Join Our Mailing List

Sponsor Us!

Tractate Shabbat:
Chapter 21



Print Friendly and PDF

Regulations concerning the pouring out of wine from vessels covered with a stone (which must not be lifted), and the clearing off of crumbs, etc, from the table.

MISHNA: One may lift up a (petted) child, that has a stone in its hand, also a basket in which there is a stone; one may also handle unclean Therumah (heave-offerings), together with clean and with ordinary grain. R. Jehudah saith: "One may also take out Therumah from mixed grain in proportion of one to the hundred."

GEMARA: Rabha said: "If a man carried out a child to whose neck a purse of money was fastened, he is culpable of carrying the purse; but if he carried out the corpse of a child which had a purse of money fastened to it, he is free." Why is the man culpable in the first instance, for the carrying of the purse and not for carrying the child? He holds with R. Nathan, who said, that a living thing carries itself. Why not say, that the purse is an accessory to the child? Have we not learned in a Mishna, that if a man carried out a person on a litter he is not culpable of carrying even the litter, because it is of no consequence to the person? A litter is regarded as of no consequence to the person, but a purse is not held to be part of a child. Why, in the second instance, is the man not culpable for carrying the corpse of the child? Rabha holds, with R. Simeon, that every labor which is not performed for its own sake does not make a person culpable (and he is not culpable for carrying the purse, because in his sorrow he does not think of the purse that the child was wont to play with).

An objection was made (to Rabba's teaching by virtue of the above Mishna): One may lift up a child with a stone in its hand? The disciples of R. Yanai explained this as follows: "A child is referred to that yearns for its father, and if it were not carried it would become sick." The stone is no hindrance to its being carried. If that is the case, why is a stone mentioned? why not money? Did not Rabha say, that the child may be carried if it have a stone in its hand, but not money? That is simple. If the stone fall to the ground the father will not pick it up, but if money falls he will pick it up. We have been taught by a Boraitha in support of Rabha: If one carry his clothes, folded, on his back, or his sandals or his rings in his hand, he is culpable; if he wear them, however, he is free. If he carry out a man dressed in clothes, sandals, and rings, he is also free; but if he carried the clothes, sandals, or rings alone, he would be culpable.

"A basket in which there is a stone," etc. Why should a man not be culpable for carrying it? Is not the basket a basis for a prohibited thing? Said R. Hyya bar Ashi in the name of Rabha: "Here a basket is spoken of which is broken, and where the stone fills in the gap, making the basket whole."

"One may also handle unclean heave-offerings." Said R. Hisda: "When may unclean heave-offerings be handled? If the clean heave-offering be at the bottom and the unclean on top, the unclean may be removed; but if the clean be on top, it may be removed, and the unclean must remain untouched." If the unclean be on top, let it be thrown off until the clean is reached! Answered R. Ilai, Rabh said: "Here fruit is spoken of, that would be spoiled by being thrown off."

An objection was made: We have learned in a Boraitha: "Unclean heave-offerings may be handled with clean and with ordinary grain; it makes no difference where it lies: on the top or at the bottom." This is a refutation of R. Hisda? R. Hisda might say, that our Mishna treats of a heave-offering that is needed for food, while the Boraitha treats of a heave-offering when the space it occupies is needed. What impels R. Hisda to explain the Mishna in that manner? Said Rabha: "From the latter part of the Mishna it seems to be in the sense explained by him, for that part of the Mishna says, that if money lie on a bolster, the bolster may be turned so that the money shall fall down; and Rabba bar bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan explained, that such is the case only if the bolster itself be needed; but if the space occupied by the bolster is required, one may lift the bolster, with the money, and deposit it elsewhere. Now, if this part of the Mishna refers to the demand for the object itself, the first part does likewise."

"R. Jehudah saith: 'One may take Therumah from mixed grain in proportion of one to the hundred.'" How can this be done? In doing it, one would make a useless thing useful, and that is not permitted? R. Jehudah holds with R. Simeon ben Elazar, who declares, that one may look upon one side of a mixed-grain pile and consider it Therumah, and eat from the other. How can it be said, however, that R. Jehudah holds with R. Simeon ben Elazar, for have we not learned in a Boraitha, that they differ on this question, the former holding that one may take a measure of grain from the pile, of one to the hundred, set it aside as Therumah, and use the remainder, while the other says, that one should look upon one side of it and eat from the other? R. Jehudah is even more lenient; for he permits all of it to be used after a measure had been set aside, while R. Simeon permits only part of it to be used.

MISHNA: If a stone lie at the opening of a barrel, the barrel may be bent over, so that the stone fall down. If the barrel stand amongst other barrels, it may be lifted and then bent over, in order that the stone fall down. If money lie on a bolster, the bolster may be turned, so that the money fall down. If dirt be found on the bolster, it maybe cleaned off with a rag; and if the bolster be of leather, water maybe poured on it until the dirt is removed.

GEMARA: Said R. Huna in the name of Rabh: "The Mishna refers to a case where the stone lying at the opening of the barrel was left there by accident. If it was placed there purposely, the barrel becomes a basis to a prohibited thing and must not be handled."

"If the barrel stand amongst other barrels," etc. Who is the Tana who holds, that where there are both a permissible and a prohibited thing we must engage ourselves only with the permissible thing and not with the prohibited? Said Rabba bar bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan: "That is R. Simeon ben Gamaliel, who said in Tract Betza, that if the waste was in a larger quantity than the eatable portion, the eatable portion might be taken, but the waste must not be touched. In the case of the barrel, the useful portion is certainly in a larger quantity than the useless (why, then, should he not remove the stone?). If a man should wish to remove the wine, it would necessitate his lifting the barrel at all events; with the barrel the stone would also be lifted, and in that case the useless would surpass in quantity the useful."

We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Jose said: "If a barrel stood in a cellar amongst other barrels, or among glassware (and there is danger that if the barrel is lifted and bent over the stone covering it will fall upon another barrel, or upon some of the glassware and break it), it may be lifted, carried to another place, bent over so that the stone roll off, its contents removed to the quantity required, and returned to its former place."

 

"If money lie on a bolster," etc. Said R. Hyya bar Ashi in the name of Rabh: "The Mishna here refers to a case where the money was accidentally left on the bolster; but if it is laid there on purpose, the bolster becomes a basis to a prohibited thing and must not be handled."

Hyya the son of Rabh of Diphti taught the same as Rabba bar bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan, viz., that if the space occupied by the bolster is required, the bolster together with the money may be moved.

R. Oshea said: "If a purse of money was accidentally left in private ground, one may put a loaf of bread or a child on it and take it back to the house." R. Itz'hak said: "This rule applies not only to a purse of money, but also to a brick that is needed for any purpose."

Said R. Jehudah bar Shila in the name of R. Assi, that a box of money was once forgotten in the market and R. Johanan was asked what was to be done. He ordered them to place a loaf of bread or a child on it, and take it in. Said Mar Zutra: "All these rules are laid down in the case of where the things referred to were left by accident." But R. Ashi said, that such is not the case, and that a child or a loaf of bread can be used to move a corpse only.

When Abayi had to bring in stalks of grain, he would put on them some article of food (or some vessel) and bring it into the house; and when Rabha had to bring in (an uncooked) dove, he would put a knife on it and bring it into the house. When R. Joseph heard of this, he said: "How sagacious are the minds of these young scholars! When did the rabbis permit this to be done? When the things to be brought were forgotten on the outside; but they did not permit their being moved to commence with." Abayi answered: "(I have done right.) For were I not a trustworthy man, I would not have used those means to bring in the grain at all. Stalks of grain are a useful thing to sit on, and may be handled." And Rabha said: "(I have also done right.) For were I not a trustworthy man, I would not have placed a knife on the dove at all, as there are some people who eat it raw (hence it may be handled on the Sabbath)." Shall we say, that Rabha holds that the raw dove may be handled only because it is eaten (raw) by some people, and were it not so it could not be handled (on Sabbath), hence be holds as R. Jehudah in Tract Betza? Did not Rabha say to his servant on a festival: "Fry a duck for me and throw the entrails to the cat"; and we see thence that he permitted his servant to handle the entrails because they were food for a cat? The entrails would have spoiled if left over for the next day, and we must assume therefore that they were designed as food for the cat from the day preceding.

MISHNA: The school of Shamai teaches: "Bones and husks may be removed from the table." The school of Hillel, however, teaches: "One may only lift the whole table board (or cloth), and shake off what is left over." All crumbs smaller than an olive may be removed from the table; also the hulls of beans and lentils, because they may serve for fodder. It is allowed to use a sponge for wiping, providing it has a handle made of leather; otherwise, it is not allowed. At all events, one may handle a sponge on the Sabbath, and it is not subject to defilement.

GEMARA: Said R. Na'hman: We know that the school of Shamai holds to the opinion of R. Jehudah (who accepts the theory of Muktza), and that the school of Hillel holds to the opinion of R. Simeon (who disregards the law of Muktza). (Hence the order of the Mishna should be reversed.) The dictum of the school of Shamai should be credited to the school of Hillel, and vice versa.

"Hulls of beans," etc. The permission to remove the hulls of beans, etc., is certainly in accordance with R. Simeon, who disregards the law of Muktza; and the latter clause of the Mishna referring to a sponge, which must not be used for wiping off the table unless it have a handle (because without the handle it would be wrung and that is prohibited, although the intention to wring it did not exist), is in accordance with the opinion of R. Jehudah, who holds, that one must not perform an act even unintentionally. In this case R. Simeon also agrees with R. Jehudah, because it again presents a parallel case to the beheading of a creature where no intention to kill it exists.

The pits of dates (Armiassa) to which some of the meat adheres maybe handled, and those of Parsiassa must not be handled. Samuel used to handle the latter with bread, holding to his opinion that anything at all may be done with bread (while others hold that bread should not be put to any uses except for food). Rabba would hold them with a pitcher of water. R. Shesheth would throw them out by means of his tongue, and R. Papa would throw them underneath the bed. It was told of R. Zacharias ben Abkulos, that he would turn his face towards the back of the bed and throw them out with his tongue.


Sources: Sacred Texts

Back to Top