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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 62a

But it was taught: R. Oshaia said: Providing one does not hold it in his hand and carry it four cubits in the street? But the reference here is to [an amulet that is] covered with leather.1  But tefillin are leather-covered,2  yet it was taught: When one enters a privy, he must remove his tefillin at a distance of four cubits and then enter? There it is on account of the [letter] shin, for Abaye said: The shin of tefillin is a halachah of Moses at Sinai.3  Abaye also said: The daleth of tefillin is a halachah of Moses at Sinai. Abaye also said: The yod of tefillin is a halachah of Moses at Sinai.4

NOR WITH A SHIRYON, NOR WITH A KASDA, NOR WITH MEGAFAYYIM. SHIRYON is a coat of mail. KASDA, — Rab said: It is a polished metal helmet.5  MEGAFAYYIM, — Rab said: These are greaves.


GEMARA. 'Ulla said: And it is the reverse in the case of a man.9  Thus we see that 'Ulla holds that whatever is fit for a man is not fit for a woman, and whatever is fit for a woman is not fit for a man.10  R. Joseph objected: Shepherds may go out [on the Sabbath] with sackcloths;11  and not only of shepherds did they [the Sages] say [thus], but of all men, but that it is the practice of shepherds to go out with sacks.12  Rather said R. Joseph. 'Ulla holds that women are a separate [independent] people.

Abaye put an objection to him: If one finds tefillin,13  he must bring them in14  pair by pair;15  [this applies to] both a man and a woman. Now if you say that women are a separate people, surely it is16  a positive command limited in time, and from all such women are exempt?17  — There R. Meir holds that night is a time for tefillin, and the Sabbath [too] is a time for tefillin: thus it is a positive precept not limited by time, and all such are incumbent upon women.

But it is carrying out in a 'backhanded' manner?18  — Said R. Jeremiah: The reference is to a woman who is a charity overseer.19  Raba said [to him]: You have answered the case of a woman; but what can be said of a man?20  Said Raba, [This is the answer:] Sometimes a man gives a signet-ring to his wife to take it to a chest, and she places it on her hand21  until she comes to the chest. And sometimes a woman gives a non-signet ring to her husband to take it to an artisan to be repaired, and he places it on his hand until he comes to the artisan.22

NOR WITH A KOKLIAR, NOR WITH A KOBELETH. What is a KOKLIAR? — Said Rab: A brooch.23  KOBELETH? — Said Rab: A charm [bead] containing phyllon; and thus did R. Assi explain it: A charm containing phyllon.

Our Rabbis taught: She may not go out with a kobeleth, and if she does, she incurs a sin-offering, this is R. Meir's view; while the Sages maintain: She may not go out, but if she does, she is not culpable. R. Eliezer ruled: A woman may go out with a kobeleth at the very outset. Wherein do they differ? R. Meir holds that it is a burden. Whereas the Rabbis hold that it is an ornament, and [she hence may not wear it at the outset] lest she remove it for display, and so come to carry it. But R. Eliezer argues: Whose practice is it to wear this? A woman with an unpleasant odour;24  and such a woman will not remove it for display, and so will not come to carry it four cubits in the street. But it was taught: R. Eliezer declares [her] non culpable on account of a kobeleth and a flask of spikenard oil?25  — There is no difficulty: the one [ruling] is in reference to R. Meir; the other, in reference to the Rabbis. [Thus:] when referring to R. Meir, who maintained that she is liable to a sin-offering, he [R. Eliezer] said to him that she is not culpable. When treating of the Rabbis who maintained that there is no culpability, yet it is forbidden, he ruled that it is permitted at the outset.

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Or, skin. This may be taken into a privy.
  2. I.e., the strips of parchment bearing the Biblical passages are encased in leather capsules.
  3. V. supra 28b, p. 123. n. 7. Thus part of the Divine Name itself is uncovered; therefore one may not enter a privy with it.
  4. The strap of the head-phylactery is knotted at the back of the head in the shape of a daleth ([H]); that of the hand-phylactery forms a noose and is knotted near the capsule in the shape of a yod ([H]). Cf. Heilprin. Seder ha-Doroth, I, p. 208 ed. Maskileison. Warsaw, 1897. Thus the three together make up the word [H] = Almighty. Tosaf., however, s.v. [H], deletes Abaye's last two statements on the daleth and yod.
  5. Jast. Rashi: a leather helmet worn under the metal helmet.
  6. A pin of the shape of a cochlea, which is a part of the inner ear.
  7. 'Aruch reads: kokeleth, a perfume charm.
  8. He regards these as burdens, not ornaments.
  9. This refers to a ring. If it bears a signet he is not culpable; if not, he is.
  10. So that what is an ornament for one is a burden for the other.
  11. As a protection from the rain.
  12. This shows that even when people are not in the habit of wearing it, yet since it is an ornament for one it is the same for the other.
  13. In the street on the Sabbath.
  14. To a safe place, where they will not be exposed to misuse.
  15. I.e., he dons one pair on the hand and the head as they are usually worn, and walks with them as with an ordinary article of attire to his destination; then he returns and does the same with the second pair, and so on. This is R. Meir's view: Erub. 96b.
  16. The precept of donning tefillin.
  17. V. Kid. 29a. The difficulty is based on the assumption that tefillin are not to be worn on the Sabbath, nor at night. Since women are exempt, and at the same time they rank as a separate people, tefillin can surely not be accounted for them an article of attire?
  18. V. p. 188, n. 2. This raises a difficulty on the Mishnah. Why is a woman culpable for going out wearing a signet ring, seeing that this is not the usual manner of carrying out an object? [Liability is incurred only when the work done is performed in the usual manner.]
  19. Lit., 'treasurer'. She impresses the seal of her signet ring upon her orders for charity disbursements. Thus she usually wears the ring on her finger, and that is her way of carrying it out into the street. Yet since women do not generally wear such rings, this cannot be regarded as an ornament. — It is interesting to observe a woman occupying this position.
  20. 'Ulla states that a man is culpable for wearing a non-signet ring; but that too is a backhanded manner?
  21. I.e., on her finger.
  22. Thus in both cases this becomes the usual manner of carriage. Hence the reference in the Mishnah is to any woman, not particularly a treasurer.
  23. V. note on Mishnah.
  24. Which the kobeleth counteracts.
  25. This implies that they may nevertheless not be worn.

Shabbath 62b

And what is [this reference to] R. Meir?1 — As it was taught: A woman may not go out with a key in her hand, and if she does, she incurs a sin-offering; this is R. Meir's view. R. Eliezer holds her non-culpable in the case of a kobeleth and a flask of spikenard oil. Who mentioned a kobeleth?2  — There is a lacuna, and it was thus taught: And she may likewise not go out with a kobeleth or a flask of spikenard oil; and if she does, she incurs a sin-offering: this is R. Meir's view. R. Eliezer holds her non-culpable in the case of a kobeleth and a flask of spikenard oil. When is that said? When they contain perfume;3  but if they do not contain perfume, she is culpable.4  R. Adda b. Ahabah said: This implies that if one carries out less than the statutory quantity of food in a utensil, he is culpable. For when it [the flask] does not contain perfume, it is analogous to less than the statutory quantity [of food carried out] in a utensil, and yet it is taught that she is culpable.5  R. Ashi said: In general I may hold that there is no liability, but here it is different, because there is nothing concrete at all.6

And anoint themselves with the chief ointments:7  Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: This refers to spikenard oil. R. Joseph objected: R. Judah b. Baba forbade spikenard oil too, but they [the Sages] did not agree with him.8  Now if you say [that the prophet's objection] is on account of its being a luxury,9  why did they not agree with him? Said Abaye to him, Then on your view, when it is written, that drink in bowls of [mizreke] wine,10  [which] R. Ammi and R. Assi — one interpreted it [as meaning] kenishkanim,11  while the other said, It means that they threw [mezarkim] their goblets to each other12  — is that too forbidden? Surely Rabbah son of R. Huna visited the house of the Resh Galutha,13  who drank from a kenishkanim, yet he said nothing to him!14  But whatever provides both enjoyment and rejoicings, the Rabbis forbade; but that which is a luxury but not associated with rejoicing, the Rabbis did not forbid.

That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves [seruhim] upon their couches.15  R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: This refers to people who urinate before their beds naked.16  R. Abbahu derided this: If so, is that why it is written: Therefore shall they now go captive with the first that go captive:17  because they urinate before their beds naked they shall go captive with the first that go captive! Rather said R. Abbahu: This refers to people who eat and drink together, join their couches, exchange their wives, and make their couches foul [maserihim] with semen that is not theirs.

R. Abbahu7  said — others say, In a Baraitha it was taught: Three things bring man to poverty. viz., urinating in front of one's bed naked, treating the washing of the hands with disrespect,18  and being cursed by one's wife in his presence. 'Urinating in front of one's bed naked': Raba said, This was said only when his face is turned to the bed: but if it is turned in the opposite direction, we have nought against it. And even when his face is turned to the bed, this was said only when it is on to the ground;19  but if it is into a vessel, we have nought against it. 'And the treating of the washing of the hands with disrespect': Raba said, This was said only when one does not wash his hands at all; but if he washes them inadequately,20  we have nought against it. (But this is not so, for R. Hisda said: I washed with full handfuls of water and was granted full handfuls of prosperity).21  'And being cursed by one's wife in his presence': Said Raba: [That is when she curses him] on account of her adornments.22  But that is only when he has the means but does not provide them.23

Raba son of R. Ilai lectured: What is meant by, Moreover the Lord said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty?24  That means that they walked with haughty bearing.25  And walk with outstretched necks26  — they walked heel by toe.27  And wanton [mesakroth] eyes:28  they filled their eyes with stibium and beckoned.29  Walking and mincing: they walked, a tall woman by the side of a short one. And making a tinkling [te'akasnah] with their feet: R. Isaac of the School of R. Ammi said: This teaches that they placed myrrh and balsam in their shoes and walked through the market-places of Jerusalem, and on coming near to the young men of Israel, they kicked their feet and spurted it on them, thus instilling them with passionate desire like with serpent's poison.30

And what is their punishment? — As Rabbah b. 'Ulla lectured: And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet spices [bosem] there shall be rottenness:31  the place where they perfumed themselves [mithbasmoth] shall be decaying sores. And instead of a girdle a rope [nikpeh]: the place where they were girded with a girdle shall become full of bruises [nekafim]. And instead of well-set hair baldness: the place where they adorned themselves shall be filled with bald patches. And instead of a stomacher [pethigil] a girding of sackcloth: the openings that lead to [sensual] joy32  shall be for a girding of sackcloth. Branding [ki] instead of beauty: Said Raba, Thus men say, Ulcers instead of beauty.

Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab [wesipah] the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion.33  R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: This teaches that leprosy broke out in them: here is written wesipah; whilst elsewhere it is written, [This is the law for all manner of plagues of leprosy …] and for a rising and for a scab [sapahath].34  And the Lord will lay bare [ye'areh] their secret parts:35  Rab and Samuel — one maintained: This means that they were poured out like a cruse;36  while the other said: Their openings became like a forest.

Rab Judah said in Rab's name: The men of Jerusalem were vulgar. One would say to his neighbour, On what did you dine to-day: on well-kneaded bread or on bread that is not well kneaded;37  on white wine38  or

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Where is R. Meir's view found without that of the Rabbis that R. Eliezer should refer exclusively to his ruling?
  2. R. Eliezer's ruling does not bear upon R. Meir's statement.
  3. Then they are ornaments.
  4. Because they are burdens.
  5. V. 76b; also 93b for an opposing view. Liability is incurred for carrying out any quantity of perfume, no matter how little. Now even a flask without any perfume at all contains its fragrance: this fragrance may be regarded as less than the minimum quantity of food which imposes liability, and R. Eliezer rules that when it is together with the utensil it does involve culpability. — The opposing view on 93b is that the utensil is merely subordinate in purpose to the food, and since the food does not impose liability, the utensil does not either.
  6. Mere fragrance is not a concrete object; hence the utensil cannot be subordinate to it, but is an independent article, for which liability is incurred. But even a very small quantity of food may render the utensil subordinate to it.
  7. Amos VI, 6.
  8. This was during the Hadrianic persecutions, when luxuries were proscribed.
  9. The people, by setting their minds on such things, disregarded the essentials, viz., the teachings of the prophets.
  10. Ibid.
  11. A cup with spouts, enabling several persons to drink from it; v. T.A. II, pp. 280 and 641 (n. 237).
  12. Both derive mizreke from zarak, to throw, the first holds that the wine was 'thrown', i.e., passed from one spout to the other. — Thus the prophet criticizes this too as an unnecessary luxury.
  13. V. p. 217. n. 7.
  14. In reproof.
  15. Ibid. 4.
  16. Translating seruhim that act indecently.
  17. Ibid. 7.
  18. Eating without washing the hands.
  19. Their floors were of earth.
  20. Lit., 'he washes and does not wash', — i.e., he uses the barest minimum.
  21. Lit., 'goodness'. This shows that water must be used generously.
  22. Because he refuses them.
  23. Cf. this with Raba's statement supra 32b, 33a.
  24. Isa. III, 16.
  25. Lit., 'erect stature'.
  26. Ibid.
  27. I.e., with short mincing steps. One who walks with outstretched neck must take short steps, because he cannot see his feet (Rashi).
  28. Ibid.
  29. To the men.
  30. Reading 'akus (serpent) and connecting te'akasnah with it by a play on words.
  31. lbid. 24.
  32. Reading pethigil as an abbreviation for pethahim (openings) of gilah (joy).
  33. Isa. Ill, 17.
  34. Lev. XIV, 56.
  35. Isa. Ill, 17.
  36. I.e., they discharged an abundance of matter. Ye'areh (E. V. lay bare) is translated, will empty; cf. Gen. XXIV, 20: and She emptied (wate'ar) her pitcher.
  37. The whole is a vulgar metaphor for the satisfaction of one's lust.
  38. Gurdeli fr. garad, to scrape, means scraper, a nickname for an inferior white wine.