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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
Let the Master say, because it is volatile?1 — He states, one thing and yet another.' One thing, because it is volatile; and yet another, as a preventive measure, lest he draw supplies from it.
A certain mother-in-law hated her daughter-in-law. Said she to her, 'Go and adorn yourself with balsam oil.'2 She went and adorned herself. On her return she said to her, 'Go and light the lamp.' She went and lit the lamp: a spark flew out on her and consumed her.
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers [kormim] and husbandmen [yogbim].3 'Kornim:' R. Joseph learnt: This means balsamum gatherers from the En Gedi to Ramah. Yogbim: These are those which catch hilazon4 from the promontory of Tyre as far as Haifa.5
Our Rabbis taught: One must not feed a lamp with unclean tebel6 on weekdays, and all the more so on the Sabbath. Similarly, one must not light [a lamp] with white naphtha on weekdays, and all the more so on the Sabbath. As for white naphtha, that is well, [the reason being] because it is volatile. But what is the reason of unclean tebel? — Scripture saith, And I, behold, I have given thee the charge of mine heave-offerings [terumothai]:7 the Writ refers to two terumoth, clean and unclean terumah:8 just as you enjoy nought of clean terumah save from its separation and onwards,9 So also unclean terumah, you may enjoy nought thereof save from its separation and onwards.10
[To turn to] the main text: R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: One may not kindle [the Sabbath lamp] with balsam. And thus did R. Simeon b. Eleazar say: Balsam [zari] is merely the sap of resinous trees. R. Ishmael said: All that proceeds from trees, one may not light. R. Ishmael b. Berokah said: One may light only with the produce of fruit.11 R. Tarfon said: One may light [the Sabbath lamp] with nought but olive oil. Thereupon R. Johanan b. Nuri rose to his feet and exclaimed, What shall the Babylonians do, who have only sesame oil? And what shall the Medeans do, who have only nut oil? And what shall the Alexandrians do, who have only radish oil? And what shall the people of Cappadocia12 do, who have neither the one nor the other, save naphtha? But you have nought else but that concerning which the Sages said, One may not kindle [therewith].13 And one may kindle with fish oil and 'itran.14 R. Simeon Shezuri15 said: One may kindle with oil of gourds and with naphtha. Symmachos said: All that which comes from flesh, we may not kindle therewith, except fish oil. But Symmachos is identical with the earlier Tanna?16 — They differ in respect to R. Beruna's dictum in Rab's name,17 but it is not clearly defined.18
It was taught, R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: Whatever comes forth from trees is not subject to the law of three by three fingerbreadths,19 and one may cover [a booth] therewith,20 except flax.21 Abaye observed,
R. Simeon b. Eleazar and the Tanna of the School of R. Ishmael1 said the same thing. R. Simeon b. Eleazar, as stated. The Tanna of the School of R. Ishmael: what is that? For the School of R. Ishmael taught: Since garments are mentioned in the Torah unspecified, while the Writ specified wool and flax in the case of one of them: [then] just as there, wool and flax [are specified], so all [garments] are of wool and flax.2 Raba said: They differ in respect to three [handbreadths] by three in other clothes [not wool or linen]: R. Simeon b. Eleazar accepts [their liability to defilement],3 whilst the Tanna of the School of R. Ishmael rejects it.4
Now all at least agree that an area of three [fingerbreadths] of wool or linen is subject to the defilement of leprosy. How do we know it? Because it was taught, A garment:5 I know it only of a [complete] garment; whence do I learn it of [cloth] three [fingerbreadths] square? From the verse, and the garment.6 Yet say that it is to include three [handbreadths] square?7 — Does that not follow a minori: if a warp and a woof become unclean,8 is there a question of three [handbreadths] square?9 If so, if it is three [fingerbreadths] square, let it also be deduced a minori?10 — Rather, [this is the reply]: three [handbreadths] square, which is of use11 both to the wealthy and to the poor, can be deduced a minori12 three [fingerbreadths] square, which is of use to the poor only, but not to the rich,13 cannot be learnt a minori: hence it is only because Scripture wrote it; but had Scripture not written it, we could not deduce it a minori.
Yet say [that its purpose is] to include three [handbreadths] square of other materials?14 — Scripture saith, a woollen garment, or a linen garment:15 only a woollen or a linen garment, but not anything else. Yet say, when it is excluded it is from [the defilement of] three [fingerbreadths] square, but three [handbreadths] square can become unclean? — Two limitations are written: 'a woollen garment or a linen garment',16 [hence] one is to exclude [them] from [the defilement of] three [fingerbreadths] square, and the other to exclude them from [the defilement of] three [handbreadths] square.
Now, according to Raba, who said, They differ in respect of three [handbreadths] by three in other cloths, R. Simeon b. Eleazar accepting [their liability to defilement], whilst the Tanna of the School of R. Ishmael rejects it, — how does he [R. Simeon b. Eleazar] know [the defilement of] three [handbreadths] square of other materials?
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