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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 50a

THE LID [OF THE POT] IS LIFTED, AND THEY [THE SHEARINGS] FALL OFF OF THEIR OWN ACCORD.1  Rather if stated, it was thus stated: Raba said: They learnt this only when one had not designated them for storing, but if he had, they may be handled. It was stated likewise: When Rabin came,2  he said in the name of R. Jacob in the name of R. Assi b. Saul in Rab's name: They learnt this only where one had not designated them for [constant]3  storing; but if he had designated them for [constant) storing, they may be handled. Rabina said: They [the Sages of the Mishnah] learnt in reference to the [merchant's] shelves.4  it was taught likewise: Wool shearings of the shelves may not be handled; but if a private individual prepared them for use, they may be handled.

Rabbah b. Bar Hanah recited before Rab: If one cuts down dried branches of a palm tree for fuel and then changes his mind, [intending them] for a seat, he must tie [them] together;5  R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: He need not tie them together. He recited it and he stated it: The halachah is as R. Simeon b. Gamaliel.

It was stated: Rab said: He must tie [them] together; Samuel maintained: He must intend [to sit upon them]: while R. Assi ruled: If he sits upon them,6  though he had neither tied nor intended them [for sitting, it is well].7  As for Rab, it is well: he rules as the first Tanna: and Samuel too [is not refuted, for he] rules as R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. But according to whom does R. Assi rule? — He rules as the following Tanna. For it was taught: One may go out [into the street] with a wool tuft or a flake of Wool,8  if he had dipped them [in oil]9  and tied them with a cord. If he did not dip them [in oil] and tie them with a cord, he may not go out with them; yet if he had gone out with them for one moment10  before nightfall,11  even if he had not dipped or tied them with a cord, he may go out with them [on the Sabbath].12

R. Ashi said, We too have learnt [so]: One must not move straw [lying] upon a bed with his hand, yet he may move it with his body;13  but if it is fodder for animals, or a pillow or a sheet was upon it before nightfall,14  he may move it with his hand.15

And which Tanna disagrees with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel? R. Hanina b. Akiba. For when R. Dimi came,16  he said in the name of Ze'iri in R. Hanina's name: R. Hanina b. Akiba once went to a certain place and found dried branches of a palm tree cut down, and he said to his disciples, 'Go out and declare your intention,17  so that we may be able to sit upon them tomorrow'. And I do not know whether it was a house of feasting or a house of mourning.18  Since he says, '[I do not know] whether it was a house of feasting or a house of mourning', [it implies] only there, because they are occupied;19  but elsewhere it must be tied together; but if not, it is not [permitted].

Rab Judah said: A man may bring a sack full of earth [into the house] and use it for his general needs.20  Mar Zutra lectured in the name of Mar Zutra Rabbah: Providing that he allotted a certain corner to it.21  Said the students before R. Papa: With whom [does this agree]: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel? For if with the Rabbis, — an act is required!22 — R. Papa answered: You may even say, with the Rabbis. The Rabbis ruled that an act is required only where an act is possible,23  but not where it is impossible.24

Shall we say that this is disputed by Tannaim? Utensils may be cleaned25  with anything,26  save silver vessels with white earth.27  This [implies] that natron28  and sand are permitted. But surely it was taught, Natron and sand are forbidden? Surely they differ in this: one Master holds that an act is required,29  while the other Master holds that no act is required? No. All agree that no act is required, yet there is no difficulty: one is according to R. Judah, who maintains, What is unintentional is forbidden; the other is according to R. Simeon, who rules, What is unintentional is permitted.30  How have you explained the view that it is permitted? As agreeing with R. Simeon! Then consider the last clause: But one must not cleanse his hair with them.31  Rather if R. Simeon, surely he permits it? For we learnt:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. This proves that even when food was stored in the shearings on that day, they may not be handled.
  2. V. p. 12, n. 9.
  3. So Rashi.
  4. Wool shearings stored in the merchant's shelves are certainly not designated for storing, and even if thus employed they will eventually be replaced in the shelves. Hence they may not be handled even if used for storing. But Raba referred to ordinary shorn wool: when one employs them for such a purpose, it is as though he designated them for storing, and therefore they may be handled. Thus Rabina justifies the first version of Raba's statement.
  5. Before the Sabbath, thus indicating their purpose, Otherwise they are regarded as fuel and may not be handled on the Sabbath, a change of mind without corresponding action being of no account. — 'Intended' means that this was verbally stated, and not mental.
  6. Before the Sabbath.
  7. He may handle and use them as a seat on the Sabbath.
  8. Both used as a dressing for a wound. Tosaf. translates a wig.
  9. So Rashi. He thereby shows that his purpose is to prevent his garments from chafing the wound. Rashal deletes 'in oil', and translates: if he had dyed them, thus rendering them an adornment. Otherwise, on both translations, they are a burden and may not be taken out into the street.
  10. Lit., 'one hour'.
  11. Lit., 'while yet daytime'-i.e., before the Sabbath.
  12. The principle is the same as in R. Assi's ruling.
  13. Generally speaking, straw is meant for fuel or brickmaking, and is therefore mukzeh. Therefore if straw is lying on a bed, not having been designated for a mattress, one must not move it with his hand to straighten it and make the bed more comfortable, but he may do so with his body, because that is an unusual manner (v. p. 201, n. 1 and p. 115, n. 7).
  14. Lit., 'by day'-i.e., if one had lain upon it before the Sabbath, though he had neither put aside the straw nor declared his intention to use it as a mattress.
  15. Here too the principle is the same as in R. Assi's ruling.
  16. V. P. 12, n. 9,
  17. To sit upon them on the Sabbath.
  18. This is Ze'iri's comment.
  19. Lit., 'troubled'. For that reason mere intention was sufficient.
  20. On the Sabbath or Festivals. This must be done before the Sabbath or Festivals.
  21. Which renders it prepared (mukan) for these purposes.
  22. The equivalent of tying the branches.
  23. Lit., 'for something that can be the subject of an act'.
  24. Nothing can be done to the earth to show that it is meant for a particular purpose.
  25. Lit., 'rubbed'.
  26. On the Sabbath.
  27. A kind of chalk. Rashi: [H] i.e., the tartar deposited in wine vessels; Aruch: pulverized resin, These do more than cleanse, but actually smooth the silver, which is forbidden work.
  28. V. Sanh., Sonc. ed., p. 330, n. 5.
  29. To show its purpose, and since such is impossible, they are forbidden, but not because there is anything objectionable in them per se.
  30. Supra, 22a, 29b. Natron and sand sometimes smooth the silver too, in addition to cleansing it, but that smoothing is unintentional. But white chalk always smooths: hence all rule it out.
  31. Because it pulls hair out.

Shabbath 50b

A nazirite may cleanse [his hair]1  and part it,2  but he must not comb it.3  Rather both are according to R. Judah, yet two Tannaim differ as to R. Judah's view: one Tanna holds that in R. Judah's view they [natron and sand] smooth,4  while the other Tanna holds that in R. Judah's view they do not smooth. How have you explained them? As agreeing with R. Judah! Then consider the second clause: 'But the face, hands, and feet are permitted';5  but surely it removes the hair? — If you wish, I can answer that it refers to a child; alternatively, to a woman, another alternative, to a eunuch [by nature].6

Rab Judah said: Powdered brick is permitted.7  R. Joseph said: Poppy pomace [scented] with jasmine is permitted.8  Raba said: Crushed pepper is permitted. R. Shesheth said: Barda is permitted. What is barda? — Said R. Joseph: [A compound consisting of] a third aloes, a third myrtle, and a third violets. R. Nehemiah b. Joseph said: Providing that there is not a greater quantity of aloes, it is well.9

R. Shesheth was asked: Is it permissible to bruise olives on the Sabbath?10  He answered them: Who permitted it then on weekdays? (He holds [that it is forbidden] on account of the destruction of food).11  Shall we say that he disagrees with Samuel; for Samuel said: One may do whatever he desires with bread? — I will tell you: A loaf [crumbled] is not repulsive, but these are.

Amemar, Mar Zutra, and R. Ashi were sitting, when barda was brought before them.12  Amemar and R. Ashi washed [their hands therewith]; Mar Zutra did not. Said they to him, Do you not accept R. Shesheth's ruling that barda is permitted? R. Mordecai answered them: Exclude the Master [Mar Zutra], who does not hold it [permitted] even on weekdays. His view is as what was taught: One may scrape off the dirt scabs and wound scabs that are on his flesh because of the pain;13  [but] if in order to beautify himself, it is forbidden.14  And whose view do they adopt? — As what was taught: One must wash his face, hands, and feet daily in his Maker's honour, for it is said, The Lord hath made every thing for his own purpose.15

R. ELEAZAR B. AZARIAH SAID: THE BASKET IS TILTED ON ONE SIDE AND [THE FOOD] IS REMOVED, LEST ONE LIFT [THE LID OF THE POT], etc. R. Abba said in R. Hiyya b. Ashi's name: All agree that if the cavity becomes disordered,16  we may not replace [the pot].17  We learnt: BUT THE SAGES SAY: ONE MAY TAKE AND REPLACE [IT]. What are the circumstances? If the cavity is not disordered, the Rabbis [surely] say well?18  Hence it must mean even if the cavity becomes disordered!-No. In truth, it means that the cavity was not disordered, but here they differ as to whether we fear. One Master holds: We fear lest the cavity become disordered;19  while the other Master holds: We do not fear.

R. Hana said: With respect to selikustha,20  if one put it in, drew it out, and put it in again,21  it is permitted;22  if not, it is forbidden.

Samuel said: As regards the knife between the rows of bricks,23  — if one inserted it, withdrew it, and reinserted it,24  it is permitted; if not, it is forbidden. Mar Zutra-others state R. Ashi-said: Yet it is well [to insert a knife] between the branches of a reed hedge.25  R. Mordecai said to Raba, R. Kattina raised an objection: if one stores turnips or radishes under a vine, provided some of their leaves are uncovered, he need have no fear

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. By rubbing it (hafaf denotes to rub) with sand or natron.
  2. With his fingers (Jast.). Rashi: he may beat out his hair.
  3. With a comb. A nazirite may not cut his hair (v. Num, VI, 5); a comb is certain to pull some hair out (v. T.A. II, 197 and note a.l.), and therefore it is forbidden as cutting. Now the first clause permits sand or natron: it can only agree with R. Simeon, who holds that what is unintentional is permitted, and it must be assumed therefore that sand or natron is not bound to pull out the hair. But that being so, R. Simeon will permit it on the Sabbath too.
  4. Lit., 'scrape'.
  5. This follows the prohibition of cleansing the hair with natron or sand.
  6. None of these three have hair on the face or body.
  7. For cleaning the face, even to one who has a beard.
  8. To be used as lotion.
  9. He permits even more than a third of aloes, but there must not be more of aloes than of the other ingredients combined, because aloes act as a depilatory.
  10. May olives be bruised on a stone, which improves their taste? (Rashi) Ri: May one rub his face with olives, using them as a detergent?
  11. He regarded it as wanton waste.
  12. On Sabbath.
  13. Which their presence causes him.
  14. Rashi: on account of, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment (Deut. XXII, 5), which he interprets as a general injunction against aping femininity. Self adornment for its own sake is a woman's prerogative!
  15. Prov. XVI, 4.
  16. Its walls collapsing.
  17. Because we thereby move the shearings.
  18. There can be no reason for prohibiting its return.
  19. If one is permitted to remove the pot without tilting the basket on one side, we fear that he might replace it even if the walls of the cavity happened to collapse.
  20. A fragrant plant used after meals in place of burnt spices (Jast.). it was removed from its pot earth, its fragrance inhaled, and then put back.
  21. Before the Sabbath, thus loosening the earth around it.
  22. To remove it from the pot and replace it on the Sabbath.
  23. Where it was inserted for safety (Rashi).
  24. Cf. n. 3.
  25. The branches spreading from a common stem (Jast.). We do not fear that in removing it he may scrape off the peel of the reeds, which is forbidden.