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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
Surely then the first clause [dealing with the greater severity of the Sabbath] refers to idolatry, whilst the second treats of other precepts; and how is unwitting and unintentional transgression possible? When one thought that it [heleb] was permitted fat, and ate it.1 [While] 'this is not so with respect to the Sabbath,' viz., that he is not culpable, for if [by analogy] one intended cutting something detached but cut something attached [instead], he is not culpable.2 But Abaye [maintains:] how is an unwitting and unintentional offence meant? When one thinks that it [heleb] is spittle and swallows it.3 [While] 'which is not so in the case of the Sabbath,' where he is exempt, for if [by analogy] one intends lifting something detached but cuts something attached [to the soil], he is not culpable. But if he intends to cut something detached and cuts something attached, he is liable.
It was stated: If one intends to throw [an object] two [cubits], but throws it four,4 Raba said: He is not culpable; Abaye ruled: He is culpable.5 Raba said: He is not culpable, since he had no intention of a four [cubits'] throw. Abaye ruled, He is culpable, since he intended throwing in general. If he thinks it private ground but it is learnt to be public ground, Raba ruled: He is not culpable; Abaye said: He is culpable. Raba ruled, He is not culpable, since he had no intention of a forbidden throw. While Abaye ruled that he is culpable, since he intended throwing in general.
Now, it is necessary.6 For if we were informed of the first, [it might be argued] there [only] does Raba rule thus, since he did not intend [to perform] a forbidden eating, but if he intended throwing [an object] two [cubits] but throws it four, since four cannot be thrown without two,7 I would say that he agrees with Abaye. And if we were informed of this, [it might be argued] here [only] does Raba rule thus, since he did not intend a four [cubits'] throw; but if he thought it private ground but it was discovered to be public ground, seeing that he intended a four [cubits'] throw, I would say that he agrees with Abaye. Thus they are [all] necessary.
We learnt: The primary labours are forty less one. Now we questioned this, Why state the number? And R. Johanan answered: [To teach] that if one performs all of them in one state of unawareness, he is liable [to a sacrifice] on account of each separately. Now, as for Abaye who ruled that in such a case one is liable, this is well: for this is conceivable where one knows the interdict of the Sabbath and the interdicts of labours, but errs in respect of the standards.8 But according to Raba who maintained that one is not culpable [for this], how is this conceivable? [Presumably] [only] where he was conscious of the Sabbath but unaware of [the forbidden character of his] labors. Now that is well if he agrees with R. Johanan who ruled, Since he was ignorant of kareth, even if he was conscious of the negative injunction, [he is liable]:9 then it is possible where he knew [that his labors are prohibited on] Sabbath by a negative injunction. But if he holds with R. Simeon b. Lakish, who maintained, He must offend unwittingly in respect of both the negative injunction and kareth, then wherein did he know of the Sabbath?10 — He knew it by the law of boundaries, this being in accordance with R. Akiba.11
MISHNAH. THE PRIMARY LABOURS ARE FORTY LESS ONE, [VIZ.:] SOWING,12 PLOUGHING, REAPING, BINDING SHEAVES, THRESHING, WINNOWING, SELECTING,13 GRINDING, SIFTING, KNEADING, BAKING, SHEARING WOOL, BLEACHING, HACKLING, DYEING, SPINNING, STRETCHING THE THREADS,14 THE MAKING OF TWO MESHES, WEAVING TWO THREADS, DIVIDING TWO THREADS,15 TYING [KNOTTING] AND UNTYING, SEWING TWO STITCHES, TEARING IN ORDER TO SEW TWO STITCHES,16 CAPTURING A DEER, SLAUGHTERING, OR FLAYING, OR SALTING IT,17 CURING ITS HIDE, SCRAPING IT [OF ITS HAIR], CUTTING IT UP, WRITING TWO LETTERS, ERASING IN ORDER TO WRITE TWO LETTERS [OVER THE ERASURE], BUILDING, PULLING DOWN, EXTINGUISHING, KINDLING, STRIKING WITH A HAMMER,18 [AND] CARRYING OUT FROM ONE DOMAIN TO ANOTHER: THESE ARE THE FORTY PRIMARY LABOURS LESS ONE.
GEMARA. Why state the number? — Said R. Johanan: [To teach] that if one performs them all in one state of unawareness, he is liable on account of each separately.
A Tanna taught: Sowing, pruning, planting, bending,3 and grafting are all one labour. What does this inform us? — This: that if one performs many labours of the same nature, he is liable only to one [sacrifice]. R. Abba4 said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Ashi in R. Ammi's name: He who prunes is culpable on account of planting, while he who plants, bends [the vine], or grafts is culpable on account of sowing. On account of sowing only but not on account of planting?5 — Say: on account of planting too.6
R. Kahana said: If one prunes and needs the wood [too], he is liable to two [penalties],7 one on account of reaping8 and one on account of planting.9 R. Joseph said: He who cuts hay is liable to two [penalties], one on account of reaping and the other on account of planting.10 Abaye said: He who trims beets [in the ground] is liable to two [penalties], one on account of reaping11 and one on account of planting.12
PLOUGHING. A Tanna taught: Ploughing, digging, and trenching are a]l one [form of] work.13 R. Shesheth said: If one has a mound [of earth] and removes it, in the house, he is liable on the score of building;14 if in the field, he is liable on the score of ploughing. Raba said: If one has a depression and fills it up: if in the house, he is liable on account of building; if in the field, he is liable on account of ploughing.15
R. Abba said: If one digs a pit on the Sabbath, needing only the earth thereof,16 he is not culpable on its account. And even according to R. Judah, who ruled: One is liable on account of a labour which is not required on its own account:17 that is only when he effects an improvement, but this man causes damage.18
REAPING: A Tanna taught: Reaping, vintaging, gathering [dates], collecting [olives], and gathering [figs] are all one [form of] labour. R. Papa said: He who throws a clod of earth at a palm tree and dislodges dates is liable to two [penalties], one on account of detaching19 and one on account of stripping.20 R. Ashi said: This is not the mode of detaching, nor is it the mode of stripping.21
THRESHING. It was taught: Threshing, beating [flax in their stalks], and beating [cotton] are all the same form of work.
WINNOWING, SELECTING, GRINDING AND SIFTING. But winnowing, selecting, and sifting are identical?25 — Abaye and Raba both said: Whatever was performed in [connection with the erection of] the Tabernacle,
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