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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nazir

Folio 35a

in the manner in which it is indicated in the case of the nazirite.

Now, R. Eleazar b. Azariah utilises the clause, 'from the pressed grapes even to the grape stone' for the inference that there is no penalty unless he eats two pressed grapes and one grape-stone.1  Where does he find a [second] specification?2 — He will agree with R. Eleazar who interprets [the passage as a clause that] amplifies [followed by a clause] that limits.3  Alternatively, it can be argued that he agrees with the Rabbis, for [he might say] if [the sole object of this clause were the inference] of R. Eleazar b. Azariah, the Torah could have included, 'from the pressed grapes even to the grape-stone' with the other items specified.4  Why then does it appear after the general statement? To show that the text is to be construed as a general statement followed by a specification.

But why should not this be its sole object?5  If this were so, the verse should have read either 'pressed grapes and grape-stones [with both words in the plural] or 'pressed grape and grape-stone [with both in the singular]. The reason why the All-merciful says, 'from the pressed grapes even to the grape-stone' can only be that we should both interpret as a general statement followed by a specification and infer [that there is no penalty] unless he eats two pressed-grapes and one grape-stone.

Now R. Eleazar interprets [the text as consisting of] a clause that amplifies and a clause that limits. Where then does he find [in the Scripture the typical example of] specification, general statement and second specification? — R. Abbahu said that he finds it in the following verse. If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep,6  is a specification; or any beast is a generalisation; to keep is a further specification7  and so we may infer only what is similar to the specification.8

Raba said that [R. Eleazar] could find one in the following verse. And if [his offering] be of [the flock]9  is a specifications the flock a general statement, and [whether of] the sheep, [or of] the goats a further specification, and so we may infer only what is similar to the specification.10

Rab Judah of Diskarta11  asked Raba: Why should not [R. Eleazar] find it in the following verse? [Ye shall bring your offering] of12  is a specification the cattle [beasts] a general statement, and [of] the herd [or of] the flock a further specification, and so only what is similar to the specification can be inferred?13  — He replied: This is not a clear case, for if [he inferred it] from there it could be argued that [in the expression] 'the cattle',

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. V. our Mishnah supra.
  2. To be able to continue the argument as the Rabbis do.
  3. In R. Eleazar's argument no second specification is needed.
  4. In the verse preceding.
  5. Leaving no room for R. Eleazar b. Azariah's further ruling.
  6. As a bailment. Ex. XXIII, 9.
  7. For it excludes beasts of prey which cannot be 'kept', i.e. guarded.
  8. Domestic animals of any kind and also poultry.
  9. Lev. I, 10. The inference depends on the Hebrew construction which could have read 'And if flock', so that the expression 'of the flock' does limit the choice permitted.
  10. In this example it is not clear from the verse what is excluded. An animal that had been worshipped as a deity would be forbidden as a sacrifice, but the commentators differ as to whether Raba could have had this in mind.
  11. [Deskarah, sixteen parasangs N.E. of Bagdad Obermeyer op. cit. p. 146.]
  12. Lev. 1, 2. (V. note 4).
  13. Viz.: domestic clean animals, though the age would be immaterial.
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Nazir 35b

cattle includes beasts of chase.1  — [Rab Judah] retorted: Could beasts of chase be included In 'cattle' [in this instance]? For 'the herd and the flock'2  are mentioned, making in fact a specifications a general statement, and a specifications and only what is similar to the specification can be inferred!3

How do we know that [the rule] is correct?4 — It has been taught: And thou shalt bestow the money for whatsoever thy soul desireth5  is a general statement, for oxen or for sheep or for wine or for strong drink a specification, and or for whatsoever thy soul asketh of thee a further general statement, making a general statement, a specification and a second general statement. Only what is similar to the specification may be inferred,6  and so because the specification particularises the product of that which is itself a product,7  whose sustenance is drawn from the earth,8  whatever is a product of a product-bearing species that draws its sustenance from the earth [may be purchased].9

Seeing that when there is a general statement, a specifications and a general statement, we infer whatever is similar to the specification, what is then the function of the second general statement? It is to add whatever resembles the things specified.10  Again, seeing that when there is a specifications a general statement, and a specifications what is similar to the specification is inferred, what is the purpose of the second specification? — But for its presence it would be said that it is a case of general statement being added to the [first] specification.11  Further, seeing that both when there are two general statements [separated by] a specification and when there are two specifications [separated by] a general statement, what is similar to the specification is inferred, what then is the difference between the two cases? — It is that whereas in the former case we include even things that resemble the specification In one respect only,12  in the latter case we include only what resembles [the specification] in two respects, but not what resembles it in one respect.13

Seeing that when a specification is followed by a general statement, the general statement supplements the specification, all things being included, and again when a limitation is followed by an amplifying clause, this amplifies to the fullest extent, all things being included, what then is the difference between [the two cases]? — The difference is that whereas in the case of a specification followed by a general statement, both shoots and leaves [say],14  would be included, in the case of a limitation followed by an amplifying clause, Only the shoots, but not the leaves [would be included].15

R. Abbahu said: R. Johanan said that what is permitted is not reckoned together with what is forbidden16  in the case of any prohibition of the Torah with the exception of the prohibitions of the nazirite where the Torah says explicitly, [Neither shall he drink] that which is soaked in grapejuice.17

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. And so the second specification is in any case necessary to exclude these, and we cannot use it to derive the method of specification etc.
  2. Which are domestic clean animals and not beasts of chase, and their mention serves to exclude beasts of chase.
  3. Thus beasts of chase would be automatically excluded by the operation of the rule, so that the rule can be applied.
  4. Viz.: that when there is more than one specification, whatever is similar can be inferred (Rashi).
  5. Deut. XIV, 26, referring to money converted from the second tithe.
  6. Thus the presence of a second generalisation alters the rule that applies when there is a single clause of each kind. The same is taken to be true when there is a second specification.
  7. Mineral substances are thus excluded.
  8. In contrast to fish.
  9. E.g., poultry also.
  10. Without the second general statement, only the things actually specified would be included in the scope of the subject under discussion.
  11. [In which case the rule is that even things that do not resemble the specification are included.]
  12. E.g., in the case of the second tithe we do not also require the thing purchased to be attached to the soil and so exclude poultry.
  13. And so, for example, vine shoots are not forbidden the nazirite although they may be edible.
  14. This is not referring to any particular case, but is simply an illustration of how the difference might arise.
  15. V. Shebu. (Sonc. ed.) p. 12, n. 3.
  16. I.e., there is no penalty unless a full olive's bulk of the forbidden food is consumed. Thus half an olive's bulk of forbidden fat and half of permissible meat would entail no penalty.
  17. E.V. 'liquor'. Num. VI, 3. Hence an olive's bulk of, e.g., bread soaked in wine carries the penalty.
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