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Tractate Shabbat: Chapter 10

Further regulations concerning the prescribed quantity of things to be stored

Further regulations concerning the prescribed quantity of things to be stored

MISHNA I.: One who had stored anything for planting, sampling, or medicinal purposes (before the Sabbath) and carried some of it out (into public ground) on the Sabbath, be it ever so small a quantity, is liable for a sin-offering. Any one else, however, is culpable only then if (he carried out) the prescribed quantity. Even the one who had stored is culpable only for the prescribed quantity, if he brought the thing carried out by him back (to private ground).

GEMARA: For what purpose is it said in the Mishna, "One who stored anything"? Would it not be sufficient to say, "One who carried out things intended for planting, sampling, or medicinal purposes, be the quantity ever so small, is culpable"? Said Abayi: The Mishna treats of the case of a man who, after storing the thing, forgot for what purpose he had stored it, and then carried it out into the street for any purpose whatever. Lest one say that the original intention (to store it) is abolished, and now the thing carried out has for him only the same value as for others, and he would be culpable only for carrying out the regularly prescribed quantity, it comes to teach us that one who commits a deed executes his original intention.

R. Jehudah said in the name of Samuel: R. Meir declares one who carried out only a single wheat grain, intended for sowing, culpable. Is this not self-evident? The Mishna taught: "Be it ever so small." One might presume that the term "be it ever so small" denotes something smaller than a dried fig but not smaller than an olive. R. Meir therefore informs us (that it refers even to one wheat grain). R. Itz'hak, the son of R. Jehudah, opposed this: "(We see that) the Mishna declares one culpable for an act originally intended to be performed, but now, supposing a man intended to carry out his entire household at once; is he then not culpable until he had accomplished the entire task, even if he had carried out part of it?" The answer was: If a man has an absurd intention it is abolished by the law, and he is culpable for carrying out the prescribed quantity.

"Any one else, however," etc. Our Mishna is not in accordance with that of R. Simeon b. Elazar

Rabha in the name of R. Na'hman said: "If one carried out a thing the size of a dried fig with the intention of eating it, but changed his mind in the meantime and then intended to sow it, or, on the contrary, first intended to sow it and then to eat it, he is culpable. Is this not self-evident? The prescribed quantity for both eating and sowing was carried. Lest one say that the removing and the depositing of a thing must be done with the very same intention in order to make one culpable, which is not so in this case, he comes to teach us that he is culpable.

"If he brought the thing," etc. Is this not self-evident? (for he did not sow it, we then see that his original intention is abolished). Said Abayi: "The Mishna speaks of a case where the man took the thing brought from his house, and threw it into the place where his full supply was kept, and the place where he threw it remained conspicuous. Lest one say, if the place is conspicuous, his original intention is not yet abolished, because he took the same thing again, it comes to teach us that the throwing of the thing among his other supplies annulled his original intention.

MISHNA II.: If one intended to carry out victuals and deposited them on the doorstep, whether he afterward carried them out (into the street) himself, or this was done by some one else, he is not culpable, because he did not accomplish the deed at one time. If one deposited a basket of fruit on the outside doorstep, even if the bulk of the fruit was on the outside (in the street), he is not culpable, unless he carried out the entire basket (into the street).

GEMARA: What kind of a doorstep does the Mishna have reference to? Should we assume that the doorstep was public ground, how can the man be not culpable? He carried out from private into public ground. Should we assume that the doorstep was private ground, why does the Mishna teach that if he carried it out (into the street), or any one else, he is not culpable? It is again a case of carrying out from private into public ground? We must therefore assume that the doorstep was unclaimed ground, and it comes to teach us that only when the victuals were deposited on the unclaimed ground the man is not culpable, but if they had been carried out from private into public ground, even by way of unclaimed ground, he is culpable. And the Mishna does not agree with the opinion of Ben Azai, of the following Boraitha: "One who carries out from his store into the market by way of the alley is culpable, but Ben Azai says he is not."

"If one deposited a basket of fruit," etc. Said Hyzkiyah: The case in question treats only of a basket filled with cucumbers and beets, but if full of mustard seeds he is culpable. From this we see that Hyzkiyah considers a vessel no support 1 (i.e., the cucumbers are encircled by the basket and need no support), but the mustard seeds, which are heaped up, are outside of the basket proper and not supported by it; therefore, when the basket with mustard seeds is carried outside, part of the mustard seeds are already on the outside and the carrier is culpable. R. Johanan, however, says, even if the basket contained mustard seeds, he is also not culpable. Thence we see that R. Johanan does consider a vessel a support. Said R. Zera: "How is it with the Mishna? It is neither of the opinion of Hyzkiyah nor of R. Johanan." Hyzkiyah may explain it in accordance with his theory and R. Johanan with his own. Hyzkiyah explains the Mishna, which said "unless he carries out the entire basket." This is the case if the basket is filled with cucumbers and beets, but if filled with mustard seeds it is equal to putting out the entire basket into the street, and he is culpable, but R. Johanan explained the Mishna thus: Although the bulk of the fruit is on the outside, or even if all the fruit were on the outside, the man would not be culpable unless the entire basket was put on the outside. So also said Rabha: The Mishna treats only of a basket filled with cucumbers and beets, but if filled with mustard seeds the man is culpable. Whence we see that he does not consider a vessel a support. Abayi, however, said: Even if the basket contained mustard seeds, the man is also not culpable. Whence we see that he does consider a vessel a support. Shall we say that Abayi adopted the system of Rabha and Rabha of Abayi, or Abayi contradicts himself and Rabha does the same? As it was taught: One who carried out fruit into public ground, Abayi said, is culpable only if he carried it out with his hand (although the body remained in public ground), but if in a vessel he is not culpable. (Why? Because Abayi does not consider the body a support to the hand, in spite of the fact that the hand is attached to the body, but if he carried out the fruit in a vessel and part of the vessel still remained in private ground, he is not culpable.) And Rabha says, on the contrary: If he carried the fruit out in his hand he is not culpable (because he considers the body a support and the hand is part of the body), but if he carried it out in a vessel he is culpable (because, although the vessel is still in private ground, some of the fruit is in public ground). The answer is: Reverse the case. (Say Abayi's statement should be Rabha's and Rabha's Abayi's).

MISHNA III.: One who carries out anything in the right or in the left hand or in his bosom or on his shoulder is culpable, as so was the manner in which the sons of Kehath carried (their burdens). 1 But one who carries out a thing on the back of his hand or with his foot, with his mouth, with his elbow, with his ear, with his hair, with his waist bag, the opening of which is at the bottom, or between his belt and his shirt, with the edge of his shirt, with his shoe or sandal, is not culpable, because he carries it in an unusual manner.

GEMARA: R. Elazar said: "One who carries out a burden ten spans above the ground [not on his shoulder, but in the air] is culpable, because in this manner the sons of Kehath carried their burdens." Whence do we know that the sons of Kehath carried their burdens in this way? It is written [Numb. iii. 26]: "Which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about." Hence he compares the tabernacle to the altar. As the tabernacle was ten ells, so was also the altar ten ells; and whence do we know that the tabernacle itself was ten ells? Because it is written [Ex. xxvi. 16]: "Ten ells shall be the length of the boards." Or we may say that we know that the sons of Kehath carried their burdens in this manner from the ark, as the Master said: The ark was nine spans high, and with the cover, which was one span higher, it was ten. Experience is to the effect that when a burden was carried on the shoulders by means of poles, one-third of the burden was above the poles and two-thirds below; then as the ark was ten spans high and one-third of it was carried above the shoulders, it was certainly more than ten spans above the ground.

But let it be inferred from Moses himself, of whom it is said elsewhere that he was very tall. With Moses the case is different; as the Master said elsewhere that the Shekhina does not rest upon a man unless he is a scholar, a strong, rich, or tall man.

It was taught: One who carries a burden on his head is not culpable. And if one will say that the inhabitants of the city of Hutzal do so, we may assume that their deed is abolished by the rest of mankind, who do not carry burdens on their heads.

MISHNA IV.: One who intends to carry something in front, but the thing moved to his back, is not culpable, but if he intends to carry it on his back and it moves to the front he is. Of a truth it was said: A woman who wears a girdle, whether she carries something in the front or in the back of it, is culpable, because the girdle invariably turns around. R. Jehudah says the same rule applies to letter-carriers.

GEMARA: Where is the difference? The main object (here is the intention). And in either case his intention was not carried out; why is he not culpable if the thing, moved from the front to the back and culpable if it moved from the back to the front? Said R. Elazar: "Divide the Mishna into two parts. The second part was not taught by the same Tana as the first." Said R. Ashi: "This is no question at all. Perhaps the Mishna may be explained thus: Not only did the man intend to carry it on his back and did so, which would make him culpable, because his intention was carried out, but even if he intended to carry it on his back and it moved to the front, in which case his intention was not carried out, lest one say that then he is not culpable, it comes to teach us that when one intends to preserve the thing with little safety, and it occurs that he has done so with a proper safety, he is benefited by it; hence he is culpable."

"Of a truth it was said." There is a Boraitha: Wherever it is said "Of a truth it was said," it is to be considered that so the halakhah prevails.

"R. Jehudah says the same rule applies to letter-carriers." A Boraitha in addition to it states that so it is because the carriers of the government usually do so.

MISHNA V.: One who carries out a large loaf of bread into public ground is culpable. If two persons do this together they are both innocent, provided it could be done by one of them; if, however, they did so because it could not be done by one, both are culpable. R. Simeon, however, declares them not culpable.

GEMARA: Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh, according to others Abayi said, and still others say that it was learned in a Boraitha: "If of both men who carried the loaf, either was able to carry it himself, R. Meir makes them both culpable, but R. Jehudah and R. Simeon declare them both innocent. If, of the two, neither was able (to do it himself), R. Jehudah and R. Meir declare them culpable and R. Simeon declares them free. If one of the two, however, was able, and the other unable, all agree that the able man is culpable." Whence is all this deduced? From what the rabbis taught: It is written [Lev. iv. 2]: "If any person sin," etc., i.e., if he committed the whole deed but not a part of it. How so? If two persons held one pitchfork and threw grain with it, or a weaver's spindle and wove with it, or a quill and wrote with it, or a reed and carried it into public ground, one might say that they are culpable. It is written [ibid.]: "If any person sin," etc. But if two persons held a date-press, or a log, and carried them out into public ground, R. Jehudah says, if one of the two was not able to carry it himself and they both carried it, they are both culpable, but if either of them was able, both are not culpable. R. Simeon says, even if one alone is not able to carry it and they carried it out together, they are also free. For only referring to such an instance the Scriptures say: "If any person," etc., and it is plain that one is culpable if he performs work alone, but if two persons did one thing they are both free.

The master said: If one of the two was able to perform the work alone and the other unable, all agree that he is culpable. Which of them was culpable? R. Hisda said, the one who was able. As to the one who was unable, why should he be so? What did he? Said R. Hamnuna to R. Hisda: "Why not? Did he not assist the one who was able? Answered R. Hisda: Assisting is not of consequence (because if he alone is not able to perform the work himself, his assistance is of no value). Said R. Zbid in the name of Rabha: "We have also learned in a Boraitha in support of this argument: If one suffering from a venereal disease rides an animal, the feet of which are encased in four pieces of cloth, the pieces of cloth are not subject to defilement, for the reason that the animal is able to stand on three feet." Why are they not subject to defilement? Was not one foot a help to the other three? Hence we must assume that one of the feet must be regarded as a help to the other three; a mere help, however, not having any legal consequence cannot become defiled, and as it is impossible to determine which one of the three feet is to be regarded as a help, all four pieces of cloth encasing them are not subject to defilement.

Again the master said: If either of the two were able, R. Meir holds them both to be culpable. The schoolmen propounded a question: "Must the object carried out by them be of double the prescribed size, i.e., a prescribed size for each of them, in order to make them culpable, or does the prescribed size for one man suffice to make them both culpable? R. Hisda and R. Hamnuna (both answered): One of them held that one prescribed size suffices, and the other that it must be double in order to make them culpable, (and it is known which of them held to the former opinion and which to the latter). Said R. Ashi: "We have also learned in a Boraitha: 'Two men who carried out a reed used by a weaver (into the street) are both culpable.' Why so? Was not double the prescribed quantity necessary in order to make both culpable? Hence we must assume that the Boraitha holds one prescribed quantity to be sufficient." Said R. Aha, the son of Rabba, to R. Ashi: "What proof do you derive from this Boraitha? Perhaps it refers to a reed that was of sufficient size to cook an egg for one and another for the other?" R. Ashi answered: If such were the case, the Boraitha would say merely a "reed" and not a "reed used by a weaver." Said R. Aha again: "Perhaps the Boraitha refers to a reed of sufficient size to weave a napkin each for both of them? Therefore it were better to say that from this Boraitha we can derive no support either for one opinion or the other."

A certain scholar taught in the presence of R. Na'hman: "Two men who carried out a reed used by a weaver (into the street) are both not culpable." R. Simeon, however, declares them culpable. How can this be? (Is this not contrary to R. Simeon's usage?), Read then (on the contrary), the scholars said they are culpable and R. Simeon said they are not.

MISHNA VI.: If one carry victuals of less than the prescribed quantity in a vessel (out into the street) he is not culpable even of (carrying) the vessel, for the vessel is of no consequence to the victuals. If he carried a person on a litter he is not culpable even of (carrying) the litter, because the litter is of no consequence to the person. If he carried a corpse on a cot he is culpable. The same is the case if (he carries) a part of the corpse of the size of an olive or of a carcass the size of an olive and of a reptile the size of a lentil. R. Simeon declares all of them free.

GEMARA: The rabbis taught: "If a man carry out victuals of the prescribed quantity in a vessel, he is culpable of carrying the victuals, but not of (carrying) the vessel, because the vessel is of no consequence to the victuals; but if the victuals are such that they cannot be carried otherwise than in a vessel, he is culpable of (carrying) the vessel also." Shall we assume from this teaching that if one ate two pieces of tallow each the size of an olive at different times through forgetfulness (and was not reminded of his sin between both times of eating), he is bound to bring two sin offerings? Said R. Ashi: In the case of the man who is culpable of (carrying) both the victuals and the vessel, it must be assumed that he carried them through forgetfulness and was subsequently reminded of having carried only one of them (but forgot about the other); later he was reminded of having carried the other also, and according to the opinion of the teacher of this Boraitha, he is culpable and bound to bring two sin-offerings, one for each time he was reminded. The same difference of opinion exists here as we have seen existed between R. Johanan and R. Simeon b. Lakish (in the chapter concerning the general rule of Sabbath).

"If he carried a person in a litter," etc. Shall we assume that the Mishna is in accordance with R. Nathan and not with the rabbis of the following Boraitha? "If one carried out an animal or a bird (into the street), whether alive or slaughtered, he is liable." R. Nathan, however, says: "For (carrying out) a slaughtered (animal or bird) he is culpable, but not for one that is alive, because a live creature carries itself." Said Rabha: "It may be said the Mishna is in accordance with the rabbis of the Boraitha cited, as they differ with R. Nathan only concerning animals or birds, which usually struggle to get loose and thus become a burden; but concerning a person, who is carried and agrees to being carried, and virtually carries himself, the rabbis yield to R. Nathan."

Said R. Ada b. Ahba to Rabha: How will, in your opinion, the statement in our Mishna be made plain: "Ben Bathyra permits the selling of a horse to a Gentile, and a Boraitha, in addition to this, states that the reason that Ben Bathyra permits this is because the Gentile will not perform any work with the horse on a Sabbath that would involve the liability of a sin-offering (for a horse is used for riding only, and when a person rides a horse the person virtually carries himself, and hence is no burden to the horse), and R. Johanan says that Ben Bathyra and R. Nathan said (practically) the same thing." Now, if in your opinion the rabbis differ with R. Nathan only in the matter of animals and birds, because when carried they struggle for freedom, but agree with him in the matter of a person, why does R. Johanan say that only Ben Bathyra and R. Nathan say the same thing? Did not the rabbis also admit this? (The answer was:) R. Johanan said that Ben Bathyra in permitting a horse to be sold to a Gentile referred to one which was used only for carrying falcons. Are there then such horses? Yea; they are to be found at the Zaidons'. 1

R. Johanan said: Even R. Nathan holds a man culpable if he carries a person, animal, or bird that is bound.

"If he carried a corpse," etc. Said Rabba b. b. Hana in the name of R. Johanan, and the same was said by R. Joseph in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: R. Simeon frees one, even if he carries out a corpse for burial. Said Rabha: "Even R. Simeon concedes that if one carry out a spade to dig a grave with, or a scroll to read from, he is culpable." Is this not self-evident? Should we then assume that according to R. Simeon's opinion even this kind of labor is not labor for its own sake, how can we find any labor for its own sake which in the opinion of R. Simeon would involve the liability of a sin-offering? Lest one say that R. Simeon does not hold a man culpable for carrying a thing unless the work done with the thing is both for the man's sake and also for the sake of the thing itself--for instance, if the spade was needed for digging and also had to be sharpened, or the scroll had to be examined and used for reading--hence he informs us that such is not the case.

There was a corpse in Drokra 2 and R. Na'hman b. Itz'hak permitted it to be carried out into unclaimed ground. Said R. Johanan, the brother of Mar, son of Rabhina, to R. Na'hman b. Itz'hak: "According to which Tana's opinion do you act? According to R. Simeon? Did R. Simeon allow this? He only stated that the act does not involve the liability of a sin-offering, but he did not permit it to start with?" R. Na'hman answered: By the Lord! You yourself, and even R. Jehudah, would allow this to be done the same as I did; did I say that it was to be carried into public ground? I said unclaimed ground! Do not forget that this was also for the sake of the honor due a human being, of which it is said: "Precious is the honor of man, and for its sake even a direct commandment of the Scripture may be circumvened!"

MISHNA VII.: One who pares his finger-nails, either by means of his nails or by means of his teeth; also one who plucks hair from his head, beard, or lip,; also a woman who braids her hair, or paints her eyebrows, or parts her hair, is, according to R. Eliezer, culpable. The sages, however, declare this to be (prohibited only by rabbinical law) as a precautionary measure.

GEMARA: Said R. Elazar: "The difference of opinion exists only in the case of paring the finger-nails by means of the nails, but if taken off with an instrument (all agree) that he is culpable." Is this not self-evident? Is it not plainly written in the Mishna, if he pares his finger-nails, one by means of the others? One might think that the difference of opinion is also concerning an instrument, and the reason the Mishna does not mention an instrument is only to show the firmness of R. Eliezer in prohibiting the paring of finger-nails even with one's own nails. He informs us that the difference of opinion is concerning the nails only. R. Elazar said furthermore: "The difference of opinion is only concerning a man's paring his own finger-nails, but if he pared another's all agree that he is not culpable. (The reason for this is because when paring one's own finger-nails a man can make them look as if trimmed with an instrument, but when trimming another's this is not possible.)" Is this not self-evident? Did not the Mishna say plainly: "His own finger-nails"? Nay. One might think that according to the opinion of R. Eliezer the trimming of another's finger-nails also makes one culpable, but the Mishna, stating plainly "his own finger-nails," intends only to show the firmness of the rabbis in making not culpable even those who pare their own nails; therefore he informs that such is not the case.

"Also one who plucks hair from his head," etc. There is a Boraitha: "One who cuts off a scissorsful of hair from his bead on the Sabbath is culpable." How much is a scissorsful supposed to be? Two hairs. R. Eliezer says: "One." The rabbis agree with R. Eliezer that in case one gray hair is plucked from a number of black hairs a man is culpable even for one, and not only on Sabbath but even on week days it is also prohibited, as it is written [Deut. xxii. 5]: "And a man shall not put on a woman's garment."

We have learned in a Boraitha, R. Simeon b. Elazar said: "If a finger-nail become separated from the finger of its own accord, a man may remove the adhering part, providing the greater part of the nail was separated. He may do this with his fingers, but not with an instrument. If he did it, however, with an instrument, he is not liable for a sin-offering. If the smaller part only was separated, he may not remove it. If he did so, however, with his fingers, he is not culpable, but with an instrument he is. Said R. Jehudah: "The halakhah prevails in accordance with R. Simeon b. Elazar." Said Rabba b. b. Hana in the name of R. Johanan "Provided the nail was bent upward and was troublesome."

"Also a woman who braids her hair," etc. In what category can her work be counted? Said R. Abuhu: "It was explained to me by R. Jossi b. Hanina: 'Painting the eyebrows comes in the class of work enumerated as dyeing, braiding, and parting the hair in the class of building.'" Is this the manner of building? Yea; as R. Simeon b. Menassia taught: It is written [Gen. ii. 22] "And the Lord God formed 1 the rib which he had taken from the man." From this maybe adduced that the Holy One, blessed be He, braided the hair of Eve and brought her to Adam. For in the seaports hair braiding and dressing is called building.

We have learned in a Boraitha, R. Simeon b. Elazar said: "Braiding the hair, painting the eyebrows, and parting the hair, if done for herself, does not make her culpable (because it cannot be properly termed building); but if done for another it does make her culpable." Furthermore, R. Simeon b. Elazar said in the name of R. Eliezer: "A woman shall not put red dye on her face, because that constitutes painting."

The rabbis taught: If one milked a cow and then made cheese of the milk to the size of a dried fig; if he swept a floor or dampened a floor (to lay the dust); or if he removed honeycombs from a beehive, his case is as follows: If he performed these acts unintentionally on Sabbath, he is bound to bring a sin-offering, and if he did all this intentionally on a biblical feast-day, he shall receive forty stripes. Such is the opinion of R. Eliezer, but the sages said: "All this is only prohibited by rabbinical law as a precautionary measure." (Says the Gemara:) Now the ordinance having prevailed according to the opinion of R. Simeon, all these acts are not prohibited at all.

MISHNA VIII.: One who plucks something from a perforated flower-pot is culpable; from a flower-pot that is not perforated he is not culpable. R. Simeon held him not culpable in both cases.

Abayi put a contradictory question to Rabha, according to others R. Hyya b. Rabh to his father Rabh: "The Mishna states that R. Simeon holds one not culpable in either case. From this we see well that to R. Simeon a perforated or a solid flower-pot is one and the same thing. We have learned in another Boraitha: R. Simeon said that there is no difference between a perforated and a solid flower-pot except to make the seeds grown in the flower-pot subject to defilement (i.e., in a solid flower-pot the seeds are not accounted as seeds). Hence there is a difference between the pots in the opinion of R. Simeon." The answer was: In all cases except defilement R. Simeon regards seeds in either a perforated or a solid flower-pot as loose (i.e., detached from the ground). In the case of defilement, however, it is different, because the Scriptures themselves added a special provision regarding defilement of seeds, as it is written [Lev. xi. 37]: "And if any part of their carcass fall upon any sowing-seed which hath been sown, it shall be clean."


173:1 The Talmudical term for" support" is "Agad," literally "bind." In the above the sense demands its rendition by "support."

174:1 Numb. iv.

179:1 The text reads Vaidon; Luria corrects this to read Zaidon, as we have adopted, which means a falconer's horse. Hai, the Gaon, however corrects it Bazaidon, because a falconer in the Persian language is Baz, and one who occupies himself by hunting for birds is called Bazaidon.

179:2 Name of a city.

181:1 The Hebrew word for "formed" is "Vayiven," literally "built."

Sources: Sacred Texts