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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
in the case of a rack,1 go after its nails;2 in the case of a ladder, go after its rungs; in the case of a weighing machine, go after its chains.3 But the Sages maintain: Everything depends on the support.4
Raba said: It is taught disjunctively:5 if it has a signet, it is a man's ornament; if it has no signet, it is a woman's ornament. R. Nahman b. Isaac answered: Do you oppose uncleanness to the Sabbath!6 [In respect to] uncleanness, the Divine Law said, utensils [fit] for work,7 and this [a signet ring] is a utensil. But the Sabbath [interdiction] was imposed by the Divine Law on account of the burden: if it has no signet, it is an ornament; if it has a signet, it is a burden.
NOR WITH A NEEDLE WHICH IS UNPIERCED. What is it fit for?8 — Said R. Joseph: Since a woman tidies9 her hair with it [it is therefore ornamental]. Said Abaye objected: Let it be as a garter, which is clean, and hence permitted?10 But R. Adda of Naresh11 interpreted it before R. Joseph: Since a woman parts her hair with it, [it is ornamental]. What is it fit for on the Sabbath?12 — Said Raba: It has a golden plaque at the end thereof:13 on weekdays she parts her hair therewith, [while] on the Sabbath she lets it lie against her forehead.14
MISHNAH. A MAN MAY NOT GO OUT WITH A NAIL-STUDDED SANDAL, NOR WITH A SINGLE [SANDAL]. IF HE HAS NO WOUND ON HIS FOOT;15 NOR WITH TEFILLIN, NOR WITH AN AMULET, IF IT IS NOT FROM AN EXPERT, NOR WITH A COAT OF MAIL [SHIRYON], NOR WITH A CASQUE [KASDA], NOR WITH GREAVES [MEGAFAYYIM]. YET IF HE GOES OUT, HE DOES NOT INCUR A SIN-OFFERING.16
GEMARA. A NAIL-STUDDED SANDAL: What is the reason? — Said Samuel: It was at the end of the period of persecution.17 and they [some fugitives] were hiding in a cave. They proclaimed, 'He who would enter, let him enter,18 but he who would go out, let him not go out.'19 Now, the sandal of one of them became reversed, so that they thought that one of them had gone out and been seen by the enemies, who would now fall upon them. Thereupon they pressed against each other,20 and they killed of each other more than their enemies slew of them. R. Ila'i b. Eleazar said: They were stationed in a cave when they heard a sound [proceeding] from above the cave. Thinking that the enemy was coming upon them, they pressed against each other and slew amongst themselves more than the enemy had slain of them. Rami b. Ezekiel said: They were stationed in a Synagogue, when they heard a sound from behind the synagogue. Thinking that the enemy was coming upon them, they pressed against each other and slew amongst themselves more than the enemy had slain of them. In that hour it was enacted: A man must not go out with a nail-studded sandal.21 If so, it should be forbidden on weekdays too? — The incident happened on the Sabbath.22 Then let it be permitted on Festivals! Why did we learn:
But one may not [send] a nail-studded sandal or an unsewn shoe [on Festivals]?1 — What is the reason of the Sabbath?2 Because there is a gathering [of people]. So on Festivals too there is a gathering. But there is a gathering on a public fast day:3 let it be forbidden [then too]? — The incident happened on a day of assembly when there is an interdict [against work]; but here it is [a day of] assembly when it is permitted [to work]. And even according to R. Hanina b. Akiba who maintained, They enacted a prohibition only in respect of the Jordan and a ship, just as the incident that occurred:4 that applies only to the Jordan, which differs from other rivers;5 but Festivals and the Sabbath are alike, for we learnt: There is no difference between Festivals and the Sabbath save in respect of food consumption.6
Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: They learnt this only [where the nails are] to strengthen [the sandal], but where they are ornamental, it is permitted.7 And how many [nails] constitute an ornament? — R. Johanan said: Five on each; R. Hanina maintained: Seven on each8 and one on [each of] the straps; according to R. Hanina, there are three on each side9 and one in the strapping.
An objection is raised: For an inclining sandal10 one inserts seven [nails]; this is R. Nathan's view. But Rabbi permits thirteen.11 As for R. Hanina, It Is well: he rules as R. Nathan. But whose view does R. Johanan state? — He rules as R. Nehorai. For it was taught, R. Nehorai said: Five are permitted, but seven are forbidden. Efah said to Rabbah b. Bar Hanah: You, as disciples of R. Johanan, should act as R. Johanan; but we will act as R. Hanina.
R. Huna asked R. Ashi: What of five [nails]? — Even seven are permitted, he answered him. What of nine? Even eight are forbidden, was his reply. A certain shoe-maker asked R. Ammi: What if it is sewn from within?12 It is permitted, replied he, but I do not know what is the reason.13 Said R. Ashi, And does not the Master know what is the reason?14 Since it was sewn from within, it becomes a shoe:15 the Rabbis enacted a decree in respect to a sandal, but in respect of a shoe they did not enact any decree.
R. Abba b. Zabda asked R. Abba b. Abina: What if he arranged them [the nails] zigzag-shape?16 — It is permitted, he answered him. It was stated likewise: R. Jose b. R. Hanina said: If they are arranged zigzag-shape, it is permitted.
R. Shesheth said: If the whole of it [the sole] is covered with nails [underneath] so that the ground should not wear it away. it is permitted. It was taught in accordance with R. Shesheth, A man may not go out wearing a nail-studded sandal, nor may he stroll [in it] from house to house,17 and even from bed to bed. But it may be handled in order to cover a utensil or support the legs of a bed therewith;18 but R. Eleazar b. R. Simeon forbids this.19 If most of its nails are fallen out, but four or five are left, it is permitted; while Rabbi permits it up to seven. If one covers it with leather underneath and drives nails into it on top, it is permitted.20 If one arranges them [the nails] zigzag-fashion,21 or flattens [them] out, or points [them],22 or covers the whole of it with nails so that the ground should not wear it out, it is permitted. Now, this is self-contradictory: You say, if most of the nails are fallen out, [implying], even if many are left [it may be worn]; then it is taught, only four or five, but not more? — Said R. Shesheth, There is no difficulty: in the one case they are scooped out; in the other they are pulled out.23
'[If] four or five [are left], it is permitted.' Seeing that it is permitted [with] five, need four be stated? — Said R. Hisda: [It means] four in a small sandal and five in a large sandal.
'While Rabbi permits it up to seven.' But it was taught: Rabbi permits it up to thirteen? An inclining [sandal] is different.24 Now that you have arrived at this [distinction], on R. Johanan's view too there is no difficulty: an inclining [sandal] is different.25
R. Mattenah — others state, R. Ahadboi b. Mattenah in R. Mattenah's name — said: The halachah is not as R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon. But that is obvious: [where] one disagrees with many, the halachah is as the majority? — You might argue, R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon's view is logical here;26 hence we are informed [that we do not follow him].
R. Hiyya said: But that I would be dubbed a Babylonian who permits forbidden things,27 I would permit more. And how many, — In Pumbeditha they say, Twenty-four; in Sura, twenty-two. R. Nahman b. Isaac said: And your sign [to remember this is]: by the time he [R. Hiyya] travelled from Pumbeditha to Sura28 two [nails] were missing [from his sandals].
NOR WITH A SINGLE [SANDAL], IF HE HAS NO WOUND [or, BRUISE] ON HIS FOOT.
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