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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 46a

may be set up and dismantled on the Sabbath?1  Rather, said Abaye: [it refers to a candelabrum] of [movable] joints.2  If So, what is the reason of R. Simeon b. Lakish, who permits it? What is meant by joints'? Similar to joints, viz., it has grooves.3  Hence, [if it is of real] joints, whether large or small it may not be handled; also, a large one which has grooves is forbidden on account of a large jointed one;4  where do they differ? in respect to a small grooved one: one Master holds, We forbid it as a preventive measure;5  while the other Master holds, We do not forbid it thus.6

But did R. Johanan rule thus?7  Surely R. Johanan said: The halachah is [always] as an anonymous Mishnah,8  and we learnt: As for its wheel-work, if detachable, it has no connection therewith, is not measured with it, and does not protect together with it in [the matter of] a covering over the dead, and it may not be rolled on the Sabbath if there is money upon it.9  Hence if there is no money upon it, it is permitted, though it was upon it at twilight?10  — Said. R. Zera: Interpret our Mishnah as meaning11  that there was no money upon it during the whole of twilight, so as not to overthrow12  R. Johanan's words.

R. Joshua b. Levi said: Rabbi once went to Diospera13  and gave a practical ruling in respect to a candelabrum as R. Simeon's view in respect to a lamp.14  — The scholars asked: Did he give a practical ruling in respect to a candelabrum as R. Simeon's view in respect to a lamp, i.e., permissively; or perhaps he gave a restrictive ruling in respect to a candelabrum, and as R. Simeon in respect to a lamp, i.e., permissively?15  The question stands over.

R. Malkia visited R. Simlai's home and moved a lamp,16  to which R. Simlai took exception. R. Jose of Galilee visited the town of R. Jose son of R. Hanina; he moved a lamp, to which R. Jose son of R. Hanina took exception. When R. Abbahu visited R. Joshua b. Levi's town he would move a lamp: when he visited R. Johanan's town he would not move a lamp. What will you: if he holds as R. Judah, let him act accordingly; while if he holds as R. Simeon, let him act accordingly? — In truth, he agreed with R. Simeon, but did not act [thus] out of respect to R. Johanan. R. Judah said: An oil lamp may be handled;17  a naphtha lamp may not be handled.18  Rabbah and R. Joseph both maintain: A naphtha [lamp] too may be handled.19

R. Awia visited Raba's home. Now, his boots were muddied with clay, [yet] he sat down on a bed before Raba. [Thereupon] Raba was annoyed and wished to vex him. Said he to him: What is the reason that Rabbah and R. Joseph both maintain that a naphtha lamp too may be handled? — Because it is fit for covering a utensil, replied he. If so, all chips of the yard may be handled, since they are fit to cover a utensil? — The one [a naphtha lamp] bears the character of a utensil; the others do not bear the character of a utensil. Was it not taught:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. The ordinary bed had an overhead awning. Hence when it was set up or dismantled, technically speaking it constituted the erecting or the taking down of a tent, which is forbidden. But that prohibition does not hold good here, since there is no overhead awning.
  2. it may not be handled lest it fall to pieces and be put together again, which is tantamount to making a utensil.
  3. It is all fastened in one piece, but by means of grooves it looks like being moveably jointed.
  4. Since a large one is generally jointed, even if it is only an imitation, it is still forbidden, lest they be confused with each other.
  5. Likewise lest it be confused with a jointed candelabrum.
  6. Since a small one is not generally jointed.
  7. That the halachah is as R. Judah.
  8. If a Mishnah bears no name it represents the final decision of Rabbi and his colleagues.
  9. V. p. 203, n. 6.
  10. Which renders it mukzeh.
  11. Lit., 'let our Mishnah be.' I.e., the Mishnah, Kel. XVIII, 2.
  12. Lit.,'break'.
  13. Probably Diosopolis = Lydda (Jast.),
  14. Menorah is a branched candlestick; ner a single lamp.
  15. The exact version of R. Joshua's statement is in doubt.
  16. That had gone out.
  17. Because it is not repulsive.
  18. Even R. Simeon agrees, because of its unpleasant odour it cannot be used for anything save its purpose.
  19. Its unpleasant odour does not make it repulsive, whilst at the same time it is fit for covering a utensil.

Shabbath 46b

Bracelets, ear-rings and [finger]rings are like all utensils which may be handled in a yard.1  And 'Ulla said: What is the reason? Since they bear the character of a utensil. So here too, since it bears the character of a utensil [it may be handled]. R. Nahman b. Isaac observed: Praised be the All Merciful, that Raba did not put R. Awia to shame.

Abaye pointed out a contradiction to Rabbah: It was taught: The residue of the oil in the lamp or in the dish is forbidden; but R. Simeon permits [it]. Thus we see that R. Simeon rejects mukzeh. But the following opposes it: R. Simeon said: Wherever the blemish was not perceptible from the eve of the Festival, it is not mukan!2 — How compare! There, a man sits and hopes, When will his lamp go out!3  But here, does a man sit and hope, When will it receive a blemish?4  [For] he argues: Who can say that it will receive a blemish? And even if you say that it will, who can say that it will be a permanent blemish?5  And even if you say that it will be a permanent blemish, who can say that a scholar will oblige him?6

Rami b. Hama objected: Vows can be annulled on the Sabbath,7  and one may apply8  for absolution from vows where such is necessary for the Sabbath. Yet why: let us argue, who can say that her husband will oblige her?9 — There it is as R. Phinehas in Raba's name. For R. Phinehas said in Raba's name: Whoever vows does so conditional upon her husband's consent.10

Come and hear: One may apply for absolution from vows on the Sabbath where it is necessary for the Sabbath. Yet why? let us argue, Who can say that a Sage will oblige him? — There, if a Sage will not oblige, three laymen suffice; but here,11  who can say that a Sage will oblige him?12

Abaye raised a difficulty before R. Joseph: Did then R. Simeon rule, If it [the lamp] is extinguished, it may be handled: thus, only if it is extinguished, but not if it is not extinguished What is the reason? [Presumably] lest through his handling it, it goes out?13  But we know R. Simeon to rule that whatever is unintentional is permitted. For it was taught, R. Simeon said: One may drag a bed, seat, or bench, providing that he does not intend to make a rut! — Wherever there is a Scriptural interdict if it is intentional,14  R. Simeon forbids it by Rabbinical law even if unintentional; but wherever there is [only] a Rabbinical interdict even if it is intentional,15  R. Simeon permits it at the outset if unintentional.

Raba objected: Clothes' merchants may sell in their normal fashion, providing that one does not intend [to gain protection] from the sun in hot weather or from the rain when it is raining; but the strictly religious sling them on a staff behind their back.16  Now here, though it is Scripturally intentional, yet if unintentional R. Simeon permits it at the outset? — Rather said Raba,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Though a woman may not wear them in the street; v. infra 59b and M.K. 12b.
  2. V. Bez. 27a. A firstling may not be slaughtered and consumed unless it has a blemish: R. Simeon said that it may not be slaughtered on a Festival unless its blemish was already known on the eve thereof. Otherwise the animal was not mukan, i.e., prepared for the Festival, Thus he accepts the interdict of mukzeh.
  3. To save the oil. Hence R. Simeon holds that it is not really mukzeh.
  4. Surely not! In fact, he does hope, but without expecting it, whereas one does expect a lamp to go out.
  5. For a temporary blemish does not permit the animal to be slaughtered.
  6. A scholar had to examine the blemish and declare it permanent. Could he be sure that he would obtain a scholar for this on the Festival?
  7. A husband can annul his wife's vows, or a father his daughter's.
  8. To a scholar.
  9. When a woman forswears benefit from anything, she thrusts it away from herself, and it becomes like mukzeh. Even if her husband annuls her vow, she could not have anticipated it, and so it should remain mukzeh.
  10. Hence she relies that her husband will annul it as soon as he is cognizant of it and the object was never mukzeh.
  11. In the case of the blemish of a firstling.
  12. Absolution can be granted by a Sage or three laymen; but only a Sage can declare a blemish permanent, unless it is obvious, e.g., when a limb is missing.
  13. By lifting it up he may create a draught.
  14. Extinguishing a light is Scripturally forbidden.
  15. E.g., indirectly making a rut by dragging a heavy article over the floor.
  16. V. supra 29b.