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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 53a

GEMARA Samuel said: Providing it was tied thereto since the eve of the Sabbath. R. Nahman observed, Our Mishnah too proves it, as it states: An ass may not go out with its cushion if it is not tied thereto.1  How is this meant? Shall we say that it is not tied thereto at all, — then it is obvious, lest it fall off and he come to carry it? Hence It must mean that it was not tied to it since the eve of the Sabbath, whence it follows that the first clause2  means that it was tied thereto since the eve of the Sabbath. This proves it.

It was taught likewise: An ass may go out with its cushion when it was tied thereto on the eve of the Sabbath, but not with its saddle, even if tied thereto on the eve of the Sabbath. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: With its saddle too, if it was tied to it since the eve of the Sabbath,3  providing, however, that he does not tie its band thereto,4  and providing that he does not pass the strap under its tail.5

R. Assi b. Nathan asked R. Hiyya b. R. Ashi: May the cushion be placed on an ass on the Sabbath?6  It is permitted, replied he. Said he to him, Yet wherein does this differ from a saddle? He remained silent. Thereupon he refuted him:7  One must not move by hand the saddle upon an ass, but must lead it [the ass] up and down in the courtyard until it [the saddle] falls off of its own accord. Seeing that you say that it must not [even] be moved, can there be a question about placing it [on the ass]?8  — Said R. Zera to him, Leave him alone: he agrees with his teacher. For R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in Rab's name: A fodder-bag may be hung around [the neck of] an animal on the Sabbath, and how much more so [may] a cushion [be placed on its back): for if it is permitted there for [the animal's] pleasures how much more so here, that it is [to save the animal] suffering!9  Samuel said: A cushion is permitted, a fodder-bag is forbidden.10  R. Hiyya b. Joseph went and related Rab's ruling before Samuel. Said he: If Abba11  said thus, he knows nothing at all in matters pertaining to the Sabbath.

When R. Zera went up [to Palestine], he found R. Benjamin b. Jephet sitting and saying in R. Johanan's name: A cushion may be placed on an ass on the Sabbath. Said he to him, 'Well spoken! and thus did Arioch teach it in Babylon too.' Now, who is Arioch? Samuel!12  But Rab too ruled thus? — Rather he had heard him conclude: Yet a fodder-bag may not be hung [around the animal's neck] on the Sabbath. Thereupon he exclaimed, 'Well spoken! And thus did Arioch teach it in Babylon.'13

At all events, it is generally agreed that a cushion is permitted: wherein does it differ from a saddle? — There it is different, as it may possibly fall off of its own accord.14  R. Papa said: The former15  is to warm it [the ass]; the latter16  is in order to cool it.17  Where it needs warming it suffers; but where it needs cooling it does not. And thus people say: An ass feels cold even in the summer solstice.18

An objection is raised: A horse must not be led out with a fox's tail,19  nor with a crimson strap between its eyes.20  A zab must not go out with his pouch,21  nor goats with the pouch attached to their udders,22  nor a cow with a muzzle on its mouth,23  nor may foals [be led out] into the streets with fodder-bags around their mouths; nor an animal with shoes on its feet, nor with an amulet, though it is proven;24  and this is a greater stringency in the case of an animal than in that of a human being.25  But he may go out with a bandage on a wound or with splints on a fracture; and [an animal may be led out] with the after-birth hanging down;26  and the bell at the neck must be stopped up,27  and it may then amble about with it in the courtyard.28  At all events it is stated, nor may foals [be led out] into the street with fodder-bags around their mouths': thus only into the street is it forbidden, but in a courtyard it is well [permitted]. Now, does this not refer to large [foals], its purpose being [the animals' greater] pleasure?29  — No: it refers to small ones, the purpose being [to obviate] suffering.30  This may be proved too, because it is taught

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. V. infra 54b.
  2. Sc. the present Mishnah.
  3. The saddle too affords some warmth.
  4. The band with which the saddle is fastened around the ass's belly. Rashi: lest it appear that he intends placing a burden upon it.
  5. Which is generally placed there to prevent the saddle and burden from slipping forward or backward
  6. Not to be led out with it, but to warm it.
  7. Thinking that his silence meant that no answer was necessary, the difference being too obvious.
  8. Surely not!
  9. Suffering from cold.
  10. The animal of course must be fed, but the fodder can be placed on the ground, and it is a mere luxury to hang the nose-bag around its neck.
  11. An affectionate and reverential name for Rab — 'father'. Others maintain that his name was Abba Arika, while Rab was a title — the teacher par excellence — the equivalent of Rabbi as the title of R. Judah ha-nasi.
  12. V. Kid., Sonc. ed., p. 189 n. 11.
  13. Whereas Rab forbade it.
  14. And the owner may carry it in the street; supra.
  15. Sc. the cushion.
  16. Sc. the removing of the saddle.
  17. When it becomes overheated through its burden. But in any case an ass cools very rapidly.
  18. Tammuz is the fourth month of the Jewish year, generally corresponding to mid June-July.
  19. Rashi: it was suspended between its eyes to ward off the evil eye; cf. Sanh., Sonc. ed., _ p. 623, n. 2. Animals too were regarded as subject thereto.
  20. Suspended as an ornament.
  21. V. Supra 11b.
  22. Either to catch the milk that may ooze out, or to protect the udders from thorns, etc.
  23. It was muzzled until it came to its own fields, so that it should not browse in other peoples' land.
  24. I.e., three animals had been healed thereby. Generally speaking, Judaism is opposed to superstitious practices (v. Sanh. 65b, 66a; M. Joseph, Judaism as Creed and Life, pp. 79-81; 384); nevertheless, the Rabbis were children of their time and recognized the efficacy of such practices and took steps to regulate them.
  25. This is now assumed to refer to an amulet; a human being may wear a proven amulet; infra 61a.
  26. Not having been removed yet.
  27. With cotton, wool, etc., to prevent if from ringing, which is forbidden on the Sabbath.
  28. But not in the street, v. infra 54b.
  29. Though they can stretch their necks and eat from the ground. This contradicts Samuel.
  30. It is difficult for very young foals to eat from the ground.

Shabbath 53b

analogous to an amulet.1  This proves it.

The Master said: 'Nor with an amulet, though it is proven'. But we learnt: 'Nor with an amulet that is not proven'; hence if it is proven, it is permitted? — That means proven in respect of human beings but not in respect of animals. But can they be proven in respect of human beings yet not in respect of animals? — Yes: for it may help man, who is under planetary influence, but not animals, who are not under planetary influence.2  If so, how is this 'a greater stringency in the case of an animal then in the case of a human being'?3  — Do you think that that refers to amulets? It refers to the shoe.4

Come and hear: One may anoint [a sore] and scrape [a scab] off for a human being, but not for an animal. Surely that means that there is [still] a sore, the purpose being [to obviate] pain? — No. It means that the sore has healed,5  the purpose being pleasure.6

Come and hear: If an animal has an attack of congestion. It may not be made to stand in water to be cooled; if a human being has an attack of congestion, he may be made to stand in water to be cooled?7  — 'Ulla answered: It is a preventive measure, on account of the crushing of [medical] ingredients.8  If so, the same should also apply to man? — A man may appear to be cooling himself.9  If so, an animal too may appear to be cooling itself? — There is no [mere] cooling for an animal,10  Now, do we enact a preventive measure in the case of animal? But it was taught: 'If it [an animal] is standing without the tehum,11  one calls it and it comes',12  and we do not forbid this lest he [thereby] come to fetch it? — Said Rabina: It means, e.g., that its tehum fell13  within his tehum.14  R. Nahman b. Isaac said: The crushing of ingredients itself15  is dependent on Tannaim. For it was taught: If an animal ate [an abundance of] vetch,16  one must not cause it to run about in the courtyard to be cured; but R. Josiah17  permits it.18  Raba lectured: The halachah is as R. Josiah.

The Master said: 'A zab may not go out with his pouch, nor goats with the pouch attached to their udders.' But it was taught: Goats may go out with the pouch attached to their udders? Said Rab Judah, There is no difficulty: Here it means that it is tightly fastened;19  there it is not tightly fastened. R. Joseph answered: You quote Tannaim at random!20  This is a controversy of Tannaim. For we learnt: GOATS MAY BE LED OUT [WITH THEIR UDDERS] TIED UP. R. JOSE FORBIDS IN ALL THESE CASES, SAVE EWES THAT ARE COVERED. R. JUDAH SAID: GOATS MAY BE LED OUT [WITH THEIR UDDERS] TIED UP IN ORDER TO GO DRY, BUT NOT IN ORDER TO SAVE THEIR MILK.21  Alternatively, both are according to R. Judah: in the one case it is in order that they may go dry; in the other it is for milking.22  It was taught: R. Judah said: It once happened that goats in a household of Antioch23  had large udders, and pouches were made for them, that their udders should not be lacerated.

Our Rabbis taught: It once happened that a man's wife died and left a child to be suckled, and he could not afford to pay a wet-nurse, whereupon a miracle was performed for him and his teats opened like the two teats of a woman and he suckled his son. R. Joseph observed, Come and see how great was this man, that such a miracle was performed on his account! Said Abaye to him, On the contrary: how lowly was this man, that the order of the Creation24  was changed on his account!25  Rab Judah observed, Come and see how difficult are men's wants [of being satisfied], that the order of the Creation had to be altered for him! R. Nahman said: The proof is that miracles do [frequently] occur, whereas food is [rarely] created26  miraculously.

Our Rabbis taught: It once happened that a man married a woman with a stumped hand, yet he did not perceive it in her until the day of her death. Rabbi observed: How modest this woman must have been, that her husband did not know her! Said R. Hiyya to him, For her it was natural;27  but how modest was this man, that he did not scrutinize his wife!

RAMS MAY GO OUT COUPLED [LEBUBIN]. What is lebubin? R. Huna said: coupled. How is it indicated that LEBUBIN implies nearness? For it is written, Thou hast drawn me near,28  my sister, my bride.29  'Ulla said: It refers to the hide which is tied over their hearts30  that wolves should not attack them.31  Do then wolves attack rams only but not ewes? — [Yes.] because they [the rams] travel at the head of the flock. And do wolves attack the head of the flock and not the rear? — Rather [they attack rams] because they are fat. But are there no fat ones among ewes? Moreover, can they distinguish between them? — Rather it is because their noses are elevated and they march along as though looking out [for the wolf].32

R. Nahman b. Isaac said, It means the skin which is tied under their genitals, to restrain them from copulating with the females. Whence [is this interpretation derived]? Because the following clause states: AND EWES MAY GO OUT SHEHUZOTH. What is SHEHUZOTH? With their tails tied back33  upwards, for the males to copulate with them: thus in the first clause it is that they should not copulate with the females, whilst in the second it is for the males to copulate with them. Where is it implied that SHEHUZOTH denotes exposed? In the verse, And behold, there met him a woman

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. The purpose of which is not pleasure but the avoidance of sickness.
  2. The planetary influence was regarded as in the nature of a protecting angel; v. Sanh., Sonc. ed., p. 629, n. 10.
  3. For a man too may go out only with an amulet proven for humans.
  4. With which an animal may not be led out, though that is permitted for men.
  5. Lit., 'is finished'.
  6. To mollify the slight rawness which remains; that rawness, however, does not really cause suffering.
  7. On the Sabbath. This proves that in the case of an animal, even to obviate its sufferings. it is forbidden.
  8. This is forbidden on the Sabbath, save where life is in danger. If cooling in water is permitted. it will be thought that crushing ingredients is likewise permitted.
  9. Not for medical purposes.
  10. It is not customary to take an animal for cooling save for medical purposes.
  11. V. Glos.
  12. V. infra 151a.
  13. Lit., 'was swallowed up'.
  14. When an animal is entrusted to a cowherd, its tehum is that of the cowherd, i.e., it may go only where the cowherd may go. Here the owner's tehum stretched beyond that of the cowherd; hence he may call the animal that strayed beyond its own tehum, for even if he forgets himself and goes for it, he is still within his own boundaries. Nevertheless he may not actually go for it, because when one (a man or a beast) goes beyond his tehum, he becomes tied to that spot and may only move within a radius of four cubits from it; hence the owner must not actually lead the animal away, but may only call it. (One can extend his tehum by placing some food at any spot within the two thousand cubits, whereupon he may then walk a further two thousand cubits from that spot. Here the owner had extended his tehum, but not the cowherd).
  15. I.e., whether any other form of healing is forbidden as a preventive measure, lest one come to crush ingredients too.
  16. Which made it constipated.
  17. v. marginal gloss cur. edd. R. Oshaia.
  18. The first Tanna forbids it as a preventive against the crushing of ingredients, while R. Josiah declares this preventive measure unnecessary.
  19. And there is no fear of its falling off, so that the owner may carry it.
  20. Aliter: have you removed Tannaim from the world, v. Rashi.
  21. Thus this is disputed in our Mishnah, and so possibly in the Baraithas too.
  22. Rashi: to preserve the milk in its pouch. Ri: both are to protect the udders from being scratched by thorns, but in the one case it is desired that the goats shall go dry; then it is permitted, since it is tied very tightly; but in the other it is desired that the goats shall remain milkers; then it is forbidden, because it is lightly tied.
  23. The capital of Syria.
  24. Lit., 'the beginning'; i.e., nature.
  25. In Ber. 20a Abaye himself regards miracles wrought for people as testifying to their greatness and merit. Rashi observes that his lowliness lay in the fact that a means of earning money was not opened to him.
  26. So Rashi.
  27. It is natural for a woman to cover herself, particularly when it is in her own interest.
  28. Heb. libabtini (E.V. Thou hast ravished my heart).
  29. Cant. IV, 9.
  30. Heb. leb, which 'Ulla takes to be the root of lebubin.
  31. Thus he translates: RAMS MAY GO OUT with their hides over their hearts. Wolves usually seize beasts at the heart (Rashi).
  32. Which rouses its ire, Var. lec.: ke-budin, like bears, i.e., proudly and fiercely. V. D.S.
  33. Heb. she'ohazin, lit., 'we catch up'