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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth

Folio 71a

does apostasy disqualify,1  but in respect of tithe, apostasy does not disqualify.

What was the purpose of, But no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof?2  — 'Thereof'3  only may he not eat, but he may eat of the unleavened bread and bitter herbs.4  And it was necessary for Scripture to specify5  both 'Uncircumcised' and 'There shall no alien.' For had the All Merciful mentioned the 'uncircumcised' only it might have been assumed [that the prohibition applies only to him], because he is repulsive. but not to an alien who is not repulsive. And had the All Merciful written only 'There shall no alien' it might have been assumed [that only he is subject to the prohibition]. because his heart is not directed towards heaven, but not the uncircumcised whose heart is directed towards heaven. [Hence both were] required.

What6  was the purpose of repeating the expression. 'Of it',7  twice? — As expounded by Rabbah in the name of R. Isaac.8

The Master said, 'R. Akiba stated: This deduction is unneces sary. Since it was stated, What man soever,9  the uncircumcised also was included'.10  Might it be suggested that it11  includes the onan?12  R. Jose b. Hanina replied: Scripture stated, There shall no common man,13  I commanded you concerning its prohibition to a common man14  but not concerning that of an onan.12  Might it be suggested: But not the uncircumcised?15  — Surely, what man soever' was written.16  And what reason do you see?17  — It is logical that the case of the uncircumcised should be included, since18  it involves the absence of an act19  and that act is one affecting the man's own body; [the uncircumcised] is punishable by kareth;20  the law21  was in force before the Revelation;22  and the [non]-circumcision of one's male children and slaves debars [one from eating the paschal lamb].23  On the contrary; the case of the onan should have been included,24  since mourning is an ever-present possibility,25  is common to men as well as women, and no man has the power to cure himself of It!26  — Those27  are more in number. Raba said: Even if those27  were not more in number, you could not make your suggestion.28  For Scripture stated, What man soever.29  Now what disability is it that is applicable to a man and not to a woman? You must, of course, say that it is uncircumcision.

What expository use does R. Akiba30  make of the expression A sojourner and a hired servant?13  R. Shemaia replied: To include31  a circumcised Arab and a circumcised Gibeonite.32  Are these, however, regarded as circumcised at all? Surely we learned: [If a man said]. 'Konam33  if I benefit from the uncircumcised', he may benefit from uncircumcised Israelites34  but is forbidden to benefit from circumcised idolaters.35  [If he said]. 'Konam', if I benefit from the circumcised', he is permitted to benefit from circumcised idolaters but is forbidden to benefit from uncircumcised Israelites!36  — But In truth [the text referred to] includes37  a proselyte who had been circumcised but did not perform the prescribed ritual immersion,38  and a child who was born circumcised,39  he40  holding that it is necessary to provide for a few drops of the blood of the covenant41  to flow;42  while R. Eliezer43  follows his own view, he having stated that 'A proselyte who has been circumcised, though he has not performed his ritual immersion, is regarded as a proper proselyte'.44  and he is also of the opinion that it is not necessary to provide for any drops of the blood of the covenant41  to flow where a child was born circumcised.39

What expository use, however, does R. Eliezer make of the expression. What man soever?45  — The Torah, [he maintains], speaks in the language of [ordinary] men.46

R. Hama b. Ukba inquired: May an uncircumcised child47  be anointed with the oil of terumah?48  Does non-circumcision in the pre-circumcision period49  constitute a bar50  or not? — R. Zera replied: Come and hear: I only know [of the command]51  concerning the circumcision of the male children [which he has] at the time of the preparation52  [of the paschal lamb].53  and concerning the slaves [which he has] at the time of the eating thereof;54  whence, however, is it deduced that the restriction mentioned in respect of this category is to be applied to the other, and that of the other to this one?55  Then56  was specifically stated in both categories57  so that an analogy between the two might be drawn.58  Now, it is quite possible to imagine a man's slaves as being with him at the time of the eating of the paschal lamb but not at the time of its preparation,59  when, for instance, he bought them in the meantime.60  How is it possible, however, that a person's male children should be in existence during the eating and not during the preparation? Obviously only when birth occurred in the interval between the preparation and the eating.61  Thus it may be inferred that uncircumcision in the pre-circumcision period62  constitutes a legal status of uncircumcision.63  Said Rabbah:64  Do you understand this? The All Merciful said, Let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep65  it; but such a child is not fit to be circumcised!66  But what are we dealing with here? With a child67  who recovered from a fever.68  Then69  let him be granted [a period of convalescence of] full seven days.70  for71  Samuel said that a child who recovered from a fever must be allowed a period of convalescence of full seven days!72  — Where he was already granted the seven days' period.73  He should, then,74  have been circumcised in the morning!75  — We require

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. An apostate may not participate in the eating of the Paschal lamb.
  2. Ex. XII, 48, emphasis on [H]. Cf. supra note 2.
  3. [H] (cf. note 2) the Paschal lamb.
  4. Which were served with the Paschal lamb. V. Ex. XII, 8.
  5. Lit., 'to write', in regard to the prohibition of eating the Paschal lamb.
  6. Since the expression. 'Thereof'. is made the basis of an exposition.
  7. Ex. XII, 9, 10; also mentioned in respect of the Paschal lamb.
  8. Infra 74a. Pes. 96a.
  9. Lev. XXII, 4.
  10. In the prohibition against eating terumah, supra 70a, q.v. for notes.
  11. The Scriptural text cited.
  12. V Glos.
  13. Lev. XXII, 10.
  14. The non-priest.
  15. Cf. supra p. 476. n. 18.
  16. Which includes the uncircumcised in the prohibition.
  17. For including the uncircumcised and excluding the onan.
  18. V. supra p. 476. n. 22, where the mnemonic also is explained.
  19. The circumcision.
  20. V. supra p. 476. n. 24.
  21. Of circumcision.
  22. V. supra p. 476. n. 25.
  23. V. supra p. 477. n. 1.
  24. In the prohibition of eating terumah.
  25. V. supra p. 477. n. 3.
  26. V. supra p. 477, n. 4.
  27. The restrictions of circumcision.
  28. To include the onan and exclude the uncircumcised.
  29. Lev. XXII, 4, [H] (lit., 'man man'). emphasis on man.
  30. Who deduces the prohibition of the uncircumcised, in respect of terumah, from What man soever.
  31. In the prohibition to eat of the Paschal lamb.
  32. [H] (Cf. Josh. IX, 3ff); synonymous with nathin (v. Glos.). Aruk and MSS. read [H] 'highlander'. Cf. 'A.Z. 27a. The circumcision of these men was not performed in fulfilment of the Pentateuchal commandment and had, therefore, no religious value.
  33. [H] an expression used in a vow of abstinence. V. Ned. 3lb.
  34. In ordinary speech (the usages of which are the determining factor in vows), even such Israelites are never described as uncircumcised'.
  35. Since such idolaters also are in ordinary speech described as 'uncircumcised'.
  36. V. supra note 2. Now, since circumcised idolaters are never regarded as 'circumcised', they are obviously forbidden to eat of the Paschal lamb; what need then was there for a special text to include them in the prohibition?
  37. In the prohibition to eat of the Paschal lamb.
  38. He may not eat of the Paschal lamb before he has performed the immersion.
  39. I.e., without his foreskin.
  40. R. Akiba.
  41. [H]. V. Gen. XVII, 10.
  42. Though no proper circumcision is necessary. Cf. supra n. 6.
  43. Who does not include these in the prohibition to eat the Paschal lamb.
  44. Supra 46a.
  45. V. supra p. 479. n. 21.
  46. In ordinary speech people repeat certain words. The repetition of the term man (v. supra p. 479. n. 21) has, therefore, no expository significance.
  47. During the days preceding the child's circumcision which is normally due on the eighth day of his birth, v. Gen. XVII, 12.
  48. Anointing with the oil of terumah is forbidden wherever its consumption is forbidden. V. Shab. 86a.
  49. v. p. 480. n: 15.
  50. Against the consumption etc. (v. supra n. 1) of terumah.
  51. In regard to the eating of the Paschal lamb.
  52. Its ritual slaying.
  53. Scripture states, Let all his males (i.e.. his children) be circumcised, and then let him (i.e.. the master) … keep it (Ex. XII, 48); one's own keeping (v. supra n. 5) is thus made dependent on the circumcision of one's children.
  54. Since Scripture stated, Every man's servant … when … circumcised. then shall he (i.e., his master) eat (Ex. XII, 44); one's own eating of the lamb is thus dependent on the circumcision of one's slaves.
  55. I.e., that the non-circumcision of a person's children born to him subsequent to the preparation of the Paschal lamb debars him from the eating of it, and that the non-circumcision of his slave debars him not only from the eating of it but also from its preparation.
  56. zt
  57. In Ex. XII, 44. and ibid. 48.
  58. V. supra note 8.
  59. Its ritual slaying.
  60. Between the preparation and the consumption.
  61. I.e., on the same day. viz., on the fourteenth of Nisan, the Passover Eve.
  62. The child being only one day old (v. supra n. 24).
  63. The answer to R. Hama's enquiry is consequently in the negative.
  64. Cur. edd., 'Raba'.
  65. Ex XII, 48, i.e., in order that a man shall be enabled to observe the commandment of the Paschal lamb he is advised, or instructed, to circumcise all his males.
  66. How, then, could the text possibly have referred to his case!
  67. Over the age of eight days (cf. supra p. 480, n. 15).
  68. Lit., 'fever released him'. The fever from which he suffered during the time of the preparation of the Paschal lamb. While in his fever he was physically unfit for, and hence exempt from circumcision. Now that he has recovered he is, at the time of consumption of the Paschal lamb, physically fit, and consequently subject to circumcision.
  69. If the child recovered from an illness.
  70. Before circumcision is allowed.
  71. Cur. edd. encloses in parenthesis 'for … seven days'.
  72. Before the seven days are passed the child remains unfit for circumcision. How, then, could his state of lawful uncircumcision debar his father from the consumption of the Paschal lamb?
  73. And it expired on the Passover Eve.
  74. V. supra n. 9.
  75. I.e., before the time of the preparation of the Paschal lamb; and, since that was not done, the child was in a legal state of uncircumcision not only during the time of eating, but also during the time of the preparation. The difficulty then arises again: What need was there for a Scriptural text to include the prohibition of eating the Paschal lamb while such a child remained uncircumcised, when the preparation that must precede the eating is already forbidden!

Yebamoth 71b

a full period of seven days.1

But, surely, Luda'ah learned, 'The day of a child's recovery is like the day of his birth'.2  Does not this mean that as in respect of the day of his birth no full period is required3  so is no full period required in respect of the day of his recovery? — No; the day of his recovery is superior to the day of his birth. For, whereas in respect of the day of his birth no full period is required.3  in respect of the day of his recovery a full period is required.1

R. Papa replied:4  Where, for instance, the child had a pain in his eye and recovered5  in the meantime.6  Raba replied:7  Where, for instance, his father and mother were confined in prison.8  R. Kahana son of R. Nehemiah replied:7  Where, for instance, the child was a tumtum9  who in the meantime10  was operated upon and was found to be a male. R. Sherabia replied:7  'Where, for instance, the child put forth his head out of the forechamber [of the uterus]'.11  But can such a child survive? Surely it was taught: As soon as the child emerges into the air of the world the closed organ12  is opened and the opened13  is closed,14  for otherwise he could not survive even for one hour!15  — Here we deal with a case where the heat of the fever sustained him. Whose fever? If 'his own fever' be suggested, he should, if such was the case, be allowed a full period of seven days!16  — It means, where the fever of his mother sustained him. And if you prefer I might say that the statement17  applies only when the child does not cry. When, however, it cries it undoubtedly survives.

R. Johanan stated in the name of R. Bana'ah: An uncircumcised [Israelite] is eligible to receive sprinkling;18  for so we find that our ancestors19  received sprinkling20  while they were still uncircumcised, since it is said, And the people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month,21  but on the tenth they were not circumcised owing to the fatigue of the journey; when, then, [could the sprinkling] have been performed?22  Obviously23  while they were still uncircumcised.24  But is it not possible that they prepared no Paschal lamb at all? — This suggestion cannot be entertained at all, since it is written, And they kept the Passover.25  Mar Zutra demurred: It is possible that it26  was a paschal lamb that was prepared in uncleanness!27  — R. Ashi retorted: It was explicitly taught: They were circumcised, they performed their ritual ablutions, and they prepared their paschal lambs in a state of cleanness.

Rabbah b. Isaac stated in the name of Rab: The commandment of uncovering the corona at circumcision28  was not given to Abraham; for it is said, At that time the Lord said unto Joshua: 'Make thee knives of flint etc.'29  But is it not possible [that this applied to] those who were not previously circumcised; for it is written, For all the people that came out were circumcised,30  but all the people that were born etc.?30  — If so,31  why the expression. 'Again!' Consequently32  it must apply to the uncovering of the corona.33  Why, then,34  the expression, 'A second time?'35  — To compare the termination of the circumcision with its commencement; as the commencement of the circumcision is essential36  so is the termination of circumcision37  essential;38  for we learned, 'These are the shreds which render circumcision invalid: Flesh which covers the greater part of the corona; and [a priest whose circumcision was so defective] is not permitted to eat terumah'; and Rabina, or it might be said, R. Jeremiah b. Abba, stated in the name of Rab: Flesh which covers the greater part of the height of the corona.39

Why were they not circumcised in the wilderness? — If you wish I might say: Because of the fatigue of the journey;

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Lit., 'from time to time. If the child, for instance, recovered in the afternoon, circumcision may not be performed before the same hour on the afternoon of the eighth day. If this day happens to be the Passover Eve, the child is not fit for circumcision at the time of the preparation though he may be fit at the time of eating.
  2. Shab. 137a.
  3. Circumcision may be performed at any hour on the eighth day of a child's birth without any regard to the hour at which he was born.
  4. It is possible for a child to be unfit for circumcision at the time of the preparation of the Paschal lamb and yet be fit at the time of eating.
  5. On the Passover Eve.
  6. Between the preparation and the eating. At the preparation the child was still unfit for circumcision; at the eating. however, he was fit, since no period of seven days' convalescence is allowed after recovery from such a minor ailment.
  7. V. supra note 1.
  8. At the time the Paschal lamb was prepared for them by an agent. At the time of eating. however, they were free. While in prison they were unable to perform, and consequently were exempt from the duty of circumcising their child. When they were set free they came under the obligation.
  9. V. Glos.
  10. Between the preparation and the eating of the Paschal lamb.
  11. Seven days prior to the Passover Eve; while birth was completed on the Passover Eve between the time of the preparation and the time of the eating. As the protrusion of the head constitutes birth in respect of circumcision (v. Nid. 29a) the operation must be performed as soon as birth is completed.
  12. The mouth.
  13. The navel.
  14. In the embryonic state the mouth is closed and the navel, by means of which it draws sustenance, open.
  15. Nid. 30b. Since it has no means whereby to draw sustenance.
  16. Like any other child recovering from a serious illness.
  17. That the child cannot survive.
  18. Of the water of purification (cf. Num. XIX. 2f) if he was levitically unclean. He is, thereby, enabled to eat holy food, immediately after the circumcision, no other sprinkling being required.
  19. Who were born in the wilderness and were not circumcised until they entered Canaan (cf. Josh. V. 4ff).
  20. To enable them to eat of the Paschal lamb. They were all levitically unclean owing to contact with the dead in the wilderness. Such persons remain unclean for seven days and, before they are allowed to eat of the Paschal lamb, must, on the third and the seventh day, be sprinkled upon with the water of purification.
  21. Josh. IV. 19.
  22. It could not have been performed on the eleventh, since that would not allow a period of four days (v. supra n. 3) between the first and the second sprinkling if they were to participate in the meal of the Paschal lamb which is prescribed for the fourteenth.
  23. Lit., 'not'?
  24. I.e., either on the tenth, when they were still uncircumcised, or earlier. In either case it follows that the sprinkling which was performed while they were still uncircumcised enabled them to eat of the Paschal lamb.
  25. Josh. V, 10.
  26. The Paschal lamb spoken of in the text cited.
  27. As is permitted when the majority of the congregation is in a state of uncleanness; v. Yoma 6b.
  28. [H] uncovering the corona of the membrum by splitting the membrane that covers it and drawing it towards its base.
  29. And circumcise again (Josh. V. 2). Since a second circumcision was necessary (emphasis on 'again') it is assumed that the previous circumcisions performed in accordance with the law given to Abraham, without uncovering the corona, were made invalid in the days of Joshua.
  30. In the wilderness … had not been circumcised, Josh. V, 5.
  31. If the instruction to circumcise applied to the non-circumcised only.
  32. Lit., 'but not'?
  33. I.e., a second circumcision for those who were already, but not properly, circumcised.
  34. Since the expression, 'Again', is used for the purpose of an exposition.
  35. Josh. V, 2. As 'Again', so should 'A second time' also he expounded.
  36. Lit., 'prevents'; unless circumcision was performed the Paschal lamb may not be eaten.
  37. The uncovering of the corona.
  38. Cf. supra n. 7.
  39. Shab. 137a and supra 47b q.v. for notes.