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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 94a

where he sinned unwittingly in respect of the food, but deliberately in respect of the utensil.1  R. Ashi demurred: But it is stated, 'in respect of the utensil too'?2  Rather said R. Ashi: E.g.. where he sinned unwittingly in respect of both, then [one offence] became known to him, and subsequently the other became known to him, this being dependent on the controversy of R. Johanan and Resh Lakish.3

[IF ONE CARRIES OUT] A LIVING PERSON IN A BED, HE IS NOT CULPABLE EVEN IN RESPECT OF THE BED. Shall we say that our Mishnah is [according to] R. Nathan, but not the Rabbis? For it was taught: If one carries out an animal, beast,4  or bird into the street, whether alive or [ritually] killed, he is liable [to a sacrifice]; R. Nathan said: For killed ones he is liable, but for live ones he is exempt, because the living [creature] carries itself! Said Raba, You may even say [that it agrees with] the Rabbis: the Rabbis differ from R. Nathan only in respect of an animal, beast, and bird, which stiffen themselves,5  but as for a living person, who carries himself,6  even the Rabbis agree. R. Adda b. Ahabah observed to Raba, But as to what we learnt: Ben Bathyra permits [it] in the case of a horse.7  And it was taught: Ben Bathyra permits [it] in the case of a horse, because it is employed for work which does not entail liability to a sin-offering.8  And R. Johanan observed, Ben Bathyra and R. Nathan said the same thing.9  Now if you say that the Rabbis disagree with R. Nathan only in respect of an animal, beast, or bird, because they stiffen themselves, why particularly Ben Bathyra and R. Nathan: Surely you have said that even the Rabbis agree? — When R. Johanan said [thus] it was in respect of a horse that is set apart for [carrying] birds. But are there horses set apart for birds? Yes, there are the falconers' [horses].10  R. Johanan said: Yet R. Nathan agrees in the case of a tied [living being].11  R. Adda b. Mattenah said to Abaye: But these Persians are like bound [men],12  yet R. Johanan said, Ben Bathyra and R. Nathan said the same thing?13  There they suffer from haughtiness,14  for a certain officer with whom the king was angry ran three parasangs on foot.

A CORPSE IN A BED, HE IS CULPABLE.15  AND LIKEWISE [IF ONE CARRIES OUT] THE SIZE OF AN OLIVE OR A CORPSE, etc. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in R. Johanan's name, and R. Joseph said in the name of Resh Lakish: R. Simeon declared exempt

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. And 'liable'- means to death, for the wilful desecration of the Sabbath.
  2. Which implies the same liability.
  3. v. supra 71b. Thus according to R. Johanan he is liable to two sin-offerings if he is apprised of each in succession, and then comes to make atonement for both. But in the view of Resh Lakish he is liable to two sacrifices only if he is apprised of one, makes atonement, and is then apprised of the other (Tosaf.).
  4. Behemah means a domestic animal; hayyah, a non-domestic animal.
  5. Making themselves a dead weight, and thus they are a real burden.
  6. He has natural buoyancy.
  7. One may not sell his cattle to a Gentile, because they are used for ploughing, and thereby lose the Sabbath rest to which they are entitled (v. Ex. XX, 10). Horses, however, were not used for ploughing in Mishnaic times, but merely for riding.
  8. Riding being only Rabbinically prohibited.
  9. Sc. that it is not a labour to carry a living being, because it carries itself.
  10. The falcons which they carry are free and do not stiffen themselves; yet in the view of the Rabbis, who make an exception only in respect of a human being, one would be culpable carrying out a falcon. Hence R. Johanan specified R. Nathan.
  11. Whether human or animal, because these certainly do not carry themselves.
  12. Rashi: they ride swathed in their garments and could not walk if they wished to.
  13. I.e., Ben Bathyra permits the sale of a horse even to a Persian, showing that even a bound person is not a burden.
  14. Their haughty bearing makes them look as if they cannot walk, but actually they are able to quite well.
  15. [Tosaf. identifies R. Judah as the authority for this ruling, he being of the opinion that there is liability for a labour not essential in itself cf. supra p. 448, n. 8.]

Shabbath 94b

even him who carries out a corpse for burial.1  Raba observed: Yet R. Simeon admits in the case of [one who carries out] a spade for digging therewith or the Scroll of the Torah to read it, that he is culpable.2  That is obvious, for if this too should be regarded as a labour unrequired per se, how would a labour necessary per se be conceivably according to R. Simeon? — You might say, it must be [carried out] both for his requirements and for its own purpose, e.g., a spade in order to make it into a [metal] plate3  and for digging, a Scroll of the Law for correcting and reading: [therefore] he informs us [that it is not so].

A dead body was lying in Darukra,4  which R. Nahman b. Isaac allowed to be carried out into a karmelith. Said R. Nahman the brother of Mar son of Rabbana to R. Nahman b. Isaac: On whose authority? R. Simeon's! But Perhaps R. Simeon merely exempts [such] from liability to a sin-offering, yet there is a Rabbinical interdict. By God! said he to him, you yourself may bring it in. For [this is permitted] even according to R. Judah:5  did I then say [that it may be carried out] into the street? I [merely] said, into a karmelith: the dignity of human beings is a great thing, for it supersedes [even] a negative injunction of the Torah.6

We learnt elsewhere: If one plucks out the symptoms of uncleanness7  or burns out the raw flesh,8  he transgresses a negative injunction.9  It was stated: [If he plucks out] one of two [hairs]. he is culpable;10  one of three: R. Nahman maintained, He is culpable; R. Shesheth said, He is not culpable. R. Nahman maintained, He is culpable: his action is effective in so far that if another is removed the uncleanness departs. R. Shesheth said, He is not culpable: now at all events the uncleanness is present. R. Shesheth observed: Whence do I know it? Because we learnt: AND LIKEWISE [IF ONE CARRIES OUT] THE SIZE OF AN OLIVE OF A CORPSE, THE SIZE OF AN OLIVE OF A NEBELAH, … HE IS CULPABLE. This implies, [for] half the size of an olive he is exempt; but it was taught: [For] half the size of an olive he is culpable? Surely [then], where it was taught that he is culpable, [it means] that he carries out half the size of an olive from [a piece as large as] an olive; while where we learnt [by implication] that he is exempt, [it means] that he carries out half the size of an olive from an olive and a half.11  But R. Nahman maintains: In both these cases he is culpable;12  but as to what we learnt that he is exempt, that is where he carries out half the size of an olive of a large corpse.13


GEMARA. R. Eleazar said: They differ only [where it is done] by hand; but if with an implement, all agree that he is culpable. That is obvious, [for] we learnt, WITH EACH OTHER? — You might say, the Rabbis hold [him] exempt even [if he does it] with an implement, while as to what is stated, WITH EACH OTHER, that is to teach you the extent16  of R. Eliezer['s ruling]:17  [hence] he informs us [otherwise].

R. Eleazar also said: They differ only [where one does it] for himself; but [if he does it] for his neighbour, all agree that he is not culpable. That is obvious, [for] we learnt, HIS NAILS? You might say. R. Eliezer holds [him] culpable even [if he does it] for his neighbour, while as to what is stated — HIS NAILS, that is to teach you the extent of the Rabbis[' ruling]:18  [hence] he informs us [otherwise].

LIKEWISE HIS HAIR, etc. It was taught: If one plucks out a full scissors' edge [of hair], he is culpable. And how much is a full scissors' edge? Said Rab Judah: Two [hairs]. But it was taught: But in respect of baldness [the standard is] two?19 — Say, and likewise in respect of baldness, [the standard is] two. It was taught likewise: If one plucks out a full scissors' edge [of hair] on the Sabbath, he is culpable. And how much is a full scissors' edge? Two. R. Eliezer said: One. But the Sages agree with R. Eliezer in the case of one who picks out white hairs from black ones, that he is culpable even for one;20  and this is interdicted even on weekdays, for it is said, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment.21

It was taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: As for a nail the greater part of which is severed,22  and shreds [of skin] the largest portions of which are severed [from the body], — by hand it is permitted [wholly to remove them]; (if one severs them] with a utensil, he is liable to a sin-offering. Is there anything which [if done] with a utensil renders one liable to a sin-offering, yet is permitted by hand at the very outset?23 — This is its meaning: If the greater portions thereof are severed by hand, it is permitted [to remove them wholly]; if done with a utensil one is not culpable, yet it is prohibited. If the greater portions thereof are not severed, [if wholly removed] by hand one is not culpable. yet it is prohibited: with a utensil, one is liable to a sin-offering. Rab Judah said: The halachah is as R. Simeon b. Eleazar. Said Rabbah b. Bar Hanah in R. Johanan's name: Providing they are severed towards the top.24  so that they pain him.

LIKEWISE IF [A WOMAN] PLAITS, etc. She who plaits, paints or rouges, on what score is she culpable? — R. Abin said in the name of R. Jose son of R. Hanina: She who plaits on the score of weaving; she who paints on the score of writing; she who rouges on account of spinning.25  Said the Rabbis before R. Abbahu: Are then weaving, writing, and spinning done in this way? Rather said R. Abbahu: R. Jose son of R. Hanina's [statement] was explained to me [thus]:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Though that is for the requirements of the dead, he is exempt, since it is not for the requirements of the living.
  2. Since it is for his own requirements.
  3. [Aliter: to fix upon it (if blunted) a plate. v. Rash.]
  4. Or, Drukerith, Darkerith, a Babylonian town near Wasit on the lower Tigris; Obermeyer, p. 197.
  5. Who holds a labour not required per se to be a culpable offence.
  6. Hence this is permitted. [Not exactly a Biblical prohibition but an interdict of the Rabbis whose enactments have Biblical force (Rashi). V. Ber. 19b.]
  7. v., the two whitened hairs which are a proof of leprosy; v. Lev. XIII, 3 (the minimum is two hairs).
  8. Also a symptom of leprosy, ibid. 10.
  9. Deut. XXI, 8: Take heed in the plague of leprosy this is interpreted as a command not to remove the evidences thereof.
  10. Since he thereby effectively removes the symptom of leprosy, the remaining one being insufficient to prove him unclean.
  11. He is culpable in the first case because his action is effective, but in the second it does not effect anything, and the same applies here.
  12. His reasoning is the same as in the case of leprosy.
  13. For even if another half is carried out, it makes no difference to the contaminating efficacy of the corpse.
  14. One of the explanations of Rashi. V. also Krauss, T.A. I p. 692 n. 293.
  15. V. Glos.
  16. Lit., 'power'.
  17. Viz., that even then he is culpable.
  18. Viz., that he is not culpable even when he pares his own nails.
  19. V. Deut. XIV, 1: the prohibition is infringed by the plucking of two hairs. The conjunction waw may mean, either 'and' or 'but'; it is understood in the latter sense here, and thus implies that there is a different standard for the Sabbath, since both statements are part of the same Baraitha.
  20. For its removal makes him look younger; hence it is regarded as a labour.
  21. Ibid. XXII, 5. This is interpreted as a general prohibition of effeminacy. which includes the attempt to make oneself look young by such methods.
  22. I.e., it is hanging and nearly torn off.
  23. Surely not!
  24. Near the nail.
  25. The rouge was drawn out in thread-like lengths, and thus it resembled spinning; v. Tosaf. M.K. 9b s.v. [H].