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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 43a

He raised an objection: A dish may be overturned above a lamp, that the beams should not catch [fire]? This refers to houses with low ceilings, for it is a common thing for them to catch fire. [He raised a further objection:] And likewise, if a beam is broken, it may be supported by a bench or bed staves?1 — This refers to new planks, for it is a common thing for them to split. [Another objection:] A utensil may be placed under a leak [in the roof] on the Sabbath? — This refers to new houses, where leaking is common.

R. Joseph said: This is R. Hisda's reason, [viz.,] because he deprives the vessel of its readiness [for use].2  Abaye objected to him: if a barrel [of tebel] is broken, another vessel may be brought and placed under it?3 — Tebel is ready [for use] in respect to the Sabbath, replied he, for if he transgresses and prepares it,4  it is prepared. [Another objection:] A vessel may be placed under a lamp to catch the sparks? — Said R. Huna son of R. Joshua: Sparks are intangible.5  [Another objection:] And likewise, if a beam is broken, it may be supported by a bench or bed-staves?6  That means that it is loose,7  So that, if he desires, he can remove it. [Another objection:] A vessel may be placed under drippings on the Sabbath?8 — The reference is to drippings that are fit [for use]. [Another objection:] A basket may be overturned before fledglings, for them to ascend or descend?9 — He holds that it [the basket] may [still] be moved. But it was taught, It may not be moved? — That is [only] while they [the fledglings] are yet upon it. But it was taught, Though they are not still upon it, it is forbidden? — Said R. Abbahu: That means that they were upon it throughout the period of twilight; since It was forbidden to handle10  at twilight, it remains so forbidden for the whole day.11

R. Isaac said: just as a vessel may not be placed under a fowl to receive her eggs, so may a vessel not be overturned upon it [the egg] that it should not be broken. He holds that a vessel may be handled only for the sake of that which itself may be handled on the Sabbath.12  All the foregoing objections were raised;13  and he answered, It means that its place is required.14  Come and hear: An egg laid on the Sabbath or an egg laid on a Festival may not be moved, neither for covering a vessel15  nor for supporting the legs of a bed therewith;16  but a vessel may be turned over it, that it [the egg] should not be broken? — Here too it means that its place is required.

Come and hear: Mats may be spread over stones on the Sabbath?17 — The reference is to smoothly rounded stones, which are fit [for use] in a privy.

Come and hear: Mats may be spread on the Sabbath upon bricks which were left over from a building? — That is because they are fit for reclining [thereon].

Come and hear: One may spread mats over bee-hives on the Sabbath: in the sun on account of the sun and in the rain on account of the rain, providing he has no intention of capturing [the bees]?18 — The circumstances are that they contain honey. Said R. 'Ukba of Mesene19  to R. Ashi: That is correct of summer,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. I.e., the longsides of bedsteads.
  2. V. p. 196, n. 5.
  3. Tebel may not be made fit for food on the Sabbath by rendering its dues. Hence neither it nor the vessel which receives it may be handled. Thus that too loses its general fitness, and yet it is permitted.
  4. On the Sabbath, by separating the tithes.
  5. Consequently the vessel into which they fall may be handled.
  6. Though it is then impossible to remove them for general use.
  7. The bench, etc., is not planted there firmly.
  8. He assumed that the drippings consisted of dirty water, unfit for use, as a result of which one may not handle the vessel which receives them.
  9. Into or from the hen-coop.
  10. I.e., mukzeh q.v. Glos.
  11. This is a principle often met with. But if the basket is placed there after nightfall, so that it was fit for handling at twilight, it may be moved when the birds are not upon it.
  12. Which excludes an egg laid on the Sabbath.
  13. In every case there the article itself for which the utensil is taken may not be handled.
  14. A utensil may be moved when its place is required, and when so moved it may be utilized for the purposes enumerated above,
  15. E.g., the neck of a bottle.
  16. The egg did not actually support the bed, but was placed near it for magical purposes; v. A. Marmorstein, MGWJ. 72. 1928, pp. 391-395.
  17. Stones, being unfit for use, may not be handled.
  18. Though the hives themselves may not be handled.
  19. The region to the south of Babylon bounded by the Tigris, the Euphrates and the Royal Canal, and differentiated from Babylon proper in respect to marriage; v. Kid. 71b, Obermeyer, pp. 90 seqq.

Shabbath 43b

when there is honey; but what can be said of winter, when it does not contain honey?1 — It is in respect of two loaves.2 — But they are mukzeh?3 — It means that he designated them.4  Then what if he did not designate them? It is forbidden! If so, instead of teaching, 'providing be has no intention of capturing [the bees],' let a distinction be drawn and taught in that itself: [thus:] when is that said? When he designated them; but if he did not designate them, it is forbidden? — He [the Tanna] teaches us this: even if he designated them, yet there is the proviso that he must not intend to capture [the bees]. With whom does this agree?5  If R. Simeon, surely he rejects [the prohibition of] mukzeh! If R. Judah, then what matters if one does not intend [to capture the bees], — [surely he holds that] an unintentional act is forbidden?6 — In truth this agrees with R. Judah; and what is meant by, 'providing he has no intention of capturing [the bees]?' That he must not arrange it like a net, namely, he must leave an opening7  so that they [the bees] should not be automatically caught.

R. Ashi said:8  Is it then taught, 'in summer' and 'in winter'? Surely, it is stated, 'in the sun because of the sun and in the rain because of the rain.' [That means,] in the days of Nisan and Tishri,9  when there is sun, rain, and honey.

R. Shesheth said to them [his disciples], 'Go forth and tell R. Isaac, R. Huna has already stated your ruling in Babylon. For R. Huna said: A screen may be made for the dead for the sake of the living, but not for the sake of the dead. What does this mean? As R. Samuel b. Judah said, and Shila Mari recited likewise: If a dead man is lying in the sun, two men come and sit down at his side. If they feel hot underneath,10  each brings a couch and sits upon it.11  If they feel hot above, they can bring a hanging and spread it above them: then each sets up his couch, slips away and departs, and thus the screen [for the dead] is found to have been made automatically.12

It was stated: If a corpse is lying in the sun, — Rab Judah maintained in Samuel's name: It may be changed over from bier to bier.13  R. Hanina said on Rab's authority: A loaf or a child is placed upon it,14  and it is moved away. Now, if a loaf or a child is available, all agree that that is permitted. When do they differ? — When they are not available: one Master holds, Sidelong moving is designated moving;15  while the other Master holds, Sidelong moving is not designated moving.

Shall we say that this is dependent on Tannaim? A corpse may not be rescued from a conflagration.16  R. Judah b. Lakish said: I have heard that a corpse may be rescued from a fire. What are the circumstances? if a loaf or a child is available, what is the reason of the first Tanna? If it is not,17  what is the reason of R. Judah b. Lakish? Hence they surely differ in respect to sidelong moving, one Master holding that such is designated moving, while the other Master holds that it is not? — No. All agree that sidelong moving is designated moving, but this is the reason of R. Judah b. Lakish: since a man is agitated over his dead,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. The questioner assumes 'in the sun' and 'in the rain' to mean 'in the days of the sun' and 'in the days of rain' respectively, i.e., in summer and in winter.
  2. Of honey, left in the honeycomb for the bees themselves.
  3. V. Glos. Having been set apart for the bees, they may not be handled.
  4. For food, before the Sabbath.
  5. Assuming that the reference 'is to one who designated the two loaves, who is the author of this Baraitha?
  6. Since the covering blocks the bees' exit, he does in fact capture them, not- withstanding his lack of intention.
  7. Lit., 'space'
  8. In reply to the objection from the last cited Baraitha.
  9. The first and seventh months of the Jewish year, corresponding roughly to mid-March-April and mid-September-October.
  10. The sun having heated the pavement.
  11. The prohibitions of carrying from domain to domain (v. supra 2a, 6a) must of course not be violated.
  12. Thus the awning is not made for the dead, but for the sake of the living. This is a legal fiction.
  13. Until it reaches the shade.
  14. Cf. supra 30b; infra 142b.
  15. Moving indirectly, by changing over from bier to bier, is nevertheless moving, and forbidden.
  16. On the Sabbath, because it must not be handled.
  17. And consequently the point at issue is whether the dead may be rescued directly.