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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 153a

and the soul ascends but descends nevermore.

Rab Judah son of R. Samuel b. Shila said in Rab's name: From the funeral eulogy pronounced over a man it may be known whether the future world is his or not.1  But that is not so? for Rab said to R. Samuel b. Shilath, 'Be fervent in my funeral eulogy. for I will be standing there'?2  — There is no difficulty: in the one case a fervent lament is pronounced and one is deeply moved,3  in the other a fervent lament is pronounced and one is not moved. Abaye asked Rabbah: 'You, for instance, whom the whole of the Pumbeditheans hate,4  who will arouse lamentation for you?' 'You and Rabbah b. R. Hanan will suffice,' he replied.

R. Eleazar asked Rab: Which man has earned [enjoyment of] the future world? Said he to him, And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,' when, ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.5  R. Hanina said: He with whom his teachers are pleased.6

And the mourners go about the streets.7  The Galileans said: Perform actions [which shall be lamented] in front of thy bier; the Judaeans said: Perform actions [to be lamented] behind thy bier. But they do not differ: each [spoke] in accordance with [the usage in] his locality.8

We learnt elsewhere, R. Eliezer said: Repent one day before your death.9  His disciples asked him, Does then one know on what day he will die? Then all the more reason that he repent to-day, he replied, lest he die to-morrow, and thus his whole life is spent in repentance. And Solomon too said in his wisdom, Let thy garments be always white; and let not thy head lack ointment.10  R. Johanan b. Zakkai said: This may be compared to a king who summoned his servants to a banquet without appointing a time. The wise ones adorned themselves and sat at the door of the palace. ['for,'] said they. 'is anything lacking in a royal palace?'11  The fools went about their work, saying, 'can there be a banquet without preparations'?12  Suddenly the king desired [the presence of] his servants: the wise entered adorned, while the fools entered soiled. The king rejoiced at the wise but was angry with the fools. 'Those who adorned themselves for the banquet,' ordered he, 'let them sit, eat and drink. But those who did not adorn themselves for the banquet, let them stand and watch.' R. Meir's son-in-law said in R. Meir's name: Then they too would [merely] look as being in attendance.13  But both sit, the former eating and the latter hungering, the former drinking and the latter thirsting, for it is said, Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: [behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:] behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart.14  Another, interpretation: 'Let thy garments be always white' — this refers to fringes; 'and let not thy head lack ointment' — to tefillin.



GEMARA. Why did the Rabbis permit him to entrust his purse to a Gentile?19  — The Rabbis knew for certain20  that no man will restrain himself where his money is concerned; if you do not permit it to him, he will come to carry it four cubits in public ground.

Raba said: His purse only, but not something found. That is obvious, [for] we learnt HIS PURSE? — You might say, The same law applies even to a find, and why does he mention HIS PURSE — as a natural course:21  therefore he informs us [that it is not so]. Yet we said this only where it did not come into his possession [before the Sabbath], but if it came into his possession, it is the same as his purse. Others state, Raba asked: What about a find that came into his possession [before nightfall]? since it came into this possession, it is the same as his purse; or perhaps since he had no trouble over it, it is not the same as his purse? The question stands over.

IF THERE IS NO GENTILE WITH HIM, [etc.]. The reason is that there is no Gentile with him, but if there is a Gentile with him he must give it to him:22  what is the reason? — As for an ass, you are under an obligation that it should rest;23  but as for a Gentile, you are under no obligation [to ensure] that he should rest.

[If there is] an ass, and a deaf-mute, imbecile, or minor:24  he must place it on the ass and not give it to the deaf-mute, imbecile or minor. What is the reason? The latter are human beings whereas the former is not. [In the case of] a deaf-mute and an imbecile: [he must give it] to the imbecile; [in the case of] an imbecile and a minor — to the imbecile. The scholars asked: What of a deaf-mute and a minor? On R. Eliezer's view there is no questions for it was taught: R. Isaac said in R. Eliezer's name: The terumah of a deaf-mute25

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. If it arouses widespread grief he must have been a good man who earned the enjoyment of the future world.
  2. When it is pronounced. But if he felt certain that a funeral lament for a good man is spontaneously fervent and deep, what need of exhortation?
  3. Lit., 'warmed'.
  4. Rashi: because of his outspokenness, v. Hul. 127a.
  5. Isa. XXX, 21. I.e., if one hears a voice proclaiming thus after his death, he has earned the world to come.
  6. Var. lec. our teachers.
  7. Eccl. XII, 5.
  8. In Galilee the professional mourners walked in front of the bier, in Judah behind.
  9. A similar thought is expressed in the Book of Ben Sira, V, 8.
  10. Eccl. IX, 8.
  11. The summons to enter may come at any moment.
  12. Lit., 'trouble'.
  13. Their punishment would not be so great.
  14. Isa. LXV, 13f.
  15. The Sabbath commences.
  16. V. supra 17b.
  17. Of the first town where he arrives.
  18. Whereby they are fastened to the saddle.
  19. Though that is tantamount to instructing the Gentile to carry it for him, which is forbidden.
  20. Lit., 'it was established to the Rabbis'.
  21. Finds are rare.
  22. In preference.
  23. V. Ex. XX, 10
  24. These three are frequently linked together as being the same in law.
  25. I.e., separated by him.
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Shabbath 153b

does not revert to hullin, because it is doubtful.1  The question is on the Rabbis' view. For we learnt: Five must not separate terumah, and if they do their separation is not valid. And these are they: a deaf-mute, imbecile, minor, one who separates terumah on [produce] that is not his,2  and a Gentile who separates terumah on an Israelite's [produce] even with [the latter's] permission, his separation is not valid. What then? must he give it to the deaf-mute, seeing that the minor will arrive at understanding;3  or perhaps he must give it to the minor, because a deaf-mute may be confused with an intelligent adult? — Some rule: He must give it to the deaf-mute; others maintain; he must entrust it to the minor.

What if neither a Gentile, an ass, a deaf-mute, an imbecile nor a minor is there? — R. Isaac said: There was yet another [expedient], but the Sages did not wish to reveal it. What was the other [expedient]? — One may carry it in stretches of less than four cubits at a time.4  Why were the Sages unwilling to reveal it? Because, It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.5  Yet what glory of God is there here? — Lest one come to carry it four cubits in public ground.

It was taught, R. Eliezer said: On that day6  they overfilled the measure;7  R. Joshua said: On that day they made the measure deficient.8  It was taught, As an illustration, what does this resemble on R. Eliezer's view? A basket full of cucumbers and gourds: a man puts mustard [grain] therein and it holds it.9  As an illustration, what does this resemble on R. Joshua's view? A tub full of honey: if one puts pomegranates and nuts therein, it [the tub] overflows.10

The Master said: 'If there is no Gentile with him, he places it on his ass'. But he [thereby] leads a [laden] ass, whereas Scripture saith, [In it] thou shalt not do any work, [thou … nor thy cattle]?11  Said R. Adda b. Ahabah: He places it upon her while she is walking.12  But it is impossible that she shall not stop for the calls of Nature,13  and so there is removing and depositing? — When she is walking he places it upon her, and when she stops he removes it from her. If so, [the same may be done] even [to] his neighbour too? — R. Papa answered: Where one is liable to a sin-offering in his own case, in the case of his neighbour though he is not culpable nevertheless it is forbidden;14  and wherever in the case of one's neighbour he is not culpable though it is forbidden, in the case of one's ass it is permitted at the outset.

R. Adda b. Ahabah said: If one's bundle is lying on his shoulder, he must run with it until he arrives home. He may only run, but not walk leisurely. What is the reason? — Since he has nothing to mark a distinction, he will come to perform removing and depositing. Yet after all, when he arrives at the house it is impossible that he shall not stop for a moment, and so he carries it from public to private ground? — He throws it in a 'back-handed manner.'15

Rami b. Hama said: If one leads a laden ass on the Sabbath unwittingly, he is liable to a sin-offering; if deliberately, he is liable to stoning.16  What is the reason? Said Rabbah, because Scripture said, Thou shalt not do any work, — thou, … — nor thy cattle: his cattle is assimilated to himself. Just as when he [himself does work], if unwittingly, he is liable to a sin-offering: if deliberately, he is liable to stoning: so [when he works with] his cattle too, if unwittingly, he is liable to a sin-offering; if deliberately, he is liable to stoning. Raba observed, There are two objections to this. Firstly, because it is written, Ye shall have one law for him that doeth aught unwittingly … But the soul that doeth aught with a high hand, [etc.]:17  all laws are assimilated to idolatry: just as in the case of idolatry, he personally performs an action, so here too [one does not incur a sin-offering] unless he personally performs work. Moreover, we learnt: He who desecrates the Sabbath [is stoned], provided that it is an offence punished by stoning18  if deliberate, and by a sin-offering if unwitting. Hence it follows that there is an offence for which if done unwittingly one does not incur a sin-offering, nor stoning if deliberate: and what is that? Surely leading a laden ass? — No: [the violation of] tehumin,19  in accordance with R. Akiba's view,20  or kindling, in accordance with R. Jose s view.21

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Whether his action is valid or not, as his mind may have been clear. On that view a minor stands lower, and the purse must certainly be given to the minor.
  2. Without having been previously authorized.
  3. Thus he is at least potentially an adult of intelligence.
  4. V. supra p. 194, n. 5.
  5. Prov. XXV, 2.
  6. When they entered the upper chambers of Hezekiah b. Garon for the eighteen enactments, v. supra 13b and p. 54, n. 1.
  7. They did well in enacting so many preventive laws, thereby safeguarding Israel from transgression.
  8. Or, they just levelled the measure. I.e., they imposed so many prohibitions as to defeat their own object, for by a reaction Israel would be more likely to sin now than hitherto. — This is mentioned here be cause the entrusting of one's purse to a Gentile was one of those eighteen laws.
  9. Though full it is still capable of receiving more.
  10. Lit., 'it spews forth' — some of the honey itself.
  11. Ex. XX, 10.
  12. If one places a burden on a man while he is walking he is not culpable, because there is no 'removal' in a technical sense; v. supra 3a. Hence it does not constitute labour, and therefore the same applies here too.
  13. And when she recommences there is 'removal', and when she stops again there is 'depositing', which together constitute 'work'.
  14. For if a man carries an article four cubits in public ground, even if he picks it up while walking, he is culpable. Consequently one must not put a burden upon another person while walking, though there is no culpability.
  15. V. p. 188, n. 2.
  16. In theory only. In actual practice the death penalty was restricted by so many conditions as to be non-existent in all but cases of murder (cf. Herzog. Main Institutions of Jewish Law, Vol. I, Introduction, XXI).
  17. Num. XV, 29f, q.v. The latter refers to idolatry.
  18. In Sanh. 66a the reading is: kareth.
  19. Tehum, pl. tehumin, v. Glos.
  20. Who regards the prohibition as Biblical, v. Sot. 36b.
  21. V. supra 70a.
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