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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 34a

and priests have the trouble of going round it. Said he: Does any man know that there was a presumption of cleanness here?1  A certain old man replied, Here [R. Johanan] b. Zakkai cut down lupines of terumah.2  So he did likewise. Wherever it (the ground] was hard he declared it clean, while wherever it was loose he, marked it out.3  Said a certain old man. The son of Yohai has purified a cemetery!4  Said he, Had you not been with us, even if you have been with us but did not vote,5  you might have said well. But now that you were with us and voted with us,6  It will be said, [Even] whores paint one another; how much more so scholars!7  He cast his eye upon him, and he died. Then he went out into the street and saw Judah, the son of proselytes: 'That man is still in the world!' he exclaimed. He cast his eyes upon him and he became8  a heap of bones.


GEMARA. Whence do we know it? — Said R. Joshua b. Levi, Scripture saith, And thou, shalt know that thy tent is in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not err.18

Rabbah son of R. Huna said: Although the Rabbis said, a man MUST SAY THREE THINGS, etc., yet they must be said with sweet reasonableness, so that they may be accepted from him. R. Ashi observed: I had not heard this [statement] of Rabbah son of b. R. Huna, but understood19  it by logic.

This is self contradictory. You say, ON THE EVE OF THE SABBATH JUST BEFORE NIGHT A MAN MUST SAY THREE THINGS IN HIS HOUSE: only just before night, but not when it is doubtful whether it is night or not;20  then you teach, WHEN IT IS DOUBTFUL, WHETHER IT IS NIGHT OR NOT … AN 'ERUB MAY BE PREPARED? (Mnemonic: Self, Pruning, Bird, Cord, Silk.)21 — Said R. Abba in the name of R. Hiyya b. Ashi in Rab's name: There is no difficulty: the one refers to 'erub of boundaries; the other to the 'erub of courtyards.22  Now Raba said: If two men said to one person, 'Go forth and place an 'erub for us', and he placed an 'erub for one while it is yet day, and for the other he made the 'erub at twilight, and the 'erub of him for whom he placed it by day was eaten at twilight, and the 'erub of him for whom he placed it at twilight was eaten after nightfall, both acquire [their] 'erub.23  What will you: if twilight is day, the second should acquire, but not the first; while if twilight is night, the first should acquire, but not the second? — Twilight is doubtful,24  and a doubt in respect to a Rabbinical law is judged leniently.25

Raba said: Why was it said, One must not store [food] after nightfall [even] in a substance that does not add heat?26  For fear lest he make it boil.27  Said Abaye to him: if so, let us forbid it at twilight too? — The average pot is at the boil, he replied.28

Raba also said:

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Before the doubt arose, was there a time when this place was assumed to be clean, so that it enjoyed the status of cleanness?
  2. I.e., he planted them while terumah and cut them down after they had grown.
  3. As unclean. In the Pesikta and 1. Shab. VII it is stated that a miracle happened and the dead floated upwards (v. Rashi).
  4. Derisively.
  5. Lit., 'you were not counted'. — R. Simeon b. Yohai had acted in accordance with the decision of the majority of the Rabbis.
  6. In favour of this.
  7. Surely they should pay regard to each other's honour.
  8. Lit., 'he made him'.
  9. Lit., with darkness (setting in),
  10. Of the food we are to eat on the Sabbath,
  11. V. Glos. The 'erub referred to is for courtyards; v. p. 18, n. 7.
  12. Lit., 'dark'.
  13. I.e., at twilight.
  14. Made fit for use by means of tebillah (immersion) in a ritual bath (mikweh). Both these acts render objects fit for use, which is forbidden at twilight.
  15. V. Glos.
  16. Because the probability is that tithes have already been rendered, and thus this tithing does not really make it fit.
  17. To retain its heat.
  18. Job V. 24, She'eltoth 63 explains: if an 'erub has not been prepared, so that the carrying of utensils is forbidden, or if the lights have not been kindled, or the tithes rendered, so that the food may not be eaten, the resultant inconvenience and lack of cheer are inimical to the peace of the household.
  19. Lit., 'adduced'. V. Marginal Gloss.
  20. Which implies that there is no purpose in his saying it then, since an 'erub may not be prepared then.
  21. These indicate statements made in the Tractate by R. Abba in the name of R. Hiyya on Rab's authority. Doubt arose as to the authorship of some of these, and so this mnemonic was given. 'Self' indicates the present passage, 'This is self contradictory'. For the others v. infra 73b (pruning); 107a (bird), 113a (cord) and 124b (silk). — Maharsha,
  22. V. p. 18, n. 7. The limitation of boundaries was held to be either Biblical or partaking of the nature of a Scriptural law; therefore the 'erub, whereby that limitation is extended, really makes the territory beyond these boundaries accessible on the Sabbath, and consequently its preparation is forbidden at twilight, when the Sabbath may have commenced, although where it was prepared at twilight, it is effective. But the prohibition of carrying between houses and courtyards was merely a measure of stringency; hence the 'erub permits only what might have been permitted in any case, and so it may be prepared at twilight.
  23. 'Acquire their 'erub' means that the 'erub confers upon on them the rights for which it is set. Now, an 'erub must be prepared by day and be still in existence when the Sabbath commences, otherwise it is invalid. Now, in respect of the first, whose 'erub was placed by day and eaten at twilight, twilight is regarded as night, i.e., the commencement of the Sabbath, when the 'erub was still in existence. Whilst in respect of the second twilight is regarded as day, so that it was placed the day. — Rashi: the reference is to the 'erub of boundaries which, though it may not be set at the outset at twilight, is nevertheless effective. Tosaf.: the 'erub of courtyards is meant.
  24. Whether it is day or night.
  25. The law of 'erub is Rabbinical, as stated above.
  26. The Mishnah states that storing away food is permitted at twilight, whence it follows that it is forbidden after nightfall. And the reference must be to a substance which does not add heat, for if it does, food may not be stored in it even by day (infra 47b).
  27. When he comes to put it away, he may find it cold and heat up it first, which is the equivalent of cooking on the Sabbath.
  28. At twilight, because it has only just been removed from the fire.
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Shabbath 34b

Why was it said that one must not put away [food] in a substance which adds heat, even by day? For fear lest he put it away in hot ashes containing a burning coal. Said Abaye to him, Then let him put it away!1 — [That is forbidden] for fear lest he rake the coals.2

Our Rabbis taught: As to twilight [period] it is doubtful whether it is partly day and partly night, or the whole of it [belongs to the] day, or the whole of it night: [therefore] it is cast upon the stringencies of both days.3  And what is twilight? From sunset as long as the face of the east has a reddish glow: when the lower [horizon] is pale4  but not the upper, it is twilight; [but] when the upper [horizon] is pale and the same as the lower, it is night: this is the opinion of R. Judah. R. Nehemiah said: For as long as it takes a man to walk half a mil5  from sunset. R. Jose said: Twilight is as the twilight of an eye, one entering and the other departing,6  and it is impossible to determine it.

The Master said: 'One applies to it the stringencies of both days.' In respect of what [point of] law? — Said R. Huna son of R. Joshua, In respect of uncleanness. Even as we learnt: if he saw [discharges] on two days at twilight, he is doubtful in respect of uncleanness and sacrifice: if he sees [a discharge] one day at twilight, he is doubtful in respect of uncleanness.7

This is self-contradictory. You say, 'What is twilight? From sunset as long as the face of the east has a reddish glow.' Hence, if the lower horizon is pale but not the upper, it is night.8  Then it is taught, 'When the lower [horizon] is pale but not the upper, it is twilight'? — Rabbah answered in the name of Rab Judah in Samuel's name: Combine [them] and learn: What is twilight? From sunset as long as the face of the east has a reddish glow, And if the lower [horizon] is pale but not the upper, that too is twilight. But when the upper horizon is pale and the same as the lower, it is night. While R. Joseph answered in the name of Rab Judah in Samuel's name, This is what he teaches: From sunset as long as the face of the east has a reddish glow, it is day; if the lower [horizon] is pale but not the upper, it is twilight; when the upper is pale and the same as the lower, it is night.

Now, they follow their views. For it was stated: How long is the period of twilight? — Rabbah said in the name of Rab Judah in Samuel's name. Three parts of a mil.9  What is meant by, 'three parts of a mil'? Shall we say, three half mils? Then let him say, 'A mil and a half'? While if it is three thirds of a mil, let him say, 'One mil'? Hence it must mean three quarters of a mil. While R. Joseph said in the name of Rab Judah in Rab's name: Two parts of a mil. What is 'two parts of a mil'? Shall we say, two halves: let him say, 'One mil'? while if it means two quarters of a mil; let him say, 'half a mil'. Hence

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Even in such, since it is yet day.
  2. In the evening.
  3. This is explained infra.
  4. I.e., dark, no longer red.
  5. = Two thousand cubits = 112,037.316 cm, i.e., about three fourths of an English mile; v. J.E. XII, 487,
  6. Night enters and day departs in the twinkling of an eye.
  7. If a zab (q.v. Glos.) has two discharges on one day or on two consecutive days, or one discharge spread over parts of two days, e.g., the end of one and the beginning of the next, which likewise counts as two discharges, he becomes unclean for seven days, as a zab. If he has three discharges (taking into account that one discharge spread over two days ranks as two), he incurs a sacrifice in addition. Now, if he has discharges for a short period at twilight on Sunday and Monday there are the following possibilities: — (i) The twilight of both were either day or night, so that he had two discharges on two consecutive days, viz., Sunday and Monday or Monday and Tuesday, the night belonging to the following day, which render him unclean, but not liable to a sacrifice; (ii) the first twilight period was day, while the second was night, so that his two discharges were on Sunday and Tuesday, and he is not unclean for seven days, because the discharges were not on consecutive days; and (iii) the first twilight period was day (Sunday) and the second embraced the end of one day (Monday) and the beginning of the night (Tuesday), so that he had three discharges on three consecutive days, and therefore incurs a sacrifice.-On account of these doubts he is unclean for seven days and must bring a sacrifice, which, however, may not be eaten. Similarly, if he has one discharge at twilight, it is doubtful whether it counts as one or two.
  8. For 'the face of the east' includes the lower horizon.
  9. As long as it takes to walk this.
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