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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 3a

he does not teach what involves no liability and is [also] permitted.1  But the last clause, where no liability is involved, yet it is forbidden, is indeed difficult.2  (But is there in the whole [of the laws relating to] Sabbath [an action described as involving] no liability [yet] permitted: did not Samuel say: Everything [taught as] involving no liability on the Sabbath, involves [indeed] no liability, yet it is forbidden, save these three, which involve no liability and are [also] permitted: [viz.,] the capture of a deer,3  the capture of a snake, and the manipulation of an abscess?4  — Samuel desires to say this only of exemptions where an act is performed; but as for exemptions where no act [at all] is done, [of such] there are many?)

Yet still there are twelve? — Non-liable acts whereby one can come to the liability of a sin-offering are counted; those whereby one cannot come to the liability of a sin-offering are not counted.5

'BOTH ARE EXEMPT?' But between them a [complete] action is performed! — It was taught: [And if anyone] of the common people sin unwittingly, in doing [any of the things etc.]:6  only he who performs the whole of it [a forbidden action], but not he who performs a portion thereof. [Hence] if a single person performs it, he is liable; if two perform it, they are exempt. It was stated likewise: R. Hiyya b. Gamada said: It emanated7  from the mouth of the company8  and they said: 'In doing': if a single person performs it, he is liable: if two perform it, they are exempt.

Rab asked Rabbi: If one's neighbour loads him with food and drink, and he carries them without, what is the law? Is the removing9  of one's body like the removing of an article from its place, and so he is liable; or perhaps it is not so? He replied: He is liable, and it is not like his hand.10  What is the reason? — His body is at rest11  whereas his hand is not at rest.12

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. E.g., if the man without extends his hand and places an article into the hand of the man within, the latter commits no action at all, being passive throughout, and, as far as the Sabbath is concerned, he does nothing forbidden.
  2. Why these are not counted as separate actions, as explained in n. 4.
  3. V. infra 106b end and 107a.
  4. V. infra 107a.
  5. Stretching out one's hand with an article from a private to a public domain or vice versa may involve a sin-offering, viz., by depositing the said article in the new domain. But acceptance can never lead to this (Riba).
  6. Lev. IV, 27.
  7. Lit., 'it was cast forth'.
  8. Of scholars — i.e., it was generally ruled.
  9. Lit., 'uprooting'.
  10. For, as stated in the Mishnah, if an article is placed in one's hand and he withdraws it, he is exempt.
  11. Hence the article upon his body is likewise at rest, and he effects its removal,
  12. On the ground: hence he does not actually remove the article from its place.

Shabbath 3b

Said R. Hiyya to Rab: Son of illustrious ancestors! Have I not told you that when Rabbi is engaged on one Tractate you must not question him about another, lest he be not conversant with it. For if Rabbi were not a great man, you would have put him to shame, for he might have answered you incorrectly.1  Still, he has now answered you correctly, for it was taught: If one was laden with food and drink while it was yet day,2  and he carries them out after dark, he is culpable, because it is not like his hand.3

Abaye said: I am certain that a man's hand is neither like a public nor like a private domain:4  it is not like a public domain [this follows] from the poor man's hand;5  it is not like a private domain — [this follows] from the hand of the master of the house.6  Abaye propounded: Can a man's hand become as a karmelith:7  did the Rabbis penalize him not to draw it back to himself, or not? — Come and hear: If one's hand is filled with fruit and he stretches it without — one [Baraitha] taught: He may not draw it back; another taught: He may draw it back. Surely they differ in this: one Master holds that it [the hand] is like a karmelith, and the other holds that it is not? [No.] All agree that it is like a karmelith, yet there is no difficulty: the one [refers to a case where it is] below ten [handbreadths], and the other [where it is] above ten [handbreadths].8  Alternatively, both [Baraithas refer] to [a hand) below ten, and [hold that] it is not like a karmelith, yet there is no difficulty: one [speaks of a case] while it is yet day; the other, when it is already dark [the Sabbath has commenced]. [If he stretches out his hand] while it is yet day, the Rabbis did not punish him;9  if after sunset, the Rabbis punished it. On the contrary, the logic is the reverse: [if he stretches out his hand] by day, so that if he throws it [the article] away he does not come to the liability of a sin-offering,10  let the Rabbis penalize him; but if [he does it] after nightfall, so that if he throws it away he incurs the liability of a sin-offering, the Rabbis should not punish him. Now, since we do not answer thus,11  you may solve R. Bibi b. Abaye's [problem]. For R. Bibi b. Abaye asked: If a person places a loaf in an oven,12  do the Rabbis permit him to remove it before he incurs the liability of a sin-offering, or not?13  Now you may deduce that they do not permit it!14  That is no difficulty, and indeed solves it! Alternatively, you cannot solve it, after all: [and reply thus],15  The one Baraitha refers to an unwitting, the other to a deliberate act. Where it is unwitting, the Rabbis did not punish him16  for it; where it is deliberate, they punished.17  Another alternative: both [Baraithas] refer to an unwitting act, but here they differ as to whether they [the Rabbis] punished an unwitting [offender] on account of a deliberate one: one Master holds that they did punish an unwitting [offender] on account of a deliberate one; the other, that they did not punish an unwitting [offender] on account of a deliberate one. Another alternative: after all, they did not punish [the one on account of the other], yet there is no difficulty. The one [Baraitha] means into the same courtyard;

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Lit., 'he would have given you an answer which is not an answer.'
  2. I.e., before sunset on Friday.
  3. As explained above.
  4. If a man stands in one and stretches out his hand into the other, the hand is not accounted the same as his body, to have the legal status of the domain in which the body is.
  5. For the Mishnah states that if the Master takes an article from the poor man's hand stretched within he is exempt.
  6. If the poor man takes an object from it, he is not liable.
  7. V. infra 6a. A karmelith is part of a public domain which is but little frequented, therefore regarded as neither public nor private ground; by Rabbinical law one may not carry from a karmelith to a public or a private domain, or vice versa. Now, as we have seen, when one stretches out his hand into another domain, it does not enjoy the body's status. Yet does it occupy the intermediate status of a karmelith, and since it holds an object, its owner shall be forbidden to withdraw it until the termination of the Sabbath?
  8. V. infra 100a. If the hand is within ten handbreadths from the ground it is in a public domain, and therefore the Rabbis ordered that he must not withdraw it. But if it is above, it is in a place of non-liability; hence he is not penalized.
  9. Lit. 'it' sc. his hand. They did not compel him to keep his hands stretched out till the termination of the Sabbath.
  10. Since he does not perform a complete forbidden act on the Sabbath.
  11. This reversed answer.
  12. Lit.,'sticks a loaf to (the wall of) an oven.'
  13. If it remains in the oven until baked he incurs a sin-offering for baking on the Sabbath. On the other hand, it is Rabbinically forbidden to remove bread from the oven on the Sabbath. How is it here?
  14. Since the reverse answer is not given, we see that the Rabbis do not abrogate their interdict even when it leads to a liability to a sin-offering.
  15. To reconcile the two Baraithas.
  16. V. n. 1.
  17. Thus this has no bearing on R. Bibi b. Abaye's problem.