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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
But Samuel maintained: We learnt of a slave's neck-chain. Now, did Samuel say thus? Surely Samuel said: A slave may go out with a seal round his neck,2 but not with a seal on his garments? There is no difficulty: in the one case [the reference is] where his master set it upon him; in the other where he set it upon himself.3 How have you explained this latter [dictum] of Samuel? that his master set it upon him! Then why [may he] not [go out] with the seal on his garment? — Lest it break off, and he be afraid and fold it [the garment] and put it over his shoulder.4 This is as R. Isaac b. Joseph, who said in R. Johanan's name: If one goes out on the Sabbath with a folded garment slung over his shoulder, he incurs a sin-offering. And [this is] as Samuel said to R. Hinena b. Shila: No scholar of the house of the Resh Galutha5 may go out with a cloak bearing a seal, except you, because the house of the Resh Galutha is not particular about you.6
It was stated above: 'Samuel said: A slave may go out with a seal around his neck, but not with the seal on his garments.' It was taught likewise: A slave may go out with a seal around his neck, but not with the seal on his garments. But the following contradicts this: A slave may not go out with the seal around his neck, nor with the seal on his garments; and neither are susceptible to defilement.7 [He may] not [go out] with the bell around his neck, but he may go out with the bell on his garments, and both are susceptible to defilement.8 An animal may not go out with a seal around its neck nor with a seal on its covering, nor with the bell on its covering nor with the bell around its neck,9 and none of these are susceptible to defilement.10 Shall we say that in the one case his master had set it upon him, while in the other he had set it upon himself?11 — No. In both cases his master had set it upon him, but one refers to a metal [seal] while the other refers to a clay [seal].12 And [this is] as R. Nahman said in Rabbah b. Abbuha's name: That about which the master is particular,13 one [a slave] may not go out with it; that about which the master is not particular, one may go out with it. Reason too supports this, since it is stated: 'none of these are susceptible to defilement'. Now, if you say [that the reference is to] metal [seals], it is well; [hence] only these are not susceptible to defilement, but their utensils14 are. But if you say that we learnt of clay [seals], [it might be asked] are only these not susceptible to defilement, whereas their utensils15 are? Surely it was taught: Utensils of stone, dung, or earth do not contract uncleanness either by Biblical or by Rabbinical law.16 Hence it follows that the reference is to metal [seals]. This proves it.
The Master said: '[He may] not [go out] with the bell around his neck, but he may go out with the bell on his garment.' Why not with the bell around his neck; [presumably] 'lest it snap off and he come to carry it: then also in the case of the bell on his garment let us fear that it may snap off and he come to carry it? — The reference here is to one that was woven [sewn] into it. And [this is] in agreement with R. Huna the son of R. Joshua, who said: Concerning whatever is woven they enacted no prohibition.17
The Master said: 'An animal may not go out with a seal around its neck, with a seal on its covering, nor with a bell around its neck nor with a bell on its coat, and none of these are susceptible to defilement.' Now, does not an animal's bell contract uncleanness? But the following contradicts it: An animal's bell is unclean,18
but a door bell is clean.1 A door [bell] appointed for an animal['s use] is unclean; an animal [bell] appointed for [fixing] to a door, even if attached to the door and fastened with nails, is unclean; for all utensils enter upon their uncleanness by intention, but are relieved from their uncleanness only by a change-effecting act?2 — There is no difficulty: in the one case [the reference is] where it has a clapper: in the other where it has no clapper.3 What will you: if it is a utensil, then even if it has no clapper [it is unclean]; if it is not a utensil, does the clapper make it one? Yes, as R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Johanan's name, Viz.: How do we know that a metal object which causes sound is unclean?4 Because it is said, Everything [dabar] that may abide the fire, ye shall make go through the fire:5 even speech [dibbur — i.e., sound] must pass through the fire.6
How have you interpreted it? as referring to [a bell] without a clapper! Then consider the middle clause: 'Nor with a bell around his neck, but he may go out with a bell on his garments, and both can contract uncleanness.' But if it has no clapper, can it become defiled? Surely the following contradicts this: If one makes bells for the mortar,7 for a cradle,8 for the mantles of Scrolls,9 or for children's mantles, then if they have a clapper, they are unclean; if they have no clapper,10 they are clean. If their clappers are removed,11 they still retain their uncleanness.12 — That is only in the case of a child, where its purpose is [to produce] sound.13 But in the case of an adult, it is an ornament for him even without a clapper.
The Master said: 'If their clappers are removed, they still retain their uncleanness.' What are they fit for?14 Said Abaye: [They are still utensils,] because an unskilled person can put it back. Raba objected: A bell and its clapper are [counted as] connected.15 And should you answer, This is its meaning: Even when they are not connected, they are [counted as] connected,16 — surely it was taught: A shears of separate blades17 and the cutter of a [carpenter's] plane are [counted as] connected in respect of uncleanness, but not in respect of sprinkling. Now we objected, What will you: if they are [counted as] connected, [they should be so] even in respect of sprinkling too; [if they count] not as connected, they should not [be so] even in respect of defilement either? And Rabbah answered: 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. But they [the Rabbis] enacted a preventive measure in respect of defilement when they are not in use on account of defilement when they are in use; and in respect of sprinkling, when they are in use, on account of when they are not in use!18 Rather said Raba,
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