Previous Folio / Shabbath Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site

Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 48a

causing heat to ascend,1  [peat] of olives causes heat to ascend, but not [peat] of poppy seed.

Rabbah and R. Zera visited the Resh Galutha,2  and saw a slave place a pitcher of water on the mouth of a kettle.3  Thereupon Rabbah rebuked him. Said R. Zera to him: Wherein does it differ from a boiler [placed] upon a boiler?4 — There he [merely] preserves [the heat],5  he replied, whereas here he creates it.6  Then he saw him spread a turban over the mouth of a cask and place a cup7  upon it. Thereupon Rabbah rebuked him. Said R. Zera to him: Why? You will soon see,8  said he. Subsequently he saw him [the servant] wringing it out.9  Wherein does this differ from [covering a cask with] a rag?10  he asked him. There one is not particular about it;11  here he is particular about it.12

[NOR WITH] STRAW. R. Adda b. Mattenah asked Abaye: Is it permissible to handle flocking in which one stored [food]?13  Said he to him: Because he lacks a bundle of straw, does he arise and renounce a bundle of soft flocking?14 — Shall we say that the following supports him: We may store [food] in wool clip, hatchelled wool, strips of purple [wool],15  and flocking, but they may not be handled? — As for that, it is no proof: this may be its meaning: if one did not store [food] in them, they may not be handled. If so, why state it?16 — You might say, They are fit for reclining:17  hence we are told [otherwise].

R. Hisda permitted stuffing to be replaced in a pillow on the Sabbath. R. Hanan b. Hisda objected to R. Hisda: The neck [of a shirt] may be undone on the Sabbath,18  but may not be opened;19  nor may flocking be put into a pillow or a bolster on a Festival, and on the Sabbath it goes without saying? — There is no difficulty: one refers to new ones, the other to old ones.20  It was taught likewise: Flocking may not be put into a pillow or a bolster on the Festival, and on the Sabbath it need not be stated; if it falls out, it may be replaced [even] on the Sabbath, while on Festivals it goes without saying.

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: One who opens the neck [of a shirt] on the Sabbath incurs a sin-offering.21  R. Kahana objected:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. As here, the food is stored in a substance which does not add heat, but heat may mount up from the peat and penetrate the basket.
  2. Head of the Exile, Exilarch, official title of the head of Babylonian and Persian Jewry, whose authority was recognized and sustained by the State. V. J.E. V, p. 228, s.v. Exilarch.
  3. The pitcher contained cold water, and the kettle was hot.
  4. Which is permissible; 51b.
  5. For the upper boiler too is filled with hot water.
  6. The kettle below heats the cold water in the pitcher.
  7. Natla is a ladle or a small vessel for taking liquid out of a large vessel.
  8. Lit., 'you see now'.
  9. This is forbidden on the Sabbath.
  10. Which is permitted, and we do not fear that the owner will wring it dry. And though the servant did so here, yet on what grounds did Rabbah rebuke him at the outset?
  11. He does not mind if the rag remains wet.
  12. Hence he is likely to wring it.
  13. Normally they may not be handled; the question is whether this use converts it into a 'utensil' which may be handled on the Sabbath.
  14. Where possible straw is used, because it is cheaper. When one must use rags, he does not on that account renounce them, i.e., declare that they have no value in his eyes save for that purpose, but they remain independent, as it were, just as before they were so used: hence they may not be handled.
  15. [H] is translated purple in E.V. (Ex. XXV, 4). But this was an extremely costly dye, and its proposed use here for storing food shows that such is not meant. It is rather a scarlet red dye, more brilliant than purple but not so enduring; v. T.A. I, 146f.
  16. In their present state they cannot be used, hence they certainly do not rank as 'utensils'.
  17. So that they are utensils.
  18. When it is returned by the launderer, who generally tied the neck up.
  19. The first time after it is sewn. This opening makes it fit for wear and thus finishes its work.
  20. A pillow etc., must not be stuffed for the first time, as that is part of its manufacture; but if the stuffing falls out, it may be replaced.
  21. V. n. 1.

Shabbath 48b

What is the difference between this and the bung of a barrel?1 — Said Raba to him: The one is an integral part thereof, whereas the other is not.

R. Jeremiah pointed out a contradiction to R. Zera. We learnt: The fuller's loosely stitched bundle,2  or a bunch of keys, or a garment stitched together with kil'ayim thread3  are counted as connected in respect of uncleanness,4  until one begins to undo them. This proves that they are [regarded as] joined even not at the time of work.5  But the following is opposed thereto: If a stick is improvised to serve as a handle for an axe, it is counted as connected in respect of uncleanness at the time of work. [Thus,] only at the time of work, but not otherwise? — There, he replied, a man is wont to throw it [the handle] among the timber when it is not being used. Here, a man prefers [that pieces remain together]6  even not at the time of work, so that if they are soiled he can rewash them.7

In Sura the following discussion was recited in R. Hisda's name. in Pumbeditha it was recited in R. Kahana's name-others state, in Raba's name. Who is the Tanna responsible for the statement of the Rabbis: Whatever is joined to an article is counted as the article itself? — Said Rab Judah in Rab's name, It is R. Meir. For we learnt: The receptacles on a stove for the oil-flask, spicepot, and the lamp are defiled through contact, but not through air space: this is R. Meir's opinion. But R. Simeon declares them clean.8  Now, as for R. Simeon, it is well: he holds that they are not as the stove. But according to R. Meir, — if they are as the stove, let them be defiled even through air space; if they are not as the stove, let them not be defiled even through contact? In truth, they are not as the stove, but the Rabbis decreed [uncleanness] in their case. If they decreed it, let them be defiled even through air space too? — The Rabbis made a distinction, so that people might not come to burn terumah and holy food on account of them.9

Our Rabbis taught: A shears of separate blades10  and the cutter of a [carpenter's] plane are [counted as] connected in respect of uncleanness,11  but not in respect of sprinkling.12  What will you: if they are both [counted as] connected, [they are so] even in respect of sprinkling too; if [they do] not [count as] connected, [they are not so] even in respect of defilement? — Said Raba: By Scriptural law, when in use they are [counted as] connected in respect of both defilement and sprinkling, when not in use, they are [counted as] connected in respect of neither defilement nor sprinkling,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Which according to the Rabbis infra 146a, may be pierced on the Sabbath.
  2. Of linen; they used to sew articles of washing loosely together, to prevent loss.
  3. V. Glos.
  4. If one part becomes unclean, the others are likewise, though they are sure to be untied at a later stage.
  5. E.g., the fuller's bundle need be sewn together only at the actual washing, yet the single pieces are regarded as one even afterwards, so long as one has not commenced to untie them.
  6. That the pieces remain together until required.
  7. Without having to search for the pieces.
  8. Separate receptacles for a flask of oil, spices, and a lamp were attached to earthen stoves. These stoves are defiled in two ways: (i) when an unclean object actually touches them on the inside; (ii) if an unclean object is suspended within their cavity, i.e., their air space. R. Meir holds that in the first case the attached receptacles too are defiled, as part of the stove, but not in the second; while R. Simeon maintains that they remain clean in both cases.
  9. If these receptacles, having been defiled through the stove, came into contact with terumah and holy food, they are unclean in their turn, but only by Rabbinical law, whereas they must be unclean by Scriptural law before they may be burnt. Hence the Rabbis limited their defilement, that it might be fully understood that it is merely Rabbinical.
  10. Lit., 'joints'
  11. If one part becomes unclean the other is too.
  12. If a utensil is defiled through a corpse, it needs sprinkling of water mixed with the ashes of the red heifer to render it clean (v. Num. XIX). If the mixture is sprinkled on one part but not on the other the latter is not cleansed.