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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 63a

on dark [i.e., mustard-coloured] wine; on a broad couch or on a narrow couch; with a good companion or with a poor companion? R. Hisda observed: And all these are in reference to immorality.

Rahabah said in R. Judah's name: The [fuel] logs of Jerusalem were of the cinnamon tree, and when lit their fragrance pervaded the whole of Eretz Israel. But when Jerusalem was destroyed they were hidden, only as much as a barley grain being left, which is to be found in the queen's collections of rarities.1


GEMARA. What is, WITH AN ALLAH? — A lance.

R. ELIEZER SAID: THEY ARE ORNAMENTS FOR HIM. It was taught: Said they [the Sages] to R. Eliezer: Since they are ornaments for him, why should they cease in the days of the Messiah? Because they will not be required, he answered, as it is said, nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Yet let them exist merely as ornaments? — Said Abaye. It may be compared to a candle at noon.4

Now this disagrees with Samuel.5  For Samuel said, This world differs from the Messianic era only in respect to servitude of the exiled, for it is said, For the poor shall never cease out of the land.6  This supports R. Hiyya b. Abba,7  who said, All the prophets prophesied only for the Messianic age, but as for the world to come, the eye hath not seen, O Lord, beside thee [what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him].8

Some there are who state: Said they [the Sages] to R. Eliezer: Since they are Ornaments for him, why should they cease in the days of the Messiah? In the days of the Messiah too they shall not cease, he answered. This is Samuel's view, and it disagrees with R. Hiyya b. Abba's.

Abaye asked R. Dimi — others state, R. Awia, — others again state, R. Joseph [asked] R. Dimi — and others state, R. Awia whilst others state, Abaye [asked] R. Joseph: What is R. Eliezer's reason for maintaining that they are ornaments for him? — Because it is written, Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O mighty one, Thy glory and thy majesty.9  R. Kahana objected to Mar son of R. Huna: But this refers to the words of the Torah?10  — A verse cannot depart from its plain meaning, he replied.11  R. Kahana said: By the time I was eighteen years old I had studied the whole Shas,12  yet I did not know that a verse cannot depart from its plain meaning.13  until to-day. What does he inform us? — That a man should study and subsequently understand.14

(Mnemonic: ZaRuTH.)15  R. Jeremiah said in R. Eleazer's name: When two scholars sharpen each other in halachah,16  the Holy One, blessed be He, gives them success, for it is said, and in thy majesty [wa-hadareka] be successful:17  read not wa-hadareka but wa-hadadeka [thy sharpening]. Moreover, they ascend to greatness, as it is said, 'ride on prosperously' [successfully]. One might think [that this is so] even if it is not for its own sake, therefore it is taught, 'In behalf of truth'. I might think [that this is so] even if he becomes conceited; therefore it is taught, 'and meekness of righteousness'. But if they do thus, they are privileged to acquire18  the Torah, which was given by the right Hand,19  as it is said, and thy right hand shall teach thee awe-inspiring things.20  R. Nahman b. Isaac said: They will obtain the things which were promised at the right hand of the Torah. For Raba b. R. Shila said — others state, R. Joseph b. Hama — said in R. Shesheth's name: What is meant by the verse, Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand are riches and honour:21  is there in her right hand length of days only, but not riches and honour? But to those who go to the right hand thereof there is length of days, and riches and honour a fortiori; but for those that go to the left hand thereof there is riches and honour, but not length of days.22

R. Jeremiah said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish:23  When two scholars are amiable to each other in [their discussions in] halachah, the Holy One, blessed be He, gives heed to them, for it is said, Then they that feared the Lord spake [nidberu] one with another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard;24  now speech [dibbur] can 'only mean [with] gentleness, for it is said, He shall subdue [yadber] the peoples under us.25  What is meant by, and that thought upon his name?26  — Said R. Ammi: Even if one thinks of doing a good deed but is forcibly prevented and does not do it, the Writ ascribes it to him as though he did it.

R. Hinena b. Idi said: Whoever fulfils a precept as it is commanded,27  no evil tidings are told to him, for it is said, Whoso keepeth the commandment shall know no evil thing.28  R. Assi — others state, R. Hanina — said: Even if the Holy One, blessed be He, makes a decree, He annuls it,29  for it is said, Because the king's word hath power; and who may say unto him, what doest thou;30  in proximity to which [is written,] Whoso keepeth the commandment shall know no evil thing.31

R. Abba said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: When two scholars pay heed to each other in halachah, the Holy One, blessed be He, listens to their voice, as it is said, Thou that dwellest in the gardens, The companions hearken to thy voice: Cause me to hear it.32  But if they do not do thus, they cause the Shechinah to depart from Israel, as it is said, Flee, my beloved, and be thou like, etc.33

R. Abba said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: When two disciples form an assembly34  in halachah,35  the Holy One, blessed be He, loves them, as it is said, and his banner over me was love.36  Said Raba: Providing they know the features of a subject;37  providing also that there is no greater [scholar] in the town from whom to learn.

R. Abba also said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: He who lends [money] is greater than he who performs charity;38  and he who forms a partnership39  is greater than all.

R. Abba also said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: [Even] if a scholar is vengeful and bears malice like a serpent.40  gird him on thy loins;41  [whereas even] if an 'am ha-arez is pious, do not dwell in his vicinity.42

R. Kahana said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish — others state, R. Assi said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish — others state, R. Abba said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: He who breeds a wild dog in his house keeps loving kindness away from his house,43  as it is said, To him that is ready to faint [lamos]

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Jast. Rashi: of Queen Zimzemai.
  2. Isa. II, 4.
  3. 'Clean' and 'unclean' mean not susceptible and susceptible to uncleanness respectively.
  4. Being unnecessary then, it is not beautiful either. Thus, when war will be abolished, the instruments of war will not be adornments. Now, however, that they may be needed, they are also ornamental.
  5. Sc. the view that they will cease to be in the days of the Messiah.
  6. Deut. XV, 11. This implies that poverty will continue in the Messianic era. Hence the prophets' tidings of a new state of affairs cannot refer to the Messianic era, which will be the same as the present, save in this matter.
  7. Sc. the Baraitha which states that weapons of war will cease to exist in the Messianic age.
  8. Isa. LXIV, 3. — The conception of the future world is rather vague in the Talmud. In general, it is the opposite of [H], this world. In Ber, I, 5, 'this world' is opposed to the days of the Messiah, and this in turn is differentiated here from the future world. The following quotation from G. Moore, 'Judaism' (Vol. 2, p. 389) is apposite: 'Any attempt to systematize the Jewish notions of the hereafter imposes upon them an order and consistency which does not exist in them'.
  9. Ps. XLV, 4.
  10. 'Thy sword' is metaphorical for learning, which is Israel's weapon. It is indicative of the peace-loving spirit of the Rabbis and their exaltation of Torah that they regarded it as axiomatic that such a verse could not be taken literally.
  11. Granted that it is metaphorical, yet the Torah would not have been likened to the sword, unless the latter were ornamental.
  12. An abbreviation of shishah sedarim, the six orders into which the Talmud is divided: v. supra 31a. [MS.M. Talmud, Shas being a correction by the censor].
  13. [In the narrative and poetical passages v. Chayyes. Z. H. Glosses].
  14. Even when one does not understand all he learns he should nevertheless study, and understanding will come eventually.
  15. V. p. 110, n. 1. For the explanation of this Mnemonic v. Hyman, Toledoth, p. 18.
  16. By means of debating, etc.
  17. Ibid. 5.
  18. Zakah implies to acquire through one's merit.
  19. V. Deut. XXXIII, 2.
  20. Ps. XLV, 5.
  21. Prov. III, 16.
  22. Rashi:'... to the right hand' means that they study the Torah profoundly and intensively, just as the right hand is the stronger for work; alternatively, it refers to those who study the Torah for its own sake. '... to the left hand' implies the opposite of these.
  23. Otherwise known as Resh Lakish.
  24. Mal. III, 16.
  25. Ps. XLVII, 3. Subdue implies lowliness, which in turn implies gentleness.
  26. Mal. III, 16.
  27. In the proper spirit.
  28. Eccl. VIII, 5.
  29. 'He' may refer either to God or to the observer of the precept, who is given power to annul God's decree — a daring thought. The former interpretation is indicated in the parallel passage in B.M. 85a (Sonc. ed., p. 488); the latter in M.K. 16b; but v. Weiss, Dor, I, p. 145.
  30. Ibid. 4.
  31. I.e., in spite of the king's word, viz., God's decree, whoso keepeth, etc.
  32. Cant. VIII, 13. The Song of Songs was allegorically interpreted as a dialogue between God and Israel. 'In the gardens' thus means in the academies, and when one scholar hearkens to another's voice, God says. 'Cause me to hear it'.
  33. Ibid. 14.
  34. Rashi, deriving the word from degel, a flag, i.e., who come under one flag. Tosaf. in A.Z. 22b, s.v. [H], interprets: even when two students outwit each other by sophistries, without seeking the real truth, yet God loves them.
  35. In the absence of a teacher.
  36. Ibid. II, 4.
  37. I.e., they have a general understanding of the subjects to be studied, so that a teacher is not indispensable.
  38. Rashi: because the poor man is not ashamed to borrow. Also perhaps because one generally lends a larger sum than he would give as charity, and that may suffice to make the poor man independent.
  39. With a poor man, providing the capital for him to trade with on agreed terms. Lit., 'who throws (money) into a (common) purse'.
  40. The serpent was probably given that character on account of its part in the sin of Adam and Eve; cf. also Ta'an., Sonc. ed., 8a, Yoma 23a.
  41. Cleave to him, for you will benefit by his scholarship.
  42. His piety is tainted by his ignorance, which may influence his neighbour too. Cf. Ab. II, 6 (Sonc. ed., p. 15, n. 5).
  43. The poor are afraid to call. Thus he can show no lovingkindness to them, nor can he earn the love of God.

Shabbath 63b

kindness should be shewed from his friend;1  and in Greek a dog is called lamos.2  R. Nahman b. Isaac said: He also casts off the fear of Heaven from himself, as it is said, and he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.3

A certain woman entered a house to bake. The dog barked at her, [whereupon] her child4  moved [from its place]. Said the householder to her, 'Fear not: his fangs and claws have been extracted.' 'Take your favours and throw them on the thorns,' she retorted, 'the child has already moved.'

R. Huna said: What is meant by the verse, Rejoice, O young man, In thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement?5  Thus far are the words of Evil Desire; thereafter are the words of Good Desire.6  Resh Lakish said: Thus far the reference is to study;7  thereafter, to good deeds.8

A BERITH IS CLEAN. Rab Judah said: A berith is a bracelet.9  R. Joseph objected: A BERITH IS CLEAN, AND ONE MAY GO OUT WITH IT ON THE SABBATH; but a bracelet is [liable to become] unclean? — He meant this: A berith stands in the place of a bracelet.10

Rabin and R. Huna were sitting before R. Jeremiah, and R. Jeremiah was dozing. Now Rabin sat and said: A berith is on one [leg]; whilst kebalim [ankle-chain] is on two.11  Said R. Huna to him, Both are on two, but a chain is placed between them and they become kebalim [anklets]. Does then the chain turn it into a utensil?12  And should you answer, This is in accordance with R. Samuel b. Nahmani, for R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Jonathan's name: How do we know that a metal object which causes sound is unclean? Because it is said: Everything [dabar] that may abide the fire, ye shall make go through the fire:13  even speech [dibbur — i.e., sound] is implied.14  — As for there, it is well: it [the utensil] is needed for sound15  and it performs an action;16  but here, what action does it perform?17  — Here too it performs an action, for Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in R. Johanan's name: There was a certain family in Jerusalem that had large steps, whereby their virginity was destroyed. So they made them leg-suspenders and placed a chain between them, that their steps should not be large, and then their virginity was not destroyed. R. Jeremiah awoke at that and exclaimed to them, Well spoken!18  and thus did R. Johanan say [too].

When R. Dimi came,19  he said in the name of R. Johanan: How do we know that woven [material] of whatever size is [liable to become] unclean? From the ziz.20  Said Abaye to him, Was then the ziz woven? But it was taught: The ziz was a kind of golden plate two fingerbreadths broad, and it stretched round [the forehead] from ear to ear, and upon it was written in two lines 'yod he' above and 'Holy lamed' below.21  But R. Eliezer son of R. Jose said: I saw it in the city of Rome,22  and 'Holy unto the Lord' was written in one line.23  When R. Dimi went up to Nehardea, he sent word: The things that I told you were erroneous. But in truth it was thus said on R. Johanan's authority: How do we know that an ornament of whatever size is [liable to become] unclean? From the headplate. And how do we know that woven material of whatever size is unclean? From [the phrase] or raiment.24

Our Rabbis taught: Woven stuff of whatever size is unclean, and an ornament of whatever size is unclean. [An object partly] woven and [partly] an ornament of whatever size is unclean.25  A sack goes beyond a garment, in that it is unclean as woven material.26  Raba said: Woven stuff of whatever size is unclean: this is [deduced] from, 'or raiment'. An ornament of whatever size is unclean: [this is learnt] from the headplate. [An object partly] woven and [partly] an ornament of whatever size is unclean: this is [deduced] from, every serviceable utensil.27  Said one of the Rabbis to Raba, But that is written in reference to Midian?28  We learn

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Job. VI, 14.
  2. Perhaps from the Gk. [G]. Thus he translates: on account of a (wild) dog, love is kept back from one's neighbour.
  3. Ibid.
  4. She was pregnant.
  5. Eccl. XI, 9.
  6. From 'Rejoice' to 'thine eyes' is spoken by the Tempter (sin personified), urging man to sin; 'but know thou, etc.' is the warning of Good Desire, man's better nature (Rashi). Maharsha explains it differently.
  7. Lit., 'the words of the Torah'.
  8. Rejoice in your youth, when you can study, and apply your heart and eyes. i.e., your full understanding, to same. But know that you will be judged for non-fulfilment of the precepts learned by you in your studies.
  9. For the hand.
  10. It corresponds to a bracelet, i.e., the bracelet encircles the arm while the berith encircles the foot.
  11. V. Krauss, T.A. I, pp. 205 and 665 (n. 977) on these terms.
  12. That it is susceptible to uncleanness, as taught in the Mishnah. Surely not!
  13. Num. XXXI, 23.
  14. V. supra 58b for notes.
  15. E.g., a bell.
  16. Viz., it makes a sound.
  17. Though, of course, it holds up the stockings, that does not make it a utensil, which must serve an independent function, whereas this is merely an adjunct, as it were, to the stockings.
  18. Lit., (with vf understood) 'thy strength be well'.
  19. V. p. 12, n. 9.
  20. The headplate worn by the High Priest, v. Ex. XXVIII, 36ff. Though quite small, it was counted among the High Priest's adornments, and was therefore susceptible to uncleanness.
  21. I.e., the Divine Name on the upper line and 'Holy unto' on the lower line.
  22. Whither it was taken after the destruction of the Temple.
  23. From this Baraitha we see that the ziz was not of woven material.
  24. Lev. XI, 32. 'Or' is an extension.
  25. Tosaf. observes that this implies that nevertheless some minimum is required in the size of woven material and ornaments.
  26. This is explained below.
  27. Num. XXXI, 51 (E. V.: all wrought jewels).
  28. Which treats of defilement through the dead. Such is graver than uncleanness through dead reptiles (sherazim), which it is sought to prove here.