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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth

Folio 24a

I would not say so. And if he would let us hear these two [cases. I might have said] because [both cases deal with] money matters but [in the case of] 'a married woman',1  which is a matter of [sexual] prohibition.2  I would not say so.3

What need is there for [the case of] 'I was taken captive and I am pure'?4  — Because he wants to teach 'But if witnesses came after she got married, she shall not go out'.5  — That is quite right according to him who refers this to the second clause, but according to him who refers this to the first clause,6  what is there to say? Because he wants to teach [the case of] 'If two women were taken captive'.7  — And what need is there for [the case of] 'If two women were taken captive'? — You might have said [that] we may be afraid that they favour one another,8  so he lets us hear [that we do not say so].9  What need is there for [the case of] 'AND LIKEWISE TWO MEN'?10  Because he wants to teach the difference of opinion between R. Judah and the Rabbis.11 

Our Rabbis taught: [If one says:] I am a priest and my friend is a priest. he is believed to the extent of allowing him to eat terumah,12  but he is not believed to the extent of allowing him to marry a woman13  until there are three, [and] two testify to one and two testify to the other. R. Judah says: He is not believed even with regard to allowing him to eat terumah until there are three, [and] two testify to one and two testify to the other. Is this to say that R. Judah is afraid that they might favour one another,14  and the Rabbis are not afraid that they might favour one another? Surely [from the following Mishnah] we understand just the reverse! For we have learned: When ass-drivers15  come to a town and one of them says, 'Mine16  is new17  and my friend's is old mine is not prepared18  and my friends is prepared'; he is not believed;19  R. Judah says: He is believed!20  — Said R. Adda b. Ahaba, in the name of Rab: The statement must be reversed.21  Abaye said: Indeed, there is no need to reverse It;22  in [the case of] demai,23  they24  have made it lenient, for most of the 'amme ha-'arez25  separate the tithes. Raba said: Is the question [only] of R. Judah against R. Judah? Is there no question [also] Of the Rabbis against the Rabbis?26  No, [they answer]: there is no question of R. Judah against R. Judah. as we have [just] explained,27  [and] there is no question of the Rabbis against the Rabbis, for [the case28  is similar to that with regard to which] R. Hama b. 'Ukba said that [it speaks of] when he has his trade-tools in his hand;

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Supra 22a.
  2. Matters of sexual prohibition are treated with greater strictness than money matters.
  3. Therefore, the case regarding a married woman is also taught in illustration of the principle.
  4. Mishnah, 22a second clause.
  5. Ibid concluding clause of Mishnah.
  6. V. supra 23a.
  7. Mishnah, supra 23b.
  8. And the two women shield one another.
  9. That when the two women testify to one another's purity, they are believed.
  10. The case of out Mishnah.
  11. The first Tanna and R. Eliezer.
  12. V. Glos.
  13. Of unblemished descent.
  14. By false mutual recommendations.
  15. Who bring corn to a place to sell.
  16. My corn.
  17. New=fresh, old=not fresh. Fresh corn is not so good as corn that is not fresh. [He Simply says this in depreciation of his own ware and in praise of that of his fellow.] It may also be that 'new' and 'old' are used in the sense of Lev. XXIII, 10ff'., the 'new' being forbidden before the offering of the 'omer; v. Glos.
  18. I.e., the priestly dues have not been given.
  19. [According to the first interpretation (n. 10) the reference is to the tithes only, and according to the second also to the prohibition of 'new' corn.]
  20. This would show that the Rabbis are afraid of people favouring one another, and that R. Judah is not afraid.
  21. I.e., read.' R. Judah says: they are not believed, and the Rabbis Say: They are believed.
  22. Lit., 'do not reverse'.
  23. Demai is produce about which there is a doubt whether the tithes therefrom have been properly taken or not; v. Glos.
  24. The Sages.
  25. V. Glos. They did not observe, or were under the Suspicion of not observing certain religious customs regarding tithes, levitical cleanness, etc. In Spite of this suspicion it was assumed that most of them did give tithes.
  26. If you do not reverse, why should the Rabbis hold that the ass-drivers are not believed, seeing that they do not suspect mutual favouritism.
  27. Lit., answered'. They have made it lenient with regard to demai.
  28. Of the ass-drivers.
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Kethuboth 24b

so here also1  [we deal with] when he2  has his trade-tools3  in his hand.4  And with regard to what5  was that of R. Hama. b. 'Ukba said?6  With regard to what we have learned: If a potter left his pots7  and went down to drink [water from the river,]8  the inner ones are pure and the outer ones are impure.9  But it has been taught10  that these and those are impure? — Said R. Hama b. 'Ukba: [it speaks of a case]11  when he had his trade-tools in his hand,12  so that13  the hand of all touches them.14  But it has been taught:15  These and those are pure? — Said R. Hama b. 'Ukba: When his trade-tools are not in his hand.16  But [then] the case that we have learnt:17  'The inner ones are pure and the outer ones are impure' — how is that possible?18  — When they19  are near the public road and [they are impure] because of border stones of the public road.20  And if you wish you may say: R. Judah and the Rabbis differ as to whether one raises [a person] from terumah to the status of a priest.21

The question was asked: What is [the law]? Does one raise22  [a person] from documents23  to the full status of a priest?24  — How shall we imagine this case? If we say that it is written in it: 'I, So-and-so, a priest. have signed as witness' — who testifies to him?25  — No, [but] it must be when it is written in it: I, So-and-so, a priest, have borrowed a maneh from so-and-so, and witnesses have signed [the document]. What [then] is [the law]? Do they26  testify [only] to the maneh [mentioned] in the document, or do they testify to the whole matter?27  — R. Huna and R. Hisda [give opposing answers]: One says: One raises,28  and one says: One does not raise.28

The question was asked.29  What is [the law]? Does one raise [a person] from the lifting up of the hands30  to the status of a priest?31  This is asked according to him who says [that] one raises [a person] from terumah to the status of a priest32  and this is asked according to him who says [that] one does not raise [a person from terumah to the status of a priest].33  It is asked according to him who says [that] one raises: When is this said?34  [In the case of] terumah, which [if eaten by one who is not a priest] is a sin punishable with death;35  but [in the case of] 'lifting up the hands', which [if one who is not a priest performs the pronouncing of the priestly blessing] is [only transgressing the] prohibition of a positive command,36  [I would say] no.37  Or perhaps there is no difference,38  [and] it is asked according to him who says [that] one does not raise: When is this said? [In the case of] terumah, which is eaten in privacy;39  but [in the case of] 'lifting up the hands,' which [is done] in public [I might say that] if he were not a priest he would not have the impudence40  [to act as a priest]. Or perhaps there is no difference?41  — R. Hisda and R. Abina [give opposing answers to this question]: One says: One raises,42  and One Says: One does not raise.

R. Nahman b. Isaac said to Raba: What is [the law]? Does one raise [a person] from 'lifting up the hands' to the full status of a priest? Said he to him: [With regard to this] there is a difference of opinion between R. Hisda and R. Abina. What is the [adopted] law? Said he to him: I know a Baraitha: For it has been taught: R. Jose said: Great43  is presumption.44  for it is said: And the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Hakkoz, the children of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name. These sought their register. of those that were reckoned by genealogy, and they were not found,' therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha45  said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.46  He47  [thus] said to them: You remain48  in your presumptive state; what have you eaten in exile?49  The holy things of the country.50  So here also [you shall eat] the sacred things of the country.51  Now if we were to assume [that] one raises [a person] from 'lifting up the hands' to the state of a priest, since these spread out their hands,52  one might raise them?'53  — It is different here,54  for their presumption has been impaired55  For if you will not say so.56  [then] according to him who says [that] one raises [a person] from terumah, since they eat terumah. one might raise them to the status of priests! Hence, [you must say it is]57  because their presumption has been impaired.58

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. In the case of the ass-drivers.
  2. Each ass-driver.
  3. As the measure and leveller.
  4. This shows that the ass-drivers mean to sell their corn. Therefore the Rabbis suspect them of mutual favouritism. If one praises his friend's produce in one place, the friend will praise the other one's produce in another place. And therefore the Rabbis hold that they are not believed.
  5. Lit., 'where'.
  6. I.e., did he give that explanation.
  7. I.e., put down his pots in the street and left them unobserved.
  8. These words, bracketed in the text, are missing in the Mishnah Toh. VII, 1. whence this is quoted.
  9. As they may have been touched by persons who do not observe the laws of purity.
  10. In a Baraitha.
  11. In the Baraitha.
  12. And thus indicates that the Pots ate for sale.
  13. Lit., 'because'.
  14. Would-be buyers handle the pots and examine them as to their quality. Therefore, in the Baraitha. both the inner and the outer pots are impure.
  15. In another Baraitha.
  16. There is no indication that the pots ate for sale and no one touches them.
  17. In the Mishnah.
  18. Neither explanation of R. Hama b. 'Ukba seems to apply. since some of the pots are pure and some are impure.
  19. The outer pots.
  20. [H], Lit., 'the rubbings' (Rashi), or 'border' (Jast.). According to Rashi, big stones or pegs set up at the sides of the public toad, to prevent trespassing on private property. and against wbich press. The outer pots ate impure. because passers-by. who do not observe the laws of purity, may touch them with their garments. The inner pots the passers-by cannot reach, and therefore they ate pure.
  21. [H]., 'genealogical records', 'traced genealogy'; (Jast. s.v.). The word [H] 'those that were reckoned by genealoqy'. Ezra Il, 62, refers to 'the children of the priests'. (v. 61). [H] means therefore primarily 'genealogical priestly records', 'traced priestly genealogy'. In out text the phrase can be tendered by 'as being of a priestly family'. or as 'having the status of a priest', or' briefly, 'to the full status of a priest'. and the dispute between R. Judah and the Rabbis is. if a person is seen eating terumah, whether he is to be regarded as a priest also in family matters and be allowed to marry a woman of unblemished descent; (v. Kid. 69b). R. Judah says 'yes', and he is therefore strict even with regard to terumah, and does not accept the evidence of one witness, but the Rabbis would say 'no'. and are therefore lenient with regard to terumah (v. 24a). This, then, is the point at issue, and not whether we suspect mutual favouritism, which, in point of fact, all agree that we do not. [According to the Rabbis, however, we must still adopt the answer given before, that the Mishnah of Demai deals with a case when the 'ass-driver had his trade-tools in his hand' (Tosaf.)]
  22. Lit., 'how is it to raise', etc.
  23. In which a person is designated as a priest.
  24. V. note 4.
  25. Who testifies that he is in fact a priest?
  26. The witnesses.
  27. I.e., to the whole contents of the document and so also to the priestly status of the borrower.
  28. A person from documents to the status of a priest.
  29. By the members of the academy.
  30. The priests lifted up their bands in pronouncing the priestly blessing. The pronouncing of the priestly blessing (v. Num. VI, 22. 27) is therefore called 'Lifting up the bands'. Cf. Ta'an 26, Bet. 34a.
  31. Should one regard him, wbom be sees pronouncing the priestly blessing. as a priest in every way?
  32. That is, according to R. Judah.
  33. That is, according to the Rabbis.
  34. Lit., '(when are) these words (said)'.
  35. It is therefore to be assumed that he who eats terumah is a priest. as it is not presumed that a person would commit such a grave sin.
  36. Lit., 'do'. The commandment of pronouncing the blessing is given only to Aaron and his sons (and descendants) — Num. Vl, 23. If non-Aaronides perform this commandment, they commit a transgression. because to them this is forbidden by Implication. Only priests may bless, not non-priests. The transgression of a commandment, forbidden by implication from a positive command, is treated like a positive command, and is not punishable. This transgression will therefore be sooner committed by a non-Aaronide than the sin of eating terumah.
  37. I.e., one does not raise a person from 'lifting up the hands' to the full status of priest hood.
  38. Between terumah and lifting up the bands.
  39. And the person does not mind committing a wrong act privately.
  40. Lit., 'a man would not be as impudent (or, act as impudently) as all that'.
  41. Between terumah and lifting up the hands.
  42. A person from lifting up of the bands to the status of priest.
  43. I.e., important.
  44. [H]; the word used here in the sense of 'presumptive continuance of a state, or condition, until evidence is produced rebutting the presumption'. V. Jast. s.v.
  45. [The governor; identified with Nehemiah (Rashi).]
  46. Ezra II, 61-62.
  47. The Tirshatha.
  48. Lit., 'behold you are'.
  49. In Babylonia.
  50. 'Limit,' 'boundary.' has here the technical meaning of 'country,' as distinguished from 'sanctuary and Jerusalem'. 'Sacred things of the country' ate the holy things that may be consumed outside the Temple and Jerusalem, such as terumah, as distinct from sacrificial offerings, that must be consumed within the precincts of the Temple courtyard.
  51. The Tirshatha only forbade them to eat 'the most holy things', as sacrifices. It is therefore implied that as he allowed them to eat 'the sacred things of the country.' as terumah, in presumptive continuance of their former state, they would be allowed, in the same way, to perform the lifting up of the hands, which was also done in 'the country'.
  52. And pronounced the priestly blessing; v. preceding note.
  53. To the full status of priests, that is, as being of a priestly family, v. p. 133 n. 4.
  54. In the case Of Ezra II, 61-63.
  55. Since they must not eat 'the most holy things' and the rightful priests do eat them. One would therefore not raise them to the status of priests from lifting up their hands. But in other cases one might do so.
  56. That no mistake can be made because their presumption has been impaired.
  57. Lit., 'but is it not'?
  58. And therefore no mistake can be made, and the same applies to the 'lifting up of hands'.
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