz., New Moon and the weekdays of Festivals10  at the Evening, Morning and Afternoon [services] the Eighteen [Benedictions] are recited, and the nature of the occasion is inserted in the 'Abodah;11  and if one does not insert it, he is turned back;12  and there is no Sanctification over wine,13  and mention thereof is made in grace after meals. On those days when there is no additional offering, viz., Mondays, Thursdays,14  Fasts,15  and Ma'amadoth16 — What business have Mondays and Thursdays [here]?17 — Rather [say thus:] on the Mondays, Thursdays and the [following] Mondays of Fasts18 — and of Ma'amadoth19  — at the Evening, Morning and Afternoon [Services] the Eighteen [Benedictions] are recited, and the nature of the occasion is inserted in 'Thou hearkenst unto Prayer';20  yet if one does not insert it he is not made to repeat it,21  and no reference is made on these [days] in grace after meals.22

The scholars propounded: Should one refer to Hanukkah in the Additional Services?23  Since there is no Additional Service for [Hanukkah] itself, we do not refer to it; or perhaps it [the Sabbath and New Moon] is a day which requires four services?24  — R. Huna and Rab Judah both maintain: It is not referred to; R. Nahman and R. Johanan both maintain: It is referred to. Abaye observed to R. Joseph. This [ruling] of R. Huna and Rab Judah is [synonymous with] Rab's. For R. Gidal said in Rab's name: If New Moon falls on the Sabbath, he who reads the Haftarah25  in the prophetic lesson need not mention New Moon,26  since but for the Sabbath there is no prophetic lesson on New Moon.27  How compare! There, there is no prophetic lesson on New Moon at all; whereas here it [the reference to Hanukkah] is found in the Evening, Morning and Afternoon Services. Rather it is similar to the following. Viz., R. Ahadebuy said in the name of R. Mattenah in Rab's name: When a Festival falls on the Sabbath, he who reads the haftarah in the prophetic lesson at the Sabbath Afternoon Service28  need not mention the Festival, since but for the Sabbath there is no prophetic lesson at the Afternoon Service on Festivals.

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. [Although one may light therewith on Sabbaths, one may not do so on Festivals, v. Tosaf a.l.].
  2. The second benediction of grace; so called because it commences with, 'we give thanks unto Thee'.
  3. The fourth benediction of grace.
  4. The 'Prayer' par excellence is the Eighteen Benedictions; v. p. 32, n. 3.
  5. The eighteenth benediction.
  6. The 'mention' is an added passage which relates very briefly the story of Hanukkah.
  7. Cf. Num. XXVIII, 11-15.
  8. Lit., 'in your hand'.
  9. I.e., additional to the daily burnt-offering; v. Num. XXVIII, 1, seq.
  10. The first and seventh days of Passover, and the first and eighth of Tabernacles have the full sanctity of Festivals, and no work, except what is necessary for the preparation of food, is permitted. The intermediate days are of a semi-festive nature, other work too being permitted under certain conditions.
  11. Lit., '(sacrificial) service', the name of the seventeenth Benediction.
  12. To repeat the passage, because these are special occasions instituted in the Bible.
  13. Lit., 'goblet'. V. p. 102, n. 8.
  14. On these days Reading of the Law forms part of the Service, as on the Sabbath. According to the Talmud (B.K. 82a) this was instituted by Ezra, so that three days should not pass without Torah.
  15. Specially proclaimed for rain (Ta'an. 10a).
  16. Ma'amad, pl. ma'amadoth, lit., posts': 'a division of popular representatives deputed to accompany the daily services in the Temple with prayers, and also a corresponding division in the country towns, answering to the divisions of priests and Levites' (Jast.). Each district sent its representatives on certain days; v. Ta'an. Mishnah 26a.
  17. This is an interjection. Why should I think that special mention must be made? The Reading of the Law is certainly insufficient cause.
  18. In times of drought fasts were held on Monday, Thursday and the following Monday.
  19. On these days four fasts were kept: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; Ta'an ibid.
  20. The name of the sixteenth Benediction.
  21. Because these are not Biblical institutions.
  22. The first clause states that a reference is made on New Moon, in agreement with Rab.
  23. Of the Sabbath and New Moon; these always occur during Hanukkah, which commences on the 25th of the month and lasts eight days.
  24. The three stated above plus the Additional. Hence this Additional Service ranks as the rest, and requires a mention of Hanukkah.
  25. 'Conclusion'. A passage of the Prophets, with which the Reading of the Law concludes. The passage generally had some bearing upon the portion of the Law, except on special occasions. On the origin and the development of the Haftarah v. J.E. s.v. 'Haftarah' and 'Liturgy': Elbogen, Der Judische Gottesdienst, 174 seq.
  26. 'Who sanctifieth the Sabbath and the New Moon', the conclusion of the last benediction after the haftarah.
  27. This is the same reasoning as that which governs R. Huna's and Rab Judah's view above.
  28. This is not mentioned elsewhere in the Talmud. Rashi quotes a Geonic responsum that a haftarah from the prophets was read in early times, until the practice was forbidden by the Persians. V. Elbogen, op. cit., p. 182.

Shabbath 24b

Yet the law is as none of these rulings, but as R. Joshua b. Levi's dictum: When the Day of Atonement falls on the Sabbath, he who recites the Ne'ilah Service1  must refer to the Sabbath:2  it is a day when four services are obligatory.3  Then one law contradicts another! [First] you say that the law is as R. Joshua b. Levi, whereas it is an established principle that the law is as Raba. For Raba said: On a Festival that falls on the Sabbath, the Reader4  who descends before the desk5  at the Evening Service6  need not make mention of the Festival,7  since but for the Sabbath the Reader would not descend [before the desk] at the Evening Service on Festivals.8 — How compare! There, by ritual law it is not required even on the Sabbath,9  and it was the Rabbis who instituted it on account of danger;10  but here it is a day when four services are a [statutory] obligation.

NOR WITH TAIL FAT etc. But the SAGES are identical with the first Tanna?11 — They differ in respect to R. Beruna's dictum in Rab's name,12  but it is not clearly defined.13


GEMARA. What is the reason? — Because sacred [commodities] may not be burnt on Festivals.16  Whence do we know it? — Said Hezekiah, and the School of Hezekiah taught likewise: And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; but that which remaineth of it until the morning [ye shall burn with fire]:17  now [the second] until the morning' need not be stated. What then is the teaching of, until the morning'? Scripture comes to appoint the second morning for its burning.18  Abaye said: Scripture saith, 'the burnt-offering of the Sabbath [shall be burnt] on its Sabbath',19  but not the burnt-offering of weekdays on the Sabbath, nor the burnt-offering of weekdays on Festivals.20  Raba said, Scripture saith, [no manner of work shall be done on them, save that which every man must eat,] that only may be done of you:21  'that', but not its preliminaries;22  'only', but not circumcision out of its proper time, which might [otherwise] be inferred a minori.23  R. Ashi said: on the first day shall be a solemn rest [Sabbathon]24

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. The 'closing service'. Originally this was held daily in the Temple just before the closing of the Temple gates (cf. Ta'an. IV, 1). Outside the Temple a Ne'ilah service was held only on public fast days; sub sequently, however, it was abolished and retained for the Day of Atonement only. Elbogen, pp. 68, 152.
  2. 'Thou didst sanctify the Sabbath and this Day of Atonement'.
  3. And the same applies to Festivals falling on the Sabbath.
  4. Lit., 'the congregation messenger or representative'.
  5. In Talmudic times the reading desk in Babylonian synagogues was on a lower level than the rest of the synagogue.
  6. He recites the 'one benediction embodying the seven'. V. P.B. pp. 119f.
  7. He merely concludes with 'Who sanctifiest the Sabbath'.
  8. To read the benediction mentioned in n. 5. This runs counter to the view of R. Joshua b. Levi.
  9. The repetition of the Eighteen Benedictions on weekdays and the 'seven benedictions' on Sabbaths and Festivals by the Reader was originally instituted on account of the uneducated, who could not pray for themselves. In the Evening Service, however, which in origin was regarded as of a voluntary character (v. Ber. 27b), this repetition was omitted, and the same should apply to the Sabbath too.
  10. The Synagogues were situated outside the town, therefore the Rabbis prolonged the service by the addition of this passage so that latecomers might not be left alone in the synagogue and have to return home by themselves.
  11. V. Mishnah on 20b.
  12. Supra 21a.
  13. Who accepts and who rejects that view.
  14. V. supra 23b.
  15. Jast.: a sort of resin used for lighting in place of oil.
  16. V. supra 23b.
  17. Ex. XII, 10. The reference is to the Passover sacrifice.
  18. i.e., the sixteenth of the month, which was not a Festival, v. p. 105, n. 2. This shows that its burning on the Festival is forbidden.
  19. Num. XXVIII, 10. This is the literal translation of the verse; the E.V. is not so true to the original.
  20. E.g., the animal sacrificed before the Sabbath or a Festival is not to be burnt the following evening. Hence sacrifices and sacred food in general, if unfit, may a minori not be burnt on Festivals.
  21. With reference to festivals. Ex. XII, 16.
  22. E.g., one may roast meat, but not construct an oven or make a spit for the roasting.
  23. A child is circumcised on the Sabbath if it is the eighth day after birth (Lev. XII, 3), but not otherwise. This is deduced from 'alone', which is a limitation. But for this one could infer a minori (v. infra 132b) that it is permissible. Thus we learn that when an act need not be done on a particular day, it may not be done on the Sabbath or Festivals, and the same applies to the burning of defiled sacred food.
  24. Lev. XXIII, 39.