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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 120a

how could she be called 'daughter'1  when she was a hundred and thirty years old; for R. Hama b. Hanina said:2  It was Jochebed who was conceived on the way3  and born between the walls [of Egypt] for so it is written, Who was born4  to Levi in Egypt,5  [which implies that] her birth was in Egypt but her conception was not in Egypt.6  Why, then, was she called, 'daughter'? — R. Judah b. Zebida said: This teaches that marks of youth reappeared on her. The flesh [of her body] was again smooth, the wrinkles [of old age] were straightened out and [her] beauty returned.7

[Instead of], and he took,8  it should have read, 'and he took again'!9  — R. Judah b. Zebida said: [This] teaches that he arranged for her a ceremonial of [a first] marriage; placing her in a [bridal] litter while Aaron and Miriam sang in her honour, and ministering angels recited: The joyful mother of the children.10

Further on,11  Scripture enumerates them12  according to their age13  and here14  according to their wisdom, — this [is evidence] in support of R. Ammi. For R. Ammi said: At a session,15  priority is to be given to16  wisdom; at a festive gathering.17  age takes precedence.18  R. Ashi said: This,19  [only] when one is distinguished in wisdom; and that,20  [only] when one is distinguished in old age.

The school of R. Ishmael taught: The daughters of Zelophehad were [all] alike,21  for it is said, and they were22  [implying], 'all of them possessed the same status'.23

Rab Judah said in the name of R. Samuel: The daughters of Zelophehad were given permission to he married to any of the tribes,24  for it is said, Let them be married to whom they think best.25  How, then, may one explain [the text]. Only into the family of the tribe of their father shall they be married?26  — Scripture gave them good advice,27  [namely], that they should he married only to such as are worthy of them.28

Rabbah raised an objection: 'Say unto them,29  [means] to those who stood on Mount Sinai; throughout your generations,29  [refers] to the coming generations. If fathers were mentioned, why were sons [also] mentioned; and if sons were mentioned, why should fathers be mentioned? — Because some [precepts] which apply to the fathers30  are inapplicable to the sons,31  and some which apply to the sons are inapplicable to the fathers. In [the case of] the fathers it is said: And every daughter that possesseth an inheritance;32  while many precepts were given33  to the sons34  and not to the fathers.35  Since, [therefore.] certain precepts apply to the fathers and not to the sons while others apply to the sons and not to the fathers, it was necessary to specify the fathers and it was [also] necessary to specify the sons.' At all events, it was taught, 'In the case of the fathers it is said: And every daughter that possesseth an inheritance'?36  — He raised the objection and he [also] replied to it: 'With the exception' [he said] 'of the daughters of Zelophehad'.37

The Master said: 'In the case of the fathers it is said: And every daughter that possesseth an inheritance,38  [etc.]' What evidence is there that this applied 'to the fathers and not to the sons'? — Raba said: Scripture states: This is the thing.39  [which implies], 'this thing shall he applicable only to this generation'. Rabbah Zuti said to R. Ashi: If this is the case,40  does This is the thing,41  [said in connection] with [animals] slaughtered outside [the Temple], also [imply] that [that Jaw] was to apply to that generation only?42  — There, [the case is] different, for it is written, throughout their generations.43

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. And not 'woman'.
  2. V. infra 123b.
  3. Which Jacob and his family made from Canaan to Egypt. Gen. XLVI, Iff.
  4. This is superfluous since the fact that Jochebed was Levi's daughter is already stated before in the same verse.
  5. Num. XXVI, 59.
  6. Since Jochebed was, accordingly, born just when Jacob entered Egypt she must have been a hundred and thirty years old when Moses was born. The whole period the Israelites spent in Egypt was two hundred and ten years. Moses was eighty years old at the Exodus. Deduct eighty from two hundred and ten and there is a remainder of one hundred and thirty.
  7. A similar rejuvenation has taken place in the case of Zelophehad's daughters
  8. Ex. II, I.
  9. Since this was Amram's second marriage, having married Jochebed once before and begat Aaron Miriam; when Pharaoh had issued his decree against the male children (Ex. I, 22) Amram had left his wife whom he did not remarry until he received a prophetic message through Miriam (cf. Sotah 12b).
  10. Ps. CXIII. 9.
  11. Where their marriages are reported.
  12. Zelophehad's daughters.
  13. V. Num. XXXVI, II.
  14. Ibid. XXVII, I, dealing with their right of inheritance.
  15. In connection with matters of law or study.
  16. Lit., 'go after'.
  17. Heb. mesibah [H] a banqueting party reclining on couches round the room or round the tables.
  18. Num. XXXVI, II, speaking of marriages, enumerates Zelophehad's daughters according to age, the elder ones being given priority of place as is done at festive assemblies. In Num. XXVII, I, however, where a question of law is discussed, the enumeration is according to their wisdom, those possessing more wisdom being given priority of place as is done at law, or similar sessions.
  19. That wisdom is the determining factor at sittings of law or study.
  20. That age takes precedence at festive gatherings.
  21. And, for this reason, some are enumerated before the others in Num. XXXVI, II, while in Num. XXVII, I the others are enumerated first. No support may consequently be found in these verses for R. Ammi's opinion.
  22. Num. XXXVI. II. Heb. [H]
  23. [H] 'existence', 'status'. [H] is taken as the root of [H] and of [H].
  24. Lit., to all the tribes'. Other heiresses could marry only members of their own tribe.
  25. Num. XXXVI, 6.
  26. Ibid. Are not the two sections of the verse contradictory?
  27. Not an instruction.
  28. This advice they carried out in marrying their uncles' sons. Ibid. II.
  29. Lev. XXII, 3.
  30. Lit., 'which is in the fathers'.
  31. Lit., 'which is not in the sons'.
  32. Num. XXXVI, 8. This law applied only to the fathers, i.e., the men who came out of Egypt, and not to their sons, i.e., the coming generations.
  33. Lit., 'commanded'.
  34. Such as are, e.g., applicable to Palestine only.
  35. Lit., 'which the fathers were not commanded', being, as they were, in the wilderness.
  36. V. n. 6, supra. This shows that the prohibition for all heiress to marry one of another tribe was given to the generation of the fathers, i.e., to that of the daughters of Zelophehad. how, then, could it be said that they were allowed to marry any one from any tribe.
  37. They were exempt from the prohibition, because in their Case, Scripture (Num. XXXVI, 6) distinctly stated, Let them be married to whom they think best.
  38. Num. XXXVI, 8.
  39. Ibid. 6.
  40. Lit., 'but from now'.
  41. Lev. XVII, 2.
  42. Surely this is impossible; for it is known that the law of prohibition of the slaughtering of consecrated animals outside the temple was in force so long as the Temple was in existence.
  43. Lev. XVII, 7: This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations. This text, consequently, modifies the implication of This, in v. 2 earlier; and this is the reason why the law remained in force for later generations.
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Baba Bathra 120b

Does This is the thing.1  [said in connection] with the heads of the tribes2  also [imply] that [that Jaw]3  was to apply to that generation only? — He said unto him: [In] that [case], this4  is inferred from this [that is mentioned] there.5  Let this, [in] the present [case].6  also, be inferred from this [mentioned] there!7  — What a comparison!8  There9  [one may] rightly [compare one this to the other this because these expressions are in any case] required for [another] comparison;10  here,11  [however], for what [other purpose] is it12  needed? The text could [simply] have omitted it altogether13  and one would have known that [the law applied]14  to [all] generations!15

What is the [other] comparison16  [just referred to]? — It was taught: This is the thing, has been said here,17  and This is the thing, has [also] been said elsewhere:18  just as there [it was spoken to] Aaron and his sons and all Israel,19  so here20  [it was spoken to] Aaron and his sons and all Israel; and just as here20  [it was spoken to] the heads of the tribes.21  so there22  [it was spoken to] the heads of the tribes.

The Master has said: 'Just as there, [it was spoken to] Aaron and his sons and all Israel, so here, [it was spoken to] Aaron and his sons and all Israel'. In [respect of] what law [has this comparison been made]? — R. Aba b. Jacob said: To infer that the annulment of vows [may be effected] by three laymen.23  But surely, 'the heads of the tribes' is written [in connection] with it?24  — As R. Hisda said in the name of R. Johanan, 'By a qualified individual',25  [so] here also [it may be said], 'By a qualified individual'.26

[It has been said: 'Just as here [it was spoken to] the heads of the tribes, so there [it was spoken to] the heads of the tribes'. In [respect of] what law [has this comparison been made]?27  — R. Shesheth said: To infer [that] the law of absolution28  [is applicable] to consecrated objects.29  According to Beth Shammai, however, who maintains [that] the law of absolution28  is not [applicable] to consecrated objects; as we learnt,30  'Beth Shammai maintains [that] mistaken consecration is [regarded as proper] consecration, and Beth Hillel maintains [that] it is not [regarded as proper] consecration,' — to what [other] purpose do they apply,31  this and this?32  [The expression], This is the thing, [used in connection] with [animals] slaughtered outside the Temple is required [for the inference that] one is guilty [only] for slaughtering33  but not for 'pinching'.34  [The express sion] This is the thing, [mentioned in connection] with the 'heads of the tribes', is required [for the inference that only] a Sage can dissolve [a vow], but a husband cannot dissolve35  [a vow], [only] a husband can declare [a vow] void, but a Sage cannot declare [it] void.36

Whence does Beth Shammai, who does not use the inference from the similarity of expression,37  derive the law [that] the annulment of vows [may be performed] by three laymen?38  They derive it from what was taught [in the following Baraitha]: And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the appointed seasons of the Lord.39  R. Jose the Galilean said:

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Nuns. XXX, 2.
  2. Ibid.
  3. The law of the disallowance of vows. (ibid. 3-17).
  4. Mentioned at the law of the disallowance of vows.
  5. Used in connection with the law of animals slaughtered outside the Temple. As in the other Case the law is applicable to all generations (v. supra note 2), so also is the law in the former case.
  6. The prohibition of the marriage of an heiress to a member of another tribe.
  7. V. n. 7.
  8. Lit., 'this, what'?
  9. The law of animals slaughtered outside the Temple and that of the disallowance of vows.
  10. A gezerah shawah, an inference by similarity of expressions (v. Glos). V. infra.
  11. The marriage of an heiress to one of another tribe.
  12. The expression, this.
  13. Lit., 'let the verse keep silence about (from) it'.
  14. As do most other laws.
  15. Since, therefore, the expression was used, it must have been meant to limit the law to that generation only.
  16. V. note. 12.
  17. At the laws of vows (Num. XXX, 2).
  18. Lev. XVII, 2, at the law of animals slaughtered outside the Temple.
  19. As stated specifically in Lev. XVII, 2.
  20. In connection with the laws relating to vows.
  21. As stated in Num. XXX, 2.
  22. V. p. 494, n. 20.
  23. From the Biblical association of Aaron and his sons and all Israel with the laws of vows it is to be inferred that a properly constituted Court is not required for the annulment of vows. Any member of the congregation of Israel is as good as Aaron and his sons for the purpose of acting as a member of such a lay court of three.
  24. With the laws of vows (Num. XXX, 2). Would not 'Heads of tribes' imply, 'qualified men', 'members of a proper court'?
  25. V. infra.
  26. I.e., vows may be annulled not only by a lay Court of three but also by one individual if he is qualified by his attainments (a Mumhe, v. Glos.) The expression, heads of tribes', is equivalent to 'qualified individuals', though acting singly.
  27. What connection could there be between the law of animals slaughtered outside the Temple and the heads of tribes.
  28. Heb. [H] lit., 'question'.
  29. As a qualified scholar may annul a vow, so he may render absolution from the consecration of an object, if the person who consecrated it can produce sufficient grounds to justify the absolution.
  30. Naz. 30b.
  31. Lit., 'what do they do to it'.
  32. This, mentioned with the law of animals slaughtered outside the Temple and this of the laws of vows. Maintaining that 'mistaken consecration is regarded as proper consecration', Beth Shammai is obviously of the opinion that the low of absolution is never applicable to consecrated objects. Hence, the comparison made above between the similar expressions of 'this' (from which the law of absolution has been derived) is not required. What, then, is the purpose of the employment of this expression in the Biblical text.
  33. Outside the Temple.
  34. Heb. Melikah, [H] 'pinching off the head of a bird with the finger nails' (cf. Lev. I, 15). The expression, this, implies that only what was mentioned in the text, viz., slaughtering, is prohibited.
  35. By using the formula, [H], the Sage has the right of disallowing, or dissolving a vow ([H] 'unbinding', 'dissolving'), if a good reason for his action can be found. If, e.g., the man who vowed can show that his vow was made under a misapprehension.
  36. By using the formula, [H] a husband is entitled to declare as void, ([H] 'breaking' destroying'), any vow made by his wife, without the necessity for her finding any reason for its annulment. Unlike the sage who must first inquire whether grounds exist for dissolving it (v. previous note), the husband may, as soon as he hears of the vow, 'destroy' it at once retrospectively. This, implies that only the expressions of the Biblical text as interpreted in Ned. 77b may be used and that only the procedure they imply must be followed.
  37. Requiring the two expressions of this for other purposes, as just explained.
  38. Or by a Sage, who is regarded as of equal status to that if a lay court of three.
  39. Lev. XXIII, 44
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