Regulations concerning certain acts of labor which must be performed differently on a Sabbath and on a Festival
MISHNA: R. Eliezer says: One may stretch a wine-filter (of cloth) over a vessel on a feast-day, and on the Sabbath one may pour wine into it, if it was already fastened (to the vessel). The sages say: One must not stretch it (over a vessel) on a feast-day, and on Sabbath one must not pour (wine) into it, but the latter act is allowed on a feast-day.
GEMARA: How is it possible that R. Eliezer should decide, that one may stretch a wine-filter, etc., on a festival, if he does not even allow a window-blind to be added to a temporary tent, as is explained by Rabba bar bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan [Chapter XVII.]. In that case he does not even allow the addition of a blind, and here he permits the stretching of a filter to commence with? R. Eliezer holds as R. Jehudah, as we have learned in a Boraitha: There is no difference between the Sabbath and the festival, except that the preparation of food is permitted on the latter. R. Jehudah, however, even permits the arrangements for the preparation of food. What arrangements for the preparation of food are we aware of, that R. Jehudah permits? Such as cannot be made at any time before the festival; but did we hear of his permitting the arrangements for the preparation of food that could be made before the festival, to be made on the feast-day? In this respect R. Eliezer is more lenient than R. Jehudah, for he permits all arrangements for the preparation of food to be made on the festival.
"The sages say: One must not stretch it," etc. The schoolmen propounded a question: What if a man did stretch the filter over a vessel on a festival? Is he culpable? Said Abayi: "This is only a rabbinical prohibition, that one should not do on a festival such things as one does on a week-day."
Abayi collected all the rabbinical prohibitions to be found in the Boraithas, and taught as follows. A leather bag, a wine-filter, a baldachin, and a folding-chair as used in the city of Galin, must not be spread; but it one does so, he is not culpable. Tents, however, which are permanent, must not be put up, and if a man does this he is culpable. One way, however, set up an ordinary bed, a chair, a tripod, and a stool with impunity.
"One must not pour wine into it," etc. The schoolmen asked: "What if a man did pour wine into it? Is he culpable?" Said R. Kahana: "Yea; he is liable to bring a sin-offering." R. Shesheth opposed this: "Have ye ever seen that R. Eliezer should permit a certain thing to be done to commence with, which the rabbis hold would make one liable for a sin-offering?" R. Joseph interposed: "Why not? Have we not learned, in the case of a woman who went out with a golden ornament, that R. Meir held her liable for a sin-offering and R. Eliezer permitted her to go out with it to commence with?" Said Abayi to him: "Dost thou think that R. Eliezer opposes R. Meir in the above passage? Nay; he merely opposes the sages, who said that a woman must not go out wearing the ornament, but if she do so, she is not culpable; whereas he says, that she may do so to commence with."
How should a man be warned not to pour wine into the filter? (i.e., in what category of labor is that act to be classed, so that the man can be warned that he is performing a certain prohibited principal act of labor? 1). Rabba said: "He is to be warned against fruit-cleaning." R. Zera said: "Against sifting." Said Rabba: "It seems to me that my decision is more in conformity with reason, for as in fruit-cleaning the good fruit is separated from the bad, so it is also in this case: he separates the clean wine from the lees." Said R. Zera: "It seems to me that my decision is more in conformity with reason, because as in sifting the good falls to the bottom and the bad remains in the sieve, so it is also in this case: the good wine falls into the vessel, while the lees remain in the filter."
Rami the son of Ezekiel taught: "A folded garment should not be spread on poles to serve as a sun-shade; but if a man do. this, he is free. If, however, a string or a hanger was already attached to the garment with which it could be fastened to the poles, this may be done to commence with."
R. Kahana asked of Rabh: "What is the law regarding a baldachin?" and he answered: "Even a bed is not permitted."
R. Kahana then inquired: "What is the law regarding a bed?" and Rabh answered: "Even a baldachin is allowed." "What is the law regarding a bed and a baldachin?" "A bed is allowed but a baldachin is not allowed." In spite of this, there is no difficulty. In not permitting even a bed, Rabh had reference to a folding-bed as used by the Karmanites, and where he said, "Even a baldachin is allowed," he had reference to a baldachin as described by Rami bar Ezekiel; i.e., one which had strings attached to it. In saying, "A bed is allowed and a baldachin is not allowed," he meant to say, that an ordinary bed, such as is generally used, may be set up, but a baldachin, that had no strings or hangers attached, must not be set up. Said R. Joseph: "I have seen the baldachins in the house of R. Huna; at night (on Sabbath eve) they were folded up and in the morning they were all set up."
Rami bar Ezekiel sent to R. Huna and asked him to impart to him some of the good sayings of Rabh, two concerning the Sabbath and one concerning the Law. So R. Huna sent him the following sayings: Concerning what we have learned in a Boraitha, that a leather-bag which had strings already attached may be spread on poles on Sabbath, Rabh said, that this may be done jointly by two men but not by one. 1 Said Abayi: "A baldachin which must not be set up must not even be set up by the joint efforts of ten men." What was the other good saying of Rabh concerning Sabbath? Concerning what we have learned in a Boraitha, that if an iron stove had one leg missing it may be handled, but if two legs were missing it must not be handled, Rabh said, that it must not be handled even if one leg was missing, as a precaution lest one might be tempted to fasten the missing leg, and that would constitute building, What was the good saying of Rabh concerning the Law? Rabh said: There will be a time when the Law will be forgotten by Israel, as it is written [Deut. xxviii. 59]: "Then will the Lord render wonderful thy plagues," etc., and I could not understand what is meant by "wonderful plagues"; but it is written [Isaiah xxix. 14]: "Therefore, behold, I will do yet farther a marvellous work, doing wonder on wonder, so that the wisdom of their wise men shall be lost, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden."
The rabbis taught: When our teachers went into the vineyard at Jamnia, they said that the Law would be forgotten by Israel, as it is written [Amos viii. 11]: "Behold, days are coming, saith the Lord Eternal, when I will send a famine in the land, not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but to hear the words of the Lord"; and [ibid. 12]: "And they will wander about from sea to sea, and from the north even to the cast, they will roam about to seek the word of the Lord; but they shall not find it." By the word of the Lord is meant: halakhah, the end of exile (i.e., the coming of the Messiah), and also the prophecies. 1
In another Boraitha we have learned: R. Simeon ben Jo'hai said: "May God forbid that the Law be forgotten by Israel. It is written [Deut. xxxi. 21]: 'For it shall not be forgotten out of the mouth of their seed.' How then can the previous passage, 'And they will roam about to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it,' be verified? It means they shall not find a perfect halakhah (which shall be incontestable), nor a Mishna (which shall be beyond refutation) anywhere on earth."
We have learned in a Boraitha: If thou shouldst live in a generation in which there is much trouble (persecution), go and investigate amongst the judges of Israel; for most of the trouble that happens in this world happens only on account (of the corruption) of the judges, as it is written [Micah iii. 9-11]: "Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob and ye princes of the house of Israel, that abhor justice and make crooked all that is straight. They build up Zion with blood-guiltiness and Jerusalem with wrong; her heads judge for bribes, and her priests teach for reward, and her prophets divine for money, and yet will they lean upon the Lord," etc. They are all wicked, and yet they all lean upon the One who spoke and the world was created; and therefore the Lord will bring upon them three troubles for the three sins of which they were guilty as mentioned above (judging for bribes, teaching for reward, and divining for money), as it is written [ibid. 12]: "Therefore for your sake shall Zion be ploughed up as a field, and Jerusalem shall become ruinous heaps, and the mount of the house, forest-covered high-places"; and the Holy One, blessed be He, will not permit his Shekhina to rest again amongst Israel until the corrupt judges shall be removed and the guardians of the peace shall be abolished from Israel, as it is written [Isaiah i. 25 and 26]: "And I will turn my hand against thee, and purge away as with lye thy dross, and remove all thy tin. And (then) I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning."
Ula said: "Jerusalem will not be redeemed except through charity (righteousness), as it is written [Isaiah i. 27]: 'Zion shall be redeemed through justice, and her converts through righteousness.'" R. Papa said: When the proud men will be destroyed, then also will the men who slander and cause us to be hated be destroyed, as it is written: "and purge away as with lye thy dross." And when the corrupt judges will be removed, the bailiffs will also become extinct, as it is written [Zephaniah iii. 15]: "The Lord hath removed thy punishment; he hath cleared away thy enemy."
Melai in the name of R. Eliezer ben R. Simeon said: "It is written [Isaiah xiv. 5]: 'Broken hath the Lord the staff of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers.' The staff of the wicked refers to the judges who made of themselves a staff upon which their servants (scribes) should lean (i.e., they gave them all the opportunities to extort money, of which they took a share). The sceptre of rulers refers to the judges who made their relatives rulers."
Mar Zutra said: "The above verse refers to the teachers who turn out ignorant men and allow them licenses to be judges (and through ignorance they were incapable of judging rightfully)."
R. Elazar ben Melai said in the name of Resh Lakish: "It is written [Isaiah lix. 3]: 'For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity: your lips have spoken falsehood, your tongue uttereth deception.' 'Your hands are defiled with blood' refers to the judges, your fingers with iniquity' refers to the scribes of the judges, your lips have spoken falsehood refers to the lawyers, 'and your tongue uttereth deception' refers to the litigants themselves."
R. Melai said again in the name of R. Itz'hak of Magdala: "From the day that Joseph left his brethren, he tasted not wine, as it is written [Genesis xlix. 26]: 'These shall be on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the head of him that was separated 1 from his brothers.'" R. Jose bar Hanina said, that the brothers of Joseph also did not taste wine, because it is written [ibid. xliii. 34]: And they drank, and were merry with him" (because it says "with him," the inference is, that without him they did not drink).
R. Melai said again: "The reward due Aaron for what is written [Exod. iv. 14]: 'And when he seeth, he will be glad in his heart,' was given him in the breastplate of judgment" [see ibid. xxviii. 15].
The inhabitants of the city of Bashkar sent a query to Levi, as follows: "What is the law concerning a baldachin, what is the law concerning flax sown in a vineyard, does it come under the head of Kelaim or not, and what is the law concerning one who dies on a festival?" While the messenger was on his way, Levi died. Said Samuel to R. Menasseh: "If thou wouldst be wise, answer thou these queries." So R. Menasseh answered as follows: "As for a baldachin, we have investigated on all sides and found no permission (for setting it up). As for flax sown in a vineyard, it constitutes a case of Kelaim. As for a man that had died on a festival, the corpse should be kept until after the second day of the festival, and it should not be interred, neither by Israelites nor by Gentiles." This is not so! Rami bar Ezekiel found permission for a baldachin as previously said! R. Tarphon decided that flax sown in a vineyard does not constitute Kelaim, and Rabha decreed, that a corpse may be interred on the first day of a festival by Gentiles and on the second day even by Jews? However, because the men of Bashkar were ignorant, R. Menasseh gave them the stricter decrees, lest they take advantage of the more lenient.
R. Abin bar R. Huna said in the name of R. Hama bar Gurya: "A man can wrap himself in the canopy that has not been fastened to the poles, together with its fringes, and go out into public ground with impunity." In what respect does this decision differ from that of R. Huna, who said in the name of Rabh, that one who went out into public ground wearing a Talith (toga) without Tzitzith (show-threads) is culpable and liable for a sin-offering? In the case of a Talith, the showthreads, being the most important part of that garment, are valuable, and without them the Talith is simply a burden; whereas the fringes of a canopy are not an essential part of the canopy, and having used the latter for a garment it may be worn even with fringes.
Rabba bar R. Huna said: "A man may with cunning stretch a wine-filter over a vessel and say, that he intends to use it as a receptacle for pomegranates, but when it is already stretched he may filter wine through it." Said R. Ashi: "He may do this only if he had previously placed pomegranates in the filter." In what respect does this decision differ from the following Boraitha: During the intermediate days of a festival (either Passover or the Feast of Tabernacles) a man may brew Leer for consumption on those days but not for use on other days, be it beer made of dates or of barley; and although he have stale beer still on hand, he may with cunning brew new beer and drink it. (Should he have any left over he may keep it for other days; hence we see that it is not necessary to dissemble by doing something else before performing the act really intended.) In the latter case it is not known whether the man have any stale beer on hand or not, and hence it might be presumed that he has none and must brew more; but in the former case, when the wine-filter is stretched and wine is being immediately filtered through it, the presumption would be that it was stretched for that purpose only.
Said the disciples to R. Ashi: "We would call the attention of the master to this young scholar, R. Huna bar Hyvan or Heluvan by name, who takes the clove of garlic and stops up a hole in a wine-barrel with it, saying, that he intends merely to preserve the clove of garlic. He also goes and lies down on a ferry, presumably to sleep; in the meantime he is ferried across the river, and on the other side he watches his fields, saying, however, that he merely intended to sleep." Answered R. Ashi: "Ye speak of cunning (trickery). All the acts mentioned by you are prohibited by rabbinical laws only, and in the case of a scholar, there is no danger that he will commit them publicly (without resorting to cunning)."
MISHNA: One may pour water on yeast in order to thin the latter; and one may filter wine through a cloth or an Egyptian wine-basket. One may put a beaten egg in a sieve. One may also make honey-wine on Sabbath. R. Jehudah says: "On Sabbath this may be done only in a cup, on feast-days even in a lug, (pitcher), and on the intermediate days even in a barrel." R. Zadok says: "At all times it should be made according to the number of guests."
GEMARA: Zera said: "A man may pour clear wine or clear water into a filter with impunity." May clear wine only, and not dimmed wine, be poured into a filter? Have we not learned, that R. Simeon ben Gamaliel said: "A man may stir up a cask of wine, with the lees, on the Sabbath and pour it through a filter with impunity"? Zera explained the decree of R. Simeon ben Gamaliel to the effect, that the latter spoke of wine that was just being pressed, when it is customary to drink the wine with the lees (hence the wine is not improved, as it can be drunk without filtering).
"One may filter wine through a cloth." R. Simi b. Hyya said: "Providing the cloth is not turned into a funnel (that the cloth should not subsequently be wrung)."
"An Egyptian wine-basket." Said R. Hyya bar Ashi in the name of Rabh: "Providing the wine-basket is not lifted above the bottom of the vessel to the height of one span."
"One may put a beaten egg in a mustard sieve." R. Jacob Kar'hah explained this as follows: "Because the yolk is used only for coloring; the white of the egg is nevertheless as much an article of food as the yolk (hence no sifting takes place)."
It was taught: Mustard which had been prepared before Sabbath may be ground on the Sabbath, either by hand or with a vessel. Honey may also be placed in the mustard on Sabbath; it must not be thoroughly mixed, however, but merely stirred. Cresses which had been cut up before the Sabbath may be mixed with oil and vinegar on the Sabbath, and one may also add mint; it must not be thoroughly mixed, however, but merely stirred. Garlic which had been ground before the Sabbath may be mixed with broad-beans and peas, but must not be ground together; mint may also be added. Said Abayi: "We see, that mint is good for the spleen."
"One may make honey-wine on the Sabbath." The rabbis taught: "One may make honey-wine on the Sabbath, but not an oil-wine salve." The difference between honey-wine and oil-wine salve is that the former is made of honey, wine, and pepper, while the latter is made of old wine, clear water, and aromatic balsam to be used as a lotion after a bath.
Said R. Joseph: "Once I went with Mar Uqba to a bathhouse. When we came out, he gave me a cup of wine which, when drinking, I felt all over from the roots of my hair to the nails of my feet; and had he given me another, I am afraid that the reward due me in the world to come would have been lessened in proportion." Mar Uqba drank this wine every day? He was accustomed to it.
MISHNA: One must not put laserpitium in tepid water for the purpose of softening the former, but one may put it in vinegar. One must not soak bran nor grind it, but may put it in a sieve or in a basket. One must not sift feed-straw through a winnow, nor lay it in a high place so that the chaff fall out, but one may take it up in a winnow and then pour it into the crib.
GEMARA: The schoolmen asked: "What if one did put laserpitium in tepid water?" Said Abayi: "This is only a rabbinical prohibition, that it should not be done as on a weekday."
R. Johanan asked of R. Yanai: "Is it allowed to put laserpitium in cold water (on Sabbath)?" and he answered: "It is not." Said R. Johanan: "We have learned in the Mishna, that it is not allowed to put it in tepid water, but in cold water it should be allowed." Answered R. Yanai: (If thou askest me concerning a Mishna) what difference is there between me and thee? The Mishna is according to the opinion of one man, and the halakhah does not prevail according to his opinion, as we have learned in a Tosephta: Laserpitium must not be put in either cold or tepid water. R. Jose said: "It is not allowed to put it in tepid water, but it may be put in cold water." For what purpose is it used? For a heavy feeling in the chest.
R. Aha bar Joseph had a heavy feeling in the chest, so he came to Mar Uqba, and was told to drink laserpitium to the weight of three shekels in three days. He drank some on Thursday and Friday, and on Sabbath he came to the house of learning to inquire whether he might drink it. He was told, that the disciples of Ada, others say of Mar bar R. Ada, taught, that one may drink, even a Kabh or two Kabhs with impunity. He then said to them: "I am not asking whether I may drink it. That I know is allowed, but I should like to know whether I may put the laserpitium in water in order to drink it. How shall I do?" Said R. Hyya bar Abin to them: "The same thing happened to me, so I went to R. Ada bar Ahabha and asked him, but he did not know; so I asked R. Huna, who said, that Rabh decided that first it should be put in cold water and then it may be put in warm water."
R. A'ha bar Joseph leaned on the shoulders of his nephew, R. Na'hman bar Itz'hak, and went out into the street, and told him, when they came to the house of R. Safra, to lead him in. When they got there, they went in, and R. A'ha asked of R. Safra: "May a shirt that had been laundered too stiffly be rubbed and softened by hand on the Sabbath? Shall we assume, that it is only intended to soften the shirt and is therefore permissible, or that it is intended also to bleach it and is hence prohibited?" R. Safra answered, that it might be done, and asked him: "Why dost thou ask about a shirt, why not ask also about a turban?" "I have already asked concerning a turban of R. Huna, and he said, that it is not permitted." "Why, then, didst thou come to ask about a shirt? Thou couldst have inferred, from the turban, that the other was also not permitted?" Answered R. A'ha: "A turban is bleached by unfolding and rubbing, but a shirt is not."
R. Hisda said: "If a shirt had been hung up to dry by means of a stick drawn through the armholes, it should be taken down from the stick, but the stick should not be taken down alone (because the stick is not a vessel and hence must not be handled)." Said Rabha: "If the stick was one that may be used by a weaver, it may be taken down (because it is regarded as a vessel)."
R. Hisda said again: "A bundle of herbs, if suitable for cattle-food, may be handled on the Sabbath. If not, it must not be handled." Said R. Hyya bar Ashi in the name of Rabh: "Dried salt meat may be handled on Sabbath (because it can be eaten uncooked), but dried salt fish must not (because it cannot be eaten uncooked)."
R. Hisda said again: "A man who attends school, and has not sufficient bread, should not eat herbs, because it creates hunger. I myself have never eaten herbs, neither when I was poor nor when I was rich. When I was poor I did not want to stimulate my appetite, and when I was rich I rather ate meat and fish in place of herbs." Again he said: "A young pupil who lacks food should not eat a little at a time. He should wait until he can accumulate sufficient for a hearty meal, and then eat. When I was poor I never ate until I could put my hand in the basket and find sufficient to satisfy my hunger."
The same R. Hisda said to his daughters: "Be chaste in the eyes of your husbands. Do not go about eating in the presence of your husbands. Do not eat herbs at night (for fear of bad breath). Do not eat dates at night. Do not drink beer at night, and use not the same toilet that men do. When some one knocks at your door, do not ask 'Who is it?' in the masculine, but in the feminine."
"One must not sift feed-straw through a winnow." This Mishna is not in accordance with the opinion of the Tana of the following Boraitha: R. Eliezer ben Jacob said: "A winnow must not be touched at all."
MISHNA: One may clean out (the crib) for the (stalled) ox and throw (the superfluous fodder) over the side, so that it does, not become unclean, so says R. Dosa. The sages declare this to be prohibited. One may remove the fodder in front of one animal and place it before another, on the Sabbath.
GEMARA: The schoolmen propounded a question: Do the sages dissent from the first part of R. Dosa's decree, from the last part, or from both? Come and hear: "We have learned in a Boraitha: 'The sages said: "Neither one nor the other may be thrown over the side."'" Said R. Hisda: "The sages differ with R. Dosa only when the crib was a separate vessel, but if it was part of the stall and fixed to the ground, all agree that it is prohibited to clean it out."
"One may remove the fodder from in front of one animal," etc. In one Boraitha we learned, that one may remove the fodder from cattle with healthy snouts and place it before cattle with diseased snouts; and in another Boraitha we learned the contrary, that fodder may be removed from cattle with diseased snouts and placed before cattle with healthy snouts. Said Abayi: "According to both Boraithas, the fodder of an ass may be placed before an ox, but the fodder of an ox must not be placed before an ass. The first Boraitha refers to fodder placed before an ass who does not emit phlegm from the mouth, and which may be placed before a cow who does emit phlegm; and the other Boraitha, which permits the placing of fodder of animals with bad snouts, also refers to an ass, and calls the snout of an ass bad (diseased) because he feeds on all manner of things, like thistles, etc. The cow is referred to as having a healthy snout because she is very particular as to what she feeds on (hence the two Boraithas do not differ)."
MISHNA: Straw on a bed must not be shaken up with the hand, but it may be moved with the body. If it be designed for fodder, or a pillow or cloth lie over it, it may be shaken up by hand. A clothes-press which is kept in the house may be opened, but must not be used for pressing. The clothes-presses of the professional washers must not be touched. R. Jehudah says: "If the press was partly open before the Sabbath, it may be entirely opened and drawn out (others say, the clothes may be drawn out)."
GEMARA: R. Jehudah said: "It is permitted to triturate pepper seed with the handle of a knife one by one, but not two together (on Sabbath)." But Rabha said, that as a man usually triturates pepper in a mortar on a week-day, he may on Sabbath triturate as many together as he chooses with the handle of a knife.
R. Jehudah said again: "(On the Sabbath) a man who bathes should first dry himself standing in the water and then go out; otherwise he carries water into unclaimed ground for four ells." If that is so, what about the man going into the water? By entering he pushes the water forward four ells (into the lake or river) by mere motion? Motion has not been provided for in the prohibitions of unclaimed ground.
Said Abayi, according to another version R. Jehudah: "If a man stepped into loam, he should wipe his feet on the ground and not on a wall." But Rabha said: "Why should he not do that, because it might be presumed that he plasters the wall and is engaged in building,? Nay; this is not ordinary building (but more like field-work). On the contrary: If he wipe his feet on the ground he may perchance smoothen out an incavation, hence he should rather wipe his feet on the wall. For the same reason, he should not wipe his feet on the side of an incavation, lest he smoothen it out."
Rabha said again: "One should not cork a bottle with a piece of cotton or cloth, lest he wring it." R. Kahana said: "The dirt on a garment should be removed by rubbing the cloth on the inside and not on the outside, lest it seem like washing." R. Abuha in the name of R. Elazar, quoting R. Yanai, said: "One may scrape off dirt on an old shoe, but not a new one. With what should it be scraped off? With the back of a knife," said R. Abuha. Said a certain old man to him: "Withdraw thy teaching before that of R. Hyya: One must not scrape off dirt on an old nor on a new shoe. One must also not rub his foot with oil, while it is still in the shoe. He may, however, rub his foot with oil and then put on his shoe or his sandal. He may also anoint his whole body with oil and lie down on a skin, although the skin is benefited by the oil." Said R. Hisda: "Providing the oil dripping from the body on to the skin is only sufficient to polish the skin, but if there is enough to soften the skin one must not lie down on it."
The rabbis taught: A small man should not wear a large shoe (lest it fall off and he be forced to carry it on the Sabbath). He may, however, wear a large shirt (as there is no fear of his taking that off and carrying it). A woman should not go out with a torn shoe on the Sabbath (lest she be laughed at and carry the shoe). She also must not accept Halitzah in such a shoe; but if she did so, the Halitzah is valid. She also should not wear a new shoe, that she had not tried on before the Sabbath (lest it be too large and she take it off and carry it). Such is the explanation of Bar Qappara.
In one Boraitha we have learned, that one may remove the shoe of a statue, while in another we were taught that it must not be removed. This presents no difficulty. The one Boraitha is in accordance with the opinion of the rabbis, who differ with R. Eliezer, while the other is in accordance with the opinion of R. Eliezer; as we have learned in another Boraitha: R. Jehudah said in the name of R. Eliezer, that if the shoe was loose and easily removed it might be taken off.
312:1 Rashi explains the above passage as follows: That by the word of the Lord is meant halakhah, may be derived from the verse [Deut. v. 5], "To announce to you the word of the Lord," which is synonymous with halakhah. As for the end of exile also being part of the word of the Lord, I do not know what verse that can be based on. That by the word of the Lord is also meant the prophecies, can be inferred from the verse [Hosea i. 1]: "The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea."
Sources: Sacred Texts